Last Wednesday, Bob Gainey held his famous “I believe” speech in a short meeting with the media, explaining his decision to let the trade deadline pass without any last-minute adjustment.
Two losses later, I wonder if he still feels the same way.
Mathieu Dandenault, who has probably reached a new level of frustration this season, never looked this confused. The man visibly wanted to stay with his hometown team; but the press box was not what he had in mind.
By the look on his face and his hesitation, we could tell that one question kept coming back in his mind: "If I am not traded, but still won't play; what am I here for?"
The general manager’s calm regarding the current state of his team is so striking that it is almost alarming. Someone could poke his shoulder with a stick, screaming “Wake up! Wake up!” and he wouldn't even move a finger.
He must see things a bit differently.
While I see a team that struggles to find an identity, he might see a team which is strategically building itself an image of underdogs to fool the opponents.
While I see a struggling Mike Komisarek, he might see a more attack-oriented Komisarek.
But, then again, as a GM, I believe he must know what he is dealing with. If not, at least he cares enough to pretend he does. And, frankly, since there is nothing that we can do about it, it is better to set our minds on the fact that he is competent!
Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens were back in Atlanta Saturday, 20 games (7-12-1) after their last visit.
The game was reflecting the struggles they have had throughout most of the season: no determination, no chemistry, and no power play.
For a rare time since his injury, Carey Price did all he could to maintain his team in the game. In fact, he did really well.
Unfortunately, on the other hand, the scenario was so atrocious that we could only either laugh or cry. Personally, I went with the second option; when I thought that it was physically impossible to shed one more tear, I cried some more until I fell asleep on the box of Kleenex. Then I woke up and cried again.
Joke aside, it is inconceivable to watch a team aspiring to secure a playoff spot play without any inspiration.
This morning, the coach decided to go with new line-ups; just like he did all season long. His decisions are, without doubt, very criticized in the Habs nation—sometimes legitimately, sometimes not. However, when you see Glen Metropolit on the 5-on-3, you do wonder.
A few weeks ago, the coaching staff organized an afternoon of bowling, pointing relaxation as the best remedy. It did not work. This week, prior to the game against the Thrashers, the coach pulled out the whip with an intense practice. It still did not stimulate any neurons; if it did, it hit the wrong ones.
Outside the ice, along with the Underperformance Syndrome and the Virus of the Ice Time Frustration, Georges Laraque also suffers from back pains. Luckily, the latter can be cured by the medical staff. However, rumours have it that he might have to undergo surgery.
Our Habs will face the Dallas Stars on Sunday evening, with Stephane Robidas, Mike Ribeiro, and Steve Begin. Guy Carbonneau will then learn if his new magic formulas will bring their sparkles on the ice, or if, once again, his players will make him and his GM look like fools.
Game starts at 6 p.m., ET. Go Habs!