The Habs take the ice at MSG to take on the Rangers. The Rangers are playing well and lead the Canadiens by a single point. Jaroslav Halak will get the start once again.
Jaro had better have a ‘bounce back’ game tonight or we could be seeing Denis for a bunch of games. We never seem to play good defense when the goaltending situation is shaky. I’d like to see Andrei Kostitsyn really step it up as we head towards the all-star break. He has the skills to be an elite forward in this league if he could just develop the confidence and work ethic required. Hopefully playing with his brother will inspire him to turn on the goals. Having him rolling would take a lot of the pressure off of the other guys who are struggling offensively.
Well all year I have been hearing how bad a skater Latendresse is and the last few games he has shown me that he in fact can skate and how about that goal he scores againt the rangers. Anyone who could not skate could not have be in that position to score a goal. I have been saying all along this guy needs to time to develop, and Carbo I think got his message through to him back in late November to start performing working hard and using your body. He has been doing all of that and with Lapierre they making that fourth line look like our second line should look. Playing hard. Also I have been hearing noise from a lot of you about them being on the power play, well because of them starting on that power play in the third they drew another penalty giving us the 5 on 3 that put the game away. I think a few of you should eat your works. Especially those that have been critizing Carbo’s coaching tackics.
Lapierre is becoming another Carbonneau frustrating the good players with his checking and in your face type of play as well scoring some goals. Our fourth line is starting too look similar to the our checking line of the Gainey/Carbonneau eras.
Great coaching job by all our coaches, in getting this team turned around especailly with all the injuries. Looks like we may have tradable players when the return from injury.
Halak played better than average, couple of weak goals but he came up big when we needed him to. Lang played a good game, and our fourth or is it our third line played great again. Chips line I guess should e considered our fourth line and they played well too, lots of energy, puck rotation and fore checking. I like what I am seeing. Our defence played sound as well except for our good friend Brisebois. He made some bad plays again tonight. Fortunately he got bailed out each time.
I’m really happy to see the power play working again. The boys did seem poised out there
passing the puck around crisply. Also happy for Halak. I agree…. a couple of softies, but he was absolutely huge when he had to be.
It was a great win for the Habs for a couple reasons: By all accounts Carey Price is still a week away at least from returning from his “lower body” injury. Having a goaltender who is confident to replace him is critical, and last night Halak showed that he is still the goalie we remember from last season. Last night he was much stronger in the crease and made a few spectacular saves when he had to. As a few of you have noted, he still gave up a couple “soft” goals that Carey would have had, as well as some atrocious rebounds – but all in all it was a solid outing from a player that we are definitely going to have to rely on for the near future.
Secondly, I thought the Canadiens defense did an excellent job of collapsing to the crease area in order to get rid of loose pucks and rebounds. Considering how many goals are scored in this manner in the NHL, it is crucial that your forwards and defense can collapse to the net and be ready to get the opposition and puck away from dangerous scoring areas. Having Mike Komisarek back there is critical to our defensive success. It would be nice to see Brisebois take a seat sometime in the near future to see if O’Byrne remembers that he’s a hockey player. If his absence continues for too long, we can definitely forget about him ever turning into a useful player. Considering it was his defensive lapses that got him into trouble, one would hope Carbo has noticed how many times Breezer has been blown by lately. He is a great insurance policy, but the team is going to have to replace his spot to have a strong D going forward. Maybe use Weber if O’Byrne is still in the doghouse?
I absolutely agree with you Senet1 on Latendresse. While I have been unimpressed with his play from time to time, we are now seeing what patience and coaching can do for a young player who is full of potential. For the first time in his career Latendresse looks as big and powerful as he really is. And while I doubt he’ll ever be a serious goal scorer in this league (I hope I take that back some day), he is turning into an incredible asset along with Maxime Lapierre and Tom Kostopolous. The way those guys are playing right now, they are opening up the opportunities that Lang had on his second goal last night, by wearing out he defense, and making them think that they are going to have to battle in the corners on every rush. Its exactly what this team needs.. a little room for the talented players to work their magic.
Sometimes in Montreal we are too quick to write off players who need a little extra time to develop. We forget that Lafleur didn’t find real success until his fourth season. We forget that the Rocket was in his third season before he started scoring. Most guys struggle until they develop the muscle, confidence and skills to succeed at a pro level. I just wish that in assessing the talent that we have on the roster Montreal fans would remember that more often than not, players take time to develop and that when we get rid of our prospects as a reaction to their early career, we are setting the team up to miss potential impact players.
You know what guys…..I’ve been doing alot of whining and moaning about our Habs this year, and last night it finally hit me, my eyes were finally opened so to speak. Last season spoiled me…high flying, goal scoring, exciting hockey is what we got last year, and compared to that, it’s been hard to watch this years sytem. But I’ve been so caught up in our “style” of play that I hadn’d been noticing our “results”. Bottom line…we ARE winning games.
During last nights game it finally sunk in…it’s the first game this season that I watched the dumping, chiping and grinding and didn;t complain about it. Still harder hockey to watch than the other brand, but getting results.
I did say a couple of weeks ago in here that we are eking out games against the bottom teams, which is true. And after tonights Leaf game, the next 2 on our slot are Wash and Bos…and if this style we’ve adopted works against these guys…I’m sold. A thousand pardons will go out to Mr. Carbonneau.
We do still have to beat the top teams guys, and last night was a step up. We do need someone scoring some goals though…I’m sure you all agree. I’m even thinking that this brand should get us further into the playoffs. One question though…with the exception of Price who we want back ASAP, how much of a hurry should we be in to get our other 3 injuries back in the lineup. These guys were a line and we were losing with them in there. Just something to think about…is bumping the younger, hungry players who are helping with our effort, out of the lineup gonna change things ? We’ll see I guess. Keep up the winning and you will seel all of your frustrated fans on this style of hockey..last night was my semi-awakening..Sat and Tues night will be big games towards seeling me 100%. GO HABS GO !!!
PS Guys…has anyone heard anything on Montreal being the front runners for Kaberle from the leafs? I heard something last night and just wanted to know if any of you heard anything. A smooth puck moving D-man is apparently why we want him…any news on this and what do you all think.
Last night during the intermission the question was asked to TSN’s panel, which included Bob MacKenzie, John Tortarella, and Ray Ferraro: Will the Canadiens make a move before the deadline? Ferraro responded by saying that the Canadiens powerplay was in desperate need of a quarterback which was available in Kaberle. Today TSN has a story in which Kaberle is quoted as saying (more or less) that he would be wiling to waive his no-trade clause if Burke asked him. And so the obvious thought is that he is a good fit for the Canadiens who are still looking to add a piece as they head towards the playoffs.
Th questions Montreal fans should be asking are: Do we need a player for the power play? and: Can Kaberle provide this for our team?
As our slumping PP has been well documented, I think the question is easily answered: Yes we need someone to fill that position, because clearly what we’ve been doing isn’t working. The second question is harder to answer. Kaberle has drawn the anger of fans who see him as an expensive, minus player who is reported to have blocked a trade that would have seen him go to Philadelphia last season in return for Jeff Carter. He currently has 25 points in 40 games which would put him on a similar pace for the 51 he got last season. I don’t think I need to tell you all that his 25 points would sadly make him our 5th leading scorer. And while Leafs fans are unhappy with his defensive play this year, I think their team defense is contributing to his troubles. He could certainly help our team moving towards the playoffs. The biggest question however is who do you give up in return? Its going to cost us to get him from Toronto. If I’m Burke I want O’Byrne, another young roster player and a draft pick in return. We’ll see what happens I guess. I certainly welcome a deal like this more than one sending all of our prospects to rent Kovalchuk.
I like Kaberle-he’s in the Andrei Markov mold but not quite as good as Markov.
I would be willing to part with Higgins and Kostopolous(the toughness that Burke likes).
I see us giving up O’bryne and Higgins. The defenceman I would really like to get thought would be Boumester from Florida. Unfortunately he is a FA at the end of the year and we could loose him whereas Kaberle has two or three more years on his contract.
We have so many defenseman developing in the juniors and minors that we can afford to give up one especially a non roster player like Obyrne.