Eller’s Penalty Didn’t Help


Lars Eller got his stick up into the face of Drew Doughty with just 1:35 left in the third period, with his team winning 3-2 after being down 2-0 to the hometown L.A. Kings, and having stormed back from the dead.

The Kings, of course, with just 45 seconds left in the game, would tie it with Lars in the sinbin, and ultimately take it to a shootout where the Canadiens didn’t get the job done and lose 4-3.

I wish I’d kept track of all the ill-timed, momentum-killing, game-ruining penalties Eller has managed over the past few years. Penalties late in periods, penalties that cancel out power plays, penalties when it’s definitely time to not get penalties. It seems like he’s the king of this &$%#@% category.

I know what the Maharishi would tell me (if I knew him and he was still alive). Take deep breaths. Concentrate on trees and streams. Focus on the good that happened before Lars slipped up.

It’s a shootout loss that yes, gets the team a point, but it should’ve been two, and it should’ve been a cool halt to the California creamin’.

It stings, Maharishi. Just like it probably did when the Beatles dumped you. Eller owes us all a dinner.

The first period was as dreadful as the showings in San Jose and Anaheim. Outshot 13-2 and outscored 2-0. Heck, it was only a few games ago when the boys had shutout the Leafs and won their fourth straight, and we were feeling high and mighty and thinking magnificent thoughts.

But seven periods in California changed all that.

The second frame saw the Canadiens come to life though, and Tom Gilbert, looking like a forward, closed the gap to 2-1 when he swooped in and around Jonathan Quick and lit the lamp. And it became a tie game not long after when Gally took a nice pass from Plekanec and backhanded it home.

In the third frame, Max would notch his 31st on a nice pass from DD, and all was swell in Habsville until Eller’s brain froze like a tray of ice cubes, and with the clock winding down and the Kings on the power play, along with Quick on the bench and the extra man out, the bullet was fired to tie it.

Overtime would solve nothing, and in the shootout, the Canadiens shooters were Chucky (nope), DD and Max (yes), and Eller (post), while Kings skaters buried 3 of 4 on Dustin Tokarski, who overall played a decent game between the pipes.

This mostly lousy four-game road trip comes to an end on Saturday in Phoenix, but things don’t exactly let up. The following four games see the boys tackle the Lightning and Sens at home, and the Islanders and Lightning on the road.

Upcoming strategy? Keep Eller on the bench in crucial situations.




21 thoughts on “Eller’s Penalty Didn’t Help”

  1. Glad when this trip is over. I think eller earned press box for a game or two. He’s not hitting or assertive. Nothing much stands out other than toker playing well. I think he outplayed the shithead quick. I’ve come down on patches in the past but he sure is a strong leader. Eating my words.

  2. Eller. Eller…Eller…Eller…

    I’m surprised MT have him the opportunity to try to redeem himself.

    I can’t stand it when some people rat on DD over and over again. They focus on games when he doesn’t give his 100% while other teammates aren’t either, however when he plays well it goes unnoticed, unmentioned.

    Tampa Ay scares me, so do the Sens (as luck with them as so do Islanders. We need to do well in this stretch.

  3. I am an Eller fan but he made a big booboo last night(this morning) and not happy about it. As for DD what is up with number 1 center with no shots in three games. I like him but want M/T to utilize him differently. Hopefullt we rebound and start a new streak Saturday. No all our followers are back in it and we may drop to a 2nd-3rd seed if we don’t wake up. I could go on but…………

  4. Great deal of hair pulling by the faithful of late… Seems the domination of our center play by the Sharks, Quacks, and Kings will be the blueprint in the East will use come post-season say the radio gurus… Minor flaw… no one our conference has centermen like the Ducks, Sharks, and Kings.

    OK, upside, our boys fought back against a very desperate opponent, who like the Sharks, are probably going to need a collapse of Senatorial proportions to make the playoffs. Too bad we had to face this team that is now playing like they should have all season!

    The Toker slows beginning to look like the playoff goalie. Smith-Pelly, Mitchell, and Petry were hitting people. I wish that was contagious as mumps.

    Eller… well, he’s not as horrible as Pouliot, Latendresse, or Bourque

  5. I have to agree with you DK, Eller always seems to take dumb penalties all season & most are in the offensive zone & late in the games. Not too bright for someone riding the bubble! DD may not take as many shots as some would like but in most cases his passes are spot on as in his setup to Patches last night. I agree we better wake up & soon!

  6. You summarized it perfectly Dennis.

    Eller has become a real buzz kill. Hopefully, this is rock bottom for him and better times are ahead. He needs to turn it around fast.

  7. I agree with Mike about DD. His passes are always spot on. I my books he has a high hockey IQ. Can you imagine this guy a few inches taller? He plays amazing to me with what he has, what is in his control vs. what’s out of his control. He has 41 points of which 30 are assists. There’s a reason why assists are as valuable as goals in the points system.

  8. I find myself defending DD often. Frankly, I don’t understand the hate-on for him from some Habs fans. He’s been called lazy, ineffective, and who never shoots, and basically all-round useless, but in my old eyes, I don’t see that at all. What I see is a small yet very slick fellow who plays a set-up game for his linemates. He seems to be a great team guy, he’s scored some beauties from time to time, and we’ve seen guys like this all our life, from a very young age upward – a gifted player who plays a talent game but who can’t get his nose too dirty because he’s so small. Many Habs fans may not like him but I’ll bet his teammates (especially linemates) do.

  9. Well said Dennis. He’s my hero on that team because of everything he had to overcome: his size, the mayor, hateful dumb fans. And yet he perseveres, continues to be a decent player and keeps his mouth shut despite the hate. I have a feeling like you that he’s well liked. He appears to be an easy going nice guy.

  10. DD was the best Canadien on the ice last night, by far.

    Our guys are targets, Max is too streaky, PK a hot dog, Markov is too tired, Gallagher too small, blah-blah-blah.

    If you want to see faults in a team, watch the Brooooins shootout performance last night. Lord I want them in the playoffs

  11. I’m not a DD fan. I’ll be open about that. I want a 6’2″ 1st line centre. A centreman playing with max should be at the all star game. DD has been there close to four years. I’m sorry if I offend some of you but I want to watch the Habs win a cup and with a 5’8″ 1st line centre it ain’t happening. DD doesn’t get his nose dirty. I watch our D men get pummelled by aggressive forechecks. Habs do not punish opposing DMen at all. This is DD’s job and he doesn’t cut it. Forechecking will hurt us in the playoffs because too few of our forwards are punishing. DD does have sick hockey sense but too many times I see him laid out of the ice after being manhandled off the puck. And his shoot out skills are awesome but there are no shootouts in the playoffs. Sorry to be a buzz kill. It’s not about liking him or hating him. It’s about what I feel is best for the team. If I seen DD Today I’d give him a hug.

  12. AND Dennis, rather than end on my pessimistic note, I have been to other Habs/hockey sites and yours has the best commentary and feedback. Your readers are the most insightful. And passionate about players who get shit upon. Here, thoughts are genuine. Elsewhere the language is horrible and disrespectful. I hope I dont come across like that. I probably do sometimes but I just want the Habs to win and Im cranky when they lose. All you guys and gals here rock. And feel free to bash me because in many cases Im sometimes wrong and need my perspective straightened out.

  13. I’m with Mayo, I want my first line centre to be a big strong guy that drives the play, Desharnais is better suited to a second line role. Unfortunately for us Pacioretty is our only true first line player so whatever line he’s on, it’s our #1 line. Desharnais has an uncanny ability to know where Pacioretty is and pass him the puck. He’s better at it that than anyone else on the team and seems to only have it with Pacioretty which is why they always end up paired together. They’re kind of like non-identical versions of the Sedin’s.

  14. Of course we all want that definitive, big, strong, goal scoring centreman on the first line. But we don’t have that. Instead. we have DD, Pleks, Eller, Galchenyuk and others who can possibly fit the bill as a top line centerman on the Canadiens. And for Max to thrive, it’s apparent that DD seems the best fit for him. If Max can score 35 or 40 goals because of DD, I’m not sure what the problem is. I’m not saying DD is the perfect first line centreman, I’m saying that in my own opinion, he’s too harshly judged for all the good he’s done this season and last, and that he’s a very fine player in own right and has contributed often this year. I feel DD is a very fine player and there will be those who say that Dennis thinks DD is great and he must not have a clue about players and hockey and this is a lousy blog, but I stand by this.

  15. I get your points Mayo and Christopher but wasn’t DD put on the 2nd line at one time? It’s not like his replacement became a superstar on the first. Or maybe you’re thinking of simply acquiring a beast from another team? I’m sure MB would love that but it’s just not that easy. So we make do with what we have and try to find that perfect chemistry. As Dennis says, Max and DD find each other. They have it. And darn it we’re a couple of points from being in first place in the league, so SOMETHING is going right. Had Price not been injured by Kreider, how far would we have gone with the 5’8″?

    Besides, we barely have any short players on the team anymore. Gallagher and DD. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

  16. At least we DON’T have John Scott!! or Gonner Gomez, or a guy who supposedly was a power forward—Rene Bourque,, or a guy who could but didn’t punch ’em out George Larouqe what ever his name is. if there’s no assist–there’s no goal, 60 assists by one player in a year = 60 goals scored by the team. Is DD big, tough, ornery, mean or a horizontal-izer? NO! Does he contribute to the teams place in the standings—YES!
    During the season, we can write off a 2-3 game losing spell, knowing other teams do the same. So we don’t lose our spot in the standings. We’re close to the REAL season where a 2 game slide puts us on the golf course. Maybe we’re all some-what nervous, ornery and impatient for #25. I know I am!!
    Lets stop bashing the Leafs and enjoy our ride. One awkward fall into the boards this time of year can take a team [and their fans] from listening to all the mountain ginger-head warblers to a life of misery watching the other guys sipping from THE MUG.
    Our present GM maybe wasn’t the BEST player on the team, but he played to win, in his day. Seems he see’s that in some guys he got so far. part of the getting is what are you giving to get? Apart from Jiri Sekac, he hasn’t given away too much—-and that trade could still work for both teams.There’s not too many players I’d NOT trade if a Wendle Clarke–in his prime— was available. But they aren’t out there..
    Aw shut up Peter———

  17. Just a little more in DD’s defense, I seem to remember a certain former Hab (and I’m not saying they are equals) was not the tallest (about the same height as DD) but he did his very best for our team. He managed to acquire 11 Cup rings, I’m sure most know of who I refer to, Henri Richard. Gally reminds me a bit because of his tenacious play, but once again you need a good setup man to score goals & DD fits the bill! Just my take on this debate.

  18. I’d take DD over Phil Kessel 10 days of the week. and 82 plus 16 games a season in our quest for #25.

  19. Dennis, I’ll take a little guy with a big heart and lots of passion any day over a big guy who doesn’t give a shit.

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