Reading till the other shoe drops

Witching hour approaches for Cinderella – Roy MacGregor

Skategate

Carter, Laperrière lift Flyers – Arpon Basu

Hab believers put to the test again – Damien Cox

Flyers teach Habs a tough lesson – Allan Muir of SI

Flyers put Habs on the brink – Scott Burnside

• For comic relief, BGL blames Jacques Martin

And two good analyses from the Commentariat:

From the ever-astute Chris:

I don’t understand how the Habs could lay such a
huge and perfect egg. Of course, one has to give credit to Laviolette
and the Flyers…they got back to what they did in Games 1 and 2, and
took away the time and space that the Habs enjoyed in Game 3.

On
the other hand, three things really jumped out at me: 

  • the
    Habs simply had no jump whatsoever — they were running around like they
    were skating in sand while the Flyers were blowing past people all over
    the ice, as they did in the first couple of games
  • the passing
    (particularly in the neutral zone and offensive zone) was absolutely
    atrocious — couldn’t count the number of times a pass was behind a
    player, too far in front or passed to their wrong side for good shooting
    opportunities
  • too many players (especially Plekanec, Pouliot
    and Kostitsyn) have absolutely no confidence right now…they are
    passing when they should carry the puck, refusing to take any calculated
    risks even when the team is down and peeling off for changes when the
    Habs could possibly have some odd-man rushes

We know the
Habs can come down from 3 games to 1.  But it is looking increasingly
likely that they will make it 0 for 7 for teams that required 7 games in
their first two rounds.  With the Flyers seemingly figuring out how to
neutralize Gionta and Cammalleri (each with 1 goal and -3 ratings in 4
games, after combining for 19 goals, 11 assists and -4 rating in the
previous 14 games), the Habs desperately need something from the other
offensively gifted players on the roster.  Unfortunately, those other
players are busy crushing the carbon in their hockey sticks into
diamond.

And from Coach K:

Anyone watching today’s game with even a bit of
hockey intelligence, would have seen that today’s showing had nothing to
do with a lack of effort.  The effort was there but what was very
evident was their poor management of the puck from their goal line out. 

Time after time, play after play, the defence would gain control
in their end and make a good first pass to a winger on the half
boards.  What transipred next was that the forwards repeatedly failed to
make a solid, tape-to-tape second pass from their own half-boards to
the neutral zone.  The end result was watching the Flyers gobble up that
errant 2nd pass and turn it back up ice to start their attack. If any
of you have the luxury of video tape or a PVR you’ll see exactly what
I’m talking about.

The Habs inability to make that clean 2nd pass,
killed any forward momentum and made it impossible to get the puck in
deep behind the slow-footed Flyer defence.  That lead to further
frustration by the defence and caused them to just chip it out off the
boards or glass to take the pressure off.  That’s ok once in a while but
when that becomes your break out, then your in big trouble.  Forwards
(no matter how skilled) can’t be expected to pick up a shoulder high
chip pass with any kind of control.   That second pass is maybe even
more critical than than a good first pass, particularly if they want to
be able to back the opposition’s defence up and use their vaunted speed.
You can’t “get it in deep” if you don’t have control of it.

It
amazes me that million dollar players can’t grasp the concept of making
passes that go tape-to-tape.  At the price they are paid, I don’t think
its unreasonable to expect them to be able to make passes that aren’t 2
feet behind the recipient, in his skates or four feet off the ice.  It
was really frustrating to witness the number of broken plays and missed
opportunities
caused by their lack of attention to that one, most fundamental detail. 
Even the Peewee team I coached this year understood the importance of
good passes.  I’m sorry but for that kind of money, there’s no excuse.

Just
sayin…

54 Comments

  1. longtimehabsfan says:

    Habs can use a forward like Marleau.  Take the money you’re going to spend on Pleks and sign him.  The problem with the Sharks isn’t Marleau.  That team is simply cursed. 

  2. longtimehabsfan says:

    Dump in deep and chase with speed.  Or play rope a dope in our end, which is risky.  But the best way to beat this style is with puck possession but we have to win more face-offs and make better passes [see Coach K's post].

  3. Dunboyne Mike says:

    If the neutral zone trap killed our speed-game in Game 4, what can we do different to win on Monday?

  4. HabFanSince72 says:

    You really are a broken record aren’t you?

  5. Mrs.Price31 says:

    I love how Carey supports Halak even when everyone else starts to doubt him. I don’t know but I have never seen Halak do that to Carey. (Not trying to cause a Halak vs Price fight here) I’m just saying….

    Following site shows how Carey helped Halak keep his focus and confidence in game #3.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MCZv0sIBEo&feature=player_embedded#!

  6. Bob Barker says:

    Not related to hockey but this video made me laugh. The Habs should consider doing to Philly. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnXh3XR9zyM&feature=channel

  7. HabFanSince72 says:

    Where the plan falls apart is the “Chris Pronger type D man” Not that I wouldn’t want one.

  8. jew4jah says:

    laraques a bumbaklaat. 

    he doesn’t take a shred of responsibilty for his situation. which means he’ll have the same attitude if he signs elsewhere.  good riddance. 

    he’s rotten.  they bought the dude out!  sent him packing.  c’mon, even sergei’s still with the team. 

  9. Xtrahabsfan says:

    I’ll say it again….The Habs need Taylor Pyatt,Deric Boogaard, Artukin and one Pronger type Dman….And then we’ll go to the top….Stanley Cup Baby…Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Storm Man says:

    Konopka.

  11. munch17 says:

    For me – when BGL wouldn’t go after Lucic last year – even if Lucic didn’t want to – that was it .

    Not mean enough. We need a 4th liner who is mean and has a few loose screws!

  12. harrow15 says:

    The Habs are a small, speedy and skillful team, they should play like that accordingly. Dress Darche (speed, intensity), scratch OB (not enough playoff time), and emphasize puck possession with calculated speed and courage.

    -Pacquiao vs Mayweather will rock the world.

  13. harrow15 says:

    The Habs are a small, speedy and skillful team, they should play like that accordingly. Dress Darche (speed, intensity), scratch OB (not enough playoff time), and emphasize puck possession with calculated speed and courage.

    -Pacquiao vs Mayweather will rock the world.

  14. Aaron13 says:

    Montreal must resort to the way they played against WAS and PIT. Hug the enemy: deprive them of space and time; fervent forechecking, hitting, fast skating, net presence and, shoot the puck at the net at all times. If you don’t shoot you’ll never score. If you do, there’s a 50/50 chance of scoring.

  15. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Dump and NOT-chase-but-go-for-a-line-change looked like the prevailing offensive strategy yesterday. Time and time again. If more of those pucks had been pursued, maybe we would have scored, maybe Pronger and co would have tired out.

    Or were all the zillions of line changes because our guys were the ones who were tired out?

    So, again, does this mean our sole option is to do the same thing again, only better?

  16. TripleX says:

    Agree dump and chase can effectively counter the left wing lock.  But it only works if the team is committed to it 100%.  Just dumping it in with no aggressive forecheck just allows the Flyers to come out with no obstruction.  Last game there was no commitment from the Habs, how many times did they dump the puck in and go for a line change?

    I don’t know if it is the players or JM insisting on these line changes even when an odd man rush is taking place.

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  17. SeriousFan09 says:

    Marleau’s a high-pressure choker, PASS.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  18. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Yeah, read and agree with Coach K. So does it just come down to execution? Or is the implication that the Habs are just bad passers so we’re doomed?

    How about the Flyers stacking the slot? 4 sometimes 5 skaters! How do you persuade them to disperse? Clearly Lav is worried about Leighton’s  fat rebounds, so we should be investing in creating some space so we can get some secondary shots.

    But how?

     

     

  19. Bob Barker says:

    Marleau would likely crumble under the pressure in montreal. 

  20. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Thanks Longtime and Tony.

    But. Wasn’t dump and (fast) chase what we were trying to do for part or most of last night? Didn’t the Flyers solve that? 

    I agree about the importance of scoring first. But the extension of that logic means the game and the series are over if we don’t. And maybe that’s true. 

    Are you saying we need to do again what we did in Game 4, just more effectively? Maybe that’s all we have. Are there other things we could try?

    (Taken as given that everyone tries step up a bit, that under-producers try to start to produce, that we try not to squeeze the stick).

  21. longtimehabsfan says:

    What’s a bumbaklaat?

  22. longtimehabsfan says:

    Nevermind.  I googled it.  From the Urban Dictionary:

    “a word from da patois language of da jamaican people, originally bumba is ass and claat is cloth hence asswipes”

  23. Bugs says:

    Habs Backs to the Void.

    Flyers thrown under the bus.

    Screw’em.

    Agitated but regulated, I aspire as

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Undersecretary of North-East Division Propaganda Bureau, Section Chief of Flannel Department, and Field Operative for Habsbros Data Dissemination Services: http://habsbros.blogspot.com/

  24. longtimehabsfan says:

    How about John Ferguson?

  25. longtimehabsfan says:

    Pouliot stopped going to the net and to open slot areas long ago.  His confidence is way down.  When Bud Grant [NFL coach of the Minnesota Vikings and before that coach for CFL Winnipeg (?)] finally retired from football in the 80s he was asked why he was leaving the game.  He said that the modern athlete is different.  He mentioned how too many players play professional sports now because they feel they have to because of all the money they can earn, not because they love the sport.  Maybe Pouliot is one of those guys, I don’t know.  But he doesn’t seem to have a passion for the game.  Or maybe he’s just another Francophone who can’t handle the pressure in Montreal.  Maybe it is inexperience.  Who in hell knows.  He has too much talent to stink the way he has been.

  26. Exit716 says:

    Isn’t that tampering by Washington?

     

  27. havok says:

    I knew it, after seeing the HABS vs CAPS series, I knew this is what the CAPS  would go for

  28. Mr_MacDougall says:

    I love it, the Caps will have 5 mill tied up in a 4 goal defenseman.. hopefully we get Andy Sutton for 1.75

  29. topher5468 says:

    Interesting read on BGL, I actually believe him. JM’s track record speaks volumes regarding NHL tough guys. Just for the record, this playoff run included, I dont like JM. Im sure that something other than constantly being benched could have been done to get more out of Pouliot, AK and Burner. Im no expert or coach but I would bet that something could have been done to get something out of those players. Just Sayin 

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  30. Mr_MacDougall says:

    well, if we had 3-4 more decent forwards we could send Pouliot to the minors, Trade AK and have OB in the minors.. Love the Zep pic!

  31. badangel says:

    Ahhh I was wondering when reading links would be posted. I thought HIO threw in the towel a game early :p

     

    Boone – just to say – I love your columns (even non hockey related ones). The Bitter Barnaby one was funny :)

  32. 24 Cups says:

    That was just part of Subban’s rough afternoon. The rookie coughed and turned the puck over at several inopportune moments and struggled to hold the line on the power play.

    “He’s a young kid who wants to do well,” coach Jacques Martin said. “He has his heart in the right place. It’s a learning experience for him. He’s got to be patient and make the right decision.” (Allan Muir’s column)

    I hope that Martin will keep his words in mind when he is dealing with an influx of young players during the next few years. Subban the Superstar doesn’t have to sit out the entire game when he makes a mistake. For everyone else it’s one strike and you’re out.

  33. Propwash says:

    The main issue I have with JM is, one “oh ***t erases a hundred “attaboys” like you said. In turn, that depletes alot of potential out there, and ruins players confidence. Its not like they wanted to turn over the puck, or make mistakes.

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  34. Bob Barker says:

    Subban has played well beyond most people’s expectations. Offense is at a premium and Subban is one of the few D-men for the Habs that can generate it himself. Last game was probably his worst game but to compare his situation to O’Byrne’s is unfair. 

    O’Byrne’s role is to play shutdown D and be physical. Subban needs to play as an offensive d-man and is therefore faced with many more risk/reward situations. Benching him would be harmful to his confidence and development. 

     

  35. Exit716 says:

    Who cares what Laraque has to say. Georges view of his contributions to the team are revisionist at best.

    Kurt Sauer drills Andrei Kostitsyn, Georges says, I can’t fight him he’s not a heavyweight.

    Lucic destroys Komisarek, Georges can’t fight him.

    Easily Gainey’s worst free agent signing as a GM in either Dallas or Montreal. Just go away Georges and enjoy the money you took from the franchise.

     

  36. 24 Cups says:

    Exit – We will be paying Laraque $500000 grand a year for the next two years.  That cap hit is basically what we would pay a sub forward to be on the roster as the 22nd man.  Not the end of the world but a constant reminder of what went wrong.

  37. badangel says:

    ya I agree. Even during the year Laraque was ‘playing’ he was still doing ‘jobs’ on the side. He should have been concentrating on his NHL job if it was that important to him.

    It’s simple he was brought in to do a job and he didn’t. That game against Boston during the Roy ceremony..  *I* was ready to jump on the ice and plow Lucic one and I’m a girl.. so all the ‘talking’ that Laraque did with Lucic got no one anywhere. Waste of time and space.

    Pity to lose half a million on him but better than having to spend 1.5MM on him next year for nothin.

  38. Dintrox says:

    Backed against the wall again seems very familiar this playoff. The Habs aren’t golfing yet and no one on the team is shining their clubs. There will be another game at the Bell Centre on Wednesday. I see another game 7 thriller. Go Habs Go!!!

    December 4, 2009 – Elmer Lach’s jersey took its rightful place with the Rocket’s in the rafters.

  39. Propwash says:

    Are we still on the hook if he signs with another team?

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  40. Propwash says:

    Hmmm, what if he’s traded then, that’s theoretically possible isn’t it?

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  41. 24 Cups says:

    I would have put him on waivers this year to see if anyone would bite. I seriously doubt that the Habs would bring him back to training camp this fall to just try and waive him. A trade? Maybe for “future considerations” but how many teams want to have to pay him 1.5M next year?

  42. Caballero says:

    George is not the total package. He can fight, but he is slow. I think he was just too old to do his job, and not talented enough to change his style and be productive otherwise. He came here to be a star. He is a star, a personality. Good for him and all, but the team is better off without him.

  43. habbytown says:

    habs need wholesale changes for next year- wholesale!

  44. HabFanSince72 says:

    1) Habbytown traded to another team. Columbus maybe.

  45. Bugs says:

    I don’t know why we should laugh at Laraque’s account. I wanted to.

    But his story holds up.

    Very good defence.

    Shouldn’t laugh, I think.

    Agitated but regulated, I aspire as

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Undersecretary of North-East Division Propaganda Bureau, Section Chief of Flannel Department, and Field Operative for Habsbros Data Dissemination Services: http://habsbros.blogspot.com/

  46. habstrinifan says:

    I am not dismissing his story out of hand. Especially whenhe says he would speak to Kirk Muller to intervene. I dont know who is RESPONSIBLE. I think Laraque personality changed to the detriment of his effectivennes but I also think that Martin DID NOT utilise him properly.

    I am enoying the playoffs. Wont post any analysis r negative snow. But PLEASE PLEASE Gauthie…. dont make any changes in player personnel UNTIL you have properly evaluated your coach.

    I canot believe Pouliot’s ineffectiveness is totally on the player’s fault. I cannot believe that someone has not sat GOMEZ down an gone through the psychology o being a goal scorer with him. Someone posted a week or so ago re his appreciation for Gomez’s funny bone…. I bit my tongue because from coaching experience in high level soccer I saw something else.

  47. Bob Barker says:

    Are you an expert??

  48. Bob Barker says:

    he’s untradeable. he should definitely be waived though. Word is that he’s a locker-room cancer. 

  49. HabFanSince72 says:

    HA HA.

    Let’s buy him out for one of those $9.99 “We Believe” t-shirts. He won’t like the fact that it also says “Nous y croyons” on it, but that’s life.

     

  50. HabFanSince72 says:

    Also, O’Byrne is 25 and has played 120+ NHL games.

  51. 24 Cups says:

    BB – That really wasn’t my point as I have no issue with Subban.  My issue (and point) is with the way that Martin craps on some young players and makes them listen to Jailhouse Rock when they make a single mistake.

    We are going to have to fill some roster holes with cheap young players in the next few years due to our cap problems.  It’s imperative that Martin gives them the time to grow and develop.

  52. Bob Barker says:

    doublepost. 

  53. Bob Barker says:

    When you call him Subban the Superstar though you make it sound like he’s entitled or something. O’Byrne is no longer a young player, he’s just an inconsistent d-man. Pyatt has come out of nowhere and developed into an effective defensive nhl forward under Martin. Also, the Eastern Conference Finals is not usually the best time to allow a struggling player to find his game. 

    For a coach with such a bad reputation of handling young players, he’s handled Subban and Pyatt pretty well so far. Even Pouliot’s play has improved the last couple of games even though he hasn’t found the scoresheet. 


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