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Game 11: Habs/Isles

  • Tonight is version 2.0. Expect the Islanders to bring it considering the sHalaking they took last time around.  AK46 has been demoted to the fourth line. I’m not sure I like it. Not that I care about sending a message to a player – Frolov clearly got the message in LA. But I am a huge fan of coaches who can send a message while setting the player up in a good position to be successful. Andrei Kostistyn will NOT be successful on the 4th line. Simply put, he has never played ahockey game in his life where he could be confused as a 4th liner. Hopefully he can use this game to fire a bunch of shots against weaker defenders. If he scores it would be huge. While I would be much happier if he had gotten his game in order over the first 10 games, he has shown signs over the past couple games that he is capable of playing within Martin’s system. We’ll see how this all shakes down, but I’m not overly optimistic about this newest experiment.

    Another thing I’m watching for tonight is the emerging goalie (non)controversy. We were discussing this in the other game blog I’m going to make a case for why I think there is reason to want both Jaro and Carey to get a good number of games in early in the season.

    1. If we can get both goalies involved (as we have thus far) before the all star break we will be in good shape should one of the two suffer an injury for any period of time. A lot of times, a team’s confidence in a goaltender is as important to their success as the goalie’s actual play. Ask the 93 Canadiens how important it was to go into each overtime with Roy in net. Since the 09-10 Habs don’t have a legend in net (yet?), having two quality goalies is almost as good – especially if the injury bug hits later in the year.

    2. Montreal fans have been trying to trade Jaro for a long time. Gainey has been patient knowing that Jaro can and will be very valuable to the franchise. In order to truly understand that value, Jaro has to get his games in early this season. For a trade to be of any value to the Canadiens whatsoever, Jaro has to get his chance to prove he is a goalie capable of being a starter.

    3. While Montreal fans would be very pleased if Price played well enough to be the undisputed starter, it has been shown time and time again that teams tat can rely on their backups to handle regular duty are FAR more likely to advance in the playoffs than teams that cannot. The only goaltender who has played more than 70 regular season games to advance past the second round in the last ten years is Brodeur. If the Habs can get Jaro and Carey both competitive, the benefit to the Habs will be huge.

  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    October 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Update: Halak is in nets tonight against the Isles. Martin obviously likes what he sees in Jaro. While I would have thrown Carey into action in order to establish an equilibrium between the two (especially given the opponent), Jaro has definitely earned the right to keep playing.

    Reason to worry?: Latendresse and D’Agostini will be flanking Plex tonight. Are you comfortabe with that line even if it works against the Isles tonight??

  2. I’m not comfortable with Latendresse doing anything

    Let’s win and get above .500 tonight…

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    October 26, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I feel that Latendress had played well when given a chance to play a regular shift. He had had plenty of scoring changes but the puck is just not going in yet. It will any maybe tonight with the coach showing some confidence in him it weill be enough to put him over the top. I am not convincee about D’Agostini she seems to play better with Lapierre but he needs a change to prove he belongs on the second land so tonight is a good game to show he belong.

    I have to agree with Matt’s when it comes to Price, you cannot leave him on the bench for too long. Likewise Halak has to get some games in as well to be effective. Martin has to make sure that he does not distore his confidence. Being Young he is going to have to deal with his emotions and not lose his edge.

  4. #4 Senet1 says:
    October 26, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I apologize for my typing tonight, I will try to do better.

  5. Well the only thing Latendresse didn’t do tonight was score, he had so many chances. If he keeps getting in position he will eventually break out. I though Lapierre played a good game up on the second line as well. But we need sniper on the line to play with Plex.

  6. #6 Mats Naslund says:
    October 26, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Dont’t worry an about it Senet1. I think if Martin can negotiate between the two we will have an opportunity to suprise some people. Another win tonight. Don’t look now, but with 12 points, the Habs are tied for 5th place.

  7. I thought the smurf line looked a little disorganized at times tonight. I think the Islanders were attempting to stop their flow and forecheck. Don’t get me wrong they played well but that is what teams are going to do if you only have one line that scores. It was good to see the defence get involved tonight and Moen got an nice goal on the tip.

    Halak played well at when he meeded to. But again the defence were directly responsible for both goals. However, I thought that the forwards short of were standing still at times and in both cases had they been moving could have stopped both goals.

  8. This is the third game in a row that Big George has not dressed. I don’t thing he is injuried so he must be up in the press box. Just wondering what is happening with him, the other day I suggested that we might not need him and could use his 1.5M salary cap space. I know there are a lot of you out there that like what he brings to the table and I do too, but the Pac Man is playing better and I was impressed with Chipchura the last two games. Everyone seems to be playing at little more with a chip on their shoulder. I think it is the influence of the Smurf line that seem to never get pushed off the puck. So I guess time will tell when we play Boston and Philly. But right now it would say it would be a shame to not dress the young guys. What does everyone think?

  9. Well were back overr 500 and now we play the best team in the league wonder if Martin is saving Price for this one in the hopes of proving a point why Halak played the last four games. It is kind of unfair to play Price after having him sit four games. Hopefully he is ready. WE will have to tighten up the defence a little more for the next game. Pittsburg has a lot more offence than most teams but I predict that they will start to fall in the standing now that they have lost Gonchar. They did not play well last year until after his return.

  10. #10 Senet1 says:
    October 26, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Matt’s I agree I think that this team has the potential to move up to third or fourth in the standings. We just need to get our defence playing a little better and I believe it will come. Thought we go the raw deal on the penalties tonight, and what was those too many men on the ice. WE got to make better chances than that, maybe Don Cherry has been teaching our player how to change?

  11. #11 Mats Naslund says:
    October 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Yeah, the penalties are a concern. Even though this team has been resilient in the past few games, there is a point at which the good fortune will expire. It is then that the penalties will really start to kill the team. To be fair, the penalty killers have been very good thus far – particularly Plex, Gomez and Gionta. They have been very active in their pressure forcing many turnovers and critical dump ins. Also, there is not much negative you can say about Hamrlik and Spacek. What a pleasant suprise they have been in anchoring the Habs blueline in the absence of Markov and O’B. If they can hold on, the addition of Markov will be like an incredible trade later this season.

    As for Price, it really was an interesting move to go with Halak against the Isles. To me it was a perfec opportunity to get Price into a game while rewarding Halak for his solid play with a big game against the Penguins. Again – I’m a huge believer in setting your team up for success, even though most NHL coaches take an ‘old school’ approach of punishment and reward. Now he has created a situation where no matter what Price is very cold when he next plays. I guess I value having two goalies into the action and contributing more than Martin does, although it is he and not I who has to answer to the Montreal media after every game. I still think this is largely a non-issue, but we are heading into a situation where regardless of whether Price plays in Chicago or Toronto, he will not have seen any ice time in two weeks.

  12. #12 Senet1 says:
    October 27, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Not that we have to worry about it for a while but when our defence starts to get healthy, where are we going to put Bergeron? I would like to see him up on the third or fourth line and that way he is available for the PP.

  13. #13 Senet1 says:
    October 27, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Last night AK did not show well on the fourth line and when he did get a chance to play with PLEX he did not seem to find his game. So as I see if we have two choices, either he is trade bait with his brother or bring his brother up and put them on a line together to see if they can produce. If not then they are out of here.

  14. #14 habknot says:
    October 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    We played well enough to beat the Isles, and that’s who we will playing. Let’s see how we play against better competition this week.

    I still don’t like the second and fourth line. I thought Guy made a mistake moving guys into roles that didn’t suit their skill set. Martin won’t do that for long, I hope.

    Our goalies are set up perfectly. If Halak wins tomorrow, play him friday and come back with Price at home vs. TO. If he loses against Pit, play Price in Chicago and Halak on saturday.

    Our D seems fine (though Pit will test that severely), and with Markov back, I like Markov/Mara/Spacek/Hamrlik in any combo and Gorges working with Gill. That leaves Bergeron and O’B for injury/tough team (put OB in for Mara or Gorges) / power play etc..
    special work.

    On the subject of Bergeron, how cheaply could we get Satan to sign for? He would fit well with Plek and Kots on the second line. I’m not excusing his lapses, but sometimes I think AK just can’t slow his game down enough to mesh with a Lats or a Lapierre. Satan has a bit of size, tons of experience, and the ability to reward Plek and AK for their creativity. I don’t think he’s been signed anywhere. At first I was going to suggest Shanahan, but he’s 5 yrs older. Physically he might be a better fit though, and could maybe inspire Lats? Obviously, I think we could use another top six forward.

  15. #15 Senet1 says:
    October 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Here is a thought, Nathan Horton is struggling for the panthers this year and he may be an excellent winger for Plex, he is capbable of 30 goal seasons. Only catch is his salary is $4,000,000 a year for the next four years. So we trade AK and SK for Horton and a draft pick or a prospect. Horton also brings a little size to our forwards 6-2 229lbs 24 years old. Could be an good player for us. To me the only down fall,is his salary.

    What do you think Matts?

  16. #16 Mats Naslund says:
    October 28, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I think if we could get Horton for the Kostitsyns we’d be crazy not to make the deal. The cap difference would be negligable between the two bros and Horton. I don’t think Florida would be all that interested though. The circus that has surrounded the Kostitsyns in the past two years has not helped their trade value at all. That said, Horton would perfect for our situation. He’s a big guy who would be perfect for the second line and would benefit immensely from the personel here in Montreal.

    As for Miro, I’m not sure that he would solve any of our issues. He’s been very enigmatic during his NHL career, and whil he could probably be signed on the cheap – he would be a big gamble. Last season he only had 36 points playing with the Pens – and was demoted to the AHL for 10 games. I’d rather muddle with the youth we have than muddle with aged hired hands.

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