About last night …

While the rest of the world is enjoying  brunch this morning, your Montreal Canadiens are in Brossard holding a rare Sunday practice.

You’re reaching for croissants. They’re searching for answers.

There are six games left in the team’s regular season.

Four are on the road – where the Canadiens 18-18-1 record is the worst among 16 teams that currently hold playoff spots in the NHL.

We can take solace, perhaps, from a sense of déja vu.

The Canadiens lost their 76th game last season, 42 to New Jersey at the Bell Centre. It dropped their record to 37-31-8.

Then they lost Game 77 at home, 2-1 to Carolina, before Jaro Halak posted back-to-back shutouts of Philadelphia and Buffalo.

The final three games of the 2009-’10 season were a shootout loss on the Island, a loss in Carolina and an overtime loss in Toronto.

The Canadiens snuck into eighth place, and no one thought they had a prayer in their opening-round series against Washington.

“History repeats itself,” said the great hockey coach Karl Marx, “first as tragedy, second as farce.”

The Canadiens’ current run combines the tragedy and farce stages. Getting annihilated in the Revenge on Chara Bowl was tragic. Three first-period shots and three penalties on home ice against Washington is farcical.

The Canadiens had 18 SoG last night. That’s a season low – just nipping the 19 the Canadiens managed against San Jose at the Bell Centre on Dec. 4 – a 3-1 win!

Rookie Braden Holtby will never have an easier shutout than last night’s. Like Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas this week, Holtby was under absolutely zero duress.

Not the least annoying aspect of  the most recent loss in Boston were those TV closeups of Thomas smiling through his mask. The Bruins’ goaltender made 41 saves, and he was still laughing.

Carey Price has stopped smiling. Arpon Basu got to him early in the room last night, and his piece describes Price showing signs of frustration before adopting his customary air of calm for the media scrum.

Basu also offers some interesting thoughts on Scott Gomez. He thinks the target of Bell Centre boo birds and talk radio yahoos has to rescue his season to get the team back on the right track.

But can Gomez do it?

Zdeno Chara’s devastating hit on Max Pacioretty set off a domino effect on the Canadiens’ attack. Without Max-Pac, who was emerging as the power-forward complement to their skills as a passer and scorer, respectively, Gomez and Brian Gionta have faltered badly. Combine this with Tomas Plekanec’s injury, the ongoing struggles of Michael Cammalleri and you have the formula for three shutout losses.

Travis Moen has Pacioretty’s size but neither his speed or skill.  Andrei Kostitsyn was tried on the line last night; but he has never ben able to figure out Gomez, and vice-versa.

What would you do to get Gomez and Gionta going?

Try Benoit Pouliot as their LW?

Jeff Halpern?

It’s not like there are a lot of attractive options.  The Canadiens are the lowest-scoring of 16 teams sitting in playoff spots, and that’s not surprising when they have players like Moen and Halpern as part of their Top Six rotation.

Washington, which is second in the Eastern Conference, has scored only five more goals than the Canadiens, 205-200. But they’ve allowed 16 fewer (182-196), and you could see why last night.

The Caps play a variation of the Jacques Martin puck-support system that Montreal coach-bashers love to hate. If you watched the game on TV, there were always five white jerseys in the frame, close to the puck in all three zones.

The system cuts down on quality chances against. If you have good goaltending, the system gives you a chance in every game.

The Canadiens have good goaltending … great, in fact.

But they don’t have Washington’s quick, puck-smart defence corps.

And they can’t score goals.

Are we witnessing a repeat of last season’s desperate finish?

The Canadiens should make the playoffs. They are seven points up on ninth-place Carolina, so barring an epic collapse …

Nah, don’t even want to think about it.

Atlanta is at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.

Must. Win. Game.

•  •  •

Guest Comment, from newbie BoomBoomMax:

We keep bringing up the losses of Markov and Gorges, Gomez’ inability to hit his stride, ‘snipers’ hibernating through extended periods of time, the line juggling, the tough schedule, players playing hurt and last but not least, Dan Stanchion’s dirty hit on Paciorety (Well, that’s the NHL’s ruling anyways as Stanchion got suspended indefinitely and Chara is still out there mugging smaller players)… In my humble opinion, none of that fully explains the players’ total lack of passion on the ice.

If I may speak in metaphors. Martin looks like a University professor who ran out of ways to explain Risk Management Economics to his students… Sure, Hal is a stud and Carey is Class President, but all in all, the bulk of the group is oblivious… Grades are not improving and the final exam is right around the corner. Worst, I think they might be starting to realize that this might not be what they wanted to study in the first place.

Cammaleri always wanted to be a rockstar, Pouliot, a pilot, Plekanec was contemplating a career as mechanical engineer and PK got caught by the teacher, writing poetry rather than listening. Gomez is the easy going guy who took the class thinking he would meet cute girls, but ended up back in his old girlfriend’s arms (Gionta’s) and the love is way gone. But I digress…

Sure they are getting paid big money to attend Professor Martin’s class, but they sure don’t seem to give a damn anymore… Yet, I am not holding Jacques entirely responsible for what has become of our sixth seed bubble team, but I sure hope he brings a twist to his teachings or I fear the players will eventually drive him out of town….

392 Comments

  1. Jdub1985 says:

    I want Beantown in the playoffs.

    I don’t want to finish (5) or (7) I want to stay right here :)

    I’ve decided all my hate will be directed toward Marchand – he is another rookie who has an even bigger mouth then PK and needs to be blindsided a few more times.

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  3. Stoox says:

    I’ve been thinking about this one for a while.

    Gomez sux in his own end (team worst -16, by 10! over Subban), and can’t win a faceoff to save himself. He won’t come back to help out his D, and won’t fight to get the puck back. We have 3 more effective centres at this point in Plekanec, Desharnais and Eller.

    Why don’t we make Gomez a LW? His defensive atrocities would be minimized, and he won’t play any different offensively. He’ll still grab the puck, skate down the left side, and then either circle at the blueline or skate himself into bad ice behind the net, try a desperation pass into the slot, and lose the puck.

    With Pacioretty out, we could move Gomez there, and have Halpern go back to the role he’s suited for as 4th line C.

    The lines could be
    Cammalleri-Plekanec-Kostitsyn
    Gomez-Eller-Gionta
    Pouliot-Desharnais-White
    Moen-Halpern-Darche

    The trade makes me sicker and sicker each day, seeing how McDonagh is now a 20+minute defenseman for the Rangers. Let’s trade a potential top 4 defenseman who can skate, is big and takes care of his own end, for a declining one-dimensional, $7 million cap figure who stopped caring the minute he signed the deal. This is what’s known as mailing yourself a letter bomb.

    • HUDSONHAB says:

      RE: The lines could be
      Cammalleri-Plekanec-Kostitsyn
      Gomez-Eller-Gionta
      Pouliot-Desharnais-White
      Moen-Halpern-Darche

      I like the lines, could be affective.
      As far as Gomez goes, he really does help out in the D-zone but his offensive decisions turn into pucks going the other way and that is where he gets his minuses.
      I can’t think about his contract because that would make me hate on him 24/7 or 82 games a year.

      ….Hab4life….

  4. Sheldon says:

    I am a Habs fan, but I love what Torts has done with the kids, i.e. Ryan McDonough et. al., on that squad! This is for them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPIiXE_TQ8w

  5. punkster says:

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***Oh what a night
    – The dust has settled, the results have sunk in and the shock plainly evident in so many media outlets. But the little team from the little market is bound and determined to make another run at the prize. Yes, Butler goes on to the Final Four once again. Gotta love a hard-nosed competitor.
    – In another arena of the sporting world another little team from another little market pulls off the perfect bait and switch. Looking for all the world like a long-shot contender for the entire season the boys from Mantreal have managed in the span of one short week to go from the Lovable Lads of la Gauchetiere to the Damnable Dildonics of de la Montagne.
    – Ah, but their wily old coach knows the score. Drop a few key games in the ever so important run-up to the playoffs and just watch the media, the fans and the entire league scramble in panic. Then bowl them over with a few well planned, expertly executed, scorched earth thrusts to launch them on a campaign for Cup Supremacy. Think Sherman’s March to the Sea.
    – And finally, a quick review of the comments on the recently re-named HI/O (formerly known as HI/O) has revealed a plethora of recommendations and suggestions, complaints and whines, strong words and threats, none of which seems to have had any impact whatsoever on the performance of our dear team. Why? One can only assume that (horror of horrors!) the team does NOT listen to its fans. I, for one, protest and henceforth have determined not to give one further single piece of advice to them. If they’re not going to listen to me then I’m not going to try and help them. Pffft.

    Enjoy the playoffs. I know I will ;)

    • Sheldon says:

      Dave, this team is bad. And, that ain’t good. I have been a big proponent of the house-league view of the NHL, but these guys are taking me to the mats. I hate Gomez, I never hated the Breezer, but I hate this guy. He pulls down more coin than any guy on the squad to less effect. If I were a kid at practice, I would take out this bastard’s knees for life for the good of the club. He is a really, really bad teammate where the rubber meets the road. The kids might find hangin’ with him interesting for stories, but, I’d rather talk to Dick Duff!

  6. Sheldon says:

    Last night was the most dreadful, woeful, awful, yet complete, example of total suckitude that one could have envisioned. What made it worse was that I was there to see it. Gomez should be booed and booed with gusto, and even vigor. The hurdle that has been set for what is now considered a good game by him is so low that I am sure I met it several times at Hurley’s after the tilt. If Al MacNeil could bench Henri Richard in the ’71 Final, the Habs can sure as hell sit this bag of useless poop or better yet let his playoff run be that of the “alpha male” leading the ‘dogs to the Calder Cup Championship! I have that dude to go with all God’s speed.

  7. Duracell3 says:

    They’ll make the PO, but say they meet an early exit, Carey for the WC? I says yesssss~

    Also, our entire decline is an elaborate scheme from denmark to secure eller for the WC.

  8. habs001 says:

    pitts now has won 9 game in o/t…we have more reg time wins

  9. NoTinFoilCups says:

    So what’s the word on Pacioretty? It was supposed to be complete rest until the 26th. I’m assuming it’s some time in the gym to get his legs and lungs back. But he hasn’t been off that long to fall completely out of shape like what has happened with Crosby. If he has no concussion symptoms then hopefully he can go full bore with the conditioning, then practise with no contact.

    We desparately need him back in the lineup if it is possible.

    • doogie says:

      with a non-displaced fracture, Max has at least 6 weeks off skates in order for that puppy to heal. When I broke my neck, it was more serious, C1-C2 fracture in a car accident. it took me a year at least and then 2 full years of physio before i felt somewhat human again. We’ve got to give this kid plenty of time, even if it means next year. Too important to throw him back in for the sake of a warm body.

    • Duracell3 says:

      I highly doubt he can go full anything with his neck. We aren’t winning anything this year, I’d make him sit.

  10. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    “farcical”…hmmmm.
    Truth is, nobody knows what rabbit they’ll pull out their ass come playoffs.
    However they’ll be no room for cheats then…
    Guess the future’s in the Freshman class, I hope Muller’s incl.
    Much like the seniority psy-cle which keeps the youth at bay until their creativity is stifled into conformity.
    So too will be the rebellion, for now.
    Should be a great Pep rally!
    Next FALL.

    “The sh*t is CHESS!NOT CHECKERS.” Denzel W.(Training Day)

  11. Bill says:

    Line combinations are not the problem. Hockey is a simple enoug game, and the Habs are floundering because they basically aren’t doing the simple things it takes to win. Passes are bad. No net presence. They’re losing their checks in the defensive zone. They’re taking really legitimate, really dumb penalties. The refs are also letting the opposition get away with stuff, but that’s a different matter.

    For once I can agree with MathMan: three games without a goal is pretty flukey. They’re collectively slumping/sucking. But it has to end sometime.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

    • HardHabits says:

      MathMan is a good poster but he relies too much on the words chance and luck. In sports you create your chances and make your own luck.

      The Habs are at the moment a team that is unsure of itself. They are depressed. Morally wounded. They are not getting any support from the coach and worse the coach is repeating the same mistakes that put them in this position they are currently in right now.

      Why does JM constantly break up lines that work? Why is it that every time the Habs look like they are starting to generate some momentum why does he put Gomez back out there?

      Gomez is the problem. His personal frustrations and negative energy are bringing down the whole team. He is not a number 1 centre. He is not even a #2. He’s at best a checking centre (minus Pacioretty, who could score with any centre in the league so don’t think Gomez is important in any line that includes Patches) and the sooner the Habs start using Gomez at least in way that makes him useful the sooner the Habs can get out of this funk they’re in.

      The Habs as a team are defeated. I seriously doubt they have any wins left in them. They are a wounded animal and all the rest of the carnivores in the animal kingdom know it.

  12. Are you guys gonna bring back the “sites we like” menu from the old site?

  13. Cdnman1 says:

    When is someone in the media going to going to expose the NHL for the unfair calling of penalties to the Canadiens! I am sure there is a Collin Campbell memo to the refs, “don’t let the red smirfs get away with anything. I’ll be watching!”

    Game after game the Canadiens get called for imaginary penalties. Every game they get one or two terrible calls against and one or two penalties that should have been called to the other team is not!

    Enough is enough! There must be some way to expose this bunch of RACKETEERS!

    • Bill says:

      Probably around the time some reporter goes far enough off his nut to not care if he gets blackballed by the NHL. It’s all about access. When those Campbell emails came out, I expected someone to go Woodward and Bernstein on the NHL’s corrupt ass, but instead the media bent over backwards to explain what a good guy Campbell is and how it shouldn’t call into question his professionalism. Bob McKenzie was the chief culprit there. In short, I wouldn’t expect any of the sports “journalists” out there at TSN or the Globe to ask any pointed questions any time soon.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

  14. ICELIZARD says:

    Since Jacques Martin likes to switch his lines every game, why doesn’t he put together a line of AK46-ELLER-GIONTA, whom in my opinion have been the only forwards actually creating some offensive opportunities by driving the net and finishing up their bodychecks.

    Line#2 could be a line of overpaid/under achievers: Plekanec-Gomez-Cammalleri. Reunite the PHD line: Pouliot-Halpern-Darche… #4 Moen-Desharnais-White.

    … And for Heavens sakes, take Plekanec off the point on the PP, he’s obviously not comfortable their… That’s Subban’s spot!

    Nonetheless, I STILL BELIEVE!!!

  15. Chris79 says:

    Admitting you suck is the only way to move on.. and stop acting like the 3 loses don’t bother you.. but seriously they do.. that 7-0 nothing lose was it for them… they can not play for Martin no more.. Gomez is a great player.. but i think he is sick of playin defensive hockey in his Life.. These great Players are not aloud to Express themselves…

  16. ANSPI says:

    2 things:

    1) Why is this site now called “hockey inside/out”?

    2) Why the hell is Subban not getting any PP time??

  17. mike g says:

    Positive comment #2:

    Love the way Lars Eller is stepping up his game with the playoffs around the corner. Loved seeing him standing up and dishing out some good hits, playing with confidence and patience. The kid looks like he’s gonna be a valuable asset on this team in a couple of years. Him and Patches would look nice together down the road.

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

    • Bugs says:

      What? He produced during a 10-game stretch then went back to his FIRST 50 games of “playing great” but producing jack-all.
      He has lots of abilities, fersure, but so far, he’s a bigger Oleg Petrov. I know, I know; it’s a lot of people’s fault he doesn’t produce before it’s his own, I know, but still…
      DEZZY, on the other hand, looks like he’s gonna be an even MORE valuable asset since he has 25% more pts than Eller in 50% of his games, wouldn’t you agree?

      Chillin like MacMillan, potty-boy says he’s L. B. Potter, esq.

      • I see you’re trying to boost DD instead of Pouliot these days. DD btw, plays against the weakest competition of any center on the team.

        • Bugs says:

          Boosting? I’m in the canoe; I follow the current, baby.
          I’d love to carry on about Poolio. Did you know that he is FIRST in the LEAGUE for pt-producers playing under 10-12 minutes a game?
          Numero Uno.
          Problem is he plays 10-12 minutes a game. And any reason seems to be a good one to bench him because HE seems to be the ONLY one Jack Marty has any sway over.
          We don’t see Gomie sittin for stupid penalties. We didn’t see Gionta sit a few games back for pickin up 2 back-to-back. We didn’t see Plecky sit after the first 3 Boston goals.
          But some lily-legged Capper trips over Benny’s stick while he lays it daintily on the ice for a sweep, and ohhhhhh, what a stupid tripping penalty from Benny, ohhh nooooo, that’s BAD. You SIT now, boy!
          Please…we all agree his biggest fault is his lack of confidence but sittin’m “pour un tout et un rien” under the pretense that he “has to learn” ain’t no way to reinforce it, imo.
          That being said, no denying Dezzy is kickin azz. And a choice between Poolio with more ice-time and Dezzy with more ice-time ain’t no choice at all. I wanna win. It’s Dezzy all the way. He has what we call “la rage de vaincre.”
          Poolio? Not so much. He needs someone to have courage FOR him until he builds his own. But he’s got friggin SKILLS. And we need those skills. Which is the only reason I’m always sayin that if you wanna win the Preakness, you don’t leave a prized horse in the stable.

          Chillin like MacMillan, potty-boy says he’s L. B. Potter, esq.

      • HardHabits says:

        Eller is worth more than Pouliot plus DD combined.

  18. rob_c says:

    I had a dream last night that PG traded Leblanc Kristo and Paccioretty for Redden. This isn’t possible right?

  19. smiler2729 says:

    Lots of comments, good ones, bad ones, indifferent ones, angry ones… and those have been all mine the last couple of days.

    Who the hell knows what to do about this turnabout intruder in our midst…

    Fire the coach? Nah, too kneejerk, I have nothing against Martin but I really loved Kirk Muller as a player and would love to see him as a coach, yeah, he could be the next Dan Bylsma but he could also be the next Tony Granato.

    This isn’t the coach’s fault anyway, he doesn’t skate, check and shoot out there.

    No, this is all the players’ fault. Now a three game losing streak of all shutouts could just be called a losing streak if it weren’t for the way they lost in Boston.

    That was a soul sucking team deflater, and not cuz the score was 7-0, it could’ve been 3-0 but the fact remains, they were scared of Boston, and too cowardly to do anything for their fallen teammate Max. Mark Recchi, Chara, Lucic, so many reasons to come out in that game with guns a-blazing and they failed. The whole hockey world was watching and the Habs were gutless and now the rest of the league knows.

    It’s up to those players in that room and they’ve just turtled.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one ashamed to be a Habs fan lately….

    *Perfectly content as a HABS I/O member for 3 years 16 weeks… now forced here, grrrrrrr.

    • topher5468 says:

      Disappointed, yes, ashamed, never. I do however agree with the rest of your post.

      “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

      • smiler2729 says:

        No, man, I’m ashamed.

        *Perfectly content as a HABS I/O member for 3 years 16 weeks… now forced here, grrrrrrr.

        • HardHabits says:

          They are being led to slaughter. Blame whoever put this team together. Gionta shouldn’t be captain for much longer either.

          The sad truth is the Habs are stuck with Cammy, Gionta, Plex and Gomez until 2014-2015. Nobody will touch those contracts.

          Hey but the Habs will have been the 8th seed twice in a row. Woohoo!!

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            HH, can’t share your view of Gio, nor of Plex who is coming off injury prior to which he was a cornerstone of the team. Cammy and Gomer, obviously yes.

            And you’re aware your last sentence may jinx us?!

          • HardHabits says:

            I like Plex. He’s a pussy but at least he’s effective. But he’s a 2nd line center not a #1.

            Gio is a great guy and plays hard. He’s not captain material. The problem is with Cammy, Gio, Plex and Gomez the Habs are the smallest team in the league where it counts. Add to that DD and Halpern and you see the trend. Choices have to be made. Gomez needs to be dumped. One of Cammy and Gio has to go too. My choice is Gionta. Sadly Cammy looks like better trade bait.

            None of that will happen. We’re stuck with the smurfs until 2015.

            It’s a sad time to be a Habs fan.

            At least if they came out and said “we’re rebuilding” and actually did rebuild, but instead they give fans the false hope by spending to the cap and putting a team together that is not built for the play-offs by any stretch of the imagination. Meanwhile Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Toronto stock up on players that are physically imposing and talented.

            8th place is almost assured. Both the Rangers and Buffalo will pass Montreal in the standings. What remains to be seen is whether or not Carolina, Toronto or Atlanta can muster up enough wins to pass the Habs.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Also agree with you except about shame. Your shame is contingent on the players being “cowardly” and “gutless”. Although it’s so often tempting, don’t know how safe it is asserting, guessing or projecting a psychological assessment. It may have looked like cowardice, but would you accept that it might have been something else, something we can’t know? I just can’t believe a pro hockey player, let alone a whole team, can turn into gutless cowards overnight. I don’t think I believe you really do either!

          • smiler2729 says:

            Well, um, Carey Price wasn’t gutless, and Paul Mara and maybe Sopel and Darche but come on, where was the rest of the team?

            *Perfectly content as a HABS I/O member for 3 years 16 weeks… now forced here, grrrrrrr.

    • habsindepth says:

      How can you not blame this on the coach? Jacques Martin stands behind the bench, not a word to anybody, encouraging, discouraging, screams, taps, nothing. What do you see on the ice? Same thing, gutless penalties hooking, tripping, no solid hits (maybe a few, but not many anyway), no passes, no will, no desire, no energy, no emotions. Is that the system?

      For the last three games, the Habs look confused out there, the passes don’t connect, the shots never come, the players that do play with energy are endlessly benched while veterans who take stupid penalties, cough the puck over every time they have it, dump in the offensive zone with no aim what so ever, they are on the ice, sweating it (oh wait, they don’t sweat much).

      The same veterans face the media with their polished comments, an art that they probably learnt from this team’s management, the coaches, or maybe it’s their lengthy experience. Where’s the fire on the ice?

      Please don’t take the blame off the coach, everybody must share the blame. It’s not only Gomez’s fault that he plays like crap on the ice, give some of it to the coach for not being able to revive him in such a long season! Something, anything? At least those enigmatic players showed up every now and then (e.g. Kovalev) but this guy is absent CONSTANTLY yet, still gets huge minutes on the ice, what gives?

      People keep mentionning Sergei Kostitsyn in these comments, the guy has what, 43 points now? (or 42), but if that’s not a testament to our current coach’s inability to get the most out of young guys, I don’t know what is.

      So please, don’t spare the coach or do like our beloved media members keep doing, defend Gomez.

      P.s. absolute NO shame in being a habs fan… fanatic even. Disappointed and disgusted by the team’s performance, yes… no shame what so ever! We will prevail :-)

      HiD Game Recap: If only Carey could score : http://bit.ly/gnmQEv
      ===================================
      Web: http://www.habsindepth.com – For the Fanatics
      Twitter: @habsindepth
      Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hidpage

      • smiler2729 says:

        You have no idea how hard it is to be a Habs fan in Toronto. I had 22 text messages waiting for me when I opened my phone Friday morning. Usually I can deflect Leaf fan bullsh*t with clever comebacks BUT those players embarrassed themselves and us in Boston.

        Coach, players, whatever, it doesn’t matter who you prefer to blame. Like I said, it wasn’t that they lost, it’s how they lost, I’ve never seen a Habs team play like that in my 46 years.

        Yeah, ashamed…

        *Perfectly content as a HABS I/O member for 3 years 16 weeks… now forced here, grrrrrrr.

        • habsindepth says:

          I can’t tell you the amount of tweets I received from some Bruins fans that I argued with over twitter after Chara’s dirty work. I just ignored them finally, screw it… not worth my time.

          I got better things to do — like critique my team myself :-) Don’t need other idiots who don’t follow the Habs but just look at the scores for a few games and think they know all about the Habs.. no thanks, I can read people’s comments here, on HiD, on twitter but at least I know these guys have a base knowledge, they follow the team just like me and my buddies, day in day out.

          Don’t be ashamed buddy, they will be back! And then you can throw all those bullshit comments right back at ‘em. Like Carey said: “We’ll get through this, I’m not worried about it”

          ===================================
          Web: http://www.habsindepth.com – For the Fanatics
          Twitter: @habsindepth
          Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hidpage

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Don’t give away your Pete Mahovolich bobble-head just yet!
          You just need to replace your Leaf fan filters.
          Cheers

  20. volcano62 says:

    I am not surpised with the recent 3 shutout loses in a row. What is happening is the team will not respond to Martin and his system until something is done with Gomez aka team cancer.

    Gauthier can become a hero in this city overnight by firing Martin (remember Julien’s firing with the Devils before the playoffs?) and make Muller head coach immediately.

    • rob_c says:

      Molson can become a hero over night by firing PG and Martin… Muller can be the the coach in the meantime.

      • smiler2729 says:

        I highly doubt Geoff Molson is taking this all in stride as “just a bad streak”, he went to bat for his team publicly after the Chara/Max incident and took some heat for it.

        And how do they pay him back? Yeah, zeroes.

        *Perfectly content as a HABS I/O member for 3 years 16 weeks… now forced here, grrrrrrr.

  21. HardHabits says:

    What’s the rule on Gomez retiring? Can he retire without hurting the Habs cap next season?

    The Habs can’t compete in the league because there is no competition for spots on the team. Why should players be guaranteed spots? Just because they are veterans and have big contracts!! I don’t buy that argument. It’s more of the same mismanagement that plagues the Habs.

    Gomez is not a top 6 forward on any other NHL team in this league. He is a spent force. His time is up. He needs to be played like a 3rd line forward or put with Pyatt and Moen to create a checking line. At least he’ll be effective because handing him top line minutes is not working.

    I predicted the Habs would be 2-5 for the last seven games but I am not sure the Habs can even muster 2 more wins. I am sure they have another game or two left in them where they wont score any goals.

    What’s worse about Gomez is he is only making up excuses for his shoddy play and Gionta is enabling him. Last game both Gomez and Plex were just yapping at the refs. That’s what the Habs are now. Gutless pansies who can’t score goals because they are too butt hurt. I am agreeing with the trolls. It’s Gainey’s fault. He built this team of gutless cowards.

    8th place is almost assured and 9th is not out of the question.

    • _Habsoloutly_ says:

      Funny how not too long ago you were here attacking people for calling out Gomez and apologizing for him left and right and now you post this. Hypocrite.

      • HardHabits says:

        I’ve said many a time that I was one of Gomez’ staunchest supporters because I was hoping that he would turn it around. Well he has not even not turned it around, he’s made matters worse. So yes I have changed my mind on him. People change there minds. It’s part of the process of being mature to see that when you are wrong or support a position that is untenable, to admit it, change perspective and move on. Something you have a long way to go to learn. You have improved a little bit though. You refrained from calling me a pos or Timmy.

        So do you answer my question or not? Of course not because you don’t know squat about hockey nor are you capable of having a mature discussion with somebody who doesn’t agree with you.

        So I’ll ask it again before somebody accuses me of being a tanker.

        Can Gomez retire next season and if so what will his cap hit be?

        • _Habsoloutly_ says:

          No chance he retires. I’ve given this a lot of thought and the only way we get rid of Gomer is if we find a team that needs to reach the cap floor who will take him off our hands and then buy him out with his buyout cap hit bringing them up to the cap floor. does that make sense? it’s convoluted I know. But I just don’t see a team trading for him as a roster player with his huge salary and extremely poor level of play. All IMHO of course.

          • rob_c says:

            and a bromance in formed. Congratulations you 2. Were almost all hab fans here ( with the exception of observer and a few others) we should stick together. no homo lol.

          • Bugs says:

            That’s not the only way.
            Another team with their OWN crap contract could wanna switch for ours.
            Or we could go ahead and buy him out.
            Or we could send him to the minors.
            Sooo, a cap-floor scrounging team desperate for payroll ain’t the only way, I’m afraid.
            THAT was “a lot of thought”?
            Dang…

            Chillin like MacMillan, potty-boy says he’s L. B. Potter, esq.

          • _Habsoloutly_ says:

            Sorry Bugs, don’t see us buying him out. maybe but I don’t see it. Also not a fan of sending him down, that hurts us when it comes to signing UFA’s. Lets say we make an offer to a UFA and the player starts thinking, “Hey, the habs just made me a good offer, but what happens if I have a bad season? They gonna send me to the minors? No thanks”. So ya lots of thought involved considering ALL the possible scenarios, but I just posted the one scenerio I thought could and should happen. Guess I should have spoon fed you a little more.

          • HardHabits says:

            35 points is dismal. He has shown signs lately of being poisonous to the team. JM is continuing the process by over playing him.

            There is still time. The Habs still are in the play-off picture although they look like a team that doesn’t have a series win in them. They could however step it up and surprise like they did last season. Time will tell.

            However if they fail miserably in the play-offs I hope PG makes some trades and rids the team of the contract.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Actually replying to your point about UFA’s below (but there’s no Reply button…). I kind of like your notion which Bugs has labelled swapping crap. But I want to ask you about Gomez sent down being a deterrent to potential UFAs. I can’t buy it: pros have egos and surely are not fearful about what might happen if they hit a slump. It would make headlines if Gomer were sent down, and anyone interested would only have to look at his figures for it to be clear why.

            But do you think it would have a significant (negative) impact on his team-mates?

        • Bugs says:

          Seriously?
          By “retire”, you mean “not play hockey anymore”, yeah, sure. He can also quit the club and be in breach of contract. Whether or not the Canadiens choose to file proceedings against him is another story.
          Either way, the cap hit would disappear.
          It should be noted that Gomez can also throw himself from the Jacques-Cartier, Double-H.
          But why the hell would he want to?

          Chillin like MacMillan, potty-boy says he’s L. B. Potter, esq.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            So while we wait to swap crap or for Gomer to retire, is there any real (rather than speculated) reason why the minors or the pressbox is not an option?

        • Duracell3 says:

          Guy has been cashing it in since he left NJ. No chance he retires.

          As for buying him out, the cap hit for each season looks like this:

          2011-12 $1,801,587
          2012-13 $3,801,587
          2013-14 $4,801,587
          2014-15 $1,944,444
          2015-16 $1,944,444
          2016-17 $1,944,444

          As an example, the NYI are STILL paying Yashin, and will be until 2014-15. As for trading, you would need the dumbest GM in the league or the mentioned need to hit the cap floor, but I can’t think of any team in a situation that would possibly take him.

          To add a little more sting, Ryan McDonagh has 8 points in 34 games and is a +17.

    • punkster says:

      Not to change the subject…but…My daughter (20) would like to learn how to play guitar. I’m looking at a basic Yamaha F310 for her. Good starter axe for around $150?

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Go back for a moment to more conventional ways of dealing with the Gomez problem: 4th line; press box; Hamilton (if they’d take him). The upside is a decrease in costly giveaways, penalties and missed opportunities, plus more ice time for someone who would play better.

      What’s the downside? That there’s a cost to treating a vet like that has been said before — is that for real or are we speculating? The good of the individual has to be sacrificed for the good of the team.

      Meanwhile, why SO much ice time?

  22. mike g says:

    Positive comment #1 on this sunday afternoon:

    At least we havent taken a “too many men on the ice” penalty in a while.

    You guys may now click” thumbs up ” below, thank you.

  23. VancouverHab says:

    Whoever thought that there is only one Chicken Little never read H-I/O. We have an impossibly-giant chunk missing from the team structure. It’s a testament to the team’s character and ability and the coach’s nous that we have done so well this year that we are not clawing trying to make it into the playoffs, but instead have margin for error.

    With significant resources unavailable, at some point a team, an army, a business, hit a wall and fail to produce the results.

    Gomez, Pleks, Cammi, AK are all trying–and flogging then because you the overlord have a productivity mania is, I suppose, your right, but nothing more than evidence of your, if not stupidity, then say lack of knowledge & understanding.

    I hope the team does not expend its energies & positivity futily, and gets a second wind for the playoffs when, you know, IT ACTUALLY MATTERS.

    • _Habsoloutly_ says:

      Tell us again how without Gomez we’d be in the same place in the standings as the Laffs. We can all use a good laugh today.

      • topher5468 says:

        Good call, I remember that comment also. Gomez has been a decent NHL player, just not for this franchise, His only asset is on the PK, and hes not even our best one. His transition game sucks, he has no scoring touch, having trouble making accurate passes and is mediocre on draws. Why is he still playing, He takes bad penalties, and yet still wears an “A”. He’s a totall embarrassment.

        “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

    • topher5468 says:

      To my knowledge, HOME ICE MATTERS but first you have to SECURE A SPOT in the PLAY-OFFS. Until we’re in, all games definitely matter

      “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

    • Bill says:

      I am virtually certain that you just became the first poster at HIO to use the term “nous”! I love it. The trolls probably think you’re speaking French.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

  24. Steven says:

    I hate to be another one to post this, but it’s getting really hard to find any positives in Gomez.

    The greatest thing he’s done this year is stood up for Pacioretty when he got hit(in a sense, I guess. As far as getting in Chara’s face goes). Otherwise, he’s been nothing short of bad.

    Maybe he should change back to 91. Could get him back in a rhythm on a superstitious level. Right now, all he’s doing is disgracing the number Lambert, Koivu and Muller once wore with pride.

  25. Ian Cobb says:

    Hockey players with iron clad contracts do not vote in this league!, this is not a democracy, playing for the Montreal Canadiens. When professional players are not happy with the status quo, discontent is voted on, through their feet and play.

    80% of this game is reactionary and mental toughness.

    The break down comes when they no longer give the extra mile by taking a hit to make a play. Sacrificing their bodies totally for the end result.

    They start reaching instead of skating taking penalties. There is no longer crisp passing or extra effort in finishing a play. And you can see it in their eyes and posture, going on and off the ice, in the pregame warm up and even sitting on the bench.

    It is like a sickness that spreads throughout the room. Strong medicine is needed from on high and right now.!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      What’s causing it?

      • Ian Cobb says:

        I do not know Mike!, but if only I could be a fly on the wall in the room.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          I’m watching — albeit intermittently because of geography — since 1970, and you longer than that. So it’s interesting that you reckon the answers are in the room. So do I. Because not even the combination of all the other well-catalogued woes can account for the sudden deflation. It can’t be much fun being a Hab right now — Kimberley attests to Price’s rare frustration below. Hopefully we hang on for the playoffs, it being such a Mecca that arriving there they are transformed. At least to the extent that they start playing more to their collective potential.
          Cheers

  26. matrags says:

    The teams response to the Patz hit laid bear the weak underbelly of the team. On the ice no response, Gautiers only reaction was a politically correct one , the League has spoken, and Molson , in response to and exasperated and overheating fan base spoke out to save face for what was penetratingly obvious, The Teams lack of Guts. This team responds in the exact same manner as does it coach, a. frustrating apparent indifference, no matter how aggreous the oppositions conduct or team failure. No Passion , the well has been capped by the coach, and so for the players without access to its reserve , there ability to respond may have run dry.

  27. athanor says:

    Is it just me, or did Pleks look dog-tired last night? During the third-period power play, he skated back for the puck as if his feet were in concrete.
    So, while he may be back, I wonder if he is fully recovered.

  28. DLS HAB says:

    Jacque, Kirk, Perry and the boys have six games to get themselves in order. I am positive they will get back on track. They will make the playoffs and if other teams think the Habs will be a pushover come playoff time, they are in for a surprise!

  29. topher5468 says:

    I am so tired of JM saying players just aren’t going to the net. its the same every game. Players who dont want to go to the net wont. its just that simple. I have tried to remain positive but I am losing this battle.

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

    • Mike D says:

      I hear ya man. The problem is that only three players on this team are willing to go to the net, and of those three, only one was truly effective….unfortunately, he currently has a broken neck.
      The other two are Darche and Gio. Both are small players which makes them mostly ineffective, though Darche did have some success earlier this year doing that.

      – Honestly yours

  30. Rusty says:

    This is exactly what a modern coach doesn’t do, trying to send a message with a bag-skate after a series of bad losses. That’s Jack Adams or Punch Imlach 50s or 60s style. When was the last time Mike Babcock bag-skated Nicklas Lidstrom & the Wings? This why the Canadiens need Arno Del Curto as coach. Today’s key is communication, not punishment.

    Rusty Stubb

  31. nek25plus says:

    Perhaps instead of J.M showing his emotion through a bag skate…he could show some emotion on the bench! Maybe yell or scream at the refs…even challenge a bad call would be nice.

    In my opinion the players are playing like his personality…flat.

    Fact: most teams take on the personality of their coaches!

  32. JF says:

    I see on RDS and Stubbs’s Twitter page that JM skated the guys hard today. Unfortunately bag-skating a team at this point in the season doesn’t always produce the desired results. Carbo did it two years ago after a bad late-season loss. The result? The team was shut out the next night by – you guessed it – the Thrashers.

  33. Rusty says:

    If you ask Rick Nash and Joe Thornton they’d confirm that they have never been so well conditioned as during the season they played for Arno Del Curto in Davos. This is a coach that communicates with all his players, making all feel that they have a specific role. He always takes the game to the other team, providing that he has the horses. Today’s Habs’ team has the potential to play a fast, puck-pressure, aggressive style, exactly what the Bell Centre fans want and what the team is capable of. With Del Curto P.K. would be on the PP, Yannick Weber would most probably develop into a bona-fide NHLer, Eller would get more responsibility and Gomez would be a bottom-six. This is a guy that manages talent, not salaries.
    If we want inject something new, something fresh and give our team a competitive edge over all the other 29 teams – sign Arno Del Curto, by far and away the best coach in Europe. Players love to play for him.

    Rusty Stubb

  34. nek25plus says:

    My vote for who plays with Gomez and Gionta is…(now don’t get mad), Desharnais. He’s not ready to be a fulltime NHL centre, but has the speed and skill of Gio and Gomez. Put Halpern back on a checking line. Put Plecs back with Cammy and Kostitsyn. Give Pouliot regular line mates…maybe Eller and ????. Plus…let P.K play his game. No more holding him back.

    And…even though J.M is not an overbearing, classless screamer, it would be nice to see SOME emotion to prove he has a pulse

    • habby27 says:

      i agree with you. When Gomez and DD play together they show some chem… Darche would be with eller a Pouliot maybe? then White halpern moen

    • SLYDER says:

      interesting idea – and for what my opinion is worth – i say its worth a try.

      DD has shown he is capable of some offensive creativity and it just may take the pressure of gomez on that line.

      put halpern down on the 4th line back at center – wasnt he at 58.3% in the faceoff circle? why did JM ever put him on the wing?

      Cammy Pleks Benny
      DD Gomez Gio
      AK Eller Moen
      White Halpern Pyatt

      • Mike D says:

        Benny’s no good in the top 6 for some reason.
        DD is too good with players like Benny, Halpy, and Darche to put him with Gomer.
        Your line-ups also have Pyatt in and Darche out which I think is a mistake.

        – Honestly yours

  35. ricardamundo says:

    Given that the scoring woes continue it is time for some radical lineup changes:
    Next game’s lineup: LW-Carey Price, C-Kirk Muller, RW-Alex Auld
    Defence: Subban and Wiz
    Goal: Gionta
    No one else up front can score so give the goalies a chance. Muller is the best center anywhere near the bench right now. Subban and Wiz are the only ones scoring consistently. Gionta, well after that save last night in the dying minutes, he can make a better contribution tending goal than he can up front.
    This lineup can’t do any worse than what we’ve seen for the last three games.

  36. Chuck says:

    Just though that I’d toss in a view from the glass-half-full crowd. Like this season, the Habs were shut out 9 times in the 1924-25, though only two that season were consecutive. But hey, the Canadiens have been worse…

    Their record for scoring futility stands at just 1 goal over 5 games, including being shutout 4 games in a row:

    11/02/1928 BOS 1 vs MTL 1
    14/02/1928 NYA 1 vs MTL 0
    18/02/1928 MTL 0 vs OTT 1
    21/02/1928 TOR 0 vs MTL 0
    26/02/1928 MTL 0 vs NYA 1

    Imagine… allowing just 4 goals over 5 games, and only having a single tie to show for it! Interestingly, they broke the streak with a 2-0 win over Ottawa, meaning that the Habs played in 5 consecutive games in which a shutout was posted. As a sidenote, in 19 of the Habs’ 44 games that season, a shutout was posted, including 3 scorless ties.

    The longest that the Canadiens have gone without scoring a goal:

    –08/03/1911, a 4-2 loss to Ottawa
    –Shutout March 10 by Ottawa, final Game of season)
    –Shutout January 3 by the Wanderers the 1st game of the seaon)
    –06/01/1912, a 5-4 win over Quebec

    That’s a span of 9 months and 29 days without scoring a goal (or 304 days, or 7296 hours, or 437,760 minutes).

    And to lighten things up… on the other end of the spectrum:

    Most goals, 3 consecutive games: 30

    07/01/1919 MTL 7 vs TOR 6
    11/01/1919 TOR 4 vs MTL 13
    16/01/1919 MTL 10 vs OTT 6

    Second-most goals, 3 consecutive games: 29

    20/01/1917 QUE 6 vs MTL 10
    24/01/1917 MTL 10 vs WAN 2
    27/01/1917 MTL 9 vs 228th 4

    • habby27 says:

      this all means nothing

      • Chuck says:

        Not a history buff, I take it?

        Of course it means nothing in regards to the scoring woes of the current team, but for those saying that the Habs are at this point the most futile that they’ve ever been, the stats show that they have a bit further to go before that happens.

        Hey, they scored 8 the game before the scoreless streak, and they’ll score again, possibly even in bunches before the season’s over. What they need to worry most about is using the final 6 games to get into a groove before heading into the playoffs.

    • SLYDER says:

      im with 27

      you wasted a good chunk of your sunday with that post

  37. Kimberly2u says:

    When they scored 8 goals last Sunday they actually were playing as a team…what the hell happened after that?

  38. rocketsglare says:

    All the Habs can do now is pick themselves up and prepare for
    the next game. Their body language however tells me that it
    will be a challenge for this team to make the playoffs. I think
    this team is done physically and emotionally.

    • Kimberly2u says:

      I feel the same way….except I feel bad for Carey…the look on his face last night on the bench said it all…he actually looked like the only one that cared about losing the game

  39. jgib says:

    Well all the experts are out today! Let me guess most of you who say Pierre Gautier and Jacques Martin are idiots are also the garden variety fans who were ready to fire Martin about this time last year, and the same with Gauthier when traded Halak last spring!

  40. Flabadagub says:

    Jauques Martin is an oppressor. Oh, and in his own end, Cammel toe makes dumber plays than Marc Andre Bergeron used to.

  41. HABWARRIOR says:

    OK heres what i think:

    Plekanec on the point on PP?Not working,never did….put pk subban and wiz on the first pp wave on the point.

    Mara needs to sit in favor of weber.Or sopel could.Either way Weber needs to draw back in the lineup.

    Reunite Gio pleks and Cammy on a line and have Gomez with Moen and Pouliot.AK 46 with Eller and White.Desharnais with Darche and Pyatt.

    • dre1744 says:

      I agree we don’t need Pleks on the point on our PP put Subban out there both him and Wiz have rockets!!!!!!!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Nice line-up HW, but don’t you like DD with Pouliot?

      • HABWARRIOR says:

        No DD should be with Darche and Pyatt

        • Mike D says:

          Gotta disagree with you there. Pyatt is certainly not the answer offensively, especially over Halpern. Both players are good defensively, but Halpy has more offensive skill.

          I’d rather see DD with players like Darche, Pouliot, Halpern, and White over Pyatt.

          – Honestly yours

    • Mike D says:

      Agree with taking Pleks off the point at the PP and putting P.K. back in his spot.

      Not sure I would put Webber back in for Mara or Sopel. Webber looked lost in his last few games, but concede he was having a decent season until that point.

      Don’t mind the Gio/Pleks/Cammy line. Pouliot is better on the 3rd or 4th line and seems to struggle with top 6 minutes, and playing with Gomez. Your line-ups also exclude Halpern (not sure if that’s an ommission or on purpose, but either way he’s better than Pyatt). For the bottom 6, I like AK/Eller/Moen or White; and Pouliot/DD/Darche or Halpern. The two odd men out in these lines would play with Gomez on the 2nd. We could also try the PHD line again if the bottom 6 combos weren’t working.

      – Honestly yours

    • 24moreCups says:

      I don’t even understand why PK isn’t seeing more PP time, the kid had a hat trick a few games ago, plus we need the offense so it couldn’t hurt.

      I’m not saying JM is a horrible coach I just don’t understand a lot things he does and I agree with what some one else said the team is playing like JM’s personality.

    • Bugs says:

      Acceptable propositions all across the board.

      Chillin like MacMillan, potty-boy says he’s L. B. Potter, esq.

  42. habby27 says:

    please take Mara and Sopel out. I’m a lot more comfortable with Picard and Weber… wow they are useless

  43. dre1744 says:

    off topic but we need something to show us all the new posts like we had on the old board!!!!

  44. Kimberly2u says:

    I don’t think I can watch Tuesdays game…I’d like to stay optimistic but it’s hard to when they are playing with no heart or soul.

    • The Cat says:

      The good news is tuesdays has been Atlantas worst day this year: 1-7

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      When it gets to face-off, you’ll be there! Definition of fan – can’t help ourselves!

      Asking again, any credence to BGL’s CKAC comments that there are problems in the room?

      Despite all the wisdom and insightful speculation here, I can’t get past the massive gulf between us killing Boston and the way we’re playing now. I appreciate what habs001 below is saying about first-goal games, but current play, to me, looks hugely worse than previous slumps, including our bad finish last reg season.

      • Top Corner says:

        Re: BGL’s comments
        That always seems to be the way when a team is in a slump.
        There was a report after the chincy chara hit that there was trouble in the bRuins dressing room…..and the same for the crapitals when they were on there 8 game skid…..

        If guys are upset in the room well then GOOD. They better be looking at themselves and getting a fire lit under all there buts. After reading Stubbs twitter from practice, sounds like they wont have time to breath , let alone fight with each other. Iam so glad they got it rough today , practice should be that everyday !!!

        PUCKS on the NET !!!

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Thanks TC. Agree with all your points but remain troubled by what we normally call a slump or dip because to me it looks almost catastrophic. Guys being injured or off their game or having a bad year can all add up to a team slump. But our last two games look so much worse than even those things.

          Whatever it is, I’m sure you’re right, that savage practice sessions should help.

  45. habs001 says:

    the type of game we played last night i have seen many times in the last 2 years…if we get the first goal we probably win 1-0, 2-1 in reg or o/t…there have been many games where the team did not play any better than last night and won..when this happens the comments from the negative extreme go to the positive extreme…this is the team we had ..we have some very talented players but the majority of our players are very average but they have shown an ability to win tight games and games when they are outplayed over the last 2 years…but right now this team still needs many upgrades before we can say that we are much better than the team we are playing tonight..we would have just as much trouble in a playoff series vs the islanders,leafs or bruins,pitts etc…

  46. OneTimer says:

    Man, yesterday’s loss hurt more than the one against Boston for me. I expected a lot more. Hard to stay optimistic these days, but I try… :)

  47. gerrybell says:

    i wonder if the rise in our offensive stars penalty killing time has anything to do with their drop in production. it seems totally pointless to have cammerlie out killing penalties.

    ryan white is a nice physical presence but his fighting ability isnt exactly helping the team win. i dont understand why the habs sit a guy like tom pyatt. he is not a flashy player but does everything a coach would want. he kills penalties, checks and takes the pressure of his team with smart plays. i seem to remember tommy playing some important minutes last playoff and even scoring a few goals.

    it looks like the habs have given up on him as of late. there is no doubt in my mind that a team like chicago, detriot, or any other good team out there will scoop up tommy soon and win a stanley cup with him as their 4th line center. an inexpensive player who is a 100% team player is something any team could use.

    actually, i can think of a team that could use him….

    g
    b

    ps. gomez is brutal.

  48. christophor says:

    Maybe they were conserving energy for Earth Hour…

  49. 1010 says:

    What’s wrong with the JM system? As long as your goalie is twice as good as the one at the other end it works to perfection. Think HALAK last year and Carey’s performance this year.
    Really, it’s a good tending problem. We need shutouts. Every night. No room for error on the back end and it works great.

    GO HABS…


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