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Game 55: Habs/Oilers

14 Comments
  1. I’m not quite sure what to say anymore either, but here’s a prediction: the Habs will win tonight.

  2. Bahahahaha! Nice prediction, me.

  3. #3 Mats Naslund says:
    February 12, 2009 at 2:47 am

    You certainly would have hoped that at some point the Habs would notice what they are consistently doing wrong- and do the opposite, but it seems they’re not done punishing us with their new, terrible brand of “hockey”. It is absolutely painful to watch this team right now. There have been multiple times during the past few games where I’ve openly laughed at goals because I have lost the ability to be constantly angry. There is no system, no passion and no talent.

    Price has been terrible. He has played deep in his crease at times, and when he has been in position he has taken himself out of plays by trying to make every save on his knees. How many goals recently have been scored into wide open nets because Price is caught sliding while the puck changes direction? Too many to count. My personal opinion is that the media has been way too harsh with Price in the past, but even I can’t make an excuse for him right now. The book is in on the Montreal Canadiens. If you can get Price (and Halak for that matter) moving laterally you will score goals. The key to this is having players willing to go to the net for rebounds.

    This of course would be a great strategy for the Habs themselves to practice, however, they are fully incapable of moving the puck from their defense to their forwards. Gone are the days of Montreal’s speed being a weapon to create offensive chances. Our defense leads the team in shots every game which means we aren’t taking the puck to the net, we’re doing the easy thing and getting it back to the defense for a one-timer. Of course our defense rarely gets the shot on net, and more often than not the opposition is the first to pounce on rebounds. None of our players seem eager to try to make plays down low from high percentage areas because that would involve unpleasant body contact which almost always leads to us laying on our backs and swinging our sticks in retaliation.

    The list of players I hope and pray Gainey is able to trade away grows with every passing game, and the optimism I once felt for the youth of the Canadiens has all but disappeared. I can’t believe this group won the division last season. Right now we are the absolute worst team in the NHL. In 6 of our last 8 losses we have given up 5 goals or more. No team has as poor a record over their past 10 games. While everyone in Montreal is hoping we land a deal to bolster playoff hopes, I’m seeing 2006 easier than 1993. We play another struggling team in Colorado on Friday night. They’ll be pleased to get out of their slump.

  4. Not only am I thinking the same thing about the Habs, but I’ve actually taken it upon myself to rename them the ‘Montreal Slump Busters’.

    When you’re on a losing streak, and it don’t look good, who ya gonna play… Slump Busters! (Cue the music that’s almost as cheesy as this team…)

    Toronto says, ‘thanks, Slump Busters!’
    Calgary says, ‘thanks, Slump Busters!’
    Edmonton says, ‘thanks, Slump Busters!’
    Stay tuned for the next episode…

  5. Good point Joseph, was gonna say it myself.
    I probably could have played goal for the Oilers last night and got the W. We’re getting worse, if thats possible. Last night, you could tell in the first 2 periods they were skating harder…..problem is, they weren’t getting anywhere, weren’t creating anything. Going out there and moving your feet, just for the sake of saying you broke a sweat isn’t very productive. It really looks like this team has forgot how to play hockey. Even the basics of hockey.

    Price looks like he’s ready to break into tears. Maybe, for a guy who has never had any real problems in net at any stage he’s played…now he has them, he doesn’t know how to shake them cuz he’s never done it before. Maybe he’s not quite NHL ready, or ready at least to lead the way on the biggest hockey stage in NA (Bell Centre). Are we doing to him what Pitt did to Fleury, and he’s just now finding his way out of. Doughty, Stamkos…teams injecting these young guys into their lineups because the team is in desparate state..only thing is, for how many years are you going to ruin these kids because you didn’t give them the time they needed before getting called up. Not saying thats the problem with Price, but it’s a thought.
    However, Price is probbaly just following suit from the rest of the team. Right now he’s gotta get a SO or allow 1 goal only to have a chance at winning. Offense is letting him down, and now the D is even letting him down.
    I wrote in here a month or so ago that I was nervous about Koivu and Higgins returning. And looks like those fears were justified. 11-2-1 or something like that with them out, and needless to say, this slump since their returns. Once again, just saying.
    Basically, a team with no offense, OR defense, OR PP, and a average PK is going to lose games. Alot of games…we are just getting started here.
    Worse thing that can be done is start forgeting about this whenever we eke out our next win. It’s gonna happen, the law of averages says we win again. Don’t start talking sh*t like we are on our way out of this now. The worse of the worse wins a handful of games, no one loses every game. Our guys winning 1 or 2 now by just getting by, is far from an achivement. No credit there.
    What to do is the big question here…and I have no idea. Too many players need to be GONE !!!

  6. #6 keep kovalev says:
    February 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    OK guys I agree with what one of you guys said! stop being FAKE fans and start being REAL ones ! stop saying that price sux and we should trade him! Every Montreal fan praised him last season and the beg of this season now that he is not playing good ,aahhhh screw him he stinks lets trade him! The problem is not price nor the players! The problem IS CARBONEAU! The plyrs are fed up of him ! Dont you see that the players are putting like 25% effort into the game! Carbo treats them like kids in midget aa! the loose 2 games in a row so he changes the lineup completely and screws them and their chemistry and confidence ! no wonder we are the only nhl team with no chemistry WE ARE ALSO THE ONLY NHL TEAM THAT HAS CHANGED LINE UPS So MANY TIMES AND THAT BENCH OUR BEST PLAYER FOR A WHOLE THIRD PERIOD OR PUT OUR BEST PLAYER WITH THE WORST PLAYERS FROM THE 4TH LINE! You think a plyr like Kovalev feels like giving an effort when the coach doesn’t believe in him anymore after he slumps 2 games? I mean common even sid the kid and Mr Malkin him self when on a slump for a few games,did you see That coach change the line up or BENCH SID THE KID? NO HE DIDN’T ! Why not because everybody has slumps it happens to everybody!You just have o believe in your players and give them the confidence they deserve and respect ! NOT TREATING THEM LIKE 8 YEAR OLD KIDS BY BENCHING THEM OR PUTTING THEM WITH 4TH LINE GUYS ! Or even a better one whos dumb idea was it to put laraque with georges and kostopolous and kovy and koivu on the FREAKIN POWER PLAY…… CARBO ! whos idea was it to put Laraque on ALL our power plays tonight,even against toronto when we needed a goal badly on the pp….. carbos idea ! Whos idea was it to put freakin dandenault with kovalev tonight hahahah……CARBOS IDEA! Give me a break you say that kovy is not performing then stop putting him with these stupid players! We all no kovalev NEEDS to be with good players to perform well! If the first line would be Vinney lecavalier,kovalev and A kost. that line would be the strongest line in the nhl guaranteed ! There you will see kovalev scoring at least 40 goals a year !
    Heres a new line up for you Carbo which in my opinion is a better mix than any line up you have tried to brew up this year.
    KOVALEV-KOIVU-DAGOSTINI
    PACCIORETTY-LAPIERRE-A. KOSTI
    HIGGINS-PLEKANIC-S kost.
    4th line not sure of
    I didnt include tanguay or lang becuz of injury!

    AND FOR GOD SAKE PLEASE GET A REAL DEFENSEMAN AND GET RID OF DAMN OBYRN !
    EVERY SINCE OBYRN CAME BACK THE DEFENSE SUX ASS ! GO GET KABERLY OR PLEASE GET OUR PP SPECIALIST THAT U GUY GAVE TO THE ISLANDERS! STREITTTTTTTTTT
    I LOVE HAMERLIK KOMI AND MARKOV.!!
    BTW IS IT NORMAL THAT OUR TOP POINTER IS OUR DEFENSEMAN ? LMAO
    Every team in the nhl has at least 1 or two sniper goal scorers that have at lease 22+ goals now ! WE DONT GAINY ! WE NEED A SNIPER LIKE LECAV OR KOVALCHUK !!!!!!

    Wow i feel better now for letting this out ! i must say i have lost so much work due to these canadiens,and i will keep watching every game till the end like a REAL FAN ! THE CANADIENS NEED SUPPORT FROM THEIR REAL FANS RIGHT ABOUT NOW! LETS HOPE THEY WILL BOUNCE BACK WHICH I KNOW THEY WILL! GO HABS GO ! GO HABS GO !

    MY FAV TEAM NO MATTER WHAT ! BTW CAREY PRICE I STILL LOVE HIM! YOU WATCH IF THEY DO TRADE HIM YOU WILL SEE HE WILL BE THE BEST GOALIE IN THE NHL!Then you guys will be sayin the same thing after we traded sourray or streit!
    Price is an amazing goalie hes just not into it right now ,give hime time andjust let him play his game without killing him ! WE WILL OVERCOME THIS BAD STREAK!

    Thats it for tonight…..

  7. #7 Mats Naslund says:
    February 12, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I’m not sure anyone here suggested trading Price. He is clearly playing terribly, and since I (and most of the people here) watch every game, it is easy to see which players are problematic. The players you mentioned loving – Kovalev, Markov, Komisarek have been the worst in terms of +/- since our struggles began. Our biggest problem is that Carbo has this team attempting to play a style it is not built for. From top to bottom this team is utterly confused. Neither of the Kostitsyns are grinders, but their so concerned with playing Carbo’s style that they’ve stopped doing what got them here in the first place. Its the same all through the lineup.

  8. so does anyone think there is something goin on between carbo and price?? clearly price should have been pulled after the 1st, if for no other reason then to rattle his teamates. i was at the the game last nite, and after the 5th oiler goal when 1/2 the crowd was chearing ,price too started to clap with his glove abd blocker!!!and then later in the third after settling down the puck on a long oiler shoot-in he appeared to give himself a little hand pump as if to sarcastically say, ” yeah i got it”!!! obviously he is not playing to his full potential right now but,there is no need for that out on the ice for all the fans to see.all that says to me is “i dont wanna be here” not very professional if you ask me, dont get me wrong, i am not placing any more blame for this slump on price than any other hab, but if they are gonna pull out of this as a team,they better start acting as one!!!! vive le bleu blanc et rouge!!!!

  9. #9 Dirk Diggler says:
    February 13, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I’ve been reading these blogs for a few days and I have to say that I pretty much agree with everything Mats Naslund has been saying. However, I don’t feel Montreal really needs a big change to get back into the groove. I think once we get a win (hopefully sooner rather than later) we will gain our confidence and go on a streak. It sucks that we have been on a losing skid since Higgins and Koivu, but there’s no way these guys would be taken out of a line up. They need to pick it up now that Lang is out. I’d like to see these lines come into effect:

    Kovalev, Koivu, Kostopoulos
    Higgins, A. Kostitsyn, S. Kostitsyn
    D’Agostini, Lapierre, Pacioretty
    Dandaneault, Begin, Laraque

    Markov, Komisarek
    Brisebois, Bouillon
    Hamrlik, Gorges

    Then hopefully Tanguay and Latendresse come back soon to give us a few more options.

    I’m a die hard Habs fan, but I’ve never remembered a season where we have so many UFA’s at the end of the year. Who do you think our main focus should be after the season ends?

  10. #10 Donnie says:
    February 13, 2009 at 2:18 am

    I don’t agree. These guys do need a change. This is stale, bland, amature hockey they are playing night after night. That means something is wrong. Everyone jots down their lines on here…..hasn’;t Carbs tried every combo? Keep moving guys around aimlessly to see if THIS works isn’t coaching…I could do that.A win will give us confidence to get back on track? Like the way we were back on track 3 or 4 times this season already before fading back to this?
    This is brutal hockey and a shake-up is desparately needed. Mabye it IS Carbonneau…maybe thats the change they need. If indeed it is, it will be interesting to see where Gainey’s loyalities lie.
    As it stand we are going no where fast. Snapping out of this for 4 or 5 games is only masking the problen temporarily…it will return again. Gainey is the GM…find out what the root of all evil is and fix it.
    I’ve been yappin about Carbs since the season began, only to be shot down time after time. No body on that bench seems happy, no one is talking, they are all just staring out at the ice with dull gazes.
    I do agree that these guys looks like a group that are just fed the f*ck up with Carbonneau’s antics. Bench you, bench you, you don;t score with ur linemates in 3 shifts I’m gonna split you up. Top players being sat for an entire period. 4th liners on the PP. I think this power-mad technique has finally p*ssed off the top 2 lines and Price for sure. These guys seem to not wanna give their all for this guy anymore, and with good reason.
    Wanna quick fix Bob, easier to rid urself of 1 coach than 6 or 8 players. Carbs was a 4th line grinder when he played and these are the guys he is favoring, thats easy enough to see. And these guys don’t win games every night for you…they just don’t. Take the defense, trap, bulls*it style hockey and go join Lemaire in Minn…where they have talently offensive players also, but are not allowed to use it. I’m just fed up, and something has to be done about this joke of a team this year…..looking stupid.
    We hadf a big start to the year and another winning streak in there also….without these, we would be just another bubble team…and guys, thats where we are headed unless somethings done. 9th or 10 spot, looking in. BRUTAL !!!

  11. #11 Donnie says:
    February 13, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Carbs right n ow is reminding me of the powermad Trembly when he coached here…..anyone remember what he cost us ???????

  12. #12 groundworking says:
    February 13, 2009 at 3:23 am

    Mats Naslund: you should do this professionally, unless of course you’re the real Mats Naslund, in which case you should get your 45+ year old 5″5′ self back to Montreal to play as this team’s enforcer. You weren’t as gentle when you played as George Laraque is most games.

    Seriously, though, good posts.

    I think we need a big change. But I’m thinking purely about the Cup. Is this team a cup contender, even if everyone is healthy? In my view, as Habs fans, that’s the only question we ought to consider. And I think the answer is no, even with a trade for any of the big soon-to-be FAs on the market . So I definitely wouldn’t give up youth or picks for a rental, and I doubt Gaigney will.

    I think we have some players on this team who might one day win a Stanley Cup as a Montreal Canadien. Anyone who won’t, I think should be traded for players who might.

    That’s my view. This team is just too soft. We might be able to finish the season and even play into the second round of the playoffs, but does anyone really see this team getting past Boston? or San Jose? or Detroit? I don’t.

    I disagree about the connection between Carbo and Tremblay, Donnie. Tremblay had one goal – to bring Patrick Roy down to the same level as the two-way AHL players. It was dumb. Carbo does NOT do that, or else Kovalev would have been a healthy scratch for half this season, and Price would now be in the AHL.

    I’m not going to “give up” on this year. But I’d like to see the youth get a chance to play, and I’d support trading some of the UFAs for more youth and picks, if things don’t really turn around soon (e.g., a 10-game winning streak).

  13. #13 foreverahab says:
    February 13, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Painful, painful, painful!!! I have been a Hab fan all my life. I have the C, H tatooed over my heart. That being said, I am taking my son to his first NHL game on Sunday to the tune of $600.00 (4 nosebleed tickets)and if the Habs stink up the joint I’m going to cut this thing off my chest myself. We are sitting down this morning to make him a sign that shall read, “This is my first Habs game and my dad paid $600.00 for tickets so PLEASE DON’T SUCK!!!” Watch for it.

  14. #14 Mats Naslund says:
    February 13, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Haha, I’m definitely not the original Mats Naslund, but Montreal’s little guys could learn a lot from the way he played.

    Dirk- It looks like you’re going to get your wish. The lineup from practice yesterday was exactly what you have above. Plex is suspended for two games which may in the end be a good thing considering the fact that if his game got any softer he’d have to legally change his name to Sally.

    However, I am a little concerned with the fact that we only have 2 real centers playing right now in Koivu and Lapierre. It puts a real strain on them, because they will be playing a lot more in critical situations where we need to win a faceoff. Begin has been ok as a center before, but I’m not convinced Higgins is comfortable in that role, even though he did play center in his younger days. Faceoffs are one of those crucial facets of the game that can swing the momentum in your favor. Whether its on the PP or PK or simply at a time when you need some luck, a faceoff loss can be deflating and when you’re in a major slump you need all the help you can get.

    Unless Plekanec magically finds his game up in the pressbox I’m also still very concerned about this team at the center position going forward. Even more worrying is that Plekanec, a once tradeable asset has probably cemented his value at nothing for this trade deadline. Would you want a soft, slumping center who recently served a suspension for slew-footing? I do not see him as a piece of any championship team, so it’ll be interesting to see what Gainey does with him for next year. Rest assured that a #1 center is as much a priority for Gainey as a top 4 defenseman.

    Knowing the team’s priorities there has been one trade that makes the most sense for Montreal. Olli Jokinen and Derek Morris of the Pheonix Coyotes could fill both of Gainey’s needs in one deal. Everyone is aware of Jokinen’s potential as he has been a guy on Montreal’s radar for years, but he has had a difficult time in Phoenix. Regardless he is a big body and has had offensive success in the past and could be a huge pickup if his game comes around. Morris is a solid defender and at 6′ 220 pounds would bring some of that Western Canadian grit that everyone here has been calling for. The Coyotes will most likely be losing him to free agency, so they are looking to gain assets for him. Capspace (as always) on this deal would be an issue as the two make a combined (approx) 9 million. That means that Montreal would need to clear around 4-5 million in salary to fit under the cap. Given that Gretzky et all are in need of cheap young talent to build around Gainey might have a serious dancing partner come deadline day.

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