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After the Canadiens’ fourth consecutive loss against the Oilers yesterday, it is clear that the Canadiens players don’t want to play for their coach anymore. They have lost nine of their past 11 games, during which they scored only 25 goals (2.27 GF per game) and surrendered an astounding 48 goals (4.36 GA per game).
The Habs have lost their last seven road games and have still four road games to go before returning home on Feb. 21 against Ottawa.
Carbonneau keeps juggling his lines like a Cirque du Soleil juggler, trying to find some chemistry among his players, but since they don’t play together for more than a few shifts, it’s hard to build chemistry.
Carbonneau doesn’t have a game plan. The Canadiens don’t fore-check, can’t make a good first pass, are unable to clear the front of the net, don’t finish their checks, and don’t win one-on-one battles. They clearly need to go back to basics; however, they don’t practice. Carbonneau prefers sending them to a bowling alley to hone their shooting skills.
The Canadiens are lucky to have registered that many points this season, because they’ve been sloppy most of the season, but they have been able to win some games because of their talent. The problem is that the farther we get into the season, the harder it is to win games without working, and the Canadiens don’t work. As soon as they get scored on, they stop hustling and playing hard; they simply give up.
When you give up, it means you don’t care, and that’s the job of the coach to make the players care, which is not happening right now.
I know that Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau are close friends, but it’s time to put an end to their working relationship, especially since Gainey can’t find a trading partner just yet because of the salary cap. We are still three weeks away from the deadline, and the Canadiens can’t afford to wait that long to make changes.
The Senators waited way too long before canning Craig Hartsburg, as I had predicted on Jan. 7, 2009 here > Hartsburg to be fired (Hartsburg was fired at the beginning of February).
GM Bob Gainey must make his move NOW! Time to put a veteran coach behind the bench—someone with extensive experience like Larry Robinson, Bob Hartley, or John Tortorella.
It’s been a while since I’ve come through with a bog entry. A new son (in addition to a 22 month old son) quickly eats up your time.
That said, I can’t stand this fighting talk nonsense anymore. The yuppie media hasn’t missed a chance to ram the anti-fighting drivel down our throats. Forget what the players have to say. Forget what the fans have to say. The yuppie media wants changes; and by God you are going to hear about it.
Leading the charge as always is TSN. Their most recent (well I haven’t checked in a couple hours) article focuses on the little known “Concussion Summit.” Apparently this Summit wants to completely ban fighting at all levels of hockey. From TSN:
“Fighting should be eliminated from hockey at all levels of the game, according to recommendations released Tuesday from an expert panel dealing with concussions in hockey… Fighting is one of the known causes of concussion, and may result in the related long-term complications,” the panel’s summary statement says. “Fighting can cause needless death.”
I have to ask, how long did it take the” expert panel” to come up with this Earth-shattering conclusion? May, can, might, could, would… let’s get them all in while we’re at it.
And before they concluded their “expert” research, did they ever take a look at crosschecking, tripping, slewfooting, highsticking, boarding, hitting from behind, shooting a puck over 80 mph, skating with razor sharp skates at breakneck speeds?
Because, my expert research concludes that the above actions too “may result in the related long-term complications [of concussions]… and [insert above actions] can cause needless death.”
In the midst of Vancouver’s worst slide of the year, Willie Mitchell check Mason Raymond hard during a drill, and Raymond retaliated with a few cross checks. The scuffle ended when Shane O’Brien challenged Mitchell to a fight.
You know me I am always tinkering. Looking at ways to keep the roster somewhat intact and payroll not insane. A couple of options I thought of, and keep in mind I used the payroll info from Red Wings Central for players currently under contract for 2009-2010.
It has been quite a week.
As all frequent KK readers are undoubtedly aware, there’s been a bit of a debate as to whether or not the league is justified in “suspending” Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk for one game as a punishment for the players absence from the All-Star Weekend festivities.
I’m a die-hard Red Wings fan. Plain and simple. For that reason, I don’t think I need to go into details about my opinion on the “suspensions”. I feel that forcing Lidstrom and Datsyuk to miss a game does nothing more than punish thousands of fans that have paid good money to see meaningful, regular season NHL hockey.
A number of my fellow Wings fans are calling for Ken Holland/Mike Babcock/Red Wings brass to do something drastic to prove a point. For instance, some people feel Holland should call up players to replace Lidstrom and Datsyuk, even if it puts the team over the cap. Others think that Babcock should instruct Lidstrom and Datsyuk to dress and simply defy the suspension. And more think that the club should just forfeit the game on principal alone.
I won’t bore you with my reasons why I think all these methods are wrong—because they don’t matter.
What matters is this—the Detroit Red Wings—from the Ilitch family, to Jimmy Devellano, to Ken Holland, Steve Yzerman, and Jim Nill, all the way down to Mike Babcock and his players on the pro roster, even down to the Grand Rapids Griffins and their stable of prospects and coaches that work hard to feed the big club with NHL-ready talent—every last one of these people is total class.
Ken Holland will undoubtedly stand up for his players, as he already did by telling them to stay home and just take the “suspensions”. In the face of criticism, he will never ally with any side or opinion other than that which is best for these two players and this organization.
But one other thing you can take to the bank is that Ken Holland, Mr. Ilitch, and company, will most certainly not undercut the league. Because they never have and never will stoop to the level the NHL operates at. They are above that. All of them. Every last person involved in this team is above it. Detroit will take the high road—Lidstrom and Datsyuk will sit, the team will play short a man, and every player that’s on the bench tonight will play harder to make up for it, and they’ll be proud win or lose.
When the inept owners and management groups of teams in non-hockey markets wouldn’t start a season without a cap and revenue sharing, did Mike Ilitch go crying to the press about it? Did Ken Holland whine about how it wasn’t fair that he’d have to curtail his spending toward building a winning club in order to subsidize teams with trash in the front office and trash on the ice? As the 2009 offseason rapidly approaches, has Ken Holland complained that the cap system is likely to force him to lose home-grown talent that his ace scouts worked their asses of to find? And has he started a shit-storm over the fact that the CBA doesn’t allow restructuring of contracts, despite the fact that the likes of Kris Draper and Nick Lidstrom would probably take a little less if it helps bring back that home-grown talent for ‘09-‘10? No. No. No. And no. Instead he took the situation he was presented with, and built another Cup champion out of it.
The point? The Red Wings do it right. And when the dust settles from this entire ASG situation, all that will be left is the Detroit Red Wings organization, having taken the high road one more time. Doing the selfless thing in the face of ignorant decision-making.
On February 25 2007, the Montreal Canadiens veteran defenseman Craig Rivet and a 5th round selection in 2008 to the San Jose Sharks for young defenseman Josh Gorges and a 1st round selection in 2007 (Max Pacioretty).
Now a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Rivet helped the Sharks go deep in the playoffs the past two seasons even tough they weren’t able to make it to the finals. In 91 games with the Sharks, Rivet scored six goals and 37 assists for 43 points.
He was later traded this summer along with San Jose’s 7th round selection in 2010 to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2nd round choice in 2009 and a 2nd round choice in 2010.
Meanwhile, Josh Gorges blossomed into a very reliable defenseman over his two years in Montreal. At first, things were not quite easy for Gorges as he was a frequent healthy scratch for most of the 2007 season.
However, last season he finally made it as a regular rearguard and played 62 games, notching nine assists besides his partner Francis Bouillon.
Gorges, 24, has seen an increase of ice-time this season being used in every situation (even on the powerplay) and his statistics have improved accordingly. Gorges already has one goal and seven assists for eight points in 40 games. He has a team-best +18 plus/minus differential good for the tenth rank league-wide.
But the key element of that trade is Max Pacioretty who finally made it to the NHL this season thanks to numerous injuries to key Habs players.
After a great season with Michigan University last season where he registered 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in 37 games, Pacioretty signed his first NHL contract, a three-year entry-level pact, this summer with the Canadiens.
Recalled from Hamilton on January 1st, 2009, Pacioretty scored his first NHL-goal on his first shot in a 4-1 loss against New Jersey. Now playing on a line with veterans Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec, Max Pax has tallied two goals and 1 assist for three points after only four games.
Pacioretty is a good power forward with above average skills. A good skater with quick feet. He handles the puck very well, and he has a good wrist shot with quick release. His size and tenacity allow him to drive to the net consistently.
Max Pacioretty will likely be this year’s Sergei Kostitsyn even when Koivu, Higgins and Tanguay come back from their injuries.
Currently the Bruins’ third centre behind point-producer Marc Savard and proven youngster Patrice Bergeron, Krejci is quickly making his mark in the NHL. His new line-mates Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder have perfectly clicked together. Through 30 games this season with the Bruins, Krejci has eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points, currently on pace for 79 points. He also ranks 10th in the league with a +15 plus/minus differential.
The Sternberk, Czech Republic native, has already surpassed last year’s career-best, 27 points in 56 games, thanks to his plethora of skills. Krejci’s strongest assets are his soft hands and smooth puck-handling abilities. He is good on face-offs and possesses good defensive instincts for a second-year player. Krejci also has a highly accurate wrist shot, and he can make smart, crisp passes to him teammates. He isn’t afraid of playing in heavy traffic and drive the net.
After playing two years in the QMJHL with Gatineau where he recorded 144 points in only 117 games, he smoothly made the transition to the AHL with the Providence Bruins where he notched 74 points in 69 games in 2006-2007. Krejci adjusted very well everywhere he played, and there is no reason he can’t continue with the Bruins this season…
Expect big things from Krejci in the next few years, as Bruins’s coach Claude Julien is not afraid to use him in every situation. Krejci is currently on fire, having notched five goals and fifteen assists for 20 points in the past twelve games!
You know, there was a lot of things that came to mind when Nonis got fired. First came shock, then came denial, then came acceptance. Nonis was great for the Canucks, he brought Luongo here, added to our extremely bare cupboard of prospects. The only bomb of a prospect he drafted was Pat White, but everyone has a bad pick.
When Gillis came, I had a little bit of hope, but I obviously wasn’t impressed with what he said about Nonis. Blaming him for the team being the way it is, but thats another story completely. Gillis promised big changes and results. We got some change, but not at the level he promised. He basically revamped out fourth line, and got Demitra and Bernier to replace Naslund and Morrison. Not that much of a upgrade considering Demitra is made of glass, and Bernier has not lived up to expectations.
When Sundin was offered 10 million over 2 years, my jaw dropped as I walked aimlessly around the neighborhood trying to make sense of this obvious overpayment. Gillis promised youth and change, and then he offered 10 million dollars to a guy who is almost 40, approx 3 million more then what ANY other team would have offered him. Doesn’t make Naslund look overpaid anymore does it?
Coming out a phenomenal 2006-2007 hockey season, during which the Anahim Lake, B.C., native won the gold at the IIHF World Junior (U20) Ice Hockey Championship in Sweden (he was named the Tournament MVP) and the Calder Cup with the Hamilton Bulldogs (he was named playoffs MVP), expectations were very high at the beginning of last season in Montreal.
The 6-3, 212 lbs, butterfly goaltender made the team out of training camp. He shared duties with French goaltender Cristobal Huet for the first few months, before being sent down to the AHL in January 2008 to regain his form after a lackluster start. After a one-month stint with the Bulldogs, the Canadiens called him up and gave him plenty of action before trading Huet to the Capitals at the trade deadline. Price responded very well, leading the Canadiens to a strong finish atop the Eastern Conference. Price finished the 2007-2008 season with a 24-12-3 record, a 2.56 GAA and a sparkling .920 save percentage.
After playing 20 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, during which he recorded 14 goals and 11 assists for 25 points, forward Matt D’Agostini was recalled by the Montreal Canadiens on November 28th.
After watching his first game from the press box in Washington, a 3-0 loss, D’Agostini was inserted in the line-up the next day at home against the Buffalo Sabres. D’Agostini, 22, played 13:52 that night, finishing with a +1 differential.
Paired with captain Saku Koivu and Andrei Kostitsyn, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. native has shown flashes of brilliance since he was promoted to the Habs’ first line. In five games with the Canadiens this season, D’Agostini now has 4 goals, 1 assist and a +4 differential. He is currently on a 4-game scoring streak.
The 6-0, 200 lb, right wing is only one of two right-handed forwards with the Habs this season (Robert Lang is the other) which gives the Canadiens another weapon on the power play. He uses his speed to find open areas on the ice and create scoring opportunities. He really likes to drive the net where he scores most of his goals.
D’Agostini might be the last year’s Sergei Kostitsyn who was recalled in early December 2007. Kostitsyn sparked the Habs offense with his skills and speed, notching 27 points in 52 games after beginning the season with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
D’Agostini’s fortune is Guillaume Latendresse’s nightmare, the latter being a healthy scratch for the Habs last 4 games. After a quick start (6 points in 5 games), Latendresse slumped to a point where Guy Carbonneau had no choice, but the put him in the press box.
With the latest injury to Christopher Higgins (likely a separated shoulder), Latendresse is supposed to draw back into the lineup against the Lightning on Thursday. If the Habs were to lose Higgins for an extended period of time, look for GM Bob Gainey to tell Matt D’Agostini to get an apartment in Montreal to finish the season with the Habs.
D’Agostini was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the 6th round, 190th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. From: http://www.nhl-northeast.com
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