Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Woe is Montreal

How bad were the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night? I didn’t even notice them before the third period.

How bad have they been this season?

The only team they have beaten through six games is the Thrashers.

That’s pretty bad.

What are the reasons for the badness? Well, the power play is a big one, but I’ve beaten that like a lumpy pillow. Another big one, which I suspect will become more talked about should Montreal lose Saturday to Toronto, is that coach Jacques Martin lost his deputy, Kirk Muller, and Muller was clearly the players guy. He helped run special teams. He communicated between the coaching staff and the team. He was a key cog in the wheel, and they’re missing him right now. Is Martin on the verge of being fired? Not at 1-4-1. But if they go 1-8-1, this is a subject we’ll revisit.

Am I worried? I still say no. I’m seeing some good things. The team is battling through an early injury bug. Carey Price has looked fairly sharp, all things considered. But one thing that hasn’t sorted itself out, and I’m starting to think it won’t, is the play of Scott Gomez.

When did Gomez last score an NHL regular season goal? February. How many games? 45 folks. That’s a looooong time to go without scoring for anyone, let alone a first line centre. He’s on pace for less than 20 points. He’s generating little to no offence. And he’s no Bob Gainey in his own zone.

Scott Gomez has become an issue. I feel for him, somewhat, because I do think he’s trying. He’s shooting more, he’s moving his feet, but he isn’t creating chances. Sure, Tomas Plekanec has been largely silent, PK Subban seems mistake-prone, and Erik Cole makes his debut Saturday night. But Gomez is the one making 7+ million dollars. Gomez is the supposed first line centre. Gomez is supposed to be a leader on this team.

Gomez needs to lead. Martin needs to coach. And this team needs to play. If the Leafs thus far have been any testament, then Saturday could be a very long night for Habs fans.

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Comments

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I think you meant the Jets, right? Not the Thrashers, haha.

Posted by Patrick Hoffman from Fairfield, CT on 10/21/11 at 09:38 AM ET

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The goals against is not what is killing this team. I agree Price has been sharp and while the D haven’t been incredibly sharp, they definitely hasn’t been worse than average. It is the offence that has let this team down. And the poster boy for that issue has to be Scott Gomez. The fact that he left the game last night makes it even worse. You simply can’t have this much money tied to this useless of a player in the salary cap era. If he keeps this up, this could be his last year in the NHL. Don’t believe that, ask Wade Redden what consecutive sub-par seasons tied to a big money contract can do for your career.

Posted by BlackXinu on 10/21/11 at 09:47 AM ET

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Thrashers, Jets, it’s still the same team.  A new city and more fans didn’t suddenly make them any better on the ice.  Heck, the Habs even beat them, which is saying something so far this season…

While I agree with all that’s been said about Gomez so far (and won’t continue to harp on it here), the guy that really has me worried right now is Cole.  That was supposed to be one of the big-ticket additions up front this season, and so far he’s been less than a rumor.  Years past have shown that his excursions out of Carolina have been less than impressive, so I’m wondering how long it is before we have to start wondering if that might not be the case here too.

Posted by The Doc on 10/21/11 at 11:56 AM ET

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The JETS, dumbass, not the Thrashers. Not like you deserve any real credibility in covering the Habs from Toronto with an apparent inability to watch RDS or deal with the French media due to a lack of the language, but, c’mon, that’s not hard to figure out.

Posted by Harald on 10/21/11 at 12:20 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

The JETS, dumbass, not the Thrashers. Not like you deserve any real credibility in covering the Habs from Toronto with an apparent inability to watch RDS or deal with the French media due to a lack of the language, but, c’mon, that’s not hard to figure out.

Brilliant post and witty name calling. You know, maybe, just maybe, he knew that they were the Jets and was being somewhat satirical. I’m guessing it’s hard to live in Canada and not know that Winnipeg has a new team in town.

Regardless, les habitants look to be in big trouble, and Martin isn’t going to be around much longer unless the team puts together a string of wins.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 10/21/11 at 02:02 PM ET

habsdoc's avatar

It’s harOld not herAld, dumbass!  and being IN montreal has no bearing on someone’s ability to assess a team…

Posted by habsdoc on 10/21/11 at 02:04 PM ET

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If Martin were to get fired, who do you think would be a good replacement for him?

BTW, this was a great post, Upper Canadien! We are lucky to have you here at Kukla’s Korner smile

Posted by Patrick Hoffman from Fairfield, CT on 10/21/11 at 02:08 PM ET

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Actually, “Habsdoc”, I know how to spell my name, it’s Swedish, dumbass. 

And, yes, being able to understand some French is essential to comment on the Habs in any intelligent fashion, given that the media in Montreal is predominately French, the Habs are broadcast in French on RDS, the main newspapers in Montreal are French.

Posted by Harald on 10/21/11 at 03:24 PM ET

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Harald

Do you have anything of value to add to this conversation? 2 comments in and the answer is nope. You just spend your life tearing down the works of others without contributing anything. How very big of you. You deserve the label of Troll you have so rightfully earned. What a sad, pathetic life you must live.

Posted by BlackXinu on 10/21/11 at 03:59 PM ET

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I agree with BlackXinu. Montreal has managed to score 13 goals in 6 games this season. Ultimately, a team that averages just over 2 goals per game is going to have a hard time stringing wins together. While the team can probably do a better job re: defense and giving up quality scoring chances, they ultimately need to come together and generate offense. The power play needs to start clicking and their top forwards need to find the chemistry that has been largely missing since the start of the season.

As for Scott Gomez… I don’t know what you do with him at this point. I’d tell him to shoot the puck more (he only has 13 shots in 6 games), but I think he just really needs to start playing inspired hockey. I don’t know if he still has it in him at this point, but I’d push him hard and find out. You can’t have him doing what he’s currently doing for $7M per year.

Posted by Briney on 10/21/11 at 04:50 PM ET

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Mr. Hoffman: you are correct indeed, it is the Jets. Please forgive a sullen Hab fan’s sense of humour! As for replacements, I believe Jacques Lemaire as an interim-rest-of-the-season quick fix may come to pass. Guy Boucher or Kirk Muller would be good though - oh, wait a second…

Speaking of sullen Habs fans, a quick letter:

Dear Harald,

Thank you for your comments. My sincerest apologies. I will resign my job immediately and move back to Montreal. My family may object, but your assertions are clearly not picayune and thus I must acquiesce to your request.

As an aside, apparently you are unaware that those outside Montreal can also watch RDS daily. It is not a new development, but perhaps the news has yet to reach you. Furthermore, I am not sure why you ascertain that I cannot speak French. After all, I have written and commented in French the odd time. I’ve spoken it since my childhood, and while it is not my daily language of business, I regularly converse, read and listen in French.

Regardless, I wil continue to write in mon anglais, as this is my native tongue and I am proud of it. After all, were I to switch I would no longer be eligible for good Mr. Richler’s Prix Parizeau.

Once again, thank you for your valued commentary and your patronage as a reader.

Sincerely,

The Upper Canadien

P.S. Please do let us know what your blog’s URL is, as we would all be the better for reading it.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 10/21/11 at 05:51 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 10/21/11 at 04:51 PM ET

Bravo, Sir.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 10/21/11 at 06:57 PM ET

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About The Upper Canadien

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.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com