Some people say Michael Cammalleri’s days with the Habs are numbered, others are hoping for it. In a season where Cammalleri’s point totals (9 goals, 13 assists in 37 games) are not as high as fans would like, the Canadien sniper is feeling the heat from Hab hopefuls. An example of this was in last night’s game against the St. Louis Blues where the boo birds began to rain down on #13. The man who is making 6 million a year to be Montreal’s number one goal scorer is simply not putting up goals. He is tied with Travis Moen on the team and this rattles a lot of people, including myself. I will not take away anything from Travis because he is having a good year and I am enjoying his compete level. However, Cammalleri needs to wake up and start finding the back of the net. Even former Hab Benoit Pouliot is creeping up on Cammy’s goal totals on the year with 8 himself. Yikes. It also appears that when Cammalleri has a great chance at putting the puck on net, he misses completely. He is currently 4th on the team in missed shots with 34. Is he lacking confidence in the slot or other areas in the offensive zone to score? Maybe, I wouldn’t necessarily doubt it. The great effort and point totals that Cammalleri is known for from previous years in L.A, Calgary and even his first year in Montreal are all in the past. Even the sniper that we saw in the playoffs seems to be non-existent at this point. If he is only going to show up in the post-season, what use is he for the Canadiens now that they most likely will not play passed the April 7th game against the Maple Leafs? Not much use is what many are thinking I’m sure.
Just when you think that those are the issues to be unhappy about with regards to Cammalleri, he decides to speak out to the media. Francois Gagnon wrote an article about it and this is where my next part stems from (thanks to @IngridMbHabs on twitter for her translation). Cammalleri basically states that he cannot accept the fact that the Canadiens have a loser attitude right now. They prepare for games as losers, they play as losers and that is why they continue to lose. He goes on to say that he has played for good teams and not so good teams but the way that the team is currently playing is why they are failing. He compares the team right now to the team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals 2 seasons ago by beating out the Capitals and Penguins. Cammalleri said that back then they were playing like a team who could beat any other team, but now they are just playing like losers. Per François Gagnon, even though he doesn’t say it out loud, Cammy is letting it sound like he wouldn’t be mad if he were to leave Montréal before the trade deadline. “I could say a lot more, but you can read between the line”, Cammy said.
Cammalleri then goes on to complain about his total ice time. When he was asked about his poor performance since the beginning of the season, he said that he is used to playing a lot more than he currently is. Cammy takes the blame on Arnott’s goal last night, saying that he was covering the wrong guy (yes, yes you were). “That being said, we were at the half of the 2nd period and I had been on the ice for only 5 shifts. Normally, at that point in a game, I would’ve had at least 15 big shifts. That’s not what happened” Cammy added. In reality, Cammalleri played 9 shifts at the half way point but we will let his exaggeration slide. His time has decreased lately but within good reason. Cunneyworth said that he is giving the ice to those who deserve it and then added that if a player doesn’t produce offensively, he at least has to stop the other team from scoring. Randy also pointed out that he might start benching veterans (something that Jacques Martin would NEVER do) if things do not start to change for the better in the next few games. “It’s not my plan for the time being, but I can’t say it won’t happen. We need results right now and we need to do everything we can to get those results.”
You can take what you want from all of this. Cammalleri could very well be out of the Hab’s uniform soon and it might be in Montreal’s best interest to do just that. Not everything that Michael Cammalleri said was entirely wrong, but if he feels that they are playing like losers out there, he probably should have said that he was going to take initiative and step up. It’s one thing to complain about what is happening, it’s another to recognize it and do something about it. Cammalleri also said that he was not disappointed when he heard the boos but that he more so probably expected it. Well, in my opinion, if you expected it then you know you are not performing to Montreal’s standards. Wake up and make a positive impact out there Cammy, all eyes are on you.
Author’s note: People can twist quotes to make them fit their argument. Coming from me, I just want Cammalleri to perform better and to do something about the loser attitude that is sweeping the locker room. There are many players that are underperforming on the Habs, however, Cammalleri is supposed to be scoring goals. He isn’t and he doesn’t seem to have that drive to get him there. Many fans are frustrated and it’s understandable which is leading them to jump on anything. Comments made by a player that isn’t doing well, Cammalleri, has fueled the fire.