Habs facing favourable opponents … on paper

In today’s Journal de Montreal, Marc de Foy gives Canadiens fans a glimmer of hope going into what should be three tough games for the Habs.

On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in town, but the Journal points out that the Bolts have won only two games on the road and will be playing in Toronto on Monday night.

The Canadiens then travel to Philadephia to face the Flyers on Thursday, a team that has just as much trouble winning at home as the Canadiens. Montreal has already defeated the Flyers this season and will be playing on the road, where the Habs appear more comfortable.

The Canadiens end their week playing the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have regained some life after their loss to the Habs two weeks ago. It could be a close game since 10 of the last 12 meetings between these teams was decided by one goal.

If only the games were played on paper …

73 Comments

  1. A. Berke says:

    I am surprised that you don’t know it already: Burke has already jumped on the first flight out of Anaheim and coming to MTL.

    Ali B.

  2. A. Berke says:

    Carbo never played a game like that (i.e. holding back checks etc) so why do think he is the one who’s telling the players to play like that now?

    I think it’s the players. Maybe they don’t have the necessary talent, concentration, dedication, willpower, team spirit etc etc. Pick one or all, somethings are missing for sure.

    Ali B.

  3. A. Berke says:

    I’ll be happy to call anything but I live on the left coast. The fans in MTL can probably push for one. Maybe the players will be ashamed of their “I don’t care” attitude and have a meeting or two. It’s about time for them to come to the plate.

    We can criticise Carbo till we turn purple in the face but it’s up to them highly paid players to do something about the poor play. Carbo is in street clothes on the bench, but they’re the ones supposedly dressed up for each game.

    Ali B.

  4. Scotty90 says:

    I don’t think there are many enforcers any moer that can also score goals, i.e, Ferguson, Probert. If we had a couple of Chris Neils, heck… i’d be happy with one Neil. Right now we need that guy that will stare down an opponent and dare him, or give a bone crunching hit and not be afraid to hurt any feelings…. check out the following. (Imagine if Sundin would have been Boogaard’s target – timing was off a little… but the power behind the hit is something else. I don’t think Sundin would be as eager to spend too much time setting up plays in our zone). http://youtube.com/watch?v=-6durSgm6Y0

  5. krob1000 says:

    I am not opposed to an enforcer….I would prefer one that can play too….the other alternative is having five or six middleweights and team toughness. On the other hand if we had three more potent lines and didn’t have to rely on being able to roll four lines we may have room as well. This team needs four lines to be successful (three should be scoring threats though). Neither of our top lines strikes fear into any opposing defenders but if we can roll three scoring typ lines and one grinder line then the balance of power would shift to us. I thought that was why Grabs made the team to begin with.

  6. Leclerc1965 says:

    Saskhab, on your post a while ago. I understand that other teams line juggle. The difference is that Carbonneau is line juggling during these bad times trying to justify his failing system. That’s what makes him a lousy coach, not being able to identify the problem and fixing it appropriately. Line juggling is easy. You put everyone’s name on pieces of paper, put them in a hat and pick them out one by one…presto, you have lines and line juggling. A real coach would allow the players to develop cohesion and adjust the failing system you have in place. If that doesn’t work, then you blame the players and sit them, trade them whatever…

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

    Do you think Ganiey could do the job of coaching or try to get Roy .just hoping….

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

    smart dog.
    I to was wondering why when we scored 5 on 5 with the line they had,why didnt he keep it ,we may have lost the game but they did score…

  9. Scotty90 says:

    We need the young Kostityn up and wouldn’t mind seeing Valentenko up for a few games. We’d have Komi, O’Byrne, Hamrlik and Valentenko to dish out punishing hits. Also, and I know your position on this Krob, I’d like to see an enforcer… preferably Boogaard. I can’t stand it when we have to depend on Bouillon to fight for the team. Komi is a big strong guy but not a fighter…. we saw that Saturday night against someone several inches shorter than he. I know by having an enforcer we have to give up a roster spot… so what. The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. I think having such a monster would send a message to the rest of the team that they are being protected. I think the cheap shots that our guys are currently experiencing and frustrating the crap of them would greatly diminish. Komi’s huit from behind could have been dealt with by Boogeyman who would have then served the penalty. Saturday we lost Komi for most of a period because he had to take care of business. What do you think?

  10. Jeffrey Leclerc says:

    Thanks NB…like you I have to support them. I think the through drafting and homegrown talent they are on the right track. If they could just get that coach who can coach, a respectible successful coach that knows the game. A coach that implements systems that compliment his players talents. The team knows the talent the players they have now, most of them are rookies and fresh prospects, after all we drafted them!

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

    Jeffrey,thanks for the understanding about the coaching ,I as well get so fustratied with the coaching. what I have a hard time when we lose it breaks my heart to here so many negitave things said about this team.I use to go to all the games in Fredericton when the farm team was here and got to meet alot of players like,THE RICHARD BROTHERS,AND SO ON…… I also have been to the Montreal to see games,the last time we won the cup they bought up players from the farm who had helped to win the cup.I got to meet many of those players and to watch them lift the cup was wonderful.Now there is no one but the coaches left from that team and I still have faith they will lift the cup again.I to live for this team and know it is our game .I love all Montreal fans and know what they are going through at this time ,hopefully something will change after tommorow….GO HABS GO……..

  12. mjames says:

    Do not agree. The fans have been patient much too long. There is really very little progress. We know this team will not win . I am willing to put up with loses if we were playing our younger players from Hamilton. We are losing with an antiquated playing style and a core of retread veterans.

    mjames

  13. Jeffrey Leclerc says:

    I hate sounding like a Habs basher when things are going bad but I see things that I don’t like. I love this team, I hate seeing them go through a problem that isn’t easily fixed with a couple of callups and sitting veterans. Although it’s a game, hockey fans are a different kind of fan that identify with their club with just a little more passion than the average sports freak. I just want them to succeed, and the problems they have right now go beyond line juggling, there is a system problem. I will shut up now because I am becoming repetitive. Thank you for listening to me talk about things I think I know something about.

  14. Norm0770 says:

    That’s Carbo’s “system”. It used to work in the clutch and grab days that Carbo played in.

  15. krob1000 says:

    You look more like that bunny fron Donnie Darko.

  16. Smart Dog says:

    Yes we are insane! But what do we know? We’re crazy!

  17. Smart Dog says:

    Good point Jeffrey.

    It seems the only habit this team knows is to race back to their blue line to roll out the red carpet for the other team.

  18. Norm0770 says:

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeated ly and hoping for a different result. This applies to us as fans who watch the games and to the coaching staff.

    We keep tuning in hoping for the Habs to break out of their malaise while Carbo insists that the palyers have to play his system. However, Carbo has to realize his system isn’t working or his players can’t execute it, but yet changes nothing other than his lines every shift.

    The fans may get a pass on the insanity as we think any decent coach would change someting other than his lines every shift. So we watch a period thinking something will change and it doesn’t. So we watch the next period thinking Carbo will rally the troops with an inspirational speech…they come out flat again…actually I guess we are insane.

  19. Jeffrey Leclerc says:

    The juggling may have worked but at some point you have to settle and let these lines build trust and that second sense that your linemate is there to cover your ass if your out of position. You never get that if you are constantly changing up lines. If anyone has ever played organized hockey line cohesion is built over time and through many battles, things become second nature and you don’t have to think. The last thing you want to do in this NHL is think…it takes too much time and talent is wasted without confidence. Talent is great, but cohesion is success. Just ask the 93 Canadiens what they had more of.

  20. saskhab says:

    I get what you’re saying, but to suggest that line juggling is simply a Montreal phenomenon is really off-base.

    Vancouver and San Jose constantly juggle their lines, for example. In Chicago, Toews & Kane haven’t had a consistent linemate, and they’ve recently resorted to (shock, gasp!) converting a d-man to a top 6 forward. Thing is, it’s worked pretty well, as Dustin Byfuglien has become a bit of a sniper with 5 goals in his past 7 games.

  21. Smart Dog says:

    Well said! The only thing I want to add is that I find really strange that the line juggles actually WORKED – we had our best 5-on-5 game before the late meltdown (which had more to do with the overall team psyche than the lines… and maybe the team being tired playing with new linemates)… but THEN we went back to the OLD lines! To me Carbo had it right – switch them up – and then he backed down. Sad… real change was needed – we got it – now we need it again.

  22. Smart Dog says:

    Yes, that Saku is SUCH A COMPLAINER!! God knows what would happen if he ever faced any REAL adversity. LOL. Saku has given his all to this team when every other player phoned it in. Night after night. All he wants is to have a team that smells like a winner…. not like yesterday’s fish!

  23. Jeffrey Leclerc says:

    N.B…. while I can appreciate the patience game with this team, the problem is Carbonneau’s system doesn’t work with the makeup of this team. Unfortunately this is the only system he knows. The problem with these recent player turned coach is that you have to understand the game, not your game (at least the game you played in the old NHL era that Carbonneau flourished in). Hockey geniuses like Scotty Bowman, Jacques Demers, ets. while being successful in the old NHL learned and adjusted with the constant changing of the new NHL. Carbonneau just doesn’t get that, at least not yet. Maybe he does need time, but dammit if something isn’t working system wise, don’t change the lines thinking the system will work with for one line and not the other. That’s where you start dividing your team and how they see each other. Everyone has to buy into what you are doing and be able to function in the same system no matter who they are playing with. This line juggling thing Carbonneau is caught up in doesn’t build any cohesion withing that line or trust for that matter. No trust, no success, no success…anarchy!!!! Oh by the way, I know it’s just a game, but it’s our game and we have these discussions because of the game otherwise there’ no point.

  24. krob1000 says:

    Anyone else surprised we are not calling someone up???

  25. Smart Dog says:

    You are so right Gille! Saku is LUCKY to be playing with Ryder. LOL. Koivu tries to spoon feed Ryder a goal every game, even instead of shooting himself when he should. Ryder is snake bitten… I am sure Koivu would love it if Ryder would score but if not… another line-mate would be good. I know! How about bringing up some FOURTH LINE GUYS!!! LOL

    The Habs are going to the DAWGS!!!

  26. Gilles Poisson says:

    Now is time for Coach Guy to give another motivational pep talk. Before the Detroit game he said “I wish they were snowed in so we wouldn’t have to play them”. Excellent. It reminded me of Muhammed Ali before the fights. How come the players they didnt respond? Before the next game maybe he will say “Mon Dieu, please black out my eyes so I don’t have to watch these losers.”
    Now Ryder and Mathieu are back on the #1 line where they belong. Thank you. Now there will be no reasons for Saku to belly ache. Thank you.

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

    Smart dog,I like your comments and do agree with we need a system and the coach tried several different ways to get this team going and it is not working if they dont all work at it it cant be done,getting rid of the coach and bring in new players isnt going to help,because they will get picked on by the media or so called inpaticent fans when we lose a couple of games. I think our team is doing all right with what they have to work with,we cant get anyone to come to montreal because so many problems,so we as true habs fans should stop complaning and be thankful we have some young players coming up and lets not forget IT IS ONLY A GAME………..

  28. Ibleedbleublancetrouge. says:

    There are 30 teams in the NHL. 29 of them have a pretty good idea what the line-ups are going to look like night in and night out. For them, this is one less thing they do not have to worry about. One of these teams, les Canadiens, have played with so many different linemates, their names are starting to get crossed (ie: streidenault, kostopegin). This approach is both unhealthy and agitating. Knowing that should you somehow struggle for but half a shift can get you demoted (or promoted) will certainly breed anxiety, elevated blood pressure, cortisol release and God knows what else…

    Pre-season is the time to stir the pot and find out which recipe makes for a delicious cake, and yes, as certain players struggle you make SLIGHT adjustments through out your 82 game season. If things should reach an explosive state, then you throw out the recipe and either start from scratch or bring in new ingredients (or… you find a new cook).

    Bottom line, pick a line combination with your best players and forget loyalty. STICK with the line-up for more than 5 minutes- try ten games. Narrow down the problem or problems, one by one, and fix them.

    If you press the panic button night in and night out, at some point, you are going to get ignored…

  29. HabsInBlood says:

    The breaking point for me was when Brisebois flinched away from the puck leading to the wings 3rd goal last tuesday. Play O’Byrne with Hammer!! Breezer is constantly letting wingers skate around him into the corners and letting them maintain control of the puck … enough already!!

  30. Macurd says:

    … because the other team only has to stop one line and the Habs lose 4-0 like in Jersey.

  31. HabsInBlood says:

    As I said below, if you want to switch anything, swap Ryder and Kovalev. Look what happened to Kovalev that last time he ?’d the coach … nobody will open their mouth … at least not publicly.

  32. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Hit the nail on the head with this one. We gave the coaching staff a pass their first year but when the team does the same things over and over again, you must question coaching. Carbo’s been playing the blame game calling out players like Markov & lately Price and that’s not acceptable.

  33. HabsInBlood says:

    Are you f’in kidding me? The madness continues. Get Ryder back on that line and let them work it out. If you want to do anything, swap Ryder with Kovalev on the top 2 lines. I think Pleks and Tits can carry that line without Kovy. This has got to be because Dandenault scored against the Bs on Thursday playing on this line.

    Carbo’s tactics are all over the place, but just what is his strategy?

  34. joel says:

    i do agree with your assessment of the coach,,, i personally am begining to believe that Carbo is losing the room.. we have a bunch of young kids that need a strong coach. the other situation that i am concerned about is Saku… he is the player with the biggest heart on the team and i feel that now he is trying to do it all by himself.. the chemistry is starting to crumble.. we need someone that can teach these guys not to be afraid of winning,,, we have to get our swagger back like it was at the begining of this year

  35. Smart Dog says:

    Excellent points – especially the first part. Our defensive coaches can’t get good defense out of a team with some top notch defensemen. Helloooo…. somethings wrong with the plan.

    Couldn’t have said this better myself if I was human!

  36. krob1000 says:

    What bothers me is that players don’t block shots. Carbo regularly slid into Al MacInnis slapshots and didn’t even flinch. That is a big reason he was such a great penalty killer. Any one of our coaches would likely do the same today so it must be frustrating for them to sit back and watch the number of seemingly harmless shots get through from the point u=on us and lead to goals. I swear I am more afraid of a wrist shot from the blueline than I am of Kovalchuk on a breakaway. Too much traffic near our net and not at the point of release to actually block the shot. That it is my biggestpet peeve along with the lax defensive zone coverage although it is sort of what I am describing above as it is what leads to these “deadly” floaters.

  37. Smart Dog says:

    Ryder our ‘best player’! Arf! Arf! Arf!

  38. Ibleedbleublancetrouge. says:

    I think Carbo is holding them back. Think about it, when was the last time Komi broke someone up against the boards as he came into our zone? Must have been Mid-October. You know he wants to do it, someone is telling him he shouldn’t.

  39. krob1000 says:

    I sad the same thing last week and the next day an article came out where Koivu was quoted as saying”if you lose 2, 3 or four games in a row you don’t need to a call a team meeting” (not an exact quote but pretty darn close as I recall). I would have thought it would be a good idea just as a preventative type move.

  40. J.T. says:

    First, Carbo obviously doesn’t want our best players to play together. He’s had ample opportunity to try it and has decided not to do so. Second…if Breezer is one of our best players over Gorges, I think I need stronger painkillers.

  41. Jeffrey Leclerc says:

    SmartDog, your pic is unusual and really wierding me out, good comments though. I don’t post all that often, I take everybody’s opinon in and try to figure where it fits into my thinking. For those of you who are expecting a cup this year…keep waiting. I think alot of us get confused as to where this team is at. Rebuilding, or cup material? Our team had a fast start and made us all think this is a cup contender and I wish they were. Unfortunately there are a few thing missing. We have the money, (Mr. Gillette), we have the GM, but my heart is telling me that Mr. Carbonneau isn’t quite ready for prime time. He has lost the players trust, they don’t buy into his system anymore, they quit on a regular basis…any hockey fan can see this. I can accept losing while being competitive, but losing without passion sucks. Doesn’t it bother anyone else that a team coached by some of the best defensive hockey players of their era (Carbonneau, Muller, etc.) lose more faceoffs than they win, or doesn’t it bother anyone that they the Habs don’t finish checks, doesn’t it bother anyone that this team continually allows the opponent to skate into their zone while all 5 Hab defenders collapse around the goaltender watching the puck carrier while the opponents defenseman cuts through the crease receiving the pass from the forward working the boards without being checked??????????????? Dam it all it’s the same s*** every game. Does Carbonneau see this??? Doesn’t he see this is a disturbing trend that costs this team goals and games? His system is not working, he doesn’t realize that he needs to tweek this system. You have a couple of players on this team that deserve success (Mr. Koivu) and everyone wants success for him. The problem is that he has been surrounded with a bunch of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year players. (Higgins, Kostitsyn, Plekanec, Streit, Latendresse, etc.) The rest of this team is made up of veterans that aren’t necessarily star quality. We all want Kovalev to be the star he is capable of, but he’s not a leader. It’s the coach folks!!!! They have enough talent to be competitive, not cup material, give that a few years. Bob Gainey, please don’t allow our team to not care, we the fans finance this team. Again Smartdog…sorry about the wierding me out part but man, that’s one f***** up pic.

  42. Mike says:

    why can’t we put our best players togther.

    Michael Ryder – Saku Koivu – Alex Kovalev
    Andrei Kostitsyn – Tomas Plekanec – Christopher Higgins
    Guillaume Latendresse – Kyle Chipchura – Mathieu Dandenault
    Mark Streit (if we can’t have anyone else) – Maxim Lapierre – Tom Kostopoulos

    Andrei Markov – Mike Komisarek
    Roman Hamrlik – Ryan O’Byrne
    Francis Bouillon – Patrice Brisebois

  43. Norm0770 says:

    Absolutley! Carbo’s sytem is designed around the way he played in the pre-lockout NHL as a shutdown forward. THe problem is that packing your own blueline won’t work if you can’t hold someone up or hook them as the go past.

  44. fun police says:

    rds is reporting that dandy is on the first line with koivu and higgins. that pretty much sums up our problems right there. carbo is terrible. can’t score goals, no wonder why. two defensemen as forwards? FIRE CARBO ALREADY!!! people wonder why koivu looks like he’s upset. i would be ticked as well if i had a converted defensemen as a linemate. can you see why UFA’s don’t want to come here. a fourth line player gets the same amount of icetime as our star players. pathetic.

  45. Smart Dog says:

    Just saying give 100% is stupid.

    The teams needs a system and they need to work it. It also needs to be right for them and for today’s NHL. I don’t know what system they are working but they don’t seem to work it right. I think they don’t like it. And if it lets other teams waltz into our end night after night, I don’t like it either!

  46. Smart Dog says:

    Why don’t WE call a meeting. Tell them to be there and tell us what is wrong with the team!!!!

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

    we cant blame the coach for pointing his finger at his players ,they have a job to do and if they after several games dont put an effort and be proud to wear the ch then we as fans can call them out but the coach cant ……..I watch some of the games and no matter who is on the ice they seem to get the lead and then blow it in the last 10 min.It shouldent matter who is on the ice playing win or lose if they give it 100% then they get a pat on the back .We have alot of talant on this team and the farm team and we can do it if they work together.If we dont do our jobs right than we are told ,right………

  48. Smart Dog says:

    THAT’s WHAT I WANT TO KNOW!

    We are so lousy on the forecheck AND the back-check. Its amazing we win games ever! Face it, we’ve scored enough goals… it’s our defensive play that stinks up the joint. It looks like our strategy is to let the other team into our end. Weird, just weird.

  49. AdamG says:

    i like the remark about the Leafs turning around a after losing to the Habs…nothing wakes a team up like losing to us…lol

  50. AdamG says:

    the players never call meeting. carbonneau actually remarked on that last week. he doesn’t understand why they don’t call mettings. christ, if that’s not a sign that this team is sitting back, waiting for a change, i don’t know what is.

  51. AdamG says:

    but that’s not how this team thinks. they’re not a team. they’re a group of individuals. everyone is doing their own thing. it’s why we can’t string two passes together. we see this every single year. the only thing that EVER snaps the team out of its doldrums is a few goalie-steals. when huet and halak came in and stole some games that last few years, confidence grew and they started playing better. this year, price doesn’t seem quite ready to do it, and huet seems completely incapable of holding it down late in games.

    but i will say that IF anything changes, it’s going to have to change from within because i really don’t see Bob doing anything. maybe later in the season he’ll trade guys like huet and ryder for picks, but other than that no.

  52. J.T. says:

    I wonder if Higgins or Komisarek, or Koivu for that matter, ever call a team meeting in which they ask every player in front of everyone else…”What can YOU do better?” Make each guy take responsibility for a small piece of the team’s success and give him something to focus on? It’d give each player a clearer picture of what he needs to do, and it would forge a verbal contract with the team…”Here’s my committment to you.” Also, if the team manages to turn it around, it gives each guy a particular sense of pride in his role in the team’s success.

  53. The Cat says:

    Habs can win if Halak plays. If theres anyone on a mission on the habs -its him.

  54. Blitzen says:

    I would also like to ask the following question of Carbo: when you are ahead is it you telling the players to stop forechecking or are they all collectively doing it on their own despite you telling them to press on?

    This would easily answer the question of who is to blame…

  55. Blitzen says:

    Higgy always says that one guy has to step up his game and help the team out of the slump. I think that is precisely the kind of thinking that is counterproductive. The team as a whole needs to step its game up. Right now, everyone is waiting for someone else to be the hero.


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