Game 23: Sabres blank, sweep Canadiens

Sabres’ Thomas Vanek crashes the crease of Canadiens’ Cristobal Huet during tonight’s first period.
John Mahoney, Gazette

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Consider this the weekend the Canadiens were buffaloed. Literally.

Twenty-four hours after being handled 4-2 by the Sabres at HSBC Arena, the Canadiens were outskated, outshot and outscored by the same Northeast Division rival tonight, falling 3-0 to a disgruntled and not afraid to show it sellout crowd at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens outhit the Sabres 36-23, if you’re looking for small victories. But Montreal was outshot 35-24, so there.

It was the Sabres’ fourth victory in a row and a dramatic reversal of fortune for the visitors; the Canadiens had won the last four Bell Centre games between the two teams, outscoring Buffalo 14-8.

Buffalo’s Jaroslav Spacek and Thomas Vanek beat Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet in the first period. Jochen Hecht backhanded the puck almost the length of the ice into an empty Montreal goal in the final minute to complete the scoring. Well-travelled former Habs netminder Jocelyn Thibault earned a very satisfying shutout.

The Canadiens return to action Tuesday night in Toronto, head to New Jersey to take on the Devils on Friday, then return to Montreal for a date next Saturday against the Nashville Predators.

95 Comments

  1. habsfan reduxit says:

    … while I might be a little more restrained in using colourful language, I would still have to agree with everything you say. And that includes a huge wonder about what Bob G. is thinking by being so,o,o,o s-l-o-w in doing something to improve this team. Either he’s far too patient for the team’s good, or the myth about players refusing to come here is not a myth after all.

  2. Rick Chartraw says:

    Wow, is that Kovalev out there throwing his weight around? He seems to be one of the few players moving tonight. Defence is absolutely allowing all Buffalo forwards to gain the line and wait for a reasonable play.

    They’ve been hard to watch lately. I hope they are not pulling a similar ploy to last year (or the year before).

  3. nightmare_49 says:

    Not yet.

  4. Sam Atalla says:

    Anybody know how I can watch the game from my computer? My dish signal with Bell isn’t working now. I heard about somethign called sopcast. i downloaded it and i clicked on the habs vs sabres live tv logo on the site. but its playing some football highlights or something..cfl. a bunch of rogers announcers talking. no hockey. what can i do?

  5. linp says:

    Buffalo is trying the same trick against us. They go right behind our net and pass back in front of our net. Our team is still shooting from far out.

    We got to bump Vanek away from Huet. Why didn’t we park someone in front of their net when we attack is beyond me.

    The photo speaks all. Vanek spends a lot of time in front of our net.

    I still believe that the way we play 5 v 5 is ineffective. We need to get someone in front of the net before we shoot. We need to control the puck behind their net first. Look for an open man and go for a bang-bang play. We need to score some garbage goals. Don’t blame the players. They did their best in the 3rd period. If you don’t have enough skill, you need an effective system. We just don’t have enough elite player (only Kovalev is world class). If we learn to play a system like Baffalo did, we should be OK. Our team has speed to do that. The problem is: Are our couches smart enough? Just mixing up the line is not going to work in a long run. You can energize players only for a game or two.

  6. Scotty90 says:

    Cournoyer12..Wow what? did I miss something?

  7. Scotty90 says:

    There are a couple of players that are overdue for a big night. Kovalev is due for a 3 pointer, Plek , Koivu and Markov a couple each. that said…its a tall order against the Sabres, unless Miller will be taking a rest. I didn’t see what the line-up is going to be yet, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Brisebois and Smolinski taking a rest and getting quicker and surer legs out there tonight. Go Habs!

  8. CHasman says:

    I have to agree with gumper, but to a lesser degree. I’ve watched every game this year and the intensity that Montreal showed early in this season is not the same. They seem to come out of the gate waiting for the other team to decide the pace of the game. I was really impressed with the work ethic of the team at one point this season but for some reason they’re not playing the same way now. That being said Habs Freak made a good point when he said the Canadiens are in a tough part of the schedule and they’ve hit a Buffalo team that is playing exceptional hockey right now. I watched them play Ottawa the other night and they did pretty much the same thing to the Senators. It will be interesting to see what the boys are made of tonight in the rematch.
    Habs Freak also makes a good point about Higgins. For Koivu to be better he needs to receive more passes from both Higgins and Ryder. There have been a lot of squandered soring chances because of a lack of passing on that line. The book is out on the first line and they need to change some things to keep the other team guessing. I know Carbo is telling them to shoot but I think they have to pass more.
    Smolinski drives me batty some games because he plays lazy sometimes. Latendresse is slowly improving, he still looks slow out there but at least he’s throwing his wait around. Streit is struggling for some reason and Bullion needs some more ice time. I think it’s time to give Komo some time on the PP. Ryder is playing better and has laid out some surprising body checks but he has to keep his feet moving. I was wondering why Begin wasn’t scoring but he seems to have worked it out. Still would like to see the hustle of Maxim Lapierre in the line up and the size of O’Byrne. Moostly I’d like to see a hard working team win a big game tonight.

  9. A. Berke says:

    Dave,

    I apologize posting this for a second time. The first one is with the last night’s postings and may not be looked at anymore as we’ve moved to this blog (in other words I’m not trying to be a pest!).

    So here it’s again. Also to the other posters: Any suggestions?

    I’ve noticed that the “powers to be” you had mentioned, made the change in format, i.e., last post on top. However now we have another problem (actually two):

    First, when one tries to click on the “reply” in order to reply to a specific post, this reply posts below the original one. In other words in time sequence it goes backwards. So in order to follow the posts chronically, one has to read up and down and up again. Kinda confusing.

    One easy remedy may be to remove the “reply” button all together.

    Second: when one posts a reply to a specific or a new post, after clicking the “post comment” button, the whole thing goes to the end of the last page, i.e. to the earliest posting and one has to navigate back to the top of the first page to see one’s own posting.

    Considering these two minor problems, I would like to suggest going back to the original style (with post #) and the last post at the bottom. It would also be easier if the original blog write-up is only on the first page and subsequent pages contain only the postings.

    This is not a critique but suggestions for hopefully finding a more user friendly and less confusing set-up.

    Otherwise lots of THANKS for the excellent job you and the rest of the group are doing. I’m personally grateful for HIO.

    Cheers,

    Ali B.

  10. A. Berke says:

    Unless my eyesight is failing me, what I saw last night (on RDS and with several replays), Koivu WAS pushed into the net and over that moron whiner miller.

    On the other hand Komi’s move was not a penalty but gaustadt’s chop on Pleks legs was and it wasn’t called. So miller should just put a sock in it (I have some unwashed socks that I’ll be happy to part with) ;-)

    However the refs incompetence is not (and should not be) an excuse for the loss last night. It was the overall inadequate intensity, lack of hard work and poor skating/play were the reasons.

    Ali B.

  11. Thumper says:

    crikey gumper I hear what your saying as you were there, what is up with Saku?
    I hope a good Bell centre crowd can shake em up a bit.

  12. gumper says:

    I was at the game last night. Here are some observations. The entire team looked slow and disorganized in the first period and most of the second. For most of the night Buffalo took away the center of the skating area, leaving the Habs free to skate up and down the boards all night. When, in the third, they started to make some plays through the middle, they managed to tie it up. It almost seemed everyone was afraid to play in traffic. The Sabres had the jump when it came to forechecking, and once again we had difficulty winning key faceoffs. The powerplay was static and easily defended against, and almost no one appeared to be playing with any passion or sense of urgency. In short, it was a frustrating game to watch, and one the Habs didn’t deserve to win. The most ineffectual player on our “first” line was Koivu, who appeared, at times, lost and disconnected from the play. It concerns me that Carbonneau is making such a big deal about the “phantom” call. While it absolutely was not a penalty, I think he should be more worried about how to get his team motivated so that they don’t end up in situations where one bad call is enough to sink the team. While leaving the rink I was admonished by another Habs fan about being pessimistic, but the parallels between last year and this are striking. A strong start, followed by a prolonged “lose-one-win-one” pattern. All we’re waiting for now is the flu bug. This team appears sluggish and unmotivated right now. Time for the coach to step up, not make excuses. Sorry, Habs fans, if this seems pessimistic. To me it is simply realistic. Spoken like a true pessimist!!!

  13. moeman says:

    With two top Canadian teams like the Sens and Habs at home and the leaf far away from their home, which team gets the ‘coveted’ national game on hnic/HD?

    ~ have a powerful day ~

  14. ClaytonM says:

    Everyone knows what they need to do to win tonight – work harder. I’d say that’s what will happen and that’s why they’ll win tonight. The Habs dressing Huet is an obvious advantage, as we’ll either see the sabres’ backup goalie or a tired ryan miller. I’d rather he faced 42 shots last night instead of 32, but still, I like our chances. I also would have liked to have seen a more physical game last night from our boys. Some solid bodychecking the night before wouldn’t have hurt us one bit.

    Too bad we couldn’t sweep the sabres. We’d be one step closer to the sans for 1st in the East. Now we have to catch up to the hurrican’ts before aiming for the top.

    As for the article from John Vogl, that’s the definition of blatant homerism. He let’s miller have a forum to whine about Koivu and doesn’t mention the brutal call on Komisarek. Does the CBC have this guy’s info as a call up replacement in case of emergency?

    “Montreal’s vaunted power play finally struck two minutes later, but it appeared to catch a break. Captain Saku Koivu had a bump with Ryan Miller as the goaltender made a save, and Miller had to scramble to get to his skates. Meanwhile, Christopher Higgins collected the rebound and ripped a shot past Miller.

    The play incensed the goaltender. He hinted that the referees didn’t call a penalty as a form of retribution for a comment he made earlier.

    “His explanation was I was yelling at him about a gloved puck in the first period,” Miller said. “That’s all he said to me after that, so I’m really confused as to why he wasn’t watching my crease.

    “Koivu does it every night. All the refs here should know that he’s going to come and touch the goalie at least once a night, or make it look like he got pushed in. It’s pretty obvious, and it’s every year, every season, every game. I don’t see how the refs cannot know players. They ref enough.”

    Let’s hope every player gets a chance to park himself by miller tonight. They have plenty of ammo to trash talk him with. Those crazy boards we have, for example :)

  15. linp says:

    I like what I read from another poster: “A Coach delivering a GAME PLAN ACCORDING TO THE OPPOSITION”
    The Sabres seems to skate faster and get to the puck sooner than us. If we can’t out-skate them, then we should out-hit them and play the trap.
    Unfortunately, we are playing at home tonight. We can’t play a defensive game.
    Hopefully, the home crowd can get us going and we score the first goal.

  16. N.B. habs fan 50 yrs says:

    come on people….. are we not allowed to lose a few games without everyone giving the coach or ref.and the players a hard time .I do get upset when we lose but I am glad I am not a leafs fan ,and we are a team who sticks up for one another The young players just need more time and need us to cheer them on instead of putting the down because they make a few mistakes so lets be the fans the need us to be and have confidence in them GO HABS GO

  17. von says:

    Hope the Habs play hard tonight, after last nights let down.

    BTW, I agree with J.T., that Kovy pic is awesome!!! Any chance of a high res copy for the computer background? That would be dirty!!!

  18. earl says:

    Newf, how many games have you seen won when scoring 0 goals?

  19. Mr.Hazard says:

    Excuse me, “Newfie”, if Huet had not let in those two “soft” goals, the score would be 0-0. Get a grip.

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  20. A. Berke says:

    I don’t think that BG is slow in reacting, seems like it’s more of a case of there’s not a decent player worth trading for is available.

    Ali B.

  21. TradeRyder says:

    Oy vey!!

    TWO QUESTIONS:
    1. Where is our power play? and what is this disorganized thing in its place??
    2. How long are we going to have to wait until we have a REAL first line?!

    What an awful game to watch. The passes are going everywhere… Markov just made a pass BACK at the blue line and put HIMSELF offside. This game, and the one before, remind me of the Tremblay years… everyone moving in different directions, making passes without looking, HOPING someone will be there. Are the Sabres just that much better???? It can’t be. We lack grit (still). We lack consistency (still). We lack a power forward (still). Sigh.

    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  22. Blitzen says:

    I hope so. I mean what would they lose bringing a couple of them up? Bring up Lapierre for grit and SKoz for scoring and see where it goes.

    Do I remember correctly that Smokes is getting $2M per year? Jeebus waive him to Hamilton and see if anyone bites.

  23. Hoegarden says:

    Blitzen,
    a loss against the laffs (God forbid)might trigger some moves as in a couple of call-ups from the Bulldogs. I see no leadership nor grit with Smokes in recent games and he’s big enough to give more. Two losses in a row and shut out for the first time this year. Laffs humiliated in Phoenix. It could get ugly on Tuesday.

  24. TradeRyder says:

    I know (unlike some people) that you shouldn’t always make a trade when you need it… it’s probably better to wait. But PLEASE try and make a better first line. Something is obviously wrong, and it WILL be changed… why is Carbs waiting? Why could that possibly be? It’s NOT working, hasn’t worked all year.

    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  25. Larry says:

    This team is beginning to look a lot like last years Habs. Off to a great start and then….
    I had hope that this team would go places but it is obvious the last few games they have no heart. They should have been mad tonight and come to play but nothing. They have been completely outclassed the last three games against Buffalo and that team is not that good.
    And how long are they going to stick with Ryder? There are slumps and there are slumps but come on. He looks completely lost out there. Whatever he had it is gone.
    The next week does not look good. They always come up flat against the Leafs and they haven’t beaten Brodeur since, never.

  26. Hoegarden says:

    Nice to see Smokes riding the pine in the 3rd. He’s obviously not with it.
    The boys need to give that second effort to get the puck back. They lose way too many faceoffs. Our last PP, Saku loses it and the PP is down to 1:28 by the time they cross the blue line and try to set up. It’s been like this all night.
    Carbo’s got a bit of a challenge to sort this out quickly.

  27. Blitzen says:

    I think Smokes needs to spend some time in the press gallery. He is absolutely underwhelming right now.

    People wonder why the Bulldogs aren’t doing as well this year. Well imagine you’re one of the guys still playing there after winning the championship and you see chumps like Smokes preventing you from coming up. Would that be motivating to you?

  28. Scotty90 says:

    Something is really wrong and nobody seems to know what to do? it ain’t going to fix itself my friends. 5 on 5 scoring has been a problem for a few years… its not a new phenomenon with this team. We need a big first line centre who can score and turn the tide around. Lord knows we can’t win face-offs and score 5 on 5 with this crew. Taking a deep breath now and going to bed before I say things about the team that I love that I may regret later.

  29. Blitzen says:

    I still think the Habs will do well until the end of the year but what our games against Buffalo and Ottawa clearly show is that, even if we make the playoffs, we’ll be going nowhere fast unless a goalie can steal a bunch of wins. Ottawa was in a league of its own (maybe lacking Alfy will hurt them bad?) and Buffalo is fast, fast, fast. We need to go play someone else than Buffalo and Ottawa for a while to gain some confidence back.

    Now if we mail it in against the Laffs, that’s gonna be bad.

    Drafting 15 out of 20 picks on D was great and all but we need some scoring talent.

  30. Larry says:

    Actually Kovalev looked like he wanted to win. The rest of the guys were just out for a skate and looked like they couldn’t wait for the game to end.

  31. ron181 says:

    Let’s give the Sabres credit here. The last two nights they had a plan and the Habs didn’t. They backchecked tenaciously almost with a” trap ” style a la New Jersey of some years ago. They did not give up the middle and all Hab attackers were forced to shoot from the wings and then offensively , Buffalo springs with their exlosive speed. The only way the Habs can break that kind of defense is with a rougher style and more hitting in the attacking zone a la Ottawa but they’re not big enough to do that. Let’s hope that some size will soon be injected in the Habs offense. Even with their speed and finesse, the Sabres are using Andrew Peters up front.

  32. Blitzen says:

    Montreal isn’t merely one top scorer away from being Cup contenders so I’m not thinking Gainey will be trading anytime soon. Can you imagine if he traded away a bunch of prospects for a scorer and the team STILL lost? But if the goal is to field a top team for the Centennial I have difficulty understanding what we are doing playing guys like Smokes and Kostopoulos this year, instead of seeing what some of those prospects we have can do in the Bigs. I really hope they bring up Lapierre for the Laffs game.

  33. Kevin says:

    Carboneau was outcoached by Ruff in these two games, and that’s basically it. Nothing more to it this weekend.

  34. habsguy says:

    hey corny…I could be wrong BUT, was Stastny was drafted ahead of Lats, and would you sooner have Price or Kopitar… I’m more than happy that we got Price, and your Stastny comment is a non issue. you should do some homework before you make comments like that !!!

  35. Kevin says:

    Given size of all the new contracts that have been handed out, doesn’t 4.5M$ sound like fair value (or maybe almost a bargain nowadays for anyone who’s big and can score 25goals)?

  36. habsguy says:

    Plus where did you guys read or hear that Kovy and Koivu don’t get along????

  37. habsguy says:

    AND why would you want to ship both Kovy and Koivu out?

  38. A. Berke says:

    Oh! It was the clutch eh?

    I thought we were missing 3 wheels ;-)

    Ali B.

  39. Blitzen says:

    Why guys like Ryder and Lats are not being told to stay right in front of the goalie and take a beating, or else ride the pine, is somewhat beyond me.

  40. habsguy says:

    what a bunch of band wagon jumpers….god you guys are awful, tonight the sens lost their 3rd in a row, I wonder if their fans are saying the same as you are….Ummmmm think it may be a slump??????, thats what I’m hoping it is, I’m not writing them off yet !!!!!!

  41. linp says:

    I can understand that there are a lot of frustration after this lost. A trade is not going to happen anytime soon. I still believe that we can learn from how Baffalo did. Our team has speed to do that. We need to create traffic in front of the net before we shoot. Otherwise, we are just giving the puck away. We need to control the puck behind their net first. Look for an open man and go for a bang-bang play. We need to score some garbage goals. If you don’t have enough skill, you need an effective system to help out.

    The problem is: Are our couches smart enough? Just mixing up the line is not going to work in a long run. You can energize players only for a game or two.

    I doubt that our couches watch tapes. The Baffalo team is faster than us. We have to out-hit them. We only started to hit after we were down 0-2. Just bad couching.

  42. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Too bad Huet & Price can’t score. Habs let both guys down the last 2 games. Those are professional players that make big bucks and should be giving an honest 60 minutes every game. If I don’t give an honest 480 minutes a day @ work, I’d be on the unemployment line. Too bad the same rule doesn’t apply to athletes. They play with our emotions as they please resulting in a stinking effort like tonight’s.

  43. Blitzen says:

    I keep asking my couches what they would do and they just sit there. I think you may have a point! LOL

  44. Blitzen says:

    We’re not bandwagon jumpers. We all are merely totally confident that our complete lack of experience coaching/managing a professional hockey team somehow doesn’t prevent us from telling the coach and the GM what to do while our fat butts are firmly planted on our couches.

  45. Blitzen says:

    Oh wait, according to Eklund, we’re about to trade for Marleau, AGAIN! You can count the number of times that guy has been right on the fingers of one leper’s hand (e5).

  46. Blitzen says:

    Oh we HAVE the wagon but seem to have misplaced the clutch.

  47. nightmare_49 says:

    It’s reads – kilroy (not verified) and i think it is an imposter cuz the real kilroy doesn’t put words together like that especially at that time of night and he was never that positive. Beware.

  48. nightmare_49 says:

    “Let Kostitsyn learn and play with our current captain and our future captain. Let Higgins put a bit more of a stamp on his line”. Fine,but does our future captain still get to play with his own puck. When was the last time you seen Higgins set up anybody.

  49. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    NOT TO WORRY (yet)

    Its a minor slump against some speed that our boys
    were not coached properly on how to deal with it.

    that said…I have 2 points to make based on TONIGHTS GAME:

    1. like i said last night, YOU HAVE TO HIT A FAST TEAM.
    that would have been the game plan CARB…HIT first.

    2. we have only ONE PLAYER on this team KOVALEV.

    KOVALEV has HEART.
    KOVALEV has the moves.
    KOVALEV has the shot.
    KOVALEV HAS THE CRUSHING HITS.
    KOVALEV is alone…….

    sorry but thats what I saw, the other boys better WAKE UP.

    thats all i’m going to say till tuesday…and against those LOSERS in toronto….the team better BRING ITS ‘A’ game.

    and YES I’m all for bringing up Lapeirre.

  50. linp says:

    I am worry about the atmosphere in the dressing room. In the second period, Carbo put Koivu in the 4th line and moved Chipchura to the 1st line. How do you want your team captain to lead if you demoted him to the 4th line. Carbo changed the line combination again in the 3rd period. I suspect the players are very confused now. We need a coach like Lindy Ruff. Carbo is losing a lot of respect in my book. If I am a player, I wouldn’t want to play for such a coach. Remember Rivet, Craig?

    Granted, Carbo is only 2nd year as head coach. Let’s hope that he can learn from his mistakes. Study tapes. Study your next opponent. Study the weakness in your defense and offense and correct them (your opponent is going to do it). Use your strength. Respect your players.

    By the way, Carbo has one of the most safest NHL coaching job. He doesn’t have made those panic moves.

  51. A. Berke says:

    very pathetic and disappointing, if not disgusting, loss again.

    seems like the team may have started the “downhill descent” a full month earlier this year.

    frankly I’m at a loss for words and explanations.

    Ali B.

  52. Moey says:

    Good read Dave. It’s interesting seeing it from another viewpoint, we’re always whining about the refs, but it totally depends what side of the fence you’re sitting on. I’m going to keep a close eye on Mr. Koivu from now on. Also, are you in your very subtle way suggesting that maybe we should practice a little bit of patience? Could be a plan.

  53. TradeRyder says:

    Good article. Patience is important… and Carbo’s shown it with this team too. But he’s over-doing patience with the first line. It needs a change.
    Higgins and Koivu were the only minus-2 players on the team last night. Ryder may be playing more defensive (a good thing) but the balance of the line is now gone. Koivu was invisible last night. Ryder seems to be playing better than most but playing by himself too much.

    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  54. Moey says:

    You’ve got a brass neck even mentioning the “P’ word with a handle like that.

  55. coutNY says:

    Last night Montreal was out-hustled period. Look no further than getting beat in your own zone multiple times to nulify icing opportunities. This means Buffalo was better at forcing their game upon us. Speed!

    The Habs started playing the Sabres game and were out-skated simply because they’re faster. We continued to play hurried hockey with a lackluster finishing touch. Latendresse’s lackidasicle release may not have beat Miller to capitalize on the opportunity, but it is exacly what the Habs need to continue to do. No doubt Kovy quick release would have finished it, but I have got to hand it to Laten, he seems to find open shots and continues to work for opps. Keeping the goalies moving and as on Higgins high trafficed goal set-up by Saku, these should be the examples for all not the exception.

  56. TradeRyder says:

    I agree. Lats looks like he was taking a walk in the park on that one… but more likely he’s trying to calm himself down and make his focus more sure. Probably a good thing. He’s playing better.

    Where was Koivu last night? I missed part of the 2nd but in the first and third he was invisible… like a lot of players, not just Koivu, but it’s rare for him.

    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  57. TradeRyder says:

    Hope makes a good breakfast but a bad supper. Ryder’s good, just not first line good.
    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  58. Habsfan39 says:

    Gorges should be getting the experience instead of Brisbois.

    I was at that game last night and it almost became comical how many times Brisbois gave up the puck. Id say lets Gorges get some experience, he couldn’t do any worse than Patrice..

    So.. i went to the last 2 game in Buffalo… and I only saw 3 Montreal goals, 8 for Buffalo, pretty pathetic. Apart from seeing their worst game of the year, and another game played wll below average.. well… i dont know what Im saying, nothing good came of it haha. Frustrating couple of games to watch.

    -Donovan

  59. J.T. says:

    I agree with your comment on Brisebois. I was opposed to the signing, but when he didn’t disgrace himself in his first few games, and actually contributed to the team…I thought he could be a good bargain in a limited role. Unfortunately, he’s being used as a full-time fourth D and he’s already wearing down. People have been commenting that Hammer has had a couple of sub-par (for him) games in the last few. I think it’s because he’s spending a lot of time covering up for Breezer. The two of them are like two guys in a three-legged race. Guess which one has the single leg?

  60. Girth says:

    It’s not complicated … even with all their faults, when the HABS decide to play hard for the entire 60 minutes they are difficult to beat. It’s been a problem since the lockout…

    Now, let’s play an entire game tonight!

  61. Habsfan39 says:

    I think Koivu is hurt… there is no other way to explain his absense of late. Maybe getting hit with that puck in Buffalo last friday??

  62. J.T. says:

    I don’t think he’s hurt. I think he gets worn down by his style of play, and as he ages, the wear-down happens earlier each season. It’s also not helping that his line isn’t working well together. Higgins and Ryder have been playing well individually the last few games, but they don’t seem to have any chemistry this season.

  63. TradeRyder says:

    Or that knock-down behind the net.
    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  64. J.T. says:

    Hey Dave…cool Kovy picture. That and Plekanec’s goal are the two best parts of last night.

  65. G-Man says:

    Thibault kept Buffalo in the game early and I could see Koivu discouraged after 10 minutes. The Sabres played better and better while the Habs had nothing left in the tank. 5 games in 8 nights is tough on a team that relies too much on players that ain’t producing.Anf if they ain’t producing, why can’t they play a little hard-nosed D?

    Gilbert

  66. I am Canadien says:

    We’re “Lucky”. Only Buffalo gained 2 point in our division last night.
    The sabres are starting to figure out how to play with Briere and Drury. They’d had always relied on them to set-up or score timely goals. The other Sabre players benefited greatly from their playmaking abilities. They have adjusted their game- thanks to Lindy Ruff (one of the better NHL coaches). Simply put- Carbo has been out coached.
    Also, please remember, Buffalo knows how to win. They have been there and are coming around to it again. The Habs are still “trying” to figure it out.
    I will always be true to Les Habitants but it is very frustrating at times.

    GHG
    $$$

  67. TradeRyder says:

    OBSERVATIONS:
    1. Something is wrong with Koivu. Maybe he is tired of being on a ‘rebuilding’ team. My guess is he’s traded this year (at his request).
    2. The team still needs more resilient players before it wears out its young guns.
    3. We need a REAL third line. Higgins did well last year on a 2nd line with different players. A shake-up needs to happen.

    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  68. TradeRyder says:

    CORRECTION – I meant FIRST line… a real first line. Like last year we were playing above our level. Too much pressure.
    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  69. TommyB says:

    Well I see it’s on again…(all the negativity)! Lose a couple of games and some fans start to panic, while others simply lay in waiting, hoping for the chance to voice their brilliant remedies for what ails this team.

    One poster goes to far as to compare Gainey and Carbo to Houle and Trembly! Incredible!

    While there is no doubt that losing both games of a home and home to a team in your own division is reason for concern, I’m far from ready to throw my arms up in disgust.

    What concerns me about the two losses is that we lost the one in our barn with their backup goalie, while being shutout in the process. Worrisome? Yeah, a bit.

    I do believe that there are adjustments to be made both with the line combos, and with some of the players work ethics. I also believe these areas will be addressed soon, and there are several ways to accomplish that, including swapping a player or two with the guys in Hamilton. Maybe a trade is another way to inject some sense of reality to this group of players.

    Anyway, when I look at the Conference standings….I see us only 4 or 5 points out of playoff territory. And that is where, at the beginning of the season, I figured we would be. So…I have to assume this is the way it will be in this conference the entire year. Some teams will put little strings of wins or losses together, but in the end it will be the same. Only a few points separating playoff teams from non-playoff teams. One week sitting number 3 in the standings, the next week sitting at number 5, and so on.

    This season is still very young and the sky hasn’t fallen yet. Instead of throwing my arms up in the air in disgust, I will trust that the capable minds running this team will come up with solutions.

    Also, there are some very good thoughts and points being made on this site regarding what could be done, who should play with who, and so on. I enjoy reading these ideas. There are some knowledgable fans here. Those are the posts that keep me coming back every day for my daily fix of Habs Inside/Out.

  70. TommyB says:

    what I meant is we are 4 or 5 points from being out of playoff territory.

    Still too early in the morning for me.

  71. TradeRyder says:

    I love this phrase!:

    “only 4 or 5 points out of playoff territory”

    How many times do we hear that year after year! I don’t think most posters are saying “the sky has fallen” or engaging in “panic”. I think we’re all speculating as to what the solution is. And the similarity between now and the Tremblay years is that a) we have no real star on this team b) we don’t have a top 25 goal-scorer. I think even Gainey would say that’s a bad combination. And that’s where the similarity stops.

    But the team needs change – we all know that. It’s not complaining to suggest what that change is. And I for one was saying we needed a new first line even when we were winning.

    Dave

    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  72. Scotty90 says:

    Get a top notch no. 1 centre that can score (league top ten at least) and go get Boogard to protect our talented players. Thats what I would like to see.

  73. TradeRyder says:

    DAVE – you might suggest to your developer that he a) make sure that the newest PAGE is the default (not page 1) and that comments to a post appear ABOVE it, and not below. This will make it so that its uniform in that the most recent comment always appears higher and the most recent page comes up first.

    I’m reposting this because it drops below old ones.

    ———-

    IN RESPONSE TO Tommy B:

    I love this phrase!:

    “only 4 or 5 points out of playoff territory”

    How many times do we hear that year after year! I don’t think most posters are saying “the sky has fallen” or engaging in “panic”. I think we’re all speculating as to what the solution is. And the similarity between now and the Tremblay years is that a) we have no real star on this team b) we don’t have a top 25 goal-scorer. I think even Gainey would say that’s a bad combination. And that’s where the similarity stops.

    But the team needs change – we all know that. It’s not complaining to suggest what that change is. And I for one was saying we needed a new first line even when we were winning.

    Dave
    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  74. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Where did this come from that Kovalev & Koivu don’t get along? Is there a reliable source? First time I’ve heard this and it kind of bothers me.

  75. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t Buffalo’s 4 game winning streak include 3 victories against us?

  76. Derek2 says:

    We improved a bit over last year inside our own blueline, but overall this is the same average (read mediocre)talent level as last year. Bonk for Smolinski, Sourey for Hamrlik. Chipchira is young. Kostopolus is average. Our forwards don’t win faceoffs, don’t forecheck or backcheck very hard, don’t win too many scrums along the boards. Did you see two Habs bounce off Vanek last night in the third period, with Vanek coming up with the puck? How many times did anyone count a backchecking Sabre actually catch up to a Canadien and strip him of the puck before we could get out of our own end – creating a turnover and another scoring chance. Is it our conditioning? We both played the night before.

    Nobody on this team, excepting Carey Price, should be untouchable. We need a power forward or two (as we have for the last 10 years) who will charge the net and create havoc there, like Buffalo did to us for the last two games – and put the puck in the net when given the chance. We can’t beat Ottawa, have a lot of trouble with Toronto and the improving Sabres pretty much have our number. We play them each 8 times. This is where the bulk of our points have to come from. Do the math, this doesn’t add up to anything close to playoff numbers.

  77. Derek2 says:

    We improved a bit over last year inside our own blueline, but overall this is the same average (read mediocre)talent level as last year. Bonk for Smolinski, Sourey for Hamrlik. Chipchira is young. Kostopolus is average. Our forwards don’t win faceoffs, don’t forecheck or backcheck very hard, don’t win too many scrums along the boards. Did you see two Habs bounce off Vanek last night in the thord period, with Vanek coming up with the puck? How many times did anyone count a backchecking Sabre actually catch up to a Canadien and strip him of the puck before we could get out of our own end – creating a turnover and another scoring chance. Is it our conditioning? We both played the night before.

    Nobody on this team, excepting Carey Price, should be untouchable. We need a power forward or two (as we have for the last 10 years) who will charge the net and create havoc there, like Buffalo did to us for the last two games – and put the puck in the net when given the chance. We can’t beat Ottawa, have a lot of trouble with Toronto and the improving Sabres pretty much have our number. We play them each 8 times. This is where the bulk of our points have to come from. Do the math, this doesn’t add up to anything close to playoff numbers.

  78. habsguy says:

    cournoyer12….you didn’t answer my question, who would you sooner have Price or Kopitar. And where did you get the fude info on Kovy and Koivu…..and if you know so much about the draft you would have known Stastny was taken 1 pick ahead of Lats, so we really didn’t have a chance at him !!!!

  79. Scotty90 says:

    Management did a great job of turning Kovalev around. He’s our best and most consistent player out there. Now if they can only work a little of that magic with Koivu, Ryder et al. If any player is not happy for whatever reason, he/they should bring their beef to management and efforts should be made to address the concerns. If the concerns can’t be addressed then the matter must be dealt with using available tools, i.e., ride the pine, trade, fire, etc… You have to get rid of tumors quickly, because they can grow very quickly and worsen the problem if not removed. I don’t know if that is what is going on this team, be there has to be something, and it needs diagnosing. Could it be that those doing the diagnosing are the tumor themselves? Maybe an independent body should be reviewing the whole organization.

    Hopefully its only a matter of growing pains or minor slump. We have seen a turnaround with the Sens because Alfredson is injured. So when your superstar is not healthy, it does make a difference. Not the Hab’s problem though, because we haven’t had a superstar for decades.

  80. nightmare_49 says:

    I noticed last night that Derek Boogaard (LW) didn’t dress and was replaced by Todd Fedoruk (LW) who they recently picked up on waivers. Maybe Boogaard is in Jacques Lamaire’s doghouse as i can’t find any injury reported. I wonder if he’s available.

  81. Bouleau noir says:

    Why did the Wild got tought guy Fedoruk of wayver from PHI when they already have a monster guy like Boogaard in their roster ?

    There were doubts about Fedoruk usefullness as a tought guy because he got completlely hammered in his last fight,… I could understand a small team taking a chance on him…. but the Wild ?

    Fedoruk was obtained on re-entry and the Wild only have to pay half of his salary…. they might see him as a cheaper and better (skating wise) alternative than Boogaard,… and maybe thay think they can get a good return on trading a Charalike monster like Boogaard ?

  82. gmd says:

    Wow! The team loses 2 games in a row and a lot of people are jumping off the bandwagon. The team is in 6th place in the overall standings. Is in 5th place in the East, only 6 points back of the Sens. Why all the panic? The sky is not falling. No matter what the sport, all teams sooner or later are going to lose a few in a row, it doesn’t mean that their season is over and big changes need to happen.

  83. A. Berke says:

    I’ve noticed that some posters are not happy for the criticising of the team by some others.

    Like TradeRyder said, I don’t think most of us are in a panic mode, however, looking at the current standings we can see the danger lurking behind:

    Montreal Rank 5th GP:23 Pts: 27
    Isles Rank 6 GP:20 Pts: 24
    Bruins Rank 7 GP:21 Pts: 24
    Devils Rank 8 GP:23 Pts: 24
    Florida Rank 9 GP:24 Pts: 23
    Atlanta Rank 10 Pts: 22
    Pittsburgh R: 11 Pts: 22
    Tampa B. R: 12 Pts: 22
    Buffalo R: 13 GP:21 Pts: 21

    Now is there anyone who can tell me with a straight face that we are not in a precarious position (no matter how far we are in the season)?

    Even Buffalo who beat us 3 times in the last 3 games have 2 games on hand and if they win they’ll be only 2 points behind us and be breathing garlic over our shoulders.

    Even worse yet, most of the teams below us now, have the elements (scorers, star players etc) to earn the necessary wins to make it to top 8.

    Yes people, you can be damn sure I’m concerned, especially for blowing away all these points to our competitors in the same conference because I love my team. I don’t see any reason whatsoever to be in the consolation section that we are around .500. That’s same as putting our collective heads in the sand and hope for the best.

    What the team needs is obviously a multi-pronged approach to solve among others: goal production, playing style according to the opponent, taking care of chemistry probs if there are any etc. Like some said, besides Price no one is untouchable in my opinion too. Maybe a blockbuster 2-way or 3-way trade is needed. Maybe recalling some players from the Bulldogs?

    I don’t know a quick and short solution but I hope that something is done to turn things around before it’s too late.

    I totally disagree with one poster’s comparison of Gainey/Carbo to Tremblay/Houle; this is not only incredible but preposterous. Sounds like this poster has personal animosity against BG and Carbo. Let’s not forget that BG took over a team that was totally messed up in every aspect by that previous management and he’s trying to right things up. Unfortunately in this day and age of the nhl, this is not an easy nor quick job. And overall, we are on the right track but right now we need a fine tuning.

    Nevertheless, I hope that the team makes the playoffs, if nothing else, for the overall morale.

    Cheers,

    Ali B.

  84. A. Berke says:

    I hadn’t seen your comment before I posted right above your posting. Please take time to read it.

    I’m not on any bandwagon but simply concerned. And if you say that there’s no need to be concerned about losing 4 out 6 last games to our divisional/conference rivals, than you must be in La La land. In case if you forgot, that’s exactly what happened last year and I for one, don’t want to see the same thing happening again to my Habs.

    4 games equates 8 points and right now there are eight teams behind us with only 6 points separating us from them. In addition, most of them have games on hand. Just do the math.

    If finding excuses to every problem (instead of tackling it) worked, then Ancient Rome would still be around because they had applauders and mourners to hire for every occasion. It didn’t help. It’s better to have constructive criticism, Non?

    Cheers

    Ali B.

  85. gmd says:

    I’m not saying all is well or that I’m living in la la land (although one could argue that Vancouver is just that), I was just wanting people to look at where the team sits overall in comparison with the other teams. Yes there are things that can be improved upon, but I think the Habs are still in good shape and I was somewhat suprised at many of the poster’s comments and their sense of panic.

  86. A. Berke says:

    My approach to the situation follows the thought that we have very little chance of overtaking the sens or other teams which are ahead of us (2 of them being divisional leaders). So the best we realistically can do is 4th overall.

    Instead I prefer to look to the teams behind us, and yes many of them have the wherewithals to catch and overtake us rather easily, especially, if the Habs continue playing in a very cavalier fashion giving away precious points.

    In the 4 losses in 6 games, I’m sure that if the Habs played as well as in some other games that they came away with a “W”, we would have come up with more points.

    This lackadaisical approach to the games is what concerns me.

    Ali B.

  87. TradeRyder says:

    I doubt they’d part with Mikko… but it would be great to have him! Would love to see Grabs on the first line… I don’t know if he’s ready but he has the wheels, the drive, and the raw skill. A little time might make all the difference.

    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  88. TradeRyder says:

    ____________________________________________________
    Dave, A. Berke,

    Berke makes a good point about the ‘reply’ thread actually causing a sort of ‘problem’ in that if you reply to a post it can get lost especially now because the newest postings are at the top while the ‘replies’ go below. But I had suggested you revers that and put “replies” in an upward patter – the indent makes it obvious it’s a reply. But Berke’s thought about removing replies would be easiest for your developer.. and may be a fine solution. Sometimes features are not worth the trouble.

    And the problem when you post a new message is that it still sends you to the last page not the newest page. This is because the coder made a change in one area and not in the other. Show it to him and he’ll fix it. Developers need to actually use the thing to appreciate what needs to be done.

    Great little site tho – and getting even better!

    Cheers and thanks!

    Dave (who runs a web company)

    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  89. TradeRyder says:

    ____________________________________________________
    Dave, A. Berke,

    Berke makes a good point about the ‘reply’ thread actually causing a sort of ‘problem’ in that if you reply to a post it can get lost especially now because the newest postings are at the top while the ‘replies’ go below. But I had suggested you revers that and put “replies” in an upward patter – the indent makes it obvious it’s a reply. But Berke’s thought about removing replies would be easiest for your developer.. and may be a fine solution. Sometimes features are not worth the trouble.

    And the problem when you post a new message is that it still sends you to the last page not the newest page. This is because the coder made a change in one area and not in the other. Show it to him and he’ll fix it. Developers need to actually use the thing to appreciate what needs to be done.

    Great little site tho – and getting even better!

    Cheers and thanks!

    Dave (who runs a web company)

    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  90. TradeRyder says:

    SORRY about the double post! Page refresh. Oops!
    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  91. T-roy West says:

    That is funny. I don’t think a lot of thought was put into that trade scenario before it was posted. I think the whole ” you need to give quality to get quality ” wasn’t factored in.

  92. TradeRyder says:

    It’s ALWAYS too early after a loss. Especially a couple in a row. Let’s hope they sort it out soon.. you’re right about one thing, it’s early in the season, challenges are part of learning how to win. I’d rather have a winning record in April and May then in November!

    ____________________________________________________
    A bucket with a hole in it doesn’t hold water. We need changes on the first line!

  93. nychabsfan says:

    The situation is very frustrating with this team.By now we know koivu/higgins/ryder isn’t working,when wikk carbo ackknowledge this?Wayy too much play on the periphery,get in front of the net!!The passing is horrible.It seems in the last 5 or 6 gams that teams are able to keep the puck away from us and toy w/ us,particularly when we are on the pk.The defense is allowing too much room in front of the net,get tough.On the Edmonton/Chicago game last night I heard a commentator state that while Chicago is good a team that scores 50% of its goals on a specialty team will not make the playoffs,does this sound like antbody we know…..

  94. The Cat says:

    I dont think Carbonneau or Gainey are panicking yet, this team is in an building phase and probably hopes to seriously be a contender in 2-3 years, I dont think they’ll panic and mortgage the future just so the team can squeeze in the playoffs now. The habs have been overachieving mainly cause of the powerplay, but it couldnt continue to hit at that high of a rate…So dont panic people, this team is a force in the making.


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