Humiliation

Jocelyn Thibault returns to blank the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, mqaking 24 saves as the Buffalo Sabres win the two-game, two-night, too-depressing total-goal series 7-2.

"It was a bad effort all around," said Christopher Higgins, reflecting on the 3-0 loss in a subdued Canadiens dressing room. "We made bad decisions, a lot of turnovers, not working the puck deep.

"We were losing a lot of battles."

And the war. Buffalo is still six points behind Canadiens in the Eastern Conference standings, but the Sabres have two games in hand and are showing signs of regaining their 2006-’07 form.

The scary thing is the Canadiens are starting to evoke disquieting memories of last season.

No flu bug, no serious injuries like the one that sidelined Higggins. But there are troubling signs – an impotent power play, futile line juggling – that the team has systemic problems.

"We don’t have a 50-goal scorer," Higgins said. "We don’t have a Hart or Norris Trophy winner. For us to win we all have to work hard."

Higggins’ Long Island pal Mike Komisarek said the Canadiens "can’t continue playing like this."

"We have to do something about it. It’s the responsibility of each and every one of us – forwards, D, young guys, older guys.

"We have to play smart," Komisarek added. "We have to play with passion and show pride when we go out there."

Canadiens have Sunday off and will return to the practice ice on Monday, preparing for a rare Tuesday date with the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

 

 

190 Comments

  1. The Teacher says:

    I do agree Kat, but his contract is up soon, and he may want to play in his hometown. I’d rather have Sidney, but…, wouldn’t we all.

  2. teamplayer says:

    thanks for letting me know, was disappointed when p2p was showing tsn channel with no game

  3. JasonM says:

    Of course. HNIToronto loves those Leafs! They are after all, Canada’s team! *rolls eyes*

    I gave on HNIC long ago.

  4. DYCSoccer17 says:

    It’s nice to see that HNIC took the crew all the way down to Phoenix, just to show the Laffs against another bottom-feeder like the Coyotes. It’s a shame they neglect Ottawa and Montreal.

  5. JasonM says:

    Lots of problems on the Habs getting the puck out with the Buffalo forecheck, specifically the case when Streit/Gorges is out there.

  6. The Ian Cobb says:

    Toronto 1 Phenix 4

  7. DYCSoccer17 says:

    Komisarek is a BEAST. God, I love that guy.

  8. BigHabsFan says:

    ohhh mama it working, thank god

  9. Ed says:

    Didn’t Kostopoulos also draw the first penalty last night, and Buffalo scored their first goal? It was also in the 1st period.

  10. BigHabsFan says:

    anyone have a sopcast channel with the game??? i cant get it to work for some reason. cjad again…..yikes

  11. the_vipah says:

    Sigh like usual, these 4-5th string French goalies totally own the Habs.

  12. yathehabsrule says:

    Two fast Leaf goals, they pull Raycroft, and the Coyotes beat Toskala on the first shot…Then Doan pounds on Tucker and Gretzky is laughing behind the bench…. Too funny… OK I was pissed CBC covered this game…but now it’s kinda worth it…

  13. Norman says:

    Decent amount of shots from us!

  14. Ed says:

    Gorges and Streit was interesting on that long stretch in the Canadiens’ zone. How many checks were thrown? It’s lucky that Buffalo never scored.

  15. teamplayer says:

    anybody know where i can watch the game online? cbc doesnt show it and my p2p nhl doesnt have it either (it says it does but it shows you tsn instead of rds)

  16. Ed says:

    Mike, in your comments about last night’s game, you made a good point about the Sabres being one of the few teams in the NHL that are less physically imposing than the Canadiens, and the guys in red sweaters must lay a bit of smack-down on the visitors tonight to take them off their skating, slick-passing game. I always wonder why some players don’t hit, while others do. A look at the stats show a big discrepancy from top to bottom, with Komisarek at 77, and Plekanec with only 8.

    http://www.nhl.com/nhlstats/app?fetchKey=20082MONSASAll&page=Stats&servi

    It is obvious that our defense is not very intimidating, when you look at Begin, Ryder, Kostopoulos, and Latendresse being 2nd to 5th on the team. Why don’t defensemen hit any more? Three of our regular defence are averaging less than a hit per game. Look at the 1977-78 Canadiens, and you had Robinson, Lapointe, Savard, Bouchard, Chartraw, Nyrob, Lupien. In addition to offense, some of those guys could hit. Thus the forwards did not need to hit as much, but they still had Risebrough, Lambert, Gainey, Tremblay, to keep the opposition honest. Those guys also contributed offensively.

    Some of the present day forwards could step it up too. Kovalev is not known as a hitter, but he can do it. Ask Darcy Tucker. He has 27 in 22 games, while Higgins, who is known for his strength and hustle, has only 22 in 22 games. Ryder, who receives a lot of criticism for his lack of offense, is hitting, and at 186 pounds, is the smallest regular on the team.

    http://canadiens.nhl.com/team/app?page=TeamPlayers&service=page&srt=wt&t

    In the game last night, the Canadiens outhit the Sabres 19 to 13, but they have had games where they had many more hits than 19. Maybe they were resting for tonight, and that is something you should never do. Also, you can only hit when the other team has the puck, and the Sabres had the puck a lot more than the Canadiens did. Markov and Ryder led with 3 hits each, and they are not the ones you expect to lead your team in hits. Five players had no hits at all, and I can’t understand how that is possible in a hockey game. In hockey, everybody should throw at least 1 check a game. What has happened to this physical game?

    While searching for a site which shows all 24 HABS Stanley Cup banners (I have a sheet showing all 24), I found that the site seems to no longer exist. I printed it on March 3, 1996. However, I did find an interesting article from the New York Times dated March 1989. It is mainly about Robinson and Gainey, and some people might find it an interesting read.

    http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:ichAH2rl_YAJ:query.nytimes.com/gst/f

  17. nightmare_49 says:

    On my Bell Expressvu menu it shows everybody but CBC Ottawa showing the lafs game , that’s what i was going by. t.o vs phoenix can you imagine, i’ll rather watch AHL any day. Enjoy.

  18. J.T. says:

    I can’t see Bouillon sitting just for poor play. Carbo loves him. He must be hurting.

  19. Mike Boone says:

    Pierre has had the flu. He says he’s past the worst of it.

  20. Mike Boone says:

    At this rate, the puck will drop at 7:10 or so.

  21. Keith says:

    Is the glass problem going to delay the game?

  22. Keith says:

    People in the east(my province N.B) are getting the Ottawa Janitors at least instead of the laffs for once but I’m sure HNIT will CONSTANTLY prattle on about the laffs with never ending updates and the like.

  23. Keith says:

    We have to beat the Sabres after what happened last night with the brutal call notwithstanding. Playing better for the whole game would be a start. Taking the body hard on Brian Campbell is important and get in Millers face like Saku did last night, it seems to work against him. Lets get medieval on their asses! GO HABS GO!!!

  24. Rugger says:

    Wait another year, at the rate the US Dollar is dropping, everyone will want to play in Canada.

  25. Naila Jinnah says:

    Ooooh Pierre’s voice is scratchier than ever! Don’t they have ANYONE else who can call the game? Seriously?

  26. nigel-ski says:

    I hope we win this game. For me, at least, losing to Buffalo is almost as bad as losing to Toronto. Almost.

    Habs rule, Leafs drool…

  27. showey47 says:

    All true statements but he also grew up with the “CH” in his heart and with all the endorsements he would get playing in montreal, he would make 10 times the money that anyone could ever offer him. The guy also wants to win and it won’t happen in tampa bay, they are a franchise in decline with ownership that won’t even spend up to the cap to remain competitive. I think it is much more realistic than most people realize and don’t be surprised if there are trade talks next season between tampa and montreal because i doubt tampa would want to lose him for nothing. It may sound crazy but thats what they also said about edmonton before trading gretzky in the late 80’s.

  28. nightmare_49 says:

    CBC GTA Tax – Most of us pay taxes and that money funds the CBC so we are shareholders of the CBC. The Greater Toronto Area seldom miss anything when it comes to sports, and other things on the CBC, but the rest of Canada may get a token sniff once and awhile so it’s only logic that the people outside the GTA should get a tax relief or a refund. Now we all know tax relief in the right pocket means tax increase in the left pocket. So i suggest the Federal Government impose a tax on the people of the GTA (greater toronto area ) totalling a couple of hundred dollars which would only mean less than twenty dollars a month seeing they get all the benefits of the CBC in broadcasting and 80% of the interviews supplement Hogtown residents etc.It’s our company and we are shareholders. Now i can sit down and watch toronto vs Phoenix then again i may go back to my french lessons even though i don’t own part of RDS.

  29. showey47 says:

    no kidding, i am so glad that i have rds to watch the game instead of being held hostage by the Communist Broadcasting Corporation.

  30. Erik says:

    GO HABS WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  31. Habs-Kat says:

    Out of the big three in Tampa Bay, the Lightning will definitely try their hardest to hold on to Vinny. Somehow, I don’t see him coming to Montreal.

  32. nightmare_49 says:

    HNIT : Toronto vs Phoenix- I quess all hockey fans in Canada had trouble sleeping last night in anticipation of this great matchup that tha CBC has for Canada nationally and they will provide updates of the other boring matches Phil. vs Ott. and Buff. vs Mtl. thats if they feel like it.

  33. Yeats says:

    Well, I do agree that we should go top-shelf if at all possible. Vinny could certainly be the difference between making the playoffs and winning them. Ovechkin would be another forward who I’d take in a heartbeat.

  34. The Teacher says:

    I was thinking along the lines of Vinny Lecavalier. He is a free agent in one of the coming seasons, and have no doubt we will be making a very competitive offer when the time comes. A Francophone star to hog the attention and keep it away from the rest of the team will do wonders. A Stanley Cup winner and someone who has been under pressure to be a great NHL star since he was in his teens.

    I wonder if anyone has thought to ask Kirk Muller if he as a captain (during the days of Patrick Roy, a francophone star) experiences a level of pressure lower, equal to, or higher than that experienced by Saku Koivu )where there is no francophone star to take the focus away).

    Would the answer not be interesting?

  35. Yeats says:

    Ryan Getzlaf?

  36. The Teacher says:

    Hahahahahaha Mike, that made my day.

    I wasn’t around last night but was watching the game with some friends. I have to say that all in all the Habs didn’t play a terrible game.

    I didn’t see a repeat of last week’s game in Buffalo. I saw a team that did skate but were often the second on the puck. After the first period I turned to my friend and said, I think this game is going to end 1-0. I thought both goalies were playing pretty good. The Habs although they had a few chances, seemed to lack in their finish once again. Koivu has been getting hit hard these last few games, noone has gone out and really taken it to the oppostion physically to try and get him some room. I would take it easy on our captain, look at some of the shots he’s taken the last few games, and I don’t just meean the Sillinger hit.

    I think we played well enough to win, but sadly, we didn’t.

    Scary moment with Markov early, hope he isn’t feeling some residual effects.

    Regarding Breezer, I do have to admit I find Hamrlik skating a heck of a lot more and tiring himself out on many shifts. I do see Breezer causing a lot more work from him, but also see ATROCIOUS attempts at clearing the puck out of our zone. That is the biggest problem with our team, and that is something that seems to be a repeat from last year.

    We have made many positive changes, but until we change the fact that we are expending way too much energy trying to clear the zone on many shifts, we won’t get over the ‘hump’ we seem to keep bumping into.

    We need a strong legitimate scorer for our first line, someone who is big and can skate into the corners, but also score. Who fits that bill in the league today?

    The other problem is that we are still realistically 2 years away give or take a year. This is a year to gain experience, make and perhaps surprise a team in the playoffs.

  37. Will Longlade says:

    There may not be an easy way to get around playing some Friday evening games. I think the league prefers Friday night games over Monday night games, so voodoo, or not, the team is probably stuck with them.

    The way Montreal has been playing lately they may need that extra day in February to make the playoffs. Let’s hope it ain’t so.

  38. Dan23 says:

    Agreed, but we can always dream…

  39. Bill says:

    Oh, the comments are going the RIGHT way now. Well done, webmaster!

  40. Angry Almond says:

    Can’t wait….sitting in 326CC…GO HABS GO!!!


    Music is the best. FZ

  41. Bill says:

    Given the difference in taxation rates in Florida vs Quebec, the amount the Habs would have to pay would certainly be too much to make it worthwhile. You’d be looking at 11-12 million, which would destroy the rest of the team.

    Even if the Habs offer more, just pretend you’re Vincent Lecavalier: you’re a rich young man living in Tampa. Are you going to give up sunshine, beach babes, and anonymity for Montreal winters, journalistic harassment of Princess Diana proportions, and b******t politics? He wouldn’t last two years.

  42. showey47 says:

    He is an unrestricted free agent in 2 years and will have his choice where he can go. You can guarantee at that point we will already by a top 4 team in our conference and bob will do what it takes to sign him. He will be the guy who will help bring stanley back to his rightful home


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