It’s Turkey Day in Canada, so to celebrate I’ve decided to share with you a list of things that every Montreal Canadiens fan can be thankful for. Much like the early French settlers of New France who took to celebrating their successful harvests, Montreal’s fans can celebrate the potential good fortune heading their way this season, well, if there is a season.
It hasn’t been easy for Canadiens’ fans over the past 12 months; they’ve had to deal with a circus surrounding the coaching position after Jacques Martin was fired, the eventual firing of GM Pierre Gauthier, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and finishing in the basement of the Eastern Conference. Oh, and there is this little thing called the lockout that’s currently in progress and all. So yeah, I think it’s safe to say that this past year has been one of the worst on record for Les Habitants.
But not all is doom and gloom in Montreal, as a few teeny tiny bright spots shone through and there are small glimmers of hope on the horizon. Here are just a few of the things to be thankful for…
- Erik Cole didn’t turn out to be Scott Gomez 2.0. While almost all of the veteran presence on the roster failed to do much of anything last season, Cole quietly had the most productive season of his career. While it’s unlikely he’ll score 35 goals again for Montreal, anything in the 25-30 goal range will be enough to make his contract worthwhile.
- Max Pacioretty is a star in the making. Coming back from injury and being productive was all anyone could have hoped for last year, but Pacioretty exceeded expectations to lead the team in scoring. The Habs have needed an offensive star for years and quickly decided to lock him up for six more seasons before the CBA expired.
- Carey Price being a legitimate #1 goaltender. With how bad the Canadiens were last year, you’d have expected Price’s numbers to suffer. Sure, they took a small hit, but overall he proved he has what it takes to be a true #1 goaltender day in and day out, no matter the team in front of him.
- P.K. Subban being P.K. Subban. His offensive totals weren’t quite as good as the year prior, but his defensive play greatly improved to the point where he can now be relied upon in most situations. Now if only Andrei Markov could stay healthy and help form a true top pair, no offense to the always dependable Josh Gorges.
- Marc Bergevin can’t be any worse than Gauthier. Sure, he doesn’t have much experience, but unlike Gauthier he actually does have experience building a champion.
- Michel Therrien isn’t the same coach he was the last time. Sure, he’s been fired twice now and was carried by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, but he’s not that bad. Plus, he’s French and use to media pressure, both qualities that will help him out in Montreal.
- Alex Galchenyuk will be a superstar. I cannot say enough him, but I’ll sum it up by saying that the Habs haven’t drafted a dynamic offensive talent like this since Guy Lafleur. Even if he only turns out as good as Saku Koivu, he’ll still be someone to build around for years.
- Scott Gomez has only two seasons left on his contract! That’s right Canadiens’ fans, you’re almost rid of him. Maybe you’ll be lucky and only have to watch him for a half-season this year. See, the lockout has a good side as well.
There you have it Canadiens’ fans, it doesn’t totally suck to be you. Enjoy the lockout and who knows, maybe it’ll be over by the American Thanksgiving.