Write this down and take it to the bank:
P.K. Subban and Lars Eller will be in uniform on Opening Night of the Canadiens’ 2012-13 season.
Randy Cunneyworth won’t be behind the bench.
Add one more fearless prediction: Pierre Gauthier won’t be the team’s general manager.
Christmas has come early for Jacques Martin. Fired last Saturday morning, Martin has spent the week watching his team plumb new depths of suckitude.
Hey, good thing the Canadiens don’t have to play that stifling Martin system. Freed of the shackles they endured under their former coach’s defensive system, the Canadiens have scored six goals in four games.
They’ve allowed 17.
With P.K. Subban eating hot dogs in the pressbox, Chris Campoli played 20 minutes. He was minus-3.
Hal Gill, Raphael Diaz, Tomas Kaberle and Yannick Weber took turns being embarrassed by the Jets, a bubble team that managed to lay a greater pasting on the Canadiens than the Cup-contending Bruins and Blackhawks did.
With Lars Eller a healthy scratch, Louis Leblanc played centre … and was one of the few forwards who distinguished himself – in only nine minutes of ice time.
The Canadiens best line – David Desahrnais, Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty – were on for three Winnipeg goals.
During a four-minute power play, the Canadiens had exactly one shot: a 100-footer by Campoli. The Jets’ penalty-killers had three shots on Carey Price.
In the RDS studio between periods, Denis Gauthier replayed an amazing sequence that exemplified the Canadiens’ ineptitude in their zone:
Kaberle trips over Diaz. Plekanec and Moen ineffectually wave, with one hand on their sticks, at the Jets forecheckers. Price’s stick gets loose and skitters off to the corner, where Diaz retrieves it … with a Jet unattended in front of the net.
Keystone Cops Meet The Aristocrats.
On L’Antichambre, Gaston Therrien’s video clip showed Blake Wheeler steaming past Gill at the blue line with three Canadiens watching the action at a distance. Campoli moves over late, Wheeler scores.
“We’ve got young guys and have to address a few things,” Cunneyworth said after the game, explaining why he scratched Subban and Eller.
But what’s a lame-duck coach going to do with older guys who are underachieving?
Will Mike Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec dress for the Dec. 27 visit to Ottawa?
Of course they will … if only because the team doesn’t have any healthy forwards to displace them. And the cupboard is bare in Hamilton.
At a certain point in the RDS telecast, Pierre Houde said the game would be the Canadiens’ last visit to Winnipeg this season.
This would seem to preclude – pause while everyone laughs till they piss themselves – a playoff match-up.
I have nothing to say about the game.
Y’all saw it. Your beloved hockey team did not compete, and they got their butts kicked.
That’s five losses in a row, matching the L streak that ensued after the Canadiens first visit to Winnipeg, a 5-1 win on Oct. 9.
Seems like a long time ago, eh?
So much has happened since: the ongoing Andrei Markov melodrama, injuries to Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta, the acquisition of Tomas Kaberle, the sacking of Martin, the language debacle …
And now three progressively more dispiriting losses under Cunneyworth.
Some stats Tweeted by Arpon Basu: 3 wins in 14 games, over that time outscored 45-31 (not counting SO “goals”), outshot avg. 31.9-26.1, PP 6-for-61, PK 45-for-52.
You’d have to go back to Guy Carbonneau’s fateful western road trip to find a time when things looked this bleak for the Canadiens.
What – shoirt of Bob Gainey parachuting down behind the bench again – can they do to turn this mess around?
Bag skate on Christmas Day?
Would you trust Gauthier to make a deal?
I don’t think so … not after the general manager set up Cunneyworth to fail, thrusting him behind the bench for road games against the league’s two top teams.
No time to practice. No time to install a Cunneyworth System … if there is one.
Meanwhile, back in Montreal, enough political sewage hitting the ventilation system to ensure Geoff Molson has a brown Christmas.
The good news?
No Canadiens games till Tuesday.
I’m gonna have a beer and plan my 11th-hour Christmas shopping.