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Superbowl Weekend: Kings & Bruins

  • What can we expect from the Habs this weekend?

    Currently riding a season high 4 game losing streak. More troubling is the way they are losing…

    The Habs welcome the Kings, with nothing to lose and everythign to gain, who are one of the teams battling in the tight western race.

    Sunday could be bloody should the Habs not get on the same page before the Bruins come knocking. With a 16 point lead on the Canadiens, the Division is virtually locked up.

    And all of a sudden, the Habs are only 6 points ahead of the 8th place Florida Panthers.

33 Comments
  1. #1 PACTUM SERVA says:
    January 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    It does not matter if the habs go on a ten game winning streak,this team is not built to play against bigger more aggesive teams. We were soft last year and i think we are even softer this year. Blame the coach,blame the GM, blame the players does it really matter? They are all at fault as far as i am concerned. Untill this team gets players who have a set of nuts they are going nowhere. Its been 15 years and we still cant get past the second round of the playoffs. 15 years folks.

  2. #2 Joseph says:
    January 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Keeping in mind that 15 years is really only a long drought in Habs years however. Edmonton, Boston, New York, etc have all had longer (or at least equal as of late) droughts. Still though, I think it important for the Habs to capitalize on what is potentially a Stanley Cup roster right now. If they fail to do so over the next couple of years, then that drought could easily double, which would be unacceptable for this organization.

    I blame all of the above as well, but least of all Gainey.

    Carbonneau needs to know how to motivate the players he has and make them the best possible team that they can be. Anything short of doing so is a coaching failure, in my opinion. And let’s face it, this team is unmotivated right now and has been for a large part of the season. What’s the cause of this?

    The players themselves have a responsiblity not only as paid professionals but also out of mere pride as Montreal Canadiens to show up and play to win. So despite the coach’s apparent inability to motivate them to do this, they should be held accountable for their lack of effort on the ice as well.

    As to Gainey, he needs to provide Carbonneau with the best possible mix of players/talent of course, but this is rather difficult to accomplish in 2009. Exaggerated salaries and the resulting salary caps limit his movement, as does player availabilty and the desire, or rather lack thereof, of playing in a high pressure environment.

    None of this is news to anyone, I’m sure, but in the interest of reiterating the obvious, perhaps it’s time for each of the components of this organization to get back to the basics of their respective jobs/duties. Unless of course those jobs/duties have been corrupted to the extent that their sole purpose is to create revenue and nothing more… in which case I personally will change the channel for good.

  3. #3 Joseph says:
    January 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Note to team:

    This means something. Although probably not as much it used to, sadly.

  4. #4 Mats Naslund says:
    January 31, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    It wasn’t pretty, but when you’re struggling you take what you can get and move on. If Montreal plays well against the Bruins tomorrow afternoon, they’ll be looking a lot stronger than they did with 2 minutes left in this game.

  5. Far more concerning than the Habs’ play this season, what’s up with Ian White’s moustache?

  6. #6 PACTUM SERVA says:
    February 1, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Ian white is trying to win the ugliest man in the nhl trophy. Runners up are aex ovehckin and tukka rask lol

  7. It’s working. Paralleled only by the 70s porn ‘stache of Jason Giambi, White’s got a legitimate shot at the trophy this season. :-)

    By the way, did anyone by chance watch the tribute to Gilmour yesterday? The folks in Toronto did something really unique and original: they had him walk out of one of the higher tier tunnels.

    Toronto… bahaha. Sorry, but ya don’t have it. Ya just don’t have it.

  8. Agreed Pactum…you only have to watch a few games to see theres not alot of heart or desire there..nuts, as you put it. Never really did solve that problem from last year. I don’t know if everyone thought it would just “go away”….if somehow, other teams would get weaker.

    We have too many guys who don’t wanna get dirty, don;t wanna take that hit or rub out, and basically don;t wanna work. Higgins did something last game you don;t see much here…he got in over the blue line and cut TOWARDS the slot, not away from it. This high traffic area where you might take a poke and our guys don;t like to go, Higgins went there…and scored. Work ethic goes hand and hand with no balls, and our work ethic sucks also.
    Just notice this guys….it just out at me during the TB loss…they show Kovy and a few more on the bench, they’re not even winded, hair not wet, no sweat….THEN, the flash to Vinnie’s face…he’s trying to catch his breath, sweat running down his face and dripping off his nose…and you can see this with almost any team in the league…funny that they are in the same league.

    I’m also sticking to my theory that rolling 4 lines through thick and thin is eventually gonna catch up with you. Your best players have to get more ice time than the others, this is not rocket science. Certain players should not be on the ice at certain times….this is basic coaching isn’t it ? Sad part is, theres no quick fix….our top guys are so used to the time they get that I don;t think they are conditioned to play more now. Thats why I think getting Vinnie would have been interesting…were we gonna get this star who plays 25 mins or more a game and give him 15 and says ” do the same thing you did in TB Vin”? Or were we gonna sit him there on the bench with Kovy and the boys, watching Begin, Kostop, and a few more getting the same ice time as him? Would have been interesting to see if we were gonna rally this team around Vinnie or possibly be his ruination, because of our system. Anyway, sounding like broken record, but I treally hate rolling 4 lines in ANY situation…up, down or tied…thats not coaching folks. Need a big game against the Bruins !!!

  9. #9 tonyfromnb says:
    February 1, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Hi all,

    Nice to be back on this blog after a year, and looking forward to the start of the playoffs….and perhaps a deep run for the Bruins ( well, after my Raiders season,I can use a good run from the yellow&black)

    Quick question…What do you get when you take a Habs Jersey and superimposse it on a Leafs Jersey?
    Answer: the retro jersey the Habs are wearing today.
    Seriously, I really like retro jerseys…but that one is horrible :)
    Seems like the Habs need the same things they needed last year againts the Flyers….strenght,guts, and more North Americans….don’t think Vinny is going to happen before the deadline….they still need that big-mean forward..Bob, pull the trigger.

    Question…..is Price healthy? I’m not convinced he’s got his game yet.

    Anybody catch the one the Leafs let go?…yup, Rask is the real deal, and I can’t wait for the Price-Rask battles to begin….until then, Thomas-Price…which is not shabby

    Take care, and talk to you soon….Tony from NB

  10. #10 Joseph says:
    February 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Tony:

    None of us will ever know if Price is still less than 100%, but I think that he’s still scraping off a bit of rust and regaining his form. Look at Luongo in Vancouver. He’s been anything but spectacular since his return. It takes a little time.

    As to the Habs, they’re pretty much in the same situaion that they were last season, yes. They didn’t address their physical needs like they’d hoped as Laraque has been injured most of the season. Even healthy though, he’s not going to score you many goals, so a power forward is still in need indeed.

    At any rate, Bruins fans have a lot to be excited about this season (save for that trap crap which I’ve always hated). I wish I could say the same for Habs fans.

    As to today’s game, I think it safe to say that Komisarek’s brain cramp in the final seconds of the first period cost Montreal the game. This is not to suggest that Montreal played well enough to win, as they looked uninspired to me most the game, nor is to take anything away from Boston who is obviously the better team this season, but it is what it is. If that goal, which certainly never should have happened, ends up being the difference between a 2-1 loss and a shot in OT.

    All that said, the Habs aren;t going to win anything this season. Probably not even one round in the playoffs. It would take something huge to make me change my opinion.

  11. #11 Joseph says:
    February 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    The autosensor didn’t permit me to write ‘c r a p’. Did Ted Turner design it?

  12. #12 tonyfromnb says:
    February 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Joseph…good to talk to you.

    The playoffs are always a different season…matchups are key.

    just finished watching the cbc feed…PJ & kelly are thrashing Kovalev…..you know, Kovalev reminds me of my boy Ramirez for the BoSox…only problem…Kovalev hasn;t won a cup with the Habs, so th fans and media won;t give him much of a break.

    Savard is the real deal as well…just reminds me of Adam Oates back in the day.

    Tony

  13. #13 tonyfromnb says:
    February 1, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    ..going to watch the Arizon Cardinals beat the Steelers 34-17…write it down :)

  14. #14 Joseph says:
    February 1, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Oh yeah… welcome back, Tony! It’s good to chat with you as well. :-) How rude of me.

    Mathups may be key but your Bruins are playing playoff hockey right now, and succeeding at it. The Habs? Not so much.

    Speaking of Adam Oates, he and his wife come in to the restaurant that my girlfriend manages frequently. A really nice guy.

    If the Steelers don’t win, I lose my pool, so stop that crazy talk.

  15. I have not been on for a while but I have a few things to say. First of all, the Bruins ARE THE BETTER TEAM this year. Montreal would be swept 4 straight by the Bruins. Secondly, unless Gainey makes a move now that Lang might be gone for the year, we will not do anything this season. I hope he can make a trade but I do not think he will do anything substantial. The Canadiens CANNOT compete against trap-oriented teams like the Devils and Bruins. Thirdly, the Bruins remind me of the Devils from the mid-90′s to the early 2000′s when they played the trap to perfection and won 3 cups. The Bruins, if they keep this team together, might be able to win 2 or 3 cups too. I think Boston is the one team in the east that can defeat the Red Wings or Sharks. They can probably beat the Red Wings and dethrone them. They can beat the Sharks too. The Red Wings are the class of the NHL and have been for a while but the Bruins might be able to knock them off their pedestal. I wish the Canadiens were where the Bruins are and I will admit, I am a little jealous of the Bruins success this season and wish that Montreal was that far ahead of the competition. They are 11 points ahead of the second-best team in the conference. I hope the Bruins can go all the way this season. Sorry to say, but if the Canadiens won’t do anything, I hope either the Bruins or Blackhawks do. Later,

    Ziyad

  16. #16 Donnie says:
    February 2, 2009 at 12:11 am

    When you bench your “best player” for the 3rd in a big game, it kinda tells you how things are going. But why now Guy, Kovy has been playing like this all year..the guy looks like he just doesn’t want to play hockey…he takes a couple of lazy penalties almosy every game because he doesn’t wanna skate…and the 1 game he stood out in all year was the All Star game….a game with no hitting, no contact, and where floating is expected….it’s just not good enough from Kovy and so unfair to all Hab nation, esp. in this 100th year celebration.
    In my opinion, this game was lost when we had the 5 on 3 for 1:05 and everyone refused to shoot. Just kept passing the puck around the perimeter, killing the penalty for the Bruins…ugly, ugly display.
    Without the very lucky 4-3 win against LA, we’d be 0 for our last 6…since the return of Koivu and Higgins. Carbo can do nothing more really…he’s after having every possible number of line combos you can imagine. There’s a real problem here…they don’t wanna skate, shoot, grind it out and go to the net…no desire epitamizes this team this year.
    We scored goals and were winning last year and still got bounced outta the playoffs on our as*es…this year we’re not even having a good regular season run…where are we going in the playoffs ?
    The goal we got today was due to a very rare screen in front of Thomas, and the goal Higgins got against LA was because he cut TO the net, not to the boards to looks for a pass…why can’t we do this all the time…look at the tapes Carbs..the proofs right there !!!
    I’m a huge fan of this organization, but guys, this team is just not good enough…period. Time to face facts and admit it before becoming like dellusional Leafs fans. No heart, no grit, the lack of toughness issue was not addressed, and at this point, I don;t even think a major move by Gainey would help. There’s just too many areas we are weak in. Look for a house-cleaning session next season..this squad are just too weak and stale to compete.

  17. #17 Joseph says:
    February 2, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Tough love.

    And that’s what’s called for at this point. No more making excuses, no more keeping the faith, no more painting ugly things a pretty colour and hoping that they’ll disappear.

    This is a proud organisation, and it’s one that I am proud to support through thick and thin. But it’s also our right as fans to be critical when the product on the ice simply isn’t good enough. And the product on the ice this season simply isn’t good enough. It’s acceptable if the team plays its heart out and falls short but it’s not at all acceptable if the team fails to show up and at least appear to care. That’s entirely unacceptable. The opportunity to wear the colours of the Canadiens is a grand one, and the pay isn’t all that bad either. It sure beats the hell out of what most people do for a living, so grow up and do your jobs please.

    Well, that’s what my emotional reaction reads like. The truth, however, is that Les Habitants aren’t Les Habitants anymore. They’re just a bunch of hired guns with no loyalty, and that’s not entirely their fault. And of course they want to win, but likely for different reasons than in years past. Alas, welcome to the business of professional sports in the 21st century. Yay.

  18. #18 Mats Naslund says:
    February 2, 2009 at 3:26 am

    Tough times for habs fans right now. People keep talking about a lack of physicality, but today’s game was an excellent example of how Montreal needs to use physical play to enhance their OTHER strengths. The Canadiens are not the Boston Bruins. If we try to beat Boston at their game, we will lose every time. I was pleased to see guys willing to hit, and get a little dirtier than we’ve been in the past, but if we are going to be successful we will need to:
    -generate speed going through the neutral zone – it is the only way to break down the trap.. if you try to pass through it or slowly deke around it you will lose.
    -create turnovers with speedy fore-checking – Lapierre is great at this and Montreal has many speedy players that could have similar success if they have the desire.
    -get traffic in front of the net (not just behind it!) Lang’s goal was proof: you don’t have to be a sniper to score on a goalie that can’t see the puck.
    -change our powerplay strategy from a stationary umbrella to one with movement and passing down low.

    Without those keys, you can chase the opponent around trying to hit them all you want, but Montreal will not be successful until they start bringing their game to their opposition.

    The truth is we played pretty well overall today. Boston didn’t have their way physically, and both teams had their chances. In the third I thought Montreal actually did a good job getting shots on net, but it was too little too late against a team that plays really effective team defense and a goalie that is fundamentally sound. Our biggest problems were turnovers in the defensive end, and a powerplay that is FAR too passive. It kills me every game. 5 on 3′s are an incredible advantage. If you spend them passing the puck on the perimeter you forfeit your advantage. Montreal kills their own man advantages by running a very predictable and low percentage scheme.

  19. #19 Mats Naslund says:
    February 2, 2009 at 3:31 am

    I also wanted to say that Lang’s injury is a critical blow at this point. He is probably our best face off man, is our leading scorer and is one of the few guys on the team willing to put the puck on net (and hits it when he shoots). Clearly Chipchura will be moved back to fill his spot, but all of a sudden we are REALLY banged up again since both Latendresse and D’Agostini were hurt in the game today and Gorges took a brutal hit yesterday. You have to wonder if Montreal will be able to hang on or whether a drop in the standings will follow. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room left in the eastern conference.

  20. #20 Habs 4 life says:
    February 2, 2009 at 11:03 am

    For the most part I gotta agree with you Donnie. I’m glad Carbo finally found the parts to bench Kovalev, it’s not his fault we’re losing but when he’s on the ice, the team cannot play like a team, he will not pass that puck unless he has to and by then everyone is out of position and it’s too late. Every time he touches, he loses it.

    I like our PP, it gives me a chance to grab a beer or get some laundry done or whatever, it’s not like I’ll miss much.

    Maybe we aren’t good enough or maybe we’re not good enough to play the style we’re playing, I still think all is not lost and that we have talent, just doesn’t seem like Carbo knows how to channel it. Like I said before, I don’t think the blame solely rest’ with him but any fool can shuffle lines all day, it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than that to turn this around.

  21. #21 Donnie says:
    February 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    You are right Habs 4 life, this style is wrong for this team. That being said, I also agree that because the toughness issue was not addressed this season, that a turn around or not still means no playoff progression.
    As far as Kovy goes….last year we saw the Kovalev we wanted to see…this year we are seeing the real Kovalev. This is what he’s done throughout his career…it’s just, when you’re playing with Jagr, you’re scoring alot anyways, so floating doesn’t really stand out.
    But trying to figure out why the Bell Centre faithful, as critical as they are about their on-ice product, still revere this guy as a God, and he gets standing O’s like he’s Lafleur, Beliveau, or Richard. Then it hit me…Bob Gainey, listen up…..these people want desparately a bonafide STAR again. Someone who can lead this team thru good and bad, someone who bleeds red, white and blue, and someone who wants to win for this city and organization. They want or NEED this superstar so bad that they have to cling to the closest thing we have in the lineup now. It’s been a while since we had this….argueably, late 70′s-early80′s? You could make a case for Naslund or Richer in the mid-to-late 80′s…but Guy Lafleur is the last guy we had who could be this savior night after night. That’s 30 years folks. An organization as classy and as hallowed as Les Habitants should not have gone this long without this player, and I believe, the fans who fill the Bell Centre every night, like the rest of us, are getting to the bursting point of frustration. I think Mr. Gainey, who I respect and admire needs to hear these cries for a savior. These mournful cries via the cheers a player like Kovalev gets night after night, because he’s the closest thing we got.
    Having a player of this calibre is just to maintain fans excitement? OR A necessary building block towards a cup winner. Ask a team with 24 cup that question, when the vast majority were won with this type of player in the lineup. AMEN

  22. #22 Mats Naslund says:
    February 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I was thinking about this situation last night. Lang is out with a severed Achilles tendon, which I am hearing means he is out for the rest of the season without a doubt and possibly could be a career ender. That is terrible news for Robert and habs fans – I thought he was by far the best story of the team this year, and was liked by everyone in the locker room. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of him.

    However unfortunate, these things happen in sports and Montreal will need to find a way to fill his roster spot. My question was whether or not Lang’s contract still counts against our cap. Basically, even though it does, we can trade/sign a player with the same salary as him ($4 mil) without actually going over the cap. That means it would cost us relatively little to make a trade for a player with a large contract. Using our favorite scenario of Vinny Lecavalier, we would need to send 2.8 million dollars in contracts to make up his cap hit for this year.. We’ve also saved some money by having Tanguay, Koivu, Laraque etc on long term IR, and replacing them with cheap players. I was reading on Habsinsideout that basically it would cost us 2 million total for a trade for Vinny. That means a trade for a guy like Kaberle or Bouwmeester could be made up solely of draft picks and prospects without having to give up roster players to equalize contracts. While losing our leading scorer is a huge blow, this does free up the capspace Gainey needs to pull the trigger on a substantial move if he can find a team that wants to move a larger or expiring contract in favor of prospects and draft picks.

  23. #23 groundworking says:
    February 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    It is my understanding that the remainder of Lang’s contract does not count against the cap, which means that Montreal could take a player who makes the same amount as Lang for the rest of the year, and it would have net effect of 0$ on the team’s cap space.

    I can’t even watch Montreal play this year. Maybe I take the team too seriously, but I expect the players to play as if it means something to be a Montreal Canadien. They obviously don’t care.

    I’m inclined at this point to say rebuild while the going is good. Contracts are expiring at the end of this year, and this team isn’t going to win a single round in the playoffs. I’d move all of the valuable assets that I could, and which can’t be built around, IF I was able to get quality picks and youth in return.

    This team lacks everything that’s needed to win in the playoffs – grit, PP, PK, intensity, defense…we might have goaltending, but, after last year, I’m not putting money on it.

    Frankly, this is the biggest let-down of a team that I can remember. At least in the dark days we had AHL players who worked hard.

    Sorry to be so negative. But it says something about the team when Chris Higgins says, after a fluke win against one of the worst teams in the NHL, that “all is now forgotten” about their 4 game losing streak. BS. This isn’t Toronto. Trade Higgins to Toronto.

  24. #24 Joseph says:
    February 2, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    So, if necessary, should the Habs be willing to part with an asset or two to acquire a French Canadian Captain in Lecavalier, and one who has proven himself in this league? I say yes, definitely.

  25. #25 Mats Naslund says:
    February 2, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Lang’s contract still counts on the books, however, we cannot be penalized for going over the cap by the amount of his pro-rated contract. We’ve also saved some cap space by replacing injured players like Tanguay and Koivu with cheaper replacements during their respective stretches on the IR.

    The problem right now is we have a bunch of role/complimentary players and no one capable of being the go-to offensive leader of the club. Guys like Higgins, Plekanec, the Kostitsyns are being asked to produce in a way that is probably unrealistic for their capabilities. (although we still need them to). At this stage in their career’s none of those guys has the consistent game (Andrei may still turn things around this year), to be a bonafide 1st or 2nd line scorer. The guys who make 4-5 million per season have to produce which hasn’t happened save for Markov who now leads the team in scoring by a large margin thanks to Lang’s injury. Having Pacioretti and D’Agostini step up this year is a bonus, but it is unrealistic to expect these young players to carry this team without tribulation. Every young team goes through these pains: Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh are all excellent examples. Until the young guys gain the skill and confidence to carry the team, it is imperative that Kovalev, Tanguay, Koivu, Markov etc play well. We may not be far off from a time when Andrei Kostitsyn becomes an elite forward, but all of the young teams in the league have to be allowed some lea-way for failure. Its inconvenient that this has happened in our celebratory year, but the Canadiens are not a “lost cause” or in need of rebuilding. The pieces are here already, and now Gainey has the ability to add another. Bring in a player with draft picks and Lang’s free’d up contract money, and sign the players next year who can contribute going forward. We’re still in decent playoff shape, and there is still a LOT of time to get healthy and to right this ship.

  26. #26 Docphuket says:
    February 2, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    The Curse of the Native Indian Burial Grave stikes again and keeps it`s corse,Legend is the site was an ancient native burial grave, it was dug up to build the now rink center, there has been spirit sighting in and around the grounds and unrest comes to those associated to it`s grounds.
    Legend is Montreal will never again win Stanley cup for as long as it plays in the now centre,stay tuned for more of the curse

  27. #27 PACTUM SERVA says:
    February 3, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Yeah you keep sniffing that glue.

  28. #28 Joseph says:
    February 3, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I haven’t lost all hope for this team as this is sports and anything can happen, but as things stand, I don’t exactly have the highest expectations for them.

    Earlier on in the season, I stated my prediction that they’ll finish 7th. I reluctantly stand by that prediction.

    So what’s in store for tonight? More excuses perhaps? Crosby and Fleury get up for the Habs? Or maybe they’ll be pissed off enough and therefore determined enough to actually win the game.

  29. #29 Joseph says:
    February 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    As a matter of interest, the Bruins are a good hockey club, but not as good as their record suggests. They’re merely executing the trap very well. I’ve always loathed the trap for two reason: (1) its implementation makes for the most boring hockey I’ve ever seen – something akin to watching televised chess, and (2) it allows teams which aren’t quite good enough to win the Cup a chance to do just that.

    Weren’t we supposed to have seen the end of this hockey blasphemy in the NHL? Why is it back?

  30. #30 Mats Naslund says:
    February 3, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Pens are struggling right now too. Tonight may be an exercise in futility.

  31. #31 Joseph says:
    February 3, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    That could make for either very intense hockey or horrible, ugly hockey. Here’s hoping that it’s the former.

  32. #32 Docphuket says:
    February 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Hey pactum no matter how big teams nuts are or will get, the curse will strike, the future will reviel it self,wish i could say more of what i have heard from source,and one has not look to far to see all the bad luck with all around organization and center ect… i will let time speak for it self…stay tuned.

  33. #33 PACTUM SERVA says:
    February 6, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Yawn

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