About last night …

EllerSteen

The good news is your Montreal Canadiens won’t face the big, tough, skilled and well-coached St. Louis Blues again this season.
Unless the teams are Stanley Cup finalists.
I’ll call a Timeout here while readers change out of the pants they soiled by laughing so hard.

There may be hockey in St. Louis when the Cardinals are playing baseball this spring. The Blues are that good.

The Canadiens?

Montreal in late May may be seeing as much hockey as major league baseball, i.e. none.

As has become increasingly evident as as autumn fades and winter looms, this team is not a Cup contender.

They just don’t have the horses – at least, not yet.

Over the past couple weeks, the Canadiens have played two Western Conference powerhouses, the Blues and L.A. Kings.

They’ve lost both games by a cumulative score of 11-1.

It was 120 minutes of men against boys, contenders against pretenders.

And circle Januar 11 on your calendars. The Saturday night visitors to the Bell Centre: Chicago.

Peter Young, submitting a Comment on the live-game blog, pretty much nailed it:

The Blues’ positional play is superior to that of the Canadiens, which, tonight at least, was almost a scattergun approach. That’s the reason why you have Blues players nearly always available to pick up rebounds at both ends of the ice. And that’s the reason they had so many players free in the slot to shoot almost at their leisure on Price. The Blues play to a system; the Canadiens don’t appear to have a system, at least not one that’s visible.

Young adds a note of optimism:

There is indeed a quality gap between East and West. But let me say, once again, that our day will come. We have some players of very high quality and a smart general manager, who will learn quickly from his mistakes. We have a future; don’t write off that future just because we’re not there yet.

It’s been painfully obvious, in the losses to L.A. and St. Louis, the Canadiens are not there yet. What was disheartening, in both games, was the yawning gap between the Canadiens and two elite teams.

In his postgame media scrum, parts of which were telecast on L’Antichambre, Michel Therrien said his players “didn’t want to pay the price” against St. Louis.

“We need a better work ethic,” the coach added, “if we’re going to have a hope of winning.”

When one of the reporters mentioned the Canadiens’ ongoing excellence on the penalty kill – 6/6, including another Brandon Prust double minor, against St. Louis – Therrien said his players work hard on the PK – but not on anything else.

On L’Antichambre, Denis Gauthier – who played for Hitchcock in Philadelphia – said the coach’s mantra is “heavy sticks, heavy bodies.” It’s a grinding, physical style that contests – and usually wins – every loose puck on every inch of the ice.

Gauthier described playing against a Hitchcock team as “exhausting”.

“They’re very structured,” said the retired defenceman. “They give nothing away cheaply.”

To counter that style, a team needs 18 skaters working their butts off from opening faceoff to final siren. The Canadiens didn’t.

There were many dreadful performances, but some  stood out:

• Alexei Emelin was on the ice for four St. Louis goals and looked particularly lost during the first period, when the home team skated off to a 3-0 lead that proved way too steep a hill for the Canadiens to climb – especially against a Ken Hitchcock team.

• Brandon Prust, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty and Lars Eller took penalties in the offensive zone.

• Rene Bourque, who started his career in the Western Conference and has the body to crash and bang with the big boys from out there, was invisible for 12 minutes.

• Andrei Markov, paired with Emelin since the Phoenix game, is not as effective as he was with P.K. This was particularly obvious against a team like St. Louis, whose star-studded defence corps threw a protective wall around Jaro Halak and moved the puck efficiently up ice all game long.

A couple grim stats:

• The Canadiens haven’t scored a first-period goal since Brian Gionta beat Cory Schneider Dec. 4 in New Jersey. That’s eight straight games in which the Canadiens have been unable to seize early momentum and diminish the pressure on their goaltenders, who have to be impenetrable for this team to have a ghost of a chance.

• Brendan Gallagher’s second period goal was the first the Canadiens have scored at even-strength in regulation since Alex Galchenyuk beat Jhonas Enroth at the Bell Centre on Dec. 7. The team went 356 minutes, 35 seconds – almost six complete hockey games – without a 5-on-5 goal.

And for all their current ineptitude, the Canadiens remain fourth in the Eastern Conference, comfortably clear of the cutoff for participation in the playoffs that will lead to a revenge series against St. Louis.

Aw, just when you were getting used to dry pants …

 

 

 

 

 

485 Comments

  1. jimmy shaker says:

    Well the cup will be won by either the blues, kings or hawks this year. So
    the question is who will they be playing? Either the penguins or the cubs…….either way there will be no stopping the west!

    Shaker out!

    • Phil C says:

      Or the West could beat the crap out of each other, and whoever makes it to the final will be a crippled shell of their former self, opening the door for an Eastern team to snipe a Cup.

    • The Juice says:

      Habs have a better than average chance at winning the east as any other team.

      If they had to play a west team in the 1st round they would have little chance.

      However, given the western teams will be killing each other to get to the SCF, the winner of the east may have a chance against an exhausted western opponent.

      __________________________________________________________________________

      “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

  2. JUST ME says:

    @STEELTOWN

    You said «Bergevin inherited a really good team personnel wise. He’s managed the contract situation very poorly. «

    I don`t really agree with that. Off the ice he added numerous coaches that just were not there before and thus is had an impact on player development and mostly on the farm team from wich you future should come from.
    We tend to forget about the kids in the minors and only see what we have with the Habs. For too long we have been going in circle because of that. That`s the reason why it`s a long process and just does not get solved in a year or two.

  3. krob1000 says:

    Montreal is 6 and 4 in last 10 games. they are 5th in East Conference during that stretch. Over their last 10 games they actually have beter records than St Louis, San Jose, Col, Minnesota, TB ……all teams that have better records than them this year. That is the new NHL…parity reigns supreme and a 6-4 record is a typical 10 game stretch anymore. 6-4 pace all year would esult in slightly more than 96 pts…that gets you in the playoffs.

    • Habfan17 says:

      Those stats don’t tell the whole story. The Habs have not scored a first period goal in the last 8 games I believe and the have also not scored 5 on 5 in regulation since the beginning of December. Take out the excellence of Price and Budaj, and it could have been more like 2 wins, 8 loses. They need to be more consistent and get back to playing the system that gave them success.

      Another poster mentioned that the lack of practice time with the busy schedule could be the cause of the errors. This may be the case, but it should not be. Other teams keep playing the same system under the same conditions.

      I am tired of watching the Habs dump the puck in and struggle to get it back, wasting all that energy.

      Habfan17

      • krob1000 says:

        YEs but all teams have slumops..sometimes it is scoring..lother stretches their goalies can’t stop a beachball. Can go either way as well. The HAbs have proven time and time again they score best when rolling a 4th line that is more like a 3rd…but for some reason they keep insistiong on this grinder type line? bizarre for a tema that can;t score. Subban has dried up and is playing too conservative…he needs to be more mobile again.
        Teams are all made up differently…some are d heavy, some gt by on their offense, some have great goaltending,etc…the HAbs are actually fairly balanced…right now they are not scoring…but other team have droughts and slumps of that nature and of other varieties as well.

    • HardHabits says:

      Habs are a team that looks to finish around 10th, more than likely between 10th and 15th. The only way they look play-off viable is if Price plays lights out and the Habs score timely and opportunistic goals. The likelihood is another play-off berth and early exit with another late 1st round pick. This is more than languishing. It is the further perpetuation of mediocrity. The Briere signing and Desharnais extension don’t help.

    • mksness says:

      i haven’t been convinced in their wins lately though…

  4. JF says:

    Whenever we lose to a big, tough team, people are quick to claim it’s because we’re too small. While I certainly don’t disagree that we need more size and muscle, I don’t think the main reason we lost last night is because we’re too small. We played a terrible game, full of mistakes, turnovers, odd-man rushes against, and bad penalties, many in the offensive zone.

    Since beating the Leafs, we basically haven’t played well except for a period here and there. We kept winning for a while, but as soon as we started losing, the problems became apparent. We’re also not scoring as much, particularly at even strength. The coaching staff need to address these concerns, and quickly.

  5. HabinBurlington says:

    Didn’t really watch the game last night, was busy at bar as my baseball team got together for some (okay plenty) of christmas cheer. So the loss is on me folks.

  6. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Painful to watch. However, we need to keep PK and Markov together and at least have one strong defensive pairing and ride them hard. Let the others struggle to keep up.
    Whomever the East puts up this year is going to have a hard time against the best of the West. That’s a fact Jack.

    There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk but … there is fighting in hockey.

    • Luke says:

      it’s an odd situation… the PK/MArkov pairing.

      When they are togther, they can dominate, but the opposition can exploit the weaker pairings. When they are apart, the opposition can work to avoid them, but the pairings are stronger.

      One works for a while then you have to switch it up to the other for a bit.

      Pick your poison.

  7. SmartDog says:

    Just want to say one SENSIBLE thing:
    Emelin was the goat on a couple of goals last night. But they just changed his dance partner from a defensive guy to an offensive guy. So that makes some sense.

    And one OTHER thing:
    I just clicked the “home” button and the (hopeful) thought popped up my mind that i might see a title “Bourque traded to ____ for ____” Or “Briere traded to ______” I wonder if others are having the same fantasies.
    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  8. Cal says:

    What? You telling me that the Blues don’t mix with Country and Western? I don’t agree!

  9. Habanero78 says:

    I’m gonna forget about the score of the game and think about how much I love crankshaft…. He’s the guy that kept me watching the game. The fact of the matter is when the going gets tough you need guys to step up and do something. Like anything…. (I like Murray’s crush everything in sight mentality, he gets caught out of position a few times, but worth it in my opinion.)

    I like the Subby-Georges, Markov-Em, Murray-Diaz combo better… some physicality on every line.

    Not sure why Diaz and DD are still around.

    When it comes to playoff hockey and when there is more obstruction that doesnt get called starts… (much the way the blues always play) you need guys that can skate through that…

    • IdleNoMore says:

      Diaz is fine as a bottom pairing defense man. If he could start getting a few on the PP even better.

      “He was chewing Juicy Fruit gum, I didn’t know whether to shake his hand or kiss him”

  10. krob1000 says:

    Re PP’s….maybe it is time to have a first pp unit? not a regular line? maybe Pleks with Glachnenyuk and Patches?
    Also Beaulieu may help the pcuk moving as well if given a chance…would be nice to see a 2nd pp unit on the back end. Either that or put a forward back there…I wonder if Eller or Patches could play the point if need be? They both ahve recovery speed and sice if there was a turnover. With the importance of special teams that second wave is an awful waste.

  11. 24 Cups says:

    An issue that has been on my mind lately is the UFA status of Raphael Diaz this summer. Should the Habs re-sign him or let him walk? (For discussion sake, I’m assuming that Montréal will re-sign Markov).

    If they choose to sign him I’m assuming they will be looking at a four year deal. I’m not sure what the coin would be but let’s say 3M a season. That would put Montreal’s cap spending for defenseman around 28M next year. You might want to contrast that with other high spending teams. It’s not just a case of having the money but rather how you want to allocate that money across the (player) board. This would also be a cost factor for a player that would probably in on the 3rd defensive pairing for the next few years.

    The second issue for me would be how this might impact the future status of Beaulieu. If everything goes according to plan, Tinordi will eventually make the team and be the perfect compliment for an offensive minded defenseman such as Diaz. Where would Beaulieu fit in? What about the difference in pay during those four years? There’s also the issue of right/left positioning although I don’t think that’s really a problem that can’t be addressed.

    If the Habs re-sign Diaz, that would give them three Dmen who do not bring a physical game (Markov, Gorges). I don’t know if Beaulieu will ever develop that edge but in terms of offense he seems to have youth, greater potential and a low cap hit on his side. The only real question is whether or not he’ll ever become an NHL regular. At least Diaz has answered that question.

    Subban, Markov and Eller will all get their coin. MB’s biggest dilemma just might be the Diaz contract.

    Next up would be Gionta. But that’s another question for another day.

    • RAM_TOUGH says:

      My God NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      Guts-Glory-Ram

    • thebonscott says:

      JEsusssusss don’t sign Gionta, no more smurfs please!!!!!! And play Diaz til February, then trade him and call up Tinordi or Pateryn or Beaulieu, please don’t sign Diaz, he is totally replaceable and could fetch something, not much but something.

      For the sake of all that is right, please put the comment box on upper right of page!!!!!

      • aroma says:

        experienced right handed shot who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes…what I wonder about is where has his offensive game gone? Throttled by the same thing that keeps Subban down?

    • krob1000 says:

      I think the dilemma is between Diaz and Gorges. My rationale for moving Gorges is that Diaz will come cheaper, is a righty, and would have very little calue as a UFA. Gorges is a character guy and would probably helpout a lot of teams that have diffeerent blends ontheir d and with years remaining he would have value and could return assets. I consider DIaz and Gorges on ice play to be rather similar.

    • thebonscott says:

      and if markov wants more than 5, send him to a contender before the deadline.

      For the sake of all that is right, please put the comment box on upper right of page!!!!!

    • habstrinifan says:

      I think you made the argument… use your coin wisely. Do not resign Diaz… nothing against him personally but better use of the money… given the ‘prospects’ in your system.

    • Cal says:

      Moving Diaz for a pick is, imo, the better option. Especially with Tiny and Bowlie (There, I nicknamed him first!) up for next season.

  12. krob1000 says:

    I know I sound like a broken record but can everyone not see the correlation….when we dress a 4th line that is balnaced and can score and get away from the grinder line…we win. Last night may or may not have been an exception given the number of defensvie braincramps…but it would have been nice to have the Blues on their heels a bit. Not a knock against White…but Briere would have been better if playing center I figure. Moen and Bournival might have been a nice mix for him…I gues she had to sit him given he did that to DD earlier. If you think about it…his benching of Eller last year worked, and his benching of DD has led to better play from Dd since.

    Re Murray…that blown coverage one was ugly and was a communication breakdown…Pathces could have caught up and read it better too and maybe have bailed him out….Murray had his back tot he play while Patches saw it all unfolding. Murray’s physical presence is a welcome addition. HE was scaring teh crap out of he Blues last night…heck I was scared for them whenever he deided to try and run at someone. The pass in front could easily have been a smooth breakout and he would likely make the same play again…White was there..they just didn’t connect.

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      His benching Eller didn’t “work” he scratched him after 1-game. I’m pretty sure the off-season training and natural development of Eller was the reason he had a huge yr. Not an uncalled for healthy scratch by a boneheaded head coach. Who still thinks Pacioretty-DD deserve first unit PP time over Plek-Galchenyuk

      ———————————

      Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

      • krob1000 says:

        Well he went out and got a sports psychologist after hitting rock bottom as well. Of course natural development, training,etc helped but Eller has been better since than he was before…we could argue all day about why and I am sure the answer is a complicated combination of a bunch of factors….but Eller has been playing physical, working hard, responsible,etc and been a model player since then.

  13. Jammin says:

    The tight schedule has not allowed the opportunity for many practices. The effect is blatant, it is not size that is causing the team to lose but errors. Bad coverage on draws,terrible positional play in their own end.We have witnessed too often an opponent Alone in the slot or a man uncovered after a draw resulting in a free shot on goal or a odd man rush as happened last night.

  14. Bob_Sacamano says:

    What´s really disheartening Boone, is that the Habs so easily could be better but MB did nothing to improve this team over the summer. Absolutely nothing. Signing Murray and Parros actually made this team worse.

    Clarke MacArthur instead of Briere, Tom Gilbert instead of Douglas Murray, Guy Boucher instead of Therrien and no Desharnais.

    Of course he couldn´t fire Therrien this summer but the rest? All simple logical moves and yes, a GM with some balls would have traded Desharnais. When you have Plekanec, Eller and Galchenyuk you don´t sign someone like him (At least not for more than two years) because you just don´t need him.

    Pacioretty Plekanec Gionta
    Galchenyuk Eller Gallagher
    MacArthur Bournival Bourque
    Moen White Prust

    Leblanc

    Markov Subban
    Emelin Gilbert
    Tinordi Gorges

    Beaulieu Diaz

    would be so much better than our current team. You have your best winger with your best center, the second best center on the second line with wingers he can score with and a decent bottom 6 too. Emelin would play on his natural side and this team also wouldn´t be small anymore.

    Instead of that we´re playing our best winger with our fourth, fifth or sixth best center while our second best center is on the third line in a more defensive role. Emelin plays on the right where his hitting, positioning but especially passing is not nearly as good as on the left and our sixth dman is a joke like Murray or Bouillon who should have retired last summer.

    • mrhabby says:

      the players that you mentioned have to want to come to Montreal , sign a contract and want to play in this City. Maybe they actually were approached and were politely declined.

    • adamkennelly says:

      @Bob – much better than our current team? how do you figure that…because of MacArthur and Gilbert?

      granted you don’t have Briere and DD in your line-up which is good – still too small and and lacking grit and no additional scoring so – what does that get you – best case – on par with this team but no better.

    • thebonscott says:

      NOBODY wants desharnais, at least murray hits ppl, agree with you on macarthur, briere was terrible decision. May have to bite the bullet and buy out desharnais and briere in off season and thankfully gionta will be gone, could spend 1.5 mill on a grinder and be better off.

      For the sake of all that is right, please put the comment box on upper right of page!!!!!

  15. mrhabby says:

    Really hard to move players when most teams are up against the Cap if not down right impossible. Peeps advocating trades have to look at Cap ramiifications going forward. There maybe some movement next year with the Cap really going up.

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      I don’t think it’s a cap issue it’s more so who would want the players we’re looking to move?

      Diaz, Bourque, Desharnais. These guys don’t have a lot of value. Bourque maybe but even still he’s become a glorified grinder at this point who is injury prone.

      ———————————

      Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

      • mrhabby says:

        but you don’t know the value of these players that u mentioned ur just assuming that since they don’t meet your expectations they will have no value any where else.

        • Steeltown Hab says:

          What type of return do you think Diaz or Desharnais could get in a trade?

          ———————————

          Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

          • mrhabby says:

            You might be able to get a 3rd rounder for Diaz.

            I have no idea on DD.

            Nice little flip..what do u think.

    • ont fan says:

      Making home run trades is almost impossible? Most free agents don’t work out. MT is probably only a stop gap. So I’m afraid it’s the draft and a few tweeks if we ever get close. We have a different team when we score first. We seem to lose our legs and tenacity when we get behind.

  16. Luke says:

    Good Morning, Folks!

    Tough game last night. St. Louis is such a good team.

    They may want to hand out the Stanley Cup to the team that wins the Western Final! Those Western playoffs are going to be quite the spectacle.
    The four best teams in the league: SJ, LA, STL & CHI out class every single team in the East. Shockingly, three of those squads (and maybe all 4) will not win the Cup (Bad GM/Coach/Goalie?).

    This is the type of talent disparity that makes me want a cross-over round in the playoffs. The possibilty of a Chicago/LA Cup final (or, someday, a Boston/Montreal) would be fantastic.

    Oddly, I think Pittsburgh has the easy road to the Eastern Finals.

    As for Montreal? Stay the course MB. Nothing rash. Nothing hasty. If a deal comes along that improves the team, make it. But don’t make a change for the sake of change itself. Don’t fear a big change either. If someone offers a King’s Ransom for PK or Price, certainly consider it. No one should be untouchable.

    Fortune favours the Bold.

    • RAM_TOUGH says:

      By the time Montreal even comes close to being a Cup contender Price will be at the end of his contract.

      Just as well for MB to get a couple 3 players to add to the building process.

      Guts-Glory-Ram

  17. JUST ME says:

    As a few of you have posted before it`s becoming quite obvious that the habs are no match against the western machines. That being said most of the eastern teams aren`t either.

    Some of you will say that everything can happen in a playoff serie and it is true. Playing against the same team in a 7 games matchup is a totally different ball game.

    Job number one though is to get there. I remain positive about the progres that the team has made in it`s own conference. We must aim to reach one goal at a time. To get out of our conference would be a miracle compared to the last seasons (?) decades(?)…

    This is why i see no reason to panic, trade ,give away, fire ,demote , promote or what not. Bergevin has a plan and already said that it would be difficult to just make the playoffs with that team. Coming from the western conference he knows what it takes, how those teams are built and how the habs are not…

    I think we can expect to see a few moves in the second half of the season and maybe a major one too involving someone we would like to keep but to get a good player one must give more than average players. I do not think our draft picks of kids in the farm team will be involved and thus do not really think that we will get to dring from the big mug yet .

    As long as we go forward , we play good and are not thrown out of the game after 10 minutes like yesterday…sigh…But it happens also to the best of them !

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      Bergevin inherited a really good team personnel wise. He’s managed the contract situation very poorly.

      ———————————

      Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

      • mrhabby says:

        what would you do.

        • SmartDog says:

          How many people on here – amateurs all! – would have signed Briere? Almost none. How many would have signed Parros? Not that many.
          How many said we overpaid for DD? Most.

          When you make a handful of moves that even MOST FANS KNOW are stupid… well, that shows you don’t have your head in the right place to be making those decisions. Sadly the case here so far.

          ————————————-
          Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

          • mrhabby says:

            and what happens if Habs make the playoffs have a good run and some of these players do well…you don’t know whats going to happen SD.

          • adamkennelly says:

            @Smart – Habs didn’t sign Parros – they traded for him.

            Parros and Murray are not the problem – DD and Briere are.

            DD’s contract is too long and too much loot and signing Briere was a knee jerk reaction to loosing out on Vinny and strictly a PR move that was extremely high risk and the result is obvious. Briere situation is not going to get any better either.

          • SmartDog says:

            @habby
            I remember my words on here usually and I’ll say if I’m wrong. But I won’t be. Briere is not going to deliver. And DD… he might, but it’s not a smart gamble on a size-challenged team. It’s in fact a stupid move on a size-challenged team to sign a guy like that for 4 years.
            @adam
            I certainly didn’t say Parros was ‘the’ problem. I just included him because when you look at the guys MB has brought or signed, only one (Murray) seems like he’s worth it – a depth Dman who plays only half the games. Which is a sad record.

            ————————————-
            Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • Steeltown Hab says:

          Well I’ve stood really strong on things for a while here. Preached a long-term deal to save money on PK. He did the opposite, now we’re going to pay minimum 2M more than we would have.

          Early ext for Desharnais….ya right would’ve been trying to deal him from the start, Briere wouldn’t have gone near.

          It may sound like hindsight, but I aggressively stated all these things before he did them.

          You have to deal bad players before they are obviously bad to the rest of the league. Missed the boat with Desharnais. Gorges is a guy I would look to move at some point because he actually has value around the league, but in actuality he handles the puck like a grenade and is extremely weak for a defensive dman.

          ———————————

          Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

          • mrhabby says:

            I disagree on Subban…bridge contracts are the way all teams in this position are going. At least with Subban you know what you have now.

            Who replaces Gorges???

            I kind of agree on DD.

        • SmartDog says:

          And for the record, I would have:
          - Signed Jagr in a heartbeat (I’ve said this every year he was availble)
          - Not extended DD for that money and that term.
          - Not even LOOKED at Briere. Everyone knows he was done… old, low in production and twice concussed. How could MB convince himself it was a good idea? (Actually we know how.)
          - Looked for 1-year guys like Murray who are cheap, can show the younger guys some tricks and be easily signed for one more year or just moved on. There are a lot of good veterans at the end of their careers worth a short term, discount gamble. (Briere is not one of these and there was no discount.) No matter how many or few games Murray plays, this was a decent signing. Low cost, 1 year, and he makes a needed positive impact often to the games he plays.

          ————————————-
          Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

      • SmartDog says:

        I hate to say it but I agree.
        He’s overpaid significantly for two guys that the team could live without, and at least two of the three guys he signed last summer are past their best before date and anyone in their right mind would want a mulligan. And he’s shown us that this is the order of things:
        1. Marketing to Quebecers
        2. Winning Hockey Games

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

      • habstrinifan says:

        A very intriguing post. On first glance I tend to agree with you. But then when you examine the transactions, I think, you will modify your ‘poorly’ a bit.

        Agreed! Circumstances (#3 pick;Bournival etc) meant that MB did get a better than appeared stable of players.

        But he did the following:
        Gomez;Kaberle;Weber; Noki… etc etc all culled.
        Prust Murray obtained.

        The contract monies while questionable shouldnt have affected on ice results.

        I think, and I hate repeating myself, both MB and to some extent PG are victims of their coaching team emphasis.

        Again I could be wrong. But I would love to see how this same team would fare with a different emphasis on how they play the game.

        • SmartDog says:

          IF you say the best thing he did was get rid of Gomez and Kaberle, I think that’s pretty sad. And it says that that Steeltown is RIGHT.

          The timing with the league’s “free” (to cap) buyouts made purging the team of Gomez and Kaberle obvious things to do. (And a GREAT GM might’ve managed to trade one for SOMETHING.)

          ————————————-
          Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Shackles says:

      Well said. Bergevin and company can’t just flip a switch and make all the sadness go away. ; )
      He came from the Hawks which had a pretty good thing going on….and apparently; he brought this Dudley fella who has a pretty keen eye.

    • RAM_TOUGH says:

      Yup Bob Gainey had a plan as well & the GM before him too.

      Guts-Glory-Ram

  18. SmartDog says:

    @Habfan10912
    >Computers can be very impersonal. Most of us can forget that we are >actually chatting with a person and can be colder and harsher.

    That and it’s just a really mixed bag. None of us knows who half these people are (or more) at any one time. Some are kids, some are just grumpy people, some are jerks on and off the computer.

    One good thing I learned a long time ago on here – if you act like a jerk you get attacked quite a bit! Act to bring some levity and now and then some insight and passion – basically just to get along – and most people like that and will interact with you in a good way. Shocking but true! The Jam was right – “what you give is what you get”. And yeah, that was inspired by the Beatles “the love you take…”, Paul Weller said it in an interview.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  19. Steeltown Hab says:

    “Your best players have to be your best players” Cliche that holds true in playoffs and big games.

    Pacioretty never seems to have a big game when we’re playing the LA’s St. Louis’ even Boston of late.

    That’s my issue when Bournival is better than Pacioretty when we’re playing St. Louis ln.

    ———————————

    Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

    • Luke says:

      I don’t pour over stats sheets but I’m guessing that Max faces tougher checking and heavier scouting than Bournival. That’s probably why you notice Bourny standing out more.

      • Steeltown Hab says:

        Not based on stats at all. Eller’s line with Bourn plays a checking role, and Paciorettys line gets in on the Ozone draws and matchups when Therrien can make the adjustments.

        Just watch the games, and you can see who’s working hard creating turnovers and being aggressive. Pacioretty just isn’t aggressive.

        ———————————

        Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

      • Steeltown Hab says:

        Also that’s not an excuse for Bobby Ryan, Perry, Kessel, etc. so I don’t see why it should be for Pacioretty.

        ———————————

        Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

        • Luke says:

          I don’t consider Max to be in the same class as the Ryan’s, Perry’s and Kessel’s. Do you?

          To clarify my point: Max probably faces the other teams better checking squad, not that he’s the Habs checking line.

  20. krob1000 says:

    Wow…the game was over after the first. No big deal…it happens. Emelin had a rough start and never recovered….there was also a huge gap between the d and forwards most of the night (in both ends and the neutral zone)and every time a d got caught there was no forward to bail him out. Too many odd man rushes and guys out of position. Those are mistakes…pure and simple.

    To think the Habs cannot compete with those guys is offside though IMO. Once Montreal got a little ticked they actually carried the physical play for the last half of the game. In the latter half the “out of position stuff” for the most part was on pinches which were a necessary evil at that point.

    I think Montreal could actually match up fairly well against St Louis in a series. I really did not see St Louis dominating anything physically. I did see Montreal being very stagnant in their own end and St Louis played better but MOntreal had their chances still.

    Alex Steen played very well …he looks so patient…and patience kills the Habs in their end because they tend to be easy to back up and give playmakers space…to me that is the big difference. When other teams cross the Habs blueline on the rush or when the Habs get hemmed in the Canadiens tend to give the opposition clear looks…makes it much easier to find open space and make the pass. When the Habs cross the other blueline they are typically engaged about 3 feet inside…..and in the ozone the opposition tneds to take away the puck carriers space….when the HAbs had time they made plays and got chances too…but pressure is the key. HAbs are getting pressured and not applying enough…that simple…I don’t buy this St Louis outmatched, blah, blah, blah…I will buy St Louis played a better game, made less mistakes and outhustled Montreal. Whne Montreal woke up after the Gallagher goal they played right with St Louis…outplayed them IMO…they had to take some risks and eventually Markov got caught.

    • SmartDog says:

      > there was also a huge gap between the d and forwards most of the night

      Exactly right. If you could pinpoint one thing it’s that. To me that says that St. Louis scouted what we do, that we look to stretch and they decided exactly where to set up. Hithcock is such a strategist this makes sense.

      And what did Therrien do? He said “let’s go grind!! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!”

      I wonder why we lost?

      ————————————-
      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  21. Habfan10912 says:

    “I really miss being able to come to this site and feel welcome. You know like the in-crowd who call each other by ‘first name’ and stand guard against people like me who feel so p’d -ff that we we cannot post in any honesty with any deal of optimism.”

    @trin @smartdog @oldschool I have to tell you I was surprised at this post. I scrolled through the thread and didn’t find any post which I would find aggressive or attacking. Perhaps it was on a previous post. I did see someone go after a Smartdog post yesterday rather harsh. I don’t like it when we here can’t debate in a polite manner. Most of the time we do, IMO.

    I’m on this site an awful lot and I got to tell you I think Trini and Smart Dog are pretty popular folks on here. Smartdog’s 5 questions are a tremendous feature here and Trini’s early scouting report on Bournival was bang on.

    Trin, you, Smartdog and Oldschool are some of my favorite posters and I’m sure I’m not alone in my opinion. I’m shocked if anyone called Smartdog or Trini trolls.

    As a person who likes to call people by their first name here may I offer a reason. Computers can be very impersonal. Most of us can forget that we are actually chatting with a person and can be colder and harsher. When behind a computer I can treat someone with less dignity and politeness then I would ever do in person. Attaching a first name (If I know it) to a post keeps me focused on the fact that I’m having a personal discussion with someone so I don’t develop the dreaded “behind the computeritis” (made up disease).

    I apologize if using peoples first names has somehow been interpreted as something bad. Please be assured it was never MY intention for it to be seen that way. It just helps ground me. I suspect that’s true for many of our friends here.

    Anyway, sorry you guys have had some recent bad experiences. It’s happened to me as well. I just take a break for a few days and cool off.

    CHeers.

    • twilighthours says:

      Did someone go after Trini or SmartDog? If so, they can get going themselves.

    • Phil C says:

      Using first names is a result of the great efforts Ian Cobb makes every year to get people on this site to actually meet and have an event. How that can be seen as a bad thing is beyond me.

      My advice is to have the stones to voice your opinion even if you think it won’t be popular. You might as well write what you really think because no matter what you write, there will be some who think you are a genius and others who think you are a clown. In fact, it is often when my opinion is in the minority that I know I’m probaby getting closer to the truth. ;-)

      If you are having trouble defending your point, then it may be time to reconsider what you wrote.

    • SmartDog says:

      Hey Habfan…. it’s nice to be mentioned in such a positive post, thanks.

      It really was nice when there were fewer of us here, when the trolls and the chronically immature stood out as exceptions! But then they went to EOTP! :) I keed!

      I think things are better lately then they have been at other times. I don’t recall anyone attacking me for some time… maybe I was lucky enough to miss it. And we know there’s no point with some people. You just have to ignore it or stand up to the stupidity quickly and move on. That’s a good lesson from this place.

      And there are a lot of good people around, like you.

      ————————————-
      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • habstrinifan says:

      My post was in no way directed at you. I wont consider it ‘bad experiences’ but more the fact of having no answer to the irrefutable rejoinder “so you know more than __________ eh”.

      A greater deterrent to dissent than the death penalty to murder. But also a governor which reins in the prattle of fools.

      Which category I could very well fall in.

      All I know is this is a most unenjoyable team to watch.

  22. adamkennelly says:

    Hopefully MB makes some changes – just to shake things up – not really to change expectations all that much.

    Realistically – who on the Habs would be coveted by other teams and are considered tradable – the list is not long.

    untouchable – Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Subban, Price
    coveted – Eller, Pax, Markov, Emelin

    thats it…

    now make a trade that is going to improve this team. good luck.

  23. Captain aHab says:

    I guess we will indeed see if MB is bright. After watching that game and the LA one, I hope he realizes he isn’t one player away from contending. That would seem to remove the thought of trading youth and picks for an expensive rental or something like it.

    My guess is that we are at least a couple of years away from contending. Will Pleks still be effective then? If they don’t think so, then he should be dangled to try to get youth on the wings. I know people would rather we trade DD or Brière to get that but it won’t happen…gotta give quality to get quality.

    Next year, have Galchenyuk, Eller and DD as the top 3 centers and try and bring a little more beef on their wings. I wouldn’t mind Bournival seeing some time on the first two lines…he plays with grit.

    —————-
    Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  24. The Juice says:

    “There may be hockey in St. Louis when the Cardinals are playing baseball this spring”

    Obviously, as the MLB season now starts in March…

    __________________________________________________________________________

    “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

  25. CSIASN says:

    Injury prone players will not play tough against a tough team like the Blues that’s why Pacioretty, Bourque, Gionta and even prust was a no show for fear of being on the IR list again plus the Garbage MB signed in the off season is why this team are pretenders and not contenders. Don’t let the position the Habs are in right now fool you. They’re not that good. They can only challenge or beat teams like themselves. To go more than one round in the playoffs if they make it they will need lots of luck.

  26. habstrinifan says:

    On a less rancorous note. Would anyone agree that the Blues have mastered the “obstruction” play to a T. There were so many times the Blues fluid movement included just that little nano-second of obstructing the opponent. Think there was only one obstruction/interference type call against the Blues…… which was not bad refereeing but clever movement.

    Notice how many ‘H’ word calls against the HABS. Holding/Hooking says a lot about the game.

    Just saying.

    If you could put away the HABS fan agony for a bit, it was a beautiful game to watch the way St. Louis played it.

  27. Mats Naslund says:

    Habs have too many guys who like to hang on the perimeter. That’s fine when pucks find a way through, but when you watch a team like St Louis or Chicago you see that teams that can really score do so from close in. Much easier to score on second chances and deflected pucks which get the goalie out of position. The young guys will crash the net but until MTL can find some decent forwards with size they are going to be a perimeter team who scores from the point, and goes on streaks where nothing goes in.

  28. thebonscott says:

    i would have been happier if we had signed Lapierre, i always liked him, very irritating, 6 foot 2, good on penalty kill, and wanted to play in mtl, a missed opportunity.

    For the sake of all that is right, please put the comment box on upper right of page!!!!!

  29. habstrinifan says:

    ” Every team has its problems and opponents they struggle with. ”

    Review the past season and this one. You might be surprised at how many teams the HABS have their problems with and struggle with”

    Just saying!

  30. 24 Cups says:

    A few thoughts on how the well has gone dry.

    Tomas Plekanec has now failed to score in six straight games.

    Lars Eller, meanwhile has not scored in eight straight.

    Andrei Markov has cooled off as well with just three points over the last 12 games.

    Brendan Gallagher scored his first goal of the month of December. He has just two points so far this month.

    Brian Gionta has just 5 goals. He’s on pace for 12.

    Markov and Subban have 7 goals between them. The rest of the D has just one, that coming from Gorges. The Habs second PP unit, which is usually Diaz and Bouillon, has yet to score.

    Montreal’s 4th line of Moen/Prust/White/Parros has scored just twice (Prust’s other two goals came with different linemates). I realize their function is a defensive one but two goals near the half way mark of the season really hurts.

  31. Shackles says:

    I got distracted with work but trini & oldschoolhockey made a few comments a little ways below and I just wanted to add a follow-up; it’s characters like oldschool, trini & smartdog (just to name a few)that keep me coming back to this site and slowing down my productivity at work. …Hell, even Timo adds some entertainment value to the mix. If your opinions and observations get you labeled as trolls, then troll away. If others are too self-absorbed to value the opinions of others, then they can set up their own site and comment back & forth to the voices inside their own heads.

    • DalEng says:

      lol exactly what I am doing with myself right now.

      I don’t mean to be self absorbed to value opinions of others. It just seems that opinions of people come out after losses and they only see one side.

      Like SJ LA STL are soooooo freaking good. Like how good were they in there 11 -12 losses they had on the season?

  32. gmur says:

    An idea that came to me watching the game last night echoes what is written by Mr. Boone above. When ideas come to me, I scramble to write them down immediately, so as to mark the milestone.

    Last night, one team seemed to have a clear identity and another seemed to be searching for its identity… and was lost.

    St. Louis has the players to put into practice Hitchcock’s vision, and they are a sound hockey team when doing so. It so happens that this style is tailor-made for countering a fast, small team that tries to cycle, and relies on drilling the puck around the boards and trying to get it back. The Blues have big, mobile defensemen, big, mobile forwards, solid goaltending, etc.

    Before last night’s game, eight St. Louis players had 20 or more points. The Canadiens had four. That sums up a lot. How many 20-point players would the Canadiens have if they played Western conference teams most of the time?

    Another observation: In the East, physical hockey is what the Bruins play: abrasive, in your face, à-la-Marchand-Thornton. In the West, physical play is big, grinding hockey; St Louis. Last night it was noted that in terms of suspensions, the East teams were attributed more than double the number of games than the West so far this season. Granted, Thornton takes care of a lot with his 15 games, but the pattern is there: chippy play, illegal hits, etc. That kind of physical play doesn’t win come playoff time, or against teams like the Blues.

    Sorry for the rambling…

    So what is the Canadiens’ identity? Fast, small players mixed with bigger, tougher players who all have to play unrelenting hockey in order to stand a chance. A fast, physical forecheck that pins defensemen down, draws penalties, creates chaos. (works against the Islanders, not against the Blues, unless you add 2 inches to every Habs forward) Excellent goaltending. No passengers (think: Rene Bourque).

    • DalEng says:

      “one team seemed to have a clear identity” HOW MANY STL BLUES GAMES HAVE YOU WATCHED THIS SEASON?????????????????????

      You seem to be a big boston fan loving the way they play a physical game. How did that do last night against Buffalo?

      • thebonscott says:

        I think you missed his point(s) entirely. I didn’t hear him sound like a boston fan or St. Louis expert like you did.

        For the sake of all that is right, please put the comment box on upper right of page!!!!!

        • DalEng says:

          I didn’t mean to call him a fan.

          But what I got from it is he thinks he knows STL identity but the only times hes watched them play probably was the two games vs the habs. Look at some of their losses I bet they were terrible. When the habs were 9-0-1 did we have an identity? Did we lose our identity in the last few games?

          He’s suggesting a physical boston team in the east is the best way to play but how did that fare out for them last night? If hes going judge STL so much after one game then whats the identity of boston after losing to buffalo?

          Sorry its really hard to say what I am trying to say

          • gmur says:

            Not sure you understood my point… when you make one of your own that you yourself can understand, it will help with a level-headed, informed exchange.

            In fact, I’ve watched about 4 St Louis games this season, including last night’s against the Canadiens. My point was that teams in the East who are considered physical “goon it up” more than teams in the West. In fact, I hinted (actually, stated quite clearly) that the Bruins’ way of playing will not match up favourably against a team like St Louis. Maybe the hint was too subtle for some.

  33. 24 Cups says:

    Here’s another sobering thought. The Penguins have won six games in a row while having Vokoun, Scuderi, Bennett, Martin, Orpik, Letang, Malkin and Engelland out of the line-up for some if not all of those games.

  34. RAM_TOUGH says:

    There was a reason Montreal got rid of MT the 1st time & yet they take him back again. Good on management when MT fails AGAIN.

    Would you marry your Ex-wife again?

    Guts-Glory-Ram

    • boing007 says:

      Richard Burton did. Several times.

      Richard R

    • DalEng says:

      FAILING?

      my god man I try to be civilize but its hard when you get posters like you.

      Like are you only going to be happy with a coach that has you first in the conference every year from start to finish in a season?

      Of course hes made some bad decisions but this coaching staff is not a problem

      • RAM_TOUGH says:

        Why was he fired the 1st time around?

        Please tell which NHL team won the Cup after bringing back the coach they once fired?

        Every coach that was once fired by a team & rehired will be fired again!

        Guts-Glory-Ram

        • DalEng says:

          How many times have this happened? A coach going back to the same club. Probably not much. But pretty much every coach gets fired at some point.

          And fired coaches come back and win Stanley cups with other teams

          It’s absolutely irrelevant that MT coached here before. Different players, different management.

        • The Machine says:

          Actually, all coaches get fired evenutally, even those who win stanley cups.

          25th cup, coming up!

      • Habfan17 says:

        What team have you been watching? Of course it is a problem. It was understandable tweaking the system when they were missing key players, although I don’t agree with it. Therrien promised a puck possession aggressive forechecking system to exploit the speed of the team and off set the lack of size. Physics don’t change, having players that on average are 2 inches and 25 pounds smaller than the players they are hitting on the dump and chase system that Therrien is currently using, will not work. It is not wonder the Habs are tired.

        You attacked Dmur above and your comment made no sense. Your comment here also makes no sense.

        Therrien should not have changed systems, sure they may have lost a few more games, but the players would know be better at the system by now and probably be doing better. All the line shuffling has hurt more than it has helped. The proof is in the pudding!

        Habfan17

        • habstrinifan says:

          Well said. I like how you are not irrational.You are not saying Therrien should be canned etc. Just sit down at a management meeting. Look at the premise on which you publicly took the job. Look at the players you have. Look at the good and bad results. And be adaptable and hold both your staff(including you) and the players accountable and therefore do what is best for the team you have( and yes the FANS). If your FANS in the stand(reputed some of the most hockey-wise people) are BOOING your play then take a second look.

          Maybe change your belief and message that “we are a grinding team-accept it”. I am sure this assessment did not appear in your job interview.

        • DalEng says:

          You also only watch Habs games. Every team in the league shuffles lines buddy.

          You think Therrien wants his players playing the dump and chase?

          Comon man.

          • Habfan17 says:

            Your crystal ball has failed you! I do watch many non Habs games and non of the teams have made as many line changes as Therrien.
            Maybe you should refrain from telling people what they do and focus on gathering actual facts to support your own opinions.

            Habfan17

  35. 24 Cups says:

    Here’s a sobering thought. The Blues have played San Jose, Anaheim, LA and Vancouver a total of six times so far this year. St Louis has lost every one of those games, many of which they lost by three or four goals.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Morning Steve. I missed the answer to your trivia question yesterday. I think the group came up with 3. Moore, Plante and Harvey. The 4th stumped me.

      • 24 Cups says:

        Let me start my morning off with a bit of egg on my face.

        I inadvertently framed the question around retired numbers when I really meant to say Hall of Fame. That would make the 4th player Guy Lapointe.

        Earl, aka ebk, came up with the right answer. Earl doesn’t post that much these days but I can assure you his Hab/hockey knowledge is right up there with posters such as Chris. A very astute fellow, indeed. I’m sure he realized my mistake and then went on to correct it and give the proper answer.

    • DalEng says:

      +1

      Sort of what I am trying to say. Every team has its problems and opponents they struggle with. We may never have to play STL in the playoffs. Maybe Vancouver gets by and since we beat them does that make us favorites if we met in the finals?

      Not even 40 games in. Some of these ALN are way to depressing especially around xmas time. lol

      • habstrinifan says:

        ” Every team has its problems and opponents they struggle with. ”

        Review the past season and this one. You might be surprised at how many teams the HABS have their problems with and struggle with”

        Just saying!

        • DalEng says:

          Without reviewing anything and trying to do my best to remember.

          I can only think of Ottawa. Like I mean we came 2nd in the Eastern conference. How many struggles could we have had?

  36. DalEng says:

    I don’t see the big deal when we lose 6-0 to the Kings and now this loss to the blues.

    In the Kings game we absolutely dominated the first period and if we cash on one of the early chances the game is completely different.

    In the blues game we got that early PP, if we score there like we can because our PP is good then the game is completely different.

    Boone sometimes you make our team sound so bad but in reality if we get a few more timely, clutch goals then your arguments on why we are a bad team would never be made.

  37. DAVE. N says:

    IMO, the largest flaw is a Right Wing that has size, speed from the Blue line in, can dig in the corners, and not get easily moved out in front of the net. Can backcheck and forcheck effectively. I’m uncertain anyone on the Forward roster has those talents.
    Now… I’m NOT saying the idea has flaws, nor am I saying the Coach has the guts to try it, but we DO have a player of that caliber in the lineup… P.K Subban. Any thoughts?

    • boing007 says:

      Put PK on the right wing and bring up either Pateryn or Beaulieu to take his place on defense. PK doesn’t mind going to the net. Could work.

      Richard R

    • habstrinifan says:

      If it doesnt open the door to the ‘Warren Moon” treatment then I totally would love to see P.K get one or two shifts on the wing. But not so it is used to buttress the P.K= ‘not a real defenseman’ arguments. At least it would grab the fans outta their seats for he will be freer to rock and roll.

  38. habstrinifan says:

    Peter Young, submitting a Comment on the live-game blog, pretty much nailed it:

    The Blues’ positional play is superior to that of the Canadiens, which, tonight at least, was almost a scattergun approach. That’s the reason why you have Blues players nearly always available to pick up rebounds at both ends of the ice. And that’s the reason they had so many players free in the slot to shoot almost at their leisure on Price. The Blues play to a system; the Canadiens don’t appear to have a system, at least not one that’s visible.

    Wonder how many hockey games have this guy coached. Better be one more than I have (zero) else he MUST be a freakin basement troll.

    I love a team that finds ways to shoot from the slot. Others preach something called ‘go to the net’.

  39. DalEng says:

    Boston lost last night to Buffalo

    Whoops better trade all their players. No way there going to win the cup.

    People here think when teams beat us the other team is so unbelievable and we would have no chance against them in a 7 game series. Yes STL, LA, SJ are all elite teams but I bet everyone on this site has only watched them when they play the habs. Did yas watch any games where they lose? I bet they looked horrible in a few as do the habs when they lose.

    The way I see it we are one large winger who can put the puck in the net away from being a great club. How could you argue it? great special teams, great defense and great goaltending.

  40. Habfan17 says:

    Bergevin in my opinion erred by not signing Morrow instead of Briere. I know he may have been concerned about his recent injuries, but it was no more of a risk than Briere and his injuries.
    Morrow could have gotten in Patches face when he plays soft hockey.

    I also believe that the team is frustrates with Therrien as should be Bergevin. He promised an aggressive, puck possession system and even though he has pretty much all the players healthy, he changed to dump and chase and two things work against the Habs. They are not built for it and it is not as much fun for the skill players like Galchenyuk.

    Players are smarter than just mindlessly following a bad coach. I am sure they know as a group where their strengths lie, speed and, although it hasn’t shown much lately, skill. They need a coach that can put in a system that can leverage the strengths, will stop shuffling lines every game and sometimes every shift.

    Then to round out the roster with a few more, players that will go through a wall to win. I am tired of perimeter players who say they want to do better, and don’t do what they need to on the ice. Actions speak louder than words!

    Habfan17

  41. RAM_TOUGH says:

    I may not know much & I am the 1st to admit that but do know this, the Montreal Canadiens will not win a Stanley Cup with MT or MB!

    Guts-Glory-Ram

  42. Habfan10912 says:

    Good morning friends.

    Here’s where I am this morning. In one word, expectations. Eller may never be a top 6 forward. Maybe he is a 3rd line two way center. Bourque? He’s not a top 6 forward either. Prust? A great teammate and 4th line energy player. Gionta? He’s clearly not the same player of seasons past. DD? If he’s your “go to” center you’re in trouble. Diaz? Oh boy. Off the last couple of games you have to doubt if he’s even an NHL Dman. Are we asking too much of these players?

    It’s easy to pick out the Briere’s of the team and point to them as causes of our failure. It sure looks for all intents and purposes as that signing was a huge mistake on Bergevin’s resume. Maybe we’re expecting too much from a GM working as the top GUY for the first time. Clearly the jury is still out and his grade is incomplete at best. The coach? I haven’t changed my opinion but really? Would Scotty Bowman win with this team?

    A team with Price, PK, Markov, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Pleks and Patches is probably good enough to make the playoffs. Any expectations beyond that appear to be foolish. I’m going to try to not be a fool. It’s hard as I’ve got lots of practice.

    CHeers.

    • Cal says:

      Hey Jim. The team simply isn’t of a high enough caliber to compete with the league’s best teams. LA and St. Louis (with 3 players missing) demonstrated that rather obviously.
      The Habs are too small and that’s a big weakness.
      Playoffs, maybe, but much else? Not yet.

  43. mksness says:

    wasn’t impressed with price last night. he has to be better against the better teams. not all his fault of course given the odd man rushes. you want to see that big save early in the game.

    habs right now are showing they can block shots and beat on the weak teams in the east. Lately their play has been pretty poor and if the habs are already tired at the 37 game mark, it’s going to be a long second half of the year.

    • SmartDog says:

      You’re right – it wasn’t a great game by Price.
      Not his fault, the D coverage was full of holes. And he actually made some great saves. But you can’t fault the guy on the game – and he’s bailed out this team way more than they’ve bailed him out.

      ————————————-
      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  44. habsfan0 says:

    “On L’Antichambre, Denis Gauthier – who played for Hitchcock in Philadelphia – said the coach’s mantra is “heavy sticks, heavy bodies.” It’s a grinding, physical style that contests – and usually wins – every loose puck on every inch of the ice.

    Gauthier described playing against a Hitchcock team as “exhausting”.”

    However,if Gauthier was to be asked if Hitchcock would be a good coach for the Habs, I suspect his answer would go something like this:

    “Il n’a pas encore les conditions nécessaires.”

    • cashbagg says:

      haha yeah of course.

      gotta love this province.

    • habstrinifan says:

      I get your point and absolutely agree with it. Furthermore, if Gauthier thinks that Hitchcock’s team/coaching was only about “grinding”, he should rewind the tape of the game and watch the snippet from about 6:35 of the first period and the ensuing 90 seconds or so.

      One of the best 3-men-abreast rush out of your zone, one of the prettiest and most effective ‘blue-line-defense-confusing switch’ and ending with one of the most perfect ‘eye-up pass from behind the net to a player’s FOREHAND in the ‘high-slot’ for one of the most ‘goalie-staring- caca-hole shaking-shot’ I have seen all year.
      All the while at least THREE(count them THREE HABS had congregated in the blue in front of Price.. dutifully ready to execute their most lethal weapon… shot block. Unfortunately shot blocking gives much away to pin-point passing and shooting.

      Wonder if ‘grinding’ teams practise those skills. Can’t blame them though, one only has so much practice time… and we need every single player to know how to block that freakin shot!

  45. RetroMikey says:

    Year 2 of 5 for Bergevin to bring a Cup to Montreal …..Baaaaah Humbug I say!
    Big is better I say!
    Time to trade Gionta, Plekanec, Markov and get some dividends in return to build this team to a contender!

  46. Only takes 4 losses (and two doozies as perennial pessimist Boone pointed out) for the fan boat to fill with water.

    Glad to hear reality and rationality be expressed by Habstrinifan and Smartdog. I am also fed-up with always being lumped in as a Troll simply because I point out the obvious and am fed up with the glaring mistakes that any armchair coach or GM could see. Frustrated with the continued lack of 60 minute effort and flicking around of our players, not to mention the lack of effort by those that should be playing 60 minutes like Bourque (who we all knew might be a bust on the Cammy trade).

    So here we are. Almost half done and lucky to have had a schedule replete with East coast middling teams that has left us in fourth place. After the road-trip swing through the beginning of January, we’ll be where we should be, fighting for a wild-card.

    Hopefully and I have no faith, in 2016, we’ll have a team that instills fear in every team we play against. This team, while having some speed and some talent, does not bring concern to the elite teams like Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim, etc…

    …oh and yes, MT has to go. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. After next year when his contract is up, he will be gone. Enough baby-sitting and nurturing the youngsters. The Habs will have to learn how to PLAY for 60 minutes.

    I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

  47. habstrinifan says:

    “Eller has been given enough opportunity in mtl, not happening. Under the right system he could flourish which is why i think there would be a lot of interest. Package him with Diaz.”

    I am beginning to think that under the right system any of our players will flourish.

    That we wont for example see a player like Prust playing as if he lost everything for hockey but that chip on his shoulder.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Interesting post, Trini. If I recall, Eller was one of those players on a short leash when MT took over the reigns. He obviously saw something in Eller’s game that needed attention.

      • habstrinifan says:

        Hope you understood the quote is from a poster who is recommending we trade Eller. I think that the HABS have right now a very nice group of talented (including Eller) players and also a group of players (White Prust Moen Bournival) who can add the jarvis-mcphee-gainey like elements.

        I feel un-confident and really unsure saying this. But I either have to believe that this year, as in all those years past, the HABS have some of the most unskilled, weak-kneed hockey players or something is wrong somewhere else. But of course what do I know?

        I do see in front of my eyes however, a player like Prust, playing more uselessly than anytime in his history.

  48. John Q Public says:

    I was wrong.
    We don’t have a snowball chance in hell at winning anytime soon.
    Might as well trade Price as Fucale will be in his prime by the time we will be competitive.
    Till they ban the Kevlar pads the NHL will give itself a concussion.
    No sunshine, no hope.

  49. habstrinifan says:

    I really miss being able to come to this site and feel welcome. You know like the in-crowd who call each other by ‘first name’ and stand guard against people like me who feel so p’d -ff that we we cannot post in any honesty with any deal of optimism.

    P’d off not because we are losing-losing is a process of growing! P’d off not because we are unlikely to win a Cup anytime soon-it’s a 30 team league and the odds are against any team.
    P’d off not because we are small or the referees etc.
    P’d off but UNWILLING to dump on our players (well except I did with Gomez).

    But principally because the direction imposed on this club by the regimes who have coached this club recently have made it appear that the Mtl Canadiens are the dregs of hockey talent and skill. And therefore those regimes must enforce a mindset and strategy wherein the players must master the starvation aspects of hockey survivalist , to the ongoing detriment of energetic artistry and skillful teamwork. They coach and preach that the team operate with a bunker mentality against every foe. In the process they denude their charges of the innate enthusiasm of competitive counterattack and deny the fans the enjoyment of any bold spectacle from the players who wear their colours and carry their hearts into every game.

    This ongoing perdition has perdured too long. The fans are now booing louder and longer than I can remember.

    But come to this site and state the obvious. That when an organization flounders this long it cannot be put on the shoulders of one particular group of players in one particular year. The organization must examine its philosophy for the game.

    You will be met with the rejoinder which goes like this, “so you in your basement know more about hockey than _________. Fill in the name of the next coach who sees the team as only a “grinder team”.

    It’s funny. I have never heard, at any introductory news conference, one of our recent coaches proclaim that they are inheriting a grinder team.

    • Ron says:

      I’ve been here for sometime trini and I am in agreement in all your comments in this post especially your first paragraph take on the site. There is definitely abit too much of the piling on by some posters. Good post bud..

  50. Arnou Ruelle says:

    This team needs to restructure itself from the forwards and how the coaching staff use them. The d-corps and the goalies are ok. If the Habs are to play 3 periods of hockey against Western Conference teams, they have to bring size into their lineup.

    Bergevin made a mistake in signing Brière. Gionta would have to leave and so is Bouillon.

    Not that they don’t have effort in trying, this team cannot get in the net because opposing teams are just too big and too fast for them.

    “We need a better work ethic…if we’re going to have a hope of winning” – C’mon MT, your boys are one of the best disciplined bunch in the league. Its your line combos and 5-6 small players that are issues.

  51. DipsyDoodler says:

    Ex NHL ref Paul Stewart has a really good blog over at hockey buzz.

    Here he takes on the idiotic Tom Wilson exoneration:

    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Paul-Stewart/On-Wilson-Kamikaze-Attacks-and-Red-Herrings/196/56548

    One of the things he doesn’t address is how the Flyers claimed Schenn did not have a concussion. After the hit Schenn couldn’t skate. He was uncoordinated and kept falling over. Later he said he didn’t remember the hit.

    Those are both signs of a concussion. Unmistakable ones at that.

    Brain dysfunction following traumatic head injury = concussion.

  52. SmartDog says:

    Well no matter what else is happening, it’s good to see the Michel Therrien blame-game strategy is intact.

    You’re right Michel, the team doesn’t want to pay the price FOR YOU. I wonder why that is. Could it be they know they’re out-coached? Could it be all the line shuffling? The undeserved prime time given to small under-performing players who share your mother tongue? The almost arbitrary benching? The finger pointing?

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • SmartDog says:

      C’mon Commander Pike – give me a single green light!

      I was just foolin ya. I know what two lights mean!

      ————————————-
      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

      • Habfan29 says:

        Smart Dog really aging yourself with the Commander Pike comment. I believe that was the 1st episode of Star Trek….

        • SmartDog says:

          Yes Pike was in the pilot! :)

          But NBC wanted them to change the cast and “get rid of the girl” (his second in command was a woman) and “the guy with the pointy ears. Rodenbarry fought to keep Spock but dropped the woman and changed the captain to Shatner. And the rest is scifi infamy!

          Uh…. yah… it’s not me… I had a friend who was a MAJOR Trekkie. And yeah, I’m (almost) that old.

          ————————————-
          Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

          • Habfan29 says:

            Me too loved the original start trek. I think I was 4 years old used to scare the shi_t out of me just as much as MT…. lol

    • Cal says:

      Isn’t it too near Christmas to keep harping about language?

  53. DipsyDoodler says:

    Did anyone see the Van Riemsdyk goal in the shootout last night?

    It’s a trick question because no one saw it, including the refs who didn’t give it but then gave it after a chat with the video officials. No video angle showed the puck crossing the line.

    Bush league.

    • Habfan29 says:

      Yes I thought that they had to see the puck completely cross the line to call it a goal? I thought for sure that it was going to be no goal, but then I was reminded that the war room is in Tarana. Is it just me or is the Reimer kiss the sky celebration just a little bit annoying?

  54. jrs10069 says:

    As far as trades go, in my opinion the guys who you try to move would be Eller and Emelin, going after Evander Kane and Yakupov.

    Eller has been given enough opportunity in mtl, not happening. Under the right system he could flourish which is why i think there would be a lot of interest. Package him with Diaz.

    Emelin looks like damaged goods but is still a killer and would be coveted. Package him with White.

    Go after a depressed stock.

    jrs10069

    • IdleNoMore says:

      DUMB

      “He was chewing Juicy Fruit gum, I didn’t know whether to shake his hand or kiss him”

    • DAVE. N says:

      I’m trying to understand your opinion, but I’ve several questions you yourself answer; Eller, under the right system,/ Emelin still a killer to be coveted.
      Why trade ? If the system or lack of, is the issue change it to compliment your strengths. I fail to see why “depressed stock” should be the target.
      “Depressed Stock” ? Could that be P.J without his Depends?

  55. Bash says:

    The obvious – We had some go in the first but the shots were not quality and we were unable to get to rebounds. The Blues had a half dozen good chances and scored on three. Game over. Price had no chance on two but should have had Steen’s second. Pac was a soft back check on the third goal.

    The nasty – Pac and Bourque play perimeter hockey when they should be leading the physical charge. Prust is a nice complimentary player but cannot be the focal piece with any trio. Subban does not settle things down when we are in trouble; in fact he creates more trouble – only his athleticism saves him. Gallagher may not last three years in this league.

    The good news – Eller can play on any team in the league. Galchenyuk is being shadowed already – testimony to the respect other teams have for his skill set. Murray is better than he gets credit for.

    Trade? Borque, Gionta, Gorges, Diaz might draw some interest, and of course we will have to give up a D prospect. But which one??
    Any other moves would require mastermind dealing.

    “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

  56. JF says:

    So much for hoping that the good half-game we played against Phoenix would be something to build on. Aside from the offensive zone penalties, there were the odd-man rushes, which I stopped counting after about four. We would have lost to any team playing the way we did. The Blues simply swatted us like flies – as the Kings did a couple of weeks ago. What’s depressing is that as we improve, so will the Western Conference. Difficult to imagine how that yawning gulf will be bridged.

  57. habs001 says:

    The Habs roster right now is not good enough to beat most teams on talent and skill alone..The goal of the Habs is to make the playoffs and hope to get a good matchup…But based on the lineup right now there are really 2 scenarios in the playoffs

    1)They win the series in the playoffs because Price plays great,the other team while it dominates in the d zone misses a lot of chances and the Habs get the breaks(like the 2 recent Devil games)..the Habs score pp goals and opportunistic goals…

    2) They lose the series because the other team wins the pp/pk battle…limit Habs chances to a few and the minimal great chances the Habs get they dont score too much…they get dominated in the d zone and the other team takes advantage of this by scoring good goals and getting good bounces as a result as being so much in Habs d zone…

    The Habs will not beat teams in the playoffs based on talent.

  58. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Peter Young said it best. “The Blues & Hitchcock have a system while the Habs & Therrien don’t”. Enough said.

  59. temekuhabs says:

    It just goes to show, how FAR this team is from competing with “the Big Boys”, when we play the Kings, Blues,Sharks,(big strong fast teams) we have no chance. Our little 5’7 forwards can’t outmuscle 6’3 forwards for the puck, not a dig against the Giontas, Gallaghers, Brieres, but that’s how it is.
    That’s the reason we lose, too busy chasing.
    Our big forwards play too soft
    Hello Patches?? Bourque??
    When your best forward is 5’7″
    again!
    You got problems

  60. red13am says:

    FYI for people saying trade so and so: the roster freeze went into effect as of midnight, and won’t end until noon on the 28th. So no speculation until after Christmas… like that will happen :).

  61. Sean Bonjovi says:

    I missed Antichambre tonight, but I know that Michel Therrien gets 100% of the credit for every win, so I was wondering if the panel gave the coach any of the blame for tonight’s loss.

  62. D Mex says:

    The upcoming visit by Chicago might be the push that MB requires to pull the trigger on some personnel decisions.
    It’ll be an opportunity for him to get a close-up look at where he was, where he is, and where he wants his team to be.
    Could be good …

    ALWAYS Habs -
    D Mex

  63. Rosieman says:

    Whoops

    I really can’t believe MB would take Briere after signing Desharnais. Anyone else w a bit of size – anyone.

    Ryan White is not an NHL player – please. Forget Murray and move up Tinordi

    And tell Bourque and Max – finish your checks – 6 hits each per game.

  64. Rosieman says:

    What’s sad is any one of us would bust our balls to be in the NHL – the only guys up front w a bit of size that work are Eller and Galchenyuk. It’s hard to watch Max do the one hand wave and Bourque have ZERO hits might after night – the small team gets smaller. Carey Price and PK mask some big deficiencies. I’m really I

  65. CH Marshall says:

    “heavy sticks, heavy bodies”….

    Sounds like a horror porn where our heroes get the shaft

  66. aHabGrowsInBrooklyn says:

    Yeah, me too! Wherever Habilis gets his sugar plums, I’ll take a few grams.

  67. Habilis says:

    Good read, Boone.

    I gotta say though, the more I consider it, the more I think that maybe reaching the finals may not be as crazy as it sounds for this team, but only because of the East’s suckitude.

    All it would take is a series win vs Boston and some upstart team like the Caps to beat the Pens for us. OK, so beating Boston wouldn’t be a cakewalk, and neither would 2 more rounds against whoever, but with a hot Price, we’ve proven that we can play with anyone in the East. If we only had to beat one of Boston and Pittsburgh, I honestly think we could swing that. Of course I have had a few tonight… but I digress.

    Once we get there and meet LA/Chicago/St. Louis/SJ though… That would be the time to soil ourselves. And how.

    Imagine though… a REALLY hot Price… maybe even a true superstar breakout performance by a certain young American of Russian descent? The kind where a kid puts an entire offence on his back and drags them to the finish line with dazzling plays night after night? It could happen.

    It’s Christmas time, let me dream. :D

    Happy everything to everyone. Enjoy the holidays.

  68. montreal ace says:

    I would love it if the team assures itself of a playoff spot, before the trade deadline. I would then get rid of some players for draft choices and go with more rookies in the lineup. I am really tired of bad trades and garage sale free agents. MB and MT have done a good job so far, as most pundits said we were not a playoff team.

  69. yukonhab says:

    Soon would be nice

    Price 31

  70. Sportfan says:

    So just for fun pick who you’d rather out of these pairs, you can explain why if you want.

    1) Patrick Kane or Evander Kane
    2) Karlsson or Subban
    3) Daniel or Henrik Sedin
    4) Chris or Anthony Stewart
    5) Jeff Carter or Mike Richards

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  71. yukonhab says:

    When the going gets tough….

    We need trade!

    Price 31

  72. scotland says:

    the habs stink.

    know how leafs fans use to feel now.


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