Canadiens clean out their lockers
Published Monday, April 24, 2017 12:57PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 24, 2017 7:37PM EDT
The Canadiens are taking stock after washing out of the playoffs in the first round.
Players spent Monday clearing out their lockers and chatting with each other before facing a horde of reporters wanting to know what went wrong, and what will change for next season.
Since Saturday's loss many callers to talk radio shows have expressed increasingly outrageous demands for change, with one of the most frequent being a call to trade lead goalie Carey Price.
The Vezina trophy candidate can sign a contract extension on July 1 this year, and if he has his way, he will stay in Montreal for a long time.
"I want to stay here. I know we'll figure out a way to make all the pieces fit and bring a championship here," said Price.
Price added that he won't be taking part in the World Championships, saying he did his part for his country earlier this season at the World Cup.
Every player expressed an interest in staying in Montreal, including Andrei Markov.
The unrestricted free agent's contract expires this summer and he wants to stay with the Habs.
"My first option is going to be Montreal and I'd like to stay here. I've always been here and most probably I'd like to finish my career here. We'll see what's going to happen in the summer," said the defenceman.
Meanwhile everyone wants to know why the Canadiens could not score during the playoffs.
Through six games they scored just 11 goals, and failed to score during the first game.
Shea Weber admitted that just wasn't good enough.
"It is easy to say that now that we didn't score three goals in the playoffs but at the same time we've got to take ownership within this locker room we didn't get it done here," said Weber.
"They obviously try to give us the pieces and make deals at deadline and what not to try and make us a good team. I think we have a good team it was just unfortunate we couldn't get it done this year."
Two players who were relied on all season to score goals both had a tough series: Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty, who were both shutout.
“I would have liked to held offensively and help the team score and been better in that area, obviously, but my process, the work that I put into leaves me motivated to have better results, but not have regret,” said Pacioretty.
“You always want to get bigger, stronger, faster and work on some little details, of course it sucks that it’s going to be a pretty long summer,” added Galchenyuk.
Another question being asked was what would happen with Alexander Radulov.
Radulov said he would not be playing for Russia in the World Championships because he does not want to put a future contract at risk.
The Canadiens signed Radulov to a one-year deal, and he proved to be an exceptional player in the regular season and the playoffs.
He said Monday he would like to stay in Montreal.
In the management post-mortem, General Manager Marc Bergevin spoke about his summer plans for the team.
“We’re not going to blow up this team because we were very disappointed this year. But these guys, we didn’t first in our division by accident, so there are a lot of good things, but we have to be patient,” he said.
The hottest topic at the state of the union was the long-standing lack of a first-line centre on the Habs. Bergevin said he doesn’t feel he will be addressing that with a big-time name coming to Montreal.
“There are 30 teams in the league and in our view, there’s not every team that has a number-one centre, and the teams that do have them are not going to give them away, so it’s not going to happen. We have to be creative,” he said.
The first-line centre they were relying on is now five years in to his career and he finished his season on the wing: Galchenyuk is at a crossroads.
“Hopefully he took a step back to take two forward next year,” said Bergevin. “That’s what we want. I think Alex is open to playing whatever he wants, where he sees he will help the team the most.”
Coach Claude Julien echoed that sentiment.
“Ideally we would love to have him play centre, ideally. I think he realizes the same thing we realize right now. I said two things: As a centreman, it’s one of the toughest jobs there is because you’ve gotta be all over the ice and you’ve got to skate. As a centreman, you’ve got to me good on both sides of the ice, and right now he's not at that stage,” he said.
Management also made some assurances about world-class goalie Carey Price Monday.
“He's not going anywhere,” said Bergevin.