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Game 73: Thrashers/Habs

  • Have the Habs hit rock bottom? Will this embarrassing slide end and be just a faint memory as the Canadiens sneak into maybe the 7th or 8th playoff seed? Is a 6th place finish such an implausible idea now for this team that floated above that position for nearly the whole season?

    Is it ridiculous to assume the Canadiens could actually throw together a winning streak or two and put this all to bed?

    Does anyone believe it’s still possible, be it player or fan?

    Or have we only witnessed the beginning of one of the worst descents into mediocrity in Habs history?

  1. #1 groundworking says:
    March 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm


    I’d love to be a “real fan” and think the best, but I think we’ve both seen enough of the game, and maybe played enough of the game, to know that this season is dead. It’s okay to have a few players on your team that struggle with work ethic and team commitment, but when that number reaches a critical mass, all hope is lost.

    My only concern now is that the work ethic problems that have plagued the team this year don’t trickle down to some of the young guys. To be honest, Maxim Lapierre is the only reason that I have any hope for this team’s future.

    I know that I’ve been negative, and being positive isn’t a personal characteristic that I’ve ever possessed or considered an asset, but these guys stink. I’m glad that you noted in your post that this is the team’s worst descent into mediocrity. It is. Probably ever. The team has choked before in the recent past, but never when the expectations were so justifiably high.

    Our goalie is too normal. Our defense is too soft. And our offense is timid. Overall, we have effort without skill, and skill without effort. Our stars are not in alignment!

  2. #2 Mats Naslund says:
    March 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I do like the move of putting Tanguay, Koivu and Kovalev together tonight. It is put up or shut up time as far as they are concerned. At least in the final 10 games Gainey can decide which of the FAs he will pursue and which will be left to find another home. If you’re going to win games in the NHL your highest paid players have to be your best. They also need to play distinctively better than guys who make millions less than them or there is no point in spending the money. Lapierre makes less than 700,000 per season. You would hope that those making over five times his salary could find some motivation as well. If they can’t, I’ll take a 30 million dollar team that tries night in and out over a 56 million dollar sham.

  3. #3 Donnie says:
    March 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Yay…Sergei is back…..when you have a lazy team, more laziness is always the answer.

  4. #4 habknot says:
    March 24, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Yeah, who would have thought it would be better to be a Leaf fan or a Sens fan at this time of year. I haven’t completely given up hope, but it has only a flicker of life.

    Tonight is big of course,but the last week of the season is the real test. NYR, Ott, Bos, Pit; 4 games 6 nights. How well we play then will say volumes, assuming we haven’t dropped out of the race by then, which may be assuming too much.

    Anyway let the big guns [popguns?] play. Move Lats onto the top six if nothing good happens tonight, pinch with the D all night and let the goalies face some odd man rushes. We don’t have the team to play the trap, so let ‘er rip. If we go down, at least it will be death by the sword, not the slow suffocation of the pillow!

  5. #5 Joseph says:
    March 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Odd man rushes will be nothing new to this team or its goaltenders. The Habs have made quite the habit of being outshot and outplayed since the All-Star break, so there’d really be nothing new from a defenisve standpoint if they played a run-and-gun game. In fact, the only part of that equation that has been missing is the gun. So yes, forget about attempting to tighten up the defense–they’re not going to magically figure out a way to undo all of the bad habits in these final 10 games anyway–and focus on putting together some offense. And no more ‘We’re not getting the bounces’ or ‘Their goaltender played well’ nonsense. Find the net, you punks!

    I’ve no hope for this season being miraculously salvaged somehow, so balls to the wall! I agree that these final 10 games will provide Gainey a good look at which players he wants to consider keeping around and which players are truly an overpaid waste of cap space.

  6. #6 Joseph says:
    March 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I’ll take a 30 million dollar team that tries night in and out over a 56 million dollar sham.

    Any day.

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    March 24, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    I think sending Pacoretti down was a good move, he needs more ice time to develop and will be ready to contribute next year if not in the playoffs.Sergi looked okay tonight but his brother looked terrible, just playing too tight. Plekanic looked lost tonight, there was no chemistry with this line at all. Not sure if it was AK, he just could not handle the puck. We had three lines playing well tonight but Plek’s line was very inconsistent.Hopefully, they can work together with time. AK needs a goal so he can loosen up.

  8. #8 Donnie says:
    March 25, 2009 at 12:33 am

    6 big goals…but still not a solid game….once again, other, bigger, better teams that we will meet will not be as much a pushover.
    Got the 2 points, if indeed finshing 8th barely is what we are looking for…getting bounced in 4 or 5 in the first round isnlt much better than 9th.
    2 points were good though…but how many times this year have we been sucked in by this team having 1 big offensive game. Lets win 4 or 5 in a row, and start playing a more solid game before we all start getting giddy.
    Looking forward to an, at least, partial rebuild this summer.

  9. #9 andrelafleur says:
    March 25, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    New to Blog. I NEED some FRENCH help. I will be attending the Habs/Bruins Game in Boston Thurs, April 9th.
    WHAT exactly is the cheer/ song sung by Canadiens fans? “Allez!… Allez,allez,allez”?? Or, unlikely, are Bruins fans right, ole’…ole’
    I’ve seen Allez! at The Tour De France, as well. Also, why are the NY Rangers playing same cheer??

  10. #10 Joseph says:
    March 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Words of wisdom, Donnie. We have certainly seen this before, and I’m right there with you, waiting to see what they do over the next several games. If they are able to put together a substantial winning streak, then I’ll begin to change my opinion of this team.

    The next big step, however, will be to lose the excuses which revolve around opposing players from Montreal/Quebec and finally beat the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning.

    If I recall correctly, Mario Lemieux was a better hockey player than Lecavalier and St. Louis combined, yet his Penguins didn’t always win in Montreal until they were a (potent) Stanley Cup team. Lose the excuses, Habs. Two players shouldn’t be able to beat you.

  11. #11 Mats Naslund says:
    March 25, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Andre: the OLE chant isn’t specifically a Canadiens chant. It is just that no other hockey teams use it. Personally I would love it if the Habs fans would add a few more cheers to the repertoire, but thems the breaks. Its definitely OLE though and is the bane of Boston’s existence as seen here:

    I live in Boston and will be at the game as well. A word of caution: Bruins fans can be down right nasty. I’ve seen fights in the stands and all kinds of junk etc thrown at Canadiens fans during the game. Just be friendly and you won’t have too much of a problem, but be aware that crazy stuff happens at Habs Bruins games. I’m always amazed by the sheer number of Habs fans though. There is no denying that we dominate other rinks. They’ll try to drown out the chant with USA-USA but even they know that’s lame. From there they will chant “you’re gay, you’re gay…” which just ends up making the OLE chant louder.

  12. #12 habknot says:
    March 25, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Hey Mats, Andre, that sounds like its going to be fun!

    So/So game last night. Tanguay was on fire! He WAS the first line last night, Saku and Alex rode his coattails. Markov was awesome and.. stop there. The rest of the team looked shaky and beatable. Kirk Muller saying “we just have to sit back, play tight and Atl will make mistakes” ??? We need more puck support from the Defence, and more jumping into the rush. The teams I’ve seen be successful this year play team defence AND team offence.

  13. #13 Donnie says:
    March 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Andre, I’ll be there on Mar 31st…this coming Tues…against Chicago. Coming up from the Rock…first game ever…and looking forward to it despite the way we are playing….6 rows from the glass, right across from Price;s left hand in the net he starts in. Hope it’s a good one.

  14. #14 Donnie says:
    March 25, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Oh btw….Jersey/Detroit final?…anyone else gonna take a stab?

  15. #15 Mats Naslund says:
    March 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I don’t know, there are some crazy playoff matchups that could go down right now.

    The East: If the playoffs started today, there would be 3 insane rivalry matchups in the first round.

    Montreal-Boston. It seems as though EVERY year of my life Montreal has played Boston in the post season. Any sane person would have to give Boston the edge this season, but the history of the rivalry shows that Montreal has by FAR dominated the matchup.. and crazy things happen when these teams meet up: aka last year as #1 and #8 seeds.

    Devils-Rangers. Who wouldn’t love to see this commuter rail matchup? Again, sanity would lead you to believe that the Devils are stronger than the Rangers, and yet, historically the Rangers have a distinct edge in matchups between the two clubs including 2008. Two fantastic goaltenders dueling it out, and two clubs that have both played better since the deadline. The rivalry between these two clubs and their fans would be awesome.

    Washington-Pittsburgh. Sure this rivaly doesn’t have the history that Habs-Bruins does, but it does have all the drama you can handle. From the obvious Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry to the Gonchar-Greene comparisons this rivalry has been fueled by the NHL in recent seasons and has all of the ingredients of a classic. Pittsburgh has been the best team in hockey since their deadline deals and coaching switch.

    Those are the great matchups in the East. I don’t really know how to pick a team as I don’t see any of them as runaway favorites. I think Pittsburgh is dangerous. Crosby and Malkin with Gonchar is pretty insane during the playoffs. To me I think if they get past the first round healthy, they are my pick.

    In the West things are equally as interesting. Depending on where Detroit and San Jose end the season we could see a first round matchup of San Jose- Anaheim which would be outrageous. Anaheim has struggled all season long, but can you count out a team with Pronger, Neidermeyer, Getzlaf, Perry , Selanne, Ryan etc etc etc? The NHL desperately wants a southern california playoff series, and I for one would love to see SJ matched up against Anaheim. Huge potential for an upset there.

    Another insane series that could happen is Vancouver-Calgary. This depends on what happens with Chicago considering they have a game in hand on Calgary and are only trailing them by a point in the standings. Can you even fathom how outrageous a Vancouver-Calgary playoff series would be? Luongo vs Kipper, Iginla vs Sundin? I’m praying for these two clubs to finish 4-5 so that this one happens.

    If it did turn out like that and Chicago took the 3 seed, they would face Columbus in the first round. I think that is another fantastic matchup. Two young, hungry teams. Columbus has never had a post season in the team’s history. Chicago is on the verge of becoming a powerhouse again. There is the mid-west geographical factor that plays into it. Not to mention the fact that Columbus is 7-2-1 in the last 10 and Chicago is 3-5-2.

    There is huge potential for upsets this post season, and though I would love for nothing more than another Habs victory over the Bruins, I don’t realistically expect it. If I had to make a bold prediction I would have to say:

    San Jose vs Pittsburgh in the finals. Yes Detroit has been on fire lately but I wonder about their goaltending, especially in a 7 game series vs an incredible team like San Jose. They have been SO good at home this year (3 regulation losses), which means I love their chances in 7 against anyone. Pittsburgh is going to have to battle some great teams like Jersey and Washington, but they are on a tear and have the goaltending, offense, defense and now grit with the addition of Guerin and Kunitz. Boston is backing in, and Wash and NJ have both lost a bit of their edge.

  16. #16 Senet1 says:
    March 26, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    If I had to pick a team to play in the first round it would be Boston. Of all the teams above us in the top four they are the ones that are not playing as well right now. Personally, I don’t see Pittsburg beating NJ if they meet. NJ’s biggest test will be the rangers, if they get past NYR I think they will win the conference. Washington will be tough but I do not think they have the goaltending to win.

    In the west I see SJ getting upset in the early rounds and Detroit as well, I go not think the wings are hungry enough to win. I see Calgary coming up the middle if they can get past Vancouver. Anyway, I am picking Calgary and New Jersey in the finals. Of course if the habs get past the 2nd round then they will win it all?

  17. #17 Senet1 says:
    March 26, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    To me this year could be the 1993 type year all over, with all the favoured teams getting beat out early and the teams that gets hot goaltending wins it all.

  18. #18 Joseph says:
    March 26, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Predictions are hilarious.

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