About last night … with audio

PriceBuffalo

AUDIO: Josh Gorges | Carey Price | Randy Cunneyworth

Buffalo owned the Canadiens this season.
The Sabres won five times, most recently the 3-0 Wednesday night game that completed their season series.
Buffalo has won the season series between the clubs four years running.
What’s with that degree of dominance?

You can understand the Canadiens having trouble with Philadelphia. There’s the goon factor.

New Jersey? the incomparably great Martin F. Brodeur is always at his best against the hometown team.

Buffalo should be a good match-up for the Canadiens. The Sabres are a skating team that doesn’t scare anyone. Games against them should be contests of skill. And the Canadiens somehow get out-skilled on a consistent basis.

Maybe it’s because the Sabres have an excellent goaltender and play an intelligent, disciplined system in front of him. It’s been that way, year in and year out, with Lindy Ruff  behind the bench and Darcy Regier, an alumnus of Bill Torrey’s great Islanders’ organization, running the front office.

They’ve been together 13 years. Players come, players go, and Buffalo plays the same up-tempo, minimal-mistakes style – one that Randy Cunneyworth knows well from his days of coaching the Sabres’ AHL team in Rochester.

Contrast this stability with what we’ve seen in Montreal: a revolving door of general managers and coaches, culminating in this chaotic, disastrous and depressing season.

How often have we seen what killed the Canadiens in Buffalo: aggressive defencemen and determined forwards doggedly pursuing the puck and cycling it around the Canadiens’ zone. St. Louis did it on the Blues’ visit to the Bell Centre. We’ve seen the Canadiens similarly whip-sawed in games against Washington and Winnipeg.

Even in the 28 games they have won (against 46 losses), the Canadiens have rarely displayed sustained, shift-after-shift puck possession in the offensive zone. The far more common trend is one and done, with maybe a few passes around the perimeter preceding the long-range, low-percentage shot that is either blocked or turned aside easily by the goaltender.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice, Carey Price has opponents buzzing around him, zipping shots from the slot, the dots, the point.

How can the league’s best 4-on-5 team such so bad at even strength?

On L’Antichambre, Guy Carbonneau described the Canadiens’ zone play as “affreux”. My well-thumbed French-English dictionary offers these meanings: “Frightful, hideous, shocking, repulsive, horrible, atrocious, ghastly.”

How about all of the above?

Eight more games of Chris Campoli and Yannick Weber?

Waiter! Check please.

Down 2-0 in the second period, Cunneyworth broke up his top defence pairing. P.K. Subban played with Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges was paired with Alexei Emelin.

It didn’t help.

Cunneyworth kept his forward lines intact. That wasn’t of much use, either.

The Canadiens outshot the Sabres 34-31, but Ryan Miller had an easy night in racking up the eighth shutout inflicted on the Canadiens this season.

For the third straight game, the DD line was held off the scoresheet. And when they’re not producing …

In his postgame remarks, Cunneyworth talked about the Canadiens’ lack of desperation. Like, what should they be desperate for? Good tee times on April 8th?

The coach said he was pleased with his bottom six forwards. Maybe Cunneyworth saw something I didn’t.

Playing in front of Jarri Kurri, who was in Buffalo scouting for the Finnish national team that will go to the Worlds, Petteri Nokelainen had four shots on goal and went 4-3 on faceoffs.

Woo-hoo! Plan the parade route in downtown Helsinki.

Ottawa is at the Bell Centre Friday night.

The Canadiens have won their season series against the Senators, which raises a question:

What’s wrong with those guys?

59 Comments

  1. HNS says:

    Habs mailed that one in. Le Suck.

  2. HNS says:

    Interesting Blog. Not blaming Price for last nite at all. But Price is no Miller. Duh…..

  3. vic says:

    WANT TO KNOW WHATS wrong with Canadiens watch Pleks play.
    No passion just going through the motions, I guess we will hear the same at the end of this year about how he is going to a changed
    Player nect year
    hes got everyone conned

  4. RockinRey says:

    What the helll is wrong with this organization? The season is a lost cause.

    Play the kids already!!! I have no idea what the rationale is in sitting LL and Geoffrion.

    Either you are prepared to see what you have or you aren’t .This is an opportunity for some valuable playing time for these guys.

    Send them to the “Hammer” if you are going to scratch or give them minimal minutes.

  5. Badwich says:

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ… Oops! 1 zip. Game over.

    Taberwitt

  6. The Cat says:

    That is a good question: How can the league leading PK team be so bad defensively at even strength?

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

    • SensFanSpezza says:

      Because the PK has one job: prevent the other team from scoring. To that end, the best defensive players on the team work their magic for two minutes. At even strength, the players who aren’t so great defensively get their share of ice time, which opens up chances for the other team. And the best defensive guys split their focus, trying to score as well as prevent goals. That means sometimes they’re caught out, which usually doesn’t happen on the PK. Also, the best defensive guys aren’t always on with the best defensemen at even strength.

  7. HankHardball says:

    For the NHL to suggest that intentional injuries are restricted to the NFL, and don’t happen in the NHL, is ludicrous and an insult to the intelligence of the fans.

  8. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …it’s almost 1:30 AM out here on the Wet Coast, and seems I am the lone Hab Fan obsessed enough to be ranting at this un-Godly hour …but I will make this My last rant before I hit the hay
    …do any of You also feel the way I do on wishing the NHL had a Roger Goodell as Commissioner of the NHL ? …his moral courage as well as business acumen ? …rather than Gary ‘the Lizardman’ Bettman ?

    _________________________________________________________
    HIS’ Official Habs’ Fan Theme Song: Morrissey ‘There is a light that never goes out’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjObvIQtsLk&feature=related

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  9. Un Canadien errant says:

    Hey boys, somehow I’m not able to post my comments, if you’re interested you can follow the link provided below.

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2012/03/game-74-montreal-0-buffalo-3.html

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

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  10. Habitant in Surrey says:

    http://www.cyberpresse.ca/la-tribune/sports/201203/21/01-4507752-serge-savard-verrait-patrick-roy-avec-le-canadien.php?utm_categorieinterne=trafficdrivers&utm_contenuinterne=cyberpresse_vous_suggere_4507624_article_POS4

    …above is interview of Serge Savard during a pass-through in Sherbrooke
    …first: to Myself, unsurprisingly, He squashed any speculation He may return as Our GM, President or VP Hockey Ops …understandable at this late-stage of His life, His financial independence and already has put-in 12+ years as GM
    …second: also unsurprising, Serge said that He did not want to comment on the Patrick Roy speculation, but did say this about what Patrick would bring to the Habs; PASSION, and most important Patrick’s aura and track-record as ‘A WINNER’
    …third: slightly interesting, if not surprising, was He is the owner of the Prince Edward Island Rockets in the QMJHL …didn’t know THAT :) …and I guess the ‘reason’ the team’s name is ‘the Rockets’ :)
    …fourth: what was ‘new’ and ‘a surprise’ to Myself was Serge’s public-issues with the Canadiens for having ‘an American’ as Our senior Scout (Trevor Timmons ?); surprised, because I was not aware Timmons was American …is He ? …if so, that explains certain inexplicable/mind-boggling draft choices of US college players, rather than QMJHL homeboys (an issue I don’t talk about much, but has long been a deep concern of mine)
    …Serge said under His watch, He had 4 dedicated QMJHL scouts, and until recently under Timmons We have had but one part-time scout ! …Egad !!!
    …Savard says today that if He had been GM when Kristopher Letang, Claude Giroux, and David Perron were draft-eligible, they would be Canadiens today

    _________________________________________________________
    HIS’ Official Habs’ Fan Theme Song: Morrissey ‘There is a light that never goes out’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjObvIQtsLk&feature=related

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      From Wikipedia:

      The P.E.I. Rocket are a junior ice hockey team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The franchise was granted in 1999, however the Rocket were originally located in Montreal, Quebec and called the Montreal Rocket. In 2003 they were relocated to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. They are named after the legendary Maurice Richard (known as the Rocket) of the Montreal Canadiens, and their team crest depicts his number, 9.

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

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I was shocked too to find out a few years ago that the Canadiens didn’t have a fulltime Quebec scout. They should have ten.

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

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • SensFanSpezza says:

      Serge Savard has been waving the same nationalistic flag for years. It’s very easy to say now that he’d have drafted all the French-Canadian players available, but the truth is every GM listens to his scout’s recommendations and a LOT of scouts passed over those guys. In any case, I’d rather have Pacioretty than Perron.

    • rhino514 says:

      One of those thought provoking posts in a long time.
      Needless to say Timmons has done a decent job, given where the team has been drafting, but him being american would explain the club´s penchant for U.S. college players. I´m not saying that´s bad, but I do believe the club should have someone who is more familiar with french canadian players.
      Don´t forget as a french canadian kid, your dream is to play for the Montreal Canadiens. It brings out a motivation which is truly special. Athletes drafted in higher rounds are all gifted; often the factor which decides if a kid makes it to the show or not is motivation and hard work.
      Strange that we never took a chance on one of, at least, Letang, Giroux, or Perron.

  11. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …last season when the Ottawa Senators saw the forest for the trees, and started the breakdown and renewal of their team, the Sens wisely called up their AHL prospects like Condra, Smith and others …as well gave their younger players heavy ice time …all looking forward to the 2011/12 season
    …for the Life of Me I do not understand WHY ??? Geoffrion was scratched …WHY ??? …certainly the young Geoffrion will never be another Boom Boom, and definitely not a Zoom Zoom
    …but NOW is the time for preparation and evaluation for next season, and go into the summer better understanding WHAT We have, and need
    …We are always out to lunch it seems not being patient and releasing Players …people and talent management is one of the Organizations several achilles heels
    …I look at what sweet hockey Ribiero and Ryder are playing in Dallas, and add Grabovski, the Ks. and many, many others to the long depressing list …and it makes One’s heart ache, and stomach churn

    …PostScript: …I must add, it is not only Management that have been numb-nutz for several decades, but also a lot of Our Fan-base, Whom impatiently can not see further than Their short-sighted noses, and have helped driven talent out of Montreal when They immediately do not play to Their ‘expectations’ :(

    _________________________________________________________
    HIS’ Official Habs’ Fan Theme Song: Morrissey ‘There is a light that never goes out’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjObvIQtsLk&feature=related

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

    • Lizardking89 says:

      Exactly. We should be calling some of the young prospects up (as few as they might be) and evaluate them properly. It seems like they can’t even tell what they have in terms of player potential and development.

      This organization has been so dysfunctional for so long that it wouldn’t surprise me if they either screw up this draft pick either by picking the wrong player or rushing his development. This organization needs a healthy injection of talent and smarts in managerial department. Something they’ve been sorely lacking for decades. Get your thumb out of your ass Molson and do your job, look for the best man for the job and if he’s English tell the French media to go to hell. Grow some balls for heaven sake.

    • SlovakHab says:

      Exactly my view. Cunny is not only screwing us this season, but also for the future. WHY the hell was he ever appointed. Must be the worst coach in the Habs history.
      Freakin play the youngsters!!!

      • Habitant in Surrey says:

        …I put the major onus of blame on Pierre Gauthier, …because Randy Cunneyworth is coaching for Randy Cunneyworth, not the Montreal Canadiens
        …Randy already is pretty certain He will not be renewed as Head Coach next season, but He is trying to impress other teams’ GMs of His inevitable availability
        …and, I really don’t personally blame Randy for His priorities
        …it is Gauthier that must tell Randy He wants X minutes for such and such in these last remaining games …in fact Gauthier should have made that clear to RC 2 to 3 weeks ago
        …and, if I was Geoff Molson, I would be getting worried about Pierre Gauthier’s inaction and personal priorities as well, because Gauthier Himself ‘knows’ He will not be Our GM very soon
        …if I was Molson ? …I would not be a spectator nor hands-off at this time

        _________________________________________________________
        HIS’ Official Habs’ Fan Theme Song: Morrissey ‘There is a light that never goes out’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjObvIQtsLk&feature=related

        Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
        http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

        • Lizardking89 says:

          Great points again. Both of these guys know they’re on the chopping block and are making poor decisions based on that. A good owner would have taken charge before the trade deadline. Unfortunately for us fans Molson is not a good owner. The Habs are nothing more than cash cows to the Molson family always have been. It’s too bad Gillett had to sell the team, I doubt he would have stood by and let this team go down the toilet.

    • SensFanSpezza says:

      Are you kidding me? You’re crying about Michael Ryder now? Most Habs fans couldn’t wait to see him gone when he scored only 13 goals in his last season in Montreal. Can you honestly say you weren’t one of them? Now that he’s scoring 30 again, he’s the one that got away. Pathetic.

  12. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …until the summer, when Praise Heaven, the moves necessary by Molson are hopefully made with forward-vision and wise decisions, there is absolutely nothing meaningful One can say about this Team as it is, that has not been mashed over incessantly for years
    …how excruciating my want is to have a Malkin or Crosby-clone in a CH sweater …how pathetic I feel are the wastrels Whom succeeded Sam Pollock and Serge Savard, whose incomprehensible poor decision-making has made the once proud Montreal Canadiens a shell of what I grew up passionately admiring and loving
    …this summer could be the beginning of something great again, or based on the record of the hapless minions presently in control of Our Team, it could be another opportunity missed, and another decade of mediocrity
    …all We can be is optimistic, because the alternative is only masochistic

    _________________________________________________________
    HIS’ Official Habs’ Fan Theme Song: Morrissey ‘There is a light that never goes out’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjObvIQtsLk&feature=related

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  13. SlovakHab says:

    All this team needs is Zach Parise, 1 really good 4th liner (Moen level) and 1 really good bottom-pairing D (Emelin level and style) and we are a really good team.

    Consider:

    Parise – Plekanec – Gionta
    Pacioretty – Desharnais – Cole
    Borque – Eller – Leblanc
    Moen – White – ?

    Subban – Gorges
    Markov – Emelin
    Kaberle – ?

    Price – Budaj

    If injuries strike, we have Gallagher for top-6 role winger and Eller for center.
    For bottom-6, there will be heaps of replacement material on the open market, or we can give another chance to Engqvist or try out Naattinen, who looks decent in Hamilton recently.

    On D, St. Denis is a steady no.7 D, or Diaz. Definitely keep only one of Campoli, Weber and Diaz.

    Budaj will be better next year than he was this year.

    And we will draft very well in June, which will further stockpile our depth. Good times.

    • Alex Rio says:

      My earlier post was almost identical to yours. We think alike regarding the lineup.

      My only concern would be bringing up gallagher for duty if injuries call. Hes fresh out of junior, and im of the opinion that these younger players should do at least one full year before even being considered as callups.

      To my recollection callups were more successfull in this fashion. In this case i would use examples such as Price, DD, PAX, subban and Plex, compared to Lats, Dags, chipchura etc…

    • FanCritic says:

      SlovakHab – I like your top-6 The Bottom-6 border line 3rd liners
      Bourque Eller Moen good 4th liners find a good 3rd line we’re all set up front.

    • Marc10 says:

      So you’re Parise and you sign in Montreal to pay 48% tax and to be centered by Pleks…

      It’s not going to happen. Parise trains in the Summer in LA. Other clubs with deeper pockets, lower taxes, better Cup prospects and a real first line center will make him an offer.

      I love the guy. I’ve won hockey pools on the back of this guy. But there’s no way I can see him coming here. Sadly…

    • SensFanSpezza says:

      Oh, sure. All the team needs is Zach Parise. No problem. If he doesn’t re-sign in Jersey, what’s your pitch? “Come to Montreal where every move you make will be scrutinized ad nauseum by every wannabe media hack on the radio and newbie fans who’ve never seen the team win anything will have the gall to boo you every time you touch the puck, if they determine you’re not living up to whatever ridiculous contract you sign?” Right. Parise will be sure to have his agent call Gauthier (who WILL be the GM next year) to make sure he beats the rush to Montreal on July 1.

  14. The Dude says:

    All I can say is about this Habs season is Fk’n Ouch ,tabernack!lol

  15. davecessna says:

    I’ll go ahead and say next year is going to suck as much if not worse than this one.

    That said, I hope I’m wrong.

  16. Eric37 says:

    The MVP goes to Boone for writing an ‘About Last Night’ and live game blog. How you can still follow this madness is beyond me.

    Honestly, if all you wrote was “who cares” we’d all understand.

    E.

  17. HardHabits says:

    Wanko Tanko (sung to the tune of Wango Tango)

    The Habbies they don’t like to suck
    The Habbies they don’t like to fold
    The Habbies crapped their pants tonight
    The Habbies got no puck control

    They do the Wanko Tanko

    The Habbies they can dream about
    The Habbies in a play-off rout
    The Habbies they just don’t advance
    The Habbies they don’t make the dance

    Wanko Tanko
    Grigo renko
    It’s a Wanko Tanko
    Ooooh yeah!
    Baby!

  18. FanCritic says:

    Blaming RC – you should be ashamed of yourself. when his best 4-forwards can’t score, what do you expect from the other 8-pieces of deadwood. come on, there’s not a coach out there can coach this team. the Leafs brought in a new coach how are they doing. you can’t coach what you don’t have. when you figure that out you’ll understand the Habs.

  19. Alex Rio says:

    Last summer i was looking forward to this season so much!
    Now i dont really care. I just wan a high draft pick, and im looking forward to next year.

    Looking to see what the management is going to be, and looking to see what changes are made on the top 9, and im also curious to see if they will keep any of the 2 swiss players..

    In my books, The team can live with a bad contract but not more than one.

    Drop gomer to minors, and you can afford to keep kaberle. Pair him with a solid stay at home D man to cover the defensive mistakes, and who knows it might be effective if kabby can put up 50 pts and 40 assists. That would be best case senario i know.

    im sorta not going to be too angry if the D looks like this

    Markov, Emelin
    Subban, Gorges
    Kaberle (stay at home D with physical edge)

    7th man as one of the swiss? or Both and one plays on offense?

    (we know injuries will happen)

    In all D pairings we have a mobile assist machine paired with a stay at home man who will cover the offensive pinches. Out of them the Missing player, along with emelin and subban i would say would have enough of a physical edge on D. not overwhelming, but not to be ignored either.

    Regarding Offense i see Bourque as a replacement for AK46, and we still need to replace Cammy. Gomez needs to be put in minors. Molson can afford to do so and still spend to the cap. Sure it hurts to waste 7.373 M on salary but making playoffs should cover that. Past round 1 and were talking serious profits for a profitable team anyways.

    Gionta Plex (Cammy non smurf replacement)
    Cole DD Pacioretty
    Bourque Eller Leblanc
    Staubitz/White/Moen/Darche

    If anything, and assuming for the sake of conversation there are no injuries next year, i would be more satisfyed with the D than the O.

    Im also curious to see the contract that Price will sign. I like the incrementally rising contract in his case. Hes making 2.75 now…what about a 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5. 5.5 5 year contract? cap hit is low enough at 4.5, and he gets what i would imagine as fair money.

    Then again he is one of our more consistent players on an ever rotating lineup, and i see the argument for him to crack 6+ but certainly not in the first 2 or 3 years and even at that i would hesitate.

    • The Juice says:

      Well put

      __________________________________________________________________________

      “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I think being able to sign Carey Price at that low price is wishful thinking. It would be nice to save all that cap space, but there is practically no chance it happens.

      The Canadiens will probably try to lock him up for five years or so, and will have to sweeten the pot for his agent to advise him to sign. He’s considered to be the best player on the team, and even disregarding the Scott Gomez anomaly, he’s going to be in the ballpark of the Erik Cole and Andrei Markov contracts. A mill or so shy in the first year or two, but definitely there in the next three or four.

  20. nickster13 says:

    We can blame Cunneyworth all we want, but its not on him. He changes the lines up and everyone says “let them build chemistry, what an idiot” or he keeps them the same and everyone says “what an idiot, if its not working, switch it up”.
    Also, Jacques Martin was having the same problems, but a clear difference is that Cunneyworth took over a team that had zero confidence in making the playoffs.
    Its up to the players, and some of them just do not play anywhere near a complete game. Gotta get rid of some of the garbage and bring in more dependable players and we will be much better next year.
    Blame the players! No pride and no fire! And they are all one-dimensional players. Either the grinders cant score, or the scorers cant grind.

    “I don’t wanna see Maurice tonight, I want the rocket!”

  21. rogieshan says:

    “Maybe it’s because the Sabres have an excellent goaltender and play an intelligent, disciplined system in front of him.”

    We had that for two glorious rounds in the 2010 playoffs.

    I agree with Brunet: Cunneyworth’s system is worse than Jacques Martin’s.

    • Jim Edson says:

      Maybe its because hockey decisions wrt Gm’s, coaches and players are made with only hockey in mind politics are left for other people, places and things!

      They don’t feel the need to “Kow Tow” to the Buffalo media, they just steer their course with only winning and hockey as the prime directive.

      ———————————————————————-
      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.

    • The Juice says:

      I agree with Rogieshan. To Jim’s point, there is no reason the Habs can’t find a capable bilingual coach, god knows there are enough capable ones out there, 2 of which went to the finals last year!

      __________________________________________________________________________

      “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

      • Jim Edson says:

        Name them! Key word is available!!!

        Those two who went to the final last year are surely as of today not available.

        So, NHL experienced bilingual coaches? Who are they?

        The question was nothing to do with coaches in Montreal but why Buffalo has a stable management team and their system doesn’t change on a weekly basis.

        ———————————————————————-
        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.

  22. habsfan1990 says:

    what isnt wrong with the habs?


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