A Little Rant In A World Of Bigger And Stronger Rants

I’m up and at ’em this morning after my usual lousy sleep, and I must admit, I’m slightly out of sorts. I think back to the Habs-Blues game last night, and it seems I’m more disappointed than usual about another Habs loss.

Maybe it’s because we felt new excitement after realizing that the team had shed the Jacques Martin harness and was beginning to play a more offensive game, for a full sixty minutes, under Randy Cunneyworth. And then we saw this new offensive bunch score not one goal in their 3-0 loss to a team, that yes, is a good team, high in the standings and playing well, but nonetheless, Jarosalv Halak enjoyed one of his easier nights and it should have been the other way around.

The Habs were easy prey to a better team and all those fresh and hopeful thoughts have hit a concrete wall in just a matter of three games. It looked mighty fine against a couple of teams in the middle of the pack, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay, but when one of the elite teams comes-a-callin’, the whole dismal season returns, and we see this bunch in all their underachieving glory.

It’s not the loss that hurts the most, although it does sting, but the fact that the team wasn’t really ever in it. If the score had been 4-3 or 3-2, for example, I would have simply chalked it up that you can’t win every night. But once again, the drive was dismal, their shots handled easily, and of course, they were 0-3 on the power play. Yes, that wretched, rotten, stinking, decaying power play. Worst in the league.

The players have underachieved and I’m mad at the majority of them, but in the big picture, you and I could have done a better job of assembling this team beginning a few years ago. For decades we’ve all known that modern-day players are bigger and stronger and gettting more so as the years go by. So what did the Canadiens do? They went out and landed little guys like Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, and Mike Cammalleri. Why did they do that? The core of our offence is under the height line to ride the ferris wheel at the county fair. If players are bigger and stronger now, why did Bob Gainey and the other Canadiens suits decide go the opposite way? Gainey always was a conservative, deep thinker, but the more I think about it, the more I think he was sampling some acid he was making in his basement.

Some small guys can do the job. David Desharnais, at 5’7″ can. He’s been a fine player most nights, and also earns about a tenth of what Gomez, Cammaleri, and Gionta earn. So hats off to Desharnais. I hope he enjoys a long and happy career as a Montreal Canadien, and he deserves a big raise. In the wings we have an explosive junior player, Brendan Gallagher, poised to become a regular, maybe even next year. Yes, he’s a big-time point-getter in junior. He’s also 5’8″. So unlike the rest of the hockey world, we aren’t exactly getting bigger and stronger.

Rarely have I seen so many not deserve their big money. I’m all for players having their ships come in after being taken advantage of, lied to, and ripped off by general managers for years. But these wealthy players still have to earn it. It’s one thing to say they’re working hard, it’s another to see that they don’t do what they’re paid to do – help the team win by being productive. Cammalleri has 9 lousy goals, Gionta 8, Gomez, 0, and our leading point-getter, another small player at 5’11”, Tomas Plekanec, has 8 goals and 22 assists. These numbers are good if we are talking about defensive specialists. But these are our our big guns, and is it ever embarrassing.

What a season. I’m all for saying goodbye to many of these players. Blow the thing up and start fresh. Last night, reality rose up and sucker punched me in the chops.





25 thoughts on “A Little Rant In A World Of Bigger And Stronger Rants”

  1. Yes, blow the team up and get rid of Gio, Cammy (so dissappointing) and Gomez. But while they’re still here, have them earn their pay by commission.

  2. The Habs have got to start scoring. It’s as simple as that. The power play is dormant and has been all season. If they start scoring at least three goals a game they can win most of their games because the goaltending and the defence isn’t all that bad.

    But no team can win any game without at least scoring one goal.

    And it’s driving us all nuts…

  3. I think there are two big things that this team is missing: the first is consistency and the second is chemistry.

    Cammy has never been the same since Gionta was made the Captain. He wanted that title and when it was given to G, it made him mad. He looked downright miserable last year and this year he looks like he doesn’t care all the much. The drive isn’t there. He also said that he prefers to play with DD rather than Pleks. That’s a pretty nice slap in the face and they aren’t talking much.

    Then there is Gomez, who I think was protected a lot by Gionta. I think having Gomez get so much ice time really pissed off a lot of people. No matter how much he didn’t produce, he got all the time in the world.

    Then apparently there is Gomez and Gionta and Cammy who can’t stand PK (this is based on rumors, but Gomez did snub PK last year) but he’s best friends with Price. There’s Darche who *supposedly* was/is a back-stabber so that probably pissed off a few people.

    For a team to be successful they need to work as a team. So if they are split up into groups, how can any chemistry be created?

    I find it very interesting to see that whenever Price gets hit or run into, no one really stands up for him. But look at Boston: anyone sneezes on Thomas and everyone jumps on the person who did it.

    The worst case is Pacioretty. Look what happened to him and the only person to do anything was Gomez who gave Chara a talking too! The next match-up we couldn’t even be bothered to show up to avenge our own teammate. If that doesn’t say something about the team as a unit, nothing will.

    Then there is consistency. They’ll win a game but then seem to forget what they did to win. They’ll act like it’s the first time they’ve ever been on the ice together at the same time. Something will work and then for some reason they’ll never do it again. Something doesn’t work but they’ll keep doing it!

    The team does need another blow-up which is sad. We could have and should been better than this.

    This team does not feel like the Canadiens. It feels like a bunch of imposters pretending to be them.

  4. PK is black and Price is Aboriginal. I kinda doubt that race has anything to do with it.All the teams I played on growing up (non_Native as well), the team comaraderie was there and I was never ostrasized. I think the divisions within the team would come down to money, playing time and not race.I don’t doubt that politics comeinto play with this team. Gionta and his assistants need to smarten this team up and they need to start playing like professionals.

    If I were to pick a team to cheer for,I think it would be the Blues. Those jerseys arealmost as attractive as the red, white and blue.

  5. Well folks we thought we saw a light at the end of a tunnel, as it turned out it was a freight train coming our way. I’m sure Price was impressed with how the children behaved when Halak returned, after all the negatives written & posted you would think the team would pull out all the stops & get him that win! I to also agree with Darth there just seems to be to much what about ME going on. It’s a very,very divided room right now & thats always an extrene negative. Thank God I watch this in fast foreward before heading off to another day in paradise!

  6. Oh, and guess what, Saku scored a hattie last night. Francois Gagnon said this morning that Koivu is still a better centerman than anyone on our team. He’s paid under 2 million this season. IMO, one of Gainey’s biggest mistakes was letting him go. Think of all the money we would have to land that big first line center if we had kept him. He could’ve played on the second, third or fourth line. He would have been great with Cole. So Gainey wanted the team to be “younger & durable.” What a crock (see Gionta, Gomez).

  7. Moey, you’ve always taken the stance about Koivu and it turns out you were 100% correct. Saku has tons of character and all the other intangibles, and it’s too bad he had to go. All this money for the smurfs, it’s a joke. Letting Saku go and getting these guys is a sad legacy for Gainey.

  8. I figured he was hurt bad, Danno, when he threw his stick in anger. It’s too bad. This season has been ridiculous and now I can’t wait to see changes.

  9. Mike, it’s true. The team should have pulled out all the stops for Carey and they didn’t. I hope it’s not a divided room but maybe it is. And if it is, it was Gionta’s job, as captain, to try to fix these little soap operas.

  10. Mayo, if were to pick another team it would be Orillia Byers Bulldozers Bantams. If they still exist.

  11. Danno, if the power play was even mildly respectable the team would have about ten more points I think. I think eveyone who comes on this site should meet at a cental location, like Las Vegas, where we can discuss the power play and getting rid of some of thes guys and also get drunk while we’re discussing.

  12. Marjo, I love your idea about paying by commission. Gomez would have to live at the YMCA and a few others in shacks down by the tracks.

  13. What will the new CBA bring? Hopefully a good way for getting out of bad contracts. When a GM is fired or leaves, all contracts with his signature must be renegotiated or follow the GM to new position. We didn’t sign Gomez, Gainey did, let him suffer.

  14. Moey, it’s entirely possible and would be great fun. The plan is to go but it might be in April when my wife’s family from Russia are here. If they can come. Not sure yet. May is a great month in LV.

  15. Chris, Molson is going to have to bite the bullet and change things up. Or maybe he/they is deaf. Or just doesn’t care all that much as long as beer sales are fine.

  16. An southern Cal article I read a few months following Saku’s departure gave me the sense that Saku asked for the trade and that Gainey took the heat so Saku wouldn’t go out with yelling and screaming from the fans. Saku’s words indicated he thought it was for the best.

    I’m not sure where the article might be but it explained that move, at least.

    As for height, I don’t think it matters. Speed is always a foil for size. It’s a fair battle and sometimes one trumps and sometimes the other does.

    But the room is divided and egos have been running amok. Cammalleri is probably unhappy but he is not right in this belief. Pouting isn’t a winning attitude. He’ll have to grow up quick (as Price did) or look at moving on. His approach to the game is immature.

  17. Homme, small players can indeed be effective and there’s a ton of examples. But Montreal has far too many. They’ve not been effective in front of the net or along the boards and in the corners, have created no numbers, and these guys haven’t trumped anyone. So it’s not been a fair battle.

  18. In my view, much of that is in the lack of effort, poor technique and a system that stifles puck-cycling.

    I agree that size has its merits and it’s good to have a quota of sizable players to go with a speed model. Same if it’s the other way around (have some speed guys to go with your robust players; the recent Flyer model).

    But smaller players like Saku or Yvan Cournoyer were able to win those types of battles. So to me, it’s the size of the heart.

    I think Gio’s getting worn down.


  19. HDS, not sure if Cournoyer is a good example. He played at a time when many players were small, although having said that, his heart was huge and so was his talent. Same with Pocket and Keon and others. I never said small players aren’t effective, I said we had too many, and they’re not producing. The game has changed, players in general are much bigger, and only a few excel, like Martin St. Louis and Daniel Briere. Our problem is that much of our core can be pushed around too easily, and there aren’t enough big aggressive players to help ensure the smaller have room to move. But if you’re happy with our size, then what more can I say.

  20. I get your point, Dennis. I’m not happy with the effort. I think if all (most?) of them played like Desharnais, we’d be much higher in the standings.

    If the refs called the games a bit tighter, that would be a help, too.

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