The Downside is not Claude Julien, it is Marc Bergevin


Claude Julien has been taking the blame for the Montreal Canadiens latest struggles. This criticism isn’t warranted, Marc Bergevin deserves the blame.

For the primary time since 1939, the Montreal Canadiens have misplaced eight straight video games, this time, by the hands of the Boston Bruins. With frustration comes impatience, and that has been the theme circling Montreal, which has been centered on, none aside from the bench boss, Claude Julien. Whereas frustration is warranted, Julien is definitely not the (solely) man guilty for Montreal’s shedding skid.

Claude Julien makes some questionable lineup choices, whether or not it’s often overplaying sure veterans, or underplaying a few of Montreal’s expert gamers. Julien doesn’t all the time do what individuals assume is customary, however these choices alone aren’t grounds for firing.

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Systematically, Julien’s strategy with the Montreal Canadiens appears to be the correct one; a usually excessive octane, quick possession recreation is how the Canadien’s play. It really works to their profit the vast majority of the time.

There are video games the place the workforce performs as greatest as they’ll to the perfect of their potential, but nonetheless, fall brief. That is simply the fact when a workforce is middling about in no man’s land, which is the place the Montreal Canadiens are.

Julien is doing the perfect he can with what little assist he has.

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Perhaps the expectations for Montreal this 12 months have been too excessive following the surprising success of the 2018-2019 marketing campaign.

In 2018, Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar had profession years. Brendan Gallagher scored essentially the most objectives he ever has in his profession. Max Domi was capturing at almost 20% through the first half of his season earlier than truly fizzling out offensively.

Jeff Petry noticed his greatest season production-wise when Shea Weber went down with an damage. These gamers had key roles for Montreal, however their efficiency final 12 months left the impression that they may replicate it once more for the upcoming season. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.

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At the start of the season, Marc Bergevin mentioned he was assured that Montreal might compete for a playoff spot this season. What adjustments have been made to Montreal’s roster that may recommend they’d be higher than final 12 months’s rendition?

Was Bergevin anticipating everybody who had a profession 12 months to repeat it? Or did he actually assume that the acquisitions or Keith Kinkaid, Nick Cousins, and Ben Chiarot have been the distinction between lacking the playoffs or making them?

Absolutely it couldn’t be the latter.

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The course of the workforce stays unclear.

Bergevin appears dedicated to constructing by way of the draft and ready for the prospects to make their mark on their workforce. With Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi on the workforce, and Cole Caufield, Alexander Romanov, Ryan Poehling and Josh Brook within the system, the longer term is vivid.

Nevertheless, Bergevin additionally appears adamant about conserving the veterans he has.

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In a press convention final 12 months, Bergevin emphasised to the media that this wasn’t a “rebuild” however a “re-tool.” This won’t be the correct strategy to carry this workforce to the following degree. Marc Bergevin *wants* to decide with what he desires to do with this workforce; if they will go for it and win now or rebuild. He can’t look forward to Caufield, Suzuki, and Poehling to be of their prime, not to mention within the NHL, whereas additionally anticipating Carey Price and Shea Weber to be on the similar degree they’re now, and even was once.

The time for Marc Bergevin to do one thing was in all probability two years in the past.

The workforce is now caught in no man’s land.

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Montreal shouldn’t be anyplace close to competition however isn’t almost unhealthy sufficient to be among the many leagues worst.

It’s now 12 months eight of Marc Bergevin’s five-year plan and Montreal is on monitor to overlook the playoffs for the fourth time within the final three seasons. In the meantime, transparency between the Canadiens and the media in regards to the workforce’s course couldn’t be extra unclear.

Next: An open letter to the Habs and Bergevin

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As Geoff Molson struggles to promote out the Bell Centre for the second straight 12 months, an examination of what he desires to do with this storied hockey membership going ahead may be excellent. If the Montreal Canadiens keep the established order, they may proceed to be a middling workforce, who will discover themselves on the skin trying in.

The issue with the present Canadiens shouldn’t be Claude Julien, it’s Marc Bergevin.

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