Bandwagon loses at least two passengers

"The Canadiens don’t have a first line. They have four fourth lines."
 – Guy Lafleur on RDS

 Ouch! The Flower, who is never a shrinking violet when it comes to full and frank comments on his alma mater, offered that stingiung assessment after Saturday’s embarrassing 3-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

And writing from Saint John, N.B., the city of my birth, Habs I/O fan Glenn Stanton is throwing in the towel:

 That was a piss poor showing last Friday and Saturday. I’ve come to the conclusion this outfit doesn’t have enough “big guns”, or an elite player that can break a game open. Until they acquire or draft one, this team is going to keep spinning its wheels and be a shade above mediocre (if that) for the foreseeable future. I’ve had my hopes up for this team for the last few years only to see them play like crap for stretches and dash those hopes summarily. I tried to make it a priority to watch them and juggle my personal schedule around the broadcast nights. No more. If they are not interested in making an effort to compete at least on home ice, then neither will I. I’m tired of hearing the excuses, we should be trying harder or we have to be more responsible for our actions. Bullshit. Do it, don’t just talk about it. At one time the Canadiens were accused of ignoring the European talent pool. Well, I think they went to that source to often lately. They look good skating and stick handling around the perimeter of the offensive zone until they turn it over or shoot from 35 feet out. Big effin’ deal.
 Tomorrow night, my youngest son and I are going to the Sea Dogs game. I will check the score when I get home (I won’t rush) and if they are still putting up goose eggs, see you later. The next two Saturdays I’m taking my wife out to our respective Christmas dinner and dances. I plan on doing other activities as they turn up instead of sitting in front of the TV and watching what used to be a franchise that prided itself on at least showing up every night, win or lose.


What do you think?

The floor is open for debate. 


  1. kevin m says:

    Well said Odie

    Have a good one!

  2. The Teacher says:

    Ok, so let me be clear about this?

    The only game breaker we can expect is in two years with Price?

  3. Thumper says:

    Keep the faith, look at the poor Chicago Cubs baseball fans, they get laughed at but still back their team. We have what looks like a bright future, but yes some crap needs getting rid of. Some weeks I like Carbo, some weeks I don’t, its a toughy.

    Stick with it, win or lose they are a great team and will one day be winners and we can all say we were their when it was not so good.

    Guy Lafleur is spot on mind, total bulls eye of a statement.

  4. tony d says:

    as stinging as Glen’s words may seem, I must admit I share his sentiment
    I’ve been a Habs fan for the past 45 years and lately I’m tired of making excuses for them.
    I was at the Bell center on sat night for the Habs no-show against Buffalo and felt ripped off, as did my son. It would’ve been nice to at least hear the place rock for a Habs goal. And today to read that Latendresse is on the 1st line, pullleese!!! give me a break… he looks so lost out there or at least he did on sat night…. Ryder should have pylons and yellow tape around him, cause he’s a disaster on the ice and messed up many chances.
    I don’t know what the solution is, but the pattern of win 1 lose 3 seems to be happening again and it sickens me.
    I don’t understand why a team can’t have the same passion from game to game, they’ve got packed houses etc..
    Maybe I’ve been spoiled with the Habs of of a bygone era and I expect too much with today’s boys but Glen I hear you and I know where you’re coming from.
    the only saving grace in all this is I guess things could be worse, I could be a leafs fan.

  5. The Ian Cobb says:

    Time to start bringing up the snipers from the farm. If they can’t cut it, it is time to make up a bundle and make a 3 for 1. But this on ice ho hum attitude is not good enough. If that does not work, then it is time to get Demerse out of the tv studio.

  6. Plek-Andrew says:

    Guys… get it through your heads




  7. Ali says:

    The fact of the matter is that no matter how you dress it up, this team CANNOT score 5-5, and lately the power-play has not been that killer either, because apart from which Kovalev shows up to play, we have exactly ZERO elite goal-scorers on this team. Ryder has always been a power-play 30 goal scorer, and Higgins can talk all he wants about being a 40 goal man, but he’s fluffed at least that many already this year. He’s not a natural finisher.

    This team needs a Kovalchuk, an Ovechkin, a Cheechoo, someone who when you’re down by a goal with 3 minutes left, you put him out there and you know that chances are, he’ll get you a goal.

    Thats what Buffalo has with Vanek, thats what Ottawa has with Heatley, Toronto has Sundin, Calgary has Iginla, and I can go on and on.

    Until this team gets that elite player, we’ll forever be dogging it out like this, and due to our size, we’ll always have these quick starts, but as teams start to wear us down, we’ll always have this mid-season slump as teams figure out they can beat us by keeping us to the outside.

  8. Morenz7 says:

    Listen folks, I’ve tried the Stanton Method. It doesn’t work. Suddenly, they string together a couple of wins, and then Pierre McGuire is talking about them like they’re the second coming of the ’71 Habs and you sit down just to watch a period because, really, what could it hurt? They’ll probably lose anyway, right? But land sakes, they win, and then you start looking forward to broadcasts, and the next thing you know, you’re back to performing old superstitions like opening a ceremonial bottle of Molson Ex when the puck drops each period because—you know—if you don’t they might lose.

    Not that it matters, because by then they’re back to playing .500 and can’t even beat the effing Leafs (this is usually where I start mumbling gibberish to my dead grandfather …)

  9. McHabby says:

    Hey Glenn Stanton, Mooseheads > Sea Dogs.

    I think we fans are fearing that the annual Christmas time collapse is upon us. If this was any other team, We could say “Ho-Hum, all teams go through little slumps”. But this team gets off to great starts only to crash and burn year after year. I’ve been patient for more than 10 years now, so excuse me for fearing the worst.

    I would love to see the Canadiens call up someone from Hamilton (*cough Lapierre cough*) and sit someone out (*cough Ryder cough*) but according to some Bulldogs follower on the Team 990 the other day, there aren’t any players who are ready. I have no idea if this is true. Can’t remember the last Bulldogs game I watched. I think Jason Ward was playing for them at the time.

    Tuesday’s game could be a big turning point in the season.

    If the Canadiens show up at ACC and play like they did earlier this season, they can beat Toronto no problem. That team is in total disarray and will be coming off a dismal western road swing (I’m still shocked the Leafs actually left the Eastern Time Zone. They never seem to get any tough road trips). There is no reason the Habs can’t win this hockey game. Hell, there is no reason the Bulldogs can’t win this hockey game.

  10. theflower says:

    Well I for one think we have a pretty good team after the Patrick Roy 10 years curse, I will never forgive Mario Tremblay as long as I live! We now have one of the deepest farm systems in our history. With the like of O’Byrne, Valentenko, Maxwell, Kostitsyn, Lapierre and others like White trust me this team is only going to get better and fast. Yes we have a few kids who shouldn’t be there like Lats, but overall the future looks really bright. I have been suggesting for some time 2009 the centennial will make us all smile again:) It could be a magical season. We have some kinks to work out, but the path is right and the future looks bright!

  11. Les-Habitants says:

    The Flower’s comment, as J.T. points out, was an exaggeration but underlines that this team has always had difficulty scoring goals 5 on 5. Numerous Hab fans have lemented over the lack of a game breaking player and admittedly our team does lack the 40+ goal scorer that can anchor our offensive lines. It was extremely disappointing to see the Habs lose back-to-back games against the Sabers, a team which we normally play very well against. The play was sloppy, and I have to agree with Carbo’s assesment that some players seemed comfortable and weren’t playing with the edge necessary to compete in the NHL.

    That all said, if people are panicing already then they really need to take a step back. The Sabers remain one of the fastest and most talented teams in the NHL who really shouldn’t be where they are in the standings. Now, I’m not trying to paint the glass half-full, but rather that too many fans get excited when we win/lose. Let me state the obvious: The Habs are not a powerhouse team. In the East there is only one powerhouse and that’s the Sens. Among the other 14 teams in our conference, the Habs are among a group of 4 or 5 teams that are indeed playoff worthy. If we were a powerhouse, we wouldn’t lose back-to-back games like this. There would be consistent, 100% effort from every player every night. The Habs aren’t but are now beginning to reap the rewards of smart drafting and patience from the Canadiens management.

    We’d love it if our team was and remained great, the fact that another team with an equally storied history, the Wings, have maintained that level is a constant reminder of how our Habs have fallen off. Yet, I remain confident. Why? This team is improving and it’s young. Every team will have its slumps, the season is too long to think that every night a team will put out its best performance. Is it time for some lineup changes? Absolutely, but it is far from the point of panic. We have a good team.

  12. BirdDog says:

    I am so, so, tired of this. People should get their minds out of the 1970’s. ‘Superstars’ and ‘Franchise’ players don’t just fall out of trees. With a risky 18 year old draft, you either have to a long stretch of top 8 picks, a number one pick in a banner year, or get extremely lucky with a late bloomer. Otherwise, you have to hope for very good scouting which will provide you solid (not necessarily spectacular) talent, and a good development system. Well – guess what? We have the latter. Based on the young talented players being continually phased into this team – Montreal fans should be extremely proud of the ‘potential’ for this team. Yes, it’s lacking the hugely gifted big star….if that’s the biggest knock you have on the organization, get a grip. It will fall into place soon enough, but there has to be some patience.

  13. J.T. says:

    Well…to be fair about the Lafleur comment, it *was* on that face-off/debate show they have on RDS after games. I saw him say it, and it was exaggeration on his part because he was trying to get a laugh. He may think the team isn’t as offensively talented as he’d like to see…but I think his actual comment was meant to be facetious.

    As for the depression among fans these days…well, I think it’s a case of the hangover from last year still clinging to many of us. So when we see things like poor zone clearances, struggles in scoring, bad penalties and what looks like a lack of effort…it all comes roaring back and we pick up where we left off cursing them after the last game in April past.

    However, the good news is this isn’t last year’s team. They are better in many ways which we’ve all (even you, Mike Boone!) recounted in our excitement after this season’s good start. And, even when it feels like it’s the same old routine, we have to remember that a team with as many problems as the Habs have had in the recent past can’t turn it around overnight. The difference is, now we have hope in the future, which we didn’t have before. There’s an obvious pattern here…Gainey has stocked up on goalies, then defencemen…next it will be forwards.

    As for this week, now that their backs are against the wall as much as the leafs’ are…we’ll see what they’re made of tomorrow. A win would go a long way in convincing me they’re a better bunch than last year’s. A loss, as long as it’s hotly contested and well-fought wouldn’t even be the end of the world.

    And for those of you advocating a trade…once again…what do you think Gainey has for which other teams are willing to send him what he needs in return? He needs a legitimate top-four D-man (again!) and a consistent goal-scorer. If you think a GM is willing to throw either of those assets at Gainey in return for Huet who’ll be UFA at the end of the year and who seems to rack up a losing record through no fault of his own…or Ryder who’s also UFA and not scoring, you might want to revisit reality. Unless Gainey is willing to trade Higgins or Komisarek as part of a deal, he won’t be getting value back. And losing those guys would negate a good part of the value the new guy would bring anyway…meaning the team would still tread water…it would just be shallower water.

  14. Will Longlade says:

    I think the Hab’s good start has caused many of those on the bandwagon, including myself, to overestimate the potential of this team. IMHO, Montreal is still 2-3 years away from making a big splash. Great teams are built from the net out and the organization is in the early stages of implementing its plan to build a contender in this mould.

  15. Plek-Andrew says:


    I seriously can’t believe how quickly people lose hope.
    I’m not saying we’re gonna win the Cup… but Christ, people… as HabsInBlood pointed out, even Ottawa has lost 3 in a row.

    Why be so pessimistic?

    Dammit I should be playing for the Habs… I don’t let anybody influence me… I don’t let anybody’s opinion affect me at all… at least not when it comes to hockey…

    Guys, this is the team you’re ROOTING for. Don’t gimme some crap about I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO RAG ON A TEAM THAT ISN’T PERFORMING… you DON’T!!! lol come on…

    why…. do….. habs fans….. forget….. so….. damn…. quickly?!

  16. Sbah Reverof says:

    Agreed Sly, I like the long-term outlook much better. I’m happy if the guys just come to work every day and play with all their heart. Anyone who doesn’t should not be on this team. The good times will come again, but we should ease up a little. Maybe then, the pressure will be off, and we can use FUN and WIN in the same breath.

  17. BigHabsFan says:

    “Bob is going to have to move some parts of this team that are not in the long term future plans”

    Your logic is there, but I don’t think you realize that Gainey has already done this. Check out our salary list at…other than Markov and Hamrlik, nobody is under contract past next season. Streit, Bullion, Dandenault, Brisebois, Smolinski, Ryder, Huet, Begin, Kovalev, Koivu(who I would love to keep)…all these guys are UFA’s after next season. Gainey hasnt bogged us down with long term, high price contracts. We have a good talent pool…Valentenko, Obyrne, S.Kostitsyn, Dagostini, Pacioretty, McDonough, etc. We have these guys coming up to complement our existing young core – who have improved significantly. We are in a position that we can make one trade/signing and push ourselves over the hump.

    In response to Lafleur: the way that we played against Buffalo, its probably fairer to say that we have two second lines and two fourth lines

    It is a long season guys, lets not forget this…the mistakes that we have been making are in a large part correctable. Its a matter of checking the tapes and making adjustments.

  18. The Teacher says:

    Especially with the dollar at par :)

  19. Erik says:

    How about they just get rid of the salary cap

    Im sure wed have lots to be able to spend with the revenue this team earns.

  20. Norm0770 says:

    I agree with most of what you said, except that Latendresse is expendable. You have to remember that he is only 20 and will improve (maybe he should be playing/scoring in Hamilton). If you look at 2 of the primiere big men in the game, Vinny Lecavalier and Joe Thornton, both of them got off to slow starts in their careers, with Latendresse putting up comparable numbers to both. Now I’m not saying Latendresse will be Vinny or Joe, I don’t think he has enough talent, but he will surely become a solid 25-30 goal man down the road. And before we go trading away the only big forward in the system does anybody remember John LeClair? 19 goal was the most he ever scored with the Habs…they gave upon him too early.

  21. Naila Jinnah says:

    I used to be obsessed with catching every single game, and while I can’t deny wanting to know the score at all times, I don’t feel so guilty when I “miss” a game. Not only because well, I’m not living their life, really, but because with all of the technology available today, you can re-watch the game (or at least the key plays) at will… So why squander away your own opportunities to watch the Habs not capitalize on theirs?

    But I still can’t turn off a game when I decide to watch it. I can, however, switch the channel to watch shows I had previously intended on watching 😉

  22. RJ says:

    We can all agree this is a team short on real talent. Hustle only goes so far. Guy’s comments, while painful to read are accurate. Other than Higgins, who is our other “go to” guy? The depth simply is not there. This team will need to scratch and scrape its way to one goal wins again this season.

  23. HabFab says:

    Fair weather fans…
    they drive me crazy…
    I hope Glen Stanton enjoys his Christmas dance.

  24. johnny boy says:

    i agree we need more talent on this team. They’ll make the playoffs this year, but it won’t be easy. Ryder is struggling, Smolinski looks tired after a decent start, Lats is only 20 and not nearly talented enough to keep up without more experience, Streit and Boullion are not great 5-6 defencemen, and I would modify Guy Lafleur’s comment to say that we have a first line, a second line, and 2 fourth lines. we don’t have a solid third line guy that elvates the team like a Guy Carboneau, Mike Keane etc. A skilled shut down guy who kills penalties in his sleep and allows the skilled guys to stay out of those situations and stay fresh enough to score some goals. Chipchura might be that guy in the future, but he’s not there yet.

    I think it’s time for a little more short term pain for long term gain. I think it’s inevitable that Bob is going to have to move some parts of this team that are not in the long term future plans in order to bring in a guy like Mike Fisher or Samuel Phalsson. The guys who are expendable in my opinion are Ryder, Latendresse (though they’ll never trade him because of his name), Huet (though later in the season), and maybe a couple of guys in Hamilton who don’t fit into the long term plans like Corey Locke and company.

  25. Zaskar says:

    The reality is the same for almost every other team in the league. Mediocrity sucks but the new NHL is its poster boy. The closest thing the league has to a dynasty right now is the Ottawa Senators and they haven’t even won the cup. Every other team, including those that have gamebreakers like Crosby, Ovechkin, Lecavelier, Thorton, is going through what the Habs go through…periods of winning followed by periods of losing. The era of the dynasty is dead. Forget about it.

    I sure wish dynasties would return and the Habs or some other team would turn into a modern power house but realistically I don’t believe it will happen. At least the NFL has the Patriots. If you want to see a dynasty watch them.

  26. kevin m says:

    If the players make mistakes that lead to turnovers or more seriously, goals, the coaching staff will point out these errors in judgement and try to find ways to correct them.

    When coaching errors are made… what happens? Who tells Carbo that he may have made a coaching error?

    I don’t like the idea of Carbo flying off the handle every time there’s a call against the Habs by the officials. This is viewed by the players as panic.

    If you look at the Sabers coach, Lindy Ruff, you’d notice that he rarely gets frazzeled compared with Carbo. He’s also kept his lines pretty much intact since the beginning of the season, despite losing two of his premier players. PATIENCE.

    Imagine if the Habs had lost Koivu & Kovalev to UFA!!!

    A coach has to inspire his players to be the best they can be; whether they are making 50K or 10 MIL per year.

  27. Zaskar says:

    The reality is the same for almost every other team in the league. Mediocrity sucks but the new NHL is its poster boy. The closest thing the league has to a dynasty right now is the Ottawa Senators and they haven’t even won the cup. Every other team, including those that have gamebreakers like Crosby, Ovechkin, Lecavelier, Thorton, is going through what the Habs go through…periods of winning followed by periods of losing. The era of the dynasty is dead. Forget about it.

    I sure wish dynasties would return and the Habs or some other team would turn into a modern power house but realistically I don’t believe it will happen. At least the NFL has the Patriots. If you want to see a dynasty watch them.

  28. SlySil says:

    The Reality:

    30 teams
    1 Cup
    Salary Cap
    Reggie Houle Years
    Leafs: 41 years and counting
    Ottawa has had great drafting and talent for 10 years. Result: 0 cups
    Last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup: Montreal 1993

    It will take time to build a great team. Its even more frustrating now that you see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. In two years, the turnover will be complete with the habs being led by the Chipchura, Mcdonough, Pacioretti, Higgins, Price, Valentenko etc. This team will be good for 10 years. For now, you will only see glimpses of the what is to come. Be patient.

  29. HabsInBlood says:

    Ok, the Habs have lost 4 of 6. So have the Senators (and 3 in a row)!! This is a mini-slump. Both losses against Buffalo were tough. These kind of games happen. More important than the fact that they happened is how the team reacts going forward. Both games against Buffalo could have gone either way. Buffalo got the breaks and had better special team production and won. In fact, I find this is the case with most games these days … very close. Even the game against the Islanders (4-1(0) win) was close with Montreal capitalizing on their opportunities. Time to move on.

    We finally saw the “Higgins-Pleks-Kostitsyn” line … even though it was only the 3rd period Saturday night. Try it again w/ Kovy-Koivu-Ryder(Latendresse) on the other top line.

    If one is going to give up or fully throw their support behind a team based on the results of a 5 game stretch, then you are going to be disappointed from time to time. Let’s see, that’s approx 16 of these stretches throughout the season. Hopefully we’ll go something at or better than 10-6 during these stretches and we’ll be fine.

  30. saskhab says:

    We’re a team built from the goalie on out. We do lack gamebreaking forwards, but we’re built to win the close ones by having the goalies make the key saves and having the d-men move the puck out efficiently.

    But we’re also a work in progress. This team still has several players auditioning for different roles on the team for the forseeable future.

    We aren’t clicking on all cylinders. And quite frankly, this year isn’t “our year” barring a miraculous preformance.

    Baby steps.

  31. eyhp says:

    Guy Lafleur is never happy with the team so nothing new there. As for the other guy, we don’t need so called “fans” like him. Every team goes through slumps once in a while, even Ottawa was not playing that well this past week. The key is to get out of it ASAP.

  32. Andrea says:

    the canadians really arent that bad at all, maybe they aren’t as good as their record indicates but in my mind they are a playoff team. this year the goaltending is better, the defense is better( i love the addition of roman hamerlik) and our offense is better (since kovalev is playing better, and we have a second line that can score.)our kids(higgin, komiserik, price, chiphura exc..) are getting better with each game we play.

    for years to come with all our porspects( Mcdonough. s. kostytsym, lapiere,o byrne., pacioretti, valentenk , yemelin exc.. ) and our good young players our futur is looking really bright.

    so they may be a 8th place team right now but in a few years they will be a top 5 team.

  33. The Teacher says:

    I can totally get where Glen Stanton is coming up. I’m sure I can speak for myself and many other Habs fans who organize their schedules somewhat to ensure that they can catch the game.

    It is really frustrating to know that we don’t really have a REAL game-breaker who can get us over this damn hump. I applaud Gainey for at least searching out some UFA’s in Briere, Shanahan, Smyth (who I REALLY wanted), and Elias. He made very competitive offers to all of them, so we can’t really blame him.

    I’m sure BG doesn’t want to mortgage our future in a trade that would surely require the loss of many upcoming players. My friend in T.O. says trade winds are swirling around Ovechkin. surely the price would be a Price, Komisarek, Higgins, Plekanec plus picks, going the other way if BG would try to make a deal.

    Would a trade of that nature be worth it? Wouldn’t we just be transforming ourselves into the current Washington Capitals, albeit with a different Jersey?

    To be honest, I don’t really know. I am advocating against big trades and prefer to pursue the FA market, however perilous that has been for us. I repeat that we are at least 2 years away and we should be trying to enjoy the rise of our team and prefer to look at the positives.

    At least THIS year there ARE positives to look at.

    – Chipchura- looks like a BG clone some nights
    – Kovalev- Showing enthusiasm and passion almost every night
    – Hamrlik- and incredibly stabilizing influence on defence
    – Plekanec- learning more every night and still getting points and playing sound defensively
    – Price- really has impressed me with his composure
    – Higgins, although being snakebit has been working hard..he DOES have 9 goals!!!
    – Great powerplay
    – More grit this year

    however since a team can always improve, we need to fix these areas

    Our negatives

    -bad bad zone clearing
    -too much time and effort spent chasing the puck
    -No GAME-breaker
    -shoddy defensive coverage at times
    -inability to adjust to the opposition
    -lack of sticking up for teammates (although they are doing it more this year than last)

    Am I alone in thinking the hit on Chipchura warrants a suspension?

    We can always find more to criticize, but we need to fix these first.

    there ARE 30 teams, and only 1 cup….so we have to be realistic.

    A TRUE fan, never…… jumps off the bandwagon…..

  34. HabsInBlood says:

    Teacher, I agree that the hit on Chipchura was dirty. A Sabre fan could argue that Chipchura made himself vulnerable by facing the boards. The problem with Vanek’s check in my view was that he had to have realized Kyle had his back to the play before he consciously cross-checked him from behind. It was that aspect of the hit that makes it bad. However, I don’t think he’ll be suspended.

    Another suggestion for you, Glen Stanton and all others who feel they schedule their lives around Habs games. Get a TiVO!! You can watch the game when you want, and if you feel like you are devoting too much of your time to them, you can fast forward through the games!!

  35. RGM says:

    It’s unfortunate that people were expecting this to be the undefeated season. Clearly these folks have the Habs confused with the New England Patriots, a very nice comparison but one that doesn’t quite measure up in terms of talent and the ability to spend cash to bring in the big names.
    Look, we’re going to win games this season, we’re going to lose games this season. Some games will be dominant whippings of the other team, some nights there will be lethargy and the appearance of poor effort. Even the mighty teams of the ’70s lost, and I don’t think anybody of sound mind would compare this roster favourably with that one, including Guy Lafleur.
    The point of all of this is that people need to put things in perspective. This hyperventilating over every loss is going to turn Habs fans into the equivalent of Leafs fans: irrational, short-sighted, pathetic whiners who want to fire the GM and coach and trade away every player if the Habs lose once or twice. This franchise has a lot more pride than that, and its fans (I’d like to think) have more class than that. It’s one thing to expect and demand that your team put out a quality performance on a nightly basis, it’s something entirely different to say that you’re done with them because they don’t measure up to your unreasonable expectations.

  36. HabsInBlood says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Re: Lafleur, he was a great player, but I think he needs to spend more time working on his effectiveness as a father than a game analyst.

  37. MikeL says:

    I agree, very well said.

  38. MikeL says:

    I agree, very well said.

  39. Dan23 says:

    Glenn Stanton is being too harsh. The Habs were playing entertaining hockey for the first 20 games or so.

    I am a bit fearful that we’re starting to head into the December-January swoon like last year, and I doubt I’m the only one.

    For sure, the Canadiens were playing slightly above their talent level over the first quarter of the season, but mostly it was because they were working hard each and every night. That effort has been more inconsistent of late (witness the last three games we’ve played against Buffalo).

    One thing I’ve noticed in particular is that Kovalev is no longer playing like he was a few weeks ago. I don’t know if it’s a byproduct of age and accumulated injuries, or what, but especially on defence, the Pleks line has been having problems.

    The top line has not performed up to expectations – last year they were doing it all at the beginning of the season.

    The defence has underperformed in recent games and the PK is not effective.

    We still have two great goalies and that gives any club a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Even though the Habs are not all the way there yet, they will be competitive to the end of the season.

    It seems obvious now (I hope) that Gainey will make a trade, either before Christmas or before the trading deadline.

    For now, this is a rough patch and I wouldn’t freak out. The worst thing the team could do (especially the coaches) is panic­. They’ve played a lot of hockey in November, and it may simply be catching up to them. December is supposed to be a more spaced out sked, and that might help (especially for old fogies like Brisebois).

    As Douglas Adams would say, Don’t Panic!

  40. CH1909-2009 says:

    It’s just a matter of stages. The team has spent a couple yeas drafting/developing a solid core of good support players. No big superstar can win games without one. See Ovechkin, Alex. So now their at the stage where they need to top it all off with the leader, the franchise player who will put it all over the top, break open the close games, elevate the good players to be great. When will it happen? No-one knows. the frustration is understandable, since Gainey’s tight-fisted silence can look a lot like complacency or inertia. But here’s hoping it’ll happen this deadline, becasue I agree with the St-Johns guy: it’s hard to watch.


  41. The Teacher says:

    Much easier to watch then last year…so far…Two years away…right about the time Vinny becomes a free agent..I can wait that long…He’s the guy we need if it won’t be Sidney Crosby. hopefully the Canadian dollar stays at par.

  42. saskhab says:

    It’d be better for Vinny (or any other free agent) financially to play in Canada if the dollar was weak. The costs of living would drop as their USD paid out salary would get them more disposable income.

    Of course, a higher CDN dollar means the teams generate more revenue in Canada, which ends up increasing the salary cap, which increases the amount top end free agents can get on the open market. So it’s all on how you look at it.

  43. The Teacher says:

    Or you can look at it this way

    The Canadian dollar is way overvalued (which i don’t believe, but just for a hypothesis).

    Vinny signs a deal agreeing to pay him in U.S. funds. The moment he signs the Canadian dollar starts creeping downwards and Vinny is laughing his butt off.

    Forward thinking 😛

  44. likehoy says:

    all NHL salaries are paid in American Dollars as of the new CBA

  45. The Teacher says:

    I agree that he did turn away from the boards, but he was at least two feet off of the boards when he got hit..Vanek didn’t let up AT all….

    and btw, the call was boarding….not hitting from behind..go figure eh!

  46. TheCharles says:

    I think everybody needs to take a breather. I know we still have the shadow of last year looming over us and nobody wants a repeat of that, but THIS IS NOT LAST YEARS TEAM! While they have similar records I still think that this is a much better team. Yes the 5 on 5 is scary, but I still see a lot more heart out of this team. The fact that breezer and Kovalev have been busting their humps and putting up good good numbers should say something. It’s only TWO games!

    Maybe my view is a little different because I’m a Habs fan in “Laughs Nation” but things are good where I’m sitting. We have an owner who cares. I first rate Management team that will makes the necessary changes and a coach who isn’t afraid to shake things up. I expect the boys to show up hungry on Tuesday and they should return to form.

  47. TradeRyder says:

    Gotta love the Flower! I actually think the Canadiens have four 2nd and 3rd lines! But for sure we don’t have a first… LIKE I’VE BEEN SAYING!

    And I totally agree with Glenn. In the late-90’s I stopped caring… it was too disappointing. Gainey needs to go and get a REAL star. Not a 30-year old figure skater who once scored 40 goals (you know who I mean). A bona-fide, game stealing, net crashing goal scorer. We have a lot of depth – trade some of it away. Gotta give to get… EVERYONE knows what we need.

    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  48. howtathor says:

    I WOULD like to see a trade for a proven goal scorer. Maybe to a sun belt team such as Atlanta or Florida or TB which don’t have sellout crowds to pay the cash that it would take to keep an Ovetchkin or a Kovalchuk. Any of those players should command Crosby/Heatly type numbers in any contract negotiations. With our sellout crowds every night there is no excuse for the Habs NOT to have a legitimate superstar. Granted, we don’t have a lot to offer but a team which would be willing to take a flyer on a Kostitsyn or a Grabovksi and a Halak and maybe a young D-man like Valentenko to boot. We have the resources, if need be. I hope we can pull a trade for a potential UFA who is adamant about not re-signing with his current team and who’s best friend plays for the Habs (Ovetchkin) and would like to see a WIN-WIN situation for himself and the Habs.

  49. yathehabsrule says:

    Things could be worse…At least we’re not the Leafs!

  50. Yeats says:

    No things are worse because we generally can’t beat the leafs! You know deep down, the Habs stand a better-than-even chance of getting their collective asses handed to them tomorrow night in TO. Coming off a lousy rode trip the leafs are going to hit the ACC ice full of piss and vinegar just waiting for our softies to come out. You will know the result of tomorrow night’s game in the first five minutes. Like the HIO poster Boone cites, I have a backup plan as well. Go play pickup. At least, I know me and my mates will bust a sweat and we never give cleche excuses for why we suck. At times, we just do.

  51. Y says:

    Ovechkin, I like. Bring him over Bob

    *He’s dying out there in the hockey hotbed of DC. Then again he might start sucking too if he joins this team of marshmallows :(

  52. Kevin says:

    Although I don’t think that losing 5 of 8 is officially considered a meltdown yet, I think there is a reason why the letdown is occuring earlier this season than last season. This season, the Habs are playing the same teams over and over again, allowing the opposing coaches to figure out and counter Carbonneau’s strategy quicker. I do have to say that Carbonneau seems to be doing a better job this year than last year, but Gainey needs to help him out a bit.

    If the Habs really are in a big funk and keep going like this, I may have to be a little more harsh with Carboneau. I’d like to see him take the Habs all the way, but he needs to develop a lot faster than Latendresse!
    Somedays I feel like he can put his best players on the ice and lose to your best players. Then, he can coach your best players and lose to his best players.

    Finally, I’m getting really tired of hearing Komisarek and Higgins say “we didn’t play our best, we have to do better next time.” Show it on the ice or at least say something a little more original!

  53. JDS says:

    Just way too much negativity here. Everyone from the fans to Boone to Carbo panic way to easy. After all it is just a game and one quarter of the season gone lots of hockey left….

    And I’m thinking no one here ever had an off day or week at work, just going through the motions and collecting pay…..

  54. MannyP says:

    Like they say over in French Canada…Whoa! les moteurs!
    Guy Lafleur…why would anyone take him seriously? He was brought onto that show to make just that kind of comment! He’s known to be a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy (he’s never lost his touch, has he) and he wasn’t about to disappoint his fans, the viewers or his employer (RDS), for that matter! Mind you, he is also employed by the Montreal Canadiens, last time I checked, so maybe they can find a way to put a muzzle on him. He was going for the ‘shock and awe’ effect, trying to justify his presence on this otherwise meaningless post-game and he came out with a ridiculous, overbaked observation. Saku Koivu? Really? A fourth-liner?
    Other than that, I think fans of this team should be a little more patient, before jumping the gun and shooting them down. It is Carbonneau’s job to instill a sense of urgency in this team, and this is why it seems to us like he is panicking, and taking us along with him for the ride. They’re trying to change the culture, trying to inculcate to this young team the necessity to win and PERFORM at a high and constant level. This is where it starts. Things will get back on track, this year. It’s a matter of time. Starting with next game. Let’s bury the Leafs and their management, in the process. Let’s show them we are the big dawgs, now!

  55. doug says:

    I love Guy Lafleur the hockey player. I also love it when he gives it to the team when they aren’t working or are primadonas.

    This year they’ve shown up, played hard, and been more than most expected, though. As such, in light of Guy’s recent episode with his son, I’d offer the following retort which is just as fair as his comment:

    “Guy Lafleur’s son doesn’t have a father, he has an enabler.”

  56. Chorske says:

    I think what Lafleur meant was that we have two #2 lines and two #3 lines. Unfortunately, one would have to be DOING a lot of lines for that kind of logic to make sense.

    It’s too early for panic but heck, we’re allowed to be concerned. It’s like watching a rerun from last year, only worse, cos I can’t see any reason for this crew to be doing so poorly. I still think this bunch are a big improvement over last year’s team. I just wish they’d stop making me feel so delusional.

  57. likehoy says:

    I think what Guy is trying to say is that all our lines are equally as good, therefore we have the best fourth liners in the league 😉

    take that for putting a spin on it

    don’t try to analyze what Guy really meant, what’s said is said, you can’t take it back and there’s no point in trying to interpret it.

    Do you wake up in the morning trying to be what everyone thinks your are?? Or do you wake up and be who can be?

    Now lets hope the Habs know who they can be and hope that what they are is the real deal.

  58. snowdonsteve says:

    i think that no mather what Guy Lafleur says there will always be at least 21 000 people ready to pay big bucks to see the bleu-blanc-rouge. Win or loose the bell center is full …

    Then again i was 7 years old when lafleur retired (montreal) i think a lot of those montreal great forget often that the game has changed… the fans have also changed. but i’ll say this, you score 500 goals in the NHL, you’ve earn the right to say whatever you feel like saying !!!

    truth be told i don’t think we’ve seen a dominant player in montreal since Patrick Roy… next one migth be Price. but i have’nt heard trevor timmins say he drafted a future 50 goal scorer in the last couple of years… one thing’s for sure, we’re going to have one hell of a defense in 3-4 years. Markov, Komisarek, Mcdonough, O’byrne, Valentenko(& that other russian still in russia) with price in net… we better learn to enjoy the left wing lock !!!

  59. Robert L says:

    Lafleur often says things as a lark, but the over reaction to it is somewhat silly. Things said, after a pair of dismal losses, often get taken out of perspective. Lafleur offered more balanced viewpoints during this show – of course they aren’t talked about. “Le Debat Des Grand Chefs” has a one minute cut – off time for each person’s statements, and by format doesn’t actually allow for putting thought into cohesive points.

    Glenn Stanton might also need to broaden his appreciation of today’s NHL, and it’s inherent new realities. He sounds like many fans I know who had gotten used to the Habs winning Cups almost by divine right.

    I hate hearing a die hard fan bundle years of frustration into the wrath behind a few bad games.

    It’s unfortunate that he’ll miss tonight’s invasion into to the ACC. I figure it will be a perfectly timed test for the Canadiens, against the perfect opponant for shaking them up.

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