Montreal Canadiens' slump quiets bars, hurts jersey sales

The Montreal Canadiens' downhill spiral over the past few months hasn't only been devastating for fans' morale — it's also hurt the bottom line of businesses across the city.

Not so long ago Habs' fans packed bars and restaurants for games, but team's struggles make for quiet nights

Montreal fans packed local bars during last year's NHL playoffs, but these days things are far quieter. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The Montreal Canadiens' downhill spiral hasn't only been devastating for fans' morale — it's also hurting the bottom line of businesses across the city.

The most recent loss, Tuesday against Columbus, dropped the team to 5-18-1 in their last 24 games after starting the season on a dominant 19-4-3 run.

But things could even get worse if the slide continues, and the Habs fail to make the playoffs.

"We are concerned about the playoff run," Keith Murray, assistant general manager at Hockey Experts in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"Unless they turn it around real fast, our playoff business won't exist."

Fortunately, Murray said, Habs' jerseys and other gear account for only a small portion of the sporting-goods store's revenue.

"For stores that sell just licensed Habs' products, it's a major concern," he said.

No need for extra restaurant staff

Montreal bars and restaurants are also hurting. 

Normally, Toby Lyle books extra staff on game nights at his two popular pubs, Bishop & Bagg and Burgundy Lion. But during the recent slump, that hasn't been necessary.

"We've definitely had a lot less interest," he told Daybreak.

No one even complained when staff forgot to turn on the TV during one of the team's latest losses to Columbus, he said. 

Like Murray, Lyle said the big concern is whether the Habs can make it to the post-season.

"Moving forward, I'm much more nervous about April, May, June," he said. 

"When the Habs are in the playoffs, it's huge," he said. "You turn people away no matter what day of the week it is."

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