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Game 67: Oilers/Habs

  1. #1 Joseph says:
    March 10, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I believe that there will be an immediate response… as there often is with coaching changes.

    Nice pic, by the way. :-)

  2. #2 groundworking says:
    March 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I’m trying to think of a politically correct way to describe that picture.

  3. #3 Mats Naslund says:
    March 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    A good take on the Carbo situation.

  4. #4 Joseph says:
    March 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    And let’s hope starting immediately.

  5. #5 Mats Naslund says:
    March 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I just have one thought about last night’s victory. I watched that game with a set of eyes trained by the previous 60 games to expect that when the 3rd period started that the Habs would give a good effort to come back, but in the end would not have the skill, puck-luck, or defensive maturity to tie the score and not give up the winning goal. So many times in the previous two months that Habs have seemed crippled in their attempts to draw even when deflated by goals. A lot of those games have ended up as blow outs.It was something I was thinking about last night and this morning as I began to read my way through the various blogs and sports news sites that I hit every day. It wasn’t until I looked at the ice-time in the box score that I fully realized what effect Bob Gainey had on last night’s victory.

    Stewart: 6 mins
    Kostopoulos: 12 mins
    Dandenault: 8 mins

    Kovalev: 20 mins
    Markov: 28 mins
    Koivu: 20 mins
    Tanguay: 17 mins

    Gainey shortened his bench in the third period and went with his best players: the ones who give his team the best shot to come back in a game and to secure points in a playoff race where even one point can mean the difference between playing hockey in late April and playing golf. This is a coaching move that is LONG overdue. Gone are the days when the grinders could be sent out with 90 seconds left down one goal. Gone are the days when we send out a 4th liner on a 5 on 3 powerplay. Gainey used his 4th line in scenarios where they could be most effective and was rewarded with an OUTSTANDING game by Dandy, Metro, Stewy and Kostopoulos. They had a role and they fulfilled it. The effect that this shift in the balance of ice time had on the team’s offensive players was also impressive. The Koivu, Tanguay, Kostitsyn trio were rewarded with more ice time than they have been used to under Carbo, and the result was hard work and success. They aren’t going to score on every shift – but with more shifts in each game, our chances of generating a strong offensive wave are greatly enhanced.

    I said it before the game: A coach doesn’t win a game, but their management of it provides each player with the opportunity to fulfill their respective role. Last night was refreshing. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins – but for once, it made sense.

  6. #6 Donnie says:
    March 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Total agreement Mats….I’ve been saying it all year….4th liners do NOT play 20 mins a game…it certainly was refreshing my friend…you are right.
    Maybe we can at least hold down a playoff spot now…get a few more games for us to watch.

    I guess Carbs was more like Trembly than most of us thought…great move Bob…GO HABS GO !!!

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    March 11, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    The interesting part obout our season to date is that we are only 6 points off where we were last year at this time. So if we can get a sudden surge we can still get fourth place and home ice advantage in the first round which is very important to us especially with our road record, although I expect that will improve too as the season ends. If we can continue our strong PK and shot blocking which I truely believe are things that Carbo did bring to this team, and our goaltending remains strong then if Bob can get this offence going by giving the star players more ice time then we should be okay. One game does not make this chance better but it sure seems like right now we are heading in the right direction.

  8. #8 Mats Naslund says:
    March 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Carey Price has had a season-long lesson on how to effectively score goals. If you’ve watched even a few Habs games this year you’ve watched as pucks get thrown on net, get redirected or bounce off of a leg, only to be swept into an open net by an opponent looking for a fortuitous rebound. I don’t have the numbers, but I would bet at least 50% of all goals let in by Carey happen this way. But my post is not about Carey Price. Lately he has been fantastic. Last night he single-handedly earned the Canadiens a single point with fantastic play over the final 5 minutes of regulation time.

    This post is about the Montreal Canadiens offensive players who never look to score anything but highlight reel goals. Its sad. Two nights ago Alex Tanguay jumped on a rebound to score on a wide open net. Metropolit followed that up with a rebound goal of his own. Saku Koivu’s game winner in overtime was a deflection in front of the net that found its way in. And yet for about 50 minutes of hockey Montreal ignored conventional wisdom by refusing to shoot the puck and hunt for rebounds. We’ve watched in frustration time and time again while our Canadiens try to mount comebacks, and are often unable to solve the opposing goaltender. When the chips are down, it seems like the Canadiens believe only the perfect shot will score a goal.

    Last night the Canadiens faced the last place Islanders and former Canadiens prospect Yann Danis (who in all fairness has been playing stellar hockey as of late). For what feels like the 200th time this season the Canadiens have faced a goaltender who stood on his head to beat the Canadiens. Is this because goalies “get up” to play the Canadiens? That is how the commentators rationalize the situation in-game. But that is not the reason. Lalime is still Lalime. Danis is still Danis. The Montreal Canadiens make EVERY goalie look like Martin Brodeur because they are entirely predictable in their offensive attack. Everyone in the league knows that Montreal will gain possession of the puck, cycle, and throw a pass back to the blueline hoping for a blast or incredible pass. Yes it works some times. But Mainly the Canadiens allow the opposing goaltender to get square to the puck and make the save. Nothing is hard when you face the Canadiens, because they rarely get to the crease (and this is the more important factor): they are rarely ready to bang in a rebound.

    Game after game we watch Jaro and Carey flop all over the place trying to stop shots. While it seems that the goaltender at the other end coolly handles every offensive opportunity. That is not a knock on our goaltenders – it is a testament to how the Canadiens rely on a very low percentage offensive strategy. We live and die on the perimeter, which is why so often we have amazing offensive chances that don’t go in, while other teams are able to beat us on “soft” goals. We all watched as Philadelphia demoralized Carey Price last season while we hit post after post on brilliant chances with the opposition executing simple, high percentage plays that found the back of the net. You don’t need to watch a lot of hockey to realize how goals are scored. I only hope that sooner than later, the squad can learn to do things the easy way, instead of always winning on the highlight of the night. A team needs to have an answer when the well runs dry. Last post-season we were taught a lesson on how to play playoff hockey by the Bruins and Flyers. There is less room for dangling, and brilliant passes are intercepted. The most effective way to score goals in the NHL is to put the puck on net and wait for the opportunity to shoot on a net with a goalie out of position. The task does not get any easier on Saturday as the Canadiens will face the real Martin Brodeur. If they think the Devils will let them dangle and dipsy-doodle on Brodeur’s big night, we’re in for a long and frustrating 60 minutes.

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