About last night …

The good news is the Canadiens don’t play Detroit eight times in a season.

The bad news is it doesn’t seem to matter whom they play (it’s the mighty Boston Bruins tomorrow night). The team is still looking for its first win in December. Canadiens have lost three in a row, five of their last six, eight of their last 12.

Playing in front of their usual 21,273 enthusiastic fans, the Canadiens managed a not-so-grand total of 16 shots on goal – four in the third period – while losing 4-1 last night.

The home team’s highlight reel was a Christopher Higgins goal and a flying tackle by Mathieu Dandenault.

Detroit toyed with them. The Red Wings were first to the puck all night long and kept it for long stretches with crisp passes and heady offensive plays. For their part, the Canadiens kept trying to pass the puck through forests of white jerseys, with the predictable result that the Wings would intercept and wheel up ice.

François Gagnon of La Presse writes that while the NHL doesn’t track time of possession, he’d estimate Detroit held the puck for 40 minutes last night. Sounds about right. Maybe 45.

The Ottawa Senators have looked pretty good against Canadiens this season. But off what we saw last night, Detroit is two goals better than Ottawa.

Is Dominik Hasek still the Dominator? Who knows? He didn’t have to be last night.

The Canadiens went 0-for-5 on the power play. They lost 60 per cent of the faceoffs.

They sucked … and they were booed off the ice. Fans didn’t wait for the final sirent to get on Michael Ryder: the snakebit 30-goal scorer was booed every time he touched the puck.

What can Guy Carbonneau do to shake up his floundering hockey team?

Juggle the lines?

Ummm, tried that.

Sit veterans.

Tried that, too.

Call up some Bulldogs?

If they were ready for The Show, Maxim Lapierre, Sergei Kostitsyn and Ryan O’Byrne would be here already.

Divine intervention?

Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte sat behind Canadiens’ bench last night. Didn’t seem to affect Pavel Datsyuk, who comes from a formerly communist and godless country. Didn’t work against Detroit’s Swedes, either. Or that ageless Greek-American.

Carbo’s bag of tricks is almost empty. Last night, he went to one of the most desperate weapons in a coach’s arsenal. Carbonneau called out two of his players.

We’ll see how Andrei Markov and Carey Price react to being publicly criticized by their coach.

Price will shrug it off. Markov? I’m not so sure … but I am certain he’s playing hurt, and the team’s failure to acknowledge that is making Canadiens’ best player look bad.

• • •

Need some good news?

Max Pacioretty, who was the Canadiens’ second first-round draft choice (22nd overall), is having a great freshman season at Michigan and made the U.S. national junior team. We’ll see him on TSN playing at the world championships over the holidays.

And when Pacioretty joins the Canadiens, Chris Chelios will be two or three years older.

Ryan McDonagh did not make the U.S. team. The Americans are deep on defence, and McDonagh is only 18. Of greater concern is David Fischer. The Canadiens’ first-round choice in 2006 is struggling at the University of Minnesota and was left off the U.S. team. Fischer is starting to look like a first-round bust.

• • •

How has Detroit stayed so good for so long?

Henrik Zetterberg, arguably the best two-way player in the NHL, was the 210th amateur drafted in 1999. Zetterberg was one of many gems uncovered by the Wings’ brilliant Director of European Scouting, Hakan Anderson.

Other Detroit steals: Tomas Holmstrom, drafted 257th overall in 1994, Pavel Datsyuk, 171st overall in ’98, Tomas Kopecky, 38th overall in 2000, Jiri Hudler, 58th overall in ’02, Valtteri Filppula, 95th overall in ’02, and Johan Franzen, 97th overall in ’04.

And here’s the scary part: Detroit is $4 million under the salary cap, which means geeral manager Ken Holland can go shopping for the last piece(s) of his Stanley Cup puzzle in February.



  1. Habs Suck says:

    Shortsightedness, my friend. Understand that there is a very obvious difference with Ottawa and the Habs (& Leafs for that matter), no matter what point production each has had in the last 10 games: Ottawa has talent and lots of it, so when they slump it’s temporary. When Mtl. or TO slumps it’s indefinite because mediocrity has no streaks!

  2. Habs Suck says:

    LOL… not exactly what I was thinking, and i think there’d be too much talking and not enough action if all those tv guys were behind the bench.

    However, my idea of calling on Demers is not that insane! This man has the tools to get the job done and with a proven track record.

  3. Yeats says:

    The problem with the Habs right now is that they are completely and utterly rudderless. They are like the German battleship Bismarck, unable to steer their way out of trouble, they must just bob (not Gainey) up and down and take the shells from the British (read opposition) destroyers.

    To those who advocate a new captain, what would that accomplish? You don’t take the “C” off a fellow’s jersey cavalierly, although there are some of us who would say that’s exactly what they did to Mike Keane by trading him. (He did subsequently jam it up the Habs’ management’s rectum by winning a Cup with Roy in Colorado.) Koivu deserves much better than that. You can tell by looking at the man’s face, he knows he is not producing. And, that has limited his ability to stir the troops in the room. Having said that, who’s jersey would you put it on? Kovy has the numbers, but remember there was a reason why Lafleur never wore so much as an “A.” Higgins? He’s potted the equivalent of a few bullshit roller hockey goals, but a firm with his production would go out of business in a week.

    I hate what’s going on with the team. We’ve all been watching this crap on ice for almost a decade and a half now. We should at least be eligible for parole for good behaviour. Yet, it continues to be denied. The only thing we have to hang our collective hats on is that the NHL is a glorified house league for millionaires. With the exception of the Caps, no team is out of it in the Eastern Conference. Pour yourself a “Conn Smythe!” It’s a new drink I just invented. Shotgun 12 ounces of Drambuie and look at the standings. The gap between the Sens and the leafs is just seven points!

  4. nn1 says:

    A stat that may mean nothing:
    The Habs have 7 points in their last 10 games. The two other teams for which this is true are the Eastern Conference-best Ottawa Senators, and the League-worst Washington Capitals.
    There is one team with a worse record in its last ten: Western conference bottom-feeder L.A. Kings.

  5. nightmare_49 says:

    Very true , this team is missing toughness and should have picked up an enforcer at waiver time but we missed the boat and we don’t really have one on the farm. Mike Boone and Dave Stubbs are from the hippie era of peace and love and now that they have graduated to quiche and ascots they say peace, love and turtle.

  6. Gilles Poisson says:

    I’m sorry I can’t speak my thoughts clearly like P.J. Stock or write flowery prose like hockey analyst Grab the Cup but I will try. Yesterday people say some things about Bob that were not nice and I don’t like that. Bob told us before he wants to get balance on the team. So now coach Guy have 9 defenseman and 9 offenseman and 2 goalies. Perfect balance. And also it’s good that Trevor draft the kids and then send them for their education. In 5 years maybe the Habs have the smartest team in the NHL. One thing I worry is if Bob and coach Guy are on the same book. Bob called up two tough players but coach Guy and experts like Mike Boones and Mr. Stubb already says the team is tough enough. I hope now they are not too tough. And now Mr Yeats will say I am a fool and ask if I am on the drugs. Well Mr. Yeats, I just say non to drugs. And if you were fortunate to go the the schoolhouse in my village you would know from Moliere that the fool is sometime wise. And sometime he is just a fool. Thank you.

  7. likehoy says:

    my take on the line up for next game:

    Kostitsyn – Koivu – Ryder
    Higgins – Plekanec – Kovalev
    Latendresse – Markov – Lapierre
    Begin – Chip – Dandy

    Streit – Komi
    Hammer – O’byrne
    Gorges – Bouillon

    Halak to start
    Price to back up

    the reason to my madness?? Markov used to play centre and we could use the offensive help…and also cause it’s probably the only line combination carbo hasn’t tried yet and i wanted to beat him to another set of unsuccessful lines.

    But really…go back to the lines we started the season with or have

    ryder koivu kovy
    higgs – pleks – ktits

    so what if we front load our offensive talent…at this point…it seems like we have no talent…

  8. likehoy says:

    we should have Pierre et Yvon as his assistant coaches too right?? with Benoit Brunet coming out of retirement to captain the team?

  9. Bill says:

    Makes sense. Better looking than Carbo’s lines, whether or not it would work, who knows?

  10. Les-Habitants says:

    Grabs is in the AHL now.

  11. Les-Habitants says:

    Huet’s still out, and I’m guessing will be back next week. That leaves Price and Halak, and concerning his comments on Price then maybe Halak…? I dunno, it’s a toss up really.

  12. TommyB says:

    I really don’t see where a player, especially a touted future leader such as Higgins, calling out the coach would be a helpful situation. Is that what you would really like to see?

    Higgins is “worshipped” by fans and the media…..you want him to be your tool, to make the changes you want! Yeah, let’s let the fans and the media run the team. They’re all so knowledgeable with their line postings and all.

    Give me a break.

  13. Habs Suck says:

    Bring back Jacques Demers!!!! I’ll bet he could lead this team. He’s got guts and charisma and knows his hockey and his players. Does he need the extra stress on his heart? NO. But, I’ll bet he’d entertain the idea….

    I hereby start the “Bring Back Demers Campaign” – anyone else want to paint the banners?

  14. Mike says:

    I’m not gonna comment on the game at all because people have done it countless times.

    All im gonna post are my propsed lines.

    begin- chips- lats-
    grabs- laps- dandy

    brisbois/georges -bouillion

  15. JF says:

    I like those lines. Who would you start in goal? I don’t think Price was particularly good in either of his last two starts, although I don’t blame him for the losses. But with Thomas playing very well lately, our goaltender may have to be good enough to steal the game, and I haven’t seen Price at that level so far. I’d go with Halak.

  16. Les-Habitants says:

    Like a bunch of people, I see these recent moves by the team as necessary…both for Hamilton and the Habs. Grabovski isn’t doing anything here, and will be able to add much needed offensive ability to the Bulldogs. With Smokes playing inconsistently, Lapierre can come in and add a lot of energy…exactly what you want in your 4th line centre. The defensive squad has been showing a lot of holes lately. Streit, Briseboise and even Bouillon have been pretty bad recently, and adding a good defensive player like O’Byrne to the lineup is going to help get those shots down.

    I know I’m no coach, but just for fun here’s the lineup that I hope Carbo tries against Boston:

    Higgins – Koivu – Kostitsyn (he was RW in Hamilton, I think)
    Latendresse – Plekanec – Kovalev
    Begin – Chipchura – Kostopolous
    Smolinski – Lapierre – Dandenault

    Komi – Markov
    O’Byrne – Hammer
    Streit/Gorges – Bouillon

    scratches: Brisebois, Ryder, and Streit or Gorges

    If Streit plays another game like he did in Detroit, where he was coughing up the puck continously, then he should be benched in place of Gorges. Ryder needs to be benched at some point to let the team see what they can do without him in the lineup. He’s not an energy line forward, and putting him there is counter-productive. We need him to start scoring, and benching him is the last thing that Carbo hasn’t tried.

    Kostitsyn has an amazing shot, and is really the only player besides Kovalev who can fit on the 1st line. Latendresse has been scoring, and could add size to help out Plek whose been working well with Kovalev. Begin and Kostopolous are both hard workers and they play well together…add a smart centre like Chip and you have a good checking line. Smokes hasn’t been getting it done, so moving him to LW with Lapierre and Dandenault gives you a decent 4th line.

  17. Norm0770 says:

    I don’t think they have the roster space to add a third player from Hamilton. I’m surprised they called up O’Byrne because they already had 8 healthy d-men.

  18. Ali says:

    I’m sick and tired of Guy Carbonneau’s lack of accountability and lack of self control.

    The guy has last change at home, and doesn’t get the right matchups on the ice.

    I wasn’t completely behind Kovalev the first time he called out the coach to the media, even though i agreed with him, but now I think he did the right thing, because Carbo responded well and actually did call a time-out after that. How about someone calls out the coach now?? Chris Higgins is worshipped by the fans and the media, how bout he calls out his team and his coach instead of just giving us the usual cliches?

  19. howtathor says:

    I’m happy to hear about the recall of Lapierre and O’byrne. They should make an immediate impact. Please put Brisbois in the pressbox where he can do least damage. Isn’t that what he was signed for? Depth? I do believe that Markov is playing hurt since he got walloped in the opening minutes of the Islanders game which we won. Carbonneau should acknowledge this instead of publicly humiliating his “franchise” defenceman. He should also be back with Komisarek as the number one pair. They have played together for 2 years and all of a sudden Komi is paired up with Hammer and poor Markov is stuck with the Breezer. O’byrne should play with Hammer with Streit and Gorges or Bullion bringing up the rear.
    Ryder should be given more of a chance with Koivu and Higgins. Lord knows he won’t score in purgatory with Begin and Smokes. Smokes should be put on waivers and replaced by Lapierre. Nice try but it didn’t work out. So we did spend 2 mil, but it won’t make up for the empty seats in the Bell Center if we keep playing like this.
    I’m surprised that S. Kostitsyn wasn’t called up too…

  20. NLhabsfan says:

    Bring in players is the next step.A trade is possible.But if Canadiens loose a few in the row.Carbonneau is toast.Friend or not Gainey likes his job and will persevere.

  21. likehoy says:

    i’ve noticed that the general resonance of discontent revolves around carbo and i totally agree.

    On the ice during the first goal last night
    Wings:Datsyuk, Homlstrom, (Flippula or Kopecky can’t remember)
    Habs: Bouillion, Gorges

    I think that’s a good enough example of how Detroit is a million times better than Montreal, Babcock totally out-coached Carbo by putting on his best players against our worst defensive pair, where was Carbo on that one??

    Dandy, begin, and chip were all on the ice too, but do you consider dandy or begin shut down players?? I don’t, they’re 4th line energy players at the best. Is Kostopoulos a 3rd line shut down player? no, he’s a fourth liner. How about smolinski??

    In that one sequence, Babcock proved that both he is a much better coach than carbo, and that carbo has crap players to his extent. Carbo has to stop rolling 4 lines and to start pressuring the opposition defense with his so-called star players.

    so what I figured is that we don’t have anything even close to a shut-down line, except chipchura but he’s still inexperienced to be fair, since Johnson, Bonk, and Bulis have left. In fact, statistically, Bulis was our best 3rd liner, he put up 20g and 40 points in his final season with the Habs and he was speedy as hell, why did we give him up?? Bulis Bonk Johnson woulda been a nice line don’t you think?

    I have a Steve Begin theory…the moment that Steve Begin gets cut from the team, is the season we’re ready to compete full time. Reason being, Begin is a crap hockey player, he has barely any talent and he’s all heart and hard work. The moment we can find a player that can replace his heart and hard work, means that he brings all begin brings but with more talent and it would mean our depth would be amazing…is that ever going to happen? I think so. I can see lapierre and chipchura being type of players to out-do begin in the long run, so the future still seems bright.

    Bottom line…carbo is balls and i think he’s 1 losing streak away from being dumped into the “mario tremblay, rejean houle” category…and hopefully fired and BG brings in someone who knows what he’s doing.

  22. JB says:

    habs issues started when Carbo couldn’t keep from changing the lines – when you have 3 or 4 lines playing well – why change em up. Ryder should still be with Koivu and Higgins. Neither Koivu or Higgins have been playing great – they wouldn’t put the puck in the ocean some nites. Rest of team was playin OK and they were winning. That’s been the downfall.

    Same thing happened last yr when they went in the toilet – it wasn’t only the flu. Lapierre was playin great and gets sent down for no reason – chemistry was killed.

    Is it good Higgins and Koivu can only play with Ryder – no – but this is the guy who scored all your goals the last 2 – 3 seasons. having him on a checking line is crazy. I don’t care if he’s in a slump to Christmas.

    Habs need stability – they’re only any good when they play as a team – and this constant second guessing is killing them.

    Love carbo – but he just needs to let them play – if he wants to coach – well work on a system – i can sit here and juggle lines for all that’s worth.

  23. sidhu says:

    Habs should sit Smoke, which may compel him to waive his NTC to get to another club, or to retire.

  24. sidhu says:

    The Versus commentators mentioned that Markov is dealing with a hip issue.

  25. saskhab says:

    That year we drafted Komisarek at #7, not Hainsey. Hainsey was already in the organization in 2000-01, when they were last in the league before a management/coaching change that say the team move up a bit by the end of the year.

  26. Erik says:

    positive haha about what

  27. Wops says:

    Can you waive a player with a NTC? or would the player need a No Movement Clause to avoid waivers?
    CH if for Chris Higgins

  28. Will Longlade says:

    Although Divine Intervention would help the Habs, we probably can’t bank on the Big Guy getting involved anytime soon. But all the negative energy being generated by this site is definitely hampering the Habs from rebounding from their slide. Let’s all channel some positive waves to the team and see what happens.

  29. Wops says:

    9 defenseman in Montreal Now! Hope O’Byrne will play

    Finally, Grabovsky is sent down, the kid needs to play, and he was not NHL ready… Spark should fly in Hamilton with little tits.
    CH if for Chris Higgins

  30. Erik says:

    Good news about Lapiere hes not a softy he can play with an edge they can bench a certain number 20 in his place!
    Also glad to see Obyrne I mean lets face it might as well look at these guys.

    Now if they can put Smolinkski on the Bulldogs and get him outta here no need for the team to be cheap with the building selling out every night and it being the biggest in the league come on George dont be cheap! If New Jersey can do this with Mogilny and Mcgillis with their attendance I think we can!

    Also just listening to team 990 and they talk of Higgins being a centre at Yale. How about him being the first line centre.

  31. Blitzen says:

    Yesterday’s game demonstrated beyond a doubt that we are far away from needing just one player to contend. I don’t want them to trade prospects for a rental that will only get us to the first round of playoffs (maybe) and put us again in a draft position where no potential offensive stars remain. And yes I know that Detroit keeps drafting stars low in the draft but we can’t seem to be able to do it. Tank for a couple of years and draft high instead of being a mediocre team for the next 10 years.

    Oh and please stop drafting D-Men…I think we have enough of those for now.

  32. Blitzen says:

    The only trading commodities we have are scorers. So we would need to trade scorers for scorers…ain’t gonna help much. You can’t trade three fourth liners and expect to land Lecavalier.

    They need to try the Hamilton boys first and stop juggling lines.

  33. fun police says:

    we don’t need lapierre. we need scoring. we need creativity. for crying out loud, why do we have to have eight carbo like players. did carbo forget who he played with back in the glory days.

  34. Blitzen says:

    FINALLY! I’m betting Lapierre will surprise. Time in the purgatory prolly increased his sense of urgency a tad…

  35. JF says:

    We looked as though we did not belong in the same league as the Red Wings. If we are to compete, we need more talent on this team and I don’t think it can come from Hamilton. There are good prospects down there, but none who would have a major impact without some additional help. It’s time for a trade.

    I question Carbonneau’s wisdom in calling out his players, as I don’t think public criticism is helpful. Markov and Price in particular should not be called out. It’s pretty obvious that Markov is playing hurt; and as for Price, he’s played a handful of games in the NHL and is still learning. He’s shown some good things so far, but I don’t think he’s ready to be a starting goaltender. He’s played reasonably well but hasn’t shown that he can make crucial saves when necessary, let alone steal a game.

    It’s time for Gainey to step in. Carbonneau can only work with the players he has, and last night made it painfully obvious that this is a mediocre team. Something must be done before morale slips any further. As of this morning, we are in seventh place in the East, and anyone who thinks we’ll stick there with the team as it is, is dreaming.

  36. von says:


    MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens announced Wednesday that forward Maxim Lapierre and defenseman Ryan O’Byrne have been recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. The Club also assigned forward Mikhaïl Grabovski to Hamilton.

    Lapierre, 22, ranks second in scoring with the Bulldogs with 14 points in 19 games (7 goals, 7 assists). He posted a plus-2 rating and registered 63 penalty minutes.

    O’Byrne, 23, collected 8 points in 18 games with Hamilton (2 goals, 6 assists). He posted a plus-4 rating and registered 43 penalty minutes.

    Grabovski, 23, played in 12 games with the Canadiens this season. He recorded two points (one goal, one assist).

  37. Blitzen says:

    I’m thinking the problem is that Carbo, with his lack of experience, prolly only has one system he can teach. “Firewagon, offensive hockey” isn’t in his glossary. Although “offensive” is a pretty good description of his current system…

    Who would be a good coach for this team? I think Quinn is more of a veterans guy. Hartley? Not sold on him. Ideas?

    Go back to the lines you had at the beginning of the year and stick with them. That will help with the fundamentals of passing the puck. Right now, guys never get used to one another and passes fly everywhere but on the stick.

    Please sit Smolstinky and bring Lapierre up. Ain’t gonna solve all the problems but I’m tired of seeing him not trying to earn his $2M.

  38. Hot_Pie says:

    Reinforcements have arrived!

    According to Team 990, it would seem that Grabs has been sent down, and O’Byrne and Lapierre have been called up!

  39. Ed says:

    Lapierre & O. Byrne are coming up & Grabovski is going down. I guess there will be changes.


  40. kevin m says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I am confused with Carbo’s system of reward & punishment; and, I believe that it is responsible for the latest collective lack of effort on this hockey club.

    I was always under the impression that the press box was a place for reservist players who were platooned in & out of the lineup in the case of injury or excessive fatigue to a regular player. Carbo uses it as a sort of team penalty box.

    Also, please correct me if I’m wrong, the players who absorb the brunt of the healthy scratch sittings on this team are among the lowest paid. Begin($1,057,000), Tom K.($900,000), A. Kostitsyn($785,333), Grabs($725,000), Streit($600,000), Gorges($495,000) are called out publicly for errors & lack of effort while the fat cats making 4,5 & 6 million a year are equally responsible for the team’s lackluster performances.

    Perhaps this has created a rift among the players as well as a resentment toward the coach by the lesser lights. In the private sector, you can’t continually blame the young kids who sweep the floor or do the shipping and deliveries for a company’s lack of sales performance.

    Something has gotta give!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. the Maritimer says:

    Back in 2000, I was hoping we would suck all year and have a chance to draft Jason Spezza or Ilya Kovalchuk, players you could build a franchise around. But no, they had to appear to be trying to make the playoffs and end up picking around 7th and get Ron Hainsey, who is no longer in the organization.

    I’m hoping again the wheels fall off this wagon and they have a chance to pick an elite player like Steve Stamkos and again next year when John Tavares is available. Then I hope we have a coach like Mike Babcock that can teach players to play defense but allows creativity for his skilled players so they can actually score goals.

    I’m really tired of watching mediocre players and coaches that don’t allow players who do have a few skills to use them for fear of being benched, scratched or blamed in public.

    Players like Jean Belliveau must shake their heads and wonder what the hell happened to this outfit. Maybe it’s like another poster said; the curse of Saint Patrick is on them, ’cause they’ve been crappy since 1995.

  42. von says:

    “carbo’s fault. most of you played hockey. imagine being told as a number one center that your winger is a defensemen. i don’t care who you are, that would tick you off. carbo puts a defensemen as a winger and then complains about production.”

    Totally agree. Why the hell not have Grabovski in the line up? As if Streit is going to create more offense than an actual forward.

    As much as I like Carbo (and the rest of the staff), sometimes you really gotta wonder if they are competent coaches.

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