About last night …

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(Gazette photo by Peter McCabe)

Montreal fans like to torment Leaf supporters by chanting “’67!”, a mocking reference to the last year Toronto won the Stanley Cup.

Here’s new one they might want to try:

“’41!”

The Canadiens have won one of their first seven games this season.

It’s their worst start since 1941.

That year, the NHL season began Nov. 1. The  Canadiens lost their opener to Detroit, then tied Chicago before losing to Toronto, twice to Brooklyn and to the Rangers.

The Canadiens didn’t get their first win until Nov. 23 – then they lost five more. They finished sixth in a seven-team NHL that season, winning only 18 of their 48 games.

But 1941 was tough all over. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union and the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Fascism was on the March. It looked grim.

Now doesn’t that contextualize the Canadiens’ difficulties?

Yes, they are dead last in the Eastern Conference – and they’d be last in the league if the NHL didn’t have a team in Columbus.

The Canadiens have two goals on the power play this season. Their PP efficiency is 6.9 per cent – 29th in the league.

The Canadiens had the NHL’s seventh best power play last season, with an efficiency of 19.7.

But fear not!

If Jacques Martin keeps using Mathieu Darche in 5-on-3 situations – as he did against Toronto – I’m sure that 6.9 will be up to 7.0 in no time at all.

That’s not a knock on Darche, who is a good, honest hockey player who leaves it all out on the ice and earns every nickel of his $700,000 annual salary.

But on a team that is losing with a PP that’s struggling, Darche had 3:12 seconds of power-play ice time.

Erik Cole – who had five hits, battled for the puck and may have played his best game as a Canadien – wasn’t used on any of the team’s four power-play opportunities.

When asked about it after the game, Jacques Martin got a bit testy. The coach cited Cole’s power-play stats in Caroline last season: three goals.

Fine. He’s not a PP specialist.

But Cole was the prize UFA signing of the off-season. He’s making $18 million over four years … and he had as much power-play time as Aaron Palushaj and Andreas Engqvist.

I don’t get it.

Martin also blamed Cole for one of the two bench minors the Canadiens took against Toronto. With three calls through seven games, the team is on pace to exceed last season’s league-leading total of 14 Too Many Men penalties.

Want more grim stats?

After yielding two PP goals to the Leafs, the penalty-kill’s efficiency  is 81.2, 20th in the league. Last season the Canadiens were seventh with 84.4 efficiency.

Travis Moen leads your Montreal Canadiens in scoring, while Brian Gionta has taken the most penalties.

What the heck is going on here?

What’s happening is the Canadiens are digging themselves a deep hole that will be hard to climb out of.

Calgary and New Jersey had similarly lousy starts last season. Both teams missed the playoffs – even though the Devils caught fire after Jacques Lemaire took over behind the bench.

We keep waiting for a spark to get the Canadiens going, and there were a couple of inspirational goals against the Leafs: the Travis Moen shortie to open the scoring less than two minutes in, a patented AK46 wrister to make it 2-1, Mike Cammalleri’s one-timer to tie it at 3 and another one by that sniper Moen to give the Canadiens a third-period lead that had the Bell Centre rocking.

But this is a fragile team that can’t stand prosperity.

With the exception of the Winnipeg game – which seems long ago and aberrational – the Canadiens have not held a two-goal lead this season. And they’ve blown one-goal leads in losses to Calgary, Colorado, Buffalo and the Leafs.

Now you wanna get really depressed?

NHL stats have Carey Price 41st among NHL goaltenders – just ahead of Jaro Halak.

Price’s GAA of 3.13 is 45th in the league. His 87.8 save percentage is 46th.

Price made some highlight reel saves against Toronto. But through seven games, he’s given up five goals to the Leafs and Avalanche, four to Calgary.

Enough numbers.

And enough negativity.

Lars Eller played like a Top Six centre. He was 9-7 on draws, had two assists and blocked three shotsHe was easily the best Canadien … and we’ll be saying that on many nights for a lot of years. Eller and Moen – who is, not coincidentally, in a contract year – were plus-3.

Eller had four minutes of PK team but – go figure – all of 12 seconds on that red-hot Habs power play.

The Canadiens practice Sunday morning and they play Florida at the Bell Centre on Monday night.

Then it’s a mid-week back-to-back – home to the Flyers, in Boston – before the Bruins visit to complete what’s been a grim October.

The Germans got as far as the outskirts of Moscow in 1941.

Maybe winter will help the Canadiens.

•  •  •

Oops, I nearly forgot to mention that Roman Hamrlik played 21:23, blocked three shots and was plus-2 in Washington’s 7-1 spanking of the Red Wings.

294 Comments

  1. BONZOHABS says:

    I don’t know what to say! The game vs. Toronto was a game the Habs had to win…for points and for confidence. I think the Habs played good, but we made way too many mistakes! Gorges mistake took a lot out of us! Up 2-1, had all the momentum and Gorges makes a rookie mistake…carrying the puck in front of the net with 2 leafs on him! I love Gorges, but that was bad. In the end, we’ve played games, made mistakes and the opposing team has capitalized. Our defense isn’t aggressive enough and I believe were letting teams come into our zone way too easily. We need to pl;ay aggressive, relentless 5 man hockey! 5 men up, 5 men back! Pacioretty needs to step up…and basically everyone does! Everything seems to be backwards so far this season…Moen leading scoring…defense is bad, Price’s save percentage…WTF!? Things need to change for the better..and QUICK! Go Habs Go!

  2. indianhabsfan says:

    The team just isn’t competing. They don’t seem like they want to win. They know they are off to a bad start and there is still no sense of urgency in then. Maybe a coaching change will wake them up? or a big trade? The habs had swagger of a winner last year we took boston the farthest in the playoffs. Something has to wake these players up BIG TIME!

  3. DYCSoccer17 says:

    The players hate Martin, and he is too old and stubborn and crusty to relate to them. Last year, Kirk Muller was the buffer for the players and was their advocate. This year, he is no longer there and the players really don’t give a darn about Martin. Martin needs to be fired. Bad choices for PP players and Too Many Men on the ice calls up the wazoo are inexcusable.

    • nunacanadien says:

      Never mind speaking Quebecois, honestly the Molson boys dont’ give a damn. They only care if the seats are full. They don’t want to sign a real GM for pro hockey, all they want is some yes man who doesn’t mind if some no name artist can rent the Bell Centre over practicing for the playoffs…..the Molsons showed their true colors last year. Having said that, maybe if they are insulted enough, they may have to save face and actually hire a real hockey GM. Gainey learned on the job in Dallas and Minnesota’s tax laws were helpful I am sure, and there is no way Gainey can repeat what he did. Instead Gainey chooses to see if he can have a russian team in Montreal, small and fast like the Red Army of old. Unfortunately what Gainey forgot was the Red Army got a sh*t kicking at the hands of the Flyers! And sure enough the habs he has built, small and fast, keeps getting a sh*t kicking from the league! Maybe it is time to can Gauthier, Gainey and bring back Kirk Muller!

  4. DEANDALLEY says:

    PUCK PUCK PUCK & PUCK!

    I just got home & was looking forward to reading about someone of the Habs getting fired today. Darn it!

    “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”

  5. otisfxu says:

    Early in the season??? This bunch ain’t turning anything around very soon, other than maybe against the Panthers tomorrow night. I would hope!!!!
    This defense is meek and mild. How many years do we have to keep talking about getting some toughness??!!!! PK is good, but he’s not scary in the corners or in front. Him and Gill together is just sad. Two gentle giants. ANd right now PK needs some coaching. He is all over the place and what’s up with the big fake slaphot,,,,,starting to look like a clown.
    And Gill isn’t going to see game 1100.

    I think Jock Martin has lost the room.

    And please, Markov doesn’t change a thing on this team right now.

  6. ooder says:

    Darche on the PP?????
    riight because it’s so important to know what to do away from the puck on a 5 on 3.
    what a joke.
    like my girlfriends brother said.. it was like watching a really fast AHL team.
    absolutly 0 chemistry.. like watching a random game of shinny
    ——————
    The 2010-11 Stanley Cup was not won, but given

  7. Michael says:

    Okay guys, I know things look rough right now, but it’s important to remember how incredibly young this season is. Right now, the Habs are like an NFL team that started the year 0-1, and are losing at halftime of the second game. Would you freak out if your football team was 0-1?

    • Ehabs9 says:

      People are freaking out because in order to turn this around the team needs to go on a 10 game winning streak at this point. And the team along with the coach are not capable of doing it. This team is one that battles to make the playoffs and they’ve fallen too far behind in only 7 games already.

      So to answer your question no, I wouldn’t be upset if the NFL team I was cheering for was New England or Pittsburgh, but if it was Miami or Carolina Ya I would be. Unfortunately Montreal is a lot closer to the Miami/Carolina end of the NHL spectrum of teams right now.

      • otisfxu says:

        yes great points. This conference is so tight, a start like this is a disaster.
        Just think of Pitt without Malkin and Crosby still winning.
        I really thought these guys were going to fill the net this year,,,,, very disappointing.

  8. Renegade says:

    I think the calls to fir PG are premature. Sure, some of the signings he did (or didn’t) make during the off season might have been questionable, but he’s been quite astute at plugging up holes due to injury (Wiz and Sopel last year when Markov and Gorges went down). The Betts pickup also would’ve fallen into that category, had he not been injured prior to his arrival.

    While his D heavy draft was a bit surprising, I think everyone should be able to see now why he went that route. The defence has some pretty glaring holes that need to be filled.

    On the note of the draft, lets not forget that he pocketed Nathan Beaulieu, who impressed quite a bit at his first ever Habs training xamp.

    In short, PG shouldn’t be thrown under the bus just yet, and given the circumstances, has actually done a pretty good job.

    JM on the other hand has no leash left, and should be on his way out regardless of the outcome of the next few games. I’d been calling for him to be fired since last year, as the teams success (not his doing) was over shadowing his glaring ineptitude behind the bench (Too many men on the ice anyone?). Not to mention, his “system” is completely boring to watch for the people footing a good chunk of the teams bill, and results in little to no offense. However, at least Muller was there to motivate the team, and keep everyone level headed throughout the year.

    This season, you don’t have to look very far to see that JM has completely lost the room. Besides the lines he throws on the ice, the players are largely in part trying to establish their own identity. They want to generate more offense and escape the defensive system JM has trapped them in, and are doing everything in their power to do so. However, as is evident, they need a new coach to bring them together on this, in order to string some wins together. The Proof of this? Tell me the last time Montreal scored four or more goals in 3 out of four games last year. You probably won’t find one.

    The constant line juggling destroys any chance at chemistry. I mean honestly, when the team is struggling and you see the need to shuffle the lines, you have to stick with them for at least two-three games to see if they are effective, not two-three minutes.

    I could go on, but a lot has already been said or will be said soon.

    As it stands, keep the GM and fire the coach. Bringing Muller back to coach is tempting, but he needs time to develop fully in that role, thus his current (and very wise) move to coach Nashville’s affiliate team. I most certainly agree with those that are suggesting an interim coach be hired until Muller is ready. It wouldn’t hurt to try and provide Muller some incentive to return as the coach of the Habs in 1-2 years. It seems almost inevitable that he will return as an NHL head coach, so let’s hope it’s with Montreal.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the Molson’s handle everything in the coming days, and hope they take the appropriate actions.

    • 1010 says:

      This is a good post in my opinion Renegade. I believe they have more in this line-up than their play has indicated.
      Yeah, they need some additions, but I really feel these guys should not be grovelling around last place. Injuries or not.
      Martin has to find a way to get more out of them.

      GO HABS…

  9. Landof10000lakesHab says:

    ok – I am over my original panic on the Habs performance thus far. After absorbing the current realty (playoffs a long shot), it is time to think aggressively about the future.

    As our beloved Habs max out to the cap each year, expectations for success go far beyond fans sense of entitlement. Teams at the bottom of the standings, in most instances, have limitations on cap spend and this can have an impact on performance. Teams that cap max are expected to be in the top 1/3rd of the league. So changes in Habville are coming – bank on it.

    JM likely out after the back-to-back with Bruins. This is a no brainer based on the start and happens across the NHL in similar situations. New or interim coach may focus on existing team strengths and employ up-tempo style.

    This season’s results and subsequent performance by Price and Subban will likely not cost the Habs the moon on new contracts. Player agents would not be seeking long term mega bucks due to limited leverage (no Vezina nominations – no 20 goal Dman).

    The majority of last year contracts can be moved for valuable draft picks at the trade deadline (Gill, Moen, Campoli, and AK).

    A few trades will occur, without question; not only to correct in the immediate sense, but to ensure a healthy future. Face-offs and grit remain an ongoing issue.

    Ease Markov back into play. Habs Mgmt have (3) years invested, so need use this year as building block for the next two.

    Continue with Emelin, Diaz, and Weber for now. Give these inexperienced Dman time to learn and garner confidence.

    Molson will need to absorb the Gomez contract reality at seasons’ end, after a new CBA, and during the anticipated buy-out period.

    Look forward to next June’s draft with a top five pick. Keep in mind other high performing franchises that recently had the wheels fall off for a year and the result was a top three pick the following summer (Flyers – JVR, Devils – Adam Larsson). Not talking about tanking year-after-year strategy, aka the Penguins.

    Call up Leblanc and perhaps Dumont later this year when the season outcome is no longer in doubt and little pressure is in play to provide exposure to the show.

    Ensure Max P and Eller have plenty of ice-time this season.

    Next season, the Dogs will have Kristo, Gallagher, Bournival, Beaulieu, Ellis, and Pateryn added. Tinordi may need another year in the OHL and Bennett another year at Michigan.

    So suck it up Habs fans, the Laff fans have endured this type performance for years, and our future is still bright. Albeit a few bumps in the upcoming road.

  10. jgraves33 says:

    It is time for PG and JM to hit the road, and perhaps several of the players. PG’s undersized idea isn’t working. Cole looked good last night, so did Eller and and AK, all guys with a bit of weight to stay on the puck. Can’t understand what JM is thinking on his pp, and too many men calls. He certainly isn’t inspiring any confidence in me that he has a plan in place, and that we are at least moving in the right direction. I’ve always had respect for the discipline on defense that his teams have shown, but now there isn’t even that.

    To you from failing hand we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  11. hansolo says:

    I agree with Mattyleg. I’ve defended JM on the board. It’s not an easy task and it’s getting harder and harder. His response to the reporter last night suggests to me he was stressed out and therefore lost his composure. But let’s not forget where we were when he came on board. We had a team that had cliques and therefore didn’t play together and underachieved. The team even lacked conditioning. For at least 2 seasons, JM and BG/PG got us beyond that. I don’t know what’s happened this year and it’s hard to believe the wheels have fallen off — it’s still early in the season. I can’t help thinking the team can still turn it around. It’s not either JM’s or PG’s fault that PK and CP haven’t had great starts to their seasons. PK’s and CP’s statistical anomalies WILL get better during the season.

    The talk about Patrick Roy and Pierre McGuire really upsets me. I don’t doubt Roy could be an NHL coach some day but I don’t think it’s now. I remember enough about the Houle-Tremblay era that I don’t want to go there again, and that’s where Roy-McGuire would take us. I don’t want a coach who is a hot-head with no pro coaching experience — and that’s what St. Patrick is. I don’t want a GM whose main concern for the past several years has been his sound bites and his appearance on TV. That’s Pierre McGuire.

    If we end up firing JM, the only reasonable choices I see are Carbo, one of the 2 Michels (Bergeron or Therrien) or Bob Hartley — if his contract in Europe would allow it. But none of them would accept the job on an interim basis, and I prefer an interim coach because I’d like to have Captain Kirk back in 2 years. I’d love to have Jacques Lemaire as an interim but he walked away from the job once before, so why would he want it again? Larry Robinson won’t like the stress. I also haven’t forgiven him for demanding he have his number retired. The interim guy has to be able to speak French, too, but I hope in 2 years the climate will have changed enough so that the permanent one can use an interpreter.

    Re: PG

    For all the talk about letting Hamrlik, Halpern and the Wiz go and signing Markov, what was PG supposed to do? At the time, the news about Markov was encouraging. I think PG might have been slightly misinformed by either Markov or his surgeon. Plenty of people here on the board ragged on Hamrlik when he was with us about being old and slow. Halpern was good on faceoffs but wasn’t big or physical and the hope (bolstered by the 2 Randys) was that Engqvist could finally step up to the plate. It’s not PG’s fault Betts was injured when he was claimed on waivers, that Spacek and Campoli got injured and that Diaz, Weber and Emelin then had to be thrown into the deep end. Plenty of people here would also have lambasted PG for NOT signing Markov. Just remember when Gorges was signed — people wanted to give him more term and money and it looks like PG’s assessment was probably right. I loved the Wiz but he got more money than we could have given him. As to Sopel and Mara — if you complain about our D being terrible now, it wouldn’t have better with either (or both) of them.

    • jmsheehy19 says:

      In regards to his handling of the the reporter’s question, I agree that his remark might be indicative of the pressure he’s feeling to figure out the PP. Seemed unnecessarily condescending. Especially when Cole’s minuscule 3 PP goals outweigh Darche’s 2, unless my research is off.

    • Chris F says:

      But it IS PG`s fault that the team is relying so heavily on a goalie to win games, and a Defenseman in his second full year.
      PG is responsible.
      And JM is responsible for line changes, and putting Darche on the PP. You may say this is one decision, I say it speaks to his abilities. He`s terrible, period.

    • jmsheehy19 says:

      Also completely agree with you on the pierre/ Roy assessment. How anybody believes that’s a solution is beyond me.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Hansolo, I have tried to understand and defend both PG/JM as well. And for what it is worth, I didn’t like either when hired but they did do some effective things. But they can no longer be defended.

      It was PG’s job to evaluate if indeed markov could come back and help us, he was wrong. Doesn’t matter if it was doctors or whatever, he was wrong.

      JM refuses to be flexible in anything he does, and refuses to acknowledge that the NHL is a full contact league. He has made this team smaller in how we play and in whom he chooses to play.

      I do not want Roy or MacGuire near this team, especially that idiot MacGuire, but change is needed.

      • hansolo says:

        HIB, I agree completely the team this year has underachieved and that in a results-oriented enterprise, those in charge are ultimately responsible. I accept that JM and PG are therefore responsible. I just want to provide some perspective. Sometimes, the calls to fire the coach and GM can degenerate into a mob-generated frenzy, which is when decisions might be made that we later on will regret. I need go back no further than 1995 to the firings of Demers and Serge Savard, the hirings of Houle and Tremblay and the trade of Patrick Roy to the Avalanche, to prove my point. If JM and PG are deemed by their boss, Mr. Molson, to be unable to turn it around, then they have to go.

  12. Chris F says:

    Here`s an idea, Fire JM and bring in Muller. Call him today, offer him the job. Let JM sit in the press box.
    How many people in Montreal would be excited?
    How many players would be excited?
    How long will the losing be allowed to continue?
    Can`t beat the leafs? C`mon, this is an all time low.

  13. Chris F says:

    People need to give it up with line combinations. C`mon, right now it`s not going to make much difference.
    What in God`s name is Martin thinking? Putting Darche on the PP should be an absolute last resort, and if you think this doesn`t affect team chemistry. You don`t think players like Gionta, Gill, Cole, Cammy, who played for years, are not wondering what the *uck is going on here. We have the worst PP in the league, and Darche is being sent out again. I would be pissed, and I would expect my captain to have a little sit down with the coach. It`s embarassing, completely and utterly unacceptable to have a borderline fourth line player eating up minutes on the PP.
    Martin must believe screening the goalie is all it takes to turn the PP around, he`s delusional. They can`t get the puck in the zone, and have nobody to shoot from the point, Darche`s hands are of complete stone, and it`s not going to change. If this is what the coach of the Montreal Canadiens has to turn things around, be worried. There is absolutely no question that players are pissed, and asking some of their own questions.
    Eller was by far the best player on the ice. Moen is driving hard to the net, and is strong enough to get the results. Is it a coincidence that Moen, Eller, and Kosti had good games, but also have some size and strength to not get tossed off the puck?
    Fire JM, Fire PG. PG had his chance to address a small D, and JM should be canned for his record to date this year, along with putting Darche on the PP and committing the most Too many men offences in the league. Get ahold of your bench you big goof, get ahold of your players, do something, for the love of God.
    I`m sure their will be comments about JM making it to the Conf finals, and game seven last year. What a joke, the team did this in spite of him. What has PG done (apart from Wiz, he`s crapped the bed)

    • HabinBurlington says:

      If you were inferring to me, it was the first post i have done with line combo’s in days. I am in complete agreement on canning the PG/JM.

      Problem is replacement GM needs some experience, we can’t have a Rejean Houle replacement who throws away talented players for nothing in trades.

      My line combos were my frustration with watching JM EFFF up every line combo he can.

      • Chris F says:

        No, not just to you. There are 50 comments a day on the subject.
        I just read yours and thought it needs to stop. I agree with you on the juggling, but it shows how ineffective JM is. If that`s the level of your coaching, to switch up the lines, there desperately needs to be a change. My wife can switch the lines.
        JM can`t coach, HE absolutely cannot do the three most important aspects of coaching-
        a) motivate
        b) inspire
        c) teach in new, creative ways.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I would add to your list recognize talent. He seems to have already evaluated Cole as useless.

          • Chris F says:

            Totally agreed. If your going to cite a players inability in the past as your reasoning to not give chances in the present, man…………your breaking the first rule of teaching/coaching. Why nobody else has brought this up in management is mind boggling. THis is the Montreal Canadiens no some elementary gym class.
            Little joey sucked at basketball last year, therefore, we cannot count on him to improve this year. Why give him a chance?
            I officially hate JM. And PG for not attempting to get bigger on the back end.

          • Chris F says:

            I would also say that recognizing talent begins with the GM, the coach simple needs to put the talent into the correct spot to be successful.

        • Chorske says:

          I’ve resisted ragging on JM for years now- through poor bench management and player time management and too many men and overly long shifts and an unbelievable resistance to calling time outs. And I’ve always given him the benefit of the doubt because eventually the depth chart in his head would (pardon the expression) gel and the team would stabilize. But between the incessant line changes (hence the too many men problem) and his absolutely irresponsible calling out of Cole- Cole! The one guy whose fault the special team suckage isn’t!- and his inability or unwillingness to use Cole… gotta say, I am finally off Team JM.

    • Arrow77 says:

      The D isn’t that small. It’s small because Weber and Diaz are forced into regular roles because of injuries but put Spacek back in the lineup and add one physical defenseman and you have a regular size defense. Gauthier didn’t sign that player yet because he wanted to give a chance to Emelin to be that player. As for Campoli, he was supposed to provide some of the mobility we lost with Markov.

      • Chris F says:

        What are you smoking? Regular sized D? Spacek? Are you serious. Man, you are so off base. Spacek is undersized and can`t push anyone off the puck with any size, Gill doesn`t hit, Subban is a finesse player, Gorges is small by any standards, Markov can`t take a hit, Campoli providing mobility, sure, but he`s also small.
        C`mon dude.

        • Arrow77 says:

          Subban is a finesse player? What are YOU smoking? He made many of the most spectacular bodychecks of last season. And Gill may not be physical but he doesn’t qualify in any definition of undersized.

          I maintain that we’re only one 6’3″ defenseman away of having a regular size D, possibly one more as a reserve if Emelin really isn’t ready for the big league.

  14. derfab says:

    The vets can’t lead this team. Time to clean house and build around Subban, Price, Pacs and Eller. Everyone else is trade bait or fish food. Martin most definitely must go.

  15. Arrow77 says:

    I think it’s too early to fire Pierre Gauthier because we don’t know hoe some of his decisions will turn out but the case against Jacques Martin is overwhelming.

    – Since he’s been here, the team has struggled at even strenght but compensated by being very good on the special teams.Martin wasn’t responsible for powerplay before this year, Kirk Muller was. Now the power play is no longer good and the penalty kill ain’t that great either.

    – Even without Markov, the team has three defensemen that can be considered Offensive-d (Subban, Webber and Diaz). Even with Gomez, the Habs are weak down the middle. Martin still thinks it’s a good idea to play a center on the point on the PP.

    – Last night, Gomez was injured. With Plekanec playing the point, it would have been natural for Eller to get more PP time since Desharnais can’t stay the full 2 minutes. He got 12 seconds, even though he might have been playing the best game of his career so far. At one point, ice cold Gionta took a faceoff (and lost it).

    -Martin says Cole isn’t good on the power play and that’s why he doesn’t use him there. As a proof, he says, he only scored 3 PP goal last year. Mathieu Darche played 3:12 on the power play last night. He scored 3 PP goal… in his CAREER!

    I believe the calls for Gauthier’s head are premature. It’s way too early to call Cole a flop (especially the way he’s used) and he’s been told by doctors that Andrei Markov would be ready to start the season. A defense with Markov isn’t more physical but is a lot better with the puck. Maybe in time, Cole will be a flop and Markov won’t be worth the risk but now is too soon. But today, he has to find a new head coach. It’s his job to recognize the team’s problems and the head coach is the team’s biggest problem right now.

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Scott Gomez

    First of all, Scott Gomez cannot be blamed for his contract size or the hit on salary cap. If Glenn Sather offered me that contract I would sign it, granted I would bring much more size to the lineup I would offer nothing else.

    Perhaps this whole JM coaching style is exposing why we have not seen production from Gomez compared to his historical stats. Can he be blamed for being sick and tired of playing on a line with two players either his size or smaller? Every time he gets the puck in the offensive zone he gets hit because there is no presence on his line to pressure the goalie. I am not defending his less than stellar play, but perhaps it is time to recognize that Scott Gomez the Player not the contract has been misused.

    Last night our powerplay did miss having him skate the puck out of our zone and gain possession in the offensive zone.

    IMO 1st line should be Gio/Plex/Cammy
    2nd line should be Moen/Eller/AK
    3rd line should be Max/Gomez/Cole
    4th should be Darche and 2 players not currently on roster!!!

    I don’t like having Moen that high, but the line is clicking. Gomez needs players with size going to the net.

    I don’t know anymore, just getting angrier and angrier as I type and read…….

  17. mfDx says:

    PK Subban and Carey Price were asked before the season to “tone down” on the triple low fives after a habs victory.
    Management is getting their wish.

    Sent from my ChPhone

  18. BadHabit says:

    Wow! What a strange season this has become. And so early too (which might ultimately prove to be the saving grace….). A few reflections on this circus:

    * while it is pretty early in the seasons, I can’t help but have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that we’re all going to be looking back at this stretch when we miss the playoffs on the last night of the regular season through some other team beating another (i.e. completely out of the Habs’ control at that stage);

    * with a team touted as being deep on leadership, I haven’t felt seen much manifested thus far. Where is the team that took Boston to a 7th overtime playoff game????

    * I’ve never really been a fan of JM, the only positive thing in his hiring is that he wasn’t a rookie coach (but then again, has bever won a cup either). But I have to admit, that I’m starting to want to join the mob who’s out to lynch him;

    * JM appears to being trying to reward effort and sound defense, hence giving Darche more PP time. That said, I have a hard time understanding his (mis)management of Erik Cole;

    * I can understand that they don’t want to take penalties and want to draw them, but how do you let the dman with the most minutes on your team be trampled, not to mention your franchise goalie – Price takes a penalty because none of his teammates steps up to clear his house;

    * I agree with another esteemed member of the commentariat: if they continue down this road, then screw it, fire both Ein (JM) and Stein (PG) and bring in some new hockey people (shame Stevy Y is in Tampa), and let’s forget this season and start thinking about a new direction for this talented, small team – like adding some grit and explosiveness.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      It’s getting very difficult having to watch our players cheap shotted or taunted and seeing zero response…

      In all my 35 years of being a Canadiens fan I can’t remember being so disappointed in a total lack of punch back in those situations.

      Pierre Gauthier has done a brutal job in putting a few players on the roster that will step in for our skilled players.

      Rosehill pushing Subban’s face into the ice, Price getting knocked down and not even a whimper out of the Habs, disgusting!

  19. Mattyleg says:

    You know what bugs me about all of this?
    That people who have been crowing to can the coach for the past two or three years will see this as some sort of justification for their knee-jerk reactions or perennial biases.

    I think that JM has done good things with this team in general, and now he’s hitting a wall. I have no problem seeing him go, but I don’t see this as being a kind of culmination of years of bad coaching.

    We didn’t win a Stanley Cup with Jacques Martin. Neither did 28-odd coaches over the two years he was with us. Does that mean that there are 28 garbage coaches in the league? Pat Burns was a great coach, but we never won a cup with him. Does that mean that he ‘sucked’ for the years he was with us? Do I need to ask any more rhetorical questions?

    Like I said, I’m becoming less confident in JM, and very unimpressed with the way he’s handled Eric Cole. Unless something very different happens very soon, he’s got to move on.

    But that in no way validates all the ‘Fire The Coach’ gang who have been yelling the same thing since he was hired.
    “Four Legs Good! Two Legs Bad!!”

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • mrhabby says:

      good points all around. be careful what we wish for.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      I loved having Martin/Muller behind the bench together. I think Marin has got the best possible results out of this roster over the past few seasons.

      Unfortunately Muller is gone, and even though he was behind the bench, he was the only guy on the entire team that seemed to light a fire cracker under everyone’s ass.

      With the people we’re missing on defense from last year, mainly Hamrlik and Wisniewski, we can’t play the tight defensive style that kept us in so many games.

      Huge mistake in not re-signing Wisniewski, not finding a stay-at-home defenseman to replace Hamrlik and letting kirk Muller slip away.

      Time for a trade to acquire a defenseman, somebody better than Campoli, and a new coach with a fresh attitude and a new system.

    • mjames says:

      I am not a fan of JM but PG and Gainey need to take some ownership here. These two through their trades, FA siginings and dismissals ruined the guts of this team. Posters here say Grabs was a bad apple. Well he wears an A on his sweater and he certainly looked good scoring the winner. All we do is rationalize why guys such as Grabs were not not good enough for our team. Our management and coaches have zero patience and are poor talent evaluators.

      So many posts attempt to rationalize this team’s performance and players. If we are really honest JM et all are just plain inept.

      The wheels are coming off and unfortunately JM will be the sacrificial lamb when gainey and PG should be there with him.

      mjames

  20. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Isn’t Eric Cole supposed to be a dominant player? Wasn’t he supposed to shine at the Bell Centre? I can’t say that I’ve really noticed. Is it time to start Budaj and let the 100th win simmer for a bit? I would have started him against Colorado but I think it’s time to let Carey, not that he’s to blame, watch a game. Change it up. We scored four times and lost. Either Price or Budaj need to steal a game, if necessary.
    However, regardless of starting goaltender, the play of our defence is problematic, no.

  21. habsgod says:

    fire this big eared idiot and now! I mean any coach that plays mathieu darche on the pp instead of pacioretty, cole, or kostitsyn tells me all I need to know about martin and his ability to coach!

    hey martin! ask scotty bowman if he’d play darche on the pp instead of cole,kostitsyn,pacioretty he’d laugh you right out the the building! and he’d tell you jacques i’ll give you some coaching tips 101 because your an idiot!

  22. andykirstein says:

    If JM takes them Bowling today,will he let Eric Cole play all 10 frames?
    Or sit him and give Darche an extra frame or 2?
    Oh wait, that Bowling didn’t work before!
    And one more thing before I take a 24 hr timeout on the Habs……..
    Does it really matter that our Coach and GM are Francophones?
    THEY DON’T SPEAK!!!!!!
    What difference what language they scribble there notes in?
    That’s all I see them do!

  23. Habitoban says:

    We don’t have a credible 4th line centre. Our PK is a lot worse than last year. We can’t win key face offs. Why did we let an inexpensive and proven vetrean like Halpern (wins 68% of faceoffs this year) walk. A mystery to me.

  24. Chrisadiens says:

    So, how do we rally to get rid of Count Chocula? Game boycott? Peaceful gathering outside the bell? He needs to go now if we want a shot at the playoffs.

    Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

  25. habstrinifan says:

    It is so simple really! Best quick fix! Uncomplicated, available, practical, and absolutely certain to be positively received by every SINGLE player and every single fan.

    Move JM’s ‘upstairs’ to be PG’s right-hand or right-foot man and hire Larry Robinson. Pretend it’s an interim basis hiring. Make a back-room deal with Larry so that he would accept this designation.

    Then watch the season unfold as our overall league respect goes up 10fold and the players and fans rebound with new our zeal and energy.

    Leave the assistants.. they will be ‘tutored and schooled and well-used’ by Larry.

    Imagine the burst of sunlight that would enter HABSDOM were this simple fix to be made.

    We may not march to the CUP, but the path to GLORY would be cleared and the excitement will return.

    • Xsteve50 says:

      can we add drop the ticket price by 50% and make it trully a great day..

    • Bill J says:

      Robinson as Head coach…. Roy as his assistant (to be mentored by Robinson for a near future promotion)

      That scenario ? I like!


      If you want to add an avatar here, read this and follow the steps

      Go Habs Go!

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        Roy as an assistant? His ego would never take that.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

      • mrhabby says:

        can’t see roy being an assistant to LR unless of course Roy has matured.

      • habstrinifan says:

        Naw … just keep it simple… a quick fix now using the ‘power of the man’ image of a Larry Robinson. He is experienced, successful as a player and coach, resourceful… etc etc. No drama of Roy yet.

        Imagine the players’ faces and mind when they walk onto the ice and lokk at centre ice and see the BIG BIRD standing there whistle in hand. Imagine the buz around the league, the immediate dose of respect again… Larry Robinson behind the Montreal bench.

        • habstrinifan says:

          Geez I am so excited at this prospect. If willing something could really make it happen Larry should be in a limousine to PG’s office RIGHT NOW!

          OH WELL! I guess I better wake up! Is JM holding a post-practice presser today EXPLAINING the inticacies of his vaunted coaching drill… remember the one posted here on HIO (3:59 mins of fairly aimless point shots at Price)… and how Cole just dont get it.

          • Mattyleg says:

            Don’t think so.
            Larry couldn’t handle the stress of coaching in NJ and had to step down.
            New Jersey!
            Think he’d be less stressed in Montreal?

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

  26. Neutral says:

    It’s time to quit making excuses. fire martin, the ref’s don’t like him, the players don’t like him this one is no good, that one is no good, this one did this, this one did that. we’re like a bunch of school kids. man up and realize we have a average team here. we’re weak up front and half of our defence this is their first year in the NHL and except for Gill and Gorges the rest only have a couple of years under their belt so don’t expect miracles. it’s still early and we’re not out of the playoffs yet every team loses games and we’re no different. this new NHL the cup is up for grabs….

  27. Xsteve50 says:

    to me it is simple. I once asked Mike Green about a coaching drill and he basically replied that even in the NHL they are still kids. Simply put, if they are not having fun, they are hard to motivate. JM`s system, in fact ANY system that produces wins is fun. Winning is fun…..so….find a way to win…new coach…yes..same coach new system…yes..whatever it takes to produce a few wins….make if fun…(oh,,, and fun to watch helps us fans)…

  28. JayBee says:

    JM will not get fired until a trade is made. So it WILL get worse because we’ll probably get rid of picks/future/good roster player that JM doesn’t like just so we can prolong the suckage.

    My stanley cup run this season will be getting rid of JM and PG. If that happens, I have no issue with not making the playoffs and blowing EVERYTHING (yes, bye bye Gainey) up. Bring in some new blood, new philosophy….please!!!

    • Bill J says:

      Agree with you, except…. Gainey is not in a role anymore. And he is after all the guy who tried to give us great coaches like Boucher and Muller. His positives far outweigh his negatives.

      Gainey is very close to Molson, I do not see him being pushed out.


      If you want to add an avatar here, read this and follow the steps

      Go Habs Go!

  29. PureGuava says:

    Everyone woke up today with blood on their minds….
    Let’s get him!

  30. mrhabby says:

    wow. lots of doom and gloom on here.
    i have been a supporter of JM but i admit his management of players is getting weird. not playing Cole on the PP regardless of his stats in carolina is just stupid. He was our prize free agent signing…good for the reporter asking the question.

    I can’t see Geoff Molson making any knee jerk reactions to this crisis as he just paid off Carbo, injury factors and there is no one else around that could turn the boat. Peeps have mentioned pierre mcguire..how many jobs has he applied for and is he still in TV. Crawford , Keenan, talk about old school, you want to get rid of JM and replace him with these guys come on man.

    • habsgod says:

      macguire has applied for only a few jobs and was almost hired in minnesota,he’s very close personal friends with geoff molson and like it or not macguire is very well connnected around the league! i think having him as g.m. might be such a bad idea! could he do any worse than gauhtier is doing? i guess we can’t really judge unless he was hired!

      • mrhabby says:

        i just do not want this to turn into a serious gong show if changes are made.
        That being said if team does not win against florida and gets pounded by the bruins/flyers martins future looks bleak. Looks like the knives are out for martin/gauthier.

  31. savethepuck says:

    Lars Eller is the only Canadien who hasn’t played a bad game this season.
    The only enjoyment I got last night was a poster referring to JM as Jauques-ass

    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

  32. Danno says:

    TVA reporter Michael Roy says he has just learned the Habs will hold a special team meeting this morning.

    The plot thickens…

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  33. SeriousFan09 says:

    Question for Reporters to ask JM: Why is it that Mike Cammalleri, who only had 4 PPG in his first year in MTL on a PP ranked 2nd in the NHL that season didn’t see his PP TOI go down the next season? It actually went up by 36 seconds a game despite poor PPG production that season.

    Cole’s 3 PPG came on a PP that was in the bottom 5 of the NHL last season by comparison.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • shiram says:

      There is more to this Jm Cole thing, andm it annoys me.
      So does DD getting PP time and Eller none.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        That was crazy, Eller was our best forward on the night, he created so much because he had the size and power to handle the puck and distribute it from the middle.

        DD is not an NHL C, too puny, not fast enough.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Cannot agree with you more about DD. It is nice to fantasize that he will be a Martin St. Louis, but while he has good hockey sense, he does not have the speed of St. Louis, nor do we have the compliment of players to wait and see if he can become that. We already have Cammy, Gio, Plex, and Gomez. That is enough undersized skilled players. I say that with no disrespect to these players, they are good and deserve ice time.

  34. PureGuava says:

    One more thing about the Martin Vs Cole debate…
    Carbo did the same thing with Gainey’s prized free agent signing of Samsonov a few years back. Carbo made Samsonov the whipping boy, and scapegoat for all that was going wrong, when the fact of the matter was that it was a bad signing in the first place. I am not suggesting that either Cole or Samsonov are bad players, only that they weren’t the right ‘fit’ at the time of their acquisition. The fact that the coach has done little to help make his GM’s signing look justified is troubling.

    It’s time to get rid of them both.

    • habstrinifan says:

      Are you really comparing Cole with Samsonov?

      • HabinBurlington says:

        He is comparing the concept of a big free agent signing who doesn’t get a chance. Not saying Samsonov was a good move, but early on he got buried.

        • PureGuava says:

          Yes – that’s it exactly. Wasn’t really fond of either signing…and didn’t like the way the coaches handled either player. I think both coaches made their bosses look foolish, while doing nothing productive to help the situation. I hated the Samsonov signing, but thought Carbo was way off in the way that he dealt with him.

          Samsonov and Cole also had the majority of their success playing with an elite center – something Montreal hasn’t had in years. Scott Gomez is no Joe Thornton, and Saku Koivu is no Eric Staal.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      samsonov deserved to be benched. he stinks

  35. srocco3 says:

    Time for a coaching change. JM doesn’t cut it anymore. We need emotion behind the bench. I’d love to see Patrick Roy come up from the QMHL.

  36. habsgod says:

    fire this big eared idiot and now! I mean any coach that plays mathieu darche on the pp instead of pacioretty, cole, or kostitsyn tells me all I need to know about martin and his ability to coach!

  37. petefleet says:

    Yeah, 48% chance of getting the first overall pick!!! Keep up the good work JM. I hope the real talented players that are UFAs this summer and next have the same vision as PG.

    ******************************************
    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

    ***Habs Forever***

  38. daveho29 says:

    How about trying to get Gretzky as coach?

  39. richman says:

    First off,please tank!It’s the best thing that could happen,i don’t mind waiting another year if it means Martin gone and a really good draft pick.THe core is there but missing a REAL fourth line that scares the oppositions 1st line.Have to get rid of the idea that all management has to be French.Eric Cole didn’t see any power play time???Get rid of that 60’s hair styling over rated coach!!

    Richard Arsenault


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