About last night …

In his postgame remarks, Mike Cammalleri alluded to the Canadiens’ “level of focus and attention to detail”.

Lack of both, he suggested, leads to goals late in periods.

That was the case again last night.

The Canadiens were cruising along, playing a solid road game and rotecting the 1-0 lead created by Cammalleri’s power-play goal.

Then, disaster:

Andrei Kostitsyn couldn’t handle a pass in his skates, just outside the Canadiens blueline. AK46 was soft on the play, and his weakness was compounded by Jaro Spacek playing up too high and being forced to commit a hook as the Avalanche pounced on the turnover and swarmed the Canadiens’ zone.

The league-leading penalty kill did their job for 1:51.

With six seconds left in the period, Ryan Wilson’s long shot, through Travis Moen and Josh Gorges, beat Carey Price. And the home team went to the locker room with all the momentum.

So once again, a late goal hurts the Canadiens.

Ten times this season, the team has surrendered goals with less than three minutes left in periods.

Six have come with less than 60 seconds left, and twice the killer, morale-sapping, momentum-shifting goal has come with less than 10 ticks remaining.

What’s worrisome is it’s happening more frequently lately:

On Dec. 10, Nicklas Lidstrom scored at 19:58 of the first period to erase the Canadiens’ 1-0 lead in Detroit.

On Dec. 15, Jeff Carter started a great personal night at the Bell Centre by scoring at 19:42 of a scoreless first period.

At the end of November, Rich Beverley opened the scoring in Atlanta, beating Alex Auld at 19:41 of the first period.

Focus.

Break the word into two syllables and you’ve got the effect late goals have on the Canadiens.

 

Another f-word: Finish.

How many open nets did the Canadiens miss during their 14-shot third-period assault?

Craig Anderson was excellent when he had to be last night. But the Canadiens, displaying admirable grit an stamina at altitude, skated their butts off in an effort to get the equalizer, and the chances to beat Anderson cleanly were there.

But AK46 was MIA again (more on that in Quick Hits, and an interesting take on the bad rap AK46 gets) and four of Brian Gionta’s six shot attempts missed the net.

Twelve minutes into the third period, Jacques Martin benched AK46 and put Maxim Lapierre on the Tomas Plekanec line with Mike Cammalleri.

Benoit Pouliot had excelled on that line against Boston at the Bell Centre. Martin must have liked Lapierre’s hustle – and disliked Pouliot’s work on Colorado’s two even-strength goals – last night, but Max is not a finisher.

And much as we l admire Mathieu Darche’s game and his willingness to do the Tomas Holmstrom and get hammered in front of opposing goaltenders on the PP, his hands aren’t the greatest.

(Did you like the cross-check Ryan O’Byrne laid on Darche last night? That’s the kind of play that used to send O’B to the box – andd into Jacques Martin’s doghouse – in Montreal. In Denver, no call.)

Darche also was on the ice during the final minute and eight seconds, when Martin pulled Price and deployed six forwards.

Cammalleri was on the ice, of course. Also Gomez, Plekanec and Gionta – plus Halpern for O-zone faceoffs and, in the final seconds, Max Pacioretty for Gomez.

No AK46.

No Benny.

They will be needed in Dallas … unless Martin sits Kostitsyn for Tom Pyatt in an effort to wake up AK46.

I can’t see that working. And the Canadiens need a bounce-back game against the Stars.

The team still sits atop the Northeast Division. But the Canadiens are six points ahead of ninth-place Carolina in a Conference race that’s tighter than Toby’s.

And if they ride two losses into Raleigh Thursday night …

•  •  •

Two Comments worth quoting:

From Bill:

Could’ve gone either way. No blame. It is a little worrisome that the
Habs have really only once this season when Price wasn’t spectacular
… but then isn’t that the system? Kidding/not really.

The
officiating … here’s what I think. The Colin Campbell e-mails –
quickly dismissed by a fawning media that depends on access and won’t
bite the hand that feeds it – proved that, at minimum, the NHL front
office is actively engaged in telling the referees which players and
teams to call and which not to, often for highly dubious reasons such as
family relation. That is a fact which is now a matter of public record.
Why Campbell still has a job, I do not know. What I do know is that the
Habs are clearly one of the teams that referees have been told to
resist giving calls to, based on things like the O’Byrne cross-checks
specifically and on the general disparity between their power-plays and
penalty-kills generally. Somebody has to fix that, that somebody being
the owner, Mr. Molson, who pays a lot of revenue-sharing cash and
watches his team get screwed on a regular basis.

Saw nothing in
this game to make me really regret losing O’Byrne. Good for him that
he’s playing lots of minutes for Colorado … but their D is nothing to
write home about.

The Habs record without Markov speaks for
itself. He needs to be replaced, and preferably before the Habs drift
down to 8th in the conference and are flirting with the playoff bubble.

I
liked Pacioretty’s game again. And I actually thought Gomez looked
good. The forwards in general – okay, AK46 was guilty in this one – were
very good, but the defence wasn’t looking brilliant. PK Subban
continues to be in a major funk since his stint in the press-box. He’s
trying to play someone else’s game, and I don’t see the point. He’s a
talent, and you have to let that work. It’s like in theatre: if I have
an actor who has amazing strengths, I use them. I don’t try to make them
do it the part in a way that goes against their abilities. PK is a
Hamlet who’s being asked to play like a Rosencrantz. Okay, PK is
actually more like a Feste, but I’m trying to make a point.

And from Richrebellion:

Ok first i’d like to address all the scott gomez
haters, for weeks me plus a few others had stood up for him and his
abilities. For weeks i have been asking for Martin to place a talented
winger on his other side and yet it took him 30 games to finally realize
it? I like Martin’s system but his player management is horrible, it
was blatantly obvious he needed another winger and even playing Pouliot
on his wing would of helped. And what has he done since Pacioretty has
been called up? Oh just 5 points in 3 games and have easily been the
habs best line the past 3 games. 

Now he finally gets gomez going
and decides wait Eller has been playing too well with Pouliot lets
seperate them… I don’t see the logic if anyone else can let me know.
Eller looked solid again tonight but Darche and Lapierre have little to
no offensive skill and it showed. 

As for Ak46 I can look to
Martin again, he came into the season flying on a line with pleks and
cammy and instead of doing the reasonable thing and keeping them
together, he decides lets take him off that line. Once again don’t get
the logic, he was playing well and all that gomez needed was 2 offensive
wingers. Instead lets change up all the lines except for placing
Pouliot on gomez wing. 

Now i know he doesn’t like young players
who are extremely talented and who don’t always work as hard as guys
like darche and halpern who have fought their way into this league. But
lets face it Darche has no business being on the ice in the final
minutes when you’re down by a goal. I like his effort and his net
presence but on the last pp the guy missed 2 open nets that some of the
younger more talented players would have scored on. 

The NHL is a
young man’s league, just look at the abundance of young talent that
leads the league in scoring, yet our young and most talented players are
relegated to the 4th line with no pp time and no opportunity to  show
what they have. You wanna blame someone for tonight blame Martin,
because just on the other side of the ice a young team showed us how
youth is the way to win in this league. And Martin the dinosaur is too
busy giving Darche pp time with 3 mins left and the final shift in the
game. Wake up Martin and get with the times!

71 Comments

  1. Captain aHab says:

    I don’t want to see JM fired but I would like for him to stick with some line combos for a bit and give them time to work. I would also like for him to sit veterans when they play badly, as he is inclined to do with the younger guys.

  2. showey47 says:

    LMFAO more waffles being thrown in the ice again in toronto.

  3. Captain aHab says:

    Thanks…..this league doesn’t learn from its past and will never be taken seriously if crap like that keeps happening.

    To me the “let the players decide” argument is totally ridiculous. Why have any rules then? Who bother with referees and linesmen? Just throw a puck out there and let the guys kill one another if it is what they want. Don Cherry and the Toronto Truculent Blowhard will love it I’m sure…….

  4. Lafrich says:

    Did you go into my head and write the words that I have stored up there?

    Beautifully written – in content and tone. I feel exactly the same way.

  5. CHsam says:

    I hope you’re ready to gripe about JM for a few more years…

  6. ctony says:

    No, JM isn’t the worst coach in history.  He’s an average
    career coach (adjusting for OTLs, average=92 points), or what looks like a .560
    record.  

    In our first 28 games, Price hadn’t let up more than 3 goals.  In our last 5 games, we haven’t let up less
    than 3 goals.  We’re not as good as our
    early record suggested and not as bad as our recent slide suggests.  We’re probably a 93-97 point team, which is
    right around JM’s typical mark.

    For
    what it’s worth, “Execution and mental farts” are signs of a coaching
    problem.  The caps lost 8 eight in row and people called for Boudreau’s
    head.  Just saying.  

  7. Norm0770 says:

    You make many excellent points, and I agree that Martin should not be fired.  However, with the game on the line and in need of a goal who would you rather have on the ice Mathieu Darche or Andre Kostitsyn?  Yes Darche plays hard every shift, but I don’t think he’s the best option when a goal is needed.

    Martin made his point by sitting Kostitsyn and Pouliot for most of the 3rd period, and with a minute left he could have turned to Kostitsyn and said “prove me wrong”, but he didn’t.

  8. Captain aHab says:

    To say that complaining about the refs is pointless is, well, pointless.

    Habs had 2 PP goals last night and I saw 5-6 instances late in the game where the Avs should have been penalized. When there are games when the refs don’t penalize the team we are playing against at all (as has happened on more than one occasion), some folks say that we don’t play hard enough. Well, we played hard enough last night to draw penalties but didn’t get most of the calls. That may very well have cost the Habs 2 points. To say that missing open nets is the reason we lost doesn’t take away from not getting the calls. If we had gotten the calls and the open nets, we might have won 6-3.

    Plus, killing penalties tires a team so we don’t benefit from that.

    To me the refereeing is going back to how it was before the strike: contextual, to try to keep games tight. Have you noticed also that D-Men standing in a player’s way after a dump in is coming back? That used to be an instant penalty right after the strike. The thing I don’t remember from before the strike was the Habs getting short-changed so often. I don’t know how many times this year I’ve seen games where nothing gets called for a period or so and then the Habs touch a guy and get called on something that the refs have been letting go. In football, if you hold another player, it doesn’t matter if your team is down or ahead, or if it’s the first or last quarter with seconds to play, you get called for it. I don’t know how many games I’ve seen over the last 3-4 decades where a player’s penalty killed a comeback. There is never the cry of “let the players decide” because quite frankly, penalizing a guy who deserves it IS letting the players decide…..the guy decided he wanted to break the rules to give his team a chance to stay in the game and gets caught. He decided to try and get away with it and failed.

    Why is it so hard to do in hockey?

    Why not allow guys to just grab the puck in their hands and throw it in the net? Wouldn’t THAT be letting the guys decide? How about having him run the goalie to kick the puck in the net? Sure he breaks a rule but why penalize that if the idea is to let the players decide? Why is breaking some rules some times OK in hockey?

    If the hockey refs did baseball, they would allow players running to first to tackle the firstbaseman trying to make a play, only of course if the hitter’s team is behind.

    I stopped watching hockey for about a decade during the clutch and grab years and I might stop again if it gets any worse……

     

    /rant

  9. ooder says:

    uggh this JM bashing is soo annoying and completely unfounded.

    so wait it’s JM’s fault that Picard made a blind pass into the neutral zone?

    it’s JM’s fault that Subban tried to lazily clear the puck with one hand, failed and then didn’t anything to stop the avalanche palyer?

    if down 3-2 into the third the habs were completely dominated and din’t even bother try tying it up then maybe some of the bashers would have a point.

    but the habs came out like dogs on raw meat! he had them motivated, playing hard, hustling and doing everything right.

    in the end some players needed to execute a bit better.. what is JM supposed to do about that.. these are “in the moment” things.. the habs played well, well enough to win.

    unfortunately the puck hasn’t been bouncing our way lately, it happens.

    the caps lost 8 in a row but they are stanley cup contenders.

    we play a small stretch of .500 hockey and JM is the worst coach in history???

    give me a break.. the team game is there.. execution and mental farts is what is costing us points not JM’s terrible player management or whatever

    ——————

    88 is the new 23

  10. badbalance says:

    Everyone bashing AK, not his fault JM keeps on moving him around whenever there’s a problem with the team. He jsut can’t find instant chemistry on a checking line… I wonder why..

  11. DearyLeary says:

    Impressive.  Can’t teach tough, but I’ve said it many times, undrafted players stay undrafted for a reason.  

    Kid’s got gumption though, might make a good career over in Europe, or in the AHL on a tryout.

  12. Richrebellion says:

    JM is not the worst coach in history and I actually like his system and how he has everyone buying into it, I also think that has a lot to do with the players in the locker room. Gainey and PG have put together one hell of a team that can compete with anyone. And Martin has a defensive system that ranks montreal as one of the best defensive teams in the league. 

    My problem with martin is how he handles young players, if you haven’t noticed the NHL is being run by young guns and every team is using their young talent to help them win. Yet guys like Eller and Pouliot 2 high first round picks are playing bottom 6 mins with not a second on the pp. Darche played more minutes than kostitsyn, eller and Pouliot last night and is a guy who floated around the nhl. Darche doesn’t have the skill to be on the pp and it amazes me how he has way more pp time then a skilled guy like Eller or Pouliot. Darche was on for the second wave of a pp with 3 mins to go and on for the last min of a 1 goal game. Please show me another team in the nhl that has put that much trust into a journey man. 

  13. cautiousoptimist says:

    Wow — just looked him up, and Tyler Carroll is a 20-year-old undrafted defensive forward who still managed 39 points in 61 games with Guelph last year. He has 15 goals and 9 assists in 34 games so far this season, and he’s team captain.  Great to see.

    1. http://www.flickeringpictures.com – not a hockey site, but still kinda neat
    2. Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”
  14. Captain aHab says:

    GRYPHONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

    That was impressive…

  15. Captain aHab says:

    I’d really like for Martin to stick with a lineup for a bit, even if things don’t work out perfectly all the time. Why split up the Eller, Darche and Pouliot line when it was going so well? Leave AK on a top line and see what happens.

    I would like to see the Habs use Weber (anyone other D in Hamilton worth a call-up?) to spell the old geezers before they totally run out of gas.

  16. StevieRay says:

    For the first 25 games we were cruising along pretty good. We had a # 1 line with Pleks/AK/Cammi..a solid 3rd line ..PHD..and a solid fourth line that could chew up 10 minutes or so a game which would give the other 3 lines a chance to catch their breath . During this span everyone was hoping for the # 2 line to spring to life and then LOOKOUT !!…So we now have the # 2 line rollling along pretty good…the # 1 line not bad … and little or no offence from the reminder. The constant line juggling….quality players lke Eller,Benny and notably AK having their playing minutes diminished greatly .

    Now it seems the D are making glaring mistakes .. the forwards don’t would support the pass out … if this team can go 25 games+ with Gomez waiting to ” find” his game and in the process being untouchable it seems by the cocaching staff , why I ask cannot the same patience be shown with the lines we started the season with . It seems the constant juggling has  taken it’s toll on thh confidence of some of the players  and their level of play has lessened .

    so..AK/Pleks/Cammi..Max/Gomer/Gionta..PHD…Moen/Eller/Laps .. I’d like the coaches to go with these lines for a dozen games or so in a effort to add some stability to the forward units.

    My noon hour thoughts as we wait for another weather bomb in NS. Ths will make 3 mondays in a row . Cheers

  17. ooder says:

    i posted this in quick hits but i think this needs to have a bit more publicity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WedvOdw-eG8&feature=player_embedded#!

    i think they brought in this kids nads on a dumpster truck

    ——————

    88 is the new 23

  18. NoTinFoilCups says:

    It looks like mjames post defending AK got deleted. Maybe a little too rough on Boone?

    All players will make mistakes rookies more often than veterans. That is all part of the game. We can only hope that the rookies take a steep learning curve to maturity.

    However, if AK falls into Martin’s doghouse I think it is more due to his lack of effort than anything else. As far as I can see this is a team full of individual’s who give it their best. At least their regular season best. One cannot be expected to give playoff intensity over a full 82-game schedule.

    We all know what AK is capable of. The trouble is after several seasons now it is apparent that he will only give his best effort less than half the time. I am all for giving guys a chance. I was disappointed that OB did not have more opportunities to do so. AK has had plenty of opportunity. After all this time it is apparent that he will not achieve his full potential in Montreal.

    It almost causes me grief to admit this but it is a fact. Never has so much potential gone to waste. Let him try to find his game with another team.

  19. CHsam says:

    Luke, you switched off your targeting computer. What’s wrong?

  20. showey47 says:

    Tough loss. Just like the flyers game another game lost due to some brutal defensive puck decisions. In my opinion picard’s giveaway was the worst. It looked like he had almost half the ice surface to skate it out but instead tried to force a pass which was picked off. I’m sure price would have liked that one back but if you ask any goalie what type of shot is the toughest to stop from 10 feet or closer most,if not all,will tell you its the backhand. 

  21. Number31 says:

    Six forwards, all with Stormtrooper aim. Next time we try six defencemen.

     

    And Rhino must be happy now he can crosscheck guys in front of the net and NOT get called. It just proves everything concerning the corrupt officials…

  22. habs365 says:

    The way hockey is today…you have to bring you’re A-game every game…we didn’t play all that bad last night…but,we came up against a team that can match our speed and they have a potent offence…the AVS are a team made up of goal scores…the Habs are not like that…we’re 17th in the league in scoring…the AVS are 1st…the Habs mostly rely on defense and goaltending…that’s not a bad thing as long as you don’t make defensive mistakes…that’s when the better offensive team usually take over…last night was a fine example.

  23. Chuck says:

    Interesting how the tide really turned starting in 2005.

    And how bad was the 2000-01 team? +84 in powerplay opportunities (essentially one per game) and they still only managed 28 wins.

    Yeah, Gainey sure sucked at turning the team around, eh?

     

    The 2010 Montreal Canadians Christmas Card

  24. icemachine says:

    Not sure if this will show up formatted correctly. Before the lockout we
    were damn near even or above in power play opportunities/times short
    handed. Post lockout we’ve been penalized a lot more than we’ve had the
    extra man. The post lockout average doesn’t include this season which would haul it down further

    Year    PPO    TS    PP0/TS<br>
    2010/10    273.3    325.5    on pace<br>
    2010/11    110    131    0.8396<br>
    2009/10    261    311    0.8392<br>
    2008/09    374    370    1.0108<br>
    2007/08    374    342    1.0935<br>
    2006/07    378    419    0.9021<br>
    2005/06    463    481    0.9625<br>
    Average    370    384.6    0.9620<br>
    2003/04    319    314    1.0159<br>
    2002/03    315    317    0.9936<br>
    2001/02    301    277    1.0866<br>
    2000/01    421    337    1.2492<br>
    1999/00    323    302    1.0695<br>
    Average    335.8    309.4    1.0853<br>

  25. Timo says:

    I would explain to you but I am afraid I will get deleted… I hope that explains it :)

  26. Norm0770 says:

    Seems like you should know this by now.  In Montreal there is a favouite whipping boy for the various groups until that person is no longer with the team.  When the team fails to win the Stanley cup a new whipping boy must be found.

    For exampe:  Saku Koivu was the target of the French media for a long time.  He was an easy target because despite his ice accomplishments, personal triumph over injury and cancer and the fact he played on some of the worst teams in Habs history he didn’t bring a Stanley cup to Montreal because he didn’t speak french.

    Patrice Brisebois was the all time favourite whipping boy of the Bell Centre Crowd for his beautiful out-let passes to Mats Sundin (seemed like a Brisebois pass resulted in a Sundin goal at least twice a year).

    After leading the team in goals for 3 years Boone chose Michael Ryder as his personal target when he didn’t have 10 goals by Christmas it was because he didn’t have enough hockey sense and didn’t have te talent to  create his own shot (from the pressbox it is hard to score no matter how good you are).

    Many here at HI/O choose Scott Gomez for his huge salary and lack of production (I’ve even been involved in that).

    Which brings us to Kostitsyn.  He is not a very good quote, but seemingly doesn’t complain about how he is used and is ralely sought out by the media so when he isn’t “playing like his sparse hair is on fire” he is the only player singled out for a loss.

  27. Chuck says:

    The Habs can’t trade AK46. He’s got the best nickname on the team.

    The 2010 Montreal Canadians Christmas Card

  28. Captain aHab says:

    What I find interesting is that even though Max Pax spoke up about not wanting to play on a third line in Montreal, something which a lot of people thought would rub the coach the wrong way, he ended up playing on a top line anyway. I wonder if this is the GM telling Martin how to work or if Martin is going against the grain?

  29. likehoy says:

    sorry if this has already been posted but I haven’t got the time to read through this stuff…

    1) o’byrne cross-checking darche to the ice in a 3rd period PP resulted in no call, wtf! o’byrne would have been called for that in a heartbeat if he was still wearing the CH

    2) AK bashing is unfair, especially blaming AK solely on the “soft play” on the pass from cammalleri…BUSH LEAGUE if you ask me. Cammy sent him a fluttering pass where BOTH players needed to get off the ice on a line change. no one’s talking about cammy’s soft play. Cammy could have controlled it and banked it off the boards softly a little further or made the play himself by skating to the center line and dumping.

    could AK have done a better job? yes, but he could have also received a better pass. Both cammy and AK are to blame, not just AK on that play

    also boone makes no mention of AK getting an assist for fishing the puck out after the faceoff and sending it to pleks. I guess that doesn’t count for contribution

    - Gomez is holding down the suck button

  30. ctony says:

    Nobody can figure out Martin.  

     

    Not players, Benoit Pouliot: “It’s a bit tough to follow as a
    player who’s going to play with who,” Pouliot said Thursday morning.
    “It’s not just game to game, sometimes it can be shift to
    shift.” 

     

    Not sportswriters like Arpon Basu, “Pouliot has the
    fourth-lowest average ice time on the team, just one second better than Tom
    Pyatt, yet he is fifth in scoring with 17 points. He is tied for second on the
    team – shockingly with Andrei Kostitsyn – in even strength points with
    16.”

     

    Not fans like EMDL commenting on a recent Basu article, “To
    me, Martin’s decisions making is really questionable. First, he scratched
    Subban for 3 games and saw a very hesitant player in the 3 games after his
    return. Second, he rested Price and played Auld against Toronto that might have
    resulted in Price shaky performance in their 3rd straight loss. Third, he
    rested a speedy and PK specialist Pyatt instead of Darche. Fourth, he let Eller
    killed the fatal penalty after Eller saw little actions in the third. Of
    course, having Moen played on one of the scoring lines for most of the 31 games
    they played was simply brutal. That led to the biggest of all: keep tinkering
    the top 2 scoring lines.”

     

    So, it’s only fitting that the perfect summary should come from Milos
    Coko, another Basu poster, “Don’t develop players, that’s what other leagues/teams/coaches
    are for. Don’t run the pp or pk, that’s what the assistant coaches are for.
    Don’t motivate the team, that’s what the older players are for. Don’t explain
    any of your decisions, that’s what petty non-head coaches have to do. As far as
    I can tell, the only tasks Martin assumed when he took over head coaching
    duties is picking the even strength lines, and discipline duty. Don’t get me
    wrong, these are important tasks, but somehow I don’t feel that warrants his
    salary and quite frankly, the other responsibilities tend to define good
    coaches much more than the last two.

  31. habsruleworld says:

    KABERLE?! This guy and his agent are dead set against helping Burke in any way shape or form!

    Kaberle will not waive his no trade, this guy is going to the off season and making sure laffs get nothing for him.

    Do you not all remember what happened between bURKE, kABERLE AND kABERLE’S DAD?

    Laffs tried to screw Kaberle, but this time Kaberle will screw Burke.

    Laffs will get nothing for Kaberle, just like Kaberle wants it, and just like Kaberle’s dad said is going to happen.

    Looks good on the laffs, FYI, I do not want Kaberle on Habs

  32. StevieRay says:

    He idid a similar thing with Eller the other nite …sat him for almost the whole 3rd period and then put him out on the PK at the end of teh period .. we all know the result … can’t figure JM for that move .. or sitting AK and Benny both of whom can turn it onm quickly !

  33. Hockey Socks says:

    My line suggestions:

     

    Pouliot – Plekanec – Cammalleri

    Pacioretty – Gomez – Gionta

    AK46 – Eller – Darche

    Moen – Halpern – Lapierre

     

    Gorges – Subban

    Hamrlik – Spacek

    Gill – Picard

  34. Kooch7800 says:

    I think the reason AK gets basted so much is that he shows flashes of an elite player and then for the next 5 games you wouldn’t even know he played. The kovalev Syndrome.

    I was really hoping AK would have a break out season this year and he started out like he was going to and cooled off.

    Not I also don’t think it is good to compare AK to Gio, Cammy or Plek’s.  Plek’s has made every player he has played with Better including AK. He has struggled the last couple games but he is still our best forward by a long shot. Gio gives it every shift and now has got back to his former self after having played well at the start with very little result.

    Cammy has been our hottest sniper now that he is back with Plek’s and will lead the team in goals by the end of the year.

    Gomez has looked good the last few games but in general AK has been better than Gomez……but so has 85% of the roster

    I would put money on it that AK is not a hab next year.

     

  35. Kooch7800 says:

    Honestly, what can we get if we trade AK?  Not much. I have to admit though when he is engaged in the play he is awesome.  Problem is we need that a heck of a lot more than he gives it

  36. nick says:

    So first off, why would MTL trade away one of its top 3 point getters thus far this season? Not to mention he’s also one of the biggest hitters on the team, sitting in second with 65. You talk about him needing to give alot more than he does already… From time to time sure… But lets also remember he isn’t paid the same as Plekanec, Cammy, Gionta or Gomez… So is it fair for any of us to hold him in comparison to those players?

    Here are some CH stats over the last 30 days…

                                    P  +/-   PIM   PPP  SOG  HIT  BLK
    Brian Gionta                9     2     2     1     63     19     4
    Andrei Kostitsyn           7     5     0     3     29     23     3
    Tomas Plekanec         8     2     14     2     40     10     9
    Scott Gomez               8     -4     2     4     21      5     3   
    Michael Cammalleri    12     -3     11     6     43     5     7   

    It really kinda makes me wonder what all the fuss over AK is about.

  37. Richrebellion says:

    You guys keep saying he cooled off but forget why he cooled off, does no1 remember that he was moved to play with Moen and Gomez? That line destroyed his confidence and he hasn’t been given enough time on the top line to find it. Last night yes he did mishandle a bad pass which led to a pp which resulted in a goal. He didn’t even take the penalty, it was Spacek who was out of position. Yet somehow it all gets thrown on his shoulders rly? Yet the play in which he fought for the puck along the boards and passed it out to cammy which resulted in the first goal is completely ignored? And i’m sure no1 remembers the play when he hustled back to help break up a 2 on 1? Prob not because everyone can only remember what they want and no1 has confidence in him. 

    Does AK take a  shift off every once in awhile yes, but its so much more glaring when you have RDS announcers and Boone pointing it out every time it happens. He has also worked his ass off on many occasions and has been our best player on more than a few occasions. To me its simple, let AK play with pleks and cammy for atleast 4 games then maybe we can see his confidence come back along with his scoring. Instead Martin can’t handle when a skilled young player slumps and instead of letting the player work through it they ride the pine. 

  38. ctony says:

    It’s not “why trade AK”, it’s why waste him on the fourth line.  He has as much skill as any of our other top forwards, better than average size and, when he’s on his game, a much needed aggressive streak.  He shouldn’t be traded.  He should be developed.  For some reason, that’s not happening here.  

    At the same time, we have an increasingly obvious need for a veteran, offensive defenseman to replace Markov.  So, they will look to trade underutilized assets for necessary pieces.

     

     

  39. Captain aHab says:

    Komi never had a game. He had Markov. And Markov had enough game for the two of them.

  40. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    On which side of the collapse in Philly was Markov injured?  That game, where they jumped out 2-0 and then disapeared has been the real turning point in my eyes. 

     

    Markov wouldn’t get this team going right now I don’t think….  Started the season with no passengers at any point in any game, now it seems like almost all 20 guys take turns coasting or sleeping at some point in veery game, usually leading to bad breaks at bad times.

     

    Please Mr. Mafrtin, get them all on the same page again and fast.  This is embarassing.

  41. CBrady12 says:

    Lol 1st in our division is embarassing to you? good lord people are dillusional

  42. JF says:

    This is starting to look like last year.  The team plays overall well enough to win but gets killed by costly turnovers, bad penalties, and soft goals.   Price is playing well (as he did for the most part last year), but he’s starting to give up soft goals (last night and against Philly), or else the bounces are going against him (as in the Boston game).

    I was so angry last night I could have smashed the TV screen.  That should have been a victory.  The Avalanche are young, fast, and skilled, but their defence is not impressive, and Anderson looked more lucky than good in the third period.  For most of the game we looked like the better team.

    Things have reached the point where, if the other team goes ahead, I know I might as well stop watching. We’re not going to come back.  We never do.  We get chances but miss open nets; we work hard and draw penalties, but they’re not called.  And on and on.

    As for AK46, I’m beginning to think it would be a mistake to re-sign him.  Good as he can be, he’s far too inconsistent to be a top-6 forward.  Great for a dozen games, then disappears for twenty.  We need someone who will put in a solid effort every game and score more or less regularly.  Who?  And how do we get said person?  Don’t know.

    This road trip will be tough, and it’s likely we’ll find ourselves out of a playoff spot by the end of it.  The Stars, down a goal late against Detroit, came back and won it, which we couldn’t do.  Carolina on December 23; despite last year and the last game against them that’s unlikely to be a victory.  If on top of that, we find a way to lose to the Islanders…  

    Despite the positives in last night’s game, I feel pretty discouraged. 

  43. 24 Cups says:

    Jane – We only scored twice last night, with both goals coming on the PP.  We lost the game because we couldn’t score a 5 on 5 goal.  In a tight game, Price let’s in a softy (on Porter) and PK allows another turnover to put us behind the eight ball.  (We didn’t lose because of Price, he played well for the rest of the game.)  Gomez had a strong offensive game but nobody was able to convert.  We don’t come back to win games because we really don’t have any sharp-shooters.  Our top six guys are hard working for the most part, but the ‘go to guy’ is missing.  All three wingers run hot and cold and MaxPac is still a rookie.

    I can’t believe that Mike Boone hasn’t mentioned this, but the team is now in it’s first slump of the year.  A loss against Dallas will make it official.  Eventually, we will have to use Markov’s cap space to bring in another defenseman.  It will have to be someone who can man the PP and generate some offense on the rush.  Spacek, Hamelik and Gill will start to wear down and the bloom is off the rose with Subban.  He’s a good prospect who will have to improve through trial and error.  He will earn his stripes the old fashioned way – by his actions, not his hype.  It may take a few years for that to happen.

  44. Richrebellion says:

    First off you talk about consistency, almost every player goes through slumps in which they don’t score or get points, the difference guys like pleks, cammy, gionta and gomez aren’t benched to the point where Darche sees more ice time than them. The only way for a skilled guy to get out of a slump is by playing and eventually they all do. But when AK doesn’t score and even when he gets an assist is still benched for the end of the third. Most players will tell you this game is mostly mental and Ak does struggle with that part the most. But explain to me how you plan to help that confidence by benching the player at the most important time of the game for a player who has 157 career games with 45 points at the age of 34. 

  45. andrewberkshire says:

    This team needs to find a way to score under pressure. At this point I wouldn’t be opposed to obtaining Kaberle.

  46. punkster says:

    While that deal would make me shudder (I don’t think he’s an offensive improvement over what we already have) I agree that the main issue is scoring. Defence presently has issues but as PK and Weber gain experience and Picard gets accustomed to the “system” we’ll have growing pains there. It’s a scoring forward we need, the role we should be seeing AK fulfill. He has the size and the capabilities but not, it seems, the attitude required.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  47. 24 Cups says:

    Andrew – The bidding will be high so it’s going to cost you a 1st, not a 2nd. 

    Kaberle has been sub-par this year although it’s hard to tell with the forwards that the laffs have on their present roster.  It took him a third of a season to score his 1st goal.  He’s also very weak in his own end as his soft play doesn’t allow him to clear the front of the net or venture into the corners.  He shoots from the left side so it might mean breaking up Spacek and Hamrlik.  I can’t see playing Kaberle with Subban.  Kaberle also ran out of gas in the 2nd half last year which also concerns me.

    You also have to ask yourself if this is the guy you want to sign in the summer if Markov can’t return?  My answer is no.  He’ll be 33 next season and he’s ready to start coming down the other side of the wall.

  48. habs365 says:

    Andrew – This team will never win a cup by bringing in 30 year old players…you have to give up a good young player or a draft pick…the AVS young players showed us last night…yes you have to keep a few good older players around…but don’t give up your’re good young players or draft picks for older players that have a couple of years left in them…Kaberle would come to montreal in the blink of an eye, because he’ll be seeing dollar signs and when he gets the big bucks, like most of those players on the down grade…he’ll disappear and ride the bench or pressbox…stay away from those kind of moves…that’s the main reason we haven’t won a cup in 17 years…stay with the young players…let them develop…and the Habs will win their share of cups.

  49. Norm0770 says:

    From his very limited NHL play this year, I think Weber is as good an option as Kaberle, better defensively not as good offensively.  Also the team doesn’t have to give up anything.

  50. arcosenate says:

    Whatever it is that motivates Kostitsyn remains a mystery. It’s obviously not contract year. The disappearing act, half of it orchestrated by himself, the other half by the inevitable Martin benching is getting quite tiresome. He can’t be replaced by a guy like Darche or Pyatt or Moen,  we’re going to need a top six consistent scorer and that’s it.  Something that can’t be found within the system.  A trade is inevitable to address that and the gaping hole left by Markov’s injury.  What those two pieces are, what they’ll cost and if there’s even such a thing available is beyond me but it’s what this team needs sooner rather than later.

  51. MikeL says:

    Andrei Kostitsyn has that game breaking ability to be the “go to guy”, he just only shows it once every few periods.

    Earlier in the year when Andrei took over games, he was a complete force. He created the plays. He made the passes. He took the shots. He gave the thunderous hits. But when AK46 is in a funk, he looks for his linemates to do the work too often.

    It’s beyond frustrating and reminds me a little too much of a former inconsistent Hab.

  52. JF says:

    Good points, Steve.  I’m getting so frustrated I find I can’t watch the games objectively anymore.  At the beginning of the season, it looked as if we had a good team.  Now the missing pieces are becoming obvious, and we’re finding it hard to win games we should be able to.  On some teams, deficiencies can be compensated for by strengths in other areas (like the Lightning with their mediocre goaltending), but that doesn’t seem to be the case with this team.  Our defence without Markov is starting to look thin at times, and it’s becoming more obvious that Subban is a raw rookie.  We’ll need help there, but our main deficiency is still lack of scoring; unless our goaltending is stellar and our defence rock-solid, we don’t win too many games. I hope Gauthier won’t wait too long before addressing these problems, but it won’t be easy. 

  53. MikeL says:

    Just to add the the Kaberle conversation – Another guy that will be available is Bryan McCabe.

    We all know of his defensive liabilities from his days in TO, but then again they say the same thing about Kaberle now. McCabe is more of a shooter than Kaberle, and you could probably argue we need both on out PP right now, but it’s worth a thought at least.

  54. andrewberkshire says:

    Not many options for offensive defensemen on the market Steve. And the bidding is non-existant as far as I can tell, or he would have been traded already.

  55. 24 Cups says:

    Mike – McCabe took a beating in Toronto from the fans and the media.  He could never do anything right.

    He was basically a salary dump going to Florida for the overpaid and oft-injured Van Ryn.  Having said that, he has put in three solid years for the Panthers.

    Good size and great on the PP.  He can log a ton of minutes and has a heavy shot from the point.  More physical than Kaberle which would be a bonus. 

    His two biggest problems are taking bad penalties late in the game and having a brain cramp when it hurts the team the most.  I guess the intensity gets to him.  Not sure he would be able to handle the pressure-cooker atmosphere of playing in Montreal. 

    Regardless, any player coming our way is going to have liabilities.  That’s why they’re being moved in the first place.  Florida will be sellers so this guy may be our best bet.  I also wondered about Sami Salo but he’s always hurt.  I’m not sure he could handle a 35-40 game marathon.  The good news is he wouldn’t cost as much.

  56. SeriousFan09 says:

    McCabe? Please, no. Don’t need to go after players who can’t deal with the pressure of a big market, that and you should just avoid anyone who plays in FLA for a while, they tend to be useless in any kind of clutch situation after they do, the Panthers curse.

    Salo? That isn’t going to work, PK Subban would give him a low-five when he gets into the dressing room for the first time and than he’d be on IR with a broken hand for a month.

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  57. 24 Cups says:

    How do you really feel about it, Robert:-)

    Maybe we should just go with the kids we have right now.  It’s a tough call as to whether or not we are contenders or pretenders.  The Markov injury was such a kick in the ass.

  58. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’d share my real feelings but the kids do read this…

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  59. ctony says:

     

    This isn’t an AK thing. 
    It’s not a PK thing.  It’s a JM
    thing.  The Count is a menace to common
    sense and a buzz-kill to our long-term happiness.  Bear with me on this rant.  I’m going somewhere.

    This team can’t consistently overcome JM’s penchant for pulling
    line combinations out of his ___ (let’s just say, hat) and his insistence on
    using players against their strengths when Price isn’t perfect and Plecs isn’t
    the “best two-way centre in the game”.

    Price stole early games for us but unfortunate goals at
    inopportune times feels a lot like last season. 
    Plecs has 3 points and is a minus 1 in the last five games and his ice
    time is increasing. 

    At the same time, we have Darche and Halpern on when we need
    a goal in the last minute and the keeper on the bench (for the umpteenth time,
    why JM? WHY???).  Look back to the Bowman
    era, if we we’re down late in the game, Lafleur was out there.  I didn’t matter if Guy was having an
    off-night or Houle was checking ferociously, Scotty put scorers on the ice to
    score. 

    JM insists on putting Moen with scorers and Pouliot with checkers.
    He seems to relish watching PK be a generic, pass-first D-man instead of one
    permitted to play with his god-given talents (mistakes are happening either
    way, we may at least get some benefit).  His
    so-called system is “hope Price stops everything” and we get a lucky
    goal.  His system hasn’t produced a top
    30 player in points, goals, or assists. 
    Our defense first philosophy doesn’t boast a top 30 +/- player.

    Fans around here already resorted to blaming almost every
    recent loss on officiating — sad.  At
    some point, we need to look inward.  Most
    people can spots the flaws in an otherwise good team.  We need more D.  We need to let checkers and grinders check
    and grind.  And, we need to let scorers
    play with the reckless abandon like the third period in Detroit.  In short, we need JM to remove the shackles
    from the skilled players on this team. 
    Put them in positions to use their talents.  Stop playing idiotic mind games. 

    I would like JM fired. 
    But that’s not going to happen (and it’s going to get me blasted
    here).  Look at the Flyers last year.  They sucked at the beginning of the
    season.  One coaching change later, they
    made it to the finals and look better than virtually every other team this
    year.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, we beat
    them.  Good for us.  As people on this site believe, “In
    hockey, the better teams only win 60% of the time.  That’s why you need a seven game series.” 

     

     

  60. 24 Cups says:

    You raise a lot of good points although I think we all realize that Martin isn’t going anywhere.

    Your point about blaming the refs is valid.  It does seem that we are being shafted but I seriously doubt there is some grand conspiracy.  The constant crying by posters on the game night blogs about the refs is such a waste of time.

    As for our skilled players, I would ask if they are really as skilled as we think they are?  I’m not questioning the other aspects of their game, just how talented they really are in terms of the context you are outlining.  With Cammalleri’s inconsistency, you have to wonder if Pleks is our only real top (1st) line forward.

  61. Norm0770 says:

    You’re right on about putting Darche and Halpern on the ice for a late PP and at the end of the game.  Martin sometimes seems to let his coaching philosophy (defense first MY way) get in the way of his coaching job (winning games).  Martin made his point by sitting Kostitsyn and Pouliot (not sure what he did) for a large portion of the 3rd period, turn them loose when the team needs a goal…

    As far as the officiating is concerned I have not really had any problem with most of the calls against Montreal this season.  The Detroit game for example, the Habs desevred every penalty called against them, although the one on Plekanec was marginal.  It is the calls that don’t get made against the other team…  Again against Detroit, if you call Plekanec for the “hold”, which was clearly a slash, they should have called Rafalski for the dive as well, and in the 3rd period outshooting the Red Wings 19-3 and most of the game played in the Wings end…no penalties when there were clearly holds on Moen and Lapierre in front of the Detroit net.  Do these calls/non-calls cost the Habs games, maybe, but unlikely.

  62. avatar_58 says:

    Darche was out there because he grinds and worked his anus off, he wasn’t the reason they couldn’t score.

  63. Number31 says:

    Halpern was out there to win the faceoffs, being the better faceoff man on the team. And he did his job, winning every one of them until the end.

    Darche’s job was just to go to the net and screen because he’s pretty much one of the few that does that. Once the faceoff was won by Halpern, those two were out to muck it up and help spread the defensive shell around for the scorers.

  64. ctony says:

    Outside of a few ultra-highend forwards most next-tier top 6
    guys are streaky and/or require a coach that lets them go out a play.  That’s not JM’s way. 

    We don’t forecheck aggressively.  We don’t unleash our top 6.  And, we play our top line (Plecs and his
    wingers de jour) against the other team’s scorers and which means unnecessary
    defensive responsibilities.

    Not a recipe for scoring and that’s a bad way to play from
    behind.  

  65. nick says:

    “Andrei Kostitsyn couldn’t handle a pass in his skates, just outside the Canadiens blueline.”

    Didn’t Cammalleri do the same thing a week or two ago with Subban… I don’t recall much talk about how the 5 million dollar player couldn’t hold onto the puck. And yet theres alot about AK the 3 million dollar man… Strange.

    Ok so AK has had a bad few games… But do we really need 1/2 the “About last night” going on about how – the guy with the third most points, second most hits on the team lost the game for MTL? He’s not the highest paid guy out there by quite a bit, and yet people tend to hold him to level of the 5+ million dollar players.

    Mean while some of those 5+ million dollar players have been coasting for the better part of the season are just starting to show up.

    When it comes down to it the team had about 20 chances to score in the dying minutes of the third period and the team failed to capitalize on that.

    People seem to forget the guy has been brilliant up until recently. Chill out folks.

  66. ctony says:

    That’s just Boone shilling for Hab management and setting us
    up for the “AK wasn’t really that good” when we trade him away for the
    rights to Boyd and Ellis.  PG already
    told him that AK is heading south after the holidays.

    Would have been nice to trade AK away when he was riding a
    crest at the beginning of the season rather than when he’s in slump and JM showcases
    him on the fourth line.

  67. ctony says:

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

     

    It’s beginning to look a lot like last year

    Ev’rywhere we go (to play);

    Take a look at the last five to ten; it’s .500 once again

    With scoring dearth and red lights aglow

     

    It’s beginning to look a lot like last year

    Frustration in ev’ry door

    But the prettiest sight to see is to set JM free

    Then winning will flow from every pore.

     

  68. habitual says:

    Yes, Bill, Pac is looking good and I agree, Gomez looks better too.

    But as 24Cups says, blaming referees is pointless.  Yes, on any night it can be bad and go against a team, but through the course of a season it evens out.  You want to throw literary references around:  complaining about the refereeing is like waiting for Godot.

    You don’t miss O’Byrne at +13, but you also don’t like our D … one weakness our D has is that it isn’t tough in front of the net, and one weakness our team has is that it doesn’t have toughness.

  69. Kooch7800 says:

    I agree, we have got screwed by the ref’s quite a bit the last month but as we know from Bettman and his goons complaining about it won’t fix the problem.

    The habs did not get the loss cause of the ref’s last night.  They were sloppy and the Av’s capitalized which we did not do with our many chances.

    We do need help on D and that is a glaring issue right now with markov out and PK playing like a rookie (which isn’t his fault).

    If PG is going to do anything he should go after anything it should be a physical reliable defensemen.  Somehitng we used to have in Komi until Lucic beat him silly and somehow he lost his game.  Unfortunately, these types of D do not grow on trees. We will have to see what happens

  70. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    Never been in the “sky is falling” camp before, but I see a lot more lazy hockey than I did the first part of the season…..


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