The Habs Need to Listen To and Play Like AC/DC
When it comes to fighting through adversity in the rock and roll world, you would be hard pressed to find a better example than my favourite band (and admit it, one of yours too) AC/DC. Brothers Malcolm and Angus Young started AC/DC in 1973 in Australia. They have endured the death of their first lead singer (Bon Scott 1980) and had to temporarily replace their current lead singer due to emergency hearing issues (Brian Johnson 2016). Their most recent blow was the death of co-founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young (November 2017). As if that isn’t enough proof as to their toughness, the band just released their 19th studio album, PowerUp, in November 2020 during a pandemic which, incidentally, is causing hearing issues of my own.
We all have an AC/DC song that gets our blood pumping and ears bleeding so I thought I would create a Habs soundtrack with some applicable AC/DC songs. This 8-song soundtrack should be turned up to 11 in the dressing room tomorrow night in Vancouver.
1. Jailbreak - 1974
This song is dedicated to the Habs strategy going into 3-on-3 overtime. The skaters look like 3 escaped convicts running around in the dark hoping to get away from their own goalie. It is almost like Price or Allen is the RCMP bloodhound searching for them in the bushes. Good Lord boys, there are only 3 guys out there; pick one to cover when they have the puck!
2. It’s a Long Way to the Top - 1976
The powerplay is 15th, the penalty kill is 21st and their faceoff percentage is 25th in the NHL. Their faceoff woes rank them last in the North Division and this ineptitude is a massive factor in their poor special teams. The Habs have a long way to go in cleaning up these 3 major parts of the game if they are going to be considered a playoff contender.
3. Flick of The Switch - 1983
Bergevin fired Claude Julien hoping that will instantly turn the Habs around. They are 2-1-2 since. That switch is brighter for sure. Bergevin then fired goalie coach Stéphane Waite in the middle of a game last week and replaced him with Sean Burke. This is clearly a desperation move to flick Carey Price’s switch from off to on.
4. Shoot to Thrill - 1980
I am so tired of how the announcers continually discuss that the Habs get over 33 shots/game. The way they talk about it, you’d think they have a props bet every night on the over. Who cares about shots unless the puck is going in the net? Pumping a bunch of muffins at the net might look good statistically, but they have to go in. Last night they had only 28 shots and pumped 7 home. I wonder if quality over quantity somehow matters?
5. Money Talks - 1990
Carey Price makes $10.5 million. He has a GAA of 2.83 and a save percentage of 0.898. Amongst goalies with 10 or more games, he is 31st in save percentage and 22nd in GAA. If you are making $10.5 million in a hard cap league, you need better results than this!
6. Have a Drink on Me - 1980
There is a time to be a gracious host and a time to tell everyone how to “get the hell off my lawn!” The Habs are way too gracious at home. Last night was the first time in a long time that they boat raced an opponent at home. They were hungrier, meaner, and more energetic. Make the opponents pay for their own damned drinks!
7. Goodbye and Good Riddance to Bad Luck - 1990
Marc Bergevin is not afraid to make moves at any time to make this team better. That said, he has had 9 years to shape this team in his image and it remains mediocre in most respects. You have to believe that anything short of a second round playoff appearance, he will be told “Goodbye and good riddance.”
8. Highway to Hell - 1979
This song was written to highlight the wear and tear a band goes through on their rise to rock stardom. Like the song’s theme, this NHL season is also an absolute grind. The travel, the covid restrictions, and the game schedule makes it feel like the back leg of a year-long rock and roll tour. AC/DC, who are in their late 60s and early 70s, refuse to relent nor do they make excuses. The Habs would do well to emulate their resilience.
Punching the Jets in the throat to the tune of 7-1 was a great start.