Montreal Canadiens' 2015-2016 season: What went wrong?

A look back at 10 regrettable moments from the Montreal Canadiens' abysmal 2015-2016 campaign.

Look back at 10 regrettable moments from the Montreal Canadiens' abysmal 2015-2016 campaign

Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban lies injured on the ice during third period NHL hockey action against the Buffalo Sabres in Montreal, Thursday, March 10, 2016. Subban practised with his teammates in a full contact jersey Wednesday for the first time since suffering a neck injury March 10 against the Buffalo Sabres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
How did this happen? The season started with such promise as the Habs rattled off nine straight wins.

There was even talk of a June parade down Ste-Catherine Street. But it was not to be. 

That dream died after a 5-2 loss to the Rangers Saturday night, mathematically eliminating the Canadiens from playoff contention.

Here's a look back at some of the lowlights from Montreal's nightmare of a season.  

The Kassian crash

Zack Kassian entered rehab shortly after being involved in this crash crash. (Steve Petrenko/Twitter)

In the wee hours of a Sunday morning in October, before he ever played a regular season game for the Montreal Canadiens, Zack Kassian crashed his truck into a tree.

He was promptly suspended and admitted into the NHL's substance abuse program.

After completing the program, Habs GM Marc Bergevin made sure Kassian would never play a game for Montreal, trading him to Edmonton for goaltender Ben Scrivens. 

Gallaghers' bad break

The Habs offence was humming until the heart-and-soul of the team's attack, Brendan Gallagher, went down to block a Johnny Boychuk slap shot.

The shot busted Gallagher's hand. It required surgery and derailed what was shaping up to be a career season for the Habs forward.

Montreal was in first place when Gallagher went down. When he returned on January 1st, the team's tail spin was in full-dive mode and couldn't be stopped.

Price injury, part-deux 

MVP goalie Carey Price hasn't played since the November 25th game against the Rangers. (Julie Jacobson/The Associated Press)

Without question, the number one lowlight of the Habs season was losing Carey Price to injury.

The Habs keeper went down with a lower-body injury in October but returned to action a few weeks later. The death-blow came on November 25th in New York, when he was pulled midway through a victory over the Rangers.

At first it didn't seem so serious. But a one-week absence grew into six, and then that grew into "indefinitely." Fans questioned whether he returned too quickly from the first injury.

The Semin Saga

Alexander Semin career was in tatters when Marc Bergevin signed him. But the reclamation project to restore Semin to his NHL superstar status never got off the ground.

He immediately clashed with coach Michel Therrien. After only 15 games he packed his bags and headed to Russia.

Semin was only a shadow of the 40-goal scorer he once was, but his rapid departure left some fans wondering if he was  never given a fair shake by the Habs coaching staff.

After leaving the Habs, Semin scored 17 goals and added 21 assists playing for Magnitogorsk in Russia's KHL. 

December and January

The team's performance in December and January had some fans ashamed of their support. (Philippe Meilleur/Kijiji)

This is not hyperbole: The Habs record from December 1st until the end of January was the worst.

Their performance came as a huge shock because in October and November the Habs were 18-4-3.

But with the winter breeze Montreal dissolved into mediocrity, posting a 3-11-0 record in December — an all-time franchise worst for that month.

January's 3-7-1 record wasn't much better. To put that in perspective, their December-to-January pace would have delivered a meagre 43 points over the course of an entire season.        

Galchenyuk's early-morning run in with police

We don't have all the details surrounding what really happened before police were called to Alex Galchenyuk's apartment early on a Sunday morning in January.

But we do know this: Galchenyuk's then girlfriend was arrested for domestic assault, the incident was reported by the media and Habs management weren't happy about it.

The Jarred Tinordi – John Scott trade

This trade never made hockey sense. John Scott has not, and likely never will, play a game for the Montreal Canadiens.

Yet Marc Bergevin traded away Jarred Tinordi, a former first-round draft pick the team spent years developing, in exchange for Scott and depth defenceman Victory Bartley.
At the time the deal looked like a tactic to keep Scott from playing in the All-Star Game after fans in Arizona had voted him in.

The NHL made it known they didn't want the enforcer to participate in the game. The Habs seemed to resolve the league's dilemma by sending Scott down to the minors.

But, of course, that's not how things ended. Scott played in the game and was named MVP. 

The true motivation behind the trade became even murkier when Bergevin told reporters he had to make the trade: "I have some reasons that I can't really tell you why, but if I could you would probably understand." 

It was revealed on March 9th that Jarred Tinordi had failed a drug test before he was traded.

Subban thrown under the bus 

Montreal Canadiens defensemen Alexei Emelin (74), P.K. Subban (76), Jeff Petry (26) Andrei Markov (79) leave the bench after their 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in National Hockey League action Tuesday, January 19, 2016 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Michel Therrien tossed his star player, P.K. Subban, under the bus following a loss in Colorado on February 17th.

The timing rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way. Therrien had just coached his team through two of the worst months of hockey in franchise history and now he's blaming P.K.?

To be fair to Therrien, Subban made a risky play that backfired and cost the team the game.

Devante's tears 

Devante Smith-Pelly couldn't hold back his tears when the Habs traded him to New Jersey.

But now that he's gone it's likely Habs fans are the ones who are weeping. Smith-Pelly had 12 points in 46 games with Montreal. He has 11 points in 11 games since joining the Devils.

Subban's neck scare 

Canadiens' defenceman P.K. Subban was taken off the ice in Montreal with an apparent upper body injury after a scary collision with teammate Alexei Emelin in the third period of the Canadiens' 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The Bell Centre went silent and Habs fans around the world collectively held their breath when P.K. Subban suffered a neck injury and was carried off the ice during a win over Buffalo on March 10th.

Subban's injury wasn't serious, but it sure was heart-stopping to see him on the ice in pain while medical staff looked at his neck. The injury also ended his consecutive-games streak at 273.