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Heinous Officiating costs Habs

  • Playoffs in February? It sure felt like it. One of the most entertaining games this year was last night’s between the Habs and Pens. Unfortunately some horrid officiating may have robbed the Habs the extra point.

    The officiating in this game was the worst I’ve seen all year. Maybe ever. The officials blew the game from the opening faceoff and never recovered.

    Off the opening draw there was a “butt end” from Maxim Lapierre delivered to Sidney Crosby’s mid section. Crosby like he normally does went down and did his best fish out of water impression.

    You be the judge and determine how hard, if at all, the butt end of the stick penetrated Crosby. Either way if you take a shot at the league’s best you’d expect a penalty call. 2 mins to Lapierre and the officiating fiasco may have been avoided.

    Crosby replies with a trip off the faceoff moments later. No call. Even up officiating at it’s best. 2 minutes there might have avoided the whole game being called in this manner but now it was already out of control.

    At least it got the teams fired up and they played some exciting and fast paced hockey. Once again until the referees butchered the game.

    The penalty call on Michael Ryder, probably the worst single call of the entire year. You be the judge. I’m not even sure what to say about that. The ref obviously had his mind set on calling something and basically invented a call.

    Now it gets interesting.

    The hit on Koivu was a completely clean hit. A hard hit, what hockey is about. Saku Koivu took it, got up and skated off. He did not roll around on the ice like Crosby after his phantom butt-end.

    Clean hit or not, Souray did the right thing by going after Armstrong. Protecting his Captain. Clean or not, you do not run the Captain/Star player.

    What is the result? 2, 5, 10 and a game for Souray. Are you kidding? A 7 minute call? When is there EVER a 7 minute powerplay? Armstrong shed the mits and threw at least 2 punches, is that not fighting? Roughing? Awful.

    Then wait, 2 minutes to Bonk for interference? You look at the replay. Horrid call.

    So the Pens get basically the entire second period with a man advantage and find the net that way. They also concede a shorty.

    So expelling the Canadiens best player with a terrible call doesn’t hurt their chances? Of course it did, the Canadiens pressed the Pens the entire game. Souray was missed most on the overtime 4-3 powerplay where his shot would have been lined up countless times with all the room on the ice.

    The shootout: Fleury outplayed Abeischer. Bottom line.

    The Habs battled hard and earned a point coming from behind several times. If they put that effort into every game this is a contending team.

    Did anyone else notice Alex Kovalev wake up? He traditionally shows up in the playoffs and the game was a hard fought playoff-like game.

    And about Crosby….Crosby with all his talent still lacks some maturity. How about the hot dog behind the back Denis Savard wannabe pass on a 2-1 late in the game that could have sealed it? Selfish, ugly, stupid play. The Habs nearly tied it up on the ensuing 2 on 1. They didn’t but they did not much later in the game.

    Sunday’s game should be a dandy. Souray will be seeking revenge and Crosby will probably be confused with the famous Forum Hot Dogs once again.

90 Comments
  1. #1 doggone R habs says:
    February 3, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    I believe that, if the habs don’t make the playoffs, Carbo will be fired. I don’t think he has the patience required for this team. He keeps on saying, after every other game, “We weren’t ready”! Isn’t it the coaches responsibility to get the players ready? If he and his coaches can’t get them ready, then they should be fired. We need to change the faces on this team. firstly, sit out Ryder and Higgins. Bring up 2 players from Hamilton. See if that motivates these players when they get back into the lineup.
    I really think this team is no better than the team of last year. It seems we take 1 step forward, and 2 steps backwards. we might actually be worse than last year. How many teams score more goals on the PP, than 5 on 5?
    this team is an embarrassment to this city. Their display today was absolutely DISGRACEFUL!! All the fans at the game should ask for a refund!

  2. #2 smiler2729 says:
    February 3, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Heartless…

  3. #3 HABMAN says:
    February 3, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    I cannot understand how the Habs could put on such a lacklustre effort today. It’s like Carbo said ‘how could they not be ready, when the other team is always ready’. Too soft,too soft, too soft, TOO SOFT!!!!!! Show some bloody heart and passion for F*&K sakes!! Now the Pens are only 3 points back with 2 games in hand!If things don’t change very quickly then this team will be catching up to Toronto (HORRORS!!!) in the near future. I wouldn’t want to be the coach of this team right now. I think a collective trip behind the shed with a LARGE stick is in order Monsieur Carbonneau!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. No by all means shouldn’t we be taking the high road…they’re still above .500 so you dear fans should be saying look at the bright side of things. These are our Habs we have full faith and confidence in them whether they are fourth or 10th we love them…we will wear rose-coloured glasses just because they wear our lovely uniforms…hey guess what some of us were saying exactly what has and is continuing to develop and come to fruition. It is the time to shed some of this dead wood. The problem is now that they have lost a great deal of value…mmmm what shall we bring home, who’s willing to bite on some of these schmucks. We should have sent them packing 10-15 games ago…if you care re-read some of my posts. It’s not rocket science but some of you dear fans, acting like Leaf fans missed the boat. You too need to snap out of it…get screaming when the habits are forming and indifferent attitudes and lacklustre performances are the norm. That’s a big sign. Can’t believe that we’ve come this far down and still no sight of any real change or to turn the corner. Can’t wait to hear of the new faces and which of the loafers have moved on. Just my two cents.

  5. #5 joshtm says:
    February 3, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    Oh great, we are in for a real shocking game next game, if Carbo is gonna play Ninny, Downie and fall guy Murray, who is he gonna bench? For sure its not gonna be Rivet, or Markov, who both deserve serious benching, no it’ll probably be Dandy and Bouly…yup blame it on the wrong people….Where the hell was the team in this game? Maybe Carbo should just bench the entire team, bring up Price and the dogs, it’ll be like the killing machine early in the year in Halifax….

  6. #6 joshtm says:
    February 3, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    I could not believe my ears! There was Cherry praising Souray! Sure enough his side kick called Lapierres shove as a butt end, and Cherry said it was only a shove…is Cherry getting soft on the habs? You know something is wrong with the habs when Cherry is feeling sorry for our team.

  7. Wow,that means I’m on the same side as Cherry:Omygosh I’m a redneck!!! nooooooo!!!

  8. #8 stevejur says:
    February 3, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    I fear the worst is yet to come.
    The Leafs are on fire, they just might pass us.
    Please stop the bleeding I can’t take it anymore.

    In good news, Panthers are getting killed by L.A 6-0 in the second period.
    This could be the setup for a major trade on Monday.

  9. #9 doggone R habs says:
    February 3, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    All I know, I don’t want to see some of those same players next week!
    Here, as fans are our ultimatum: Mr. Gainey, change some players, or you will lose the respect of some of your most loyal and ardent fans!
    No, we will never leave our habs organization, but our spirits will fade into the background. This mighty franchise has fallen on difficult and laborious times.
    In order to regain our support, you must do what is necessary, and make this team proud to wear that CH logo on their chests.
    Their is NO CHEMISTRY, NO HEART, NO DESIRE, NO GUTS, and NO FIGHT on this team.
    the only player exemplifying any guts, is Souray, and soon enough he will be gone. Do you believe, Gainey, that a player like Samsonov or Kovalev, will go to the wall for you? not in a million years!!! Never, Never, Never!
    You’ve heard from the fans, now earn your pay, and do your job!
    Put together a team we can be proud of, instead one that is an embarrassment!
    Personally, I have supported this team for 35 years, thru the highs and lows.
    But right now, I’m fed up, and disgusted with their continual lacklustre performance.
    Anyone who doesn’t want to give 100% effort, show him the door, all the way out of town, to either Hamilton, or further if needed!
    Now I have vented, and said my peace. I’m sure others are feeling the same.But no matter what happens, I will be a habs fan for life!

  10. and that was their good points!

  11. #11 WICKSTER says:
    February 3, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    Just going through the FUCKEN motion’s!!!!

  12. #12 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:26 am

    Andrei Markov and Alexander Perezhogin to FLA for Olli Jokinen and a 2nd round pick… to be announced soon.

  13. #13 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:27 am

    YEAH RIGHT!!!! Why would we want another soft Euro???

  14. #14 doggone R habs says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:30 am

    If only that trade would come to fruition. It would be a real win for us.
    there are no untouchables on the habs. everyone is available.
    how about Bertuzzi and Jokinen for Souray , Aebischer and Ryder?

  15. #15 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:30 am

    If it was easy to trade, Bob Gainey would have pulled it off already. Why does everybody think the other 28 GMs are pushovers? (I didn’t include JFJ cuz he’s an idiot and I hope Toronto keeps him so he can keep fucking up that team.

  16. #16 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Bertuzzi’s a malcontent and Souray’s staying put and will have a whole wad of $$$ thrown at him this summer by the Habs.

  17. #17 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Again why does everybody think the other teams will take our garbage? Look how hard it was to trade that little faking soccer Boy Ribeiro? Nobody wanted him so it was a “our trash for your trash” trade with Dallas.
    Maybe Philadelphia will take Samsonov for Kyle Calder, one overpaid underachiever for another… hey at least Calder’s not a Euro.

  18. #18 doggone R habs says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:35 am

    The only teams we can get a good deal from, are the teams out of the playoff race, like Phoenix, LA,Fla,Philly,Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis.
    I just hope we don’t wind up with another reject like Samsonov.

  19. #19 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:39 am

    As for Hab untouchables, maybe Chris Higgins, Guillaume Latendresse or Mike Komisarek cuz they’re young, good and still learning (sure they can be a little rough around the edges sometimes but they’re keepers). Sheldon Souray and Saku Koivu may even be traded if the deal is good, jeez, Wayne Gretzky was traded twice!

  20. #20 doggone R habs says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:42 am

    How bad are the habs now? their 2 top lines have collectively 2 goals and 3 assists in the past 8 games. pathetic!
    BTW, Carbo is putting in his most talented players tomorrow- Murray, Downey, and Niinimaa. Can you spell loss?

  21. #21 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:43 am

    A lot of good teams are struggling of late (BUF, ANA and NSH to name a few)… I just have this feeling Detroit will win it all anyway but hopefully the Habs make it to the dance and have a good playoff run, that’s all I ask. Just make the fans proud. Play for the CH, know it, love it, BE IT!

  22. #22 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:45 am

    Murray and Downey kick ass! Niinimaa is an enigma, whatever… Why not stick Koivu between Kovalev and Samsonov and have Plekanec center Ryder and Latendresse leaving Higgins to grind it out on our best line with Bonk and Johnson. It’s easy from here but we’ll see. Habs will win tomorrow.

  23. #23 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Just imagine… IF Brendan Shanahan signed with Montreal instead of New York. Big if…

  24. #24 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:50 am

    Fuck me, we were spoiled fans in the ’70s, the Habs were automatic, they were money! I think we lose sight of lucky we were.

  25. No matter what, we got to unload the big buck smaller and older players,and start rebuilding with younger, bigger, faster, north american players and try and keep Souray,MARKOV and Koivu,one of the goalies”u pick”, couple more Bulldogs,still try to make the big show and get what we need in the off season. And that way ,at least we’re building to face teams like the Pens in the future.GO FOR THE BULLS-EYE.

  26. #26 joshtm says:
    February 4, 2007 at 1:45 am

    HAHAHAA!!!! When I have a tough day, all I have to do is ready Smiley’s post, hey Smiley, where can I buy those rose colored glasses that you and Gainey use to watch the totally different game? Talk about Downie and Murray kicking butt, that is if they can skate and catch up, the only reason why Gainey got them is they are the fall guys. Same with Ninny. Ninny was his last teams excuse for not making it into the playoffs. He’ll do nicely for Bob, its like buying a Maytag dishwasher knowing it’ll burst into flames and blame the warranty…ya right…talk about wasting money, that’s all Gainey does. As if in a world of what a few gazillion hockey players we get this? Stop making those pathetic excuses for Bob, like if he could have made an easy trade he would have by now, heck we sure found a way to send Roy packing when he disagreed with the boss….

    Huet has lost more than he has won in his last 15 starts. Abby is not doing that great either. We need good goalies, we need hot goalies. Our defense is not doing it, what are we doing saying Markov is so hot when he’s not. Like today he kept on knocking the islanders into Huet, kind of like setting up the other team to score, as if Souray giving the puck away wasn’t bad enough….

  27. #27 habs phan says:
    February 4, 2007 at 2:12 am

    went snowboarding all day, by the sounds of everyone on this blog i’m glad i didn’t stay home to watch the game. sounds like nobody showed up to play. weird!!! i think i’ve said that before. wait i did say that before!!! it was last week and the week before that and the week before that>>>>>>>>> i think you get the point. good luck tomorrow, maybe if they change their clocks so they think they are playing at 730pm they might show up. just a thought, after all they never come to play afternoon games. go habs go. hopefully we’ll see a fair officiated game. make the fans proud. keep fighting for those points boys.

  28. #28 habs phan says:
    February 4, 2007 at 2:15 am

    one more thing. if anybody that makes decisions for the habs reads this blog. please bring grabovsky back. for the love of god. when he skates the rest of the team seems to get their asses in gear. trust me, just do it!!! ok that’s it

  29. #29 smiler2729 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 8:44 am

    Oh for fuck’s sake you’re right JOSHtm, here’s hoping the Montreal Canadiens fold or move to Las Vegas or something cuz you know what, it’s better NOT having a hockey team than cheering for all these losers who never win and seem headed for another 0-82 season under Gainey… or with your SHIT-COLOURED GLASSES on, we can take more cheap potshots at all these crappy players we have and their crappy coaches.
    Alas WOE IS ME!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Poor poor pitiful me!!!
    Now that is how you think and see things JOSHtm cuz losers think like losers, the glass is half empty, the sky is falling, I think it’s a tumour, waaaah waaaah. It’s fans like you that give make everyone here want to puke, you fairweathered bandwagon jumping UN-INFORMED lazy whiner. Reading your assinine comments is embarrassing and I wonder if you even have a life or do you just sit there behind your little keyboard typing away this drivel instead of actually watching the games, hell, have you even ever played this game??? I mean on skates and ice, not in your mommy’s driveway with your little sister. Huh? Ever?? Didn’t think so. PLEASE buddy, PLEASE, SHUT THE FUCK UP, okay?

  30. easy on Higgins. His success was from digging for the puck and getting it out to his linemates, (assist) but they haven’t played well or being infront of the net to redirect or get those rebounds, which his linemates haven’t thrown much of anything at the opposing goalie. Also, because of his great play in the beggining of the year, he is now on the radar, which means there has to be an adjustment for him and his line to overcome that. Chris still has tremendous confidence and drive. I dont’ think his injury is a factor anymore.
    This is just the normal transformation that a young great player has.

  31. #31 Drive_4_25 says:
    February 4, 2007 at 11:51 am

    IZZY about post # 80

    Pretty observant , and I would have to agree with 95% of what you said…But I don’t believe that Higgins is still hurt… The entire first line are LOST they have absolutely 0 in the way of confidence..and each one is playing more for themselves then for each other.
    1: Ryder , all this guy tries to do is score..and he couldn’t hit the side af a barn with an airplane right now!!! Higgins: This guy so badly needs to score a goal that his hands hurt from holding on to the stick so tight…Koivu: This is where I am having a problem…Koivu’s play is ( to me ) an indication that there is something wrong in “the room”… Can you believe that after he got slammed into the boards on thursday, that Ryder and Higgs both just skated away, like they didn’t even see it happen! Just that in itself tells you this team somewhere between the 15th and 31st of december lost something very important! They lost that Heart and “team ethic”…I have to start questioning not only the players at this point…but the coach as well! for some reason their not playing for him!!!
    2: LaPierre…Will not be traded…he’s one of the guttsiest hard-working fast skating players the habs have, that can and will win them games…(in a few years) therefore…LaPierre = part of our future…

    Just a quick note…You have to assume that the deal Bob wants and is working on is the Forsberg deal…because it’s the only explination as to what the hell is taking so long..(His Injury) all I know is something NEEDS to happen…And soon…Even if they win today and Blow pittsburgh out of the rink by a score of 27-1 ( that would be too awesome! ) This team has serious problems that NEED to be addressed..or the golf season will be fast approaching!!!

    Go Habs!

  32. #32 PACTUM SERVA says:
    February 4, 2007 at 11:52 am

    You cant win hockey games playinig to the outside.It seems most of are shots are comming from the outside at the boards.Watching them skate behind the net,up the boards,across the blueline (repeat as necessary)in getting very old.I would have to agree with some of you here on how soft this team really is and it has been for years.It really wouldnt bother me before but when you start to see teams like pittsburg and the leafs starting to catch up you think the players or mangement would want to fix whatever is broken.Have i given up hope? NO. Does something need to be done(maybe a trade)YES. Will all of our problems be solved by bertuzzi,joinkinen,zherdev,forsberg HELL NO NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.Lets try and get some players that knows what it means to GET UP on a saturday night game against the leafs for christ sakes.I still have faith in gainey and i do believe he will make the right moves. GO HABS GO

  33. #33 PACTUM SERVA says:
    February 4, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Drive 4 25 couldnt agree more with you on the koivu hit.It doesnt matter who is on the god damn ice,when you see your captain get hit like that you go after him no matter who you are.Ryder needs to wake up soon and see what the hell is going on around him or he will be cod fishing sooner than he thinks

  34. #34 WICKSTER says:
    February 4, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    This team has cancer and it’s spreading pretty fucken quick!

  35. #35 doggone R habs says:
    February 4, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Yes, I agree. When I saw the Koivu hit, both Ryder and Higgins skated away in a very nonchalant manner, as if to say, “who cares”. Souray was, and still is, the only player with guts and heart on this team. Even Koivu now makes excuses for all the losses. It would really be refreshing, for once, if he would say,:”I’m the captain, and it is my responsibility as the leader to get my teammates motivated. I failed to do so, and I didn’t play well, and we’re not giving the effort needed to win games.” I would love to hear him say that, because that would mean he truly cares. Instead all we hear is ,: how the opposition outplayed us, and outchecked and outskated us. It’s always about THEM. He never says what THE HABS DID WRONG! I believe that Carbo’s aggressive attitude is bothering the players, and they don’t want to play for him. If they truly cared, and liked him, they would do whatever it takes to win for him. they must know, that if the habs don’t make the playoffs, that Carbo is fired! Maybe that is what they are striving for. Remember Therrien, and Julien. The same thing happened. The habs would play well for awhile, then start to lose, and tune out their coach. I’m afraid the same thing is happening. Without appearing pessimistic, the same scenario seems to be taking shape. What is the problem with this organization? Is there something internal that we as fans aren’t aware of? When you look at model franchises like Detroit and NJ,it makes you wonder how they always stay atop the standings and find ways to consistently win, while we find ways to consistently lose.
    I think mediocrity has become the norm for this team, for the past 28 years.
    When we win,maybe the players get abit nervous and uncomfortable, realizing that’s not where the habs are supposed to be, and then gradually get back to their old comfortable place in the standings, around 8th place.
    I think that Kovalev’s poor attitude and lack of work ethic, has infiltrated and poisoned the rest of the team. watch, once he’s gone,we will be in much better shape mentally. He really has contaminated Samsonov, and the rest of the team! I hope Gainey wakes up soon, to realize it!

  36. Simple facts, all of the Habs ex-coaches are doing great in the N.H. L. What does that tell you?It tells me “ENOUGH OF THIS BULLSHIT”,MOST OF THE TEAM SHOULD BE PLAYING IN EUROPE,WHERE FAGS ARE HAPPIER!!!

  37. #37 PACTUM SERVA says:
    February 4, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Yes agreed.If you look at the turn over of coaches the habs have had in the past ten years you gotta start thinking to yourself hmmmmmmmmmmm maybe its not the coach.

  38. Hip Hip Huet! An allstar. Well it looked the Montreal Canadiens had everything figured out between the pipes. But that’s no fun so they decided to throw a wrench in the mix by starting up a goaltender controversy between Cristobal Huet and David Abeischer. Still confused? Well let’s take a closer look.

    Who is Cristobal Huet exactly? A relative unknown 31 year old backstop from France two years ago, but after coming into his own midway through 2005-06, he led the Canadiens to a play-off berth after the Habs traded away our #1 goalie Jose Theodore to Colorado for David Aebischer. Huet was nothing short of phenomenal last season and with a little luck he could have led the Habs into the 2nd or 3rd round of the play-offs last season. Huet was in the top 3 in G.A.A, and save percentage last season and with his stellar netminding he almost led the Habs past the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Carolina Hurricanes.

    So where did it all go wrong? I would have thought that Huet’s impressive performance last season would have assured him the starting job in Montreal this year, but cue Carbonneau and his seemingly bizarre desire to turn his “sure thing” into a goaltender controversy in the pre-season and we’re left with a script that has failure written all over it. Still confused? Well that makes two of us.

    But before I throw Carbonneau to the wolves let’s take a look at G.M. Bob Gainey and his role in this debacle. You have a former vezina winner in goal in 2005-06 and it was clear half way through last season that Jose Theodore had fallen from grace and become consistently awful at best. Trading him was the correct move, and when you have a goaltender with Theodore’s resume to move, you are putting yourself in position to pick up some quality players for you playoff run. Theodore was sitting on the bench and Huet had come in as his replacement and became an instant superstar in Montreal. Furthermore let’s not overlook the fact that we have Carey Price and Jan Halek as the future of Montreal goaltending. It seems to me that the last thing the Habs needed to do was trade Theodore to the Avalanche for another goalie. However that is exactly what Gainey did. Did they need another top line forward on a team that has been without a bonfide sniper since Stephane Richer? Yes. Could we have used the Theodore trade to pick up another solid defensemen to take the pressure off Rivet and Souray whose defensive play stopped improving since they left Pee-wee? Sure. Perhaps they could have picked up some solid draft picks from the Aves to help them out in the future? Yes, he could have done that too. Actually those moves would have been the right moves but instead we picked up a marginal goaltender in exchange when we already had an emerging superstar in nets and two more future stars waiting in the wings for their chance to shine. As soon as that happenned it became clear to me what Gainey was thinking. At best he never truly believed Huet could be a solid #1 goaltender in Montreal and they could instead start up the “2 man system.” At worst, Huet would completely fall apart and Abby would become our new #1 goalie. Did anyone in Montreal ever here the phrase if it ain’t broke don’t fix it? If you don’t understand Gainey’s logic here, then you are not alone.

    So what did happen when Abby arrived? It wasn’t hard to predict but I would like to reinforce the facts in case anyone forgot. Huet who was arguably the hottest goalie in the NHL for the second half of last season, started seeing his starts reduced and Gainey made it perfectly clear that he wanted Abby to start as many games as humanly possible before the play-offs started in order to get himself ready to emerge as the new #1 goalie. That’s right, the Habs starting sitting one of the best goalies in the NHL. The man who single handedly turned their season around and got them into playoff position with some of the best stats in the league, was going to start giving up his place in nets so that Gainey could prove to everyone that we didn’t trade away Theodore for absolutely nothing. So what happenned? Abby came in starting every second game and did exactly what he did in Colorado. He played awful, his G.A.A was well over 3 and the Canadiens dropped most of the games he started until the pressure from the fans made it clear they weren’t going to tolerate it anymore.

    After suffering through the agony of watching this experiment gone wrong, Gainey finally succombed to the fan’s wishes and Huet earned his #1 job back to start the play-offs. No harm done right? Wrong. What he did was show that the Canadiens coaching staff and management had little or no appreciation for what Huet did for their team and demonstrated that they had little or no confidence in him as their #1 goalie. In addition when you lose your starting job for no reason at all and start getting pulled if you let in as little as 3 goals in a game you start feeling the pressure as you realize that any goal you let in could be the one that leaves you sitting on the bench. This is the reality of being a goalie in Montreal. Remember Patrick Roy and Mathieu Garon, and of course what happenned to Theodore? These goalies were all excellent goaltenders but over time they’re ability to perform at peak level declined in Montreal until they were traded. We always hear what a difficult city Montreal is to play in because of the media attention, but this is the icing on the cake. Icing that shouldn’t be there. Goaltenders falling apart while playing for Montreal is no coincidence. Thankfully Patrick Roy was smart enough to see this coming in time to leave on his own terms and it saved his career.

    Let’s move on to 2006/07. After Huet earned his job back and played brilliantly in the 1st round of the play-offs against the Hurricanes, the Habs were smart enough to lock him up for the next 2 years. Very smart move and even I thought that Gainey and Carbonneau saw the light and learned from their mistakes. Of course that would mean that they also realized that they gave Theodore away for nothing and instead of having a back up sit on the bench they could have used him to pick a a talented player to help out their lacklustre offense. But at least our #1 goalie Huet was solidified as the man who would carry this team for the next two seasons right? Wrong.

    It’s the 2006 pre-season and here I am watching sportscentre and as the regular season opener draws closer, all I hear about is the “goaltender controversy” in Montreal and who would get the start? What controversy? But sadly it was true. Even after yanking Huet out of his #1 role last season and pushing Abby to play as much as possible and seeing that experiment go up in smoke, the Canadiens decided it would be a good idea to start over and do the exact same thing this season. Enter the 2-man goalie system ,which if you didn’t already know is notorious for never producing a Stanley Cup winner.

    So once again the Habs fans had to sit through the first half of this season watching Huet shine in the early part putting up some of the best stats in the NHL and then mysteriously gettting benched so that Abby would get his fair share of starts. If you compare the 2 goalies side by side on stats alone there is no comparison at all. Huet was #5 in G.AA and #2 in save percentage in the whole league heading into the allstar break, yet he was starting 10-15 fewer games than other #1 goaltenders in the league such as Roberto Luongo, Mikka Kiprusoff and Andrew Raycroft. The funny thing is, Montreal had a better record than all these teams and it still wasn’t enough to give Huet the #1 job. Huet would absolutely steal games for the Habs while they got terribly outshot and performed horribly in front of him and when the Habs’ awful play finally caught up to them and they started losing games 4-0 or 4-1, Huet was pulled immediately in favour of Abby. To make things worse, Huet would not start the next game following Canadiens losses. If this wasn’t bad enough, Huet would not get to start another game until Abby proved he was still terrible and lost as well. Get something straight. The Montreal Canadiens great record in the first half of the season was the result of overachieving, a lot of luck and a goaltender who seemed better than human many nights.

    I am not just a Huet fan who is fighting his case because I favour him over Abby for no good reason. Although getting little or no respect or appreciation over the last two years from his own team, the NHL was not blind despite the fact that he was not even a #1 goaltender on his own team and spent nearly half of the games as a back-up. Huet was chosen by the NHL as an All-star because of his stats. That’s right an Allstar. There is only 6 goalies in the entire league who had the honour of being selected an NHL All-star and you can bet your life on it, that every one of them was the #1 goaltender on their teams and their coaches were proud to point this out after each and every game in front of the media.

    Perhaps the most striking example is Andrew Raycroft. The Maple Leafs record is awful compared to the Habs and Huet blows Raycroft out of the water in head to head stats and win loss records, so why is it that as badly as Raycroft played, head coach Paul Maurice never ever lost faith in him? Raycroft remained the number one goalie in Toronto bar none. It didn’t matter how many games the Leaf’s lost or how many time he let in 6 or 7 goals. His teammates and coach came to his defense time and time again because they knew the truth. The Maple Leafs are an average team at best and it was not his fault that they were losing. The result of all this is that Andrew Raycroft had the confidence of his team and as they enter in the second half of the season, he is getting better and better because he does not have to worry about any extra pressure. He knows he only has to go out there and play his best and he won’t be punished and forced to ride the pine if his team fails to play hard in front of him.

    The same can be said for Roberto Luongo. For the better part of the season, the Canucks have played average and their record shows it but not once did Alain Vigneault lose faith in Luongo or blame him for their marginal record. Once again if you look at the Canucks now, they are starting to turn the corner and Luongo is playing better than ever. Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh has been #1 all season despite having a worse record than Montreal in the first half of the season and the same can be said about Mikke Kiprusoff in Calgary. Both of these clubs are heating up too. Once again, no coincidence here, this is the result of clubs who are fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses and are consistent in their gameplan. If you remember Dwayne Rolson when he showed up in Edmonton last year he had a rocky start and had a difficult time proving himself but despite all the criticism, Craig Mactavish and the Oilers made it perfectly clear that “Rollie” was the man for their team and we all know how that story ended.

    So here I am on Superbowl Sunday getting ready for the Montreal Pittsburgh matinee on CBC and was just informed that once again Abby is getting the start at home because Montreal lost to the Islanders on Saturday 4-1 with Huet in nets. Maybe Abby will get the win and play great which will ensure him the Number one job at least for the next week, which he certainly did not earn over the couse of this year, or maybe the Habs will lose again because they certainly have not played with any heart or desire in the last couple months. I think we can all agree that Montreal is inconsistent at best and this results from the inconsisent decisions made by the coaching staff in regards to their goaltending controversy which should not exist.

    How is Huet ever going to get into a consistent groove and get his confidence up when Guy Carbonneau and Bob Gainey won’t allow him the chance to do so? Sadly, I forsee Huet becoming filed in the “what could have been” category alongside Doug Flutie because sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you play if the people you are playing for have their eyes closed

  39. #39 PACTUM SERVA says:
    February 5, 2007 at 10:15 am

    ice mint 14.wow that was a great post.I am a huet fan aswell and it is sad to see the way things have been dealt with s far as goaltending goes.Huet is our number 1 guy PERIOD.Watching this season after the allstar break i am starting to see how management have dropped the ball on many levels.Yes this is hockey in montreal

  40. The officiating around the league has been pathetic at times. The older officials get it, but the younger guys make some awful calls to either get on the mic or impress Walkom. We actually just wrote a post about it on our own blog. If you or the other readers are interested, check it out at:

    pensinbk.blogspot.com

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