The Rise and Fall of the Montréal Canadiens


Cole Caufield celebrates after scoring a goal in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Abby Homrock, Sports & News Editor

    June 24th, 2021: the day that all Montréal Canadiens fans remember like it was yesterday.

   The formally depleted Montréal Canadiens had beat the Vegas Golden Knights in the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. What was going on? From making it past round one against the powerhouse Toronto Maple Leafs to sweeping the Winnipeg Jets in the second round, it seemed like all was going right. Wrong. They are now the worst team in the NHL. 

  BONNE SAINT-JEAN TOUTE LE MONDE!!! The Montréal Canadiens had defied all odds, from starting playoffs with the lowest odds of winning the Stanley Cup, to now having the second-highest, it was like the team had suddenly flipped a switch. Overnight rookie sensation, Cole Caufield, was scoring goals left and right, he even picked up a new nickname, “Goal Caufield.” Veteran goalie Carey Price was stopping every puck shot at him, making him equivalent to a brick wall. And seasoned captain Shea Weber seemed to be leading this team to victory, what bad thing could happen to a team with such good luck? Basically anything and everything.

    Let’s start with Cole Caufield. As a lifelong NHL fan, it was exciting to watch such a young and talented player have such great success in the playoffs. With Caufield’s height ringing in at a whopping five feet and seven inches, that makes him as tall as me. In the 2019 draft, he fell in draft value just because of his height, which is where all the doubts started. “No NHL player that short can have a successful career!” With his 2021 playoff statistics being 12 points in 20 games, he seemed like he was ready for the 2021-2022 season. After his magical ways in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Caufield was sent down to the AHL during the following season. He was producing no goals, barely any assists, and was getting hit over and over again due to his stature. Finally, after a little time in the AHL, Caufield got his groove back. He was moved back to the NHL and finished the season off with 43 points in 67 games.

     I have been a Carey Price fan for as long as I can remember. I even own a jersey of his. His 2021 playoff production was spot-on, as he was by far the best player on the ice. After the 2021 playoffs, he announced he was going to go through the NHL’s rehabilitation program, for reasons not made public. Price went on to play five NHL games this season and won only one of them. 

    Defenseman and captain Shea Weber was also a big part of the Canadiens’ playoff success. After the playoffs, Weber had announced he had thumb, ankle, knee, and foot injuries which will most likely be career-ending injuries. Weber has not played an NHL game since the playoffs.  

Final NHL 2021-2022 standings. (ESPN)

   Some other factors in the Canadiens’ downfall were the firing of their general manager, Marc Bergevin, trading some of their key players, and not letting the young players develop. The Canadiens traded their 2018 first-round pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi to the Carolina Hurricanes, Kotkaniemi was a vital player during the 2021 playoffs as he recorded eight points in 19 games. 

   The Canadiens finished the 2021-2022 regular season with the worst statistics in the NHL, making them the worst team in the league by a long shot. As a part-time Canadiens fan, this was tough to watch. Hopefully, with new management and coaching staff, the team can get their problems controlled and their loose ends tied. If not, it’s going to be a long few years for the Canadiens.