by PuckStopsHere on 02/17/09 at 04:10 AM ET
A lot of press has been given to the Montreal Canadiens slump. They have a 3-10 record in their last 13 games. This has dropped Montreal to fifth place in the East Conference. It has provoked a lot of panic among Montreal fans who have all kinds of crazy suggestions including fire the coach, trade key players, send All Star goalie Carey Price to the minors. Montreal fans are overreacting. Slumps happen. Every season, somebody falls into one during the stretch run. In almost all cases the team recovers. A Montreal recovery is likely. They have a good young goalie in Carey Price who will find his game. They have some talent in Alex Tanguay and Robert Lang on the injured list. There are reasons to explain the slump.
In an effort to change the recent direction of the team, Montreal has acquired Mathieu Schneider from the Atlanta Thrashers for a 2009 second round draft pick and a 2010 third round pick. Likely Montreal will survive this slump and will have lost home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs because of it, but that will be the most significant loss.
There is a slump that is getting less media attention that is far more significant. The slump of the Phoenix Coyotes is more significant. The Coyotes has a 1-9 record in their last ten games. This slump will likely cause them to miss the playoffs, as they have fallen to fourteenth place in the West Conference (and were in fifth when it began). Given the shaky financial situation in Phoenix, the loss of a playoff berth is significant. It could be a blow that leads to the death of the franchise.
The Phoenix slump is probably going to be harder to escape from then the Montreal slump. There are no significant injured players who might return. The financial problems will prevent the Coyotes from trading for talent to right the ship and will likely lead them to sell their talent at the trade deadline. Phoenix might have a poor run for the remainder of the season.
Slumps happen. Every season, a couple teams pull up lame in January or February. This year Phoenix has fallen into the most significant slump. It is one that will change the direction of the franchise this year, making them trade deadline sellers. It is a slump that adds to Phoenix’s financial problems and decreases the likelihood that there might be a solution to the problems. Montreal is also slumping. Despite the press the Canadiens get, that slump will probably be much less significant in the longterm.
NOTE: In an effort to address their slump, Montreal has sent Sergei Kostitsyn to the AHL and given Alexei Kovalev some time off (he is not suspended but will not play for a while). So far, Phoenix has not done anything significant to address their slump.
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