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. 

60 Comments

  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

    WE ARE NOT GETTING VINCENT LECAVALIER

    EVER

    FOR AS LONG AS VINCENT F. LECAVALIER IS ALIVE, HE WILL NOT PLAY FOR THE CANADIENS.

  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:

    Wow…

    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 thehockeynews.com…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.


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