About this afternoon …

Allan Walsh didn’t wait long to Tweet:

“Ondrej Pavalec … 47 Saves … BOOM!”

Good summary.

Since Twitter only allows 140 words, Walsh didn’t have room – or perhaps the inclination – to add “Carey Price … 25 saves … OUCH!”

Jacques Martin says his goaltenedr is working hard on issues such as positioning.

The Canadiens will have two practices (they’re off tomorrow) before Sidney Crosby comes to town.

Price said he has to be better.

He’s not the lights-out goaltender he was at the beginning of the season. Is fatigue – mental and/or physical – an issue?

You won’t get Price, or any player, to say he’s tired.

And you won’t get Martin to acknowledge he may have overused Price, with 36 starts through the first 40 games.

And the goals weren’t entirely Price’s fault. The Canadiens were guilty of soft D-zone coverage on several occasions, and mistakes are finding their way to the back of the net with dismaying frequency.

There were few occasions, when the season began, that Price was the second-best goalie on the ice.

That was the case today.

It’s been the case often lately.

But Brian Gionta said the Canadiens should try to build on their positives, and maybe the fans can as well.

• In the first game since firing a season-high 48 shots on goal in Florida, the Canadiens had 50 on Pavelec. The Scott Gomez line accounted for 21. Every skater except Yannick Weber (!!!) and Mathieu Darche had at least one shot.

• David Desharnais has three SoG and went 5-1 on faceoffs. His French Connection line, with Darche and Benoit Pouliot, showed some promise.

• P.K. Subban and Weber played strong games on D. There were mistakes, but the young ‘uns are progressing … which is good, because the old ‘uns are gonna be dead by late February.

• James Wisniewski has points on five of the team’s last six goals. He has breathed life into the power play.

• Tomas Plekanec went 18-11 on draws, skated like the wind and created create chances on Pavelec, his Kladno homeboy.

• The Canadiens came back from 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. And for the first time in games they’ve trailed after either one or two periods, the Canadiens got a point.

• 98 SoG – plus 33 blocked and 31 misses – in two games is not chopped liver.

But nor is it foie gras for a team that continues to have trouble burying chances.

The game against Pittsburgh on Thursday will mark the midpoint of the season.

The Canadiens are where they were a year ago. Indeed, they are where they’ve been for the 21st century: part of the desperate Parity Division struggle to squeeze into the playoffs.

They should have more than six goals to show for 98 shots.

Carey Price should stop more than 24 of 28.

In 10 starts dating back to a Dec. 10 loss in Detroit, Price is 2-7-1. He is giving up 3.50 goals per start in that span, with a save percentage of 87.0.

These are not good numbers.

Price will have to be better through a January schedule that includes a preponderance of games against Top 8 teams.

Again the goaltender is not the entire problem. He’s playing behind a depleted D that combines creaking old age with raw youth.

The Canadiens forwards are less than the fiercest backcheckers in the league.

And this team NEVER gives its goaltender a cushion. So cumulative stress has to be an issue.

Three days off, then the Penguins.

•  •  •

It’s not like today’s competition was the Little Children of the Poor.

Pavelec is excellent, and he has a primo defence. Dustin Byfuglien is a revelation, and Tobias Enstrom may be the Nicklas Lidstrom of his generation.

All those shots-against notwithstanding, Atlanta plays a sound, hard-grinding game in the image of their coach, Craig Ramsay.

They may not catch Washington for the Southeast Division lead, now that the Caps have survived their nervous breakdown. But the Thrashers are a solid playoff team.

•  •  •

Robert L – remember him? – weighs in with an irate e-mail:

I’m sure you didn’t need my help to point this out, but isn’t it totally whacked that an onslought worthy of 50 shots on goal draws only one penalty call from the Thrashers, apart from Hainsey’s puck over the glass? The officiating just gets worse. The late call on Subban was fringe at best, but it decides the game when the Habs pouring wave upon wave of shots at the Thrashers goal doesn’t. If I’m Martin, I’d be writing out a $10,000 check for the upcoming league fine, calling the reporters into a circle, and blasting league officiating till blue in the face. There’s got to be some measure of consistency. Yes, size wise, the Habs small forwards physically do not test defenses terribly hard, but the speed that accounts for 50 shots most certainly does. It falls on deaf ears when claiming the refs have screwed us, but on this day I think it is justified to say a fair shake did not happen.



  1. kevin m says:

    Little Napoleon. He’s a control freak. Stopped just short of granting franchises to Tijuana & Mexico City to complete his southern exposure dream & promises of huge cash windfalls for US television network deals.

    Team owners know little about hockey so they hire people who do for their respective teams. What I have a hard time understanding is how the collective League ownership decides to put a New York lawyer who knows nothing about hockey, in charge of its League.

    What has he done? Successfully implemented a hard salary cap with escrow accounts to distribute percentages of players’ salaries to rich unsuccessful owners (socialist). But when the rich give back to the rich it’s not called socialism. 

    Created league parity through trickery by granting extra points to losers at the end of tie games thru overtime & “The Shootout”

    Can’t wait for the end of his tenure.  

  2. HabFanSince72 says:

    How is the timing strange?

    They just traded away a forward.

    Isn’t that precisely the time to call up another forward?

  3. HabFanSince72 says:

    One thing that surprised me this summer is that the NJ Devils didn’t complain about the very harsh penalty imposed on them by Bettman.

    Remember the Kovy II deal they proposed to the league was rejected. It was not qualitatively different than recent contracts (Hossa, Zetterberg), and in any case once the deal was rejected by the league why was there an extra an very severe penalty? NJ submits the deal for approval, the league says re-do it. Why the penalty?

    At the time I was surprised that Lamoriello or the Devils’ owner didn’t publicly complain. Then I realized, you criticize Gary Bettman in public at your own risks.

    It’s like a little mafia.


  4. The Cat says:

    I remember Anaheim and Tampa bays cup runs. Calgary got the royal screwing from the refs in those years. Anaheim -the dirtiest team in hockey by a mile had 5 more 5 on 3s in their series against Calgary. Lets not forget the worst case ever -the Quebec – NY Rangers series in 1994.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  5. keepthefaith says:

    I do like your lines, dont get me wrong. Im not sold on DD just yet but he should get his chance. And i agree about JM. He’s been messing with our lines a bit too much methinks.

  6. keepthefaith says:

    I have to agree with you guys . Moen is more than invisible out there. I know not to expect a bunch of goals , but maybe a hit or something. 

  7. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    Fair enough. We’re all in a hockey depression now.

  8. Kristopher7 says:

    And that SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ” 😡

  9. kevin m says:

    Anyone find it curious that Bettman took over as NHL commissioner in 1993 & that was the last year that any Canadian team won a Cup?

    Three of his southern US expansion teams have won the Cup though. 

    He put a hard salary cap into place to limit the Players’ earnings as well as the owners’ expenses. The fans who support the League come to see the star players play. So, why is it that this guy makes as much or more money(7.5 -8 mil/yr) than many of the Leagues star players (and he can’t even skate).

    His brother is the commissioner of the World Series of Poker, which may make for an interesting discussion on gambling & pro sports.

    If you ask me there’s no coincidence in the gross pp to pk differential being suffered by the Habs & probably other Canadian teams.

    I don’t see any Canadian team winning a Cup in the near future.

    And that SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 


  10. Timo says:

    I agree with you. I wasn;’t going for some fancy analysis here 🙂

  11. PureGuava says:

    Moen has done something of substance for us?

    Moen is  a Tom Kostopolis, Garth Murray-type player that never scores, and makes three times as much. I keep hearing about him “come playoff time”….I’m just not buying it.

  12. The Teacher says:

    Hey, when is the last time Moen did anything of substance for us?

  13. The Teacher says:

    The refs have been UTTER crap for the last 2 games and in general pretty crap for the last 2 seasons. I have no idea what game they are watching half the time.

  14. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    Still…. a typical loss, and still… can’t stand Bettman’s idea of marketing a team to a demographic…Such issues, so little capacity for other voices. I hope the (4) gentlemen are aware of this.


  15. mbplekfan says:

    DD is ripping up the AHL. He is clearly dominant at that level. He scores and sets up whoever is on his wing on a nightly basis.

    Its time to see if he can handle the NHL. I would give him a fair shot to see if he can overcome his size issues. If he cant then he should be free to try the KHL to make some real money while he is still young.

  16. Aybara says:

    I agree that these numbers cannot be given as much evidence for anything given all the factors involved. The reason I looked it up was that I was under the assumption that while we did get more penalties than the average team, there was no way we were last in the league when the ratio came into play.

    To find out that Montreal is last and Toronto first is surprising to me. And while I don’t think these numbers conclusively prove guilt on the part of the NHL. It does lend some credence to the complaints that many have put forward on these forums.

    To actually come to any conclusion we would obviously need more numbers and someone willing to do some very indepth analysis. Even after all that, it could be dumb luck as you said – maybe the refs have a disagreeable breakfast in Montreal and subconsciously want to hurt the fans – could be anything.

  17. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    Considerably less than useful post.

  18. Nojo says:

    There must be a multitude of factors that go in to the penalty differential results that are being quoted. To try to associate a trend of preferential treatment given the variety of factors and pure dumb luck is a tricky thing to do.  It makes for interesting discussion however.

    I am an Oakland Raider fan, typically over the last decade the Raiders are the most penalized team in the league. And one of the worst technically also. I’ve always wondered if having a bad reputation makes the Referees look closer at that team any given Sunday.



    You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt

  19. Deano says:

    Just because it happens doesn’t make it right.  Call the game by way of its score (Calling The Score) does a number of things:

    1) … makes the game of hockey even more difficult to understand for people who are new to the game.

    2) … encourages mediocrity.

    3) … rewards team like the Flyers and Bruins who operate under the principle: The more penalties we get the less they will eventually call.

    4) … make the game, sometimes, look plain stupid.

    I understand it happens, regularly, but everytime I get a chance to yell at a ref I don’t swear or call him an idiot.  I yell that he is “Calling the Score” and let him know that everyone sees it.  It rarely helps him, but my psychiatrist says it helps me.


  20. Aybara says:

    The stick between Gionta’s legs looked an awful lot like the hook that barely turned Stamkos in the TBL game leading to the penalty shot.. Some consistecy would be nice.

  21. fun police says:

    the sad thing is that if you watch the replay of gionta’s breakaway, the defensemen placed his stick between gionta’s legs and hooked his stick.  should have been a penalty.  pk’s hook at the end of the game was actually much less of an infraction than the atlanta’s d.  how do you miss the high stick on gionta?  if gomez is going to be called for a hook at the beginning of the game, then reason suggests the same penalty should be called all game.  

  22. Aybara says:

    What about the Devils though -15… That team is most assuredly trailing many of their games.

  23. Nojo says:

    The Maple Leaf differential could be explained by the fact that they often trail in the games they are in. And in my view Refs are much more likely to hand out penalties to teams that are leading especially those leading by more than one goal.


    You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt

  24. Nojo says:

    I can’t help but wonder if the call up of Deharnais was a political move used to calm the inevitable waves created by the moving of Lapierre to Disneyland. Certainly Deharnais has been deserving of a chance in the NHL but the timing of this move is a bit strange. Lapierre is gone and I think Pouliot isn’t far away from a move either, Pouliot doesn’t look to be a happy camper.




    You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt

  25. Aybara says:

    Montreal – Times shorthanded: 164 (Tied for 3rd) – Powerplays: 135 (23rd)

    To compare – Penguins TSH: 170 (1st) PP: 164 (2nd)

    Flyers: TSH: 165 (2nd) PP: 156 (7th)

    Toronto: TSH: 117 (29th) PP: 155 (8th)

    Anaheim: TSH: 164 PP: 138

    Ottawa: TSH: 155 PP: 126


    So what can be seen here is that Philly, one of the dirtiest teams in the league has a similar amount of penalties against as the Habs do.. Fine, maybe the Habs like to hook a lot.

    To have the Leafs though, getting the 2nd fewest penalties in the league, especially with their style of play is baffling. Also, the Leafs with their supreme offensive talent have drawn other teams into 20 more penalties than Montreal.

    The only teams with anywhere close to a smiliar tsh/pp differential to the Habs are Anaheim with -16 and Ottawa who ties Montreal at -19. The rest of the league varies in this department, but most hover close to even or above.

    The real kicker though is that the best differential in the entier league goes to Toronto’s +38. So the question arises.. Is my statement about the Leafs above totally incorrect or is something else at play?

    It is interesting to note that Washington and Pittsburg, two teams that people would assume get preferential treatment under a league wide conspiracy are both in the -ve column for tsh/pp. What is more compelling is looking at individual teams that are at the ends of the tsh/pp spectrum and see if these numbers are valid or not judging by their play.


  26. SlovakHab says:

    Price has to get a rest at least every 3 games. Simple as that. Auld should have been in nets, considering he shook off some of that rust and was all right against Florida. 

    If there is one thing that pisses me off about Martin, it’s this overusing of Price.

  27. 1010 says:

    Nice to see Robert L expressing his displeasure over the refs. Nova Scotia Vees and I have been chirping about this for some time. In fact, it’s all I’ve talked about for some time. The statistics all come out the same way. When they play great, they come out on the short end. When they play terrible….same result. It’s so blatant that it’s obvious. The zebras have it in for les habs and that is the bottom line.

    Compare the habs powerplay and penalty numbers with the laffs. And Toronto has one of the worst teams in the league. A lot of people on here are mad at Martins coaching tactics. I’m more angry at him for not pointing out what even the blind can see. It’s only a fine. 

    And why isn’t the GM talking to Bettman about this. I’ve heard that Ken Holland does it on a regular basis.

    One thing is for sure, Brian Burke will never have to complain. Now there’s a man that Bettman must have a crush on. It’s staggering how biased the reffing has been in the laffs favour this year. I’m surprised some other managers haven’t complained. Must be a pity thing going on. Hopefully someone will eventually speak up because nobody in Montreal will.


    GO HABS…

  28. Mondou6 says:

    We’ve been screwed by the refs so much this year that I think the NHL doesn’t even keep track of penalities called.


    We are a non-physical, small, fast team, and yet we seem to get called for twice as many penalties every game.  WTF?  Half of the penalties on us seem to come from nowhere, completely imaginary.

  29. Mondou6 says:

    We absolutely dominated Atlanta.  We should have had 6 goals, but for bad luck and great saves.


    On defense, we should have given up 1 goal, but Atlanta got 4.   I like Price, but today’s L was 95% on him.  We played well enough not to give up 4 goals.


    Pittsburgh next…That will be ugly.

  30. Danno says:

    Robert Lefebvre is not one to exaggerate or shoot from the lip in an irrational way. If a thoughtful, knowledgeable hockey mind like Robert L is upset about the incompetency and/or corruption of NHL officials, the league would be well advised to take notice.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  31. Timo says:

    Useless team. 

  32. Barts says:

    Price was bad, but brother, Hamrlik and Spacek are KILLING us. Not to mention, when was the last time A. Kostitsyn scored????? Pouliot was before Xmas, I know that much.

  33. solomio says:

    Well faith the fact is that JM has been messing with our best lines for a while now. There has been no real consistency.

    And although I cannot deny that Maxpac/Gomes and Gio are playing very well together our team is still lacking and not putting up the points that they should. I think my suggested line up gives the team a huge upside.

  34. Stooof says:

    Too true.  But If its drilled into their skulls how martin wants them to win, come playoff time they will hopefully be doing it at the top of their game. And as we have seen it is pretty effective against top teams.  But you are right, you can’t do it all season long, it is too rigid.  I guess that is why they are in a funk right now. 


  35. RGM says:

    I’m not too particular on the way the Habs win either – as a fan of the goalie fella, I even encourage a 2-0 or 2-1 win since it’s good for his numbers. But this is a very difficult league to maintain that type of rigid structure over a full year. There are nights that we have to have an offensive outburst–and we know they’re capable of doing it as evidenced by the Carolina and New Jersey romps–and it can be really frustrating when those offensive capabilities are stifled.

    Go Habs Go!

  36. RGM says:

    That 28 goals figure is truly scary. Less than 1.5 GF in games that they lose. Factor in the five times we’ve been shoutout this year and that makes for a GF of 2.0 in 14 games. It is asking an awful lot of the goaltender to maintain a sub-2.00GAA over the course of a full season.

    Go Habs Go!

  37. Stooof says:

    Though that said, I kind of like the style that JM encourages.  He doesnt want to have to score 5  goals. He likes the 3-1, 2-1, 2-0 wins.  He is instilling a playoff mindset in this team.  It’s just that when every cog isn’t turning right, it blatantly shows.  Right now as this fellow has said, the whole team isn’t playing well>  but if we think back to when they were winning, it was minor details that got them there.  Right now they are a step behind, seems to be a constant thing in december, but they will get it back on track and we will see the wins pile up.  Don’t forget people, this team beat a lot of the contenders of the year handily.  It was sound defensive hockey that capitalized on chances.  Right now they are doing the exact opposite. 


    Someone posted somewhere that trading Spaceman would be a good idea, I agree.  He is a floater.  Has lost his offensive prowess.  The wiz is kind of like spaceman before we got him.  Now that the wiz is here, I think we should try to unload him for a sound young d.

  38. avatar_58 says:

    It was legit, but soft. I mean come on. I wouldn’t complain except they missed so many on the thrashers. If you are going to call one, call them all please.

  39. Stooof says:

    agreed.  I would like to also bring to the table the fact that in 19 loses, 28 goals have been scored.  When this team is not playing well, the goalies take the L!  and the save % hit.  Why would the opposing team continue to shoot when they’ve already won the game with 20 shots.  Our team won’t make them earn the win.  Tonight was a different story, but if this was a game played by a team that can score, like say vancouver on a good day, the score would have been 6-3, and noone would have mentioned the % of carey, because it wouldn’t have mattered. 

  40. billylove says:

    Officiating is terrible, period! Is the NHL biased against the Habs? Probably not, but there are times…….

  41. RGM says:

    Funny how more than six months after the Halak trade, there are still those that would rather fight that battle than focus on the fact that our team is in a collective funk right now. Price isn’t at his finest, that’s clearly evident, but there are 18 guys in front of him that also need to step it up a notch. Carey bailed out the team on a number of occasions earlier this year, winning games that would have been lost with a lesser mortal between the pipes. At some point the team has to bail out Carey and simply score more than Carey allows. They had their chances to make today an example of doing exactly that, coming back three times to force a tie through the end of regulation, but ultimately not burying enough of the ample opportunities accorded by the Thrashers’ D and Pavelec. How many odd-man rushes did they have without a shot? How many rebounds didn’t get cashed? The words “filet ouvert” and “chance en or” were uttered on more than occasion today, just like they have been throughout this slump. Cammalleri hasn’t scored since December 19, Gionta had gone 4 games without a goal before scoring in two straight, Gomez has 1 goal in his last 12, Pouliot has not scored since December 10th, AK46 has 1G and 4A since December 1. The only member of our Top 6 who is producing anywhere near what he should be is the seemingly indefatigable Tomas Plekanec, who has had to spend far too much time in recent games killing penalties. The malaise is a team-wide affair.

    Go Habs Go!

  42. keepthefaith says:

    I agree the refs suck in the NHL. Not just in the Habs games but overall. And the replay showed that Gio got the puck in the face. I was screaming for a call there too , but it was a puck for sure.

  43. keepthefaith says:

    Why do you and others want to mess with our best line lately. Max pac , Gomez and Gio are our only consistently dangerous line these days

  44. CHasman says:

    They played with energy and they had chances to score more than three goals.  Three two or three on ones that didn’t produce a quality scoring chance hurt.

    A couple of weak goals by Price and at least three more that got by him and were stopped by the iron.  Scary.

     Seven giveaways between Price and Spacek.  I’m talking blatant soft giveaways.

     Desharnais didn’t look bad but he didn’t look better than Eller and the line of Eller, Darche and Pouliot had been playing well together so why break them up?

    Travis Moen playing soft? What’s with that?

    Lots of heart for the most part and great to see them come back three times. Still a loss though and losing games you deserve to win hurts.  With the last two efforts have we started to come out of our slump.  I hope so.  All we need now are some bounces. 


  45. MathMan says:

    Because it’s just not done, even when the bias is so blatantly obvious you can read them in the numbers (compare the penalty numbers between Montreal and “truculent” Toronto, still the NHL’s favorite team…)

    I’ve long held that the penalty differential faced by the Canadiens was an unconscious reaction of the referees due to the hype and reputation of the various teams, but given the treatment Montreal has been getting for two years running, I’m really starting to wonder.

  46. matraque says:

    I pronounce Desharnais with an english accent… he’s suddenly fit for NHL!  Try it!


    Canadien en 5!
    Never go Full Retard

  47. MathMan says:

    Hard-luck Canadiens loss typical of what’s happened in December. Getting so few goals on so many shots is not a failing on the team, it is still a matter of bad luck. Hockey remains a percentage game and Montreal has been hammered in the luck department for most of December.

    At some point the probabilities will reassert themselves, maybe the Habs will even go on a tear. Hopefully this will be soon enough that they’ll go back to the 3-spot, atop the NE division, where their caliber of play suggests they should be (they have certainly played much too well to be a bubble club). But then again, teams have fluked their way out of the playoffs before, and after their unbelievably fortunate stretch 14 games in the playoffs, the Habs can’t complain TOO much about the pendulum swinging the other way for a like number of games.

  48. solomio says:

    The goals will start coming again and soon.JM just needs to keep the same lines in tact for a stretch of games. Enuff with the juggling.

    Those lines should be

    Cammy / Pleks / Kostitsyn

    Maxpac / DD / Gionta

    Pouliot / Gomes / Eller.

    And forget this first line , second line , third line thing and any stigma attached to it. Throw any of those lines out there and they’ll play like number one lines.

    You guys can see that right ?

  49. novahab says:

    Boone who is Robert L and why are people not listening what he wrote is the absolute truth. How come the media in Montreal are not asking the league why theyrefs would make that call and not see two clear penalties on Gionta. How come the media in Montreal is not asking JM , PG or the Molsons about all the one sided call this team has faced over the last two years. Don’t you think the players would like a little supports.

  50. SeriousFan09 says:

    I know that, I do watch the rest of the league when I can and check out other hockey chat areas, i know for certain we’re not the only fanbase who has an issue with Chris F. Lee.


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

  51. yathehabsrule says:

    The call in overtime on Subban was a legit call, so I won’t complain on that one.

    When Gionta took a stick to the nose, and two officials miss that, then you have an argument against the zebras.

    The officialting system needs a serious overhaul league wide. I hate to tell you Habs fans, but our teram isn’t the oinly one getting “screweed” game in and game out.


    Note the new digs! but yeah I’m still on Twitter!

  52. ManApart says:

    Honestly, that’s not saying much. they couldn’t get worse. I mean those games against Philly, Dallas, Colorado, The Islanders, Toronto, the Caps, Tbay etc. were just brutal. From top to bottom.

  53. punkster says:

    I wasn’t disappointed in the effort. Much better work ethic and pressure by the ton. A few brain cramps were the difference. They’re getting better and the Ws will come.

    Yes, I’m looking on the bright side. Go ahead and counter with your goalie/defence/forwards/coach/GM suck rants. Won’t do any good. They looked better and picked up another point.

    (and I’ve had enough of turkey and dressing for a few months…how about you?)


  54. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Cobb was going to try a DIY puck-possession monitor this afternoon. I wonder how it went? 

    What must Auld be thinking? My coach has so little faith in me that he’d rather exhaust Price than play me two games in a row. 

    So it is that JM ruins both goalies, one through fatigue, the other by draining his morale. I would reckon that Januray is make-or-break time for the Habs, and you need BOTH goalies in top form if we’ve to have any chance, especially as a team that scores so little.

    Please somebody, what is it with JM? Although it sure looks exactly like it, it just can’t be stupidity. Could it be mere stubbornness? Or are his hands tied in some hidden way? Or could it be that he really DOESN’T have any faith in Auld who perhaps was foisted on him? That he’s afraid to play him? But come on, if he Auld’s the back-up, he needs to play just as much as Price needs to rest. It seems so obvious…grrr

  55. HardHabits says:

    Leblanc just scored. 3-1 Canada!!

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