The Rise and Fall of the Montreal Canadiens Continues

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The Rise and Fall of the Montreal Canadiens Continues

Are Montreal Canadien fans ever going to be in for any more dynasties soon?

Not likely.

With the past dynastic regimes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, all, but a distant and colourful memory, the 1990s and 2000s have been unrelentingly cruel to the hockey team that everyone thought was never going to fade.

As did the British Empire, all empires fall into mediocrity, with only their history to remind them of, perhaps, better days before.

The sun seemed to set on the Canadiens franchise during the first round of the 1994 playoffs, when they took on the Boston Bruins.

Patrick Roy was battling through injury and even came back to battle to get the Canadiens within a 3-2 series lead; yet, the Canadiens could not overcome the Bruins and there ended what could have been the last true Canadiens dynasty.

You're probably thinking "What's this guy thinking?”

Dynasty?

1994 Montreal Canadiens?

Give your head a shake!

Should the 1993 Canadiens even have won that 24th Stanley Cup?

Not at all.

With the goaltending they had in Roy and the exceptional defensive game with Guy Carbonneau, Kirk Muller and the offense from Brian Bellows, Vincent Damphousse, and Denis Savard, they overcame all the doubters.

With the exit from the 1994 playoffs in seven games, it would mark the end of Roy's days playing in Montreal in the postseason, only a year after an exceptional run that saw one of the most dominating goaltending performances in NHL playoff history.

It was in 1995 that mediocrity set in.

New management in Rejean Houle and head coach Mario Tremblay, no playoffs in 1995 in a shortened season, a quick exit after a 2-0 series lead over the New York Rangers and the sad goodbye to the Montreal Forum all pointed to tougher times ahead.

Without a franchise net minder, the old Montreal Forum and lack of playoff success, the Canadiens 1998 Quarter-Final victory over the, heavily-touted, Pittsburgh Penguins was the only bright spot in a very dark time that still somewhat lingers today.

Sure, the Canadiens have made history, such as their 3-1 series comeback over the heavily favoured Bruins in 2004 or their 6-5 comeback win over the Rangers last season.

The second round has only resulted in three second round wins in four appearances, two of them sweeps.

The dynasties of the olden days rarely, if ever, were swept.

It begs the question: is this the same team?

Former players becoming management is not a new phenomena. Serge Savard had success as the GM in 1986 and 1993 before being unexpectedly let go.

Others, such as Houle, have made a mockery of the Canadiens franchise.

Bob Gainey has brought relatively decent success to a franchise and a city yearning for a 25th title.  But the pieces are not even close to being set.

As a fan, it is hard to be critical, but at the same time, easy too.

There are pieces in bleu, blanc, et rogue that will help this team to number 25, yet until the other pieces are on their way, the Canadiens will sit, wait and wish things could be better...

...sooner the better.

 

Matt Eichel is a Community Leader for the Montreal Canadiens here on Bleacher Report along with Miah D. and Daniel Arouchain.  Matt also co-hosts Habs All Out Radio, a in-depth talk radio show devoted to all things Montreal Canadiens.

It airs weekly at www.youcastr.com/shows/habs-all-out and is hosted by Matt and Miah.

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