No. 111: Montreal Canadiens

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 7, 2012, 12:12 PM ET
By Max Klinger | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 68
Title track: 43
Ownership: 63
Coaching: 121
Players: 114
Fan relations: 94
Affordability: 116
Stadium experience: 74
Bang for the buck: 118

After the disastrous year the Canadiens just suffered, fans were undoubtedly upset: "One stupid decision after another"; "No vision"; "Physiologically unfit to have success"; and "Clinging to the hope that they can succeed despite their coach" were just a few of the comments found on the Habs blog Eyes on the Prize. At the heart of this PR debacle were coach Jacques Martin (the Habs had the worst coaching score in the NHL and the second worst in all of sports) and GM Pierre Gauthier, who committed the faux pas of replacing Martin with a non-French speaking coach midseason. Gauthier was then was let go himself while the Canadiens were on their way to missing the playoffs -- the first time in four seasons. Though a young core of talented players (see Max Pacioretty) offers hope, the storied fan base has a hard time seeing it after their team finished with the third-worst record in the league. They are also down on stadium experience, which dropped 52 points in a single year, something usually reserved for major structural disasters (like the one at the Nassau Coliseum). It doesn't help that Canadiens fans still have the third-most expensive ticket prices in the NHL and the most expensive beer in all of sports. In the offseason, new management sought to make amends by bringing in new/old coach Michael Therrien. Still, in the battle for hearts and minds, the Canadiens have a long way to go.