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Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Updated: September 26, 12:34 PM ET
No. 63: Montreal Canadiens

By Rachel Ullrich
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 111
Title track: 39
Ownership: 31
Coaching: (T) 42
Players: 63
Fan relations: 49
Affordability: 103
Stadium Experience 51
Bang for the Buck 90

It didn't take much for the Canadiens to improve on their nightmarish 2011-12 season, which saw the Montreal squad finish last in a conference for the first time (the NHL switched to the conference format in 1974-75). In 2012-13 they managed not only a winning record but a playoff berth -- their seventh in nine seasons -- and climbed back up our franchise rankings as a result. The Canadiens rose in every category, but by far the biggest jump came in the coaching category (79 spots), where Michel Therrien provided some much-needed stability after last year's coaching carousel (Randy Cunneyworth, who committed the cardinal sin of not speaking French, was never going to fit in at Montreal).

The roster was also in flux a season ago, with fans reacting to the previous year's trade of playoff hero Michael Cammalleri and talented but volatile Andrei Kostitsyn. This current roster, largely unchanged after a year of relative success, scored much higher (51 spots). But prices strike a sour note at the Bell Centre; the cost of attending a game is about 25 percent higher than the league average, and stadium experience ranks 12th in the NHL. That's what happens when you charge Stanley Cup prices and haven't won one in two decades.