Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shows what I know

I thought the Habs would benefit from getting right back on the ice after that solid effort in Calgary. I was wrong.

I'm watching the third period of the disaster in Vancouver as I type this, and there's no real need to wait for the end of this to know the Canadiens left their game in Alberta. Hopefully, it will be waiting for them Saturday in Edmonton.

You've got to feel for Carey Price. He finally gets to make the start in his home province, he comes in on a hot streak, and his teammates totally let him down. Breakaways on the first two goals (though Price definitely could have stopped the second one), a man left all by his lonesome at the side of the net on the third, a tough bounce on the fourth, a brutal line change on the fifth and guys parked right in his crease unfettered on both the sixth and seventh goals.

It's hard to commend a goalie after giving up seven goals, and I won't do it for Price, but there's not much he could have done on at least five of those seven goals. After having to watch from the bench in his first game in Vancouver last year before being sent in by Guy Carbonneau for mop up duty, I think Price might have wished the same thing happened this time around.

The lone positive I took from the game was the way the Habs came out for the second period. Down 3-0 after a horrendous first period, which is a trend that started in the pre-season for this team, the Canadiens fired 14 straight shots on Roberto Luongo to start the second before the Canucks got their first with about nine minutes to go. Something happened in that dressing room between the first and second, and whatever it was, it worked.

But when Henrik Sedin got his first of two on the night to make it 4-1, it was lights out for the Habs.

There's no real point in dissecting this performance, because I don't think it's indicative of this team. One thing it did show, however, is that the solid effort in Calgary one night earlier may not be a very good indicator of what kind of team this is either.

The clock appears to have run out on Jacques Martin's patience with Max Pacioretty, as he was on the fourth line after only a few shifts, replaced on the Tomas Plekanec line by Matt D'Agostini (who I thought played a pretty decent game).

Meanwhile, Yannick Weber didn't have a great night either. He allowed Ryan Kesler to come in alone on the opening goal, and a misguided pinch in the neutral zone resulted in Mason Raymond coming in alone on the second goal as well. If Marc-André Bergeron was watching, I would hope he went to ride the bike for an hour afterwards because if Weber keeps making bad judgments like that he won't be in the lineup very long.

The team looked tired in Vancouver, and they can hardly be blamed for that. It's been a treacherous road trip to start the year, and with a win in Edmonton the Habs can still come out of it with a winning record. That would be a huge victory for this team, despite the embarrassing loss it took in Vancouver tonight.

The game's not done yet, but I am. Good night.


Ted said...

Yup - I admit I hit the hay, after the second period. I couldn't justify being tired and grumpy so I chose grumpy.

Nonetheless, there were still positives. I thought Spacek and Hamrlik played well. I thought Kostitsyn looked like he's interested for the second game in a row.

I would be trying Ben Maxwell out for a few games to see if he could bring some formula to one of our ailing lines.

But Shanahan is probably clearing waivers today and I'd bet he'd fit in better with AK and Pleks than anyone we've got at the moment.

jkr said...

I like what Max Pacioretty will bring to the team but right now he doesn't look like a front line NHL forward. I thought they brought him up too soon last year & he has really struggled to produce chances. IMO he needs a lot of top 6 ice time at the AHL level. Playing bottom line minutes in MTL isn't going to help him.

Sliver24 said...

I stuck it out to the bitter end. It didn't get any prettier.

It is hard to fault the team though. They haven't been home for two weeks and they're playing three hours later than normal only 25 hours after another late-night affair.

Weber is going to need a longer look than he's had so far. It won't be possible know just what kind of player he is until he's had a chance to settle into his role. Hopefully last night's performance wasn't a preview of his next few games.

More than anything else after last night's team meltdown I feel bad for Carey Price. It can't be easy having to go through what he did in front of his family and friends and on national TV. His mates hung him out to dry (or was it the schedule-makers?). Hopefully he bounces back strong in Edmonton.

Yves said...

Pretty sad performance last night.

A few thoughts...

1. They are playing without their best player (and quarterback) Markov.

2. It's a balancing act... having some good young talents, allowing them to make mistakes... and allowing them to succeed.

Man who makes no mistakes makes nothing.

Let's hope Weber learns a bit from last night.

3. I really felt for Price last night... seeing him before the game.. I thought he was pumped... what a way to burst his bubble. Hopefully they start to look more like a cohesive defense and cut down on the shots on goal... Calgary was a step in the right direction... and the first half of the second period last night.... Habs really outshot the Canucks...

But then it begs the question... were the Habs playing super in that stretch or did the Canucks fall asleep during their 3 goal lead?

I'll be hoping for a much more consistent effort for Saturday.

And finally.... I fell asleep before the end of the game....

Arjun said...

Some of the kids just don't belong in this league right now. Kyle Chipchura is at the top of the list. He looks like a career minor leaguer right now. At least I think so. I don't think D'Ags had a good game either. And Max Lapierre is, what...What's happened to him? I thought a line of Lapierre, Latendresse and Moen would rock the house each and every shift. I don't buy the tired argument. Every team has a long road trip. Ask the Western teams if these two games in two time zones in two nights things tires them out - they do it all the time. Montreal got spanked. They got spanked by a hungrier team. Fine. Vancouver needed that game big time. But what hurts is that Montreal got spanked by a better team. The Nucks looked a lot better than the Habs as an overall team last night. I too went to bed after the second period. Let's just hope they forget this one. Especially Price.

TK said...

I am not sure if this has already been mentioned, but the PK has been horrible thus far. I haven't checked any stats, yet I am willing to bet that Montreal sits somewhere at the bottom of the list in terms of PK efficiency.

Oh, and I think the criticism directed at Chipchura is unwarranted. Take a look at his linemates, he doesn't have much to work with. He wins face-offs, works hard, and looks faster than he has in the past.

jkr said...

I think the PK is only killing them off at the rate of 56%.

Anonymous said...


Thoughts on the Habs trying to land Shanahan? I know his legs may not let him play with the young guns, but he would provide some much needed grit, leadership, and experience...seems like a gamble worth taking, and he has always hinted that he would like to play n Montreal....

Arpon Basu said...

Honestly, I don't think the Habs need Shanahan. They need defencemen right now. Yes, the leadership would be an added plus, but how much (or little) would Shanahan be willing to play for? Things are very tight financially right now, and I don't know if he's a luxury the Habs can afford.