About last night …

You don’t have to be bilingual to understand the adjectives flying around L’Antichambre to describe the Canadiens loss:

“Lamentable” “Inacceptable” “Épouvantable”

OK, the last one is a bit tricky. Épouvantable translates as “frightful, dreadful, shocking, horrible, appalling”.

I hope the Antichambre guys have saved some good adjectives for tomorrow night, when the Canadiens visit Washington. It will be the teams’ first meeting since the Capitals were knocked out of the playoffs in April.

Think the Caps will be hungry?

Think Bruce Boudreau may drop an f-bomb or two in his pre-game pep talk?

Think Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich may be scarier scorers than Blake Comeau, Michael Grabner, P.A. Parenteau and James Wisniewski?

Be afraid, peeps.

Be very afraid.

And be certain there will be lineup changes, because the team is in trouble.

The Canadiens are 0-10 when trailing after the first period and 0-13 when facing a deficit after 40 minutes.

Only Minnesota matches the Canadiens’ 0-for futility.

These are not the Comeback Kids, and you don’t need a French-English dictionary to know that translates to enormous pressure on Carey Price.

If the goaltender isn’t great, if there are breakdowns on D or a couple deflections beat Price early, the Canadiens lose.

Think Washington will get some first-period bounces?

Because the Habs Inside/Out server performed worse than Alexandre Picard last night, I had a chance to suck a beer and watch L’Antichambre from beginning to end. The panelists – my man Frnçois Gagnon, Michel Bergeron, Tony Marinaro and Gaston Therrien – made some interesting points:

• Citing his own coaching experience, Bergeron wondered how a team trailing 4-0 in a hockey game can play with so little emotion. Maybe it’s because no one ever called Jacques Martin Le Grand Tigre. Nor do the Canadiens have a Dale Hunter to take someone’s head off and spark a rally. Max Pacioretty may turn into a power forward, but he’s no Hunter … or even a Patrick Kaleta.

• Gagnon tallied SoG, blocks and misses to point out the Canadiens had 73 to 43 for the Islanders. But the team had poor execution, no finish and the snipers blew chances.

• Puck possession and speed. This is supposed to be the Canadiens’ game, right? But against Colorado and Detroit, the Canadiens were the slower team and couldn’t complete two straight passes.

• Enough penance already! P.K. Subban has to play. The Canadiens gave Yannick Weber enough rope, and he’s hung himself. You can no longer sit a Top Four defenceman in favour of two guys, Weber and Picard, who would be number six and seven on good hockey teams.

Nor can a player with Subban’s skill set be omotted from a defence corps that includes three guys aged 35+ and an injured Josh Gorges.

• Marinaro says Lars Eller belongs in the AHL, where he can play 20 minutes a game. He’s with the Canadiens, Marinaro asserts, to save face for Pierre Gauthier on the Jaro Halak trade.

I don’t always agree with my friend Tony, who can be a bit bombastic, but he’s got a point. Up till now, I’ve thought they were right in bringing Eller, an abvious talent, along slowly. But on a team that can’t come back and sonsequently shortens its bench when trailing, the kid has two goals, four assists and is average a shade over 10 minutes ToI.

• If the Canadiens are getting nothing from their 12th forward – Hello, Tom yatt! – maybe they should dress and rotate seven D to give the aforementioned geezers and Gorges few minutes.

• Gagnon talked about the puck-support system Jacques Martin has precahed since the beginning of training camp in 2009. When the puck is in the Canadiens’ end, you should be seeing five skaters in close proximity.

This works well for the Detroit Red Wings, who pass like a basketball team and have puck-moving defenceman who make superb first passes.

It would work well for the Canadiens if Andrei Markov (and maybe, eventually, P.K.) were snapping off 40-foot tape-to-tape passes.

Or if Andrei Kostitsyn could backcheck and play transition as well as Pavel Datsyuk.

• The Canadiens are averaging 31.8 SoG per game. They’re allowing 29.8. They protected Carey Price well enough through October to ensure the goaltender got off to a confidence-boosting start.

But again, the system is great for protecting 2-1 leads.

Erasing deficits? Not so great.

The sports phone-ins – including Marinaro’s – will be fun today.

On to Washington.

•  •  •

Guest Comment from Bill:

This is no longer a slumping team, but a team in real trouble. They
get plowed by a team as terrible as the Islanders … and the Islanders
banged up too!

It’s a team characterized by terrible defensive
lapses and absolutely zero finish. The latter has been a problem all
year, as the Habs have had a hell of a time scoring goals. The former
has probably been a problem all year too, but had been masked up to this
point by unusually hot goaltending. With Price slumping – bad numbers
the past eight games – all the team’s warts are showing.

Although I
am not the biggest JM fan – okay, I don’t like his style – I am not
willing to blame him for the nose-dive his team has taken. The Habs have
good playmakers and good finishers on both the top lines, and AK and
Pacorietty provide size in the slot. Goals should be going in, but they
haven’t been all year … nobody except Plekanec willing to pay the
price? I don’t know.

Maybe it’s just the Markov trickle-down
effect. It actually could be that simple. Only thing I know for sure is
that Martin has proven unable to right the ship, and I’m not expecting
anything more from him. His “system” in Montreal has only ever worked
with lights-out goaltending. If Price can get back on track, he can
carry this team again. If not … the rest of the season is going to be
uglier and hairier than half-price night at a Peruvian bordello.


  1. OneTimer says:

    I think you’re right, but you ain’t gonna burst these haters’ bubble. They just love to hate on the Habs when things aren’t going well. Gotta love them fans!

  2. OneTimer says:

    Also: second lowest goals against average (or thereabouts) right before our slump indicates that our D and goaltending were actually pretty good. You just have a hate-on for the Habs right now, just go hate-whack off or something. Or choose another team to follow as I said above, as you’re clearly one of those ‘fans’ that won’t be satisfied until we go 82-0-0.

  3. OneTimer says:

    Might as well root for another team, right? One with perfect offense, defense and goaltending?

  4. notbigbird says:

    Even if he doesn’t play lights out, a little more wattage would help.

  5. light_n_tasty says:

    The offense has been anemic all year. Don’t kid yourself.

  6. light_n_tasty says:

    The D has been suspect all season. Don’t kid yourself.

  7. Timo says:

    THis is one of the best observations all year. Kudos!

  8. MathMan says:

    The big difference is luck really. The Habs can’t buy a goal, everything the opponent touches turns to gold.

    They aren’t doing more gaffes than they did earlier, and in most cases, fewer than their opponents. It’s just that every time they do these days it goes in, whereas previously they only went in at some reasonable rate. Ditto deflections — percentage plays par excellence — these days every attempted deflection by the opponent ends up as a perfect corner shot… well not every one, but you get my meaning, usually these end up missing entirely more often than not.

  9. MathMan says:

    Not that I know of, not in any format you could feed into Excel or a database or anything like that, no. Unless you do some extensive HTML scraping to rip it out.

  10. punkster says:

    Thank heaven you’re here to straighten things out for them. As usual.


  11. joeybarrie says:

    And you think what you provided was based on research.

    You ACTUALLY are trying to sell that the reason we are losing is because we traded O’Byrne?????

    Did Cause and Effect help you create this NAG theory of yours???

    What I am gonna do is support the management of a team that has brought us to the Eastern Conf finals, and first place in the East. I am going to support a management that has lead us to 1st in our division so far, and the same management that has been making good moves for the most part.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  12. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    unfortunatley you’re not correct…because we are losing…and you say its a “Streak”,

    i proved with facts that it cannot be clearly attributed to a “Streak” but rather some questionable moves by the coach/management… you seem to endorse those moves,  bow down and worship them as a FANatic would.

    sorry, that is not reality…cause and effect, do your research!

  13. 1010 says:

    If they were seriously concerned about evening things up this team has a lot of powerplays vs. penalties coming to their good. Check the stats.


     GO HABS…

  14. 1010 says:

    I’ve been commenting on this subject for some time now. It simply is not in this leagues’ interest to have a great team in Montreal. 

    It’s a perfect scenario for the league: a team that finishes between 6th and 10th year after year and gets by the first round once every few years. The building is packed and the team makes a lot of money that they can hand over money to a southern team that will always get the calls at playoff time. Then, everyone will ohh and awe about all the fans showing up for the cup run, of said southern team, while conveniently forgetting they drew no fans before the cup run nor will they draw fans after their cup run. And, we will pretend that hockey is alive and well in the US bible belt. It’s a joke.

    Bettman is as legit as Vince McMann. Actually less because Vince knows that we know.


     GO HABS…

  15. billylove says:

    Well, there you have it. Price simply needs to be lights-out amazing every night. Perhaps he needs to chip in an occassional goal or two as well to bail out the anemic offense!

    Habs Man in NORCAL

  16. VancouverHab says:

    MathMan: you’re the wind beneath my wings.

    This is great stuff. I hope they pay you well enough ;–)

  17. 24 Cups says:

    I love these post Christmas gifts.

    The blind speaking to the blind.

    Thank you, Santa!

  18. OneTimer says:

    You’re crazy man. Price was playing better but the difference was the DEFENSE. Subban playing with swagger, a healthy Markov, fully rested workhorses (Gorges, Hamrlik, Spatch). That’s the difference. If you can’t see that, I don’t know what to tell you.

  19. light_n_tasty says:

    Let’s not kid ourselves.  The ONLY difference between this team and the one that was winning at the beginning of the season is Carey Price.  He’s playing fine, not lights-out amazing like earlier in the year.  Nothing else has changed.  

  20. habsfan0 says:

    Is it just me or has anybody noticed that when the Habs skate into the offensive zone, there is nary a Canadiens player stationed in front of the opposition’s net? Is this due to coaching..because JM has a defense first philosophy which requires players to stay back and be ready to backcheck should the other team gain control of the puck…or is it due to Habs smaller players loathing the prospect of the opposition’s much bigger defensemen taking them out from in front of the net? I suspect it’s a little bit of both..

  21. nova scotia vees says:

    Why are most people loathe to comment on the penalties. The refs are absolutely crooked and as employees of the league they routinely call games (not just Mtl), according to franchise health, etc. And as for the Leafs. Check out how many P.P’s they get late in games. Most refs are from Ontario aren’t they?
    And when will the league do away with that stupid slashing the stick call. I bet some coaches are smart enough to send a player out with a cracked stick, so they can get a PP. I know I would. This is faulty equipment and nothing more. In the past, all players were taught to tie up the other guys stick. Now they play with match-sticks..Blow on them and they shatter. That’s NOT A PENALTY.

  22. notbigbird says:

    I was looking around. Basically, their record is good while outshooting, except in the last 8 games (back to Detroit) when we’ve outshot the other team 7 out of 8 times, yet we’ve only won twice. We have significantly outshot the opponent in 5 of those 8 games (defined by me as outshooting by 5). Total shots for in those games have been 269 with 217 against. So, it’s come down to luck, goaltending, or quality of shots surrendered. From what I can see, it’s been a bit of all three factors.

    Are those nhl.com stats downloadable?

  23. bolder says:

    JM’s system sucks and always has! A team that is 0-10 trailing after 1 period and 0-13 trailing after 2 peiods, is not a well rounded team to compete in this league. Wanting a goalie to stand on their heads every game, hoping to win 1-0 or 2-1 is shit hockey. On paper they have the goalie, skilled players, and gritty players. The system they have to play sucks and JM does not prepare this team to play for 60 solid minutes.


  24. billylove says:

    About a month ago, I looked at the upcoming schedule and hoped to see the Habs begin the new year with 50 points. That’s obviously not going to happen! This team will wind up fighting to make the playoffs and the early season promise of winning a high seed is fading fast. When at their best, they can compete with anyone, but they simply do not have enough size and skill to do so for the long haul. If Price doesn’t play at spectacular levels for virtually every game, they struggle. This overdependance on goaltending reflects the weaknesses of their overall game. All things being generally equal, I’d take a good big athlete over a good small athlete. Size does matter, especially the way the game is played today and the habs need more bulk to win battles along the boards and create traffic in front of opposing goalies. They also desperately need more guys who can put the puck in the net. JM will always make D the priority and that’s fine, but you still need to score goals. At the current pace will anyone even approach 30! I hope the locals don’t end up blaming Price because he’s not the problem. There’s lot’s of size and skill in the NHL, but not enough here!    

    Habs Man in NORCAL

  25. ArmyFan says:

    Not that the team doesn’t spend a lot of time in the penalty box every game, but the past few have been particularly lopsided.  When you’re constantly on the PK, there’s not a lot of forechecking going on which is where a forward gets most of his hits.

    I hear you on the goal production concern – he played his ass off a lot of nights last year and had no finish, so I am always leery that it will be more of the same this year.  But I disagree on the confidence thing – he is skating hard, hitting every time he’s on the ice, and keeping the puck in deep.  He looks much more confident that he did last year, and that should (fingers crossed) soon translate into more pucks in the net.

  26. joeybarrie says:

    Trading O’byrne was catastrophic?????? Thats freaking hilarious. Yes we need a big hitting stay at home defenseman. Not one who takes useless penalties and scores in our own net. Pair Komi with Markov and he looks like a 4 million dollar a year defender. Put him on the Leafs and look what happens. Take Liles away from O’Byrne, and we will see.

    White and Henry? What are you talking about? Pure nonsense.

    Halak for nobody?? Well we will see what you say about Eller after a few years of experience. Trust me, you will be eating your words. Especially since we have Price.

    Benching Subban was the correct move. He is minus 7 in his last 7 games. and has 5 points in his last 21 games. He needs more experience before he becomes a top defenseman.

    NHL REF Syndicate. Just plain dumb.

    Nags, even dumber…

    Call up White? NO.  Shultz, NO. PAX???who are you talking about?

    Pyatt does not lend to areas of blah blah blah…….??? Have you seen our Penalty Kill???

    Halpern does not lend to areas of……  Are you serious? One of our MAJOR issues was Face Offs. He is a god

    send… He has 3 more points than Moore and is HALF the price…

    There is more nonsense in this post than I have seen in a long long time…

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  27. ArmyFan says:

    Agree on the trade deadline comment.  In the salary cap era, the days of blockbuster trades at the deadline are over. 

    Teams no longer look at it as “losing players for nothing” if they don’t deal an impending free agent before the deadline.  If a free agent walks on July 1, they get a very precious commodity in return – CAP SPACE.

  28. HardHabits says:

    If it’s not one thing it’s another.

    Why can’t the team retain what it has learned when it moves on to correcting other things? Also always with the dichotomy. The team had the best PP in the past but couldn’t play 5 on 5 for it’s life. Then it moved onto a game where it was getting bombarded with shots, yet winning games. Now dominates play and loses. Scores 1st wins, doesn’t score 1st loses. Among the best in Penalty Kill and Goals Against, can’t buy a goal. Polar opposites? Or the inability to be a complete team. This team needs to dig deep. They need to get scored on first and then storm back with goals. The problem is not that they sit back and fall deeper into their defensive shell when trailing, but that they cheat and start to press which gets them out of it. There is a weakness up front. The Habs do not have the ability to push their way into an opponent’s zone. They need to counter and/or use speed. It’s a confidence thing. They know they can’t wait around forever for the other team to make a mistake in order to capitalize.

    My only suggestion is the Habs will have to play smarter and force errors upon the opposing team. They also really need to come back from a few games where they are trailing and/or get scored on 1st. They should work on plays where when one player pinches, especially a defenceman, another covers his spot.

    The team is getting mentally weak and demoralized, and it is far from being Price’s fault. However IMO Auld needs to be played more. I am seriously doubting the wisdom in over-playing Price too. The split should have been 65-35. Now it stands at something like 90-10. Not wise.

  29. CHsam says:

    I think im going to have waffles for brunch

  30. MathMan says:

    Easy to check. It’s on NHL.com.

    The Habs are .565 when outshooting, .545 when outshot, .500 when tied.

    (And the Habs have outshot twice as often as they’ve been outshot which is a very welcome change — this is a big reason they are not a sub-.500 team anymore, like they were last year).

    It’s not a matter of playing defensively better when outshot. If you get outshot it’s a sign of one of two things: you’re sucking wind on possession (as last year’s Habs would) or you’re playing a good team, but have gotten lucky and taken a big league and they’re pressing while you defend.

    Modern hockey is not a game where offense and defense are separate. Dominating possession is the best defense because when you have the puck in the offensive zone the opponent has no shot at scoring.

    Getting badly outshot and winning narrowly is a sign that you’re being lucky and your goalie is standing on his head (both at once), but that your team in general is playing badly.

  31. notbigbird says:

    “They dominate possession, outshoot, outchance, out-everything, but lose
    by 3 goals. “

    I wonder whether we have a better record being outshot than when we outshoot the opposition? I wouldn’t be surprised. Do we play better defensively when we’re being outshot?

  32. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    STREAK???? give me a break… the problem is CAUSE and EFFECT…lets look at some solid facts:

    Trading OBYRNE: Catastrophic move by coach/manager. Big, Young hitting defenseman needed??? not according to our MANAGEMENT..

    Benching SUBBAN: Catastrophic move by coach/manager… Big strong, puck moving, skating, free flowing, cocky, willing to drop the gloves, extreme talent needed??? not according to our MANAGEMENT.

    Sending down ‘WHITE/HENRY’ and of their ilk…NAG players that without you can never come from behind because its those players that change a game, not the disinterested high talent… but not according to our MANAGMENT.

    Trading HALAK for NOBODY…great move management…because goalies aren’t that important and you can’t get much for them!!!!!

    NHL REF SYNDICATE….the usual, 8 penaltys to 1 or 2 for the opposition…sapped the life out of us against Detroit…same deal last night…. do you think that PENALTIES can change the momentum of a game!! and guess what, MOST (90%) penalties are NOT WORTHY of being called!! unless you must help those bankrupt teams with their stadiums at 32% capacity from that bankrupt nation south of the imaginary border….

    In my opinion we are not gritty enough, we cleaned house and replaced with an Eller/Halpern/Boyd/Pyatt and got rid of Obyrne… nothing against those guys, good skaters and hard workers, but they do not lend to areas of our composition where we need help.

    We are going to lose games, but the problem is when we lose its because of our deficiencies, not error, and that is of concern.

    1:The N.A.G.S. (North American Grit Speed) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2: The NHL-REF-SYNDICATE will do everything in its power to deny us the cup. 3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/PAX now.

  33. MathMan says:

    Take this line from the Quick Hits, and sorry for the re-post but this is an ongoing pet peeve of mine:

    “Blocking shots is dirty and dangerous work. Like taking a hit to make a
    pass, blocking a shot shots is a leading indicator of the will to
    sacrifice your body in order to win”

    This is actually completely wrong.

    Individual blocked shots are good plays, but at the team scale, having a lot of blocked shots is a sign that your team is getting dominated!

    means that the opponent is in your offensive zone, holding the puck,
    taking shots! If you don’t have a lot of blocked shots and are still
    leading on the shot clock it means that you are not giving the opponent
    the opportunity to take shots — and it means you don’t have the
    opportunity to block a lot of shots.

    in point, the Habs attempted 73 shots and blocked 17 — 23%. The Habs
    blocked 10 of the Isles’ 43 attempts — 23%… The Habs blocked less
    shots because the Islanders tried less shots
    — because the Habs had fewer chances to block shots, not because they
    lacked the will to do so. They blocked fewer shots because they were
    carrying the play.

    A high blocked shot count is a big, big red flag. Good teams do not block lots of shots; they don’t get the chance.

    The high blocked shots total, combined with
    shots and missed shots, tells me that the Habs spent most of their time
    in the Islanders’ zone, and that the score didn’t reflect the flow of

  34. MathMan says:

    I think the most frustrating thing about this slump is the panic it inspires — that, and the fact that the Habs can hardly do more than they already do.

    They dominate possession, outshoot, outchance, out-everything, but lose by 3 goals. And it’s not the first time this happens. We too often judge a game through the lens of a final score, which is a terrible thing to do to a game as low-scoring and luck-driven as hockey. It pays to take a step back, especially when the score is lopsided.

    Blowouts are the most meaningless games there are; you can draw few conclusions about a game once the score spins out of control. One team gets 4 goals on 15 chances, the other manages 1 on 25, and the game spins out of control. It seems that the Habs are in one of those weird unlucky periods where they can’t buy a goal and everything their opponents touch turn to gold.

    It will pass. And it doesn’t matter, anyway, because whether it passes or not, the Habs cannot — must not — radically change their game. They are, on the agregate, playing well. They’re just not getting the bounces. Not much they can do than stay the course.

    They could try to play like they did in the playoffs, of course, but then with this luck they’d lose 8-0 rather than 4-1.

    Panic about the Washington game is unwarranted, IMHO; the Habs haven’t been dominated in any game, even versus Dallas or New York. I’m not saying they will win against Washington, but they can play them evenly, and they’ll only get embarassed if their bad luck holds.

    If the Habs abandon good hockey, go back to their playoff style, practice systematic slot defense to the exclusion of all else, force Price to stand on his head, and lose by one goal, then at that point, it will be time to worry.

  35. matrags says:

    The backbone of a good team consists of a good goalie , a norrise type d men and a big take charge center men . We have no such d men in the lineup and God only knows it has been yrs , and not uncommon ,knowledge that we need a big capable centermen. Why Philly can somehow come up with four no less centermen , is a mystery to me . What is not a mystery is that our management  has failed miserably in its search for that piece of the puzzle. As for the d men , well we had one but he is gone , our next best hope for one is siting in the pressbox , learning to play at this level I suppose. That is nossence , and the benching of Subban must stop. As for the center , Eller is the biggest and considering the price paid for him , he should play and not just ten minutes a game ,if he is not good enough then we were hosed and I understand why we do not have a big a type centermen. We have seven million in cap space and management needs to use it wisely to solve the problem this team is developing .No Backbone……

  36. oshawahabsfan says:

    I turned the game on right before Pleks goal. I just got in from work and saw the score, was about to turn it back off but then he scored and I had a flashback to that game a few years ago on the Island with the big third period comeback. After that point the team was creating chance after chance, and had they had some finish last night -Roloson also made some good saves- they actually could have tied that game. The problem of course is they shouldn’t have had to have been down 4-0 to start turning on the offence. I didn’t see the rest of the game but I’m guessing their effort through periods one and two was not as good as the third.

  37. nova scotia vees says:

    Is that really J.M. behind the bench or a wax figure?  I have coached basketball for many moons, and firmly believe that intensity and motivation comes first from the bench.  You don’t have to be over the top all the time….but lordy at least show some emotion.  Last year we were the team with the fewest power-plays and were short-handed the MOST of any team in the league.  Shouldn’t a coach get upset about that stat??  Carbonneau was too smug while Gainey behind the bench looked like a statue from Easter Island.  Get us someone who can coach AND MOTIVATE.  

    P.K. Subban….PLAY HIM 24 minutes a game.  I watched Larry Robinson both in the AHL and then with the big club.  McNeil and Bowman didn’t put him in the press box, even when he got caught on some of his rushes.  How can Subban be trusted to play 20 min. a game against Pittsburgh and Washington (last year), but not against the Islanders.  One has to wonder if other factors are at play.

    Price…well, not surprised.  Sadly, he seems to be falling back to his knees and looking a bit like the Price I wanted traded.  Hope I am wrong on this one. 

    Pyatt is a waste of time and Eller….well, he’s not the worst we’ve got, but he is not good value for Halak.

  38. oshawahabsfan says:

    Obviously those guys up in the hockey gods office weren’t happy that Montreal won their last game with goals scored on a five minute powerplay. They decided to even it up and say hah Montreal, how do you like it

  39. RS says:

    I agree with the streaky bit. All teams go through slumps during the year. The Habs are not playing well now, but they aren’t actually as bad as they are playing. Nor were they as good as they were playing there for a while.

    Hab fan are kidding themselves if they think the team is going to pick up a couple significant players before the trade deadline. Maybe one depth player will be added, but this team is going to succeed or fail based on the guys on the current roster. They still have a pretty good shot at making the playoffs, and that is all we could realistically expect at the start of the season. I’m just hoping that key young guys – Price, Subban, Eller and Pacioretty continue to develop.

  40. joeybarrie says:

     So I know I have to keep my patience with the usual suspects who are
    going to come out with their same old posts after a loss… ‘JM is not a
    good coach, what has he won?’, ‘The Habs are a mediocre team and have
    been for 15 years now, we will not compete until we clear out ALL
    management’, ‘Gomez is a 3rd line forward at best’, ‘JM is ruining our
    young talent’, and ‘Our team is full of a bunch of smurfs’

    OK, so
    basically in the end it is this. Teams are streaky. Every team has its
    highs and lows. We had our high and are on our low. We will go hot
    again, and inevitably we will slump again too, so be prepared. Simply
    put we are relying heavily on guys who cannot produce 82 perfect games a

    We absolutely need a top forward and a top defenseman in
    order to compete with the top teams. We are still having a good season
    on the whole. People jumped the gun with Gomez’ production, they jumped
    the gun on Price, and are currently jumping the gun with this team.
    Although there is no surprise there. A bunch of people just dying to say
    I told you so are in the midst.

    The keys to our success are three
    fold. -Picking up the players before the deadline. Again, we need a Top
    Forward and a Top Defender. -Beating the teams that are currently
    competing for position, ie. Washington, Atlanta, NYR, Tampa, and
    continuing to beat the teams in our division, especially Boston and
    Ottawa. -Staying reasonably healthy.

    We have good depth on this
    team, however it is mediocre depth. With star players missing, we will
    indeed be in the middle of the pack (see last seasons standings). With
    our veteran core and all our players we will exceed these expectations
    and be a top team (see last seasons playoffs and this seasons start).

    are still on pace for 95-97 points which will be good enough for around
    4th place. If we continue to dominate Boston, we will end up in 3rd
    place. My guess is we will play one of the SE teams in the first round.

    as for our next game and being afraid. I would say the opposite.  The
    Caps are still fragile and worried about going back into their slump.
    Then again so are we, but they have not convinced me that they are back
    to their top form. Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Laich, and Green have a
    combined TWO goals in their last FIVE games. Their top two lines have a combined FOUR goals in their last FIVE games.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  41. joeybarrie says:

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  42. WestHab says:

    My obvsevation was that the Habs looked like the home team pulling the weight of a turkey and the isles playing a road game waiting for the mistakes to capitalize on. It worked. Habs were out of position, fanned on shots and could not handle passes. Very furzzztrating to watch.


    – Who will be at the Heritage Classic?

  43. SeriousFan09 says:

    Jacques Versus Lats, Hmmmm… Also see “Lats versus Carbo” “Lats versus Poutine” and my personal favourite “Lats versus the Persecution When Not Trying” Subban’s issue is he is too casual with the puck, too often trying to
    just move the puck along offensively without thinking about the results.
    Pouliot has a consistency issue and Pacioretty shouldn’t have been on
    the team in 09-10 anyway.

    Pacioretty is playing well enough, he had some great opportunities in the DAL game but Lehtonen pretty much robbed him both times. He’ll get more opportunities but I don’t think these last 3 games have created a ‘slide’ in his performance.



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

  44. TommyB says:

    Just about all of those guys are near the end of their careers.  So, you could pick one up for nothing.  True.  But I always figure you get what you pay for.

  45. Deano says:

    Too bad about Nash … everytime I have seen him this year (3 times) he has been solid.  Unspectacular, but solid.

  46. Deano says:

    At the deadline the HABS may be able to get any number of July 2011 free agents for next to nothing (the going rate has been 2nd round picks or AHL prospects).  Depending on how these teams do over the next month, the following players (Cap Hit in brackets) may be available (pick any two under $7M total and there will ot be much to give up for them):

    Carolina: Pitkanen ($4M), Cole ($2.9M)

    Devils: Arnott ($4.5M), Langenbrunner ($2.8M)

    Ducks: Selanne ($4.5M)

    Flames: Staios ($2.7M)

    Avalanche: Hejduk ($3.0M) … I know COL is playing well … I guy can dream can’t he.

    Florida: Stillman ($3.5M)

    Isles: Moulson ($2.45M) … great name for a HAB, Wisniewski ($3.18)

    PHX: Vrbata ($3.0M)

    STL: Brewer ($4.25M)

    TOR: Kaberle ($4.0M)

    Dump AK47 somehow and you can pick any two.



  47. TommyB says:

    Nice to get a perspective on the Dogs from someone who is not an emotionally attached Hamiltonian, without mentioning any names.  Thanks for the report.  So Boyd was the best Bulldog on the ice.  He probably should be, considering his time in the NHL, but with nobody coming even close to him, that is a concern.  Not a catastrophe, just a concern.  Obviously there is no immediate help down on the farm.  Strap yourself into your Laz-Y-Boy, the rest of the ride is going to have some turbulence.

  48. Captain aHab says:

    I think Pac is playing fine…he’s been robbed by goalies a few times. I’ll get worried if Martin starts playing him on the fourth line to put Moen with Gomez. But I don’t think it’ll happen because I feel that JM has been told to play him on the top line. I just can’t see JM, who was shown up by Max Pax when he said he didn’t think he wanted to play on 3rd/4th lines, would bow to a very young player’s demands. I think Habs management are calling that shot.

  49. rwparent says:

    lay off Eller – Tony is dead wrong

    Eller skates hard every shift – blocks shots, finishes checks and goes to the net

    he has been one of the better players a lot of nights

    don’t blame him because the organization cannot put finishers on a line with him

    he has nothing to learn in the minors and DESERVES more ice – it is a coaching MISTAKE

    not a reflection of his performance

    if the rest of the team worked as hard as young Lars – it would change the outcome of games

    Martin has to smarten up with Eller and Subban – they are the future and they need to play more NOT LESS

  50. Captain aHab says:

    Anybody notice that Pouliot was back to falling on his azz all game long? The guy must have the worst balance in the league.

    The simple one with Eller would be to send him down to Hamilton to give him good minutes and bring up Desharnais to see if he can cut it in the NHL. That being said, I don’t think he’s the problem. Not cashing in on chances, and they are getting them, is what is killing this team.

    I also like the idea of dressing 7 d-men. Or dress 6 and rotate who sits out so people get occasional rests.

    Here’s the one thing I hope doesn’t happen: the Habs panic and send Subban, and/or a bunch of top picks in return for an aging rental. I do not want them to become the Laffs. If they’re going to send players and picks to someone, get a high first rounder in return so we can get a young scorer. We have enough pluggers to fill 2 teams and their farm teams. We need someone who can put the biscuit in the net, not just people who are good at chasing the biscuit around.

    What will they do with Markov? He obviously is tremendously missed but would it be better to invest that money in a less injury-prone d-man? They might get two stay-at-home types for the same price and if they truly want to develop Subban into a game breaker, then that might be a better way to go.

    Next summer will be interesting. I honestly don’t think they’ll do anything at the deadline because teams are far too hungry at the deadline. I think right now they’re crossing their fingers and hoping the d somehow rights itself.

  51. habs001 says:

    i agree the production on this team is pretty well on the pace the talent we have…not one player has had a breakout or monster year.

  52. rwparent says:

    double entry – oops

  53. Bill says:

    Is it time to start worrying about Pacioretty and the Martin effect yet? It’s six games and I’m not liking the direction things are taking. With each game Pac is looking a little less sure, a little less confident, and it’s not like we haven’t seen this movie before, when it was called “Jacques vs PK”, “Jacques vs. Benny”, “Jacques vs Lats”, or even “Jacques vs Max Pac Part I”.

    Pacioretty’s first three games: 3gp, 1g, 2a, 3pts, +1, 12 hits.

    Pacioretty’s last three games: 3gp, 0g, 0a, 0pts, -3, 5 hits.

    If Pacioretty were a graph, he’d be running off the bottom of the page. What is up with that?

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  54. habs001 says:

    most of our forwards score 1-2 goals every 10 games …the forwards that score 25-35 goals in a season are mostly streaky scorers who score in bunches so on most nights they are also the 2 goals every 10 game type of forwards…this line up will have very few games where they score 4 goals ..3 goals in some games but the majority of the games will be 2 or less…this team is made up to play the top teams where it is defined who to check (this is good for playoffs) …when we play the weaker teams than our lack of talent shows up..while i am not a great fan of martin he has shown that his system can beat top teams in the playoffs while other teams with similiar talent than us cannot..

  55. 24 Cups says:

    My daughter and her fiancé took me to yesterday’s Marlie-Hamilton game in Toronto. We had 2nd row seats at centre ice so it was a great opportunity to check out the guys on the farm.



    The Bulldogs got off to a slow start but did come back to tie the game which eventually went into a shoot-out. Twelve shots were taken in the SO and one went in. To be honest, it was laughable.

    The best Bulldog on the ice was Dustin Boyd. Realistically, he was the only guy who looked to have the speed and size to play in the NHL right now. Who was second best? Honestly, I can’t think of anyone.

    It’s a shame that Alex Henry doesn’t have a bit more speed and ability. He’s a real presence out on the ice. Brendan Nash has some potential but didn’t have a great game. Good size and positioning but he is susceptible to the odd brain cramp. He’ll need anothe year in Hamilton. Andre Conboy looks better than Wyman and White and Ian Schultz is light years away from ever making the NHL.

    David Desharnais creates lots offense and is great on the PP. However, he is always leery of being checked and is constantly knocked off the puck. It’s striking how this guy skates around making sure he doesn’t get hit. There are lots of hackers in the AHL and they take liberties with this guy on every shift. I’m not sure he’s going to ever make it in Montreal. As well, I seriously doubt that Olivier Fortier is 5’11”. He’s ultra quick but didn’t look as good as Gabriel Dumont who was the best of the shrimps yesterday.

    Ben Maxwell and Andreas Engqvist have decent size and skating ability but they didn’t get their noses dirty at any point in the game. The Marlies played a physical game and the Bulldogs rarely answered the call.

  56. Bill says:

    Plekanec, Cammalleri, and Gionta are actually producing about what their career averages should have us expect.

    On the top lines, Gomez is an obvious disappointment, though strangely enough he’s on pace for his usual 10-12 goals (7 million dollars!!!), it’s his assist numbers that are in the toilet.

    AK46 is a disappointment in the minds of some but not in reality. He’s on pace to basically tie his best-ever season totals. He’s the third-leading scorer on the team, and he has played some very strong games to go with a few iffy ones. And he’s done all that while being on the shortest leash Jacques Martin possesses. You never know when AK will find himself on the bench, or on the fourth line, or in the pressbox.

    AK46 is the guy you KNOW would turn into a forty goal man on any other team. We’d all wonder what happened, but all that would have happened would be that his coach let him play an offensive game with consistent big minutes and first-line power-play duty. Nonetheless, I’m pretty happy with what AK46 has done so far this year, given the circumstances.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  57. Deano says:

    I am not ready to push the panic button yet.  I watched the game last
    night, even though it was “un watchable”.  The Isles played with
    pucks on their sticks and the Habs had tennis balls.  However, I would
    like to focus on some good news:

    1) This team really supports each other.  Although the game results are
    not always great, they are a team (born in the crucible of last year’s
    playoffs).  The chemistry that was not their 2 years ago is there now and
    IMO I’d rather have that than overpriced superstars whining about themselves.

    2) The Habs are still (even through this hard time) firmly in a playoff
    spot.  Regrettably, they will now probably make the last few months of the
    regular season overly interesting, but we are not looking at the task the
    Leafs, Senators, Sabres or Hurricanes have. 
    They are not chasing … they are being chased.

    3) Best for last.  They are
    approaching $7M in cap space availability. 
    If management thinks Points 1) and 2) above are right, they will make
    deals for the Big Forward and PP Defenseman we are all looking for.  The only other playoff contenders with that
    much cap space are ones with who have self imposed caps (Atlanta,
    Tampa Bay
    and Carolina).  January will reveal if HABS management are
    committed to this year or not.


  58. habs001 says:

    the lack of scoring is not new ..the team had problems scoring all last year..we still have to win 2-1 or 3-2 games…this line up will never be a consistent scoring team…too many forwards that lack goal scoring skills and the ones that can score are streaky scorers…the good news is that we have a few prospects that may become offensive players but they are at least two years away…with little support from the d we will finish in the 20+ in goal scoring this year just like last year..

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