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. PureGuava says:

    Breaking up the Cammy, Pleks, and AK line was one of the worst ideas of JM’s career. Why destroy your bread & butter line to get your 2nd (playing like 3rd) line going?

     

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

  2. PrimeTime says:

    I was think the same thing the last game. I remember Price always skating to his right corner in play breaks.

  3. PrimeTime says:

    My point being I trust the decisions in the hands of the qualified professionals who have a little more info than the critic.

  4. longtimehabsfan says:

    Price deserved a better fate last night.  He kept the team in the game with big saves all night.  Habs were unlucky on a couple of short handed shifts where they displayed their speed and skill.  But five on five play was bad as they were chasing all night.

  5. metro says:

    So our choices are see-tone or these guys?  i don’t like our chances.  :-(

     

    I would have liked to see what Boucher could do.  I would have liked Yzerman for GM, who
    shamelessly lobbied for the job.

     

    I’m not bashing the current group, but Martin wasn’t lucky his
    pal Gauthier hired him after four challenges years in Florida.  Remember, nobody offered Gauthier a GM job
    when he was hanging out as player development guy for a bunch of years. 

     

  6. Cape Breton says:

    Habs’ managment has been sucking for a long time buddy.

  7. Cape Breton says:

    I’ll take Bob Cole over Jimmy Hughson or any of the rest any day. He’s not bad when he’s not doing Toronto games.

  8. HardHabits says:

    This post pretty much confirms that you aren’t a Habs fan.

  9. Cape Breton says:

    Yea, bring on the Production Line 2. All career minor leaguers, if you ask me.

  10. HardHabits says:

    Was better then, is possibly and only marginally better now. I prefer Price’s game to Halak’s. Look at them both play and you’ll see that Price is by far the more dominating physical specimen. At that age 2 years is huge in terms of development. Price in fact is ahead of Halak albeit marginally. Two great goaltenders. The team is thinking long-term hence them going with Price. You are not seeing both sides of the argument. Put Price with the Blues and they’d be in the same position. Put Halak with the Habs and the same wins. The Habs are the only team to not let in more than 3 regulation time goals so far. Habs aren’t scoring enough. How would Halak change that? I suppose by one of his rebounds leading to an odd man rush eh!

  11. TripleX says:

    Ummmm?  Ok?

    So you think doing NOTHING is the best option?  Nice to know, see you and the Montreal Canadiens on the golf course.

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  12. TripleX says:

    Not defending Gomez because I wish him and his contract were gone, but he played a pretty good game.  Gomez will never be a game changer alone he needs his wingers to convert.  As long as Gionta or whomever is cold Gomez is a non factor.  Sadly Gomez is not capable of anything more in my opinion.  How he scored 33 goals one year is beyond me!!

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  13. 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.  

     

     

     

  14. HardHabits says:

    HH’s observations:

    One big change in Price’s game this year is that during commercial time-outs he doesn’t hang in his net lost in his own thoughts in a hunched over position anymore. He goes to the bench now. This is a significant change in behaviour. This is the difference between being on his own, as if lost in space, outcast, disconnected, to being a part of the team, to being on board, alert, waiting for instructions. It’s part of the grand package called body language. Price’s this year has changed for the better in so many regards. As Price matures his game will improve.

    About Gomez. He needs to want more. I can see in his body language a lack of wanting. He has no hunger. He’s drfiting. Now I am not saying he is not putting in an effort. He is. Just not up to his capacity. He’s floating by comparison to what he is capable of.

  15. ZepFan2 says:

    Meh, I’ll one up you Tony.

    Montreal traded a 7 time Norris winner.

    Suck on that!!

    ————————————————————————

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

    ~Serge Savard~

  16. metro says:

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

  17. Propwash says:

    Being neurotic is par for the course when you’re a Habs fan lol

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  18. PrimeTime says:

    Actually, JT’s points are much more open minded than yours. That’s the problem with the Halakians and the Pricebots, neither can see past their own arguement.

  19. 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.

     

     

     

     

  20. TripleX says:

    Oh please!  If Halak was having a bad start the Price fans would be bringing it up every day.  Look, Price is playing great no question he is the best player so far on the Habs.  Halak is playing otherworldly like he did in the playoffs.  Most of us knew he could so big deal.

    At least for the rest of this season is played out the running comparison will continue.  That is not unreasonable or “dense” it is the reality of sport when a favorite son is traded.

    ps  St. Louis has won six games in a row the last time they did that was in 2003 and Halak was in goal for all six.  Give the dude some credit.

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  21. PrimeTime says:

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

  22. TripleX says:

    Bad comparison J.T.  We all saw last year what they could do with the SAME team in front of them.  Of course some say that is still an unfair comparison because the same team played BETTER with Halak in nets.  Some people will never admit Halak was just better then and is still better now.

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  23. PrimeTime says:

    Thanks for making my point! I’m pretty sure Gainey, Gauthier, and Martin would have a better shot than you or any other fan being employed by any team. Critics are accountable for nothing and only seek one thing.

  24. TripleX says:

    JM is far too busy writing Haiku for his poetry class after the games.

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  25. 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.

  26. punkster says:

    Good one PT. I often wonder just what kind of Medusa this team would look like if it were to follow all the demands of the knowledgeable GMs who post here. If the Habs were to get rid of Gauthier, Gainey, Martin, Gomez, Gionta, Kostitsyn, Pouliot, Lapierre, Darche, Eller, Gill, Hamrlik, Spacek, Markov, O’Byrne, Boyd and Price just who exactly would we pick up or call up as replacements? Would these armchair GMs guarantee a better team?

    I guess the rest of us just have so much to learn.

  27. 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

  28. J.T. says:

    Hardly a fair comparison when you remember the state of Price’s confidence at the time.  I think he’s improved in that regard this year.  Halak is really good…I was one of the biggest Halak supporters around ever since the Habs drafted him.  But I can’t stand people dumping on Carey Price because Halak has better numbers.

     

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

  29. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    agreed

  30. PrimeTime says:

    Gauthier, Gainey, Martin are all respected hockey people and would be employed by another NHL team if they were no longer part of the Habs organization. Neither will ever be on the cover of GQ or be considered for Personality of the Year awards (if any existed). These “characteristics” make them unlikeable to many young fans who have tendencies to judge based upon Media. It’s no different than disliking “older” players. Bring in Youth cuz we can relate to them better. Right now the team is in a fun. When the team was winning everybody was cool. Today it’s “fire the coach”; “fire the GM”; “send down or bench the Vets”. Do you honestly think these are solutions or just changes for the sake of hoping it will just be better?? Fans are so fickle when they are not accountable for anything. Thank god the people in charge make the decisions.

  31. Hagar says:

    If you look at the list of injuries in the NHL so far you’ll notice that we’re doing REALLY well.

  32. J.T. says:

    Halak and Price played for the same franchise last year, but the teams in front of them weren’t really the same.  When Halak got the call later in the year, Markov was back from injury and playing well, the PP was functioning as it didn’t earlier in the year and the new players were coming together as a team.   The team as it stands now is closer to the team we saw at the end of last year.  Comparing the numbers from now and then, Halak had a 2.40 GAA playing for that team.  Price, so far, has a 2.45.  Not much difference.  Halak had a better save percentage then than Price has now, but the Habs were also allowing a lot more shots from the outside than they do this year…stoppable shots which rack up the save percentage.  In games in which Price has been shelled this year, he’s had a good save percentage too.

    As for the Blues, I think adding 6’3″, fourth-overall pick Alex Pietrangelo on defence, who’s now playing 25 minutes a night, and having 6’4″ first-overall pick, Erik Johnson, just starting to come into his own at 22 years of age is actually adding a LOT.  Teams win with excellent defence, and the Blues are building it.  Halak is benefitting from young, fast legs and big, strong bodies in front of him.  Price is not.  I’ve watched a few Blues games this year, and Halak is playing well.  So is Carey Price.  But, I maintain that it’s unfair to compare their stats because they’re in completely different situations.

    Oh, and last year?  The Blues finished with 90 points and a +2 goal differential.  That’s compared to the Canadiens’ 88 points and -6.  If the Blues had been playing in the East, they’d be in the playoffs and the Habs wouldn’t…Halak or no Halak. 

     

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

  33. sidhu says:

    At a minimum, Eller should be inserted for Boyd.

    As others have suggested, reunite Gill and Gorges.  I’d put Picard back in and play him with PK.  I’d even sit Spaceman and Hammer, play OB with Marky (they did well together for part of last season).

  34. SPATS says:

    Just one bored guys theory on what Carbo meant when he said “the truth will come out”

  35. Number31 says:

    The line is White-Maxwell-Pacioretty. There’s also Palushaj. Either way, that’s a lovely line… A smart two-way center paired with an all out in your face net crasher and a good solid fast-skating power forward who’s body seems finally capable of sustaining that role.

  36. sidhu says:

    I agree with all of your points — well said, my friend

  37. jew4jah says:

    on CBC they gave the 2nd star to karlsson instead of elliot. 

    on a positive note, we didn’t have to listen to bob cole.  why won’t he retire?

  38. PrimeTime says:

    Different people handle tragedy in different ways. That being said, major decisions that will effect a multi-million dollar operation are not made solely but any one person. If Gainey was as you suggest, and I remain that it is a ridiculous notion, I’m pretty sure someone would have noticed.

  39. Number31 says:

    Schultz ain’t ready now. It should be Conboy! He’s fast, he’s big, he’s mean, he can’t fight but he hates it when players take advantage of his teammates and will stand up for them, and he crashes the net for the occassional backhand goal.

    I also think our Defense needs more youth. Carle and Weber, I can deal with the occasional youthful screw up, at least they score goals and can skate back fast enough.

  40. dh says:

    Weber scored in the Bulldog’s last game with a pretty nice slap shot that would be good on the PP.  I would also consider swapping White for Boyd. 

    For the rest, I agree with you.  You know Cammy and Gionta are going to start scoring.

  41. CharlottetownHabbies says:

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

  42. Number31 says:

    The Blues have a new coach, and their number 1 pick defenseman didn’t destroy his knee with a golf cart this year. Oh and they play the choking TRAP so it’s mostly perimeter hockey with the occasional stuff down the middle. I call them the Trap City Snooze for a reason… With so many hot young hockey players on that team, they’re absolutely boring. Their young players are also a year older with another year of experience

    It’s funny. Habs shut out the Sens and it was a TEAM SHUTOUT which it was where Price had to deal with a few breakaways and crease crashing but noone was keen on giving him any credit for it (and he’ll be the first to not take credit and he never did take credit for any of his shutouts even when he deserved full credit like the ones in the playoffs or his shutout of the Devils). Yet the stifling defensive trap of the Blues, Blue Jackets, and Bruins is all Jaro, all Garon, all Thomas. Hell the same perimeter hockey last night nearly gave Brian Elliott a shutout…

  43. dh says:

    Who Boone?

    Seriously, someone on L’Antichambre made a point last night about Kovalev.  He wasn’t producing so he was put on the 4th line to get it together.  It seems to have worked.  Why not do the same for Gomez?  It’s not often that I agree with those guys but that seems to make sense.  Breaking up the Cammy,Plecks, AK line was probably not a good idea. 

  44. larisalapointe says:

    Halak and Price didn’t play for the same team last year. Price played behind a new and then injured team in the beginning of the year, and Halak played with the full team and with more geling time together. I’m not taking anything away from Halak (he was exceptional for most parts), but you are taking alot away from Price. If Price were traded tomorrow to say Philly, his stats and numbers would drastically improve, don’t you think?

  45. PrimeTime says:

    I tend to agree with JT than your comparison. If Habs traded Price to St.Louis instead of Halak, the 2 teams would likely have similar Records. Neither goalie has won or lost games for their respective teams. If you have watched any St.Louis games (I tend to think you haven’t) you would agree that Price has had the harder job and that’s not taking away the good play of Halak….Price has been good too and improved over last year (so far).

  46. 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 “

  47. Chris F says:

    Yeah, I would love to see White, Max Pac, and Shultz given a chance on the fourth line with some decent minutes. Why not experiment? If you have the guys, use them.

     

  48. 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’

  49. nightmare_49 says:

     

      

       More Hockey World …  by Jim Matheson:

      

       – In the new officials contract, at the end of the four years, a ref who’s worked 16 or more years will reportedly make over $360,000. Sounds like a lot, but the players’ minimum wage is $500,000. See Darche, Mathieu. See Engelland, Derek. Vincent Lecavalier makes $360,000 in three games in Tampa Bay.

    Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/More+Hockey+World/3789971/story.html#ixzz14brY9npH

  50. 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 “

  51. Clay4bc says:

    No sir, and didn’t mean to imply that I was. that’s why I “proposed” the rule, not dictated it.

    However, I was making a point about Gomez – one which you chose to ignore. The point is that he didn’t “have a good game” after all. The point is that he is a collosal waste of money.

    Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion…and perhaps we just have a different definition of a “good game”.

    __________________________

    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 –

  52. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Good post…I outlined the same thing below:

    we need GRIT to go along with our talent/speed, ive been saying this for 2 years. as much as i like Pyatt/boyd and Eller, i’d have them with the Dogs and have SHULTZ/WHITE/PAX and HENRY up here, along with OBYRNE inserted, then we’d have a chance against PHILLY/BOSTON…otherwise its more misery.

    1:The N.A.G. (North American Grit) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2:The NHL-Ref-Syndicate will do everything in its power to never allow the HABS to win another Stanley Cup. 3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/PAX now.

  53. Clay4bc says:

    Halak and Price played for the same team last season, where it WAS fair to compare their mumbers. Halak’s were better by a country mile. Price is playing fine, but it’s clear that this season Halak is still outplaying him (no surprise there, either) – and it is far from “dense” to say so. It’s simply the truth.

    How did St. Louis do last season? They didn’t change their team much, save for the goalie. What a difference that made…kind of like last season – you know, the difference in wins between Price and Halak on the same Habs team.

    __________________________

    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

  54. Mike Boone says:

    You are not the boss of me.

  55. Cape Breton says:

    Martin only talks to himself. What a jerk this guy is.

  56. Chris F says:

    Is it just me or has P.K. been very ordinary ever since Markov’s return.

    Markov looks slow, and he’s holding onto the puck too long, missing the long pass, which is either giving up our possession too quickly, or worse, creating an icing call.

    Gill and Gorges should never be split up.

    Boyd, Pyatt, Laps, they are doing absolutely nothing. These guys are simply making no impact on the game and should be replaced. I would bring up White and the little guy who’s lighting it up again in Hamilton. They have offense, and White has grit, we need both in a big way. Way too much perimeter bulls**t last night, hard to watch.

     

  57. 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!

  58. Propwash says:

    Seems to me blaming JM is the easy way out…. Ever notice it’s Kirk Muller doing all the talking behind the bench?

    Just throwin’ it out there.

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  59. J.T. says:

    I always really liked Jaro Halak and I hated the trade.  BUT  Carey Price is doing a fine job behind an old, slow and often tired defence.  It’s really unfair when people compare their numbers because Halak’s got a young, talented defence and a team that actually scores goals.  I’m pretty sure if Hal Gill was still standing in front of Halak, Jaro wouldn’t see point shots either.  Comparing the Blues and Canadiens, it’s pretty clear Price has the tougher job, but he’s doing it admirably.  I’m really impressed with the way he’s matured this year and has performed the way we all hoped he would, under tremendous pressure.  If his numbers don’t match Halak’s, it’s not his fault and it’s pretty dense to imply that it is.

    Can we go back to comparing Benoit Pouliot and Guillaume Latendresse now?

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

  60. Clay4bc says:

    I always liked the name “Burma” better than Myanmar…are you saying they changed the name again 2 weeks ago? If so, to what?

    __________________________

    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

  61. Cape Breton says:

    Send him to Hamilton.

  62. Big Ted says:

    It’s not giving up on the team. We’ll win some games and lose some along the way, no doubt. But with the coaching and system in place, we’re not progressing towards being a Cup contender. There are no major strides being made in how we play as a team, so it’s frustrating watching JM tinker around and rely on his goaltending to bail him out when there are so many fundamentals that aren’t being put into place properly.

  63. Big Ted says:

    Some good points Boone. I’m glad that at least there’s someone with a media outlet who’s noticing the same flaws in Jacques Martin’s coaching as we are. A couple of key ones:

    - Spacek was better last night, but honestly, he and Hamrlik and Gill in the same line-up is killing us. They’re all old and slow and JM’s D pairings are all failing because he can’t find safe partners for anyone. Those three can’t all be in the line-up at once, so JM had better decide who he wants to sit and get Picard back in there.

    - Lost in the failures of the top forwards has been how bad the 4th line players have done. Tom Pyatt has shown some energy the last two games (finally) but where are Laps and Boyd? I’ll throw Moen into that group of guys who isn’t creating any energy and isn’t showing up on a consistent basis. If you’re a plugger, you need to be there every night (like Darche) or there just isn’t much point in having you in the line-up. There are lots of guys in Hamilton who can play the role of a third or fourth line player, just ask Max Pacioretty.

    - JM’s “coaching” moves are always a step behind. He’s not getting the right personnel into the games in the first place and he is leaving guys paired who clearly aren’t working, not to mention his insistence on throwing Moen onto the top line every chance he gets. His only PP adjustment to date were to move Spacek from the first unit to the second unit to the bench and then to throw Cammalleri back to the point in place of Subban when Cammalleri is a guy who’s effective with a quick shot from the slot or top of the circle. The guys we have at the point can shoot, the problem is that we can’t establish the zone quick enough and we have zilcho traffic in front of the net. JM needs to get a big body like Eller or a call-up like Ryan White and have them park themselves right in front of the goalie. That’s the problem, yet he insists on making small twiddles to his line-up without changing the way those players are playing the game. The coaching, from JM to Muller and down the line, has been awful this year.

  64. Clay4bc says:

    I would like to propose a new rule in the spirit of Bill Maher…

    We (including you too, Boone) can no longer opine that Gomez “had a good game” if he gets no points. He is paid an obscene 7.4 million, and that’s not to win a few face-offs and get 3 shots on goal (or whatever). If Boyd or someone of his ilk does that, he had a “good game”. Gomez is paid to produce. He is not doing so. He should retire already, because he is utterly useless.

    __________________________

    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

  65. nightmare_49 says:

     

       from Gallagher of St.L Game Time:

      

  66. Jaroslav Halak. What else am I supposed to say about this guy? After the game last Saturday I tried to buy a Halak t-shirt, which is a first for me since goalies are all insane. Could not get one. All out in adult sizes above small. Guess I’m not the only one falling in love with him. He’s 8-1-1 with a 94.4% save percentage and a 1.46 goals against. Beyond that, soft goal sightings in the region are down 287% for the year and the Goalie Confidence Level is currently set at Green. You know Bruins fans are definitely grumbling about Halak tonight.
  67.  

    The hits keep on coming by Larry Brooks:

       It couldn’t be more clear the NHL always will look for reasons to acquit rather than convict, couldn’t be more clear the league’s first instinct is to find that hundredths-of-a-second breakdown on video that will allow it to keep people like Carcillo and Matt Cooke on the ice.

       From Bruce Rumours Garrioch:

      

    RUMOURS DU JOUR

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Phoenix D Ed Jovanovski between now and the NHL trade deadline. While Coyotes GM Don Maloney would love to sign the potential UFA to a contract extension, his hands are tied because the team is in bankruptcy and waiting for new ownership. Any extension would have to be approved by Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer (if he ever actually buys the team) or the True North Sports and Entertainment group if the Coyotes are indeed moved to Winnipeg following the Dec. 31 deadline to get a deal done. Jovanovski has had a solid start to the season and there haven’t been any formal contract discussions between the Coyotes and his agent, Pat Morris. If Jovanovski is available, there will be plenty of suitors … San Jose GM Doug Wilson is looking for a defenceman. The Sharks are trying to find somebody to fill the minutes left vacant by the retirement of Rob Blake. Since Wilson is a notorious tire kicker, he’ll likely wait until the deadline to make a deal … While he hasn’t looked great lately, Islanders G Dwayne Roloson will draw some attention at the deadline. Teams will be looking for a capable backup and he fits the bill. The Isles are hoping G Rick DiPietro can return to form … Boston GM Peter Chiarelli, who will be hamstrung by cap issues once C Marc Savard and LW Marco Sturm return from injuries, is going to be a popular figure at this week’s GMs meetings in Toronto. “The sharks will be circling to help him out,” said one league executive. There’s a chance RW Michael Ryder could be dealt. Have a nice Sunday. 

      

  • JF says:

    Reading today’s posts, I get the feeling a lot of people are giving up on the team.  The coach is no good, it’s Gainey’s fault, the players are just not good enough… etc.  Come on, people, it’s much too soon to give up. We have a lot of speed and talent, our defence is usually very solid, and our goaltending very good to great. We have some problems, but we knew that right from the start.  The thing is that these problems can be fixed. Remember last year when Markov was injured? The powerplay was firing blanks, so eventually someone was brought in to help.  I’m not necessarily advocating bringing back Marc-André Bergeron, though I would as a last resort.  But other things can be tried first, like bringing up Weber or, as I suggested below, trying Picard on the point.

    As for our top players not scoring, I think that will work itself out.  Every sniper goes through periods when he can’t find the back of the net.  Gionta scored last night, but throughout his drought, he remained patient and never stopped working.  Pouliot seems to be finding his scoring touch again.  I think Cammalleri needs to settle down, work hard on the other aspects of his game, and, in particular, be patient.  He’s showing a lot of frustration right now and it’s affecting his game.

    Last night was bad, but it was the second game in two nights.  Relax, theres another game Tuesday.

  • Habies says:

    I am in downtown Yangoon now. Their first voting in 20years has just passed with minimal pomp or flair – kinda like a Canadiens PP circa 2010.

    The auspicious elections here took place today because the numbers added up to 9: Nov.7th: 11-07. Just like home, they also love the Number 9, eh, Maurice? They changed their National Anthem, Flag, and country name two weeks ago at 3pm, 10-21-2010 (3+1+2+1+2+1=9), also adding up to a purposeful nine.   When the fans were voting for their three stars at 8:35am (MYA Time) back home, they chose 9 themselves… (Kovy’s (2+7). {I wonder if Togliatti ever sold Ladas to Myanmar?} The only difference though was that here people weren’t choosing the three stars, but those with four stars instead.

     

  • SPATS says:

    None taken. I’m only speculating, but tell me, how would you deal with the loss of your wife and daughter? Self medication is the most common treatment

  • HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Do you want the TRUTH?….or you can’t handle the TRUTH… to bad, here it is…again.

    we are not tough enough. the PHD’s can handle it, Hammr, Spacek, Gorges, Gill, Markov, Subban can, Moen and Kosty even Laps, but after that, forget it… you may say that i’ve mentioned enough ‘tougher’ players to carry the load, but aside from Pol/Laps occassionaly and Moen, these guys don’t target and go out of their way to hit like a Ruutu or Kaleta.

    we are too soft, too timid and the only reasoning i can come up with for that is Gaineys statement about the ‘referees will protect us’…

    Ottawa beat us because they had more muscle in the corners…ours and theirs, its that simple.

    lets see Martins/Gauthiers experiment = Boyd vs Spezza? Pyatt vs Kovy? Pleks vs Thorton? shall I go on? because we can fill the page with these lopsided confrontations.

    we have great speed, great vision, great puckhandling, great shooting, excellent goaltending and mature solid defense… WHAT ARE WE MISSING?

    about 3 players that can dish it out and their main purpose is to bring a tougher element to the ice…and i’m not talking about a colton orr or thorton from the bruins…we had that in Larock, we can do away with a fighter, but we need crash the net (like ottawa did) tussle in the corners, headlocks after the whistle players… and guess what, its not something you have to teach these guys (white/pax/shultz) ITS THE WAY THEY PLAY!!!

    otherwise we are just going through another season of delusions of grandeur.

    BRING UP PAX NOW… he is a power forward… he is ready with experience.

    BRING UP WHITE NOW… he is hardnosed and excelled during tryouts… he is ready.

    BRING UP SHULTZ NOW… he crashes and bangs and is the type to crowd the net and take out the trash

    just think of the grit added to our speed/talent…now we’re contending for the cup.

    oh…on another note, DAMN, let me repeat….what a mistake not signing KOVY…

    1:The N.A.G. (North American Grit) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2:The NHL-Ref-Syndicate will do everything in its power to never allow the HABS to win another Stanley Cup. 3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/PAX now.

  • PrimeTime says:

    Drugs or Alcohol??? Sounds more like you with this post that has some issues (no offense)!

  • punkster says:

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

  • Cape Breton says:

    For the past 17 long years, more often than not, our team is extremely hard to take. Thank Heavens that that Canada’s team is worse

  • SPATS says:

    I’m convinced that things could go very badly very quickly. JM’s tinkering and poor handling of young players has exposed him for the out of touch old fart he is and it will be his doom.

    But, Bob Gainey must bear responsibility for this mess as he should have stepped aside when he first thought about firing his team and decided to fire his friend instead.

    He should look up Neil Peart, they’ve both been dealt the same hand. Neil took 5 or 6 years off and toured the country on his motorcycle.

    Bob chose to forge on, but unfortunately for we the faithful, his decisions have put us in a tough spot. Many now appear irrational. No disrespect sir, but one must wonder if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

    Late winter 09, The club is disfunctional. Carbo has lost the room and someone has to go. Bob (as time would prove) has decided to fire the team. But what the hell, let’s fire my friend too. Not rational.

    Bob assumes the bench from Carbo and gets to see first hand how bad the group HE assembled were disfunctioning. Carey loses 4 straight against Boston. Bob has his back. Jaro never gets a chance. Perhaps Bob has an emotional connection to Carey and it is comforting his broken heart. Very touching (I’m being sincere) but not in the teams best interest.

    Bob then brings in JM. Then he aquires Gomer. These 2 decisions bring us to today. Cammy, Gio, and Spatch & Gill, these turn out ok. But Gomers $$ mean we can’t keep Jaro. No player in recent memory was as beloved. Yes, Carey has stepped up, but really, the only reason he is still in Mtl is because of Bob’s emotional support in 09. Jaro should’ve gotten his chance in 09 but didn’t.

    Now we’re left to watch JM destroy Eller, Gomer to phone it in, and Jaro to shine in the hockey hotbed of middle america. Very Sad. Maybe this is what Carbo means when he says the truth will come out…

  • 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

  • Xtrahabsfan says:

    I’m hoping the Hurley’s gang a non hang-over Morning and have a couple of thoughts to share as I suffer with my hang over at 4.49 am”and what a s.o.b. it be!”… 1)I would like to see Subban used as a forward(center) once in a while,just out of curiosity..I have this feeling he’d do well

    2)I think it’s time to bring back O’Bryne for the Vancouver game”We need size” 3) Time to call up White 4)Send Eller to the Dawgs and protect him from the Martin kiss of death. 5) Time to consider a package deal to dump more salary and acquire more Prospects with SIZE 6) When Carbo was fired and made the famous truth will come out at the end of the season statement it was made to imply the team wasn’t that good…This year I think the statement means the Coaching isn’t very good and I still wonder bout the so called system?

  • mjames says:

    I am afraid the Canadiens are settling to their real talent level after an unexpected hot start. I believe we will continue to win a few and then lose a few. Hopefully we will end up playing around 500  and finish anywhere from 8th to 13th. I am not really inclined to blame the players for their play. I think they are all giving 110% . They are all trying, including Spacik, Gomez, Gionta, Gill, etc. Unfortunately the fact of the matter is that they are just not good enough. I don’t want to hear that we were a finalist team last year because if we are truthful we know that was a fluke. Besides the guy that got us there was “given” away.

    The people who should shoulder the blame for the team is management.  I do not think Gauthier got fair value for Halak. In addition Gainey’s gross mismanagement of the “cap” through the ill advised acquisition of Gomez and signing the likes of Gill and Spacik has been ruinous to this team and caused this current level of mediocrity.  I think the Molson’s are relatively indifferent since they continue to max out their revenue stream through sell out after sell out. Additionally the fans , including myself, continue to blindly support the team. 

     

     

    mjames

  • tony d says:

    Ottawa relied on that tried and true method to beat the Habs. Hard forecheck. Any team that does this against our guys comes out the winner 9 times out of 10. I shudder at what awaits them this week. Canucks, Bruins and then the Flyers.

    I also think the matchups aren’t working. PK looks as slow as Gill out there, actually the whole D looks disorganized and out of sync. Sputtering offense and messy D spell goose eggs in the W column.

  • HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    ah, finally someone who sees the problem…but why not offer the solution:

    PAX/SHULTZ/WHITE and HENRY….players of that ilk…we must have them somewhere.

    1:The N.A.G. (North American Grit) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2:The NHL-Ref-Syndicate will do everything in its power to never allow the HABS to win another Stanley Cup. 3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/PAX now.

  • Willy the bum says:

    Ran out of gas.  That’s the line of the day.

  • ctony says:

    Wade Phillips got fired. 

     

    A long tenured coach with an above .500 record in cities
    that don’t have hyper expectations.  A GM
    friendly guy, who doesn’t have higher management aspiration, doesn’t complain
    about draft picks or trades.  Doesn’t
    play an inspiring style, doesn’t have much of a personality.  Fans wanted him gone last year, but he won in
    the playoffs and came back despite would-be successors in the organization that
    some saw as innovators. 

     

    Hey Jacques, you’re just one a losing streak and an embarrassing
    loss away…

  • RJ says:

    Time for a reality check — this team is not that good. No size in front and no pressure in tight. Won’t win in this league shooting from 30 feet out.

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  • nightmare_49 says:

    Jim Matheson’s Sunday Hockey World …………….
    Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp’s a helluva player, second in NHL scoring, but he’s also minus-10
    ………………..
    Red Wings GM Ken Holland says there’s way too much emphasis on which players are up on the stage, wearing a team jersey, as first round picks on draft day. They get their pictures taken, but what about the rest? …………

    Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Hockey+World/3790319/story.html#ixzz14bZrVbn5

  • PrimeTime says:

    We lost this game because of Defense. The new pairings either need more practice time together or changed back. So disorganized and it killed any chance to start our speed game. At times it was Key Stone Cops material but wasn’t funny.

    The PP was even worse. Where was the puck control?? How about gaining some pocession and setting up positionally before forcing passes thus costing turnovers?? I have a feeling our futility to score with a man advantage is causing the boys to grip their sticks too tight 5 on 5. Too many missed shots on goal as the net seems to be shrinking on all the shooters.

    I’m hoping the “better Habs” show up Tues cuz the Nuks are fast and can bury the puck….very exciting game last night against Detroit (was kinda envious actually). Does Martin play shut down boring hockey or will he let the boys loose and compete on speed?? How much confidence does he have in the team? We’ll see!

  • wild flower says:

    Wow, another shutout for Halak….oh wait, it was Ty Conklin. Maybe the goalie performance is really team performance. A lot of goalies would probably be doing great things is St Louis. Things have worked out very nicely for Jaro – congrats to him.

  • Richard B says:

    I continue to be mystified by JM’s line up decisions?

    -          Gill and Soubie-do? No Picard or OB? – may I suggest giving the dinosaur Spach a night off. Plz let Soubie play with Hammer and let’s get OB back in the line up!!!

    -          Eller an’t good enough to try a game with Gomez and Gionta?…but in Jacques infinite wisdom he tries a night with AK46 moved to the GG line and sticks Eller on the one line that was working?  (i.e. Plecks & Cammy)? Hummm- y not try Eller with GG first, before breaking up the only line that was producing. Now we got two lines not producing.

    -          NEWS FLASH 19 – 22 year old guys will make mistakes. Deal with it! The habs an’t getting any better with Eller, OB, Picard, Max Pac, Weber all scratched or in the AHL.

    -          Only thing positive I’ve seen lately is the PHD line. And I pretty sure JM stumbled into that by accident.

    -          OH, one more! AK46 has played well with Plecks for what? 4, 5 years? He had a slump (last season) and now is starting to show signs of life and Jacques moves AK46 away from Plecks? Nice reward!

    Richard B

  • habs001 says:

    the habs talent level is that of a little over 500 team…over the last 115 games that is basically what they have been…the goal is to make the playoff with no major injuries…as i have said it many times it makes no difference for this team what position they finish in the standings as they can beat any team in the playoffs and just as easily lose to any team in the playoffs…if you are not biased as a habs fan and analyze the teams complete line up you would see that it is still far away from being an elite team…it is very limited in forwards that can score regularly…individually we have many players that if they were on another team the majority of the posters would have negative comments about their hockey abilities…

  • JF says:

    We seem to be reverting to our habit of taking one period off every game.  On Friday against Buffalo we spent the first
    period hemmed in our end, and it was only Price’s brilliance that kept us in
    the game.  The second period last night
    was a disaster – sloppy, lazy, disorganized. 
    We were lucky to score right at the end so we could go into the third
    with some hope of drawing even.

    Something
    we do not do enough and which other teams regularly do to us is crash the
    net.  Both Buffalo and Ottawa got goals
    out of the confusion which results from bodies in the crease and sticks banging
    at the puck.  I rarely see our team do
    this, and in a period when our offence seems to have dried up, this kind of
    ugly goal would be a boost.

    Of our
    three expensive acquisitions from last year, it seems to me that Cammalleri is
    actually doing the worst.  Gionta keeps
    working, and was finally rewarded with a goal, and I don’t think Gomez has been
    playing badly.  But Cammalleri is letting
    his frustration affect his game; he rushes plays, he makes bad decisions, he
    takes bad penalties.  We’ve seen signs of
    frustration from him all season, going back to his slash on Niederreiter in the
    pre-season, which makes me wonder if there is not more involved than simply not
    scoring – possibly resentment at not being chosen captain.  If that is the case, he’d better start
    putting his team ahead of his own feelings.

    Markov’s
    return has had no impact so far and I question whether he’s really ready.  He did not look good last night.  Jacques Martin should limit his ice-time and
    let him work himself back into game shape. 
    This was his third major injury in a little over a year; it may be
    taking its toll.

    I think
    the defence was better with the old pairings, and I don’t like Cammalleri on
    the point on the powerplay.  He has
    trouble holding the zone, and he’s more dangerous from the half-wall.  I wonder if JM has thought of trying Picard
    on the point.  He shoots left, and I
    actually saw a replay of him scoring from the point.

     We face much tougher opposition the next two
    games.  A couple of losses in which the
    powerplay goes 0-for-whatever will perhaps convince Gauthier that it’s time to
    make some kind of move.  If he doesn’t do
    something soon, we’ll be sliding down the standings.


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