Yesterday, Montreal Candadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin spoke with reporters about the NHL's return to play format. He also opined about playing the Penguins in a qualifying round.
"I feel confident that if we do get to play against Pittsburgh, we have a chance to beat them.”
Woah now! That's big talk from a man who has built the 24th best roster in the National Hockey League. That's right, it took a global freaking pandemic to get the Canadiens to even sniff the playoffs. Sweet team you've put together here, bro.
Hey, he's probably right. Anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, especially in a short series. But this is unearned confidence if I've ever seen it.
Bergevin's team was a seller at the deadline. He waived the white flag on the season when he traded away Ilya Kovalchuk, Nate Thompson, and Nick Cousins.
When pressed further, the Canadiens GM said, “Why (can we beat Pittsburgh)? Because it’s played on the ice, not a sheet of paper.”
Well, that's good for Montreal, because on paper there's not much to like about this team. The Habs are 31-31-9. They've got just 19 wins in regulation this year. They're a minus-12 in goal differential. They're 23rd in goals against. Their power play and penalty kill percentages are below league average.
In short, Marc Bergevin has built a loser.
But how about that Carey Price, right? He hasn't been the same player since 2015.
A lot can change in half a decade. For example, Mike Johnston was running the Penguins' ship into the ground in 2015. Since then, the Pens have a couple of Stanley Cup banners hanging in the rafters at PPG Paints Arena. The point being that what Carey Price did five years ago doesn't have any bearing on the outcome of THIS series.
Bergevin's team blows. How about one more time in French? L'équipe de Bergevin souffle.
His comments drip of an unearned arrogance. As I wrote earlier this week, the Penguins will dispatch of the Canadiens in short order before moving on to the real Stanley Cup Playoffs. Playoffs that Pittsburgh would have qualified for even if we weren't in the midst of an international pandemic.
The Habs? They'd be watching from home.