About last night …

As usual, Dany Dubé offered cogent post-game analysis on CKAC.

He said the Canadiens were, oddly, victims of the Bruins game.

They beat Boston 7-4. They had 52 shots. There was skating, fights.

It was everything a fan could want. But it wasn’t Montreal Canadiens hockey.

They tried to run and gun with Ottawa, and the Canadiens got run over and gunned down. They’re simply not good enough to play wide-open hockey aginst a team as skilled as the league-leading Senators.


It was disappointing that the Canadiens couldn’t offer a better
defensive showing on Larry Robinson night. Andrei Markov and Mike
Komisarek were each minus-two, even rock-steady Roman Hamrlik made some
errant passes under Ottawa’s forechecking pressure. Cristobal Huet made
some big stops but also yielded the kind of fat, juicy rebounds that
Carey Price never seems to give up.

The Canadiens had 36 shots, but not many of them were dangerous. The
forwards should have done more to obstruct the vision and mess with the
concentration of Martin Gerber, a physically small goaltender who saw
everything and stopped almost everything, except for shots by Guillaume
Latendresse and Christopher Higgins.

Everyone remembers him being bombed out of the Carolina nets in the
playoffs two years ago, but in seven regularseason games against the
Canadiens Gerber has won six times.

Guy! Guy! Guy! played one of his better games last night. He fought off
massive Christof Schubert to score his goal. Michael Ryder continues to
work hard and hit. The Tomas Plekanec line had its moments.

There was a total-domination sequence in the first period when Ottawa didn’t touch the puck for a good 90 seconds.

But in the end, the better team won.

• • •

• Bryan Smolinski is struggling. I hope it’s just a bad spell and not an indication that an older player is fading fast.

• Mikhail Grabovski is not ready for the NHL. And at that size, he may never be.

• Josh Gorges might have helped last night.

• Ominous word from Hamilton: no one stands out as ready to help the big club.


On to Long Island – for a game that’s going to be really tough.


  1. Lee Hayes says:

    Wow, for thirteen months old you’ve really got your s#!& down tight!

    Go Habs Go

  2. Bouleau noir says:

    Like dan23 said… “the Isles are looking pretty big in the rear view mirror”,…. I am ready for a change and I am looking forward to see the Habs playing against a team outside our division,… specially one of the better one.

    Those challenges bring new elements and are significant to the fans that are still grasping to know what makes their teams thick,… as we are closing in on the first 20 games of the season.

    One of our problem last season was that we played an out-dated conservative defensive type of game that didn’t capitalised on our ultimate forte….. our power play.

    We had the best PP efficiency in the league last season…. yet there is no benefit about having such if teams are not taking penaltys when they play against you,… thats what happen last year…. the CH 5 on 5 play last year couldn’t generate PP opportunities… they were practically dead last in the number of PP opportunities as a result.

    So althought I believe about playing good defence I also believe that the CH wont be winning as they ought to unless they keep forcing the play in the offensive zone and so as to keep provoking the other teams into fouling…. if they dont, we will, like last year, waste away the advantage of having the most efficient PP in the league.

  3. Moey says:

    I agree too, Price is not a superstar, yet. He gets the job done but he’s not ready to take over # 1. In Montral, you’re only as good as your last game it seems. If Price gets blown out one of these days, then Huet will become the greatest thing since sliced bread for the next game and so on. Patience is key, Bob & Guy have a plan and they know best.

  4. Moey says:

    Hey Plekster,

    I think in and around 20 games now gives us all a license to chirp. Someone pointed it out to me a few months back about the team losing confidence if the goaltending becomes suspect. It makes sense, if you feel no-one has your back, you would start to get panicky and change your style of play. I agree with you 100%.

  5. Bouleau noir says:

    Hall of Fame post here from Krob1000.

    By the way, Larry’s evening last night was just great…..the guy was and still remains awesome.

    I enjoyed the game also, specially on how the CH managed to peppered Gerber in the first… the game plan of getting the lead first was right and we came darned close to do it as Gerber couldn’t control the rebounds even thought he made all the saves.
    OTT was opportunistic but I like the run and gun type of game that our team played afterward…. I mean when you are short of two goals all night long anything else would just be too silly….. they played to win so they did the wright thing… but Kovalev’s ice time of 16 minutes seems totaly innapropriate in a game were we had to made up for a two goal defecit from the first period onward…. a well…

  6. ebk says:

    I agree with what you, the notion of turning over the #1 job to Price seems more like run away expectations than actual performance. That is not to knock Price, he has played well.

    Huet since the Toronto game has played very well. He was the biggest reason why they beat the Sabres 2-0. He almost stole them a game against the Senators but got beat by a couple of late goals. The last two games he’s giving up 4 goals in each game. Without him playing the way he is, the scores could have and should have been much worse. Shots aside, Buffalo and Ottawa controlled those games.

    The juicy rebounds are a reflection of the type of chance the teams are getting in the first place. He’s making the first save on some excellent scoring chance and after scrambling to make that save, rebound control is the last thing he’s worrying about. When the defense tightens up and stops giving up such good scoring chances, I would think his rebound control will greatly improve.

  7. krob1000 says:

    Agreed……Nolan’s Islanders just walked into MSG and beat the hottest team in the NHL over the last ten games (9-1) before that loss. THey are far from pushovers and are actually probably going to be the favourites as far as professional betting lines go givent he game is in their building.

  8. Dan23 says:

    Price is playing well, but I would not say that he’s playing better than Huet. I would say that the Habs seem to score more goals for Price than they do for Huey.

    Smolinski and Dandenault have been a little more invisible of late, which is a bit disconcerting because they’ve made important contributions this season, particularly when the team is winning.

    Defensively, players missed some critical assignments last night which directly contributed to goals. Our penalty killing continues to be below average, and Ottawa has the firepower to take advantage of that.

    I keep getting frustrated with all the missed passes and chippy plays that seem to be infiltrating the Habs play over the past 5 games – Ottawa beat them to the puck all night, and that’s going to be murder on your overall puck possession.

    Hopefully the team takes a collective breath and gets back to what has worked for them in the past: solid defence, taking advantage of power plays, and great goaltending.

    Ted Nolan’s Islanders are no pushovers, and they’re looking pretty big in the rearview mirror…

  9. Plek-Andrew says:

    Turns out Huet is in nets on wednesday.

    Oh and I don’t understand why people think Grabovski isn;t ready for the NHL. Did you see him FLY and create so many chances during the game? He had good chances himself and had some amazing dekes that people couldn’t capitalize on. I’ve been a Grabovski fan since day one and that’s not gonna change. Keep giving him a chance.

    Look at Kostitsyn. Everyone was asking why he was on the roster and when they put him on the second line and KEPT HIM THERE, he had 3 goals in 4 games and some amazing plays with my boy Pleky.

    Grabovski needs to find himself on a line where he can score. the 3rd or 4th is not necessarily the best idea but he does need to play with Latendresse who can toss bodies around and lure two players to him against the boards as Grabovski gets open for a shot or a pass. That’s the way I see it.

    He will shine soon enough. Plek-Andrew said it first.

  10. Naila Jinnah says:

    Parts of the ceremony is available on RDS’s Zone Video. You can watch the intro/ovation, the speech, and the banner being raised.

  11. christophurrr says:

    agreed 100%

  12. krob1000 says:

    I don’t know if I believe Price will be in nets on Wednesday. I think they wil go with Huet and start Price on Friday in Buffalo. Huet was not responsible for that loss in any shape or form. Momentary lapses against a team that thrives on even the smallest of mistakes is what cost us.

    I know this won’t be popluar on here as everyone seems to be calling for Jesus Price our saviour to take over but I don’t think he is ready yet. Yes he has played fairly strong and he is does have the potential to excel….he is not a better goalie than Huet right now and to suggest so is foolish in my opinion. As for the confidence thing suggested by Plek-Andrew I agree on the importance of confidence but I don’t believe that you can honestly say that the 20 guys on the bench have more confidence in Price right now than Huet. I don’t think a statement like that makes sense or perhaps we should have our guys undergo some sort of mental evaluation. All-Star goalie vs. Rookie……who would your confidence be in??? The simple fact is that the players need confidence in themselves and each other and the goalied (whichever it may be) needs confidence in himself and from the team and management (which both have).

    Price has let far more “softies” in than Huet and that is to be expected…he is a rookie. If we are to act upon 7 or 8 starts than why don’t we trade for Pascal Leclaire or Dany Sabourin….or give the no. 1 to Halak after all he was great for his first ten or so games.

    We are jumping the gun here and I don’t think you are going to see Gainey rush along his organizations no. 1 asset. He is a patient man with no regard for the ridiculous expectations that the Montreal media and fans place upon whoever the lucky Canadiens netminder du jour is. Huet’s save percentage and goals against are both better than Price’s and I think the reality of the situation is that guys may in fact be playing better in front of Price…..not because they are more confident…..probably because they need to at this stage.

    They are both good goalies (Huet is as mentioned above a top ten goalie right now). Price will be better than that ….as long as he is not rushed and handed too much responsibility too early. I fully believe that Price could probably fill the role of a no. 1 right now but it is still not the right thing to do…..yet. Look at Theodore, Fleury, Dipietro….goaltending is about confidence as Plek Andrew stated and yes Price has a very calm demeanour but I disagree that Huet doesn’t. Last year when Huet was turning heads across the league his claim to fame was his “cool demanour” now it is supposedly gone….I doubt it.

    Rejoice folks we have two (arguably three) great goalies in our organization……who are both confident and calm….lets keep it that way.

  13. christophurrr says:


    i know what you mean about losing confidence and nothing seems to go right from there… been there a few too many times

  14. Plek-Andrew says:

    Oh and guys, the Habs have played 20 games and are now 11-6-3.

    People pointed out earlier in the season that after 20 games, we should give our analysis.

    Just wanted to throw it out there. Now’s the time, folks!

  15. Cable Guy says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Plek-Andrew….

  16. likehoy says:

    I don’t think Price should play against the Islanders, in fact, he shouldn’t be in the building.

    It’d be a bad omen to have Price watch Dipietro play, a young touted goaltender going top pick, then sucking for a few years until now. We don’t Price to follow the same path. Lets hope he doesn’t pick up anything from Dipietro, (except maybe the 15 year contract…in fact…Gainey better be working on that 15 year contract with Price).

  17. Will Longlade says:

    I tend to agree with other posters who have commented that Price should be given the opportunity to play more, including back to back games. Although Montreal’s defensive zone coverage left much to be desired last night and they were clearly outchanced by the Senators, the team was undeservedly in the game until their momentum was seized by the juicy rebound Huet gave up on Ottawa’s fourth goal. Although Price has let in his share of soft ones recently, he seems to be able to make the saves when the game is on the line. IMO, his win/loss record is not a fluke. It’s a reflection of his talent and competitive spirit. As for Huet, maybe he needs to play more frequently to keep his game primed. If that’s the case, Montreal’s plan to ease Price into the starting role by splitting the goaltending duties may not be ideal.

    Even though the Hab’s lost to Ottawa for the third straight time this year, there were many positives that can be drawn from last night’s tilt:

    1. The continued strong play of Kovy (who Ottawa were clearly targeting all night) who is endearing himself to Hab’s fans with his rejuvenated play, but alas, is still not a referee favourite. They allowed the Sens to take liberties with him all night.

    2. Ryder is beginning to find his old groove (the second straight game that he has been his old self by my count),as is Lats.

    3. The guys on the team continue to look out for each other. Volenchenko was made to pay big time for his cheap shot on Ryder.

    Here’s to the Habs bouncing back against the Isles.

  18. Plek-Andrew says:

    Alright guys here are my two cents.

    I was starting to post yesterday before the game but ended up closing the browser cuz I was writing a novel since I haven’t posted here in close to two weeks.

    The way I see it, YES it was a disappointing loss. Again. To the Ottawa F. Senators (credit to Boone i CRY everytime I read those names). And I would say it was rather close… Let me explain.

    So we lost by 2 goals against the best (arguably) team in the league. True. But every single goal they scored was a pretty shitty goal. Here’s what I mean.

    Needless to say, we didn’t play defense last night but on offense, we still managed 38 shots and Gerber made the saves look easy, especially with his newfound confidence this season. So it’s not to say they were non-threatening, Gerber played an amazing positional game, that’s all. We scored two goals, they scored only 2 more WHEN WE WEREN’T PLAYING DFENSE. If you compare this loss to the Bruins’ loss, they are not the same at all. We completely dominated Boston and beat them 7-4 (Price let in 2 weak goals I wanted to point that out earlier but it doesn’t matter in a 7-4 win). We lost 4-2 against Ottawa and they really, REALLY didn’t dominate us. In fact, they were pretty horrible. All 4 goals were basically 2 on 1’s. seeing as how we didn’t cover the pass on defense. So no, it wasn’t a horrible loss. Once again, as it has been against Ottawa this year, all 3 losses have been promising losses.

    Huet… Well… I was gonna say last night how I feel the team has overall better confidence with Price before the game started. I’ll explain why. On Sunday night, I played my worst goaltending ever. Practically every shot went in, I’m not kidding. What happens? The people in front of you lose confidence in you, and even Plek-Andrew starts second-guessing himself. What happens then? Everyone panics. And the moment the goalie (most important position in hockey) panics, everyone else does and makes careless mistakes. My D would try to block the shots for me instead of taking the pass on 2 on 1’s, almost everytime SCREENING me.

    My theory is very simple. Price does not panic. Huet TENDS to (not all the time though) and has been a bit shaky since his loss in Toronto.

    Price is obviously gonna be in nets on wednesday and Carbo is gonna stop this rotating nonesense and go with the hot hand. If Huet (God knows he’s a top 10 goalie in this league right now) Has a bad game, he doesn’t DESERVE the right to goaltend if Price wins the next one. Price does. And seeing Price succeed will make Huet work twice as hard to earn his spot again.

    It’s called competition.

  19. christophurrr says:

    ugh, boone et al, i just posted anonymously by accident, don’t worry about it.

    basically the gist of it was:

    yes, huet gave up some big rebounds, but the d should be there to clear them away. i think only one of the goals was off a rebound, but even at that, the sens guy outhustled the habs dman to the puck (sorry for sounding like cole and neale). on prettymuch every other goal there was an open sen in the slot. where the hell was the d?

    to jamesb33: yeah, price may have done better… if he had the sens d playing in front of him instead of ours

    but anyways, thankfully it seems like it was just an off night for the defence, and not a regular occurance.

  20. jamesb33 says:

    Guy21 – you are right. simply outworked/hustled/played. That’s bottom line.

    although…scorers can be had on any team. Ryder is streaky, just hasn’t found his timing yet (*hopefully he will soon) kovy is playing very good all around hockey, bothways (most of the time) which is excellent. but we need higgins and pleks to start hitting the stride with G’s and big plays soon. that all comes from where? HARDWORK – Legs moving – brains on standby and play the way they know how!


  21. likehoy says:

    Just want to mention that Grabs was told to get an apartment, he won’t be sent down.

    IF he does get sent down, expect him to be playing in europe next year, this is the last year of his contract, and Russian teams want him just like they wanted Perezhogin.

    but on side notes, Huet/Price have both been great, and there is no clear hot hand and the rotation has worked so far, except that Huet is constantly put underfire cuz of weak goals.

    and there are no bonafide power forwards available, if you think of the ones that are proven, they’ve been signed to long term contracts, (e.g. penner, cole, bertuzzi, iginla) and the ones that are unproven are just about as far in their development as latendresse is (like bernier), in fact, i think the NHL has a shortage of power forwards at the moment.

    though a player that acts like a powerforward but not that big, dustin brown, would be a player we could trade for. LA needs a goalie, we have a couple of them. Mind you, brown just signed a long term contract, but he’s top 10 in hits in the NHL.

  22. Guy21 says:

    Grabovski is a boy-he doesn’t even shave-why would Gainey tell him to get an apartment??Lapierre was much better.Latendresse scores a fluke goal-falls down again-maybe he needs double blades on his skates.We need a forward who can play and be strong-like Corson or Muller or Gainey…..there must be someone like that in the NHL today isn’t there?There must have been a sign that said ‘OPEN” in front of the goal because any Ottawa player that felt like skating there could do so untouched.No wonder I saw Larry leaving early-you would not stand around in front of the net when he played-you would be laying in front of the net because he would flatten you.
    Great way to say thanks Larry….we’ll play like you didn’t…..Soft D— lazy forwards….did you ever notice that Ottawa never coasts-their feet are always moving and usually quite quickly.Our D coasts into the corner to get the puck and then make a blind pass….I’m really disappointed with the last couple of games……

  23. jamesb33 says:

    Anyone think Price would have fared any better in this contest. (here nor there, but makes for good debate).

    Hope the habs can pick up the trails of the defense and put it together. it’s there, but they are not focused; like Pat said, they are not able to run-and-gun with these guys (Sens).


  24. saskhab says:

    I missed the ceremony and the first period (I trust the ceremony will be available online somewhere to watch at my leisure), but I can say this, Huet is not at fault at all on the last 2 goals which were just shoddy own-zone coverage and a lot of standing around.

    It is simply unacceptable to let Dany Heatley walk to the front of the net without even having to make one clever move to get open. Komisarek & Dandenault had bad communication on that one as Komi went behind the net (to make 2 d-men below the goal line) and everyone was watching the puck. The final Ottawa goal saw about 4 Montreal defenders within the slot, but not one of them seeking Ottawa players to guard making that rebound an easy one for Ottawa to pick up.

    Montreal outplayed Ottawa in terms of possession in the final two periods, but Ottawa was airtight in front of their net in allowing the Habs to get close in chances. Before a Hab could get set with the puck, there was a man on him, forcing the Hab to turn his back to the net to try and make a play and protect the puck. You can even see this on Latendresse’s PP goal, which he threw blindly at the goal and luckily snuck it in 5-hole (which Lats couldn’t see or aim at).

    It seemed one team knew how Robinson played and the other didn’t. You can guess which one was which, it was pretty self-evident.

  25. DYCSoccer17 says:

    Huet never really seemed like he was in the game. He didn’t make and big saves. Ottawa’s early PPG really set the tone and Montreal could never catch up.

    Montreal did fine in the run ‘n gun game. They just kept hitting Gerber in the crest with their shots and Huet’s head was never in this game.

    Another observation is that the Habs had a TON of shots towards goal, but it seems like Ottawa got a stick on all many of their shots and many of their passes.

    Hopefully they bounce back.

  26. krob1000 says:

    You people are sneaky….always hiding out in Boone’s blog here. I just figured it out.

    The Senators have been dominant for years….we are just not as good as them….yet. That is not to say we can’t be but we need a full roster effort where as they can coast along on Alfie, Spezza and Heatley. I thought the first period was fantastic and the 2-0 score was not a reflection of that period. We had chances but when they got a chacnce it was a beauty and they capitalize. On another day we come out of that period being up 2-0.

    People are asking guys to shoot the puck and then criticizing them when they do. Yes there were several shots from different angles….so what….if a rebound is surrendered from an off angle shot the goalie will be out of position. I thought Gerber and the Sens just did an efficent job and didn’t allow rebounds or rebounds to be retrieved by us.

    Someone else mentioned the down low coverage in our end and short passes in front of our net and our inability it seems to defend these. The first Spezza pass to Niel was just bum luck as it was not a nice saucer pass….in fact if our defenseman hadn’t touched it the puck would have been eight inches in the air and a goal would not have resulted…..tough break. We do have difficulty as was pointed out by the commentators on Sportsnet covering the Senators in our own end in trying to contain them. They would play on the perimeter….bring us to a halt on defence and then someone would dive into open space for an instant and they would find them. They also used pseudo pick plays and resembled a basketball team trying to play for one quality shot…..it worked. Even on our power plays the Sens did not defend like this instead they forced us to try and play inside so as to insure that they were never flat footed and at the same time it forced quicker decisions by us.

    Huet did not play poorly yet at the same time he did not play outstanding. None of the goals were really soft and he would have had to make fantastic saves to stop them…he didn’t.

    I thought Kovalev could have tied the game in the third with his missed semi-breakaway and when he was hit from behind into the net (should have been a penalty). We outshot them and we outhit them…..I would even go as far to say we outworked them……they outthought us and outscored us.

    I do see a major fault right now that has been recently exposed with our guys (in my opinio anyway) and that is the ease with which we allow our confidence to be deflated early on. You could see the frustration and confidence disappearing after being down 2-0 despite playing pretty well. I thought the same thing happened in the Buffalo game. Guys have to stay up and realize the game is long and hard work eventually pays off. As bad as the second period (last half) and early third period were Kovalev almost tied the darn game. Positivity and confidence are one in the same and very contagious…..as are frustration and negativity.

    It is a long season and we are a young team so reading to much into our performances against the Senators is not the best idea to instill confidence. They are the class of the league and responsible for three of our losses….keep your chins up fellas…you’ve done us proud.

  27. MathMan says:

    About the Habs’ lack of a scorer — I agree that an elite finisher would be a great luxury. But it wouldn’t be to take Montreal to offensive respectability — it would be to take Montreal’s offense over the top.

    People do not seem to realize that Montreal is one of the highest-scoring teams in the league already. Yes, a lot of those goals are on the power play, but they all count. Montreal is currently sixth in goals for per game, and that’s despite having no big names on offense.

    Adding an elite guy, a 30 or 40 goal game-breaker, or for Higgins and/or Ryder to become that 30/40 goal guy again would make Montreal an extremely dangerous team. What’s really needed though is a guy who can generate more offense 5-on-5.

  28. FastRonnie says:

    Bottom line: Ottawa is a very strong team who played a slightly above average team in Mtl.

    Some observations:

    -while I’m no fan of him, Lats did play a really good game and showed some promise. Can we expect to see more of that intensity on Wed. vs. Isles and for the remainder of the season? My gut says no, but more power to him if he can help the team like he did last night.

    -I agree that even with great speed, Grabs isn’t NHL stuff. I don’t want to be difficult, but I don’t think he’s got the stuff even if he were playing on the top 2 lines. He gets pushed off the puck too easily and hasn’t shown much flash or finish. Granted, he hasn’t had many games to prove his worth, but I think he’ll be Hamilton bound soon.

    -I do think that either S. Kostitsyn or M. d’Agostini should be given a shot at the big game. They had good pre-season camps with the Habs and so far are having good a season in Hamilton. LaPierre had some really good games last season, but seemed to fade into the woodwork after a while. Maybe he wasn’t ready? Is he now? He also is having a very strong start to the season in Hamilton. But are these guys the missing piece to our scoring puzzle? NO, although they could bump the stats a bit.

    -Huet had a decent game, but I think Price needs a chance to play back-to-back games. Should Carbo play the hot hand until it cools? I think so. Both seem capable of playing as #1, but Price has yet to earn his stripes. Give him a chance to string a few W’s together.

    -Ottawa had a 3rd pass in our zone all night and it usually ended up in the slot. The D had a nice first row seat to the game, but they need to play with more intensity and grit in front of Huet. I don’t care how skilled the Sens are, our D didn’t give them a lot of trouble. I noticed they were soft in front of the crease after Huet made a save, as if to say “nice shot, sir. now would you kindly vacate the blue ice?” What should have been displayed was more of a “get the hell out of here, and next time you come round you’ll have to pay the ferryman” approach.

    -nice to see Ryder posing a threat to the opposition again. He’s been shooting and you can see his confidence creeping back. His stick handling and passes have drastically improved. Let’s hope he can play like that consistently.

    -we need a bonafide power forward that strikes fear in our opponents. We have Kovy who has great hands and always creates a stir, but we need a #1 line guy who can do that and more! A trade has to be in the works soon, but for who I don’t know…

  29. likehoy says:

    Bring back Perezhogin.

    He can skate, works hard and can take a hit. (and also give one, he ended keith primeau’s career).

    We should trade Grabovski as part of at deal for a star player…maybe like Jagr. We jipped the Rangers once before, we can do it again! Besides, look at the history of Jagr trades, all the players he’s been traded for don’t even play in the NHL anymore…except Anson Carter. http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=343&hubname=nhl-rangers

    But really, Grabs has to play on a line that is either so fast that they don’t have time to hit him, or on a line where his two wingers are so big that they’re going to cause enough trouble that grabs will have more room. The former seems more possible than the latter on our team, and hopefully we find a way to realize his potential, but it’s not looking good.

    Do you think anyone in Hamilton sees a roster spot available and would try to step up their game??

  30. The Ian Cobb says:

    Mike Boone– To bad you did not get your 400. A couple of things, 1 Maybe # the posts as before, 2 Go back to regular time clock. It is much simpler for simpletons like me to follow and partisapate!

  31. fun police says:

    Does anyone else feel that maybe it’s time to let price play a few games in a row. It’s not that huet played bad, but he didn’t play great either. that first goal squeezed right through him. also, carbo should put one of those toddler wrist bands with the cords on him, this way he can’t roam to far from the crease. i also think that huets lack of ability to play the puck hurts us when teams dump it in.
    my biggest complaint about last nights game is that kovy only played 16 minutes when i thought that everytime he was on the ice he created chances. with eight minutes left in the game, carbo was still rolling four lines. dandy, begin, chips are not going to bring us back from a two goal deficit.

  32. OldGrover says:

    Some thoughts :

    * Lats showed last night why they are keeping him around – I thought he played his best game and was physically dominant. He scored that goal with a big ape hanging off him and there were a couple of times he fought with two Sens players and did well. He made some good moves, he was tough and he generally showed what I was hoping he would show – that he can be a good, strong power forward in this league. Hope he keeps it up

    * Defensive zone coverage SUCKED. Big time. Sad on a night when one of the best had their jersey retired. Damn that was bad coverage

    * Huet played well, but not great – he didn’t rob anyone and he would have had to to keep them in it.

    * The second line still looks dangerous – they had a number of chances

    * Koivu’s line is looking better offensively

    * I thought there were a number of non-calls on the Sens, which really ticked me off that they called a lame call on Montreal in the last few minutes. Yeah, you call the game the same the whole way through, but if you just missed calls…

    * Overall, we COULD have won the game, had the bounces gone our way, but the better team did win. I agree that the shots flattered Montreal, but they did have a number of close in chances that they just couldn’t capitalize on

  33. Thumper says:

    I enjoyed large parts of the Habs game, I liked the speed going forward and I thought the effort was superb. If we play in that vain we will win more than we lose I’m sure.

    What I did notice was our lack of attention to Senators in front of Huet, the defence has to make that a no go zone for opposing teams.

    The defence when on the attack needs to keep an eye on defence, in the first 10 minutes we could have been 4 down with their breakaways.

    Latendresse, I think he had a great game as I think did just about all of the attacking players, i think the defence was the sloppy link.

    But please do not go back and stop this attacking play, it will win out at the end.

  34. howtathor says:

    I heard that Smolinski and Chipchura have swapped lines for tonight. Personally I’ve always felt that Maxime Lapierre would be more effective in an energy role on the third or fourth line. Look at how Chipchura has thrived given the ice time in the NHL. Lapierre proved last year that he was an impact player, in a Linsemanesque sense.
    With all due respect to Bob Gainey or whoever is making the player decisions for the Canadiens, the future is NOW. I never did agree with either the Smolinski signing or the Brisbois for that matter. Why take valuable ice time from two legitimate sparkplugs like Lapierre and Gorges. That bieng said, I think Grabovski is having a difficult time adjusting to the NHL and that is a problem if neither S. Kostitsyn or D’agostini, or Ferland or Pacioretti are ready for prime time. Heck, why not call up Beauregard from Cincinnati! Should be a good game on the island tonight…a homecoming of sorts for Higgy and Komi. Go Habs!

  35. Cable Guy says:

    Tough loss last night. We will be in tough to beat Islanders tomorrow night. Grabs should be sent down and Lapierre brought up, we need another gritty player that isn’t afraid to get dirty in front of the net. Huet looked human again, I think we should ride Price for a couple consecutive games and see what he can do.

  36. nightmare_49 says:

    That’s exactly right and it actually started when we were way behind in Buffalo and we opened it up. It’s fun to play in a wide open game for the players but with our team the results won’t be there. We just got to go back to the style that got us where we are especially against a well coached team like the Islanders. I’m more concerned about our coach and some of his decisions he made last night during the game. The revolt will be starting with the kindling wood furnished by Carbo.

  37. Wops says:

    I love Carbonneau and it is not my intention to diss him:

    but what the hell was Grabovski doing on the ice against the Spezza line??? Especially at home… it is unacceptable.

  38. J.T. says:

    Question: What do Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Danny Heatley, Olli Jokinen, Alex Ovechkin and Vincent Lecavalier have in common?

    Answer: They’re all elite goal scorers and none of them play for Montreal.

    That’s the Habs’ problem in a nutshell. They don’t have the firepower they need to play the game they want. So they have to play a disciplined, tight defensive game instead. When they don’t, last night happens.

    Now, to be fair, that was a tough assignment against the Sens, because Ottawa is a better team. They can crank it at will against just about any other squad. They were inspired to crank it last night because of their loss to the leafs and because of the emotion of the Robinson ceremony. The Sens are fast and strong and forecheck like demons. Faced with that aggression AND the great finishers with Ottawa, the defence looked confused and ordinary. The D played too close to their goal, backed in by the Sens forechecking, and the trailing Ottawa player was alone in the slot every time. The forechecking also meant the Habs’ breakout passes were rushed and often easily intercepted. Huet wasn’t at his best, but he wasn’t to blame for most of it.

    Fortunately, most teams don’t play like Ottawa, so there’s every chance the Habs can get back on track after this. But, if one thing last night’s game exposed was their vulnerability to a strong forecheck, you can bet Ted Nolan will have noticed and have his team pressing the Habs in their own zone. Carbo needs to work on that in practice, starting today.

  39. ebk says:

    The Habs tend to have trouble with any team that forechecks hard, not just the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs always manage to fill the Canadiens’ hands and it is mainly due to their ability to generate a strong forecheck. Buffalo on Friday night did it to them as well.

    As you say, not many teams, in the trap-filled NHL, play this way. The bad thing is, three teams in their division do.

  40. Ed says:

    The Islanders will be tough, but the Canadiens have bounced back before. As for Grabovski, you may be right about his size, but he sure has the speed. At 179 lbs., he does seem small, but he is not that much lighter than Ryder, Begin, and Koivu as per the Canadiens’ site.


    Latendresse did play well, and I don’t think anyone else could show the strength that he did on that goal. I find it amazing how many people seem to be giving up on this 20 year old kid.

    You wanted 400 posts, but we did not come through for you. We were not even close. I trust there will be consequences.

  41. Mike Boone says:

    Didn’t come close to 400 posts.
    I expect a “please see me” note from the boss in my mailbox at the office.
    I wonder if he’ll want me to bring my playbook …

  42. leafs67_andcounting says:

    I don’t think the Canadiens played THAT badly. It wasn’t their best game but nor was it their worst. Quite simply the better team one. Ottawa’s on a mission this year and so far are the class of the league. We’ll see how they bounce back tomorrow night on the Island.

  43. JF says:

    Mike, it really is too bad that on Larry Robinson night they weren’t better defensively. But it wasn’t their worst game; at least they showed some intensity and effort. Ottawa is simply a better team. But we’ve played them three times and we play them three times in the last week of the season, so until then we only meet them twice more. Perhaps by the end of the season we’ll have improved enough to beat them – although I hope the last few games won’t matter the way they did last year.

    I have to agree about Grabovski, he’s not ready for the NHL. He has such great speed that I hope one day not too far off he will be, but he has to learn how to play tough. Not all small players get knocked off the puck.

    Latendresse had possibly his best game of the season. He really worked hard out there and was involved in the play, not on the periphery as he often is. I think he’s beginning to find his feet, and Carbonneau’s patience was maybe justified.

    I’m concerned about Wednesday’s game. If the Canadiens don’t bring their best effort, they’ll be unpleasantly surprised by a well-coached, extremely hard-working Islanders team who no one thought would get anywhere this year.

  44. J.T. says:

    I agree…the Isles game is yet another test. Can they come back in a tough road game with spirit after such a deflating loss at home? I think they can, but it’ll take a lot of hard work.

    About Grabs, he has the speed and I think he works hard…but his skills aren’t third-line skills. He’s not a grinder in any way. If he can’t play with Pleks or Koivu, I don’t think he’ll make it long on the big team. He’s what now, 24? His chances are soon going to end, which is just too bad.

  45. Thumper says:

    Lapierre deserves his chance, he will bring far more than Grabovski and is proven from last year and he can get under the skin of players.

    Every Habs game televised in England this year have been the losing ones including Florida game, Buffalo, Ottawa and the two disasterous Leafs games. There are 6 before the new year and I hope to see a win soon.

  46. mjames says:

    We need a scorer not another grinder. This team is not deep offensively.


  47. Naila Jinnah says:

    I think we tend to forget that Ottawa is the number one team in the league. We’re just so used to our neighbours, we’re blind to them. We see them often and have our own dynamic… But Ottawa isn’t Boston, it isn’t Buffalo.

    It’s the top team in the NHL. It might be a psychological thing, and I’m not suggesting players underestimate the Sens, but you can be sure that if, say, Tampa was the top team in the league, we wouldn’t have so many issues playing against them. Also, sometimes extra motivation gets in the way. You think about winning and playing hard, but you don’t think about your game, the details, the finish… You just want to go out there and prove to everyone that you can do it, you can beat the Sens… And it ends up being one thing after another, like water pouring out of your cupped hands. You see the tiny mistakes you’re making and know you should be doing something else, but you can’t fix it, because it’s too late. And meanwhile, you’ve already made another not so good play, still thinking about the last one.

    Ottawa is one of those teams that makes you breathless because they make you freak out. Seriously. They get under your skin. And it doesn’t help when your routine is messed up by a long pre-game ceremony… I assume the guys didn’t have as much time to warm up off ice, or to just get in the zone.

    Who knows… Maybe this is a true tribute to Larry Robinson. “You’re so good and we were so awed that we forgot we had a game to play later.”

    Only time will tell… We’ll see how the Habs handle the Sens on a “regular” night, on Feb. 5. At least we’ve got a long time to recover!

  48. Moey says:

    Crap Mike, I really tried, I was waffling on the whole night. We were a bit of a skeleton crew though. Sorry about that. We’ll do better next time.

  49. kevin m says:

    Right on mjames

    As the great GM Bill Torrey of the New York Islanders once said when asked whether to draft the grinder or the goal scorer (Bossy); “Give me the goal scorer we’ll teach him defense”.

    The Habs are neck deep in grinders; and almost all of them are capable of taking a roster spot in the SHOW; but, that would simply be exchanging 4 quarters for a “buck”.

    This team needs a bona fide goal scorer, either home grown or bought.

    Oh yah, Price is a horse, so ride him right through to the playoffs.

    Enough said!!!!!!!!!!!!

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