montreal canadiens hockey – habs blog RSS

Game 2: Habs/Sabres

  • First off: Devastating news – Markov out for 3-4 months. He was the only bright spot during last year. He was probably the only irreplacable player on the squad. Only Lidstrom has more points as a defenseman since the lockout. Look for Shawn Belle or Carle to make their way into a few games in the next little while (once the dogs are home from Europe).  I don’t think Gainey will want Weber or Subban just yet. The other possibility is that Gainey will try to exchange a few younger guys for an NHL ready guy in the 2-3 million range in order to solidify a now VERY shaky defense corps.

    I have tickets to the game against the Sabres. I WAS excited to watch Markov QB the PP which has looked quick and dangerous. Now I’ll be watching to see if Spacek can stick it to his former squad.  Go Habs Go!

  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    October 2, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I tried to find out who is still available as far as free agent defenceman are concerned. One come to mind but I am not sure if he has been signed, Mark Andre Bergeron, he is a good offensive PP defenceman and could help us move the puck out of our end and on the PP.

    Not sure if there are any other experience defencemen that are still available.

  2. #2 habknot says:
    October 2, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Senet, Mats; relax! I think our D is the strength of our team. Hamrlik, Spacek, Mara, Gill, Gorges, O’Byrne are all solid, and I think both Belle and Carle are able to play good NHL calibre D. Gorges, Spacek will be adequate on the PP.

    I am concerned about our forwards’ defensive positioning. In our zone, when TO defense had control, we had nobody close to the opposite defense. A quick pass along the blueline and there was an open lane for a shot/pass/ drive toward the net. It didn’t end up costing us directly (thank you Carey and a weak Toronto D), but against talented teams it could lead to trouble. Still two points will do for now!!

  3. #3 Mats Naslund says:
    October 3, 2009 at 9:24 am

    The honeymoon with the Habs defense is over for me. We’re now talking about either Hamrlik or Gorges in the top pairing which is bad news. Gorges has been terrible thus far, and Hamrlik has been too ill to play yet. Mara has been alright, but he’s been a bubble top 4 defenseman his entire career. He’s not a top pairing guy. Gill showed everyone why he is a bubble top 6 defenseman. Toronto exposed him, and I shudder to think of what he’ll give away if we play a contender with decent forwards.

    Maybe Montreal can weather tyhe storm. Maybe a young guy steps up and fills a role – but replacing Markov is not like replacing anyone else on the team. Its only when he’s gone that you notice how heavily the Habs rely on him. Last season was a perfect example. We didn’t win a game.

    Oh well – what is done is done. Gainey will probably be on the phone a lot in the next little while, but for now it will be the guys we have that will need to fill Markov’s enormous skates.

  4. #4 habknot says:
    October 4, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Well now we’re winning ugly instead of losing pretty; which do you prefer?
    The D is solid, as long as its Carle or Belle we use, not Weber. I don’t think Weber is ready for the physical play of the NHL yet.

    As for last night’s game; I enjoyed our patience and calmness. Buffalo were running around like crazy and we stayed focussed on the job at hand. I didn’t see penetration into the hot scoring area until the very last shot. Their goal was a fluke bounce of a D who stopped the shot from the point. Lots of shots but not really much danger.

    Martin corrected the point coverage, the cross ice passes they tried to make in our zone went nowhere.

    As for Price getting all the credit, I still have a feeling he is our second best goalie right now. (nobody stops that first goal though; and he made two great stops last night, and showed great rebound control on one of them to save a goal)

  5. #5 Mats Naslund says:
    October 4, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Habknot: I agree with you that Buffalo was contained last night. They had lots of shots, but they were relatively harmless. Montreal had few shots but had the much better chances in the 2nd and 3rd. One thing that I noticed last night was how much Carey Price looks (as far as the first two games) like the Carey that Won the Mem. Cup etc a few years back. He was SO calm and relaxed last night. He wasn’t over playing the puck which is what got him in so much trouble last season. He’s back to his strong, stable, big style which got him here. While I think Halak is a very good goaltender, if Price plays to his potential there is no doubt in my mind that he can steal us a playoff spot. 80 stops in 2 games is solid. .951 save percentage and 1.89 GAA are very good even if its only 2 games we’re talking about.

    O’Byrne and Metropolit are both injured from last night’s victory. Metro will likely be replaced by Chipchura. I imagine that as soon as possible either Carle or Belle (who I prefer) will be with the club. We are now offically very thin at defense. On a side note – the first two games only serve to highlight how badly Sergei/his agent/people have handled their situation. We’re now talking about a situation in which Sergei could have been brought up to man the point on the powerplay (as a fill in for Markov) which is how he was able to put up 160 points in junior while in London. Poor judgement in over-reacting to s non-situation has now ensured that he will not be called up as soon as injury made it likely.

  6. #6 Senet1 says:
    October 4, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Price looked bad last year because he had no support from his defence and yes he gradually tried to do it all himself which made him makes mistakes and over play the puck. Now it is early but I said this last year and I am saying it again as long as his defence do not allow players to run the net and get the rebounds he will play great. Will he have a bad game once in a while? Yes. But for the most part he should be a much better goaltender this year.

    As far as our defence is concerned Weber will be brought up first because we need him for the power play now that we do not have Markow, unfortunately he is going to have to learn while on the job. With Obryne hurt too we may end up bring up two D men.

  7. #7 Avatar37 says:
    October 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Well, as I stated in the off season, Gill is a really tall pylon. He reminds me of Brisbois, in that he has a high probability of costing us 1 goal/game. The difference is, Brisebois could put points up on the other end. Mara isn’t bad, shame it’s Gill with the 2 year contract. I understand wanting size, but size isn’t everything (as Gionta and Cammalleri are quickly proving). I’m glad to see Price getting better, he’ll be our franchise goalie if people get off his back and let him develop.

    Gionta… wow is all I can say. What hand/eye coordination. What heart. What effort. It’s everything Kovalev was lacking. I’m really liking the new energy this team has, the new heart, the new effort. I’m really liking the Moen/Metropolit/Stewart line. What an effort to keep fighting for territory, fighting for the front of the net, doing all the right things, especially from your third line. I’m more optimistic about this team than I have been in a very long time. I’m lovin being a Habs fan right now!

Leave a Comment