This is a tough week for Habs fans. With three consecutive rather devastating losses, it’s hard to be upbeat. (Since writing this Thursday afternoon, Les Boys eked out a 3-2 win with a dramatic last-second Brian Gionta goal so the panic is down a few notches for the moment.)
So it’s kinda fun to read all these pieces marking the 20th anniversary of the Canadiens’ last Cup win, in that miraculous spring of 1993. Which got me thinking. Does the 2013 edition of the Habs have anything in common with the last Montreal team to win the Cup? This year’s model certainly doesn’t compete in the scoring department.
It is often said that the championship victory in ’93 was all about Patrick Roy and there’s no doubt M. Roy had the biggest hand in that improbable run. But it’s worth remembering that that team had plenty of scoring punch. You just think Vincent Damphousse is a rather dull L’Antichambre panelist but he was once a pretty damn good hockey player. That year, he scored 37 goals and ended the season with 97 points.
The scoring leader on the team was an unassuming balding fellow named Brian Bellows, who scored 40 times in his first season wearing le bleu-blanc-et-rouge. Kirk (Is Work) Muller had 37 goals and 94 points, and a chap named Stephan Lebeau (eds. note: Where is he now?) had his Warholian 15 minutes of fame with 31 goals and 49 assists.
So they had guys that score. The 2013 Habs, not so much. The team’s leading point-getter this year is a defenseman! Yup P.K. Subban – the man everyone from Sports Illustrated to the L’Antichambre grumblers love to hate – is the top guy, with 11 goals and 25 assists. Next is Max Pacioretty with 12 goals and 35 points. The brightest light up front is Michael Ryder who has ten goals and 20 points in 22 games with the Habs, and has 34 points on the season.
The other forwards are not so impressive. Tomas Plekanec has 13 goals and 30 points, David Desharnais has nine goals and 26 points, Brian Gionta has 12 goals and 24 points, and Lars Eller has 6 goals and 24 points.
There has been, understandably, so much attention paid to the sub-par performance of Carey Price in the past couple of weeks and many have also been complaining, also with reason, about the shoddy D since Alexei Emelin was sent packing by Milan ‘The Wall’ Lucic. (Eds. note: Who knew the entire team was built around Emelin!) But the team also has some major scoring issues to deal with. How is it that the team’s top point-getter, Subban, only manages to land at the No. 31 spot in the league’s rankings? How is that we have almost never had a Top Ten forward in the two decades since Roy hoisted the Cup at the Forum? Food for thought.