Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs back in neutral

After their best performance of the season, a 2-1 win Saturday over Chicago, the Canadiens fell back Tuesday, losing 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils in front of a pumped Montreal crowd, and deflating what was a decent amount of momentum in the process.

How did the Habs let this one slide away? Well, it could have been closer. Brendan Gallagher scored a disallowed goal that, frankly, should have counted, and that would have made it a 3-2 game with 25 minutes to go. That said, the Canadiens lost, the Devils looked good, and Montreal must now pick up the pieces and move on.

What went wrong? Well, the obvious is the Habs couldn't score, and I'm going to focus on one player: Danny Briere. Why? Because Jaromir Jagr shone for New Jersey. He looked a decade younger than his 42 years, and he confirmed before the game that he had wanted to play in Montreal, but Montreal management didn't want him. No, they signed Briere instead. 

We will never know how close things were, and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but if Marc Bergevin could have signed Jagr instead of Briere, well, let's just say he made a reasonably sized mistake. Jagr would perfect on the wing for the Habs right now, while Briere has looked out of place, often in the pressbox. Maybe Montreal and Jagr will still happen one day, but if it was really on the offer this past summer, the Canadiens made a huge error passing on one of this generation's greatest players.

What else can be said? Well, other than the inability to score, things look ok. The defence was solid, and Carey Price, while he would probably like at least one of the 3 he gave up back, made some outstanding stops late in the game to try and give Montreal a fighting chance. One concern on the back end is speed, and another the first pass. Speed: the Habs defence largely doesn't have it, and other than the two obvious guys, the first pass is a challenege. Perhaps an addition here or there could solve these issues, be they a call up - Nathan Beaulieu, perhaps? - or through a trade.

So life continues for Les Glorieux. Still near the top, but not quite high enough to look down. And as for Jaromir...what could have been.

Filed in: | The Upper Canadien | Permalink



I don’t think it’s all that bad after last night.  Aside from the Gallagher non-goal ridiculousness (there was no actual kicking motion, as Kerry Fraser notes on TSN.ca), one of the NJD goals (the 2nd, I think), came on an obvious case of goalie interference where one Devil took out Price whilst the other put the puck in the net.  One such misfortune a team can come back from, as Gallagher showed, but two is too much for any team.

As for Brière, there isn’t much that can be said to justify that signing.  But I’ve never seen the point of pining for what might have been.  There was too much of this after the Halak trade.

Posted by ransacktheelder on 01/15/14 at 09:11 PM ET

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The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

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