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» 2007 » February

  • Halak and the Haggard Habs

    Montreal drops to 10th.

    Five straight losses. Forsberg a Predator. Kovalev out 3 weeks. Huet injured. Johnson injured. Pneumonia. Penalty after Penalty, these are thoughts that come to mind when thinking about the Habs.

    Not too much positivity in Montreal at the moment.

    As far as Forsberg goes, you can say the Canadiens missed the boat on this one but this was a long shot from the start. Assuming Forsberg even wanted to be a Montreal Canadien, and let’s face it who really wants to at this point – the Habs could never offer a trade package as good as Nashville’s.

    Will it pan out for them? Only time will tell. I personally think it’s a lot to give up for a rental, but the Preds are serious contenders and a healthy Forsberg just might put them over the top. They are taking the chance, and with no risk there is no potential for reward. You know Anaheim and San Jose are scratching their heads a little after the deal was completed.

    Back to the Habs…

    Jarosalv Halak has been called up from Hamilton. Jaroslav Halak

    Halak has been the AHL’s best goaltender this season and the Canadiens are looking to him to bring a little energy and confidence with him.

    Will he be able to have the same success in the NHL?

    This is somewhat similar to when Huet got a chance few starts about this time last year when Theo’s play tanked and all of a sudden found himself the #1 Goaltender.

    Halak will definitely start, they would not call him up to sit on the bench. One good game may be all it takes to get on a roll. Does Cam Ward come to mind? He’s the major reason the Canes won the cup last year after getting hot at the right time.

    Cup dreams and Cam Ward comparisons might be putting a little too much pressure on him, but why can’t he come in and lead the Habs to the 8th seed? Stranger things have happened. Halak has nothing to lose and everything to prove.

  • Sinking Ship

    Let’s quickly summarize last night’s games to give you an idea of what’s happened to the Canadiens.

    Boston: 2 points
    Carolina: 2 points
    NYI: 2 Points
    Toronto: 1 point
    Tampa Bay: 2 points

    MONTREAL: 0 Points

    This has been more or less a nightly occurrence for the past several weeks. The Canadiens getting no points and their Eastern rivals winning, or managing that extra point in an OT loss.

    On the contrary, the Canadiens get shut out at home to a nearly 42 year old goaltender and a non playoff team.

    There is a very real chance that one team misses the Playoffs by a single point. Should the Habs miss the playoffs you might look at last night as the night that cost them.

    Were the Canadiens awful? Arguably. The least you can say is they did play a better game than the two against Ottawa.

    Ed Belfour stood on his head as he has now earned the title of Hab Killer along with Erik Cole and Justin Williams and several others. The Habs hit several posts and couldn’t find a bounce all game including a 5-3 in the dire minutes of the 3rd. Is that good enough? Of course not. Not for a team that wants to be in the playoffs.

    There is certainly some disturbing numbers on the Habs right now. I’ll share just a few…

    They’ve allowed the first goal 9 games in a row. The Canadiens don’t win when they don’t score first. Their confidence tanks the minute a goal is allowed.

    Their first line doesn’t produce, and worse than that they allow goals like their going out of style.

    Saku Koivu is -16. When your first line Center and your Captain is that bad, what does that say about the team? The most troubling thing is Koivu’s expression on the bench is lifeless, tired, cold. Not characteristics of a Captain leading his team back on track.

    Michael Ryder is -21 . 6th WORST +/- in the entire NHL.

    Chris Higgins could not score on a soccer net at this point. Since his injury he hasn’t been the same. In recent games he’s looked like the Higgins of old but can not bury one and get the monkey off his back.

    Pause for a moment and look at the Standings. The Canadiens sit in 8th place. Isn’t this where they are supposed to be? Isn’t this where they always are? Are we expecting too much of a rookie coach, a rookie starting goalie and a team that’s generally low on skill?

    Look at the last few years:

    05/06: 7th place.
    03/04: 7th place.
    02/03: 10th place.
    01/02: 8th place.

    One could argue we are right on track, and lucky to be there. The bitterness and frustration comes from knowing not long ago the Canadiens held the 2nd highest point total in the East and routinely beat or challenged teams like the Sabres and Thrashers.

    What next? The Habs play tonight in New Jersey. The chances of winning, very slim.
    If you are a betting man you could safely bet the farm tonight on a Canadiens loss. They have won once in NJ in close to 20 games. If they have so much trouble with the Panthers they will certainly have their hands full with the Devils who are rolling along.

    Stranger things have happened, and maybe a good dance with Devils will put them back on track. More likely, the Canadiens will miss out on 2 more points.