Fire the coach!
Trade all the players!!
Move the franchise to Quebec City!!!
Your Canadiens have lost two games in a row.
Might as well spend the long, cold Montreal winter watching NBA basketball.
There, that felt good, didn’t it?
Now let’s all take a deep breath and calm the eff down … at least until the siren sounds on Long Island Saturday night.
If the losing streak hits three against the islanders … well, maybe a wee bit of anxiety might be in order.
But for now, the Canadiens are still second in the Atlantic Division. They’re six points ahead of Toronto, which is clinging to a wild-card playoff birth.
So I’ll heed the advice of the wise old owls of the Commentariat and keep my bandwagon-hopping/ditch-diving bipolarity in check.
(The meds help.)
The Canadiens are playing badly. Every team does at one time or another in the NHL season. Better now than in late March/early April.
In the part of his postgame press conference telecast by L’Antichambre, Michel Therrien did not conceal his disappointment or look for silver linings. In the wake of that 6-0 pasting dished out by L.A. at the Bell Centre Tuesday night, Therrien said he expected more “hargne” from his team. The word translated as surliness, ill temper.
In a hockey context, unless it’s Brian Burke speaking French “hargne” means intensity, engagement, will to win.
The coach’s diagnosis was accurate. Exemplified by the enormously frustrating Max Pacioretty – who had one shot on goal against the Kings and matched that in Philadelphia – the Canadiens played with a near-total lack of fire or emotion.
I’m no fan of Burke’s brand of truculence, which he’s threatening to bring to Calgary. I don’t think George Parros should have run Steve Mason to “get the guys going”.
It was telling, however, that the post-siren nastiness began with Mason taking a shot at Brian Gionta.
Who sprang to his captain’s defence?
That’s the heart and soul of your Montreal Canadiens right there. Too bad they beat in a body that could be in the stirrups for the fifth race at Santa Anita.
Yeah, the size thing …
Nobody talked about it while the Canadiens were taking 19 of a possible 20 points. But junior hockey expert Stéphane Leroux cited an interesting stat on L’Antichambre Wednesday night:
There are 22 players in the NHL who are 5’9″ or shorter.
Eighteen of them play in the Eastern Conference. Five are Canadiens: Gallagher, Gionta, Daniel Brière, David Desharnais and Francis Bouillon.
There are more short players on this team than in THE ENTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE!
It doesn’t mean the Canadiens play soft. They outhit the Kings 32-24 and had a 23-21 hit advantage over the Flyers – despite losing big thumper Alexei Emelin in the second period.
The lack of size manifests itself, however, in things that don’t show up on the scoresheet.
The Canadiens lose puck battles.
They get beaten in the corners and along the boards.
They play a perimeter game that rarely rattles opposing goaltenders.
Philadelphia came into the game as the most penalized team in the NHL. But until the fracas involving Mason, the Flyers took a grand total of one minor penalty in 60 minutes of hockey: Sean Couturier’s high stick on Ryan White, five minutes into the first period.
The Canadiens were held without a shot for two minutes, and that was it for their power-play opportunities. They didn’t – or perhaps couldn’t – play tough enough to force the NHL’s penalty leaders into a hook, a hold, an interference, a trip.
Considering White’s status as a scoring threat, the Canadiens could not force a single instance in which a Flyer had to commit an infraction to avoid being beaten on a play.
When they’re playing well, the Canadiens get a good offensive push from their back end (sounds erotic). P.K. Subban leads the team in scoring. Andrei Markov is fourth.
In Philadelphia, P.K. had one shot on goal. Markov had none – not even an attempted shot. Josh Gorges had one shot; Raphael Diaz, Douglas Murray and Emelin, in his 10:16 of ice time, combined for a big fat goose egg.
Therrien listed his team’s failings: poor in transition, failure to get pucks to the net to create second chances, lack of effective forechecking, absence of intensity in the offensive zone, bad decision-making.
The coach didn’t mention it, but his own line-juggling was less than helpful.
The return of Gallagher predictably sparked Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk. But Brière, in his less-than-triumphant return to Philadelphia, was useless on the DD line. And a Brandon Prust/Travis Moen alternation didn’t help Tomas Plekanec or Brian Gionta.
Is Rene Bourque ready to return to the lineup? Will Michaël Bournival draw back in for George Parros against the Islanders?
Should be an interesting Friday practice on Long Island.
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Brian Burke’s children on Twitter: