TERREBONNE, Quebec -- On July 2, one day after NHL free agency opened, Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin met with the media to discuss their moves.
Bergevin was asked about the defensive style of play employed by Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. In response, Bergevin got, well, defensive.
Bergevin fired back at the reporter to identify one aspect of the Canadiens system that makes it so defensive, and claimed the style they play is not much different from the one used by the majority of teams in the NHL.
"What do we do differently than other teams that makes us a defensive team?" Bergevin asked, annoyed with the line of questioning.
During the press conference, Bergevin said he did not feel the Canadiens would be any better off if they allowed 20 more goals in order to score 20 more; he said he feels the lack of offense could be addressed if the power play were to improve on its 16.5 percent success rate of last season.
But at the core -- and Bergevin has repeated this on numerous occasions -- the Canadiens' strength lies in goal with Carey Price and, to a slightly lesser extent, on defense with P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Jeff Petry.
If the Canadiens finish 20th in scoring but first in goals allowed, as they did last season, they should be on the winning side more often than not.
The concern is whether Price will be able to repeat the historic season he just completed. If not, will the Canadiens' lack of offense come back to bite them?
This is why the perception the Canadiens use a stifling defensive style persists in Montreal, and six weeks after his general manager faced questions on it, it was Therrien's turn to do the same this week.