Saturday, March 21, 2009

On a train bound for nowhere

Bob Gainey said after this embarrassment at the Bell Centre that the Montreal Canadiens next goal should be to win a game they "deserve to win."

But even though the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres are determined to make sure it happens, the Canadiens don't deserve a whole lot of anything, least of all a playoff spot.

Both the Sabres and Panthers lost Saturday night so the Habs remain eighth in the East, and they've lost only two points on the Panthers and gained a point on the Sabres while going 3-5-2 in their last 10.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the only thing that makes the Habs a team right now is the fact they all happen to wear the same jersey when they go out for a skate. Otherwise, the Montreal Canadiens are nothing more than a group of individuals, and individuals will never beat a real team. Say what you will about how grim things are for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but on Saturday night they played like a team, one that smelled blood and pounced on it.

So where do the Canadiens go from here, still clinging to a playoff spot but completely lost as a group?

Gainey said he would be discussing things Sunday with players he felt didn't have such a strong game in that 5-2 loss, which from the sounds of it is pretty much every single guy on the team except Maxim Lapierre, Guillaume Latendresse and Tom Kostopoulos.

In one day of meetings and another day of practice, Gainey has to convince his targeted players to buy in, to believe that they can still salvage this situation, to remember what made the team so dangerous last season and to forget what has made them so horrendous since mid-January.

January 20, to be specific, when a 4-2 loss in Atlanta started a 9-16-3 tailspin that has included two losing streaks of four games and now one of five, and has brought the Habs to the brink of disaster. A 2-0 loss in Atlanta also served as the final nail in the coffin for Guy Carbonneau. Now those same Thrashers are the Canadiens next scheduled visitors at the Bell Centre.

You would think the players would be able to find something deep within themselves to get up for that one, but you would have thought the same thing about the game in Ottawa Thursday and especially tonight's game against the Leafs. So it's entirely possible that the Canadiens demise in their 100th season will have been spearheaded by the Thrashers, and that would be lower than anyone could have imagined this team sinking.

Gainey better have some magical words for his players Sunday, because right now there's no reason to believe the Canadiens will be any better Tuesday than they've been the past two months.


Arjun said...

Forget the playoffs. Even if they make the postseason it won't matter. What was most disheartening about the Toronto loss was that you saw two teams going in opposite directions. The Leafs are going to get better. Being Toronto you'd think they'll figure out how to screw up but they are now run by two Americans in Burke and Wilson. What do they care about anything in Toronto? The Habs will make major changes this summer and, well, that will be that. Gainey has entrusted this team to a bunch of players who, for whatever reason, didn't jell. The Habs aren't a team. There is no collective heart beating on this team. And so, they are failing. No torch here.

Sliver24 said...

After the Leafs' fifth goal put the Habs' "comeback" hopes alive, Benoit Brunet mentioned that he'd like to see the Canadiens have a good rest of the third period "to show what kind of team they are."

I'm not sure where Benny's been for the last two months but it seems to me that they've already made that abundantly clear. They're a heartless one.

I only wish I was there last night so I could help my fellow fans boo those gutless excuses for hockey players off the ice.

TK said...

What can I say about this team that has not already been said?

If this thing continues to go down the toillet, is Gainey's job in jeopardy? Yesterday Pierre Bovin, speaking to a group of commerce types, said the next coach must speak french. I am not getting worked up about the language issue. I was just wondering about the implication this has upon Gainey. Does this make Gainey uncomfortable, now that the president is getting involved in the hiring of a new coach?

next GM- Timmins (or we are goin to loose this Draft wizard to another team). Much of the praise we heep upon Gainey, about all the talent he has built up can be attributed to Trevor Timmins. Don't forget that.

pierre said...

It does seems unsual by Boivin to make a final statement about something sitting on the hochey side of the CH equation..... it seems an interference on Bob's turf... unless they already had aggreed about it in substance.

Would Gillettt have the guts to fired
Gainey ?

With our team about to drop dead and the awfull perspective of being a ground zero team next season it is fair to say that Gillett would be very wise to let go of Bob Gainey........ have you ever heard that much booing going on at the Bell, the Molson, the Forum or any other place for that matter...... the booing seems to be directed at more than what the eyes can see on the ice...... lots of it seems to be directed at the organization of which they have lost their trust.

In this scenario the fans will want an honest account from the presse about the performances of Gainey since the time he got the job with the CH in 2003 and they will get it in details..... a rating of minus C is probably all Gainey would managed getting under such scrutiny...... if that.

To avoid a revolution Gillett should consider asking Gainey to give his resignation at year end and bring back some reasons for the fans to stay the course despite the barren landscape lying ahead.

Personally I would feel confortable if André Savard was brought back in office, he his the man responsible for hiring Timmins in 2002 and should never had been replaced by an icon who had lost credibility in Dallas.

André Savard deserves a shot based on merits but Patrick Roy could be a more uplifting propositions to an emotionally collapsed fan base.

Patrick Roy

Head Coach
André Savard (he is in the NHL presently and was Head Coach for the Nordik in the past).

Head Coach

Savard GM
Gauthier Ass.GM

B B said...

Talk me off the ledge

pierre said...

You dont agree B B with my propositions that our team's fall from grace will be complete this season or that our return in the dark ages is unavoidable for the next few seasons .... I see both hapenning and both hapenning as a result of Gainey's work ovbiously.... remaining status quos under such circumstances would be " religuleus ".

B B said...

I think that the future is promising. But I am not remotely objective about the Canadiens. The young players will address many of our needs. I still believe we will have free agents signing up.