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Panic in Montreal?

  • There’s a disturbing trend going on with the Habs that we’ve not seen all year.

    Losing.

    The Canadiens have lost 4 out of their last 5 games. They’ve lost on the road, they’ve lost at home. They’ve lost badly.

    Forget the ‘stomach virus’ and flu that has hit the team and forget the poor officiating that disallowed goals on more than one occasion.

    Other than the game against the Rangers, the Canadiens have played very poor hockey. Is it a minor slump or are the Habs fading fast into their normal position battling for the last spot in the Eastern Conference?

    Guy Carbonneau is presented with his first real challenge, to get this team playing well again.

    How can they get it back on track? How can he light a fire under the asses of Kovalev, Samsonov, Ryder etc?

    It won’t be an easy start today against the Devils. The Devils own the Canadiens at home and always play extremely tough in Montreal.

    Martin Brodeur is never happier than when he’s in the crease in Montreal. Oh and Claude Julien feels pretty good winning in Montreal too. Nothing quite like beating the one who fired you.

    Carbonneau could go with youth and send a message, Lapierre has played well. Grabovski showed signs of extreme skill, but has much to learn about defence.

    He may not have a choice as the status of Koivu and Latendresse are still up in the air.

    Cristobal Huet will be key for the Habs if they hope to win, if he plays like he can and can match Brodeur then they have a chance.

84 Comments
  1. TRADE ALERT…..VIA TSN!!!…..The Montreal Canadiens have just traded forward Michael Ryder to the Toledo Mud Rats of the central American Farmers League for Pastry chef Vaclav Fattenough and a player to be named later. Although perplexed by this sudden move Ryder was pleased to have received the keys to the largest trailer in the community as well as a coupon for free coffee at Flossys for a year.
    During his first day with the Mud Rats coach Clyde Wheeler had Ryder doing sprints on his newly aquired farmal H double wheeled tractor towards an old barn ina practice field near the coffee house ( see Flossys ). Although Ryder missed the barn on his first two attempts he did manage to tear off a wheel on the Sherriffs car parked within 30 feet of the barn. Mr Wheeler declined comment at the scene but was later heard saying he missed Mr Fattenough.
    In return the Habs get a chef that has been known to clean an entire kitchen in less than two hours and specializes in recipes specifically engineered for people with flu like symptoms.
    The player to be named later is believed to be a Latvian Gardner who has asked for anonymity for the time being until a suitable replacement for his organis corn crop can be found.

    …..AP

    Izzy…out.

  2. #2 high 4 habs says:
    January 8, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    I love it, Izzy. Someone on this blog who really gave me a good laugh. Thanks bud. Did you get those lines from someone or another source, or did you make that up yourself? Love the line about Ryder can’t drive his wheeler straight. just like his shooting, right? Wonderful analogy. But was actually driving, or was he a PASSENGER? (chuckle)

  3. Nope H4H…sadly the words are all mine…..just my way of dealing with the frustration we all feel…..the Habs will be fine, and greater hockey minds than us will make good decisions for the team. I see some people are now questioning Bob Gainey. If I were smarter than he in regards to hockey, or had been a beeter player with a more illustrious career, I would have his job. But I dont. Nor do I write tax laws or determine when or how I will die.
    I guess my point is, lets have a little fun and smile once in a while. I also think we ( as habs bloggers )should agree to someday go to a game together.
    The habs stink right now, but I still love em…..I still sit on the edge of my couch during games feeling as if I’m there on the ice with them……Enjoy folks…win or lose…its our game. One day you’ll ( we’ll) be gone.

    Izzy

  4. #4 joshtm says:
    January 8, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    You guys sound like the Salming fans of the late 70s, oh no, the Leafs are just going through a rough time, Borje will pull through, we just gotta put Eddie Shack on one more time and maybe Borje and Sanderson will save the leafs…ya right, thirty years later the laffs are still as bad.

    It took a major shake up for the Habs to come back under Theo.

    Maybe Habs #1 would feel more safe rooting for the no win laffs.

    Me I believe the Habs have it now, they can bring up their rookies and bench the veterans long enough to get the foot in the door….as long as Souray sabotages the defense we will never win. Play him but just on the power plays. Souray has shown he doesn’t want to be a hab.

    The same with Ninnima. And Streit is holding his hat out, he is just a mercernary, not a team player. The habs could never pay Streit enough to get him to play the full potential. What are we doing paying big money for mercernaries like Streit?

    Clearly the defense is paying no attention to Jarvis or Muller…..doesn’t that kind of make you wonder if we have a team? Time for a shakeup, a major shakeup and we can have hope.

  5. #5 stevejur says:
    January 8, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    I don’t care what they do as long as the slump ends before we play the Leafs.
    Stop the Gainey bashing the guys been through enough.
    When the time comes he’ll do the right thing, trust me.
    The final pieces will be added before the trade deadline.
    We will be heavy weights come March.
    This is the year we go final 4.

    *NEWS
    Montreal signed prospect Mikhail Grabovsky today.

  6. #6 high 4 habs says:
    January 8, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    I say, let’s see if everyone is healthy for the games vs thrashers. If we are all ok, and we lose badly, then the flu was a bad excuse. If we win, then I will make some concessions, and give the thumbs up. agreed?

  7. The problem I see with the habs is balanced lines. I think this is the way their lines should look.

    first line: Samsanov…Koivu…Kovalev
    second line: Latendresse…Higgins…Ryder
    third line: Perezhogin…Bonk…Johnson
    fourth line: Begin…Plekanec…Murray

    and I think the Habs would be fine
    Carbo try these lines for a game and see what happens, nothing to lose.

  8. U SPUNKED ALL OVER THOSE LINES SPUNKY!

  9. Spunky…I like your lines but I’d replace Murray with Grabovsky…teach him the wing.

  10. maybe change that fourth line to: Lapierre…Plekanec…Grabouski

  11. ONE MORE THING…HAVE YOU SENT lATENDRESSE BACK TO THE MINORS>?

  12. oops

  13. #13 Habs#1 says:
    January 8, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Well joshtm, it’s quite obvious you are one of the most uneducated fans on this sport that I have ever seen.

    You think a GM who build the Stars from a nothing franchise into a perrenial cup contender, and won one if you didn’t notice, knows less about running a team then you do.

    You think a coach who won three Stanley cups as a player and was one of the most dominating defensive forwards of his time knows less about how to make a team go then you do.

    If you didn’t notice, the Ducks just lost three in a row. Do you think they should start firing the coaching staff and trading away all their veteran players, make a 22 year old rookie the captain and go from there?

    If you were in control of this team they would have no one over the age of 25, Latendresse would be the Captain, David Fischer would be leading the defence and Price would be starting in goal tommorow against the Thrashers. Then they would proceed to lose 15 staight and miss the playoffs. Are you just going to trade all players away when they hit 30?

    Are there obvious flaws with this team? Absolutly. But it’s not like you can snap your fingers and it’s all fixed. Who would you bench? Souray, the guy who makes your PP tick? Koivu, who does everything for this team and would sell his soul for a win? Kovalev and Samsonov, two underacheiving forwards, but if you did bench them it would create a Terrel Owens/Donovan McNabb situation? Or how about Bonk and Johnson, two guys who are DEFENSIVE forwards, not goal scorers.

    Young players need seasoning. You can’t just throw them into the fire and expect them to be All-Stars. There’s a large difference when your playing against boys to when your playing against men.

    I think most people would agree that if you were the GM of the Habs with your attitude they wouldn’t win a cup for 100 years.

  14. #14 joshtm says:
    January 8, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Regardless of the lines, the Habs gotta shut down the offense, not let the other team shoot, and learn how to clear the puck outa the Habs own end, like even the veterans seem to have forgotten that skill eh? Enuff of this setting up the other teams shooter, like almost every game Souray helps them out like this, and what’s worse he’ll get out of the way, or even more worse knock some guy into Huet or Abby at the worst possible time, man if Souray could do that at the other end, he’d be offensive gold…sad thing is Souray does this to the habs goalie…Sheldon, the coach said knock the guy down, wait and knock the other guy down on your own goalie while they score the winning goal….that has to be some special skill, what is that, the one man special skill team? A new NHL speciality known only to Sheldon Souray, the old Knockem into your own goalie so they score the winning goal specialist….Sheldon should go in the hockey hall of fame, right after Koivu goes in for getting the worst stupid menial penalties….call him Saku Hook-you Koivu….

  15. no I think I would send Begin and Murray down.They’re not doing anything on the scoreboard,give the young guys a chance.latendresse is a pretty good player with the right guys someday he’ll be a star.

  16. can’t hurt…let’s go! beat the Thrashers (or atleast give the effort for the full 60 minutes). Go Habs Go!

  17. #17 joshtm says:
    January 8, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Habs#1 seems to forget two well known rookies who didn’t have to wait until they were aged cheese….can you say Crosbie or better yet Gretzky? or how about our own Beliveau? Or Dryden? Or Lafleur? or the Bruins Bobby Orr?

    If Habs#1 had his way these well know prospects would enter the league when they are middle aged and worn out knees..

    Nope, it took taking a chance and hedging on a bet, and strong coaches like Bowman, etc…who knew when to shape their players into shape…

    I sure as heck don’t see the great moves Gainey made or Carbo made that made them famous, I guess they used up their favours, and now all they can trade for are players who have histories of concussions, seperated shoulders, concussions, or meek-mild mannered defensemen who don’t know how to use their size or skill, or skilled players who have not demonstrated their worth and probably never will…and paid millions for it…

    Where did my $200 million go I am sure George Gillette is wondering…

  18. #18 Hab-a-dab-a-do says:
    January 8, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    I say we try this idea, When the tim horton timbit kid players come out after the second period if the habs are down by more than 2 goals put these kids on the ice and see what happens. But youppi has to wear the stripes for this game plan to work. Just a thought

  19. #19 Rubberman says:
    January 8, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    I got one for you. How many people on this site felt like working the past 2 weeks. I sure as hell didn’t. Think about, family commitments, parties, your boss’ daughter passes away. Yeah, these guys are jocks, most make big money, and like most jocks, don’t give a f&*@# about anything else but themselves and a little action on the side. So, those of you falling off the band wagon and screaming “the sky is falling”, have a beer, breath, hope for the best. If Gainey pulls off a trade great, but rest assure that he’ll make a trade on his terms and not the yahhoos who think they know everything!!!
    PS: The Habs will make the playoffs and that’s about it!!!

  20. #20 Habs#1 says:
    January 8, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Yeah, cause Latendresse, Price and every Habs prospect has the talent of Sid the Kid, Gretzky, Lemieux, Beliveau and every other once in a generation player.

    Do you know how rare those guys are? Seriously your hockey knowledge is about as plentiful as the Habs goal total on Sunday.

    The 70′s are over. The dynasty’s are over. The Habs, unless you want them in last place every year for five years(Pittsburgh) will never have straight out of the draft and on to the team elite level prospects.

    There’s no point in continuing this argument anymore since your insane ramblings make less and less sense each time.

    Sorry, but I put far more stalk into a Stanley Cup winning GM then I do in you.

  21. the argument on who wants to play (for the last two weeks)…just doesn’t cut it as obviously the other team did…they won hands down!

    On a brighter note…the Habs record is still pretty good considering they could have had five or six other wins if they showed some fortitude and just put in the effort. That’s the sad part and sooooooo foolish. We’re squandering a chance to turn the corner towards the Stanley Cup. Surely, we must all feel the void…

    Just give it a solid 60 minute effort…standing and watching and giving here and giving there has to end (Christmas is over) for bleeping sake stop already. We can’t continue sloppy/shoddy shinny playmaking. Not only is it embarassing but so pointless.

    Samsonov and Kovalev have not pulled their weight and if they would have who knows how higher up the standings we would be….

    Sure we can say we’re in a slump and every team goes through it but no where does it say ‘we have to’…just change your strategy when this happens…play a simpler gave giving it your all for the full 60 minutes and enough with the penalties.

    Go Habs Go! Come on get with it….wake up and show some spunk get motivated!!

  22. #23 habs phan says:
    January 9, 2007 at 3:07 am

    who said we signed grabovsky??? tell me this is for real!!! kids got some drive, should go long way with the canadiens!!!

  23. #25 joshtm says:
    January 9, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Signing Grabby is bound to piss of Habs#1 who only wants to see the Habs Seniors and Aged division play. So much for the once a generation of star rookies….lets see over the last year we have seen a real bumper crop of rookie stars at the Habs who could win a cup, even if we sidelined the old veterans…pass the ensure to Habs#1, who doesn’t believe in a dynasty, or a future…just the same old grind of losem and explain away squandering 200mill on broken down players.

  24. #26 Mark LOVES the Habs says:
    January 9, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    The Habs need to simplify their game and create more chances in the offensive zone. Dump the puck in and forecheck to create turnovers. Most penalties are taken by teams in their defensive zone. That’s the Habs problem. They are always playing in their own zone-hence the penalties. Get the puck in deep and maybe the opposition will start taking penalties. That’s what the Devils did a month ago to turn their season around. They are the lowest penalized team in the league.
    They should be able to shut Atlanta down tonight as they have one line(Hossa/Kozlov/Kovalchuk) BUT THEY HAVE TO STAY OUT OF THE BOX!!

  25. #27 Habs#1 says:
    January 9, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Grabovski was signed to an entry level deal this summer. He really impressed me in the last two games.

    And joshtm, I’m one of the biggest proponents of the future of the Habs. When people wanted to trade the young players for veterans cause they wanted to win now I said no.

    What, do you think Latendresse has the same skill level as Crosby? Do you think that Grabovski is Evgeni Malkin? Do you think that just because their Habs prospects that they’re going to be as good as Guy LaFleur, Maurice Richard, Patrick Roy, Jean Beliveau or Larry Robinson? Probably not.

    You have to give them time. When they are 21, 22, have proffesional experience and they’re skating has improved then bring them up.

    I’m all for getting rid of Kovalev and Samsonov and having Kotstitsyn, Grabovski and Latendresse as the second line next year with Lapierre on the fourth line and O’Byrne on D but Gainey is not going to do that this year so there’s no use complaining about it.

    The salary cap will not allow dynasty’s anymore. Players are going to be free agents sooner and they’re not going to take big pay suts just to pley with the Habs.

    The 60′s and 70′s are over. Deal with it.

    Saku is captain for a reason. Best leader on the team.

  26. #28 high 4 habs says:
    January 9, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    But penalties are taken when you don’t move your feet(when you’re not skating).
    If we start to skate, and play 60 minutes, and don’t bring the stick up high,then maybe we will cut down on penalties. the coaches need to run a drill on where the stick should be. when really bugs me, are the foolish penalties. I can understand a player on a 2 on 1, and the defender hooks him; but when the player is on a harmless play, with no chance to score, and get’s hooked, it drives me crazy! Kovalev takes the absolute dumbest penalties I have ever seen,and then he opens his big mouth and gets an additional 2 minutes. He needs to learn to shut up,and just have more discipline.
    On the topic of young players,some of you don’t understand that it takes time for young players to develop. It doesn’t happen overnight. there aren’t many Gretzky’s or Crosby’s. remember how long it took Lafleur to make the team, and even then he wasn’t a regular. So guys like Grabovski and Lapierre aren’t going to be a sensation in a few games. Unfortunately, when you develop from within your organization it takes a few years, ie, Ottawa, and look how their young players developed into stars. When the senators started in 1992, they were horrible, but their front office had the presence of mind to wait,(and so did the fans), for what they knew was going to be a very talented squad. If our crop of young players are in that same category, then we can look forward to winning ways in 2 or 3 years. I know as a fan, it’s hard to wait; we are impatient, but what choice do we have? always you need a mix of veterans and youth, and little by little I think we are headed in that direction. We need to try and do the best we can under the circumstances. It starts with a win tonight!

  27. #29 coutNY_HabsFan says:
    January 9, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Seems there is no happy medium with some people. If we to recap some of these blogs, you would see that we need to bring in a superstar goal scorer. Some say we’ve spent too much already for broken down players. Some say start over and trade and rebuild because we have Price and other prospects come of age.

    We haven’t spent a whole hell of alot on old broken down guys. Koivu and Kovalev are the top paid both are top point getters for the team. Doing what they are paid to do. Well, then there is Sammy, who has been pretty consistant throughout his career(prior to becoming a Hab) and the front office probably thought a couple of Russian together equals success. Not sure anyones crystal ball would have predicted the slump he’s having. Nimmi, I think was a panic move to get some help on D because of some early injuries, did not work out so well. Sammy and Nimmi are both near 30… hardly over the hill and should be prime of a professionals career, but Haven’t been injuried. There are no guys over 34 and nobody making superstar money (over 5 mil) not sure whats considered old and broken, since there has been only one major injury to the 23 year old Higgins.

    So lets trade – Lets say Souray, a focus of many. Probably one of the hardest shots in the league, one of top PP scorers which is why we have the one of the best PP in the league and why we’re above 500. Bonk another focus of many. The guy is a shadow for many of the best offensive players and Plays on PK which is I think second in the league. Hard to put a number but a +/- of +6 and 2nd in Pk is the best I can do. Probably not going to trade Saku a Capton with a career best start to his season. Not much other trade stock in others without giving up our future.

    So lets demote the old and promote the youngsters… well, while I think this is the best way to improve the struggling areas it not the save all. Cap restrictions and salary obligations do not permit rooster players to move freely to minors and while their salaries still count toward the cap. But key moves to fit team needs I think will spark the team and turn this skid around.

    I not going to talk about starting over and waiting for our prospects to mature. The majority of us think the Habs have a chance for a run at the cup this year.

    I think Carbo and Gainey make good decisions. They’ll make moves that are good for the team and not for sake of saying we have a superstar. Pittsbugh have two, and at this point, in worse position then the Habs; not in a playoff podition. Hey but they score alot of goals! They also give up a lot!

    The Habs play a unique style of Defensive hockey and probably the reason for there success thus far, so I am will to bet things turn around soon.

    Go Habs Go!

  28. #30 habs phan says:
    January 9, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    praise the lord!!! H4H you nailed it perfectly, if you don’t skate, you won’t draw penalties + if you don’t skate,you will end up taking them because you are falling out of the play. well said H4H, and i must say i am excited that they are keeping grabovsky, i think his fast play and speedy style will help pick up the pace of the rest of the team, hopefully!!!! i guess tonight will tell. go habs go!!! let’s stay in the top 5 in the conference.

  29. #31 Habs#1 says:
    January 9, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you high 4 habs. Someone else who understands that it takes time for prospects to develop. Did Lafleur make the team right away? No.

    Jean Beliveau didn’t play a full season with Montreal till he was 23.

    Patrick Roy didn’t play with the Habs till he had his magical stanley cup run in 1986 at the age of 21.

    Larry Robinson didn’t permanently join the Habs till he was 22.

    And finally, arguably the greatest Hab and one of the greatest of all time, Maurice Ricahrd, didn’t play full time with the Habs till he was 22.

    Lesson is, if you don’t push your prospects you get rewarded.

  30. #32 joshtm says:
    January 9, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    And if you don’t you lose your HNIC contract cause all you get is a mediocre team…remember the past, reward the future as they say….Montreal made the biggest mistake playing it like Habs#1 wants, that is keep the prospects down too long and trade for broken down veterans who are mediocre at best when fully healthy…

  31. #33 coutNY_HabsFan says:
    January 9, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    stevejur – #73 I am curious why would the Habs give Grabby a major league contact when they already have him in a entry level contact for three years? Meaning, wouldn’t they be in a better situation by simply moving him with his current contract without fear of losing him if they had need to move him back down for what ever reason.

    I think the Russian radio station blurb might have been “lost in translation”.

    Maybe I am missing something? Just 3 weeks ago the habs were tight on the Cap budget why would they further tighten the noose? One of the main reasons Lapierre is being moved back and forth.

    Don’t get me wrong I like to see talent get a chance to play and make a difference but the economics does not make sense to me, but I would be happy to be enlightened!

  32. #34 coutNY_HabsFan says:
    January 9, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    stevejur – Maybe you were just pointing out to everyone that we have signed him… back in July?

    Just noticed the date on the publication – “Thursday, July 06, 2006″! When he signed his 3 year entry level contract. Apologize if this is the case!

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