Carbo juggles lines to face Lightning

The Gazette’s Pat Hickey reports that the Canadiens’ lineup for the Lightning in Tampa Bay looks like this:

Koivu centring Latendresse and Sergei Kostitsyn
Plekanec between Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn
Lapierre centring Higgins and Ryder
Kostopoulos between Streit and Dandenault

Kyle Chipchura is the healthy scratch.


  1. The Teacher says:

    Haha, it could work but I think Ryder is not positionally sound enough to play with Kovalev.

  2. JF says:

    I’m glad to see someone defending Carbonneau. I think he’s shaping up to become a very good coach, despite some mistakes and a tendency to panic when the team is in a slump. He is learning a lot this year, and by next should be making fewer mistakes. As for the line juggling, most of us can agree that he hasn’t a lot to work with; also, none of the combinations, with the exception of Plekanec between Kovalev and Kostitsyn, has been consistently productive. There seems to be a spark one night, then it goes out. Sometimes apparently off-the-wall combinations can produce results. Remember the game against Nashville? Carbo juggled the lines apparently at random and looked like a genius until halfway through the third period.

    About benching Chipchura. Someone suggested that might be a move to keep him fresh for tomorrow’s game, in which a strong defensive centre will be necessary.

  3. Moey says:

    Hi Lee,

    Glad you’re back. A voice of reason….phew!!!! You’re right on, nobody knows why Chippy is sitting, my only real criticism of Carbo lately is his picks for shootouts. I’m sure he would love some consistency to their play as much as we would.

    The broken records are back in full force, just put on pause for the holidays.

  4. 24 Cups says:

    Hey Captain Cournoyer – what are you trying to say here? That you’re only 21 years old? I’m not buying that for one minute:-) Maybe in dog years!! OR does it mean you were born in 1921?!

    The Original 24 Cups

  5. Bouleau noir says:

    Is Guy Lafleur the writer you (Lee) are refering to ?
    Althought I dont read the Journal of Montreal I am aware that Lafleur has been quite critical of the team’s allure and performances,.. are you saying that Carbo hasn’t been one of his worries thus far ?

  6. krob1000 says:

    Not sure at all….just my guess. I just think we have a lot of young guys playing surprisingly well and someone has to sit. It would make sense to have one of the older guys sit tomorrow. I could be wrong (pretty good chance) but I don’t think it will be Chips. I think guys are just going to have to take their turn and if Ryder does get going it is going to create a really good internal competition. If we have to sit guys out as punishments then I don’t think it has the same effect. Positive Reinforcement will work better than punishment. You know that you’re a teacher. Although some guys just need a kick in the ass…but genereally speaking.

  7. G-Man says:

    Bowman would recognize who was playing well and who wasn`t within the first 10 or 15 minutes of the 1st period. If the player wasn`t performing, he sat. He juggled lines constantly trying to fit together a win. These players just aren`t anywhere near as dominant, so juggling doesn`t amount to much. (Except 2nd guessing from every Habs fan.)


  8. The Teacher says:

    You can thank the stupid 3 point games for that.

  9. Lee Hayes says:

    I’m confused as well, and I too find it wild that 5th and 12th are separated by a win!

    Robert you know that I can’t lay it all at Carbo’s feet.

    Go Habs Go

  10. Leclerc1965 says:

    Point taken…I hope we can revisit this tomorrow with a win.

  11. Lee Hayes says:

    Last place….Of course now your playing the ‘ what if’s ‘.

    Do you enjoy watching the team? I sure as hell do. Heck I think we’re overachieving with the lineup we have.

    Stop blaming Carbo for the worlds troubles and enjoy watching the boys wreck the lightning.
    Seriously have to walk the dogs now.
    Go Habs Go

  12. Robert L says:

    I try to look at the overall picture as well, but our fifth place sitting is just a loss away from ninth.

    Perhaps Carbo is just feeling out some things in preparation for a one line opponant. I liked the top two lines until I saw Higgins on the third and no center on the 4th. Sitting Chipchura makes little sense unless unless looked in one of two ways. Either the coach wants to light a fire before complacency sets in too deep, not just in Chips, but in others as well. Or he’s rotating the press box seat in order not let anyone get rusty.

    As for it being easy to turn negative too quickly at this point, I’m just too confused by the output of this lineup considering the talent in it. There’s too much skill and work ethic on this team for it to amount to so little.

  13. The Teacher says:

    Ok, Lappy has been the hardest worker for the last 5 games, agreed.

    Are you sure about the fact an older guy would be sitting tomorrow. i mean, we all thought Ryder would get a chance to play against Dallas. sometimes Carbo doesn’t make the moves that seem obvious, but anyways. We’ll see what the game brings us tonight.

  14. Leclerc1965 says:

    I do appreciate your optimism though, I just don’t get this guy Carbonneau.

  15. krob1000 says:

    I really don’t think Chips is the “hardest working” rookie…definitely the most consistent. You know what you get with him and I think that is why he made the team. Again folks I don’t think you are going to see Chips sitting for any length of time. He does need to get a little grittier but I don’t think this has anything to do with that. Lapierre right now is easilt the hardest worker player let alone rookie. I don’t know how he managed to be an offensive threat at in the AHL but he can work. Chipchura hardly expected to play every game when he made the team so to sit out one game is not going to damage him.

    This is not like the sitting of Ryder (punishment)or Begin and Kosto (punishment). This is an experimental move and maybe a somewhat of a reminder that they would like him to play harder (not effort wise because it is always there…but more physical). We now may be in the fortunate (for Carbo) and unfortunate (players) situation where we have too many young guys fighting for spots and there are only 12 forward spots available. This kind of competition can be a good thing…guys getting the nod becaiuse someone is being punished isn’t exactly confidence building. We also play a game tomorrow night and you can bet it will be an older guy that sits tomorrow (my guess is it won’t be Chips even if we win).

  16. Lee Hayes says:

    Now there’s a salient point, and one of the few areas that I am concerned with. With the coaching staff we have we should never have letdowns at anytime during any period!

    Talk to you later Teach…gotta go walk the dogs. Have a good one.
    Go Habs Go

  17. Leclerc1965 says:

    I would love to agree with you but being in 5th place in the East is no big deal. Without our goaltenders, we wouldn’t be 17-14, more like 10-21. That would put us where?

  18. The Teacher says:

    I think he is severely sun-burned. Only thing that makes sense. It is not really an injury per-se. So would still be regarded as a healthy scratch LMAO.

    Well, another year and a half is where I’m expecting us to really come into our own. so time will tell if you’re right. I just don’t see the effort level from our team being where it should be.

  19. Leclerc1965 says:

    Sorry Lee, maybe a drink wouldn’t put it into perspective for you. Riddle me this….we are half way through this season and we haven’t figured out our line combinations. We also seem to lose games in the same way, we have all talked about the system Carbonneau has in place that just doesn’t work. What has Carbonneau done to change the way this team is playing? Line juggling on a nightly basis is a sign of desperation. Let’s face it Lee, if it weren’t for our goaltending (which has been outstanding this year), this team wouldn’t be 17-14, they would be more like 10-21. This team has good young talent and decent veterans with above average goaltending…..should be at least a .500 club right? Wrong. Again, without the goalies, we are extremely mediocre. I don’t settle for mediocre and neither should this franchaise. I am surprised as a hockey fan you don’t see this. Stop living in the past and giving Guy Carbonneau accolades for his past contribution to the old NHL. This is the new NHL and he is not a good coach. This is a guy who can’t even motivate rookies to at least play with passion and not fall into bad habits that they are continually guilty of. Would Scotty Bowman or Jacques Demers, or even a coach like Ted Nolan settle for this type of play? It’s all about the coach man, look at the 97 Buffalo Sabres or even this year’s New York Islanders. Ted Nolan (No I am not a Sabre fan), can motivate average players to play, Guy Carbonneau cannot. Guy was a great hockey player but he has a lot to learn about coaching.

  20. Lee Hayes says:

    Hey teach. Do you actually know why he’s SITTING out a game? I don’t, and I’ve read everything available in two languages on the subject today.

    ‘How many years of tinkering would you say is good? So far it’s at 1 and a half.’
    I’d say three years is a decent amount of time for the GM and coach to bring a winning lineup together.

    Go Habs Go

  21. Guy21 says:

    Carbo has finally lost it,a healthy scratch of Chipchura is insane,he is one of the best young players to come along in years.Latendresse is an AHL player-he can’t skate-and is an embarrasement to the team.Time for Bob to step in and do something before its too late.Carbo already demoted Chips to the fourth line and put Lapierre on the 3rd-why.because Lapierre can skate faster??I’m really worried about the team in general,they seem as if they are not interested and that is bad.I love Koivu but its time for him to go-we need someone who is tough.Did you see Morrow bouncing Habs around the other night??Saku had done everything he is able for Montreal,both the team and the city but its time to go……..H E L P

  22. Lee Hayes says:

    Only if your buying….of course I do prefer smoke;) Explains a few things in my post now doesn’t it?
    I realize I’m surely to be in the minority on this issue here, and I’ll let it be known, I am no martyr, nor am I a shrinking violet. So I’ll be giving just as well as I get.
    It’s easy to be negative at this point in the season sitting in 5th place, with an extremely young team(sarcasm). I prefer to really look at the overall picture, a talent of mine. Care to join me?
    Go Habs Go

  23. Proudones says:

    Amen to all that!

  24. The Teacher says:

    I don’t know Lee. I find it dumb to bench your hardest working rookie. what kind of message is that supposed to send?

    How many years of tinkering would you say is good? So far it’s at 1 and a half.

  25. Leclerc1965 says:

    Have another drink Lee.

  26. Lee Hayes says:

    When you have a young team you experiment.
    When lines and players don’t meet expectations you tinker.
    That’s what we’re seeing so far this season, our second year coach trying to find the winning chemistry.
    And for this someone would like to ‘punch him in the face’. Are you serious?
    Guy is shaping into a force behind the bench, with the incredible tutelage of Mr. Gainey, Guy should provide us with the passionate leadership that our storied franchise demands. Luckily Guy does not come to this site in his spare moment of the day to read the drivel that is constantly splattered his way. I find it surprising that posters whom I traditionally really enjoy reading could have their heads so far up their arse’s on this issue. I’ll worry about Carbo when a writer whom I respect(within the organization) brings anything worrysome to light.
    Untill then Go Guy Go.
    Go Habs Go

  27. SlySil says:

    HABS 2007-8 CHECKIST (checking it twice)

    GM who has a terrible record of trading and signing UFAs or current RFA’s (CHECK)

    Coach with no experience and shows it in year 2 (CHECK)

    Defensive coach who never played Defence and turns 6’5 hitting machines into pussy cats (CHECK)

    Assistant coach known throughout career as a hard worker who can’t get his charges to play 40-60 minutes of hockey AND HAS NO EXPERIENCE (Check)

    Defensemen playing forward (Check)

    30 goal scorer being placed in an impossible situation to score and increase his value (CHECK)

    Career Back-up goalie who never played 50 games in a season stealing experience from Franchise goalie (CHECK)

    Sitting out most consistent Rookie the game after Christmas (CHECK)

    Not winning a cup at least once in decade for the first time in TEN DECADES (CHECK)

  28. The Teacher says:

    Chipchura is English…THAT must be the reason LMAO

  29. Thumper says:

    Carbo has gone crazy again and what has Chipchura done wrong? surely and I know hes a better choice than a defense man playing attack.

  30. The Teacher says:

    Kosto Chipper and Ryder?? is that your checking line or your energy/speed line?

    To me it doesn’t qualify for either.

  31. howtathor says:

    don’t even think that! I really think that RYDER is being showcased tonight for a trade most like Jim Rutherford of the ‘Canes.

  32. The Teacher says:

    We can always dream, can’t we 🙂 That’s the only thing I can think of putting Higgins and Ryder on the same line with a pure fore-checker and defensive specialist. Maybe Ryder will get a lucky goal. Could be all he needs.

  33. sidhu says:

    Well, so much for good news after X-mas. I don’t see anything wrong with the simple formula of having two scoring lines, one checking line to shadow the other team’s best line, and an energy/speed line to bang around. This formula worked for the 1993 Habs, it should work for us too.

    Also, this two defenseman on offense scheme has to come to an end, especially if we are struggling to score.

    Higgins-Koivu-S. Kostit
    A. Kostit-Pleks-Kovy


  34. howtathor says:

    I think Chips is a much better playmaker than Kosto. I don’t understand leaving Chips out of the lineup. I agree that he would be better with Higgins and Ryder with Laps moving down to the fourth. Anyway, seeing these lines is a real shocker. I’m glad that Ryder is getting a chance to redeem himself and Laps works hard along the boards to dig out the puck for him.

  35. Shawn S says:

    I think its time we form the Can Carbo Coalition. This is getting ridiculous. Can we please stick to constant lines for at least a 5 game stretch. And what has Chips done to deserve to be benched too?? Between Captain K’s not so glorius December to Carbo’s terrible decisions, I’m having a hard a time following my beloved team.

  36. The Teacher says:

    Hey, a silver lining.

  37. krob1000 says:

    That third line is like a live drill to force both Lapierre and Higgins to try looking around them. Higgins seems to be MR. everything and seems to excel at whatever role they give him. Whoa!!!Teacher I think you hit the nail on the head. Maybe Carbo is not the mad scientist after all….he is forcing Higgins to play with Ryder and he will have no choice but to pass to Ryder. Could this be a real time teamwork drill to get those guys playing together again. If Ryder and Higgins can learn to play along side each other again then maybe we could have our great first line from the beginning of the season back and Koivu cvuold join them again. You know I have no real order to the thoughts I am throwing out here right now because I am really getting excited at the possibilites. I have decide I like this.

    If Sergei K proves he can mix it up enough to play like a more aware Higgins and Lats goes tot he net …that works. The second line we know always works so I am perplexed as why we don’t mix it up and just see what is possible(although I expect that to happen). The third line cuold actually be very smart and force Higgins and Lapierre to use their heads in an upright position, give Laps some confidence and Ryder a realistic shot at getting back on track. The fourth line may just be used for special teams filling in here and there and buying time.

    The more I write the more I like it. I am getting excited …the same way I did about the Nashville game….weird but fun.

  38. drecha says:

    You are right, now that I grabbed my funnel and shot gunned four beers, the line up is not so bad, could be the beer goggles though. wait, yep, it’s just the beer goggles cause I just looked at this picture of Rosy O’donnell and she is not looking so bad!! OK better put the funnel down!!


  39. coutNY says:

    They usually do on Thrusdays. We’ve only lost 1 game (Sens in a close one) all year…

  40. mjames says:

    Well I know Kostopoulis is not going to score. As nuch as this guy tries he does not have the skill. I would have sat him with Chips centering the line. Youth youth. I much rather lose with youth.

    As an aside – Tampa Bay will take it to us , they will employ a strong forecheck. If we sit back as Carbo is want to do we will be chasing the puck all night. It would please me to no end if Carbo would let them skate but I have no confidence in that guy.


  41. The Teacher says:

    Ok, I’ve taken a deep breath.

    Thanks Krob1000 for bringing some levity.

    The first two lines don’t look so bad.

    The last two look downright weird.

    Higgins with Ryder is my problem. and Lappy isn’t exactly a passer. But he’ll go into the corner’s and hopefully free up space? I guess Higgins won’t have any other option BUT to pass to Ryder?


    The fourth line needs a center.

    Chipper should not be benched, but I agree he is probably mature enough to understand.

  42. T-roy West says:

    I am so pissed of right now. I’ve been saying all along that Higgins should play with Chipchura on the third line and now that it could happen, he sits Chipchura. Carbonneau is an idiot. Third line should be Higgins, Chipchura and Lapierre or S. Kostitsyn. Carbo, I really feel like punching him in the face. God I’m pissed!!!!

  43. hockeydevil says:

    Ouch…maybe he reads tea leaves?! :p

    Talk hockey at hockeydevils

  44. krob1000 says:

    Not my first choice but interesting….

    I have already stated my preferences but I do like that a major change is in order and that we have managed to pry apart the Higgins/Koivu combo. This at least shows me a willingness to change and I bet Carbo drank him self silly in order to force himself to do it. I will definitely call this progress and I don’t thinkt hsi is meant as any disrespect to Chipchura as it is more of an experimental test run and I expect tonight there will be more juggling. I do not like the constant juggling but if it is to be done I am happy to see a major shakeup instead of trying every guy in the organization with Koivu and Higgins.

    I am not too sure who the center is on that fourth line either but he can’t be any worse than our centers in the faceoff circle (just kidding).

    All in all ….I like it because I know Chips will be back and it is a change. Ryder and Higgins should not be together but at least Ryder is not on a fourth line and Lapierre may actually get going offensively. He has been our BEST penalty killer and forechecker so I understand rewarding him. Chips has not played poorly and I don’t think this move was made as a punishment to him. I know people are going to go crazy over this.

    This is more of an experiment to get a few different guys going and see what Sergei K, Lats, Lapierre, Ryder can do in diffferent situations. The zanier things get the more I think that Carbo is actually smarter than we think. They are testing the youth in different positions.

    By the way the Leafs just made some lineup changes as well….Blake has been demoted to the fourth line after his 36 game chance.

  45. hockeydevil says:

    I hope the team shows up tonight…

    Talk hockey at hockeydevils

  46. Cable Guy says:

    Totally agree with you, the first line looks interesting.

  47. Xtrahabsfan says:

    First of all,Carbo ,you are a Mad man for: 1} sitting Chipchura 2}continuing to endlessly change lines only to continually change lines during the game.If you are not going to make the Trades needed with GAINEY,THEN PLEASE GO BACK TO DALLAS AND TAKE Gainey and Ryder with you!

  48. The Teacher says:

    One reason is as good as another with Carbo I guess.

  49. Sask Habs Fan says:

    I’m sick of this crap just like everybody else. It pains me to say it, but I kind of hope we go on a losing skid and Carbo gets canned. We need some consistency in our line up. And a new coach. Benching Chips while Dandy and Streit go on a line together? He’s +1. They are -7 and -6. I think I have OFFICIALLY become a Carbo basher.

    Chuck Norris invented black. In fact, he invented the entire spectrum of visible light. Except pink. Tom Cruise invented pink.

  50. JF says:

    I like the lines except the benching of Chipchura. I would put him between Streit and Dandenault. He is hardworking and consistent, and gets better from game to game. I have no problem with Latendresse being on the first line. He and Koivu worked well together last year.

    After the horrible effort against Dallas, some kind of shake-up was foreseeable. Also, Ryder needs to play. Who knows, this might work.

  51. Blitzen says:

    Maybe Carbo is worried about what Kosto would do to him if he sat him.

  52. The Teacher says:

    Now I just started to laugh.

  53. PattyBoy31 says:

    Exactly, I really haven’t been a Carbo-basher, but this is ridiculous. Ryder and Higgins aren’t checking line forwards, maybe there was some unreal chemistry with these lines in practice but unless the Habs pull off a huge win against Tampa, carbo just put himself in an even worse position

  54. Sulemaan says:

    That’s a good one. I laughed out loud when I read your post.

  55. Sulemaan says:

    That’s not even funny.

  56. Blitzen says:

    I’m guessing Carbo had a chat with Chips and explained that they were going to see if they could Ryder going again. Chips looks solid enough mentally to not take this badly. Chips won’t sit long term however so I’m guessing Ryder better score tonight.

  57. Cable Guy says:

    Carbo “Magic 8 ball, will I still have a job at the end of the season?”

    8 Ball “Outlook Not So Good”

  58. Klondike Habs Fan says:

    YOure right, that just to awful. Sorry.

  59. Sulemaan says:

    None of Kostopoulous, Streit or Dandenault can take face-offs effectively. Furthermore Chipchura has more points than Kosto and Dandy. Streit has more points than Chipchura but he also has the worst +/- on the team at -7.

    The only reason I can think of sitting Chipchura is that the coaching staff feels he hasn’t been playing hard the past few games. I’d play him before Dandenault as I really don’t like the look of that 4th line at all.

    At least Ryder might get a shot with some decent linemates such as Higgins and Lapierre.

  60. The Teacher says:

    Please don’t even think that.

  61. Klondike Habs Fan says:

    Maybe Chipper’s been traded?!?

  62. The Teacher says:

    Man, I echo your sentiments of Chipper.

    The only thing I can think of is that he is still drunk? or has a really bad sunburn?

  63. drecha says:

    I was being patient with Carbo, but I have had enough with this crap, there is no rhyme or reason for his moves!! I really think (hope) things are going to happen soon!!


  64. coutNY says:

    Is Carbo playing a game of 52 pick up with 22 cards? Juggling chainsaws makes more sense to me… come on Carb!

  65. Klondike Habs Fan says:

    I like the Lapierre / Higgy / Ryder line, enough. But to sit Chipchura is a wierd one. After ten minutes if we are not up by one, and Carbo begins the line juggling, I hope Ryder gets some time with Kovalev and Plekanek.

    Go Ryder, time to break out.

  66. theflower says:

    Oh jesus, I have seen and heard it all. I mean of all guys to bench, you bench the most consistent, hard working youngster on our team? I mean what kind of message does that send. Chips is one guy who has come to play every night and this is the reward he gets? Wow all I can say is Merry Christmas Chips! Play another incredibly awful game against Dallas and now we bench a kid who plays well haha! Carbo, is losing it! I have been hoping he would at least take Christmas to check his brain for grey matter, but I guess not. My faith in this staff and Gainey’s inability to make a good trade is starting to worry me. Let’s just hope for once I am wrong! On a positive note, if you can call it one, I bought a brick for the Centennial Plaza! So at least I can goto Montreal one day and stare at a brick and remember the greatness and the history that is somehow lost with todays’ team!

  67. Leclerc1965 says:

    We are off to a flying start aren’t we guys?

  68. drecha says:



  69. Leclerc1965 says:

    8 ball?

  70. G-Man says:

    Chipchura benched over Ryder! I guess the less effective you are the more ice time you get!

  71. Leclerc1965 says:

    I say we all have a few drinks in celebration of Carb’s continued demolition of a decent young team, at least by the time the games starts we will all be drunk enough not to care.

  72. The Teacher says:

    I think he uses BOGGLE.

  73. Cable Guy says:

    I think Carbo uses a Ouji board to pick his lines.

  74. drecha says:

    I am really starting to get sick of this Juggling act!!! How is it possible for any of these lines to mesh with each other?? I am confused with the way Carbo is handling the team this year, and I am waiting for Gainey to step in and staighten Carbo out!!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.