Quick hits

Look, it’s all part of the master plan.

The Canadiens wanted James Wisniewski to feel at home.

So they played like the Islanders.

OK, that wasn’t funny.

Your Montreal Canadiens played like what they have become:

• a fragile team, easily undone by adversity

• a team incapable of playing 60 minutes (unless you count their aggregate total for this road trip)

• a brain-dead team that incapable of simple line changes

• a team tumbling out of playoff contention and facing a January schedule that includes games against Atlanta, the Rangers, Boston, Philadelphia and TWO against Pittsburgh

What to do?

Fire Jacques Martin, paying off 2 1/2 seasons plus a penalty clause? Then they can dip into the pool of unemployed French-speakiches to hire Bob Hartley, who’ll come ind scraem at everyone.

Call up David Desharnais and Ryan White, hoping they’ll spark a team that can’t score (nine goals in the six games on the road) and won’t hit (penalties on top of penalties … and none that hurt anybody)?

Give up on Habs hockey, watch the NFL playoffs and check back in for a lottery draft pick in June?

No ideas here.

I’m too busy trying to figure out the Habs Inside/Out server issues.

On L’Antichambre, Mario Tremblay offered his ideal Canadiens lineup:

The defence pairings:

Roman Hamrlik and P.K. Subban

Jaro Spacek – Josh Gorges

Hal Gill – James Wisniewski

Mario’s frward lines:

Mike Cammalleri – Tomas Plekanec – Maxim Lapierre 

Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Andrei Kostitsyn

Mathieu Darche – Scott Gomez – Brian Gionta

Lars Eller – Jeff Halpern – Travis Moen

Notice who’s missing?

Benoit Pouliot. Tremblay coached him in Minnesota, and like others who have followed the former first-round draft choice’s career, including Pierre McGuire, he’d happily trade Benny for a dog .. and shoot the dog.

I thought Pouliot was a great acquisition. But maybe my friend McGuire was right when he characterized the deal that sent Guillaume Latendresse to Minnesota as “poop for poop”.

Pouliot has size, speed, hands, a great shot.

He’s a star from the neck down … if you don’t consider the muscle allegedly beating inside his chest cavity.

But the Canadiens aren’t losing because of Benoit Pouliot.

There are troublesome issues in every aspect of their game.

• The power play, after a promising beginning with Wiz firing shots on goal, had another 0-for night. The PP has no patience, rarely settles into its set-up and DESPERATELY misses Andrei Markov.

• The team takes too many penalties (and, as stated above, they’re of the lazy, pussy-ass variety). This has a ripple effect: it prevents Martin from rolling his line and getting some flow and rhythm going, and, worse, has the team’s best forward, Tomas Plekanec, expending too much energy on the PK.

• Carey Price is mentally fatigued, and the team’s ineptitude is getting to him. The Canadiens have ridden their goaltender too hard, and they’re paying for Price’s league-leading starts and ToI

• Three of Tampa Bay’s first-overall draft choices played last night: Steven Stamkos (2008), Vincent Lecavalier (1998) and Roman Hamrlik (1846).

Hammer took three minors last night. He’s out of gas, peeps … and it’s still 2010.

On the plus side, Hamrlik played less than 20 minutes, as did Spatch.

Wisniewski played 21:48. And P.K. Subban led the team in ToI at 23:27.

Yannick Weber was Wiz’s partner. He played 19:10 and was plus-1  – a compelling argument for the case that plus/minus is a horsecrap stat.

Weber is not an NHL defenceman.

Maybe we’ll find out if David Desharnais, who padded his AHL-leading point total with three assists last night, is an NHL centre.

More tomorrow … if I’m not too depressed.

62 Comments

  1. G-Man says:

    Habs are what most thought them to be. a barely .500 club that has trouble scoring. The GAA would have to be 0.00 to pull out a win. Too soft, too many stupid penalties, and players that can’t hit the net while skating.

    One more night of a terrible road trip and likely another loss. Softie toffee hockey does not work. Not enough Habs are playing with a physical edge.

  2. krob1000 says:

    I know it it is the weirdest thing I have ever typed on here but I really wish coaches didn;t have to be fired or kept….why can’t they be sat out.  I am not stupid and I eralize that Martin did much good….but he needs a rest….and if he were succeeded I would stillw ant much of his dedication to defensive detail to reamin….but we would be starting over…if only you could actually bench a coach…..it is really quite odd when you think about it tat he can;t be since he too has a boss and is surrounded by assistants capable of illing in much like the players…..where is Harold Ballard when you need him….lol

  3. larisalapointe says:

    I don’t know what’s worse, our team riding rough seas or the expert commentariat blaming Price for this loss. I guess as long as they just see a puck behind the net, has to be the goalie right?  Wrong.

    -5-3, please, the “new” technique to counter 5 freakin’ men at once. Read up on it. Hence the one knee down.

    -Stamkos crashes our net…where’s the D?

    -That was an illegal move on that penalty shot

    -Spacek had Price’s pad pinned, he couldn’t move to the other side.

    But this   Three of Tampa Bay’s first-overall fraft choices played last night: Steven Stamkos (2008), Vincent Lecavalier (1998) and Roman Hamrlik (1846). made me lMAO.  Thanks M. Boone.

     

  4. StevieRay says:

    ouch… was invited out for supper etc tonite and didn’t get home until the last 3 minutes of the game …I thought Price looked short in net …it was Auld … oh oh I thought…they rested price ..WRONG !!!  Pulled the lad ..JM at his best ..I thing he’s lost the team ..from what I can figure out from the posts tonite..we are in a tailspin and need a shot of pick me up …. but from who ????  Glad now I didn’t get to see the game …. Looks like we need a total change in how we play ???

  5. ManApart says:

    Oh sure, it’s bad luck that have the Habs down. That must be it.

  6. Habnofear says:

    The Habs  sure could  use a little Halak magic now ,he was a great miracle worker for times like this…. Tampa looked awesome tonight and Stevie Y is a shaker mover genius,Boucher is the best coach and Cedrick is Amazing…
    It’s getting close to clean the House mode,these guy’s on the Habs can’t play together… the puzzles don’t fit.The Mayans forecast this and 2012 Habs will be a last place finish if this is allowed too continue,lol.
    If the Habs played in the K.H.L. THEY WOULD BE HANDS DOWN THE BEST TEAM! But this is not a team built for success in the N.H.L ,they gots no Chutzpah as a group….a dead lay!

  7. billylove says:

    The team is on the verge of a major breakdown! If you think it’s bad now, think again. Half the team is burned out, (physically, mentally or both) and we’re just at the mid point. Their are huge issues with virtually every aspect of their game. If this slide lasts much longer, the damage to the team’s confidence will be too severe and you can write off the rest of the year. They’ll be tired and demoralized but they desperately need a win against Florida. Then they can limp home with some self-respect! 

  8. CHasman says:

    In all my years of watching hockey I have never seen a team take two terrible ‘too many men’ penalties in quick succession.  The extra man wasn’t even near the bench in either case.  Laughable! 

    Missing the net on quality chances way too much.

    Spacek and Hammerlik making more giveaways than rookies.

    Plekanecs, Cammy and Ak46 playing great together and then separated.

    Halpern, Darche and Pouliot playing great together and then separated.

    Eller, Darche and POuliot playing great together and then separated.

    Players playing like they’re afraid of making mistakes, passing when they should shoot and shooting when they should pass.

    And the worst thing I’ve seen this year.  Taking a player that was exciting and having me believe I was watching a star being born and beating him down, blaming him for mistakes that a rookie makes when two veteran defensemen are making the same mistakes every night, but at least the coach made his point, try not to be a star.

    The Habs will turn it around, even with JM as a coach because they are not as bad as they are playing now. I, however hope they do it with a different bench boss.  He’s making our team boring and stifling their talent!

  9. RedLight says:

    We have fantastic owners. They spend to the cap and are very passionate about their/our team.

    Obviously, no one is happy tonight. But the Molsons are as sour as anyone, I’m sure. Why would you boycott their product?

    And hey, they may need a lot more money if they decide to fire JM, even if I wouldn’t endorse that decision. But, I guess as the proof I’d cite to prove my point, that decision may get made, even if – as Mike highlights – it would be a decision driven by hockey rather than business.

    But if there were a Benny Brew, I’d gladly get on board with that revolt.

  10. kevin m says:

    Who owns the team?

  11. Kristopher7 says:

    As of tonight I am officially done with all Molson products. My own personal boycott.”

    Are you 2 years old?

  12. kevin m says:

    As of tonight I am officially done with all Molson products. My own personal boycott.

    I am sick & tired of this wishy/washy coach & system. We go out & get a bunch of offensive players to form the core of this team & then proceed to inflict upon us, night in & night out, a “defense first” system.

    What if we took our offensive talent & went balls out every night. If we were losing games 6-5 & 4-3, then we could say we need to tighten up on our defense. As it is now, all of our offensive talent is busy playing on the defensive side of the puck.

    Teams relish playing the Habs because it’s like a night off. “SOFT” is not the word.

    I’m convinced that their collective cup sizes are even smaller than their hearts.

    Hurry up & get some nasty SOB’s on this team to bring back a little respectability. PLEASE!!!

    Oh, and for the officials, how about after unbelievably idiodic calls, just to get their mugs on TV they get grazed with a clearing puck just to wake ‘em up a bit. 

  13. MathMan says:

    They don’t play like a team that’s given up on their coach. They play like a team that’s been walloped with bad luck and whose confidence has suffered as a result.

    Once things start going their way again they’ll be fine — and I think we’re in for a nice suprise because their underlying stats in December were very strong (so much so that it’s almost a travesty that they lost so many games and by so many goals, but then again, after last year’s playoffs the Habs really can’t complain about luck.)

  14. habs fan from stonyplain says:

    JM has to go he has over managed this team cammi/gio pleks line was on fire he split them up also eller/pouliot/darche was one of the best third lines he split them up also what he did with pk is a joke. THis playing on your heels does not work, also when is Auld playing again Carey has seen more rubber then a dead skunk on the trans canada. He is a dinosaur and needs to keep our GM company and get a real modern coach not this dionosaur who over manages and screws up the team hell even Toe Blake would have a hard time getting this team back.

  15. MathMan says:

    I thought Pouliot was a great acquisition. But maybe my friend McGuire was right when he characterized the deal that sent Guillaume Latendresse to Minnesota as “poop for poop”.

    Minus the part where Latendresse is poop. Montreal knowingly traded a useful NHLer for an inferior player.

    Stupid, stupid trade.

  16. Mr.Hazard says:

    • Three of Tampa Bay’s first-overall draft choices played last night:
    Steven Stamkos (2008), Vincent Lecavalier (1998) and Roman Hamrlik
    (1846).

    LOLL

  17. Chuck says:

    Love the new avatar, Showey! I’m assuming that it was a great party!

    Centre Hice: Bringing a knife to a gunfight

  18. rocketsglare says:

    Basta!!!!

    Go Habs Go!

  19. Timo says:

    See it now too.

  20. Timo says:

    What’s to explain. A player doesn’t get to choose whether he wants to join or leave The System. The System picks a player and he gets sucked in. There is no way out unless The System no longer deems a player useful for its purpose and the it simply chews a player up and spits him out. There is no changing The System, there is no stopping it. The only way to deal with it is to adopt. 

  21. larisalapointe says:

    Haha, might be. But the moose had to go from Toronto all the way to Saint John, NB where it got drunk on Moosehead beer and then became their petrified symbol.

     

  22. Born in a Bad Year says:

    I just can’t stand watching this anymore.  If the next game starts with Hammer and the Spaceman on the same paring I am going to switch off the TV.  I think the biggest problem we have is two pairs of psudo-offensive defencemen (and one shutdown pair).  They need to be balanced out and all be playing on their correct sides.

    JM is going to kill this team. He is only here to fulfill some selfserving revenge fantasy against the Habs.  There is no other possible reason for how he runs this team.  Maybe he was passed over for some position in the past with the organization and now wants it as dead as is his ability to express emotion. 

  23. temekuhabs says:

    Expand on the reply please, Timo :)

  24. Timo says:

    You don’t quit The System. The System quits you.

  25. habsfan0 says:

    Is that one of the moose(meese ?) that former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman unleashed upon an unsuspecting public a few years ago? A few went missing..

  26. larisalapointe says:

    Your new avatar just showed up, congrats!

  27. larisalapointe says:

     It’s just a ton of scrap metal fused together in the shape of a moose, not anatomically correct I may add, so basically I’m doing nothing except being a goof.

  28. showey47 says:

    Well i can see my new avatar which is a picture of me holding up the grey cup. But others say they can only see my old one.

  29. temekuhabs says:

    Have they quit playing for JM?? anyone have a thought on this???

  30. RiverviewCanadien says:

    This team is falling faster than gravity, and even a Mexican
    Tetra
    can see that.

    Many here are blaming The Count. I don’t think so, maybe some players are banged up more than we know. It also seems apparent to some there are those who are holding back. Maybe they just don’t “have it”. Haven’t got a clue, but I could sure use the Oct/Nov version of the Habs.

    I hope Gauthier & Company are not done. I like this team, I like the players, (for the most part, meaning I would not trade away half the team) and I like how this club is run.

    And boy did I like the Wiz in the 1st…Nice grab Pierre. JW will get better and he seems to play
    a simple, effective game. Pleks? You never have to say anything, what are the stats of the winning % when Pleks registers at least a point (I am sure someone has it).

     

  31. Rainrocket16 says:

    Well, i had to run to the liqour store after that one..this is just getting embarrasing and let me tell you…JM is mostly to blame on this one! How  can you allow your team to blow the momentum by back 2 back too many men penalties!!? Obsured, then that goal just killed us.

    The penalty shot was BS!!! What was that for!! A stick up high? give me a break, no friggin way in hell that should have been a Penalty shot, another Bettman boy getting chances to excell..

    Wake me when this road trip is over!!!!

  32. Mike Boone says:

    Park Exers have to stick together. But just what are you doing to that moose?

  33. Timo says:

    Well, I am sure glad I went out for some 10 oz steak tenderloin with seafood dinner. Nice bottle of Argentinian Merlot to boot, a cheesecake for desert and a shot of espresso that would even wake up the Habs. Watching the Habs tonight – didn’t miss it at all. Reading Boone’s summary and the comments paint clear enough picture minus the emotional scarring suffered by those who watched. Thankfully juniors are back in action tomorrow to bring some cheer to wrap up this hockey year. 

    I hate to say it folks, but this team need MAB. Without MAB’s awesomeness they are doomed.

  34. Timo says:

    What goalie could possibly have confidence in this team in front of him? Btw, how is that avatar changing exercise going for you?

  35. rocketsglare says:

    When you have 2 consecutive too many men on the ice penalties that tells me that the team has stopped

    thinking and subsequently stopped playing. Better yet, the team has quit on the coach and on itself. How

    else can you explain their atrocious play, some of which is utterly ridiculous. Tell me another team that is

    so fundamentally stupid or brain dead? Either this team is stupid or is actually mediocre. You decide.

    Go Habs Go!

  36. Just A Guy says:

    There is always the “make a face like you just ate a particularly sour lemon” option.

  37. larisalapointe says:

    Right. They don’t say laughter is the best medicine for nothing babe. (I grew up in Park ex too) hahahaha

  38. Mike Boone says:

    And I was born in Saint John and lived there till I was five.

  39. Sheldon says:

    Da da, da da, I wish I was in Dixie!

  40. larisalapointe says:

    Six degrees of separation. :)

    Ironically enough the happiest days of my life were spent in Park Ex and Saint John.

  41. Mike Boone says:

    Hey babe, we gotta laugh to keep from crying, right?

  42. larisalapointe says:

    Unfortunately Showey, Price/Auld or whoever needs to get a shut-out every game for our team to win it seems, especially lately.

    And you’re right about him losing confidence in his D. Wouldn’t any one of us in the same situation tell our D to go F themselves and tell the guys up front “Yo, how about some goals up there”?  lol

  43. showey47 says:

    lmao,no kidding. The team scores only 1 goal and price gets hungout to dry again by more bonehead penalties and defensive blunders and its the goalies fault. That st.louis shot was nice from the sharp angle,it looked like price was trying to take away the cross ice pass. I think price’s only problem is that he has no confidence in most of his defencemen and is trying to do too much himself. You are also correct about the penalty shot,no goal without a doubt. Can’t really say it would have made a difference in the final outcome though.

  44. Exit716 says:

    It’s not so much that Martin was hired, that was fine. It’s the mind-boggling length of contract that is the problem. Four years? Was there a stampede to hire a guy who was probably going to get his butt kicked out the door in Florida as GM? Seriously. Two years would have been sufficient to start. As it is now, the Habs are still paying Carbo and have another two and a half years on Martin’s contract. It’s time for an overhaul of the entire organization.

  45. habsfan0 says:

    In essence,because Jaro Halak decided to stand on his head after Game 4 of the Washington series,Jacques Martin is still the head coach. Thanks Jaro!

  46. Shiloh says:

    Coaching – Martin can’t get them going. He wins only when a goalie stands on his head. It’s time for a change.

  47. Timo says:

    I know… what a jerk! :)

  48. Timo says:

    It depends. If JM still a coach then Spach, cause at least we’d have a playing defenseman then. OB would be packing up pounds by eating hot dogs in the press box.

  49. RJB says:

    This is an honest question, because I don’t know how i feel. Would you guys rather have OB or Spacek? 

    “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
    - Bilbo Baggins

  50. Timo says:

    You’re crazy.

  51. Wops says:

    Its not to complicated. I think. we all know we over analyze here in Montreal…

     

    Gionta + Gomez + Plekanec + Cammalleri = 23 millions

     

    They need to produce. Period.

  52. JasonM says:

    -         
    Discipline… Discipline… Discipline… that is what
    they lack. Not a defenseman who can provide tape to tape outlet passes… though
    such a thing is always welcomed… nor a top 6 forward, one with size… which would
    be nice as well. But the little things. Such as… getting on the ice when your
    man is coming off. I mean, seriously, 2 Too Many Men penalties back to back,
    the seconds…. mere seconds after the first while you’re killing the first one?
    Unacceptable. The lazy plays, lack of movement cost you time and space and for
    a team such as Tampa that is attack, attack, attack it is ALL ABOUT time and
    space. Boucher knows what he’s doing. Give him a decent goaltender and watch
    out.

    -         
    What is with Hamrlik and the puck going over the
    glass? Just when I think that he’s playing some quality minutes he’ll randomly
    panic and put the puck easily well over the glass. Furthermore, I think it’s
    been one of his worst games for quite some time and he’s part of the only
    pairing that did not get any changes. He got beat easily by Stamkos and was
    forced to take a penalty that consequently led to the penalty shot that put the
    Habs back 2 goals.

    -         
    Price needs to stop playing like Patrick Roy,
    who was notorious for leaving his net to play the puck and losing it, right
    after with bad passes or wild passes. He’s been a turnover machine and it
    builds momentum for the other team. He had a strong start of the season but he’ll
    need to get back on track despite his team playing mediocre hockey in December.
    We need him now more than ever. His performance was very forgettable and was
    easily beaten on the first shot. Should I also mention the fourth? I’d however
    blame Hamrlik again on that though. Nonetheless, I’d like to see a more
    convincing performance. When was the last time he stole a game for us?

    -         
    The Habs PK is amongst the best in the league,
    kudos to Kirk Muller on having the full attention of his penalty killers and
    being so efficient. Without them our indiscipline during the month of December
    would have been even much…. MUCH worse. The PP? There’s enough negativity in my
    post, I’d rather not have to dwell on that. Needless to say, needs work. A lot
    of work.

     

    -         
    I’ll wait a few games before passing judgment on
    Wozniewski. I do however see he’s got a good stride, seems mobile and has a
    great point shot; we sorely need someone who can get it on the net. (What happened
    to Spacek?) Outlet passes are evident as well and while I didn’t get to see him
    in his defensive zone a whole lot in these games (compared to say, Hamrlik),
    perhaps those are some of the reasons why he’s not chasing the puck and
    watching it go to the other end of the ice.

    -         
    Last but not least, the lack of goals. In fact,
    this is the biggest issue of all. On this road trip the Habs scored a mere 9
    goals in 7 games, 2 goals in the last 3. This is severely lacking and even if
    they’d fix all the others things and eliminate goals, what should the defense
    and goaltender need to worth with? A meager goal a game? I think not.

  53. Don Carnage says:

    Happy New Year !  

  54. keepthefaith says:

    Is Mario Tremblay an idiot? Stupid question right? Lappierre the guy who shot from the corner on a four on two on the top line? Give me a break. What a pathetic effort night in and night out from the boys lately. Somethings gotta give.

  55. 12cournoyer says:

    Why not fire JM?

    You can’t fire the whole team, so might as well change their style to one that they are best suited.

    The one thing the Habs can afford is salary, so let him go, and bring in a coach who plays to the strengths of this team. Speed and skating.

    This team has stopped playing for him and his use of the players he does have, has led to this mess.

    It is time to see what the farm hands can do, and either sit, bench or demote those players that are dragging their butts-Gomez, Pouliot and Spacek, to name a few.

    Let Auld play a few games to rest Carey and let’s find a coach who will let these guys skate and fly like they are built to do.

    I see a loss tomorrow and Sunday just to complete the perfecta.

  56. krob1000 says:

    Ok …how about the body language on the ice, the fact nobody smiles, the fact nobody stands up for each other, the lack of enthusiasm,  the fact nobody talks to each other anymore on the bench or on the ice, the fact they look emotionless….is that a little more clear….I don’t know what goes on in the room but I know these guys during games are not looking content…at all. Slumping shoulders, blank stares, rolled eyes……there is a ton of negative cues out there…they don’t even defend eachother to the media….it is a complete turnabout from early on where everyone appeared to have everyones back.  They are playing lazy….to me….that is a negative atmosphere….I have played on about 100 diff’t league organized teams (just came upwith 94 going back to childhood not counting school sports in elementary but did count high school teams) from Basketball to soccer to baseball to hockey, etc….I have coached about 30 groups, I have been a sports addict my whole life and watch every sport I can….this team is not happy right now and it all started with a player here and there getting pissed…..then it spreads…..have you ever been having a good day run into someone miserable and had it ruined and find yourself grumpy…I have…happens all of the time…if there are a few guys who are unhappy this process will likely repeat…and it snowballs when things go bad on the ice too…..

  57. ooder says:

    i am not saying PK sucks.. i am just sying he is not the saviour.. and having him and markov would be really beneficial to the team

    ——————

    88 is the new 23

  58. G-Man says:

    You aren’t in the room, so how can you possibly know about the “atmosphere”?

  59. ooder says:

    just like to point out…

    when people here were going nuts about Subban saying how he is the greatest thing since sliced bread and we don’t need markov…

    ummm ya u guys were wrong

    ——————

    88 is the new 23

  60. krob1000 says:

    the game before it was somehow decided he sucked…he led the team in ice time and had been our top dan for a while……tonight…he led the team in icetime.  He is our  best dman…by a country mile even as a rookie….he is not Markov…yet….but he si the closest thing to slice bread this team has had since pre injury Koivu.  Martin has pissed too many players off…noone is playing anymore…..they are all fed up…..we all saw it coming one by one as he systematically worked through all of the young players who started well….Pouliot, Andrei, Pk, Eller all got shafted….the vets  got free passes…..and the atmosphere which was incredible….went to hell.  I don;t know how he gets it back but some of the onus is one the vets….in tehse lifeless moments why not a fight? not to win but to rally behind.  There was one shift where Laps went nuts hitting everyone, then PK absolutely pulverized someone….then….well….nothing…..nobody followed it up….again.  Unless everyone is on board and somehow everyone is made to feel comfortable and clean slated again it is going to take something miraculous to get them going again.

  61. Man Dingga says:

    Say what you want about Price, when its a 5 on 3 he has to cheat on that first goal.  There was a Tampa player to his right.  Goal 2 he had no chance and on goal 3 he thought he had the puck.  I didn’t see the 4th so I’m not commenting.  I’m not worried about his play, I’m worried about being out coached every game or players not going to the net.  Tell me the last time anyone went to the net.  There is no emotion and I think a shake up is needed behind the bench. 


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