The unDevils

Canadiens blew 3-0 and 4-1 leads and a wild, 70-shot 4-4 game went to a Shootout that Nashville won.

Guy Carbonneau told his players this was the low point of their season.

Cristobal Huet, bombarded with 44 shots in regulation and OT, then beaten twice in the shootout, said the Canadiens were "fragile between the ears right now."

In a somber dressing room where the only sound was tape being pulled off and flung away, Christopher Higgins described the loss as "embarrassing."

"We can talk all we want," Higgins said. "We’ve got to get the job done on the ice.

"We have to play with passion and with pride. How are we going to enjoy a day off (on Sunday) after blowing a 3-0 lead in our own building?"

Carbonneau took a while to amble over to his postgame press conference, and the coach looked good and pissed when he got there.

"It was a bit like our 10 last games," Carbonneau said. "We play a decent first half of the game and then the second half is a total disaster."

Without naming names, Carbo said the loss was attributable to weak play by "guys who are supposed to do the job at the end of the game."

Roman Hamrllik, Mathieu Dandenault and Mike Komisarek were on the ice for the third and fourth Nashville goals.

Carbonneau bristled when asked about Saku Koivu centring the third line tonight.

"Where do you get Saku on the third line?" he demanded. "Did you see my board. I don’t see where you guys get that."

Carbonneau maintained that the Koivu line was his first line – which means Mark Streit and Bryan Smolinski are on the wings of the number one line of the Montreal Canadiens.

As if …

Huet was more candid.

"I feel responsible," the goaltender said. "I didn’t finish the job.’

He had plenty of company at the low point – to date.



  1. TommyB says:

    I like the way you are thinking outside of the common train of thought here…you make a good point.

  2. Mike Boone says:

    You’re right: Kostitsyn was taken 10th and was considered a steal … which he still may prove to be. But Parise – bypassed by 16 teams – is a star now.

  3. nightmare_49 says:

    Sreit’s a pro and he did it last year and he also plays the point on our PP and sitting him would really screw things up. I don’t mind the moves as these grinders need a rest once in awhile especially after that grinding 6 games in 9 nights. Heal the bruises. Markov’s injury warrants this move and a few other grinders should rest in the future. Thumbs up.

  4. notbigbird says:

    I hope we never trade Koivu. We’ve let too many good guys finish their careers elsewhere, and we need to maintain (or find) a little class. Now, if some like Koivu wants to go, that’s a different story.

    About one of your other points: if they want to compete in future more than now, which is a good approach IMO, then there are certain guys who should go and certain guys who should be brought up. You’ve named some of them.

  5. likehoy says:

    he will be a star, just be patient, he’s a European still adjusting to the North American game.

    Players that you can look at that were slow to adjust are Frolov, Afinogenov, and the Sedin twins.

    Sergei Kostitsyn is apparently better adjusted. He played 2 years of junior in the OHL which could have accelerated his adjustment.

  6. notbigbird says:

    I’m pretty tempted to agree with your assessment of the defense and what should at least be considered to be done, at least in part. I have been pretty leery of the present group from the get-go — too many guys with little present upside and no future.

    But I’m flummoxed about the forwards. There’s just not much there to work with. There’s potential around, but nobody else seems ready yet. That assessment (elsewhere) about 2 second lines and 2 fourths is just about right on IMO. Three seconds and one third would be very livable, however. In fact I think that should be our goal for the immediate future, and maybe a genuine star or two will develop yet … in time … or not.

    But that sends me into another tangent. All of our potential youngins (except for one) must pay their dues in Hamilton and learn to backcheck (while losing some of their scoring ability it seems). I understand why they’re there in a way. It comes from the time when we were loaded and the kids had to pay their dues until they were ready. But we ain’t loaded anymore and haven’t been for a long time. Part of our problem may be that we keep trying to be respectable and aren’t willing to truly sacrifice a year or even two. Now, tell me how that’s so very much different than that Blue&White team.

    I need to stop and rest now. 🙂

  7. MikeL says:

    If I remember correctly, Kostitsyn was drafted 10th overall that year, not 7th, and it was considered a steal for the Canadiens at the time. Most scouts agreed that he was a top 5 pick if he didnt have health issues. I think he just needs time. He is essentially a rookie this year. He drives hard to the net, and seems less of a parameter player than many of the Habs.

  8. Bill says:

    Habs really need to try and close the gap on Ottawa some more. Hope Huet isn’t too rusty.

  9. likehoy says:

    it also seems like 2003 was a strong draft class

    25 of the 30 first round picks are NHL regulars, and there is at least 40 players out of that draft that are NHL regulars and not counting Jaroslav Halak and Maxim Lapierre, but take a look at some of the late rounders too like Stempniak and Pavelski.

  10. likehoy says:

    mike you shouldn’t mention that parise is in the same draft class at kostitsyn…

    we know what happened with the 15th pick that year…

  11. P St. Pierre says:

    The line changes make sense to a certain degree, but the Canadiens probably should just sit Streit and keep Begin in the lineup. Grabovski could simply play RW. I think that moving Streit up to forward, without much practice and without him playing forward at all this season is not advisable. It will probably make for a confusing game.

  12. Revolution No. 9 says:

    Huh. Huh. He said “leg wand”.

    Ah, puerility…

  13. Yeats says:

    5-2 Rangers final. It’s a shame, the Sens are giving us every chance to make up some groud on them.

  14. MICP says:

    Anaheim thought they had a deal multiple times, we see how that worked out. They wanted to move him but in the end they felt that it made more sense to let him go now instead of waiting for the trade deadline.
    Price maybe the future but do we go with Halak as his counterpart? Who would learn from who?

  15. Yeats says:

    For some reason you can’t figure out, you HAVE to be in Montreal this evening. Keep listening to that voice. “Go the distance, ease his pain.” OK, it’s my voice and my pain. But, if you can score and win draws you have two skills that are desperately needed by the Habs. I still can’t figure out how we pass on guys like Parise. He has what 20 more ponts to date than Kosty?

  16. sidhu says:

    Thanks for the feedback! I didn’t expect a very warm response. Does anyone foresee *any* workable trade of Koivu that would be beneficial to us? Don’t forget, he stated that he wanted to play with a contender last year.

  17. Kevin says:

    I’ve been commenting every game these past 2 weeks that Kovy should be on the first PP with Koivu. When the PP is not working, why not make a change that makes some sense: put your best elements together on the powerplay!

    And you’re right about Lats. Seems like everytime one of his moves actually works, he doesn’t know what to do with teh puck! And he can’t handle a good pass. He might be good at banging away at pucks in front of the net, but I don’t see what else he’s good at. Although I have to admit that he did hustle back very well yesterday after making a bad pass to Higgins in the 2nd, leading him to sprall across the ice to block a shot/pass attempt.

  18. likehoy says:

    you’re trading koivu (over the hill in your opinion) for demitra…who is also past the peak of his career (koivu 32, demtira 33)

    and bouchard is one of their top young players.

    we are sending our top centre for their top left winger (demitra doesn’t play centre for the wild) and 2 bit part players (cube and dandy) for 2 of their young stars…(schultz is no slouch).

    sure doug and bob are friends from their time with the habs, but I don’t think they’re good enough friends to make a lopsided move like that. Besides, they have younger koivu playing well for them.

    Though admittedly, schultz and bouchard could help our team, which i’m assuming is the bulk of the trade, but the trade doesn’t seem very feasible.

  19. Kevin says:

    I’m glad to see that Grabs and Gorges are getting to play.

  20. Kevin says:

    I think the deal with Bryzgalov also has to do with the salary cap… there was no way that Anaheim could afford to take a player in exchange for him since they need to resign some key players this offseason. And the teams who needed him probably did not want to part with draft picks as they are rebuilding… Montreal on the other hand has some cap space and could take a player in exchange for Huet. The market for goalies is a lot bigger if you have some room under your cap…

  21. Les-Habitants says:

    1) Trading Captain K is not advisable. This is a young team, and one of the most important aspects of developing young NHLers is to ensure that capable veteran leadership is around. Removing Koivu from the dressing room at this point would be disaterous, and the return we would get isn’t worth it. I am also pretty sure he has no-trade clause. Additionally, he has been one of the best players for the Habs so again…I’m at a lost.

    2) Cube and Dandy have no trade value. Additionally, you want to trade for Demitra: a highly skilled, highly injury prone player. The Wld, at this stage, are not going to trade him for his value is pretty low, but may very well sky-rocket by the trade deadline.

    3) Bouchard and Demitra are two of the main center-pieces of that team, and essentially you proposing a Koivu for them deal….not going to happen.

    A move like this, first would not happen. Secondly, the leadership in the room is essential and Koivu remains the heart-and-soul player of this team. Trading him for two players incapable of fullfilling that role would be foolish. Neither team would give up those pieces willing either, despite both Bouchard and Demitra being UFAs. If the Wild were a re-buidling team, they might consider such a move…but they’re not. Additionally, the addition of Koivu would help them how? Their main concern is remaining healthy.

  22. Les-Habitants says:

    I wouldn’t say that this is a sign of panic, the line changes do make sense.

    First, Markov has an injury, and carbo came out and said that’s why he’s dressing 7-dmen…they’re not sure how Markov can play.

    As a result, Kostopolous is being scratched on the RW where Streit will play, as he did last season. Begin is being replaced by fellow LW Grabovski because carbo is trying to shake things up, while infusing more skill and speed into the lineup against a fast nashville team

    That’s really at there is ladies and gents, or so I think.

  23. sidhu says:

    PJ Stock is on Hockey Night in Canada saying the Habs have two second lines and two fourth lines. I agree.

    With the present line-up (e.g., two defensemen on the forward lines), we won’t be able to compete with the top-tier teams. I realize that with the salary cap issues it is difficult to make larger trades, but I believe we are at a seminal point in the team’s recent history. Perhaps obtaining Recchi (one of Koivu’s best friends) for Cube or Dandy would help bolster our offense and kickstart Captain K (who is on track for only 17 goals this year as a first line center).

    Perhaps we should trade one of our better assets for greater depth. There is Huet, however, the market for goaltenders is weak (given what happened with Bryzgalov). So we may be at a stage where trading Captain K is advisable. There is no better leader or role model in the league, but he is 32 and slowing down, and we’ve only made the playoffs three times in the past eight years under his tenure. I think extremely highly of Koivu, but I care more about the ultimate success of the team than my attachment to any one individual player. Trading Koivu, Cube, and Dandy for Demitra, Bouchard, and Schultz would give us:



    This discussion assumes that the brass in Montreal want to compete with the big boys now. But, they could be on a long-term plan to be competitive in a couple years (when the contracts of Koivu, Kovalev, Cube, Dandy, etc. expire, and when players like Price, Higgins, Pleks, Komi, and Kostitsyn have further developed).

    I don’t mean any disrespect to Koivu or anyone else on the Habs – I’m just trying to envision ways in which we can improve the team, and I think we can all agree that more offense and better 5-on-5 play is crucial for the Habs’ future.

  24. JF says:

    These changes suggest that Carbo is beginning to panic as he did last year. The only ones I can see some sense in are using Streit as a forward and bringing in Gorges. Streit actually looked better at times as a forward last year than on defense, and at the moment he seems to have lost his confidence. As for Grabovski, he has speed and a nice shot, but he gets knocked off the puck too easily and he can’t finish. With him in and Begin and TomK out, where will our grit come from? Tonight might be a good game to skip – and Tuesday for that matter. Perhaps we can beat the Bruins again, although I wouldn’t bet on it.

  25. Naila Jinnah says:

    Very odd lineup… I’m confused.

  26. tony d says:

    I agree, although Begin is a bit of a bull in a china shop at times, he’s got heart and grit and hustle.
    I’d also like to see Streit and Breezer sit up in the nosebleeds eating nachos and watching.
    I think some young blood from Hamilton can’t hurt either, Kostitsyn would be a nice shot in the arm and although I don’t know how Maxim’s doin, he might bring some passion to the club.
    Get on the blower to Bob will ya??

  27. howtathor says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Whenever Lats has an opportunity to shoot he tries some bush league feint that may work in the Q but not in the NHL. Last night it resulted in a high-stick penalty and for my money I don’t understand how they called the other one after the play had gone on. But that’s another thing. The main thing is shoring up the defense which is weak on the bottom and bringing some offence to the table. Maybe Kovy could play the point on the number 1 PP unit replacing Streit and giving him the mobility to pinch into the slot for a one timer. His shot is really an AK27 this year and we owe it to the team to have him out there with Koivu, Higgins and Ryder and Markov.
    As for Tom the Bomb and Begin, I don’t understand this unless Grabovski is being showcased for a trade or sumthing.

  28. showey47 says:

    I don’t know doc, do the habs need a 6’2″ 235 pound center who can skate, score and win draws? i would love to though but i’ve got a game at sudbury arena tonight at 8:30. I think the habs should sign you, rock and myself to be the legit first line. We would dominate. Hey doc, i forgot to mention that when you and rock came out to play on that one friday night, our line combined for 29 points. Unfortuantly i didn’t see trevor timmins in the stands.

  29. tony d says:

    yo zamboni
    thank you, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks Lats isn’t cutting it on the 1st line
    I was at the Bell Centre when they lost 3-0 to Buffalo and Lats looked lost out there and out of his league, he lacks the skills right now to make smart plays… having said that, I don’t know who belongs on the 1st line, it’s slim pickins

  30. howtathor says:

    I’m a little confounded by the scratching of Tom the Bomb and Beige. They’ve been the ones who have hustled the most in recent games. I would have scratched the Breezer and Streit because both have been coughing up the puck at the most inopportune times. Well Guy is the coach a paid to know what he is doing. Grabz should add some speed to the lineup but I feel that this is his last chance before a ticket back to Hamilton. Gainey has been in Hamilton this weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised to see O’byrne, and Lapierre get the callup. You know even S. Kostitsyn for a team desperate for offence. Last time I looked his linemates from London, Sam Gagner and Patrick Kane where not doing too shabbily. It’s time to shake things up as the status quo is not sufficient as evidenced by recent games. We’ll see…

  31. fun police says:

    showey, the habs should call you up for the game tonight.

  32. fun police says:

    we cannot complain about the habs inability to score five on five. we have 7 players that are from the same mold, begin, dandenault, smolinski, kosto, chips (the best of the bunch), lats (not exactly lighting it up this year). when we play a team like the devils who have a big shut down line, they take pleks line out of the game. that leaves us with one line to score. carbs insists on rolling four lines, everybody plays, must be fair. when things go bad, and we need goals, he moves dandenault up to the first line with koivu and higgins. makes sense, since dandenault is a hidden thirty goal scorer. instead of forcing the devils to play madden’s line for twenty five minutes a game, keeping parise and co. off the ice, carbo makes it easy for sutter to match lines. the habs must be easy to coach against in terms of match ups.
    tonight, we need scoring, carbo comes up with a brilliant idea, let’s have another defense play forward. now streit is playing the wing. that will help us score five on five.
    i’m frustrated with carbo already and we have a winning record.

  33. zamboni says:

    We have 3 good defencemen and 3 lousy ones.
    Markov, Hamrlik and Komisarek as the good,
    Streit, Breezer, and Cube as the lousy.

    Streit started the season very strong, but is now the weakest one in the bunch, he needs to sit out and watch the game, on so many occasions he rushes and dumps the puck, we can’t build any offense playing that kind of a game.

    Cube was playing good before he got hurt, he’s back to last year’s version of the Cube, just lousy.

    Breezer, is just Breezer, did anybody truly expect anything different.

    Streit, Gorges and O’Byrne though not ready yet, have an upside, I don’t see the point of wasting Hamrlik’s mentoring skills on Breezer.

    I would pair those 3 youngsters with the 3 good defencemen that we have. The sooner we bring them up to speed the better it is for us.
    Why bother keeping Breezer or Cube, there’s really no upside to them, and it’s not like they provide any defensive stability either.

    As for Carbo sitting out Begin and TK, I don’t know what’s he smoking, then again I’m sure Carbo defenders would rush back with some kind of twisted justification. Aside from handful of people, he can practically sit out the entire team, yet he keeps on picking on Begin, I guess he replaces Perezhogin as the designated whipping boy.
    The guys’ talents are limited, but well known, however those two are non stop machines, what kind of a message is he sending to his players?
    “It doesn’t matter how hard you work, if you don’t have talent, you sit out, we expect you to get better by watching the game from the press box”

    I don’t know who said Latts looks good on the first line, does he really?
    How often does he get a pass that would be a breakaway for any body else but the turtle Latts?
    Watch him closely, he has a difficulty placing himself in a position to receive a good pass, he’s good hiding behind the opposition or playing hard on the boards.
    Latts brings size, and that’s it, nothing else, size alone doesn’t turn a Turner Stevenson into a John Leclair or an Eric Lindros.
    The sooner we accept the fact that this kid is not going to be a power forward, the sooner we play him on a 3rd or 4th line, or better yet in his case, send him down to minors to get refined.

    We wonder why we couldn’t score on 3 PP opportunities during the first period.
    It’s time to put all your best players out as the first unit during PP, I know it disturbs the regular lines, but if we expect to capitalize on the opportunities, we have to do that.
    How often we see Kovy’s line (who happens to be our best PP player and the catalyst for the success of PP, and that includes last year as well) on the tail end of the PP, having to work with Breezer instead of Markov.
    The only times that Kovy is on the first PP unit is when Koivu’s line is just ending there shift prior to the PP.
    Kovy and Koivu should be on the first PP line at the same time, and yes, they can play full two minutes of it.

  34. showey47 says:

    3-0 rangers pounding the sens halfway through the first, why can’t the sens play this lousy against us?

  35. tony d says:

    sorry, I should’ve spelled it Mark F. Recchi, sorry Mark you fat____

  36. tony d says:

    Yo Kevin M, I just might check out those shows on HGTV, might be more sizzle than on the ice tonight. The Habs can offer some tips cause their turkey seems to get cooked in under 40 minutes.
    My son says I’m too hard on the HABS. I tell him after being a fan for over 45 years, I’ve earned the right to be hard on them. If the fans can be passionate, why can’t the players?? An interesting side note: a friend went to Phoenix on biz last week and brought his son along. They caught the game where the Leafs suffered an embarrassing loss. Coincidentally they were staying at the same hotel as the Leafs and ran into them before and after. He said after the game, the players were joking around, not fazed by the loss. Maybe as fans we have to do the same and not take it personally. I guess the hefty salaries they rake in probably help them psychologically.
    Us poor schmucks on the other hand have to face our friends and coworkers who like to stick it to us every time our team loses. Maybe it’s healthier to let it go…. che sera sera… who knows…
    This morn, my son said there are rumours floating of a possible trade for (wait for it) RECCI!!!!!?????? Are you kidding me???????? I’d rather see Youppi out there than that bloated has been. I’m turning on HGTV right now.

  37. ebk says:

    So let me get this straight, On a team that is supposed have so much depth, they are going to stick another defenseman on the forward lines. Brilliant.

  38. showey47 says:

    the predator to watch out for tonight is j.p. dumont, he has been a habs killer since his early days with the sabres. He wanted to be a hab but he wasn’t available until after we had already signed samsonov and he would of been a cheaper signing

  39. Les-Habitants says:

    Mark Streit is a forward???? Well, as long as Dandy remains a forward as well….

  40. Moey says:

    One bright spot, Ottawa has lost their last 5 games. Habs will probably win tonight, they’re back to the old pattern, win one, lose one. I’m going to miss this one, Christmas social outings are commencing.

  41. Richard says:

    Wait, maybe it’s because I missed last night’s game (thankfully) but I still need this explained: Why are we sitting Begin and Kostopoulos? Have they been that bad? Last time I looked they’re actually doing things when nobody else does. Has Tom really fallen out of favour with Guy that quickly???

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