The fans of the Montreal Canadiens are often self-proclaimed as the best and most knowledgeable fans in hockey. Yet, time after time, we get proofs of the opposite. Whether it’s booing their own players or the constant need for criticism, too many act like they know nothing about the game or proper etiquette when it comes to being a supporter of a team, a fan.
We had yet another example the other night when Max Pacioretty, the team captain, didn’t take his traditional tour on the ice after being named one of the night’s three stars. Fans and media members were all over him, some going as far as asking for him to be traded over this incident and that, without even knowing the story behind it! Well guess what? There was a reason and whether those people agree with it or not, it was a legitimate one, making those people look like fools… once again!
The Canadiens’ organisation explained that the person in charge of informing the Habs’ stars of the night didn’t see Pacioretty walk by and he was already in the dressing room when someone caught up to him. As he was the third star, that person told him to quickly go salute the fans before PA announcer Michel Lacroix announced the second star, which he did just in time. As a matter of fact, Pacioretty didn’t even hear Lacroix name him as the star, showing that he was still far from the ice when it was announced.
Those following the Canadiens up close will know that Pacioretty is not having the start of the season we all want him to have. Against the Hurricanes, he scored his fifth goal of the season and for several games now, he is not getting many scoring chances. Some fans who happen to have a dislike for the guy are jumping all over that excuse to put him down, making him the team’s new scapegoat.
For years now we kept hearing that there was a disconnect between he and former Canadiens P.K. Subban. Many felt that Subban should have been named team captain at the time. More felt like the fan favourite defenseman should have been the team’s nominee for the King Clancy Award for his donation to the Montreal Childrens’ Hospital, but the players picked Pacioretty instead, There is definitely a jealousy and some finger pointing towards Patches, explaining why Subban is no longer in Montreal… at least by some. So every chance they will get to put him down, those people are going to do it. That third star non-story is yet another example.
Further, those people are reaching even further when looking for ways to criticise Pacioretty. They want him to become that physical force, hitting everything in sight. They want him to go to the defense of his teammates and drop the gloves. You know how ridiculous that sounds? Do you think for a minute that Koivu dropped the gloves? Carbonneau? Henri Richard? Cournoyer? Damphousse? Gionta? Thankfully, most Habs’ fans can read right through those people’s personal agenda and don’t pay attention to them, even if they like to think that most do.
The need for a centre
Goals’ scorers like Pacioretty need someone to set them up, to give them the puck when they’re in scoring position. David Desharnais, when on top of his game and in spite of his bad qualities, did just that and Pacioretty benefited from it. Alex Galchenyuk is a scorer first, play-maker second, but he has Alexander Radulov feeding him the puck. Plekanec is not a good passer and the Canadiens are lacking in that aspect.
While there is no doubt that Marc Bergevin is actively looking at improving his defensive core, he must try to find a play-making centre to put on a line with Pacioretty in order to maximise (no pun intended) one of the few natural goals’ scorers on his team.
If I’m Bergevin, I keep in touch with the Colorado Avalanche who happen to have a lot of depth at the centre position. Wouldn’t Matt Duchene look good centering Pacioretty?