About last night …

For 52 minutes, Guy Carbonneau was a genius.

Before the game, the coach’s newly-minted line combinations had the denizens of the pressbox scratching our heads and speculating as to who his connection was for weed that great.

But then the puck dropped.

And strange things happened.

Cristobal Huet stood on his head, stopping 16 Nashville shots – plus two that dinged off posts – in the first period.

At the other end of the ice, Chris Mason gave up two soft goals and was done less than 14 minutes into the game.

And with 7:34 to play, Carbo the Nutty Professor had a 4-1 lead and was probably looking forward to bouncing a few droll one-liners off media skeptics.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the coach’s self-congratulatory press conference.

His team collapsed, and everything – including Carbonneau’s mood – turned to crap.

By the time the coach got to the pressroom, he was seething and snappish. And by the time I was driving home, CKAC was playing and replaying Carbo’s astounding assertion that the press had demoted Saku Koivu to the third line.

"(Koivu) was on the first line," Carbonneau said, responding to a question by Pat Hickey.

"Smolinski au premier trio, imaginez ça!" marveled CKAC phone-in host Martin Lemay. Bryan Smolinski, who was in the penalty box when Nashville tied the game, was a favourite whipping boy of the station’s callers. It was noted that the tying goal, his 10th of the season, was scored by Radek Bonk, who’s playing for $1.35 million in Nashville while Smolinski makes $2 million, has two goals and is minus-6 in Montreal.

In describing November as a "tough month", Carbonneau noted that the Canadiens played .500 hockey – "not great, but OK."

Now it’s December, and the coach said "we’ll see over the next couple of weeks what we’re made of."

We also will find out what the coach is made of, because Carbo has to rally a team that Huet describes as "fragile between the ears."

And, my friend Hickey added, "fragile between the pipes." Huet gave up three goals in less than eight minutes of the third period and was beaten twice in the shootout.

I have to think it will be Carey Price against Detroit on Tuesday.

• I hope Josh Gorges plays against the Red Wings. And if I were Carbo, which I’m glad I’m not on this frigid Montreal morning, I’d keep the Tomas Plekanec line, with Kovy and Christopher Higgins, intact.

• I also liked Mikhail Grabovski and Andrei Kostitsyn, but they need a RW who can keep up with them, physically and mentally, better than poor Michael Ryder.

• I like Kyle Chipchura, Guillaume Latendresse and Mathieu Dandenault. Gui! Gui! Gui! had two goals last night and continues to hustle.

• As to Carbo’s "first line" … well, Mark Streit played decent and the Captain had some chances he failed to bury. I’m not a Smolinski basher. That penalty last night was horrible, but it came at the end of a sequence during which he did a good job working the puck and eating up seconds in the Nashville end.

• Roman Hamrlik played great last night. Andrei Markov played hurt.

• Glas half full: Canadiens are so versatile and deep on defence that two of them can play up front.

Glass half-empty: Canadiens are so pathetic up front that two defencemen have to play as forwards.

• Team D has gone south over the last while. The Canadiens gave up 44 shots to Nashville, 46 to Toronto, 45 to the Islanders. It’s rarely fewer than 30; New Jersey had 29, but they were winning so easily the Devils just played shut-down, a game the Canadiens could have used last night.

• Carbonneau spoke of fatigue (26 games into the season!!!!), and the first three weeks of December will be an easier Saturday/Tuesday/Thursday schedule. But then comes two back-to-backers – Atlanta-Dallas and Tampa Bay-Florida – on the road, the latter followed, a day later, by a visit to New York City.

We’ll know a lot about this team by Jan. 1.

But let’s be honest: right now, the portents are not promising.

149 Comments

  1. howtathor says:

    NOTE TO GAINEY: Will somebody please give Thomas Beauregard a chance!

    2006-07 Season: Played in 69 games in his fifth, and final, season with Acadie-Bathurst in the QMJHL…Amassed 124 points on a league-best 71 goals and 53 assists…The 71 goals were 17 more than the next closest goal scorer…Led QMJHL in shots (382), ranked second in power play goals (26), game winning goals (nine) and shooting percentage (18.6%)…Sixth in shorthanded goals (five) and was eighth in plus/minus at +29…First-Team All-QMJHL selection…Set club career goal record with his 102nd tally on Oct. 27…Recorded five hat tricks during the season…Twenty multiple goal games…Nineteen game point scoring streak (23-20-43) from Nov. 29 through Jan. 27…Forty multiple point games, including two five-point efforts, four four-point games and twelve three-point contests…Stretch from Sept. 30 through Nov. 25 that saw him register multiple points in 18 of 21 games (29-16-45)…Holds Titan’s record for goals in a career (154), which shattered the previous mark of 101…Hit the 50 goal mark for the season in just the 39th game on Dec. 29…Twice selected QMJHL ‘Player of the Week’…Named ‘Player of the Month’ in December, registering 14 goals and ten assists for 24 points in ten games…’Academic Player of the Month’ for February…2005-06: Played in 69 games, netting 46 goals and 42 assists for 88 points…Also scored 13 goals in 18 playoff games…Finished tenth in QMJHL with 46 goals, 13th in power play goals (21), 16th in plus/minus at +30 and 23rd in scoring with 88 points…Third on team in scoring…Nine multiple goal games, including a hat trick at Saint John on Dec. 3…Twenty-four multiple point games, including a five assist effort versus Saint John on March 12…Season-best 14 game point scoring streak from Jan. 22 through Feb. 28 (13-11-24)…2004-05: Played in just five games due to injury that sidelined him after Sept. 25…Three goals and three assists in those games…2003-04: Played in 65 games, lighting the lamp 18 times and assisting on 28 others for 46 points…Twelve multiple point games, a two goal game on opening night (v. Moncton on Sept. 12) and a season-best three game point scoring streak…2002-03: Played in 48 games, picking up 16 goals and 14 assists for 30 points…Registered first junior hat trick on Jan. 31 in an 8-3 win vs. Victoriaville…Selected by Acadie-Bathurst in the 2002 QMJHL Draft with its second round (number 27 overall) selection.

    Sounds like what we’re looking for! When I look around and see all the kids excelling in the league and we’re trotting out these horses ready for the glue factory (you know who they are), what have we got to lose???

  2. cmac says:

    One thing that bugs me is that I hear Carbonneau blaming his players alot after games like last night.

    I’ve noticed that the best coaches don’t do that. The best coaches take the blame themselves, and in doing so win the loyalty and respect of their players.

  3. Yeats says:

    Huet should just stay in the net and stop, not play, the puck. Aside from last night’s gaff, which I think was a function of him taking his eyes off the puck for a second, he has had several miscues this year. Most of them appear to be a function of miscommunication with his defensemen. A few seemed to be a lack of awareness as to what was going on around him.

  4. OldGrover says:

    I don’t think you can really call that “Huet’s venturing” – that was a bizarre bounce on what should have been a routine play for Huet. It was just odd.

  5. The Ian Cobb says:

    I want to thank a few posters that picked me up with there steadfast loyality. Since that episode last night i have been trying to figure out why the heck we blow these games. In years past we were the team that could raly back.Oh how i dream for those days again. And yes, we are a work in progress, including the coaching staff. I talk patience and i lost mine for a little while.

    So thanks to Sbah Reverof, Plek Andrew, and others who kept the faith and gave me that picker upper that i needed.

    Oh Oh! I just thought of something Detroit in two days, but were ok, they don’t have Stevie Y anymore! Let’s go GET EM BOYS!!!!!

  6. saskhab says:

    Good for Radek. He’s exactly what we’re missing up front right now. A veteran guy you can lean on down the stretch.

    I’m sorry Mike, but Smolinski has proven that he can’t keep up anymore. Time for him to call up Wes Walz and ask about starting a real estate business. Our last option for Smoke is to have him play RW with Chipchura and Latendresse, and if it doesn’t work there’s nowhere he can play. He was hired to play a role on one of the top 3 lines, and he is proving to be no better, or even worse than Kostopolous, Bégin, Dandenault and Streit.

    Bégin and Kostopolous are 4th liners that we lean on, even though they can’t chase down a loose puck to save their lives. That’s a very important skill in these situations. They can’t do that, and it’s why they’re 4th liners who should only play 4th line minutes.

    And Saku needs to get going. If Higgins-Plex-Kovalev stays together, than I’m guessing a line of Kostitsyn-Koivu-Ryder is something that should be tried. Call one of the lines the “Hot” line and the other the “Not” line.

  7. t1tan5 says:

    That’s because they know Ottawa is a sure-fire, top-seeded playoff team that’s just enduring a slump. We’re upset because we’re worried that this slump is actually the real Canadiens and all those wins before were just us playing over our heads.

  8. Yeats says:

    I was criticizing the players and management of the team, not the posters. The fans deserve better than the same tired responses we get from those guys game after game.

  9. MICP says:

    You are so right in that all teams will have their ups & downs. The main concern is that Ottawa had 1 win around a few loses, that lone win was in Montreal.
    We gave up more goals in the last half of third last night than we scored vs. NJ, Buffalo & Buffalo again.
    What other teams have lost at home to as many bottom feeders as we have. We have to stop flushing points away or we will miss the playoffs by 1 point again. It just seems that these “stars” of ours just dont learn.

  10. showey47 says:

    i think it at the very least effects the defence, price can virtually be a third dman kind of like brodeur as for huet, well his venturing let nashville back in the game and from there you could see he lost his focus. If trotz can pull his goalie after 2 weaks ones, why can’t carbo? I think it is time to see how far price can go with a bunch of starts or at least until he has a bad game.

  11. kevin m says:

    Sorry

    Some of us are just not as analytical as you are.

  12. showey47 says:

    Like i said before 2 of the players who actually play with a killer instinct were in the pressbox.

  13. Yeats says:

    As far as the goaltending is concerned, I really think it’s time to adopt the “you play until you suck” rule. I never thought of this before but, do you think the constant goalie switching adversely effects the rest of the team?

  14. madhabsfan says:

    Demers couldn’t be more right. As a former coach, he knows that, to succeed, a coach must have the basic components required by any team hoping to win. Demers has certainly not been the first to acknowledge that Montreal is simply going without these components, and as a result, it should be no suprise to anyone that the Habs are struggling. The numbers speak for themselves.

    Saku Koivu, who Carbo still credits as our number one center, has ONE even strength goal. ONE! Markov has two, and almost as many assists. For points, our top line center is tied for 57th in the league

    Eight of Kovalev’s 12 goals also came on the power play. As our scoring leader, he ranks 43rd in the league.

    Our overall depth chart has most of our forwards as league average or below league average in terms of offensive output, given their positions and ice time.

    No big deal you say, because we are a defensive team? Try this on for size.

    The Montreal Canadiens, who are supposed to be a stocked with defensive depth and two-way players, allow more shots than every team in the league but Philidephia.

    And, if that’s not enough, we are 12th in the league for most goals allowed.

    We may have depth, we may have youth, we may have speed. Say what you want, but these numbers are, to say the least, unacceptable.

    We are still second in the Northeast, and it is still relatively early, so there is plenty of time to turn things around. But this won’t happen without Bob getting on the horn. Time to shake things up!!! Do it for Guy. Don’t wait!

  15. Yeats says:

    I just get really tired reading the standard cliche quotes from the likes of Higgins, et al, after a game like last night. Of course like any professional sports team, the Habs have younger grade-school fans. But, I would venture to guess that the majority of posters are adults with some education, life experiences or have played the game, some at a high level. Please guys, say something insightful. That we have to show up for the full 60 minutes, have to have that killer instinct, have to do the little things crap just isn’t working for us. If you were pissed about last night’s line combinations Koivu, just say so. You certainly looked like you were none too happy in the close ups I saw last night. If you think Carbo’s sit-back-and-protect-the-lead strategy was crap, come out an say it. Most of us are adults here. Spouting the same nonsense game, after game, after goddamn game, is wearing a little thin, at least with me.

  16. showey47 says:

    Other than the flu there are 2 things in hockey that are contageous, they are confidence and hard work. Price reeks of confidence and it may explain why the team usually plays better in front of him on most nights. Most of our hardwork was sitting in the pressbox last night, if it is smokes and breezer in the pressbox last night instead we probably win. If price plays in net we win easily

  17. likehoy says:

    when the habs go on losing streaks, i stop watching and stop reading up on them cuz it just gets me angry at how terrible they’re playing.

    Stopped watching half-way through the NJ game…and skipped the preds game…maybe i’ll watch detroit cuz it’ll be an entertaining game.

  18. kevin m says:

    Right on yeats!

    This team still doesn’t know what a “killer instinct” is. It has nothing to do with the comfort zone provided by being up by “x” number of goals during a game or the number of minutes left in a period or a game.

    As long as a team believes it can come back from adversity, it usually can. “Killer instinct” comes from the need to break the spirit of the opposition by whatever means available… be it another goal, a crushing hit or a one sided fight.

    It is team mental toughness and this team doesn’t have it!

  19. Yeats says:

    There is no accounting for taste!

  20. doug says:

    he’s LEADING the balloting! holy crap2!

  21. B says:

    Ottawa has lost 6 in a row, yet their fans are not flying off into a hysterical frenzied panic demanding huge scale changes. Montreal looses 4 of 6 and, well, just read most of their comments lately…

  22. NLhabsfan says:

    My thoughts …if this season ends like last season….There will be major coaching changes.I guess I am alone in thinking that this team is fairly good and will make the playoffs.In defense of Ryder he is deadly around the slot.I have seen his positioning off quite a bit.Trying to do too much and not getting a chance to shoot enough….nice to see some support from teammates.He has lost his confidence and I believe he will get it back.I would love to see him play with two grinders( someone not afraid to go to the corners)You might see results for him.Goal keeping.Price is getting better by the game…but has a weak stick side and plays down quite a bit…upstairs.Huet is as good as you get and IS our number one goalie.Defensively the whole teams needs to upgrade from the forwards on down..At centre we have been very weak down the middle. We have had some very poor officiating calls against us, as have other teams.Trade I wouldn’t ..we have some great young fire eaters down in Hamilton and other leagues..Montreal will get through this rough patch…wouldn’t like to be the Sens right now with 6 Straight losses.No one is invincible.

  23. MICP says:

    It amazes me how when the Habs win it doesnt matter if their giving up 3rd period goals or being outshot by a wide margin but as soon as they lose, like they should, the world comes to an end.
    Just a couple of weeks fans were claiming we were one of the best and now…………

    How many times have we come back when down after the first peruiod?

    0, as in not once.

    Our 5 on 5 play is what, near the top?

    NO. Only if you turn the standings upside down.

    We lost at home to Florida, Atlanta & Buffalo.
    We can not beat Toronto in regulation, look at last years games. Same thing.
    The truth is that we cant close games out. We can not clamp down like a NJ or Buffalo.

    We are the gift that keeps on giving, it is the holidays and we all know that means it is time to lose.

    We see this every year, lets start crossing our fingers & pray for that 8th playoff spot. We joke about the laffs but yet we struggle with them. If nothig else a least they can beat Ottawa & us in regulation.

  24. Yeats says:

    That’s the true irony of last night’s game. The Habs deserved to be blown out of it in the first period. They miraculously go up 3-0 only to watch Huet’s gaff open the Gates of Hell. I think if it were over after one, as it should have been, you’d see a lot less bitching and moaning from all of us on HIO.

  25. Yeats says:

    A dozen water bottles maybe? And, he’s on the All Star ballot. Holy Crap!!!

  26. Will Longlade says:

    Did the Habs make a pact with the Preds to play without any defencemen for the 1st ten minutes of the game? The Preds sure have speed and they finish their checks. Montreal was lucky not to be behind by three goals after two. Boy, this team’s decent to the gates of Hades has not been fun to watch. Let’s hope the rest of December is easier to watch.

  27. doug says:

    huet has zero trade value

  28. showey47 says:

    after coming home from hockey and watching the second and third period which i had recorded on the pvr a few things occured to me. First of all why didn’t i stay out and drink after the game i would of taken a serious hangover over the sickness in my stomach that this ending gave me. Also, will carbo ever learn that you can no longer sit back on any kind of a lead anymore in this league? Will huet ever play a game where he doesn’t give up at least one weak goal?

    Then it came too me. What can price ever learn from huet? We are apparently keeping huet around to tutor price, but price already has better fundamentals than huet. Huet usually caves under pressure when playing on cbc meanwhile price thrives when playing when the entire hockey world is watching (world juniors). Price can face over 40 shots a game and win, huet usually loses. Price is money in the shootout, huet not in the same league.

    Remember last season when abby had a great start. i begged to trade him while his value was high, but most said no because of having that good tandem, even though we had a guy named halak who was tearing it up in the ahl. Then huet gets hurt, abby makes raycroft look like an allstar and we get nothing for abby when we could of gotten something in return.

    I’m not saying huet will flop like abby did but we do need some outside help but it is something to think about. We only have one set of back to back games this month, i say give carey the ball and see how it goes.

  29. Yeats says:

    Once we get a decent lead, we collapse into protect mode. Hasn’t it dawned on Carbo that is precisely what the opposition wants you to do as they try to open it up and take chances. The more time you spend in their end, the lower the probability they will score. It’s just that simple. Plus sitting back and playing d just plain sucks and takes way more effort than forechecking and pressing the other team. Some of you will differ with me on this one, but I play both wing and d and the former is a hell of a lot more fun than the latter.

  30. doug says:

    i agree with your assessment re: coaching being the issue/ pressure test right now. if we don’t come out of it i wouldn’t blame the players.

  31. doug says:

    nicely put; thanks for the voice of reason.

  32. Yeats says:

    One major problem with this team at present is that they are just sooooooo fragile mentally. Brain farts in each of the last two games that resulted in goals sent he Habs right into the crapper. Against the Devils, the Hammer’s cross-point pass to the Breezer that was muffed and resulted in a breakaway and goal was the iceberg that evening. To those blaming Hamrlik for that one, all I have to say is any pass to Breezer has a better-than-even chance of being a big mistake in hindsight. Last night, Huet’s mishandling of the puck, after he was told by Komisarek to stay in the net if he couldn’t see the puck, was the Trojan horse. After Nashville’s resulting shorty, Huet was done psychologically and should have been yanked. It would have also helped us in the shootout because he just blows on breakaways. The shame about last night’s game is that had they won, Lats, who I have ragged on constantly, would have been the first star. One of the night’s that guy puts in a good effort and it just gets pissed away. To Carbo: shorten the bench in the third if you’re ahead>.Stop pissing away points or, as God is my witness, that last game of the season against the leafs will matter for at least one of the teams.

  33. tleblanc says:

    Well I went to bed feeling very badly about the game after watching most of it on the TIVO on fast forward. I then re-watched it this morning trying to figure out what the issue is. It did occur to me that this has now happened to us on at least four separate occasions this year. Ottawa, Florida, Toronto and Nashville. There’s probably more. Clearly this team doesn’t know how to play shut down hockey and considering the coaching staff I find that incredible. The one thing that is very evident is that in the last period they start meeting the opposition at the red line and falling back from there and although there may be teams that can do that, it clearly is not this version of the Habs. Coincidentally I watched the Rangers game yesterday afternoon and Shanahan’s comment at the end of their win was that a sign of a champion is being able to play shut down hockey. Perhaps this is part of the learning process but I feel the lesson isn’t being taught very quickly if at all. That responsibility must fall directly on the coaching staffs shoulders. Not only Carbonneau but the entire staff.

    Now every winning team has to go through this type of adversity and just look at Ottawa, and Anaheim for reference but it is how you get out of it. Carbo and his boys have their work cut out for them but this is more their test rather than the players test. After all I think Bonk and Ribero show evidence that players put into different situations can adapt and improve. Even the older players.

  34. mjames says:

    Who instructs the team to back into its end in the last ten minutes of the game. During this time we had no forecheck. We let Nashville come into our zone and set up, hoping for a break out. If this supposed to be a defensive strategy then I do not understand the game. At times I counted four Nashville players around out net.

    I am confused by this strategy. We do this on a regular basis. Someone has to ask why we always seem to give up the the crucial goal in the final two minutes. I do not blame the players. There is something else going on.

    What is more confusing is that no reporter dares to ask Carbo what strategy he employs. I guess everyone is intimidated by him. Everyone talks about the lines. That is not the issue in my opinion. I wish we could get a reporter in there to query the coaching staff on its strategy. The reporting is as useful as Carbo’s strategy.

    Lastly we do not need Simoloski and Kostopoulos on the team. Bring up some other guys. Funny how Bonk scores the winning goal. I can assure you he would never be used by Carbo at that point in a game if he playeed for us. Interesting that Bonk has as many goals as he had with us all last year. I think the majority of our players would have more impressive stats if they played for another team. I wonder why that is??????

    mjames

    mjames

  35. Bill says:

    It’s just not realistic to expect any team to go through a season without enduring a slump or two. We were expecting this. At the beginning of the year everyone was talking about the hot start, and the wise among us (not me!) were saying that though the Habs were playing over their heads, they were racking up valuable points that would help them weather just this sort of storm. Everyone is acting like this is completely out of the blue. It’s not.

    When a team goes into a funk they don’t click, stop skating, and blow third period leads. If the Habs are a decent squad, they will come out of this soon. If they don’t come out of it, then they’re probably just exactly as good a team as just about all of us thought they were before the season started.

    Making trades, etc., is not what this season is about. This team is still just coming together. Remember how we’re all being patient as Gainey’s draft picks gradually come through the pipeline? Maybe the big start got some of us thinking the Habs were ready to contend again, but they’re not. If they make the playoffs with this crew, great. If not, we look to next year and the year after, when we may legitimately begin to hope again.

  36. HabsWatcher says:

    4, 4th lines

  37. doug says:

    It’s up to Carbo, plain and simple. Last year he fueled the team’s December downturn by being a sour, whining toddler when the team needed leadership from behind the bench. Last year he also juggled lines within games and across them. Sadly, he’s doing both again now, tainting my fond memories of what had been one of my all-time favorite Habs before he took the job.

    This team is solid in terms of talent. They are young – sure – but they have speed and offense and defense and, notwithstanding last night, are deep in goal both in Montreal and on the farm. Sometimes they play so well they look a year away from being a contender – that was the common posting here about a month ago. But when they go down, they go down hard, and that, my friends, is the coach’s job to correct.

    I said last season post-January that I thought that Carbo was the problem. I repeat that now unless he surprises me with a temperamental shift – and temperaments are pretty much ingrained in us from birth and are immutable thereafter. Good hockey player, hard worker, on-ice leader, bad coach. I’d play the string out and fire him in the off-season; this team is too talented to go undiscovered/be disbanded by a sulking, angry, and bad coach.

  38. Chorske says:

    I think the point is that even a losing Ottawa is a sure-fire playoff bet. An iffy, fragile Montreal squad might find itself on the outside looking in come April / May. As fans, we have the right to express some frustration when a team performs poorly, regardless of expectations.

    We are an impatient lot, though. A player’s only ever as good as his last game. Or last shift, if you’re Smolinski.

  39. Yeats says:

    You are, of course, right. Yet, today it is very hard to keep anything from the public. The look on Koivu’s face last night during close ups last night told you what he thought of Carbo’s line changes. And, I don’t care what Carbo says, putting the Captain with those two guys on his wings was sending a message. At least be up front about it. Heck, if Al MacNeil can bench Henri Richard in the Stanley Cup finals against Chicago, Carbo can come clean as well. Considering how many times we hear the same crap from the players after a crumby game, you would think that some reporter would press them with a string of “whys.” “We have to show up for the full 60 minutes and we didn’t do that.” “You said that last game, why didn’t you do it tonight?” “We have to make the most of our chances.” “You said that last game, why didn’t you do that tonight?” You get my point. The press lets these guys off way too easily. And, we are stuck reading this crap game after game. At least, come up with something novel. I sucked tonight because I had a fight with my girl friend, she pissed me off to holy hell and I got drunk. Something new, please!

  40. ebk says:

    5th in the league in SV%

  41. Ali says:

    Problem: The last time a player questioned the coach openly, he was castrated by the media and people like Demers were saying he should be traded for not keeping it behind closed doors. Kovalev did the right thing, but everyone jumped on him, which is why nobody else will have the stones to do it again.

  42. JasonM says:

    BLAH BLAH BLAH. All I read is Price bandwagon mumbo jumbo. Geez, he let in a softie off an odd bounce after keeping his team in the game, let’s send him to the bench immediately.

    Hey, here’s a stat for you.

    – 3rd period shots 20 to 5 –

    I’ll let you guess which one had 20 and which one had 5.

  43. Vecs says:

    Price is fine with playing every other game or every third game because he’s a rookie. He has to prove himself in the NHL. Huet has proved himself. Countless times. I don’t think we can keep asking and expecting Huet to prove himself as the number one goalie playing at best every other game (or in this case not for a whole week) and then treating him like a 1b goalie. Hopefully Bob trades Huet because I don’t like how this organization has handled him. Fire Carbo and Muller while you’re at it Bob. What a joke.

  44. JasonM says:

    I don’t believe this loss is due to individual mistakes (well Smolinski’s dumbbell penalty was a big one but the game was sliding out of our hands at that point) but much rather due to tactics coming from the bench to let up on our opponents in the final minutes of the game.

    To clarify, instead of going in with solid forechecking we wait for them at the red line and attempt (miserably mind you) to lock down the central zone. Instead of passing the puck up and trying to muster some offense, there’s panic and people try to chip it up the ice the moment they get their stick on it. We’ve seen this in the past when we lost to Florida, when we lost to Toronto, when we lost repeatedly to Ottawa… halfway into the third, there is little attempt to perform any offense. Heck, even 3rd or 4th liners get PP time when they could have put the hurt into the other team and that’s not only this game.

    So far this has cost the team not 1 or 2 points but now well over half a dozen points and it is ALWAYS the same story and has already enough that I’m able to tune off the game without feeling great anger/frustration and now simply feel quiet bitterness knowing that unless that coaching strategy changes, this will happen again and again and will eventually cost this team a chance to the playoffs.

    Carbo had it easy last year, being a rookie and all but now he’s a lot more accountable for his actions.

  45. ColRouléBleu says:

    “Team D has gone south over the last while.” Funny how this happens when Markov is practically out of the picture. Well actually it’s not funny at all. Hard enough to be solid with three good to great D-men out of six, when you’re down to two, you cant expect miracles.

  46. ebk says:

    They have blown leads with those two in the line-up as well, so I’m not sure that is the reason why they blew this one but hey it might be.

  47. howtathor says:

    Like your pic! Chipchura ain’t the greatest skater either but he makes up for it in smarts and hustle. The kid must have been doing something right to pot 71 goals.

  48. Sbah Reverof says:

    Although it has been a rough ride lately, one thing I’ve noticed about this team this year is that they are pretty good at correcting their mistakes within a game or two. I think these guys hate to lose as much as we hate watching it happen. I honestly believe that within a month or so, they will be much better at protecting and adding to their lead. Last night was such an excellent example of what happens when you stop playing before the buzzer, that we will see less and less of this relaxed attitude as time goes on. This is not my world view through Hab-coloured glasses, rather the ups and downs of watching a young exciting team evolving into a real contender.
    ps-I don’t smoke crack.

  49. Exit716 says:

    So two years of Radek Bonk at around $2.7 million would have been better than say one year of Sergei Smolinski or is it Bryan Samonsov?
    Isn’t it a sign of a declining player when they get dumped three times in one year?

  50. Les-Habitants says:

    I’d rather see Koivu takes Plekanec’s spot in between Kovy and Higgins, then move Kostitsyn onto the RW (like he was in hamilton) with Plek and Lats…for now. Smokes back to centre between Begin and Dandy. Finally, put Ryder next to a smart centre like Chip and Kostopolous, a line where he scored on his first game.

    If Lats can’t keep up with Plek and Tits, then put Grabo there (Plek Grabs Tits?). I don’t think Grabovski can play physically enough (yet) to play centre, but on the wing he’d be able to use his speed a lot better. However, try it first with Lats because he’s actually scoring right now.

    I said it yesterday as well, but last night Gorges demonstrated that he deserves a prolonged try-out on the d-corp.

  51. The Ian Cobb says:

    I know, but they can’t kill anything, Need a gun, or a bigger heart!

  52. The Ian Cobb says:

    Scary thought! but true, ebk

  53. ebk says:

    the general reason players are in the minors, is that they are not better than the players who are in the NHL. Usually it is that simple.

  54. The Ian Cobb says:

    There must be a reason why these players are not playing up with us. I don’t have a clue what it might be. More seasoning maybe, work on some aspect of the game that the club feels nesesary. What ever it is, I sure hope they get it together soon.

    We drafted a lot of pure snippers that we still have on the farm. Corey Locke is another one, and there are more.
    I kind of feel the long term plan is to go this year with what we have on the ice now, and let these other kids get all kinds of ice time on the farm to get them ready for next year.

    What ever it is, i suppose we just have to trust BG and Carbo’s long term plan. Long term i hope is on the squad after training camp next year or we have not drafted well enough.

    They are sure putting us through the ringer right now though

  55. Blitzen says:

    See-low skater from what I’ve heard. Makes Lats look fast.

  56. B says:

    After he went undrafted, Montreal did gave him a chance. He did not make the Habs or Bulldogs roster and is now playing for the Cincinnati Cyclones where his 9 goals in 18 games are not bad but hardly lighting it up in the ECHL. Halak managed to go from the ECHL to the NHL in one season, if Beauregard is the real deal then he will work his way up (but doing it in one season is very rare). He has been given his chance and time will tell if it was worth it.

  57. Yeats says:

    I agree with your points. He had impressive stats in the Q. My question is why is this guy toiling away in the ECHL?

  58. B says:

    Exactly, Ottawa is a top team and Montreal is not. I love it when they over achieve, but I don’t fly into a panic when they come back down to earth. They are still higher in the standings than most predicted or expected. Just being realistic here.

  59. ebk says:

    About three weeks ago, when the Habs were rolling, I made the mistake of stating, that I didn’t think this team was any better than last years. To make a long story short, I got berated by our resident hockey experts, telling me I knew nothing about hockey(they are right) and this team was much improved and I needed to get my head out of my a||.

    Someone with a ton of hockey knowledge even broke it down further
    Smolinski was an upgrade of Bonk
    Kostopoulous was an upgrade of Mike Johnson
    Hamrlik and Brisebois were better than Souray and Rivet

    Today, I would think only the most avid Hab fan with his hab goggles firmly in place would try to make this argument. Hamrlik as an individual, might be more valuable than Souray, but partnered with Brisebios, this comparision isn’t even close.

    Bonk and Johnson formed a fairly decent third line, were effective penalty killers and could be matched up against the other teams best line and would do a good job. The same can’t be said about the new pair. In reality, Kostopoulous is doing exactly what you expect of him, he is a fourth line grinder who generally works hard. It is not his fault he is asked to play a role he can’t handle.

    This is not to place the blame at the above mention players feet. There is plenty of that to go around. Koivu,Ryder and a few others need to pick it up and in a hurry. Brisebois, Streit, Bouillon and Gorges get pushed off the puck way to much in their own end and make horrible outlet passes when pressed by a strong forecheck

    But Hab fans there is light at the end of the tunnel. They sit today in a play-off spot. The conference is so mediocre from top to bottom, that they will be fighting with about 10 teams for the last 4 or 5 play-off spots.
    No team in the eastern conference looks like world beaters. So maybe, just maybe, the light isn’t an oncoming train.

    sorry for the essay and thanks for reading this far.

  60. likehoy says:

    koivu will most likely centre lats and ryder and that will be considered the top line if your first 2 lines stay the same…

  61. habitual says:

    Firstly, we can always laugh at the Laffs. Maybe just not as loud.

    Secondly, what is all this doom? Every team but Detroit has gone through losing streaks this year: Ottawa, Ananheim, Carolina, Tampa, New Jersey are examples that come to mind.

    We all know the team needs a scoring forward. Huet hasn’t been as domanint as we thought. But this is a playoff team. Maybe the hot start fired everyone’s expectations up, and this losing streak makes the fall in expectations harder.

    Almost no hockey pundit predicted Montreal making the playoffs. I suggest Habs fans would have gladly accepted a finish between 6 – 8 in the standings. This team will do that.

  62. Hot_Pie says:

    You know, it could just be that Price is actually sick.

    If there’s a trade involved, I highly doubt it’s going to be Price. I’m pretty sure Gainey stated that he wasn’t going to touch our core of players, and Price is the nucleus that this whole team is being built around.

    If anyone is going to get traded, I think it’s Huet.

    If Gainey trades Price however, I might just quit being a habs fan altogether.

  63. MikeL says:

    well huet wont be in any trade involving vinny, thats for sure….I really dont know if I would like a Price for Vinny trade or not.

  64. The Teacher says:

    I dunno, you build your team around two top flight forwards, 2 top flight defencemen, and a top flight goalie..

    Koivu and Vinny would qualify
    Komi and Markov qualify
    Huet or Price…..I’m inclined to go with Price.

    Would I give him up for Vinny….

    no..I don’t think so…

  65. showey47 says:

    Besides we would have to move about 6 million worth of salaries to stay under the cap. What are the odds that a player being mentioned going the other way is koivu? They are gonna want a center in return and moving pleky wouldn’t create the cap space required and possibly some high price depth players like bouillon, dandy or begin and prospects. You can pretty much guarantee that some very high draft picks would be involved going there way also.

  66. likehoy says:

    maybe halak is being brought up to show that he’s NHL ready for tampa’s sake…

    kovalev for lecavalier?

  67. Chorske says:

    I’ve said this elsewhere, I think the chances of us landing Vinny are, well, nil. He has a contract, he likes where he is enough to resign with them, and he is way out of our leagues cost-wise.

    If I am wrong I will change my sig pic to a shot of myself eating my own hat. I mean it. If we sign Vinny this season, I eat an item of my own outerwear.

    And I think it’s pretty clear Gainey’s Habs don’t trade first round draft picks that currently have winning records and show every sign of being the goalie of the future. They are going to build around this kid.

  68. MikeL says:

    u couldnt even pull that one off in NHL 08.

  69. likehoy says:

    lol the trick is you put draft picks in it…cuz we all know the draft picks in NHL 08 are balls…

    and then you make it lopsided by putting players rated 55 from tampa…so it seems like you’re trading your best player and best draft pick for tampas shitty players…

    i’ve mastered EA NHL after like 10 years…hahaha

    but seriously though…read the article from a couple of previous posts before on hockey buzz…vinny could be available, and we can always dream :P.

  70. The Ian Cobb says:

    Gee, you guys make me laugh. Nobody is going anywhere, now or later. The guy is sick and we need a backup for Price, simple as that. I know we are smarting after the last few games, even Teats is disapointed and I feel the same pain brother. But this is Carbo’s team for better or worse and for the rest of the year. The only moving around is going to be between Hamilton & Montreal, so we have to watch Carbo try different combinations untill we strick the right chemistry. I say we beat Detroit 3 to 2. Its going to be a nail bitter, but this one i have a feeling that we are going to stay focast to the end. I don’t think they will sit back and protect, i think they will take it to them. Best defence is a strong offence.

  71. The Ian Cobb says:

    Sorry, i said wrong tender was sick.

  72. Yeats says:

    Ian: I am going somewhere right now, to bed. Things will either get better, or they will get worse, but we can’t stay where we are forever. I’m hitting the rack on a high note. Just watched a show on NHL Net about Game 5 of the ’93 Finals. I was there in the Forum that night. Gosh, if I knew it might be last one, I would have gotten twice as loaded. Well, like most knowledge, once you have it, it is of absolutely no use to you anymore. Good night!

  73. showey47 says:

    If we were playing tomorrow night i could see this, but we are playing tuesday so why the call up now? Why not wait till late monday to see how carey is feeling cause worse case he sits and huet plays. Or this could be a case of being cautious and having 2 healthy goalies for the morning practice tomorrow. i guess we will all know tomorrow after the morning skate

  74. likehoy says:

    Well don’t underestimate Bob Gainey.

    His track record shows he wants a big gun for the team. Yes he said he wants to build from the inside, and building from the inside he has, but remember Alex Kovalev was traded for in BG’s first season, and since he’s been looking for a big gun year in year out in the UFA. If Vinny Lecavalier is available like it’s rumoured, don’t be surprised that BG has jumped on the bandwagon cuz WHO wouldn’t want the biggest gun possible??

    I’ve said it before, if the time is right, and we need to load up for a playoff run cuz BG thinks the time is now, then he will make the big move to get the star player we’re longing for.

    It’s not like he’d be insulting the development from within…he’s rewarding the development with a player to help bring the team a step further, to give them the best possible chance to win.

  75. showey47 says:

    Agreed totally cause if there is any truth to vinny being available you can guarantee bob will do whatever it takes to land him. This is one of the very few players that he would overpay to get

  76. likehoy says:

    i agree that he might over-pay to get him, but i hope the overpayment isn’t carey price higgins or komi…and we already know andrei markov is our only untouchable…

    and gainey doesn’t ever overpay…

    e.g. all UFAs that wanted 10 year contracts and gainey only gave 5-7 years…

  77. showey47 says:

    they would’t want higgy because they would want a center in return. Komi on the other hand is a possibility i wouldn’t want to trade him either but if it meant getting possibly the best player in the world, you have to know its gonna cost you. The sting wouldnt be as bad if dan boyle was part of the deal cause he is a ufa and probably won’t be back in tampa

  78. ebk says:

    to play the trade game a little, the Habs do not have one player in their organization anywhere who is worth Vinnie Lecavalier. If he is available, take your best shot to get him, no one is untouchable.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Mr. Boone and Mr. Stubbs, was it not Sam Pollock himself who believed that whomever receives the best player in the trade, wins the trade.

  79. likehoy says:

    i’d go for dan boyle…throw in breezeby and smo and we got ourselves a deal :P

  80. likehoy says:

    very nice quote

  81. ebk says:

    The list below is of forwards, who have yet to register their first even strength goal in 2007/2008 season and how many minutes they have played.

    Pettinger 478
    Weight 391
    Smolinski 376
    Burish 360
    Hossa 355
    Smith 349
    Tjarnqvist 321
    Kostopoulous 297
    Zeiler 258
    Adams 256

    To be fair to Smolinski and Kostpoulous each has two goals. Kostopoulous scored two short-handed. Smolinski scored one on the PP and one into an empty net. The list is pretty unscientific but I think you get the idea generally.
    Sorry I was bored tonight. Thanks for reading

  82. oshawahabsfan says:

    Guillme and Chipchura should stay together it’s a no brainer. They played on Team Canada at the World Juniors for a couple years, they’ve won a championship together. Any time a player has previous experience with another player it’s going to lead to faster chemistry and overall better play because of it. With Dandy they’d be a solid 3rd line unit, one that has a bit of everything: speed, big bodies, and some decent scoring ability, Gui and Freddy Prinze Jr. could each score 20+ no problem, it may not be this year but it will happen, and Dandy could also tickle the twine himself a few times in the process. That’s just my 2 cents, I finally decided to create an account and join in the posting fun.

  83. Zoupa says:

    Btw, concerning the Koivu + others for Vinny trade talk:

    Koivu has 5 even strength goals in his last 71 games. Lecavalier has 33.

    Still think it’s gonna happen? WE either make the playoffs with the kids or we tank. There’s no help coming this year.

  84. showey47 says:

    i to thought that but then we got recchi for leclair, desjardins and dionne. Who was the best player after that trade was made?

  85. The Teacher says:

    Welcome, Welcome,

    enjoy your stay

  86. The Teacher says:

    Which Hossa?

    Marcel or Marian?

  87. CH1909-2009 says:

    You’re absolutley right Mike, Kostytsin and Grabovski need a RW to keep up with them: that man should be Mark Streit. He’s twice the player as a forward, and he’s got the wheels and the hockey sense to do it I think.

    Kovalev Plekanec Higgins
    Kostytsin Grabovski Streit
    Ryder Chipchura Latendresse

    … Begin Koivu Kostopoulos?????
    Am I starting to get the feeling Koivu is playing himself out of the top lines on this team?

    GO HABS GO

  88. Gilles Poisson says:

    Thank you Mr.Grabs from now on I will try to elevate my posts to a higher form of communication like name calling. Thank you.

  89. ebk says:

    LOL, stop it your killing me.

  90. Grabs says:

    Are you an idiot?

  91. Gilles Poisson says:

    Mr Grabs, I am very sad that you ask of me a question like that. That is not a complement. But now I see that in some ways like in my English and my hockey analysis that compared to you we are almost all idiots. Thank you.

  92. Grabs says:

    I ask because it seems all you are capable of is tiresome, endless sarcasm, the lowest form of communication.

  93. ebk says:

    he maybe an idiot but he is a funny one.

  94. saku11 says:

    on the bright side I heard that Hasek will be in nets on Tuesday night. So far this season he has an 0.864 save percentage.

  95. Yeats says:

    That may be true, but I’d be willing to bet he brings what remains of his A game to Montreal Tuesday night.

  96. Da Hema says:

    I was not aware, until as reported above, that Bonk signed with Nashville for $1.35 million. I never understood why he was not re-signed with the Habs. He was originally overpaid when he came to Montreal, but he was never a liability on the ice. He is big (which is what the Habs’ centres are not), he wins faceoffs (which the Habs’ centres cannot), and he is a responsible player (which a third of the Habs’ forwards are not). Nashville got a bargain with Radek.

    There is something so much darker and disturbing going on with the Habs. What in the world did Ronald Corey and Serge Savard do to alienate so many of our former great players who are also great coaches and appraisers of young talent like Jacques Lemaire, Jacques Laperriere, and Larry Robinson? How could this organisation allow its institutional heart to just vaporise?

    Dark days indeed.
    _________________________________________________________
    “Play every game as if it is your last one.”
    –Guy Lafleur

    “Those were little monumental mistakes.”
    –Jean Perron

  97. Yeats says:

    With each passing day I move closer and closer to the view that the only two things connecting this team to its glorious past are its physical location in Montreal and its uniforms. After that, I’m just left scratching my head.

  98. MannyP says:

    Let’s tab a new nickname for Guillaume Latendresse: Tenderness.

  99. Da Hema says:

    I cannot understand why so many are picking on Latendresse. I doubt very much that Predator who struggled to get back to the bench after trying to hit Latendresse would agree he is “tender.” Let me ask those of you who are picking on him: would you rather see a young player develop–one who, I might add, is at least trying–or would you rather watch, say, Smolinski? I’ll take young and inexperienced players any day over some of the veteran garbage on the team.
    _________________________________________________________
    “Play every game as if it is your last one.”
    –Guy Lafleur

    “Those were little monumental mistakes.”
    –Jean Perron

  100. Da Hema says:

    You are so right Yeats. Those of us who remember what the organisation once was are now tortured by these memories….
    _________________________________________________________
    “Play every game as if it is your last one.”
    –Guy Lafleur

    “Those were little monumental mistakes.”
    –Jean Perron

  101. Yeats says:

    It could be worse. We at least have memories of what this franchise was. I really pity the younger supporters and kids who love this team as much as the rest of us who may never experience how great it was to watch this club when they were on fire. That is what’s really sad.

  102. Da Hema says:

    What frightens me though, Yeats, is that fans like us are turning into those pathetic old farts who blindly cheer for the Leafs and their long-past “glory days.”
    _________________________________________________________
    “Play every game as if it is your last one.”
    –Guy Lafleur

    “Those were little monumental mistakes.”
    –Jean Perron

  103. Yeats says:

    You may be right. We used to have those odd years like ’86 and ’93 when we weren’t the best team in the League, but events would conspire in such a way that we walked away with the Cup. Heck, we can’t even walk away with one game that we had no right winning when pretty much every bounce went our way. The ghosts are probably saying to the current squad, you have to at least meet us half way with some effort.

  104. Yeats says:

    I also think that many of us, while we love the Habs, love the Game even more. We’ll just find another team that gets our juices going and is fun to watch. I’ve been catching a bunch of Blackhawks games recently and they’re a fun young group to watch. And, they do have the second best uniform in the NHL.

  105. ebk says:

    I’m not a hab fan by choice, it is a disease I was born with. Therefore I don’t have the option of cheering for another team. :)

    You two are right about the Hab/Leafs comparison. Habs fans are living in the past almost as much as the leaf fans do. I’ve always said the only thing more annoying than a Hab fan is a Hab hater. Well, that and a Leaf fan.

  106. Yeats says:

    To be fair to our gang, I do think we’re a little bit more realistic than leafs’ supporters on balance. They really enter every season believing that they are contenders even though they haven’t gotten to a final since the first expansion from six to 12 teams. We always hope for the best, but all too often recently, have been disappointed by the team. Although we, myself included, exhibit all of the symptoms of abused spouse syndrom, I do think we have a firm grip on reality and know what the current squad is actually capable of. We suffer from excessive hope. It has yet to progress to the full-blown delusion that the leafers have contracted. We could, however, be on the road to it. I just don’t know yet.

  107. Bill says:

    I think you nailed the distinction between Hab and Leaf fans right there. Leaf fans always think they’ll roll to the Cup final, and that Darcy Tucker will win the Conn Smythe. I always say you can tell the general intelligence level of Leaf fans by the type of player they admire. Remember how much they loved Domi? Laughing. Out. Loud.

  108. ebk says:

    Chris Nilan was and still is a huge hab fan favorite. I like his as well, so I’m not sure your point is valid.

  109. Yeats says:

    I have been very critical of Latendresse, but you couldn’t say that he didn’t play well last night. The goals he scored were nice and had they held on to win, he would have been first star of the game. Personally, I think Koivu has been very quiet in the press recently because you can’t give “the look” to the other fellows in the room when you yourself are not performing.

  110. Gilles Poisson says:

    I don’t think we should question Bob or coach Guy. They forgot more about hockey then I will ever remember. At least we got 3 even strength goals against a good team. I almost say better team but Gumper statistically proved to me that the Habs are the better team. Merci beaucoup Gumper. Whenever my eyes or my brains tries to trick me then I must check the stats. Now coach Guy must be patient with his new lines and give them time to get to know each other. Thank you.

  111. Erik says:

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/12022007/sports/nhl_is_wrong_to_favor_variety_over_rival_815321.htm?page=2

    Interesting article on the schedule These whiny teams like edmonton calgary buffalo I HATE them. BS No

  112. The Ian Cobb says:

    HEY YEATS! I”M back in the saddle, just thinking were we were at training camp, all positive and exited about this club. we were picked by most to finish out. But we thought we were better because of some off season moves and maybe after winning the AHL that some help would be comming down the pike. The jump from AHL to NHL is large for 20, 21 year olds.

    As soon as we find 4 lines with chemistry and play 20 games together, then and only then will we start to see the bounces start to go our way.

    I will continue to watch how we evolve under this management and I absolutly know that we have the right GM in place. I know we will get there, it’s a case of no pain,no gain.

    So better play the best to see where we really are and clip the Wings. Smiles all around if that were to happen!

  113. Yeats says:

    Ian, I know what you’re saying, but last night was bad, real bad. We had an opportunity granted by the ghosts to walk away with two points we did not deserve. But, alas, Huet misplays a puck behind the net and the HMS Habs starts going down by the bow. It was truely just a matter of time. It was as certain as death and taxes. You didn’t need the engineer Andrews to tell you the result. In an hour, she would be and, she was, on the bottom of the Atlantic.

    Get your tickets for that last game of the season against the leafs at the Bell Center now. I have a very sick feeling that it will actually matter for one of the teams involved, although at this point, I can’t tell you which.

  114. Grabs says:

    No pain no gain, well said Ian.

  115. Bill says:

    You are correct, it is not new at all. I would also like to mention that it’s not necessarily a derogatory name … when he scored two goals last night, I was feeling the tenderness in quite a good way!

  116. Grabs says:

    Let me begin by saying that I cursed a 5 minute long blue streak after the Habs allowed the leafs to tie it up 3-3, and that turned to utter disgust when it happened again last night. This team is missing some key ingredients, and until we get them we’ll continue to struggle from time to time, but let’s not lose our heads.

    The Habs aren’t as bad as their record of late would suggest, nor are they as good as we all had hoped. It’s hard not to get excited when your team gets off to a fast start, particularly if we as fans are all pumped up by the young talent bubbling under the surface. That young talent is still there, it simply needs more time to develop experience.

    We’re short on quality defensemen, but that has been addressed in recent drafts and will improve in the near future, the offense is another story.

    Koivu has never been a goal scorer. He’s a great setup man, with noone to setup. If he had the proper wingers, nobody would dispute him as a first line center, without them, he simply can’t do the job, few could. I’d leave Latendresse up there along with Kostitsyn and hope for the best, there simply isn’t any other option. Latendresse may never be another Brendan Shanahan, but he’ll turn into a pretty damn good player before too much longer, he’s only 20, wait till he’s 22 or so. Kostitsyn hasn’t even played a full season yet, by the time he’s had a couple of seasons under his belt he’ll be looking very good.

    Plekanec is a capable second line center, I see no problem with him in that role. Higgins is a terrific player, but let’s not confuse him with Mike Bossy, he’s never had those kind of hands, and he never will, keep him together with Plekanec and Kovalev who do have the hands, no matter what Lafleur says, you can’t call that a fourth line.

    Unfortunately, that’s about it for offense. Grabovski, given his age, looks like he won’t amount to very much, and there really isn’t anybody else down on the farm. I’d like to get a look at Sergei Kostitsyn too, but I don’t hold up much hope for a guy who was playing junior last year.

    Our problem is that we don’t have a first line, and that can’t easily be solved. We as fans just have to continue to be patient as our team develops from the net out, as it is currently doing. The big three on defense will soon be complimented by the likes of O’Byrne, Yemelin, Valentenko, and a little further on Mcdonough, Fisher, and Carle. By the time we’ve all bid farewell to Brisebois and Bouillon, Price will be a well established, and probably dominant number one goalie, we still won’t score as much as we’d like, but we’ll be winning a lot of games with tight defense and superb goaltending.

  117. Gilles Poisson says:

    Yes Mr Grabs this is a excellent post thank you. I agree with everything you say. You say we are pumped up by all the young talent bubbling under the surface. This is true for me and I can’t wait until they bubble on the ice like all the other teams young talent. Like you I was very happy Bob got Smolinski and Tom “Le Bombe” to fill in while the young talent bubbles. You are right when you repeat over and over that we must be patient and watch the team develop. It is not for us to ask questions. Bob knows best. One thing I didn’t understand though because I looked up “complimented” in my English dictionary and I have to scratch my head. Do you mean all those young players who may or may not ever play in the NHL will be saying nice things about the big three. How will that help? Je ne comprends pas. Thank you. P.S. you must have been happy to see your boy Grabs in the lineup last night. He is one of my favourite players too. Just wait until he finishes bubbling. Thank you.

  118. johnny boy says:

    I’ve said before and i’ll say it again. The main reason for the late game collapses is the lack of a high-quality 3rd line defensive center. Someone who is tough, and can shut down anyone on the other team. A Gainey/Carbo type player. Someone who let’s the offensive guys score goals without having to be put on the ice in defensive situations where they will inevitably fail. If Gainey makes a trade, i hope he picks up one of the defensive type of players. They’re cheaper then an offensive star, and often just as valuable.

    Chipchura might be that player in 1-2 years. but he is too inexperienced right now.

  119. Zoupa says:

    Gainey just recalled Halak back to Mtl. Price is out with “the flu”.

    Gentlemen, start your speculations about why, and who gets the start on tuesday.

  120. Yeats says:

    Are you serious?

  121. Grabs says:

    My conspiratorial instincts tell me Gainey may be trying to deal Halak, but it could simply be that Price has the flu.

  122. showey47 says:

    where did you hear this? never mind i just saw it on rds

  123. showey47 says:

    If halak starts tuesday and somehow steals one then start the speculation

  124. Grabs says:

    If I’m reading you right Yeats, you called our boys every name in the book after last night’s game, that’s something we have in common. However unlike a certain fair weather fan, I don’t jump ship, never will.

  125. Yeats says:

    I’m not jumping ship, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bitch and moan as the ice cold water makes contact with my nads!

  126. Grabs says:

    You’re preaching to the choir brother!

  127. Yeats says:

    The water’s soooo cold, I’m becoming an alto.

  128. Yeats says:

    If you’re right, BG is the second coming of Sammy. Only the late Mr. Pollack would have the supposed starting goaltender in an upcoming game fein the flu to preview another kicker he wanted to shop. Brilliant!!!

  129. likehoy says:

    the team needs guy lafleur to give some of that revitalizing product he advertises…

    the team needs a revitalize their potency…if they can’t get up for the game, they can’t score!! simple as that.

  130. MikeL says:

    You guys think they are trying to show off Halak with Price out with the flu? If anything, based on what ive read,….Price may not have the “flu”.

    Check it out…

    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=11520

    Vinny for Price? What ya think?

  131. J.T. says:

    This entire weekend was an extravagant, gutwrenching display of crap on ice. It was the Ice Crapades. The PK was crap. The defence was crap. The goaltending was Utter Crap. Crap like this hasn’t been seen in Montreal since they were shut out back-to-back against Detroit and Vancouver last winter, and at that time the entire team had the barfing, crapping flu. Which makes the latest display of crap even crappier than that.

    We can’t laugh at the leafs. We’ve fallen from our high horse only to realize it was a three-legged nag on its way to the glue factory all along. Isn’t it a sort of cosmic irony that the one thing we were all so sure of…the goaltending…is the thing everyone’s questioning now? Yeah, I’d say Price against Detroit. If only because he’s only given up the tying goal in the last minute once this year, as opposed to Huet’s three times. Not that that’s entirely the goalie’s fault of course. They can’t do a lot when they’re shorthanded in critical situations with the team in front of them running like they’re in Pamplona with a bunch of angry cattle.

    If I were in a hockey pool and I didn’t have Zetterberg and Datsyuk, I’d be scrambling to acquire them immediately. Because the Habs’ fundamentals stink right now and an elite team like Detroit is going to blow them out of the rink unless they can get their heads in the game pronto. But, sadly, I know that even if they do miraculously beat Detroit, it will be because Price stood on his head to preserve a one-goal lead and they flukily manage to score an empty-netter. You know, I find it amazing that when the Habs pull THEIR goalie for an extra man, the other team scores an empty-net goal every time. Yet, when the other team does it, they seem to score the tying goal every time. I think that situation is a microcosm for the fundamental, crippling flaws of this team.

    I don’t know how Jean Beliveau and Red Fisher can watch this crap.

  132. Yeats says:

    I could be wrong, but I think I saw Big Jean sporting some Ipod earplugs at last night’s game. I wonder what he was listening to because he seemed quite mellow.

  133. daveterry says:

    Is the annual drop off after a promising start begining a little early this year? I sure hope not. But all the usual patterns that have reared their ugly heads the last few years are starting to appear. And the flu hasn’t even entered the equation…yet.

    GO HABS.

  134. Revolution No. 9 says:

    The first time I saw the Higgins-Plex-Kovy line, I just thought it made a lot of sense. I really hope they stick with this one for at least another game.

    I also think we can see just how badly this team leans on Markov and outstanding goaltending. If either of those aren’t operating at 100%, this team has a very poor chance at making the playoffs. There are only 10 points between 1st and 14th and dropping a point here is too costly.

    I agree though that the signs are not promising. I don’t think we’ll have the luxury of the flu as an excuse this time around.

  135. doug says:

    I loved your last line. The flue last year occurred subsequent to our collapse, but few people recall that.

  136. Y says:

    I’m just hoping that we don’t see a repeat of Dec.2, 1996.

  137. fun police says:

    fatigue!!! i thought that is why carbo rolls four lines like peewee houseleague.

  138. showey47 says:

    agreed doc add to the fact that these guys are supposed to be world class athletes. maybe they should be riding the bikes like the sens are after a game instead of hitting the nite life

  139. Chuck V. says:

    RDS.ca is showing Jacques Demers’ column saying the organization absolutely needs to give Carbo more to work with. Judging from what I’ve seen, I can’t help but agree. While I love the fact that we’re letting our young players take a key role within the organization, Demers is right when he says that we need to replace some of our veterans who have simply not been helping the team improve. If we got rid of Bonk, was it not to let youngsters take his role? Smolinski is not only not playing well at the moment, but he’s also taking away a spot from a youngster. I know it’s been repeated, but either we need to move towards youth with guys like Smolinski because honestly, it can’t be worse. If we called up a kid from Hamilton at least they’d have the potential to improve, which is not the case with our older veterans.

    Still, this does not take away the fact that we really really need a first line centre! I love Koivu and I love Plekanec, but neither of them is an elite, #1 centre. While I will always be a huge Koivu fan and could never forget being there when he came back from cancer to lead us to the playoffs, he has never scored more than 75 points in a season. Enough said.

  140. JF says:

    Agreed. If the season is going to hell, at least give the young players a chance to play and develop their skills working with and against NHL players. Then perhaps we’ll have a team that can compete at the NHL level, if not next year maybe the year after. The organization needs to give Carbonneau some help, otherwise this season looks like being a complete waste.

    Let Grabovski and Gorges play regularly. Bring up D’Agostini, the younger Kostitsyn, O’Byrne and Lapierre. Sit Ryder, Brisebois and Smolinski. Continue using Streit as a forward, where he looks far more comfortable than on the blueline. These guys will work hard every night to earn a permanent roster spot. We may not see the results right away but at least we won’t see the half-hearted effort we’ve been seeing too often lately.

  141. showey47 says:

    In all fairness to saku when has he ever had a first line winger who could bury his passes. How is he supposed to produce now with streit and smokes as wingers? When saku is playing with teemu on the world stage, they are always one of the most dominant duo’s in the tourney. I don’t blame saku i blame his linemates or the lack there of

  142. BataviaHabsFan says:

    Time to bring up O’Byrne and jettison some folks who are not paying their way (please stand up M. Ryder). If playing for the contract of your career can’t motivate you, not sure what will!

    Huet kept them in this game to the point where they ONCE AGAIN tried to sit on a lead. Unfortunately, they are not a team that can totally slam the door once they have the lead. I agree Huet has to be more consitent for 60 minutes of hockey (see M. Brodeur), but the whole team has to be more consistent for a full game as well.

    Carbonneau can seeth, but somehow he either has to get the players he has to play the way he wants, or they have have to get him the players he needs, or they have to play with what they have under a more suited system or coach. What’ll it be Mr. Gainey?

  143. Gilles Poisson says:

    Chuck V Desolee but I’m going to have to disagree with you and instead agree with Mike Boone that picking up Smolinski and Tom “Le Bombe” were very solid movements. One thing about Gainey that is very regular is his solid movements. Gainey has provided coach Guy many weapons from his arse… how do you say in English.. his arsenal. Smolinski has played very very good hockey for us. One of my favourite hockey analysts here (I forget his nom de plume…something about his favourite player..oh yeah Grabs) Grabs used to always say that he knew Smolinski belonged on our number one line and now finally coach Guy thinks so too. Bob is no fool. He has known for years that the organization is weak at the center position. I know he told Maxim to make himself at home in Hamilton but he has also Locke, Baines, Urquhart, and Russell, in case he hits the bump on the road. Thank you.

  144. 10 says:

    I agree with your take on the fatigue factor fun police. Carbo is constantly moving guys in and out of the lineup while rolling all four lines and he’s got defenceman coming out of his ying yang. Fatigue? Please.

    GO HABS.

  145. ColRouléBleu says:

    Well, a colleague at work got a flu shot. She was the only one to get it in our group and, coincidence? was the only one who got sick with the flu…


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