Saturday, October 30, 2010

Aftermath: Exhaustion

The Habs versus the Panthers featured a tired Canadiens team. But, to paraphrase George Orwell, some players were more tired than others. The young'uns were still firing late in their third game in four nights, but the older guys, including most of the top-six defencemen, were not.

This game was an anomaly. Most of the time, the Canadiens are the faster team. They're able to use their speed to force the opponent to make mistakes, and they're able to get into the offensive zone with purpose. When they're tired, they can't do that.

There wasn't a whole lot on the positive side of the ledger in this game. The Pleks line, on which the team depends, was tired. Plekanec did little to advance the play. Kostitsyn was making last-year type bad decisions. Cammalleri continued his season-long lack of focus. The Gomez line was, as usual, absent, except for Gionta's close call on the 5-on-3. The third and fourth-liners did their best, but they're third and fourth-liners.

The defence, when tired, really looks old and done. Half the D is over 35, and it really shows when games are bunched closely together. Subban was active, as was Gorges. Markov still looks like he's in practice, and questions about whether he will be the same after that injury are still unanswered.

The power play came close, but essentially, still sucks. Badly. It may improve with Markov, given a chance to work at speed, but right now it still sucks.

The highlight of the night for the Canadiens was Carey Price. He gave up three goals, but one was on a penalty shot and the other two off brutal rebounds. He was sharp and gave his team every chance to come back and tie the game. This is a really good goalie, and he's 23. When he's 25, he could be a Cup-quality goaltender.

In the end, there just wasn't enough oil in the fryer for the Habs. Sometimes, in the course of a long season with brutal travel and a tight schedule, it happens.


Pete from NS said...

Agreed, its hard to be too discouraged after a loss like tonight's - where there has been a lot to cheer about in the opening weeks.

Price put a smile on my face tonight.

Despite the obvious rust, it was nice to see Markov back on the ice. That made me smile.

The key is consistency. Keep the skids small and rare, and fix the freakin' PP!

Appreciate your blog as always JT. You have become part of my Habs watching ritual. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Ottawa and Long Island brutal travel? Don't think so. The Habs just had an off night against a team determined to get two points after that leaf debacle. If only the Hab defense would stop those dreadful turnovers, games like last night wouldn't happen.

As you point out, Gill, Hamrlik and Spacek are not the guys you need to contend for the Cup so I guess we fans will have to wait a few more years and count our blessings. Bob Gainey put together a pretty good, entertaining team for the city and we're not leaf fans.

Anonymous said...

Problem #1 was obvious last night. Our d is old and slow. Markov was solid and PK is fantastic. Josh Gorges is a top quality defenceman. But Hamrlik and Spacek wont hold up over a full season and Gill looks old and slow.

Spatch has been really bad with gusts into awful. The miles have taken their toll and we really wouldnt do any worse with OB in his spot.

Gill is ok if he's rested but that big body tires easily and cant log the same minutes Gorges can. Good leader in the room but he likely shouldn't play more than 60 games this year and never back to back.

Anonymous said...

Thoses were not as you say "brutal rebounds"!
They were two good pad saves with no D to clear the rebound. Isn't that one of the D's jobs, to clear rebounds?