About this evening …

So close.
So tantalizingly close.
If they had been able to beat the New Jersey Devils in their early-evening match at the Bell Centre, your Montreal Canadiens would have drawn within four points of a playoff spot.
And wouldn’t that have made for an upbeat beginning to the Montreal work week?
But that didn’t happen.
The Canadiens lost 3-1.
The final score flattered the home team, and the dwan will bring a morning as miserable as any other Monday … and maybe more so.

Having dug itself into a deep hole virtually from the opening game of the season – a 2-0 loss in Toronto that would launch a 1-5-2 run in early October – the Canadiens have no margin for late-season error.

The loss to New Jersey left the Canadiens six points south of the postseason cutoff line, with 22 games to play.

After Dallas visits the Bell Centre Tuesday night, the Canadiens will play seven of their next nine games on the road – many against teams as desperate for points as they, and including a tough western swing through Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Over dinner in the media lounge before the game, TSN 990 play-by-play announcer John Bartlett pointed out the Canadiens were 5-1-1 since the Roman Catholic diocese of Montreal placed a newspaper advertisement urging parishioners to pray for a playoff spot.

Maybe the Church doesn’t like Sunday games.

There was certainly no divine intervention against the Devils.

The names on the jerseys change, but it’s the same old New Jersey team – featuring the incomparable Martin F. Brodeur – that plays a defensive system the Canadiens are not able to crack.

The key stat was blocked shots. Forming the usual protective wall around Brodeur, the Devils blocked 33 shots. Defencemen Andy Greene and Anton Volchenkov had NINE blocks each – including one the tough Russian blocked with his face.

There are no statistics kept for blocked passes or rushed decisions. If there were, those are two other areas in which New Jersey was able to dominate.

The Canadiens could not complete a pass that travelled more than 10 feet. They kept trying, however, and forcing the pucks through a forest of white jerseys prevented the home team from building up any rhythm or flow to their game.

The Devils’ offensive zone pressure – particularly against undersized defencemen Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber  produced rushed plays and turnovers. Then, once the puck was bouncing around the Canadiens’ zone, New Jerseys forwards were able to pounce and take advantage of traffic in front of Carey Price.

No fewer than 13 Devils were on the ice for goals and finished in the plus column. No one was a minus.

The Canadiens shutdown line – Tomas Plekanec centring Rene Bourque and Mathieu Darche – had a miserable game. They were on for every New Jersey goal. Defencemen Chris Campoli, Tomas Kaberle, Josh Gorges, P.K. Subban and Weber were all in the minus column, as well.

The Canadiens top scoring line … OK, their ONLY scoring line was largely ineffective. Erik Cole is playing hurt, and it shows. David Desharnais had no SoG, and Max Pacioretty had five shots blocked but scored on the power-play to make it a one-goal game for a while in the third period.

Hopes for a comeback fizzled, however, and the Bell Centre crowd lapsed back into the silence that had enshrouded the building since the emotion of a superb tribute to Gary Carter.

The Canadiens went almost 18 minutes without a shot in the first period. A second period drought lasted more than six minutes.

Scott Gomez’s line, with Ryan White and a very energetic Andrei Kostitsyn, had some aggressive shifts. But at no point did it appear as though the Canadiens would mount a surge that would turn the momentum of the game decisively in their favour.

A fourth-place team, with 72 points in the standings, beat a 13th-place team that is stuck on 58, facing a whack of road games and running out of track.

• In hi Nashville debut, Hal Gill played 16:23 – all at even-strength – blocked two shots and was plus-2 in the Predators’ 3-2 win.


  1. RD says:

    We have to stop showcasing Weber. He’s costing us games and the more he plays, the lower his value gets.

  2. MrNax says:

    I keep hearing Nick Kypreos saying that a team would pick Gomez up if we put him on “recallable waivers”. What does that mean and how does it affect our salary cap? If it takes him off completely, what are we waiting for?

    If we send him to Hamilton my understanding is that half his salary would count against the cap for twice the time left on his contract. The question then beomes:

    Can we get someone more effective than Gomez for half his contract?

    Stupid question I know: OF COURSE WE CAN!! ha ha…

    • Bill says:

      Send him to Hamilton and his salary doesn’t count against the cap at all. He’d have to clear waivers to get there, and I am sure he would.

      If Montreal recalled him, however, he’d go on “re-entry waivers”, and another team could claim him for only half of his salary … Montreal would be on the hook for the other half.

      Yeah, I think Montreal could get someone far more effective than Gomez for half his considerable salary.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

  3. RetroMikey says:

    Close but no cigar for those optimistic fans out there. WE ARE NOT A GOOD HOCKEY CLUB!!!
    Start shopping PG and get on the phone early.
    Whew! Pleks had been a disappointment after sgining tha big fat contract, no surprise how players perform after sgning on the dotted line.
    Eller has ben a disappointment! Playing 10 minutes last night?
    It appears he is not the CMan we want or appear him to be with our club.
    We wuz robbed in the Halak deal!
    The kid is supposed to blossom but I don;t see it at all after 2 full seasons with the club and IMO, he is still in Montreal to make P|G look good in the trade with St. Louis.
    Come on PG, it;s Family day here in Ontario but you have alot of work to do before the trade deadline.
    Make the trades, come on, let’s do it! Big is better!
    Tank I say! Tank!

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • MrNax says:

      I agree that we are not a good hockey TEAM. That being said, we have a LOT of good parts in place. We need to drop the dead weight and make smart decisions moving forward. These are the players I think are worth keeping:
      Diaz (still young)
      Eller (give the kid a shot!) (22 years old)
      Markov (if he can play)

      Everyone else should be shopped, especially:

  4. RGM says:

    One game, one loss. Still 22 games left. Our sole objective at this stage is to beat Toronto twice and along the way win one more game than they do in the other 20. How tough is that? Not very, we’re talking about Toronto.

    People may block me on Twitter for still believing in this team, but I’ll never give up on them, no matter how many Internet friends it costs me.

    GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is probably not our year!
    “Scott Gomez, a potential Hall of Fame player, has two Stanley Cup rings and a Calder Trophy that says ‘I’m a player whom any authentic NHL coach will rely on to fix a game problem.’” – VancouverHab

    Chat with me on Twitter @TheRealRGM81

    • rnnoble says:

      People keep talking about Toronto, and the fact that we’re only six points away from them. That isn’t the problem. Toronto won’t make the playoffs; they’re playing horribly. The problem for us is the other four teams in front of us.
      Fine, we only need to win three games more than Toronto, but Winnipeg is tied (and they’re winning games recently), Washington is only one point behind, NYI and TB are also six points behind, but they have two games more than we do to catch up. Even Buffalo is only seven points behind eighth, and they have a game in hand on us.
      It’s one thing to say we can catch up on Toronto, but we actually have to beat six different opponents who are ahead of us. We have to play better than every single one of them, or we’re out.

  5. boing007 says:

    Now is not the time for the coach to run roughshod over players that he is disappointed with. We need all hands on deck, even if they make the occasional mistake. Don’t know what’s going in RC’s head, but his actions are derailing any possibility of the team making the playoffs. And his constant line jugglings are getting out of hand.

    Richard R

  6. HabFanSince72 says:

    I agree with UCE. The lack of a 4th line, an dplaying bottom 6 players on the top 6, is making it impossible to challenge for the playoffs.

    How many times this year have we rolled 4 lines with 12 forwards? Actually how often have we actually had 12 (or even 13) healthy forwards?

    This partly explains why we always collapse in the 3rd period.

    Yesterday we were without Nokelainen, Moen, Gionta and Leblanc.

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  7. The Cat says:

    The ducks were 19 points out of 8th early in January, they are now 5 points out.

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

  8. aj says:

    Watched the game last night. Wasn’t happy with the loss. We’re going to have to wait and let Ottawa beat the Islanders. What’s going to be a pain today is Washington vs Carolina.

    Vos Canadiens are still 6 pts behind a playoff spot. Tomorrow is a MUST win if they want to get 4pts back.

    Since Cole is really having a rough time. Management MIGHT want to prepare for a callup on their new boy Blake Geoffrion to supplement the Habs’s ailing arsenel.

    Also, we could thanks the NJD if they win as well tomorrow against the laffs.

  9. montrealtilldeath says:

    Second goal is on the coach. I was screaming “what the hell are Weber and Campoli doing on the ice with less that a minute to go in the second period?” when bang the the Devils score. It should have been Gorges and PK. We had to come out of that period down only one goal. As for the 3rd goal Plekanec had the puck all by himself and could not get it out the zone. My son asked if he should play without a stick to see if it makes a difference. This would at least stop the late in the game killer stick penalties that he has been getting, Price: 3 deflections. As the guy on RDS said absolutely no luck last night.

    As for the coach next year Larry Robinson would look awfully good in any capacity as head or assistant. He is bilingual, has the talent and of course the pedigree,

    • Mad Habber says:

      You can’t play Gorges and PK every minute of the game. After them there is no one reliable enough to put out their. Okay Emelin may not be to bad, but he has no one to help him out.

      I was glad to see Hamrlik go, but replacing him with crapoli was a downgrade.

  10. habstrinifan says:

    Top three people to blame for habs out of playoffs:

    Bertuzzi the not-so-Bullish. Sorry pal but you had the mojo going with 4 wins in a row and then you kinda let the doubt seep into your posts during the Carolina game. And been downhill since.

  11. The Cat says:

    The Devils are my pick to make it to the finals.

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

  12. habstrinifan says:

    Reluctantly, I have changed my plans for April May and June.

    The ‘dad only hockey couch’: On the porch for charity.

    The ‘remote’: replace.. didnt work but then i only used the on-off. since always set to RDS.

    Home Page: remove HIO.. but keep as a favourite.

    The beer belly: See if I can find the tools and aerate, rake,sod,seed,etc the lawn.

    The radio: keep on team990 while outside just in case habs news happens… and above plans have to be replaced by hours spent discussing Nokie for some plumber trade…. never mind something big like PG’s dismissal and Larry Robinson’s hiring.

    But then again Habs could win next 5 games and…….

  13. HabsBeen says:

    Habs need secondary scoring badly. Keep Plekanic on the third line, their shutdown line, where he belongs. His linemates should be Darche and White/Moen (when he’s healthy). Second line should be Eller, Bourque, and Kostitsyn. This is where the secondary scoring should come from. They have good size too. They can also get tertiary scoring with a line of Gomez/Leblanc/Palushaj. If Nokelanein comes back, keep him with Plekanic and a healthy Moen. Great shutdown line there. White moves down to 4th line replacing Palushaj. Darche and Palushaj become the extra men in the press box.

    Just my 0.02 cents.

    • habstrinifan says:

      If half of the players you mention are still part of the team in 2012-2013 then the season will mirror this year’s. The team has to be rebuilt using our present youth and adding some veterans with specific skillsets.

      With Markov add a defenseman with size and toughness.. dont need to do much more while he is on ice. Without Markov add a better defenseman who can bring leadership too and fast track Tinordi.

      Add two Chris Neal Chris Phillip type players.. with some experience but younger.

      Get Emery for backup goalie.

      Get a bonafide big resilient puck-distributing centre.

      Get a long tenure coach.

      Get Larry Robinson.

      Without any further navel-gazing do what it takes to lose Gomez Campoli and Kaberle…. Lose Gomez and Campoli for sure … see what you can get for Kaberle or else u have to keep him.

      Trade Weber, Pleks, AK for value … see above needs.

      • HabsBeen says:

        Yeah, just meant for the current season. I think the top two lines of Deharnais/Cole/Pacioretty and Eller/Bourque/Kostitsyn should be keepers. We have to remember Kostitsyn is still young and I believe he can still be a good scorer with the Habs. We definitely need another big center to replace Plekanic or Gomez or both. White should definitely remain for his toughness and I think Leblanc can eventually turn into a top six.

  14. I can’t wait till –

    I can’t wait till this season ends – because I am tired of losing.
    I can’t wait till Gomez’s bum is kicked out of this organization already.
    I can’t wait till Campoli’s and Kaberle’s bums are kicked out as well.
    I can’t wait till one of the two, Diaz and Weber are shipped. Is this the most undersized D in the league?
    I can’t wait till we have our top line center that we have been craving for since..forever.

    I can’t wait till the Habs become a good team. Sigh.
    Never seen them win a cup.

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …We had a promising D in PK, Gorges, Emelin, Diaz, Weber, & St.Denis …it was the best stretch of consistently mobile and effective D shown over multiple games this season …as a ‘group’ They complimented the speed and skill game of Our forwards to a ‘T’
      …admittedly They were given only a 4 to 6 game window …but it was the best offensive/defensive D I observed this season, with young potential to only get better
      …God love what Hal Gill brought to the table in both His role on and off the ice, but when He returned from injury, He slowed the dynamic of that group …the biggest ‘nail(s)’ in Our D’s coffin this season were Campoli’s return from injury (in fact, I believed His initial signing was completely unnecessary) and the acquisition of Kaberle, whose acceptable skill in the offensive zone is completely negated by His softness & stiffness in the D zone
      …During the summer I had optimism for this season …but the Campoli and Kaberle acquisitions stole whatever remaining optimism I had left for 2012/13
      …Diaz will get better and is a ‘keeper’ in My books …Weber should have been allowed to grow and was given a raw deal …Web will be a solid ‘Strait-lite’ D-man for some other team in the NHL
      …I just hope We don’t screw up the promising talent coming down the pike as much as We have Weber

      Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  15. harrow15 says:

    We need Jeremy Lin.

    Bottom line.

  16. chilli says:

    Ok, so Habs have a 7.5% chance of making the playoffs after tonights loss. I personally think the Markov spin has been a spin for the fans all season…. regardless, keep him away until next year.
    Trade Kots, Moen and start building for next year. You can’t have Kots on the team if he is buried on the 4th.

    How great does White look? Don’t really see any skill in Pushaj (no ideas how to spell his name).

    I am quite excited for where this team can built – let’s trade for more pieces.


  17. Timo says:

    Eff the Habs. I went to the Deep Purple show – that’s the way to spend a Sunday night. These guys rocked the dead beat Calgary crowd to their feet. Great time. If anyone was contemplating going, it’s definitely worth the price of the admission. Especially since it’s the last time these guys tour.

  18. daveho29 says:

    Very nice tribute to Gary Carter. Having seen him play as an Expo it brought a tear to my eye.

    R.I.P. Kid

  19. Roy93 says:

    Pathetic bunch of losers and anyone else that thinks these morans got a chance.

  20. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I hope I will keep My comments from sounding as hysterical as many sound here …even though, unfortunately, I have been known to have My own ‘hysterical’ moments at times as well
    …first, this game merely shows Us that if We indeed did realize the mini-miracle of qualifying for this season’s post-season, We certainly would not get beyond a strong fore-checking team with a tight physical disciplined system …the Bruins, the Canucks, the Wings …or even the lower-echelons of the NHL playoff-eligible teams such as the Devils
    …We simply do not yet have the maturity, depth or break-away talent to ‘break’ from a suffocating team like New Jersey, let alone Boston, Detroit, or Vancouver in playoffs-mode
    …now is when Management should be looking-forward to the 2012/13 season …NOT artificially ‘loading’ for this season’s play-offs
    …any trades to be made must be made with 2012/13 in mind …NOT this year’s playoffs
    …now is the time for ice-time to evaluate and provide heat-in-the-fire EXPERIENCE for Our current youth, and those with promise in the Bulldogs
    …losing or trading away Hal Gill was inevitable, …the return for Him was good work on behalf of Gauthier …but, the loss of Gill’s ‘presence’ is a serious loss of dimension to the character and Team-spirit of Our Team
    …but, as said, this was inevitable …and, is an opportunity for another or others to fill His void in the room
    …I believe, one thing We can count-on, is that the core-group of the Players We will want to return for next season are going to continue to play Their hearts out …up to Their potential
    …and that is the key, up to Their ‘POTENTIAL’
    …Our Management hopefully understands that Our ‘potential’ has obvious limitations …Our current Players, as a group, only have what it takes to win a first-round series, at the MOST
    …if I was Gauthier, I wouldn’t be doing anything to stop the Boys from ‘winning’ games or from making the play-offs …but, all My trades and personnel decisions will be eagle-focused on the 2012/13 season, maximizing this summer’s draft (whether that is to be a Top-5, OR whether it is to be again a 15th to 20th selection)
    …on Cunneyworth, as far as I am concerned, I far more enjoy (with the exception of games like this evening’s against the Devils) the ‘entertainment-value’ and over-all more aggressive style of play of Our Team on the ice, than was the case under Jacques Martin …yet, I am completely perplexed WHY ??? Lars Eller and Andrei Kostitsyn especially are buried for great swaths of the game
    …Lars I know is part of Our future and NOW !!! is the time He should be learning the game through trial & error, ON THE ICE !
    …Andrei, is the question mark …known as an enigma …yet, when on His game is a formidably skilled physical presence and force …Andrei is an embarrassing waste used on the fourth line …and, if His days are numbered in la sainte-flanelle, then NOW !!! is the time to raise His trade-value to the teams that can use a tank and ‘bowling-ball on skates’ of a physical winger in the play-offs
    …burying and wasting Andrei K. by giving Him under 10 minutes TOI on the fourth line is both ‘stupid’ and irresponsible in My opinion
    …and, speaking of Andreis, if I was Gauthier, I would not allow Andrei Markov anywhere near a game until training-camp next season …after, the Habs being screwed-out of the first year of His three year contract by a complete misdiagnosis of the severity of His knee-injury, I would need complete psychiatric care if I allowed Him to play what’s left of a meaningless final to an already mis-spent season, and yet see Him blow His knee out again
    …if Andrei is ever going to play again, let Andrei make a 1000 % assured recovery over the summer …playing Him this season is nothing but ‘a stupid risk’
    …anyhow, to summarize, I far more enjoy My Team winning than losing
    …but, the circumstances of this season, the past almost 25 years of mediocrity, the nearness We are to being an excellent Team, yet will not be unless We strengthen at an elite-level certain positions (cough !, centre) …I still want to see My Team laying Their cajones on the ice up unto the final siren of the season
    …Yet !, I ALSO want to see Our Gawd-damned Ownership & Management do what Our Gawd-damned Ownership & Management has FAILED to do since Sammy Pollock (R.I.P. !) …and THAT is, being able to see further than the end of Their noses

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

    • habstrinifan says:

      Good rant! I disagree re Markov thugh. If Markov is pronounced healthy you play him.. small minutes… but you play him to get a good idea of his importance or not to your 2012-2013 team.

      I think Molson should send out the direction to the GM and coach…. forget the playoff… play the kids (Eller and some from the farm) and do the tades that point to the future.

    • Guy-Guy-Guy says:

      We have to stop using the big first line enter argument.

      Boston doesn’t have one, Kreji and Bergeron are good players, but not exactly Stamkos or Malkin, more like 50 points per season types like Plekanec.

      Detroit’s on top of the league and they don’t have that piece either. Datsyuk has monster hands in the shootout, but has not been anymore productive than Plekanec last two seasons, and not as good defensively.

      Between Plekanec, DD, Eller, Leblanc, Gomez and White, we have decent depth in centre. I’m more worried about our D to be honnest.

  21. Un Canadien errant says:

    We can talk all we want about the Canadiens being close and how if we squeak into the playoffs anything is possible, but looking at our lineup for today’s game, even before puck drop we have to admit we just don’t have the horses. We have a decent to good first line in Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole. Our second line has a good centre in Tomas Plekanec, a lethargic left winger in René Bourque and a right winger who is normally at best a fourth-liner in Mathieu Darche. Our third line is composed of a centre who should in good conscience retire, having spent a calendar year without scoring, Ryan White, who is barely back from a conditioning stint in the AHL and is a better fit on a fourth line, and Andrei Kostitsyn. We barely have a fourth line, it’s a fourth line in name only, but doesn’t serve as such. Lars Eller has been relegated to centre it, and Aaron Palushaj, a constantly ineffective and unproductive AHL’er, has been called up to plug a hole. That’s it. We don’t even have enough bodies to have a twelfth forward, and Coach Cunneyworth will resort to double-shifting his most effective forwards on the fourth line, and may give the seventh defenceman a shift of two in that spot.

    Compare our situation with the Flyers’, who started the season with Sean Couturier as their fourth line’s centre, or the Bruins, who had Jordan Caron available to call up from the AHL when they started suffering from injuries. When Brian Gionta suffered his torn biceps, our already thin forwards roster became positively depleted, and our depth problem proven to be a glaring need. Calling up Louis Leblanc was rendered a necessity, and he has been a happy surprise everything considered, but he should be a workhorse in Hamilton instead of a leak-plugger in Montreal.

    We have reinforcements coming in a couple of years, but until then, the Canadiens will not be a legitimate contender. In this latest surge to the playoffs, the Canadiens have been doing it with smoke and mirrors. They have the ingredients for two decent lines and maybe a fourth, and with three rookie defencemen on the back end, and a second-year defenceman logging first-pair minutes. Carey Price is an excellent franchise goalie, but is expected to be miraculous every night, like Ken Dryden in ’71 or Patrick Roy in ’93.

    We saw tonight what happens when the bounces go the other team’s way. Each team had its moments of dominance, but the Canadiens had the bad luck of muffing some chances while the Devils benefited from some flukey goals.

    We’re seeing also how this charge to the playoffs is a little bit of a case of running to stand still. The other teams standing between us and the eighth spot are also desperate to make it, and they will scratch and claw to get there. The Devils, Senators and Leafs will battle to remain where they are or improve their lot. For every win there’ll be two teams ahead of us winning as well, and we’ll end up in a NASCAR photo-finish: close, in the frame, but definitely out.

    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?


  22. blu_blanc_rouge says:

    A. Kopitar is a player that I have always coveted as a Canadien’s fan. I don’t know his contract status off hand but he had the size, skill and experience that Montreal desperately needs at center.

    If LA trades for one of Nash or Carter, Kopitar may become expendable .

    • ProHabs says:

      Kopitar will never become expendable. LA won’t trade one of the best players in the league. They would trade Penner instead and the Goat will step right up and take that underachiever as having underachievers (Gomez, Kaberle, Bourque) fits with the team he is trying to build.

  23. BLACK ICE says:

    Reporters asking the same stupid ?’s. The players giving the same stupid answers.

    The dead weight that needs to go are: Gainey, Gauthier, Bourque, Budaj, Campoli, Darche, Gomez, Kaberle, Kostitsyn, Plekanec & Weber.

    Take the “A” away from Cole he has been soft the two games he has had it! OR he may be playing hurt!

  24. Phil C says:

    Let’s pretend you were trying to make Montreal’s three remaining lines as weak as possible, what would you do?

    I would start with putting my most talented winger with my least productive centre, so Gomez and AK go together. Then I would take my remaining three least productive wingers, and spread them across the three lines to weaken each line (Darche, Palushaj, and White). Then I would play 11 forwards to disrupt the flow between lines to make sure no chemistry is inadvertently created. And to eliminate any risk of individual efforts, I would assign the most productive centre from last season to a checking role, and only play my third most productive centre for 10 minutes in favour of a guy who has 2 goals in a year; play that guy for 17 mins.

    Maybe they are trying to tank…

  25. deuce6 says:

    I don’t mean to blame the officiating for this loss, as it was just a game that our guys would like to forget, I would assume, but was anyone else pissed at the timeout that the NJD took and the refs “decided” to take a look at the clock AFTER the TO was over? I mean, why not take a look at the clock DURING the time out? IMO, we had a tired Devils line out there with the face off deep in their zone in a 2 goal game…BAH! Bad game all around..


    Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

  26. temekuhabs says:

    I like RC, makes his players accountable, play like he did, bust your ass.. Maybe that’s why Darche plays as much as he does

  27. Marc10 says:

    Happy for Hal. Good luck in the playoffs big guy!

  28. jimmy shaker says:

    I fast forwarded the whole 3rd period and it was still boring! What a change from the carolina and boston games which were very exciting!


  29. rogieshan says:

    I’m baffled by this tough-love handling of Eller and I wonder if it’s a residual thing from Cunneyworth’s days as assistant under Jacques Martin. The kid has the most upside of all our centremen on the team. As well as he has played this season, Desharnais is not the long-term answer as a number-one centre. And neither is Plekanec, who may have returned to being the player he was always projected to be: a two-way centre with modest offensive skills.

    • DLHABSNUT65 says:

      I just wonder how much he is supposed to score with those wingers!! I mean God bless Darche but he is not a scoring winger and as far as I am concerned the jury is still out on Bourque!! I just wish Plekanec had some decent wingers for a change, is that too much to ask?! I don’t expect him to be a top 10 scorer but he has been the top points scorer in Mtl!!

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Plex had Gionta and Cammalleri earlier and created little. Then again he was our leading scorer back then. Never mind.

        Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  30. Hab it says:

    Almost 20 years of mediocrity. Not bad enough for Yakupov, nowhere near good enough for any kind of playoff run. They’ll probably pick around 10th to 15th and sign some stiff to a bloated unnecessary contract on July 1st and we’ll be stuck in the same old boat next year complaining about the same things over and over. This team frustrates me to no end. Great write up as usual Mr Boone.

  31. Rad says:

    Cunneyworth has to go. He is guilty of mis-using his players. He overplays his favorites like Darche and sits out good players if they make a mistake or two. He overplayed an ailing Erik Cole tonight to the tune of over 20 min. TOI, while letting the talented Lars Eller collect rust on his derriere for long stretches both tonight and over the past few games. The result is diminished productivity from both.

    Cunneyworth has already cost us any chance we had of re-signing Andre Kostitsyn, thereby putting management in a bad negotiating position in trying to trade him. Like Jacques “the Juggler” Martin before him, Cunneyworth continues to put new line mates together at every turn, thereby denying them any hope of developing chemistry. Nor does he give his better offensive players the opportunity to play offensively. He puts them on a short leash, and trys to win tight, boring games while obsessing with his “North-South” mantra. In spite of his quiet charisma, Cunneyworth is not an NHL-caliber coach, and he will not be re-hired.

    • boonie says:

      I appreciate his candor, like our more aggressive forecheck and commend him for not walking out when his boss and employer threw him under the bus when he was introduced.

      Anaheim is among the league’s best since January. It took boudreau a month to make changes. Our record a month after RC took over is
      7-4-1, which is pretty darn good.

    • rogieshan says:

      I don’t mind so much the ‘north-south’ philosophy – like any coaching system, you need everyone to buy in. The trouble here is mainly on defense, where half its corps is too soft to make it work (Kaberle, Diaz, Weber, Campoli). We’re also weak up the middle. Desharnais and Plekanec just cannot win tough battles to sustain pressure in the offensive zone. And why Cunneyworth is messing with Eller’s confidence is beyond me.

    • Regal Beagle says:

      Ok, all knowing one… Kostitsyn gets what he deserves. He plays dopey far too often. They are playing 11 forwards, of course there is going to be line juggling to some extent.

  32. boonie says:

    NJ is a good team playing well and they dominated us at even strength for long stretches. If we make the playoffs as an 8th-ish seed, we play teams arguably better than the Devils.

    In my mind, squeaking into this year’s bonus round at the expense of a mammoth sell off is, politely, shortsighted.

    We’ve seen guys like grossman, gill and Kubina go for 2nd rounders and then some. The trade deadline is a place to move older, overrated, pending free agents and just about any other deadwood.

    Folks, sadly, this is the time to remake this franchise. We’ve lived through this painful season. We deserve something new. Our refrain last year was being “one goal away from beating the eventual Cup winner.” we added Cole, who has been nothing short of superb this year, and we have going backwards.

    So, if we look at next year without big changes, we see DD, Eller and plecs centering some combination of Cole, patches, gio, bourque on the top two lines. I can see some gains for pacioretty. Bourque’s remarkably consistent 27 goal seasons looks like a thing of the past. Cole isn’t likely to replicate his best season since 2005/06, and gionta is increasingly past his prime and returning from a long injury. Pencil in LL, white, A couple of youngsters or low level free agents for the bottom 6 and it doesn’t inspire confidence. Yep, I assumed Gomez, AK, moen and darche won’t return.

    On D, PK should improve. Gorges is what he is. Emelin is an emerging monster. So, we need improvement from kaberle, Diaz and Weber or some new faces on D.

    Price is a great talent, but has yet win playoff rounds or big games at this level to be discussed as elite (IMHO). Having a true 1/2 here would be helpful.

    So, now is the time to begin to make this happen. If someone knocks our socks off for plecs, trade him. If we can upgrade bourque, or gio, or cole through a trade or free agent, then move these guys for other assets. If Eller isn’t going to put 60-70 points on the board next year, the he’s not our #2 offensive center.

    It’s time to make these decisions. We have 10 shopping days left to capitalize on crazed buyers and set us up for the long haul.

  33. sreuel says:

    If players don’t show up to play then they don’t win. But they get how much $ and they can come to work and do nothing not right

  34. Stev.R says:

    I saw the first two periods and saw it was a very tightly checked game. Alot more battling for the puck than actual puck possession for both teams.

  35. Toe Blake says:

    The only thing surprising about tonight’s game is that the Devils’ third goal wasn’t an empty netter.

  36. CanadienBoy says:

    first it was under size forward and now undersize d there u have it

  37. ProHabs says:

    Way to go Hal Gill. Am happy I had other arrangements today and missed the game. Sounds like it was a snooze fest. I don’t understand how in a must must must win game, the team can go 18 minutes in the first period without a shot on goal.

  38. Chuck says:

    18 minutes without a shot in the 1st period? I know that Brodeur’s great, but at least make him work for it!

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