About last night …

BluesCdns

Montreal hockey fans, who hadn’t seen St. Louis play on Bell Centre ice since January, 2012, won’t see the Blues again until next season.
Unless, of course, the teams meet in the Stanley Cup final.
Anyone want to bet their kids’ college money on the likelihood of that best-of-seven match-up?

I didn’t think so.

St. Louis is a serious Stanley Cup aspirant.

Your Montreal Canadiens are not.

What the Canadiens are is a gritty, never-say-die team with a core group of  excellent young players who may become the nucleus of a Cup contender one of these years.

But right now – in early November of 2013 – the Canadiens are undermanned and undersized.

They gave the Blues all St. Louis could handle. After an opening period in which the visitors looked to run the guys in red jerseys right out of the Bell Centre, the Canadiens battled back and took a lead they held into the final half of the third period.

But for a fluke goal, the Canadiens could have won the game in regulation. As it is, they came away with a point that might be valuable in April.

They were not, however, the better team in this game. Just look at the possession stats:

Through 65 minutes, St. Louis had 32 shots on Carey Price. The Blues missed the net nine times, and 15 Canadiens skaters combined to block an astonishing 38 shots.

That’s 79 times the puck left the stick of a player in a white jersey.

Comparable numbers for the Canadiens: 27 shots on Jaro Halak, five misses and the Blues blocked 11 for a total of 43.

79-43?

That’s the football score if Alabama played McGill.

And stretches of the game looked that way. St. Louis is big, fast, skilled and very well coached. The Blues throw the puck around like it’s on a string. And when they lose it, they battle like junkyard dogs to get it back.

The Blues turned the puck over four times. The Canadiens, under relentless pressure, had a dozen giveaways.

Led by their captain, david backes, who had nine hits, St. Louis outwhacked the Canadiens 29-15.

The numbers don’t lie, peeps. St. Louis is good.

Let’s credit the Canadiens who weren’t intimidated by playing against a superior hockey team: Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher, Michaël Bournival, Lars Eller and Rene Bourque all played their hearts out.

Max Pacioretty continues to round into pre-injury form. Alex Galchenyuk, playing centre for his first full game at the pro level, struggled in the faceoff circle (1-6) but made some clever plays and will improve. Andrei Markov made fast, smart decisions with the puck against a team that takes away time and space.

There is no quit in the Canadiens. Despite 79 man-games lost to injury at this early stage of the season, with the exception of a 2-0 loss to mighty San Jose, they have yet to be beaten by more than one goal.

Some fine June evening in a year or two or three, we may see Carey Price facing Jaro Halak in a Cup final.

But who will be behind the Canadiens’ bench?

As is his wont, Michel Therrien’s in-game coaching produced a few head-scratchers:

• With the Canadiens nursing a 2-1 lead halfway through the third period, why did the coach deploy George Parros and Ryan White, each of whom was minus-3 in the Canadiens’ loss to Minnesota? The two fourth-liners added to their minus totals on the Chris Stewart goal that tied the game. How did the visiting coach, Ken Hitchcock, get Stewart Derek Roy and Vladimir Sobotka on against Canadiens’ fourth-liners?

• With the score tied 2-2 and the Canadiens on their first power play of the game, what was career AHLer Martin St. Pierre doing on the ice for 1:09 of the two-minut advantage?

• Why was a Norris Trophy-winning defenceman on the bench for the last four minutes of regulation time and most of the OT? Alex Pietrangelo played 30:49 for St. Louis, while P.K. Subban played 20:52.

Yes, P.K. was on the ice for Stewart’s game-tying goal. He was also on, and drew an assist, on the Rene Bourque goal that got the Canadiens back into the game.

P.K. had lessToI than either Josh Gorges or Raphael Diaz.

Gorges, OK.

But Raphael Diaz, FFS!

P.K. played only five minutes more than Douglas Murray and 55 seconds more than Francis Bouillon.

Murray! Bouillon!!

WTF?

Montreal sports talk radio will be fun to listen to on Wednesday.

512 Comments

  1. habbernack says:

    According to tsn’s Ray Fererro, If PK decides not to sign a long term contract, he could sign a 2 yr contract and become a free agent. I’m guessing it’s because he’s been in the league for what would be 7 or 8 yrs. If Therrien is still coaching maybe he’ll do that. Therrien sure ripped into him on 24ch. I prefer the Trestman way…talk to the player..you don’t have to go off your gourd and every second word is an F-bomb. Didn’t like his hiring in the first place.

  2. calvee123 says:

    I’m going to make a bold prediction. PK Subban will sign a two year bridge contract and get the heck out of Montreal. Thats what I think the way Therrian plays him and treats him. I’m sure he (PK) cant wait to get out of there.

  3. 4m3y2j says:

    Addressing Therrien/PK

    Why is PK so strictly punished for his errors and Deharnais is given unlimited support ?Without question Therrien is an emotional coach and he makes emotional decisions both in favor and against players,this is not the way to go.The only thing I can think of is that they are trying to keep PK’S minutes down because it is a contract year and with the way he was playing his ask is going to be very significant ask.So this could becoming from Bergevin…..
    Mind you to be holding your best player down when your team really needs him is poor mgmt. and the fans ill not tolerate it….

    Ultimately whatever rumblings there are will come to the surface and Therrien will have another melt down like he did in Pittsburgh ,we are not going to get to the cup finals with this guy,that is certain .

    To bill:
    You are living in the ’70′s when thre montreal canadiens and sam pollack basically owned all of the talent pool in quebec.We need strong players no matter where they are from.The fans have shown they will support the most mediocre of teams,they sell out every home game.

    T
    john slattery

    • Asad_B says:

      Good Post…Agree 100% on both comments. The Montreal Canadians are luck that PK is avery patient person or he would revolted like alot of people do when they get treated like this. PK does not deserve this…..He i sthe best talent thei team has had in a very long time……Why do coach’s and GM’s become morons when they sign on with this team….MR. BERgevin please wake up…Therrian is not fit as a coach, especially for this team. I knew this the moment he told PK to stop with his celebrating. Therrien was exposed in the Ottawa serious and as a habs fan i felt embarrassed. PK leave this organization you deserve better!

    • habsfaninTN says:

      Great Questions as to why DD is given more wriggle room than PK. The French/English bias is an obvious lightning rod. Where I live (Nashville, TN), the black/white song would be played first. It may be one, both or neither of these reasons which inform Mr. T’s coaching decisions when it comes to these two players, but they do seem mystifying. Human beings need to come up with reasons for apparently inexplicable choices, and projected bias is just that, projection. Here are some others: MT may have very good reasons, unknown to us, for his choices, or he may not be a very good coach. One thing I do know: he’s a better coach than I am, because he has the head job with hockey’s most storied franchise, and I do not.

  4. CHasman says:

    Thank you Mr. Boone for ruining my long rant by accurately describing some of the head scratching choices that MT makes. I am baffled by the whole Subban thing. To make matters worse Therrien’s screwing with Subban might be affecting his game.
    Diaz does not bring anything to this team. His puck moving offensive ability used to over shadow his shortcomings but those skills are now missing and he gets moved off the puck by a slight wind and loses most battles. Tinordi or Beaulieu would both be better. Tinordi was clobbering players regularly early in the season until MT put a stop to that. Nothing ends opposition control like someone getting flattened.
    Don’t get me wrong because I love Gallagher but he can’t take two or three whacks to score on a shoot out. Give Pleks a second chance to make up for the missed penalty shot. Or Eller or Subban…. Come on Therrrien, you are driving me effing crazy with your coaching.

  5. Bill says:

    I’m gonna wade into the whole French/English thing. I should not.

    The Habs have never been successful without a strong contingent of Québécois players. They just have not.

    This team needs an identity, and that identity involves about half the roster being from Quebec.

    That needs to happen. Or we can just keep watching what has happened for the past twenty years.

    We need the Bournivals, the Leblancs, and whatever else we can find.

    The team will never be successful without this. It never has been and never will be.

    • Say Ash says:

      The Internet seriously needs a special sarcasm font.

    • Cal says:

      The Habs’ success has always come from a balance of local boys (both English and French) spiced with quality players from away.
      High quality players from Quebec continue to be drafted, but they most always go elsewhere. This is partly due to the fact that the Habs don’t like to tank. Instead, we’ve been treated to balloon animals, er, bubble teams since ’95.

    • Asad_B says:

      Bill,

      You have lost your mind. Being a successful team has nothing to do with being a French team. Are the boston bruins(boooo), pens, Blackhawks stacked with French players? NO! The reason why this team has not been successful is b/c they we always require a French/englsih speaking coach. Who cares what he speaks, get the man that can do the job. The monteal canadians need to stop making their selection limited. GET THE MAN THAT CAN DO THE JOB, I don’t care if all he speaks is French.

    • ensign68 says:

      Bill, when players from Quebec hang up their figure skates and play hockey where its played in the NHL these day(in the corners)
      then we will have more players from quebec in the NHL let alone Montreal. Evidence was seen last night. Puck dumped in, muscled out to the slot…in the net. St. Louis, Boston, Chicago, Aneheim, SJ, all have big strong forwards to dig the puck out and get possesion. We do not and either does the QMJHL.

  6. SteverenO says:

    The reason that Therrien should be let go is NOT because he makes poor decisions, but because he does not prepare his lineup before the game.

    A reporter should ask Therrien exactly how much time did St. Pierre have in practice with the PP unit.

    To “throw together ” a PP line with 6 minutes to go in a tie game is unacceptable; Before the game starts the coach HAS to designate PP units number 1 , 2 and 3.

    Yesterday the PP unit to start our only PP was the line of Galchenyuk, Gallagher, and Pacioretty. ( not the best choice of PP 1st lines as statistically they are well below the line of Plekanec, Gionta and either of Bournival or Bourque). considering that Plekanecs line had been on the ice for 28 seconds before the PP started I can understand going with the second unit to start the PP.

    When the second line appeared, and it included St.Pierre with Eller and Bourque, I was flabbergasted. Finally, with 12 seconds left with the man advantage our top producing PP line , Plek, with Gionta and Bournival, step on the ice. At that time our defense consisted of none other than Gorges and Diaz.

    In my opinion, it is unacceptable at the professional level for the coaching staff to NOT have a game plan; A game plan that includes utilizing the most effective players, players that have actually practiced together on the powerplay, to get the lion’s share of the ice time with the man advantage.

    If you’re top PP line is NOT ready to begin the PP, use your number two defence pairing to start the PP, so that your top 5 PP producers can all be on the ice at the same time.

    If Therrien does not know that Plekanec and Gionta (with either of Bourque or Bournival & last year with Ryder) have consistently been our top producing PP unit he needs to informed….. or fired.

    If he does not know that Gallagher has been our least productive forward on the PP since he joined the team he needs to be informed…or fired.

    The crazy thing is that had we won the game yesterday in the shootout, and gotten the two points ,everyone would be saying how great a job the coach did.

    Let me state, in no uncertain terms, even if St. Pierre had scored a game winning PP goal in the third period yesterday, the coach’s decision to give Plekanec, and Gionta less time on the PP than St.Pierre, Gallagher, and Eller, is a BAD decision.

    The decison NOT to play Subban when short-handed can be supported by the facts, and the stats. He has played 13.5 minutes when short-handed this season and 4 goals have been allowed, Gorges has also been on for 4 PP goals against in 51 minutes. Diaz has played 49 minutes and only two goals have been allowed.

    Not playing Subban at the end of a close game, or playing him for only1 minute and 30 seconds in OT is absolutely ridiculous.

    If he, (Therrien) was a lawyer , he would be sued for malpractice.

    Having a 4th line that never scores a goal and CAN NOT be counted on to keep the puck out of their own net is farcical.

    As unproductive as Desharnais has been this season he has played 200 minutes at even strength and only 5 goals have been scored against us during that time. Parros has played 18 minutes and 4 goals have been scored against us in that time. If Parros numbers were extrapolated to a full game that would equate to 13 goals against. Meanwhile Leblanc has played 57 minutes and Holland has played 33 minutes without a single goal allowed.

    If you take away the “hat trick” allowed when they played with Parros Blunden and White have both put up great defensive numbers.

    Last season Gabriel Dumont played 93 minutes with only one goal allowed against us.

    We have the personnel and talent available to allow us to field a 4th line that we can trust in the third period, but choose not to.

    People look at our record, injuries and say what a great job the coaching staff is doing. Personally, I think our coaching staff is making a lot of very questionable, and seemingly uninformed, decisions.

    As I have said before, a poor decision is a poor decision, regardless of the outcome.

    Bourque is 2 for 5 in shootouts since joining the Habs. Pacioretty was 2 for 13 in the last two seasons. Choosing Pacioretty is the WRONG decision , regardless of the outcome.

    The coaching staff MUST have this information available to them.
    Its a bloody shame to see the team be so poorly managed.

    regards,

    Steve O.

    • Mike Boone says:

      EXCELLENT analysis. Can I hire you to ghostwrite ALN?

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger

    • Lafrich says:

      Love your posts. This rant is 100% perfect. How can anyone disagree? Somewhere in there you talk about DD. I agree fully, and had no idea about his stats. I was just saying to a friend the other day that although his point total is abominable, he appears to be in the other teams zone for most of his shift. Nothing comes of it, but at least he is in the other team’s zone.

      Anyway, well done, and KEEP IT UP!

      • SteverenO says:

        Thanks Lafrich, I usually get “mocked” for posting my thoughts and analysis which always include “real” and actual data to back it up.

        It’s nice to hear some kind words. Much appreciated.

        I get the feeling that many times decisions are made based on coach’s instinct, impressions, and opinions, rather than based on actual information and statistical analysis.

        regards,

        Steve O.

    • shakey says:

      Using only past stats as a decision making tool will always lead to reduction ad absurdium. Coaches need room for hunches, gut feel and instinct – and it makes the game more exciting that way.

  7. veryhabby says:

    Just answering my own question:

    Pac/DD/Bourque
    Moen/White/Parros

    were lines at practice today

  8. veryhabby says:

    LL and St. Pierre returned to AHL. Guess Moen is back for Thursday. Maybe DD plays again? Did MT give comment to how Chucky was at center vrs STL? Wondering if DD will be back in line up?

  9. Maritime Ronn says:

    A question for HIO so I can better understand:

    The Habs PP has been excellent this year and ranks 4th in the NHL.

    With the one PP the Habs had last night, the chosen forwards to start were Galchenyuk-Gallagher-Max.
    Surely all would be fine with that.

    Here is where the question marks arise.

    After 39 seconds of the PP, Gallagher goes to the bench to be replaced by…St. Pierre, who ended up playing 1:09 of that one and only PP. ( he was joined by Eller and Bourque with 40 seconds left in the PP.)

    Up to that 14:00 minute mark of the 3rd period, St.Pierre had played a little over 8 minutes with 0 shots on goal.

    How is it possible that a guy like St. Pierre was chosen over Bournival or Gionta in a tie game where a goal would have won it?

    – Did MT forget that St.Pierre had not played an NHL game since Jan 12th/2010?
    – Did MT forget that St.Pierre had scored a grand total of 3 goals in 39 NHL games played since 2005/06?

    Can someone please explain?

    • Cal says:

      See Timo’s borderline comment below.

    • krob1000 says:

      I will explain…St Pierre is an offensive player, the best Hamilton has. His forte is offense and the Pleks line had just come off the ice. It was a choice between Leblanc and St Pierre….he opted for St Pierre… if he had felt the Pleks line was ready to go then they would have likely been the second if not first pp unit.

    • SteverenO says:

      Why would/should all be fine with that starting PP line? Despite recent success, Gallagher should not be on the PP,and most certainly not on the first wave.

      Gallagher has played 39 minutes minutes with them man advantage and the team has scored 4 PP goals while he’s been on the ice. That average to one PP goal every 9.3 minutes. The team overall has scored 14 PP goals in 91 minutes an average of on ePP goal every 6.5 minutes. when Gallagher has NOT been on the PP they have scored 10 PP goals in 52 minutes, an average of one PP goal every 5.2 minutes

      Bournival has been on for 2 PP goals in 8 minutes (avg 4 mins per PPG) Bourque avg a PP goal every 6.6 minutes, Gionta every 5.8 mins, even Desharnais has been more effective on the PP with the team scoring once very 8.2 minutes

      Why would/should everyone be fine with Gallagher starting most of the PPs, and having more PP time than Plekanec, Bourque , and Gionta, so far this season?

      regards,

      Steve O.

  10. Timo says:

    Another thing I don’t get… when Habs play 4 on 4, why are the 2 forwards almost always not from their respective lines? Eller with Pacs, Plecs with Bouque… etc. Wouldn’t it make sense to play 2 regular linemates together?

  11. Rush says:

    Love your work, Boone, however, McGill scoring 43 on the vaunted Tide defense?

    Uh no…

    Think donut…

    And have plenty of ambulances on stand-by.

    It won’t be pretty…

    ______________________________________
    “The main problem with socialism is that, eventually,
    you run out of other peoples’ money.” Roll Tide, Baby!

  12. habsguru says:

    nice on 24CH that mr. molson offered french speaking lessons to all…
    might I suggest sensitivity training for MT, or perhaps a personality coach. he is only one subey doo away from going on another one of his classic “our defense are trying to be the worst in the league” rants

  13. frontenac1 says:

    Hola Amigos! Parros/Reaves Tilt. I score it a narrow decision for Parros. He landed more but again lost his balance at the end. If Reaves would have connected with that bomb on the way down it could have been a KO. Overall a 6 out of 10 Heavyweight tilt.Did you hear the crowd at the Bell Centre? They loved it. The missing goal? Watch the tape. As soon as they dropped the mitts everybody drops out of position and allows a free shot on Halak. Saludos!

  14. Timo says:

    Habs are practicing 5 on 0 again. Whooo boyee!

  15. RAM_TOUGH says:

    Dude’s Halak poster must be a tad sticky today!

    Guts-Glory-Ram

  16. Glad MT was only hired to work with the youngsters. His contract is up this year and would like to see him go. Then who do we hire that has fire, creativity and will let our stars (PK) play. Stupid to let this thoroughbred sit. Let him use his wheels. A true smack in the face will be PK using his middle finger and leaving this ridiculous organization and playing on a team that wants to win the cup, not deal with stories…. I for one am sick of the middling, marginal, .500 hockey and lack of 60 minutes of true play… with all that money spent? C’mon and for all you blind faith fans calling anyone that makes a negative comment a troll, part of being a fan is being able to call your team out, couching staff, etc… especially when they have turned into a Laffs or ‘Nucks of the East.

    Anyone care to wager when this team will win the next Canadiens Stanley Cup? I hate to say it, but I don’t see it for at least 5 years and then it is too far out to call, so 40 years with not Cup is a real possibility. Sucks!

    Promote the Youth, Support From The Veterans and Remember the Heritage!

  17. jrshabs1 says:

    How come the Expo’s and Allouette’s weren’t and aren’t required to employ a French coach only? The double standard is killing the Hab Franchise. Why does it seem that French Canadians need to be pacified about anything and everything? Back when the French Canadian classic..the “sweater” was written..the coach of the Canadiens was Anglo. I bet dick Irvin Sr. has rolled over in his grave multiple times by now.
    I’m starting to wish M.T. would hold me in his arms..cause I’m crying over his mess.

    Go Habs Go!!

    • The Jackal says:

      If you don’t understand what the CH means to the province, and the role it has in Quebec culture – and more importantly, if you don’t like it – then you’re cheering for the wrong team.

      But either way, you’re wrong that it is killing the franchise, and it is not about appeasement – it’s about respect and tradition. The Habs are more than a hockey team in the province, they are a part of the cultural identity and it is important that fans are able to identify with that in their native tongue.

      That reality does not hurt the Habs in any way, shape, or form.

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

      • Mike Boone says:

        100 per cent correct

        Mike Boone
        Hockey Inside/Out blogger

      • Sal from the Hammer says:

        There are plenty of French Canadian coaches capable of handling the Habs that are not named MT. Get real, this is not the 50s or the 60s, times demand a French speaking coach.

        Well said Jackal

      • Captmax says:

        Why is MT bad? Because of the PK thing?

        Bottom to top of the league to 50/50 hockey with tons of injuries.
        M.T is fine. It’s out dated veterans who aren’t producing. And no star forward.

        It’s not the cook it’s the ingredients he has in front of him!!

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I have zero issue with a French speaking coach. The problem is the WRONG one was hired.

  18. krob1000 says:

    Only one pp last night skewed Pk’s cietime along with his getting banged up and the fact he took a 2 minute shift near the end of the game. That last one may be the clincher…not only is it extremely draining but it is also frowned upon by coaches and teammates when you take extra long shifts….at that stage of the game if he gets scored on in the tail end of that shift we have a real problem on our hands.

  19. Habfan10912 says:

    From power play time late in the third period in a tie game to a trip back to the minors within 12 hours.
    Yep, tremendous decision maker we have behind the bench.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.