I know it’s early. Very early. Very very early. But against all odds, CH is currently in contention, in the standings, with the big names of the National Hockey League.
This Sunday, Montreal, the second seeded team in the East with 16 points, would be in the playoffs if they started today.
Martin St-Louis’ men are ahead of the Lightning and two points behind clubs like the Maple Leafs, Hurricanes… and Red Wings, second in the division.
Why talk about it this morning? Certainly not, because the rank of the Habs, in this period of reconstruction, is important to me. I bring this up rather because the way this group has been behaving for the past few weeks will undoubtedly have a huge positive impact on its future.
Here’s a statistic that tells me a lot: 37% of the points that CH has collected so far have come in games where the club has fallen behind at least once. 37%!
The term “culture”: it’s not so crazy after all!
In the context of reconstruction, certainties are as rare as snow in July. Will this early draft forward meet production expectations? Will these young goalkeepers reach the level needed to help their team enough? Do these defenders with green navels really have what it takes to secure the club’s future?
People can have an opinion on each of these questions. In fact, you already have an opinion on each of these questions. We’re still in Montreal!
But the truth is that no one really knows, on November 12, 2023, how the existing group will develop in, say, two or three years.
What we do know for sure, however, is that the 2023-2024 edition of the Canadiens. (which in its ranks includes several skaters who will be part of the future) resistant. She is mentally strong. She is fighting.
Photo credit: Getty Images via AFP
Result? This team, which on paper is not at the level of the other clubs they are currently competing against, wins their share of games.
It does so without Kirby Dach, who at the age of 22 and before the injury was seen by some as CH’s first center. And it does so while some of its strongest prospects (Hutson, Reinbacher, Mailloux, Roy, Beck, Engström, Konyushkov) are still growing in the minor ranks. We can logically allow ourselves to believe that at least a few of the players mentioned above will make the Habs a better club, long term.
The leaders of CH often, even very often, used the term “culture” to justify their decisions (drafting, exchanges, employment). And several supporters have often, in turn, derided this explanation, minimizing its potential impact.
Right now, like it or not, that’s what allows Sainte-Flanelle to compete. And since talent alone is not enough in a league like the NHL, it is also this culture, based on resilience, that risks CH becoming a dangerous club in the long run (when hopes are ripe).
In the main video, I summarize the comments of Martin St-Louis and Johnathan Kovacevic on the subject. Both used very revealing sentences.
Enjoy listening and… have a nice Sunday!