About last night …

Jacques Martin said his players would remember the Boston Beat-down.

Man, I hope so.

The slogan on licence plates in Quebec is “Je me souviens”, which means “I remember”.

The collective memory was expressed by historian Thomas Chapais (thank you, Google): “We remember the past and its lessons, the past and its misfortunes, the past and its glories.”

Not many glories last night at the TD Garden.

Lots of misfortune.

And, let’s hope, some lessons.

Here’s what we learned, which bears remembering:

• The Montreal Canadiens, as currently constituted, can’t play run-and-gun. The defence, minus Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, is too vulnerable to the pressure experienced in wide-open hockey.

Roman Hamrlik, Jaro Spacel and Hal Gil are old. P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber are raw. James Wisniewski has trouble in his own end. And they’re all small except for Gill, who doesn’t play big.

The Jacques Martin system is based on protecting the team’s most valuable asset, Carey Price, with a hghly-disciplined defence that involves all five skaters. It’s physically demanding, difficult to play – counter-intuitive, in fact, to highly-skiled forwards – and not always pleasurable to watch.

But the Canadiens have a better chance of winning when the final score is 3-2 than when it’s 8-6.

Something else we learned … or relearned, because we’ve known this for a long time:

• The NHL is a goon league.

Sidney Crosby, the game’s greatest player, took a head shot from David Steckel in the NHL’s showcase game. The Penguins foolishly played him again a couple nights later, and then flew Crosby to Montreal and promptly sent him home. He hasn’t played since, and the brightest of bright careers is in jeopadry.

Matt Cooke tried to take out Alexander Ovechkin’s knee. Cooke is an habitual criminal whose peccadilloes would not be tolerated in a serious sports league (See NFL: Harrison, James).

Marc Savard, another Cooke victim, is probably finished as a hockey player.

Tom Pyatt is not Sidney Crosby. But because Claude Julien coaches goon hockey in a goon league, Pyatt had his face cut open by Gregory Campbell’s loose elbow pad last night.

In an adjoining circus ring, Johnny Boychuk rained punches down on Jaro Spacek, who inexplicably got a game misconduct, as did Roman Hamrlik.

To be fair, the nonsense started with Travis Moen going after Andrew Ference (for which the Bruins chipped in and sent him champagne after the game). But you knew Benoit Pouliot’s KO of David Krejci would not go unavenged.

Don Cherry, Mike Milbury and P.J. Stock were probably wetting themselves with glee. The Boston fans loved it. The NHL tolerates it.

Depressing … and I’m starting to fear it will never change.

End-of-game thuggery must have been what Jacques Martin was talking to Don Van Massenhoeven about in the hallway outside the officials’ room. It looked like a convivial conversation – Martin is not one for ballistics – but I hope the coach made his point.

There has to be a way to prevent muggings in garbage time. Let’s just be thankful Milan Lucic didn’t get to P.K. Subban.

Something else to remember about last night: The Canadiens never quit. They battled back from two-goal deficits, only to be undone by shoddy D.

The team has to be better against the Islanders and, especially, Toronto, or this is going to be a lost week.

My friend Arpon Basu has some interesting things to say about Scott Gomez, who was brutal last night and will be toasted on talk radio today.

Let’s see what Gomez and his linemates do tonight. And let’s hope there’s a bounce-back, because the Canadiens have to have solid hockey from Gomez.

We all speculate about the Canadiens needing an experienced defenceman and a forward with size. Pierre Gauthier can’t add a Top Six centre to his shopping list.

•  •  •

Do you suppose the Boston bozos chanting “USA!” realize the Canadiens have six American players to three for the Bruins?

•  •  •

Tweet of the Night, from François Gagnon:

Je suis bien d’accord sur l’importance d’afficher plus de robustesse. Mais s’ils ont été poreux, ils n’ont pas été peureux…

•  •  •

Guest Comment from MathMan:

Two things.

“Too small”: seriously, this
is immensely overrated. Especially in a game like this (see below), the
Habs’ like of size was not a primary driver in the outcome. This gets
trotted out every time the Habs get beaten by Boston (or Philly), but
it’s a facile explanation that sidesteps looking at the real causes.
It’s a story that lives on its own inertia, really; it’s never really
been a problem, but since it’s reputed to have been a problem forever,
it lends weight to the idea that it still is.

It never comes up
when Montreal beats Boston — which is still the more common occurence,
oddly enough given Montreal’s supposedly crippling lack of size. (And
it’s not been a major factor in the playoffs either despite publicity to
the contrary that sometimes stretched suspension of disbelief — the
2007-2008 Philly series was especially egregious in that regard.)

As usual, the Habs weren’t intimidated by the Bruins and, as usual, the sideshow had no real bearing on the game.

Second: on that note, let’s talk about the game itself and its significance. How often do you see 8-6 games?

You
don’t. It was a fluke, a freak occurence. I don’t see how it is
sensible to draw any kind of conclusion from this. It’s pointless to try
to dissect a freak show when 99% of the game look nothing like this.

So
relax. A single freak game is not indicative of a major problem that
needs an immediate and radical fix. Odds are something like this won’t
happen again for 3 seasons.

I’m more worried about what it means
for the Habs, as they try to catch up to a Boston team I genuinely
believe is weaker than Montreal. But then again, the 6-spot is not a bad
place to be, as opening the playoffs vs. Boston is a pretty good spot
for the Habs.

 

102 Comments

  1. Chuck says:

    Boston hasn’t met us in the playoff since the team was made over. And in the last four meetings in the the playoffs, the Habs have won three of those series.

  2. t1tan5 says:

    Two wrongs don’t make a right…

  3. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Never forget FEB 7, 2011…

    it was only a matter of time till this beatdown occurred, really a shame, i really feel sorry for our players, but i despise the coaches and managers in the organization, what they have done is an atrocity.  Gainey/Martin/Gauth etc should be brought to account for this disaster.

    let me briefly repeat what i have been saying for 3 years: we are the weakest team in the league, other teams have no fear when they play us…. and every single management move has been to weaken our team.

    anyone that had a hint of grit is gone.. (for whatever reason) is hainsey/ivanas/kostop/ smoke /ryder /souray / lats/laps/obyrne and many many more gritty players….OBRYNE!!!! 6′ 5″   234lbs!!!!

    REPLACED WITH DARCHE/PYATT/DESHARNIERS/WEBER to name a few!!!!!!!!

    oh God help us….. of course we are a speedy team!!! but it takes more than SPEEEEEEEEEEEED.

    this is a bloody insult, joke, shameful travesty that we cannot mentally recover from, we need to repair, replace and re-inforce immediately, or continue to be a talented, fast, speedy team that can be steamrolled.

    i really felt bad for the players, being put in that situation, its not their game, Tommy Pyatt is a great hockey player, that beating is an insult to all hab fans and players.

    There should be a war March 8th…. but will we have the soldiers…. what shame….

    1:The N.A.G.S. (North American Grit Speed) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2: The NHL-REF-SYNDICATE will do everything in its power to deny us the cup. 3. ..call up WHITE/HENRY/SHULTZ/PAX now.

  4. Hammer says:

    Ryder, Souray, Lats, Laps??????????????????????????????? Are you trying to troll or do you actually believe what you wrote. Ryder has no jam ( makes a great airplane,) Souray ( 30 teams have passed on him),Lats ( is he now in shape?) Lap ( the ballerina would have been making figure 8’s to escape the Bruins). The only one I agree with is Obyrne ( big mistake).

     

  5. HardHabits says:

    Their template is not that bad. It kind of resembles a certain team from the 70’s that dominated that decade.

    Boston and Philly have been far and away better in the regular season this year and last (Philly to a lesser extent last regular season) than the Habs. As cocky as we Habs fans are with all of our Boston are our bitches mantra, they’d have beaten the Habs last season had they not imploded against the Flyers in game 7.

    The Habs beating the Caps and Pens was nothing short of being two colossal upsets.

    The Habs are getting better. They are potentially a top 10 team. They are not contenders. Philly and Boston have both shown they have the ability to physically terrorize the Habs.

    Until the Habs develop a template that counters that expect more explosions against the Habs and potentially more Habs players getting injured because of it.

     

  6. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    you make some very good point’s.  If you look at Philly which is leading the conference, they have the right mix of toughness and speed and talent.  Just filling up a team full of goons won’t necessarilly work.  I think a lot of teams are gonna use Philly as a template.

  7. Adam says:

    Just out of curiosity, what happened on Feb. 7, 2011?

     

    Oh, and in what league are the standings based on fights won? I watch the NHL, where it’s based on points earned.

     

    Good luck with yearning for Michael Ryder, though. Let me know how that works out.

  8. hablifting says:

    Nice post.

    Finally someone who embraces reality rather the spouting what they `wish` were true.  The reality is that the NHL has always been about intimidation, toughness, grit and nastyness.  Some fans on this site cry about honor and integrity and so on.  Did they not watch Ferguson?  Gainey?  Robinson?  These guys were not always gentlemen on the ice.  Guys like Nilan?  Or one the biggest rats ever (yeah 10x worse then Cooke, see Claude vs Draper if you’ve forgotten) Mr. Claude Lemiuex. 

    Stop pretending that all 24 of the Habs cups were won on handshakes, gentlemanly banter and gentle nudges along the boards.   If you wish to win in this league, you either build a team that is so overwhelming in skill (ala Detroit) -OR- you build a team that is capable of intimidation and controlled violence all while being able to finish with regularity.  You need to get other team looking over their shoulder every single time the puck is headed to their stick.  Have them rush everything they do for fear of being made to pay for any hesitation. 

    The  Bruins and Flyers are in much better shape to make noise in the playoffs than the Habs.  This team we have is neither strong enough nor skilled enough to compete for the ultimate prize.  Rest assured that no team will get suprised by the Habs this time around.  Barring a Halakian type peformance from Price (completely plausible after what I’ve seen this year) we will be lucky to win a round. 

    Would be nice to be proven wrong.

  9. Steve C. says:

    Actually it’s good that Pouliot didn’t do more than he did. Just because Boston can’t control themselves, doesn’t mean that the Habs should stoop to their level. Get bigger? Yes. Merciless random beatings? No; Boston and Philadelphia can keep theirs. Thank God Chicago won the Cup last year.

  10. RetroMikey says:

    Shame on you punkster, shame on you.

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

  11. Chris says:

    As I said, the Habs struggle against big, physical teams that can skate with them. I don’t see any disagreement there. What people refuse to recognize is that Boston and Philadelphia are not just big goons: they also feature some highly skilled players.

    The goals last night were not the result of physical intimidation. They were the result of defensive zone ineptitude. We can’t magically change the fact that Montreal’s core forwards are on the smallish side. But we can change the fact that the team competes every inch of ice. Last night, the only competition seemed to be who could make the most mistakes.

    The players didn’t seem to be taking the loss as a big deal, and I’m not really doing so either. I have not forgot the lessons of the past three playoffs…I don’t like our chances against Philly or Boston. But I also don’t like their chances against Washington or Pittsburgh. Time will tell.

  12. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    excellent post.

  13. punkster says:

    Your way is the wrong way. And your list of “gritty” players long gone is laughable. Maybe you confuse “grit” with the need to wash frequently, which is how I feel after reading another of your inane comments. But hey, it’s a free country and this interwebby thingy is open to all viewpoints so whine away ;)

    ***Subbang!!!***

  14. Chris says:

    Agreed…last night’s game was an aberration.  When you watch the replays of the goals, there were very few that I would argue resulted from any sort of physical intimidation.  Most of it came from a collective amnesia on the part of every Montreal Canadien player on how to play positional defence.

    That being said, physical teams HAVE been Montreal’s bane the past few years in the playoffs.  The Habs can skate with pretty much anybody and they can defend as well as anybody.  They struggle when the other team is much stronger than they are but can still skate with them.  Fortunately, that is a pretty rare combination.  You’ve just got to hope that those teams get knocked out by somebody else in the playoffs.  :)

  15. JIMVINNY says:

    Marchand has about as much chance of getting called out as every other rookie not named Subban.  This whole Subban-hate situation isn’t a rookie thing, it’s a PK Subban thing.  As Darren Pang would say, why can’t he do things the “white way”?  Well, Darren, because he’s black.

     

  16. HardHabits says:

    Screw Boston. This is about the Habs. The Habs are vulnerable to goonery and hence to injury.

    I haven’t seen a bunch of rose-coloured wearing posters after a statement loss in a while.

    Pass the kool-aid.

  17. smiler2729 says:

    I love playing the Bruins, they’re my favourite rival…

  18. wall2bay says:

    He should’ve kept on punching.  You didn’t see Chara holding back when it was clear that MaxPac was down.

    Maybe somebody can slash their bus tires when they come into down next?

    “I kind of feel sorry for players who never got a chance to be a Montreal Canadien” – Cammalleri

  19. mbplekfan says:

    Yes, last night was one game out of 82. Yes, we have beaten the Bruins 3 times already.

    But last night the Bruins found the winning formula against the Habs. In the future we will see more of the same from Boston and probably several other teams.

    If we cant find a credible alternative to getting run all night we may see repeats often and for the rest of the season.

    We won 2 fights. Pouliot ko’d Krejci and Moen outpointed Ference.

    The Price-Thomas debacle is a non issue.

    Thornton, Boychuck, Campbell, Chara dominated their fights. They didnt pull punches. They didnt play gentleman’s rules.

    The TSN guys were right when they said the Habs had no answer on the bench to the thuggery. White in for Pyatt will mean little.

    We need a bigger, tougher defence corps. We need a bigger, tougher 4th line. We need Pacioretty and Pouliot to play mean.

    And we need to find something to do with Gomez. He killed us last night. He’s small, wimpy, and not contributing.

  20. Hammer says:

    So the Bruins gooned a team that doesn’t goon back, big deal. Pyatt and Spacek ( two who probably have 3 fights between them in a total of 16 years) are rag dolled. So you fight fire with fire. Bring up White ( as they did) to replace Pyatt, Henry takes the place of Webber and the whole tone of the game changes. This will be the last time the Bruins will have a chance to play this way against the Habs. Hope they enjoyed it. On a side note what was Thomas thinking?

  21. Habitant out West says:

    I don’t know Boone. You’re making it seem like the game was 8-1 and Montreal lost all the fights. That’s wasn’t the case. There were 5 main fights and I would say Moen, Pouliot and Price with the victors in their respective bouts.

  22. mbplekfan says:

    The bruins showed their game plan from the opening shifts. Hit PK, get in his face and push everybody around. It worked.

    Gill is big but doesnt play big or fight well.

  23. Steve C. says:

    I think this is the best post regarding last night’s WWE classic.

  24. hablifting says:

    Too true man.

    So many guys clinging to honor and class and all that rubbish.  Clearly they either never watched the Habs win cups in the 70’s or they have convieniently forgotten.  There is class in helping up a fallen opponent and not drilling a guy into the boards from behind.  However if the other team is f’ing with your teammates and attempting to intimidate I believe that you are honor bound to make then regret it.  That is all I ask.

  25. PeterD says:

    It seems to me that every team we play the players want to go after PK and try to take him out of hte game. We saw taht last night with Kucic, Horton and the other goons. I am becoming very afraid for Subban. He can’t always have Gill step in to block out the goons that want at him. Nor can PK continue to walk away from confrontation.

    I am thinking for his long term development and maturation in this league, PK needs to step up and take a few faces off in a few fights. Don’t back down and don’t just dance with guys like Marchant who ran at him all night. Step up and pummel the guy. Stand toe to toe with Lucic or Horton and let them know there is a price to pay if you come after him.

    Maybe this summer he should take some boxing lessons from BGL (sans the code) and take it upon himself to lay a beating on a few opposing players that want to run him. He needs to get mean and create the bubble of respect around himself.

    Remember when Larry Robinson was young and he stepped up and took on a few comers and all of a sudden he had respect and players stopped running him nad in fact tryed not to wake him up in games. Time for PK to start taking heads and making a bigger statement to the league. We know he has the talent and skill and passion, now show them he has a mean streak so don’t mess with him.

  26. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

     

    you just don’t get it… i’m not saying we need them back, or collectively together, just a different calibre of grit, and sh()&^&T doesn’t happen.

    but no problem, keep enjoying the beatings.

     

  27. Cool Ice Price says:

    Mikey:

    #1. A team has to get through the Regular season so it does mean squat!

    #2. What Chuck said!

  28. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    you just don’t get it… i’m not saying we need them back, or collectively together, just a different calibre of grit, and sh()&^&T doesn’t happen.

    but no problem, keep enjoying the beatings.

  29. JIMVINNY says:

    As much as I respect Price and Pouliot for letting up in their respective fights, after how the game ended, I really wish they would have literally wrecked their opponents.  As is it, the Habs get to keep their gentlemanly honor, while the Bruins relish in the knowledge that they cleaned the ice with the Habs in the fights that they won.

     

  30. Natrous says:

    Yep – Feb 7 2011 is a day that I’ll never forget in Habs history… fresh off a loss to NJ, they headed home to lick their wounds and prepare for Boston. A light skate and a workout in the weight room followed by some video study and a pasta dinner. Feb 7 will go down as a big day for Montreal.

    What’s truly a shame is that fans of the team look back at that list of players you provided and actually think they were a significant loss. Anyone who remembers their tenure in Montreal can easily scoff at all but one or two of those you listed:

    Hainsey – I was actually disappointed when we let him go, so I’ll give you that one.
    Ivanans – Are you kidding me? Dude got into a fight a few games into his career in MTL and got his face broke. What grit!
    Kosto – Whatever. We all know how we would have done vs Boston last night. Laughable.
    Smolinski – Are you aware that since his time in Montreal, he hasn’t played in the NHL? What exactly are we missing from him that he is providing elsewhere?
    Ryder – In his contract year with the Habs, he played himself out of the lineup. What exactly did you want Gainey to do, re-sign him to a 10 year deal??
    Souray – Was putting up career numbers with the Habs in his contract season, yet was a walking injury. As time has shown, he has played one full season since his time with Montreal – yet you wish he had stayed… enough said.
    Lats – LOL – 3 points in 23 games followed by 37 points with Minny.. Change-Of-Scenery effect much? He was never going to do that in Montreal.
    Laps – Another player who really backs up your argument well. You know, in the ‘I yap and run’, no-grit, talentless kind of way.
    O’B – Mental fragility + Fishbowl environment = epic fail. Move the guy to a non-hockey market and he’s no where near as bad as he was. Good for him. Would he have helped last night? Maybe, but the score would have been 10-6.

  31. HardHabits says:

    Excellent post. Welcome aboard.

  32. Chuck says:

    Keep in mind that the formula that Boston uses to assemble their teams hasn’t won them a Stanley Cup in almost 40 years.

    Building a team specifically to combat their style of play is playing into their hands. Games and series are won by the final score, not by the number of punches thrown.

    The Bruins have proven time and again that a team that plays smart, disciplined hockey against them will more often than not emerge as the victor. Their version of toughness becomes a distraction that takes away from their focus of winning hockey games. Last night their ‘toughness’ cost them 4 powerplay goals and six goals against. That’s hardly a recipe for long-term success.

    Last night, the Bruins won a battle. But until they win a Stanley Cup, you’ll have difficult time convincing me that we should use them as a template for how the Habs should be built.

  33. punkster says:

    OK. But I ain’t supporting your tank corps. The AH-64s are fueling up as we speak.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  34. Chris says:

    Or you could say that P.K. Subban brings an awful lot of it on himself with his incessant chirping.

    He chirped all through his OHL years. I had standing room tickets for the Memorial Cup in Kitchener the year Subban’s Bulls were playing. I was standing right down at ice level next to a couple of the Bulls extras that year. They were laughing because P.K. just never, ever shuts up on the ice. I was surprised how dirty it was getting, but he seemed to thrive in that environment…he gives as much as he gets.

    He chirped in the AHL. And now, in his first full season as an NHL player, he’s still chirping.

    Players who chirp in any sport draw the attention of their opponents. There are few things more maddening than a motor mouth, especially one who specializes in drive-by chirping as Subban is occasionally guilty of (how many times do you see him chirping from behind Hal Gill or the linesmen?).

    Maxim Lapierre saw very similar treatment in his early career. He chirped and chirped and chirped and players would retaliate. At some point, they realized that it wasn’t worth it.

    With Subban, it is worth it…he’s one of Montreal’s top players, so if he’s busy chirping, he’s perhaps not focused on the game at hand. He got caught last night chasing somebody for some retaliation instead of playing his position. That happens for younger guys, and Subban will learn to “take a number”.

  35. punkster says:

    I’ll give you an “A” for overreaction, a “C” for player analysis and an “F” for your solution.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  36. Rad says:

    “The NHL is a goon league.”

    – Absolutely correct. Intimidation and pre-meditated violence is the rule of the day. Most of us are aware of this, and that is why so many contributors to this site have been clamoring for some size and toughness in the Montreal lineup. But does Montreal management listen? Or even care? The only time in the past 10 years that management tried to insert some toughness in the lineup, they made the wrong choice: Georges Laraque, who was/is simply too nice a guy to go after opposing players, the way Thornton, Horton, Lucic and Chara do routinely. Appropriately enough, the latest news on Laraque is all about “love.” Laraque was an oxymoron: a gentleman enforcer.

    Look at Chara going after young Max Pacioretty every chance he got last night. Look at the pictures of Chara towering over a fallen Pacioretty last night, with Max’s helmet pulled off.  Payback for Max’s unforgiveable sin of a slight inadvertent push after he scored the last time these two teams met. There were a hundred such instances last night, as Boston took liberties will core Habs like P.K. Subban and Carey Price. Mike Richards was right when he said Subban is going to get hurt one day. All it takes is one illegal hit, and the rising star will be on the shelf for months, possibly have his career ended. 

    This is what the NHL is about, and always has been. The great Habs team of the past had players like John Feguson, Chris Nilan, Larry Robinson, Craig Ludwig, Rod Langway, Rick Chartraw, Sergio Momesso, Claude Lemieux, John LeClair, Lyle Odelein, Todd Ewen, and a hard nosed defensive forward by the name of Bob Gainey. The same Bob Gainey who last year mortgaged the Habs future by trading for a soft centerman by the name of Scott Gomez.  

    Winning starts at the top. In the glory days we had Sam Pollock and Scotty Bowman, hall of fame General Managers who knew how to build a winning combination of speed and toughness. The Habs have always had players that could skate and score. But they also had “policemen” to protect the skill players and ensure the game was played legally. Not so the current version of this team. A poorly constructed team that is routinely manhandled by more than a dozen “physical” NHL teams like the Flyers, Bruins, Thrashers, etc.

    Look around you. The Edmonton Oilers as a random example are putting together a young team with plenty of skill and speed. But also an integral part of that team is tough farm boy Steve MacIntyre, 6’5″, 250, and on defence they have Theo Peckham 6’2″, 223, Ladislav Smid, 6’3″, 226, Jason Strudwick, 6’4″, 225, Kurtis Foster, 6’5″,  223. The Oilers are not winning this year, but they will in the near future as their young stars like Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, and Jordan Eberle learn to use their skill and speed, knowing they will be allowed to play their game without being bullied on the ice.

    Looking at what happened last night, the ghosts of the old Montreal Forum would be cursing in their white suits.

     

  37. HardHabits says:

    The 1976 SCF should be required viewing for all Habs fans.

    There’s nothing more I can add that Boone hasn’t already stated. This team doesn’t have what it takes to go four rounds of play-off hockey.

    Gio, Gomez, Gionta, Weber, Cammalleri, Halpern , Plekanec – all under 6 feet and 200 pounds, with Gio, Cammy and DD being extremely small.

    A team should only have 1 of those following 3 players IMO (Gio, DD and Cammy) but with the 3 of them add to the fact that almost half the team is either small, old or not known for physicallity, the Habs will always be vulnerable to getting humiliated like last night.

    It was humiliation. The Habs got owned. Served. Their asses handed to them.

    It’s not a blip. It is indicative of the game and what the play-offs portend.

    The real sad truth is that there is no short term solution out of it. The top four are shorty, smally, shrimpy and tiny. With wee-wee in the bottom six to further add insult to injury.

    The road to the Cup passes through Philly and/or Boston. Can this team complete the journey. Ha!!! I’d love to eat crow on this but at this moment I can only take some solace in hoping that the future is bright.

    I am one beat-down away from pulling out the artillery. I am serious. If the Habs can’t sign these players that can deliver punches then they need to draft them.

    That is what I wanted the Habs to do. Sign big, stupid, defensive minded players that could’ve protected Price, Markov and Subban from getting injured by goons and dirty players. Lose in the regular season. Draft high. Trade for picks. Build the farm, but with real elite talent. Then slowly integrate them into the team in Montreal, and after playing a bruising defensive style that crushes forwards, add some big scoring talent, and start to open the flood-gates.

    Instead we’re stuck with a team that the whole league knows is incapable of defending themselves even though they are gritty enough, or stupid enough, to fight back, either case the end result is they are getting their collective asses kicked by teams like Philly and Boston not to mention liberties other teams have taken in the last 2 seasons.

    A team is built as a unit. As a unit the Habs are push-overs.

    I remember 1976!!!!

  38. aemarchand11 says:

    If it’s any consolation prize, whenever cousin Brad comes home to Halifax his arrogance has been handled in the bars downtown.

    It’s documented that the guy is cocky and a general dirtbag, so he fits in quite nicely on the Bruins. But as many were getting on PK for not “acting” like a rookie, its just a matter of time before he gets called out.

    Go Habs Go! 2010-2011

  39. smiler2729 says:

    For all the analytic rants here about crap like size, toughness, Gomez, AK46, Julien, Lucic, blah blah blah, I thought it was a FUN hockey game to watch! Pond shinny with some dirt on it! Loved it!

    From the freewheeling scoring (ahh, the ’80s) to the line brawls (ahh, the ’70s) it was a nice change of pace from the tight checking, white knuckle worry of being a fan watching today’s cheap shot dominated style of game.

    So the Habs lost, big deal. We own the Bruins, historically and recently, and Boston knows it. The Canadiens have broken their hearts, burst their bubbles and basically ruined their dreams for so long, it’s no wonder they loath us.

     

  40. smiler2729 says:

    So I take it that you don’t like your cousin much, do you? lol

  41. PeterD says:

    I want to see PK Subban take on and kick Lucic’s ass…

  42. Chris says:

    I guess I just disagree with the gist of the debate. We’re arguing that last night was an anomaly for the Canadiens.

    What we have to remember is that it was an equally anomalous for the Bruins. The 2010-11 Bruins are not a team that loses their discipline like they did last night, nor are they a team whose defensive game is so leaky.

    Just as we shouldn’t rush to decisions about the Canadiens being exposed as vulnerable to physical play based on last night’s performances (I think their performances in the playoffs are a different story), we shouldn’t rush to condemn the Bruins based on isolated games.

    I suspect both coaches last night were probably furious with their teams, but they probably both also realized that that was a Twilight Zone game and you just move on.

  43. HardHabits says:

    Dave, that kind of attitude served you well when you were a Maple Leafs fan but that’s not how it’s done here in Montreal.

    Here we build winners. Well, we used to.

    Some of us here still remember what it feels like to be a Habs fan and experience the winning, at the same time.

    You get an “B+” for wishful thinking, a “D-” for your sense of humour, and an “F” for your reply.

    Class dismissed.

    Discuss!!!

    :p

  44. Chuck says:

    Keep in mind that the ultimate goal for a hockey team is not to win a particular game, but to win the Stanley Cup. For the ‘Big Bad Bruins’, their goon tactics have won them exactly ZERO Stanley Cups since 1971.

    If anything, last night showed why the Bruins will NOT win the Cup again this year: staked to a 2-goal lead due mainly to Hab defensive errors, they played a style of hockey that allowed their opponent to score SIX goals on them, including four on the power play.

    If the Habs played even a LITTLE more responsibly on defense, the media in Boston this morning would be freaking out about how the Bruins’ lack of discipline had cost them the game.

     

  45. wall2bay says:

    I don’t wish bad upon anybody but I hope Kreji got concussed with that KO.  Seeing what happened after that and in hindsight, Benny should’ve kept on pounding him!!!

    “I kind of feel sorry for players who never got a chance to be a Montreal Canadien” – Cammalleri

  46. Chuck says:

    If their template resembled that of a certain team from the 70’s, they would have had the mental toughness to not blow a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs.

    The Habs team that overthrew the Flyers in the 70’s didn’t simply run roughshod over them and beat them into submission. What they DID do was to stand up to the Flyers’ agression, fight when they absolutely had to fight, and say, “We have the will and determination to beat you on OUR terms.”

     

     

  47. Chris says:

    Given that Boston has been forced to kill penalties the third least in the league, I’m a little puzzled by the assertion that the Bruins version of toughness takes away their focus.

    The Bruins were on the schneid against the Habs in the regular season.  They executed a gameplan to slay the monkey:  go out and beat the Habs up whenever possible.  It not only got them off their game, it got the Habs off their own gameplan, as evidenced by the Habs giving up 8 goals.

    Last night was a statement game by the Bruins, something they seemed to need to get the monkey off their backs.  Good for them, and now we all move on. 

    The Bruins will be a tough out in the playoffs.  They are 5th in the league in goals per game and 1st in goals against per game.  They are disciplined, yielding very few power play opportunities in general.  They score first more than all but two teams in the league, and protect leads well.  They can skate with most teams, and they have enough toughness sprinkled throughout the roster that they don’t get pushed around.  And Zdeno Chara is a beast.

    Where the Bruins are vulnerable is on special teams, which gives the Habs a good shot at them in the playoffs.  But the Habs have to play smart, disciplined hockey to do it, and that is where the Habs are vulnerable, as they are prone to brain cramps that yield power plays and quality scoring chances.

  48. RetroMikey says:

    Regular season means squat.  Boston owns us in the playoffs recently in head to head competition.

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

  49. HardHabits says:

    The Habs can take out Boston or Philly in the play-offs. What they can’t do is take out one and then take out the other. It’s 4 rounds of play-off hockey to sip from Lord Stanley’s mug. This is what I am on about. Last night’s game (and the recent loss to the Flyers) gives indication that more work is needed to be done.

    If the Habs make it to the 3rd round again I am sure we’ll all forget this game. If the Habs get ousted in the 1st round by this type of hockey we’ll point to the last two losses as the turning point.

    The Bruins goals were scored by determination and force of effort not because of Habs mental break downs. The Habs were unable to contain the Bruins. The Bruins took it to the Habs, the Habs did respond and made a game of it, but it wasn’t a normal 8-6 loss. It was an example of the kind of play that other teams will continuously employ to not just take the Habs off of their game but to take them out of the game.

    There is intent to injure going on, and believe it or not, that is part of the game, sadly. Otherwise Canada wouldn’t have won the Summit Series.

    So, to win in the NHL a team needs talented skilled forwards who can muck it up and have size. A team built on smurfs can’t make it in the big leagues, maybe in the smurf leagues but not the big time.

    Last nights loss will linger and if it hasn’t impacted management to address glaring needs in the line-up then not only are there going to be more rude awakenings before the season ends but long term the Habs will plateau without a Cup and inevitably regress and be back at square one.

    Interesting to see what transpires in the next 3 years but by the end of the 2013-2014 season the picture will be much clearer. I highly doubt by then that it wont be 20 years running since the last Cup win. Of course I’d love to be wrong.

  50. HardHabits says:

    Nice wishful thinking. I disagree. The Habs were exposed as a team that can’t go 4 rounds of play-off hockey. Yes they’re good and can skate and defend with the best of them. They hit road blocks when they face robust teams. The Habs need to develop their robustness or robustesse.

    It’s not about the 8 goals against or the 6 goals for. It less about the loss than they way they lost it and how the Bruins excercised their goonery in achieving it. I am talking all game too not just the final minutes, although that final display was deplorable. It’s about the liberties other teams are able to take against the Habs skilled players.

    Don’t fool yourselves. The Habs are very vulnerable.

    I’d rather a team that can beat both the Flyers and the Bruins come play-off time, not one that cowers away from them.

  51. mbplekfan says:

    Except that Lucic is in the Heavyweight division and Subban is a newbie middleweight.

    PK doesnt need a broken face at the hands of Lucic.

  52. wall2bay says:

    The only recent succuss the B’s had on the Habs in the playoffs was when they swept us 2yrs ago.  That team was goin done like the Titanic and would’ve been swept by even the Islanders that year.

    We beat them the prior year and time before that we took them out as the 8 seed.

    “I kind of feel sorry for players who never got a chance to be a Montreal Canadien” – Cammalleri

  53. Chuck says:

    We’ve beat Boston 8 out of 10 since Gainey reconstructed the team. So yeah, I’d say that last night was a fluke.

  54. Jdub1985 says:

    Gordon Campbell: I want his life.

    March 8th retribution will be paid in full.

  55. DearyLeary says:

    Define grit.

  56. Displaced says:

    We all want to the Habs to win the Cup. 

     

    The jury is out among regular HIO posters on the best way to achieve that.  Do we build from our strengths whilst at the middle of the pack or trade tangential assets with the risk of falling in the regular season standings to build for a big future.  Detroit shows us you can be a perpetually good team.  Pittsburgh shows us that tanking is the best route (if you can draft Sid and Malkin and keep them healthy).  I don’t think this core has can win a Cup. 

     

    I favour trading secondary stars — let me define that.  Players who are great second line guys on Cup winners, but playing here in starring roles.  Guys like Cammi, Gomez, and Hamr come to mind for top flight prospects and/or high draft picks.  We lack the top tier forwards -Sedin, Datsuk, Stamkos, etc. to have a credible shot a long run (IM very H O).  It might cause some short term pain, although I don’t think as much as people fear to have a legit run in 2013-2015.

     

    And, not to nitpick – but… Plecs had two assists last night.  Hard to say he struggled more than others.  Yes, Spacek shows his age most night, Hamr occassionally, PK shows his immaturity sometimes and Weber is learning on the job.  But, it’s difficult to judge this defense or PG when we lose Markov and Gorges to season-ending injuries.

     

    I think Eller would benefit from a long stint in Hamilton, the rest of the season and maybe the beginning of next year.  He’s got size and offensive skills.  He needs to learn how to put them together and dominate.  Hamilton didn’t hurt DD, PK, Patches, or Weber.  I agree that it will help Eller. 

     

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  57. t1tan5 says:

    Talk about an epic overreaction! From some of the comments, it would seem as if we lost 8-0 as opposed to 8-6. We lost by 2 goals, people! On top of that, this game was a complete outlier. I think the last time we allowed 8 goals was 4 years ago against Buffalo so nothing can be taken from this game since it’s just a feak occurence in my opinion. So many factors went into this result that the probability of it happening again is almost nil. When will two of the top goalies in the NHL allow a combined 14 goals? When will our second line be a combined -12 again? When will our defense play so horribly? It was just a perfect storm of different factors that led to this unbelievable result. As for the third period goonery, it just shows how classless the Bruins are from their front office all the way to their idiotic fans. Contrary to popular belief, we didn’t get beat down. In order to get beat down, it would have to be a fair fight initially, which it most certainly was not. To send out the goons at the end of an already fight filled game was absolutely ridiculous by Julien. I’m proud of our boys because they didn’t back down from these cretins. Our better players stood up to those talentless thugs and for that, I am glad. Better still, we none of our guys hit them when they were down. We were able to walk away from any altercation with our collective integrity still intact.

  58. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    whats it going to take for you to learn…. how many more of my posts…..how many more beatings….

  59. habs001 says:

    while we have a good record vs boston the bruins have scored 25 more goals than we have and have allowed 14 less and have 9 more road points…so they are a better team than we are…just like we have a better team than toronto but our record vs the leafs  is not great

  60. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    see responses below… and go rent some 70’s and 80’s Habs teams to see how to prevent that disaster last night.

  61. HardHabits says:

    And the Habs didn’t have the physical toughness to not get shut-out in 3 games against the same team that did come back to win 4 straight against those very same Bruins.

    My concern Chuck is that teams know the Habs are vulnerable and that since the league turns a blind eye to dirty play, last night the NESN commentators were calling clear penalties against the Habs questionable, in particular the cross check against Gomez, the Habs will get injured. Skilled players need protection in hockey. It’s a fact. The rule changes wont change anything because the game is still played with sticks and pucks along the boards with fast skating on ice.

    Read Rad’s post above.

    The Habs are good, even look like a top 10 team. The Bruins look like a top 5 one and that’s the sweet spot.

    Nevertheless, the Habs are not Stanley Cup contenders. Not yet. Soon though they could be, but only if they beef up, otherwise Subban and Price’s talent will be wasted.

  62. Wayne says:

    Great post. I don’t think we should use them as a template to build a Habs team. We should dissect (not tough in this case) them and build to counter them. They DO have decent speed and a pretty good transition game when opponents allow them to use it. They’re big, no doubt about it. They have at least 4 players that can fight with the best and a small cast of eager beaver middle-weights. All the Habs need is one more Larry Robinson and a Kordic and we’ll be set. No need to bulk up with dead weight. We’ll keep our speed and have the deterrent,.. like the good ole days.

  63. Displaced says:

    Totally agree.  I fear that this core group cannot win a Cup.  Cammi, Gio, Gomez are small.  Plecs is smallish.  These guys are the core of this team for the next 2-3 years.  After that we have to hope that Plecs, Leblanc, Patches, etc. can score and play big.  That’s a lot to hope for.  I am trying not to sound like Debbie Downer, but… I don’t know what pieces we can add to catapult us into the elite and don’t see enough of them in our organization at the moment.

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  64. Jdub1985 says:

    Exactly …

  65. Jdub1985 says:

    I love how there is no discussion on Chara two handing MaxPac … the kid looked like he broke his ankle. No call on the ice? fine. But as the league reviews the highlights, how is that slash any different then a Cooke hit to the head? Both with INTENT to INJURE? and while we’re on that note, tied down jersey’s? how about loose equipment used as tools to cut skin and rip Pyatt’s face apart? Last night wasn’t typical goon hockey, it resembled something more closely related to a prison brawl. If the league can’t call action after all the proof from all the HD angles – I assume they promote it?

    Here’s to White taking his stick and two handing Campbell in throat, causing the animal to go into trauma. I can see Bettman salvating at that thought, cheap ways to get ratings!

  66. Chuck says:

    Your last paragraph speaks to my point about them losing their focus. If they want to play that kind of game, then fine. Make them pay for it on the scoreboard with the resulting powerplays.

    Their game plan might have been to physically intimidate the Habs, but the majority of their goals were not the result of physical intimidation. Their first 2 goals-against were the direct result of defensive brain cramps. Realistically, if the Bruins had played smart, disciplined hockey, the game should have been over at that point. But the Habs were able to answer back with 6 goals, 4 on the powerplay.

    In the end, the Habs lost a 2-goal game. Had two of their players not gone into a fog for 12 seconds of the first period, the “Brion toughness leading to victory” discussion doesn’t happen today.

  67. Displaced says:

    Exposed?  We’re 6th in the east and playing .500 since December 7th.  Only the most optimistic of fans see this year’s team as a favourite for a 4 round playoff run.  This is a team who could lose in the first round or win the first couple.  Hell, this is a team that COULD miss the playoffs (I doubt it, but it’s a possibility). 

    You and I are normally on the same page.  We have a nice skating team that plays a defensive style.  We lack the top flight scoring and (absent Markov and Gorges) the D for a long run.

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  68. HardHabits says:

    I am typically more subdued, but two teams I hate in the league more than any other are the Flyers and the Bruins. Both those teams are better than the Habs.

    Watching the Habs lose to both of them ignominiously recently sends off the alarm bells.

    After a game like last night, coupled with that latest loss to the Flyers I wonder if the the Habs are building with any consideration for those teams. Not to mention Pittsburgh, Tampa, Washington.

    6th in the East isn’t good enough.

    I know the Habs are not a contender this year. My worry is that they wont be in the upcoming years either unless they get players that are skilled/talented and have size.

    The bottom line is the Habs are not drafting these players and at the same time are intent on building a team that is ripe for getting pushed around.

    This isn’t tennis. Hockey is a physically demanding game. Even NFLers consider the hitting in hockey to be harder.

    IMO a team can’t win in the NHL play-offs if it’s roster consists of DD, Gio, Cammy, Plex, Gomez, Halpern, Pyatt and Weber. Wiz is 5’11 too but he weighs close to 210 and can scrap, but when he’s one of your toughest guys, you know you’re in trouble.

  69. HardHabits says:

    I love Gionta. I hate Chara.

    A team of Charas would destroy a team of Giontas 99 times out of 100.

  70. HardHabits says:

    For all the positives you’ve mentioned there still is a gaping weakness that the Habs cannot conceal. Had the Habs won the game maybe but the Bruins won. What the B’s did in the final minutes of the game was despicable but the Habs are vulnerable to that garbage. I am tired of seeing my hockey team act like a bunch of damsels in distress out there when general melees break out.

    Yes Pouliot won his bout. Sure Price could’ve taken Thomas’ head off. Yes Moen clocked whoever he clocked. The bottom line is the Bruins got away with murder and the Habs were the ones getting killed.

    Games like that leave indelible dents in the psyche.

    It was the Philly series all over again, except the Habs scored this time. Not enough though. That loss was huge in many ways.

    It could be the turning point where the Bruins leave the Habs behind in the dust and claim the division title or it could be the wake-up call the Habs need.

    I still can’t see what the Habs could do short term to remedy this. I guess we can always hope that the Habs don’t face either Philly or Boston in the play-offs.

    I remember ’76 

  71. punkster says:

    There you go. The whiners and complainers are having a field day but I enjoyed the game too. No backing down, no quit, no big deal. Move on.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  72. C3P1 says:

    boone the crosby hit was not intentional.  david steckel has about as many penalty minutes a year as milan lucic has a game

  73. Chuck says:

    I’m not suggesting for a moment that the team needs to add toughness, but they need the right kind of toughness. They need players that combine mental toughness and the will to win with the physical capability to follow through, NOT guys that are just tough enough to win a fight.

    He may be small in stature, but give me a team of Brian Giontas any day.

    Guys that are on the team simply to protect you goalie or skilled players are pointless; they may have a deterrent effect in the regular season, but how much ice time, when the games REALLY mean something, are you going to give to the likes of an Alex Henry?

     

  74. Barts says:

    “So relax. A single freak game is not indicative of a major problem that needs an immediate and radical fix. Odds are something like this won’t happen again for 3 seasons.”

    Really???? A single game? Are you kidding? Have you been watching this team play? This is the same type of hockey that ran us out of the playoffs in the semi’s last year. And Philly is Boston, but BETTER. And we won’t get by either of those teams in the post-season without more grit.

  75. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    on March 8th….

    who is going to DESTROY LUCIC for sucker punching Price in the face…

    who is going to teach CHARA the lesson he needs to learn for going after a rookie and punching him repeatedly while on the ice, and cross checking, slashing injuring our star players…

    who is going to wipe that CAMPBELLS face all over the ice for fighting a non-fighter Pyatt…

    I want revenge, and this organization better GROW SOME BA)(*^_(*&_+LLLLLSSSSS fast.

    I want callups of muscle NOW. I want trades for muscle NOW…. the joke must end NOW.

  76. RetroMikey says:

    Always the optimistic fan on this site SF09 and I respect that but we’ve seen the tweaks on this team even from last season when we did an extreme makeover on this team.

    Face it, we just are not big enough to make a Cup run.  We have to make changes and if we have to trade smurfs like Cammy, Gionta, Pleks, for bigger physical players.

    Having small players with skill means squat.

    Anybody besides SF09  still think we are going far in the playoffs?

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

  77. Cool Ice Price says:

    Right on SF09. We own the Broons in the reg season. The Broons got lucky last night. we still lead the season series 3 games to 1. A broken clock is right twice a day!

  78. SeriousFan09 says:

    They hit Pacioretty dirty a couple times last night, he fired back with two top-corner goals. That’s dealing with the situation, bringing in bigger, tougher forwards who take the punishment and return it in the goals column. The Canadiens could have easily folded up last night under the physical play, but they didn’t.

    If Gomez and AK hadn’t been caught with such bad defensive play so often last night they wouldn’t have been -4 and it would have been a very different game. How are the first three games where Boston’s thuggery amounted to nothing while the Canadiens defeated them nothing to talk about but they get the season series to a whopping 3-1 and suddenly it’s the statement game the Canadiens can’t handle the playoffs? Let’s not worry about teams that blew 3-0 playoff series leads at the moment when they’re running a .200 win percentage against the Habs in the last two seasons.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  79. SeriousFan09 says:

    No, I hate scumbags regardless of what jersey they wear. I’m still quite upset that Bertuzzi was brought into the Red Wings organization, a team I greatly respect.

    Boston would have to make the Conference Finals and frankly, they don’t know how to not fall apart and get upset in the playoffs these days.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  80. RetroMikey says:

    Come on, you would love to have Milan Lucic don a CH jersey…who wouldn’t?

    Philly-Boston East Final, believe it!

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

  81. G-Man says:

    The Flyers and the Bruins are the 2 most likely teams the Habs will have to get by in order to have a shot at the Cup. As the team is constituted right now, they do not measure up.
    They have no “quit” in them, but haven’t enough players that are playing to their capabilites. (That’s a hello to pretty much the whole team. Most are having an off year after a surprising playoff run).

  82. G-Man says:

    Boston took the Habs off the “speed” game with thuggery. Like it or not, the NHL is a tough guy league. Former Habs greats could both put the puck in the net and defend themselves when push came to shove. This group has been weak-kneed in that area of the game for too long and management is doing nothing about it. When you lose in the alley, generally, you lose the game, too.
    If last night and that Flyers game are measuring sticks, the Habs come up waaaaay short.

  83. The Cat says:

    If fighting didnt put asses in US arenas, you can be sure Bettman would outlaw it, but it does sell. Making the rink bigger would allow for the skill to shine through…for a time.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  84. SeriousFan09 says:

    Talked to my father last night, I asked him something to remember back over a few decades and he tells me he hasn’t seen a game like that between Montreal and Boston since the 1970s. That wasn’t him fondly reminiscing either, he’s been of skill hockey for decades, he detests the Bruins and the Flyers for what they are.

    It was ridiculous and the NHL should be wondering how they expect to really promote their game if the NFL does go to lockout and they’re trying to sell a game that to regular NFL viewers, will appear to be garage league in the quality of their officiating. How many greats or potential greats have had shortened or ruined careers because of the garbage this league pushed or ignored? This is the Greatest Game when the talent is in full view, but the problem is the garbagemen are allowed to run over the artists with their trucks without consequence.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  85. Marvin says:

    The game disintegrated into total nonsense, but if you believe the Boston Herald story and Brad Marchand’s comments, all if it was brought on by Montreal’s continued ‘chippy’ play:

    http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/hockey/bruins/view.bg?articleid=1315741

    Who knows if there is some creedence to the comments, but it makes you wonder.

     

  86. BeachHabFan says:

    i love reading the boston herald and hearing how subban was ‘asked to fight four times on one shift’. Gee, if moen asked patrice bergeron to fight every shift, would you expect him to go? for f–k’s sake. and why didn’t he interview kreji after the game?

    i liked how they didn’t back down. i loved how gio ran marchand, and how pouliot dropped kreji. size isn’t my concern. instead of fighting back, i want them to INITIATE, to have a MEAN STREAK that comes out and snaps every once in a while – especially when a jack–f like loosheesh crosscecks your goalie in the head. i haven’t seen that since the kordic/nilan/corson days, and we won’t get out of the east without it. not a total makeover, just one or two guys who aren’t afraid to start something and also able to finish it. 

    of course, had gomer’s line actually done something positive, and the game is tied or else just a one-goal lead in the third, how much goonery would we see? 

  87. TommyB says:

    I think one thing that kinda gets lost in all this, is why the Habs got so small in the first place.  You don’t get small overnight.  Going back to the rule changes following the lockout, the game was supposed to evolve into something more skillful, quick, and without obstruction and goonery.  The Habs brass drafted and built around skill, regardless of size (or lack thereof).  The idea should have been genius.  It should have worked.  What happened?

    Well, I’ll toss in my opinion of what happened.  Bettman and the rest of the fools who run what has become a bush league, have begun to realize that they are having trouble selling this game to markets who have no idea what hockey is all about.  But one thing that has always pulled people out of their seats, unfortunate, but fact, is the goonery and fighting aspect of the game.  You could concieve selling this to those markets where fans may be getting tired of watching cars going around in circles for hours.  Those fans love to jump out of their seats at the sight of a good crash too.

    How else do you explain the incredible number of concussions climbing in recent years, and reaching an incredible peak this year (over 50 players this year, I think, and still 30 games to go).  How else do you explain the sudden punch-happy Penguins?  Staal sucker punches an opposing player, and the automatic one game suspension is rescinded.  The victim of the sucker punch was at fault….he embellished.  Get f’n real NHL.  How else do you explain the sudden rise in brawls with teams such as Boston?  How did they just grow a gigantic set?  Because they have figured it out….THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT, and they are big enough.  It sells.  I won’t even go into the aspect of the father and son Campbell duo.  The game is returning to the violent era of the early 70’s.  Ask a southern gent on the street if he has heard of hockey, and he is likely to say “yawl talking about that Slapshot movie? Hell yeah, I know hockey.”  That’s not a fair statement to a good many true hockey fans in the southern USA, but it helps to illustrate my point.

    Watching the Habs efforts to match the brutality last night was very disheartening, as a fan. Imagine what it feels like to be on the ice, looking around, looking at the bench, and seeing nobody who can level the field. Sad. I hope Mr. Molson was watching. I hope he realizes what he was seeing. Because that game last night is going to become the training film for every NHL club, with any kind of size, to prepare for upcoming games against the Habs. I don’t fault Gainey and his assistants for assembling this team. They were duped. They believed the league was changing for the better. Now it is becoming obvious that things are changing for the worse, and it will take a long time to change the makeup of the team. The days of Sam Pollock, with a stableful of players capable of fitting into whatever situation was required…is gone! It will take some time, but get started Mr. Molson. The times they are a-changing.

  88. Fansincebirth says:

    Excellent post Tommy.

    I work with a Bruins fan in the office and even he was disgusted at the ‘game’ last night. Like he said, “if I want to watch ’70’s style hockey, I’ll go to Youtube”. Like I said below, it was like the 1976 Flyer vs USSR game, goons against talent.

    It sickened me to watch the game last night because we had nobody to match the mindless thuggery and Boston knew it.

    How the hell was that a payback game?

    Bettman and his merry band of idiots have turned a skill game into Slapshot to sell it in a market where 10 pin bowling gets higher ratings, where a punch counter is maintained on the score clock and where people are more interested in seeing someone get destroyed by a devastating, career ending hit that to watch skilled hockey players do their thing.

    Congratulations Bettman, you now have the league you want, roller derby on ice.

    “Without the strength of the past, the team may face a choice – to win, or to be French-Canadian?” — Ken Dryden

  89. otisfxu says:

    Just look at my picture!!! Imagine him in uniform last night!! We need some muscle and quick. Not saying all the fights would be won, but guaranteed it would not be a rag-doll fest.

    I know everyone will be saying “the playoffs are different”, “no fighting in playoffs”,,,,,,who gives a crap about the playoffs – that was a nasty beat down – If you’re the Montreal GM watching Cam Neely smiling from ear to ear and you don’t feel you need a few changes, then you need a different line of work.

    Yes the boys fought back, but it was a mugging.

  90. SeriousFan09 says:

    Fighting is one thing. Running players from behind, slewfoots, beating players bloody when they are down on the ice is another. Bruins got away with a lot of things that aren’t fighting, just garbage.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  91. Fansincebirth says:

    This brought to mind a series of games between the Russians and the NHL when the Ruskies took to the ice against the Flyers…a goon show. Absolutely pathetic display by the Bruins and allowed and condoned by the league. They took runs at PK and Max (and others) all night long…because they could and were allowed to. On two seperate occaisions, Thonrton and Lucic, both from mid zone and under a full head of steam, attempted to slam PK through the boards.

    INTENT TO INJURE!

    This league has gone away from skilled hockey and is catering to the morons who have a blood mentality and want to see people injured.

    Can someone please tetll me what the heck TSN was harping on all night about this game is payback for Boston? Was it about the PK hit or the garbage at the end of the game?

    “Without the strength of the past, the team may face a choice – to win, or to be French-Canadian?” — Ken Dryden

  92. SeriousFan09 says:

    I was worried with the Bulldogs recent decline in the standings you’d show up to complain since it’s probably get you in a lousy mood. Boston makes it to the Conference Finals and Philly will be laughing all the way to the Cup Finals with a 4-0 series sweep.

    Boston’s best known for being upset in the playoffs under Julien and this only the 2nd time Boston has beaten Montreal since the start of the 2009-10 season. You mentioned teams 6 and 10 points behind, both of which are currently in a 1-3, 0-2 series deficits against the Habs as well. Canadiens can handle them as they have to.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  93. RetroMikey says:

    Yup, we are just too small, yup. 

    I think we need to get bigger next season.

    Yup, it’s a Philly-Boston East final, yup.

    Yup, Carolina and Buffalo are gonna catch us, yup.

    Yup, you know what they say, big is better with skill….yup.

     

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

  94. Cool Ice Price says:

    I get sick to my stomach every time I see Gomez & AK. I know that GM’s are not perfect they make mistakes. BUT Gainey made the mistake of the century by signing Gomez, which has & will handcuff the Habs for years to come

  95. RetroMikey says:

    Well said G-Man, well said. 

    The old Retro song performed by Meatloaf……”You took the words right out of my mouth”

    How true, how true.

    We have too many midgets on our team and have no toughness to compete in the long haul in the playoffs.

     

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

  96. SeriousFan09 says:

    Boston’s lost 3 of their last 4 playoff series to Montreal. They’ve lost of 8 of their last 10 regular season matches to us. If not for a horrific night by the Gomez line, this would have been a W by the Habs. The Bruins are not the Flyers, they’re not even in the same ballpark. Their team is generally lead-footed and the Habs most of the time just burn them with skating.

    Chara may measure to Pronger in dominance at the blue line, but the comparisons between their blue lines end there, the Canadiens would never have been able to get six goals against the Flyers and their D the way the Habs are right now. Richards is better than Bergeron, Giroux is better than Krejci and with Savard on the shelf why even bother bringing up Carter? I hate the Flyers but they are also a much better team than Boston.

    Nothing happened Lucic and Moen because Lucic only hits people when their backs are turned or he thinks he’s getting an easy fight. He’s a habitual coward when it’s time to show how ‘tough’ he actually is.

     

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  97. G-Man says:

    Seems to me the Habs had a big game against the Flyers recently and did the same thing: completely messed the rink.

    With a chance to take over the lead in the NE division, pow, splat,boom! An 8-6 loss. The whole team sucked, just like that night in Philly.

    It being the 10th of February, it is easy to say this: Habs will not go far in the playoffs. A first round exit looks very likely. This team is way too soft and it’s sandpaper guys aren’t tough enough to be on any other team (are you through talking to Lucic, Moen? Is that all you’re going to do? Really?).

    The Habs may be fast and flashy, but the lack of physicality in their play makes them an ideal opponent for the rough and tumble teams like Boston and the Flyers. Hate those 2 teams all you want, but they realize that goonery works in tandem with skill. Montreal has too little of both to compete for the Cup.


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