Game 8: Canadiens declawed by Panthers

Budaj-Panthers

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• At a Glance: The Canadiens remain winless at the Bell Centre after a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday night. The Canadiens took an early lead, but it was the only goal they would score. Erik Cole was credited with Montreal’s goal 3:08 into the game when a point shot by Rafael Diaz was originally deflected by Max Pacioretty and then went off Cole’s leg and eluded Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom. The Panthers got that goal back on a power play of their own when a Tomas Fleishmann shot squeaked between Peter Budaj’s legs. Budaj, making his first start of the season, would probably like another shot at that one. After a goalless second period, Scottie Upshall redirected a point shot that eluded Budaj 5:02 into the third period to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

• Keys moments: Max Pacioretty left the game near the end of the second period with an undisclosed injury. He did not return for the third period.

• What It Means: The Canadiens have now lost six straight games and fall to 1-5-2, good for four points in eight games. They remain dead last in the Eastern Conference.

• What’s Next: The Philadelphia Flyers, who will likely be without captain Chris Pronger after he took a stick to an eye Monday night, visit the Bell Centre on Wednesday. Then the Canadiens play twice against the Bruins, Thursday in Boston and Saturday back at home.

86 Comments

  1. NCRhabsfan says:

    Keep Martin for three more games. We’re going to get creamed by Philly, and Boston (twice) anyway. Why bring in a new coach in a lose-lose-lose situation? Then, when the team is 1-8-2 (or 2-14-2 or something if you count pre-season) under Martin this season, we can end his stay behind the bench and try to turn things around with a new coach.

    Gee, no matter how optimistic or pessimistic you were going into the season, did anyone think we would be behind the Senators after 11 games? The Senators for goodness sake!

    • nunacanadien says:

      The five on five point system deters scoring, it encourages the dumping of the puck towards the goalie in hopes that the puck will trickle in. Unfortunately Jacques Martin is a one trick pony. He penalizes and criticizes superstars like Subban, and we see goal scorers like Gionta and Gomez and Cole suffer from the staying on your line system. Fire Jacques Martin sooner than later, so that we stop injuring our small players!

  2. NCRhabsfan says:

    When do we play Winnipeg again? That’s our next W.

  3. mysterycog says:

    We’ll camp out at the old Forum then march upon the Bell Center!! #occupythehabs

  4. VancouverHab says:

    Cole I have absolutely no sympathy for. I think he’s a great player who can help us in a big way, but despite my ambivalence for JM it’s Cole who has to produce the way the coach wants. I bet JM sees things we don’t see–Patches is a power forward who can score under JM, and he’s more or less faithful with AK, so good on Matrin getting under Cole’s skin to make him produce.

    • HabsFansince49 says:

      Utter nonsense! And the record stands – look all the “failures” under martin we have shipped out. Give me a break!

    • Ehabs9 says:

      I’m sorry but I have to disagree. Coaches have the ability to completely shut players down should they choose to for whatever reason. If Martin doesn’t give Cole the ice time or the positioning on the ice to be effective that’s on Martin not Cole. Combine that with the fact that Martin’s system smothers goal scorers anyways and you can’t expect much. I think it’s glaringly evident Martin is the problem, after he verbally gave media the finger when they asked why Cole wasn’t on the PP, and then was forced to accept egg on his face when he put one away on his first PP shift tonight.

    • nunacanadien says:

      I warned everyone about Cole, he is an old veteran no one wants, so Gauthier snapped him up and paid him big bucks to make it look like he is doing the job he is not doing…..the game of GM charades, Mr. Molson are you reading this? Your man Gainey and Gauthier are lazy bastards who deserve to be booted out for allowing a one trick pony like Jacques Martin to destroy our rookies, destroy the scorers and most of all cost us injuries for a hockey system that does nto work. The only constant so far, is the habs have always skated fast. Maybe it is time we find a coach and GM who supports winning scorers and recognizes and encourages talent like Subban and Gallagher. Fire the bunch before these new rookies that look so promising come up, so that we can start a new. It is never too late to rebuild the habs.

  5. caladin says:

    It’s amazing how much my outlook is improved after reading the last 100 posts or so.
    I’m not convinced the sky is actually falling. Seems to me that the lines for tonight (as practiced and as according to tsn) are the same top 3 with the new guys slotting into the 4th. I like those lines, I think all 3 are dangerous and which is #1 will be whichever is working best on a given night.
    Our D has been way too inexperienced, and Spacek will help with that, playing on the third pairing.
    Budaj? Uh… Well dunno about that but here’s hopin!
    I’m also hoping we continue to not miss Gomez, so that I can dream about a superstar D-men we can spend his cap space on.
    I think Gill is making progress in his Diaz project and I also think Emelin will progress better when(gulp) Markov is back. BTW, does anyone know what the team is doing to help him learn English, or French?

  6. TommyB says:

    This was supposed to be a Reply to Shawn down below a bit.

    Good call. Absolutely agree that a coach has to look at what he has, and design his gameplan around that. Not the other way around. You can try to make your team fit your system, but if it ain’t working you have to adapt. The only other way is for the GM to radically change the roster to suit the unadaptable coach’s style. What sounds more feasible? I would point out that it would take years to overhaul a roster to suit an individual coach.

    I would be hard-pressed to even tell you what JM’s system is. His standard reply when asked about this: “we play a puck possession game”. Doesn’t provide much insight, and I don’t see us with the puck long enough to fit the definition of possession. Whatever the system is, it seems to be overly defensive, minimum risk, rely on the goaltender, and wait for the other team to commit an error so you can have an opportunity to capitalize. For crying out loud, take some chances, man.

  7. Goderichab says:

    I will cease to comment here, (no one will notice) until there is a change in coaching!
    It is obvious even to the most green of fans, that the team is not responding to the coach and his idiosyncracies…
    Some of his game time decisions are simply off the wall.
    Players can sense the grasping at straws and the lack of confidense the coach has for the players. Check his reponse to the inquiry re Coel not on pp.
    Puleeze, where is your brain JM?
    Halloween would be great to get rid of this dinosauer and start November with Crawford or another qualified coach..A “today” coach not a relic from the past who has no histroy of winning!!!

    I remember the dynasties…

  8. Chris79 says:

    This is the Year of something Great… Believe it..!!

  9. Mats Naslund says:

    As much as I like hearing from the players that arrive in Town, I’m so sick of the Montreal wank-off that goes on every time a new player comes to the team. The reporters must have some inferiority complex to always be asking about what its like to play in this market. Duh!

    • Ian Cobb says:

      The question should be, can you adjust your game to fit into Martin’s game.

      • nunacanadien says:

        The question should be, are you ready for a sh*t kicking cause the habs are the punching bag of the league thanks to Pierre Gauthier and Gainey giving us a team of mighty smurfs all 6 feet tall and 200 pounds in a league of giants.

  10. Ian Cobb says:

    Nothing will change tonight, he is incapable of change. The only difference is we should beat Florida by a ton. And might not.

    Can you imagine how pissed Cole feels coming here. Not on top 6, not on the power play, plays about 10 min a game. Martin does not know how to handle the young or the vets.

  11. Vladdy Mondavi says:

    Call me an optimist!

    The turn around starts tonight! The conclusion of tonight’s game will mark the 1/10th mark of the season (not exactly I know, but for figures sake, go with me).

    Not the prettiest of starts, but there’s still time to turn things around. A win tonight and the Habs will have a .375 Pt percentage (6 out of a possible 16) . To be a sure lock playoff team, a team needs to play .600 Pt % over the length of the season (98 pts).

    After tonight’s win, they’ll need to get 10 pts every eight games (5-3-0, 4-2-2, etc…). Which is attainable. Before I panic, I’d like to see how they fare in the next eight games. Until after the Nashville game (Nov. 12) you won’t see me panicking.

    If the team must encounter struggles, I’d prefer to see the team struggle at the start of the season than in February, March (see Boston Red Sox).

    This turn around is quite easy on paper. How to translate it to the ice: I have no clue, I’m no coach. Neither is Martin.

  12. Shawn says:

    You know what talented coaches do? They figure out what the strengths of his players are and devises a “system” to maximize the results. Not take a system and jam players into it. It doesn’t work.

    Best example ever is Don Shula in Miami, different sport but the principle is the same. With a team made up a bruising offensive linemen and two stud running backs he pounded the ball and won 2 Superbowls and had the only undefeated season to boot. Then years later along comes Dan Marino and he completely changes the philosophy of the team. Draft some speedy receives and viola another winner (no Superbowl but a winning team)

    Compare JM to that. He had a system in the ole NHL that sort of worked (good regular season, no cups) and just keeps it going even though it clearly doesn’t work. The conference finals was a fun ride folks but we were dating a girl completely out of our league. We had no business being there except for two players, Cammi and Halak catching fire…

    So we have a GM building a small speedy team and a coach determined to turn it into a bunch of back checking pluggers…

    Sometimes you need to step back to go forward and maybe, just maybe, we can move forward when we step back from Jacques…

    • Jocko says:

      Amen, Shawn, Amen. In comparing a hockey team to a business, the coach is the operations manager that needs to utilize the assets to the maximum effecinecy. In this case, Martin is not utilizing the assets he has very well at all. What’s done is done, but what part did Martin play in the shipping out of SK74, D’Agostini, and others? All this, and second guessing PG, is all hindsight. The team needs to put a little more work in the assets it has (worked with Maxpac) and stop shipping guys out before they had a chance to work within their abilities (which Martin seems incapable to do).

      I don’t want to see Maurice tonight, I want to see The Rocket!

      • nunacanadien says:

        Well that is what happens when the habs get rid of their scouts. You have the GM snatching up all the old injured players like Campoli no one wants. You have a GM signing small players cause no one else wants them. You have a GM giving priority to concerts instead of making hockey his priority. It is all about generating a profit for the Molsons. Too bad the old man Molson would have a sh*t fit if he saw what Gillete and now the Molson boys have turned the habs into the equivalent of a junior Olympic hockey team! The whole hockey management of the habs now suck, the GM signs small players for a coach who is used to having bigger stronger players. Kind of like having some big fat guy ride a small tricycle, Martin as the fat guy and the small tricycle is the habs…..spin those wheels Martin, play your five on five and wonder why your players always get hurt.

  13. HFX-HabFan says:

    Maybe Spacek is in because he’s being showcased for a trade to the Cats??

    Spacek and Gomez to FLA for Matthias, Ellerby and FLA 3rd rd 2012

    We unload a ton of salary (helping FLA stay above the floor), and get a big centre who was a junior teammate of Subban’s, and a young D with good size who is a cousin of Price’s.

    Wishful thinking, I know.

  14. patrick roy trending on twitter

    and theo’s out apparantly

  15. Ian Cobb says:

    This new NHL game has left Jacques style game back in the dark ages! Even the players want out to have freedom of expression of their trade.!

  16. boonie says:

    Posted earlier – but lost in the editorial eddies to the vast HIO seas.

    The trending theme over the past few HIO sessions seems to be “JM can’t maximize the talents of the players PG brings in”. Interesting.

    Everyone here has their opinion about JM and PG. Until recently, most people saw the decades-long relationship between JM and PG as their agreement on most hockey matters. I think it’s time to question that.

    To paraphrase one of my least favorite hype-machines, Bill Parcells, “if they ask you to cook the meal, they should let you buy the groceries…” In the modern NHL, GMs don’t coach other than for short interim stints (Gainey and Lamorello come to mind). But winning teams usually have a GM and a coach who share the same hockey style. Bylsma doesn’t expect stalwart defensive play from his Crosby and doesn’t count on last minute catch up goals from Asham (he happens, but rarely by design).

    PG clearly likes talented, speedy forwards (smaller ones happen to be easier to acquire for reasons well-discussed around here). Everyone wants a big goalie that can change a game with a big save or six. PG’s defensive preferences are more difficult to summarize – but I’ll try this, some combination of: stay-at-home, savvy/veterans, younger/transition guys. Someone here will do a better job that this (HH and Mr. Rice, this means you).

    JM seems to love grinders. Grinders to the left of us. Grinders to the right of us. Grinders in front of us. Into the jaws of losses rode the Habs.

    Our leaders are buying groceries for a swanky vegan affair and then cooking them to the point of disintegration. They are not on the same page for this party.

    They have a long friendship, so I don’t see JM going anywhere – soon. I expect that PG will move him upstairs if Molson urges change.

    More important — for us fans — is making sure the next coach can maximize the talents of this team; and they have talent. If PG can’t or won’t find that person (I think Boucher could have used them better. That’s just a hunch, not based on Roloson’s poor start or TB’s nice playoff run), then he should go too.

    • BJ says:

      The problem with keeping either PG or JM is the mind set will remain the same. I say a full clean up. We need an aggressive meat eater for GM and a motivator/communicator with modern day ideas as coach.

      • Tony McLean says:

        Amen. And flush Gainey first! A great player, a great captain, a failure as GM and eminence grise.

        Lemaire and Robinson are my picks as I’ve said before. Robby would be *perfect* to settle down Pernell.
        —————————————————–
        Bring Larry Robinson home.

  17. Habs Notes says:

    The FWD lines should look like this:

    Cammy-Plekanec-Cole
    Pacioretty-Desharnais-AK46
    Darche-Eller-Gionta
    Moen-Nokelainen-Blunden

    Just my 2 sense.

    • shiram says:

      Moen needs to be in the top 6, he’s the best scorer on the team, hence my new sig.
      Also DD needs to be on the 3rd, having him play agaisnt tougher lines has exposed him.
      Tweaking™ definately required.

      Moen for powerforward 2011/12!!

    • sims says:

      i would switch cole and ak46. first line would then have to good shooters and the best setup man. second would have 2 fast, big guys and a good setup man

  18. HardHabits says:

    Best way to get out of this mess is for fans to throw stuff on the ice all game thus forcing a forfeiture. Do that for all hone games from here on in and save JM’s job and spare the team further humiliation.

  19. fun police says:

    i’m a big Georges fan, but lets face it, the only reason he isn’t sitting instead of Emelin is the latter is a rookie. Georges has been less than stellar so far.

  20. Habs Notes says:

    As long as Spacek is healthy he will play. That’s why, if/when Markov comes back, Spacek has to be traded so Weber/Diaz/Emelin can get the ice time they need to develop.

    It kills me to say this but I hope we get smoked tonight and again in Philly and again in Boston, etc. until JM is fired … if that’s what it takes.

    JM is not a bad coach but he is so clearly the wrong coach for this team it is completely baffling to me that PG has not fired him yet … but he will, or he’ll be leaving with him.

    We have the talent and speed, particularly if we get Markov back, to wear the oppostion down with an aggressive, attacking style of play. It’s the only system this group is built to execute. If we get a coach who will implement such a system (e.g. Marc Crawford), and Price plays like he did last season (which he will), I still believe this team, although not good enough to compete for the Cup this year, can win at least one playoff round.

    And, for the love of G-d Jacques, put Cole on the PP!!

    • Tony McLean says:

      They should be developing in the A but trading O’Byrne, letting Hammer and Wiz go…brain dead. Add those three and picture the team.
      —————————————————–
      Bring Larry Robinson home.

  21. NorthernHab says:

    I just don’t understand how Emelin sits and Weber stays in… It seems obvious to me that Emelin is a superior defensive defenseman to Weber. Weber manages to confuse his defensive partners routinely. Crazy start this year.

  22. habsolutely416 says:

    well its just a matter of time before JM gets canned. if the habs cant hire a coach who isnt bilingual, bob hartley could be a good fit. hes firey and has nhl coaching experience. im getting sick of seeing that sad sack JM behind the bench. somebody check his pulse!

    ill be in the slot ;)

  23. durocher says:

    Per TSN, these are our lines tonight — surprise, surprise, JM has tinkered with the top 9 again:

    Cammalleri – Plekanec – Gionta
    Moen – Eller – Kostitsyn
    Pacioretty – Desharnais – Cole
    Darche – Nokelainen – Blunden

    Defence:
    Gorges – Subban
    Gill – Diaz
    Spacek – Weber

    Goaltenders:
    Budaj
    Price

  24. moan_for_moen says:

    i think we all need to just breath, yes they will not win the cup this year, yes they are at the breaking point to make or break into the playoffs but if we remember what has happened before will happen again… say hello to fighting it out for 13th for the next 4 years :) that way we can watch or not watch hockey when we feel like it, who knows work might get done around montreal if the habs are completely off the radar for a while

  25. badbalance says:

    Emelin has been more solid than georges subban gill weber and diaz but who the hell cares. JM is like the honey badger, relentless and doesn’t give a f***

    • Tony McLean says:

      Stubborn to a fault. And I liked his classy bitchslap to the lady reporter who asked him about his under-use of Cole on the PP. I will pop a cork the day that slug gets his papers.
      —————————————————–
      Bring Larry Robinson home.

    • Storm Man says:

      The objective for tonights game….. Embarrassment. I so can’t wait for this Saturday night. Jersey with 93 on the back… check…. brown paper bag… check…. clap clap martin cheer ready…check… 0-3 before Saturdays game oh please do I hope so…. Habs lose 3-1 Cole scores the only goal and as he is tossing lord martin the puck asked for a trade…… the TSN turning point of the night.

  26. Cole – Plekanec – Cammalleri
    Subban – Gill

    Moen – Eller – A. Kostitsyn
    Spacek – Gorges

    Pacioretty – Deharnais – Gionta
    Weber – Diaz

    Darche – Nokelainen – Blunden
    Budaj

    • Tony McLean says:

      Just flip lines 2 & 3. Not optimistic about Buddha though.
      —————————————————–
      Bring Larry Robinson home.

    • Habsssssssswin says:

      Looking down the middle this year, it goes: Plecks, Gomer, “Stonehands” Eller and Desharnais.Montreal is missing a Jeff Halpern/Glen Metropolit type center that brings a quiet veteran presence.Eller’s got hustle, but stonehands. He was ranked 332nd in the NHL in Shooting %, and I saw a report on TSN a few months ago that also put him near the bottom of the league in just hitting the net with his shots.

      I don’t think we should scrap him (especially considering what he cost to acquire), but he needs some serious coaching.

      WFB

  27. JD_ says:

    Direct from the annals of statin’ the obvious, it is CrunchWeek™ for the Habs and their embattled head coach. Eighteen games in three nights, most of them against huge Eastern Conference litmus tests.

    Love him or hate him – with the latter currently the fan fav – JM’s fate as head coach will probably be determined by All Hallow’s Eve one week from tonight. Anythin’ less than .500 hockey and he is almost certainly toasté.

    Keepin’ in mind, of course, the golden rule: Management and, by extension, ownership define Habs reality by their actions. The rest is just people talkin’ about their favourite spectator sport. Case in point: Nokelainen.

    There’s no easy way out. Seein’ the Habs gettin’ forechecked hard is hardly new. Nor is the absence of a consistently aggressive Habs forecheck.

    The two fundamental issues this season, in contrast to last year, is the transition game bein’ hobbled by a more youthful and NHL-inexperienced D and PK takin’ a step back as he overcompensates.

    That and the fact Price has struggled to refind the form that had him 7th in last year’s votin’ for the Hart Trophy. He hasn’t been the team’s saviour as much as he had to be through most of last season.

    These are points of vulnerability. The team has demonstrated they can dominate a game offensively, even without a bruisin’ forecheck. But, when the opposition aggressively exploits the Habs’ D-zone vulnerability, the ice tilts the wrong way.

    I haven’t picked on the PP because the fundamentals haven’t really changed – other than a change in the coachin’ of special teams – just the execution. There’s hope there.

    Even with Marky’s return, I expect pressure will build to add some experience to the blue line. Nothin’ flashy, just a bit of the cheap, stay-at-home, clear-the-crease stuff we saw transpire last season; e.g., Mara, Sopel.

    Would I prefer, I dunno, a Ryan Getzlaf up front? Sure. Who wouldn’t prefer that?

    Speakin’ of Halloween, with the finishin’ touches finally put in place this busy past weekend, JD’s place will be the sight of yet another Halloween fundraiser for the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation next Monday night.

    • 24 Cups says:

      “Speakin’ of Halloween, with the finishin’ touches finally put in place”

      Finishing touches? What are you doing to scare the kids, putting up the stock market graphs from the past six months?

      • JD_ says:

        You know, back in 2007, that thought actually crossed my mind; i.e., pastin’ the S&P/TSX CI on one of the tombstones. I was, however, concerned the city might finally draw the line and shut me down. How much terror are people supposed to endure?

        But, there is somethin’ to be said for spendin’ most of my time in the garage today, craftin’ a new guy for left of the front door.

  28. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    Interesting, the same poll question is on tsn.ca and the result is a resounding finger pointed at the players as opposed to JM here. Don’t know what it means, but interesting nonetheless.

    Hope to God we see Eller or Cole on the PP tonight. Tough to sit Emelin. Would’ve gone with Diaz or Weber myself as many others have mentioned. Guess Weber having one of our two PP goals saved his spot.

  29. montrealtilldeath says:

    Habs will win tonight as the team defence will be better and every one will say how well Budaj played whether he plays well or not. JM has to go. Sitting Emelin over Diaz. The man is an absolute idiot.

  30. Cole will be Darche substitute when on PP. Exspect to see Cole – Nokelainen – Blunden at some point tonight.

  31. G-Man says:

    Weber or Diaz should be sitting. Last I looked, Emelin was actually hitting people and we all know Spacek won’t. However, for all those Spacek haters out there, his experience will help the Habs clear the puck out of the defensive zone quicker.

  32. RS says:

    Ahh, the potent Nokelainen, Darche, Blunden combo. It’s too bad that only one of these guys will get prime power play minutes.

  33. JD_ says:

    Point taken. But, if the votin’ for the Hart were to transpire today, could you envision Price at even 77th place, let alone 7th?

    In order to place that high, a goalie has to be otherworldly. He soaks up all the crap his teammates leave on the ice and then some.

    That’s why I’m lookin’ at this in the context of relative performance – i.e., compared to his body of work last season – rather than absolute. On that basis, he is strugglin’.

  34. Tony McLean says:

    Molson(s) don’t have the bond to Gandhi Gauthier and Mohandas Martin that Gene has with knucklehead but they seem to be blind to Gainey’s failings. Hence the quicksand we’re in.
    —————————————————–
    Bring Larry Robinson home.


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