About last night …

No cause for concern … yet.

Certainly no reason to panic … now.

The Canadiens are still four points up on ninth-place Atlanta. But the Thrashers are hot, and they have a game in hand.

So just when we thought the playoffs were a cinch …

Well, they probably still are.

But your Montreal Canadiens were not good in salvaging a point at the ACC on Saturday night.

And they were even worse back home against the Ottawa “Who’s your daddy, habbies?” Senators.

The Canadiens took three of a possible 12 points from Otawa this season, and the last loss might have been the most dispiriting.

Extremely boring game, and an easy shutout for Brian Elliott.

Oh well, at least Kovy didn’t get a hat trick.

The game can be summarized by some goose eggs:

• The Canadiens were shut out on home ice for the fifth time. I can’t remember any of the preceding goaltenders having an easier time than Brian Elliott. He made 29 stops, maybe four of which were slightly difficult. 

• Jaroslav Spacek, Roman Hamrlik, Ryan O’Byrne and Hal Gill copmbined for ZERO hits. Yes, you read that right: four defencemen had no hits. Ottawa’s Andy Sutton had four, including good neutral-zone licks on Benoit Pouliot and Andrei Kostitsyn. 

• Pouliot didn’t have a shot on goal. Neither did Glen Metropolit or Maxim Lapierre.

Ottawa wanted the game more and had a sounder plan for winning it.

The Senators played a tight, disciplined style. They forechecked effectively and clogged the neutral zone, denying the Canadiens any chance to move up ice at speed.

During Jacques Martin’s press conference, Eric Engels suggested the Canadiens had stretched the ice too much and played with poor puck support. The coach jumped on this analysis, labeling it “bang on” and lamenting his teams’s lack of crisp, 10- to 15-foot passes that would let five skaters advance the puck.

Prompted by Pat Hickey, Martin also critiqued some unfortunate pinches by his Dmen that resulted in several odd-man rushes, particularly in the first period, by the Senators.

The loss, Martin said, was attributable to special teams.

The Canadiens’ power play went 0-for-5 and looked gosh-awful.

Ottawa had a 20-second power play when Andrei Kostitsyn took a brain-dead penalty to nullify a Canadiens’ advantage. But with Dominic Moore off in the third period, the Senators needed a little over a minute to make it 2-0, a PP score that effectively put the game out of reach.

Moore lost one of his wingers when Travis Moen suffered a horrific skate cut in the second period. But he and Sergei Kostitsyn had a tough time against an Ottawa system that afforded them little time or space to make effective plays.

Brian Gionta, who hasn’t played a bad game this season, had five shots on goal , as did Scott Gomez. But their linemate, Pouliot, seems to have fallen into a bit of a regression. Maybe he’s reading the summaries and noticing how many goals Guillaume Latendresse is scoring in Minnesota.

(Cheap shot. I’m still happy with the trade.)

There had been speculation that Mike Cammalleri and Marc-André Bergeron would return to the lineup against Ottawa. The PP certainly could have used a couple of trigger-men. 

And Tomas Plekanec desperately needs Cammalleri as a finisher. We love Tom Pyatt, but not on that line.

As it is however, Cammalleri – who has scored 18 of his 26 goals at home – will return to the lineup in Buffalo on Wednesday.

Martin McGuire, on CKAC, said we’d see Carey Price against the Sabres. 

Jaro Halak couldn’t be faulted for either of the Ottawa goals. But Price hasn’t played since getting the hook in Anaheim.

It’s time.

And it’s time for the Canadiens to pull up their tri-coloured socks. The team skating in quicksand for most of the night against Ottawa wasd not the playoff-bound juggernaut that reeled off six straight Ws.

Will the real Montreal Canadiens show up in Buffalo, or back home against Florida and – gulp! – New Jersey?

They’ll have to, before this thing gets out of hand.

 

•  •  •

Moen, who does not wear a visor, took 25 stitches on that scary play.

If Matt Cullen’s skate hits his eye … well, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

 

96 Comments

  1. twocents says:

    Let’s be honest with ourselves. The whole upward trajectory of this franchise ended the day Sandrine Balthzard’s contract was not renewed.

    Do we really need to run around searching for other answers?

  2. ed lopaz says:

    hey chris, i think we won’t have to wrry about AK after this contract is done – no way habs will want him; the habs do not have a long history with players who lack effort and consistency.

    furthermore, what will AK get for heis next contract? 4 million, 5 million??

    star is not important to this guy.

    poeple in belarusse make a few dollars a day – literally.

    here’s a link to the web site of the belarusse embassy – average salary is $139 per month

    http://www.belarusembassy.org/economic/wish_to_know.htm

    AK and his brother make that much in the time it takes them to lace up their skates – about 1-2 minutes.

    someteams get lucky when they choose guys from poor countries overseas – habs were not lucky.

  3. Captain aHab says:

    Everytime we think this team is down, they pull together and play a few great games in a row.

    Did they stink it up last night? Yes

    But how many times did I see the puck jump over one of our sticks and land flat on theirs….it was uncanny.

    One lesson from last night other teams should learn: put a lot of pressure on Spacek and Hammer and if they aren’t very well supported, they’ll cough it up. It was sad to see.

    And on AK, I like his potential but dear lord does he ever have the ability of following up a great play with an absolute stinker. And anybody else notice how many times he gets caught from behind? Didn’t this guy have speed? I would also like him to take less than 30 games to show up after getting a head cold.

    Anyways, I won’t be surprised at all if they beat the Sabres.

  4. notbigbird says:

    I think the Sens have the right combination of players and game plan to play well against us.

  5. notbigbird says:

    It’s not that they’re not working, but sometimes you lose your edge, sometimes the other team has something to do with it, and sometimes you just don’t get the bounces. Bah … wasting my time …

  6. mrhabby says:

    ya think the sky is falling or something. we lose to the sens and get a point from the laffs. the world is not coming to an end folks….so the habs played flat. have you ever gone to work and not felt like working… and don’t  give me that crap about  all those lazy rich guys who could care less….the sky is not falling…geesh.

  7. nick says:

    Any word on Moen? He alright? Expected to be back? I didn’t hear anything after seeing the incident.

    Thanks.

  8. Chris says:

    AHL championships, to be honest, are largely meaningless in terms of the NHL team’s future success.  The Bulldogs were a Calder Cup finalist in 2003 and of course won the Calder Cup in 2007.  Despite this, the Habs really haven’t seen much of a bump in terms of consistency:  they had one magical year in 2007-08 where everything went right (no injuries, tons of players having career years) that still only saw them reach the second round of the playoffs.

    Guy Boucher may or may not prove to be a good NHL coach.  What he will not be is the saviour…the Habs roster simply does not quite have the firepower or consistency yet to challenge the top teams in the NHL.  They have enough talent that, given the right matchups, they could upset a team or two in the playoffs.  But they are still a long way off from contender status.

    The Habs currently rank 21st in goals per game, 13th in goals against per game and are a relatively dreadful 24th in 5-on-5 goals for versus goals against per game.  They are 27th in shots per game and 26th in shots against per game.  No team in the NHL has trailed after the first period more than the Montreal Canadiens (they have played catch-up hockey 34 out of 73 games…the bright side is that they have won roughly a third of those games).  Some of this can be put on the coaching staff, but at the end of the day, the players just aren’t quite there.  A lot of this can be explained by the injury situation and a lack of depth on the team. 

    We’ve already seen a lot of the Bulldogs prospects in Montreal:  White, Pyatt, Trotter, Desharnais, Pacioretty, Weber, Carle, Subban and Maxwell have all come up.  With the exceptions of Subban and Carle, none of them has really stood out to me as anything other than role players for this team…although I am willing to give Pacioretty more time, as power forwards take longer to develop.  But the lack of top-6 forward promise in Hamilton has me concerned.

  9. JD_ says:

    Who did you end up punching in the face?

  10. punkster says:

    I had more contact with the bartenders at the Bell Centre than the Habs had on the ice.

  11. punkster says:

    The beer was cold and as one poster here always signs off…NUF SAID!

    (Oh and while I had dreams of actually teeing off this weekend I think the weather here today has effectively shelved that thought. Indoor range for me.)

  12. longtimehabsfan says:

    Once again this season it’s one step up and one step back.  This team has barely been a .500 team.  Last night’s effort showed a lack of execution. 

  13. punkster says:

    Icy cold, like the look in Halak’s eyes every time a Hab D-man skated near.

  14. Chris says:

    I agree with you about the slow starting thing…but that doesn’t explain the complete lack of effort.  Lack of results:  okay.  Sometimes the puck doesn’t bounce your way, sometimes (as I suspect is the case with AK) your speed isn’t up to where it needs to be at the start of the season, etc.  But he’s playing very carelessly right now.

    And perhaps more ominously, Andrei Kostitsyn’s brief career has illustrated quite well that he is a slow starter.  What most people forget is that he has also shown that he is not a great regular season finisher, either.  Here are his goals per game and points per game totals over his career:

    • October – 0.11 GPG, 0.29 PPG
    • November – 0.14 GPG, 0.45 PPG
    • December – 0.48 GPG, 0.80 PPG
    • January – 0.47 GPG, 0.75 PPG
    • February – 0.29 GPG, 0.65 PPG
    • March – 0.17 GPG, 0.53 PPG
    • April – 0.10 GPG, 0.20 PPG
    • Playoffs – 0.38 GPG, 0.56 PPG

    The question Pierre Gauthier is going to have to ask himself is whether he can continue to bank on a consistently inconsistent Andrei Kostitsyn as a top-6 winger.  AK46 is now 25 years old and is in his third full NHL season.  I like his skill set, and am one of the few that really didn’t mind that the Habs drafted him in 2003 over guys like Parise, Getzlaf and Richards.  What I do mind is the Kovalev-esque lack of effort that permeates his game:  when he’s on, he’s the team’s best player.  But unlike Kovalev’s tenure in Montreal, Kostitsyn’s dominant nights are few and far between. 

    I’m just not sure that the fit between player and team is right…I still think that AK46 can become a star somewhere.  I am just becoming increasingly concerned that that somewhere is not Montreal.

  15. joeybarrie says:

    The Leafs beat us in overtime and all of a sudden they are as good as us. It really makes me laugh. Their cap issues are even bigger than ours.

    BIGJCC526. OK your a Habs fan???  OF course. We all believe you. Who in their right mind would compare the two teams as being just as good??? The useless Leafs havent made the playoffs in 6 years and they are dead bottom of the division. We are fighting for 5th place and havent had a single game with our complete roster. In fact we havent had a complet game with our 6 best players… Yet we are STILL fighting for 5th. NOT DEAD LAST. Also we arent giving away our draft pick to Boston in a year where we would get a top 5…

    The future is good in Toronto???  Your cap is given to the defense players who suck. You have to sign 12 players and keep them under 2 million each. So how exactly are you going to get better???

    We are trying to fill the 3rd and 4th lines. Our top 2 lines have 3 players who would be on pace with 40 goals a season if they played 82 games… We have 2 players who would be on pace for a 50+ assist season also on 82 games. And none of these guys are over 31, so we got them for awhile.

    We have two of the best young goalies in the league. One of which will be a superstar. (PLEASE no one respond to which one…be done with that subject)

    We have one of the top 5 defenders in the league, and one superstar defender coming up next season.

    Our PK and PP are doing great (pp not lately, but were still #2 in the league) And when our PP isnt doing well we are stil 7-2-1… HOW GREAT IS THAT???

    I think we are in a pretty good spot. And its just the beginning. 

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

  16. Chuck says:

    Me!

    _____________________________________

    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  17. Chuck says:

    Please tell me that at the very least the Heineken was cold.

    _____________________________________

    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  18. JD_ says:

    Pre Game

    Works for me. Making pre-game observations about Alex Kovalev’s current funk, RDS’ Joel Bouchard shrugged and said “Kovalev is Kovalev”. As he spoke, the thought struck me that AK27’s epitath should read “Kovalev was Kovalev”.

    George Costanza would be envious. Demers wore that jacket again last night. You know, the one that’s made with the same fabric used to cover those La-Z-Boy reclining sofas, the ones with the big wood handles at each end and the cupholders.

    Game

    A picture’s worth a thousand words. The game on paper doesn’t look like the game on TV. I can’t remember the last time the Habs played a game where the distribution of everything – shots, hits faceoffs won, takeaways, shots blocked, etc… – was so evenly split down the middle. There is, however, no stat for intensity nor for first-man-on-the-puck. Truth is, if it weren’t for our PP opportunities, the stats would have favoured Ottawa. They were better prepared and showed it virtually from the get-go.

    The rumours are total, pulpy fiction. There is absolutely no truth to the story that Ottawa head coach, Young Harvey Keitel, said the following in the Senators dressing room just prior to last night’s game: “If I’m curt with you, it’s because time is a factor. I think fast. I talk fast. And, I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please with sugar on top, win the f****** game.”

    A progressive regression. The game started out fairly evenly. Both sides were aggressive. Foligno heard, however, that the water in the penalty box was awesome and decided to try it out a couple of times. Absent anything lethal from the point, the Habs just couldn’t get the PP going. Clouston had his guys all over anything Hab on the PP, playing one of the most aggressive boxes the team has faced this season. This intensity carried over into even-strength, with Ottawa’s forecheck sensing and ultimately capitalizing on the Habs’ sometimes fragile transition game. By the end of the first period, the Canadiens had ceded the neutral zone.

    Seems logical to me, captain. To compensate, the Habs tried to ratchet up their offensive game whenever they gained control of the puck. Against a team hungrier for the puck and picking everything off, it led to a relatively unbelievable number of odd-man rushes for Ottawa throughout the evening. I haven’t seen that many odd men rushing since the Spock t-shirts were marked down 50% at the Trekkie convention.

    Positives. I like Pleks’ in-yer-face style. He’s been doing it all season and it works. Pouliot hasn’t been connecting of late, but it’s not for lack of talent nor the fact he really doesn’t mind getting into it. Plays with a temperamental elan. Gomez might be overcompensated, but 9 times out of 10, he effortlessly carries the puck into the O-zone. Markov’s back in form and OB’s all growed up ‘n’ all, as a result.

    Post Game

    Last word on the angry clown’s “we” rant. In his, as I speculate, self-medicated rant yesterday morning, Jack Todd noted the following: “When a fan refers to the Canadiens and he uses the word ‘we,’ as in ‘we’re going to make the playoffs this year,’ well – he loses me right there.” Interesting parallel in that when a sports columnist refers to himself and he uses the words “Jack Todd,” as in “Hi, I’m Jack Todd,” well – he loses me right there.

    JD

  19. Shublips says:

    Habs were weak in the last two games.  Halak is the only reason it was ONLY 2-0.  Hopefully the Habs can find the balance that they had during the winning streak.

    Read more at Habs Addict.com:
    http://www.habsaddict.com/2010/03/montreal-ottawa-habs-come-out-flat-in-2.html

  20. punkster says:

    Tough time being a Habs fan when they turn in stinkers like last
    night. I was at the game in a great seat behind the net (Halak for two
    periods) and what I saw was a boring non-effort by the team. Halak
    played well enough to win this if his teammates had only turned up the
    passion level. That first goal was the direct result of two Habs
    running into eachother near the bench (one going for a new stick)
    leaving a 5 on 3 to set up the Ottawa goal. Minor league error, no
    excuse. The second goal was simply a well placed shot. Look at the
    replay and you’ll see Halak tracking the shot all the way in. Maybe he
    “should have” stopped it but he didn’t. Stuff happens.

     

    What should not happen is the listless, lifeless,
    effortless and gutless display the Habs showed last night. No physical
    contact of any significance. Dump and chase with very little followup.
    I’m all for looking forward to having Cammy and MAB back in the lineup
    and sitting a couple of the more lazy Habs (no names please) but if the
    rest of the team doesn’t grow some cajones they’ll be fighting me for early tee times. And I’m no pushover with the starters.

  21. smiler2729 says:

    No biggie.

    It’s good for the team to come back to Earth after Ontario handed them their jockstraps… the Laffs bored ‘em into a point and the Sens broke out of their collective funk to actually play a defensive hockey game.

    Fresh start in Buffalo.

  22. p_gagnon17 says:

    Hey Boone…

    How do you know that last night’s Canadiens weren’t the real ones and the 6-straight-wins weren’t imposters?

  23. ed lopaz says:

    i saw some changes – i saw some lines juggled – i swa pouliot moved to the left side with plekanec.

    don’t think we can blame the coach

    he is missing some giant pieces for this team to move to the next level

    missing more mobility on the back end (PK)

    missing more size and grit up front (??ryan white, maybe – paccioretty?)

    JM has had injuries all year to contend with

    nope – I would not blame the coach – he plays the same system for 6 games and we run the table, were we blaming him for those 6 wins?

    i blame those that keep on saying – wait til next year – or the year after that – when all of the kids come out of hamilton and this team can blossom into a champion

    for those that are NOT EXPECTING to win this year – for those who insist we hsould be patient and wait til next year to bring up PK for example (which I believe would help us right now especially on the PP)

    I say, please don’t blame the coach, after all, he’s missing the players you guys are insiting we have to be patient and wait for.

     

  24. nightmare_49 says:

    C –  You are right on about MAB opening up room on the PP for the other forwards down low on the PP, spot on. MAB has one goal in his last 20 games.

  25. RJ says:

    I certainly wish the best for Moen but I have always felt that anyone who plays without a visor is a moron.

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  26. Chris says:

    Let’s be honest…of those 4 prospects, we can realistically expect maybe one to actually stick as a top-6 forward.  That’s not being pessimistic so much as recognizing that even making the NHL as a prospect is a pretty long-shot, let alone becoming an impact player.  And that process typically take 4 or 5 years, at which point Gionta and Gomez will most certainly be in the twilight of their careers with the mileage they’ve got on their bodies.

    We’ve all been playing these cards for years.  Sometimes you get a decent little run of players…we actually saw one unfold in Montreal with Plekanec, Higgins and Kostitsyn in the span of two drafts.  But in general, if you find one or two forwards that ever become NHL regulars, it has been a somewhat successful draft.  Impact players are that much more rare.

    But returning to the point…what the Habs have right now is the same thing they had last year:  a somewhat anemic offence that is overly reliant on the power play to generate goals.  That is not a recipe for post-season success.  So I think it is at least fair to question the status quo over the next couple of seasons…it is unlikely that the Habs will be able to sign another true top-6 player unless one of the incumbents is discarded, with AK46 the most likely to depart.  Any substantial improvement has to come from within, both in terms of development of current roster players like Pouliot and the Kostitsyn brothers and from graduating players from the AHL to the big club.  Right now, I don’t see much on the farm that promises to help out over the next couple of seasons.

  27. nightmare_49 says:

    … Mac Pac is out of the lineup due to injury.

  28. Ian Cobb says:

    From the very first shift of the game nothing changed. The sign of
    quality coaching is the ability to adapt and to conquer the oppositions
    game plan. I was waiting at the start of the second and the third for
    some kind of change in our tempo, competition level, execution, and
    desire to change the game around in a way that we might be successful.
    But alas we played the same effective game that did not work for us for
    60 minutes.

    Ottawa, to their credit stayed on top of every play
    and the puck the whole night. They took away time and space from us so
    we could not execute even our passes properly. We continually turned
    the puck over to them and we could not get any flow to our game with
    their relentless checking. Jacques Martin was unable to change things
    up with his players.

    Although Jacques Martin came in here this
    year with calming, patient leadership skills and has put this train
    wrecked team back on the tracks with some respectability, I have to
    tell you that I am looking at him a little different these days. I am
    of the opinion he has done a great job to date but I feel for us to get
    to the next level in this very competitive league, it is now time at
    the end of this season to move him upstairs and bring up Boucher from
    Hamilton to work with Muller and staff.

    After Hamilton wins the
    championship in the A Boucher will know better what players are about
    ready to make our roster in the fall.

    I believe this was Bob
    Gainey’s long term game plan for the club in the first place. We will
    get there and have our cup in its rightful place again in just two more
    short years boys and girls. Enjoy the ride because the getting there is
    the most fun of all.

  29. SeriousFan09 says:

    Except the Sedins and Kesler alone can’t get the Canucks to a Cup. The new GM had to acquire a goaltender (Luongo), they’ve spent years trying to assemble a strong defensive corps (still not there yet IMO) and get some support players, they had to get Burrows, Samuelsson and more to get some depth on their roster. Burke left them a few guys yes, but they lost years trying to get the team built up because that’s all they had.

    Pronger’s already gone in Anaheim, they moved him for Sbisa, Lupul and a couple 1st-rounders so that Anaheim could focus on rebuilding because they knew their team was going past the expiration date and Pronger wasn’t a long-term solution. Burke squads after he leaves always tend to fall apart and need years to build again what he does leave behind because it isn’t much, 2 or 3 good guys and the rest is up to the new GM to get them to respectability again and that takes several years. He doesn’t build, he gambles and leaves others to clean up regardless of his success.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  30. ed lopaz says:

    “save the Sedins and Kessler” ???

    “Pronger”

    are you kidding?

    those are huge moves – difference makers – franchise players – players that turn teams around and turn teams into contenders

    I agree that Murray did most of the leg work – but I think you should not discount bringing in players like the Sedins, Kessler and Pronger in Anaheim

    Do you know what the Habs would be like if we had a GM that could add players like that?

    you make some good points – but I thought you need to catch yourself before you get carried away.

  31. SeriousFan09 says:

    He built nothing, Scott Niedermayer showed up because they had Rob Niedermayer on the roster, signed by a previous GM no less. Giguere was there already, as were Getzlaf and Perry. Pronger was acquired because he wanted the **** out of Edmonton (who can blame him) and Lowe was running the Oilers and he could get the award for Wost GM of the Year several times in a row. No GM can show up and in 2 years say “It’s my team that won”, he took credit for what was Bob Murray’s work.

    He didn’t take Vancouver to a Cup despite having them for 7 years and left that team devoid of prospects and players that could help the future save the Sedins and Kesler, everything else had to be put back together by the new management because once Burke’s done his gambling, there’s not much left. That’s why Anaheim is already setting up to rebuild, Burke empties his teams out for short-term gains and then runs off before he gets called for wrecking the future. It might be a bit flashier than previous Leafs regimes that sold everything for playoffs but it’s a similar formula with predictable results.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  32. 100HABS says:

    AK is a slow starter. It takes him until December to get going after summer. He just had a 2-month injury. Give him time. He’ll get it going in the next couple games and be a force in the playoffs. Mark my words.

  33. jimhasbeen says:

    well he’s due for his monthly win

    LOL-still love ya carey

  34. SeriousFan09 says:

    People shouldn’t drink Burke-flavoured kool-aid, it distorts your perception of reality.

     

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  35. fun police says:

    i think we’ve squeezed every last drop out of a lineup that most thought would crash when their top scorer went out.  with cammy back, pleks line will get going.  i think we’ve done well, very well, considering.  

  36. JF says:

    Bruins and Thrasher play tonight.  If the Bruins win, they’ll be one point behind us with a game in hand.  If the Thrashers win, they’ll be 2 points back.  Either way, it’ll be a tight race among the three teams, and we could still miss out.  The playoffs, which looked almost a certainty a few days ago, now look a lot more doubtful.  We need Cammalleri and Bergeron back and producing next game.  Somehow we have to find a way to win two of our three remaining games this week, which would give us 84 points with 6 games to go.  If we lose to both the Sabres and the Devils, I’d say we’re out.

  37. Flabadagub says:

    Nice come back!!! d:o(~

  38. Led says:

    I don’t know, maybe it’s the difference between watching a high-def (CBC) game vs. a reg-def (RDS) game, but I thought last night’s effort was much better than Saturday’s. Sure there was some sloppiness but at least last night it looked like they were trying to make something happen. To me it seemed that the puck just wouldn’t sit down for us to really get some A-one chances. It’s frustrating that this team keeps wasting opportunities to win big games.

  39. RJ says:

    Why NO CRITICISM of AK 46 who has played two horrid games back-to-back. Blind passes, floating, predictable wrister 25 feet out insiead of going to the net. This guy lacks hockey sense and willingness to go in tight. I’m sick and tired of watching him public skating every night.

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  40. Chris says:

    And the roller coaster continues…last week, the Habs were riding a 5-game winning streak that had people talking about this team’s heart and how the Canadiens were a team that nobody wanted to play in the first round.  With the return of Cammalleri, the team could beat just about anybody.

    This week, the Habs are coming off two dispirited losses against the Leafs and Senators and the talk of this team’s amazing heart is nowhere to be seen as people prescribe a first round blowout once again.

    The truth, as it usually does, lies somewhere between the two extremes.  The Habs are, as they have been all year, stunningly inconsistent with their work ethic and attention to detail.  They can play the best in the league to a standstill, but unfortunately can also play down to the worst teams in the NHL. 

    The power play, around which so much of this team’s offence is based, has been sputtering and the team has no choice but to make room for the much-maligned Marc-Andre Bergeron.  Of course he is going to take a better all-around player out of the lineup, but he brings something that the team sorely lacks, namely a left-handed cannon from the point.  Even when the other team pressures him and prevents him from getting that shot off, it comes at the cost of opening up more room for the forwards down low.

    Cammalleri’s imminent return will obviously help the team, as he and Plekanec have played well together.  Perhaps it is time to take Andrei Kostitsyn away from Plekanec:  we keep waiting for those two guys to re-capture their 2007-08 magic and, other than a few flashes, it just hasn’t happened.  AK46 is in a complete funk, and the Habs can’t afford to let that continue much longer.  The time may come this summer for AK to move on…I am still high on his talent level and can easily see him excelling a la Latendresse upon his departure.  But the fact of the matter is that he isn’t getting it done here.  Maybe the Habs are not a good fit for him, and maybe an introverted guy like him just needs a change of scenergy to ratchet down the expectations and pressure.  Gauthier’s got an interesting decision to make this summer, as AK46 is entering the final year of his contract and will be a UFA after next season.

  41. Harani says:

    Once again, like we said after the olympic break, the Habs have their destiny in their own hands. We might still be able to get to 6th. Sens need to beat Philly tomorrow (technically, we would still be 7th because Flyers have one extra win than us but we’ll have played the same number of games, thus giving us an opportunity)

    Think ahead and stay positive! Cammi is coming back. No more questions around who MAB replaces because Moen got injured (maybe). PP practice tomorrow. *** happens, it was a bad game, not horrible but bad. Sens played it tight. Habs were kinda lost, time to get back to it.

    “I gotta a feeling…that tonight’s gonna be a good night!”

  42. jimhasbeen says:

    wtf is cullen doing with his skate in the air? handstands?

    that’s reckless; not accusing him of any intent, but that is easily avoided.

    if you watch the hit, it;s not even a hit–he just launches his foot at moens face–disgusting,

  43. shootdapuck says:

    So many “no-shows” tonite!

    When LALA gets mentioned you know the rest played poorly.

    Someone needs to take attendance prior to these games.

     

     

    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3″

  44. showey47 says:

    they were a 100 point team twice (just barely)and never got past the second round under his watch. Sounds alot like the same success (or lack thereof) of a recent habs g.m. Except burkes team missed the playoffs 3  times instead of once(because carbo is an idiot). But other then that burke is better,right?,it clearly shows now in toronto after his 2nd year as g.m. his team in on pace to match past futile point totals from the 80’s and 90’s when they didn’t even have the loser point. Are you going to show burke the same hate when there is no cup or competitive team in toronto in 3 more years as you did for gainey after his 5 years? Some how i doubt it. He will get a 10 or 15 year free ride from you i’m sure.

  45. notbigbird says:

    You are funny at times. I’ll grant you that.

  46. RetroMikey says:

    i hear ya Timo. Terrible ordeal, well rested before the Toronto game and 1 day off to face the Sens.

    Tough being  a Habs player when after a short lucky W streak, the players are back to “rock star” status in the city wioh the fans, just terrible.

    They have not won anything yet even if they do squeak into the playoffs.

    I’ll be off to Buffalo to see them play.

    They better not be at the Anchor Bar before the game to suck up on the draft and Chicken Wings, I don’t want to hear they lost because they were all plumped up with good old food in Buffalo! 

    Another game where Buffalo will come on strong.

     

     

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

  47. doug19 says:

    Where is Max Pac? I have not seen him in the bulldogs stats for awhile.Not that he was lighting up the AHL yet. Trotter has 30 goals now, Subban 17.

  48. howtathor says:

    With Gomez, Gionta and Cammalleri signed for the foreseeable future and hopefully Plekanec and Pouliot, there’s not a whole lot of room in the top six. In a few years we should see the likes of Louis Leblanc, Danny Cristo, Max Pacioretty and Gabriel Dumont filling those holes that will be opening up on the top six. I don’t think the situation is as dire as you think.

  49. G-Man says:

    Right on. Millions of dollars in the balance and no visor to protect your vision. Simply put; stupid, stupid, stupid!

  50. ed lopaz says:

    well done!

  51. Mr.Hazard says:

    But she didn’t want to come back!

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  52. sidhu says:

    She’s a free agent?  Habs I/O needs to hire her ASAP!  Or, some of us commenters should pool our money to hire her for the site. 

  53. avatar_58 says:

    When did he have a great day? He’s sucked since he got back from injuries. I say put HIM on the 4th line and put Sergei with Plek and Cammy. Really tired of watching him float around doing nothing

  54. mrhabby says:

    have you been to a Montreal Canadiens game before??????

  55. sidhu says:

    Though Pouliot didn’t have a shot, he did look engaged and was forechecking hard.  I fault JM for keeping Pyatt on the Pleks line and for not changing things up on the points on the PP.

    Maybe we should have called up Subban instead of Pyatt, moved SK74 to the Pleks line, and double shift Gio or Benny on the 4th line.

  56. G-Man says:

    It’s the players, period. If they’re going to play poorly, there is nothing any coach can do because you can’t bench the whole team.

  57. avatar_58 says:

    Here’s what happened – the team found ways to score and win despite issues for 6 straight games. Martin sat back and relaxed. When it came time for him to get off his can and coach in Toronto – he choked. Then in Ottawa he sat back and watched them make mistake after mistake, turnover after turnover and never even hit back. FOR THREE PERIODS.

    Coaching issue if you ask me. What did he think, just opening the door was going to work for the rest of the season?

    I weep for the playoffs if this man is behind the bench….

  58. avatar_58 says:

    Agreed but if you just say “good game boys!” in the locker room then what do they learn? He agrees with the media saying they made bad passes? Hmm maybe telling them this after the first intermission would help? Naw! Not like every fan in the bell centre could see it.

    What does Martin do anyway? The lines have stayed the same for months and every problem they’ve had defensively is still there since day 1. I’m at a loss as to what his job is.

  59. The Juice says:

    PLEASE do not play Price against the Sabres. Against Florida the next game, yes, but not against Buffalo. Does no one on the coaching staff remember Halak getting shelled in his first game back in action after a long layoff, that was in Buffalo? I was at the game and it was horrific. I will be there again tomorrow, and I want to see the #1 goalie between the pipes.

  60. Gr8stFranchizEvr says:

    I agree Halak should play.  Give Price the Panthers.  I believe the coaches will want to play their #1 guy vs. the better teams. 

  61. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Absolutely agree with you on the size issue……..

  62. mbplekfan says:

    Two inches and 20 pounds. That was Boone’s wish for Tom Kostopolous last year. Unfortunately its got to be the wish list for Tom Pyatt this year.

    We are wonderfully deep in undersized hard working forwards. We have guys that will work their butt off every night but never really accomplish much. What we lack is a few big guys that will work their butt off every night and punish the other teams defence and be able to maintain a presence in and around the opposing teams crease.

    Andy Sutton owned the ice when he was on and a young prospect like Karlson was never physically pushed or challenged. Other than Pouliot we have no large forwards. This has to be the number one focus of the team in drafting and FA signings come summer.

    Ryan White in Hamilton is a great grinder but at 6’0 he’s no giant. Yawn…More of the same on the way.

     

  63. habber86 says:

    I  believe I was called an “a**hole” last night for cheering loudly and actually attempting to make some noise and bring some life to the section. How times have changed in Montreal. Feels a lot like Scotiabank, and even the ACC in there now. What a shame.

  64. punkster says:

    I agree with you about the loud music thing. I’m an (ex)musician and the quality of the sound sytem, the decibel levels and the music selections are simply horrendous. Hey, the 80s ended many years ago and the same tired heavy metal and hard rock themes played by every arena in North America is just a bit too much. (I willingly set myself up for what is bound to be a stream of Metal supporters looking to take a shot at me…whatever). But understand this, it’s not so much the 80s music as the way it’s presented. Every era represented is shoved down our throats allowing us little or no ability to carry on conversations or spontaneously start a chant or cheer.Makes you feel like automatons.

    While this was my 3rd game in the Bell this season it was by far the most subdued crowd. The October 31 Leaf game rocked with screams, fights and passion in the stands. The Detroit game was a bit less boisterous but still not bad. Last night was a snooze but the way they played certainly contributed to the lack of noise.

     

    So here’s my questions to all you music supporters out there. If, as many say, they deliver what the crowd wants then why do so many complain? And if the canned, loud music were to be removed from these venues would the crowds be happier? Would you?

  65. Bill says:

    Came on the board late and read the discussion about the Bell Centre and the lack of energy there, and I found it interesting. The last time I was at a game, it was indeed not very loud, much less ‘electric': my little nephew was cheering loudly and some jerk behind us leaned over and went “shhhh!” Like it was the library! The argument we had with that clown was the most energetic thing in the crowd all night.

    By contrast, I remember going to the Forum when I was a little kid, and it was really loud and really impressive.

    What has changed? I partly blame the loud, blasting music and “noise/bruit” signs. It’s made the fans more passive: they forget to cheer until the sign tells them to, And the music is so loud it prevents you from even talking to the people near you. Basically, there is very little to distinguish the Bell from any other arena, and the blandness and homogeneity has rubbed off on the fans.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  66. jimhasbeen says:

    did sergei sleep with JM’s daughter or something?

    this guy could score a hattrick, see no pp time, and then be on the 4th line the next time he takes a penalty…

    unreal—looking forward to boucher

  67. habsgirl11 says:

    Alright so i’m new here… But here are my thoughts on last night’s game. No heart.. and that’s not only Kovalev i’m talking about! They didn’t show up to play, a soft performance by everybody on the team. This team is the Number 2 ranked power play in the NHL?!?! Didn’t show last night, nor has it shown in quite a long time. I think deep down we knew they would lose to the make me laughs, and aswell last night. Under pressure they never seem to show up, it’s like Jr hockey players wearing our beloved CH on their jersey’s and our beloved players names on their backs. The most exicting part of last night and it’s sad to saw was the skate to Moen. It was the most interesting thing to happen to a habs player on the ice. Hope Moen is alright! Cammalleri and Marc-Andre Bergeron are both back in the line up tomorrow night. People not to stop thinking those two will be our saviours because the only ones that can save this team is every player on the ice night in and night out. Price i’m sure will be in goal, and let’s hope the men in front of him actually give him a chance to win. On one final note… BENCH ANDREI KOSTITSYN!!!!

  68. habber86 says:

    The worst part was that I was ripping on my friends (Sens fans) telling them how incredible the atmosphere is in Montreal for a game. That it’ll put the Scotiabank place to shame. After the game I had nothing left to say. A Montreal-Ottawa game in Ottawa is a much more fun environment than in the Montreal morge.

  69. habber86 says:

    Good points and i’m sure a lot of them are totally valid. I guess where I’m coming from is that it would be nice if fans made some noise that wasn’t reactionary, you know? I mean, it’s absolute silence, until a nice save, or if the jumbotron tells you to put your hands together. I just remember the goosebumps I used to get going to Habs games, during the player introductions. The way the crowd would sing, the way it seemed like all 21,273 would be participating in “go habs go” chants, instead of a few in each section that ends up dying down in a few seconds anyways, after you get a bunch of dirty looks. Boring game or not, I feel like the home fans can play a big role in pumping up a team, and it would be nice if it happened in the supposed Mecca of hockey.

  70. RJ says:

    I was at two games this year and found the building lacking any spirit. The weekend game I attended was better but the one during the week was deadly.

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  71. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    Everyone needs to take a breath and calm down.  So they had a few off nights, big deal.  They were playing over their heads during the winning streak.  So they lost to the leafs and the sens.  It’s no cause for alarm, they still have time to show up and make it count.  But let’s ask ourselves a few questions/consider a few things:

    1. Yes or no, were you excited when they were on their streak?  If yes, then keep that enthusiasm, that’s what being a fan is.  If no, then why bother coming out?

    2. Do you expect them to win every night?  Yes, most of you will pipe up and say ‘they’re pro’s, they should be giving 110% every night, blah blah blah.’  Come on, grow up and be realistic.  They don’t owe us anything.  They do what they can when they can, and when they’re winning, we don’t give them near enough credit, and when they’re losing, they can’t do anything right.  If you work your job then you’re a pro.  I’m a pro, I don’t give 110% every day… who does?  Life is a series of ups and downs, and no coach can have their team firing on all cylinders for 82 games plus playoffs.

    3. If you don’t like a player, or he hasn’t been performing (to your standards) lately, consider that there is more then what you as a fan know.  The coaches and GM’s know what they are doing.  If you think they don’t, then stop watching, so we don’t have to hear you complain anymore.  Bottom line, lay off Price, AK, Gill, etc.  They are on your team, and the proper thing to do is support them.  Leave the playing and coaching up to the people in charge.  If you knew better you’d be doing it.

    4. Let’s just shut up and enjoy the game.  All this BS over a few games?  Be realistic, this team is exactly where they should be, and maybe ahead of expectation, and that’s without factoring in injuries.  Why bother following the Habs if all you expect is cups.  It’s not the 70’s and we don’t have the same talent.  We never will.  Enjoy what we have, and what we will be, because one day we will win again, and like the rapture, the true fans will be the ones to enjoy it.  All the ill tempered, schizophrenic, hot and cold fans will just be riding our coattails.  

    If you’re a true fan, you’ll agree…

  72. hockeydoc says:

    I have never read more BS in a post than this one. The team can do no wrong, management is always right and don’t worry be happy. Merde.

  73. ABHabsfan says:

    I am going to take issue with the comment that the players don’t owe us anything. In fact the players owe us, the fans, for everything they get. If we don’t buy tickets, buy jerseys, buy the hockey package, the list goes on, these guys work in factories or sell carpet or whatever. They don’t have to give 110% every day but just on game days is all we ask, and only 8 months a year at that. They earned their place, there is no doubt but they, the players, all have the best job on our green Earth and it’s the fans that pay for it. Therefore we get to complain, and bitch, and pretend like we know more than management because we as fans have earned OUR spots as fans by paying so there is pro hockey. And  yes I am a fan, I have loved the Habs since the day I understood hockey. I cheer when they win and get pissy when they lose, it’s what we do here.

  74. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    If that’s how you read into it, then go ahead.  But all the cynicism is getting old.  So you don’t like what the boys did last night, say they had a bad game.  But if you hate everything about the team but the logo, then what’s the point?

  75. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    Come back to reality.  You have a right to complain, but don’t think that buying a jersey gives you a voice. Nobody in the Habs management is going to make a decision based on your rants, or because you expect them to better then they are.  Don’t think that because you buy a Halak jersey that somehow he owes you something.  It’s a job for the players.  They play for pride, and they play for glory, but most importantly they play for paycheques.  Don’t be mislead.  “Paying” to be a fan, you are only entitled to clean bathrooms at the Bell Centre.  If I bought a Nathan Horton jersey 5 years ago, i’d be mighty dissapointed in the Florida Panthers right now. 

     

  76. jimhasbeen says:

    well look at history of cup-winning coaches

    it’s either the guys who are proven winners, bowman lemaire, burns

    or it’s these new age guys from outta nowhere–bylsma, laviolette, babcock

    i don’t think martin is the answer

  77. twocents says:

    When Burns won his Cup he was a veteran coach, but he had yet to prove he could win the big prize. Much like Martin.

    Keenan wasn’t a newbie when he won his first Cup. Larry Robinson wasn’t a new guy outta nowhere. Neither was Torterella. Or, Bob Johnson way back in Pittsburgh.

    How about Jacques Demers? He had a similar career to Martin before winning the Cup.

    For that matter Laviolette was in his 4th season coaching and Babcock
    his 5th. Hardly outta nowhere.

    I am not saying Martin will guide this team to a Cup. I am just saying I don’t see what you imply when I look at a list of Cup winning coaches.

  78. jimhasbeen says:

    just sayin that martin is a time tested mediocre coach

    these guys rarely coach beyond themselves.  they won’t suddenly become great

  79. twocents says:

    And what was Demers?

    You could say they are all mediocre until they win the big one.

  80. JasonM says:

    So, any luck Lats ends up with 30 goals this year Boone?

  81. ArmyFan says:

    Flat performance = wasted opportunity.

    Glad to hear Moen just needed to get sewn up. Scars ain’t pretty, but eyes aren’t easy to replace. Pretty scary watching him get hustled off the ice so quickly.

  82. Neil says:

    fake Brian Burke press conference.

     

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGANLolukqg

  83. Number31 says:

    I’m just glad Moen is ok… Too many skate cut related injuries this year.

  84. light_n_tasty says:

    Will the real Montreal Canadiens show up in Buffalo…”

    Not sure if we want this or not…

  85. Jbird says:

    Back to earth.  Putting this crappy game into perspective the habs have gone 7-2-1 since the Olympics. Great news Moen did not lose an eye – looked like he may have.  

  86. habsfan321 says:

    CKAC says 50 stitches. Are you counting back and forth as one stitch? Is it actually like sewing? This is why I’m in finance…

  87. habber86 says:

    Hey all, please bear with me as I’m looking to vent a little.

    I just got back from the game, drove from Ottawa for this super important, what one would assume to be electric game. My first habs game at the Bell Centre in a couple of years, and I’ve got to say that I am absolutely appalled.

    Forget the fact that the Canadiens played terribly and this was the most boring game I’ve ever seen live. My bone to pick is with the fans. My memories of going to games in Montreal are that it is the most electric atmosphere in the league. That Habs fans put all other fans to shame. As embarassing as it is, and based on what I witnessed tonight, this can definitely not be the case anymore.

    The building was an absolute morgue. People would give me dirty looks when I would get a little boisterous, trying to start some chants, trying to get ANYTHING going in the stands. I was sitting up in the greys behind the press box, and it was obscene how reserved supposed “fans” are. A 5 year old girl was one of the loudest in the section, and 2 of my friends who happened to be sens fans could scream whatever they wanted without even the slightest peep from any “Habs fan” within earshot.

    From my understanding, and maybe I come from more of a soccer mentality, the home fans are supposed to energize the team. To try to carry and will them to victory. The fans at the Bell Centre will only make any noise when instructed to do so, and maybe some polite applause after a good save. It is appalling, and absolutely disgraceful that this once proud building and atmosphere has become so emotionless and most of the fans that fill it could not be bothered one bit with what’s happening around them, or on the ice.

    To all the true fans out there and in the stands, keep up the good work, but the rest of you, please, how about not being so embarassed about joining in and vocalizing some support for our habs. Obviously on a night like tonight they needed it, and there was NOTHING coming from the stands.

  88. Ayan_SB says:

    I have noticed that the Bell Centre atmosphere is not exactly like it used to be this past season. But there are several reasons why the fans don’t seem to be cheering as loud as they have in the past.

    For example:

    - This is still a fairly new team. It was basically assembled last season. Sure we appreciate players such as Gionta, Gomez and Pouliot, but in many ways, these guys are still fairly new in the eyes of the fans. Give it a season or two before we could truly become accustomed to the players.

    - Say what you will about Kovalev, but when he was on his game (07-08), he could get the fans up from their seats. We really don’t have a player capable of doing that this year. The closest thing we have to that effect is Gomez and his end to end rushes. We don’t have a deaker a la Kovalev (or Datsyuk), we don’t have a physical forward such as Lucic who can get the crowd going with a punishing hit or a fight. The exception is when one of our goalies are on their game, the crowd definitely gets more into it.

    - The system the Habs have played throughout most of the season is not exactly easy to cheer for. Other than the recent winning streak, this team has played a fairly passive game. We’ve all seen that. It’s not exactly like we’re a run and gun Washington Capitals team. That’s easy to cheer for.

    - You were at the game, and mentioned how terrible and boring it was. Can you even blame the fans tonight?

  89. likehoy says:

    I don’t like Tom Pyatt. Just putting that out there. doesn’t hit, can’t shoot, can’t pass…all he does is skate!! i was hoping he’d turn out to be like matt lombardi with his speed, but pyatt has none of that going for him. I’ve had enough of him, and would rather see ryan white!

    - Team Halak V.S. Team Price…Montreal Canadiens Fans are similar to 14 year-old Girls going through Puberty.

  90. jimhasbeen says:

    amen, white is better–only hab who’s willing to drop em with anyone, god bless him and his balls

  91. Flabadagub says:

    Wow. Thanks for clearing that up!!! Makes so much sense now!!!

  92. ClaytonM says:

    I’m getting tired of seeing Russ Courtnall-like moves from Gomez. The rush from the blue line, crossing the neutral zone, breaking into the offensive zone, and…losing the puck, skating into a dead end, or making a lame duck pass to someone who’s got double coverage.  He’s effectively negating 2 lines – his own (Gionta is working his butt off trying to cope) and Pleks’, since the opposing team has only 1 line to shut down lately.

    Time for Gomez to pick up his mental game.  I can see he’s working, just not working smart.

  93. mrhabby says:

    slag the habs..

    now slag the bell centre for being boring and quiet.

    i have been to 3 habs games at the bell and had an excellent time and atmosphere was fantastic.

    PLEASE ITS GETTING STUPID.

     

  94. Olay Olay Olay says:

    I think the biggest cause for frustration with this team all year, is how inconsistent the team play has been from one game to the next. I can understand an off night here and there, but this team goes to extremes on an almost nightly basis. The system that works one game will be completely abandoned the next, players are completely out of position with no accountability. The next night, BAM! everything gels again.

     I simply don’t understand how a group of professionals (except for a few exceptions) can function this way. We all know what this team is capable of, so why don’t they?


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.