About last night …

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Let’s put the 0-1 start – which is odds-on to be 0-2 after they visit Winnipeg – into perspective:
I’m more worried about the lingering recession than I am about your Montreal Canadiens.

This is not to minimize the soul-crushing suckitude of a loss to the Leafs.

But it was a winnable game. If your Montreal Canadiens had popped a couple during that dominant first period …

But there are always Ifs in sports. And how often have we seen a hockey team – especially this offensively-challenged team – dominated possession and SoG, only to come up empty and breathe life into a reeling opponent.

The breath of life became a shot of adrenalin after Matthew Lombardi scored shorthanded. That one was on P.K. Subban, who had been overly adventurous on the power play, then late and ineffectual getting back.

Playing in his hometown, P.K. compounded a tough evening by coughing up the puck on the play that led to Dion Phaneuf’s goal.

Tomas Plekanec was the other Canadien on the ice for both Toronto goals. But let’s cut Pleks some slack: he was heroic on the penalty-kill.

During L’Antichambre, Guy Carbonneau – a welcome addition to the panel – expressed the concern that Plekanec’s workload – 23:30, including 3:58 on the PK – would wear down a smallish player as the season progressed.

David Desharnais played 1:20 shorthanded, Andreas Engqvist 1:15. Their ToI will have to bail out Pleks to avoid the Carbonneau scenario.

So there’s one thing to worry about if you insist on fretting after one game: Plekanec’s ToI.

Another is durability. The Curse of the ACC, which has felled Andrei Markov twice, rose up to bite Chris Campoli. Josh Gorges’ new partner left the ACC on crutches, and Damien Cox of the Toronto Star reported a hamstring injury and three weeks on the shelf.

I had a strong premonition, headed into the season, that the Canadiens would miss Roman Hamrlik. But not after one freakin’ game.

Hamrlik’s former D partner, Jaro Spacek, was not good in the opener. But I liked Spatcho’s new partner, Raphael Diaz, who toook some heavy hits, kept his composure and played decently in his NHL debut. Gorges was Gorges and Hal Gill, with 5:26 of his 17 minutes on the PK, was Hal Gill.

We’ll likely see the Russian newcomer in Winnipeg. Pat Hickey reports the name is now “Emelin”.

Why drop the Y?

I’ve given up trying to figure out hockey players from my grandfather’s homeland … beyond stating, without fear of contradiction, Mikhail Grabovski was the best Belarusian on the ice last night.

Andrei Kostitsyn was one of four Canadiens had four shots (Pleks, Michael Cammalleri and Max Pacioretty were the others). Promoted to the Pleks line, AK46 had his moments. But Guy Carbonneau, who knows the player firsthand,  said this about AK46: “He can change a game, but you have to live with his mistakes”, a description Carbo also applied to P.K.

The other forwards?

I thought Scott Gomez started starong then reverted down the stretch. Erik Cole didn’t do much, despite the energetic efforts of his linemates, David Desharnais and Mathieu Darche.

Pierre Gauthier’s prize free-agent acquisition played all of 1:04 on a power-play that was 0-for-5. That was a head-scratcher in a game that provided the obligatory Too Many Men penalty and some early-season fodder for Jacques Martin-haters (who will mourn the loss of Four Habs Fans as an outlet for their spleen).

In a game in which the Canadiens were decisively outmuscled – especially at the hands and stick of Mike Komisarek – Max-Pac was not a physical factor. Nor was Travis Moen.

Brian Gionta had one of his team’s 32 shots. The captain’s main contribution was to direct verbal abuse at Komisarek in the scrums.

Komo and Co. were the better defence corps last night. They blocked 20 shots; and after a hectic 20 minutes, James Reimer had a fairly easy time of it en route to bagging a shutout on his first opening night.

There will be other nights.

•  •  •

What is left to be said about Don Cherry?

He showed video of Scott Stevens distributing concussions and lamented we may never see the like again.

Bruce Dowbiggin was on Cherry’s ass in the Globe & Mail and Chris Nilan trashed the old fool on Twitter: found a way to get more followers, have an ignorant, uninformed 77 year old make statements on air. good work you dope, but thanks.

•  •  •

Guest Comment from Un Canadien Errant (one of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs, BTW):

Well, I just finished watching Maple Leaf Night in Toronto, a tough loss for the Canadiens, but I did learn a lot about the Leafs, lots of cool infographics about them and their players. Good of CBC to tailor the coverage towards me as a Montreal fan, I guess they knew I’m quite familiar with all the Canadiens players and their stories, so they thought they’d focus on Dion Phaneuf and David Steckel.

The game itself didn’t have a lot of flow and emotion. The Leafs I think were kind of surprised to score the first goal and having an opportunity to win after being dominated in the first period, kind of like Vince Wilfork with an interception falling into his hands, so they started rumbling and stumbling with it, kind of like Vince Wilfork running with the ball after an interception. The Canadiens looked disjointed and listless, like they would have benefited from one or two more pre-season games with a full roster.

Jaroslav Spacek isn’t strong enough to play NHL hockey. Every hit he took was enough to cause him to fall to the ice. He may be fitter than last year, but he’s still overmatched by most players he comes up against.

My eye was drawn to Andrei Kostitsyn during the game, and I was rarely impressed. I don’t know if I’m developing an unhealthy obsession with him, but every time I saw him he’d be circling aimlessly in the offensive zone. On his give and go with Tomas Plekanec in the first period, he floated too long before realizing he should charge the net, and got there too late to pot a fat easy rebound. Maybe the coaches saw the same thing I did, and maybe the experiment didn’t last even a whole game, but Erik Cole found himself on the top line in the third period.

I also noticed that the Canadiens have Perry Pearn and Randy Cunneyworth behind the bench, but defence coach Randy Ladouceur is up in the press box. With all the young and new defencemen the Canadiens have, I think it would be important to have Mr. Ladouceur behind the bench doling out tips and encouragement. Especially if Chris Campoli is injured and we have to press Mr. Yemelin into service, this should be considered.

Not a great start to the season, and it stings that it’s to the Leafs, the CBC’s second favourite team after the Bruins, but it may be a little early to panic. For now.

90 Comments

  1. immortalhab says:

    All this nattering about little individual player screwups is making everyone miss the point. There is a lot of talent on the Hab roster but JM has no idea how to use it. Constant lineup changes, same guys pking as playing? He is diffusing all the talent. Why does anyone him??

  2. issie74 says:

    Mr.Boone,

    Get serious please!!!

    We had G-G-Grandparents who left their farms in Ontario in 1900 to take up farming south of Winnipeg came to their senses and relocated to the eastern townships,believe me when I say,I do not want the peggers (as you call them) to win their first game against the Habs.

    Stop it please!!!!!!

    NorthTOHab

  3. Habtastic says:

    Relax, let them get some chemistry. This is a better team than last year. When we start rolling the SAME group of pathetic no-good smurfs are going to be scoring goals, playing solid D (obviously continuing the great goaltending) and making other teams look silly. Yeah every game counts, but really it’s a matter of getting their collective feet wet. Individual reasons (spacek is too old and weak, Pleks is bad on the PP – btw I think he has some of the best vision of any of our players, Gomez was passing to no one) are just excuses made out of frustration. We will get better. Much much better. I think Boone was just making the point that the recession is based on concrete irrefutable facts that are going to soon come crashing down on us while the Habs just had a bad day on the floor of the dow jones.

    We’ll be fine. Chins up. Ooooh, another D.

    ————–
    The Drive for 25

  4. BONZOHABS says:

    The Habs made the Leafs look good last night with their patchwork lineup…WTF happened!? Habs dominated the 1st period…hit posts, sides of nets, skated by juicy rebounds, and shot right into Reimer who only had to make 2-3 big saves. Habs made the Leafs look good. That SH goal was hard to watch…you could almost see it coming and it was handed to the Leafs on a silver platter. After that, Leafs gained confidence and we had none. Habs were playing too individually at some points and just didn’t stick to the fundamentals. It was frustrating to watch, yelling at the television cuz ur seeing what the player isn’t and what would have been so obvious late last season. Habs skated past too many opportunities and our big bodies (Kush and Patches) didn’t drive the net with authority at some points. These next 2 practices r very important and the game in Winnipeg will be tough. Another home opener in a raucous building will be tough. They have to score early Sunday…and often. Special teams too! Price was great last night. Unfortunate he lost the puck that rolled so conveniently into the slot for open net and Phaneufs shot was an impossible save…almost. Looking forward to Sunady! Go Habs Go!

  5. Chorske says:

    Nice to see Un Canadien Errant get a shout out from Boone. Consistently solid poster, and a great (relatively recent) addition to the site.

  6. Marvin says:

    Life is too short to be fretting over the first game of the season. Yes it was one LOUSY game – and this isn’t the Habs teams from 1950-1977’s either. Seems since 1993 many have had problems accepting that. I’m happy with a competitive team that gives us a chance to win everytime we hit the ice, and I can accept the fact that last night the team sucked. Let’s move on to the next game.

  7. habsbeens says:

    “Write a wise saying and your name will live forever.” —Anonymous

  8. punkster says:

    Interesting. Last night after the Cherry rant I logged in to CBC Sports and their User Feedback form. I composed a brief message to complain about Cherry. This morning I received a response stating that the message was undeliverable. No reason, just undeliverable. My user account is still valid as of this morning so do I assume CBC Sports is not accepting criticism?

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  9. habstrinifan says:

    OK I said! Dont be an alarmist or, worse, an habitually fretful complainer.’

    OK! I said! JM is a professional coach with umpteen years of coaching experience. .. and I am just a fan whose greatest coaching achievement was being on the bench and contributing guidance as my 8 yr old son demolished the something something team and won their something championship.

    OK! I said! The HIO writers are professionals and their reporting must be valid and since there were no accompanying questions raised, this was indeed professionalism at work.

    What am I talking about? Well I remember after our first pre-season loss to Ottawa, JM giving a serious press conference emphasizing the need for better offense and that that would be a main focus of the following practises. And then HIO posted a 3:59 video of that practice session with shooters firing point shots at Price.. many of them missing.

    Strange I thought that this was the ‘best part’ of their drills to upgrade their offense. Surely I thought, if there were more imaginative and high-skilled (professional) offensive drills run by JM that day.. surely the professionals at HIO would have posed it on video and not pick out that 3:59 session of a shooting drill.

    Shut up! I said to moi! Shut up! What do you know? Leave team preparation to JM and analysis of that preparation to the professionals at HIO.

    But I cant lose the feeling that somehow, somewhere, an NHL coach is running his charges through some intricately and ‘line bonding’ drills for offense that are more demanding and skill-honing than shooting from the point. And surely if I had cause for concern then the professionals at HIO would have had had too… and would have posted their concerns.

    Wish I had more confidence in that 3:59 minute of video showing our team, in practice, focussing on offense by skating up to the blue line and taking lacklustre point shots .

  10. Arrow77 says:

    I mostly blame this loss on the power play and the injuries. Last year, the team did sort of okay without Markov but it doesn’t look like it could this year. Plekanec did not impress me at the point and Subban, as impressive as he’s been, is still so young and need more help.

    Gauthier tried to replace Hamrlik and Wisniewski with cheaper version and it doesn’t look like it will fly.

  11. GoalieT says:

    It’s been eluded to already, but this team has HARDLY played togther. I’m all for checking out what our young prospects look like in game action, but I’d rather they go into rookie tournaments again instead of having full games played during the preseason where 75% of our roster are kids. The regular roster guys don’t have a chance to get comfortable, and no amount of “Bonding in Collingwood” seems to fix that. In fact, I wonder if camping and playing with your buddies on the bonding trip actually hurts more than helps. The guys may get tired of it before they actually hit the ice. Maybe not. Just an observation.
    But let’s be real here. One game does not a season make. I was troubled like the rest of us with the performance last night, but it was only one game. The boys are realistically just starting to play together.
    I’m not worried after only one game.

    Ultimate Die-Hard Fan Since 1986.

    T.

  12. habstrinifan says:

    I havent’t read Mr. Boone’s article yet.. just the ‘tease’. And if he means that he is more worried about the lingering recession than the Montreal Candiens, because he has put ‘life into perspective’, and has come to realize that the failure of a sports team is nconsequential when compared to the failure of the world economy, then I accept his premise.

    On the other hand if he is trying to convey an ‘all is well’ forecast for the team and is ‘unperturbed’ over their performance so far… then I humbly but gravely advise him to be worried… be very worried.

  13. slychard says:

    @habinburlington; ha ha ha Jack Adams means jack sheeite right?, after those names you produced, so true so true. But as much credit as I give him ( JM ) for the job he’s done with a depleted lineup during his tenure I really have to scratch my head on his constant line changes. It’s still preseason in my book so I’m giving them another 15 games before bringing the hammer down yet.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      @Slychard, I forgot to mention Bob Francis in 2001-02 everyone remembers that magical job of coaching the Coyotes and the success he has had since.

  14. slychard says:

    Maclean has no view.

  15. slychard says:

    We need Markov, we need MAB, we need the WIZ, we need Souray, we need…

  16. slychard says:

    Maclean acts like a battered spouse, afraid to chime in and flinching at every movement the Don makes.

  17. sillywalk says:

    Everyone has their picks for who didn’t perform well last night, but in reality BOTH teams looked absolutely lost for most of the night. It was awful to watch, and I gave up finally after the second goal.

    • Malreg says:

      Agreed… It was a terrible season opener. There was ZERO atmosphere or intensity in the building.

      There probably would have been more atmosphere in an Atlanta Thrashers season opener!

  18. heart4habs says:

    Wow… I love the way you put everything into words. I wish I could one day meet you Mr. Boone and talk about our Canadiens! Great works!

  19. The_Franchise31 says:

    That “dominant” first period never happened. Toronto played bad and that made us look better. A dominant period results in goals and a lead. And I thought spacek and Diaz were are best pair out there, they both make very good outlet passes. Better the p.k gorges and gill

    • tbovs says:

      ah we outshot them at one point 9 – 1 about half way through…I am not sure what you would say would be dominant but we did everyting except score. I thought Gill and Gorges were good but I aGREE with you about spatch and Diaz. The leafs played bad but we also forced the issue with the turnovers.

  20. AllHailTheFlower says:

    Since it was only the first game of the season, I’m certainly not going to hit the panic button, but there were some areas of concern – particularly with JM.

    1) A too-many-men penalty is ALWAYS the head coach’s fault, even when it isn’t. The Habs took way too many of those last year, and it seems they’ve picked up where they left off.

    2) I thought going into the season that the general concensus was that AK46 would be playing on the 3rd line with Eller and DD. Even if Eller wasn’t ready to go, why wouldn’t you start AK on that line anyway so he can start getting familiar with DD? Instead, JM starts him on the top line and then yanks him off it half way through the game – AK’s psyche is fragile enough as it is, why screw with it some more in the first game of the season? And no, I’m not saying pamper him or handle him with kid gloves – he’s a professional and he damned well needs to show some more consistency. But JM’s approach is never going to foster that.

    3) Mathieu Darche on the power play. Really?

    And speaking of picking up where they left off…Scott Gomez.

    • tbovs says:

      He gave AK a chance to show if he is going to be a good player and consistent or whether he would float. And well he floated away. I don’t think JM was planning on having there the entire season. He was testing the metal and compete of AK and it didn’t show. Darche was on the PP cause no one else was doing anything…hell put moen darch and DD out there…would have go the same result as the first two units….we need Markov.

      • AllHailTheFlower says:

        A powerplay takes a little time to solidify, but that’s never going to happen if you keep throwing a 4th line plug like Darche into the mix. And Moen?! Puhleeze! If one of the Habs’ equipment managers goes down with an injury then Moen might be useful, otherwise just clear a spot for him in the pressbox.

    • punkster says:

      Re: your first point. Only in minor hockey. The coach doesn’t “tell” individual players when to go on the ice in the pros.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  21. slychard says:

    That’s Boucher.

  22. slychard says:

    @365fan; totally agree. ‘kids this will save your life, listen to me, when you score a goal don’t push the defenseman.’ In other words Chara was going after Max ever since that slight and finally took him out A WHOLE MONTH after. A vendetta. Thus contradicting himself from his original explanation. What a chump!

    • tbovs says:

      I agree…his boston loving and leaf blowing attitiude has got to stop…I can’t watch CBC anymore….RDS is better anyways but man…they relly don’t care to celebrate anything Canadian. I honestly think that Craig Simpson has a leaf tatoo on his slong that he loves to touch cause it is unbelievable how biased his really is. He literally makes up plays that aren’t happening like a big hit that Toronto gave but in reality there guy hit ours and fell down nad looked ridiculous…Just silly

  23. Marc10 says:

    Well this game showed the downside of having kids as your locomotive.

    The kiddies did get a little too excited as Un Canadien Errant points out. Max Pac who has it within him to pull Gomer along for a solid points all looked all out of sorts. Did the nerves get to him? Was he sick? I don’t know except he looked piss poor out there. So no Max equals no points for Scotty.

    DD on the PP. Last year I would have said yes as Gomer stank. But after this year’s preseason, that spot was Gomer’s. Go figure? Again, DD looked nervous when give the chance to finish… but so did everybody. Body language said ‘panic’ around goal…

    PK… What was that? Bru-tal. Surprising for a guy who excels under the spotlight.

    Plenty of bystanders at this one after a solid first. They better show in the Peg or they’ll get scorched. You know the Jets will show up for that one.

  24. shootdapuck says:

    Last night was simply a continuation of essentially what was wrong last year:

    1) Playing down to the level of an inferior opponent
    2) Lack of ANY in game strategic adjustments.
    3) Quitting after being frustrated scoring-wise early.
    4) Spacek, Spacek, Spacek
    5) Eric Cole PP time
    6) ANOTHER too many men bench minor
    7) Team play totally absent (maybe because they haven’t played together at all)

    About 80% of the above is directly attributable to the wonderfully inflexible, gameplan obsessed, vet obsessed and wildly unimaginative coach who cannot or does not motivate his players.

    What happened to the special teams part of his mantra?

    The loss of Muller is glaring already!

    … the fans of the Boston Bruins now have lost forever any right to complain that “the league” is out to get their team, and that the Montreal Canadiens have some kind of pull inside the NHL home office.

    Charles P. Pierce – Boston Globe

    • tbovs says:

      Just out of curiosity who would you like to put in place of Martin….he doesn’t shoot pucks, he doesn’t pass. Literally you give the coaches too much credit and the assitants call the linechanges anyways unless special circumstances. And why devise a game plan with your team that obviously worked in the first period to change it when it was working in the first place. This ain’t football. The coach doesn’t have an immediate impact on the game i.e. he doesn’t call each play or give signs. This is the guy who everyone heralded when we upset Pitt and Wash and even last year against the Booins. Do you think he suddenly woke up and said…i’m gonna be inflexible. Haven’t done it before…misewell try it now.

      Seriously, the coach didn’t make PK give the puck away and play like a tard on the back check. I though JM did pretty good especially the 5 on 3 … where he called a timeout on whistle to rest his best penalty killers so they could finish it off. Of course it wasn’t him at all … it was the ghost of Kirk Muller who was the greatest assistant coach ever and did everything and is god…oh wait wan’t that Guy Bouchard

      • shootdapuck says:

        Replaced by:

        Anyone whose only real qualification was not being bilingual, who can adjust to the modern NHL not vice versa.

        Sure he was not on the ice but you discount his direct effect within his rigid systems on player performance.

        He puts together the lineups, implements his “benching” policies and discipline, composes line PP and PK units.

        … the fans of the Boston Bruins now have lost forever any right to complain that “the league” is out to get their team, and that the Montreal Canadiens have some kind of pull inside the NHL home office.

        Charles P. Pierce – Boston Globe

    • habstrinifan says:

      I agree with every item except the ‘playing down’. That is just an excuse bad teams make when they do all of the other six you mention. They didnt play down to anyone’s level. Bsed on last year’s inconsistency and paucity of offense and this PRE-SEASON performances they played AT THEIR LEVEL.

      • shootdapuck says:

        Think back to past seasons where the Canadiens would play a top six team and win only to play pitifully sunsequently against bottom six opponents and get drubbed for lack of effort.

        I think back to “The Game” by Ken Dryden where he said that the great teams of the 70’s played every game until the tank was empty and they never lost a game just ran out of time to win!

        … the fans of the Boston Bruins now have lost forever any right to complain that “the league” is out to get their team, and that the Montreal Canadiens have some kind of pull inside the NHL home office.

        Charles P. Pierce – Boston Globe

  25. slychard says:

    @habfan29 Count chocula???? Lol so hard I barfed in my mouth!!!! I told my buddy last night he looks like the penguin… But yours is funnier. Kudos to you!

  26. 365fan says:

    A few thoughts:

    1) Because we live in a free society and because he gave his heart and soul when he played hockey, Chris Nilan has earned the right to say whatever he wants on the topic of fighting. It was the height of disrespect for Cherry to trash him the way he did. One guy’s nickname is Knuckles, the other Grapes – care to guess who was tougher as a player?

    2) Ron MacLean is pathetic. Whatever value Coach’s Corner ever had started to dramatically diminish the day that he replaced Dave Hodge. Hodge is an intelligent adult and knew how to put Cherry in his place when he went on like a moron.

    3) Last year Coach’s Corner blamed the stanchion/glass at the Bell Centre for Patch’s injury. Last night the truth came out – it was intentional retribution on the part of Chara. Taking those opposite positions is real hypocrisy, Mr. Cherry.

    4) I don’t care if Spacek is a combination of the goodness of Mother Theresa , the humour of Jerry Seinfield, and as good a teammate as Jean Beliveau – he can’t play defence anymore. If any other Montreal defenceman made as many mistakes as he did he would be exiled to Siberia. Last night Diaz carried him.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Great call on Maclean, he is atually worse than Cherry in many ways, he winds up the windbag and the cues him along.

      Funny how Cherry eventually had to tell the truth about Chara, his hate for all things Montreal just had to be exposed. The Village Idiot will not go away quietly.

  27. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Subban had an off game. Big deal. He is young, he will learn.

    I am more concerned with Cammalleri. He seemed lost on the ice at times last night (noticed this in preseason as well), he should just shoot towards the net whenever the puck hits his blade. He is a goal scorer and goal scorers shoot.

    Best player every night, a true talent who has great vision…Plekanec.

    I am still debating in my head as to why he was not chosen for the Captaincy, but am also concerned that he is not even wearing an A. The guy is a machine and after the Gionta, Gomez era, I hope they name him Captain and allow him to retire a Hab.

    How awful would they be without Pleks? I don’t want to think about an injury to him.

  28. slychard says:

    Mara? Funny you mention him and his rough play. I talked about him during the game last night saying how he played well when we brought him back last year and kept wondering why he wasn’t played during the Boston series. He knew his role and played it well. He was no pushover. If he’s to play like he did after we brought him back I’d take him in a heartbeat.

  29. Habfan29 says:

    Different season same old JM Crap…What are we paying Cole for?
    18 Million for a power forward that plays just over a minute on the PP????? and on the 3rd line to boot…. Pleky should not be on the point for th PP, Weber should be there. Campoli Hurt again and Betts hurt as well….What is up with the trainers on this team. Even though it is only one game I can see images of last year this team just does not compete and their play is a direct reflection of their Coach. JM could not beat the leafs when he was in Ottawa and he still cannot. This was a terrible game played by 2 terrible teams….. JM “Count Chocula” needs to go now. I just don’t see us making the playoffs if we as MC said “did not compete” against the leafs.

    I have been a HABS fan all my life but I do hope that they go on a losing streak to start the year so that JM is gone. If I remember correctly a better coach then JM, Jacques Demers was given the boot 10 games into the season after going 4 and 6…. Next game Sunday I see another lose to Winterpeg. It is going to be a long season………

  30. caladin says:

    Campoli was very soft last night.
    His injury was not related to that.

    • RiverviewCanadien says:

      I thought Campoli was one of our best Dman on the ice. You could really notice when he left the game.

      • AllHailTheFlower says:

        I would agree with Riverview. In fact, I think it’s really unfortunate he was injured, I think he might be a useful d-man on the PP – I’d rather have him back there and keep Plekanec as a forward.

  31. Propwash says:

    Some call Campoli soft due to a skate being caught in a rut and twisting his leg awkwardly.
    How does something like that make him a soft player?

  32. RH says:

    Snoozefest hockey at its best. What an utterly boring match between two supposed bitter rivals. I was glad I managed to stay awake for the entire game.

  33. slychard says:

    Actually I thought Gomez played well last night. He actually shot on net which I pointed out to my buddy. We were also both shocked to see JM call a time out. How many times we yelled for a time out during the playoffs not only last year but the year before has still left us coarse.

  34. WindsorHab-10 says:

    All the negative comments, doom/gloom & people hitting the panic button. Come on everyone, we’re Habs fans and it’s only one game out of 82.

    “Hate Bruins like a sickness”

    • Habfan29 says:

      yes but it is more of the JM sh_t!!! he is a dinosaur that cannot coach his way of of a paper bag. Cole needs to play more than 14 minutes a game, what did we get him for if he is going to play on the 3rd line!!!

      • tbovs says:

        Really ???!!! …. So Jacques Martin who has one of the best winning percentages out of all coaches period. A gold medal from the Olympics and who actually played in the league is useless. Maybe just maybe u should put your resume in….ya never know. As well there aren’t too many coaches with the resume Martin brings in. Also do you really think that anyone else is going to get the most out of his players or make them play better. He is getting the max talent out of his roster and I am just guessing here…but I;m pretty sure he doesn’t tell everyone to not shooot or if you are going to then just shoot at the goalies chest or miss the net. He stresses hard backchecking and accountability which translates into good D or should if your players don’t give the puck away oh wait I forgot…he tells them to give the puck to other teams if they don’t have anywhere else to pass it.

        To string up the coach is a scapegoat and there is no reason to think anyone could even remotely do better unless you can raise Toe from the dead.

        • Habfan29 says:

          who did he play for, he was a goalie for st. Lawrence University, he never played in the NHL and I don’t care what his winning percentage is, he has never won anything as a head coach. The only reason he is here is that he is bilingual period….His team play like he coaches behind the bench like bystanders…..

          • tbovs says:

            Other than the Jack Adams award and was nominated 2 other times. He also turned around Ottawa and St. Louis. But ya…your right … he is useless….and by the way…give me someone with a better record as a coach and better resume….He has coached at everylevel and has the respect of his peers and players…but I forgot…he is retarded and emotionless and looks like count chocula. REally…cmon.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I have never been a fan of JM, but have given him the benefit of the doubt for the past two seasons, i will give him a few more months (even though what i care means nothing in the grand scheme) but this argument of Jack Adams really means nothing.

            Bill Barber, Don Cherry, Bob Murdoch are also winners of the award, does that make them great coaches?

  35. tbovs says:

    The puck was bouncing on the Habs all night last night…the snow was horrible and the ice didn’t look good. That being said the leafs didn’t seemto have the same bouncing puck.

    Great effort in the first but just nothing to show for it. Reimer looked horrible in the first always looking behind him and just panicky. That didn’t change much for the latter part of the game the only thing that did was the fact the habs couldn’t get anygood shots at all during the last half of the game.

    We made the leafs look good, I don’t think they earned it. One great note is that Price looked great and steady. Good start for him and also for MaxPac who looked like there was no fear in him and looking like he didn’t care if he got hit and got into the corners.

    I really think that they could have used some more preseason games with full roster and hopefully we get Betts and Emelin in for Sun.

    All in all … bad finish = 1st loss. Just regroup and do better the next time.

  36. Habfan10912 says:

    Maybe Martin thinks this is like golf. The low score wins. There is a lot of skill on this club. No excuse to lose to a team like the leafs. We waited all summer for this?

  37. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Made the Leafs look like contenders again. Boys need to learn fast that winning requires 60 minutes not just 20.

    “Hate Bruins like a sickness”

  38. RetroMikey says:

    Was at the game, and we basically faltered after the first period.
    Our DMen will be worn out as the season progresses, just not physical enough to handle no skill, bigger players like Toronto.
    We just choked, plain and simple.
    But speed and skill are supposed to win you hockey games and that was not the case.
    A bitter to swallow when you can’t beat a bunch of no name, no skill players.
    Kudos to Toronto, whether they stole 2 points from us they will do it again.
    Still early, but it’s a long season and you’re supposed to win these games early in the season and our Habs failed.

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

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Mikey, good to hear you were at the game. Was it as silent there as the TV feed led me to believe?

      The way for our smaller team to compete against big no skill players is to actually pot our opportunities and convert on the power play. Based on last night’s showing we might need another couple pre-season games to get our rhythm.

      ———————————
      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

      • RetroMikey says:

        Trust me, the ACC Centre was so silent as it has always been since the Leafs moved there from the old Maple Leaf Gardens on Carleton Street which I sorely miss.
        Hockey is no the same for a Habs fan travelling to Toronto to see a game there now.
        I’d like them to bring hockey back on Boxing Day in Toronto where the Leafs would host the Canadiens.

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

  39. homerbowen says:

    Same old problem….
    1) Too small to compete
    2) Too soft to compete
    3) Lack grit
    4) Injury prone
    5) Coach from another era
    6) Team cancer $7.5M man

  40. HabinBurlington says:

    Not a good start….

    This edition of the Montreal Canadiens under the architecture of one JM seems to require all parts working equally to be effective. To me last night exposed our weakness down the middle, lack of a 4th line which provides energy while changing momentum of game. Also our lack of grit on the backend.

    We have players to help that, but not sure how long till we get them back. This current squad desperately needs to have a 4th line including Betts/White and a motivated Travis Moen

    Our 3rd line needs Ellers physical strength in the middle with AK and DD. The line can provide a forecheck and also give AK the opportunity to capitalize on other teams weaker lines. In that scenario he wins, against other teams top checking lines he loses. He is a bonus to have on the 3rd line, but is exposed on the 1st line.

    We simply need Emelin’s size at the back and therefore he needs to learn the game by playing. Eating Maple Leaf Brand Hot Dogs in the press box will not help this process.

    On the PP, I have no idea who should play the point with PK, I do think the 2nd wave should be Diaz and again no idea. I never thought I would say I miss Hamrlik, but he solves one of those shifts on the PP. Have to find someone.

    Get well Betts, Eller and White. Would say the same for Markov, but am starting to really wonder if and when that day ever comes…..man would he change this team IF healthy.

  41. Chris says:

    What a Jekyll and Hyde night, and to be fair the team that set the tone was Toronto, not Montreal. In the first period, Toronto flat-out stank and Montreal was able to dominate. In the second and third periods, Toronto was skating and hitting and Montreal had few answers to that.

    I’m not reading too much into the loss because I never expect much from the Habs in Toronto games. The disparity between the teams never seems to matter…the games are always tough and often frustrating as a Habs fan.

    That being said, I have been more than a little worried about the Leafs all summer…if Lombardi is truly healthy and Connolly can stay healthy when he returns (huge if), the Leafs are suddenly a team with three good centers. Last year, they had Grabovski and not much behind him. While it is fair to point out the missing Markov and Betts from the Habs line-up, let’s not forget the Leafs were also missing three key players (MacArthur, Connolly and Franson) that will make them that much better this season.

    As for the Habs:

    Subban was just brutal last night. I got the feeling he was just over-excited and was trying to do too much. Hopefully, with the home opener in Subban’s hometown out of the way, he’ll settle down.

    Mike Cammalleri did his best impression of Dany Heatley again last night, an impression that he is increasingly mastering. That some were arguing for him to be appointed captain last summer was mystifying. Who would want to emulate a guy who is brutal in his own zone and doesn’t appear to give a damn for much of the game? He’ll pop up to get his points, but does absolutely nothing for the rest of the game.

    Like Jane below, I was impressed with Diaz, the lone bright-spot on a blue-line that looked like it belonged in the AHL. He has a nice hard shot, was relatively poised under pressure and made good decisions.

    Okay, Jacques Martin…I can normally get behind you. But the fortunes of the Montreal Canadiens this season hinge on Scott Gomez up front. After what appeared to be a good pre-season and with Plekanec playing the point (more on that) on the PP, it stood to reason that Gomez would play the first wave PP. Nope…Desharnais played 5 minutes of PP time last night and was completely ineffecutal. Worst of all…Gomez and Plekanec, not the best face-off artists on the road by any stretch of the imagination, won 22 of their 38 draws. Desharnais won just 4 of 15 draws. What kind of message was that for Gomez?

    I absolutely despise how the Habs use Tomas Plekanec. I’ve always hated that he plays so much PK time…he’s not an elite player and can’t be used for 22-24 minutes per game without breaking down, and we see that every year. His performances down the stretch and in the playoffs leave much to be desired, offensively. But now they are using the team’s #1 center as a point-man on the PP to boot. What a colossal waste. Note to the Habs coaching staff; the old guy who struggles in the defensive zone wearing #6…he’s actually a left-side PP pointman in every other stop of his career. Might want to give that a whirl before you throw a center back there.

    In a game where the Habs had 8:36 of PP time and Campoli is injured early, Yannick Weber, who posseses perhaps the second best point shot on the team behind Subban, sees 55 seconds of action?

    The only forwards with less PP time than Erik Cole last night: Travis Moen and Andreas Enqvist. 4 years, $18 million to make Cole into a glorified third line role player. Oy oy oy….

    Off to a good start…one game, one too many men on the ice call. What is it with the Habs and counting? Guys, you only need one hand for this…if there is a player in the same colour as you not wearing goalie pads for every digit on your hand, DON’T JUMP OVER THE WALL. Ai ai ai…

    On to Winnipeg.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Agree on the Gomez Power Play opinion. DD is nice with the puck, but can’t carry it like Gomez (lack of speed/experience from DD shows). Perhaps they need to try Gomez with PK on the back of that PP not sure. I would suggest Weber with PK but that means playing Weber and I dont think when White/Betts/Eller get healthy there is room at forward and I would rather have Emelin on the blueline than Weber, because we need the size.

  42. Fabio D says:

    To quote the annointed one in Toronto…..”with a couple of posts, and missed shots, they could have scored 3-4….they (Habs) pretty much earned the shut out.”

    Great sound bite for the T.O. media. Now Toronto is pumped up for their season and Montreal’s confidence is shaky.

    Waiting for game 20 before making any serious criticism of the team. But from what I’ve read from the posters thus far, not disagreeing much.

  43. Mats Naslund says:

    Betts will be a huge part of ensuring Pleky doesn’t have too many nights killing huge penalty minutes. Hamrlik was a warrior, but unless he was going to score he wouldn’t have helped much. The Canadiens were far too predictable in the back half of that game. A little puck luck would have been nice though.

  44. slychard says:

    PG brought in Betts, a PK specialist in order to ( hopefully ) alleviate Pleckkys work load on the PK. We’ll see how that pans out once he hits the ice, hopefully Sunday. As for Ladouceur being behind the bench that would make for quite a crowded area what with adding a translator to convey instructions to Emelin. Which one of Randy and Perry gets bumped? Feelings can be hurt. All in all the game left me wanting to switch the channel to a chick flick where I’d certainly find more rough play in a cat fight. Oh well, it’s just game one of a loooooong season. At least the bruins lost. Did the cup banner self combust on the way to the rafters?

  45. hirky says:

    What I missed in tonights game was the lack of fire under MC13, who ‘really wanted to play in TO’ last year. The top line wasnt good enough. Also, where were the end to end rushes by Gomez? Last year they depended on him to carry the puck up the ice, this year they have to decided to let the defense pass to no one on several occassions. A break-out drill is needed during their next practice.

    I am not on the ‘sky is falling’ bandwagon after 1 game. I believe Sunday’s game is going to be a winner. If the Flyers can spoil the banner raising the Habs can spoil the return of the Thrash….er…Jets.

    I think the grit of Emelin will be a welcomed addition, I think that they need that right now. I am still on the fence about the Diaz buzz, I just dont get it right now.

    On the topic of Woywitka, do you really think the Rangers will keep this guy? I am sure he will hit waivers again once Staal comes back. I think the Habs, if they can, should pick him up again. He is a great depth guy. Not sure how that works though.

    I was reading an article yesterday and wondered 1 thing. Why did the Habs choose Budaj over Pascal Leclaire? I didnt realize ol Pascal wasnt playing anywhere. I realize he isnt the greatest goalie but I think he has better odds of winning games on his own without help than Budaj does.

    Well I hope i started some new discussions, if not i hope readers enjoyed my rambling.

    GO HABS GO!!!!

    • Vladdy Mondavi says:

      Hirky, I think the concern with Leclaire is he would injure himself with a plastic fork while eating a poutine from La Belle Province before getting into a game.
      The guy’s made out of straw.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Yah, i mean Pascal gets hurt in warmups of games he isn’t even starting. Has always had talent, but nothing else to go with it. We don’t need more injury prone players. And last night Budaj had nothing to do with our teams issues.

  46. JF says:

    Mike, I’ve also had premonitions that the loss of Hamrlik would haunt us, although the last pre-season game was encouraging. But we missed him last night, and we’ll miss him more if Markov is out for any length of time and P.K. goes through a sophomore slump.

    It will be good for Emelin to get some ice time. He can’t be sent to Hamilton; if he’s kept out of the game too long, his pride will be stung and his motivation will likely fade. JM will have to be patient with him because he brings size and an element of physical toughness our defence corps sorely needs.

    I’m hoping the insertion of Blair Betts into the lineup will mean Plekanec spends less time killing penalties. As for the powerplay, it’s always a work in progress at the beginning of the season. I’m not panicking yet.

  47. PrimeTime says:

    One forgotten point…..a carry over from last year. Does Cammy have the thinnest blade in the NHL? Every pass jumps his stick! Drives me nuts he can’t accept a pass!

  48. PrimeTime says:

    1. Cherry needs to pack it in – the game has way passed him. I hope CBC coverage soon follows.
    2. PK needs to reel it in a bit for a few games until he gets the “flow” back.
    3. Max was surprisingly unimpressive. To much build up?
    4. DD also very unimpressive….maybe he needs to fight for a spot to get him going.
    5. This team plays like a speedy 4cyl car but has no power when needed.
    5. AKost hasn’t changed….his hockey IQ has to in the bottom 5%
    6. JM is still trying to win playing the game as he always has….maybe it works best in the playoffs but this team needs another dimension to be sure to get there.
    7. At least we’re tied with the Bruins!?! Ugh

    • HabinBurlington says:

      The Cherry thing was such a joke. I mean yes I agree Max should not have pushed Chara after that goal, it was a stupid immature young players reaction after scoring a huge goal. But to somehow equate that the solution was to have Chara nearly kill the player is beyond absurd.

      While Cherry kept showing all of Scott Stevens late headhunting hits, I found myself yelling at the TV GOod, I am glad we won’t see those hits again.

      More importantly however, was Cherry’s character assassination of Nilan. Did he actually see/read Nilan’s opinion. Obviously not, Laraque I have no empathy for, he is perhaps the most perplexing tough guy in the history of the game. But Nilan wore his heart on his sleeve and was brutally honest in his characterization of his role and what happened to his life at the end of his career and post retirement. Cherry misconstrued Nilan’s comments and I would love to see Nilan and Cherry in a cage match (Yes Hypocritical I know, since i want a reduction of violence in the game, not hitting, Violence).

    • swannyboy says:

      Very well said PRIMETIME

  49. habs913 says:

    -I can’t believe how badly JM used Cole…. hardly saw him all game
    – I didn’t think AK had a good game… lots of turnovers
    – Pacioretty was invisible as well
    – Hopefully that game wasn’t a preview of things to come for Subban
    – Can’t wait to see Markov and Eller back in the lineup

    To a better game against the Peg and DEFINITELY some improved coaching…. is JM aware preseason is over?

    GO HABS GO

  50. RGM says:

    Nicely said, Boone. The first goal was a real momentum killer. Habs had the ice titled for that entire first period, but after the goal the compete level dropped off substantially. It’s only a measly loss to start the year, not the first time it’s happened, the most maddening thing about it will be having to endure Leafs fans who feel that they’ve just taken Game 1 of the Cup Finals instead of Game 1 of an 82-game regular season.

    ———————–
    GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is our year!

    • arrybai says:

      My concern this year will be how JM utilizes his players.

      Pleks on the point for the pk not a good idea.

      Eric Cole on the bench during the pp is not what I envisioned when he was signed for $18 m. I guess this way Gomez becomes the main go to guy on the pp.

      “A game worth playing is a game worth winning”

  51. HabinBurlington says:

    Given we lost Woywitka on waivers if Campoli is out long term, isn’t Mara still unemployed? I know JM hates to play him because he engages in physical contact, but really

  52. Chris says:

    The post was not “too long”, you just didn’t want to read it all. :)

    As for the JM point, I will freely confess that was exactly my fear going into the second. To be fair, many an NHL team has been deflated in similar fashion when they aren’t rewarded for a dominating performance. That the first goal was a SH goal added fuel to the fire.

  53. Habfan29 says:

    I agree with everything you said but you lostm me when you said the Reimer looks like the real deal, give me a break he might have gotten a shuout but it was more of team shutout then him, he was always looking bedhind him…


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