As we wait and hope for an end to the NHL lockout, Canadiens fans can relive the 1992-93 season – the last year the Habs won the Stanley Cup – at HIO as we post game stories from that season.
The Habs took a 22-11-3 record into their final game before the Christmas break against the New York Islanders on Dec. 23 1992 at the Forum. Below is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Bah, humbug!; Isles whip listless Habs
Patrick Roy, who was around for a while, at least, on yet another ugly night, was talking about the beauty of hockey … what’s fun about hockey.
“You have good nights and bad nights,” he was saying after last night’s 6-2 loss to the New York Islanders. “When you go through the bad times, the way we’ve been lately, it helps us appreciate the good times.”
Obviously, Mons. Roy, has a long memory.
“I felt good tonight, I felt sharp,” he shrugged. “The third goal (he was lifted after four) was a bad one. I know that. But there wasn’t much I could do on any of the others.
“I’m not upset I was taken out. We are, after all, a team. You do what’s best for the team.”
There wasn’t anything very good, including Roy, about this Canadiens team which now has gone a desperate 9-9-2, including three losses in its last four home game. There was a lot that was bad and some of it, no doubt, was relayed to the players by Canadiens coach Jacques Demers in a post-game mini-meeting.
“Nothing we didn’t know before,” grunted Mike Keane, who has learned to grunt very well in reply to questions.
What was interesting about last night’s game was that the Islanders manhandled the Canadiens – and made them like it. It’s true that Eric Desjardins lifted the Canadiens into a 1-0 lead fewer than six minutes into the game, but once Derek King got it back less than a minute later, and Pierre Turgeon added another, it became an interesting night only for the Islanders.
Benoit Hogue’s soft goal and a double deflection on Uwe Krupp’s goal were the shots which sent Andre Racicot into the game. Hogue and Brian Mullen added others against Racicot – but Hogue’s was an empty netter when coach Demers elected to lift his goaltender for an extra attacker.
Vincent Damphousse scored the second Canadiens goal.
How bad does it get after it was as bad as it gets two nights earlier.
Thirty-seven seconds after Stephan Lebeau is caught high sticking, King beats Roy easily.
Then, shortly after the midway point of the first period, a hig- sticking penalty to Brian Skrudland leaves the Canadiens short two men for one minute and 49 seconds. It was during that time that Turgeon lifted his associates into the lead with a short shot into an open side.
How bad does it get? It doesn’t get worse than when Hogue lashes a shot through Roy’s legs from the circle early in the second period, and 22 secons later, Krupp’s shot from the blueline hisses through his legs.
Twenty-seven seconds later, Racicot was in and Roy was collecting his thoughts behind the the Canadiens bench.
What’s going on here, anyway?
Does it make sense that a team which has been sitting at or near the top of the Adams most of the first half of the season, suddenly goes ph-t-t! against teams such as Hartford and the New York Islanders?
How does a team lose it so quickly and by so much?
All that’s certain is that the Canadiens gang which hasn’t been shooting straight for the last two games doesn’t remotely resemble the team which handled several of the NHL’s stronger teams in recent weeks.
Understand this about this team: its problems didn’t start two games ago. Something has been missing during most of the second segment. The low moments have outnumbered the highs. The goaltending has been something substantially less than acceptable. Another problem is that instead of trying to lift their game to another level as a team, the Canadiens have been falling into too many one-on-one situations.
The good teams don’t play that way because they’re aware they can’t win that way. Perhaps it’s a collar tightening here and there. Or it could be that several of the players who aren’t scoring are pressing too much. The bottom line, though, is that this is a team badly in need of regrouping.
How bad does it? Even on a night when somebody down there guessed right when he called for a measurement of David Volek’s stick, the minor penalty he was assessed wasn’t nearly enough to get the juices flowing or a fire lit.
One of those nights?
One of many, which now have become too many when it’s considered the last two losses have been against sub-.500 teams.
“I guess you could say it’s a good thing we’re going West for the next six games,” sighed Roy. “We’ll be together. We’ll have a chance to regroup.”