Habs Dig A Deeper Hole

I honestly don’t know what to write. I’ve changed my opening sentence three times now, and it’s like writer’s block has set in.

Or maybe I’m just weary of describing another Habs loss. Yes indeed, another loss, this a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Florida Panthers. I could say Travis Moen opened the scoring with a nice blast, and I could say that Alexei Emelin thumped a couple of guys withing the space of a minute – one an open-ice deal and another a board smasher, and I could bring up the time Lars Eller waltzed in on a clear-cut breakaway, made some fine moves, but it wasn’t to be.

I could also say that a puck, maybe tipped, found it’s way past Carey Price to put the Panthers in the lead and basically put the Canadiens out of the game.

Another loss, and when I do the math, I see that the Canadiens have won a total of 4 games in their last 17. Is that sad or what?

Random Notes:

A couple of disturbing things out there tonight. At the end of the second period Florida’s Krys Barch was ejected for possibly spewing racial slurs at P.K.Subban. If it’s true it’s not cool.

Another instance occurred, just seconds before this incident, when Subban took a bit of a shot in the face in front of the Panthers net and he reacted like he’d been slugged by Joe Frazier. To me it seemed P.K. was exaggerating a great deal, and if so, I wish he’d stop this sort of thing. This is the kind of thing other players don’t like about our young defenceman, and it gives serious ammunition for Bruins fans and such. You’ll never see a guy like Josh Gorges acting like this.

Next up – Winnipeg in Montreal. That’s three days off to reflect and get their shit together. What has hurt the most this year is the pitiful power play, which went 0-3 against the Panthers. Even if they were in the middle of the pack in this department instead of second last like they are, they’d be several notches up the standings ladder. But they can’t get it done with the man-advantage and it’s been their downfall.

And a correction. In a previous story I said the Winter Classic is on Sunday, but it’s actually Monday. Sorry.

30 thoughts on “Habs Dig A Deeper Hole”

  1. Don’t forget that in that Jets game we’re supposed to have that protest by the seperatists. That will make the news everywhere (regardless of how it goes) and that will add to the stuff that people say about us. People already are saying stuff so let’s see how much more of a laughingstock we can become.

    I like PK a lot, but I also can’t stand it when he does this. I wish someone on the team would talk to the guy. Sit him down and have a few words about conduct. This is where Larry Robinson would come in handy. I can’t see him letting PK get away with it. I’m actually more impressed with Diaz and Emelin this year than PK. It’d be one thing if he was really successful, but he’s not and acting like a fool on the ice is really annoying. And why did he pass to Kaberle at the end? The guy has a rocket shot – TAKE IT! Don’t pass it to Kaberle who couldn’t hit the side of a barn.

    4 in 17. God that is just awful. I just pray we get lucky in the draft and somehow pick first (which people will say we rigged I’m sure). That’s the one thing that would make up for this rotten season. For the first time in my life I can’t wait for the season to be over!

  2. Here’s the thing, as fans of this team we really hate to lose. That’s pretty obvious so when some people talk about tanking the season to get a high draft pick I can’t imagine how we could accept that. Could you imagine watching this team play like Switzerland against Russia for 40+ games? Also teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh had to suck for consecutive years to build their talent level. How does that sound? Some would argue that we are there already! Probably the two best teams at building their talent level without mailing it in for a couple of seasons are Philadelphia and Boston. Detroit certainly manages to be a top team year after year as well. These teams do it by masterful trading and shrewed drafting and I’d rather see Montreal follow that option than any other. This franchise use to be a leader and the class of the league, tanking a season so that a potential saviour can be drafted should be unacceptable.

  3. It’s a new year and the dawning of a new era for the Habs.

    It’s hard to believe what has happened lately to this great team. But one thing is for sure. Things can’t stay the same. And they won’t.

    I wonder just how low they will go before things start getting better.

    Looking at the standings the Islanders and Hurricanes are all that separate us from being last in the Eastern Conference. Both teams are only three points behind us. To make matters even worse, the Islanders have three games in hand.

    When was the last time the Canadiens finished dead last in the standings?

    And did you know the Habs are currently 29th in the league for their power play effectiveness? Did you know that the team has the worst power play record it’s ever had since the statistic has been kept at a pitiful 12.8%.

    Big changes are on the way that’s for sure. The key thing will be to make the right changes for the long-term success of the club. Band aid solutions won’t cut it anymore.

    Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a rough ride.

  4. Things will clear up over time and if not this season then next. Momma said there’d be seasons like this.

    We play in a league of thirty, no longer six or ten or sixteen. Everything’s different.

    Let’s pray that we make good trades, hire better management and take a good look at softening the equipment so all the boys aren’t plagued with the concussions.

    On a brighter note, Happy New Year to all and Go Team Canada Juniors Go (both men and women) and no, Bettman…no Winter Classic watchers in this household.

  5. If only the Canadiens could do what they haven’t been able to do – put together a true winning streak. They won four in a row back in late October, and after that it’s been one here or two there. The teams above them have almost handed a playoff spot to them on a silver platter but it hasn’t been taken advantage of. Blown leads really hurt. But what hurts most is the feeble power play. Marjo, love your comments. My momma never warned me. When she was alive the boys were winners with a dangerous power play. And I’m like you, I think management has to change. This is where we come in! And Danno, you’re so right. Bandaid solutions are for the birds. Gauthier and company are paid top dollar to bring the city of Montreal and fans around the world a top-notch product and he hasn’t been able to. So he needs to go too. Dishonest John, it would make me absolutely sad to see them tank to go for the first pick. That would be terrible. And to make matters worse, there’s no guarantee a big first pick will even become a star. It’s still a crap shoot. And Darth, I’m glad you agree with me about PK. He has to stop this nonsense. I cringe when I see him acting. If he was on another team I’d be all over him.

  6. In agreement about PK too, I’ve watched him with his diving since the fall and it’s embarrassing. What’s more bothersome is that he doesn’t need to do that, he’s talented and quick. I can see this type of behavior from a slow, worn-down vet but not him. Let’s hope he snaps out of this soon. Don’t want this to become what he’s known for…

  7. @dishonest John: It’s not that I want it to happen, but if this is what does happen it’ll make this season somewhat more easy to take. Sometimes one needs to suffer in order to overcome and hopefully this is finally it for us and it’s all uphill from this point forward.

    I don’t look forward to the rest of the season at all if this is what we can expect. It’s been enough seeing this much already. Awful. Makes you want to pop in a dvd from the “ten best” collection to get the bad images out of your head.

    One piece of good news: Jack Edwards is now on Twitter. I just can’t wait to see his tweets about us.

    I think PK really needs someone to really lay it into him. It’s possible some might have but it didn’t stick. He needs someone strong who’ll grab him, pull him aside, and give him hell. He’s only making himself look really bad and he’s also making the team look bad.

    When Marchand looks like a prince in comparison you know there’s trouble in town.

  8. Guys please do not tell me what I just read online about a protest by separtists is true

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/hockey/nhl/language-militants-organizing-protest-136130443.html

    Look it was stupid not to hire a coach that is bilingual for sure. I still think it was done for a reason by Gauthier … to divert from a crash to a lottery pick that they feel is needed because of low talent on the Bulldogs…

    But these boneheads are going to look stupid …especially when the American / International press get wind of this … Oh my Quebec .. you’ve done it again ….

  9. Stay tuned for the next episode of the karhabshians. As the lads return from a disastrous road trip, think of what they are faced with……..Will the quebecois deep seeded inferiority complex manifest in riot? If so, i hope they make it worth while from a spectator point of view……. It is after all, their right to say and do what they want. I hope they don’t hurt any feelings tho……… Leaf fan. With due respect, I disagree that it was stupid to hire rc. he is a good hockey man, but why would he want the stinkin’ job? Could it be the intoxicating idea of coaching one of the most storied and successful franchises in the world? But what about the hangover,randy? Did u think of that?……..The habs should be able to hire whom ever they want. They are only responsible to fans for icing a winning team, not for who they hire………… Pk? Maybe he is not that smart.

  10. Hobo, we need to see PK mature real quick before things really start to snowball. He’s got so much upside, the way he skates and all that, so if he just curb the stupid stuff. And hit the net more often.

  11. I think pk will be fine.

    Leaf fan…. I’m surprised u have not been corrected yet. It is politically incorrect to call the little turds, separatist…. Now don’t laugh, the correct term is, sovereigntist.

  12. Hobo,

    Oh God.

    If you are referring to me (in your passive way) of being the one who has yet to correct LeafMan, it’s pretty clear that you are still bothered by my remark.

    Maybe your Mommy never told you this, so I will:

    It’s okay not to agree with what people want or think and you’ll meet people like this throughout your life, this I promise you. But it’s not okay to mock, insult and abuse. You would be very surprised where I stand on this issue, but I don’t have the energy or the desire to engage in anything with you.

    The last time I checked, we live in a free world and it would do your peace of mind wonders to let people be, whether it is something you agree with or not.

    I hope you have an incredible year.

  13. Marjo

    The correct procedure is the ask if I was referring to you….. It the answer is yes, please enter comments, if the answer is no, then shut up.

    Now please, stop wasting blog space.

  14. Hobo, that’s way too harsh and this isn’t the kind of blog I want to have. I appreciate greatly everyone who comes here but I can do without the aggressiveness. So I’m asking, please don’t tell anyone to shut up. And Marjo isn’t wasting blog space, she’s a welcomed and important piece of the puzzle here. I enjoy her very much and she has much to offer.

  15. Dennis I think the answer to this whole language nonsense is for Phoenex or some other poorly located failing NHL team to relocate to Quebec City. I read not long ago that all this garbage started after the Nordiques left for Colorado and suddenly there were a lot of french newspaper journalists with no team to promote to the French of Quebec so naturally they turned their attention to the Habs. I don’t know if this is accurate or not but it sure makes me long for the day when a team does return to Quebec and we can see an end to the political interference that frustrates us all. Happy New Year everyone and please try to get along.

  16. Dishonest, it would be great to see a team in Quebec City. You’re right, it might take the heat off the Habs somewhat. And what a rivalry it used to be between the two teams. Wow. Vicious and intense. I loved it.

  17. regarding a bilingual coach….I think making RC basically was ok because the position was termed “interim” . The final decision should be a bilingual coach for sure and I am sure if RC is made permanent coach he will learn french as he seems to be quite a smart guy. But Quebec being Quebec Gauthier had to expect the “sovereigntists” backlash…..

    By the way guys its interesting how so much of our discussion is on the language issue and not the team performance….

    mmm..lets see .. Gauthier knows he has screwed up .. how can I deflect attention from my incompetence…

  18. I agree with LeafMan’s statement about RC being made an interim coach. I will go even further and say that RC is a big boy and no one was holding a gun to his head and forcing him to take this position. In fact, he was perfectly capable and free to turn it down — knowing his limitation (language) and knowing the hot topic this would become.

    Because the language challenge is huge, surely the decision to make RC interim coach was not orchestrated by Gauthier alone. Surely Molson is jointly making decisions here. I’m not a big Gauthier fan but I think he has become our latest scapegoat.

    Lastly, many non-Francophones fans made it very clear over time that finding a coach should not be confined to it’s language limitations. That the search criteria outta include talent. If this is the case, RC is not necessarily the best fit. and I hope that the non-Fracophones desireto have an English coach is not at the sacrifice of of what he can bring our team.

  19. Leaf Fan, I wouldn’t care if the coach was 100% Francophone and couldn’t speak one word of English. As long as he’s doing a good job with the players. A few politicians and some French media made this all snowball but it’s been that way for decades and will never change. But French fans in Quebec must realize that they don’t love their team any more than me, and I might love the team more than most of them. The Habs don’t belong to just them, they belong to me and you and all true Habs fans. I say to them, forget the coach, we need a French superstar scoring 50 goals.

  20. Marjo, maybe Gauthier and Molson weren’t entirely clear with Cunneyworth. Maybe they weren’t clear in their own heads. It may never occurred to them that an English only coach wasn’t going to go over well. So having said that, if it never occurred to them, they must not be very smart.
    Anglophones have never desired to have an English coach. It’s never been an issue with us. We just want a winning team. I’ll take a French-only coach any day of the week if he makes the club a winner.

  21. Dennis, I think it’s entirely possible that Randy Cunneyworth learns a bit of French and continues to improve his fluency in the language if he makes the effort to learn it – not so much now, but in the off season. And I don’t consider it unreasonable at all to encourage him to make an effort in this regard. Montreal is not just another hockey franchise – it isn’t Phoenix or Nashville. The French fact is central to the the heart of the city and to the glorious history of the Canadiens and the two are inseparable.

    That being said, this whole debate over language will be academic if the team continues to lose while Cunneyworth remains behind the bench. Nobody wants a coach with a losing record regardless of how many languages he speaks. So if Cunneyworth wants to stick around it’s very simple. First he has to get the team to start winning games – a lot – because they are in a deep hole now. Next, he has to learn French – at least a little at first – and with time he will get better if he makes the commitment.

    God knows the Habs can provide him with the best learning materials and teachers to help him along the way. Who knows? Maybe Cunneyworth is quite comfortable with the idea since I have yet to hear him say anything to the contrary.

    My dream scenario would be that we beat Boston in the first round and Cunneyworth leads the team and they go deep into the playoffs. Having done so, he could then begin to start speaking a little French by next season while the Habs go on to bigger and better things together.

    I know. You’re probably wondering what I’ve been smoking, but I still am hoping for a Hollywood ending to this terrible season.

    The language issue is a hot button topic and it has the potential to divide us if we let it. I just hope the team, and the wonderful fans who love it, (the greatest fans in the world) can figure out a way forward out of this and can stick together until this all gets sorted out.

    But it all starts with winning. And the players have to do their part to make it happen.

    Some people have already written off the Habs and say they won’t make the playoffs. They currently have only 35 points and are 8 points out of a playoff spot. But there’s still a lot of hockey to be played and with a tight race in the Eastern Conference we may squeak in with as little as 88 pts like we did in 2009-10. This means the Habs will need to get 53 pts out of 43 remaining games which translates into playing just a little above .600 hockey to make it. A nice solid winning streak would improve our chances even more. But it has to start NOW.

    It won’t be easy but it’s not an insurmountable task. And if the Habs manage to make it to the playoffs I believe anything can happen.

    I hope my dream can begin to unfold starting tomorrow night.

  22. Danno, Cunneyworth should absolutely try to learn some French. It’s not asking too much. I must be smoking the same as you. I remain confident they’ll turn things around, and if they get on a roll at the right time, it could become great fun for all of us. And the language thing won’t devide me, that’s for sure. I love the French people and I love Quebec, I have a speck of French blood in me, and we’re all in this together, pulling for our team. We just need the politicians to stay out of it.

  23. Dennis, this is interesting. I didn’t know this until now, but it looks like Cunneyworth is is taking French lessons and hopes to remain as coach next year.

    I think his comments are spot on and I hope this is the beginning of better things to come for both him and the team:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=384118

  24. We need the best, damn coac we can get, period. If this person is bilingual, all the better, if not, he needs to learn some French because that’s just the way it goes here. My beef is this: is he the best we can get?? He was our assistant coach already so it’s not like we circled the globe looking for the best. All language matters aside, is he THE BEST? How far does he deviate from Martin? He seems to communicate better with the players from what we see on TV but to me it seems like they hired this guy as a bandaid because the public was demanding we say bye-bye to Martin. So even if he learns some French, who cares? I think we can all agree that we want a winning coach and I’m not sure RC’s resume demonstrates this.

  25. Marjo, I really don’t know if he’s the best available and you raise a good point about this. Maybe he’ll be good and maybe he’ll just be part of a long line of good but not great coaches. I agree with you – let’s find the best one out there and if doesn’t know French he’ll have to learn it. Part of the job requirement, French lessons.

  26. It’s very difficult if not impossible to get the best coach mid-season. During the off-season many coaches can get out of a contract for an NHL head coaching promotion, but its rare once the season is underway. It’s a mystery how Muller did it. So the best becomes the best of those sitting at home waiting for a phone call and then the experienced ones still demand a long term contract to consider lifting their butt out of the recliner. Any long-term signing now would have been just another bad panic decision.

    Meanwhile it was a win-win for Cunneyworth. He gets head coaching experience and any wins improve his chances of head coach elsewhere. He can blame any losses on Martin and if he is fired he can blame it on his lack of French which no one else cares about. Worst case for him is to return to his old assistant coaching position.

    The right time to have fired Martin would have been during the off-season not the morning of a game day.

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