Smart, passionate and somewhat biased commentary about the Montreal Canadiens (HABS) from a lifelong fan now living in Toronto (LeafLand).
Oct
23
2011

The GOOD, the GREAT and the NOT SO GREAT

My evening last night can be summarized by the good, the great and the not so great.

It started with dinner with my brothers at Fabbrica, Mark McEwen’s take on artisanal Italian food here in Hogtown. We tried a bunch of different plates. Washed it down with Italian beer and San Pellegrino. It was good.

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals pounded 3 home runs in Game 3 of the World Series. First ever National League player to do so. Joined the ranks of Babe Ruth (who did it twice) and Reggie Jackson as the only players to achieve the feat. That was great.

Reggie! Reggie! 

Then with my belly full I watched last night’s tilt between the Leafs and the Canadiens in Montreal. Not so great.

Carey! Carey!

Say what you want about this year’s edition of the Montreal Canadiens — and nothing against him — but when Travis Moen leads the team in goals you know something just ain’t right.

He’s having a great start to his year, but where is the defense on this team??? Oh yeah! One’s in Florida hobbling on skates contemplating his future; the other is nursing sore ribs — and maybe eating a few too; and the last is out for months after getting potentially concussed in the preseason then playing one measly period in his Habs career.

Former Hab Mikhail Grabovski scores the OT winner past a helpless Carey Price last night in Montreal. Are you ready to come in off the line, Carey? (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

In the locker room after the game, a game that saw the Habs blow leads on multiple occasions to lose eventually 6-5 in OT, everyone was saying the right things:

“We had a much better effort than in Pittsburgh.”

“If we play like this, we’ll win our share.”

“We did a lot of positive things so we have to build on that.”

Maybe the effort was there, but the result is still the same. Winless at home to open the season. The Habs have now lost 5 games in a row and earned a measly 4 points out of a possible 14. Ooof!

To put THAT into perspective, the Habs would have to win 46 of their next 75 the rest of the way to achieve the 96 points that put them into the playoffs last year as the number 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Still quite possible. But can you see this team doing that? Especially with a team that can’t seem to seal the deal with 3rd period leads? That’s twice already: Colorado and now Toronto.

On a night where Hal Gill was honoured in front of the hometown crowd for his 1000th NHL game, it’s sad the Habs couldn’t muster an inspiring defensive performance that would have been the ultimate honour for Gill.

It’s sad the Habs can’t score on the powerplay which is powerless. That included a 5 on 3 that lasted for nearly a minute.

It’s sad the Habs fumbled around in the defensive zone multiple times last night, leading to goals by Kessel (on a giveaway by Josh Gorges, the likes of we have RARELY seen but already have twice this year) and to the OT winner by Grabovski.

It’s sad that Carey Price’s numbers are bloated like my belly was last night post-Italian din-din because he really does deserve much, much better. He’s being hung out to dry like my mother’s tablecloth on a crisp spring afternoon.

You know, there were some bright spots last night. Obviously Travis Moen is doing his part. And Lars Eller, hey the guy is really starting to come along. He made a great play on Moen’s shorthander to open the game’s scoring, and he also looked strong headmanning the puck on Andrei Kostitsyn’s goal to open the second frame.

And although he didn’t get any points — nor did he receive any time on the powerplay — Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette felt that Erik Cole played his best game as a Canadien. I don’t know… I think he’s not happy with his icetime. I wouldn’t be. Darche was on the powerplay and not him? And supposedly Martin was chippy when asked about it after the game.

Folks are getting restless. Which of course is nothing new for us Cup-starved Habs fans. But the hole is getting deeper and this next set of games could put the clock to twelve. After Florida, Boston twice and then Philadelphia.

I don’t know if she reads my blog, or if she is the now-infamous Anonymous poster of mine, but here’s a comment that one Jessica S. from Alberta left on Yahoo sports:

think the habs need a replacement in the coaching..MARC CRAWFORD is a very good choice..got some good players..too bad they got rid of wies..great defenceman..markov’s done..GET WITH IT….IT WOULDN’T HURT TO GET SOMEONE THAT KNOWS THE HABS SYSTEM..PATRICK ROY COULD HELP..EVEN LAFLEUR…..GOTTA GET RID OF MARTIN…..

Guy Lafleur as coach!? Okay NOW that is funny. And Patrick Roy!? Maybe some day, but not now.

But it does kind of sound like the comment Anonymous left to my previous post:

Team has to be on board with the coach….I don’t think the Habs players respect Martin. This is the main reason for the passion-less play. A really big front office shake-up is coming that may see a few heads roll and a distinct possibility that the over zealous Sir Patrick Roy could be coaching the CH???? Just A sick rumour…..but don’t be shocked if it happens…..and don’t be shocked at the shake-up if we don’t get the two points from the leafs tonight. GO HABS GO !

It’s now officially 3 minutes to midnight on the PANIC BUTTON CLOCK. When the clock strikes twelve, it’ll be the death knoll for Jacques Martin as head coach of the Canadiens.

Hey as always, win or lose IT’S ALWAYS ENTERTAINING!!!

3 thoughts on “The GOOD, the GREAT and the NOT SO GREAT

  • Anonymous

    Tuesday Oct. 25 the Habs will introduce Randy Ladoucer as it’s new head coach while thanking Mr.Jacques Martin for his services.

    U heard it here first….Keep up the good work Ari!

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    Anyone watching the world series is getting a great show….exciting game baseball…slow and relaxing but keeps you on the edge of your seat. I miss the EXPOS…especially during the world series. I used to go to between 25 and 50 games each season. Sit high up, where there was no one around, and really kick back with a few beers and some smokeables. Just a little nostalgia for you Lucky Ex-Montrealers….at least you can go to a ball-game…. GO HABS GO !

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    Captain Kirk (Muller) as head coach and Patrick Roy as l’adjoint. Martin’s got to go. NOW! It’s time for Molson to start putting his mark on the team’s management.

    Reply

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