Saturday, December 11, 2010

Aftermath: WTF?

Contrary to all appearances, there were a few positives to last night's stink fest. For example:

-The win keeps the leafs two more points away from handing the Bruins another lottery pick.

-Alex Auld got some much-needed work.

-There are four days to plan how to get out of this mess before the next game.

-The breaks tend to even out over the course of the season, and the reffing has sucked hard for the Canadiens in the last two.

-There's lots of good video for the "Don't" file.

-The Habs were a bit concerned about peaking too early and wanted to go back to flying under the radar. They've succeeded.

-Dustin Boyd got a chance to shake off those sore muscles you get when you don't exercise for weeks, then work out hard.

That's it. That's all I can come up with on the plus side of this game. On the minus side, there's a lot more. Like:

-Subban is lost. He's making poor decisions, hitting when he shouldn't, pinching when he needs to stay back and shooting at shin pads with his giant windup. His windup is so obvious it's got a police escort. He needs help and there's nobody to offer it. The kid has resorted to calling Tampa's assistant coach for advice. Perry Pearn might be a fine strategist, but he never played defence in the NHL. This is where Gauthier regrets not returning Larry Robinson's phone calls, if he's smart.

-Andrei Kostitsyn has found his invisibility cloak. The guy is so dominant when he's on and so frustrating most of the rest of the time.

-The D is vulnerable without Markov. They all know how to play the system in theory, but they frigged it up in execution last night. It all goes back to Markov's injury. Without him, Spacek and Hamrlik become the number-one D pair, Gorges and Gill move up to number two and Subban is left without veteran guidance as he's stuck with journeyman Picard. Not to say Picard is a bad player, but he's only just competent and really needs an experienced guy with him too. Those two guys together can be a bit like the inmates running the asylum. Remove Spacek from the equation and you've got two rookies and a journeyman in the top six. When Roman Hamrlik is your top offensive D, you've got issues.

-Nobody can score. The Martin defensive system is extremely effective in preventing goals against because all five players collapse to the net. Unfortunately, that means everyone has to skate an extra twenty feet to even gain the offensive zone on the attack. There's a LOT of skating involved in playing the Martin way, and covering that extra distance means there are extra passes and more chances to get picked off. Throw a second game in two nights at them, and all that skating adds up to a tired team.

-The power play continues to be a big problem. It's barely respectable right now, and misses Markov more than any other aspect of the game. That's IF the Habs actually draw a penalty. In the last couple of games, they're second to the puck a lot of the time, which means they have to take chintzy penalties to recover. Between that and some really iffy reffing, there aren't many PPs to be had, and the ones they get aren't effective.

-There's nobody on the team other guys are afraid of. I don't want a goon. Far from it. I think goons are outdated and a waste of valuable cap space, as we learned in the Laraque situation. In the NHL today, though, you do need a real player who's tough enough to beat on opponents who take liberties. I hate to give that much credit to Lucic, but he's a guy who'll do that. When that little pissant MacArthur went aboard of Spacek, he needed someone to give him an atomic wedgie and punch his head. Nobody did, because nobody aside from Moen is capable. And Moen can't do it every time, especially when the team is down and they're trying to avoid penalties.

-We've been exceedingly positive because the Habs have been winning, but in reality, the team last night was missing two top-four defencemen and a top-line centre. When you're dealing with those kinds of injuries, something's got to give. If those injuries are long-term, the Habs, frankly, are in trouble.


Ian said...

Leigh Anne, couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately for me, I was at the game. Having hemmorhoids was more fun! It was brutal!

I was already concerned before the game, because as crappy as the Laffs are, they play like Stanley Cup Champions against the Habs. Throw in a Friday night game in Detroit, while the Laffs sat at home resting, when we had Wednesday and Thursday nights we could have played, well, I wasn't happy with that.

Then they announce Auld as the starter, and no offence to Alex, but my son-in-law and I just turned and looked at each other and asked, "Why tonight!" We don't play again until Wednesday, so does Price REALLY need to rest for this game?

Then, as we get ready for the puck to drop, we wondered which team would show up - the one who outshot Detroit 19-3 in the 3rd period Friday night, or one who is tired after playing on the road the night before.

Sadly, the first period was as brutal as one could experience. Four shots! Cammy missing the net on a breakaway! No semblance of cohesion! PUKE!

Can you say bag skate at practice!

Though they played better in the second, I knew in my heart it was already over. Even Cammy's goal didn't enspire hope for me. We just don't come back often when we are down, despite what should be a lot of scoring ability on paper.

Poor PK looked out of place all night. I saw him 'pinch' a few times. For me, pinching is at the blue line to keep the puck in. He jumped into the offensive corner a couple of times and when the puck was chipped past him, the point was empty, hence an easy out. Do not want to dump on him, however, as he'll be great. Just don't want what happened to O'Byrne's confidence to happen to him.

It was a very frustrating experience being at this particular game. :((

As for the opening ceremony, my 29 year old daughter said she didn't recognize any of the players other than Clark, Sittler and Bower, and she's a Laff fan. Talk about a second class ceremony. But in fairness to the Laffs, what else can they roll out.

Have to file this one under CRAP and move on. But....why against the Laffs!

Anonymous said...

Ok look.
1) PK looks bad not because he sat out for making dumb plays but because Weber came in and didn't. PK wasn't looking all that great before. He looked flashy on a dull team.
2) The team has to score the first couple then not give up. Coming from behind when your plan is to bar the door doesn't work. That is what Crosby tried to tell us last year.
3) When the team plays well together we all start this fanboy stuff. Price, the D, the first line, Pleks (yes, I know)but that isn't how this team wins. The team has no first center, no big D without Markov. Only team play and a bit of luck will get it done.

If, as you implied, PK is calling Tampa for advice then it reflects on PK's real attitude and not the one offered up for public consumption. A week off to reflect on a game gone to the dogs? He should have come back refreshed. He did not. If it walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, stop listening to the barking. You got a duck.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the Detroit game and actually thought the Habs could now compete with anyone. Then came the leafs and that changed everything. The Wings went into New Jersey in the second of their back-to-back and blew the Devils out their own building. That's what a good team does, not what the Habs did in toronto.

MC said...

You are bang on about Larry Robinson. He could have been a great mentor for Subban. In my opinion, Subban is playing very poor positional hockey right now. Because of that, he starts running around to compensate and gets even more out of position. -3 in a 3-1 loss is ugly. He is costing them games right now, so the Habs have to do something with him if they are going to leave him in the lineup.

The lack of scoring has been a problem from the beginning of the year. Eller is close. He is VERY strong on the puck and he has major-league moves, speed, and vision. But his shot is BAD. Seriously, there are guys in my beer-league with a harder shot. Eller has no snap on his shot; Cammelleri needs to take him aside and give him a lesson. Until the Habs get a legitimate secondary scoring threat ( Moen on your second line!!!? WTF?), then scoring will remain a problem.

Anonymous said...

Some touhgt from the french guy!!!

Sitting PK out for 3 games seems to be turning out a megabust on the kid's swagger, his energy, emotion AND confidence. Nice job Jacques, hope Muller or some one else can get his mojo back....damn the Habs for always ruining enthousiastic kid...

Last night we saw Jacques M. playing weber on the 4th line, turned out a good decision with Spacek hurting himself in the 1st....but would it had been hard to give Desharnais a real shot???? His been consistent in the AHL and could probably put up more points then Gomez...Gomez was out 2 games, I would had given the kid a shot...

Canadiens where pput 7th 8th or out of the playoffd by all expert....I see them 7th....If not for Price stellar start to the season, that's where we'd be right now...

Last night more then ever I saw some player really afraid to go 1st on puck,afraid to get hit or mishandled the puck because of big leafs D. The nod goes to Cammy on this, he was afraid last night...But Eller, the rookie, goes all out in the corner no matter who's there..hats to him and Gumby Gorges for playing the I want the puck first game.

If Habs slump 5-6 games in a row, look for Gauthier to try to find a way to use Markov's cap relief... but who?


Ian said...

When we talk about bringing in a top four D or top six forward, which obviously would be nice for ANY club, keep in mind there will be a cost to it, and I'm not referring to cap hit.

A top player, which we admittedly need, will cost us bodies. We are not going to be able to exchange balogna for ham. We'll have to give up a roster player or two and/or prospects.

So, while we all 'want' or expect some movement by PG, be careful what you wish for. At what cost needs to be considered.

moeman said...

Max Pax called up. Habs showcasing him?

Anonymous said...

You dont showcase a big winger from your farm when you dont have any, anywhere else. MaxPac is called up to play.

Martin was at the game scouting Pacioretty and obviously felt it was his time. If anything say goodbye to Boyd and possibly Lapierre.

TonyR. said...

The sky is falling yet again.