Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aftermath: Committment

Last night's game story is a very simple one. In order to beat the Thrashers who aren't loaded with talent, but have size, determination and a really good goalie on their side, the Canadiens needed to commit.

Against a tough, aggressive group of forwards, the Habs needed to grit their teeth and agree to get hit to make the right plays. They didn't. It wasn't everyone, and it wasn't all the time, but there's a pretty straightforward equation that needs to be solved if a team is to win. At least half the team has to commit at least half the time. The Canadiens didn't have half the team committed to start with. There were, perhaps, four players invested in winning that game. Auld was. So were Eller, Subban and Halpern. The required effort was absent too; most players trying on one shift and then floating for three.

There are lots of excuses. It's hard to get up for a half-empty arena in the southern U.S. on a Friday night. It's tough to give it your all when you know you've got a tough division game the next night. Those are just excuses. The only problem last night was a simple lack of committment. Nobody wanted to hit or be hit. Nobody wanted to fight for the win.

It's to be expected that committment will lag on a given night. After all, who among us goes to work with fire in the belly and a determination to do the best damn job possible every single day? It doesn't matter how much money we make or how much responsibility we have. Everyone has days when they just don't feel like working hard. The problem with the Habs is everyone seems to have those nights all at the same time.

The disappointment for us is we know they're better than that. The Kings are a young, fast, aggressive team too. The Canadiens dispatched them handily. They were committed. Handing in a stinker like last night's will happen from time to time. It can't happen very often, though. The Canadiens are in a distinctly uninspiring holding pattern, and that's not good enough for a team that hopes to make the playoffs in better than eighth place this year.

They get another chance tonight. Let's hope they find the committment they forgot to bring to Atlanta.


Anonymous said...

We fans can mull over all the excuses we want, but the sad fact remains our beloved Habs can't compete with size, speed and determination. The Flyers did it, and the Thrashers did it. Even the Blue Jackets did it. And the Caps will do it too when the time comes. The Habs can protect a lead but not overcome one. I'm sure PG sees what we see but don't know what he can do about it. Moen is playing top six, the D is slow, old and soft. Beating the Sabres tonight will make us all feel better but won't alter the truth. The Habs are a bubble team unless Gomez, Gionta and Cammalleri step it up big time and Markov makes it back for the second half of the season. Unfortunately the Bulldogs don't have anyone that can help so look over the schedule and pick out the talented, tough teams and find something else to do those nights unless you have a strong stomach.

Anonymous said...

I can accept the night off from last night if the habs show up BIG TIME tonight. If, on the other hand, the Habs lose tonight, this was just not good enough. Go Habs go!

Anonymous said...

The problem is twofold when we play the larger more aggressive teams.

Our defence while not small is not tough. Large, physical forwards give our d major troubles. Gill and Hammer have size but little toughness. Picard isnt physical and Gorges and Subban are positional specialists.

Our centers with the exception of Eller are small. Not much help in the crease or the corners against the big bangers. Eller will come into his own in the next few years but Pleks and Gomez arent going to push guys around.

Our centers are locked in for the near future but we have two open spots on defence next year. We have to find some toughness to fill those spots.