As we wait and hope for an end to the NHL lockout, we’ll let Canadiens fans relive the 1992-93 season when the Habs won the last of their 24 Stanley Cups by posting game stories from that season.
The Habs took a 1-1-1 record into Buffalo on Oct. 10, 1992 and looked anything but Stanley Cup champions against the Sabres.
Here is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Habs’ play embarrasses Demers; `I need more physical input and I need it now,’ coach says
Only four games into the old season, Canadiens coach Jacques Demers knows precisely what he wants in time for Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh: a new one.
In a few words, he doesn’t like what he’s seen of the old season – up to and definitely including Sunday’s 8-2 wipeout (there’s that word, again) in Buffalo.
“I don’t feel very good,” he was saying yesterday. “I don’t like to get beat like that. It’s embarrassing.”
He was feeling poorly when he awoke at his Hudson mansion yesterday, and much worse when he arrived at the Forum for a lengthy look, in slow motion, at the X-rated film involving the Canadiens and Sabres. It was a no-win thing from start to finish, with Buffalo leading 4-1 after two periods, and 8-1 midway through the third.
“I didn’t like what I saw,” grunted the kindly ol’ coach.
It figures. Who would want to watch a game in which Bob Sweeney, acquired on waivers only a couple of days earlier from Boston, scores one goal and assists on four others? Bob Corkum, who went into the season with four goals in 28 NHL games, scored twice. Brad May scored once, and so did Viktor Gordijuk, Pat LaFontaine, Wayne Presley and Dave Andreychuk – all against Andre Racicot, who stopped 42 shots. Benoit Brunet and Denis Savard were the only Canadiens to beat Daren Puppa among the 26 shots they tossed at him.
Anyway, back to the horror film, which the Sabres have named: We Take no Prisoners:
“I never want to say that I have a small team,” said Demers, “but I saw it against Boston and Ottawa, and I saw it against Buffalo. The new rules (no holding of the stick, no stick-checking above the waist) should favor us,” grumbled Demers. “So far, they haven’t done anything for us.”
What Demers is really saying is that his Canadiens have been paying a high price for everything they try to do.
“Size-wise, we are, so far,” said Demers. “We’re going to have to play on high emotion and skate, because it seems that the other teams know what they have to do whenever they play the Montreal Canadiens.
“I thought we played a great game (won 5-1 by the Canadiens) in Hartford. We dominated. Then we go into Ottawa where Rick Bowness, who was in Boston, got the job done with bump and grind … bump and grind.
“We played very well against Pittsburgh on Saturday,” said Demers. “Less than 24 hours later, we’re in Buffalo … and well, like I said, somebody has got to explain to me how a team can be so high one night and so low the next night. All we did was add Todd Ewen and Mario Roberge to put some extra size into the lineup up front, because Buffalo likes to come out hitting early in the game.”
Demers had all of the above, and lots more, to say to his players yesterday in a prolonged on-off-ice afternoon, which included a visit to the movies. Demers’s reasoning was that since he and his aides had to sit through the film – rated uh-oh by Montreal critics – why not have the actors do the same?
There were two rules for the players in the darkened room: no popcorn and no popping off.
“There was no yelling,” insisted Demers. “I’m not panicking. I don’t believe in panic. All I’m looking for are answers. So far, we’ve played well in one game, poorly in the next. What I’ve seen on the film is that I’m not getting physical involvement from some of my bigger players. I need more physical input and I need it now.
“We’ve played four games. Now, I want to see our guys do it the right way … well, it’s like starting a new season,” said Demers. “We’re going to work on fundamentals. Our power play has been atrocious. We’re going to make some changes in the lineup. What I’ve seen of this team so far has got to stop right now.”
Jumpin’ Jacques is dead serious. Right now, he looks like a guy who’d like to crack heads – and one route he’s taking is to remove last season’s favorite kid from the lineup.
Gilbert Dionne, who scored 21 goals in 39 games during the last half of the season, is out with a bruised ego. Dionne was rewarded with an astonishing $1.2-million, three-year contract for his regular-season work last season, even though he was largely a zero during the playoffs. This season, despite an uncommon amount of ice time, he’s been the team’s worst forward.
A positive step will be the reunion of Vincent Damphousse, Kirk Muller and Brian Bellows, which provides the Canadiens with at least one big line.
Defenceman Patrice Brisebois will be out of the lineup for at least another week with a sprained ankle.
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)