Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Boredom at the Bell

I have a new respect for sports reporters. I don't know how they do it, sometimes. 3 of the last 5 Habs games have been 3 of the worst hockey games I have ever seen. During two of them I have fallen asleep, and had to rewind the PVR. During the Anaheim game I blamed it on the 10pm start time - last night I didn't have that excuse. Watching the game last night

4:38 into the game RDS play by play man Pierre Houde commented that he hated to sound like a broken record, but that the Habs "look like a team coming off a long road trip". There's an adjective to sum that up in one word - listless.

Was Pacioretty still suspended? he looked like it. I noticed him once the whole night.

Unlike Pierre Houde, I don't quite mind sounding like a broken record yet. Carey price, Lars Eller, Erik Cole, David Desharnais, Andrei Kostitsyn, Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin. I noticed them for positive reasons. I've consistently been noticing them for positive reasons. The more I think about it they're all new to the team or playing for a contract so they all have reasons to be motivated every night. Where's the rest of the team?

I noticed Mike Cammallerri last night for positive reasons too, but Pacioretty being completely invisible makes me wonder if the line mates had something to do with it.

Andrei Kostitsyn it should be noted played his 3rd strong game in 4 outings since returning. He picked up his 4th point in that span by burying his 8th of the season.

I felt like in LA and San Jose the the Canadiens players played well enough to save the coach his job - but this can't go on for a whole season. Win a couple, lose a couple, win a couple, lose a couple. Before the team knows it - it will be too late.

Andrei Markov is "at least" another month away - and who knows if that will be accurate. I understand he's working hard, but I think what a lot of people don't get is he's undergone major major surgery. James Wisniewski also had three surgeries to repair the same knee. He missed the last 15 games of the 06-07 season, then missed 38 games in 07-08 having a 2nd surgery mid-season, and then missed the first 3 games of 08-09. He's fine now, but effectively it took almost 2 years off his career to fix that knee. The Markov case feels longer to fans because just before the knee injury he had missed 3 months with a lacerated tendon in his ankle. I have full confidence that Andrei Markov will be back at some point, and will still be an effective player, but noone can say when with accuracy, and the Habs can't keep waiting.

Chris Campoli looks to be close to returning, but no offense to him, he's not going to change the makeup of the team drastically. None of the returning players will except Markov. Gomez? Spacek? Ryan White?
The team needs a shakeup. Be it a major trade or a coaching change, the time has come. I hate to say it, but if this team is going to "compete for a Stanley Cup" as the GM and Owner have stated - then a change must come.

About a month ago, former Hab Georges Laraque went on TSN 990 Radio's "Montreal Forum" with Tony Marinaro. Tony asked George "if you were GM of the Canadiens, what would be your first move?" Georges didn't take long to answer - he said he'd trade Hal Gill. Gill is still an extremely effective penalty killer, but he looks really really slow in 5-on-5 situations. Maybe he needs a break from time to time?

Alot of teams talk about the Canadiens speed, but last night the Blue Jackets looked to be the faster team. Hab-Killer RJ Umberger's goal with 8:41 to go in the second period happened because of speed. Plekanec loses a face-off at the opposing blue line, the Columbus defenseman sends the puck wide to a waiting Umberger who bursts in on Price with a speed that the Canadiens couldn't match, reminiscent of his time with Philly.

Alexei Emelin threw 9 hits, including one bone cruncher on Antoine Vermette. With his 75 hits, (and only 4  PIM's) I think he's more than earned a regular spot with this team, even when fully healthy. He also added his first NHL point on the game-tying-goal by Brian Gionta.

The boo birds could be heard multiple times on the TV screen last night. They are asking for change. Change in personnel, change in style, change in something. Where was the urgency trailing late? Plekanec took a shot off the side of Curtis Sanford's net and Gionta plugged in a rebound on a play that looked more routine than urgent. Columbus has the worst record in the NHL, their starting goalie was deemed to be a #3 by Habs brass the last 2 seasons (he spent them both in Hamilton), and this all happened with the home team booing.

it's time for a change. Pierre Gauthier has been quick to plugs holes in his "leaky roof" before, now it's time to plug a leaky basement before the ship sinks.

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