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Hal Gill, Louis Leblanc, Mike Cammalleri, Erik Cole and Jacques Martin (to come later) talk about a tough loss.
During long stretches early in the game, the crowd seemed, from what I could tell from the comfort of my living room, as quiet as I could remember at any time recently. I could hear the players talking to each other on the ice during play, and not a peep from tonight’s ticket holders. I wonder if the nervousness of the team is starting to rub off on the crowd. Do they, like the players, dread what’s coming next, and expect the worst? There was no overconfidence, no “Olé Olé Olé” from the stands, but there was a nice moment when Louis Leblanc scored his first NHL goal and he was the recipient of a long ovation.
David Desharnais had another strong game with a goal and an assist. On his first shift, he forechecked in the Flyer zone, bodychecked Braydon Coburn off the puck and came out of the corner with it, only to have it end up on Hal Gill’s stick, who tonight had his goal-scoring streak snapped. Regardless, this impressive play along the boards was reminiscent of his work against Joe Thornton in San Jose, and refutes the notion that he is too small and not physical enough to be effective as an NHL center. Once again tonight, he was the best of the Canadiens’ centres.
Tonight also saw the return of Mike Blunden, who was recalled from Hamilton to replace the injured Travis Moen. He played little, racking up only 3 minutes of icetime, but he did make a penalty kill appearance. His presence was noteworthy at one point when he stood in front of Carey Price after a stoppage in play, and guided Wayne Simmonds away from the net. On this occasion and another where Mr. Simmonds was faced with Alexei Emelin, he moved along and got ready for the faceoff, as compared to earlier games this season where he acted like a big thuggish jerk against Yannick Weber or Raphaël Diaz. This once again shows that the ‘physical’ teams like the Bruins and the Flyers tend to pick their spots, they’re brave against Tom Pyatt but strategic against Georges Laraque, when all of a sudden they remember their coach’s instructions and rationalize that now would not be a good time for a penalty.
It also shows that Mr. Blunden has a role to play on this team, and was playing it well during his first callup earlier in the season. His assist on the Louis Leblance was not a cheapie, as was in front of the net keeping a Flyer defenceman occupied and screening the goalie. He may not be a great fighter, but his size and hard work are appreciated by his teammates I’m sure. It also shows that the Canadiens would benefit from one or two more rugged wingers to mix in with the current team. We don’t need a Chris Neil or John Kordic, but a player with Mike McPhee’s skillset would be great, if such a beast was attainable anywhere for a reasonable price.
A goal by Tomas Plekanec was waved off by the refs for goalie interference by Erik Cole, but a remarkably similar goal was scored by the Flyers later, and this one was allowed. I was left to wonder if Erik Cole had been wearing a black and diarrhea Bruin jersey, otherwise known as Ref Camo, would that goal have counted?
Some attention was paid to the bad play committed by Alexei Emelin in his zone that led to the second Philadelphia goal. It was reminiscent of the play P.K. Subban made against the Islanders on Tuesday, but as Mr. Emelin’s apologist, I worked hard to try to find mitigating circumstances for him.
The short pass to the forward positioned in front of the net is an option for the defencemen in Le Système™, in combination with the very safe clearing against the boards to the waiting winger. I am getting used to this play, although at first it was disconcerting to me, I had been coached all my life to never pass the puck to the middle of the ice. Done properly, it makes the zone breakout easy to achieve, as it provides the defenceman with two avenues for his pass. The boards is the preferred method, but if the opposing winger is already positioned to intercept, the defenceman can pass to his centreman, who is usually 3 or 4 metres away and ready for the pass. This proximity makes it an easy, safe pass, with very little chance of it being intercepted or mishandled. What broke down on Tuesday for P.K. and tonight for Alexei is that their pass was a little bit rushed and imprecise, and the centreman wasn’t completely ready to receive it. In both cases, the puck ended up on the opposition’s stick, and resulted in a goal.
Again, as the founder of the Alexei Emelin Booster Club, I was quick to notice that his partner Tomas Kaberle went for a little skate, a wild goose chase after the puck, which he could have avoided by staying in his proper position, since the puck would have come to him. I think we need to resign ourselves to the fact that Mr. Kaberle will make these errors, and coaching won’t cure him of these bad habits. Mr. Emelin can still learn and improve.
Another point of interest is P.K.’s insistence during the powerplay to try to blast the puck throught the goalie on a one-timer. This has been a hobby-horse of Michel Bergeron on l’Antichambre, it annoys him, and they paid a lot of attention to it tonight, but I have to agree that Mr. Subban needs to demonstrate adaptability and try something different, since while this approach worked late last season, it is not producing results this year. Our powerplay is predictable, when his stick is up in the air it telegraphs what we are about to do, and even if the goalie is screened he can see the stick and slide in position and let the puck hit him. P.K. needs to double-clutch, and then try a quick slapper or wrister, or try a slap-pass to a forward, or deke the cringing forechecker who is hoping to block the shot and skate around him to drive the net. Doing so will keep the opposing penalty killers honest, and make his shots more effective when he lets them go.
Another measuring-stick game during which we come up a little bit short. The powerhouse Flyers, minus Chris Pronger, Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn, against our guys missing Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Travis Moen and perennials Andrei Markov and Ryan White. We’re playing at home, and will probably have to go through these Flyers for a deep run through the playoffs. We lose the game, are not outclassed, but have the sense that the Flyers had another gear or two to shift into if necessary. This season’s outlook gets less murky the further we proceed.
How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?
I’m not a JM fan but how can you blame him when there’s usually someone on the team getting caught with their head up their ass. If you can’t beat these losers without Donger and Giroux, you suck. Plain and simple.
Has number 13 turned into another number 11?
The best “system” is one that is flexible and can be altered to meet different situations. The worst “system” is one that never changes to deal with different situations . . . you know, like the inflexible JM system . . . can we send JM and numbers 11 and 13 somewhere far away . . . we don’t need to ask for anything in return . . .
Mr. Beliveau: “Pure Pak mais oui”! . . . What ever happened to Johnny Jelly-Bean!?
we might get some value off cammy, but we should trade gomer and jm for a bag of pucks, you cant go wrong with a bag of pucks…
Several points….As someone who covered hockey for years, I think the Press Box is the worst place for watching the game. Reporters too busy, eating, drinking and chatting to actually see what is happening. Boone…blog from home…then you won’t blame P.K. for a goal that was caused by Price…you will note that Pleks and A.K. were at fault on the first goal…On the second Philly goal, a player was in the crease way more than Cole was. Habs goal disallowed….Philly goal, a-O.K…Double standard as usual…
A good coach even a mediocre coach would have given LL ice time in the 3rd. Martin has no feel for the game and knows nothing about MOTIVATION. FIRE HIS ASS.
It’s really frustrating to see all these players on the Habs who you know are good, but then watch JM’s style and see they are not used to their potential/ability.
It’s sad that when LL scores his first NHL goal and the bell centre goes crazy that the team does not get up and use that energy to bury the other team. Also, he scores a goal and only plays minimal time? What is the rationale behind that move? It feels like JM has a few players he likes to play and others he just won’t trust because they don’t go wit the system…. Man, when was the last time JM actually showed he gave a crap? I read the article posted here about how the Habs are a secretive organization, perhaps they favour coaches who are stoic and show no emotion. Either way I don’t think that’s what is good for this crop of players. And what is wrong with Squid? He seems unmotivated.
I think JM’s system is just not right for this team. I look at teams like Boston and Philly and see they are always threatening offensively, and play a solid game on top of that. I haven’t seen the Habs be an offensive presence in years, and they aren’t that great defensively… Why don’t they play to their strengths instead of trying to contain the other team? It’s frustrating..
Most depressing thing about tonight
Louis Leblanc quote
“I felt great. Like 10,00 pounds had been lifted. Excited”
Now I’ll sit the rest of the game because Jacques Martin is coaching.
yup, according to my calculations…jesus
Shiloh, just face it, you know you aint gonna skip any Habs game. No matter what.
Being a Habs fan is like suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
good one, but too soon with all the talk about hickey’s article.
tragedy + time = funny
Lame doubleH, they deleted our posts below.
There was some gold there.
MODS! (screams in best Bill Shatner Wrath of Kahn voice)
Could someone from Montreal do something? Organize a sit-in? A riot maybe? Let them know we all hate JM! Most of us are too far away for this kind of action.
It seems to me that there has been a fundamental change to the landscape in the NHL. It all starts with the cap. Revenue has gotten so high that the cap is no longer the great leveler it has been for the last several years. Teams like Pittsburg, Boston and Philly can afford to have 4 or more superstars (say, Crosby Malkin stall and Fluery) and also a strong supporting cast. There is more money than there is available talent now, although salaries may increase and fix that in time.
This makes the Kaberle trade pretty harmless, because we don’t really have a problem with cap space for next year.
The problem is not that there is, once again a top tier of truly elite teams. The problem is that we are not one of them.
At least we can enjoy the Juniors this year.
The problem is paying 3rd and 2nd line players top dollars, something this team seems to have a real problem with
Since I was about five or six years old, I always thought it was ridiculous when people only use points as the standard for who is a good player. Just because the puck bounces off your ass and onto someone’s stick and in the net doesn’t make you a valuable player.
My good friend Ryzla sent me this text about JM and I think its dead on
“I actually figured jm out tonight. He doesn’t believe in magic. He has no instincts. He doesn’t get hunches. He operates 100% based on his system. No improvising skills whatsoever. Its not his system that sucks. Its his inability to adapt based on the flow or a gut feeling. The man has no instincts. And he’s emotionless so he doesn’t understand hunches. “
Bingo . . . well said!
LL did his best to play professionally by hiding his emotions on ice for his 1st goal and he gets benched in the 3rd?
Read the papers JM, the people WANTS YOU fired!!!!
“Responding to the media , or playing to the media, or listening to the fans is the quickest way to start losing” – Sam Pollock
Depending on what papers you read you’ll see people wanting Harper out of a job, won’t change a thing
immortalhab, what in the hell are you talking about in the second half of your post? Cammy didn’t pot any goals tonight and he seems snakebitten lately, but he had at least 7 SOG tonight and some good chances – his best game in a while. Kabs, while I hate the contract side of the signing, got 2 assists tonight and it would have been 3 if Cole’s first goal hadn’t been waived off. That’s 5 points in 3 games as a Hab. How is he the same player as Spacek? And where are you getting that Carolina is going to sign Gorges?
You might be bang on about JM though.
*EDIT – It seems the post I replied to has disappeared. Sorry if this looks out of place.
– Honestly yours
Subban needs to sit a game or two. that guy is a total liability on the ice right now. anyone see at the end of the game he backhands the puck high into the air form his own zone when we need to take the puck up the ice and score. then he iced the puck right after. poor poor hockey decision from this young man right now
i don’t know why they keep comparing Carey Price to God………i mean he’s good, but he’s no Carey Price.
I don’t understand some people, who else is going to eat up his minutes? Gill? (Who a lot of people bash here) Emelin? (Who everyone loves but big TO today) Diaz? (Everyone wanted him scratched instead of Emelin) there’s just nobody on the team right now to play #1 minutes
P.K. is so bad right now, i would rather see minutes spread out ( Diaz, Campoli, Emelin hell even St. Denis was playin more consistently than P.K. I know some of our D can’t hadle those minutes but can it get any worse when P.K. is on the ice ?- I really really hope this is a sophmore slump.
Hey does anyone know where JM lives……i just bought a dozen eggs !
i don’t know why they keep comparing Carey Price to God………i mean he’s good, but he’s no Carey Price.
Darche 5on5 – 11:53
Yeah… and? What are you trying to say?
That JM played Darche more on 5 on 5 than he did Maxpac.
And LL who scored…gets 4 mins
Funny how you leave out Max’s 6:08 on the PP and 17:24 total.
First time poster but a long time reader. I grew up a Habs fan and will always be one.
Gotta say, I watched the Sens (grew up in Ottawa) when JM was coach and this is feeling much the same way. The talent is underused, the energy is lacking at the end of a game, and the players are constantly visibly frustrated. This is not how teams win championships in my opinion.
There are some fantastic pieces to this team I think, but they are not being used to their full potential. The system may work sometimes, but it’s too easy to rely on a system when in hockey you need to have heart, instinct, and a go for it attitude (reference the bruins…). The guys on this team are not allowed to use their natural instincts and are constantly reined in…in some cases punished for playing with emotion and heart. It’s really sad to watch.
Let the scorers score, the defense defend, and the goalie stop pucks. And let the players be themselves, then we will see their potential.
Obviously there needs to be organization, but it does not have to stifle creativity and passion.
The Habs have been all about stifling creativity and passion ever since Jacques Lemaire tried to turn Guy Lafleur into a two-way forward.
Guy Lafleur turned himself into a journeyman with his casual indifference to physical fitness and his partying ways. If he was still ringing up fifty goal seasons he wouldn’t have had to dream up this whole Corey-Savard-Lemaire conspiracy bullspit. I loved Guy when he still cared, but he turned the end of his career into the joke that it became all by himself.
Welcome to the mad house, amigo.
Seriously less than five minutes for Leblanc like congrats on your first goal but we are going to screw his development over if we dont send him back to Hamilton for top 6 minutes ugh damn you Martin I can’t wait to see the day you are fired
same here, counting down the days until he gets fired!
i will be going to the mtl vs buf game february 17th, u think he will be fired by then? probably not
Lol that would be awesome if he was by them but he probably wont -_-
That disallowed goal hurt. This game was totally winnable. Our team doesn’t suck. Maybe just the results.
Next, the Devils.
Watching Cole play, I can’t help but think that if he’d been on the Habs playoff roster last year against the Bruins, there would have been at least one more round of playoffs at the Bell Centre last year.
“if’s and buts were candy and nuts…what a Merry Christmas, we all would have.” Dandy Don Maynard
I feel bad for Cole (as much as I can feel bad for anybody making few million bucks a year pushing a piece of rubber around). He is the only player who seems to be busting his ass our there game after game, he actually gets results and the rest of the team just plain sucks. It must be killing him to see guys like Cammilleri, Pleks, Gionta and Gomez making twice what he is making and doing absolutely nothing.
C’mon Timo. You’re a more knowledgeable fan than that – you know these guys cap hits/salaries. Cole’s is 4.5mil which is only slightly less than Pleks and Gio at 5mil. Cammy’s at 6 and Gomer….well we all know Gomer’s 7.357mil.
Those are the cap hits, but the actual salaries for this season break down like this if memory serves me right:
Cole – 6mil
Pleks and Gio – 5 mil
Cammy – 6mil
Gomer – 7.5mil
Only guy making more than Cole is Gomer.
You are 100% correct about Cole seeming to be the hardest working guy out there though. That was truly a great signing by PG.
For the last 2 months of last year. Jeff Halpern was one of our first line wingers. It was obvious we needed an upgrade at the trade deadline. Gauthier decided to do nothing and 1 goal was the difference in the first round last year. What could have been if Gauthier had the balls of a Paul Holmgrun and would have made a move.
And why were the Habs so impatient with Carbo and didn’t hestitate to fire him during his first tough stretch but are sooooooo patient with Martin.
Because ain’t managing this team anymore. Just advising…nothing I guess…
Cammilleri sure does like to talk. Too bad he is not doing any kind of talking on the ice. Another great signing by Bobo.
Have the habe gotten worse and worse year after year since Martin took over. Ya ok so Halak stood on his head in the playoffs and the Bruins played like sick puppies in round 1. Ya keep Marin around for that!
Blunden – nokie – Darche a very effective 4th line.. F***KIN use it.
Seriously i can coach this team better
JM only needs to roll two lines silly.
Trading deadline can’t come soon enough. Hoping it’s so long Cammy & Pleky. Oh by the way, take JM with you.
“Hate the Ole song like a sickness”
Yikes! Pleky’s getting thrown under the bus now too? Tough times!
Sure, it would be nicer if he scored more goals, but wanting him off the team entirely is just nuts.
LOL, this team will be an “Average” bubble team until they rid themselves of this plague known as Jacques Martin…I mean, Leblanc scores his 1st NHL goal and he gets benched? haha
Mathieu Darche nearly 17 minutes of ice time and LL gets just under 5…Get your head out of your rearend, Jacques…
Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?
I think that’s exactly where JM’s head belongs.
So habs did score on the 5 on 3. I am still baffled as to why that goal was called back. The outcome of this game would have been totally different.
Can anyone else figure out why the f**k JM called a timeout with 1:15 left in the first when they ARE ON a 5 on 3. Like why waste it. They easily had 5 others on the bench that were more than capable of getting on the ice and scoring. It came back to bite him and the habs in the ass when they were down by a goal with a min left.
Those are the idiotic things the JM does. I can understand when they are killing a 5 on 3, but worst timeout call i have every seen
Mike– By the way, it was price that gave the puck away for that last goal. PK just swiped at it in desperation trying to get it out.
1st goal was a miscue by Emelin. And Eller is having a tough time out there, I just wonder if he should still be in Hamilton developing his game.
Martin does not use his bench the way I think he should, played two lines until they were completely ineffective in the 3rd. Leblanc played only one shift in the 3rd.
Players were spent and we took penalties when tired. A lot of the game we had 5 players all skating backwards as defensemen.
PP is a little better but still very ineffective.
On the positive, DD continues to have the biggest heart on the team right now. I forgot about Cole!
I take it you’re not of the view that Jacques Martin be considered for coach of the year honours?
But Ian, why swipe at Emelin & Eller and stroke Deharnais? Nice (rare) goal for him, and cheers for that, but Eller & Emelin do their great plays as well and Deharnais is often dreadful — I don’t get why all the Mtl media and some commentors here see DD as an almost-superstar.
Second Flyer goal DD has the puck at his stick and makes no effort, as it then goes to a Flyer at the point and the same DD just stands there while his man — right behind him — scores.
I’m only mentioning that because Emelin was no worse, yet the two players get opposite treatments. Even Mr. Boone is an absolute mooncalf for DD: from his blog here he is all but Deharnais’ press agent….
You really need to stop blaming that first goal on Emelin. He had his guy tied up. It was Pleks that blew the coverage.
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