Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's On You, Jacques

I don't usually pile on when everyone is blaming the coach for a loss. After all, there's only so much the guy behind the bench can do. He makes the plan and sends the players out to execute it, so it's not his fault if they fail to do that. That is, unless the plan is entirely stupid to begin with.

In the case of the Canadiens against the Penguins, Jacques Martin chose to put Hal Gill and Yannick Weber together as a defensive pair. The biggest, softest, slowest and most immobile D on the team, with one of the smallest, least confident and most recently mistake-prone. The combination, to the most casual observer's view, was wrong-headed and doomed to failure.

Sure enough, Weber and Gill were on the ice not only for the lousy tying goal, but also for the winner in OT. There is no excuse. It's overtime, Martin. You don't have to keep the same guys paired up, especially if they're obviously not performing overly well. You overplay your best in hopes of snagging the second point. For this alone, Martin must be questioned regarding his choice of personnel.

Scotty Bowman said the secret to good coaching is in knowing which players to have on the ice at any given moment. Obviously, Jacques Martin hasn't grasped that. He's got the paperwork and video prep down, but he has no instincts about who to play, when. For that reason alone, he must go.

Carey Price threw his stick in disgust after the winning goal, and rightly so. He was hung out to dry by the coach, yet again, and a surplus of games like this will make him think twice about signing long-term in Montreal. The coach is wrong. He makes bad decisions. I find it hard to watch.


Kyle Roussel said...

Wonderful, accurate post game assessment. It's awfully easy to blame the refs, but the underlying truth is that the Habs let this game get away. Stupid things happen in overtime and we saw that tonight.

Tick tock tick tock, Habs.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything but that's not why Price smashed his stick.

dusty said...

JT, welcome back I've missed you. Watching the Habs crapping out all alone is not fun.

I agree that JM is not a good coach and has to go, but this game should have been over way before overtime. The Penguins were dangerous all night and I was hoping for a point when the score was 3-1. The Habs were, in reality, only holding on for dear life. Good for them to get a point against a far superior team.

How superior? Plekanec would be a fourth line center in Pittsburgh. Subban and Gorges would be the 3rd pairing. Cole and Max would make the Penguins. Maybe one or two others. Price would probably beat out the Flower. But that's it. So, I'm thinking the coach is the least of the Habs problems.

The real problem is the GM. I really don't know what type of team PG's trying to build. Fast and skilled is good but DD is way too small and Cammalleri is plain useless. Gionta's best years are behind him. And Gomez, well what can be said. He has to go to the AHL.

This season the Habs will miss the playoffs. They need their "A" game to win and even then it's a struggle. A playoff team is one that can win with their "B" game. Ideally PG will dump Gill and Spacek at the dead line to someone looking for depth in the playoffs and finish the year with the kids. DD, Weber, Darche have to go and maybe AK46. If Cammalleri can be traded I'm all for it. Lots of work needs to be done.

Of course PG won't fix this team. He'll ride out the shitty contracts and blame injuries for the Habs off year.

Price, Subban, Gorges, Emelin, Cole, Max, Pleky, Eller, Gionta and Moen keep me coming back for more punishment. It'll be nice to see Markov and White back on the ice but it won't change anything. The Habs will still stink and finish next to last in the division.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right,and why are the three smurfs on a line ? They are terrible,especially Cammy-he has no idea of how to backcheck.
Pleks on the point,this stupid experiment has to stop immediately,it doesn't work !!
Bob Cole you are way past your 'best before date' !
Thanks JT,I was worried about you........

Ian said...

Checking the plus/minus from the game, I see that Gio was -4. I think he's around -9 the last three games. That's not good, either.

Anonymous said...

You are right but what can anyone do? Coaches have to be right. How a coach switches lines, and players is critical. How a coach adapts is critical.

Do you believe the team is talentless? If so Martin is doing an exceptional job. Do you believe the team has talent? Is Price good? Is Subban good? Is Pleks good? Then why are they playing like Florida. For a coach who garners so much respect why are the Habs at 22 in the League today, chasing teams with games in hand, and followed by teams with games in hand?

The thing is if they go totally off the farm and hire Roy to coach it will be a couple years before he is ready. If they stick with Martin then Gauthier will move several talents and the next coach will be even worse off. Who else is out there? Bring back Carbo? Wow, great until the pressure hits and he starts calling out the innocent to justify his mistakes.

Have you ever once heard Martin calmly state "Well that is my fault. I can't get the pp to work and clearly putting those guys out to start the game against the best players in the world was a gigantic screwup on my part."

But you know what? It was fun to watch Syd and the Pens last night. LeTang gets a busted nose and then scores the winner? What a great 60's or 70's or even 80's Montreal story. Today in Montreal the story is "What has Markov done to earn a contract?" Yeah, came back twice too early from injury to salvage a floundering team and got re-injured each time from overuse each time. Took out citizenship. Can control Subban and the room.

This team has no class. It is all about flipping assets to make ROI.

Hadulf said...

I agree with Anonymous...Price did not smash his stick because Gill and Weber were on the ice. He smashed it because it was a bad call (or no call)...

Also, Camalleri...what's up? He keeps being fancy but it never works. Never wins 1 on 1 on the boards, he cannot skate with the puck...Listen, Michael, you are paid to put the puck in the net. Find your sweet spot and SHOOT THE DAMN PUCK. Don't be fancy!

Plekanec and Gionta are in a funk, they need to come out of it. Kostityn looked slow but I give him time, groin injuries are tough and I expect it will take almost 10 games before we see his speed.

Furthermore, since he's on fire, put Moen on the PP...I don't care anymore. When your PP is 0 for need to send a message and switch things up.

At least one positive - Cole, Desharnais, Pacioretty. Keep it up boys. Oh, and note to JM : this is a line YOU DO NOT BREAK UP. You idiot.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog, but this is just weak. First, the OT goal was NOT a goal, as at any other time the ref would have whistled the play down long before the puck went in the net. That goal was the fault of no one except the ref. Second, JM probably put Gill with Weber because of the excellent work the former did to bring along Subban; also, face the fact, our D corps is pretty weak - sooner or later guys like Gill and/or Weber are gonna be out in OT. Third, I'm disappointed that you've drunk the hysterical anti-Martin kool-aid. This team has been playing well since The Slump - and always, always, always does best when it plays Jacques Martin hockey, tight defence, strong support for the puck carrier. Yet fans continue to go into a Martin-hating frenzy after every loss. Guess what? We're going to lose some games. That is not JM's fault. And any *new* coach we bring in is going to have his own set of strengths and weaknesses and it won't belong before HE becomes demonized. We need a thoughtful blog like yours to be the voice of reason, not more hysteria.

dusty said...

What are the odds Shanahan makes an example of Pacioretty? I'm betting Max gets the suspension Chara should have gotten. Any takers?

Number31 said...

Should have played St-Denis and give Weber a break, then. Perhaps it's the same thinking that got Emelin stuck with babysitting Diaz all night. THAT was terrifying...and yet they managed to keep the Penguins to the outside, even though they were trapped in their own zone every time.

But sorry, no. Price didn't break his stick because his coach is a stubborn old goat... It was him holding the puck for 8 seconds only to have no whistle and a braindead ref who didn't even have the decency to tell him "my bad, I cost you 2 full points you probably weren't going to get anyway but might have had a chance to get considering how weak Fleury was if/when your forwards decide to get the puck and try to shoot it on net". I didn't think they were going to win the game in OT, but I didn't think they would lose the game like that... Worst thing a referee can do is become a factor like that. And the bottom line is they're never held accountable.

Steve said...

Oh man, wake me up in April, this is a train wreck but its going to keep going at full speed.

MC said...

Just saw the Caps GM explain that he had to make a move because the team stopped responding to the coach. I wonder if that's starting to happen in Montreal. Gomez can't be happy. Cammalleri has been floating and not competing. There seems to be friction with Cole based on the lack of PP time and based on reading between the lines on Cole's post game remarks. Even Carey Price showed a lot of frustration last game, above and beyond losing to a bad call, complaining about sitting on leads. Subban seems to have lost some of his swagger although he has been getting lots of minutes. Nik Kyperos on the radio today when describing Muller and Hunter said that they are good communicators with the players and that the younger generation expect this from the coaching staff nowadays. It is well documented that JM does not communicate with his players, prefering the old school "arm's length" approach. I hear a lot of criticism of JM's system for being outdated which I find quite funny because now ALL the teams like Edmonton, Washington, Tampa, etc, are preaching to be defensively responsible first. The system has always been and always will be fundamentally sound hockey, even if it's boring to watch. JM is a good hockey man but I think his people skills are too old-fashioned. This generation of players will demand more and it's only a matter of time when he completely loses the room, if it hasn't happened already.

dusty said...

Shanahan is a moron and has to go. His explanation that Pacioretty was at fault because Letang lowered his head when taking a shot going across the middle is insane. So now a guy going across the middle can't be touched.

For the life of me I can't understand why one individual is allowed to make the decision on a player suspension. Why not have a committee of 5 so that 3 votes are required to suspend with input from a group with different backgrounds in the game. A mix of goalies, defense and forwards might have valuable insights to add in reviewing and questionable hit.

Silver lining? Maybe Louis Leblanc can replace Gomez and the Habs can make the playoffs after all.

Anonymous said...

Leigh Ann, where are you???!!! We miss you!