Habs Less Than Dazzling

Not the best start for the Canadiens in Calgary. The first period saw them play with a distinct lack of fire-wagon hockey, more like horse and wagon hockey, and found themselves down 1-0 midway after Travis Moen coughed up the puck in his own end and the Flames got the party started.

Lots of red, white, and blue sweaters in the stands, and more where the cameras don’t go. The West is filled with Habs fans, coming from grandfathers and fathers living life on the prairies and foothills, cheering for Les Glorieux over the years, and it makes its way down to the kids who now have money and can afford the ducats.

Suddenly it’s 2-0 Flames with just over a minute to go in the first, coming just after the Canadiens had botched a power play. The Canadiens are making this no-name Calgary team look way too good. The idea now is to get into the dressing room, think about how things have to pick up somewhat, and wait for Mr. Therrien to enter the room and yell a lot.

The second period was even more lethargic. It became 3-0 with Francis Bouillon in the box for an unnecessary shove into the boards. Inexcusable. People are staying up late and it’s not right.

But wait, what is this?

P.K. blasts one home  with 2:14  left in the frame and on the power play! It’s 3-1, Habs fans in the stands perk up, and the rest of us do too except we didn’t pay 200 bucks for a ticket.

Imagine having nothing to cheer about on your big night out to see your Habs? Been there, done that. It’s very depressing.

The third period was a time to build on the momentum from P.K.’s blast. And Subban, interviewed during the intermission, said they’d had a poor practice beforehand and were flat. Does it mean they’ve had lousy practices since 2002, the last time they won in Calgary?

Six losses and a tie in their last seven games in Calgary. What the……?

Will it become seven losses and a tie? And who was running the lousy practice?

The answer my friend, was blowin’ in the wind.

Lars Eller mades it 3-2 with almost half a period to go and suddenly, after only two and half periods, it became a game. The Canadiens found some zip. They could taste it and they gave it their all. For ten minutes.

And in the end………….such a silly penalty by P.K. with 1:49 left, and the everything went pfffft. All that late good stuff down the drain. Too bad, they were on the verge.

All in all, too many were invisible for too long.

Seven losses and a tie in eight games in Calgary. It’s ridiculous.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Montreal 35, Calgary 25.

Next up, Thursday in Edmonton. Hopefully the practice is better.

 

 

 

 

21 thoughts on “Habs Less Than Dazzling”

  1. Sad to see the team come out so flat, the reason they lost was because of giveaways and poor jump on the puck. I really hate it when my favorite team makes a bunch of nobodies look so good but like dad said ” hard work usually pays off ” and the Habs did not do so well in that department tonight.

  2. Kinda feel crappy–stayed home to watch my first game of the year–seemed our boys forgot to show up. Enough said!!

  3. If the Habs had played the first and second periods the same way that they played the third, this game would have ended 6-3 for Montreal. There were a few bright spots–the “EGG” line once again showed that it has been the Habs’ best line so far this young season. We saw the best of PK Subban, as he tried to lead the team back from its 3-0 deficit. Unfortunately, we also saw the worst, when he took that awful penalty with two minutes left in the game. Has anyone seen MaxPac (I think that his wrist must still be bothering him)? Ditto Daniel Briere (why exactly is the team paying him $4 million/year? To help the power play? It hasn’t worked so far.)? David Desharnais (sorry, I will NOT apologize for calling him out. Since he signed that contract, he’s been a ghost. I couldn’t care less what players on other teams do, or if other teams have overpayed less productive players. They’re not on “my team”.)? And the defensive corps has certainly been suspect. All three goals last night came about as the result of defensive breakdowns. Carey Price? A little shaky on the first couple of goals, but then he was very, very good the rest of the game.

    Can anyone explain to me Michel Therrien’s coaching “strategy”? He has said that the players will get ice time based on merit, but so far, we haven’t seen that. We also haven’t seen PK Subban on what has been a middling penalty kill so far, and is there any question that the reigning Norris Trophy winner is the Habs’ best defenseman?

    I know–we are only three games into the season, but so far, we have two disappointing losses, one at home against a heated rival, and a win over a Flyers team that can’t seem to get out of its own way.

  4. Joe, I feel bad for Habs fans there who waited two years or more to finally see them. And of course a couple of really stupid penalties hurt big-time. Now they’ve got the young Oilers to contend with, with, I think, Budaj in goal.

  5. Peter, these Western trips can so often suck. I’m just glad they’re out of the way early in the season.

  6. Ian, so many guys were invisible it was amazing. Plekanec, Gionta, Desharnais, Briere, Max and most of them. And the last excuse they should use is the thin air there. Other teams manage. Only PK and the kids showed up, and then PK took that stupid penalty. Bouillon’s penalty was also stupid. PK blamed it all on a lousy practice and I think most fans would have a hard time understanding that. I know I do. As for DD, he really has been ineffective. I’m just hoping he gets it together because he’s shown in the past that he can. I’m so sick of seeing a couple of guys playing well but rarely the entire team at the same time. Briere’s done nothing and so far his signing has been a bust. A strong, winning combination means everyone’s going at the same time. Way too many went through the motions and when they make the kind of money they make, it’s completely inexcusable.

  7. It was too little too late and a lackadaisical effort to start the road trip.

    Is the sky falling once again?

    On the bright side, Lars Eller is on pace to score 109 goals for 164 points this season.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=6418

    And so again the Habs rollercoaster ride goes up…down… up! Then it crashes down again.

    I grow weary of the Habs toying with our emotions like this…

  8. Alright then, if some want to keep apples with apples and oranges with oranges, let’s use the rule-o- three again in comparing Pleky’s performance with DD’s from last year’s season, keeping in mind Pleky was earning 5m.:

    28 (points by DD) x 5m (Pleky’s salary) / 3.5m (DD’s salary) = 40 points

    Based on that, Pleky should have finished with 40 points, but he didn’t, he finished with 33pts.

    OR:

    33 (points by Pleky) x 3.5m (DD’s salary) / 5m (Pleky’s salary) = 23.1 points

    Based on that, DD should have finished with 23.1 pts., but he didn’t, he finished with 28 pts.

    OR:

    28 (points by DD) x 5m (Pleky’s salary) / 33 (points by Pleky) = 4.24 million…

    This is what DD should have earned but he didn’t, he earned 3.5m

    OR:

    33 (points by Pleky) x 3.5m (DD’s salary) / 28 (points by DD) = 4.1 million!!

    The Habs overpaid Pleky.

    With all that said, this year’s stats show that Pleky is 0-1 with 0(+/-) and DD 0-0 with -1(+/-). It can’t get any closer, so again, why all the hate on Desharnais?

    Is Desharnais sucking this year? Yes. But they all are with the exception of EGG. Briere is the biggest disappointment here. We expect more from him because of who he is and because Molson is marketing him to be our next Savior. But he’s been a no-show.

    I think Desharnais will show up on the scoreboard but I think he’s losing a lot of the puck battles out there in the neutral zone. Still, too early to criticize any “one” player in my opinion as now they’ve played all but three games. Most players are not on the score board or if they are, they have like one assist (Max, Pleky).

    What I’m more concerned about is the passion that seems to have slipped away — it’s only visible with the EGG line. Why is this happening? And like Boone says, there are nights when you wish we still had Cole. I think he’s right, the chemistry between him DD and Max were undeniable.

  9. You’re going strictly based on points. Pleks is a true “two way” player. DD is completely invisible at both ends of the ice (at best). My criticisms of him go back to last season, as you know, when he was similarly invisible at both ends of the ice. I agree that he has not been alone; as I noted in my original post, Briere too has been a non-factor in all three games so far–and I was not a fan of that signing.

    You make an interesting point about Cole. It’s hard to believe that he meant that much to the team, especially with the way he was playing right before his trade (like he WANTED to be traded). However, he was a true power forward, and there is no one else on the team that has filled that void.

  10. Yes, Ian. And this is why I think that DD didn’t deteriorate when his salary when up. He deteriorated when Cole left which I think coincided when he got the raise. Eric Cole played with big balls and DD plays well with players with this type of urgency. I think he’d play well with Eller but we don’t want to break up the EGG line. I wish we never got rid of Cole but my feeling is he didn’t get along with MT.

    The million dollar question is who would be a good substitute for Cole to pair up with DD that would ignite that spark again?

  11. DD needs big and strong wingers to do the blue collar work for him in the corners, and Max is that sort of player. But it takes three to make a line. Maybe Prust would help.

  12. Yup. This is why pairing DD with Briere is ineffective. I’d leave Max with DD because they have good energy together. It’s a third big guy like you say that does the labor and given who we have to work with right now, Prust might be the only one who fits the job.

  13. Marjo you make some very astute observations but I hated math in school & my head hurts with the math calculations. [:>)]

  14. Mike, too funny!

    Wow, wow, wow, I was listening to 690 this afternoon on the way to somewhere and most media people are really down on DD. Concurring basically that he’s a one-dimensional player, like Ian says. Ok, fair enough, if you compare him to Plekanec. But what about two years ago when everyone loved DD because he was a hero? He was one of the top scorers (the other two being Max and Cole) but he surely was not doing too much in the back zone, was he? It’s not like he’s a one-dimensional player now but was a three-dimensional player then, right? No, it’s because he was performing and scoring so it was easy to disregard the rest of his weaknesses.

    Then there’s the argument that he’s sitting on his BEE-hind because he’s making 3.5m a year. Seriously? That’s the stupidest argument out there. It’s just not possible to quit playing so quickly because you get a pay raise. It’s too obvious and would really look bad and if he did quit because of the extra bucks and people started stoning him, wouldn’t he go back to scoring to avoid the scrutiny?

    So this leaves out the obvious which I keep going back to: Cole is gone. The guy he made all the passes to. DD is a play maker, plain and simple. And if DD is a one-dimensional player as some of you say and which I believe you to be correct and does not have what it takes to become a two or three-dimensional player, then it’s up to the COACH to figure out how he can maximize DD’s potential granted his limitations. Which brings us back to surrounding him with the kind of players he does well with. That’s the challenge MT needs to face.

    Look at Prust. When he started up with us, he was called a warrior. He battled and he scored. He got hurt last year and maybe because of it he’s really not the guy he was. Some say he’s still playing hurt but this is no excuse. It’s almost been a year. My point is, it’s a team effort and calling out DD as a scapegoat is not fair because there are cracks in other areas of the team as well.

    Lastly, we’ve barely scratched the surface of our defense, which in my opinion reveals the biggest crack.

    So there. I won’t bring up DD again.

  15. Marjo, the reason why no one criticized him a couple of years ago (before he inked the big contract) was because, very simply, he was producing. He is not now, no matter what the reason. And, I disagree with your point about athletes not playing as well after they sign big contracts. In basketball, there was the case of Derek Coleman. In football, Mark Rypien had a wonderful season for the Washington Redskins, won the Super Bowl, signed a huge contract, and proceeded to stink thereafter. Two other words for you: SCOTT GOMEZ. You’re right in one respect; there is no way to definitely prove that DD is tanking it out there, but it is not as unreasonable to suggest that he is as you seem to think it is.

    Prust is STILL a warrior. He was never signed to be a points producer. So, I will continue to view DD as a scapegoat, though I would add that he is not alone–Briere, Diaz, and even the sainted Andrei Markov have been terrible so far this season.

    One more note, unrelated to my comments above: If I hear one more person whine that the team should not have traded Halak, I’m going to scream. Hasn’t anyone noticed that Halak is pretty much the backup goalie in St. Louis, and that Lars Eller is off to a pretty decent start? The past is the past, people. Halak caught lightning in a bottle in the 2010 playoffs, and that won’t repeat itself.

  16. And I *agree* with you, Ian…fans didn’t complain a few years ago because he was a top scorer (see my comment). What I’m saying and may not have said clearly is, that DD is now and always was a one-dimensional player.

    When I compared his statistics to those of Pleky, you said I can’t compare the two…you said “Pleks is a true “two way” player. DD is completely invisible at both ends of the ice (at best). My criticisms of him go back to last season, as you know, when he was similarly invisible at both ends of the ice.”…

    Should he become a top scorer again by means of MT surrounding him with big, crashers like Cole, you or no one else will discuss his dimensionality (is that a word?) again. Even though he’ll remain one-dimensional because that’s who he is.

    Here’s an analogy: let’s say Dennis finally becomes stick boy. And he becomes known in the room for being the quickest stick taper of all time and can tape 50 sticks/min but he’s really bad at throwing the old tape in the trash and the room is littered with the stuff. The players don’t complain because he’s taping the most sticks in the less amount of time anyone has seen. Suddenly, this year, he gets a pay raise and he only tapes 2 sticks an hour and still leaves a mess all over the room. Are you going to nag him about the mess NOW? You knew he didn’t pick it up last year, so???

    I say it’s too early in the season to lay blame on DD. Let’s give him some time so we have more variables to crunch. For now he’s all-tied up with a lot of his teammates for goals and assists…..0 and 0 or 0 and 1…

  17. I think 2 sticks an hour is very civilized. It gives me time to bond with the sticks. Become one with them.

  18. As I said earlier, I agree about Briere. As I also said, what we are seeing so far this young season out of DD is the same thing we saw out of him last season. If you want to attribute it to the loss of Cole, okay, but to me that doesn’t matter at all. He’s one-dimensional player whose only dimension is completely absent right now. That makes him (at best) utterly useless. And again, yes, the same can be said about Briere. Don’t get me wrong; I would love it if he rediscovered the magic he had a couple of seasons ago, but I’m not holding my breath. And, it’s not like Montreal is about to go revamp its entire roster for DD. So, what we see now is likely what we will continue to see.

    Regardless, I think it safe to say that we will not see eye to eye on him, and I can live with that. That’s what makes sports great; that different people can look at the exact same situation and see it differently…………..

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