Canadiens stumble on road out of town

Gazette coverage of last night’s 3-2, what-was-that? loss by the Canadiens to the Florida Panthers, as the Habs lift anchor and depart today for a six-game road trip, beginning Thursday in Washington:

Red Fisher suggests the Canadiens were no match for the speedy Panthers; Pat Hickey reminds that the Panthers, out of the playoffs the past six seasons, always look like Stanley Cup contenders against the Habs; Hickey quotes head coach Guy Carbonneau saying, not for the first time, that rookie goalie Carey Price must be better; and Stephanie Myles visits the Panthers dressing room to find no goaltending controversy there, not with Tomas Vokoun suiting up.


  1. zamboni says:

    I wouldn’t see it as abuse, just like you and I are expressing our opinions, Tommy is just expressing his.
    Sure I’d like to share Tommy’s optimism, and see the glass as half full (which I do by the way, wrt our youth movement and the possible bright future, but not one with Carbo) I’m a realist and can’t just dismiss such blunders by suggesting that the team didn’t show up.

    When one, two, three or even four players don’t show up, I’d say it’s the players, after all we know it’s only human to have off days, when the entire team doesn’t show up, we’ve got to dig a little deeper than the surface and ask ourselves why?
    Why is it that the entire team didn’t or couldn’t play?
    Could it be that the system that was employed was a failure?
    Could it be that when things don’t work as planned, frustration sets in and motivation level drops?
    Who’s job is it to motivate the players and make them believers of the system?

    I’m sorry, I also don’t subscribe to the idea that a coach has the right to rip his players publicly, specially the young ones, he has all the right to do so behind closed doors, but publicly, that’s plain stupid arrogance, not to mention suicidal.
    And for heaven’s sake, let’s stop comparing him to Bowman, he’s no Bowman, he has a long way to go before he earns the respect that a Bowman deserves.

    “You have to find a way to play according to the players you have in the squad. Never stick to only one system. I think that is the biggest mistake you can make. Many people think there is one only good system but I think there are many.”
    His (Fabio Capello’s) response when asked if he had any advice for young coaches

    I wonder if Capello would consider coaching the Habs, even though he’s only a soccer coach, I’m sure he’ll fare better than the clown we currently have.

  2. RS says:

    Doesn’t Markov know how to play a 2 on 1? Sure Komisarek got caught on a pinch, but Markov messed up on that play. If he takes away the pass, Price takes Oli and I bet you’d still have a 0-0 game.

    Before the season started I picked the Panthers to make the playoffs and the Bruins to be out. I’m not too surprised that the Habs can beat the Bruins and have trouble (lots of it) with Florida. I just don’t understand who the Bruins are beating (oh yeah, the Leafs) and why Florida doesn’t have a better record. I still consider Florida to be one of the teams that the Habs are battling for the 7th and 8th playoff spots.

  3. TommyB says:

    With all due respect to you and others who feel Carbonneau is to blame for all things sour with the Habs…look at what the players are doing on the ice. Do you really believe they are executing what the coaching staff is trying to instill in them? There are too many young kids in the lineup. Don’t get me wrong…I like the kids in the lineup, but they will continue to make mistakes for some time yet.

    As for Carbo’s “arrogance”…you sit in front of the mics and cameras for a press conference in Montreal after a loss and tell me how composed you would be. Tell me how you would react to the questions designed to create “a story”, in two official languages! I like Carbonneau’s disdain for the press. Do you remember how the press treated him when he left Montreal? Carbonneau will go on about his business of coaching the Montreal Canadiens and he will not suck up to the media, a la Paul Maurice in Toronto. Maybe Carbonneau comes from a different era, but some of you guys like to drop the name of Scotty Bowman when making some of your points. Well, I’d like to tell you that Scotty Bowman, one of the most successful coaches in Habs history, was not that great of an ego-stroker when it came to his players either! Not too many players were totally enthralled with Scotty…but at the end of the year, they got to skate around with the Stanley Cup hoisted over their heads.

    Guy Carbonneau is not perfect…nobody is. But as a coach he has every right to demand a certain level of performance from his players each night. He may not be “sophisticated” enough for some of the fans and media, when it comes to his ideas of what went wrong in a loss, but as the coach he has every right to name names! This is a young team, and I would set the bar just as high as Carbo has for these upcoming stars. In the end, should they be so lucky as to win a Stanley Cup in a couple of years, they may even realize to themselves, if not publicly state it, that these early years were what made them tough enough to persevere and become the team that won it all. Nothing comes easy, and I feel Guy Carbonneau is preparing his young charges for just that ethic. As is the way in the NHL, Carbonneau may not be behind the bench when this team does accomplish that feat. But I for one will recognize his contribtution.

  4. Ian Cobb says:

    Good post Tommy B—It is the same way that I see it except that the players did not give there full effort last night. IAN

  5. showey47 says:

    i agree with all your statments except calling vokoun a hot goalie, the 2 we scored last night were pretty brutal goals. I just hope guys like obyrne and sergei don’t pay by having to sit in the pressbox because the vets didn’t show up last night. Trying to optimistic here but we only played about 5 good minutes in a 60 minute game and we could of easily come out with at least one point.

  6. zamboni says:

    I guess categorizing anybody who criticizes the esteemed management team as a downer is not considered creative editing.

    Sorry not trying to pick on you, but I take an offense when I get categorized as a downer, I know this was not addressed to me. but I do criticize Carbo and your comment would apply to me.

    As much as I like BG, I don’t consider his moves (or lack of) divine, forgive me for not being a sheep.

    If every other team has figured out how to play against Florida, who’s fault is it that we haven’t?
    They have our number just doesn’t cut it when your are the coach of the Habs.

    Carbo will never be a good coach, he lacks all the essentials of a good coach, some of which can never be taught.
    For starters his cocky arrogant view of it’s not my fault, it’s anybody else’s fault is one that will never change. It’s soon going to be two years that we are enduring this moron, show me one episode, where he admitted being wrong, yet he is quick to jump on a rookie and blame him publicly.

    I wish Carbo had never coached the Habs, at least that way I would have had high views of him.
    For someone who’s not a good communicator, he always finds ways of communicating who’s at fault (needless to say, NOT him)

    Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

    A coach should not be judged when everything is going fine for the team, they should be judged on the ways how they handle adversity and come out of it with successfully.

  7. Haber for life says:


    The reason a lot of us blame Carbo is not because of the couple of mistakes that lead to goals…those are clearly player mistakes and nothing a coach can undo..they will happen.

    The reason Carbo needs to go is because (1) the players don’t seem motivated, (2) are not buying into his “system” ( this is evident because they don’t play a consistent style from game to game…sometimes playing zone defense, sometimes playing aggressive forecheck etc) and (3) his line shuffling makes him seem like he’s not confident and does not really know what he’s doing (4) him calling out players all the time makes players stop playing for him (look at handling of Ryder for example). It is clear to me (and again, I’ve played competitive and know about change-room dynamics) that he has lost the room…ie. the players are tuning him out. There was a game where Pierre Mcguire was in between the benches and heard Carbo yelling at the guys to “stop feeling bad for yourselfs and play”… statements like that make me even more sure that they are not willing to put their bodies on the line for him. Think about it: a coach who will ALWAYS take blame for his players, always back them up even if the public is on them, will be loved by that player, and they would bleed for him and go through walls for him. But why would they do that for a coach who constantly blames everyone else and never himself or his tactics….even to divert some attention away from his players. Have you EVER heard Carbo come out and say “maybe I need to do a better job of preparing the players” or “maybe I should adjust our style of play”? No!

  8. TommyB says:

    I like your creative editing mindset. Typical of many of the downers on this blog….you just pick out one line of a posted comment that serves your purpose, and you comment on that.

  9. TommyB says:

    It boggles the mind to hear game after game (most notably, when the Habs lose) that Carbo was to blame, Carbo was outcoached, etc.

    First of all, regarding last night’s loss, we got beat by a team that seems to have our number. A team coached by Jacques Martin, who is one of the best “snooze-fest” coaches in the league. You are not going to get many goals on the Florida Panthers, and when you throw in a goalie on a hot streak such as Vokoun, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

    The first Florida goal can be attributed to a bad pinch by Komisarek, allowing the Florida player to scoot past him and create a great scoring opportunity, which he cashed in on. Full marks to him. The second Florida goal, an easy open net lob, the result of a Carey price bad puckhandling clearing attempt. Neither of these goals came as a result of poor coaching, and now you are down two to one of the stingiest teams in the league.

    It just seems that Carbonneau gets way too much credit for the Habs losses and inabilities. There are players on the ice! They are making mistakes, mental miscalculations, and sometimes taking the lazy way out of a situation…cheating too much on the play. Eleven of these players are under 25 years old! Again, no fault of Carbonneau.

    I might suggest that many posters are also taking the easy way out, game after game, by pointing the finger at the coach with their overused clich├Ęs and media-influenced buzzwords.

    It is a long season. We are not halfway through it yet, and these kids still have much to learn. And they are learning, but one of the hardest things to do, and I do not think a coach can teach this, is to learn how to be a consistent player, and a competitor, night after night. It is something a player learns and develops on his own.

  10. Smart Dog says:

    The team seems lost on bad nights, completely in sync on good nights. They seem to get up for big games – they do want to win but something odd is happening on ‘ordinary’ nights and I think it is their true feelings showing through. As you say, this is a coaching problem. Carbo & co need to figure out what they are doing that the team needs an outside reason to want to come and play. For sure their is a motivational problem with the coach-team mix. From what I see, Carbo can be very de-motivating. This is something I know a little about… and the team will rise and fall by it. More likely the more it goes on unaddressed, the more it will fall.

    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  11. joel says:

    meant ‘surprised’

  12. joel says:

    i am surprosed that the PA hasn’t waded in on this.. it is as if they do not care about the membership

  13. MNaslund26 says:

    Quite honestly 30 games seems like a slap on the wrist for a repeat offender like simon. What is it going to take for the NHL to put their collective foot down on senseless violence and finally expel players who are prone to such acts. This is the 8th time he has been suspended? 2nd time he nearly ended someone else’s career? i don’t care if he feels remorse. If his acts were committed off the ice, he would be locked up. KICK HIM OUT OF THE LEAGUE ALREADY.

  14. Habs_008 says:

    Your right, the NHL doesnt need guys like that, what if it were a big superstar like that? it would kill the leauge. He should be gone. Forever.

  15. Sakus Evil Twin says:

    Last nights game was exactly like I called it.

    I sat in section 124 with my chin in my hands as these players were just not up for it.

    Too many passes into skates, too many head-down plays not enough driving to the net…

    Lapierre was a bright spot for me on the PK, but whatever…

    Carbo, Jarvis and Muller need to get these players to rise to the occasion every night.

    And as much as I hate to say it, so does Saku – he looks pained out there like it’s the last place he wants to be.

  16. 24 Cups says:

    Doesn’t seem like a lot to me. I would have given him the rest of the year and the playoffs and he would then have to go before the league next year to see if he would be reinstated. It’s his 7th suspension. He clearly doesn’t get it or doesn’t care. His apology means nothing. It’s just standard procedure when someone in the limelight screws up, whether it be in the field of sports, entertainment, or politics. It doesn’t matter if Ruttu is OK or not, it’s the intent and the possible damage that could have been done. This situation plus his brutal stick swinging hatchet job on Hollweg last year would be enough for me to ban him from the NHL forever. Certain players have little or no respect for each other on the ice anymore. Hitting from behind and high sticking and/or cross-checking headshots are rampant.

    Do you really want to stop this crap? Institute a rule whereby a team can only dress the alloted number of players (18 plus 2 goalies) minus the suspended player’s spot. Which means for the next 30 games the Islanders could only dress 19 instead of 20 players. I realize that in Philly this would have meant that they would have played with 18 players instead of 20. Unfair you say? Too bad. Do you want to clean up the league or not? Last point. Could you imagine if Simon had done this to Crosby and had cut through his leg? And God forbid, he could never play again?

    The Original 24 Cups

  17. Habs_008 says:

    Off Topic but Simon was suspened for 30 games. Seems like a lot. But it doesnt surprise me. I will be surprised if we ever see Simon in the NHL again. He is finished. That was pretty stupid. He is getting more games then Bert did, even though Bert ended a career. I think Ruttu is fine.

  18. Panther says:

    The theory (and I do agree with it and have coached double letter hockey most of my life) is the defenceman occupies the middle of the ice taking away the pass.This leaves the shooter on an angle which gives the goalie the ability to get to the top of his crease and effectively taking away half the net.Last nights goal is the perfect example of why you have to take away the pass.The goalie always has to assume the puck handler will shoot hence play the shooter and don’t leave the winger on the opposite side an open net to shoot at as the goalie will certainly be out of position no matter how quickly he can get to the other side. If both the defensemen and goalie plays the shooter who takes the guy with the empty net.

  19. Panther says:

    As uncertain as I am about Carbo from time to time, last nights performance certainly can’t be blamed on him.Komi made a bad pinch and Morkov didn’t help by playing the 2 on 1 poorly, the second goal was obvious as to where the blame lies and I think Price would like to have had the 3rd one back.
    I did like his little experiment with the Kots brothers together with Pleks.I’d like to see that continue and move Kovi to the number 1 line.
    Poor Ryder last night.Looked a little lost but I feel for him after watching his line mates basically throw away the puck in the offensive zone just about everytime.
    Wouldn’t mind seeing Chip/Ryder and Lats together.Not a big Lats fan but a better offensive upside then Kostopulous.Here’s hoping for a better all round effort in Washington

  20. Smart Dog says:

    Take the pass away and let the goalie deal with the shooter is the tried-and-true play. But there may be exceptions depending on the situation… in this case what seems to have happened is a middle-ground play… probably the worst way to play it.

    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  21. krob1000 says:

    You will get two different opinions of how to handle a two on one depending on which coach you ask. Some say to take the shooter and force him to a tougher angle while playing the pass (this is what I always thought was the right play). I have seen analysts on television and heard players say during interviews that it made more sense to take the shooter and force the other team to convert the pass. The logic for this was that there was more room for error if you force them to make a decent pass, receive the pass, and convert the shot.

    I am forever confused on this one. If you have the puck carrier forced outside and his angle is limited (or the shooter is not on their off wing) than let them shoot. If the puck carrier is either on an offwing (enhancing his angle) or near the middle of the ice I say take the shooter and force the pass. If anyone knows for certain that one way is more correct please let me know because I always grew up taking away the pass but still wonder if it is isn’t a situational decision and that there is no “right way”.

    I found this link that says take she pass away but I am wondering if anyone else has heard more on this. I am a coach as often as I can be so any input will be appreciated.

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