Habs missing playoffs a third time would be a dreadful historic precedent
The Montreal Canadiens held their annual golf tournament Monday in Laval-sur-le-Lac, as the team gets set to kick off the 2019-20 season.
The tournament raises money for the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation.
The Habs are looking to avoid the dreaded possibility of missing the playoffs for a third straight time, something that's only happened twice in team history from 1918-1921 and 1998-2001.
"There's pressure every year to make the playoffs, and we want to make the playoffs as much as everyone else, so, yes, the pressure's there to make the playoffs," said owner Geoff Molson. "We'll start this season with that as the goal."
With the team's rookie camp wrapping up, there will be a number of young faces eager to crack the starting roster as Jesperi Kotkaniemi did last year.
"Sitting here a year ago, I wasn't sure if KK was going to make the team," said GM Marc Bergevin. "I thought he was going to go back to Finland. He earned a job and he stayed the whole year. I think he has progressed. It's the same thing this year."
Without any marquee free agent signings, Habs captain Shea Weber feels everyone needs to learn the lessons from last year's frustration and improve.
"Everyone's got to be a little bit better," said captain Shea Weber. "Every year you come back and you have to have a little bit more. You expect that from everyone. Everyone goes home in the summer to train and get better and use that experience."
Weber added that the young team needs to look back at key games that slipped away and realize what was needed to turn the loss to a win.
Missing the playoffs, however, is not an option.
"Last year was a step in the right direction," said forward Brendan Gallagher. "At the same time, we've all got to realize that it wasn't good enough. To really be true to ourselves, our goal when we sat and talked to you last year at this time was to make the playoffs."