Do We Get The Good Habs Or The Bad Habs In Buffalo?

I don’t like the looks of this.

Montreal is in Buffalo tonight to take on the Sabres, and just our luck, the Buffalonians have been mostly terrible so far this season which means they may look like world-beaters when they take on the Habs.

The Sabres are sitting last in the east with 8 points (3-8-2), their penalty killing is dismal, their 43 goals-against is in the bottom five or so in the league, goalie Ryan Miller is day-to-day, veterans like Tim Connelly and Tomas Vanek aren’t doing as well as Buffalo fans want, and all is not well in the land of Buffalo wings.

Who will budge first? The team (Montreal) with the dismal power play, or the team (Buffalo) with the dismal penalty killing? And about the scoring and the goalkeeping and breaking-out-of-personal-slumps, and all that jazz?

So many questions to be answered when the puck drops.

20 thoughts on “Do We Get The Good Habs Or The Bad Habs In Buffalo?”

  1. Dennis, I don’t have the stats to prove it but last season it seemed the Habs were exceptionally good at handing over a victory to teams who were in a big slump.

    According to RDS these lineup changes are expected for tonight.

    — Lars Eller will play with Cammalleri and Plekanec.
    — Andrei Kostitsyn will play with Gomez and Gionta.

    The power play is expected to consist of the following:

    First wave: Gionta, Gomez, Kostitsyn, Cammarelli and Markov
    Second wave: Darche, Plekanec, Eller, Hamrlik and Subban

    Who knows? It just might work.

  2. Hey Dennis,I dont think switching the power play around against the leagues worst penalty kill is a good idea.I think if they are struggling ,let them try and score a few as a unit ,before breaking them up to try something new.I think it will be good tonite.My hat goes off to Pat Burns,a great coach and a nice guy,hopefully he will be inducted to the hall of fame .

  3. Dennis and Co.,

    Not quite on tonight’s game but tangentially about squad make up and changes.

    Following on from your piece on O’Byrne and now Pacioretty’s forthright comments, the spotlight is on Martin’s treatment of young players. No doubt this issue has reared its ugly mug before, but aside from the rights and wrongs of Pacioretty’s approach
    I’m interested to hear where you all are on this.

    Is his approach to defensive errors by young players as one-track as some portray it? Generally those who can take a multifaceted approach to managing players have the most success don’t they? In the modern era at least. Or is JM being mis-represented?
    He has a winning record but how has he been on youth development in the past.

    I read lots of comparisons between his treatment of say, Spacek and the youngsters. Both have made some errors but the senior doesn’t get benched. The expectation that Picard might start the other night seemed to have grown out of an expectation that Martin was going to act on what some saw as poor form from the Czech. Perhaps he was not right to and its those on the outside who are seeing problems that don’t exist in the locker room.

    Unlike O’Byrne who has the cushioned press box seat, I’ve got splinters from fence sitting as I just don’t know enough to form an opinion and then start frothing in outrage one way or the other.

  4. Danno, I don’t mind seeing Eller play with some offensive guys. He needs to start getting some points, and quickly, because it’s not helpinjg the team and it’s certainly not helping himself. I’m also looking at the second wave of power play and wondering………
    Tonight should be interesting.

  5. Blue Bayou, I don’t believe it. I just replied to your comment with about 500 words and then deleted it by mistake. All I did was press the wrong key and away it went. This is why I type slowly and with two fingers, so I don’t delete anything, which happened anyway. So I’ll just recap in general what I went on and on about. Max Pacioretty may have just committed career suicide by criticizing Martin and whining about not being a top-six forward on the Habs. Even if he’s right, that young guys get nervous and tentative because Martin makes them this way, is no excuse to blab to the media. Not when you’re young, down on the farm and trying to be an NHL’er. He could get a negative reputation from this and he needed to just shut up and suck it up. Of course, now it’s too late and the damage is done.
    Maybe Martin does make some young guys nervous which in turn makes them play worse, but at least he’s stuck with Subban who has made a lot of mistakes. And I also agree that Spacek may be getting a bit better treatment but he’s a veteran and veterans get a buy sometimes. For me, a veteran defenceman is one of the most important assets on a team. I also think Spacek can be a very important player on this team but it seems more and more that I’m in the minority.
    All I know is, they really have to win in Buffalo and slumping players need to break out. But again, Pacioretty made a huge mistake and he should have kept his mouth shut. Did he really think by whining about Martin that this would get him back up in a hurry? And he only wants to be a top-six guy? Damn, I just want to be stick boy.
    I also don’t recall at any time during his stints with the Habs when Max set the world on fire. And finally, before I delete the whole thing again, I think Toe Blake and Scotty Bowman made players nervous too.

  6. Dennis, your comment about Subban getting a long leash from JM is spot on. I noticed the same thing and I think JM looks at more than just the mistakes and focuses on the overall performance to judge a player’s contribution.

    A big part of it is attitude, something you may not notice on the ice.

    Max Pacioretti needs to adjust his attitude and learn to suffer in silence. His comments will not help him get on the team any sooner. Maybe it’s just his way of saying he wants to be traded.

    In the meantime his name might as well be Max Never Ready.

    Dennis, next time you lose a bunch of text — like the comment you wanted to send to Blue Bayou — try going to the “Edit” menu and clicking on “Undo”. That can sometimes bring back what you just lost.

    I’ll bet Pierre Gauthier wishes he could do that when it comes to certain trades…

  7. Dennis, next time you accidentally delete something and think its gone forever, just hit CTRL and Z (undo function) and you get your work back. Give it a try.

    Tonight, I have a good feeling. JM moving AK46 to the Gomez line is kind of silly and keeping Pleky on 2nd PP unit is just dumb. Move Gomez to the 2nd unit. Separate Markov and Subban. I missed what Pacioretty said in the press. I don’t blame him as he has put in his time and all of a sudden Eller gets the opportunity. Something wrong there as Eller has produced much. He’s kinda green. Maybe Hamilton could help. Habs 4-2. JM sucks.

  8. Thanks, Danno. I’ll try the edit thing. This isn’t the first time I’ve deleted by accident. I had no idea it could be undone.

  9. Mayo- CTRL and Z I had no idea. So between that and Dannos’ suggestion, maybe I’ve just overcome a problem that comes up from time to time. Thanks. As far as Eller goes, I like the idea to put him with snipers. He’s not the kind of player to play alongside grinders. It’s just not his kind of game. Like I’ve said previously, tonight will be really interesting.

  10. Lalime is in nets for Bufallo instead of Miller. Now before we all celebrate, realize he is a French Canadian goalie and you know how they perform against Montreal.

    Lalime has a good record playing against the Habs including three shutouts at our expense.

    From H I/O:

    The Sabres will start Patrick Lalime, who is 17-8-3 against Montreal with a 2.46 goals-against average and three shutouts. Ryan Miller is out with a muscle strain and didn’t practice.

  11. Thanks Dennis and so glad its helped you to a greater understanding of this newfangled technology. Seems like tonight could be interesting but worrying if Pleks is out. Let’s hope Eller shows something.

  12. There is this notion going around that Jacques Martin is unfair, especially to younger players.

    But the job of the coach is not to be a nice guy. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that a lot of the most successful coaches were thought of as being real pricks by the players, and that would include guys like Scotty Bowman.

    It’s been said that due to Bowman’s demanding coaching style, many of his players hated him for 364 days a year, only to like him on the day they pick up their Stanley Cup rings.

    But coaches like Bowman aren’t pricks for the sake of being pricks. They make their decisions based on one factor. Winning. And they don’t let anything else cloud their judgment.

    If that means stepping on some toes or bruising a few egos, so be it.
    Winning the Stanley Cup is not about winning a popularity contest with the players, some of which will have to sit or play for the farm team even though they think deserve more ice time or to play on the first line.

    To be a winning coach, you have to have skin like a crocodile and not take things personally because whatever you do you will be criticized, especially in Montreal.

    That means not listening to the press or the fans too much either…

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    Actually, a case could be made that Martin is too nice of a guy — with Gomez and Gionta, for example.

    Through the ups and downs, the better players will take their medicine, suffer in silence, work hard and earn their way back. The whiners and the egomaniacs can find other teams to play for.

    So I don’t mind if Jacques Martin seems to be a prick to some. As long as he brings home the Stanley Cup.

  13. as one of your very astute posters said a while ago, jm has a non-offensive game plan not a defensive one. i have thought about that a while……………………… of course jm is very offensive to me.

  14. We got two points, though I heard we sucked for the most part. Pouliot is playing like a first round pick and I have thought this before but never got around to saying that adding Halpern to our team has done a world of good for us. I hope the team’s realized they need to start scoring goals and not rely on Carey to get a shutout. Even then, they still need to score at least one goal! u_u

    Another W tomorrow is what we need and then we can relax before taking on those Sedin twins. Not gonna lie, Vancouver’s scary. But hey, you’ll have a lot of fun with all those Canuckheads, won’t you Dennis?

  15. Habby, in the past when the Canucks have had good fortune with the Habs, it’s quite a bummer here for me. Friends who are Canuckleheads don’t say a lot about it, they just give me those silly little grins that say a lot. You know, like “I guess we kicked your ass” kind of grins. It’s very annoying. Montreal has had a dismal record against Vancouver over the past several years and its time it stopped. It’s been quite sickening. This year will be different. And they’re in Vanouver on Feb. 22nd.

  16. Oh, I feel your pain. It’s like that with me and Leafs fans. We definitely need to win so we can prove that Vancouver is not Canada’s team (like many “experts” think it is). Will you be going to the game in February? And isn’t that the game right after the Heritage Classic?! Hope there aren’t any frostbites. =)

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