Saturday, January 16, 2016

Crawford Steals the Show as Canadiens' Scoring Woes Continue

Date: 09/01/2016
Opponent: Chicago
Location: Montreal
Loss: 2-1

Habs Goalie: Condon (L)
Opposition Goalie: Crawford (W)

Habs goalscorers: Byron
Opposition goalscorers: Toews, Garbutt

Play of the game

With Beaulieu and Barberio in hot pursuit, Teravainen sped in towards Condon.  Essentially a 2 on 0, Teravainen elected to pass it off to teammate Desjardins who put the puck on the net.  Thankfully Condon was equal to the task, keeping the game a one goal divide.

Dome hockey team

The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome


Lars Eller

The first period for Montreal was terrible... again (I think Habs fans should unite and petition the NHL to reduce games to 40 minutes).  Very few Canadiens even had their skates laced up until halfway through the first period.  Lars was one of the only players who did.  He was getting himself open for shots and he was forechecking.  It was Eller who was carrying Galchenyuk for the first period  He continued to be the best player on this line through the second period, using his size and strength to cycle well in Chicago's zone.

David Desharnais

2:10 after the Toews goal and Desharnais's first chance on the ice since, he skated to the outside and flipped the puck into the path of Byron who was breaking towards the net.  It was a bit of a fortunate bounce but on a night when we got more than one unfortunate bounce, we'll take it.  Consistently, David has great vision and just lacks someone to bank the puck off for a goal or two (Weise).  What earned David an appearance in the dome tonight was his back checking.  He was getting his nose dirty, especially in the third, to keep the separation the lone goal and keep the Habs within striking distance.

Alex Galchenyuk - Game Puck

It's been a rough week for the 21 year old.  His name has been mentioned in trade rumours for Jonathan Drouin.  He's had a conversation with the police after an altercation with his (hopefully ex) girlfriend and a follow up conversation with Marc Bergevin.  He's certainly aware that players have been whisked away for personal life issues involving alcohol and partying.  He needed a big game.  In the first period we didn't see one.  He, like most of the lineup were floating.  He started coming around in the second period, but it was the third period that Alex truly showed off his offensive talent.  If only he managed to score.


PK Subban

It was unfortunate that when PK dropped to a knee to block a shot from Andrew Shaw, Andrew fanned on the shot, it squirted under PK's shin, allowing Andrew to recover it and pass it across to a wide open Jonathan Toews.  Other than that, PK was pretty solid defensively and his puck possession, skating, and movement were a class above again tonight. 

Alexei Emelin

He was our defensive conscious throughout the game providing some good cover, with a sprinkle of massive hits.  I think he'd rather hit than eat.  I remember when Subban used to hit like that.


 Mike Condon

Yet again Condon gave us a chance to win.  There was no chance on either goal and he made some brilliant saves.


A flat first half of the first period cost Montreal.  If Montreal played the first period the way it played the second and third... they might have tied Chicago 0-0.  Montreal can't score and it's certainly not from lack of trying, or lack of chances created, lack of shots attempted or shots on goal.  Cory Crawford made 39 saves tonight and there were another 21 shots blocked.  There were some tremendous chances tonight that didn't come to fruition.  You can break this down any way you like but you can't ask the Canadiens to do much more last night than they did (other than score).  It is actually baffling to watch the kind of pressure that Montreal applied last night and not see them score.  There's only one logical conclusion... the hockey gods are mad at us.

With all seriousness, this lack of scoring is a BIG problem right now.  Big problems require big solutions.  Maybe a big time trade.  The trade orchestrated today by Marc Bergevin was not quite what I had in mind.  Jared Tinordi could have been, and might still be, a quality NHL defenseman.  I was of the opinion that he should have been up there by now.  I wished him to get some time over Pateryn and Barberio.  On a good note, Jared gets a fresh start in Arizona and I wish him the best.  I also wish we got something even remotely on par in this trade.  John Scott is useless and Victor Bartley is even worse.  I know Tinordi was the odd man out on defense in Montreal.  I get that since Tinordi wasn't in management's long term plan for the team that he isn't a real loss so this trade is a wash out but I think Marc could have at least gotten a player with some potential to play in the NHL some time in the future in return for the 6'6", 230 lb blue liner.  It's unfortunate that Tinordi would not have cleared waivers and forced Bergevin's hand.  I think the hope is for Bartley to fill a 6-7 roll up with Montreal.  The fact that Vic has only played 1 game in the NHL so far should be a fair indicator as to how well he can fill that role.  What's done is done.  The loss of Tinordi isn't one of consequence as he wasn't playing.  The loss of his potential to be a quality defenseman and the lose of the potential for a more useful trade may come back to bite us.

The trade I was hoping for was one that would have landed Jonathan Drouin in Montreal.  There was a distinct possibility that Drouin would have played in the Habs' upcoming game against St. Louis, just not for the Habs.  Thankfully that hasn't come to fruition.  Other teams in the mix other than St. Louis and Montreal are; Minnesota, Anaheim, and Philadelphia.  Lots of offers on the table for Steve Yzerman to sift through.  While I still think that trading away our best centre (Galchenyuk) for Drouin, for the simple fact that we are so short on quality centres in the big club, would be a mistake landing Jonathan to play alongside Alex would be a dream come true.  After today's trade I have some serious doubt that Marc Bergevin has the savvy to pull this off.

What about Steve Stamkos?  The cost of Steve and the fact that he'd only be guaranteed until the end of this year will, rightfully so, steer the Canadiens away from him; at least until they know where Carey Price stands for the rest of the year.  Speaking of which, Mr. Price is finally skating again.  That's a great sign.  Let's hope he continues to rehab well and doesn't rush into anything.  Better late with him than never.

We're in serious trouble right now.  We'll be out of a playoff spot by the end of the month if this keeps up.  Something needs to give.  Bergevin needs to add scoring and everyone, barring Price, should be on the table.  Bergevin also needs to consider that lack of scoring was a problem identified last season and he hasn't addressed it by adding players to remedy that.  If he thought that the current roster could fix things on their own, then he's going to need a new coach because this one doesn't seem to have a handle on the offence.  It looks like Price will be back at some point this season but we shouldn't be this awful without him.  Let's hope that go back to being magnificent with him.



  1. People talk of these summers acquisitions (kassian, seminar) as having been "low risk": we payed little for gambling in players' potential upside.

    We're now learning about opportunity cost associated with banking on long shots instead of getting an established player. Sure, bergevin spent little on the forwards, but in doing so gambled on the two dearly departed, and lost out on a better free agent bet.

    Now we're plugging holes with AHL forwards mostly unfit for scoring. Plekanec has crumbled under the pressure, scoring as many goals as Paul Byron (fewer if you discount open netters. I could go on, but I have to make breakfast.

  2. MB made a critical mistake in keeping MT and adding pieces that possibly could have added scoring because MT is all about grinders and older players. He surely lacks the ability to integrate young talent since he decided to have MB send Carr back to St.John's instead of sending DSP(who cares if he didn't clear waivers). We are starved for goals and all MT can do is juggle the lines and drop scorers to the 4th line when they make a simple mistake due to inexperience. Well what about dropping him from our team due to his inexperience and inability to match lines on home ice. He left AG to the wolves a while back when he made him 1st line center instead of sheltering him and allowing that line to create some offense he decided to teach AG a lesson and lose a game because of it. He is the worst in game coach in the NHL and totally unable to adjust to game situations hence our record with far superior talent to Toronto's AHL team but Babcock at least has them trying to compete. We are doomed as long as we have this joker for a coach. I am a diehard fan but he is about to be a 3 time loser and we are worse for it.

  3. I don't think I was overly impressed with either pick up. Losing Prust for Kassian I felt was a loss. Semin was a worthwhile venture. Zero risk for the potential of him picking up his game. You can't really fault Bergevin for not doing more though. There was nothing available. Could he have made something available? Absolutely, but at what cost? Price, Subban, and Markov are all off the table. Up front Pacioretty certainly and it'd be tough to part with Galchenyuk, Gallagher, and Plekanec. We've got lots of prospects but most teams don't want a prospect for an established top 6 forward. Keep in mind, also, that Montreal wasn't in a good position for a trade. It's not a secret that Montreal needs another top 6. Maybe the other GM's held Marc over a barrel and the asking price was too high. We don't want another Gomez for McDonagh.

    Completely agree about the use of AHL players to plug holes. With Semin high tailing it to the KHL and Kassian being traded for a goaltender, we've been left worse up front than we were before the summer. Bergevin really needs to make something happen before the trade deadline because it's obvious now that the return of Price won't be enough as is.

    Good call on the breakfast.

    1. There were free agents to sign though! It didnt happen, but if he had done his job better he might have signed Patrick Sharpe, etc. I'm trying to find a list, but am having a little trouble.

      My point is, I'm sure we could come up with a list of reasons for which free agent acquisitions or trades for proper players didn't happen which in hindsight make sense.

      Call me a dreamer, but I'd like to have a reason why mb was able to make a quality move.

  4. New coach should be fresh young blood like maybe Eric Veilleux who has a good pedigree so far in the ECHL. Who cares if he has coached in the NHL because maybe he will care only about winning and not about favoritism. Great opportunity here now and hopefully MB takes the time to do it. We need a spark.