About last night …

Good to get one point – even if it should have been two.

Canadiens played a superb road game. They outskated the home team and outshot the Thrashers in every period of regulation time (shots were 3-3 in OT). They came back twice from a goal down and would have won easily had anyone batted home a few pucks bouncing around Keri Lehtonen’s crease.

The Canadiens were almost error-free. Only six giveaways; and while the game plan called for defencemen to pinch deep, there were few odd-man rushes by the Thrashers. 

Guy Carbonneau, in an interview on RDS, was pleased with his team’s effort, as well he should be. All four lines worked hard getting pucks deep and forcing Atlanta into laborious zone clearances. The defence was solid, as  was Cristobal Huet until the shootout – which he readily admits is not the strongest part of his game.

The SO is a Carey Price specialty. Maybe next time Carbo will go to his bullpen. 

Glass half full: Canadiens scored both their goals 5-on-5.

Glass
half-empty: They went 0-for-2 on the power play … although Alex
Kovalev’s game-tying goal was scored one second after Ilya Kovalchuk
got out of the box.

Eric Perrin had scored on  the power play to give Atlanta its 2-1 lead, but Canadiens’ PK was oustanding in the third period, killing off three penalries – including one that carried over into OT.

The game was another valuable learning experience for the Kiddie Corps, most of whom played well.

• Maxim Lapierre took a bad penalty and was off when  Perrin scored. But Max skated all night, had six shots on goal and was 10-3 on faceoffs, including a crucial PK draw win in the dying seconds of regulation.

•  Guillaume Latendresse worked his ass off again and had six shots. That Québécois line, with Mathieu Dandenault on RW, is turning into something.

• Ryan O’Byrne played 14:40. His three blocked shots led the team, and the big galoot is a great skater: he turned on the afterburners to foil an odd-man rush.

• Sergei K. scored his second goal in as many games. He is meshing beautifully with the Captain and Christopher Higgins (who had an off night). Barring injury, Michael Ryder will never play an even-strength minute on that line again.

• Andrei K. had no shots and played in a fog until coming to life late in the third period. But Kovalev had another superb game, and that’s another line Carbo should leave intact.

• Francis Bouillon has been quietly great. Rock-solid in his own end and very adept at skating the puck out. 

• Another line that’s meshing nicely: Kyle Chipchura, Mark Streit and Tom the Bomb.

• My man Josh Gorges had a jittery moment late in the game but was otherwise solid. Carbo had enough confidence to play him on the PK in  the final regulation seconds of a 2-2 game.

 

36 Comments

  1. Yeats says:

    Ian: Those are all fair points. I still think it takes a lot less time today than it did in the 70s-80s. The kids are much better athletes and, in the case of NCAA D-1 guys, are considerably older and more mature than Major Junior players.

    (BTW, our last No.1 was the late Doug Wickenheiser in the 1980 draft. God rest his soul.)

  2. Ian Cobb says:

    Brian, don’t for get, i.m not talking about a top 10 or first overall pick. The last 1st overall pick we had was Guy the Flower. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounders take years of development.

    Your allways going to have your Bobby Orr, Gretsky and Crosby”s and others that can make the jump early and with protection i might add. I,m talking about the player that has to be taught how to develop into a pro. and that is the majority of them. Ryder & Roberio are two such players.

    Also even if we were luckey enough to get a 1st rounder, he might be the 30th player picked. Not like when there was only 6 teams in the league. A 6th pick then was like he might not make it.

  3. Yeats says:

    Man, I’d give my right arm for a sniper. I know we’d have to damn near give him the Bell Center, but man if we could get Ovechkin, we’d be contenders overnight.

  4. Yeats says:

    Yea, I’m in a bit of a mood. I woke up at 5:00am to play pickup. I haven’t skated in two weeks and even my hair is sore. The Breezer is surely the model for how to bring along young players. Gosh, if he retired after the ’93 Finals, we’d all be talking about him today as if he were Orson Welles. Happy Holidays to you and you family as well and a very Happy New Year!

  5. BigHabsFan says:

    Gainey didnt let Chelios, LeClaire, Schneider, et al. go. He was in Minnesota, and then Dallas helping build a Stanley Cup winner.
    As for the present and future: Price made the big team, Latendresse stayed with the big team, S. Kostitsyn only played 20 games with the Bulldogs before getting a shot, Chipchura played only a year with the Bulldogs. In General I agree with you, the Habs have let guys simmer and develop maybe a little longer than other teams would have. But there have been exceptions made, and as for now, it looks like they were all the right call.

  6. mjames says:

    Good post. You raise some valid and compelling points.

    mjames

  7. nightmare_49 says:

    You are sarcastic today and once again you need patience and let them develope like Brisbois was brought along to become a hard nose “D” with creativity. lol. Season greetings to you and yours in the big apple , Herb.

  8. Yeats says:

    Rivet is a defenseman and you can never dress too many of them you know.

  9. Yeats says:

    I hear what you’re saying Ian. But, not having won a Cup since 1993, the jury is still out as to whether we have a first class organization in place. I’m not a big fan of letting talent marinate down in the AHL for several years before bringing it up. Gosh, if I were a potential top ten pick, I’d much rather go to a team like Chicago where I know they’re going to give me a legitimate shot at making the big team. Our record of nurturing young players, although it may change under Gainey, hasn’t been worth writing about in over a decade. Just think about how many talented young players we let go: Chelios, LeClaire, Schneider, Desjardins, Lemieux, Richer,…… I won’t mention some of the ones we’ve passed on, that would just be putting salt in open wounds.

  10. Ian Cobb says:

    It takes at least 5 years and more for some players to start to play up to there potencial after leaving junior.

    Only top nhl management have the ability and patience to properly develop kids into nhl pros.

    More hockey players have been ruined by management who are into there own trip rather than the slow process of development from boy’s playing a game, to men learning how to be business profesionals.

    It takes 2 to 3 years in the minors and 2to 3 years in the NHL to even start to handle themselves as professionals

    Patience, patience and professional coaches will eventuly win the day. Bringing up 20 years, has to be done with a great deal of care. Giving up on a player to early or useing him incorrectly is a management error, not a players error.

    When you draft a player into your organisation, you are commiting your whole organisation to this young man.

    Ryder and Roberio are two players who for what ever reason, became unsteady , lost confidence in there abilities and looked terrible because of it. So you can do two things, you can dump him because you lost confidence in him, or you can find a way to get him on track again.

    First class orgaisations nurture and develop to the top!!!

  11. likehoy says:

    watch us trade w/ san jose and end up getting rivet back jkjk…

    if ribs scores on us…i’ll cry…i wish this was a home game so we can boooooooooooo him. lapierre should get a hair cut or he risks looking like ribs.

  12. Blitzen says:

    Today is the day they end the curse.

    Mark it down.

    Good things come in threes:

    Smokes and BreezeBy got injured leading to the youth charge

    We’re beating the Laffs

    We’re gonna smoke the Dec 23rd curse.

  13. mjames says:

    I liked the way the team skated last night. I thought we could have finished better. For instance AK46 had an open net and the puck bounced through his legs. It kind of looked like he wasn’t ready for the pass. I like this kid but I agree he needs to be more consistent and work on his play when he doesn’t have the puck. I would like to see him be more aggressive in checking players as well as becoming more involved in his own end. If he improves in these areas this kid will be dynamite. He is a great passer, skates like the wind, good stick handler and has an excellent shot, which he should use more often. He seems to lack a little confidence which I think will come.

    On an another note I thought Hamelik played light out.

    I hope they skate tonight and take it to Dallas instead of waiting for Dallas.

    mjames

  14. Exit716 says:

    Is it just me or is Sergei more confident than his brother in terms of his play?

  15. The Teacher says:

    It’s not just you :)

  16. howtathor says:

    It’s not just you. Andrei has been very tentative. He was really gripping the stick last night and missed a really sure pass from Plekanec in the slot. Missed another chance too. I think he’s been hurting but staying in the lineup. I like best when the bros play together like they did in the 4 on 4. Like Russian pond hockey!

  17. The Teacher says:

    Ahhh..Is this rare Sunday game an X-Mas present for the Habs fans?

  18. The Teacher says:

    Hmm…

    didn’t Bergeron do that? (2 game suspension)

    My issue is that the Thrasher player didn’t let up, he smashed him into the boards.

  19. Blitzen says:

    I don’t think the guy had time to let up.

  20. howtathor says:

    Who would have thought a year ago that our mission for today is to keep Mike Ribeiro off the scoreboard. Lol, way to go Mickey Ribs!

  21. NLhabsfan says:

    If the guys keep playing like they last night with solid efford no real worries here.I HATE the SO….this point where a team could be playing for is stupid NHL rule should be fased out next year. The idea I believe was to cut down on the ties so they introduce overtime. Dense idea..Lets get back to triditional hockey…where ties meant something.The players and the coaches hate it.The fans like it only when their team wins…hate it when their team looses.Pretty soon you have designated goaltender for shoot outs.

  22. The Teacher says:

    I hate shootouts also…there is nothing wrong with a tie for heaven’s sake!

  23. BigHabsFan says:

    I couldn’t agree more…either get rid of the shootout or put in 3pts for a regulation win. Playoff positions should never, ever, ever be determined by the success or lack thereof of a team in the shootout. For example:

    If the playoffs started tomorrow, Florida would be in 8th and Toronto would be in 9th place and getting their clubs ready. The facts are that they have the same amount points in the same amount of games, but Florida has a 3-1 record in the Shootout, and Toronto is 0-3. Toronto has won more games in regulation and 4on4 OT than Florida, but Florida will make the playoffs. (Not only that, but Habs fans everywhere will not get the chance to see the laffs get throttled by their other rival, the Sens)

    An even better example is the Edmonton Oilers. They would be out of the picture already if it were not for their 10 (!) shootout wins already. At this pace, by the end of the season, they will have added over 20pts in the standings through the shootout alone!

    This is IDIOTIC! The NHL is supposed to be a professional league; it is laughable to think that they would employ such an arbitrary point system to determine the standings.

  24. Proudones says:

    Amen to that!
    Who says (other than Bettman) that the losing team should have a point?
    Who says (other than Bettman) that a game played by an entire team should be decided by a shooter and a goalie?
    Whatever happened to (other than Bettman) a losing team going home without a point?
    In life, the loser (other than Bettman) gets nothing.
    Only in Bettman’s NHL do they now get a point.
    I want MY NHL back, not Bettman’s!
    Out with the shootout!

  25. the Maritimer says:

    San Jose lost at home again last night, after a players only (GM Doug Wilson was allowed in) meeting. Tampa Bay lost again last night at home as well. Michael Ryder continues to languish in the press box and Jaroslav Halak is still stuck in Hamilton.

    Bob Gainey has to be talking to somebody.

    This current Montreal line-up needs a little shake up.

    I know this is an on going project of rebuilding, but a little infusion of scoring talent would sure be welcomed by this fan.

    Happy Holidays to all!

    the Maritimer

  26. RiverviewCanadien says:

    I agree as well, sure they are fun to watch…in the all-star game. bring back the tie and make teams work harder to get the extra point…more hockey is always good. We should start a “End the Shootout” petition.

  27. Scott in Montreal says:

    Good idea; where do I sign?

  28. von says:

    Shootouts are OK. The Habs problem is they don’t have a guy like Brad Richards who flies full speed at the net and has his mind made up before he even caresses the puck at centre.

    Too many of this lolly gagging, dipsy doodling trying to put on a deke when most of their strength is in shooting.

  29. Scott in Montreal says:

    Regardless of whether it plays to the Habs’ strengths, I just would prefer it (and the 5 minute OT, for that matter) were retired from the NHL altogether.

  30. Yeats says:

    They should either get rid of the gimmicks or give three points to a regulation winner. There should not be three points available in some games and two in others.

  31. Scott in Montreal says:

    Very true.

  32. tleblanc says:

    Here’s what I’d like to see:

    You get two points for a win in regulation.
    You get one point for a win in overtime
    You get half a point for a win in the shoot out and
    nothing to the loser in any circumstance. That will make teams play for the win in regulation but play their hearts out to get something.

  33. Scott in Montreal says:

    Yes, they’re coming along nicely by the looks of it. Dallas tonight should be a brutal test, what with how hard they skated, the travel and little sleep.

    I didn’t think – judging by the way the refs were (semi-)calling the game – Lapierre should have received the penalty that led to the Thrashers’ second goal. I’d already concluded the fix was in while watching the replay of Dandenault getting high-sticked with the ref looking straight at the play and no call. And although by the third period I was relegated to radio listening, the description of Plekanec getting nailed into the boards head-first sounded like another non-penalty. I didn’t see any replay on that – was that another non-call? Is there something going on here? It seems to be happening way too often, and more so IMHO since the league went to the two-ref system. We all saw the unthinkable happen in the NBA already… Tell me I’m getting paranoid.

  34. Blitzen says:

    I don’t think the Pleks hit should’ve been a penalty. Pleks turned his back on the guy just before he got hit.

  35. RGM says:

    Combined, Thursday and last night embodied what an NHL regular season is like: you’ll win some you maybe shouldn’t have, and lose some you should’ve. Good game to watch, had a lot of hope that the momentum from Kovy’s rocket would result in a winning goal, but no such dice. Huet was deer in headlights during the shootout, I don’t think he even flinched on the Hossa goal and looked weak on the second one. Way she goes. No time to dwell on what might have been, since it’s off to Dallas tonight!

  36. Blitzen says:

    That was a great road game and since we have a young team, I think Dallas better lace their skates on tight tonight because they may be surprised. Please Carbo, no changing of the lines.


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