About last night … Reader’s Digest version

Price vsBlues
No dazzling insights to offer here.
Your 12th-place Montreal Canadiens were handled easily by a top-tier team from the Western Conference.
The St. Louis Blues are big, they’re fast and Ken Hitchcock has them working hard.
The Canadiens had answers for one of those attributes.

Would you have felt better of Jaroslav Halak had been forced to stop 45 shots?

Then we could enjoy a few hundred Comments about Pierre Gauthier keeping the wrong goaltender 18 months ago.

As it was, the 2010 playoff hero faced 19 shots. There were difficult saves – off a Tomas Plekanec shorthanded breakaway, off noted sniper Mathieu Darche – but let’s be honest:

With that group of Blues playing in front of him, David Aebischer might have pitched a shutout.

Please don’t read this as a knock on Jaro.

He’s a terrific guy, and he may yet dislodge Brian Elliott from the Number One goaltending job and duplicate his playoff glory in St. Louis.

But Ken Hitchcock has that team contesting pucks on every inch of the ice. The Commentariat may correct me on this, but I can’t remember a game this season when the Canadiens were more thoroughly dominated in every important aspect.

A disclaimer: Because pinch-hitting for Patrick V. Hickey (day-to-day with an upper-body injury after his car skidded off the road in the Eastern Townships on Tuesday) required me to write  during the game to make my deadlines, I missed some of the action and had no sense of the flow and rhythm of the action.

But it seemed like every time I looked down at the ice, a player in red was being rushed into a bad play and a player in white was pouncing on the puck and moving it in the other direction.

In their post-game analyses, coaches always talk about time and space. Aggressive and effective play means minimizing the time an opponent has to make a decision and restricting the space in which he can maneuver while trying to make a positive play.

The Blues did it brilliantly. St. Louis has size, speed and a very nice blend of youth and experience.

Davis Payne must have been a terrible coach to have this agglomeration of talent flundering through the early weeks of the schedule. Ken Hitchcock has them skating hard and checking ferociously in all three zones.

In their first measuring-stick game of the week, the Canadiens came up way short.

19 shots in their own barn? That’s brutal.

Mike Cammalleri skating around the perimeter, blowing a perfect set-up on the power-play and drawing the increasingly loud ire of Bell Centre fans.

Lars Eller playing nervous through the first half of the game, exemplified by a penalty less than three minutes in.

Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty, the two forwards whose size matched up well with the likes of David Backes, Chris Stewart and Jason Arnott, didn’t do much. Cole had one shot on goal, Pacioretty two.

P.K. Subban, back in slapshot-happy mode on the PP, had two SoG while having three shots miss the net and another four blocked.

The Canadiens coughed the puck up 21 times. That exceeded their shot total.

Bright spots?

None that I noticed. But again, I was too busy to watch the game.

Pittsburgh lost, so the Canadiens didn’t lose any ground in thie desperate attempt to climb back into the playoff hunt. They’re still in 12th place, seven points behind the Penguins.

And it’s on to Boston, where they’ll proabably beat the Marchand-less Bruins and get everyone clambering back aboard the bandwagon.

But be very glad this team doesn’t have to play the St. Louis Blues – with Jaro, Elliott or your Aunt Minnie in nets – more than once a season.

•  •  •

One from the pressbox:

Reporter 1: “Well, at least Campoli can skate.”

Reporter 2: “Yeah, he’d make a great linesman.”

86 Comments

  1. Nina76 says:

    I say cool down guys we are not going to make the playoffs lets face it..TSN was reporting to-nite that Cammalleri might be asking for a trade ,they also said that he will have some explaining to do to Gauthier & Bouvin & also a apologize to his team mates for the comments he has made. I cannot but help feel that there might be others who will ask for a trade,with the French English issue who would ever want to play here……….GOOD LUCK ON THAT ISSUE also you do not boo your players, very bad taste & have lost players because of it. Accept what you are going to see or do not watch the games.Gainey has to go as well just my opinion.Habs fan for over 65 yrs. & I still am.I would like to see them win the cup but doubt that I will be around then.

  2. wall2bay says:

    Here’s a transcript of Hitchcock’s interview with the Habs front office (PG):

    PG: Bonjour!
    KH: Good Morning!
    PG: Tu ne parle pas francais?
    KH: No sorry.
    PG: Prochain SVP!

    Hitch has turned the Blues around after a terrible start and is on pace to win the Jack Adams. But he’s not worthy of coaching the Habs!

  3. bellcentre hotdog says:

    Was it St Louis domination … or the Habs not showing up?

    I think it was a combination of both. Aside from Price, I can’t think of a single Hab who played well. Their ONLY scoring a chance was an early 1st period breakaway. They had 1 good shift in the entire game … at the beginning of the 3rd.

    Otherwise it was a totally pathetic and passive team effort.

    • nellis13 says:

      No toughness, no creativity, too small and too soft. That’s directed at the $16m MC, BG and TP line. They just get pushed off the puck and the other team’s D doesn’t have to worry about getting punished on the boards. Minus 2 and that`s the game.
      By the way, did Kaberle play last night? Nice work PG.

  4. LesHabs says:

    Why is Darche still in the line up?

    • --Habs-- says:

      Because he’s french and french speaking players on this team are at a premium. Who do you think the french media interviews after every game? Thats why!

    • mfDx says:

      Close your eyes and imagine, for a moment a few weeks from now…
      Gionta, White and (sigh) Gomez are healthy and playing again, Darche and Blunden are scratches, and the Habs have clawed their way to tenth place.
      At the coaches press scrum, after beating the Bruins 3 – 1 in Boston, RC’s first words are ” J’ai confiance que notre club de hockey sera dans les series au mois d’avril.”
      The first question will be from a reporter from one of the province’s beloved french language media outlets. And the unilingual anglophone coach will have to answer why Mathieu Darche was again scratched from the lineup.

      Caption your own headline
      ” le francais en peril”

      Sent from my CHphone

  5. habsperspective says:

    How long is the leash on management, how long till someone takes responsibility, for these massive errors in judgement.

    Will they keep going down this road, until they dont sell out the Keg, or stop selling smoked meat and beer all together.

    When will “Occupy” the french language, go to “Occupy” some hockey sense instead of just plain ol economics.

    This team is not only a religion, a cultural icon, or a large piece of hockey history. Its suppose to be a sense stability, honesty, and hope.

    Its failed at recognizing at what its responsibility is, and gone way side like many other fundamental organizations in recent years.

    Bureaucracy, and hypocrisy, 100% pure BS.

  6. Phil C says:

    This Price-Halak debate is an argument you can’t win because they are both good goalies!!! It was a decision that Gauthier could not get wrong because it was two good choices. I wish the Habs had more decisions like this to make. Its beats having to decide whether or not to put Kaberle or Campoli against the Backes line or whether to put Darche or Blunden on the first line after Gio was injured.

    It’s also too early to assess who won the trade. Eller is only 22 years old! Datsyuk was 23 before he even played a game in the NHL. Let’s wait to see where he will be when he hits his prime in two or three years.

  7. MLAW says:

    You mean the 10-4-1 Aebischer? AHL or not he’s playing well.

  8. gkirst84 says:

    The Habs biggest problem is that they have to many 2nd line forwards. For the first quarter of the season I was convinced that maybe Max-Pac was a top 3 forward, but he’s not. This team needs a lottery pick to select a top notch forward.

  9. Strummer says:

    Last night’s result seems appropriate given that Groundhog Day is approaching.

    Starring Bill Murray as Pierre Gauthier.

  10. headbanger33 says:

    I’m not sure if I’m more embarassed at being a Habs’ fan or a Steelers’ fan right now.

    Equally depressing and pathetic seasons.

  11. headbanger33 says:

    Great trade Goat Boy.

  12. BLACK ICE says:

    Boone’s love affair of Halak last night is pathetic! He is not fit to write for a School paper.

    By the way that people are reacting to Halak you would think that Halak won a Cup for Montreal.

    Halak never won an Olympic Gold metal. Halak never won a Calder Cup where he was the MVP. Hell Halak never even won a Molson Cup!

    Is Halak better than Price? HELL NO! Price has played twice as many games as Halak this season.

    If anyone out there think for one solitary second that Halak would put up better numbers than Price on the Habs this season then U need to go back under your rock!

  13. HardHabits says:

    Full Tank Ahead!!!!

  14. gmur says:

    Pretty simple equation:

    One team works its butt off and has better players and a better system.

    The other team puts in a mediocre effort, its veterans leading the way in the mediocrity. Where is Cammalleri? Looks like he’s trying to play his way out of Montreal. Can’t wait for Gomez to get back and impress us with his hard work and feeble productivity.

    As noted on the Antichambre last night: Gauthier stated that he fired Martin because the team wasn’t working hard enough under his leadership. Different coach, same result. This team regularly forgets their lunchbuckets at home, which is a sure recipe for losses for a team with middling talent. So what is the problem?

    Maybe this was just an over-achieving team the last few years that is having a regular season. Nobody is grabbing the team by the throat and hauling it up over the obstacles it is facing. If players hide in the weeds on this team, it will be a long time before anything changes.

    I found Price to lack intensity last night as well. He played like everyone else: put in an effort, but accept defeat. To win, Price has to play with real intensity and a leader’s desire to win. There is a captain on a team and there are key leaders… Price is a key leader, but I’m not sure he has the maturity and the will to assume that role. I’m not bashing Price, I’m just stating what I perceive to be a fact… and btw, I think the right decision was made when Price was chosen over Halak.

    I don’t mind a loss when the effort is there… but this is not good hockey to watch.

    • blazend says:

      It almost looks like Cammy wants his way out of Montreal! Although everyone looked bad against a solid contender, Cammi was by far the worst guy on the ice. I really hope PG pulls the trigger. We’ll save 12 million in cap space over the next two years. If Molson has deep enough pockets to burry Gomez, that’s another 14 million in cap space! Can you even believe that those two underperformers have us on the hook for 26 Million for the next two years. Move those two, and we have tonnes of money to make significant moves in the off season and re-sign PK, Price, Ak, Eller and Moen.

  15. --Habs-- says:

    Lets face it! Beyond Cole, Price (Starting Goalie) and maybe Gorges, those are the only players on the Habs who could be starters on any top team in the NHL and not embarrass themselves. So don’t ask any further what the makeup of this team is. Lets take a closer look, Bruins, Rangers, Flyers, Panthers, Sharks, Canucks, Blues, Hawks. Even the Panthers right now. Where would a Hab fit on a first line beyond the players I mentioned. And I left out the Caps, Pens, Wings and Kinks and a few other good teams. I know we love the Habs but they’re at BEST a rebuild team to some degree! Maybe not the D core but there are forwards on this team that don’t deserve a 1st line billing and some not even a second line billing.

  16. Cam_1 says:

    Yeah ? So now what ?

  17. JUST ME says:

    Where did the ice go ? The habs met a very fast team that forechecked in the 3 zones and did not give them any space to manoeuvre. That simple. As if they could not build any play ,any speed or strategy.

    Not the usual type of opponent you meet everyday or at least for 60 minutes in a game.Give credit where it is due ,they gave us the Blues.
    Funny how for some the situation is different this morning as if the habs had been out of the woods. Still have to play desperate hockey as is…

    Take a step back boys and breathe…No need to panic and get rid of players,make desperate moves or tanking as some suggest. Man how a defeat changes things! Remember yesterday morning ? No i did not think so…

    • nickster13 says:

      Trading guys who do nothing, aka overpaid veterans is in no way a panic move. Or tanking is also never a bad idea. Since the young guys can start earning some ice time, and you can bring in some high-ceiling young players. The Sens did it right, they half tanked last year, let guys like Greening and Condra, and more get their ice time, and even picked up a stud like Zibenejad. And look where they are this year, better than us, and they have some high profile guys waiting in the wings. Not bad!

    • powdered toastmann says:

      Sorry…We beat the Jets and Lightning in our previous 2 home games. (arguably 2 of the weakest visiting opponents in the NHL @ this time). All of sudden everyone was excited. Hate to admit it, but I’ve visited Leaf sites (in the past) which remind me of the current state of mind of some HIO posters. Their team would win a couple of games against hapless opponents and all the posters would become giddy with delight with visions of impending glory (with a few tweaks). Inevitably they were brought crashing back to earth after the next game to wallow in despair and self pity.

      Gird thy loins and suck it up. We need a proper rebuild starting at the GM level. We need a new philosophy and this is going to take time.

  18. The Cat says:

    The habs should sign Moen asap, hes essential to a good 3rd line.

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

  19. montreal ace says:

    This team was built with the idea the league would go with skill and speed. I dont blame the Habs all that much for the team they assembled, what I do blame them for is their reaction when they noticed the officials had not changed how they called the game. PG had lots of time to get bigger and meaner, he failed. My big hope right now is that Molson has the best horse trader in the league giving him advice. I really hope we concentrate on getting some big strong forwards, who are not that far off from playing in the league.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I think your right about the strategy in building this team but how the heck do we get out of this mess? It looks like we have 5 of the most awful contracts in the league to dump.

      • Marc10 says:

        They have to bury Gomez. And I don’t think Gio is going anywhere.

        I think they could find takers for Cams, Markov, Gill and Kabs… but the return won’t be much except if someone remembers how Cams plays in the playoffs…

        Then you either resign AK or you get something for him.

        Then you hope to get a top 5 this year. A top 5 next year… and then graft that to your kids. And if you’re really good, you use the spare cash that you haven’t spent on Price, PK, Patches, Eller and Gorges and you go get yourself another UFA.

        Bleak ain’t it?

        • Habfan10912 says:

          Tis bleak indeed but I think there is no choice.

          • HardHabits says:

            I have seen this coming from miles away. Only now people are starting to realize the storm heading our way.

            As much as I prefer Cunneyworth’s coaching style to Martin’s I still feel the Habs should have not dumped the coach nor should they have taken on the Kaberle contract.

            At this stage the way the salaries are structured the Habs have a chance to rebuild starting in 2015. Chances are higher that they’ll panic again and do some idiotic moves to mortgage the future in the futile attempt of skating another middle of the pack team capable of maybe making the play-offs at 8th again next season.

            The Habs need a rebuild. It has to start with youth. It has to start outside the play-offs for a few years and it has to come from the draft as opposed to from free agency.

            The funny thing is fans realize this. Maybe that was Gainey’s plan. Put together the softest and smallest team in the NHL and you’re guaranteed a few years in the cellar.

            Draft lottery here we come baby!!

        • LA Loyalist says:

          I think the solution is to put Gio in the back row for the team photo.

    • JayBee says:

      They forgot to add the skill. If this soft team had any skill, we wouldn’t be near the bottom in scoring the last how many years?

      I hate hearing that this team has speed and skill. They have speed, but the skill? I don’t see it. Just a bunch of complimentary players put in leading roles.

    • powdered toastmann says:

      PG has had his opportunities. This has been quite clear for every (sane) fan/TV pundit/self proclaimed expert who could plainly see what the Hab’s major weaknesses were since the Boston beatdown in Feb or March 2011.

      With 7 months to address these issues what did Gauthier do? Squat. Time for change.

  20. FuzE_gus says:

    A simple fair assessment of the Habs this year is they simply don’t stack up. They get out worked and out skilled on most nights. The determination they showed over the last couple of years is gone. The biggest problem has been stated many times. Their best players are not their best players. Guys making 5 million plus have all but disappeared. Guess they were just in it for the contracts. How else do you explain such a sharp decline? They are closer to the bottom than 8th. Better in the long run if they keep losing. I think I’m checking out for a bit. Let me know how it goes ;-)

  21. The Cat says:

    Maybe its just me but, does anyone else think that the habs purposely chose this game to give the Molson 3 stars cup for December to Price? I mean it was the 3rd home game in January. I really believe the habs organization has gone out of their way several times to disrespect Halak. It aint just me, Marc Denis on RDS alluded to the timing of it all as well.

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

  22. Top Corner says:

    Love the C and H…..and I will for LIFE !

    but I hate this season…so much. Its obviuos to us and everyone else that they have no mojo….no spark. This hurts to watch, and doesnt help that certain teams seem to string 2-3 wins in a row while we lose 2-3…..fallen fast.

    This time last year they were throwing waffles in TO….1 yr later there 10 pts ahead of us. Anything can happen in a blink , so lets close our eyes. This is very, VERY fixable , just need a new GM with half a brain that wont choke under pressure. PG spoofed up bad…..bad timing on everything. He made a few good moves, but not big enough to stay around !! I have zero trust in this guy :( The trade deadline could be hard to watch…….

  23. Cam_1 says:

    Well that was interesting. We were still a desperate Hockey team, pretty much in play off mode, and not only could we not win, we could not even score one goal. AT home !!! Against Halak, that was just totally embarrassing. Pathetic ! Disgusting !

    It’s over over over over !

    Molson do something ! Clean house now ! PG and BG gotta go ! They created this mess !!

  24. The Cat says:

    If St’Louis can get a d-man at the deadline, they got to be considered for the cup. What an impressive display, it was like men vs boys out there.

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

  25. Bad Digestion says:

    Whats the deal with PK’s shots? He never hits the net, but keeps drilling the puck as hard as he can. Less power more precision would be good.

  26. But at least he speaks french.

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
    Custom Sports Figures
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

  27. Price outplays Halak

    The Blues outplay the Habs

    St Louis was first to every puck. They hit, they don’t make mistakes, and when they got an opportunity to score, they scored.

    It was sad depressing from the start to finish.

    Now for a few days the great fans here at Hockey Inside out will have to listen to people who have nothing better to do than to other than complain and bitch without offering solutions.

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
    Custom Sports Figures
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

    • nickster13 says:

      well i agree with all points except you cant really say Price outplayed Halak, because Halak let it no goals….
      I have an easy solution! Trade the loose baggage and give the kids and younger veterans a chance. It cant be worse than right now, can it? A loss with veterans has no purpose, but a loss with young guys at least develops them.

      • The Cat says:

        Totally agree, theres too much deadwood on the habs. They got to find a way to unload/ or get the best return for Kaberle, Gill, Cammalleri, Gionta, Gomez, Campoli and Plekanec. With the exception for Gionta, those are all pretty soft players too.

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

        • nickster13 says:

          deadwood! Also an apt word.
          Too many spectators on the habs, we need some game breakers. We have actually zero right now. And goalies cant be game breakers as they cannot shift the momentum of play, thats the skaters’ job, to control the puck after rebounds and make smart puck decisions and body decisions. Who can we count on to score the big goal? Literally no one, every night its a different guy who scores for us (if we score any). We need some potential game breakers!

    • G-Man says:

      NO bitching or moaning here, just a few observations.
      1. Why not dress 4 centers against one of the NHL’s best teams and put Campoli in the pressbox for 1 game?
      2.What’s with all the off-days after a win? Considering the standings, why not practice more?
      3. Have a good day, Shane! :)

    • jimmy shaker says:

      And another amusing comment from Shane! Good start to the day!

      Shaker

  28. BJ says:

    Well I guess its Halak 1 Eller 0 or Halak 3 Price 0. In all fairness the problem is the same as always, too small and not tough enough. Most NHL teams are skilled and many have size. We have skill but no size. So we got forechecked to death and outmuscled on both ends of the ice along the boards and in front of the net. I wonder if subconsciously our broccoli loving GM is afraid of having players bigger than him. Nothing will change with this team as long as “we” ignore the size-toughness factor. Obviously the Gainey-PG-JM regime must be purged for a new fresher and more realistic view of what composes a NHL team in this century.

    • SlovakHab says:

      I dunno.. It’s a team game and I believe you can’t isolate Eller or Halak and say – he won.
      Blues have been irrelevant in the NHL for ages and finally managed to ice a good team. Drafted or traded for some real talented players with size, added good veterans and finally, after a long time, have some respect in the NHL.
      Habs are slumping, so they will undergo similar process – we should be able to get a decent draft pick this summer and hopefully in the next one as well, and if we use it well, we will be good in a few years.

      • BJ says:

        Hoping we can select properly. Look back at our history of 1st round picks and its scary. Price was a good selection, Pacioretty as well but there have been more poor selections and than good ones in the first round. We have done a lot better in the second rounds but have been trading those away recently. My point was mostly that we need new management.

  29. montreal ace says:

    Gionta getting hurt again, and the frustration he showed, pretty much sums up my thoughts to the season, its been a soap opera. I would also like to know why he was cleared to play.

  30. SlovakHab says:

    Thanks, I am not interested.
    Calling people “useless waste of oxygen”… What a champ! Aren’t you?

    PS – I am well past my teenage years and you are one of many those people that make me ashamed of this fanbase. I am pretty glad I don’t know you personally.

  31. Un Canadien errant says:

    It’s hard to feel enthused about the Canadiens near future and their players on a night like this. At the start of the season I tempered my enthusiasm and predicted that the Canadiens would battle to get into the playoffs, seeing as they didn’t have the depth or talent of the Phillys and New York Rangers and Bruins (gag!). That prediction is proving false not only in their being unable to hover around eighth place in the East, but also in the ‘battling hard’ aspect. They looked listless and dispirited tonight. The frustration exhibited by their captain as he left the ice with an apparently aggravated injury may be leaking on to the team, or maybe is an accurate reflection of what the collective psyche is.

    It’s hard to write a recap of the game that is positive and illuminating on a night like this. The torpid Canadiens did nothing to catch a viewer’s eye and hold his attention. There were no surprises or interesting developments, the Glorieux played down to their results so far this half-season.

    The Plekanec-Gionta-Cammalleri line simply doesn’t work. I understand a coach being patient with his players and giving them time to develop a rapport, but their lack of cohesion and their impotence is highlighted when the other two ‘scoring’ lines are not picking up their slack. Mr. Gionta’s injury will require a line shuffling again, so this point becomes moot, but it’s disheartening when the players who are drawing the big salaries and should be your leaders are sputtering.

    Lars Eller teases us with his flashes of brilliance, we are dying to affix the nickname ‘The Great Dane’ on him when he really takes off, but I think that’s an apt moniker right now. My friend had a Great Dane puppy and he was the meekest, most timid, most uncoordinated dog you ever saw until he turned about a year old, and a German Shepherd charged at him and attacked him. The puppy yelped and howled and got his ass kicked and it took a while for his owner to get to him and break up the fight. That seemed to be a turning point for him, because from then on he became the biggest baddest dog around, he seemed to realize that he needed to take care of himself and the next time a dog tried him on for size he knocked him down and dominated him real quick. I keep hoping for Lars to have this moment when everything clicks and he learns to command his considerable size and skill. The Winnipeg game seemed to have been that moment, but we saw him again tonight generating lots of heat but little light.

    In the wake of the Brad Marchand suspension, which he incurred only because his clipping of Sami Salo’s was so flagrant that even the perfidious Colin Campbell couldn’t massage it into a ‘hockey play’, I have to comment on the state of the refereeing in the NHL, and the network analysts who comment on the game. In the seconds leading up to the clipping call, Mr. Marchand punched Sami Salo in the back of the head, from behind, completely gratuitously and unprovoked, without a whistle from either referee. Twice. The clipping was obviously intentional not only judged by the mere witnessing of the act itself, but also by this violent preamble that says a lot about the state of mind of the perpetrator. In this ‘new era’ of concussion ‘awareness’, and with Sidney Crosby back in the stands after another bout of concussion symptoms, that the play wasn’t whistled dead before the clipping incident, with Mr. Marchand safely in the penalty box for a two-minute roughing call is incomprehensible. That Jamie McLennan of TSN described this sequence as being good ole-fashioned battlin’ for the puck is an indicator that the League and all its enablers are complicit in the continuing murder of hockey, and that the game must be rescued from Gary Bettman and his orcs.

    Mr. Julien tried to bend the facts to purport that Mr. Marchand was trying to stick up for himself and was only defending himself against a bigger opponent, Mr. Salo being well known as a rough and tumble player with goonish tendencies and a huge mean streak, but really what Mr. Marchand was doing was making a bad situation he created even worse. If Mr. Salo was approaching not to play the puck, but, as is the contention of the Bruins, to exact vengeance upon his assailant, this wouldn’t have been an unprovoked attack on a defenseless innocent.

    This kind of play and refereeing was evident in two plays tonight. One was the offsetting slashing and roughing calls drawn by Mike Cammalleri and David Perron respectively in the first period. Mr. Cammalleri was the clear aggressor, crosschecking Mr. Perron repeatedly in the back during a corner puck battle. Mr. Perron eventually turned around and crosschecked Mr. Cammalleri back, well after the referee should have whistled or raised his arm to indicate a Canadiens penalty. Mr. Cammalleri retaliated with a cross-check to the face-chin of Mr. Perron. At this point the whistle blew and the stick swinging continued, and both players were sent to the bench. This was a ridiculous but routine NHL-referee decision. The recipient of the initial crosschecks can either absorb them without complaint, or retaliate, or ‘dive’ or embellish by faking an injury. The crosschecker either gets away with it, or at most gets offsetting minors. In the case of the exasperated crosscheckee, his options are to allow himself to be mugged, to lash out with an act proscribed by the rulebook, or turn into a soccer player.

    These conditions are the kind which allow the Bruins to thrive. This is how Sean Thornton can slash the ankles of an opposing player who is on his way off the ice onto the bench, and then be outraged that that player swings his stick back, and causes Mr. Julien to play the offended virgin and point to this act by Mr. Burrows to expiate Mr. Marchand’s many heinous crimes.

    The offsetting minors encourage goonery and thuggery. As long as any scrums and reciprocal facewashes are judged to be self-cancelling, the behemoths will have free rein to intimidate and assault with impunity. When a player crosschecks another five times, when a Brad Marchand punches a Henrik Sedin in the head five times, when a Mark Stuart can slash an Andrei Kostitsyn ten time (by my count) as he desperately tries to thwart the faster forward leading him on a circular chase around his zone, the two minutes should ring up like in a pinball game. Mr. Marchand should have had five minors, Mr. Stuart ten.

    Another situation which caught my attention was when Jamie Langenbrunner caught up to Alexei Emelin in a race to the puck in the Canadiens zone along the boards and gave him a body check with a full, strong elbow. No whistle, no call. Since Mr. Langenbrunner is shorter than Alexei, the elbow caught him in the ribs or shoulder, and was therefore allowable. Apparently. Unless Alexei had made a great show of falling down and being hurt, for which he might have drawn a penalty, but would also have incurred the wrath of Don Cherry, who would thunder that the refs should “let them play”, and not call ‘ticky-tack’ penalties. I hate that word, ticky-tack.

    ———————————
    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • montreal ace says:

      Thanks for the good read, I look forward to your posts after the game, they are well written and thought out.

    • DadidolizedDougHarvey says:

      Well said.

    • Well said. Unfortunately the side show of French ascendancy and domination, along with false self-importance will keep the 21st century a Habless period…

      Promote the Youth, Support From The Veterans and Remember the Heritage!

    • ArmyFan says:

      Agree with all your points, especially the one about the two minute penalties “ringing up like a pinball game”.

      Another slight variation of this that I brought up with someone the other day is where there is a delayed penalty call. The time between the referee’s arm going up and the play being whistled is usually a “minor penalty free” window. So as the referee is waiting to stop the play, the team having committed the initial infraction commits one or more additional minor infractions for which no penalty is assessed. Only the original penalty is given. It doesn’t take long for players to hoist this aboard and take liberties — repercussions (or lack thereof) mold behaviour.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        That one rankles too. The penalized player who mugs and facewashes and shoves after the whistle is lionized by the analysts for being smart for trying to bring an opposing player to the penalty box. What should happen is that additional penalties should be added to his tab. This would, again, neutralize the aggressive tendencies of teams who use intimidation as a tactic, and would cut down on all the after the whistle nonsense.

        ———————————
        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

        http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  32. nickster13 says:

    Good for Halak. Always an upstanding guy (rumors in the papers may have said otherwise), but he played his best for us when it mattered most and made the team in front of him play well somehow. Im happy Montreal gave him a standing ovation and left a good memory of the city for Jaro.
    Anyone who hates on Jaro has no basis, as we are allowed to like players on other teams, and the way he played for us in his time here was nothing short of great. So for that, we can look back fondly on him.

    That being said, our team tonight looked like usual, and that the previous 2 games were in fact the anomaly. I will reserve judgement until the bruins game, if we dont show up then, we really have no balls and dont deserve to make the playoffs. Time will tell, i hope they bring it against the Bruins.

    • Duracell3 says:

      ^This. Better team won, it happens…..the majority of the time as it turns out. Also Saku’s hat-trick tonight was fun to watch.

      • nickster13 says:

        Ya, like they say “the cream always rises to the top”, so over a long period of time, like 42 games, the good teams have shown themselves, and so have the bad teams. 10 games can be an anomaly, but 42 is very telling. Sadly we are not in the high group, and the best we can hope for is the middle group, but also sadly, status quo usually prevails, so i dont see us making the playoffs. id love to be wrong,
        but hey this is life, you win some you lose some, so i just hope we know when to hold em and know when to fold em.
        Its always great to see former classy players who did everything we asked of them do well, like Saku and Jaro, or D’agostini, Halpern, Metropolit in recent memory. Guys who lived up to their potential or exceeded it, and never complained or left with bad feelings.

    • pottymonster says:

      you know why i hate halak? because he doesnt play for us. theres no reason to like a player if he doesnt play for montreal.

      the only time its permitted to like a player is if he is playing for your national team, in my case canada. so i can like canadian players when they play for canada. the rest of time, i hope they suck so that montreal can win the cup.

  33. Jim Edson says:

    Slovak HAB:

    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

    ———————————————————————-
    What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

    In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

    They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

    ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

    • SlovakHab says:

      I am not throwing stones at anyone. Just because I said it’s low to attack people who are, by the way, good enough that they made it into Canadiens organization (Gauthier, Subban), doesn’t mean I attack someone.
      Wow, what a disappointment this site is becoming. Attacks from everywhere, and very little input.

      • Jim Edson says:

        Slovakhab: “Come on man!”

        Delete a thread? Why ? There was no racism, profanity, taunting or any misbehavior just a difference of opinion.

        Did Mike Boone or Dave Stubbs abdicate and appoint you as editor-in-chief of HIO

        This is only an opinion board and everyone has their own opinion/ideas on most subjects and in this neck of the woods are free to express them.

        Cool down and enjoy some of the comedy here it’s certainly not life and death or anything to get so worked up about.

        BTW do really believe Gauthier was “good enough” or just initially had the right friends in high places to get hired? Cronyism is no stranger in the NHL and its certainly not a meritocracy or there would be more firings every year.

        ———————————————————————-
        What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

        In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

        They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

        ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

      • HardHabits says:

        The Habs are cronyism defined.

  34. Rad says:

    I don’t think we can can say that MaxPac and Erik Cole matched up well against the huge St. Louis Blues forwards. IMO, Montreal doesn’t match up well physically against ANYONE. The Blues manhandled the Habs all night. Both MaxPac and Erik Cole are listed at 6’2″, 205 lbs, and Max may be around 210 this year. But when you look at the Blues, you’ve got David Backes at 6’3″, 225, Arnott at 6’5″, 220, and Chris Stewart at 6’2″, 235 lbs. There is also Ryan Reaves at 6’1″, 235. Reaves is one tough customer, as Habs fans saw tonight. I was surprised at his speed though, and how he blew by Subban to set up the first St. Louis goal. When your best skating defenceman is beaten to the outside by the opponent’s tough guy, you’ve got a problem on your hands and on the score sheet.

    And how about Patrik Berglund’s speed? When Plekanec had that breakaway early in the game, at first it looked like a clean breakaway, but it was the 6’4″, 219 lb. Berglund that caught up to him by the time Pleks was trying to make his deke against Halak. I have not seen Plekanec get caught on a clean breakaway like that before.

    I think Montreal management could learn a lot by studying the Blues, and how they have been put together. To me, this St. Louis team looks like a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup here at mid season. They’ve got speed and balanced scoring, and they can match anyone in physicality. They have the muscle to walk into a rink like Boston’s TD Garden, and take on the Big Bad Bruins. This team can match up just fine against Chara, Lucic, Thornton, Boychuk, et al. St. Louis is 5th in the league at the moment, with the same # of points as Boston (Boston has 3 games in hand), and only 3 points behind the first-place NY Rangers.

  35. Marc10 says:

    I didn’t catch the game so only saw the highlights… but I guess we’re all back on the ‘tank to draft high’ bandwagon…

    Oh well… at least PK finally crushed someone. I was waiting for that…

    • SlovakHab says:

      For me it’s not a bandwagon. It’s all logic – are they good enough, heading to the trade deadline, to put up the fight and make playoffs? Or are we better off unloading dead weight…?

      We need a 5-game winning streak and unless we pull it off, let’s forget about this season and get rid of most players – and the fans can focus on other sports and other areas of life. Easy as.

    • Da Hema says:

      “Tanking” assumes a deliberate decision or choice to lose games that could be won. This current squad of Montreal Canadiens does not decide to lose games. They are, objectively, a weak team, and subsequently will get a high draft pick even if Cammalleri and some others on the team decide to put in an effort at some point this year. This whole “tanking” issue is a canard — the Montreal Canadiens this year simply suck.

  36. RetroMikey says:

    You know our team is so bad when you have the slum dog millionaire smurfs in Gionta, Cammalleri and Plekanec combine for -6 on the night in the +/- stats.
    Brutal, these guys are supposed to lead our team!
    Hey how about those Laffs, 4 in a row??
    Well some team is playing good, hard working, consistent hockey and it ain’t us.
    What a shame!

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

  37. jimmy shaker says:

    2nd amusing comment today, excellent start to the day!

    Shaker

  38. HardHabits says:

    Halak is a complete class act. He deserved the standing ovation he got last night. He didn’t need to outplay Price but he made a few key saves that earned him his shut-out.

    Price is already over-played. Remove Price and this team is a lottery team. The best thing that could happen to the Habs is Price gets an offer sheet that the Habs can’t match.


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