What does the 2023-2024 season have in store for the Montreal Canadiens? Possibly the same thing as last year: a team made up of young players who are exciting to watch, but whose lack of experience will put an end to hopes for the playoffs.
Moreover, the Habs will officially kick off this campaign by holding its traditional golf tournament this morning at the Laval-sur-le-Lac golf club. This golf tournament which reminds us, year after year, that we should not leave the event betting our house on predictions heard during the day.
When you see Jeff Gorton, Kent Hughes, Martin St-Louis and the Canadiens players parade one by one in front of the horde of journalists who came to meet them, beware of fine words. Because the Canadian’s golf tournament has often been an excellent moment to sell dreams or prove that we were completely wrong in the evaluation of the team. Yes, there was the appointment of captains and deputies. However, over the years, there have mostly been broken promises.
Here are some examples:
2022: The 31ste captain
Nick Suzuki is officially named 31e captain of the team. He succeeds Shea Weber, whose contract was traded to Vegas over the summer.
Photo Martin Chevalier
2022: A bold prediction
“The reconstruction was last season. We are ready to take the next step. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people. We want to make the playoffs. Once in this tournament, anything can happen.”
Joel Edmundson is going against the grain, while everyone is predicting a season of misery for the Canadian. The team finished with 68 points, a jump of 13 points from the previous team. This is still clearly insufficient to participate in the spring waltz.
Photo Martin Chevalier
2019: A temporary vote of confidence
“I have confidence in this group, we are building something very good. I trust Marc [Bergevin] and his team. I have confidence that we will play well this year.”
Things aren’t going quite as planned for Geoff Molson. At the end of this campaign, compromised due to COVID-19, the Canadian placed in the playoffs due to an overhaul of the tournament structure (24 teams participated instead of 16). Normally, the Habs would have missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
MARIO BEAUREGARD/AGENCE QMI
2018: Pacioretty traded
Marc Bergevin shows up at the golf tournament hours after trading Max Pacioretty to Vegas. A transaction which puts an end to the saga which had reached its peak two weeks earlier, during the captain’s golf tournament. The two men gave each other a cold handshake.
SCREENSHOT TVA SPORTS/AGENCY QMI
2017: Best on the blue line. Really?
“I believe we will be better. I think we have a better team, especially on the blue line. We acquired players with experience who move the puck even better.”
With this statement, Marc Bergevin leaves everyone speechless. Without Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin, but with Karl Alzner and David Schemko (!), the Canadian will conclude the season with 71 points, 32 fewer than the previous winter. At this time, it is the second slimmest harvest in a season of at least 80 games.
Martin Chevalier / JdeM
For several weeks, stories have been circulating according to which Michel Therrien, during a round of golf, claimed that Max Pacioretty was the worst captain in the history of the Canadian.
“These are comments that I have never made. This is something I cannot defend. I’m not here to defend myself. He’s a guy I like working with. We are building an increasingly close relationship.”
There is possibly no link, but Therrien will lose his position on February 12. The Canadian was then at the top of the Atlantic division.
Ben Pelosse/Journal de Montreal
2015: Galchenyuk seen by Subban
“I’m excited to see the havoc he will cause this year, I believe he will take a giant leap. We know how good Alex can be. To be honest, I am convinced that he can become the best player in the NHL, regardless of his position, he has so much talent.
PK Subban will look like a soothsayer for the following season. Galchenyuk will hit the target on 30 occasions. Unfortunately, this will result in the decline we are experiencing.
Ben Pelosse/ Le Journal de Montreal
2014: Four deputies
Brian Gionta having signed with the Buffalo Sabers over the summer, we are hopeful of seeing a captain be elected during the golf tournament. Rather, it is four deputies who appear on the balcony of the clubhouse: Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, PK Subban and Max Pacioretty.
“We see a transition in our group of leaders. PK has evolved over the past two years in terms of its maturity. He has become a good leader. It’s the same thing for Max.”
Even if it was the second time in five years that CH would play a season without a captain, it was far from unanimous. Especially among the old ones.
“It is not normal to see such a situation repeated. Team management should have been able to identify a captain. You have to believe it takes four to make one.”
MARTIN CHEVALIER/JOURNAL DE MONTRÉAL/AGENCE QMI
2012: Therrien must wait
Due to the NHL lockout, players are not present at the golf tournament. Michel Therrien, hired as head coach on June 5, will have to wait until mid-January before making his official return behind the Canadiens bench.
“I feel a bit like a lion in a cage. I can’t wait to get out.”
– Michel Therrien
ROBERT CÔTÉ/LE COURRIER DU SUD/AGENCE QMI
2011: Gomez’s nightmare continues
“Last season was a nightmare. This season of misery is now far away. I’m ready, I’m confident.”
The team’s highest earner ($7.3 million), Scott Gomez was limited to seven goals in 2010-2011. He will not be at the end of these sentences. He will only score two in 2011-2012. Its first, on February 9, will even occur 369 days after the previous one.
Martin Chevalier / JdeM
2009: Gillett’s apology
This is officially the passing of the torch. Owner of the team for the previous eight seasons, George Gillett gives way to Geoff Molson.
“My biggest regret is not winning a Stanley Cup. I am sorry for that.”
Sébastien St-Jean/QMI Agency
2008: Pierre Boivin thinks (too) big
“We’re aiming for the Stanley Cup! I’m not talking about expectations, but about purpose. We have a rich pool of talented players. Many good years await the Canadian.
In a burst of ambition, undoubtedly galvanized by the centenary celebrations, Pierre Boivin, the president of the team, made this bold prediction. The Canadian will finish eighth in the East and will be eliminated in the first round.
With Ryan McDonagh, Max Pacioretty and PK Subban, drafted in 2007, as well as Carey Price and Guillaume Latedresse, aged just 21, the president was not entirely wrong when talking about his nursery. Unfortunately, it never came to fruition.