MONTREAL – The Canadiens might have dropped their fourth consecutive game on Saturday night, but Michel Therrien’s troops are adamant that there’s no shortage of resolve inside the locker room to turn things around.
In the aftermath of their latest defeat – a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre – the bleu-blanc-rouge held a players-only meeting, looking to one another to get themselves out a funk that has caused them to struggle for the better part of the last 10 days.
“It was an embarrassing night. A game like this one is not about X’s and O’s. We were in the game until they scored. We need to find a way to respond,” offered defenseman Josh Gorges, whose squad was outshot by a 27-9 margin through 40 minutes of play and trailed head coach Adam Oates’ club by a score of 4-0. “After a goal, after two goals, we could’ve come from behind. It wasn’t over. But, we’ve got to do it. No team is going to give us a game on a silver platter. We’ve got to work.”
Dead set on making this tough stretch ancient history fast, that’s exactly what the Habs are focused on doing from here on out. They won’t, however, go back to the drawing board as individuals, but as a unit of one, dedicated to turning the tables on their current misfortune.
“When you’re going through a difficult stretch, you’ve always got to stay positive. Among our group, if we start yelling at one another, it won’t help the situation. We all know that we’ve made mistakes, but to start getting upset with one another won’t do us any good,” mentioned P.K. Subban, who logged just over 20 minutes of ice time on Saturday night. “We know we’ve all made mistakes over the last week-and-a-half. We know that we didn’t play our best hockey. We’ve got to turn the page.
“My father has an expression for times like this: When you’ve had a bad game, you just have to change the channel,” added the reigning Norris Trophy winner. “We’re going to change the channel and turn the page. There’s so much hockey left to play. One or two games and it’s a whole other story. We’ve got to stay positive.”
That’s precisely the approach Therrien is taking at this point in time. While losing repeatedly stings, the veteran bench boss believes his squad boasts the strength and character to overcome that which has been plaguing them since their dramatic overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks back on Jan. 11 on home ice.
“It’s in moments of adversity that you build character. There’s nothing bad about going through adversity. Honestly, I have no problem with that. It’s how you react to adversity. That’s what matters. Who hasn’t gone through adversity in their career? What team hasn’t gone through adversity over the course of a season? It’s how you react that’s important. Sometimes, you come to a point where you have one knee on the ground. You can’t let the other hit the ground. You stand up,” underlined Therrien.
“The players feel it for sure. Everyone in the organization is hurt by it. The players, the coaches, management, we’re all hurting after a performance like this. We’re not indifferent about it,” added Therrien. “The fact that the players held a meeting together proves that they want to turn things around. I have faith in this group. I have faith that they’ll get back up.”
Having already showcased time and time again what they’re capable of when operating at full capacity, there’s no reason to believe the Canadiens can’t regain the magic that has propelled them to victory for much of the 2013-14 campaign.
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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