When will the bleeding stop?
As is my habit, I listened to phone-in radio on the drive home after the game.
I have to change my habits. Stop listening to radio. Stop going to Bell Centre games. Find something less stressful than being a Canadiens fan – like yoga or peacekeeping duty in Afghanistan.
If the phone lines are a valid indicator, the faithful are rapidly losing faith are not happy – which is understandable, because the team looks like it should schedule its next home game at Lourdes.
What’s really dispiriting is the fatalism I heard on the airwaves.
Fans think the team sucks and they do not see the situation improving. The points they were making:
Alex Kovalev can still stickhandle in a phone booth, but he’s lost a
step or two and is on the downslope of his career. That said, why
wasn’t he used in the shootout? Guy Carbonneau said Kovalev would be
his fourth shooter, but when Tampa Bay is using Vincent Lecavalier,
Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, there’s a good chance it will be
over in three rounds.
• Canadiens are the only team in the league using a defenceman
on their top line. And their first-line centre would make a very good
second-line centre on a Cup contender.
• Carey Price is being hung out to dry, facing a barrage of quality shots every time he plays.
• Vets should be dealt for prospects and draft picks and the team should commit fully to a youth movement.
Bob Gainey should have signed Mike Komisarek and Chris Higgins for more
than two years, because at the end of their current deals they’ll go
back to the U.S. as attractive UFAs.
• Carbo is learning on the
job and is being outcoached in every game. Richards played 30 minutes
and change last night, St. Louis 28 and Lecavalier 25. Kovalev played
18 minutes – three more than Tom Kostopoulos and Maxim Lapierre.
• 27 giveaways to five for Tampa Bay? Are you kidding? Carbonneau offered no explanation beyond possible "nervousness" among his players. I’d be nervous too if I were playing a team that features three superstar forwards, skates all night long, forechecks like demons, makes pinpoint passes to players who are constantly in motion without the puck and plays a system that consistently produces high-percentage scoring chances. There is no explanation, however, for why André Roy made Ryan O’Byrne nervous or why Mathieu Darche pressured the Canadiens’ D into turnovers or why a team that got smoked 6-1 in Toronto the night before had fresher legs and more energy and intensity for the first 55 minutes at the Bell Centre.
So on to Philadelphia. At least I get to watch the game at home and not listen to my car radio.