Game 36: Ribeiro, Stars outshine Canadiens

Dallas Stars’ Matt Niskanen (left), Mike Ribeiro (centre) and captain Brenden Morrow celebrate Ribeiro’s third-period goal against the Canadiens.
Mike Stone, Reuters

Updated at 10:45 pm with Carbonneau audio

Carbonneau Post-Game Audio (French only)

Lineups | Preview | Game Story | Game Summary | Event Summary | Boxscore | Boone’s Blog

The Canadiens remain 0-for-the-21st-century on Dec. 23 – and more than half of the 20th century, for that matter.

Hoping to break a road skid on this date that goes back to 1945, the Habs came up against a very good, unfailingly effective and highly opportunistic Dallas Stars squad tonight and deservedly lost 4-1.

It was the Canadiens’ second loss in as many nights after having won three straight. Head coach Guy Carbonneau said his team lacked emotion and expressed disappointment in the effort that was furnished. Carbonneau added that a team always wants to head into the Christmas break on a good note, but said, "We were never in the game."

Former Canadien Mike Ribeiro, the enigmatic talent who was run out of town on a rail before the start of last season, had a third-period goal on a Roman Hamrlik giveaway and two first-period assists, helping out on the tallies of Antti Miettinen and captain Brenden Morrow – the latter Carbonneau’s son-in-law.

It was the nightmare scenario feared by Canadiens fans. Not only would their team lose to Dallas, but Ribeiro, the game’s first star, would play a significant role in the result.

Ribeiro has eight goals and seven assists in his last eight games, and with 19 goals is just one short of his career-best set with the Canadiens in 2003-04. And we’re just at the Christmas break.

Stu Barnes added Dallas’ fourth goal at 3:11 of the third period, coming on the Stars’ 19th shot against Canadiens goalie Carey Price.

Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov, having pinched untouched to Stars goalie Marty Turco’s crease, slammed home a pass from Sergei Kostitsyn at 13:35 of the third for his ninth of the season to finally put Montreal on the scoresheet.

The Habs had 18 shots on Turco; the Stars managed 21 on Price.

Most of the Canadiens returned home after the game to spend Christmas with family, while about a half-dozen headed east to Florida, where the team will reassemble on Thursday for their game that night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.


Canadiens goalie Carey Price follows the play in the corner against Dallas.
Glenn James, NHLI via Getty Images


  1. idle says:

    Just watch 15 other teams in the league play and see that it is just as discouraging. If you think it’s painful to watch the Habs play then take a stab at a Kings game.

  2. CHsam says:

    Gillett’s probably buying drinks for Steven Gerard on money from Habs profits. Oooouch, too soon?

  3. mjames says:

    Just watch how they play – It is rather discouraging.


  4. mjames says:

    You have to scroll down as well discussed that this morning.


  5. mjames says:

    Gillet will nmot step in as nothing is broke from his perspective. He has more on his mind with Liverpool as I understand he needs to raise some $150mm for his share of the new Liverpool stadium and new players.


  6. AdamG says:

    with muller in charge? actually, it would get much worse.

  7. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Classic Timo. I love it, might as well have some laughs.

  8. WindsorHab-10 says:


  9. WindsorHab-10 says:

    May be time to hand the team over to Muller. Can’t get any worse.

  10. AdamG says:

    but from a business standpoint, you have to remember that gillet owns the Bell Centre, one of the world’s busiest arenas for concerts and sporting events. this is montreal–not columbus or tampa. this city is a cultural mecca. the Bell Centre is such a huge cash cow that the lack of playoff revenue is more of a disappointment to gillet reather than a disaster. it’s the same with the ACC in Toronto, MSG in NYC…

  11. AdamG says:

    okay but say gillet goes to gainey and says this is unacceptable, then what? gainey is all of a sudden going to say “hey, i better improve the team.”? gillet is a business man and he’s probably smart enough to leave the hockey operations to the hockey people.

    but what bugs me about gainey is that for the month of december, it’s been raining $hit on this team–the players, the coaches, the management. where has he been? he’s got to take a few of the bullets. i watch sportscentre–i always see other GMs making themself seen. i’d like to know what gainey thinks.

  12. Canus says:

    Sure, but where does an owner make most money. Not the regular season.
    Their pay day is in the playoffs. Plain and simple. You can keep on
    filling the Bell Centre, no problem, but, what portion of that is profit.
    Not much, specially, as we all know, in Montreal. An owner makes his
    money in the playoffs.

  13. AdamG says:

    it was different with riberio. that phony seizure he had against boston was more than enough…

  14. Canus says:

    I don’t buy either one of your arguments, although, valid to a certain degree. You don’t give Gilett enough credit. He’s actually more in tune
    with what is going on with the Habs than you know.
    Secondly, I do agree that Gainey is “TOO” patient, but, you definitely
    can improve the product with trades. They’re their. But, the other teams
    are perhaps asking for too much, and you know what, eventually, you do
    have to give in. Well, that is of course, if you want to improve our
    overall product.


    No matter how much the Habs suck, Gillett is still making money. Bottom line.

  16. Canus says:

    ummm, ok then, i’m curious, who does deserve to wear
    the CH on this current roster? Higgins, yes, Plecanek yes,
    Komisarek yes, but, who else?

  17. AdamG says:

    forget gillet. Bell Centre is full and he’s waaaay too busy with Liverpool to give a crap about how the Habs are doing. the Reds are his new toy, paritcularly given the rumours that Hicks is already looking to unload his share of the team.

    this is on Gainey. we all know he’s patient, but it’s become evident he’s either patient to a fault or simply unable to improve the club.

  18. Sulemaan says:

    Agree to disagree with you here Da Hema. My memory is still pretty good but I think when you start taking ‘senseless team-killing penalties’ and being essentially a selfish player to the detriment of the team that is pretty much my own definition of ‘cancer’.

    Claude Lemieux was traded just as much for his problems in the locker-room as he was for his on-ice transgressions. Because of my previous employment, a couple times I had the fortune of meeting and talking hockey with some members of the management team or close to it. (Sometimes for hours because there was nothing else to do on a long boring flight.) They never spoke about the current team but did talk about previous years gone by but whatever they said was implied to be off the record.

    Please understand that I’m not saying that to show-off but that I’m just relaying thoughts that I consider to be substantiated based on my personal experience/insight.

    Maybe they were pulling my leg. Maybe you are right but I’m inclined to believe them. Perhaps the term ‘cancer’ is not the best choice of words but when you have something that infects the rest of the team and causes in distress (like Lemieux) few other words come to mind.

  19. NightRyder says:

    Who could possibly care how he wears his hair if he produces on the ice?

  20. AdamG says:

    samsonov notwithstanding lol…

    what can we say? partially coaching, partially playing on a better hockey team. ribeiro gets traded and plays with brendan morrow. leclair got traded and played with lindros. we don’t have elite hockey players. we have complementary hockey players.

  21. Canus says:

    At what point, does Gainey step in, and say enough is
    enough, Carbs, you gotta go. I love you and respect you
    as a player, but, you’re just not working out. You can’t
    seem to get our players ready for a game, and can not admit
    to your shortcomings.
    Or, if that does not happen, when does Gillett step in, and
    do something about this horror show. Pathetic, just pathetic.
    Can you imagine, you’re the head of a family, you buy 4 tickets,
    4 hot dogs, drinks etc… for 400-500 bucks. And you get to
    see this product.


    If he really cared he would do something. Maybe he don’t.

    The second half maybe will be better for the Habs…..

  23. AdamG says:

    i agree but look at the two goals in the third period. our defensemen literally handed the puck over to a Star in stride. you can’t do that in the NHL. not every team is like us…


    Get use to it. Ryder will do the same when he gets traded and plays Montreal.

    Why is it that players who leave Montreal go on to be a way better player? Seriously. Why?

  25. AdamG says:

    what i don’t get is how many time do we have to be embarrassed before Bob Gainey even shows his face? 4-0 to jersey, 5-1 to carolina, the florida debacle, tonight…all in the month of december. i mean come on. someone within the organization has to have some pride…

  26. NightRyder says:

    This is the worst game I’ve seen in a long time. I’m beginning to wonder if Carbo is in over his head. We play not to lose instead of playing to win, and we often play without confidence. When the players are afraid to make a mistake, that’s when they make too many. And then the goalies figure they have to do it themselves, and they struggle technically.

    It may be time for Gainey to put himself behind the bench.


    This is a practice for Dallas tonight.

    Lats was in the Dallas crease. He was crosschecked out of there. Actually he was knocked down. That is what the Habs D-Men have to do. Get the player out of there. By any means. Our D-Men just watch them. Maybe they ask them kindly to leave the crease.

    Another goal as I type. Boy oh Boy is Riberio. Make that two more as I type. Riberio is really burning Montreal tonight.

    Price. What is wrong with him tonight?

    How can any Goalie Huet Or Price flourish on at team like this?

  28. AdamG says:

    ribeiro might have learned to play hockey, but you can tell he’s still a punk by his facial expressions and the stupid way he wears his hair. i don’t care how many goals he scores this year, i’m glad he’s gone. he never deserved to wear the CH.

  29. AdamG says:

    i find that the western teams play as 1 unit. one thing i notice about nash, detroit, dallas, even carolina: when they breakout of their zone, there’s a gameplan. everyone is in constant motion, heading to an open patch of ice. the puck carrier is scanning the ice, looking for seams. passes are tape-to-tape and the puck ends up deep in our zone with the opposition in full control. it’s just a well-executed breakout. one of the things that makes it so easy is that the habs apply no pressure to the puck carrier.

    when the habs breakout, (usually when the opposition is changing because God knows any kind of forecheck forces us to cough it up) it’s confusion. passes are too long, too soft, into traffic. there’s no plan. the Habs are a decent transition team but a piss-poor breakout team.

  30. Hoegarden says:

    No life whatsover from any of our lines. Those two early penalties just did us in. Very fragile, very fragile.
    Another game that shows we need a true leader on this team.

  31. AdamG says:

    i feel your pain. funny thing about tremblay is that he was the last coach to have us finish above 7th…we finished 6th in 1996 i belive–with jocely thibault in nets…lol. but i agree. i am getting so fed up with this defensive system. dallas has a pretty mediocre D, but they’ve had the puck all night long!! that’s their defense!!! a defensive system is one thing, but not goign on the offensive when your down by 2 goals is almost like giving up. our record when giving up the 1st goal/trailing after 1/trailing after 2 is ridiculous. we NEVER rev it up when we’re trailing. always waiving the white flag, thinking that other teams will just hand over the lead. might happen against washington or LA, but not against real teams.

  32. LTHF says:

    OH BOy, happy days are here again with the Ryder-less high power offense in action against the Stars. Poor Turco was bombarded with 4 shots in the 2nd period with 3 of those coming on the late period powerplay (5 on 3 for 11 secs).

  33. ebk says:

    hard to believe a guy that can’t get to the play on time has scored 9 goals.
    I’ll take his production, he must be doing something right.

  34. AdamG says:

    just making it too easy on dallas tonight. with no games until thursday, i’d like to see carbo shorten the bench…no lapierre, no kostopolous, no dandenault…use chipchura with latendresse and streit. and send 2 forecheckers in, pressure their D to make a play. i just don’t see the point of playing passively and sitting back while down two goals in the third period. can’t defend your way to overcoming a 2-goal deficit.

    very frustrated tonight.

  35. AdamG says:

    i agree. i’m getting tired of Guy’s passive-box defensive system. i don’t understand why other teams are allowed to “set up” in our zone during 5-on-5 play. you can’t just wait for the other team to make a mistake. you’ve got to create your own chances. sometimes i get the feeling that this system discourages effort and tenacity.

    i find it so depressing that mike ribeiro is embarrassing us tonight.

  36. idle says:

    I can tell you with all certainty that I am NOT as good looking as I am smart :(

    I also am not particularly smart :(


    Ribeiro has burned the Habs tonight.

    There was another game this year where an Ex-Hab has burned them as well.

    Come on boys lets GET ER DONE.

  38. AdamG says:

    i am beyond stunned by this game. what a ridiculous performance. we can’t hang on to the puck for 5 friggin seconds without turning it over or mishandling it. how many times does a Hab have to be stripped effortlessly by a Star in order for them to put some effort into the performance?

    did anyone else catch Markov favouring his wrist in the 1st? he’s having a horrible game. i wonder if it’s because of the wrist. gorges and o’byrne have been painful to watch tonight. i know the boys are tired after last night, but this performance has been every bit as embarrassing as the Florida game. you’d like to see more tenacity out of them…show that you want it a little bit at least…

  39. imafogdevil says:

    Thats a good idea! I do have the PVR! D’oh! I hope you are as good looking as you are smart!


    It seems that a few posters think that Ryder is Montreal’s biggest problem. It was said that when Ryder sits out Montreal wins. When Ryder plays Montreal looses. Ryder did not play last night and Montreal lost. Ryder is not playing tonight and it does not look good either.

  41. idle says:

    Hey, imafogdevil. If you have the PVR receiver you can pause the game on Bell for a few seconds to match up the video and audio. Works great for me. If you don’t have the PVR receiver maybe Santa can bring you one? If not then keep your eye out for a good boxing day sale?

  42. idle says:

    BTW, I found the opening comments on CJAD to be quite eye opening. Coming into tonights game the Habs were tied for 4’th place in the conference and only 2 teams in the NHL (Ottawa & Detroit)have fewer regulation losses then the Canadiens. It doesn’t tell the whole store of the season so far but it is still not so bad and much less worse then we make it out to seem. Things have been quite negative around here lately (and we have had some poor performances to encourage that) but maybe leading into the Christmas break we should all take a step back and see that things are not too bad after all.


  43. linp says:

    Our game is painful to watch. We don’t have the puck. The passes are so awful. I gave up.
    Carbo’s system is called fight for the lose puck. Everyone is just dump and chase.

  44. imafogdevil says:

    I always watch RDS for the games, but the comments have been so negative lately, I have gone to the Bell dual tuner so I can watch the game and listen listen to CJAD at the same time. I know Murray Wilson, bur who is the other guy.

    The only problem is the radio feed is about 2 seconds faster than the video. Just heard Hurricanes looking at Ryder to take Justin Williams place. Would be good for all involved, esp. Ryder.

  45. jimbo says:

    It is to no ones surprise that the habs were desperate to find the next francophone star that they kept this gui last year.But this guy needs to go to power skating.Supposed to be our big power forward but can’t get to the play in time.Period


    Why does Montreal play like this?

    Does management care about this teams play? Maybe they don’t because they are making money. I don’t know.

    Being a Habs fan is like an alcoholic. It is so tempting for an Alcoholic to take a drink. It is so tempting for a Habs fan to be so negative. But we have to remain positive.

    Come on boys you are The Montreal Canadiens.

  47. Da Hema says:

    “The crowd doesn’t give a crap as long as you bring the money in.”
    –Guy Lafleur

  48. imafogdevil says:

    What would be nicer: “Ryder scores three in return from press box to beat (insert team here, maybe Tampa).”

    It is Christmas…….miracles are supposed to happen……don’t they?

  49. imafogdevil says:

    Are you like me, and just so frustrated with how the team presents itself. I mean, I just want them to win, and concentrate on building a winner. But it seems the team thinks when they win they’re invincible, and when they lose they seem to blame whichever player made the biggest mistakes. I just wish Carbonneau would carry himself a little more professionally behind the bench and in front of the microphones. Give sound bites, but leave the “blame game” if you must behind closed doors.

  50. idle says:

    Or even “ex Hab a flop in his return”

  51. Da Hema says:

    It would be nice, just once, to see “Hamrlik scores three goals against former team” or “Kovalev dismantles Penguins” instead of “Former Hab X leads team to victory.” Sigh….
    “The crowd doesn’t give a crap as long as you bring the money in.”
    –Guy Lafleur

  52. Smart Dog says:

    Ribeiro shamed himself and the team by faking an injury. While someone on the Florida Panthers can do that, this is the Montreal Canadiens, and we will never accept Habs players who do that.

    I believe this is part of the problem. Hockey players are often young men – they need to grow into their abilities and their role. If they Montreal Canadiens keep holding themselves to such a perfect public standard they will keep trading away their maverick starts (cough-Chelios-cough). I wish the organization would concentrate more on winning and less on the public appearance of whatever a Montreal Canadien is supposed to look like because someone else looked like that in the 70’s.

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

  53. Habfan-Leafhater says:

    Does anyone know if there is a way to watch this game on the net, Thanks.


    Lets go boys.

    GET ER DONE…….

  55. ebk says:

    you would be better off saying you don’t like him and leave it at that. It is not a beauty contest, it is about production, and he has produced. period.

  56. jimbo says:

    I think the facts would point to the fact that Lats cannot skate,rarely hits but yet gets a free pass with the coaches and the press in Montreal.Why?This kid should be in the AHL.Yet we have a guy in Ryder who sits but is capable of scoring.Ryder scores in bunches and if he ever got his confidence back could help this team.Yet the Media darling will take his minutes.

  57. Da Hema says:

    All this talk about “this or that player is a cancer” is really quite disturbing. How do any of us outside of the players themselves know who is or is not a problem teammate.?I always take these comments with a grain of salt, especially if they come from the team itself. How may times was the great Gary Carter, when he played with the Expos, called a “cancer” when he was one of the nicest players in baseball? Or when the Expos smeared Larry Walker when they would not sign him to the contract he so much deserved? The only player who appears to be an absolute slime is Barry Bonds.

    Posters below who claim Ribeiro and Claude Lemieux were traded because they were “cancers” have no memory. Lemieux was principally traded because he could not stop taking senseless, team-killing penalties, and because his on-ice acting was hurting the team in the eyes of fans and the referees. Ribeiro would never be able to recover from that embarrassing acting in the playoffs against the Bruins. Ribeiro shamed himself and the team by faking an injury. While someone on the Florida Panthers can do that, this is the Montreal Canadiens, and we will never accept Habs players who do that.

    In short, players like Ribeiro and Lemieux were traded because of their on-ice play. If they grow up elsewhere, I have no problem with that at all.
    “The crowd doesn’t give a crap as long as you bring the money in.”
    –Guy Lafleur

  58. Ed says:

    I can’t understand why so many people are glad that Ribeiro was traded away. It did not make since from a talent point of view, because he is very gifted offensively, & sees the ice very well. In 2003-04, when he was only 23 at the beginning of the season, he led the HABS with 45 assists & 65 points, & was +15.

    This young man was born in Montreal, & is now still only 27 years old. He already has 18 goals & 18 assists, & his 36 points have him tied for 21st in the league. The best Canadien is Kovalev whose 31 points have him tied for 42nd.

    Ribeiro would be a great asset if he were still with the HABS, but that is not to be. I congratulate him on his success, as it comes only with hard work. I hope he keep it going.

  59. Forlando says:

    Please refrain from mentioning Latendresse and that guy that will sit in the pressbox in the same sentence…it’s an insult…Lats has 3 times as many goals as Ryder…that is why he is playing and by the way Lats, Ryder and A. Kost have played the same number of games…so get your facts straight.

  60. AdamG says:

    my favourite part of your post is where you neglect to mention that while $3 million-man ryder has THREE goals, 20-year-old Gui has 9, good for 4th on the team. THAT’S why he doesn’t sit. because he scores goals. no matter what gui does, it will never be enough for some of you.

  61. Sulemaan says:

    SD – The feeling is more than mutual regarding your posts as well. Must be because you are from my hometown of Halifax!

    Not all cancers go on to lead other teams (Ribiero, Lemieux) because you also get guys like Shayne Corson (Damphousse trade from Edmonton) and Jose Theodore (to Colorado but that was more a salary dump than Aebischer) who didn’t accomplish much elsewhere after being traded from Montreal.

    I do think you’ve got a point in this post and others that we are certainly seeming to stiffle offensive creativity compared to that of the glory years of the 70s. Not sure what the solution is but we haven’t had a 100 point+ scorer since Mats Naslund in ’86.

    I agree that we have to focus on a tradition of winning but I wonder if some of these difficult players are worth keeping. They are usually very talented but disrupt team harmony and cause rifts in the locker room.

    I guess I’ve just seen so many times in sports/business where one guy ruins it for everyone over the long run. At the same time, they really gifted and creative players are individuals and are not the type to conform. Tough balance to maintain no question.

  62. nightmare_49 says:

    Also , I don’t think Ribs and Carbo were on the same wave-length so a trade had to be made. You have to remember that Carbo was the assistant under Gainey the year before and i don’t think he was impressed with Ribs know it all attitude , two cocky people often clash.

  63. Smart Dog says:

    Good points about the shoot-outs. And you might be a little bit right about just a bit of favoritism to Lats… but not much if at all. Lats is big – and we need big. And he scored 16 goals last year. And with him patience has obviously paid off. Most games he’s using his size. I think AKost. is great and belongs as a regular on the team, but it took him a dozen games to become consistent.
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  64. Scott in Montreal says:

    Don’t forget: Ryder is not one of Gainey’s guys. Any GM will show a little more faith, patience and support to their own pick-ups/draftees/acquisitions than the players they inherited from the last GM (unless, perhaps, they are genuine stars and fan favourites). That’s just human nature, and the way it’s done in any business, if you really think about it.

  65. Smart Dog says:

    Sulemaan, I always enjoy your posts.

    And I wonder why all these “cancers” in the Habs dressing room go on to lead other teams? Cancer, as everyone knows, grows in its own path, and is hard to control… Maybe the Habs management expects players to become instant good little Habs and tries to control them too much. I wonder if maybe – just maybe – they are guilty of what we all say Toronto is guilty of – being more concerned about appearances than hockey. Maybe we need to look only to the tradition of winning – and doing anything it takes to win… and care less about how they did it in the past, and more about these young men today, and how they want to do it.

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

  66. Smart Dog says:

    Ryder wasn’t stapled to the bench. More likely he was spoon-fed shots by the assist leader on our team. He may have been unlucky, but he just couldn’t score – and for at least 25 games was given every chance to.

    As for the “pressure” of Montreal… see my post below but I don’t believe in it. And those 24 Stanley Cups came from somewhere… not from Chicago or Detroit. From Montreal. The pressure is both good and bad. It’s not that – it’s something else.

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

  67. Shiloh says:

    But we seem to have all the patience in the world for one Quebecois -Latendresse, who has about one-quarter of Ryder’s talent and one-sixth of Ribeiro’s. How can anyone justify the fact that Andrei Kostitsyn has sat more games than Lats? Ryder must dress and somebody else has to sit. When Begin and Smolinski return, a trade has to be engineered to make room for our players to dress and develop.

    I see that Carbo says that he doesn’t have a lot of time to work on shoot-outs. He should make the time. Lastly – why isn’t Kovalev among our first shooters? I know he’d be a great choice for a later round in the shootout, but maybe if we used him early we could actually win a few of these. Koivu has deked every single shoot-out – I’m guessing goalies around the league have figured that out by now.

  68. Sulemaan says:

    I don’t question that the value we got in return for the Ribiero trade (Ninimmaa) was low but anyone can be a Monday Morning QB with the benefit of hindsight. The fact is that players like Ribiero, Theodore and Dagenais were a clique in the dressing room and didn’t do anything for unity or morale.

    Just like the Claude Lemieux for Sylvain Turgeon trade was bad (he won the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup in New Jersey afterwards) but the deal had to be made because Lemieux was proving to be a cancer in the Habs dressing room.

    So maybe they just needed to get rid of Ribiero. It could also very well be that trade he needed was the wakeup call required. With the centres we have here (Koivu, Plekanec, Chipchura) I just didn’t see him getting the ice time he now gets with Dallas.

  69. idle says:

    NightRyder, you bring up a great point about patience. Patience is out the window when it comes to this team. The Habs do a great job of developing players to play great for other teams. Hopefully someday we can keep a few for ourselves. Can you imagine if next year it is Plekanec’s turn to have a bad year and less then half way through the season we are all trashing him and trying to ship him out of town?

  70. Ian Cobb says:

    OH I just made a mistake, never made one of them before!!

    I just posted on Mike’s (about last night) instead of DAVE,S story here. Anyway it’s over there if your interested, sorry.

  71. NightRyder says:

    It’s easy to figure out why players can’t develop in Montreal – the ridiculous scrutiny they face. Every single weakness or bad game is debated ad infinitum by a thousand media dolts (and thousands more of us dolts), who are all competing to get something new out there.

    Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are allowed to blossom (and make mistakes) in Chicago. If they were in Montreal, they’d be picked apart at every chance and at some point blasted because they weren’t French enough. Look at Carey Price. He’s obviously going to be a star, but at 20 years old he’s already being lit up here when he has a mediocre game.

    And it’s human nature for a coach, when he constantly hears about a player’s shortcomings (ie. Ribeiro etc.) to focus on them too much, consciously or unconsciously. Over the past decade or so, a lot of our young kids got a bit of the shaft, getting four minutes of ice time when they were called up – then plastered to the bench if they made a mistake. Why? Because it’s the coach who gets roasted if they struggle.

    Because the pressure to perform in Montreal is so intense, it affects the way our lineup is presented. It’s why we pick up dregs like Smolinski etc. instead of giving our youngsters a shot and living with the results.

    While I’ve said all along that Ryder should be traded, you don’t staple a 30-goal scorer to the bench. That’s just stupid. He’ll go to Vancouver etc. and get his 30-35 goals, but because we’ve devalued him so much, we’ll get squat for him. And he’ll excel somewhere where people aren’t going through his garbage to get the jump on the competing news organizations.

    One thing Montreal is not good at – patience. I understand that to a certain point. Growing up with the 70s Habs, anything less than a Cup was a dismal failure to me. I think many of us fans understand that notion of patience now, but many don’t. Just come here after a loss, and the sky is falling. And the ravenous media will always be chirping away looking for controversy.

    And, as strong as guys like Gainey are, I think it’s a factor. And for the players, it has to affect you when you’re bombarded by notions of how much you suck. Ribeiro’s happy in Dallas, not squeezing his stick and not worried his family lineage will be questioned if he fails to backcheck hard every shift.

    However, none of this is going to change. Anyone got any answers?

  72. Michael N. says:

    Found this statistic

    “A road game scheduled on Dec. 23 hasn’t been kind to the Canadiens over the years. The Habs will look to put the brakes on the lengthy drought, dating back to the end of the Second World War. Ever since a 4-1 win over the Bruins in Boston on Dec. 23, 1945, Montreal has been held out of the win column on the infamous date, going 0-9-8 over the last 60-plus years.”

    Not that I believe in curses or bad luck kind of stuff, but that’s an awful long time to be winless on this date

  73. Y says:

    I know it’s been said before, but why do they all do so much better outside of Montreal (Samsonov excepted)?

  74. hockeydevil says:

    Part of it is less pressure, part of it is less second-guessing. On any other team, I am sure Ryder would be given time to find his scoring touch. In Montreal, we have no patience.
    Talk hockey at

  75. mjames says:

    I truly believe that some of these players are allowed to play to their strengths. I get the impression that once we draft our players we want to mold them into defensive specialists first. Their primary responsibility is to check with the offense secondary. Our teams do not have an offensive orientation or philosophy. This may explain our rather unimpressive individual stats.

    I would love to see a team that plays aggressively in the offensive end but backchecks like demons. You can not play all offense just as you cannot play all defense. If you look at our third and fourth lines they seem to play a good two way game ,except they have no finish in the offensive end. They forecheck aggressively and back check like crazy. If we could get our top two lines to play like that then we would be in good shape. Our top two lines have the skill to finish and would score on the turnovers they would create. This might improve out stats.


  76. JF says:

    Isn’t December 23 the date on which the Habs haven’t won a game in about 50 years? If that is the case, I’d be happy with a point tonight.

  77. Smart Dog says:

    If people think Ryder’s getting a raw deal, think of how badly Ribeiro was treated. The guy was run out of town for being a few points off the pace and wearing his hat sideways. I’ll say it now because I said it at the time: we gave away one of the most talented players the team has had in a decade. I’ve heard the argument that he wouldn’t have developed into the same player here. I hate to think that’s true. But if it is, then I have a question: What is the Canadien brass doing to make sure that our young players not just survive but thrive in the spotlight? And is it really the spotlight or is it our management? Can the pressure of playing for the Montreal Canadiens really be a perennial disadvantage? No. If it did, how did we win so many Stanley Cups? We have no such disadvantage – it’s an excuse, and a tired one. Bob & co. need to look at their programs for young players and see if they are doing enough. And they need to look at their own leadership style and see if it is stifling growth and fostering division instead of unity – replacing creativity (what Ribeiro has, and what the Kostitsyn’s have) with drone-like uniformity. If hockey is to be played with passion, the individuals need to feel passion in their play. It seems sometimes our coaches are too caught up in their own “tradition” (a word that is used a lot around Montreal) and don’t recognize the need for change. I’ll tell you what change would be at this point. Change would be supporting the players – even if they don’t conform to that “Canadiens” model, instead of being in conflict with them – rewarding them for their unique contribution. Change would be a team morale that isn’t constantly in question. Change would be making the play-offs without looking over our shoulder every day. Change would be a top-25 goal scorer thriving on this team… will we see change? It’s up to the powers that be. Too bad we can’t know their thoughts – but we see the results on the ice every game.

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

  78. 24 Cups says:

    Dogman – I read your comments just after I had posted mine. I would also add that we drafted Beauchemin right after Ribeiro in the 1998 draft and basically let him go for nothing just before he was about to shine. There’s something definitely amiss with the Habs in terms of drafting and developing French Canadien players. Even in a 30 team league you think we would still hold the advantage in this area. I hope the powers that be see the value that a young guy like Lapierre has and allow him to develop to his true potential.

    The Original 24 Cups

  79. mjames says:

    Excellent – One of the best posts I have ever read on this site.


  80. idle says:

    Well said. And so refreshing to see a post that touches on some problems with the team but does it in a positive way rather then just hurling insults and negative comments. You are able to show your dissatisfaction with the team yet still remain a fan :)

  81. 24 Cups says:

    A Habs fan’s worst nighmare – to wake up this morning and see Ribeiro’s mug shot front and centre on today’s opening game thread. We can all be assured that he will get plenty of ice time and will play with a level of intensity that was never displayed in Montreal. If he had of stayed in Montreal he would probably be our second or third line centre and be fighting Pleks for ice time and power play minutes. His scoring stats wouldn’t be quite as good. In Dallas, he is quickly becoming the main man as Modano approaches 40. As I have stated many times before, I wasn’t unhappy that we traded him it’s just that we got nothing in return. Gainey was snookered in that sense by Doug Armstrong.

    Dallas hasn’t played since Friday and they have a prefect balance between offence and defense with a rating of plus 14. What I find fascinating about this team is that they got off to a slow start and then fired their general manager Doug Armstrong, who had just been given a four year extension. They didn’t fire coach Tippett and have been on a hot streak ever since. This usually happens right after a coach is replaced as there is a ‘honeymoon’ period whereby the team bounces back for awhile. But it rarely happens just because a GM is canned. There were few player changes made so maybe the turnaround was inevitable – it’s just weird that Doug Armstrong would have to lose his job. I guess the ultimate test will be to see how the Stars do in the playoffs. The last four years have not been stellar. Will they finally be able to score enough goals to support their goaltender? Will Ribeiro show up when it counts and lead the way? And lastly, which team (Dallas included) will shell out the big coing in July to sign Mike. Buyer beware!

    The Original 24 Cups

  82. Smart Dog says:

    I do believe there is something a little bit unbalanced about the Canadiens club culture. It looks back when it wants to, but selectively. Our current Habs brass was famous for their defensive play – but the Habs were also known for having the league’s most aggressive and creative forward lines. Sure, every team could use a Bob Gainey or Guy Carbonneau. But I almost question whether they would be allowed to develop under the existing system and managerial biases.

    Incidentally Bob, Guy – Mike Ribeiro also leads his (very defensive) team in Plus-Minus. Strong, creative, responsible, scoring forward. Just like you guys… but he had to leave the (supposed) “pressure” of Montreal to develop.

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

  83. gumper says:

    Mike sure would look good in a red jersey right now, wouldn’t he? Smart Dog, you’re right, he was run out of town, for the sin of being too cocky. We don’t put up with that sort of winning attitude in Montreal. Carbo’s mantra…”Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

  84. Smart Dog says:

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

  85. TommyB says:

    I for one am looking forward to this game tonight. Great to get out of the Eastern Conference and see someone else for a change. Although, it didn’t turn out that great to see the Red Wings a while back.

    Too bad the game talk will be overshadowed by the Ribiero talk all day and all evening long. Posters crying over the departure of Ribiero, or the running-out of town of Ribiero….and what poor management of such a great player, by the Habs [yawning].

    I was not a Ribiero supporter, and I was not sorry to see him traded. I’ve left butter out on the kitchen counter that never got as soft as Ribiero. Good for him that he is doing well in Dallas.

    What I really want to see…would be a nice little extra Christmas stocking stuffer for me…I’d love to see Ribiero pasted to the glass everytime he enters a corner or skates near the boards. Guess how many times that will be!

  86. gumper says:

    Say what you like about Ribeiro, (and let’s face it, we all took a turn at bashing him), to get nothing in return for him is unpardonable. And, we do it with great regularity. The next one will be Ryder, whom we have spent a great deal of time and effort devaluing and discrediting. That’s usually the prelude to a trade in Montreal, at least since St. Patrick’s Day, the day of the worst trade in NHL history.

  87. Yeats says:

    I’m in your camp looking forward to tonight’s game. It reminds me of those occassions when a house league team would travel to another town to play one of their house league teams. I’m not worried about Ribiero, but I am very happy our forwards won’t have to come down on Craig Ludwig tonight.

  88. gohabzzzz says:

    yeah, well now ribeiro shows up but I’m sure if he stayed here, he’d still stink like a pair of old gym socks.I guess the way dallas ‘s system thingy or whatever its called suits his ‘ style’ of play
    any who, hopefully we can beat them and finally win a game on the 23rd

  89. 24 Cups says:

    Hey mjames – Take it easy with the praise for Dogman!!! We’ve just got him house-trained on this site and we don’t want him thinking that he’s heading off to the Westminster show in New York in February:-)

    The Original 24 Cups

  90. mjames says:

    I will be much more reserved in the future.


  91. TommyB says:

    I think Ryder has done enough de-valuing by himself, and doesn’t need the help of the coaching staff or the organization.

    The Habs probably could have traded Ryder earlier in the season and been able to extract something in return, but they chose to stick by him and try to work with him to find his way out of his “slump” or whatever you want to call it. They kept him on the first line far too long, and played him on the PP. They tried him with other lines, other styles, anything and everything.

    At what point did Ryder first see the pressbox? About 25 to 30 games in, right?

    And now, due to the fact that they stuck with him ‘too long’, yeah, they will recieve little value in return. I could argue that the organization’s loyalties to it’s players are it’s main downfall, as evidenced by the Ryder situation. Their own supportitiveness bites them in the rear at the end. Which way do you people want it? I would bet that Gainey’s phone is not ringing off the wall with offers for Michael Ryder…other GMs see the same thing. Ryder is a big risk right now. Sure, somebody will try to steal him for nothing because there is no risk in that. They can dump him at the end of the year when his contract is up if he doesn’t perform up to expectations. Where is Michael Ryder then? It’s total crap the way some posters yap about how unfair Ryder is being treated by the Habs….total crap!

    The only answer to Ryder’s problems, rest with Ryder himself. Time for him to get a grip. The team has a season to contend with.

  92. Smart Dog says:

    I agree fully with you Tommy. I do think the present leadership of the team has a few things to learn about team and player morale, but after 25 games where they tried many different tactics to help him out (not to mention watching Koivu and Higgins blow scoring chances to feed him the puck), Ryder’s funk is Ryder’s to solve. If he wants to be a millionaire NHL player – he needs to solve Ryder. Maybe he’s lost faith, or confidence, or he’s trying too hard, or just distracted. Who knows. But read what the business management experts say – your biggest challenge is managing yourself. That’s what he needs to do. Ask himself what needs to change to be a 30-goal scorer again. And change it. And I hope he does. He’s a good guy; we’d all like to see him succeed. Any hey – in a Habs jersey would have been great.

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

  93. Smart Dog says:


    1. A forward who can hold the puck in the offensive zone for more than 2 seconds.
    2. A pass to someone in a position to score, instead of a puck slapped toward the net from just inside the blue line with no other forwards in site.
    3. A defensive system that clogs the neutral zone like Dallas has.
    4. An RDS interviewer that doesn’t start with “Would you say it’s been a terrible game” when the team is down by 2. (I know it was a terrible game, but it’s now how you start an interview and at that point we were still in it.)
    5. A veteran leader with grit (like Modano or Morrow), or a creative goal scoring foward (like guess who).

    I think this team might be good next year… or the year after. Watching them tonight, it is hard to believe this team can – or should – make the playoffs. Sad, but there is not much reason to hope when we get slapped around like this. Like they say: “Hope makes a good breakfast, but a bad supper.”

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

  94. AdamG says:

    good call. totally getting slapped around tonight. how many times have they shown shots of Star okayers laughing it up on the bench and the ice? this game has been a joke for them.

  95. WindsorHab-10 says:

    I wonder if tonight’s game wakes Gainey up. I expected a loss but thought we would be more competitive despite playing last night. This is embarrassing. The curse of December 23 continues.


    I love Price to death. Price should have been playing in Hamilton. Not because he can’t handle the NHL but because this team will ruin him. They should have let Huet be the whipping boy instead of Ryder and bring Price up when they have a Great team in front of him. Wait !!! if they had to wait for that great team Price would never play a NHL game.


    An adam bomb would not wake up Gainey.

  98. Richard B says:

    Richard B

  99. Canus says:

    wow, who scored the habs goal? I turned it off
    at 4-00000000

  100. AdamG says:

    Andrei “Is it OK to smile?” Markov

  101. AdamG says:

    alright gang–i can’t sit here thinking about this game much more or i’ll puck all over my laptop, and i don’t think my warrantee covers regurgitation.

    hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

    maybe Santa has a 6’4, 220 lb physical centre with soft hands and great vision in his bag…


    My laptop does. I have complete care. It covers anyting under the sun.

  103. Smart Dog says:

    I shoulda put money on you Timo! I knew that would bug your a**!!

    I know we stank. It’s just a really unprofessional way to start an interview. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. I hate to say it but I wondered if he would’ve done that if it was Carbo instead of Muller. I doubt it.

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

  104. Smart Dog says:

    Ok – you gotta point.

    Merry Christmas Timo. Hope you don’t get a lump of coal in your sock!

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

  105. Smart Dog says:

    Why do we always here about Dallas’ system… like it’s some secret formula no other team knows about. Montreal’s system is ruining its players confidence.

    If you disagree with me, I suggest this: Either our system stinks or our players stink or our coaches stink. Which is it??

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

  106. Leclerc1965 says:

    Uh, i’ll take door number 1 and 3. They both go hand in hand. Even the Dallas commentators were continually puzzled why all 5 Montreal defenders collapsed so low around the goalie during 5 on 5 play. Duhhh!!! Am I an idiot with an opinion or is Carbonneau just a fool? God dam his system is continually picked apart and everyone knows it but him. I’ll still take 1 and 3 for $500 doggie

  107. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Merry Xmas everyone. See you back on Thursday.

  108. Habs-Fan-In-KY says:

    This will be my one and only post tonight. I have to drink this loss away it hurts so bad.

    Looks like the Dallas Stars got a new toy to play with for Xmas……US!!!! It was obvious Dallas came to play for 60 minutes. I’m not sure if we were ready to play for 60 seconds. Now, before you think I am going to bash Carbo for this, think again. Some schooling I hope the players, coaches, and head office people learned from tonights beating:

    1. Play with some enthusiasm! Everyone seemed like they were already on holiday break. You would think they players would show up against Carbs and Gainey’s former address.

    2. Anyone who says this team was tired from last night and that we should cut ’em break needs to think this over…. if we had a week off and the Stars were playing their third game in three nights, the score would have been the same. The Stars continuously had their way with us in the offensive zone. None of our players seemed to pick up the man from the point coming in for a one timer. I hope that the coaches and players look and emulate the spacing on offense the Stars had. That’s how you play the game! Quit the dumping and chasing!!!

    3. I hope that Ryder gets a final set of games to turn himself around before he becomes another team’s treasure. Too often over the past decade we have given away players to other teams. I certainly think Ryder can be a great hockey player and would rather see it be with us! If we do trade him, get him to the west coast so we don’t see him scorch us on a monthly basis. Ribeiro has REALLY developed in Dallas!

    4. All things considered, we are very fortunate to be in the playoff picture when measured up to a team like Dallas. That being said, unless a major change in style of play is introduced, other teams will easily counter what we’ve been bringing to the rink and start us skidding out of the playoff picture. I would hope that over Christmas break, Carbo & Co. develop a PRO-active response on the ice as opposed to RE-active too little too late answer for the teams recent problems.

    5. Our players got schooled tonight. I hope the players and coaches were paying attention so another team doesn’t reteach the same lesson to us again!


    “Carbonneau is the father-in-law of Morrow, the Stars’ captain. Carbonneau was set to remain in Dallas after the game to spend a few days during the holidays with daughter Anne-Marie, Morrow and their daughter before the Canadiens resume their six-game trip Thursday night at Tampa Bay.

    Former Stars general manager Bob Gainey, who assembled the 1999 Stanley Cup winners, also was in attendance. Gainey is executive vice president and general manager of the Canadiens, the team he helped lead to five Stanley Cups as a player.

    Ribeiro, a Montreal native, was traded by the Canadiens to the Stars prior to the 2006-07 season and has developed into Dallas’ top scorer with 39 points this season.”

    I guess management will all go out and have dinner at a 5 star restaurant.


    Relax Bye.

  111. Smart Dog says:

    Then would we have to say we’re “Sups” of the Canadiens and not “Fans”?

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

  112. mjames says:

    So your point was what again – oh yes – to call us morons – thank you. To quote another poster “why use four walls when one will do”. If you do not understand the quote let me know and I will enlighten you. It is so appropriate for you.


  113. Leclerc1965 says:

    Sorry for being realists. Perspective is recognizing when something isn’t working and trying to change it. Not line juggling, not making forwards out of defensemen, but changing the system. Can’t you understand the frustration of watching a coach trying to implement a system that hasn’t worked in nearly 15-20 years? Why not complain? Do you think that Carbonneau doesn’t change his system it will get any better? Take away our goaltending and we are not 17-14, we’re 10-21. Wouldn you complain then? Or would you be content with skipping through the meadow with flowers in your hair like you are now? This team should be playing better and they are not. I think we all understand that the Habs dynasties are done. But Christ man, failure for lack of foresight and the ability to fire and adjust is maddening. Can Carbo….he is just wasting everyone’s time and not doing much for his future’s (players) faith in this organization.

  114. Leclerc1965 says:

    Oh by the way, god forbid any of us expected to win tonight either. I can only hope the team doesn’t feel that way. Why the hell would we the fans look in the mirror and criticize ourselves? Were not the ones paid to play the game or better yet coach it. Remember this Mr. Freak, we pay these players salaries as well as Mr. Carbonneau’s. We have a right to complain when we feel the need to, real fans do. I don’t like settling for mediocrity, neither should you….the man in the mirror told me this.

  115. RS says:

    If you’re going to start making sense, you’re in the wrong place! Panic and finger-pointing only around here.

  116. Yeats says:

    I’m already working on it. It’s titled “The Road to Leafdom.” Chapter 1: The 1980 Draft.

  117. habsguy says:

    HabsFreak ….well said !!!!!!


    Who Me?

  119. Ed says:

    Dandenault has now gone 6 games without a shot on net. This probably reflects the fact that he is actually a defenceman, & not a forward.

  120. mjames says:

    Not much to say as it all has been said in earlier posts.

    I have a few observations:

    I wanted us to take it to Dallas not the other way around. It is discouraging to see every team take it to us while we sit back and let the opponent skate into our zone unmolested. I can live with mistakes and give aways but this passive style does irritate me to no end. We will never win like that.

    Another thing I noticed tonight is that our team had no will to win. We were going through the motions. I am not pointing fingers at anyone just making an observation. We were pushed off the puck in every instance. Dallas was laughing us . If I was a Hab player I would not want to be laughed at.

    I really don’t care whether Riberio stuck it to us or not. I just hope that if we do make a trade we get something in return. I do not like giving players away. I hope Gainey, if and when he trades someone, gets something in return. I do not want to give up on our younger players no matter how many mistakes and give aways they make.



    Lets put this all behind us.

    After Christmas, 2008 is when the Habs will break out and be a way better team. Ryder will come around. It will be a good second half.

  122. Girth says:

    We demand perfection from our soup… why should we settle for anything less from our HABS.

    No soup for you! … 15 years!

  123. Girth says:

    You may be right… I may be crazy.

  124. MNaslund26 says:

    i always liked ribeiro. good for him.
    who did we ever get for him?

  125. Girth says:

    Yeah right!
    Next you’ll say the days will start getting longer, with more sunlight, and eventually it will get warmer, the snow will melt, trees and flowers will grow and blossom… and everything will be alright.

    … well… crazier things have happened.

  126. Girth says:

    LOL … good one!

  127. habitual says:

    Ninnima, or however you spell that.

  128. HabsInBlood says:

    That game was f’in pathetic.

    What’s even more pathetic is that is was pretty much how I expected the game to go.

  129. Sulemaan says:

    So the good news is that we appear to be in 5th place in the Eastern Conference prior to Christmas. The bad news is that we are only 10 points ahead of Washington (last place team).

    There has been lots of debate about Ryder but the fact is that we are sitting a 30 goal scorer in the press box and not scoring any goals. If the other lines were producing I’d say sit him. They are not so somebody else should go sit. Maybe one of the eight defencemen we dressed should have a turn…

    I agree that a trade might be necessary but we’re in a different era. The salary cap totally changes things and is much (if not more so) a consideration as the evaluation of player versus player.

    If we did want to make a trade, I say if their names start with Chris, Thomas, Andrei, Sergei, Guillaume, Kyle, Ryan, Mike K, Mike F, PK then forget it. We build with youth.

  130. The Cat says:

    I dont mind Carbonneau and Gainey but I sometimes wonder if their defensive philosophy actually matches with that of the players they drafted or traded for? Montreal has to dictate with speed to be effective but instead we are reactionary; we collapse in our defensive zone, let the opposition work their perimeter game in our zone without pressuring them, give up the low percentage shots on net and hope to counter attack? This is why we’ll always get killed by the big forechecking teams like the Hurricanes or most of the big teams in the west. But I got to trust the brass that they know how to build a winner and maybe this is just a bad phase with the team learning and improving on the defensive system. Last year Ottawa went through such a phase. I remember Alfredsson saying the team was ‘sacrificing’ some games to work on defense and it really paid dividends as the season preogressed, the senators started winning 1 goal games (the best measuring stick of a good team) whereas they had struggled before.

  131. G-Man says:

    It was December 23rd,
    and all through the rink,
    the Habs were playing s**t hockey,
    and man did they stink.

    The Stars crossed the opposition blue line with flair,
    While the Habs D let them by with nary a care.
    What was worse, and downright scary
    Was the play of the goalie named Carey.

    Mickey Ribs crossed the line,
    slow as a tortoise,
    But not one D man touched him,
    Not even O’Byrne the rhinocerus,

    When all was done and said,
    The Stars had 4 times seen red,
    While I, too pissed off at those 3 colours I bled,
    Shouted out, “Hellfire!” and went to my bed.

    Merry Christmas Habs fans, and to all a Happy New Year!


  132. LTHF says:

    My comments 2 days ago was what exactly happened last night, saw the stars play the flames and the Habs currently just not on the same level as those teams. Ive been a hab’s fan for a long time and I did something last night that I could never dream of doing in the past, switched to the football game after 5 mins into the 3rd period. It was just downright pitiful. I think maybe the NHL should consider a time limit on how long a team can have position before taking a shot—24 secs— you know something like basketball, that way the habs would get to have the puck occasionally. Any of you Ryder critic out there who think they could have been worse off with Ryder in the lineup must have gotten into the xmas cheer too early. For 2 periods I have never seen NHL team so disorganized— appeared totally confused– I assume the 3rd period was no better. Playing 5 on 5 in their own zone as if they were shorthanded. Oh well, on the positive side, guess things cant get worst.

  133. downeast hab says:

    Unless Habs management address the problem of the coaching system, then we are in for a lot of nights where they stink. Its a shame, because with so much talent on this team, unless theres a change in the style of play, go figure. Example, Sutter in New Jersey, at the beginning of the year he had brought his system to the team. It took a few games, but man , they play with confidence. Its like a fishing captain of a vessel. if he doesnt have experience, and cannot use his skills, then no one on deck can carry out their skills. xmas

  134. linp says:

    I’ll talk about three plays to demonstrate what I think.

    1. The second goal: Dallas forced the play in our zone. Ribeiro skated to an open wing, lifted his stick and wanted the puck. I didn’t see a single Habs player last night who wanted to receive a pass. Maybe no one expected his team mate to pass. Everyone was playing in a panic mode.

    2. We lost the puck in the Dallas zone. 4 Habs players collapsed so far back in front of our own net and has one player forechecking. Dallas moved easily into our zone. When Komisarek got the puck in front of the net, there were only two Habs players next to him. Instead of looking around and making a play, he was in such a panic mode and tried to dump the puck out right at once. The puck was easily intercepted by a Dallas player. Is it the instruction of the coach to do it this way or our player has never practiced to play together.

    3. Higgins was playing with Koivu and Kovy on the same line. He got the puck in our zone. He skated along the board, dumped the puck in Dallas’s zone, fighted against 2 Dallas’s D-men and lost the puck. You have Koivu & Kovy in the same line. They can carry the puck and make passes. Why just played by yourself, dump and chase.

    A lot have been said about the status of our team in this forum. I am not saying anything new. It is just so frustrating that our team game is not improving and our players are acting like chickens without a head. Where is the leadership?

  135. Smart Dog says:

    That’s a great photo with this article of a team that is having fun, playing hard, and winning. Someday our habs might be like that. It’s not talent that is keeping us from it. ‘nuf said.

    Carbo – I hope you wake up with a 2008 edition of a defensive system under your trea.
    Gainey – I hope Santa brings you a big trade – a 40-goal scorer! But let’s be reasonable… you haven’t been THAT good so…) how about a 25-goal scoring veteran forward with grit and calm.
    Muller – I hope Santa brings you something to make up for that stupid RDS interview last night. And take the shocked look off your face. My guess is I won’t see you on RDS again.
    Price – I hope Santa brings you continued confidence – and patience. You’re in a tough spot. We all know it. Be patient with yourself and the situation around you…and come back and play your best. That’s all we want.
    Habs – I hope you all have a merry Christmas and a much deserved break… I hope Santa brings you memories of your best days in hockey. And that you go for a long walk and think about the teams you’ve played on when you were most happy, and felt most like you fit. And then try to figure out how this is different, and become vocal about changing it. We’re all behind you… we only want the team to play at the level it can.

    Merry Christmas all. Spread peace and kindness. The world needs more of it.

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

  136. Smart Dog says:

    All good points. The Habs looked like they were a man down most of the night. Ribeiro calling for the puck! I’ll see that in my nightmares. When’s the last game a Hab had TIME to call for the puck. The Stars just sat around in our zone while the Habs formed the oddest little box around Price.

    I’ll say it again. With so many games like that one – at least one of these is true:
    A. Our system stinks.
    B. Our players stink.
    C. Our morale stinks.
    D. Our coaches stink.

    Which one(s) is it?
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  137. Drive_4_25 says:

    Yes, the entire team was SH_T last night, And Don’t get me wrong I’m a big beleiver in Price….
    But when in the hell is this kid going to STEAL us a game???

    The last thing I am doing is blaming the loss on him, But I think at this point, you would expect that he at LEAST would have STOLEN us a game or two!

    I’m starting to really panic about the entire staff from the goalie coach all the way up to the president, (scouts included!)

    Sometimes I HATE being a Habs fan!!! And that’s really sad to say!

    “God is a HABS fan whose still pissed at the ROY trade!!!”

  138. Leclerc1965 says:

    This is exactly what they are doing. They are drafting “impact” offensive style hockey players and converting them into “mini” Guy Carbonneau proteges. It is an oxymoron, or our scouts aren’t on the same page as the coaching staff. I must admit that drafting a player and hoping that the existing coach will be there in 3-4 years when the player arrives is possible in this new NHL, but again Carbs needs to change his system a bit and tailor it more to his players strengths not weaknesses.

  139. Proudones says:

    Would you care to elaborate on the Muller interview? I didn’t see it.

  140. rogus says:

    Dear Santa,

    Thank you for Sergei K, could we please get 11 more player like him under our tree.

    p.s. I’ll leave milk and cookies!

  141. Smart Dog says:

    After the second intermission, the RDS interviewer’s opening question to Muller was “Would you say this is a terrible game by the Canadiens?”

    The score was 2-0 but the Habs had a much better second period – their best period of the game. If you’re losing 4-0 at that point and you’ve lost someone to long-term injury, then THAT’S terrible.

    Muller looked shocked and said “no, I don’t think it’s terrible” and then talked about the way Dallas plays a trap and how hard it is to play against (which had me screaming at the TV – “then why don’t you play like that!!”… but I digress…)

    When the interview was done and they RDS guy was giving his translation Muller looked totally uncomfortable and unhappy and looking nervously left and right. He probably wanted to smack the guy and I wish he did. It was unprofessional, and I am sure that Muller won’t make himself available to the same (stupid) RDS interviewer again. The guy should be taken off the road assignment for it. You don’t have to be nice in these interviews, but you don’t ambush a guy like that.

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

  142. Smart Dog says:

    I agree with protecting our young guys – there are future stars in that bunch – though I worry that we don’t know how to develop them once they hit the NHL.

    Besides that… the thought that Ryder is going to spring into goal-scoring mode is tired. There’s no evidence for it.

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

  143. Robert L says:

    To Dave, Kevin, and Boone, and all the readers of HIO:

    I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and properous New Year to you and your families.

    I have posted a Habs Xmas Wish List at my site that spreads Holiday cheer to our team (our currently struggling, but loved nonetheless Habs) as well as faithful Eyes On The Prize readers.

    I hope many of you have placed hockey related gifts under the tree for your younger loved ones!

  144. odber says:

    Who ,if not the coach is responsible for making sure the team is ready to play.I,m not interested in reading about how the team lacked effort and displayed little if any emotion.At this juncture in the season the team should have some semblance of order,if anyone one out there can see it ,let me know.If the coach can,t motivate the team,get a new coach because the players have tuned out,Merry Christams.

  145. Yeats says:

    Have a Very Merry Christmas Robert and a Very Happy New Year! All the best to you and your family, Brian

  146. hockeydevil says:

    I agree I hope last night was a wakeup call that some changes need to be made…
    Talk hockey at

  147. Yeats says:

    I think I would have opted for E. All of the above, but it wasn’t there.

  148. Yeats says:

    Hope is a decent breakfast, but a miserable dinner.

  149. hockeydevil says:

    I am glad he was asked that. I was sad to see his response. I think the interviewer was just expressing the frustration many have at seeing a flat Habs team showing up. I thought it was a fair question. I also find it concerning, as you point out they recognize a system the Stars are using and don’t change their play to break it down. You cannot dump and chase on Dallas. It doesn’t work.
    Talk hockey at

  150. Scotty90 says:

    Pathetic game last night. After the 4th goal I decided turn it off and watched Mr. Bean’s Christmas with the rest of the family… at least it made me smile.

    Whats up with O’Byrne? I thought he was a monster and gave bone crushing hits? Actually the only one hitting (meaningful hits)at all yesterday was Bouillon! Right now Habs don’t excel at anything except letting down their fans. They play like they belong to a ‘B’ league. Is it the coaches’ fault for not getting the players ready to give their all? BG had better find out and quick. There is no sense in making a trade to bring a sniper if Carbo will make them play a defensive game. hats my rant… sorry.., but I’m a little depressed and P.O’d Bahh Humbug!

  151. wd40 says:

    I’m not a coach, but the Habs seem to have difficulty playing against any team that employs the trap (ya think?). We lost handily (4-0) to the Devils at the end of November, and of late, we’ve seen teams like Florida, and of course Dallas use it quite effectively against us. The trap is of course a defensive strategy, but each of those teams has offensive threats and the ability to put the puck in the net.

    I guess the question is, as we look ahead, what do we need to do differently to beat the Trap? Why does this style of play seem to expose our weaknesses?

    As a side note, I noticed the following two significant lines for the evening:

    Latendresse-Lapierre-Dandenault for 9:35
    Higgins-Koivi-Kovalev for 8:17


    Happy Holidays to all.

  152. CHsam says:

    I agree. I thought O’Byrne was supposed to be hitting being a presence. He looked confused the few times he had the puck. Hope he finds some bite to go with the bark

  153. AdamG says:

    scotyy, i’m with you on o’byrne. i’ve been so disappointed with him. not with his defensive play–he’s a rookie and lapses are to be expected. but this guy just doesn’t hit at all. with that frame? come on. you’ve got to wonder what the coaching staff tells these players. maybe they tell o’byrne not to hit for fear that he’ll end up out of position? i don’t know. i watch this team and some of the things i see make me scratch my head. whatever system carbonneau is employing is not working. he seems to be preaching way too passive a game plan. i mentioned last night that in 5-on-5 situations, other teams have so much time and so much space that they’re actually able to set up in our zone. we NEVER pressure the puck carrier. we ALWAYS react to what the other team does. i liken it to being a football team and playing a prevent defense for the entire game.

    it really bugs me how whenever we give up the first goal, we have virtually no chance of coming back and winning. it’s time for carbonneau to make the necesary adjustments and if he’s not yet capable after 110 NHL games, then maybe it’s seriously time to start thinking about a change.

  154. The Teacher says:

    No evidence? When has he been allowed to try???

  155. AdamG says:

    like i mentioned above, i fear that o’byrne’s lack of physical play has more to do with the coaches than his own game. this Habs team rarely strays for their position…like on the PK, if there’s a loose puck, i see many times where a Hab will not go for it out of fear of being out of position. i just think that this “system” discourages aggressiveness.

  156. AdamG says:

    lol…how many times do we hear carbo or higgins or koivu tell the media about a lack of effort and focus? so they know about it. i think it’s up to the coaches and the leaders on the team. that effort last night was unacceptable. we know carbo is going to call them out, but what about koivu? you need your captain to take the team by the scruff of its neck sometimes.

  157. smiler2729 says:

    Apparently the only way to play against a team employing the neutral zone trap is to actually skate!

  158. Pat8987 says:

    Always so nice to see how positive you are Smart Dog!!The problem starts with Carbo and ends there, he has no system…..

  159. Ed says:

    It’s hard to score when you have sat in the press box for the last 3 games, & 4 of the last 8. The 4 he did play in were at the Bell Centre, where he was on the 3rd or 4th lines, played less than 10 minutes, and was booed mercilessly by the fans. The 4 he sat were on the road. Management have given up on Ryder, & it is time to give him a break, & trade him to someone who wants him & will play him.

  160. smiler2729 says:

    Mike Ribeiro’s still a weasel. Every time I see him or hear his name mentioned, I just think of his soccer-style faking an injury antics especially against Boston in the playoffs. He may score 50 goals and 100 points but it’s still good riddance!

  161. Ed says:

    Ribeiro was chosen 3rd star overall last night by That is not bad when you consider that there were 8 games.

  162. 93miraclecup says:

    why does everything end up biting us in the ass?
    I was so happy to get rid of Ribeiro, so seemed like the right thing to do to get rid of guy who was unworthy of the CH, then he gets his head screwed on right and it’s a brutal disaster.
    If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this franchise was cursed. I am very depressed about this team right now.

  163. 93miraclecup says:

    those 50 goals and 100 points would be the first time in over 20 years for this franchise. I’d take him back in a heartbeat.
    If nothing else, you could trade him today (not that you’d ever trade a guy producing at his rate) for a first-line stud or serious package.
    Face it, we blew it big time.

  164. Yeats says:

    Not the same type of player, but it’s Claude Lemeiux all over again. It is amazing though how we either trade away or destroy the few steady offensive talents we have on a regular basis.

  165. Yeats says:

    And, all we got in return was Janne Niinimaa and a fifth rounder. Would Sammy Pollack have made that deal? I think not!

  166. Robert L says:

    All best to you and Charlie, my friend!

  167. Yeats says:

    They said the same things about Claude Lemeiux. Three more Cups and a Conn Smythe later, who do you think had the last laugh?

  168. Yeats says:

    I’ll give him your regards this evening.

  169. Bouleau noir says:

    For me, I sens innadequacy and lack of vision from our organization,.. A-B-C-D, real as they are, are but derivative of one’s man action at the top, Bob Gainey.

    The newCBA and the newNHL provided tremendous advantages for our franchise to step ahead of itself and to accomplish alot in little time,.. Gainey did a nice little patched work on our team in his first year with us but as for all the rest of his work I feel him to have been way behind and innadequate in his role.

  170. jibberjabber says:

    After last night’s debacle two things are clear.

    Mickey Ribs was better than Koivu and should’ve been the first liner. (Modano knew how to take a hint and he’s twice the player Koivu is) Had Koivu been a team player, we would not have these embarassing matches.

    Gainey has to go, fast. Carbo also, so badly outcoached yesterday.

    Pierre Lacroix as Gm,Pierre McGuire as head coach. Serge Savard as President.

    Enough is Enough.

  171. habsnyc says:

    Ribs is the most talented forward drafted by the organization in over 15 years. management chose to trade him for a player who could not even finish the season in the NHL.

    good organizations figure out ways to keep their enigmatic players. if montreal chose to sign such grumpsters as samsonov and kovalev, they could have kept Ribeiro.

    that having been said, there was no room on the team for yet another undersized center. so either he, koivu or plekanec had to go. unfortunately, montreal got nothing in return. i just find it fascinating, that montreal continues to cycle through young players, dumping then when they do not respond to poor coaching.

  172. Bill says:

    Well, I don’t think any of those things are clear at all. Gainey’s done a good job. Carbo is sometimes out-coached, but always out-gunned, so I don’t blame him; he’s done a very respectable job with these guys. You’re obviously joking about your replacement candidates, and it’s very funny, except for the Pierre McGuire part, that’s just scary. As for Mickey Ribs, we had lots of time to watch him in Montreal and I still don’t regret the decision to trade him. I regret that the Habs got Niinimaa in return, but that’s about it.

  173. Hoegarden says:

    there’s been a trend in recent years to give up on many players, most of them “Flying Frenchmen” for reasons other than hockey. I can think of Damphousse, Turgeon, C.Lemieux, Richer, even Carbonneau (remember the famous finger salute in the Montreal papers) and so on. You could include Chelios in there although it was said that it was for “medical resons”.
    We as Habs fans know that the CH is more important than the player but sometimes it would be wise to try and sort out the off ice problems behind closed doors instead of pulling the trigger and let them go.

    Just a thought….. how is it that the entire teams fails to show up (like last night) on several occasions this year. Either they do not understand Carbonneau’s system or they don’t accept it.

    Let’s hope for a better second half of the season….
    Merry Xmas.

  174. hockeydevil says:

    It’s all I got :p
    Talk hockey at

  175. Smart Dog says:

    Great list. Thanks for the post.

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

  176. mjames says:

    I really cannot see how you can come to your conclusions. I do not think Carbo is outgunned. He has a skilled team BUT he WILL NOT let them play a puck possession style. Do you think his passive sit back style is good? Carbo has coached this team for 1 1/2 years. Is this team making progress? Can you imagine how the two Kots brothers would play if they were with a team like Ottawa? They would be unstoppable. With us they are your typical mistake prone rookies. If the team employs a puck possession style I think it will improve its play. What do we have to lose? What does carbo have to lose? That is why I am not ready to give up on this team. If we can get a coach that will work with the players we CAN make progress. When you look at Carbo, his facial expressions say it all. He thinks his team is inferior to him. He has no respect for the team and I beginning to think the team has no respect for him. Think about it.

    As far as Gainey goes I can not say whether he has done a good job or not. We never hear from him. Is he on a leave of absence? Is Lacrois the acting GM? I really do not know who is in charge.


  177. Girth says:

    I predict O’Byrne will go back to Hamilton to work on some specifics and eventually come back a better player for the experience.

  178. CHsam says:

    Some of that 5 on 5 tonight in our zone was so bad that it truly does deserve mention. I’m beginning to think Carbo doesn’t understand the idea behind analysis and change. We seem to have problems with even strength play, yet the coaches won’t sit down to think about it, insisting that we still stick to this “simple system”. It just looks like we’re getting jammed up before entering the zone, and we let them come into our zone and fire away like a firing squad.

  179. Bill H says:

    LOL Great post RS. So true. Sometimes I wonder if people here need an adjustment to the meds. Either way, back-to-back wins or loses and the mood swing around here is 180 degrees. First we are going deep in the playoffs, then four games later we need to fire coaches and trade away our core players. Then 2 consecutive wins and we are once again Stanley Cup bound. I agree that the players need to work on our consistency, big time. But some here on this site need to remember that building a winner takes time and there is a lot to be positive about, in spite of a lackluster game last night.

  180. The Cat says:

    Smart Dog said: I’ll say it again. With so many games like that one – at least one of these is true:
    A. Our system stinks.
    B. Our players stink.
    C. Our morale stinks.
    D. Our coaches stink.

    I think right now its A our system stinks. I just dont think were playing the best system that matches the players we have right now. We should be playing like the Buffalo Sabres. And as far as the trap goes, that word just has replaced good defense. Everybody plays the trap, it’s just some teams play it better than others. Merry Christmas!

  181. Smart Dog says:

    That’s what’s funny… that we can look at teams like the Sabres and say “they’re hard to play against”.. and yet, we can’t learn from that.
    Like you say, some teams play it better!
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  182. CHsam says:

    Couldn’t have said it better! Especially about playing like Sabres.

  183. habsnyc says:

    chicken and egg. either choose players that fit a system or find a system that fits the players.

    gainey keeps trying to get the best player for each position and not the player that best fits the position. one reason free agents don’t want to sign with montreal is that gainey cannot explain to them their role on the team.

  184. The Cat says:

    And I agree with you Hoegarden, I think the Montreal media is to blame for most of these departures. They create stories almost to try to make the players lose face and it escalates into ugliness each time…The answer: We need an old wise coach like Felipe Alou. Man he would answer in a way as to kill any controversy the reporter would try to create and make him feel like a frigging fool. Montreal reporters were afraid of crossing Felipe. Nothing like an old man showing in front of everyone else that he may be old but he’s still your daddy.

  185. Fabio D says:

    The worst part about this loss….. The smug look of satisfaction on Ribeiro’s face.

    Fact of the matter is, the Western conference has a more offensive hockey style. Ribeiro is performing a little better as a result. In the East and especially in Montreal he was asked to play a defensive style of hockey.

    I don’t miss him in a Habs jersey, don’t really care for him in a Stars jersey.

    Enjoy it while it lasts Mike, once the Habs are firing on all cylinders and the stars (no pun intended) are in alignment, this game will be a piece of paper in the Habs Stanley Cup Ticker tape parade.

    Merry Christmas Everyone,

  186. The Cat says:

    Ribeiro is indeed having a great year but he is another Scott Gomez, he plays amazing when hes up for a contract. Ribeiro is up for a contract at the end of this year.

  187. habsnyc says:

    ribeiro led dallas in scoring last year as well. gomez in addition to two Cups and a Calder, is third in his draft class in points and first in assists. tough to say he only plays for a contract.

  188. Ed says:

    I say more power to him. He had 3 points again last night, & was 2nd star. He has been very consistent this year.

  189. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Markov’s after goal expression said it all,He’s not enjoying hockey and is flustered, maybe even a ticket out of town!It’s like taking an arrow in the heart to be a fan of Les Canadiens.Happy Holaday’s to each and every one

  190. CHsam says:

    LOL! Both Markov and S-Kost looked like the wanted to pass vinegar on that one.

  191. showey47 says:

    he looked pissed right from the start of the game, he took what looked like a slash in the fore-arm or wrist and gave ribs a cheap shot towards the end of the game. I wonder if travelling from atlanta to dallas for back to back games had something to do with it? It could describe their terrible play last sunday. One more thing i noticed other than the fact that sergei has 4 points in 6 games, in those 6 games sergei has only 5 shots on goal.

  192. HNS says:

    With this team’s lack of showing up for these crucial games, it might just be time for Gainey to get behind the bench again. You can bet that this team will be looking for those squandered points at crunch time when other teams will be playing those do or die games.

  193. Ed says:

    Sergei has looked good, but he either has to get more shots, or keep up his high scoring percentage. Also, Dandenault has zero shots in his last 6 games, 1 assist in his last 8 games, and 1 goal & 1 assist in his last 15 games. He is -4 over the last 15 games. For a player who drives the net, as noted by some posters, how do you account for the lack of shots & points.

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