About last night …

Had a good time at Hurley’s with a few of the Summiteers:

The inimitable Ian Cobb, 24 Cups, Kevin von Steendelaar, JD, Punkster, Peter from Whitehorse, Serious Fan 09 and Todd Denault, who’s been kind enough to quote me in The Greatest Game, his new book about the 1975 New Year’s Eve game between the Canadiens and Red Army.

I was at the Forum for that classic.

I was also in the Bell Centre last night.

It wasn’t the greatest game, and I said most of what I want to say in Quick Hits.

For the most trenchant analysis, I have to quote my great and good friend François Gagnon:

“Too many (Canadiens) played at the end of their sticks. And when you have to extend your arms and your stick it’s because you’re too far from the action. And if you’re too far from the action it’s because you’re not skating enough to get there or you’re afraid of finding yourself there.”

Lack of intensity, aversion to hard work and disinclination to do the messy things you have to do to win hockey games.

All these lacuna were in ample evidence against the Senators.

And when your Montreal Canadiens get outworked, they lose.

 

The usual capacity crowd had two thrills the whole game:

• Brian Gionta finally scored a goal, and

• Mathieu Darche laid out Peter Regin with a thunderous hit at the Canadiens blueline.

Both occurred in the third period. Had they happened earlier, the outcome may have been different.

My friend Gagnon points out what a total joke it was that Brian Elliott was the game’s Third Star on the basis of 21 fairly easy saves. He’d have picked Erik Karlsson, whose on-target point shots led to the first two Ottawa goals.

En route to a season-low 23 shots, there was no flow to the Canadiens offensive game.

And en route to a 32-20 hit advantage, there was no sustained forechecking that would have hampered Ottawa zone clearances and led to pressure that might have made Elliott earn his star.

Maybe it was fatigue. While the Canadiens were playing in Buffalo, the Senators were chillin’ in Montreal … although it must be said a Friday night in my swinging hometown can be more rigorous than skating to a win over the woeful Sabres.

Maybe it was line tinkering. Tomas Plekanec and Scott Gomez (who was pretty good last night) had a variety of wingers and didn’t particularly click with any of them.

Maybe it was indifferent play by the fourth line. As Frankie writes (the man is a sage), it’s permissible for Dustin Boyd, Tom Pyatt and Maxim Lapierre to be at the end of their shift for the first goal-against by a resurgent Kovy. But then to be soft in your own end and give one up to the Senators’ fourth line – that sucks, especially when you never score, as is the case with Boyd, Pyatt and the MIA Max (who had a couple Top Six shifts late in the game).

Credit Andrei Kostitsyn with hard work and involvement (six hits), but he had no SoG.

Mike
Cammalleri had one measly shot and took a brutal penalty to negate a
power play … though the announcement of a penalty has been sufficient
to negate this team’s PPs. Canadiens are dead last in power play
efficiency, and the Sun newspapers’ Chris Stevenson had a good line: “Were Glen Metropolit and Marc-André Bergeron THAT important?”

The D wasn’t very good.

Andrei Markov was out of gas and shouldn’t have been on the ice with Carey Price out and the Canadiens pressing for a third goal.

P.K. Subban was minus-2 and played a season-low 17:17 … although it must have seemed longer to the kid because he’s paired with Hal Gill and it just isn’t working.

Carey Price?

The Senators went at him pretty hard in the first period and had bodies in his face all night. Price was full-value for his Second Star selection.

Not that it will help Rick Moffat.

I learned, at Hurley’s, that the CJAD play-by-play man has a bet going with Patrick V. Hickey on which goaltender, Price or Jaro Halak, will have more wins, a better GAA and a higher save percentage this season.

Shall I enliven the Comments section by pointing out Hick’s lead in all three categories?

Festifan at the Bell Centre today, Vancouver on Tuesday night.

Unless the Canadiens play much better than they did last night, a rare visit by the Canucks will not be overly festive.

 

 

 

117 Comments

  1. wild flower says:

    Which goalie is better than Price? I would argue that if he was playing for St Louis, his performance would look a lot like Halak’s and it would cost about 2 million less.

  2. DLHABSNUT65 says:

     I do agree with some of what you have to say, but Price has been decent. Nobody is saying he’s worthy of the venzina but there’s many more reasons why the team is losing.

    O’Byrne wouldn’t make as many blunders in a season as Spacek has made already. Hamrlik and Gill are slow. The PP is non existent and this team is just not scoring. At first the Plekanec line was carrying the team scoring and now it’s the Halpern line. We need more than 1 line going at a time. I love Jeff Halpern but when he’s tied for second in team scoring, we’re in trouble.

    Picard, who is a +7 and made hardly any visible mistakes is in the press box and that’s a shame. I also think Eller is fine but he needs to be given some decent wingers and be given a chance. I mean what line does he belong on? Seriously? He’s been shuffled off to everywhere except Buffalo. He needs to be given a chance.

    Gomez and Gionta must be better. Boyd, Pyatt and Lapierre should all be replaced by Bulldogs. Markov hasn’t boosted this team and as far as I’m concerned maybe the team and not the coach should have picked the Captain. I’m not saying that Gionta wouldn’t have gotten it but it may have caused a rift that we’ll never know about. All the great Habs teams in the past chose their own Captain. Maybe this is another sign that Gautier and Martin should go! Just saying!

  3. nova scotia vees says:

    I’ll trust my credibility over yours any day.  Love your psychedelic avatar…goes with your “rose coloured” glasses.

    Go Habs.

  4. ctony says:

    WOW – i agree with your entire posting.  That’s new.

  5. metro says:

    Now, back to the discussion about our worthless management team, their qualifications, why we desperately hang on to crap, and why we dismiss qualified people who want the job… i guess the people on this board reflect the habs approach – stay insular and strive for mediocrity.  

     

     

     

  6. metro says:

    Your decades of site membership make you a genius.  what glorious insights….

  7. metro says:

    Read something other than this site and move beyond the
    group think:

     

    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=30745&blogger_id=139

     

    Yzerman, the Hall of Fame player turned manager, was also
    entering his first year as a general manager, deciding to take the job in Tampa
    Bay after it became clear that the job he was truly interested in, that of GM
    of the Montreal Canadiens, was clearly not up for grabs.

     

    http://www.hockeyfanzone.com/showthread.php?t=16262

     

    The appointment of Pierre Gauthier as Canadiens general
    manager has done without President Pierre Boivin bothers to meet other
    potential candidates. This is surprising when you think since changes in this
    position are extremely sensitive and important does not happen often.

     

    The fact is that this approach was extremely disappointed
    Steve Yzerman, who told relatives that he would have loved such a challenge in
    Montreal. The Director General of the Canadian Olympic team holds the position
    of assistant general manager Ken Holland in Detroit Red Wings and he knows he
    must leave the city if the car wants to take the reins of training in the NHL.

     

    Montreal corresponded to the two criteria established by
    Yzerman, who wants to work in a Canadian city or in a wholesale market in the
    NHL. In my case, those who claim that the executive director of the Canadian
    could not be entrusted to a unilingual anglophone are totally in the field.
    Most of the 24 cups won by the organization were the work of English-speaking
    CEOs who had the genius to build on the huge bank of talent francophone offered
    to them.

     

     

     

     

  8. PrimeTime says:

    Prejudice + No objectivity = No credibility. The result: Partisan warfare is on the rise, and truth is on the decline

  9. Clay4bc says:

    Please learn how to read. The relevant line begins with “If Boyd…”. Then comment again.

    You also should not seek employment elsewhere.

    __________________________

    Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.

    Bertrand Russell

  10. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    They don’t sell us winning, the sell us history and hope, and they do it better than anyone I’d say.

  11. RetroMikey says:

    Price is playing well but can he keep it up for the rest of the season?

    Only time will tell.

    Good to see Halak playing well in St. Louis,  Not surprised at all.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  12. TripleX says:

    Then we all can’t be blessed with your scintillating repartee and intellect can we?  They must love you at the 55+ club.

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  13. RetroMikey says:

    This team will not perform the Cinderella miracles like last year in the playoffs.

    We are a work in progress for this team this season and I really hate to see what happens to this team in the future.

    I wish the team well but we basically are too small up front, too old and not physical on the D, and I am still not sold we have solid goaltending with Price between the pipes.

     

     

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  14. punkster says:

    I’m sure they’re hanging on your every word.

  15. PureGuava says:

    Great! – Let them take their ‘talent’ elsewhere.

    “Of course I’m crazy, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.” – Robert Anton Wilson

  16. TripleX says:

    Last years magical playoff run was just that magical.  To expect lightning to strike twice in consecutive years is a little far fetched.  To just making the playoffs as part of a team’s long range strategy is boneheaded.

    Last year was incredible but don’t expect it to happen again!  Hear that JM, PG and Mr. Molson?

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  17. nova scotia vees says:

    Silly me…the Vezina.  I guess saying Vezina and Price in the same sentence caused my keyboard to misfire!  And, yes, I am the greatest hockey mind in history….oh sorry…2nd right behind the rest of you who are all tied for first!

    Cheers…..

  18. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Timo you right about Price playing good enough to win but we’re talking Habs hockey  and on this team you need a freak of nature tender=Halak or a gun,lol

  19. Timo says:

    I hardly find losing entertaining. 

  20. Timo says:

    Price is playing good enough to win. The rest of the team plays like $hit.

  21. habs-hampton says:

    You’re right. We’ll never know.

    Price is playing good and I don’t think any of the losses can be blamed on him. Could Halak have won a couple more?  maybe, but maybe he would have lost a couple of those 1 goal games?

    You really can’t compare 2 good goalies playing in 2 completely different games, against diferent teams with a diferent systems.

    They’re both playing well and I’m happy for both! (and I’m also glad Halak is in the west).

  22. habs-hampton says:

    ummm…   The Norris goes to the best defenseman…

     

  23. PrimeTime says:

    Well I sure hope you get Gauthiers job when he is fired. You should send this post directly to Boivin and Molson right now! Who knew the next greatest mind in hockey was right here under our noses. HURRY!!

  24. nova scotia vees says:

    P.K. has been hobbled just like a race-horse.  No longer is he allowed to go end-to-end.  What a waste of talent.  Glad Bowman didn’t do that to Robinson, Lapointe and Savard.  Imagine if Orr had been told not to rush, or Ray Bourque???  If you have a great rushing defenseman, you let him go and cover his back-side with a forward.  Hockey coaches should check-out some basketball strategy from time to time.

    Price….supernova…Never has allowed a goal that was his fault (what a crock).  Please Carey…don’t forget to OPEN your glove on shots.  Anyone notice Kovy’s second goal.  He is not the reason we lost last nite…but, since when are we PROUD of allowing 3 goal games?  Give him the Norris now…to heck with Thomas and Halak.  Price is the supreme being.

    Eller to Hamilton…Gomez to the 4th line…Spacek and Gill to the retirement home.

    and oh yes….fire Martin and Gauthier. 

  25. Exit716 says:

    Didn’t Halak blow a 3-1 lead in the bronze medal game?

     

  26. PrimeTime says:

    “…somehow rallies the troops”. lol Get real! Have you seen a Blues game??? Trap Trap Trap! Not exactly let the barn door wide open for Halak to stop all shots. Just another useless post. A Pricefan could as easily say the same thing. This years team has as much confidence in Price as anyone and have no reason to believe otherwise. There is no evidence that if Price was traded to St. Louis instead of Halak, there stats wouldn’t be the opposite. Too bad for fans like you that have no clue to how a “team” wins and loses.
    But at least your consistent and predictable….ignorance is your only friend.

  27. Xtrahabsfan says:

    TripleX,you can not reason with these perticular Hab fans cause they truly believe it’s about the entertainment value and has NOTHING too do with Victories…The Habs could lose the next five games too the Leifs and if the Habs had a great game vs the panthers  they would be thinking we were heading for a cup run …19 YEARS AND COUNTING and that the reality of it!

  28. Mr.Hazard says:

    I agree 100% with the first half of your post.

  29. Mr.Hazard says:

    Moffat bet on Price? What was he thinking lol


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