The West is the test

And your Montreal Canadiens are flunking.

689 Comments

  1. longtimehabsfan says:

    What’s the cure for the Habs anemic offense?  Sit AK and put in Pyatt.

  2. subdoxastic says:

    Gomez was benched. They called it a lower body injury, but he was benched.

  3. ooder says:

    last line should read:

    Minus side? upstairs or worse Moen and Pyatt

    ——————

    88 is the new 23

  4. Captain aHab says:

    Gomez playing hurt is total conjecture on your part. Maybe AK is playing hurt?

    But if whatever you try with Gomez requires waiting 20+ games for him to get it, then why not give AK 20+ games to see if he can get out of his funk? He was playing faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar better than Gomez at the beginning of the year and I would argue that JM may have killed the Pleks line momentum by kowtowing to Gomez’ needs. Now AK pays for the momentum loss.

  5. MathMan says:

    I have no issue with not benching Gomez. He was not actually playing much differently than he is now, but he could not buy a goal for him or his linemates. Just like AKost, his slump was the result of bad luck.

    And benching AK now is a mistake for much the same reasons as benching Gomez then would have been. They both help the team win even when not scoring, and getting out of their slump was only a matter of time and sticking with it.

  6. Hockey Socks says:

    To be fair, Gomez’s backchecking is rarely, if ever, in question. He’s almost always a defensively responsible player – which is why he earns PK time too.

  7. MathMan says:

    See, I don’t feel AK has been subpar except in the last game, and I don’t particularly trust JM’s judgement of him (last year’s “he must shoot more” episode when AK led the team in shots was a pretty telling start).

    So benching AK for a guy who gives off the appearance of hard work but isn’t as effective sends the wrong message — the message that you care more about your messages than about winning. I can’t imagine the team is too pleased with that decision, and I am not sure last year gave Martin a whole lot of credibility to play with (in fact I suspect his players were already getting exasperated).

    And one more thing: Martin did not coach the team to the ECF. That he happened to be behind the bench when the team got there was, not coincidence, but less than that: the team got there in spite of him, on the back of a very hot shooting streak, unbelievable goaltending, and a big load of luck. All that despite a genuinely atrocious play style that meant the Habs gave up ridiculous numbers of high-quality chances and got much fewer in return. The team’s overall level of play in the playoffs was outright appalling, and they realistically had no business getting past 5 games against a team that dominated them to the extent the Caps did. Martin’s brilliant coaching involved crossing his finger and hope Halak stood on his head.

    If the team played this season like they did in the playoffs, they would be in the cellar now. They were that bad. Thankfully, they empathically did not, something I had been crediting Martin for. I’m starting to revise that opinion now however.

  8. punkster says:

    Haha if only it were that easy, eh?

    ***Subbang!!!***

  9. Captain aHab says:

    The early season Gomez point system:

    Get to the rink: earn 1500 points

    Get to the rink on time: earn 2000 points

    Miss the net with a shot: deduct 10 points from your wingers

    Don’t backcheck: deduct 10 points from the d-men

  10. nick says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    If you want consistent players, you need consistent coaching. Making an example by benching one, and letting another get away with bloody murder for 2 months isn’t quite what I call consistent.

  11. Captain aHab says:

    Score one goal and earn a point

     

    Miss the net and lose 563 points and eat hot dogs in the rafters.

     

    This is what the scoring system is like now.

  12. Captain aHab says:

    That’s great and all but if it works for AK, why was it not applied to Gomez when he was sucking badly for 20+ games and not trying hard at all?

  13. Chuck says:

    Coaching 101: you CAN NOT treat all players the same. You have to figure out how to push their buttons, and treat the player accordingly. With some players a closed-door session with the coach will do the trick. With others it takes a benching to get their attention.

    Plus, it would appear as though Gomez was playing hurt. My guess is that Martin “benched” Gomez by forcing him to take a couple of games off to rest. He wasn’t getting the job done, so he didn’t play.

    The 2010 Montreal Canadians Christmas Card

  14. SPATS says:

    So easy to fix AK. This is a step in the right direction, however, he should be rewarded and punished based on his performance like a business owner is rewarded or punished for performance and decision making. At this point, we can’t reward or punish him financially, however, being a contract year, we can punish him by making his ice time and pairings equal financial gains or losses. Hire a f*****g translator to make it simple for him.

    Hit somebody, earn a point

    Cause a turnover, earn a point

    Wrister on goal earn a point

    Score with said wrister 3 bonus points

    Create a turnover, lose 2 points

    Get your pocket picked lose 2 points

    Add em up and reward / punish accordingly

    Make transgressions hurt more and get his attention. Explain to him that he controls his destiny and everybody’s watching

    Finish on the plus side? Next game with Pleks

    Minus side? Moen and Pyatt or worse upstairs

     

    AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH!

  15. MathMan says:

    The problem is that if you’re benching a player who’s been playing pretty well (but been unlukcy), and in doing so really hurt your team’s chances just before a game they really need to win, it sends a different message to both the player and the team: the message that you don’t particularly care about fairness or winning, and care more about sending your messages than about the two points. And if the team feels your message doesn’t need to be sent, you lose credibility.

    And given the mess the team was last year, I’m not sure Martin built enough credibility last year to start making harmful decisions to pass dubious messages.

    But when you don’t coach to win and instead coach to send messages, that’s the risk you take.

  16. Natrous says:

    I don’t think Nagy is Hungarian, pretty sure he’s Latvian or Slovakian.. if only there was a way to find out for sure..

  17. Chuck says:

    Here’s why benching a player that you want more consistency from (AK46, for example) is the right move:

    Consequences.

    What does EVERY player in the league want? More ice time during the game. So if you want to send a message to AK, then you have to take away his ice time. Nothing else will work. Bag skating him between games? It might drill it into his head that you’re upset with his performance, but it won’t work as an individual punishment because you’re not denying him of the one thing that he really wants: to play. 

    As long as he still gets his ice time, nothing will change. Ever watch the program Intervention? It’s about getting junkies to kick their habit by taking away the one thing that they really need: an environment that allows them to continue their habit.

    You can send AK–or any player, for that matter–all of the messages you want before, after and in between games, but it’ll continue to fall on deaf ears if in the end he gets his ice time, and doesn’t have to face the consequences for his play. 

    The 2010 Montreal Canadians Christmas Card

  18. SeriousFan09 says:

    I sometimes wonder if his medication doesn’t throw him off, seems to display such great skills in one stretch than the next, all his timing has disappeared. Unfortunate but it might be possible.

     

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

  19. Shiloh says:

    Yeah – he has such great skills, but it’s always like he’s on the verge. I wonder if his medical issues are some of the cause. He was being touted as a consensus top-3 pick until they discovered the epilepsy.

  20. SeriousFan09 says:

    In 06-07 he sat yes, but he had 15, 16 minutes time per game over those two seasons and Guimauve tended to be in the 12-13 minute range. He also had a lot more PP time compared to Gui.

    This is a long time to wait for Andrei to emerge as a consistent player for the team, he was drafted in 2003 it is time he delivered consistency.

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

  21. SeriousFan09 says:

    We didn’t call Guillaume LaTenderness for no reason… No motivation to go to the front of the net and he had no passion on the ice. A lazy self-entitled child who blamed everyone but himself when he was traded. His physical prescence was never useful when he was here.

     

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

  22. Shiloh says:

    Perimeter? AK has hit more people harder than Billy the Slug ever dreamed of. I actually admire LaSlowesse – he’s gonna make an NHL pension on zero talent.

  23. Shiloh says:

    ? right back at you. TOI per game. But how many games? Lets think back to when AK would get called up and basically sit – not sure the year(s). Yet a slow, less talented, less committed LaSlugesse gets the hero’s welcome. AK46 has hit more opponents harder that LaGluesse has ever dreamed of – and he’s faster, a better checker, a better shooter, a better scorer, a better passer…

    It’s OK to sit him – but I’d hate to see him buried. It’s worse for Weber who is getting close to being buried – and all he did to earn it was play the best hockey of his career.

  24. G-Man says:

    Shiloh likes perimeter AK and still hates Latendresse from afar. I knew we’d miss his physical presence but go ahead and keep AK, who is turning into the next enigma.

  25. G-Man says:

    AK playing to get traded?

    He hasn’t improved in what now, 4 or 5 seasons?

    Great shot, but after that, what?

  26. Chuck says:

    Hungarian-Irish? If you cook, I’d bet that your stew is delicious!

    The 2010 Montreal Canadians Christmas Card

  27. avatar_58 says:

    When the coach changes you can’t really blame him for the past coach’s issues.

  28. SeriousFan09 says:

    ?

    Kostitsyn led Latendresse in TOI per game by several minutes during the 07-08, 08-09 seasons.

     

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

  29. nick says:

    Here are some stats on the CH, and their game winning goal leaders.

    Gionta 4.

    Halpern 3.

    Kostitsyn, Plekanec, Cammy, Pouliot all tied with 2.

    He’s also tied for the best +/- on the team with a +9… Pouliot is a little lower down, +2.

  30. Shiloh says:

    Nothing new for AK46. He rode the pine often while LaUseless got three years of steady shifts while sucking mightily. I think he hasn’t played as well lately – but even his down games were a huge improvement from the swoons of the past. Hope Martin has it figured out – Weber could use another game.

  31. Captain aHab says:

    Have we seen the last of Brett Favre? The guy has had a great career but I hope so.

  32. Captain aHab says:

    Look at our top two lines. Here’s Martin’s thinking perhaps:

    I have a bigger guy with some skill and good work ethic (Eller and MaxPax) to dig the puck off of the boards and pass it to a smaller playmaker (Pleks, Gomez) who can then feed it to a scorer (Cammy and Gio). Could this be Count Chocula’s thinking?

  33. Former Jets Fan says:

    I’d always thought of Hungary as an Olympic canoe powerhouse.

  34. Captain aHab says:

    I agree with you that Martin should have let the lines be but if he’s going to tinker and if the tinkering leads to Eller playing well on a top-two line, what I wrote above is what I would like to see tried.

  35. the Maritimer says:

    The Saulniers? No way! Jonathan Huberdeau is way better than either of those two. If you want the double kill get Tomas Jurco as well.

  36. Mike Boone says:

    Ooh, you’re skating on thin ice, my friend.

  37. Lafrich says:

    Mike putzface…HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…funnniest frickin thing you have ever written. Man I love your humour Boone!

  38. SeriousFan09 says:

    SMURFS!!! FIRE GAUTHIER!!!

    Sneak Preview of the Draft Day remarks if that happened.

     

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

  39. mbplekfan says:

    Martin is about sending messages not winning. That’s why Darche plays in the final minutes of a one goal game. Thats why Pouliot gets benched for a few bad shifts. That’s why AK sits tonight.

    Benching your best players allows your pluggers to play more and score less. Carbo worked this strategy perfectly and now counsels JM to do it from the safety of the TV studio.

  40. MathMan says:

    Martin has the horses to build sensible, stable lines now that he has MaxPac. Eller is perfectly fine in his 3-4 C spot, slowly learning to handle tougher minutes. This needless scrambling of the lines and pointless benching of AKost is entirely on him and I fully expect it to backfire.

  41. Bill says:

    I wonder if there is any way PG could pull a Burke and swing a deal to get two early first round picks together and draft Alex and Allain Saulnier out of the Moncton Wildcats? It’d be worth a steep, steep price.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  42. MathMan says:

    Mired in a 1-4 slump that your team can’t afford to see continue?

    Why not bench one of the team’s too-few legitimate top-six wingers, neuter the fourth-line by moving the center who carries it usually into a role he’s not ready for (and play him out of position while you’re at it), send a dubious message that’s more likely to hurt morale than help, all against a Western team that may not be as strong as its record but is nonetheless on a roll.

    Yeah. I’m suddenly very pessimistic about this road trip.

  43. JD_ says:

    Hungarian-Irish, myself. Inherited my contempt for a whole host of things from both sides.

    Hungary’s claim to sports fame, outside of a lengthy dry spell in the 80s and 90s, has long been water polo, which is sort of like summer pond hockey.

  44. habs001 says:

    ak46 rarely scores a clutch goal ..he and pouliot cannot  be relied on in tight games or overtime..martin realizes if our line up gives up 3 goals or more we will not win…he rather have non goal scorers in the line up as they make less mistakes in tight games…

  45. Chorske says:

    Holy kamoli! This is the hockey post equivalent of the movie 2012.

  46. Chorske says:

    Hungarian hockey players are like unicorns.

    Really, how many of them are there? I can think of Nagy. That’s it. It’s pretty pathetic.

    I am half Czech, half Hungarian. Unfortunately, I inherited my love of hockey from the Czech side, but my actual hockey playing talent from the Hungarian side.

  47. Captain aHab says:

    If Eller pans out on the wing and Pax keeps playing well, here’s what I’d like to see the Habs try:

    Bring up Desharnais and play him with AK and Pouliot on a third line. Have Halpern pivot a fourth line with whoever else Moen, Laps, Darche, etc….tell Desharnais that his meal ticket to stay in the NHL is to get two inconsistent performers to perform consistently….then give all four lines some pretty good ice time so everyone stays healthy and try it for a few games…

    If it pans out, you get three good lines and a very good checking line. If it doesn’t, you go back to using the Random Line Generator. ;-D

  48. JD_ says:

    Have the Stars’ roster right in front of me and don’t see a Mike Putzface.

    Anyone know if he’s a call-up from one of Dallas’ minor league affiliates? Just curious about his stats and, on a side note, his genealogy. Based on the spellin’, I’m guessin’ Germanic-Hungarian roots, probably pronounced poots-fa-che.

  49. phillyhab says:

    I see your point.  Just seems like scapegoating when Picard could just as easily be benched for the same game-breaking gaffes — plus that would let Weber play, who never gave a reason not to be iced.

  50. notbigbird says:

    “Big D – home to the most obnoxious franchise in the National Football
    League.”

    I thought the Steelers were in Pittsburgh?! 😉

  51. Habhopeful says:

    subbans playoffs, was a small sample size, after an 82 regular season, you start to see the warts from every player no matter how good they are, and when it comes to the point of costing the team games more than once, somethings gotta be done, prices adversity last year was great for him, whatever downturns subban suffers from early in his career, will be better for him in the future, that’s a fact, we are here to win and if it means benching your possible future superstar, so be it, it will be better for him, and if he is ruined, then we never had a superstar to begin with

    “I went to see a fight the other night…And A hockey game broke out!”

    ~Rodney Dangerfield~

  52. Captain aHab says:

    I’m willing to bet that AK was sulking after being replaced by Eller…

  53. phillyhab says:

    I agree.  He’s not going to get his confidence back squeezing his stick, playing tense, tentatively, wondering if this shift is going to be the one that gets him benched.

  54. Arrow77 says:

    Dumb, dumb move.

    First of all, Kostitsyn doesn’t strike me as the kind of person that will react well to humiliation. He’s more likely to react like his brother and play worse and worse until he’s kicked out of town.

    Secondly, Martin has treated players so differently that he has to feel the punishment is unfair. He was dominating at the beginning of the season when Gomez couldn’t do anything well – now, he has a few rough games and he’s already benched. This double standard can’t sit well with players.

  55. Habhopeful says:

    If subban is ruined after a couple
    of benchings, he isn’t as good as we initially thought, to thive in the NHL you need a strong mentality, subban has that, but if you say he’s ruined, obvi he isn’t as strong mentally and that’ll prevent subban from becoming a premier NHL player,
    don’t be such a drama queen swingking,

    let me ask you this,

    would you rather see subban make mistake after mistake where it costs us games and sends us out of the playoffs? Or would you rather this team make the playoffs and be a contender for the cup? If you choose the former, you have no clue what it means to be a TEAM…this s coming from a huge PK fan

    “I went to see a fight the other night…And A hockey game broke out!”

    ~Rodney Dangerfield~

  56. nick says:

    Totally agree about AK.

    My memory isn’t so great but didn’t a guy by the name of Gomez go quite awhile without any? I don’t recall him sitting too much, they just kept sticking him with better wingers and breaking up lines that were successfull.

    It’s f. irritating to watch.

  57. Kingofswing74 says:

    oh yeah im totally overreacting, i know. more out of fear than anything…i mean, subban is a superstar in the making, and its hard to see him being develloped so haphazardly. martin is acting as if he hasn’t seen subban play good defense before. I remember last years playoff against pittsburgh, when subban was playing over 20 minutes a game of solid defensive minutes and creative offesnive minutes. we could have that on a daily basis is martins pace maker could handle a few rookie mistakes.

  58. Captain aHab says:

    Well that’s interesting…is Pouliot playing?

  59. SeriousFan09 says:

    Overreact: Verb, ‘to react or respond more strongly than is necessary or appropriate.”

     

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

  60. Kingofswing74 says:

    that would be insanity, scratching a top 6 forward whose been having a good season against one of the best offensive teams in the league? where did you hear that?

  61. phillyhab says:

    I think that was Mike Putzface

  62. MikeMcLaren says:

    That would be:

    “Mike Putzface”

    /\\ike
    GO HABS GO!

  63. Hockey Socks says:

    AK46 a healthy scratch tonight.

  64. likehoy says:

    subban – gorges

    gill – weber

    imo

    – Gomez is holding down the suck button

  65. Kingofswing74 says:

    if p.k. sits tonight, and doesn’t recover, i will never forgive jacques martin. he will always be the inpatient jerk who costed us our best young player in 20 years. end of story.

  66. likehoy says:

    @boone, no mention of fan favourite mike ribeiro?

    – Gomez is holding down the suck button

  67. howtathor says:

    The media chatter today seems to indicate that Subban is sitting again tonight. Bah humbug! 

  68. JD_ says:

    I do.

    I crave stew and make it all the time, never the same way twice.

  69. longtimehabsfan says:

    Stat of the day:

    Tampa Bay is 19-10-4 and is -5 in goal differential.

  70. cautiousoptimist says:

    I haven’t lost faith in Martin yet — he’s done a lot more good than bad in his stay here so far, I think — but here are a couple of things I’d really like to see tonight:

    Partner Subban with a vet: a solid stay-at-home guy like like Gorges or Gill.  Someone needs to hang back while P.K. razzle-dazzles.  Put P.K. in a position to be the kind of player he is: a guy who pinches, dekes, makes great plays, and as a result occasionally gives the puck away.

    Weber in the lineup: Sit Picard, who hasn’t been great lately, and bring some offense to a blueline that has almost none.  Partner Weber with a vet too — whichever one of Gorges and Gill that Subban isn’t paired with.  It’s painfully obvious that Gill’s, Spacek’s, Hamrlik’s, Gorges’s and Picard’s point shots aren’t going to give any opposing goalies night terrors, and with his huge wind-up, Subban’s shots are foreseen and blocked more often than not.  Weber’s got maybe the best slapshot on the team — let the kid use it.

    Lay off AK46: Kostitsyn hasn’t scored in a while, sure. But he’s got 21 points in 32 games — really not that bad.  Even with his mini slump, he’s on pace for 52 points this season, and his career high is 53.  He’s not an 80-point guy and probably never will be, so let’s stop punishing him for being what he’s always been: a streaky winger with size who”s good for 20-25 goals a year.  His salary’s about right for that level of production, and only the most wildly optimistic fans cast him as a superstar, so let’s judge him by his numbers and not his ability to meet fans’ unrealistic expectations.

    Stop the damn line juggling: The top two lines are solid and should be set in stone for at least a few games, unless someone really goes into a tailspin.  Let Eller centre Pouliot, instead of playing him on the wing, and give him another winger with decent hands: Lapierre, say, or even Desharnais, who’s tearing up the AHL and leads that league in assists.  Let Moen play the plugger role he’s so good at with Halpern and Lapierre/Darche/Pyatt, and leave well enough alone.

    Play the bloody third line: It’s a good third line.  Give it some ice time.

    Stop sending messages in the last two minutes of the game: Wanna punish AK46 for a lousy game?  Fine: bag-skate him at practice.  But when it matters, in an actual hockey game, you play the best players you’ve got, and like it or not, Kostitsyn is one of our best.  In the last minute of a game you’re losing, sending a message by giving his spot on the ice to Darche is just plain dumb.  Which player is more likely to win the game for you?

     

    Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

  71. Chuck says:

    They’re in a 1-4 slump, in which Kostitsyn has delivered way below what we’re used to seeing from him. He’s been a non-factor, so by sitting him in favour of a player who, albeit less-skilled, works his ass off and does what the coach tells him, does indeed send a message about winning. Specifically, the kind of effort that’s needed to win hockey games.

    If a player hasn’t been playing up to the coach’s standards for the first 59 minutes, what makes you think that his effort is suddenly going to chance in the last 60 seconds?

    Martin coached a team that didn’t know each other on day one of training camp to the ECF last year. I’m pretty sure that in that span he built up some credibility.

    The 2010 Montreal Canadians Christmas Card


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