When You’re In A Slump, The Puck Doesn’t Go In. Habs Fall To Sens

It’s become increasingly clear that Montreal’s biggest problem isn’t on defense like most of us thought it would be after Andrei Markov and Ryan O’Byrne went down with injuries. The biggest problem, it seems, after tonight’s 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, is that the forwards can’t finish. The Canadiens had so many good chances, especially in the first, but couldn’t pull the trigger on more than just one goal. It was the same against Colorado, and in Edmonton and Calgary. If the boys figured out how to bury the puck when the chances arise, they wouldn’t be in this horrific predicament right now.

How bad is it? Five straight losses, that’s how bad. The one small consolation to this whole mess is that they’re still a ways yet from their all-time losing streak which occurred in 1926, when they went down twelve straight times. And the overall record for longest losing streak is shared by both the 1974-75 Washington Capitals and the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks, who hold the dubious distinction of losing 18 in a row.

Only one or two goals every game isn’t good enough. A team has to score more than that, and the Canadiens aren’t getting it done. No one has stepped forward and taken charge, no one has been brilliant, many of them border on supreme mediocrity.  Carey Price is stopping pucks and doing his share, but it’s the 22 guys in front of him who aren’t. Just once I’d like to see them capitalize on many of their chances, take a big lead, and let the other team play catch-up for a change.

It has to be a great job when you’re paid several million dollars and you just work reasonably hard but produce almost nothing. Is it the easiest money you’ve ever seen earned? It’s like a construction worker who sweats hard every day but the building never gets built. And who has risen to the top to deserve the captaincy? No one. But they certainly need some leadership.

Five straight losses. How embarrassing is that? This team should be ashamed of itself.

Random Notes:

I had a friend when I lived in Ottawa named Ian, and he was a big Habs fan. He wore the sweater, we sometimes went down to the Forum to see games, we watched the 1975 Canadiens-Red Army game on TV together, and he cheered loudly for the team we both loved.

Then two things happened. Ottawa got a team in the early 1990’s, he suddenly became a Senators fan and immediately started hating the Habs. How can this happen? He was a mutual friend of my wife and I, and when we got divorced, he stopped talking to me. He took sides as many do, he’d known my wife longer than I had, and I think he heard some untrue stories and believed them. Several years ago I phoned him and he was fairly friendly, and we exchanged emails. I wrote a couple of times to him and in return, he wrote back with only one word answers, like “Oh” or “No.” I wrote him and asked him what was with the one-word answers and he said that’s the way he likes it. So I replied “Oh” and haven’t spoken to him since.

The moral of this story is, this son of a bitch will be happy like hell that his new team beat the one he grew up with and loved for much of his life.

Random Notes:

Alex Kovalev assisted on the Sens’ second goal, and then scored the third. How about this – we trade two or three of the new guys for Kovalev?

Atlanta’s in town on Tuesday. Do you think we can win this one?

31 thoughts on “When You’re In A Slump, The Puck Doesn’t Go In. Habs Fall To Sens”

  1. One-word answer. Very funny. I’m wondering too, though. Atlanta beat Buffalo tonight. And this Ian calls himself “not the real Ian, so I’m assuming he’s not the Ian in the story. But if you are, the stories aren’t true, Ian.

  2. Hey Dennis,Tough loss,I was tavelling to port alice and missed the game.I once had a friend named Ian,he didn’t know anythingabout hockey,could this be the same person…

  3. It could be the same person! Did you throw him in the chuck? And what are you doing over in the middle of nowhere?

  4. Markov is an offensive defenseman, though – he had 64 points last season, so we’re missing him in that regard as well. But we barely made the playoffs /with/ him in for most of the games last year, so unless this team gets its stuff together before he comes back, he can’t help us that much.

  5. Denis, don’t worry about your “friend” because the way he behaves he was never really a friend (or a real fan). And about him switching teams, how do you think I feel? My brother is a Leafs fan.
    There are many on the CH lineup who need to be benched, sent to the minors, traded or have a chair thrown at them to wake them up.
    But as you rightly pointed out, many of the games were lost by a small margin. So it is too early to throw in the towel or to start booing or cheering the other team (what is wrong with these non-fans?)
    One key point that is overlooked. The officiating has become a factor. A game-changer of a bad call came when Alfredson skated to his right to avoid contact with Josh Gorges’ hit. In doing so it was Alfredson who made knee to knee contact with Gorges. But it was Gorges was sent off (while Spacek was still in the box). This created the 5 on 3 for the Sens which led to the second goal by Alfredson (from the laser-precise pass from Kovi).
    It seems the refs wanted to “even things up” but the penalty was unjustified in my opinion and was really just a gift to the Sens from the officials.
    Keep the faith. Help could be on the way in the form of Marc-Andre Begeron.

  6. There are a few encouraging signs… although the desired results aren’t in yet.

    * The shots against has gone down
    (But there are still some costly odd man breaks and costly mistakes on D)
    * The shots for is up
    (It just seems as though the puck isn’t going in)

    We also have seen glimpses of really strong play by the trio of Gomez,Gionta and Cammalleri…. they’ve looked dominant “at times”…

    It’s still early (I know that gets old really quick)…. but although some of our UFAs have some offensive firepower is it realistic to think they should be playing any better?

    It’s obvious that this is a totally new team….. and as mentioned above, the most important gear in this offensive transmission was ripped out in the form of Andrei Markov… (Also a very important stabilizing defensive gear).

    Maybe expectation and impatience is part of the problem…. and it’s merely the fans problems. If you’re a GM or a coach…. you must look at it in the context of the entire season…. panic means making stupid moves (in my opinion).

    Remember the Penguins last year? I’m not making a comparison between these 2 teams…. BUT…. remember this.

    Last year Pittsburg were 27–25–5 and 5 points out of the playoffs after 57 games. They had a really bad stretch.

    We don’t have Crosby or Malkin…. The point is.. for a variety of reasons… injury, chemistry building… etc… a team may sometimes start slow.

    It’s not the end of the world sports fans.

    I understand that we all (I’ll assume all of us) would have loved seeing the Habs at 5-2 instead of 2-5 at this point in the season. But it’s not the end of the world.

    What I’m most concerned about is how some of the media and the flocks of boobirds may affect the team. Hopefully, all these guys are thick skinned.

    And….. if we are in a slump then we’re set. Slumping to start the season is better then slumping at season’s end like last year.

  7. I have to believe that so many new bodies needs a bit of time to sort it all out. That doesn’t just mean the new guys but also the players returning from last year. Where do they fit in the new structure of the team? I believe for some it’s really messing with their minds. After a break out year last season Lapierre is now MIA and Latendresse who worked so well beside his good friend has gone to find him. Both need to sit some games. Kostitsin has become our new Kovalev too often just a disinterested passenger. Along with Stewart, Paciarettti, and D’Agostini These are the youngsters on the team and the ones that maybe are feeling the lack of a leader the most. Maybe it’s hard for a new guy to step up after only 7 games and grab this team by the short and curly and say “Wake The F**K UP!” But someone should at least be thinking about doing just that and they better not leave too late.

  8. To add a bit….

    As John mentions.. it’s not just the new guys…

    But even the guys returning to the team from last year and previous…. it’s a new system, new coachs… new everything.

    Blowing up the coaching staff as well as the lineup has surely added a dynamic for the returning players that means they’re also on the learning curve.

    I’m choosing to be patient… they could have easily scored a few last night. They also could have scored a couple more the other night against the Avs.

    It’s not Armageddon. Not in Montreal anyway.

  9. Great comments as usual from you guys. (except for maybe Leafs fan in Ottawa). I’d like to know two things, why players like Latendresse aren’t effective at all, and is it possible the players aren’t crazy about Jacques Martin?

  10. We’re the Montreal Impact of hockey. I swear I thought they would never win a game this season, only they came into the season still shellshocked from being robbed of a championship victory (which I swear they won according to the aggregate goals, but god knows soccer has weird rules that look like they’re made up on the spot to keep someone from rioting). And then they won the USL cup yesterday. Who would have thunk it.

    It ain’t an easy sport to play, especially the way the League is set up and how this crunched Olympic shedule is. I also don’t know what game the refs are looking at. (anyone see Torts’ yesterday during/after the Rags/Leafs game where he was wondering if it’s going to take a major injury to his goalie before they start calling penalties)? And the Pens can win games while looking bad and not really getting much of an effort out of their top guns…Habs gotta just keep working at it, like the Impact did.

  11. You’re right C. We have to have patience. We’ve all seen it before where everyone is up in arms and then like magic, they playing great and we can’t believe it’s the same team out there. But I’m not great in the patience department and will be quite upset if they lose on Tuesday. How many losses before they start making changes? But it is only seven games in with mostly a new team so we have to cut them some slack. But then again, what about the guys who aren’t doing much, like Latendresse and Lapierre?
    I don’t know. Maybe I’ll start following cricket.

  12. I agree with Number31…. they gotta keep working.

    I think the offense will come around.

    They’re allowing less shots on goal without Markov and O’Byrne… so that’s a positive.

    They just need to find the offense without their star quarterback (Markov).

    One element that I would try to find if I were Martin (maybe he has)…. I’d try to find a big body who’s job would be cause problems in front of the net on offense… I believe Guillaume has been given that job before. He even mentioned it coming out of camp a few times…. but I’ve seldom seen him cause any problem for our opponents so far.

    Moen is the only one that comes to mind.. and who has caused a few problems in front with his strength.

    I know it’s not the perfect example… but if we had another guy, big and strong who can score like a Dustin Penner (6’4, 245lbs)…. I think another big guy could open up more chances for Gionta, Gomez, Cammalleri, Plekanec, AK…

    So far, Gui has shown he’s not that guy. He’s young. But, since he was talking about needing to be in front of the net… and he’s still not effective there…. how long do we wait? Or… how long will Martin and Gainey wait? I’m not really sure what kind of role he can have on this team and be effective at…. maybe I just need stronger coffee…. or maybe he does…

    I want Gui to succeed. But I’m wondering about him a bit more…. because he’s been given chances to grab the top line spots for a few years.

  13. Denis, I think the Leaf fan in Ottawa is just looking for a little sympathy:

    … “5 in a row, Try 7 in a row.”

    From a fried brain Leaf fan in Ottawa

    You know what they say, misery loves company. But comparing the Leafs who are on life support while the Habs are just in intensive care? At least he admits his brain is fried…
    We’ll settle that score on Halloween at the Bell Centre.

  14. As Habs fans, we hate losing, period. If we were being honest, we’d admit that we want them to win every game. It’s still baby steps, although with each additional loss it’s hard to be patient. Maybe we’ll have another miraculous comeback against the Rangers and snap their winning streak. Or not. Whatever, there’s not a thing we can do about it except support them and wait.

  15. Obviously no one wants to or likes losing, but there’s not much we can do about it. Which is why the boo birds need to shut up and try to give the team a little bit of encouragement…

    Guimauve there is starting to anger me though. Every time he’s given the opportunity we’re all calling for, he just flops on it every year.

  16. Yes Danno good analogy “life support for the Leafs” .

    Halloween at the Bell Centre “Canadiens Vs Leafs” at the tail end of a 5 game road trip out west … will it be 0-12-1 for the Leafs after that night.

    Yes life support it is but remember Leaf fans survived the Ballard days (Bags over heads)

    I may be buying one of those large fall Leaf collection bags at Rona
    the next day …….

  17. Leaf Fan in Ottawa:

    Funny you mention the Ballard days…. I saw a few people in the crowd while seeing a few minutes of saturday’s Leafs game who had bags on their heads….

    And the Ballard days are exactly what came to my mind.

  18. Ya the good old Ballard days….

    Sittler,MacDonald,Salming,Turnball….Good players trapped in a Zoo

    I was hoping under Burke we could build something to give Montreal and Ottawa a good rivalry…

    Oh well maybe Kessel at 22 is the real deal …….. better be giving up 2 1st’s and a 2nd to Boston for ……..

  19. I kind of liked Harold Ballard. Sure, he was a loudmouth and all that, but he was very amusing when he opened his mouth. But he sure helped damage his team. He even threw in the garbage Foster Hewitt’s famous Gondola where he broadcast from. Harold didn’t have a lot of sentimentality that way. He was the perfect owner in a circus-like atmosphere, mostly because he was a bit of a clown too.

  20. Harold Ballard was the crustiest curmudgeon who ever curmudged.

    By the way, I highly recomend that all Habs fans check out their post office. As was announced (during the opening ceremonies before the Sens game at the Bell Centre Saturday) Canada Post has just released an amazing set of full motion stamps honouring Lafleur, Richard and Beliveau. When tilted these stamps display a moving image of these legendary players scoring historic goals.
    This is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the team. There are also images of all the retired CH numbers which also have the motion feature.
    They are selling out fast, so hurry…

  21. When is Canada Post going to put my torn and weathered Team photo of

    the 1967 Leafs Stanley Cup Champions on a stamp … My eyes are

    watering up already … Horton, Keon, Mahovlich… So distant the years ..

  22. Damn you Habbie’s are mean ….

    You guys are just waiting for the Halloween pasting of the Leafs to make them 0-12-1…..

    By then Burky may have made 5 trades ….

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