I know it’s early. Very early. Very, very early. But despite all odds, CH is currently in a league battle with the big names in the National Hockey League.
This Sunday, Montreal, the second team drafted in the East with 16 points, would be in the playoffs if they started today.
Martin St-Louis’ men are ahead of the Lightning and two small points behind clubs like the Maple Leafs, the Hurricanes… and the Red Wings, second in the division.
Why talk about it this morning? Certainly not because I care about the Habs’ standing in this time of rebuilding. Rather, I’m talking about it because the way this group has been behaving for the past few weeks will undoubtedly have a major positive impact on their future.
Here’s a stat that really resonates with me: 37% of the points CH have accumulated so far have come from games in which the club has fallen behind at least once. 37%!
The term “culture”: not so crazy after all!
When it comes to reconstruction, certainties are as rare as snow in July. Will this early draft meet production expectations? Will these young goalkeepers reach the level required to sufficiently help their team? Do these green-necked defenders really have what it takes to secure the club’s future?
You can have an opinion on each of these questions. In fact, you already have an opinion on each of these questions. We’re still in Montreal!
But the truth is that on November 12, 2023, no one really knows how the existing group will perform in, say, two or three years.
What we do know, and this is a certainty, is that the 2023-2024 edition of the Canadiens (whose ranks include several skaters who will be part of the future) is resilient. She is mentally strong. She fights.
Photo credit: Getty Images via AFP
Result? This team, which on paper is not at the level of the other clubs with which it currently competes, wins a majority of the games.
She does it without Kirby Dach, who at 22 years old and before his injury was considered by some to be CH’s premier focal point. And she does it while some of her biggest young talents (Hutson, Reinbacher, Mailloux, Roy, Beck, Engström, Konyushkov) are still emerging in the lower ranks. We can logically assume that at least some of the players mentioned above will make the Habs a better club in the long term.
CH leaders have often, even very often, used the term “culture” to justify their decisions (design, exchange, hiring). And some advocates have, in turn, mocked that declaration and downplayed its potential impact.
Whether you like it or not, that’s what makes Sainte-Flanelle competitive right now. And because talent alone is not enough in a league like the NHL, it is also this culture based on resilience that can make the CH a dangerous club in the long term (if the hopes are ripe).
In the main video I summarize Martin St-Louis and Johnathan Kovacevic’s comments on this topic. Both used very insightful sentences.
Have fun listening and… have a nice Sunday!
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