About last night …

“Hey, how about I make this the entirety of About Last Night …:

“What a pice of s—?”

My pressbox neighbour, Arpon Basu, thought that just about summed things up.

Basu is lucky. He writes for NHL.com, which means his story can focus on the Devils.

Anyone trying to write about the Canadiens is doomed to … well, trying to pick it up by the clean end.

“I have one word for this game,” said Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated.


Imagine, Farber added, if this were the first live hockey game you’d ever attended. And you’d laid out $100-plus for a ticket.

Basu, Farber and I got in for free, of course.

And the customers got what they paid for when they saw “New Jersey Devils” printed on their tickets.

Chris Stevenson, who writes hockey for the Sun chain, described what we saw as “pre-2003” hockey.

Vintage stuff, before the lockout and before the rule changes that opened hockey up and made it a more pleasing spectator sport.

Someone forgot to tell Jacques Lemaire, who forgot to tell Pat Burns, who forgot to tell Larry Robinson, who forgot to tell Claude Julien, who forgot to tell Brent Sutter.

John MacLean, the latest Devils coach, played for Lemaire. So did Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.

The style involves an aggressive forecheck, neutral zone trapping, clogging up the passing lanes … doing everything to slow the world’s fastest game to a somnambulant crawl.

For the final nine minutes of the first period, NEITHER TEAM had a shot on goal. The Bell Centre crowd was lulled into surly near-silence, erupting only to boo hapless referee Stéphane Auger.

Ilya Kovalchuk earned his ridiculous salary playing 21 minutes, during which one of the game’s most dynamic players had one shot and no hits. Welcome to New Jersey, Ilya. Let’s get to work on turning you into John Madden.

It’s anti-hockey – not fun to watch, but the success of the Devils suggests it’s effective.

And it helps to have a goaltender who’ll be in the Hall of Fame a New Jersey nanosecond after he becomes eligible.

That was Martin F. Brodeur’s ninth shutout against the Canadiens. It seems like more.

In addition to stopping 29 shots – most from the perimeter, many right at him – Brodeur suckered Gionta, his old teammate, into two penalties.

Martin F.’s current teammates ensured the Canadiens would generate no speed on their breakouts and little sustained pressure in the Devils’ zone. By the third period, Jacques Martin had shuffled his lines – Mike Cammalleri with Gomez and Gionta, Lars Eller with Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn – but nothing clicked.

Some stats:

• Cammalleri, Gionta and P.K. Subban had 17 of the Canadiens’ 29 shots – eight by the Captain.

• Josh Gorges and Hal Gill were each minus-3.

• Alexandre Picard played a solid 15:46, had three hits and wasn’t on for any GA.

• Carey Price faced only 20 shots but made more spectacular saves than Martin F.

• Eller was involved and on the puck all night in 10:25.

• Subban’s 24 minutes were high for both teams.

• Andy Greene had eight  of NJ’s 21 blocked shots. Roman Hamrlik had four of the Canadiens’ 14.

The Canadiens’ power-play took another 0-for. It’s been blanked in five of the six games the team has played and is 1-for-20 on the season.

Martin calls his PP “a work in progress” – and we’d better hope progress progresses when Andrei Markov returns, because if this team fires blanks with the man advantage all season …

Like Devils hockey, that just doesn’t bear thinking about.





  1. makka83 says:

    Halak’s last shutout was against the Islanders right? Or Florida.. That guy was a giants killer for sure. I miss him.

  2. makka83 says:

    Halak was pulled just as much as he won games by “himself”

  3. SeriousFan09 says:

    You know what? I’m thinking about the 08-09 Detroit game, we were sitting on a SO for Price there and than The Mule managed a crazy play and scored. I guess after a while, the potential SOs for Price that went awry all kind of blend together.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  4. JF says:

    I think it was November two years ago – 4-0 against the Senators.

  5. Jordio-oh says:

    Positive. I use the yahoo game log where you can read each and every box score from the last several years. But if commend you on being able to remember that far back, and be specific about it.

    You might being thinking about the Dec/07 games vs the leafs where Deveraux score with like 4 minutes left to spoil Carey’s shutout and the habs won 4-1. Same thing happened two nights before against the Flyers, only it was Knuble with 5 minutes left to finish the game 4-1 for the Habs.

    Higgins was good in 07-08. What a shame.

  6. von says:

    So because the Gomez/Gionta line is struggling, you break up your most successful/promising line to compensate.




    “Obviously it would be great, but they don’t really hang conference titles in this rink. They raise Stanley Cup banners.” – Carey Price

  7. Hammer says:

    Ripping into Price is only a diversion from what is the real problem with the Habs. Lack of size to put on an effective forecheck/ combined with a mediocre top six leads to few 5 on 5 goals, and when one has PP that stinks, the goalie must allow 2 or less goals a night in  order for the team to win. After last nights stinkfest, I am hoping it is not an omen for a rotten year!

  8. K-hab25 says:

    Aren’t you the guy that points out Halak playing like crap against PHI didn’t matter, because we got shut out 3 times, which is true. Just curious though – when was Halak’s last playoff shut out?

  9. StevieRay says:

    I thought Pleks was a bit fiesty last nite .. but that was it !

  10. tony d says:

    What’s frustrating is knowing that the Avs, Stars, Pens, Caps and Bruins found a way to beat the Devils. Our guys seem to cave and let history dictate the outcome of the game every time.

     I bet Marty F. wishes he played the Habs more times in a year, they’d be guaranteed W’s and he’d rack up more shutouts.

  11. ManApart says:

    Ya but will Montreal and No goal Pouliot have a playoff game? Very debateable

  12. Timo says:

    Price’s problem is that he doesn’t score nearly enough. With the score 1-0 his team needed a boost and needed him to pot one in. As always, he did not deliver. Bum.

  13. SeriousFan09 says:

    Are you sure? I thought a late goal spoiled that one… Maybe I’m thinking of another game but I could’ve sworn that game ended 4-1.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  14. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’d change my mind if he hadn’t blamed everyone but himself in media interviews, admitted he didn’t feel like trying in his final season when he left and tried harder when he was here but he didn’t. Maybe 0 was overly dramatic but I’m tired of lazy players showing up in MTL and thinking they’re entitled to their roster spots.

    You want to succeed when you don’t have all the talent in the world, you have to show up each game. Latendresse didn’t consider that. He got the boot.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  15. Jordio-oh says:

    All fair points.

    Carey’s last shutout was November 11th, 2008. 4-0 win against the Senators. Chris Higgins had a hattrick and Latendresse scored the other goal. And Alex Auld was in the net for the Senators. Haha, soooo long ago.

  16. MathMan says:

    One is still higher than zero, and I just needed to give one counterexample to disprove your post. I’m sure that if you insist on “clutch” (which, BTW, is largely in the eye of the beholder), I could go back and find more. But what would be the point, right? You’re not going to change your mind.

    He’s not as good as Koivu, that much is obvious, but he’s better than Pouliot. And you need your 2.5 million wingers as much as you need your 5 million centers, just can’t expect the same from them.

  17. StevieRay says:

    Sooo.last nite after work I pick up a 8 pack of Wildcat beer ..and get ready for the game . On RDS …the family thing I’m a bit wonky .. cause I don’t know any french..no problem I say as I do know the word for ” He scores ” !!! except when I yell it out from the living room I scare the shit out of my ols dog ..who heads for the kitchen !!. Man was I dissapointed to say the lest . Outplayed..outskated..outhustled.. and flicking our sticks atthe puck istead of moving our feet ..Gomez floating around avoiding traffic ..again … no shots on goal .. he has 8 in six games total .. Gionta taking 40 foot slappers at Marty ..that ain’t gonna work .. and Eller playing on ever line EXCEPT the G love line ..Brutal giveaways by Spacek etc….ect..etc.. our PP is 1 for 21 …..thank goodnes for our PK ..

    A real stinker …the best part of the nite ..  I have 6 Wildcats left over !!!!  Time to move on and forget the nite !!!

    I think a trade is in the winds …..

  18. SeriousFan09 says:

    Oh one time, how special for him. Playoff performances were abysmal and he was nothing compared to someone who left it all on the ice like Koivu.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  19. MathMan says:

    That trade was an obvious mistake right from the start, but there’s too many irrational Lats haters who won’t admit it. 😉

  20. MathMan says:

    lol, the Lats hate is incredible.

    I remember one game vs. Washington which most people remeber for Ovie’s 3-goal 4-point performance. Nobody remembers that that game was decided in OT. Nobody remembers Lats’ 2-goal 3-point night, including the tying goal with seconds to spare. With his two feet in blue paint, but he never went to the net either. 😉

  21. arcosenate says:

    That was an incredible exhibition of something.

    I had to take cold showers between periods to stay somewhat awake.

    Next time the devils come to town forget the bobble heads, give out cattle prods to help people stay semi-comatose.

  22. MathMan says:

    I think that Martin got the “real” lines in this game and by the end of the season the top-6 will be 13-11-21 and 81-14-46. However, Eller may not be quite ready for that yet, which leaves the Habs top-6 in limbo with an obvious hole until then.

  23. MathMan says:

    “the Devils are back to their “penalty-free”
    clutch/grab/hook/hold/trip/interfere style of keeping a team to the
    perimeter and slowing the pace to a crawl”

    This bears pointing out a bit, I think, that the Devils’ discipined reputation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If another team (the Habs say) put it into their heads to play Devils hockey, they’d start making tracks to the penalty box. But the Devils get the benefit of the doubt. Witness sacred cow Brodeur’s diving against Gionta. Of course, gotta protect the “Hall of Famer”. And then people wonder why players won’t go to the net vs. Brodeur.

  24. SeriousFan09 says:

    There’s a lot I could argue with in the last while I haven’t responded to because I know it’s not going anywhere, but I will argue the ‘we let Latendresse get away’ crap when I want to and I feel like doing that this particular morning


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  25. Clay4bc says:

    Glad you made it through allright, man. I’ve been in a couple of of tai-fun’s myself – very memorable, no doubt. You’re actually lucky you have a distraction from the “game” today.


    Fighting Ignorance since 1970 (It’s taking longer than I thought).

  26. Clay4bc says:

    Really, i could care less about Lats, one way or the other. I agree there. What I disagree with is your need to answer all comments like they are a personal affront to you.


    Fighting Ignorance since 1970 (It’s taking longer than I thought).

  27. SeriousFan09 says:

    Why do people insist on raising a guy on a pedestal who never gave a damn when he was in Montreal?

    If Latendresse’s last name was Larionov the things he’d be called around here… Canadians show a lack of heart, it’s a coach’s fault or someone else’s, never their own. Russians do, it’s because they’re money-hungry mercenaries.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  28. Number31 says:

    Habs had an opportunity to attack them but didn’t. Instead they sent Marty practice shots, being oh so kind to warm him up by not trying too hard to hurt his feelings. Funny how it is… Their new coach wanted to bring more offense to the team, to actually try and fit the square peg of Kovalchuk into the round hole (that’s one expensive floater, Lou), but Marty freaked out publicly as he saw his performance take a hit, his save percentage go awry, and threw his defense (or what was left of them) under the bus. Four days off to sort that problem out, and the Devils are back to their “penalty-free” clutch/grab/hook/hold/trip/interfere style of keeping a team to the perimeter and slowing the pace to a crawl. We saw when PK was given carte blanche though, they had a problem in dealing with speed. If the Habs had done that earlier and NOT waited until the 3rd period to try and jump on them, they might have scored at least one goal.

    But who am I kidding, they couldn’t even score a goal on an empty wide-open net last night. This is why they can’t have four days off =p

    Hope Marty sent them a thank you note.

  29. Clay4bc says:

    Why do you persist in whining endlessly about Lats?


    Fighting Ignorance since 1970 (It’s taking longer than I thought).

  30. SeriousFan09 says:

    We also saw him being a lazy petulant child who never gave a damn any more than Kovalev did but at least Kovy showed up in the playoffs now and then.

    Lacked character, will and heart. Fits right into a going-nowhere franchise like Minnesota, it’s a pity Koivu’s brother is asked to lift that team out of obscurity but the Koivus are too classy to ever call out their teams for being crap and wasting their prime years.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  31. Clay4bc says:

    Carey may have made more spectacular saves than Martin F, as Boone
    mentioned, but he also let in more terrible goals. I have read a lot of
    posts that mention – and rightfully so –  that it’s not Carey’s fault
    that the Habs lost when we score no goals. Just curious though – when
    was Carey’s last shutout?

    And…Gomez is not Hitler’s grandson as TomNickle mentioned a
    previous thread.
    – he’s a good guy who’s grossly overpaid, and a foolish cap hit for his
    production. We need to lose that contract. He is simply incapable of
    producing the amount of points that contract dictates he should get. And
    that’s not a knock on Gomez, in case you’re wondering – I think there are maybe only 8 or 10 players in the league that deserve that much money, if that. And only 2 that deserve more.


    Fighting Ignorance Since 1970 (It’s taking longer than I thought).

  32. Shiloh says:

    LaSlowesse – can’t skate, doesn’t hit, has an awful shot. But if a 1st line centre does the work he’ll let it bounce in off his skate or jam it in during a scrum.

  33. mrhabby says:

    what a boring game. just can’t stand watching the devils play there stupid style. price looked good. no puck support what can he do….agree with farber ..refund required.

  34. G-Man says:

    Hate Lats for succeeding elsewhere? Why? All every1 could see on this site were his supposed defficiencies. I hope he keeps scoring and hitting and getting assists.

    Everyone else on the Habs was supposed to be better than Lats. Not so. Can’t teach size.

    14 shots and 3 goals. 2 were stoppable. However, it didn’t matter how many Price saved last night because Habs played noncommital ho-hum hockey after another layoff. This team needs a game every 2 nights to stay sharp. If not, the rust is hard to scrape off.

  35. nightmare_49 says:


       For the Habs to play their cute fancy hockey, they must have room. The Devils didn’t give them any. BTW JM should tell his team that they are allowed to use the body. The Devils were interfering all night with the body but the refs refused to call it.

       Now  ….. 

    Listless Habs: Just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Devils



  36. Habies says:

    I am in Myanmar.

    I woke up – comme d’habitude- to listen to this game at 5:30am.    The only difference was that this time I was awake for a second reason: to track a tropical storm which, right about the time that Gionta got swindled by his old buddy into getting a 2nd errant penalty, had turned into a Category 1 hurricane (or Cyclone as they call them in these parts; “Cyclone Giri”.).   I quickly called my team in the field to make sure they were bunkered down or at least safely on their way to the Delta. They were. The only Yay of the Day.

    If it hadn’t been for this Hurricane (which is now catugory 2 and pummeling a very very poor and basic area of the planet…), this would have been yet another unmemorable day courtesy of the Devils.


  37. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    Well, we knew we weren’t in for much when NJ rolled into town.  I’m just disappointed in Carey, I didn’t see him get a single shot on Brodeur tonight.  😉


    “The good thing about drinking during games is if they lose, you’re too drunk to care during and too hungover to care after.” – J.T.

  38. JasonM says:

    In case people forgot…. Lats 3 – Pouliot 0.



  39. andrewberkshire says:

    Glad I didn’t see this game.

  40. PrimeTime says:

    If I never see another NJ game, it will be too soon! Chalk this one to a bad Hab team game and we’ll move on. Gonna have the odd stinker.

  41. Bill says:

    Well, #@$! happens, especially when Marty F. is in town. Only 9 shutouts? It really does seem like more.

    I wasn’t expecting much. That four day layoff was badly timed, as the Habs seemed to be heating up. They shot enough pucks, but they lack that down low presence to make the rebounds – when they happen – dangerous. I don’t care what Latendresse is doing in Minnesota, though I hate him a little for not doing it here.

    For tonight, I can’t really fault JM. The game plan seemed solid, but they just couldn’t cash. Then again, a more innovative or motivating coach could possibly have gotten his players to adapt to Jersey’s style and make more happen. So I guess what I’m saying is I do fault JM … big news, I know. Most of all, I’m looking at the nominal 1st line. Gomez and Gionta and whomever is sent onto their line to die. I totally agree with splitting them up. Give Gomez Cammalleri and Kostitsyn and make Plekanec really earn that salary by playing with Gionta and Moen/Pyatt/Boyd whatever. Pleks will still get it done, and better wingers might bring Gomez to life.

    I thought Carey looked good – yet another case of poor goal support – and props to JM for giving PK so much ice. I am relieved by that.

    Habs will win their next game by a goal. Markov will be back soon, and that will make a big difference. The biggest difference, though, needs to come from Gomez. Do something, man. Anything.


    Full Breezer 4 Life

  42. TommyB says:

    I pretty much agree with Boone’s assessment of last night’s boring Devils-style game.  But I would add that the Habs were soft on the puck the entire evening and they were out-muscled on just about every opportunity.  There was no jump in their game.   Brodeur’s shutout was one of the easiest he’s ever earned, despite the 29 shots on goal.  Four days off syndrome?  Who knows.  But when you turn four days off into five days off, as the Habs surely seemed to do last night, chances are you come up on the losing end.  File this one, and learn from it.

  43. fuhgawz says:

    i half expected a loss tonight.  It seems we always come out flat after a long layoff i blame this one on the coaches for not getting the boys up to it.  they seemed to play hard enough but it was really all wheel spining.  learn from this one guys and bring it next game. 

  44. G-Man says:

    Soryy, Shiloh- you and many others here have been wrong about him from the start. He does what he needs to do to score. For some reason, many of you have been too biased against him to see that he is a scorer that hits.

  45. joeybarrie says:

    Don’t forget his 2 assists.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  46. sidhu says:

    Weber is lighting it up for Hamilton — what about bringing him up for the PP at least while Marky is still on the mend?

    We can dress 7 D.

  47. SeriousFan09 says:

    Yet Minnesota won’t even have 3 playoff games this year, oh well, enjoy success in obscurity you petulant child.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  48. sidhu says:

    Lats has 3 goals for MIN.  Dear God

  49. Shiloh says:

    You hit the nail on the head. If the refs don’t let them interfere and call them early on it, then the game becomes more entertaining. Last night’s spectacle was an advertisement for permanent 4-on-4 hockey.

  50. Habsrule1 says:

    It’s one game…let’s not panic.

    That being said, that was pretty brutal. Price would love the first goal back, but the game didn’t end 1-0 so who cares?

    Gionta is taking shots but not really looking dangerous. I think he’ll come around, but until he does, we’ll have to win low scoring games.

    I want to say Martin should leave Pouliot with Gionta & Gomez for 10 games, but if he does nothing after 3 or 4, will I still feel the same way? I’m not sure.

    What should the top 2 lines actually be?

    I think we have 7 potential first liners? Who should go with who, and who should be left on the 3rd line?

    Gionta, Gomez, Pouliot, Cammalleri, Kostitsyn, Plekanec, Eller

    What are you ideal top 2 lines? I’ll give mine a little later. 

    Go Habs Go!! “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  51. SeriousFan09 says:

    Times Latendresse was reliable in the clutch for MTL: 0


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

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