Habs hoping Christmas doesn’t come early

In each of the last two seasons, the Canadiens have started to slide down the standings around the holidays, The Gazette’s Pat Hickey writes. And after a promising start to this season, the Canadiens are in a slump, having lost two straight and four out of their last five games.

More worrisome, Hickey writes, is the way in which the Canadiens have played during those games, something that has to be a concern for the coaching staff.

"The players who are supposed to be doing the job aren’t getting it done," head coach Guy Carbonneau said.

Things don’t get any easier on Tuesday when the Detroit Red Wings – the best team in the NHL at the moment – fly into town to take the on the Habs.


  1. linp says:

    Carbo: “The players who are supposed to be doing the job aren’t getting it done”

    I just don’t like Carbo keep blaming the players. What job is he assigning the players to do. He needs to be more specific. I suspect all his said was “Go out and play hard. You have new line mates now”.

    A good coach should exercise a good system and has the players bought into it. Your team can recover even if you lose your star players. Look at Baffalo and how Lindy Ruff coaches the team.

  2. Cable Guy says:

    This game for some reason doesn’t worry me as much as when we play the Leafs. I think we can skate with this team and I personally think we’ll probably win.

  3. Rocket Richard says:

    Should the Habs be worried?

    Yes. After Saturday night affair with Nashville and the disappointing finish, it would be very interesting to see how they will react.

    The next six games that the Habs play will be a test for this 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens.

    Upcoming Opponents: Detroit, Boston, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Toronto.

    Seeing that their is a 5 point point difference between the 3rd seeded Hurraines to the 9th seated Leafs could only raise the thought that the Habs need a to win 4,5 or 6 of those next 6 games just to keep in line with the rest of the teams.

    If the Habs win only 1 or 2 of the next 6 games, you know that changes need to be made – and fast.

    Its a cause for concern.

    Personnally, I hope the Habs can work this through and get out of this slump their in. Somehow though, I feel that the worst is yet to come.

    Time will tell.

    December 1,2007 – rise and fall of the 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens

  4. Corio says:

    @Cable Guy

    Just like we were going to win against Nashville? Problem is we can’t keep even a 3 goal lead. Our defensive game in our zone is pathetic at best, we have trouble clearing the puck and picking up men in front and behind our net. You can see it when it starts to happen. First Habs can’t clear their own zone and the shift seems to last forever as the play continues with the Habs unable to take control of the puck in their zone almost like they are fighting a power play. Then, inevitably almost every time the visiting team scores.

    Also, how many 2-1s and breakaways did the Habs give up against Nashville during 5 on 5 play? What the hell is that all about?

    Sorry to say but as much as I don’t want to say it, it looks like a repeat of last year is headed our way.

  5. sam says:

    the 2-on-1’s were about Nashville’s speed and nothing more. maybe we weren’t used to that kind of speed and weren’t expecting our passes to get cut like that.
    we do it to teams on a weekly basis as well.

  6. RetroMikey says:

    Even if we had Scotty Bowman as coach, it’s still the players that have to perform. So much a coach can do. But I have been disappointed lately in the play of Bouillion, Dandeneault, Begin, and yes Higgins as well. I still believe in the team and if it is a minor slump, let’s shake it off and start fresh. We’ve got to go back to basics and play hard and hustle, even in practices.

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  7. odber says:

    I don,t expect the habs to beat detroit,but I do expect them to play with some heart,some tenacious forchecking,finish their checks,be responsible in their own end,play with an edge.Ryder needs to sit a few out,bring up o,byrne and lapierre.i,d like to see carboneau put a line together like the old tremblay,lambert ,risebrough line,cause trouble in the other teams end,lapierre could center that line,not to sure of who the wingers would be.

  8. JF says:

    The Habs certainly have problems, but it might be a good thing that they’re showing themselves early. Last year we sailed through until December 23 thinking there were no problems, then suddenly the wheels fell off and we didn’t get back on track until the middle of March. If we can address some of these problems now, we may still be all right. The most glaring problem, and one that will be hard to solve without a trade or, failing that, bringing some players up from Hamilton, is 5-on-5 offense. The other issues – defensive zone coverage, protecting a lead, penalty kill – involve game strategy, work ethic and attitude. Surely these things can be worked on and improved using the players we have. It is unacceptable that we lose when we have a three-goal lead with 8 minutes to play, and it is difficult to understand our inability to come back even from a one-goal deficit. But there should be enough talent on the team to work on these things if the will to do so is there. We started the season full of confidence and working hard every night. We have to regain that confidence and work ethic.

  9. Axeman says:

    I for one don’t want to hit the panic button just yet … Right now, the Habs are going through a slump … it happens to all teams. I do wish. however, that Carbs would stop his incessant line juggling. Sometimes, it takes a few games for the chemistry between players to work. Instead of the Habs always trying to line-match their oppontents, how ’bout letting THEM worry about line-matching US. Markov is obviously playing injured. The only real enigma is Ryder. He doesn’t seem to gel on any line (although I’m not sure he’s been on any one line long enough. Remember, all we Habs fans knew at the beginning of the season that this team was a work in progress. Heck, the “experts” predicted that we’d finish 12th or so, and assuming this slump is indeed a slump, I think we will finish at least a solid 6th. I really like Huet/Price as our goaltending tandem, and if we could package Ryder and perhaps Halak for a sniper, we’ll be in good shape. We still have a good chunk of the season to go, and I don’t believe that this team was “overacheiving” early in the season like last year … we were playing well. The team we saw will find their legs again, and once the playoffs arrive, anything can happen. GO HABS GO!

  10. coutNY says:

    The move putting Saku on the 3rd line with a bunch of duds, to me does not serve any purpose but to waste the talents of a great two-way player. If your going to do something like this why not play him with Kovalev. The biggest arguement against it prior is the need to balance out the lines. Obviously, the arguement was thrown out the window when you apply the new formations with Smolinski and Streit together with Koivu on the 3rd line. No Offense Carbo but Smolinski hasn’t been doing much and Streit hasn’t played forward yet this year and looked a little rusty Koivu has been fighting game in and out to spark less linemates. Play him with Kovalev and Higgins to make a true #1. Higgins seemed to play well with Kovalev and Pleks on Saturday and I think you add Koivu with similar success. Form a line #2 with Pleks/Ryder/Kostitsyn and see if a transitional-speed game can be found. Round it out with a #3 Latendresse/Chipa/Kostopolus
    and #4 Begin/Smoli/Dandy…

    Move Streit back to D with Hammer. Although Streit has had few shaky starts on D, he was nowhere near as bad as Bris-bye against Nashville. I trust Gorge with Boullion more than Brisebios with anyone at this point, especially when it comes to faster transtional teams.

    Even if, Koivu and Kovalev don’t like playing on the same line, I think all would be outwieghted by the success with a better 5-5 production and the fact they’re not playing with inferior line-mates when it come to talent. (not that Pleks is Inferior but I think he is better in a transion game with a Ryder and Kostitsyn line formation). I VOTE TO ASSEMBLE A #1 LINE allowing for a transitional period to become effective!

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