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Game 77: Habs/Canes

  • I guess we could all get together and have a big cry over the lack of justice in the world for having to watch the New Jersey Devils play an absolute gem against us on Saturday night to lock up a playoff spot, only to lay subsequent eggs against our two playoff rivals. “Too bad so sad” is what my old man would say. The Habs are now in 7th position and are fully submerged in the battle between the final three playoff teams. With Altlanta now trailing by a full two points (and having played one more game than the rest of the group), we can (sort of) remove them temporarily. They aren’t out, but with only 4 games remaining, it will be a tough challenge to play 3 points better than the 6,7, and 8 teams.

    As for those final three teams (the Habs, Bruins and Flyers), the gridlock continues as they all have 82 points after 76 games played. For those who might not remember – the tie breakers for the NHL standings are as follows:

    1. Wins

    2. Points against each other.

    3. Differential between goals for and against

    Luckily, Montreal has a winning record against all of the teams below them in the standings this season. They play the Flyers one more time before the season is out, which could mean a season split (2-2) should they win in regulation. Should it come down to goals for/against, the Flyers have a significant advantage as they are a +11 to our -4. It really shouldn’t come down to goals, as if either team moved significantly towards one or the other, you have to think that wins and losses would be occurring.

    So what does this all mean? Washington has clearly taken 1st place this season and will face the 8th seed in the first round. Montreal has played Washington well this season, however, I’m not convinced that the Habs want any part of Alex the Great after last year’s playoffs, and the showing of his Russians at Olympics. Some are inferring that Washington may crumble with goaltending and issues of physicality, but I don’t really see that happening. It is entirely possible that the Bruins pass the Habs leaving us in 8th, although they have been equally as inconsistent as us lately – and for that reason I think they’ll end up in 8th.

    The 2nd seed is still up for grabs as the Penguins hold a 1 point advantage over the Sabres who hold 1 game in hand. Ultimately this may be the defining game that tells us who we play in the 1st round. The question is who is the better opponent? Do you want the Stanley Cup Champions or a team who is backstopped by arguably the best goaltender in the sport? Personally I would prefer Buffalo, a team who we haven’t played particularly well, but does not have the deep playoff experience of the Penguins who are able to play both a run-and-gun, and physical game.

    Feel free to disagree with me. That is just my gut feeling. The fact is, both teams present problems for our Habs.

    None of that matters tonight however. The only game that matters for the Canadiens is against the resurgent Hurricanes who have only pride left to play for, but are looking more and more like the threatening team that pundits thought they would be at the start of the year.  Getting the first goal tonight will be a big boost to either side. The final stretch is here. Go Habs Go!!

  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    March 31, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Well as far as an playoff opponent, that is if we can be excused for counting our chickens before they hatch. I see us having the best chance against Buffalo. However, I am not so sure Washington can’t be had. They have definitely shown they are vulnerable lately. I think regardless who we play it will be a tough series.

    I think we better first win tonight and also against Philly. It always makes me made with at the end of the season when wins are important why they would have us playing back to back games. Not sure how many other teams are in the same situation. My only hope is that the Leafs game is not a must win to make the playoffs, because they seem to have our number this year especially lately.

  2. #2 Donnie says:
    March 31, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Playoffs smayoffs. Anyone really want to see this joke of a team get embarassed in the playoffs. Poorly structured team. Gainey crapped to bed yet again on assembling this team, including the useless coach he hired. As I said before, Martin and his Florida Panther style hockey have to evacuate the city of Montreal. Never, ever hire another coach who plays this style, or things are not gonna change. The players have to grow bigger balls, get more heart, and play with desire and drive. Have some pride for God’s sake. Gotta get back to playing the game they loved at one point, and forget about the “its a job and a paycheck” line of thinking. Changes are needed desparately. Start with dumping Martin and banning him from ever entering Quebec again. Total clusterf*ck in Montreal right now. Brutal team now, and doesn’t look good for the future. When Martin goes, pack up the lazy, gutless Kost sisters and send them with him. Scraping in to the playoffs would give this team an undeserved sense of accomplishment they dont deserve. Not to metion the embarassment every Hab fan will have to undertake when they can’t score there either. Pack it in, who cares what this bunch of yahoos do in the last 6 games or so. See you guys next year for more of the same. Done for this season. Later.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    April 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Donnie, I agree and disagree. Firstly, I agree about the coaching, I have said this many times Martin’s Style of coaching does not suit the player personal he had which is the reason why many times the players do not perform which is the part that I disagree about. Two weeks ago this team played like we know they can and they played a strong forchecking game and caused turnovers in the opponents end. If the teams played that style then we would still be winning something changed about the time we played the Leafs and we have not played the same since. To me that is coaching, the players seem to be putting in the effort but nothing seems to go right two weeks ago the goals were going in and the teams was motivated to continue to play hard. Every teams gets a jump when they score goals. We have witnessed that a few times in the past week when we play other teams such as Buffalo we out played them for 57 minutes they score one goal and all of a sudden they have an extra jump like another gear that they had not displayed all game. Personally, I will be more ashamed if we do not make the playoff than I will be if we do and lose in the first round. Right or Wrong that is how I see if anyway.

  4. #4 Avatar37 says:
    April 1, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    It is simplistic to always blame the coach, the gm, the players, etc etc. When Carbs was coach, everyone was calling for him to be fired, even though he had a winning record. Now we have Martin and he’s not even here a year and people are calling for him to be fired. What’s next, hiring another coach and calling for him to be fired after 6 months too? or 3? If anyone says we need to fire the coach or GM, great, but don’t say it without saying who you’d replace him with.

    The biggest problem that I can see is that the fans have no patience. There is no excuse for booing Price while he earned the third star of the game. The fans ran Roy out of town, the fans are the reason a lot of players don’t want to sign or resign in Montreal, the fans (and media) are the reason that both Lecavalier and Briere both have said they’ll never play in Montreal. Personally, I’d say we need to first get a better class of fan, then we might have a shot at building a better team. I can tell you that constantly having people be negative towards you certainly isn’t going to make you WANT to play your best all the time, or any of the time.

  5. #5 Senet1 says:
    April 1, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    “Intensity is a funny word,” began Gill, who wasn’t twirling a pair spectacles in his hand as he spoke. “Some see a drop in intensity as a desire to not perform. I think we’ve lost some intensity just because we’ve strayed from our system of late – our system that made us successful this season. I find sometimes we work hard instead of working smart.”

  6. #6 Senet1 says:
    April 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    What you say may be true but there were a few of us who said this last October before we even started the season. Martin has a history every team that he has coached, he was not even succesful when he had quite a few stars on his team because of his system. I have agreed with most of Gainey’s moves but not this one. As far as suggesting another coach that is like saying I think we should hire one of the other successful coaches in the league when they are not available YET! It is the coaches responsiblity to determine the best system for his team to play based on his player personel. Personally, I do not think we have Martin’s type of personal for his system. We need a system more like Pittsburgs or some of the West coast teams. If anyone know a coach who is available I am open to suggestions. Unfortunately, I am afraid we are stuck with Martin for at least another year unless our New GM has other ideas. I think Gil said it best in his quote above.

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    April 1, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I would say one thing that if Carbo had this team last year I think he would have been more successful. Unfortunately for Carbo, he did not have the offensive players last year that we have this year. He did not have the big defenseman last year and the most important thing he did not have the solid goaltending last year that we have had this year. All Carbo needed was to learn how to communicate better with his players. That is something that a rookie coach has to learn, and some find it easier that others. Carbo is a perfectionist so he would have eventually figured it out.

  8. #8 Senet1 says:
    April 1, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    As far as the Kost brothers are concerned, they are both talented players but can we afford to have players on the team that perform well for part of the season and poorly for the other? Can we afford to have players who have the ability to become a cancer to the team, Like Sergie did this past fall. Can we affod players who pout when they do not get their own way. I think we would all agree that we cannot afford to have players like this. So although Sergie has actually played very well in this third line roll since coming out of this pout, he actually improved his value as trade bait. So you put him an Andre together and trade them for a power forward. Or offer them to Vancouver for their two brothers, yea right!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9 Avatar37 says:
    April 1, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Well, Martin is in the top 10 most wins for a coach of all time, if I’m not mistaken. Granted, he’s never been out of the second round of the playoffs. I don’t want to sound like I’m not in favour of replacing Martin, because I am, however, I still think it’s an oversimplification to simply always blame the coach or GM. I personally believe in a tougher brand of hockey than Martin does, which is why I believe that while he has a lot of regular season wins, he’s never progressed past the second round in the playoffs. Playoff hockey is different from regular season, you need tough players to grind it out over 7 game series. I like Carbs a lot and think he got shafted. My favourite coaches are Scotty Bowman and Pat Burns, good luck finding coaches like that anymore.

    I still support the Kostitsyns, it’s frustrating that they seem to perform well at opposite times. They need to develop more consistency to their game, but when AK is on his game, man, he’s a great sniper, and really can make that second line fire. Having AK and Cammalleri on his wings is a huge reason why Pleks is having such a great year. Personally, I might have been tempted to bundle them and Hamrlk or Spacek up in a package for Phaneuf, but that’s just me. I don’t hold out much hope for this team until managment deals with the glaring issues on defense. This team has a history of hiring defensive liabilities, from Brisebois to Traverse to Bergeron. We don’t need offensive defensemen, we need some defensive defensemen to solidify that blue line, and until we get that, you can forget about winning playoff series, never mind a cup. We don’t need more forwards, we need to use our current forwards efficiently and we NEED better defensemen, which I believe can be addressed through trade/free agency/farm system. As all armchair GMs, I firmly believe that given 1 good summer, I could have this defense turned around… but that’s why I’m an armchair GM =) I just hope that someone who does work for the team starts to take the defensive problems seriously, or they hire someone who can evaluate defensive talent better than they’re currently doing, and come up with a better strategy for hiring and playing defensemen.

  10. #10 Senet1 says:
    April 2, 2010 at 9:47 am


    Well Said, I agree, in the past I have never agreed with blaming the coach and GM when you have good players and are paying them over 1-2M a season to play a game that we all love. In martin’s case my first reaction was why did Gainey get a coach who has proven that he can not take a team to a championship. I would rather have a rookie coach like Carbo who has new ideas. Too bad carbo did not have a season or two in the minors learning the ropes before being putinto the fire. I do think that it is much harder for a rookie coach to be successful in Montreal because of the fans and the media exposure.

  11. #11 Senet1 says:
    April 2, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Now if I had 20M to spend on defenseman salaries who would I have for next season. Well hypothetically we have Markov and I would pay him 6.5M, Obryne 1M, Gorges 1.5M, Subban 1M, that leaves 11M to pay the balance of our defence but in these first four we only have one big defenceman and personally I want some muscle on my blueline, We currently have 11.5M spend on Hammer, spacek and Gil. It would be nice to remove all three and if we could it would provide us with the money to go out and get a a top free agent defenceman. Volchenkov is available 3.5M, To be honest I cannot come up with anyothers right now that might be available although Martin from NJ is UFA, he would want 4.5 to 5M, I think the positive would be he is used to playing a defensive system. I may bring up Bell for 1M as our 7th defenceman, That actually saved us about 2M for other players.

  12. #12 Donnie says:
    April 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Martin does not fit with the players we have. His style has to go. We have a bad, outdated habit of hiring a french speaking coach….not the best coach….this puts us behind the 8-ball immediately, when we limit who to hire as coach. We have some of the smallest forwards in the league…they were picked up for speed and offense. Martins style has the noose tied so tighly around these guys that they cant move. Camalleri, Plecanek, Gomez, Gionta…these aren’t guys who play an along the boards, mucking game, and thats what Martin has them doing. They cant win pucks or score goals cuz thats not how these players have impact on a team. I stand behind my call for Martin to be gonzo. And Carbs, and Gainey had the same style as Martin, somewhat. So yeah, heres another coach that must go, and fans like me will keep calling for coach to be fired until they get it right. Until they get the right guy that can communicate with the players he has, and one who does not bring this ugly, boring, no offense, style of coaching to this team. Winning record or not, we have had no playoff sucess with Carbs, we wont with Martin and we havent with almost every coach in the past decade or so. So Carbs has proven nothing.
    As far as patience go. How long must we be patient? Its been the better part of 2 decades now since we have made a good playoff run. A team of this magnitude has to build a better product in the almost 20 years they have been trying. Sorry, patience is gone. In the past, any way that a GM or a coach or a player can make a mess of things, they have done it….in numbers. Its time for this organization to start be credible for the collection of garbage they are putting on the ice season after season. Patience is long gone….sh*t or get off the pot. Its a dam embarassment where this team has sunk. Better decisions have to be made a levels high up in the system. Our scouts obviously suck, our players have no pride, our coach keep trying to get blood from a turnip by pushing his style on a team that cannot play it, and our GM and owners stand by and watch this crap every year and do nothing…why? Get over the whole french speaking coach sh*t, get a coach who can gel with the players he has, and get more players with heart who want to play and win. Asking Hab fan to remain patient in absolutely ridiculous seeing the HUGE mistake this organization has made over the past few years. After almost 20 years….it time for results !!!

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