After beginning the 2016-17 NHL season with an unbelievable 13-1-1 record, the Canadiens have fallen back to earth, posting an 18-18-7 record as. The 4-0 loss to Boston on February 12 was their sixth in seven matches and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back for former Habs head coach Michel Therrien. The Canadiens announced two days later, on Valentine’s Day, that they would be moving on from Therrien and bringing Claude Julien back into the fold following his recent death from Boston.
It became clear that gamers had grown tired of Therrien, and from many reports from former players, that is not a major surprise. Julien will bring a much-needed character change behind the bench in Montreal and should instantly command the respect in a somewhat shattered locker area. This is a move that can, if nothing else, calm the temptations of jaded lovers but should be a fantastic long-term move for the historical franchise.
BetOnline has put several props up related specifically to the Habs and how the rest of their 2016-17 will play out to them. You can wager on the OVER/UNDER for how many things they will finish with, in which they will stand when the final whistle blows on the regular period and the way their 2016-17 will end.
At this point, it appears like it would take an utter collapse for anyone to overtake the Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic. Despite their awful run, they still sit six points up on the Senators and Bruins for the best spot and as we’ve seen from each coach firing/hiring this year , we should observe an immediate increase in the Canadiens’ play. For this writing, the Canadiens were on rate for 99 points and it’s unlikely they get worse beneath Julien. I like them to get OVER who 97.5-point total that’s been set to them and if they do, they’ll easily win their division.
There’s some dispute among pundits on whether the Canadiens possess the talent necessary to make a deep run in the playoffs and if this coach swap was a desperate move. The only issue with this debate is that the Habs still possess Carey Price, the consensus greatest goalie in the NHL/world. No. 31 had become frustrated with all the head coach in Montreal and it showed in his play. Julien should be able to get Price’s head screwed back on and if he does, there’s no limitation to what this team can do.
Although the talent levels of both teams can’t truly be compared, this move feels much like the one the Penguins produced in the midst of last year’s Stanley Cup-winning season. Mike Johnston had lost the esteem of the Penguins locker room and his strategies had grown stale. You may just tell the same inspirational speech so many times before you get tagged as a blowhard and I think that’s exactly how Max Pacioretty and the remainder of the Habs felt roughly Therrien.
With the thickness of competition coming in the Metropolitan, it is going to be hard for the Canadiens to create it from the East and I am not at all implying they go deep in the postseason. What I am saying is that with a highly respected coach in Julien now behind the bench, they have a much better chance.
Montreal’s first game with Julien at the helm will come Saturday when the Canadiens host the Jets at the Bell Centre. This will be must-watch television and based on the small sample size which has seen that the Islanders, Blues and Bruins go a joint 16-5 up in games to date under new direction, the Habs ought to be a fantastic bet.
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