Friday, February 13, 2009

Trial and lots of errors continue

Just caught a peek at the lines for tonight's game in Denver via Habs Inside/Out and my bewilderment continues.

Guy Carbonneau has to know that phone lines back home are jammed up at sports radio stations with talk of his job being on the line on this trip. I personally feel that talk is knee-jerk, reactionary drivel, but Carbonneau's not making it easy for me to defend that point of view.

Ryan O'Byrne is out of the lineup against the Avalanche while Francis Bouillon somehow maintains his spot on the third defence pairing. Not only that, but Carbonneau took Sergei Kostitsyn off the line with Andrei and Christopher Higgins to replace him with Mathieu Dandenault.

First off, O'Byrne really doesn't deserve this, because to be honest I felt he was the better half of his pairing with Roman Hamrlik in Edmonton on Wednesday. I simply can't believe that Carbonneau or anyone on his staff is blind to the way Bouillon has been playing for the past month. It's not as if he's suddenly become a bad defenceman, because I love the guy. But he's playing as if he's constantly exhausted, kind of the way I feel these days, but I don't have to worry about clearing Ryan Smyth from the front of the net tonight.

As far as the lines go, I think the problems the Habs have right now go beyond lines. So I guess I agree with Réjean Tremblay on that front (and no, there are no pigs flying outside). If Carbonneau wants to play Dandenault with Higgins and Andrei, go ahead, even though I figured reuniting the brothers right now might get them out of this deep, dark funk they're both in. If he wants to play Saku Koivu with Alex Kovalev and throw Tom Kostopoulos out there with them, fine, go ahead. It doesn't matter.

Because what this team needs tonight is a jolt of pride, some effort to go with their talent, and if professional athletes need a rah-rah coach to get that out of them, then they are professionals in name only.

The importance of scoring first tonight is obviously monstrous, but I almost want to see the Avalanche open the scoring. Not only open the scoring, but open it on a stinker from 40 feet out that Jaroslav Halak should have stopped. Why? Because I want to see this team to finally show some stones and react, to get angry and play, to forget everything that's happened and will themselves to a victory.

The team's fragile? Fine, be fragile if you want to be, but then kiss this season goodbye, and kiss this team as you know it goodbye as well. I want to see someone on this team grab his teammates by the scruff of the neck and lead them out of this quicksand.

Unfortunately, the one guy who can do that is Alex Kovalev, and I'm not sure he cares enough to bother right now.

But don't worry everyone, because Kyle Chipchura is on his way to Denver. All hail the saviour.

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