Yes, the Montreal Canadiens are playing their worst hockey of the season. Yes, Carey Price couldn't stop a beach ball if Wade Belak was shooting at him (assuming he hits the net). Yes, Kovalev has once again disappeared. Yes, yes, yes.
Are the Habs doomed? No. Atleast not in the long-term.
I won't sugarcoat it, the Habs are playing abysmal hockey. The penalty kill is ineffective, and the lack of a quality offensive defenseman on the powerplay, besides Andrei Markov, is staggering production. While Gainey may opt to acquire a PP specialist via trade on March 4th, let's step away from this whole 100th anniversary facade and analyze this situation objectively. If Gainey pursues a top4 defenseman at the Deadline, you can bet it'll involve some quality young prospects from the Habs. And while the Canadiens have a wealth of prospects to dish out for current "obligations", is it really necessary?
After all, it's not set in stone that Jay Bouwmeester will be traded at the Deadline, as the Panthers are ranked 7th overall in the Eastern Conference, so trading him would hold them back considerably from their post-season goal. That said, Bouwmeester is a UFA at season's end, and you can bet there will be a ton of teams lining up for him. The Habs, containing a young team, have the advantage of having a lot cap space.
Now, if the Canadiens were to acquire Bouwmeester by trade, they would lose a considerable amount of prospects/picks and players, and then, if they'd wish to resign him, would have to pay nearly the same as he’d get in the free agent market.
So nevermind about this whole 100th anniversary "we're going for it all" crap. Enjoy the honour for what it is: lasting 100 years in the NHL. It doesn't mean you have to win THIS year, and expectations shouldn't be blown to unrealistic expectations because of it.
The Habs have an abundance of young prospects that have the potential to be NHL stars. That's a fact. Simply put, Habs fans jumped the gun this season, and expected far too much from their players. After all, their core consists of Carey Price, Sergei Kostitsyn, Andrei Kostitsyn, Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Mike Komisarek, Andrei Markov, Alexei Kovalev, and Saku Koivu (among others). Then you have promising prospects in P.K. Subban, Ryan McDonagh, Ben Maxwell, David Fischer, and a variety of others. Basically, three quarters of the Habs lineup are young players who are still establishing their role in the NHL. Once the experience mounts, so will the wins, and then eventually, you will be rewarded with the almighty Silver Mug.
While the Habs have their issues (top4 d-man, a big centerman upfront) it's all a part of the process of building a winning team. They have the tools, it's up to them to build themselves up for a brighter future.