Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is it bad karma?

Are the hockey gods upset that Bob Gainey decided to take the quick-fix free agent route to re-shape his team in the off-season? Are they punishing Habs fans for stuffing the ballot boxes to get Mike Komisarek voted into what will likely be the only All-Star Game of his career? Is there some sort of other bad karma at play here?

How else can anyone explain the Habs injury situation right now? With Wednesday's announcement that Brian Gionta is gone for undetermined period with a broken left foot, it appears the Canadiens are being subject to an inordinate amount of bad luck this season, and the likely return of Ryan O'Byrne and Georges Laraque on Friday will do little to soften the blow of losing a top line winger and team leader.

Injuries to key players are supposed to build character on teams, and losing one like Andrei Markov in Game 1 of the season should have taken up the character-building quota for this season and next. But with O'Byrne going out the very next day, and eventually Gill and now Gionta, this is starting to get a little ridiculous.

In light of this, it's a minor miracle Roman Hamrlik wasn't seriously hurt in the waning moments of overtime in the 3-2 shootout win over Carolina on Tuesday. But, then again, just because Hamrlik was at practice today doesn't mean he wasn't hurt, considering Gionta had been playing since Nov. 2 with a broken foot and Gill played a similarly long time with the same ailment.

Mais bon. What's done is done, and the Canadiens now have to look forward, forward to back-to-back games against the powerhouse Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings. How, pray tell, does this team as it's currently constituted expect to compete with two legitimate contenders like that?

Simple. Goaltending. Ride that goalie as far as he will take you, and if Carey Price is able to continue the form he has shown in his last five games the Canadiens in fact do have a chance to win one of the two games this weekend, which would have to be considered a wild success under the circumstances.

Not exactly a high percentage formula for success, but I see little else that can happen in the next two days that will not make Price the most determining factor between a win and a loss. Will the power play suddenly revive itself to gain the offensive zone consistently, let alone actually score a goal? Will Scott Gomez start to display some of his dazzling puck skills and speed? Will Andrei Kostitsyn hit a hot streak? Will Glen Metropolit, as valiant a player as he is, be a suitable replacement for Gionta? Will the defence be able to start an effective breakout, not over the course of an entire game, but just one breakout, one time?

Any one of those things might actually happen during Friday's contest in Washington, but the fact is that practically every single one of those things - plus several others - has to happen at the same time for the Canadiens to start showing a sign of life. Barring that extremely unlikely scenario from playing itself out, the Habs will have to fall back on Price. Which is what they've been doing for the last two games that Gionta has missed already.


pmk said...

call up Desharnais lets see what the little guy's got

pmk said...

The bad karma must be from this NEVER ENDING 100 yr anniversary 'celebration'- way too much marketing for the hockey gods. Can't wait till its over.

nk said...

call up sergei. if he plays well no one will care he's a punk.

what a disaster.

MathMan said...

I guess I agree with pmk... it would have to be the centennial curse, wouldn't it? This ridiculous run of bad luck started last season. I'd say with Tanguay's injury which would IIRC put it before the All-Star break.

Besides, it's not just injuries at cause. What's the Habs plus-minus on lucky deflection goals like the one Kostitsyn scored last night? It seems Price has been beat more often by someone's skate than someone's stick.

I wonder how many injuries the Habs have to suffer before expectations change tho. Right now we still have people merrily calling for Gainey's head as if they expected a battered 45-million team to compete like a 56-million lineup.

V said...

Gainey is fine. Let's play this out and work our way past these injuries and really see what we've got. Their much better than they look right now.

pfhabs said...


kum-by-ya, kum-by-ya !


calling for Gainey's head has little to do with team injuries. but if your are blind to his weaknesses you are blind and no amount of rationale as to why he is yesterday's man will bring your hockey eyesight back

-enjoy the ride boys it will get worse in both the short and medium term. just look at the schedule for the next five games and then remember the cap goes down next year.

-your 9 point $7.37million cap hit will cost you 2 more players beyond the 3 Gainey sent to the rangers already

Sliver24 said...

LOL - Welcome back PFHabs, we missed your ever-sunny disposition and positive commentary ;)

You guys all have it wrong. The reason for this mess is simple. I have have figured it out and there's nothing anyone can say that will convince me otherwise.

Hartland de M. Molson sold his soul to the devil in 1957, at the same time he bought the team. He did so to guarantee success at the expense of the happiness of future generations - of our happiness!

Over the course of 35 years beginning in 1957-58, the Habs won the Stanley Cup 15 times. Senator Molson didn't own the team for the entire time but he did remain a familiar face in his seat on the aisle behind the Habs bench at the forum.

Shortly after the Habs' last cup victory in 1993, around the time the team left the Forum, the good Senator stopped attending games.

Sure, you could argue that his advanced age played a role but maybe, just maybe, there was a more sinister undertone to his sudden absence. Maybe, it's because he knew - KNEW with absolute certainty - that the he'd be watching a losing team.

How else can you explain it? You can't - it's that simple.

pfhabs said...


-good to hear from you again...its been tooo long

-no one can accuse you of not having a sense of for the current plight "the devil" is in the details

-btw you cannot blame me if reality sucks...its got nothing to do with be sunny and polyannish--that's V's gig

-anyone interested in seeing Tony Marinaro's/Team 990 solution to the CH problems can go to

-in large measure I agree w Marinaro...have a look Arpon

-hey Sliver keep smiling !

V said...

Pf... the kum-by-ya bit is getting a bit old. I've seen you use it elsewhere to set up your schtick.

Quite an act you have going... you say your a Habs fan and yet you have to hope they fail to support your point of view.

Didn't I see you threatening on JT's site that you weren't going to be spending any more money on the Habs until Gainey was gone. Your futility must be eating you up.

MathMan said...

Well, after the old retreaded one-sided "evaluation" of Gainey's performance, he sets out his plan: fire everyone, trade everyone, draft a really good player really high, hire a random smattering of his buddies and ex-Habs who seem to have little to no qualifications for the jobs they are being slotted in (headlined by Pierre McGuire at GM), lower ticket prices, draft more Quebeckers... haven't I heard all of that before? Of course, Mariano is not making a serious effort, he's just putting together proposals he knows his audience will approve of, regardless of whether it makes sense or not.

And then take that melting pot of buzzword concepts and add in a few ill-informed calls just so you make it really clear you don't know what you're talking about -- such as buying out Laraque and be on the hook for a two-year cap hit instead of simply riding out the last year of his contract next year, while your team is both cheap and bad.

I've seen better, more realistic rebuild plans on random Habs boards. This ought to be embarassing.

Although, there's one good point about it: it would be amusing to watch who's first to call for the new GM's head when the team is staring at a 10-30-4 record in the mid-season -- because while the to suck terrifyingly for a couple of years.

Arpon Basu said...

Uhh, yeah. Just read the Marinaro rebuilding plan. I'm pretty blown away. You can't simply trade away half a team, especially when a few of the guys he wants to trade still have years left on their contracts. No one will take Spacek, Gill or Hamrlik because they aren't impending UFA's, which is largely the only players who get dealt at the deadline. For the same reason, he's dreaming if he thinks Gainey will be able to trade Gomez. I would agree with the need for a front office shakeup, perhaps not quite as drastic as the one he's proposing, but Pierre Gauthier's work has indeed been questionable and everyone knows Gainey's job should be on the line this season, although the current injury situation might save him from having to pay for missing the playoffs. That being said, I still believe if the team can play close to .500 hockey until Markov gets back, the Habs will make the playoffs.

pfhabs said...

Mr V:

-what are futile are the camp counsellor we are the world takes which I have always followed with a rounding chorus of kum-by-yas. if you feel comfortable serving the empty platitudes I thought my categorization of them would also be welcome. guess i was wrong. apologies offered

-I fail to see how the "lets see what we are made of; these difficulties will make us stronger as a team; it will create a stonger bond and the leadership within the group will keep the boys together and bring along the youngsters..." add anything to the discussion ?

-at least I have opinions based on relevant facts which people can discard or at least think about

-as for my CH expenditures outside of Koivu, Komisarek and Higgins crested T-shirts they have been zero and will remain at that level till the place is cleaned out of this mediocre management

-in your case you are a welcome consumer of the pap and as a consumer that is your choice and free to make it on a continuous basis

-as for a schtik/act I only enjoy the discussion-- it's for giggles
...right Sliver ?

pfhabs said...


-your statement "hire a random smattering of his buddies and ex-Habs who seem to have little to no qualifications for the jobs they are being slotted in (headlined by Pierre McGuire at GM)" if I understand you correctly you think McGuire has no qualifications ?

-well rather than list his qualifications I'll tell you Scotty Bowman was interviewed on 990 yesterday and according to Mr Bowman, McGuire is a qualified candidate

-but what the hell would one of the greatest coaches in sports history know...we should take your word and hockey acumen over his

-nuff said

V said...

pf... you're convincing no one.

I think I know where the desperation is coming from... if this team comes around like it should, everyone is going to see that you're an emperor with no clothes.

Et tu, brute.

pfhabs said...

Mr V:

-your cerebral meanderings are once again off the mark as my intentions are not to convince you of anything because I've come to the conclusion that your knowledge of this team is spotty at best

-having said that, you like all others have a right to their opinion

-as for 'coming clean' so to speak I would suggest that if you are not already employed by him call Donald Beauchamps. the apple polishers at La Gauch could always use more see, hear and speak no evil in Bob we trust types

-in terms of coming around, even assuming Gomez is not seriously injured, the very best they can hope for is another bubble entry into the playoffs and another inglorious exit against the top four-Markov notwithstanding. not really what Bob, Gauthier and their master plan were hoping for in July when they went for broke. but then again as a happy consumer of pap perhaps you'll enjoy what seems to be axiomatic with this mediocre-average management group

-blind trust is not loyalty and critical questioning is not treachery no matter how many bloated 'Romans' die in the process

-as for this thread it's over. no more electrons should be wasted on an irrelevant discussion

V said...

I can smell the fear and loathing pf... I guess we'll see who's knowledge is spotty. But by then, I bet you'll be long gone.