montreal canadiens hockey – habs blog RSS

Game 45: Habs/Caps

  • Before I get to tonight’s game I just wanted to say a quick word about the World Junior Tournament and the finals between Canada and the US. First off, I am a huge fan of this tourney, not only because I’m a huge fan of junior hockey, but because it is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the players from around the world that could be landing on NHL teams in the near future. I think we can all agree as Habs fans that it was amazing to watch PK Subban emerge last year at the WJC. For that same reason I am very pleased with the play of Dany Kristo (USA) who is tied for the team lead in goals (5),  is a + 5,  and leads the team with 29 shots on net in 7 games. Even though I’ll be cheering for Canada in tonight’s final, I’ll be hoping for a strong showing from Kristo.

    Secondarily I wanted to say how impressed I am by the Americans in this tournament. They played a VERY NHL game against the Canadians on NYE, and have shown how hard USA hockey has worked on player development, and preparing these players for the bright lights of the world stage. I don’t know if they’ll win tonight, but Canada had better take notice that in years and tournaments to come USA is going to be a LOT more competitive.

    What better opponent then for the Canadiens tonight than the Washington Capitals? I am going to make a bold prediction and state that there will be more than 1 goal scored in tonights tilt for those fans who complained about the snoozefest that were the final two periods of the Sabres game. Montreal had better find a way to generate a better offensive pressure or Washington will eat them alive. We’re in 8th spot, but with more games played than anyone else, we’ll need to eak out wins for a while if we’re to stay there.

    Go Habs Go!!!

  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    January 6, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I spent most of last night (as I’m sure most of you did), flipping through the two games last night. I have to say, I’m not sure I would have gone with the picture of Kristo if I thought the Americans would repeat their NYE success at the rope-a-dope, but you have to hand it to those kids. They could have easily buckled at the AMAZING comeback Canada mounted AGAIN. Jordan Eberle single handedly took over the game and almost willed a Canada victory in regulation. But the US team stuck with their gameplan of playing solid defense and being opportunistic in their scoring, and it payed off with an enormous victory for US hockey in an Olympic year where exposure for the sport is bound to be higher. Its great for the game, but not so much for our smug Canadian belief that we have become invincible demi-gods of the sport who deserve to win every tournament we enter! Congrats to the USA who showed all kinds of heart and guts in fighting off a more talented opponent.

    From guts to gutless, I have to turn to the other game I watched last night. I have to say this has more to do with the end of the game than the totality. You cant fault Montreal for giving up lots of shots or the first 3 goals to Washington – especially when you consider that Captainovic Ovechkin was held off the score sheet. One goal bounced off a defender’s leg, another was the direct result of a blown call that allowed a player to walk right in front of our net un-molested and fire an easy one in the peanut butter, while the third was an absolute gem from the stick of one of the most gifted players in the game.

    Through all of this, Montreal battled to make the score 3-2 with 9 mins off of a PP goal. In fact, with 6 minutes left Montreal forced Washington to take another penaly which could have been a game changer – only Montreal disapeared. All of the aggression and smart passing went out the window in favor of blind behind-the-back passes, and cross ice wish-passes that inevitably were broken up and cleared killing all momentum. Nobody was interested in using speed to gain the zone. Nobody was interested in taking the puck to the net and looking for rebounds. To a man, the Montreal forwards forgot how to move the puck creating turnover after game-losing turnover.

    We really could have used a vistory last night, ast the pack is quickly catching us again. The Habs will have to regroup and find a way to battle hard and take the game to Florida who trail by 4 points with 2 games in hand. While we sit in 8th place with 2-4 more games played than the rest of the conference, we’re going to have to hope for some timely losses by rivals or we will find ourselves at the bottom of the pile again.

  2. The major problem is in overall team vision. This team is a pack of cretinous millionaires who are doing the bare minimum in order to justify their substandard existence. I have not missed viewing a habs game in four years and this squad is easily the most passionless group of players I have seen in that span of time. Anyone who watched the Canadian and American juniors last night should have been shocked into the reality that this version of the Canadiens are simply going through the motions. It is totally fine to lose every single game you ever play, as long as the entire team leaves its collective entrails on the ice each and every night. I defy anybody who follows this team to not be completely ashamed of “Les Glorioux” by way of comparison to the Junior teams.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    January 6, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Oh well here we go six wins in a row then two losses in a row, we have to win tomorrow to stay ahead of teams like Florida. I think sometimes we tend to try to figure out why our team does not play well when we think they should. I just seems to me that we are not getting all 22 players playing well at the same time very often. Then we tend to blame all the players for the short comings of a few. It is a team game and one line or one player cannot make a team but sometimes one line or one player can make your team look pretty bad. So to me it is time to weed out the guys who do not want to perform on a regular basis, trade them if we can or put them on waivers and unload their salary on someone else.
    Mats pointed out that we almost tied the game up against Washington, but missed and then eventually fell behind by two goals. Had we scored either on the PP the game could have been a much different ending. Then our opinions would have been different. Games are won or lost on breaks many times, just look at the world Junior final, we went down and almost scored. The shot came hard off the boards and we got caught up ice and the US had a 3 on 1. The US got the break at the right time and won the game. Our power play seemed rather disorganized but don’t forget to give the oppositions some credit as well for having a good penalty kill. I agree our team lacks energy at time but that is what you get for having your top sixs players as all small forwards. They seem to be working hard but the bigger skill players tend to wear these little guys down which is why we need to address that issue through a trade. I don’t think we can criticise gomez, plex, cammy or gionta for not playing hard, but they are still no match for the big power forward who is also skilled, so it is not that they are not playing hard they just need support from a few bigger bodies. I thought with bigger defence that we addressed some of that issue but we have been waiting for three or four years to address it up front. That is how I see it anyway.

  4. Senet, I have to say that what you are writing sounds like alot of hollow excuses at this point. These guys are just not willing to make the kinds of constant physical sacrifices that would make this a team worth being a fan of. I don’t care if they lose, understand that, but it kills me to see them be defeated.

  5. #5 Mats Naslund says:
    January 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Rocky, I do agree that the Juniors left all kinds of guts all over the ice the other night. I would caution however that there is an ENORMOUS difference between playing in a gold medal game at 18 years old for your country and a regular season professional game. Not that I condone the kind of middling effort we saw against Washington, but it just isn’t a fair comparrison. Secondarily I would also mention that while the 2010 Canadiens may not be as talented as the Canadiens from the 70s, they have (on most nights) been FAR more competitive, and far more hardworking than last season’s rendition. I know that sets the bar fairly low, but that is my two cents.

  6. Alright Mats, allow me to politely walk you through the gap in your logic here. Firstly, there is NO reason that the once proud Montreal Canadiens organization should not be expected to give as much or MORE than the junior players of this country. Is it their salaries that absolve them from giving the same effort? It won’t wash. Secondly, your assertion that this team is giving a “FAR” more competitive nightly effort than last year is not supported by statistics. Example: points so far this season 45; points at the same junction last year: 60. Unless you are saying that giving a better effort results in fewer wins, you are quite simply wrong. These types of excuses are what Maple Leaf fans sound like, and I support the habs because we have and always should hold them to a higher standard than that.

Leave a Comment