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Game 55: Habs/Lightning

  • The Habs will get no time to brood over their frustrating loss in Sunrise last night, as they face the other Florida franchise in Tampa this evening.  Taking care of business tonight is essential. The Habs would do well to start early and play like a team that is desperately clinging to a hope of the post season. That sentiment should start at the top. I understand that JM has been playing with a short stack this season due to many injuries, but his Carbo-esque attempts at using grinders in skill spots and vice versa needs to end. I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a suggestion that goals will be necessary for a win, and using this logic JM should attempt to give his skilled players the best possible opportunity to succeed.  Please stop using Travis Moen (who is a fantastic player) on a top line. Please go with what has worked fantastically in the past. Go into this game to win it, and let Tampa attempt to match up to us. Put your best offensive players together and get out of their way! Mysuggestion:





  1. Well, as it turns out if you hang around this blog long enough, you will encounter individuals who have more than a fleeting, tenuous grasp of reality. Habs put out another atrocious effort in a must win game, and when I have the unmitigated gall to suggest they are not making the playoffs the so called all-knowing eminance calls me a negative whiner. The situation is this: when the habs face a team that plays hard, dicsiplined hockey they lose the game. It has been that way all season long and it is not going to change at this point. When the habs face a team that does not show up to play they usually win, but that is why we are under 500 with the majority of the season gone. Being reduced to hoping other teams around us lose is a humiliation I will not subject myself to because I expect more from the greatest franchise in sports history. I will also submit that this lame attitude from many fans has insiduosly wormed its way into the team itself lowering both expectation and performance level. Thankfully after a while I found many, many other people who completely share this view on the blog. If you hold this bunch of millionaires to account for crappy uninspired play, and look at the playoff situation realistically, you are NOT being negative, and you are not alone, no matter how many self annointed “hockey experts” crap on you.

  2. #2 Mats Naslund says:
    January 28, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Rocky I’m glad you decided to post this in the comments section where we can have a good look at my posts over the past year, and not just over the past day. Before you go playing the victim, I suggest you read my previous posts on here, you’ll find that I’ve made both positive and critical comments surrounding this team’s management, coaching, and player execution. I’ve been realistic about this team’s chances from July 1st of last season. Go have a look at my comments.

    That said, I am, and will always be a fan of this team. That means I cheer for them when they win, lose – and worse. You think that makes me insane as you’ve stated many times but I will always hope for the best for this team. The fact is after two losses in Florida I agree that the playoff picture is in doubt. The fact is the Habs let two teams that were behind them in the standings earn 4 point victories. The picture is certainly not as good as it was even 2 games ago when we were tied in 6th – the playoffs were still in doubt (again, look at my comments – you’ve pinned a lot on me that could have been cleared up ).

    The fact is, I called you negative more for your approach to dealing with human beings on the internet than for your view on the hockey team. Anytime someone has disagreed with you – a name or insult has followed. You’ve reacted as though disagreement was arrogance or a personal insult. There are bound to be disagreements on a site like this. There have been some amazing arguments here in the past about the game that have been incredibly productive. I’d like for us all (including myself) to get back to that because the back and forth over the past few days has been ridiculous. This site should be a place where people can talk freely about the game (good or bad) without it continually denigrating to a battle.

  3. Yeah Mats, everyone is just clawing their own eyes out to be the first people to read all of your glorious posts from the last year. Apparently people need a collective cure for insomnia. Being a fan of a team means telling it like it is and not blindly and mindlessly supporting them when they are not performing; that is called a leafs fan. Playing victim am I? Just read what you just wrote and then reflect on three words if you will: POT, KETTLE, BLACK. You sure are singing a different song than from last night when you ideed DID call me a negative whiner for pointing out the true situation. Selective amnesia seems to be part of your spectrum of character flaws. At the end of the day, you are in a less than coherent way simply admitting that I was right in what I pointed out in the first place. If you dislike what has gone down between us I suggest you look in a mirror because you created it.

  4. Well I for one agree and disagree with both of you, firstly, a fan of a team is one who sticks by his team regardless of how bad or good they play because a fan of a team wants the best for their team and always believes that as Yogi Bara so famously stated boy it ain’t over till shes over. I for one have always believed in that principle and know one will ever force me to change my opinion on that subject. On the other hand losing these two games will make it very difficult to make the playoffs without a tremendous run after the Olympics. Whether this team can do it or not remains to be seen, and although I am starting to lean towards them not doing it I still believe that they have the talent to do it but something has to change in the coaching and team system to turn this thing around.

    Last night watching the game live brought a whole differenct prospective to our problems, and to summarize it is most definitely a defensive problem which makes it a coaching problem. Our defensive system in our own end is very bad out of position mainly the defenseman but not getting enough help from the forward in particular situations. Markov played with less than and effort especially since he is suppose to be our team leader, he did not even get involve to help Gomez out when he was being hammered by three different guys in the crease while on the ice. Gomez ended up loosing it. At Least Obyrne helped out and won his fight.

    I think every fan has a right to be negative about the team but I do believe that that same fan has to deal with it without bring everyone else down.

    I personally have enjoyed both Rocky and Mats objective comments about the team and yes Mats has done his share of negative discussions about this team.

    But guys the personal attacks have no place on this blog, I have experienced them myself and almost quit the blog becuase of it, this is suppose to be fun and remember it is just a game. Not something to make bad friends over. One personal comment leads to another (and both of your are equally responsible) and before long you have the feud that you two have carried on for over a week and to be honest it has brought the site down. One would think that we were dealing with two fans from two differnet teams.

    It may be too late to kiss and make up at this point but I think for the benefit of the other bloggers that it is time to agree to disagree or agree to agree but lets get back to talking about hockey.

    One point I would like to make in Mats defense, this blog could have fallen apart but Mats took it one when know one else had the guts or time to do it, so he should not be held out as a expert but only as a person interested enough in the site to keep it going so we can have these discussions. I think that we all should be thanking him for giving his time and making sure that each game has a opening comment to start the game discussions. Initially I thought the shout box was a good idea but sometimes it creats problems and maybe this is one of them.

    Guys you are both good habs fans, and habs fans need to treat each other with respect for our opinions and ideas.

    Eough Said, lets get back to hockey and try to figure out how we can get this team out of this mess and have some fun doing it regardless of whether we make the playoffs of not.

  5. #5 Mats Naslund says:
    January 29, 2010 at 10:51 am

    A lot of the possible deals, pickups that the Habs might make before the deadline mainly hinge on their position in the standings. You certainly wouldn’t trade for an Ilya Kovalchuck or Ray Whitney if you’re in 13th place. There are however, a couple players out there that may be worth acquiring regardless of the outcome of this season. The Benoit Pouliot trade is a great example for both Montreal and Minnesota, where a trade can be made with a view to the long-term, rather than short-term (even though both Pouliot and Latendresse have had very good short-term effects).

    One guy who I have heard mentioned is incredibly appealing to me, as he seems to be a perfect fit for a team that needs to improve its supporting cast around some capable veterans. Peter Meuller has been mentioned recently by both tsn and today by Eklund as a guy who may be near the end of his time with his current club – the Coyotes. Currently, and remarkably, the Yotes sit quietly in 4th place in the Western Conference. Even so, the Coyotes are aparently displeased with the play of Peter Meuller who was the 8th overall pick in the 2006 draft. After putting up 22 goals and 54 points in his rookie season, he has struggled mightily, scoring 36 points last year, and on pace for only 30 this season. Still, he is a 6’2, 210 21 year old with all the potential in the world. If ever there was a steal to be had – this guy could be it.

    So would you trade for Peter Meuller, a guy who could be that big strong Centre we’ve been pining after for so long? Is this guy another diamond in the rough, or is he another 1st round bust?

  6. #6 Senet1 says:
    January 29, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Well I would take a chance on him like Pouliot he may have not been given the confidence of the management and therefore was drawn back into a shell young players sometimes have this type of personality and need to be given opportunity at the right place and right time but more importantly they need to be shown that the management is behind them and bring them on slow.

    I also like Torres from Columbus, good size, age is right and I think he would fit into the mold of the type of player we need to add to this team.

    Mats you mentioned a couple of other guys that I commented on in your last blog that could also be helpful. Personally I am looking for players under the age of 28 that have size and can score 15 to 25 goals a year. Right now we have too many players that cannot score even 10 goals a year playing on our third and fourth lines. Yes we need character players but they also need to score some goals too. When the first two lines are not scoring.

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    January 29, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Question what does Pheonix need that to help them in their playoff run?

  8. Really, a defensive center? Guys, we’re not losing games 6-5, we’re losing games 3-1 and 5-2…we can’t score. We are 28th in the league in goals scored, 29th in shots on net and 30th in 5 on 5 goals…so another defensive center does what? Make a 3-1 loss a 2-1 loss, or a 1-1 tie?

    We crapped to bed in Florida, as we have quite a few times again this year, as we have quite a few time the last few years. I was thinking it was the lazy players or poor work ethic we had the last few years, and then Gainey changed half the team, and here it is again. Therefore you gotta think with our new guys playing the same way and getting the same results from past years, that its not actually the players…theres something wrong in the organization.

    Gainey still has some egg remants on his face from the way he handled Price(a kid who was not ready to be just handed the job of #1 for the most storied franchise in the NHL), and now he did it again with the hiring of Martin. I will say it again…,if this boring, dull, drab, lifeless hockey is what you wanna play, then you go out and get players who play that style of game… don’t go out a sign 3 small offensive forwards like Gomez, Gionta and Camallerri and follow that up with the signing of a coach who’s style totally negates these guys style. And thats what we have right now…you can see it game to game with esp Gionta and Gomez…the frutration is mounting in these guys, you can see it in the way they’re playing and the penalties they are taking…they are frustrated not becauise they’re losing, but because they are losing and not producing and there’s a leash around their necks not letting them play the way they can make a difference. And its damned frustrating as a fan also.

    Coming off 2 big wins against NJ and NYR and then going into Florida with almost 3 days rest, with both FLO and TB behind us…you dont go in and play like bantams and record 17 shots all game unless there is something wrong…..TOO hot and cold for it to be just a happening. These 2 losses are still gonna have something to say about where we finish this season…wait and see.

    These guys are frustrated beyond belief and yet they are venting that against each other in practices, just like last year with scuffles and petty arguments, rather than take it on the ice against other teams…it’s ridiculous. We have some of the biggest D-men in the league and they play with eggs in their pockets…I’d rather have a D squad full of Frankie Bullions if our big guys aren’t gonna hit.

    Is there an answer…I don’t know if there is. But if I HAD to start somewhere, Martin would be hitting the trail. Bring in a coach with attributes that aide our forwards, bring high flying hockey back to Montreal. With the right coach I actually like out team this season(with Halak in the net that is).

    And draft picks is KEY. Pit, Wash, LA, Chi all paid there dues, and look at em now. Our teams mission statement of trying to finish 7th or 8th every year is hurting us beyond hurt. We are basically finishing last every season. Forget who finishes 27-30th each year, these teams are getting top notch young draft picks, and building up. Its teams like us, who finish 16th to 20th every tear who are finishing last, make no mistake about that! Edmonton is flatlining too, but they even have hope on the horizon with Eberle and a few more up and coming.

    The quick and dirty answer is…….”I don’t know”. Seems no matter what we do its wrong, seems theres no getting out of this spiraling black hole of sh*t that we’ve been stuck in for a long time now. Nothing happening on the ice, decention in the ranks with out players, and nothing even to be looking forward to in the future in regards to new young players joining the squad. So again I don’t know.

    We are headed down the same path this year as years past….a 500 hockey team, plus or minus 3 or 4 games. Which pans out once again to being no threat in the playoffs if we make it there and no good drafts for years to come. If the Habs were a stock, they would be a “don’t buy” and “don’t sell”…just hold and make nothing, but don’t lose nothing either. Mediocracy is where we are stuck. Seems all the heart and desire to be successful went out the door with Lafleur and teams of the 70’s. How do we get it back in a game that has evolved so much in the last 2 decades….at least start with a coach who can compliment there players of today, one who knows how to handle them, and give them a fighting chance to make this team a team worth mentioning again.

    I am a Habs fan for life, and I do think that you should be able to point out flaws and have your say when they are not living up to expectations. I do care….if I didnt I wouldnt have spent the last 30 mins writing this. But being so powerless for a fan to change how things are in Montreal, when for the most part you can see them game in game out, is what the most frustrating this of all is.


  9. Right on Donnie, Mats, I’m sure you completely agree.

  10. #10 Senet1 says:
    January 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    well today I think shows my example of Martin’s coaching, we lose the game because both defense got caught flat footed and Ottawa gets a breakway to win. Halak got caught the same way Price did Thursday, with some guy standing on the corner of his net and not a defenceman in sight. I am sorry but you cannot win games with that kind of defensive system in place.

    I do not necessarily disagree with Donnie or Rocky in these points, however, if Gainey had gone with letting his existing free agrents go and not signing the ones he did sign, he would have been fried right out of Montreal. Where in affect what he should have done based on this scenario would have been to trade for some young players and live by their mistakes, and end up in last place and get some great draft picks that would eventually bring us a franchise player. I like that idea, but I am not sure the GM would survive in MOntreal.

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