Habs Stalled In Mediocrity With Loss On Long Island

It began as a game between two teams with very different numbers – Montreal, third in the east with 42 points, and the New York Islanders – 14th out of 15 teams in the east with just 22 points.

But in the end, the lowly New York Islanders had handed the Canadiens an embarrassing and unacceptable 4-1 loss, and the Habs slump continues even though they had squeaked out a 3-2 win in Carolina just before Christmas.

It’s easy being an armchair quarterback and going on about several dozen things I don’t like about the Habs right now, but I recall the words of Washington general manager George McPhee who said on the HBO documentary 24/7 that if hockey critics really knew what they were talking about, they’d be in the game.

There’s not enough jobs for all of us, George.

And at the risk of sounding like a critic, I’ll go ahead and say that PK Subban doesn’t need to be in the press box, where he was again tonight, and Carey Price needs a rest. Am I bad for saying this?

This Habs team is far from dynamic at this point, and it’s what Subban brings in spades. Play the young fellow, let him make mistakes, but also let him wake up the rest of the team and piss off the enemy.

Carey Price was not only loosey-goosey with the puck several times, but has played 33 of 36 games, with backup Alex Auld only getting work three times. Most backups get in twenty or thirty games in a season. Auld might see ten if he’s lucky.

But there I go again, criticizing, and like George McPhee would say, if I knew what I was talking about, I’d be in the game.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec scored Montreal’s lone goal.

I didn’t feel Max Pacioretty deserved a penalty, let alone a five-minute major, for bodychecking an Islanders player into the boards. His wasn’t a head shot and it wasn’t charging. All it was was a bigger man slamming a smaller man and sometimes these things hurt smaller men. It’s hockey, not ballet.

Shots on goal – 39-25 Montreal.

Next up – in Washington Sunday, home of the swearing fat man and George McPhee.

19 thoughts on “Habs Stalled In Mediocrity With Loss On Long Island”

  1. Hey Dennis,Well I didnt thing it would take place but it did.I don’t want to be a critic,I explained my reasons for being positive on our phone call last September,but Carey needs a rest and Jaques Martin needs to pull his head out of his ass.They are trying to keep Carey ahead in the win column,not a good plan ,let him take a break and then come back with him at a later date,stop punishinbg P.K. Let the vets speak to him,he gives the team a spark like no ther rookie has been able to do since Ken Dryden.Get back to the basics,lets get back on the winning scale.

  2. george mcphee is full of shit. people in hockey don’t like to be criticized and don’t criticize each other. how convenient that one should have to be in hockey in order to criticize……….. people who pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time watching a shitty product are the ones who have the right to criticize…………. the habs outshoot the oposition in pretty much every game yet are outscored and the goalie on most nights is good…….. jm’s unoffensive game plan working to perfection……………….. oh sorry, i’m not in hockey. how silly of me to question someone who is.

  3. I’m with you Dennis, I don’t understand what good it does have Subban watch from the press box, he needs to play to improve. He just needs a more experienced and mentoring partner like Gill who did wonders for Gorges. As a stay-at-home defenceman, Gill would also be able to bail him out a bit more when he makes the expected occasional mistake.

    I also don’t understand the league wide trend to having the #1 goalie play about 70 games. Even in Ken Dryden’s best years Bunny Laracque still started almost 30 games.

  4. That game…

    The three words that best describe it are as follows, and I quote…

    “Stink. Stank. Stunk!”

    On the bright side, losing means there should be changes made. And maybe Jacques Martin can finally put PK back in the lineup now. Hopefully he is not so totally discouraged that he becomes the next O’Byrne or Latendresse.

    One thing is for sure. Anyone who is blaming Price for the loss should realize very few games are won by scoring only one goal. Yes, Price was less than spectacular, but we need to capitalize on our chances and start scoring.

    I hope all of the suck is finally out of the Habs system now.

  5. Christopher, I looked up the first seven teams in alpabetical order – Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, and Chicago, and their backup goalies have played so far – 11 games, 16, 10, 11, 7, 8, and 18. Auld has played three.

  6. Danno, I firmly believe Martin is handling Subban the wrong way. Martin wants conservative play, and that takes the heart right out of PK’s style. I really disagree with what’s going on. And anyone in the media who says it won’t ruin the kid really doesn’t know for sure. All I know is, since he returned from his first press box visit, he’s not been the same. And this “in and out often” can’t be good either.

  7. Hobo, what he says is ridiculous for sure. I agree with you completely. I mean, only those who work in the game know the game? That’s just silly.

  8. Carey played ok, he has to stop playing the puck and stay in the f*ck!n net. Max deserved the penalty and it was a stupid move on his part to go in that hard. And I disagree with the PK comments. He is a liability and needs to tone down his play before coming back. He was not good his last few games. I would prefer Weber or Picard. At least they’re consistent. We never know which PK we’ll get. Lately it has been scarey and frightening PK. Maybe he surprises me and plays consistent in keeping the puck out of our net and stop trying to be everything on the ice including fighting. Cammy sucked big time tonight as did Gionta and pretty much all the forwards except Pleks (again). We are in trouble folks. Habs look pretty pathetic and I don’t see a cure. We need an injection of youth or a high profile trade. Habs are stinking up my TV and living room. Rant over. Hope I am wrong on all counts. Refs sucked too.

  9. Mayo, on one of the Islanders goals the guy blew around Weber like he was standing still. So is it that much of an improvement over PK? Montreal’s playing with no soul right now and a young buck like Subban adds much-needed oomph. The other young defencemen aren’t exactly playing heads and shoulders over PK. Confidence is a fragile thing and some are affected by sitting more than others. Is it possible PK’s in the latter? I just think the establishment doesn’t quite know what to make of this young guy. And I still think Max’s hit was just a hard hit. It wasn’t a head shot, and at best a two minute boarding call. But he got five and a game misconduct and I believe it was too harsh.

  10. Season’s greetings Dennis!

    What a terrible game last night. Ugh. I would imagine there will be footage of the Habs on the next 24/7 since we play the Caps tomorrow night? For the love of God I hope they don’t humiliate themselves the way they did last night.

  11. Dennis, I probably fast forwarded past the Weber miscue. Can’t recall. At this point my arguement is Weber and Subban on near equal footing and management should consider Weber’s time in Hamilton. He has been there longert than subban. Weber’s miscue’s cannot compare to Subban’s lately. I think things stablize once this stupid slide is over.

  12. Sorry, I vastly overstated the overworking trend this year. I’m thinking of past years where Cam Ward, Ryan Miller, Roberto Luongo, Miikka Kiprusoff and especially Martin Brodeur who all start around 70 games. Price is on pace to lead the league this year, but will still fall behind Brodeur who started 78 games a few years ago. The other teams are slowly learning that overworking their #1 goalie wins them regular season games, but burns them out come play-off time. Not sure why Montreal can’t learn from their mistakes instead of repeating them.

  13. Christopher, I’m not sure they have much faith in Auld. I remember him clearly from his time in Vancouver and he wasn’t very good at all. Pretty good gig for him though – a million bucks for just a handful of work and a bunch of practices.

  14. Mayo, I noticed in the Gazette that Subban had words at practice with Plekanec, Pouliot, Darche, and one other. In my little way of looking at it, it doesn’t seem like a good thing.

  15. Thank you, Moey. Our guys haven’t been overwhelming lately, that’s for sure. And that’s a good point about 24/7, which, by the way, I find fascinating. I really like the behind the scenes stuff a lot. To quote you about the team right now – “Ugh.” They’re quite lousy. But in the new year hopefully PK will be liked more by his teammates, he’ll become a big star, the team will get it all together, and you and Mr. Moey will have your greatest year yet.

  16. Dennis, I just finished reading the practice incident. I like that Subban is battling. I just hope Lappy isn’t yappy at practice the way he is during games. I think Subban could easily take Lapierre’s place in the forward lineup including other spots as well. I’ll bet Auld gets the next start and I hope they rest Hammer or Spacek.

  17. Mayo, I’m just worried that Subban isn’t liked and accepted by his teammates. That will throw his game and the team performance off in a big way. It’s not good if he becomes a bit of an outcast when he’s brand new. I wonder what he’s doing to have teammates hassle him.

  18. I hope there’s no fighting within the locker room, that would really destroy the team. Subban is an important part of our future and is here to stay.
    I do think Subban played much more conservatively during last year’s playoffs, not attempting so many high risk / high reward type plays. He might be trying too much now. I want him to grow into a replacement for Markov, not do it all now.

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