About last night …

I listened to CKAC on the drive home last night and Martin Lemay reeled off some adjectives to describe the Canadiens performances.

In translated form: Disgusting, pathetic, ignoble, stomach-turning, disillusioning, shabby …

I’ve probably missed a few. But Lemay captured the mood in Montreal after yet another home-ice embarrassment. And he was bang-on in talking about the particularly painful impact of a Saturday night loss.

Patients in children’s hospitals, Lemay said, wake up smiling on Saturday mornings. They spend the day in joyful anticipation of watching their beloved Montreal Canadiens on TV.

That enthusiasm is shared by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Montrealers. The importance of the Canadiens transcends sports. Passionate attachment to the team is something that unites this demographically diverse and frequently fractious city.

Seconds before the Canadiens take to the ice at home games, Bell Centre PA announcer Michel Lacroix, booms out "Accueillons NOS Canadiens!"

Lacroix emphasizes the possessive pronoun because while George Gillet signs the paycheques and Bob Gainey decides who’ll get them, the team skating out to rapturous applause in the NHL’s biggest arena is OUR  Canadiens.

The CH symbol is everywhere in Montreal (including my right bicep). To a greater degree than any other NHL city, including Toronto, Montreal lives and dies with its hockey team.

And we’re dying.

Martin Lemay is dying.

I’m dying.

One would hope the kids in the hospitals, God bless ‘em, won’t die. But on six Saturday nights this season, the Montreal Canadiens have broken their little hearts.

It  can only happen once more this year.  The Leafs are here next Saturday. Then the next Saturday game at the Bell Centre is  Jan. 5.

By then, maybe the Canadiens will have figured out what ails them and taken certain steps to correct it.

To be honest, I’m not optimistic. As the bartender said to Diva Dion, "Hey, Céline, why the long face?"

• Goaltending, which was supposed to  be the team’s strength, is a mess.

• Team speed, another alleged forte, is a myth. Sure the Canadiens look fast against Toronto and Boston. But they’ve been outskated by Buffalo, Nashville, Detroit and Carolina. 

• Canadiens can’t score. Their 30-goal man has three this season and is being booed out of town. Their captain hasn’t scored since 2:40 of the first period in a 7-4 win over the Boston whipping boys on Nov. 17. And they’re the only team in the league that has two defencemen playing forward.

• System? What system? The aforementioned slick-skating teams easily break up Canadiens’ rushes, effortlessly clear their zones and consistently gain the Canadiens’ blueline without breaking a sweat. The other team is first on the puck and wins most of the one-on-one battles. Opponents routinely rack up at least 30 shots on goal; and unlike Canadiens’ total of 36 last night, the other guys get quality chances.

• Canadiens against teams that aren’t from Boston: Won 10, lost 11, lost another four in OT/SO. 

• And finally, show of hands please: Everybody who thinks Guy Carbonneau is the coach who can turn this mess around. 

 

170 Comments

  1. showey47 says:

    Get rid of guy and bob steps behind the bench and we will make the playoffs. This team is better than last years and we just missed the playoffs but we did have more wins than 2 teams that did make it. Carbo is the problem.

  2. Moey says:

    Good job of stirring up the pot this morning Mike, don’t forget the eye of newt.

  3. BigHabsFan says:

    “Ryder I think we can all agree is finished in Montreal cause any player that get’s booed by the home crowd just for touching the puck is done in that city……”

    ummmmm….ever heard of a guy named Patrice Brisebois?

    But in all seriousness I agree, unless Ryder drastically turns it around, then he will be a former-Hab by February 26th.
    Same goes for Huet. Personally I like him and what he brings to the team but he will not want to stay in Mtl to take an eventual back seat to Price; and furthermore I dont think Gainey will want to pay market value for Huet given that he may need that money to deal with some of the teams other shortcomings.

    As far as Koivu goes, I dont think that he clearly wants out. He began the season well, which to me indicates that he still has the desire to play and win. Eventually though, he’s only human, I think he’s tired of carrying the team on his back. He’s getting older and he doesnt want to compete for a playoff spot, he wants to compete for a cup. He wants to win, and I think that he would be happy to win in Montreal. Contrast this to a Chris Pronger situation where the team made it to the cup finals and then he demands a trade…that, im my mind, is wanting out.

    Derek Boogaard is not the answer to the Habs problem. There is one Boogaard, one Laraque, one Brasheur, one McGrattan and 30 teams…it doesnt hurt to have one of these guys, but by the same token they wont win you the cup. And as far as Benoit Pouliot goes, isnt he 165lbs? He may be a good player despite his small stature, but I dont know if he is the answer to the Habs problems either.

    I think Gainey has to be looking at what is available in terms of coaches. Carbo has to be on a short leash at this point…the team went into a tailspin last year, and if they do the same thing this year then what can Gainey really do other than take matters into his own hands.

    These next two weeks could really dictate what happens with our season. As many have pointed out, they have been decent on the road, so maybe this year the Christmas road trip won’t be such a bad thing…

  4. Norm0770 says:

    You say we expected the team to FIGHT for the final playoff spot. Right now they are letting teams walk all over them. If they keep playing the way they are rignt now they could prove the expects wrong by finishing 14th or 15th.

  5. twilighthours says:

    People, people, we need to remember one thing:

    In september, this is a team that all the hockey “experts” picked to finish 10th-13th in the conference. And we, the fans, would have probably picked a “fight for the last spot or two” sort of finish.

    That’s exactly what this team is doing. Fighting for the last one or two spots. Don’t let a fast start disguise how good (or mediocre) this team really is.

    The thing we all should be worrying about, though, is the lack of emotion, effort, intensity, pride, whatever you want to call it.

    And this lack of pride, I think, speaks directly to Carbonneau. Near two years ago, I thought Bob was a genius in the way he was phasing Carbo in. Then….. Guy actually took over behind the bench and starting showing us his true coaching colors.

    2 years on, and Guy has lost the respect of the room and has seemingly learning nothing – hasn’t improved at all.

    The first step to long-term success for this organization has to be and must be firing Guy. It’ll be tough, but it is necessary.

    (As for Smolinksi… he’s going to get a free ride this year because if the Habs bench him like they did Samsonov, then no free agent will *ever* sign in Montreal again. Unless a coach with real pedigree – Scotty Bowman – comes to coach here. A fan can dream, can’t he?)

    Folks, let’s keep our expectations realistic. This team is playing like poop right now but we should have expected nothing more than a mediocre team.

    Crappy attitude, maybe, but the truth.

  6. Gilles Poisson says:

    Your first sentence speaks volumes about this team.

  7. showey47 says:

    i don’t think koivu laclustre play says he wants out, but maybe it says get me a right winger who isn’t a defenceman,fourthliner or ryder. He is clearly frustrated by the teams performance, his own performance and his coach. But i do have a theory on ryder and why he isn’t scoring. Most of his goals do come on the powerplay, probably 2/3′s. When souray played on the powerplay he drew alot of attention so he was watched closely by the penalty killer hence opens up a gap between the checking forward and the defenceman on that side hence a shooting spot for ryder. But with no sheldon and no big shot, ryder loses his bread and butter. It’s just a theory

  8. JMoney says:

    Carbo-nono is the problem… This team does have speed, but Carbo doesn’t let them use it… I saw a perfect example of what Carbo preaches to the team during the 2nd period when the score was 2-1. Koivu’s line was on the ice, Higgins was in front of the net, the puck went towards the corner, Ryder and Koivu both could have grabbed the puck instead of skating right past it to let the Carolina player get it. Those 2 skated right to the bench, and Carolina ended up breaking out of the zone and scoring. Had Koivu or Ryder gone for the puck, they would have been first, and been able to continue to pressure in the offensive zone, maybe even tie the game…

    Carbo-nono has us playing a system where if you don’t have the puck, forget about going after it, get back and let the other team carry it into our zone… Sit back and wait for them to make mistakes, don’t force turnovers, don’t win races for the puck, wait for them to give you the puck… Carbo has to go, otherwise this team will end up in the Stamkos lottery.

  9. Gilles Poisson says:

    I am sorry but I agree with Mike Boones. Bob Gainey is killing children. Thank you.

  10. showey47 says:

    i agree, if you can’t get movtivated playing with the loudest building in the league in your corner there are some serious issues.

  11. TheMock780 says:

    Frankly, as much as Mike won’t like it, PJ Stock is bang on. Koivu wants out and is playing like it and this team needs an enforcer drastically. I get stuck watching alot of Oilers games here in Edmonton and I can tell you that the Oilers are not nearly as physical or aggresive since their cup run and you know why? It’s not cause they lost all there hitters and bangers cause in fact they’re all still there, it’s cause Georges Laraque is no longer on the team. A team plays alot more timid when they don’t have that nuclear deterrant on the bench.

    Koivu really looks like he wants out, Ryder I think we can all agree is finished in Montreal cause any player that get’s booed by the home crowd just for touching the puck is done in that city……unless you’re Brian McCabe and no other team would touch you with a 10 foot pole and you have a NTC. It’s only a matter of time before Kovalev starts whining again and wants out and Huet is an asset waiting to be turned into something.

    Realistically, the Habs first chance to get the thing they need the most, a big strong talented first line centre, is with the #1 pick this next draft in Steve Stamkos. The Habs need to tank it and trade alot of the veterans including the guys listed above and go for that pick. It’s the only way. Since Koivu would love to play with his bro, why not trade him to a talented Minnesota team with a shot and try to get Derek Boogard back in a package that also involves a young guy(Benoit Pouliot) and a 1rst rounder.

  12. Gilles Poisson says:

    I dont know why Bob fired Julien but I think always his plan was to have Coach Guy take the helm at some point. He knows Guy is a leader and has the hockey smarts. That doesn’t necessarily make him coaching material. I don’t know enough about hockey to be able to tell if the problems on the ice are the fault of coach Guy. I know he says some stupid things off the ice but, thats Guy, and if the team was winning nobody would care.

    I don’t think, and that’s where I part ways with a lot of you, Bowman would be able to coach this team into the playoffs. Not without outstanding goaltending. This team gets down 1-0 and you feel like it’s insurmountable. The callups were needed, those guys were needed from day one, but they aren’t the guys who are going to right this ship. There is not enough skill at forward, and don’t get me going with team toughness or I’ll puke. I sound like a broken record but to me it is that simple. And that brings me to Bob.

    Would I want to see Bob fired? Absolutely not. I heard P.J. suggesting that he might even hear boos at his jersey ceremony. I will be at that game with my brother, Yvon Poisson, and if anybody around me was to boo him it will probably be a short night for them and for me too. In fact, I’d go as far as saying I wouldn’t want any other GM here in his place. Having said that, I think he has done a poor job as the man ultimately responsible for the personnel. I think in any other city he would be under enormous heat before now, fired in some. I don’t want to hear about great prospects. Every team has them. We usually have more than other teams. Why? Because the other teams prospects are in the goddamn NHL, prospects no more.

    If there is a problem with hiring people in the family, it is that things usually get very ugly before you sever ties. How do you think Boivin would feel about firing Gainey? Or Gainey firing Guy? I will be sad if either of those things happen but The Montreal Canadiens will not be allowed to flounder indefinitely. There is a lot of space between panicking and doing nothing. It’s well past time for Gainey to get proactive. Yeah he took a shot at a couple of free agents. Tough luck. But there is still work to do.
    Thank you.

  13. Norm0770 says:

    Just because a team is supposed to be better than you doesn’t mean you put in little effort and save yourself for the next game against a team you should beat. It is not like they are putting in great efforts and barely falling short.

    They looked listless against Buffalo on a Friday and got smoked, then followed that up with a worse effort the next night AT HOME against the same team…result: LOSS.

    Carey Price steals two points in Toronto as the team gives up 40+ shots again.

    They go into NJ and show little other than an early game flury. Then NJ implements Carbo’s shut down system to a T over the final half of the game…Habs rack up 16 shots against the best goalie in the world, talk about not giving yourself an chance to win!

    They lost two, 3 goal leads to Nashville allowing 3 goals in the last 10 minutes, while allowing 44 shots.

    Got steamrolled the the Wings nothing else to say.

    Look like they have found their game in Boston with a 3 goal 1st period. Then they try to play Carbo’s shut down system and let the Bruins back into a game that should not have been close, but play a good 3rd period. So they have turned it around right?

    Wrong! Another no show at home vs the Canes, a team they have beaten 2 times this year. Even failed to score on a 1:30 5-on-3.

    By the way in the up coming games they have lost to Toronto, Florida and Atlanta already this year, teams they are “better” than.

  14. Yeats says:

    I think the lack of leadership goes far beyond the coaching staff. I think that Koivu’s lack of production has neutered him in the room as well. You play the game. It’s hard for someone to shoot you the look when they haven’t accomplished jack. I agree with your observation that the emotional attachment to the colours probably isn’t as strong as it once was. But, even if money is the overriding factor, these guy are not earning their pay. Quite frankly, you can put an equivalent product on the ice for a lot less scratch. What does frost me is that I find it really hard to understand how any hockey player could hit the ice in Montreal with everone behind you and the building shaking and just plain suck. For God’s sake, are you men?

  15. showey47 says:

    I think i would start by getting gainey back behind the bench at least for the rest of this season then he can hire a replacement during the summer. But as for the on ice product, i’m not sure where to start but we have proven that when they work hard and skate hard they can compete with any team in the league. But what we lack is the will to do it every night, i stated a couple of weeks ago that carbo has lost the room and i feel its coming more apparent with the continuous weak efforts, especially at home. For your statement on motivation, i don’t think the “ch” has the motivational powers that it once had. Especially when the mighty dollar has a bigger impact on where a player signs instead of tradition or history.

  16. Norm0770 says:

    Our last 5 coaches (except Gainey) had no NHL experience, and the last 3 before Carbo have gone on to do well with other teams. Perhaps Carbo shouldn’t have been hired, as he had NO coaching experience, not even Jr B.

    With the young roster, they need an experienced coach who is going to recognize the strengths of his line-up, clearly define a system that the players can execute and want to play with. Carbo rather has defined a system to fit the way he played 20 years ago is the clutch and grab style as a shut down forward.

  17. RH says:

    Let’s see, where do I start. Oh yeah! THE CHILDREN! WHY WON’T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN???? These millionaires are cold, heartless monsters for letting the poor ill, and terminally ill, children down on yet another Saturday night. Heads should roll. Everyone from the CEO, down to the waterboy should be drawn and quartered right in front of the Bell center for their lack of respect for all Habs fans in Montreal and around the world. PLease, IT’S JUST A GAME!!!

    I don’t think the homeless guy, with a possible psychological disorder and dependency to drugs, who just survived another night on the streets in freezing temperatures, cares that the Habs lost last night.

    I don’t think the guy at the government sponsored casino, who just lost his life savings and won’t be able to go home and face his family, cares that the Habs lost last night.

    Finally, I don’t think the poor kid, with cancer, or leukemia or other illness, who will, as Neil Young said ” Never get to fall in love, Never get to be cool”, because he doesn’t have long to live, cares that the Habs lost last night.

    The Habs are a part of Montreal because of athletes who dedicate there time to voluteering and helping local charities when they could easily just hide away from the public eye. Home grown talent that played for the bleu, blanc et rouge, and continued to be a part of the community they grew up in. Foreign players settling down and deciding to make Montreal there home for the rest of their lives. These are the people who made the Habs a part of the fabric of Montreal. Not all the championships they’ve won. This CKAC guy is an ASS for trying to make grown men, playing a kids game, guilty for losing just to justify his own immature emotional state. SHAME ON HIM and frankly, SHAME ON YOU BOONE if you echo his sentiments. What a load of garbage. I guess the coroners office is going to busy today, in Montreal.

  18. Yeats says:

    These guys are killing me. My response to every post-game comment from the players or coaching staff is always the same. OK, why? Gosh, it’s not like the people in the Bell Center or the rest of us watching from afar are pissing on them from the get go. They bring the booing on themselves. Erik Cole, a guy from upstate New York who played for Clarkson University, is booing along with the fans. Man, is that a new low, or what?

  19. tleblanc says:

    Sadly, and I do mean this, the head coach is responsible for the outlook and attitude of the team. This team at the beginning of the year was up to beating or playing even with almost all of the teams and even their losses were close. Now the team is clearly not showing up. People forget that Carbonneau like his team is extremely young in terms of experience. The question is can the fans be patient or should the fans be patient while he gains experience. This teams talent is not that bad but their psyche is now in a place which may require a shock treatment and unfortunately you can’t replace all the player so your choice of moves are limited.

    a)Make a huge deal where you trade the likes of a Koivu, Kovalev or Higgins or all of the above.
    or
    b)Send the likes of Ryder to the minors for a short stint to let him get his head straight and away from Carbo
    or
    c) Can carbo
    or
    d) all of the above.

    Now that is shock treatment!!!!

  20. P St. Pierre says:

    Haha…I enjoyed the barber line.

  21. P St. Pierre says:

    I would have to agree with almost everyone on here that Guy Carbonneau is no longer the man for the job behind the Canadiens’ bench. This was never more evident to me than after the game against Boston when he said he was trying to get three lines to play defense, which is why he put Dandenault on the first line. Yes, Dandenault scored, but the coach wanted them to protect a lead of one goal? That idea does not coincide with what the “new” NHL is trying to establish. You can’t protect one goal leads anymore (unless you are NJ) because there are too many powerplay opportunities to be had. You no longer can tie guys up in the slot or interfere with them at all. You’ll get a penalty.

    It would seem to me that none of the players on the team really know what Carbonneau’s system really is. They just go out there and throw the puck at the net from weird angles, which hardly ever translates into a goal. They don’t really know what he wants them to do and they are confused and worried that if they don’t do whatever it is he wants, they’ll get moved to a different line or end up in the pressbox.

    When you have a young team, you need an experienced coach who has a proven system that will win games. Guy Carbonneau is not an experienced coach. I have always admired his abilities as a player, but as a coach, I am really starting to question his tactics. He calls out Andrei Markov and Carey Price to the media, but never mentions the countless giveaways by Patrice Brisebois or Bryan Smolinski’s inabiltiy to win faceoffs or play solid defensive hockey (which is what he should be doing, not playing on the top offensive line). I want to see a change.

    Finally, changes probably do need to be made to the Canadiens’ roster. I’m not sure what needs to happen but I know that they need at least one forward who can finish around the net. I still have full confidence in Bob Gainey and the system he has in place, but I hope he doesn’t let his friendship with Carbonneau erode this team any further.

  22. ebk says:

    quite possibly.

  23. Yeats says:

    To be honest, I just don’t know where to start when you look at this team. Carbo has a bunch of problems, not the least of which is the worst haircut amongst coaches in the League. (I find it hard to believe that there are no competant barbers in Montreal.) The Habs draft all these guys with speed, who presumably can get back quickly when they lose possession in the offensive zone, but don’t employ two men on the forecheck. Why? With a few exceptions, the forewards are afraid to go to the front of the other teams net with any regularity. As a result, we don’t get those BS, donkey goals that often decide the outcome of games. (Streit got one last night, but alas it was called back.) Also, with all their speed, why do they deke as the get over the other teams blue line. Dammit, use your wheels and fly by them. I cut him some slack, however, on the motivational issue. If someone has to get you into a lather to play well wearing a Montreal Canadiens’ uniform, you have the f______g problem. The jersey should be motivation enough. Crap, I’d rather see a bunch of local kids drafted by the club who cared. They might not win, but at least you could count on an honest effort. Right now, there are only two things that separate the Habs from the Leafs; they play in different cities and the former have one more colour in their uniforms.

  24. Gilles Poisson says:

    Look on the bright side………never mind. Thank you.

  25. ebk says:

    Boone last night you were saying that the Steelers were going to get kicked by the Patriots today. Care to make a small wager on that and I do mean small.

  26. B says:

    Killing poor, sick and broken hearted orphans in the childrens hospital? Do they also have a supply of puppies they kick around the dressing room? Step away from the ledge and take a deep breath.

  27. ebk says:

    In their last 10 games the Canadiens have gotten 7 out of a possible 20 points. Many of the more faithful are calling for patience and pointing out that even Ottawa goes through slumps and that the Habs are still in the thick of things. Both valid points and while they are true, a closer look at the Habs recent skid to Ottawa’s reveals a startling difference.

    Ottawa lost seven in a row but only one was by more than 1 goal and 3 were Shoot-Out losses. Most of the games could have gone either way.

    The Canadien’s recent skid is a completely different animal. In losses versus Detroit, Ottawa,Carolina and Buffalo twice, they were toyed with. Against New Jersey, the had a great first period but fell apart after that and were dominated by the Devils. The game against Nashville was close on the score board but they were dominated for most of it. The 4-1 lead they would later blow, was not indicative of the Habs performance during the game. It is not that they are losing, it is that they are getting their butts handed to them during this streak.

    Their is plenty of blame to go around. Carbonneau has made the team very uptight with his constant tweaking of the lines. Right now this team is scared to lose and it plays like it. Playing two defenseman as forwards is another dubious Carbonneau habit.

    In all fairness to Carbonneau, a coach is only as good as his players. When your best players are playing well, a coach will look good, when they are not, the coach will look bad. Many of the Canadiens better players need to pick it up and pick it up soon or the season will be lost.

    Gainey has received a free ride so far. Not to many people are pointing the finger at him. I would not want him replaced but he is as responsible for this mess as the coach and the players are. This team is sorely lacking in talent on forward. Playing two D-men up front proves this. Their Defense has 3 legitimate NHL players on it and a bunch of players who are either smurfs or soft or both. I didn’t include O’Bryne in this assessment because he has played only two games.

    The only are were this team is above average is goaltending. I simple do not agree that the goaltenders have been the problem lately or even a small part of it. Price last night played better than the other 18 players on his team and pointing the finger at him is/was a mistake.

    To make a long story short, this team is in major trouble and I’m not sure the players are in place to pull them out. I’m not sure the coaching is place either.

    Thanks for reading

  28. Blarneylad says:

    agree with you completly, i think carbs might be able to turn things around if gainey gave him the tools to do it, i mean, this is the worst team montreal has iced in 3 years

  29. Axeman says:

    Let me be cautiouly optimistic ….
    Mike, our goaltending isn’t quite a “mess”. Every goaltender … Hasak, Cujo, Brodeur, and even Roy has been pulled at least once in there careers. I’ve heard it said that Price drops to his knees too quickly. He has a style, and that style won a Calder cup. Now, I know that’s a far cry from the NHL, but he will adjust. Besides, his style makes more sense that Hasak’s swimming all over the ice, but whatever works for you …..
    Ryder is a waste of ice-time. He has shown time and again that he’s no longer interested in playing for this team. How can your top line be any good with only 2 players who want to play? The sooner we trade him, the better.
    I’m on the fence with Carbo, but leaning toward the side that says we need someone else. His line juggling (even from last season) is getting really old, really fast. I’m sure the players are pissed at him, and even regular joes are guilty of not doing there job very well when they don’t like their boss. This team, at the beginning of the season, could skate, pass, shoot, and score with the rest of the NHL. The players have not changed over the last 10 or so games, so why have the results? Carbo needs to let the players PLAY, and keep lines together. He also needs to learn to chose his after-game comments a little more carefully. Perhaps Gainey needs to get back behind the bench.
    We still have a good team. There are only a few elements which are dragging us down. Replace those elements, and we’ll find a way to win again.

  30. Bouleau noir says:

    First and foremost select UFA dont sign with teams having a losing record.

    They will specially run away from an organization renowned to sabotage offensive talents and use a system stifling offensive opportunitys.

    Gainey knows that our team will never be at the top without the addition of a select UFA and he has not acheived the ground work necessary to attrac those needed players to sign here….. that is his failling…. his anti-hochey philosophy and hiring of Carbo are killing our chances to move forward,… until that change no scoring UFA will ever come here and shoot themselves in the foot.

  31. ebk says:

    thanks, Ian. Hope you are right about the two year party thing. I doubt it but will buy you a beer if it comes true.

  32. Yeats says:

    When the fans suit up and suck, you can bitch about the fans. The fans have showed up to support this team at every home game and from afar when the team is on the road. The Habs’ performance is no way in hell the fans’ fault. Nobody pays us seven-figure salaries to play a kid’s game and wear a jersey that most of us would don for free if God had blessed us with the talent to make it to the show. Maybe if they gave an honest effort for sixty minutes, something they have admitted several times failing to do in the press, they wouldn’t be booed.

  33. Norm0770 says:

    I think Bob will give Carbo the option to resign rather than fire him outright. I think 2 or 3 more poor efforts.

  34. Norm0770 says:

    Or at least look like they are trying. That would be an improvment at this point.

  35. Norm0770 says:

    Ask the Indianapolis Colts haow they feel about Tony Dungy. He is not the coach anybody loves to hate, he is a coach his players love.

    Coaches you love to hate you sometimes have respect for because even though ho can be hard on you his plan or system will get the team to win. This is not happening with Carbo. He has no previous coaching experience, by no fault of his own, but an unproven coach that seems to not recognize the talents that his team posesses. He has not been ensuring that his young player or experienced players are doing their job properly.

  36. longtimehabsfan says:

    That’s sugar coating. It’s not that they are losing to good teams, they are not showing much effort, and more importantly, we are not seeing any progress. Try and catch a Blackhawks game some night. That’s a young team, which comes to play every night and seems excited about playing. And as far as all those comments by the coach that the Habs are not good at home because maybe they’re trying to put on a show for the fans, well, the best show would be to win the game, any way, any how….

  37. Will Longlade says:

    Ryder’s problem is that he has been trying to do too many things with the puck. The Ryder of old used to have a quick release. Now he always drags the puck before shooting. Goalies are getting tipped off that a shot is coming. He should look at tapes of how he scored in the past and simplify his game and his shot.

  38. Norm0770 says:

    As few as 6 years ago fans here in Indianapolis were booing Peyton Manning and the Colts off the field on a regular basis. As few as 2 weeks ago they were booing Adam Vinatiari off the field as he missed his second kick of the game and 4th miss in 2 weeks.

    Fans who pay a lot of money to see their team perform get upset with sub-par efforts. If every player on the Habs played every shift the way Steve Being does no one would boo the team, win or loose. It is more about effort than results.

  39. CHasman says:

    If the losing continues we will see Gainey do something. The first thing that always happens is remove the coach. Personally I’m all right with that. Before we get to that though we’ll have to suffer some more losses. And I can live with losses, when the team is playing hard. We have tallent on this team but not all twenty guys are on board. Watching the games you can see the players that are still playing their heart out but those numbers are getting smaller. The team has crossed to the dark side and we are having less and less players giving 100%. Carbo must go! But when?

  40. Uwey says:

    That is the best assessment I have seen about this team this season.

    I would like to add about the goaltending situation. I have witnessed this teams goaltending start great the past several season, only to continually slide down hill as the season progress’. IMO, the man responsable for that is Roland Melanson & he should be the first to be shown to the door!!!

    Watch Huet, watch Price, watch Halak, Abby was the same thing, they are all down into the butterfly way to early & that is a trademark of Melanson’s coaching.

  41. Norm0770 says:

    Exactly. They earned their shot, and two of them were probably excused too soon, or unjustly (can you guess which one wasn’t?). And they have gone on to great success elsewhere, where as no one is going to hire Carbo unless he does some time at Jr or in the minors. He is the mirror of Mario Tremblay, but somewhat less bombastic.

  42. Bill says:

    The schedule indeed has been very tough. Those two Buffalo losses stand out right now, because Buffalo shouldn’t be any better than the Habs. It is worth noting that the Ottawa loss was – I think – Ottawa’s last win before its 7-game swoon.

    It’s not only about the losses, it’s the way they’ve lost: the New Jersey domination; the Nashville collapse; the Detroit raping; the Carolina category-five hurricaning. They’ve looked very, very bad in those losses. The offense has dwindled, the PP has lost its edge, the PK has gone in the tank, and the goaltending has been exposed.

    None of this means the team sucks, necessarily. When a team slumps, it slumps because those things are happening. You astutely point out that the upcoming schedule is easier both in terms of how much hockey they have to play – about three games per week instead of four – and in terms of the ferocity of the opposition.

    The time is indeed ripe for them to turn all of this around. There is no reason why they can’t, IMO. It’s the same team they had at the beginning of the year … better, perhaps, for having O’Byrne and Lapierre. They all need to shake it off and play with the confidence they formerly demonstrated. It’s up to Koivu, Kovalev, Markov, and Price to set the tone: we live and die by those guys.

    As for the coaching, it is asinine for any of us to pretend that we are in a position to judge him. He’s a smart guy, played in the NHL, and understands rudiments and tactics. He’s in the room, and we’re not. I’m not going to sit here and say he’s using the wrong strategy (presumably he is not telling them to LOSE), because WTF do I know? It’s also pretty pointless to speculate – and it’s all speculation – about his relationship with the players, or how that might be affecting their play: when people start talking about how the Habs have “lost faith” in Carbo, and suggest that that’s why they lose, well, it’s getting pretty mystical at that point.

    By Gainey’s stated schedule, we still have another full year of growing pains before he expected the Habs to be competitive again, so we all might as well get used to hiccups like this. I wholeheartedly believe, however, that better things are in store, and coming soon. Looking forward to Tuesday night!

  43. Norm0770 says:

    I agree that we can’t speculate about the relationship between the coach and the team or specific players. The problem I have is that Carbo had ZERO coaching experience and is not really instilling much confidence in the fans that he can coach.

    A couple of observations about the teams play in general. I don’t think the single forechecker scheme is the players idea. I also don’t think that the players have decided to stop skating and pack centre ice when they have a one goal lead. Allowing team to attack with speed to centre leads to bad things even if the other team just dump it in. You have to turn and chase the puck, hope you don’t get smoked in the corner if you even get to the puck first.

    Those are coaching decisions and Carbo hasn’t done anything to change it. He easily gets out coached when trying to match lines too.

  44. Ian Cobb says:

    Ebk, I agree with you compleatly. The problem is more for Bob to rectify, Carbo and Bob have been friends and have worked together half there life time. The two might have to go together. That would be a disaster melt down. BG knows Carbo better than anybody, so its Bobs team and i’m hopefull he will get us there

  45. Chorske says:

    I dunno, Plek-Andrew. SOmetimes you hate a boss because he makes a lot of bad decisions and makes the entire division look bad.

    I was hopeful when Carbo stuck with four basic lines for the first few games. But since then he’s fallen into his usual juggling and calling out of his best players, being snide, saying incomprehensible things in press conferences.

    I just feel like grabbing the little bugger by the lapels and shouting: OK, we get it, your players are letting you down. Guess what: it’s not about you. OK, we know you wish you could strap on your skates and play a regular shift. It’s not about you. Your system isn’t working. Don’t take it personally: it’s not about you. Watch the tape, talk to your coaching staff, and make the changes. That’s what a pro coach does.

    And did anyone else cringe inside at Higgins’ comment, something along the lines of “when we’re on the road, it’s so simple, we chip it in and chase after it”. Am I the only one dismayed that THIS is the system we’re playing? A fast-break team with a couple of decent playmakers dumping and chasing? So let me get this straight. We continue to suck on the faceoff, handing possesion to the other team every time we lose one. We compound that by giving the other team possession when we DO win the faceoff.

    You’ll forgive me if I continue to be unimpressed. This isn’t a bandwagon thing. I’ve been iffy about Carbo since last year. That iffy is starting to morph into the conviction that nothing will change, and that the Habs will continue to be a .500 team at best under his system. Worse: our much-vaunted kids will learn that hard work gets you benched, and that taking responibility is something the other guy does.

  46. Chorske says:

    I think it’s easy to say this kind of thing with 20/20 hindsight. Dallas did quite well after the Iginla trade, thank you very much. And the point is not who he signed. The point is who he is targeting. I like the kind of guys he is prioritizing, he just needs to actually land one of them. And I honestly think that WE’RE more of a problem to the team than Gainey- fickle fans, Quebec / language politics, high taxes, why would anyone put up with that if they had other options? Gainey is facing an uphill battle anytime he tries to sign one of these guys.

    Gainey is doing ONE thing wrong. He should either publicly support Carbo, or get rid of him. I’m with Boone, tho- I can’t see Carbo working out.

  47. Habs Suck says:

    Maybe.. but Carbo can make sh*t out of straw!!! Doesn’t that make him the horse’s aaaa….

  48. Habs Suck says:

    I beg to differ about the remark that we’re upset because we think we’re better than these teams. The reality is that the Habs are not playing good hockey, even for an average team!!! We are not getting an NHL calibre effort and performance on the ice. That’s what the frustration is about. And, by the way, just because we can b*tch-slap the Bruins doesn’t mean we are a better team than them, especially in recent weeks!!!

    We need a bonafide coach… do I hear Bob Hartley breathing heavy into Gainey’s phone???

  49. doug says:

    agree that this team is good enough and getting better.

    fire the cancerous coach.

  50. doug says:

    thank you; agreed. a good coach gets you through slumps. any fool can look good through a few winning streaks. and the next question is why do we have the streaks? i’d submit because the team is good enough to win quite a bit but not good enough to overcome bad coaching when things turn south.

    FIRE carbo

  51. Exit716 says:

    What is Gainey’s vision? Look at the past two free agent seasons.
    He targets Shanahan for leadership gets rejected and overpays a perimeter softie.
    He targets Briere gets rejected and then goes nuts trying to get Ryan Smyth and Rafalski before setting for the Dollarama specials of Smolinski and Kostopolous?
    It’s like when the plan A guy says no, he panics and then starts throwing money around at the wall hoping it sticks.
    He had a number one centre in Dallas when he got there. He traded Iginla instead of Todd Harvey to Calgary for Nieuwendyk.
    If he does make a deal it will likely be a flop.

  52. Gilles Poisson says:

    “Passionate attachment to the team is something that unites this demographically diverse and frequently fractious city.”

    Absolutement. I liked this entry. I think it’s about time people start getting pissed off instead of just whistling past the graveyard. Thank you.

  53. Gilles Poisson says:

    The season is far from lost, but things are unraveling and people are right to be worried. We can look at the standings and say to this point we’ve done ok but I doubt the Habs are doing that. Last years team was in almost every game. When this team is bad, it’s as bad as anything I’ve seen in along time.

    Now to top it off, Carbonneau might have a real problem with the goaltending. He doesn’t need that right now. I don’t think any sane person could draw any conclusions about Price’s future based on a few bad games. And all indications are that the kid is tough mentally. But as far as I know, he has blood in his veins, and if he continues to give up 4 a game it’s going to get to him. He’s deserved better in front of him, but let’s face it, he has been shaky.

    It’s a dumb sports cliche but Carbonneau is a fierce competitor. It will be interesting to see how (or if) he manages the next few months, especially if things get worse. It can be a brutal job, maybe more so for a favourite son, who suddenly faces criticism from people who once revered him. Nous verrons ce que nous verrons.

  54. likehoy says:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=10460&hubname=

    tsn reports the team had a meeting and practiced on a scheduled off-day

    seems like carbo wants to place smo on the IR…so maybe he can make another call-up…

  55. John Doe says:

    Let’s analyze the schedule during which this slump has come about:

    November
    19th Ottawa 4 at Montreal 2
    21st Montreal 4 at NY Islanders 1
    23rd Montreal 2 at Buffalo 4
    24th Buffalo 3 at Montreal 0
    27th Montreal 4 at Toronto 3
    30th Montreal 0 at New Jersey 4
    December
    1st Nashville 5 at Montreal 4
    4th Detroit 4 at Montreal 1
    6th Montreal 4 at Boston 2
    8th Carolina 5 at Montreal 1

    Essentially we have lost to Ottawa, Buffalo (x2), New Jersey, Nashville, Detroit, and Carolina.

    We have won against NYI, Toronto, and Boston.

    Guess what? It looks generally like the better teams are beating us and the worse teams are losing to us. Why is this so surprising?

    I’m not saying that there isn’t reason for concern during this slump. I haven’t been particularly happy with the humiliation involved in some of the losses. But in the grand scheme of things, the only reason for people get so upset is that we believe that we are better than these teams.

    We aren’t…yet. So, be patient. Keep cheering. Encourage the youth movement and look forward to the upcoming schedule which includes basically everyone who’s still beneath us in the standings:

    11th Tampa Bay at Montreal
    13th Montreal at Philadelphia
    15th Toronto at Montreal
    18th Florida at Montreal
    20th Montreal at Washington
    22nd Montreal at Atlanta
    23rd Montreal at Dallas
    27th Montreal at Tampa Bay
    28th Montreal at Florida

  56. JMoney says:

    Carbo’s coaching is brutal. When you’re coaching players to skate right by the puck in the offensive zone to go for a line change, something is wrong, and it’s how the Canes scored their 3rd goal last night. Koivu’s line was on the ice, and had a chance to keep pressure after the puck started drifting off to the corner. Koivu and Ryder both skated right by the puck and to the bench, letting the Canes take the puck, break out, and they scored… All they had to do was look at the puck and they could have had it, sustained pressure, and maybe the score would have been 2-2 instead of 3-1…

    That is a problem with coaching. Watch the team never use it’s speed to win races to the puck. Any time there is even a slightest chance that they won’t win the race to the puck, they back off and let the other team get the puck, as a result, we play most of the game in our own end, and give the other team many scoring chances. This is a problem with coaching… Carbo has us playing a broken system, and this team will have a very good shot at Stamkos as long as he’s coach. Give us a good coach, and we’re challenging for 4th in the east.

  57. Barts says:

    Guy Carboneau may not be the coach to turn things around, but Saku Koivu is not the captain to do it either. Good captains lead by example. For a ‘first line’ center, (and I use that term loosely), no goals since Nov. 17th is reprehensible.

  58. howtathor says:

    I remember that moment entirely, even to the point where I yelled a the TV! Where the #)%# are you going???
    They just backed up into the neutral zone and headed to the bench. I thought it was a legitimate chance to gain puck possesion in the Carolina zone. Carbo’s system sucks because it lets teams like Carolina, Detroit, Buffalo come at us in thru the neutral zone at full speed. Thinking back, how did we ever beat Buffalo?

  59. ebk says:

    Therrein, Vigneault and Julien were all seasoned coaches before they took over the Canadiens. All either coached in the Minors or Junior or both for many years. They had earned their shot at coaching an NHL team.

    Carbonneau never has been a head coach before his job with the Canadiens. On many night is shows. I really find it puzzling that many of the people who continually call for players to be seasoned in the Minors etc, fail to realize a coach should also follow this path.

  60. Moey says:

    Good post Plekster, out of the mouths of babes….

  61. ebk says:

    excellent post.

  62. BigHabsFan says:

    Carbo is the coach of a team that has difficulty building and keeping a lead, winning face-offs, playing a full 60 minutes, getting to the net, and winning two games in a row.

    These were issues when he took over, and they are still issues today.

    Everyone on the team and in the organization can take some credit when they win, and everyone has to take responsibilty when they lose. Coaches generally get a little credit when winning and a lot of blame when losing; that is the bussiness of running a professional sports team.

    Carbo may not be expected to make Gold, but this team is surely not pure straw.

  63. Plek-Andrew says:

    for a season and a half, i’ve been listening to everybody talk about how the COACH has to go.

    I will simply put it this way. When we were winning all those games earlier on, scoring over 3 goals practically every game, wasn’t Guy Carbonneau our coach?
    When we had a 23-10-X record last year, wasn’t Guy Carbonneau our coach?

    Look… this year, I’m thankful to God we started off like crap like this. I’ll tell you why.

    The earlier the slump, the earlier you break out of it and the earlier you start collecting points to make the playoffs. If we’re anything like we were last year (which we have greatly improved, btw) and we only missed last year’s playoffs by a single point, imagine what’s gonna happen tonight.
    Abby-Drew will be the first person to tell you we can’t go wrong because we have one of the strongest goaltending duo in the entire league. Aebischer won’t cost us those 10-14 points that we coulda had last year had he made those saves that every goalie is supposed to make.

    Look, we’re sad now but we seriously have to be optimistic. As much as we might be losing now, there’s no reason to start giving up on the team that, when you think about it, was able to bring us all together from all over the continent. Deep down, we all have hope for this team and you guys know it.

    How the hell can an immature, cocky and sometimes outrageously ridiculously-spoken guy like me have hope for this team by thoroughly analyzing what we potentially have yet the greater majority of the folks here have a better head on their shoulders and are giving up? Shouldn’t I be the first to abandon ship? I’m not… I knew we would start off badly and finish strong. I said it would happen. And I’m damn happy it is because honestly, this means that we’re gonna have a huge trade because we’ll learn from last year. And we won’t finish 8th. In my mind, we’re gonna finish 5th or 6th even.

    Watch and see!

    And stay hopeful guys. Carbonneau is a good coach. He’s the asshole coach that everybody loves to hate but ask any player, and they’ll tell you the best coach is the coach you hate. Think about it. You know that manager you hate? The one always pushing you to work and you think he’s a jerk cuz all he cares about is work and never seems to wanna get along with you?

    Yeh… that’s coach Guy Carbonneau. We can talk about Bob Hartley all we want (who i absolutely adore) and Paul Maurice too (2 of my 3 favorites), but I don’t see them pushing their youth to work properly. Think about it. We’re chock full of youth or guys under the age of 27 who are still not very seasoned. Carbonneau’s coaching is BRILLIANT for the long-term! You have to be harsh on the young guys from the start to ensure they do their jobs properly; especially on a team of youth.

    When you hire somebody, u have to be an asshole to establish your credibility first and the fun and games can come later. Get em going from the start so their work ethic is established (the youth or new employees) and then have your fun.

    Plek-Andrew makes sense sometimes, doesn’t he :D

  64. likehoy says:

    Bring Back Bob

  65. twilighthours says:

    16 out of 30 teams make the playoffs. I believe that we have at least the 16th most talented roster in the league.

    I think if you organized all rosters in order of most talented/valuable to least, there wouldn’t be more than 12-14 teams that you’d swap the Habs for. So I think we’ve got enough of the good stuff.

    And besides, better coaches than Carbo have taken less talented teams than the 07-08 Habs and gotten them into the playoffs.

    This team has holes, no doubt, but a better coach could get this team to the playoffs. Carbo, if he stays the year, will not.

  66. likehoy says:

    i agree that the game can be taken too seriously sometimes…
    but keep in mind that children do live or die often with their favorite cartoon character as they do with their favorite sports team. Illness or not, their hearts may have already been set on the Habs. The little rays of light such as cartoons and their sports teams may be even more important to the children as they do not know any better and live in a little bit of bliss.

    While your casino and bum analogies may be accurate, but because they are responsible for their lives and actions and are responsible of their own well-being, I am not sure how far remove you are from your childhood, but children dream about their heroes and being their heroes and nothing devastates them more than their hero failing. Sick or not, they are still children.

  67. twilighthours says:

    Exactly, which is why we should be primarily concerned with the “lack of emotion, effort, intensity, pride, whatever you want to call it.”

  68. howtathor says:

    I agree that this is a special city to play in. The Carolina Hurricanes can go on an 82 game losing streak and outside of the 18,000 “Caniacs” nobody will give a f***! That’s not the case here where so many people live and breath Bleu Blanc Rouge and yes bleed when we lose. Losing at home is one thing but putting in a p*** poor effort game after game can be very trying on the local fans patience. I was not at the game last night but in my heart I was booing along with Erik Cole and the 21,273 other suckers at the Bell Centre. (Sorry Mike this doesn’t include the gondoliers).
    A lot of free agents won’t come here for that reason. I can’t imagine playing my career out in relative anonymity in San Jose, Anaheim, Phoenix etc. Anybody have Teemuu’s phone number?
    When things go well this can be the greatest city to play in! Bob, get behind the bench and let’s get this bus rolling again…

  69. Habs Suck says:

    Hartley has been in Montreal for awhile helping kids teams, just waiting for the phone to ring… this guy lives and breathes hockey and he’s a winning coach with a long proven history, not forgetting he’s perfectly bilingual.

    check this article from about 3 weeks ago:
    http://www.canadaeast.com/search/article/131406

  70. Ian Cobb says:

    We can want, all year long boy and girls, but the pain is still there, it is called growing pains. No pain no gain!
    I love to win, and guess what? so does the opisition, funny that the teams that are winning today were the teams that were loosing 5 or 10 years ago. Detroit before and during the early Stevie Y and Scotty days were terible. Ottawa before Yashin and just a short time ago were also in there dark days, Carolina did nothing for years, New Jersey before Lemaire and Robinson could not get it together. Minnasota before Lemaire did zip.

    All of these teams took the right approach, long term,! Not the quick fix phiosophy like New York and others that think they can buy there way to the top. Slow and sure hurts a lot but when we finally get there it is some sweet. Draft well and develop slowly is the only way. A trade or two along the way only when we get five ,10 dollars bills for two. Timeing is crushel when trading.

    Bob as GM knows how it works. You can’t please the boo birds, at the expence of the long term. I have said this before, we will start to arrive at the top in two more years. It sure is not a lot of fun now though. So let us here on this site pick each other up once and a while when we need it for a change. I need a picker upper also when i get to criticle of there poor play, but we will party with Bob and the boys in a couple of years!! Patience Is tough!

  71. Habs Suck says:

    Ian, I can see what you’re getting at: patience people.

    However, Detroit’s been competing at a high level for 15 years, winning division and conference championships along the way, not to mention a cup or 2. All this in the modern era and “new” NHL.

    Ottawa, a fledgling franchise in the early 90′s built a team in about 6-7 years from nothing but a few good drafts (let’s not forget the Yashin debacle that put a wrench in the plans). They continue to contend every year and will likely take the cup one of these years.

    You know what the biggest key to both those teams’ successes?
    Excellent management and coaching. Management put the team on the ice and coaching made them winners.

    The Habs haven’t had a strong playoff contender since 93, and that was a Cinderella Story. So, talk of rebuilding is nice and all, but we’d like to see something to smile about on the ice besides potential. I haven’t lost all confidence in Gainey. I think he’s done alright so far. His coaching staff (noted as the “old boys club”) is what concerns me and many of my fellow fans and posters.

  72. Habs Suck says:

    By the way… partying with Bob and the boys in “a couple of years” may be a little premature unless some impact veterans are acquired in those years. This team will not be “partying” with it’s youth for at least 5 years.

  73. MannyP says:

    To be a good coach, you need charisma, an ability to rally people around you and great communication skills. Guy Carbonneau has none of those. And neither do his assistants.

    I’m also a huge Saku Koivu fan. HUGE. I love him to death. I’m always the first to defend him and always will be. But this might be the time to shop him around and see what his market value is. I hate to see him falter this way. He’s not the player he used to be. And that makes me sad. His eye injury hinders more than he has let on. I think it’s fairly obvious, at times.

    A Saku for Mikko trade, perhaps? Only in my wildest dreams.

  74. Bill says:

    I am also a huge Saku fan. Unless he wants out, there is little sense in trading him: his value in a trade (draft pick? prospect?) is less than his value to us. Everybody focusses on his goal-scoring (lack thereof) … well, he’s never been the guy who is going to score thirty goals. He’s a heart-and-soul guy who plays hard every shift, plays with emotion, and chips in 65-70 points. Is it true “first-line center” production? No, but there isn’t anybody else to put in that role, either. And he’s a playmaker, so he does need wingers to put the pucks in, and Ryder’s slump has affected his totals.

    Saku should finish his career in Montreal. He’s on pace to be one of our all-time highest scoring, longest serving players. I think he’s a good leader, and he remains highly respected by the city, which he has given back to very generously. My only hockey-related wish is to see him win a cup with the Habs, and it can still happen.

  75. mbplekfan says:

    Carbo has the players playing scared. If you make a mistake you are going to get benched or put on the fourth line.

    The team has quit on him. You can see it in their eyes.

    Its time for Carbo to go.

  76. Ian Cobb says:

    How long has Bob been in town, he is the one that has to get it right, he just may have to move Carbo to the front office. That would be tougher on Bob than Carbo. But top Gm,s have to make that call sometimes.

    If only we could do what Pittsburg, and other teams have done. Finish dead last for years and draft 1st player over all for years, then we would have something. The fans would kill if we finished last. I think the last player we got first overall was Guy Lafleur wasn’t it.

    We can go two ways, buy someone elses throw aways, or develop our kids. I for one pick to develop our kids>

  77. Ali says:

    System? What system?

    Thats what i’ve been screaming the past few weeks. You can’t say the players should already know how to play, then we would never need a coaching staff, just get a good motivational speaker (I hear Tony Robbins is free these days).

    The coaching staff is responsible for getting the players to buy into and executing a system. This coaching staff weren’t the most dynamite offensive players in the world, so I can understand the team struggling offensively, but why so bad in our zone? Albeit we aren’t as bad as last season, but we still struggle to clear the zone at times, and we give up WAY too many shots a game. And this has gone on for at least the past 2 seasons. That is inexcusable.

    As for possible replacements? Given that a requirement for this city is that no matter how good the coach is, he’s not fit for the job if he doesnt speak French, the only guy that comes to mind who is qualified is Hartley. The guys won a cup, and can be tough on his players, but also has their back. I think he would fit well. As for GM, if Scotty Bowman could even consider being part of the clown show that is the Maple Leafs, would he consider coming back here?

  78. fun police says:

    hartley would be a mistake.

  79. Norm0770 says:

    So bad in their own zone because they stand up at their own blueline (per Carbo’s system), but without being able to hold people up or interfere as the oposition enters the zone they end up havein gto turn and chase the play non-stop. Carbo’s system is suited to the way he played 20 years ago as a shut-down forward in the clutch and grab NHL.

  80. Ian Cobb says:

    By the way, just like Gretsky and Crosby, top grade A. GMs like Polack and Bowman only come along every few years.

    I just belive that Gainy comes from the cut of meat and will get us there. If not him, WHO!

  81. twilighthours says:

    “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

    -Rabbi Hillel

  82. Habs-Kat says:

    The problem is indeed the coaching. The system in place (yes, there is a system) doesn’t suit the players and so it doesn’t work (therefore making it seem like there really isn’t a system). Bob’s bringing in guys like Smolinski and Kostopoulos that fit the system, but they’re not the guys that are gonna bring this team to the Promised Land.

    Here’s the deal – scrap the damn defensive-minded system. I really think that we have the keys to be an offensive powerhouse and we have the goaltending and the defensive pieces (Markov, Komisarek, Hamrlik, O’Byrne, Valentenko, McDonagh, Yemelin, Fisher) to take care of our own end. Let the offense play offense, for God’s Sake! With all due respect to Carbo and Gainey, we want Stanley Cup winners, not Selke winners.

    You can tell just from watching guys like Higgins, Plekanec, and Kovalev that they can unleash multi-point games every nights. You know the team is in a sad state of affairs in terms of offensive production when fans in the Molson Ex Zone are chanting “Bring Back Richer!”.

    This is not helping our prospects either. Chipchura was a two-way forward throughout his junior career, last time I checked. He was a point producer with good defensive awareness. In this lineup, though, he’s a checker. I want to see him play 1st-line centre for a few games. He needs icetime. Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner are letting loose for their respective teams – but will that be the case for London linemate Sergei Kostitsyn when he hits the NHL? Not if this system is in place.

    Can Carbonneau, and although I love Gainey – can him too if he doesn’t change the philosophy in this organization. Defense doesn’t win championships; TEAMS of Teemu Selannes, Scott Neidermayers, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s do.

  83. fun police says:

    good post

  84. J.T. says:

    I think many of us agree the team we’re seeing on the ice right now is eerily reminiscent of last year’s. They lose a lot of faceoffs, have difficulty completing passes, give up their blueline without a fight, struggle breaking into the offensive zone, cycle on the perimeter to little effect and seem very tentative and nervous in their decision-making. They don’t forecheck, rarely backcheck, don’t go to the net and tend to panic and throw the puck away under pressure.

    Okay…so while all this is going on, I asked myself, how can the team be playing the same when it is (on paper) a different team? The turnover of players has been dramatic when you consider Souray, Rivet, Niinimaa, Aebischer, Bonk, Johnson, Perezhogin, Samsonov, Downey and Murray are all gone, and most of them were roster regulars for at least part of last season. That’s nearly half the roster from last year gone.

    So, when you consider that, yet see the team playing exactly the same game, it leaves you with two conclusions. One…the players who have gone have been replaced by players who are either the same or worse, and who play exactly the same style. Or, two, the team is being asked to play a style it is not suited to play and it’s not working. On the first option, most of us agree Hamrlik is better than Souray defensively and plays a completely different game. Kostitsyn is better than Samsonov. Gorges is better than Niinimaa. Kostopoulos is better than Murray and Price is better than Aebischer…or at least has potential to be. Which leaves us with the second option: the team is being asked to play a style to which it is not suited.

    Carbonneau wants them to play strong D, be tough on the boards, be disciplined and patient, waiting for the other team to make mistakes. Ideally, if the team bought into that, it’s certainly a formula with a proven success record. New Jersey, Dallas and Minnesota have made a living doing that. But the success OUR team has had this season has come when they’re doing the opposite. Quick passes to moving players and aggressive offense were what beat Philly, Pittsburgh and Carolina. It’s the style in which Kovalev thrived, and which draws lots of penalties. We’ve also seen the team build a lead, only to blow it when it goes into a defensive shell. I think it’s pretty clear this team, much to Carbo’s chagrin, can’t play tight D. Their only hope is to go all out on offense all the time, and if Carbonneau can’t see that and make the adjustment in what he’s asking of the team, the “slump” (which I’m beginning to see as more of a case of irreconcilable differences) will never end.

  85. P St. Pierre says:

    You hit the nail on the head my friend. Carbonneau’s system doesn’t match the abilities of the players in his lineup. The Habs would need Peca, Madden, and Guy himself at center in order to establish that shut down system. A quick, Buffalo-like offense is where the Canadiens would thrive.

  86. Ed says:

    Some say that the best defense is a good offense. We have players who are capable of attacking the other team successfully. I hate it when the HABS go into a defensive shell in the 3rd period. Inevitably, it leads to the other team tying up the game, and eventually winning. Lately, we have not had a lead to protect in the 3rd.

    Carbonneau must think that all the defensive players are as good as he was. Why else would he shorten his bench in the 3rd, & use Smolinski on one line, Kostopoulos on another, & Dandenault on another. He never shortens his bench to use offensive players. It’s always about defense, & it has not been working.

    Guys like Kovalev, Koivu, Higgins, Plekanec, etc., should be getting more ice time. Instead Montreal always rolls 4 lines, & this hurts the offensive players. Other teams, on average, use their top players much more than Montreal does. Good offensive players thrive on more ice time.

  87. cmac says:

    JT,

    I agree with you 100%. I think your analysis is spot on.

  88. ebk says:

    who replace Bonk, Johnson and Perezhogin?
    The loss of these three players has robbed the team of any depth it had at forward.

  89. Ed says:

    In today’s Gazette, Pat Hickey points out that the Canadiens, in the last 5 games, have given up 8 goals in 20 short handed opportunities. This is atrocious penalty killing, & the Canadiens are now 26th out of 30 teams with a rating of 77.9%. Last year they were 13th, at 83.5%, and tied with Ottawa for the league lead with 17 SH goals. This year they have only 4 SH goals, with 6 teams having more, & Chicago leading with 10.

    Is anyone aware of a statistic which shows how effective individual players are at killing penalties? Obviously, some players are better than others, & there must be some way to rate them.

  90. likehoy says:

    Bonk and Johnson, were our top penalty killers last year…

    who on our team this year is even close to that meld??

  91. Exit716 says:

    People in New York care about the Rangers?

  92. wild flower says:

    All of the teams are up and down (possible exception: Redwings). The Canadiens are no exception. All of this hysteria will only increase the pressure to make bad trades/personal decisions. The media has to create these scenarios to generate stories and hits on websites. Boone is also to blame, now our goaltending is a “mess” at the same time as he tells about all the quality chances other teams are getting. Two weeks ago the Leafs were a joke and JF needed to be fired because he wasn’t as good as BG. Now it looks like the Leafs are better than the Canadiens. Carolina and Buffalo (recently an 8 to 2 loss at the hands of the mighty Kings) have also been shelled in recent games. The Senators stunk for an entire month – hopefully for the rest of the league, their fans demand that they trade some of the talented deadwood. Maybe Dallas will lose a few and then we can get Ribeiro back. Listening to the pundits, I can’t think of a player on this year’s team (possible exception: Komisarek) who hasn’t been both the greatest and also someone Gainey should get rid of. What a joke. I think Charbonneau reads too much of this stuff.

  93. NLhabsfan says:

    You are very right Carbonneau can’t do the job.You can feel the players just don’t want to play for him and his constant tinkering.It just not working.I have seen it with many teams in the past. I have said for two weeks now Carbonneau is toast.Perhaps one or two more games. A new coach would provide fresh ideas and rejuvenate this team at the very least.

  94. Chorske says:

    Which begs the question: why isn’t there more criticism of a Rangers team that consistently underperforms? Where the heck is Chris Drury? And what about Jagr? This week, Jagr was zero points and minus 7.

    I think they’re worse off than we are: they LANDED the guys they wanted, and they still kinda suck ass.

  95. Wops says:

    If we loose, instead of booing, it would be amazing to scream and cheer everytime Vinny Lecavalier touches the puck…

    maybe he’ll feel how we like him!

    I can almost here the screams:

    Vinny! Vinny ! Vinny!
    _______________________________________
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  96. Yeats says:

    Habs have the Bolts Tuesday night? Well, we’ll all get a chance to drool over Vinny Lacav. We couldn’t handle a hurricane on Saturday night and I fear the Habs will have problems with an electrical storm in two days time. Better get a leg up on my next musical rip-off. The way things are headed, Carbo will always be “The King of Pain.”

  97. Yeats says:

    I prefer a home-grown suck as well.

  98. Yeats says:

    They also have an excellent first-string goaltender. I thought we had two, but I’m having a tough time convincing myself now.

  99. ebk says:

    goaltending has been the least of the Habs problems this year. It is the only area of the team that you could even remotely consider being above average.

  100. Yeats says:

    Until recently!

  101. ebk says:

    give me a game in particular that the goalies have cost the Canadiens the game?

  102. Moey says:

    Yeats, you’re an intelligent guy, are you seriously blaming this slump on Carbo?

  103. Yeats says:

    They may not have been the deciding factor costing the Canadiens games, but the number of games they have stolen could be counted on one hand. Huet can’t beat the Leafs and I have serious doubts about him in any big game. He lets in a soft one and he turn’s to crap. (I’m thinking the game against the Preds.) The other night the guys in front of him failed to show up en masse, but you couldn’t say that Price looked like the second coming of Roy. If Price can get square to the shooter he’ll stop it, but you get him going side to side and you’ll light him up like a roman candle.

  104. ebk says:

    On Saturday Price looked like a goal who had a team in front of him that was completely outclassed by its opponent. It is pretty harsh to judge him off of that game. I guess we just agree to disagree, which is ok.

    The thing that is scary, is that if you are right, just how bad is this team?

  105. showey47 says:

    in all fairness bonk will be ultimatley upgraded by chipchura who will definatly not be a lesser player. I talked to mike johnson this summer and he would of loved to come back to montreal but gainey told him that they were not gonna offer him a contract. Sure johnson scored 11 goals for us, but probably had less than 11 hits and he sure didn’t block 11 shots, t.k. took his spot and does add toughness. Perezogin signed a big deal in russia that would equal over 3 million u.s. Thats alot of money to match for a guy that scored 6 goals last year. This team needs to realize that they can’t win on talent alone and has to outwork the oppositon every night in order to have any hope of winning.

    I will say it before and i will say it again, this team has quit on carbo. Carbo will cost this team in more ways than one. Does anyone think a high profile ufa will sign here with carbo running the show? Hell no. I first thought gainey was a genius by slowly breaking carbo in as an assistant, but it is obvious that carbo didn’t learn anything from gainey. Carbo has lost the respect of his players and the fact that gainey and carbo are good friends means that guy is gonna have a much longer leash than guys like julien and vigneault ever had. The only other coach in the league who is probably worse than carbo is therrien, but take crosby out of that lineup and the pens are a last place team.

  106. Yeats says:

    No, at the end of the day, it is always the guys on the ice who must shoulder 95% of the blame. I do, however, think that drafting alledgedly quick skaters and expecting them to play Devils-like defense is not exactly using the tools Gainey has given you properly. You can put a nail in a wall with the butt end of a screw driver, but that is not what the tool was made for. Think about how many times we’ve had leads and the team goes into their bullshit prevent defense. It doesn’t work and is in fact stupid. It requires a hell of a lot more effort to play defense than to keep pressing the offense. Offense is fun! It pulls people’s asses out of chairs in arenas and homes across North America. Where I really blame the team is that they show absolutely no pride in the uniforms they are wearing. Erik Cole is booing you from the penalty box. That is absolutely pathetic. Oh, they’ll get him next time though. You have to be shittin’ me. What did they do to Justin Williams after he damn near cyclopsed Koivu. They didn’t do jack. I’m sick of their cliche, post-game, mia culpa reponses. They have embraced the culture of suck. And, until they convince me otherwise, I am capitalizing Leafs!

  107. showey47 says:

    I’m with yeats on this for sure, our boys have proven that when we work hard from the opening face off till the final buzzer that we can skate with any team in the league. Something has happened in the last 3 weeks, saku is without a doubt the leader. But i do get the impression that he is not happy with the current lineup or to be more specific carbo’s endless line juggling and the fact that on most nights he either has a defenceman or third/fourth liner as his winger. How is a guy who is expected to put up 75pts gonna produce with virtually one legit winger?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if saku is quietly asking for a trade cause he wants to win now, not 5 years from now. He has a long history of serious injuries and his career will probably be shortened because of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires in the next 2-3 years, or at least finishes his career in finland.

  108. ebk says:

    great idea. You start and I’m sure all the other people will follow your lead.

  109. Moey says:

    Let’s put some of this into perspective, Carbo is running a semi-retirement home and a daycare at the same time. How do you balance that?
    Who do you team the moody, broody Kovy with, what snot nosed kid will gel with the frustrated and long suffering Koivu?

    Publicly challenging individual players is not a bad thing, it will get under their skin, piss them off, but in the long wrong will harden them.

    Chris Higgins can waffle on all he wants about how the hometown booing really hurts them, but I’m from Missouri.

  110. Yeats says:

    I agree with you wholeheatedly that the guys in front of him were dreadful, woeful,… the other night. Price is very young and he will get better over time. He has size and as the saying goes, you can’t teach big. He does need to work on his lateral movement. Hell, if I noticed it everyone else is the League with a paid set of eyes can see it as well. I also think that he needs to stand up more. Why give up your God-given advantage by going down? How bad is the team? I don’t know, but I fear we have yet to see the worst.

  111. showey47 says:

    yeah its called the guys playing soft in front of him.

  112. Yeats says:

    Jean Perron was asked to do the same in 1986 and we all know how that turned out. Eight, or was it nine, rookies in the lineup? Before you challenge your players publicaly, you better be sure you know your team. Billy Martin would have been a miserable failure coaching the NY Yankees of the last decade. The guys on the late ’70s squads would have just blown Joe Torre off.

  113. Yeats says:

    Oh, he has some flaws. If he can get square to a shooter, he’ll stop it. However, I think that if you can get him going side to side, he’s toast. Also, he gives up his size advantage by going down to often. He’s young and will surely learn over time, but I do think we have some red-light specials coming down the road.

  114. Norm0770 says:

    A 20 year old goal tender that has had a couple of bad games is not the end of his career. He is not Jose Theodore, probably mentally stronger and without the off ice issues. Price will have a bigger impact on the Habs over his career than Kopitar or Getzlaf. A goaltender can occasionally steal a game, while a skater rarely can.

  115. Norm0770 says:

    Well put. Using the tools properly is key.

  116. ebk says:

    You are right he is far from a finished product. The days of the stand up goalie are long gone, most play a more butterfly style introduced by Roy and Francios Allaire.

    It was nice to have a chat with you. You have a good night.

    ebk

  117. ebk says:

    The difference between Carbo and Perron was that Perron had years of coaching experience at the college and minor league levels of hockey. Carbo doesn’t have this experience to draw from.

    ps
    excellent comparison and point, btw

  118. Yeats says:

    Take care and hope for the best.

  119. Moey says:

    At tne end of the day, it is his ass on the line, not the players, the GM’s and not the fans. He’s going to give it his best shot, why wouldn’t he? It might not pan out, but crap, everyone should lighten up on the guy.

  120. Yeats says:

    Your points are certainly valid. Makes you wonder why a long, successful coaching resume isn’t a minimum requirment for standing behind the Habs’ bench?

  121. Yeats says:

    You are absolutely right. It is Carbo’s ass that is squarely on the line. The problem is that the players realize that as well and appear willing to get slagged by the press, Bell Center fans and supporters to get their own selfish way. They’ll never say it in public, but I think these guys for good or for ill have given up on Carbo. I’m am not blaming him for the epidemic of the terminal sucks that have hit the team. However, if he can’t turn it around, he will end up going. Just another victim who tried to coach a squad of “Tin Men.”

  122. showey47 says:

    I’ve read alot of comments about how carbo is doing the best with what he’s got. But then you see a team like the minnesota wild who are a smaller team that has scored less goals (they are ranked 24th and we are ranked 12th) but are one point out of first in the division. The difference is coaching, jacques lemaire has always had a system in place that makes a less talented team very competitve. They are a very hard working, in your face team. They do have bouchard, gabourik and rolston and an underachieving demitra, but thats about where the skill ends and the hard work begins. Carbo should be taking notes.

  123. Wops says:

    They only have 2 points more than the habs AND they do have way more scoring potential …

    Imagine what carbo would do with players that can score like bouchard, rolston, gaborik, demitra and young Koivu…

    _______________________________________
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  124. showey47 says:

    how often do they get blown out?

  125. Yeats says:

    I don’t know if they have it up in their room anymore, but in the days of the Original Six, the Rangers used to have a banner that said, “Hard work overcomes mistakes.” It didn’t help them that much, but I think it might work for us.

  126. Wops says:

    Not often because they have a real checking line which we do not have… That’s all about the players you have at hand

    … you are way more susceptible of being scored by the top O-line of the other team without a good solid checking line.
    _______________________________________
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  127. Moey says:

    Yeats, you’re dead on, and I can see that day coming. On that note, I’m going to bed and dreaming of the next triple crown winner, Barbaro’s baby brother, Nicanor.

  128. showey47 says:

    my former college coach always told me that hard work always beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard. It was pretty much a message that talent alone will only get you so far.

  129. Yeats says:

    Needless to say, this Habs team can’t get by on talent alone. Not on a good night with all the planets in line and the wind at their backs.

  130. Wops says:

    If you want to see nice puck movement, go see the goal of franzen against the Canes on nhl.com

    Very nice.
    _______________________________________
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  131. showey47 says:

    exactly, offensive skills comes natural for players, you either have it or you don’t. Defence has to be taught, not many players can be highly skilled offensive players but everybody can be taught how to play good defence. That is where having a good coach comes in to play.

  132. ebk says:

    this begs the question, whose fault is it the do not have a good solid checking line?

  133. Wops says:

    I don’t fully agree. Some players have way more defensive vision on the ice than others. Why do you think the same guys always are nominated for the Selke. Not only cuz they are taught well. IMO. Latendresse, Kostitsyn, Ryder, etc. etc. as much as you teach team, they will never be a force in the D-zone. They can still improve though.

    The perfect example is Chipchura. 20 games NHL-fresh, and he is our best defensive forward. It’s just instinct and vision. He understands the game more than others.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think jacques lemaire is a great coach, which shows very good strategies to the players.

    I feel like Carbo’s system is in transition, its not the trap, but its not full out forecheck. I’ll agree with you on that point.

    Finally, can we agree that watching a game played by your team à la Lemaire is very boring too… it’s anti-hockey.
    _______________________________________
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  134. zamboni says:

    Mike,

    This game was lost the minute the puck was dropped.
    Did anybody notice which line we started with?
    was it the 3rd line or the 4th? it surely wasn’t the 1st or 2nd.
    We’re playing a home game, in front of 21k+ screaming fans, have the last change and we start with the checking line.
    What does that tell you?
    Carbo wants to matchup the lines.
    In plain English, let the opposition dictate and him react.
    Instead of going all out and forcing the opposition to worry about adapting to us, we play catchup.
    What kind of confidence that gives to his players.
    Couple that with public calling out of his key players, and we’re surprised nobody buys into his system? a system that doesn’t even match the players’ styles.

    As much as Ryder is a one dimensional player, Carbo is a one dimensional coach, he has the Carbo (the player) mold and wants to cast all players into that mold.

    The sooner Bob Gainey identifies the criteria that makes a good coach, (sorry Bob, being a Gm’s play buddy isn’t one of them), the sooner we’ll get out of this mess (one would hope).

  135. Barts says:

    Some frightening Habs stats I stole off Denis Casavants blog:

    5 0n 5 goals scored : 30

    Power play goals scored : 32

    Individual stats even strength: PLEKANEC 10PTS
    KOIVU 8PTS
    SMOLINSKI 7PTS
    KOVALEV 7PTS
    HAMRLIK 7PTS
    KOSTITSYN 7PTS

    Even strength goals: HIGGINS 5
    LATENDRESSE 4
    KOVALEV 4
    PLEKANEC 3
    BEGIN 3
    KOMISAREK 3
    RYDER 2
    KOIVU 1

    With 5 even strength goals Christopher Higgins is 57th overall in the NHL and with one even strength goal Saku Koivu ranks 380th overall in the league tied with Steve Wagner,Dennis Tolpeko and Matt Niskanen!!!

  136. Chorske says:

    You missed my point. My point was not to insult them (which I didn’t, if you read closely). My point is that regardless of whether they make the playoffs, the Rangers are a team that consistently underperforms despite landing some of the biggest free agents of the past few years. I was simply pointing out that getting your free agent wish doesn’t guarantee success.

    Our management is trying- did you not read any of the articles on our pursuit of Briere, Smyth, Shanahan?

  137. Norm0770 says:

    Place them on lines with 4th line talent or D-men and tell them to play defence for 60 minutes. No forechecking allowed!

  138. snowdonsteve says:

    i think BG should aim at a blockbuster trade…

    In my opinion there is only 2 untouchable on this team and it’s PRICE & Markov.

    Witch brings me to my own observation … if Mike Boone thinks carbo is not the guy to turn things around… and it seem to be popular thinking on this blog !!! who can honestly say that They are 100% confident that boring Bob can do somethign to turn things around.

    it’s gone be a fun ceremony on febuary 23 if boring bob don’t shake things up !!! IMO blaming carbo is like blaming a soldier for a war’s failure… the guy is only fallowing orders.

    Go HABS Go

  139. J.T. says:

    The big difference between Perron and Carbo, aside from Perron’s college coaching experience, was that when things were going to crap after Christmas in 1986…which they were, by the way…just as bad as they are now…Perron’s veterans bailed him out. Larry Robinson and Gainey called a team meeting and laid it out for those nine rookies. They told the kids what it would take to win the Cup and expressed belief that they could actually do it that year. The kids bought into the plan and the team agreed to put its rookie vs. veteran split aside and work for the common good. But, who on the team today has the presence or the intimidation factor of a Robinson or Gainey? Who could take Carey Price aside and tell him, “This is the playoffs…no more bad goals,” with a freezing glare like Robinson did with rookie Roy? Who has the pedigree that will give him credibility?

    I love Koivu. But Koivu, through no fault of his own, has always played for a loser. He can’t say a word to his team about how to pull off a championship. He said this year he thinks the team could make the playoffs, but they wouldn’t be good enough to win a Cup. He’s likely right, of course, IF they even make the playoffs. But he’s been conditioned to see only the bare reality of the situation. It’s how a winner at heart has survived years of losing. On the other hand, guys like Gainey and Robinson had been conditioned to see the posibility in a situation and believe in that. We don’t have anyone with that background now. It would take someone with the stature of a Chelios or Roy…someone who has the venerability and track record to lead the team above mediocrity. I don’t want anyone to take this as Koivu bashing, because I have a lot of respect and admiration for him. I’m just saying he’s been exposed to too much losing to be able to effectively convince others they can win.

  140. Moey says:

    Good point about Koivu, the only veteran cup winner is the Breezer and he’s on his last legs. I think what is most frustrating is that we know they can do better, they have it in them. They came out chomping at the bit and now it seems they’re content just to graze. Playoff spots are not captured in Nov/Dec, let’s just hope they can get their act together from Jan onwards.

  141. showey47 says:

    But lemaire has the repect and the confidence from his players i don’t think carbo has either

  142. mjames says:

    I agree with your assessment entirley.

    We are playing another puck possession aggressive forechecking team on Tuesday. If we play per Carbo’s “system” we can expect to be outshot while playing on our heels for most of the game. Our passive four across our blue line style will not work agaisnt TB’s playing style.

    It is not my intention to be negative. What I am saying is what happens when we play a strong skating and forechecking team. I would love to win but I am not optimistic.

    mjames

  143. habsnyc says:

    Of Higgins’ five even strength goals, one was into an empty net.

    Sometimes I wonder if Streit and Smokes were promoted to the first line with Koivu, or if Koivu was demoted to the third line with Streit and Smokes.

  144. jimbo82 says:

    I’m so tired of seeing defencemen play forward….do we lack so much depth? even the leafs are now better than us

  145. sidhu says:

    I would add Higgins and Komisarek to the list of untouchables, though I agree with you that a signficiant trade may be in order. If Koivu is considered a player who may be available at the trade deadline (if we aren’t in the running for the post-season), it may be sensible to entertain offers for him now when his departure may bring us two solid, younger players who can help us on our top lines (e.g., Marleau, Bernier). Perhaps if we trade Koivu, we can force the other team to accept Ryder as well.

    I also think it’s time to end the two defensemen on offense experiment. It makes little sense for a team that’s struggling offensively to have two forwards on offense. At a minimum, Streit should move back to the blueline and Brisebois should move up to the press box. Since Begin and Smoke are on IR, we can bring up Grabovski and pair him up with Kostitysn to generate more offense.

  146. Yeats says:

    Personally, I’m tired of forwards that can’t play forward. Isn’t it the responsibility of the forwards generally to score? You knew the Leafs wouldn’t suck all year. They could score like crazy through most of the season to date. Even when they bit the root, they were potting a fair number of chances. They just had to get adequate goaltending and tighten up their D. Their problems may ultimately prove easier to solve than those of the Habs. How do you trun around a bunch of guys who have embraced fully the culture of suck and seem to have become comfortable with it?

  147. likehoy says:

    it’s cause carbo has a weird infatuation to rolling all 4 lines…Go with your powers and go for the win, bench Begin when you need a goal.

  148. Ed says:

    The amount of ice time our top players receive is indicative of Carbonneau’s defensive system. Other teams give their top players much more ice time than Carbonneau does. A look at NHL.com shows that Brad Richards is tops at 25:17 per game. The top HABs are Kovalev, #77 at 18:38; Koivu #88 at 18:28; Higgins #92 at 18:20; & Plekanec #117 at 17:29.

    There are 31 players averaging over 20 minutes per game. How come our top players are so far down the list? I don’t buy the theory that they will become tired. Top quality players thrive on more ice time.

    Grabovski received the least amount of ice time at 10:24 per game. It is interesting to see how little time some players actually receive.There are over 100 averaging less than 10:00 per game.

    http://www.nhl.com/nhlstats/app?fetchKey=20082ALLFAFAll&page=Stats&service=page&sort=avgTOIPerGame&viewName=timeOnIce

  149. Barts says:

    Hartley would be a mistake of immense proportions…

  150. likehoy says:

    agreed, I was hoping smo would bring us some scoring depth that bonk failed to provide (for us at least, here he goes ripping it up in Nashville).

    Am I the only one who misses Perezhogin?? 22pts in 24 games in Russia, what a huge loss, he’s so much better than grabovski.

  151. MannyP says:

    My opinion wasn’t that Saku Koivu should absolutely be traded. It was rather that our GM should test the waters and inquire as to what he might be able to receive in return for Saku. Only a high return would be worthy of trading him. If not, then yes, I agree, giving him away would be useless and not serve our cause.

    Saku can still serve the Canadiens well. We are short on talented centers and people want them to trade our best centre away! Don’t they see the irony in that?? My point was: He is not the player he used to be. I would love for him to finish his career in Montreal, but not under these conditions.

    Saku has never been a goal scorer (safe for his early days, where his wrist shot was DEADLY! Stop slapping the puck, Saku!), agreed. He’s always been a pure centreman, feeding his wingers. However, the last few games, the scoring chances he has generated have decreased dramatically. His passes aren’t as accurate, his peripheral game not as sharp. Is it only a matter of Higgy and Ryder missing so many scoring opportunities and then being stuck with Dandenault and Streit? Is he demoralized? If so, should our captain get demoralized this quickly and often? All valid questions, are they not?

    Saku does not have the same bulletproof drive he used to have, prior to his bout with cancer. And that’s only natural. Your priorities change, after a brush with death. Your mentality change. Digging pucks out of the corner are suddenly not all you can think about, at night. You can be a great leader either by your actions on the ice,leading by example and inspiring respect, or by posturizing and rah-rahing your way into the minds of your teammates and being demanding of them. Saku Koivu is worthy of the utmost respect, having been through what he’s been through, but this effect fades over time and Saku’s own fading desire cannot sustain it. As for the latter form of respect, Saku just doesn’t feel like it. It’s only human. That’s why a change is maybe what’s best for him. A situation where he wouldn’t be the focal point of the team anymore, but merely a complementary player on a team that aspires to the Cup.

  152. JDS says:

    Keep BG it’s Carbo that must go.

  153. showey47 says:

    “gigiddy gididdy, aaallllllriiigggghhhhtttt”- glen quagmire

  154. notbigbird says:

    My hand is not up.

    I gave him the benefit of the doubt last year, but I no longer have confidence in him. The team has no plan, no real system as far as I can tell. It’s too bad; I thought he would be a good one … and maybe he will be … someday.

  155. Cable Guy says:

    I think Gainey should step in and take over again until end of the year. These guys aren’t playing for Carbo and he doesn’t seem to have any system setup anyway.

  156. Y says:

    I really like Carbo as a player and as a person (from what I’ve seen over the years) but Carbo the coach is an entirely different beast altogether, in which I have lost all confidence. Its time to let him go, otherwise we will continue to watch the debacle that is the blind leading the blind.

  157. Gilles Poisson says:

    It’s too bad we even have to point out that criticisms of Bob or Coach Guy as coach or GM are not criticisms of them as players or people. Thank you.

  158. Treefingers says:

    I don’t think something radical needs to happen for the team to start winning again…there’s always a pattern every season where they start out great, slump around this time of year, and end amazing. I think the goaltending is too good for the habs to miss the playoffs again, last season we had Aebischer and we only missed by one game, so go figure. From what I can see, it’s more of a motivation issue and if they can’t get motivated soon, they’ll be in trouble.

  159. Norm0770 says:

    Mike,

    Can you help us out? On last nights blog someone posted that Bob Harley might be salavating at the opportuity to coach the Habs, and my response was that he would have to be a leading candidate as he could speak french.

    The response to this was “who gives an F if he can speak french…”. When was the last time a coach of the Habs couldn’t speak french? Al MacNeil? And is the ability to speak french an official requirement of the head coach of the Habs?

  160. likehoy says:

    Pat Burns in the 90…then Demers for the Cup, Tremblay, Vigneault, and on with our most recent coaches. Umm.. really in all technicalities Bob Gainey was our last english speaking coach.

    I agree, as long as the coach can coach us to winning, no one will care what language he speaks, even if it’s japanese.

    The ability to speak french is probably to only handle the media as much as possible.

  161. likehoy says:

    the pattern of carbo is a fast start and then a huge slow down and maybe a turnaround?

    I think he starts off well, imposes a system that works, but then he slowly strays away from it, and brings us to a level with no identity because he’s not sure how to handle a losing streak and thinks he has to rebuild the system from scratch.

    Call back up Grabovski, change our lines to a swifter skating lineup and have everyone constantly moving their feet with an aggressive forecheck. Buffalo does it, Carolina does it, Detroit does it. We have the speed to do it too. Drives me nuts when people are standing around…and drives me even more nuts when we dump the puck and wait for them to skate back out with it.

    Has anyone notice how opposing teams score a lot of goals by tips and deflections while when was the last time we scored a goal with a tip or a deflection?? We always let players win the battles in the slot, we have to start punishing them and making them pay the price. The only players that try to pay the price for our team are Kostitsyn and Koivu and occasionally Higgins. Carbo’s gotta do something and he’s gotta do it right.

  162. Norm0770 says:

    I agree, the forcheck is nonexistant. Other teams gain centre without any pressure, so they never even ice the puck.

  163. Naila Jinnah says:

    It sucks, but I don’t think he can do it. It sucks even more, because while the coaching didn’t help too much, and maybe even hindered the team’s success, it’s mostly the players’ faults. BUT the coach needs to be a good motivator and know what to do when the team is in a slump. And I think that while Carbo’s public outbursts might motivate the team a bit… it’s mostly because they get angry and their egos are hurt. In the long run, it doesn’t help at all, because that hit gets into their subconscious and they’re reminded of the coach’s words, his lack of confidence in them, when they are going through a rough patch.

    I don’t think the WHOLE coaching team needs to go… maybe it just needs to be reshuffled?

  164. Norm0770 says:

    Claude Julien had less talent to work with and was fired for riding the “franchise goalie” while the team was still 3 points above .500. The team hadn’t stopped playing for him but had no confidence when Theo was in net and really ran around in their own end.

    This year’s team has just stopped competing. Koivu scored a shootout goal against Nashville a week ago and shows no emotion, almost disapponited with the prospect of winning and prolonging the coaches tenure.

  165. B says:

    Actually, Julien gave up on Theodore before Gainey did. The first thing Gainey after firing Julien was to put Theodore back in.

  166. madhabsfan says:

    Well put Mike, but is it really Carbonneau’s head we should be calling for here? The organization has a thirteen year pattern of hiring rookie coaches, providing them with no consistent goal-scorers, and then firing them! Have we gotten anywhere here?

    Changes need to be made on the ice, and that will require some gutsy moves on the part of our GM. Price, Komisarek, Markov, Hamrilik, and Higgins are the only players who come easily to mind as inexpendable. The rest, as far as I am concerned, are can be dealt (if there are takers).

    If it is decided that Guy has lost the locker room and needs to go, then PLEASE Bob, hire an established NHL coach, even if that means upsetting the “language nuts”.

  167. Norm0770 says:

    Even Bob can speak french though and Burns was bilingual. The last 4 head coaches have come in with NO NHL experience, and all of them were french. I’m wondering if it a requirement.

  168. ebk says:

    Gainey fired Julien for a number of reasons but Julien was the first person to realize Theodore was done as a goalie. Julien turning the team over to Huet was a large part of the reason he was canned.

  169. Norm0770 says:

    I stand corrected.

    Anytime a new GM comes in the current coach feels his days are numbered and that did play into Julien getting fired. However the team was playing with a consistant effort under Julien, which they are not doing with Carbo.


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