Quick Hits

The verdict is in: Bad trade.

I’m referring, of course, to the Canadiens giving up on Matt D’Agostini.

A goal (including the third-period D’agger in the CH heart), an assist, four hits, plus-3.

And D’Agostini would have looked good at in Max Pacioretty’s spot on the Scott Gomez line.

Sadly, no one in a white jersey did.

Once again, Benoit Pouliot was a Not Ready for Prime Time player, with a stat line diametrically opposite to D’Agostini’s.

In 10:57 of ice time – only 45 seconds of which was in the third period with the game on the line – Benny managed to make errors on the first two St. Louis goals, take a penalty 175 feet from his net and finish the game at minus-2.

By the end of the second period, Jacques Martin had seen enough. Ryan White was bumped up to the Gomez line and Andrei Kostitsyn got a copuple shifts.

Nothing worked.

Jaro Halak made 26 mostly easy saves, surrounded by blue jerseys and safely protected from Canadiens forwards who, with rare exceptions, were disinclined to go to the net in quest of rebounds or second chances.

 

The Canadiens’ popgun attack was reminiscent of what we saw before Max-Pac began coming into his own. The value of a power forward was amply demonstrated by Chris Stewart and, especially, by David Backes.

There were rumours that Pierre Gauthier had asked about Backes when the Halak deal was being negotiated. You can see why John Davidson wouldn’t hear of it.

Backes had a goal, four hits and was plus-3. He’s a big, high-energy, annoying and highly-skilled guy who against whom no one likes to play.

Backes plays to the whistle on every shift, and not many Cnaadiens brought that degree of dedication to the Scottrade Centre tonight.

Lars Eller played hard in an effort to win one for the Goater. I thought he and Gomez were the best of the Canadiens forwards, but the industrious centres didn’t get much support from their wings.

And it was yet another game in which David Desharnais was reduiced to single-digit minutes on the fourth line.

The D had their hands full with swarming Blues. James Wisniewski was a turnover machine and finished minus-3. P.K. Subban crapped the bed on the play that led to the D’Agostini goal that put the game out of reach.

To their credit, however, the Dmen did a decent job of clearing what seemed too be an inordinate number of rebounds bouncing off Carey Price.

But let’s hear nothing about Halak winning the long-awaited goaltenders’ duel. As was not the case during his playoff heroics last spring, Jaro was playing behind a team that was, at least on this night, much better.

Without some big stops by Price, this one would have been an early rout.

At a certain point, Pierre Houde said the Canadiens looked like the team that had played last night. They had no jump, no rhythm or flow to their game, no commitment to winning one-on-one battles.

In short, they displayed none of the high-octane fuel that powered the winning streak.

Maybe it was a psychological hangover after the Pacioretty injury and the media-fuelled circus that ensued. You know the team isn’t mentally ready when its captain is taking brain-dead penalties.

(Wait! Saku used to do that … oh, never mind.)

Martin and his staff have work to do to prepare the Canadiens for their visit to Pittsburgh.

Job 1: Find a linemate with hair on his butt for Gomez and Brian Gionta.

Because based on what we saw tonight, number 57 ain’t no number 67.

• The Canadiens are still undefeated with Brent Sopel in the lineup.

•  When the Stanley Cup champions visit the Bell Centre April 5, it will be the Canadiens’ last chance to salvage a win against the Central Division.

• Mike Cammalleri doesn’t have a point in a 2011 road game.

31 Comments

  1. Cape Breton says:

    Cape Breton

  2. PeterD says:

    What I saw tonight was a team that still has their collective heads in Montreal worried about MaxPac, and not focussed on the current game.  This needs to be addressed tomorrow by the coaching staff and team leaders in the room.

    They never played with the heart and desire that was evident in the previous 5 wins, and understandably so after what they witnessed in the game on Tuesday night when Max took the horrific assault into the stanchion.  But as Max would probably say, that is in the past and the team needs to get refocussed on the next game.  Unless the emotions of the players on the team are addressed and dealt with they will not bounce back right away.

    My prescription is for Coach Martin to bring in some Post Traumatic Stress de-briefers to sit with the team in lieu of their next practice…what these players saw and experienced on Tuesday was a horrific incident within feet of their bench to one of their team mates…the sound alone was enough to have turned stomachs…This incident followed by the NHL’s lack of action would be enough to make any young player question what might be their own fate if they go near the boards or into the corners in a game…what sort of assurance do they have that their safety is in the least way important and protected in this league.  But I don’t want to go there with this post…what I think the players need is some post traumatic stress councelling to help them deal with their sense of violation and the violence done within inches of their faces to one of their own team/family member.

    I did like Eller again tonight…he seemed to put on a show, but the supporting cast was not there for the team to get the 2 points.  But I feel bad for Pouliot.  Obviously he is not Patches and to expect him to be Patches is unfair to both players.  Patches is a true Power Forward and for some reason the chemistry with Gio and Gomez works.  Pouliot seems to be more of a finesse player and it seems to work with DD and White et al.  But Patches and Pouliot are obviously not interchangable parts.

    So it would seem Martin and company will have to go back to the drawing board for a combination that works until Patches returns to take his place on that line.  But for now, lets put AK46 back with Moen and Eller…we all know that does work, and while we are at it, re-unite DD, Pouliot and White….again we all know that works.  Pleks, Halpern and Cammi will start to click once Cammi regains his timing and stamina…so maybe we can look to Hamilton and give Dawes a spin for a few days.

    That’s it for me for a week or so…off to Hawaii with my hunnie for a week on Saturday Morning and I am not going to appologize to anyone here on HIO for taking the break on the beach…Aloha baby!

     

  3. habsfan0 says:

    Boston hasn’t won the Cup since the Year Gimel!

  4. HNS says:

    Now that’s funny and I forgot all my Hebrew my fellow hejew.

  5. RS says:

    No need to panic about one game.

    It sure would be nice to see Plekanec and Cammalleri get scoring again. The Habs need those guys to lead the offence.

    It would also be nice to get Darche back. He is willing to use his body and go to the net.

  6. thebigguy says:

    It’d probably start with a gimel rather than a chet.

  7. habs001 says:

    one thing to remember that for every good road game this team has played there are 3 brutal ones…we really did not play worse today than the game we won in atlanta…

  8. jew4jah says:

    chara = חרה

  9. Habnofear says:

    Well, the rest of the season will be a roller coaster and the team is set in stone “barring any more injury’s!” At this point with the battered  and ageing D and undersized team ,it is what it is. As far as the NHL  CHANGING ITS WAYS …fat chance of that happening. We should of had a bigger and tougher team and hopefully Gauthier and Gainey get it now”got to fight fire with fire!” I am looking forward to the Beantown break dance in two weeks and hope we bring all the weapons in the back room! It’s time like this when I’d like to see Hab Fans every where ,with all their different views and thoughts take it easy on each other and try to enjoy the ride….Think of it as our gift to Patches.

  10. Bleu blanc rouge says:

    Pouliot………The new Gomez. Let the whipping begin!

  11. HardHabits says:

    I don’t feel the same way at all. It’s like lightning striking twice. The Habs have to keep their heads up for sure but look at it this way:

    Koivu – cancer, almost lost an eye – came back

    Max Pax – most brutal hit of the new millenium – up and walking

    The Habs will prevail. It took 1974 and 1975 for the Habs to regroup and beat the Flyers way back when. The Habs got by nasty Bruins teams in the past.

    Right now the Habs are on the smallish side and I am sure that Gainey realizes his smurf strategy has its drawbacks.

    I am sure they wont give up on the speedy and skilled forwards but grit is coming.

    It’s a matter of time. For now the team has the jitters and rightfully so but the swagger will come back.

    If not this season soon enough.

    The most sensible of level heads are in our corner and those who would back the Bruins and the other goons are going the way of the Neanderthal.

    AS opportunity knocks also must we answer the bell. That is the way humanity prevails. That is the way good triumphs over evil. That is the way justice is served. Cold. Like just ice.

  12. HardHabits says:

    It’s the fault of the league. They have encouraged the carnage by trying to change the game to meet American marketing needs. 

    The truth is the game of hockey was developed by Canadians because we know the game. Look at the history of rule changes throughout the early years. All intended to make the sport better for the fans in the arenas and the players on the ice.

    The game has been taken over by American thugs and lawyers. This is like Federal Reserve taking the creation of money away from Congress.

    It will take a revolution but the Chara-Pacioretty incident is the concussion that was heard around the world.

    Have faith in humanity SF09. At any rate I know which side I am fighting on.

    This also goes out to the few posters who I have lambasted tonight. It’s time to grow up and be men. Stop the incessant vaginal hemorrhaging because your times of the month are a daily occurence.

    I am so sick of the crap that spews forth on a regular basis and attempts to pass itself off as either sarcasm or criticism.

    This Pacioretty incident has changed me and my point of view on things.

    A while back I threw up a white flag in sarcasm but not I will would rather fight to my last breath.

  13. Timo says:

    Habs WILL prevail. Eff NHL, NHLPA and all the media engaged in love orgy with Chara and Campbell. 

    Habs will prevail, healthy or not.

  14. SeriousFan09 says:

    The problem is I’m tired of comeback stories HH.

    Koivu playing on two bad knees, a cancer fight and a damaged eye has always been very admirable to me, but look how it held back his career. I’m resigned to Pacioretty not playing until the 11-12 season which is likely. I’m hoping Markov and Gorges are back next year, but I’m annoyed they had to miss time (I know with Gorges it was inevitable with no ACL). I still remember Robert Lang going down and thinking “yep, we’re good and screwed” and him talking about maybe making it for the playoffs if the Habs went deep. Never played with us again. Zednik knocked out… it just never ends.

    Tracking Brendan Gallagher, kid has a concussion, symptom-free yesterday but who knows about tommorow? Steve Quailer, a bubble guy who tore his ACL in pre-season action over a year ago is barely climbing back to where he was in 08-09. Joonas Nattinen has spent the season dealing with the aftermath of a torn achilles tendon.

    I want fewer feel-good comeback stories, more stories about guys who just make it to the NHL and have an impact. Just seems like too much potential is being rubbed out these days.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  15. pricefor25 says:

    maybe off the topic but i got question…did chara even reach out to max and apologize?

  16. habs-hampton says:

    Why would he apologize? He said he did nothing wrong. As he said, Max jumped into the stantion.

  17. SeriousFan09 says:

    It would be awkward with his apology having to start with him saying it was Pacioretty’s fault when he first spoke. I doubt Max wants to hear one word from that thug.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  18. Propwash says:

    He said he wanted to, wether or not that happens is a crapshoot at best.

     

  19. shootdapuck says:

    Skated like the wind and made his line look good by following the trailblazing of another big stud: Stewart!

    He surely wasn’t alone!

     

     

    “I only like to watch and takes notes” JM

  20. andrewberkshire says:

    The Backes love-in is a little bit ridiculous. He popped one lucky goal, was behind the play all night and hooked and held his way around the ice. He looked to me like he was extremely slow, and the exact kind of player Habs fans would hate because on OUR team, he’d always be in the box. The player who stood out for the Blues, and the unquestionable play of the game, was Andy McDonald, who skated like the wind and made his line look good.

  21. Jdub1985 says:

    this is a good one.

  22. HardHabits says:

    Nothing a like a boring game against the most boring team in the league to dampen all the excitement.

    This type of hockey would not sell in Boston. 

    I think there should be a new hockey league. Call it the Mix Martial Arts Hockey League.

    Introduce a whole new set of rules. Like there should be a point system for decapitation and another for punches landed. Put the net up on a pole and have them shoot the puck through a hoop. They can eliminate the goal-tending position altogether and in fact call goal-tending a penalty.

    Part of the new game will include tackling and stick work will not only be allowed but it will be encouraged.

    There will only be a two teams in that league though. Boston and Philadelphia. Maybe they can add Phoenix, Atlanta, Columbus and the rest of the sun belt. Rather than use skates they could just wear rubber boots and slog through slush. The puck should also be double the size and offside should be eliminated, except when teams line up for the snap.

  23. Castor says:

    I dunno. Bring up Dawes?
    I’m running out of reasons to hold out hope for this season. Everytime something starts going well someone goes down. Imagine this team healthy? Talk about a good team.

     

  24. Bill says:

    I really couldn’t get into the game and I doubt the Habs could either. They’re professionals, but they just saw their friend and comrade maimed, his career in jeopardy, and on top of that, had to listen to listen to bunch of media flacks and jackals blow it off or – worse – blame the victim, and THEN were left slackjawed at the non-response from the league. Their hearts weren’t in it, and how could they be?

    A little more time is required. Better yet, some good news about Pacioretty’s health. If the Habs make the playoffs and if Pacioretty is coming around and not dealing with serious concussion problems, I might be able to regain my former manic level of interest or some close approximation.

    Funny, the “big match” between Jaro and Carey and most of us cared about as much as your average Phoenix Coyote attendee.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  25. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    Okay, sure, ours is a team bruised and battered by yet another season of unending injuries and by the ever-growing feeling that they play in a league bereft of any notion of fair-play. But tonight made clear once again how thin our ranks are of scoring forwards. Pacioretty’s ascension helped mask that, but all the righteous indignation of fans, sponsors and fellow players isn’t going to bring Patches back this season. And all the Bugs-loving in the world isn’t going to turn Pouliot into an effective top-6 forward. So what do we do? Pack up camp and agree to meet again in September? 

     

    It seems to me its time to give up on the idea of rolling 4 mediocre scoring lines, and consolidate what we have left into two lines of our best talent. And create two lines of muckers and checkers. And, I’m afraid, that means placing Gomez on the latter. 

     

    While I understand JM’s decision to move Gionta to Gomez’s line to try to jump-start the moribund center’s season, we no longer have that luxury. Ask yourself this: who is now our best scoring forward? Gionta. Who is our best playmaking forward? Plekanic. They should be back together with Cammy on the other wing. Yes, that’s a small line, but they have been very effective together in the past. Second line: Eller, AK, and Deharnais. Yeah, I know he’s a center, but I’m willing to bet he’d be better than Eller was on the wing, and who knows? He may relish being freed up from centerman duties for awhile. 

     

    Gomez and Halpern center the other two lines featuring the likes of Moen, White, Pyatt, Pouliot (but NOT with Gomez!!! the giveaways would be ludicrous), Darche when he’s back, and perhaps even Weber. And don’t even expect scoring from those bottom lines. Use them strictly to buzz, harass, and provide a rest for the top two. We no longer have the luxury of moving top wingers to Gomez’s line in hopes of a miracle resurgence, and Desharnais and Eller deserve more of an opportunity than Gomez, Pouliot, or even Halpern (I loved his goal tonight, but he is still at his best as a checking forward). 

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  26. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’m worried about the next Hab to go off the ice on a stretcher or limping. The targets on the team’s backs right now and they’re probably wondering when their number is going to be up.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  27. avatar_58 says:

    Yeah I said that when it happened -Dagger. Oh well. What can you do, one more ex-hab killing them.

     

    Anyone else not really give two plops about this game? I was barely watching it. Thank for that Bettman. You made me stop caring about this year, and that’s hard to do considering I watch even blowouts.

  28. Propwash says:

    Do you agree with that?

  29. SeriousFan09 says:

    Boone, Gomez was the goat. He sent a pass that Subban struggled to reach and couldn’t and it became the turnover, that was the end of it.

    D’Agostini can play at times, but his only truly productive streak in MTL came from playing next to Koivu, who lifted many nobodies to semi-good in his time. I’ve seen him play and this was a typical ‘beat my old team’ game from a player. When he’s not on his scoring streaks, he’s not exactly useful. A less talented Michael Ryder.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  30. Propwash says:

    Can’t fault Price on this one. It was a weird game from the start.


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