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. 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’

  2. 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…..

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Timo says:

    I hardly find losing entertaining. 

  6. Timo says:

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

  7. 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).

  8. habs-hampton says:

    ummm…   The Norris goes to the best defenseman…

     

  9. 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!!

  10. 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. 

  11. Exit716 says:

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

     

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. Mr.Hazard says:

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

  15. Mr.Hazard says:

    Moffat bet on Price? What was he thinking lol

  16. Xtrahabsfan says:

    We’ll never know and Price is playing good but I truly believe the Habs would have 2 more wins at this point with Halak and the reason I say this is cause like last year  and now in St Lou,Halak makes his team a believer and somehow rallies the troops. Teams know you can bombard him and he’ll keep the door shut tighter than a frogs arse in a swamp and the proof….well he did it last year for the Habs and the Slovaks and he’s even better this year on another team. Barring injury at the pace he’s going Halak will finish as the all time leader in all categories for N.H.L. tenders,passing Roy ,Brodeur,Hasek ect.And who did we trade for him,Lars Eller”nice kid”,but W H O ???? I know my 7 years old son could of pulled of a better trade and what a bad joke it’s turning out to be….again I shake my head and think FFS’S< . And for all you fanatical fans of Price ....prove me wrong before you lose your composure!I'm waiting................./p>

  17. ZepFan2 says:

    Ah, I see.

    ’nuff said

    ————————————————————————

    “Young people have seen that a team can play electrifying, fascinating hockey while still behaving like gentlemen.”

    ~Serge Savard~

  18. Exit716 says:

    I dedicate this song to all the Jaro fans.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WIPj-DyM4w

  19. New says:

    I think Gomez’ game is based on speed and anticipation. I only see the speed when he has the puck. The anticipation is gone and it shows. I think that is from a lack of confidence, doubt. His feet stop for a couple seconds, he thinks too much, and he is trying too hard to be full value for that stupid contract.

    I think you’re right about Price as well. He is playing really, really well, and tracking that puck. He is in every game. I haven’t seen too many goalies do that. He seems focused. Doing that he will only get better. It helps of course that his team mates have given him so many opportunities to make highlight reel stops this season.

  20. ctony says:

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

  21. larisalapointe says:

    haha, me either. HIO would be a boring place if we all agreed and won all 82 games!

  22. HardHabits says:

    HI/O member for: 4 days 17 hours

  23. HardHabits says:

    Some sober second though for those who think just making the playoffs is enough. If you look at the Cup winners since the 1-8 conference rule has been in place only one team that wasn’t top 5 won the Cup and they came in at 8th so hence were a top 10 team. Other lesser teams made it to the dance but didn’t go home wearing the crown and that is what it’s all about. 2nd best isn’t the goal.

     

    Year - Won Championship – Position over-all
    ————————————————–
    2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks 3rd
    2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins 8th
    2007-08 Detroit Red Wings 1st
    2006-07 Anaheim Ducks 4th
    2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes 4th
    2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning 2nd
    2002-03 New Jersey Devils 4th
    2001-02 Detroit Red Wings 1st
    2000-01 Colorado Avalanche 1st
    1999-00 New Jersey Devils 4th
    1998-99 Dallas Stars 1st
    1997-98 Detroit Red Wings 3rd
    1996-97 Detroit Red Wings 5th
    1995-96 Colorado Avalanche 2nd
    1994-95 New Jersey Devils 9th (48 games played so could be considered non applicable)
    1993-94 New York Rangers 1st (1st year of inter-conference play-offs)
    1992-93 Montreal Canadiens 6th (last year of Adams, Patrick, Norris and Smythe divisions)

  24. RiverviewCanadien says:

    I agree with some posters that Gomez needs to be better, he plays ok but I just can’t see the silver lining with that albatross of a contract (besides the possibly that helped the Habs get Gionta and Camms), he did play well last night, but when you have 3 points in 14 games…come on already.

    Glad to see Capt. Gionta score one, but we really have no finishers on this team. I am so tired of seeing goal-mouth scrambles that result in zip, zilch, nadda piece of rubber finding the back of the net, and what the hell is wrong with the PP?

    And where is Picard for crying out loud!

  25. TripleX says:

    Point taken.  I guess passions sometimes lead to irrational cheer leading on both sides.  But that is Montreal when it comes to hockey and as annoying as it can be, I would not have it any other way.

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  26. ZepFan2 says:

    “I would have liked Yzerman for GM, who
    shamelessly lobbied for the job.”

    For the GM job in Montreal?

    I’d like to see proof of that.

    ————————————————————————

    “Young people have seen that a team can play electrifying, fascinating hockey while still behaving like gentlemen.”

    ~Serge Savard~

  27. larisalapointe says:

    Gotta disagree with you there I’m a Price fan and I’ve never bashed Halak. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for all the Halakalites posting on HIO, I wouldn’t even know exactly what he was doing in STL other than watching hilites of other teams games. Even if he had a bad start, I would wait a year or so before gloating (but not my style anyway). Not so with some Halak fans who were on Price in the first pre-season game. Maybe it’s not your style either, but have you seen some of the ugly posts here after a Habs loss? If you don’t think some Halak fans are just waiting for Price to fail, you’re not being honest. And yes kudos to Halak but more kudos to Price for playing on a team that needs him more than he needs them.

  28. VancouverHab says:

    Wow: Mr. Jack Todd is now a commenter on H-I/O!

    Interesting alias: same monomania.

  29. VancouverHab says:

    If you don’t score or get an assist you can’t have a good game, whomsoever you are?

    Don’t quit your day job.


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