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Plenty of Excuses

February 24, 2020, 6:05 PM ET [555 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
I've said lately that Claude Julien looks dejected and out of answers in his post game scrubs and well, I have to say that Marc Bergevin is just as out of answers but full of excuses. He's not dejected though, I dare say he looks delusional. To me, the man refuses to accept that his "reset" is just not working no matter how hard the journalists pressed him to do it today.

Some of the things he said today are quite frankly puzzling... Amongst others, he said that had they won the game in Boston not long ago, they would have had the same road record as Boston and that is a good road team. I mean yes, Boston IS a good road team but to have a great team you also need to be a great home team. Bergevin said that he didn't understand why his team was so inconsistent and struggled at home. He admitted that this was a chief concern of his and that he didn't think that the team was trying to be too cute at home...He refused to say that this was on any one player but did say that collectively, they just had to be better.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that he wasn't ready to trade Kovalchuk to a team where he wouldn't like to go. He felt he owed him to trade him to a place that would make him happy. Saying that about a player that was with his team for just 22 games is just ridiculous. Perhaps he believes that by giving him a shot at winning the cup with the Capitals this season, he increases his chances of signing Kovy this summer but should he really think like that. I know, he did trade Plekanec and then signed him back in the summer but there's a huge difference between a career Hab and a player that has been here for less than 2 months and says that he loves it. Can we really take everything that Kovalchuk says at face value? I'm really not sure. Remember, Radulov loved it here as well.

Clearly, for Bergevin, the Canadiens' season and the Rocket's season have been derailed because of injury. It's not because his core is not working, it's all because of the injuries and because basically, drafting is hard. He added that if the players were drafted when they were 20 years old and not 17, it would be a lot easier not to make any mistakes. That's all well and good, but the Habs aren't the only ones drafting 17 years old, every single team is. He's also refused to say that there was a problem with his drafting staff.

Furthermore, the GM says he's not given up on the playoffs just yet and that the players necessary to make the push for the playoffs are still in Montreal right now. Bergevin also added that he had tendered a contract offer to Nick Cousins and that he had had discussions with both Scandella and Kovalchuk before trading them.

When asked if he refused trades that would have made his team worst next year but better in 2-3 year he said that he received no such offer. Clearly, the journalist who asked was trying to get him to say whether or not he had received offers for the likes of Petry or Tatar. He was clear, he didn't want to trade guys with a year left on their contract for picks. Right now, it looks like Bergevin is happy with his core and he doesn't intend to change it. He did say that he would see if it was possible to extend those who will be on expiring contracts next season and go from there. If extensions are unlikely, he'll consider making changes...At this stage, I have to ask, where has this guy been? Yes, this team nearly qualified for the playoffs last season but that was with several players having career years and being really lucky injury wise. It pains me to say it but this team is flawed, it will not get far with this current core.

Come June, the Canadiens will have 14 draft picks to use at the Bell Centre but will that make a difference? The track record just isn't there and should Bergevin really still be at the helm to make these selections? At the same time, is it conceivable for Geoff Molson to clean house and hire everyone in time for the draft? Seems doubtful to me. While I've seen enough of Claude Julien and Marc Bergevin, I fear the Habs may be stuck with both or at least with Bergevin for the foreseeable future.

So, where does that leave Habs fans for the rest of the season? We've got 18 meaningless games left to watch and not much motivation to do so. I guess they have to focus on the positives and that means seeing how many points Nick Suzuki can gather before the end of the year and I guess, how Jake Evans will do filling in for the departed Nate Thompson. For now, the Canadiens' version of the movie Groundhog Day is still unfolding and the Habs' fans are a captive audience.
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