Cana­di­ens’ fans get­ting rest­less as club tum­bles

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY SID­HARTHA BAN­ER­JEE

Fire the coach? Make a big trade? Hu­man sac­ri­fice, per­haps?

OK, the last one is a stretch, but it is Mon­treal and it seems ev­ery­one has an an­ti­dote to what ails the Cana­di­ens th­ese days.

With the NHL club slump­ing badly in the past six weeks, the team’s fan base is reel­ing and of­fer­ing sug­ges­tions on how to stop its his­toric free fall.

“We need scor­ers, we need big scor­ers,” Matthew Messier, 21, said Tues­day as he minded the ticket booth at a down­town ice rink. “They need a real star — pay the price for a young guy who can score goals.”

Af­ter start­ing the year at 9-0 — a team record from the be­gin­ning of a sea­son — and trail­ing for only 2:57 in that stretch, the Cana­di­ens have been plum­met­ing since los­ing all-world goal­tender Carey Price for a se­cond time on Nov. 25.

On Dec. 1, the team had a 194-3 record. Since Dec. 2, the Cana­di­ens have man­aged nine points out of a pos­si­ble 40, last in the league dur­ing that time.

As a deep freeze set­tled over Mon­treal and they pre­pared to play their bit­ter ri­vals from Bos­ton on Tues­day night, the Cana­di­ens also found them­selves on the verge of fall­ing out of a play­off spot.

For Messier, a few choice moves now would be worth it to see an­other Stan­ley Cup down the road.

“I wasn’t even born when they won the (last) cup,” said Messier, re­fer­ring to the 1993 cham­pi­ons. “I’ve never lived through a vic­to­ri­ous year, so I’d like to see it in my life­time.”

While no­body among a hand­ful of fans in­ter­viewed by The Cana­dian Press men­tioned the dis­missal of coach Michel Ther­rien as the an­swer to the Habs’ woes, there have been com­ments ga­lore on so­cial me­dia that it might be time for the team to seek lead­er­ship else­where.

In the face of the hugely dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mances in the last six weeks as well as the team’s scor­ing woes across the board, not all fans have an an­swer.

“I am way not ed­u­cated enough to make that kind of call,” Devin Brodie, 28, said af­ter a skate wear­ing his Habs jersey.

Brodie be­lieves the club will make the play­offs, an as­ser­tion he bases on Price’s re­turn, even though no date has been set for that po­ten­tial game-changer for the Cana­di­ens.

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