About last night … with audio

Getzlaf

This was the game that would set the tone for the California trip … and provide the Canadiens with their best chance to win.

The Ducks had won ONE game in November.
They are 29th in the league and reeling.
The Ducks are so bad they fired the coach WHO WON THE GAME!
Randy Carlyle out.
Bruce Boudreau in.
Jacques Martin unchanged.

And to possibly save his coach’s job, Carey Price has to stand on his head in San Jose Thursday night.

Can the goaltender stymie the Sharks?

Sure.

But what’s the point? Your Montreal Canadiens are, at best, a mediocre hockey team that faces a steep uphill climb to make the playoffs.

If you figure 96 points punches a ticket to the postseason dance, the Canadiens will have to reap 72 from their remaining 57 games.

Do-able?

Sure … if you believe the team we saw in Anaheim is capable of putting together a winning streak that will propel them northward in the standings.

Of course, that wasn’t the team we hope to be seeing. Max Pacioretty will be back in the lineup when the Canadiens return to Montreal and face the might Columbus Blue Jackets at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Maybe Andrei Markov will play. Maybe not.

By then, the mess in Anaheim will be a distant memory … especially if it’s matched by no-shows in San Jose and Los Angeles.

Factoring in the quality of opposition, this might have been the Canadiens’ worst game of the season.

Shall we enumerate the horrors:

• The power-play went 0-for-7. That’s a first this season … although it’s gone 0-for-6 once, 0-for-5 three times and 0-for-4 five times.

• P.K. Subban took two penalties, running his season total to 15 minors, one fewer than Sheldon Souray, the league leader among defencemen.

• I watched the game in my basement and had zero shots on goal, thus matching the total of Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri combined.

• Trailing 2-1 and very much in it when the third period began, the Canadiens took 15 minutes to get their first shot: a Subban lob from centre ice that did not test Jonas Hiller.

• Mathieu Darche had 1:12 on the power-play, Lars Eller 28 seconds.

But this is what said it all for me:

With the Canadiens two goals down and about 90 seconds left, Jacques Martin pulled Peter Budaj. And as an extra attacker jumped on, Gord Dwyer blew his whistle.

The referee hadn’t noticed the empoty Montreal net. And I’ll bet dollars to donuts this was Dwyer’s thought process:

“Of course they have too many men on the ice. This is the stumbling, bumbling Montreal Canadiens. They take bench minors all the time.”

It’s so sad.

And I don’t see things getting a lot better in San Jose or L.A.

The Canadiens’ game was the third I watched this week, after the Rangers and Penguins – a cracker! – on Monday night and Boston-Toronto earlier Wednesday evening.

Know something?

Based on what I saw, all four of those teams are better than the Canadiens … by a lot.

Yes, even the Leafs.

They lost 6-3 to the red-hot Bruins at the ACC, but the Leafs battled. They have young, talented guys who play hard.

While Pleks and Cammalleri were combining for a goose egg, Phil Kessel and Joffrey has seven shots between them.

It would be too painful to write about how good the Bruins were.

Or to dwell on the ineptitude of the Canadiens.

Forbes magazine says the Canadiens are worth $445 million – third in the league behind Toronto and Detroit.

If the Canadiens go 0-for-California, a distinct possibility, will Geoff Molson eat the last two seasons of Jacques Martin’s contract, plus an early-termination penalty clause rumoured to be $2 million?

The siren would no sooner sound on a loss in L.A. than they’ll be out with torches and pitchforks in Montreal.

But I’m sipping a cold one in the aforementioned basement at 1:15 a.m. and thinking neither Scotty Bowman nor Toe Blake could squeeze Ws out of this lineup.

Darche, Frederic St. Denis, the Swiss Cheeses, Petteri Nokelainen … and your highlight reel is Hal Gill out on an ice floe, killing another 5-on-3.

This ain’t the 1976 Montreal Canadiens.

Or the 1956 Canadiens.

And watching Saku Koivu, you could get nostalgic for the 2006 club.

OK, enough doom and gloom … for now.

On to San Jose.

202 Comments

  1. podbay says:

    .: Been a Habs fan since the early 60s as a wee lad. I can’t recall seeing a version of our team in such utter disarray through the past five decades. Yes, we have critical injuries – what team can continue to do well for an extended period of time when three, sometimes four, of its regular defencemen are on the shelf?

    Despite this, my sense is the players have ceased buying (if they ever did) into JM’s overall game plan. I don’t believe for a second that there isn’t a player on the team who doesn’t want to win, but they are frustrated and lack motivation. I believe that Cammy, Gionta, Gill, Georges, Gomez, are all VERY frustrated. This team may be the smallest ever iced by Habs’ management. Brendan Gallagher looks like a winner, but he’s also small.

    What has to change? All of us love to speculate, love to be Monday morning quarterbacks. I think a change in management would make a difference – sets of fresh eyes and new perspectives. I think resolving Scott Gomez’s situation would make a difference – buy him out or send him to the AHL for at least a year. Work the salary cap to land a free agent with skill and size. Forget about the Habs ever being the “Flying Frenchmen” again. In a 30-team league, this isn’t possible. If JM goes, get the best coach available, regardless of said coach’s ability to speak French. If he turns the team around, only the French media will give a rat’s ass about this. If making the Habs a true contender means signing and drafting more non-Francophone players, so be it.

    Why is it that we hear of French players who do not want to play in Montreal? What are their reasons?

    Anyway, just my thoughts on the current dire situation.

  2. LifeLong says:

    Isn’t Paul Maurice bilingual?
    Granted, he seems to have a shelf life of about 2.5 years, but Eric Cole would be happier, and the team would have offensive numbers to add to a pretty stingy defense. Two and a half years of Maurice would be better – and more fun to watch and listen to – than 2 more years of Jack Martin.

    “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work.” ~ Jean Beliveau

  3. andykirstein says:

    Has anyone noticed the only time the public has heard from Gauthier in Months is when he was interviewed after the “Pearn” firing? Wow, what an active aggressive GM! Abysmal team, abysmal performance…………Solution? Fire the innocent assistant coach!
    Who’s in charge of the pp? Can’t be Pearn!
    This pathetic business model got them the last playoff in years past

    No more!

  4. DLS HAB says:

    Last night I was mad as a hornet at the inept, lacklustre, p-poor
    effort. I’m still ticked, even after a good sleep. After pondering the situation I believe Gauthier is waiting for the defence core of Markov, Spacek and Campolli to return. Max-Pac will be back and maybe Gomez. If after this the team is still in Stinko-mode then the hammer will fall on J.M. Who to replace J.M.? Gretz?!-Just a thought!!!!!!

  5. Mr.Hazard says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we won in SJ and LA. How many times this season has the team utterly SUCKED in games we thought they should win, and surprised us with excellent performances in games we thought they would lose?

    Often.

  6. DorvalTony says:

    That goal at the end of the first absolutely killed them. Terrible.

    ——————————————————————-
    Break a nose get 3 games. Break a neck get 0 games. NHL = Nonsense Hockey League.

  7. pedro says:

    The Habs are built for speed-offence .JM style is defence a poor match.I am tired of watching boring JM style hockey at this point I would rather watch an exciting offensive team even if they loose some games

    Pedro

  8. Habsrule1 says:

    Time for Martin to go. The team has quit on him. There’s no doubt in my mind. It may not be the best team on paper, but they are better than they’ve been playing. Gyuys like Gionta Cammalleri do not mail it in like it looks like they have lately.
    We have one of the best goalies in the league. It’s time for an offensive-minded coach to take over and let these players go somewhat. Offense first. Of course try to get back to defend, but if a few risks equals a few odd-man rushes for the opponent, that’s why we have Price.

    Go Habs Go!!

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

    • DorvalTony says:

      I though Gio was going balls-out but Cammy looks done. The D is more like DOA. How any GM could have pinned his hopes on Markov alone is pathetic. It’ll take a miracle to make the playoffs, only to lose in the first round. Again. Who cares? Coach and GM, don’t let the door hit you in les fesses.

      ——————————————————————-
      Break a nose get 3 games. Break a neck get 0 games. NHL = Nonsense Hockey League.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        You’re probably right. I’m not really giving my all when I’m watching anymore.

        Go Habs Go!!

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

  9. nellis13 says:

    Give Price the rest of the season off and play for a draft pick. Maybe RDS can pick up the Oilers games.

  10. Bad Digestion says:

    I think they looked great last night, keep JM around longer, give Cammy more ice time, sign injured players to longer contracts. The Habs are as pathetic as they come, nothing can save this franchise, they should just give up and quit. The Bell center will always be full , they will keep on selling crappy merchandise, money will keep rolling in. Molson must be laughing his ass off, cause this a gold mine!

  11. Cam_1 says:

    JM has to go ..no matter what ! Too much line juggling. Too much experimenting. Wrong guys out for PP. No emotion, is not motivating his players at all. That’s it…this is novice…the time to get your lines correct and to experiment is during camp and pre season…not during the regular season, and even does it in Play offs I bet…and it has not just been this year,,,it has been every year. The Habs are a small but fast and skilled team…how do you use that to your advantage, by going all out full force attacking attacking attacking…yet sill being responsible on their end of the ice. It can be done…they are a fast skilled dynamic team…not meant for a god damn defensive structure that does not work. How many times have we took a lead into 3rd period this year and tried to protect it. It does not work…and will not work..even last nite in a losing cause they could not get any shots in 3rd. Pathetic…completely pathetic…JM is so novice right now, he is not evolving at all. Fire JM ….now Molson !! If it was up to me I would clean house…fire both PG and JM, but I know that is taking it way too far and is too much to hope for. Molson you rich I don’t have a care in the world cuz although we suck the money keeps pouring in. Care about the fans..and do something now ! Fire JM !!!

  12. --Habs-- says:

    Habs should have hired Kevin Dineen. I’ve said it a 100 times. Good coach, offensive player, power forward in his day. What was Martin in his day? He did absolutely nothing in Florida before the Habs. He did absolutely nothing in Ottawa where he was handed a great team!

    • B915 says:

      How about Doug Jarvis

    • fastfreddy says:

      Habs need a new coach, JM is done. No one knows what to do on the ice, the players look lost , like there’s no gameplan or strategy. If PG wants to retain JM as his coach, then he has to acquire the players that can play JM’s system because this group certainly can’t. It’s either the coach or the players ????? Something’s gotta give!!!!!!!!

  13. JustSomeguy says:

    If not Martin, who?

    As long as management feels the need to have a bilingual coach, the pool of available talent is shockingly small.

    Muller’s out. The last I looked, the Lighting were not playing up to expectations. And, not to put too fine a point on it, you gotta be nuts to want to coach in Montreal where every single action is scrutinized.

    No … There’s no magic wand to wave to make Mtl’s coaching problems go away. Except, maybe, hiring back Carbo.

  14. Steeltown Hab says:

    JM is absolutely lost, he has no clue who is playing well and who is playing like garbage, hence his distribution of ice time.

    Someone, JM, Gorges, an assistant coach whoever needs to have a sitdown with Subban.

    Tell him to wake up and stop doing that ridiculous fake shot every single time the puck comes his way and to stop holding the puck behind our net for extended periods of time I have no clue what happened to him over the summer. I know what he’s capable of but somethings way off in his hockey sense right now.

    • LTHF says:

      I said many times since Martin and Gill was signed that the Habs could and would not win with those two. Of course got criticized for saying by many> Martin’s record in Ottawa proved what he could do with a good team. Gill was with Bos, Tor and Pit and they all let him go. No speed, too soft for a big man, very poor handling the puck and cant shoot. Poor qualities for NHL defenceman playing 20 plus minutes per game. And Martin got no clue how to handle young players, or any player for that matter. Just look at the first goal by the ducks, 20 secs left in the period and a player change with the puck inside the habs blueline. UNREAL

  15. --Habs-- says:

    Even when the Habs are playing well I honestly believe its the opposition playing bad making the Habs look good.

  16. NorthernHab says:

    Well written Mike.
    Assuming that we get our 3 defensemen back into the lineup soon: If language were not an issue, who would be an interesting coach for this group?

  17. --Habs-- says:

    Is Gomez really hurt?

    • Badwich says:

      I suspect it was ” get booed, get a groin pull or get on that Mega bus to Bulldog town cause the fans won’t let me play you.” “Your choice.”

      Taberwitt

  18. like a boss says:

    JM and PG need to go for sure, but thats all. Don’t trade away all our good players for picks or bigger guys. If we have a coach that can get the most out of Gio, Pleks, Cammy, Cole and Pacioretty I am sure that they all can score 30 or more goals. We need a new coach, and I think it needs to be doneif we lose another game on this road trip.

    Also, does anyone know when Markov is coming back?

  19. Habfan29 says:

    Why oh why did the smurfs get more TOI then both Eller and Cole. I think that JM hates big players…..terrible bench managment, Cole has been our best player of late. Cammalerri (sp) 18+ minutes 0 shots on net, Cole 14+minutes 2 shots….I give up

  20. Hammer says:

    I will repeat what I stated yesterday. Mediocrity is rewarded in Montreal. The team is worth $441 million US, third of any NHL team, packed with over 21K a night, selling 300% marked up merchandise and expensive beer. As Alfred E newman used to say and what the Molson’s are now saying ” what me worry”. We will all complain on sights like this and Molson’s will need a semi to bring the loot to the bank. Gotta be something wrong with this picture. They could buy out Gomez today, pay out JM and still not miss a beat but they won’t as long as people fight over rafter seats!!

  21. VintageFan says:

    Clearance Sale. 1 General Manager, this model is hard to find. 1 coach – emotions never used. Several miniature players – they just don’t make them like this any more. Act NOW!! Best offer by December 15. Call 1-800-HOCKEYANTIKS for information

  22. kerrgte says:

    M. Gauthier your performance is not good enough.

    Look what B Burke has done in Toronto – the team’s strength has increased significantly every year, and even within the year. Your ineptitude in Montreal has resulted in a team that is going downhill in a hurry. This is a soft team – that has reached the lowest level in the league !!

    What started out as a season with promise is now a season soon to be best forgotten. The boys have become good at playing poorly, and rarely go for the jugular. Very poorly motivated, poor execution, but they do excel at inconsistency. A very soft team that does not deserve respect !!

    To correct this:
    1. You need a new coach – a motivator and communicator, a young man with whom the players can identify and respect. The players game in and game out demonstrate they are not paying any attention to JM with their poor, undisciplined play.
    2. No more little guys. Adopt the Philly rule – noone less than 6 feet and 200 pounds, unless they’re exceptional. It’s horrible to see these little guys (Corey Locke clones – all) being man-handled and rendered useless in every game. Talent, Size and Grit – nothing less !!
    3. Insist on a strong work ethic. Try or else. As a model, watch a video of the recent Boston – Toronto game. Toronto, a former stinker of a team, is now a first tier team. Montreal, on the other hand, continues to slide.
    4. Today – Give these idiots shooting practice.

    Last night should have been 2 points. But no, they stink out the place with this kind of junior-level, undisciplined play.

    • DearyLeary says:

      1: I want a motivator too, but I don’t want someone who motivates at the expense of structure.

      2: No less than six foot, you say? They must be itching to get rid of that smurf Claude Giroux.

      3: Cammalleri, Diaz… only two I’ve really seen slacking. Who’s not working hard enough for you?

      4: Probably right, but Martin seems to put a harness on offensive layers.

      And forget what Burke has done in Toronto. As Kessel and Lupul cool down they’re left with a team that is consistently outshot and outchanced, and their goalies aren’t good enough to win consistently. They say ‘secondary scoring’ as if because Lupul is second to Kessel that means it’s supplementary. Their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines have been horrible this year.

      Sounds like you watch too much of the Toronto Sports Network.

  23. Badwich says:

    I think Mumbles is ever more rapidly turning our team into nothing more than a dysfunctional crew on a sinking ship. HE HAS TO GO NOW!!!!!!! Can we imagine how Capt Kirk felt! I’m sure he saw the writing on the bulkhead and couldn’t do a thing about it.

    Perhaps the fans who attend the games will begin to treat Mumbles to the Gomez razz. The one that led to his groin pull? It will get to that I’m sure but let’s hope someone steps in before a basically good man is subjected to such humiliation.

    Contract or not the Habs need an energetic coach who will let the team play to its strengths. Neither of those qualities are currently in evidence.

    Priez pour nous.

    Taberwitt


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