I’ve been grumbling for a while – hey that’s what I do in this space – that maybe the shine is coming off Marc Bergevin. Now the Habs Nation has caught up with me.
For a while now, I’ve thought the Canadiens general manager has been pulling a kind of magic act for the Montreal media and the club’s fans. Up until now he’s been the Teflon Man in large part because he’s great at deflecting criticism with a quick quip, a joke, even an angry jab. ‘You want a big trade?’, he practically shouted at the ink-stained wretches at the end of last season. ‘I made one today…..on PlayStation.’
Well as someone recently said on Twitter that joke is coming back to haunt him. Blockbuster trades can be made, as the Seth Jones Ryan Johansen headline-grabber reminded us. It’s just that Bergevin doesn’t seem able to make them.
Which brings us to John Scott. Really? The Habs finally traded first-round pick Jarred Tinordi on Friday afternnon, to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for the washed-up goon and minor-league D-man Victor Bartley. So there goes another first-round Habs pick. As Guillaume Lefrançois pointed out in La Presse, that is five straight first-round picks that turned to dust for the team. The list of shame includes David Fischer from the 2006 draft, Ryan McDonagh from 2007 (thanks Bob Gainey!), ’08 then had no first-round pick and so their first pick was the great Danny Kristo, and in ’09, the Habs brain-trust snared Louis ‘Apparently I Am Not Guy Lafleur’ Leblanc.
True none of that is Bergevin’s doing but still. So how has the GM made this a better team? He has been great at picking up spare parts for the third and fourth lines – Weise, Fleischmann, Mitchell, Byron – and probably his best move was signing Jeff Petry. But this is a team that is not progressing and he seems unable to do anything about that.
As Stu Cowan points out this morning, the lads are 5-14 since Dec. 1, without even an OT or shootout loss, and are averaging less than two goals per game in that run. Fact is the inability to score goals dates back to last season. They were ejected from the playoffs in the second round because they couldn’t score. Do you remember how few goals they scored against Tampa and Ottawa? They managed to beat the Sens while scoring only 12 goals in a six-game series.
But Bergevin has been totally unable to find any scoring. His solution? A washed-up player, Alex Semin, that every other GM knew was a has-been. His solution the previous seasons? Brière and Parenteau. Which brings us to his other tragic flaw – he’s giving free reign to a coach who has no idea how to generate goals.
The power play has been broken for two years but Bergevin and Therrien just sit there and stare at it. What the hell is up with that?
Bergvin needs to shake things up. In fact he needed to shake things up last year. To do something radical. Last season would’ve been an ideal time to package Plek and Markov and get some value on these guys before everyone saw that they’re past-due-dates are coming real soon.
He needs to do something. Instead he does the act – hey I’m the cool stylish guy who struts around and makes the classic cracks to the journos.
Well that’s not enough any more. This morning the Habs are in that final Wild Card spot with a bunch of teams clawing at them from very close behind.
- Brendan Kelly