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#6: Montreal Canadiens @ Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:00PM

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Actually, I take that back. Pacioretty is working out, and you have to love Emelin in the role of stay at home defenseman. Smart guy, he knows if he gets "too rough" a la Ryan O' Byrne, or checks aggressively like Komisarek, he'll be sent to Minnesota for a second round pick faster than you can say Rejan Houle!

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... I look at the team this year, the way they've come out after the first and second periods and I can't help but think JM has lost the room. It's obvious the players don't like the line juggling...Cole is unhappy...no cohesion between the forwards and d whatsoever...I don't think a firing is in order now ... It is early, but right now, even as a life-long fan, I can't find one thing to like about this group.,

To address the second statement: you really can't find *anything* to like about this group? That seems a little knee-jerk after a poor start. Particularly when you combine it with what you said about the team last year and their resilience "after the first and second periods." You obviously like something about the team last year. The team hasn't changed all that much. Now you say there's nothing to like. ;-) No one likes a loss, but let's not throw the shag carpet over the whole team. Price isn't nearly so bad as some might say; in fact, had it not been for him, I suggest the score might have been closer to 5 or 6 last night. He kept them in it. Patches is a bright light and is bringing it pretty consistently. Yemelin is playing with a poise few would have considered possible after the close of training camp. There are certainly other positive stories. That said, I respect your annoyance at the team.

What intrigues me about your statement is the first part, where you speculate on JM having lost the room. He's a pretty flat fellow. His press conferences are regularly used in sleep disorder clinics. I suspect his motivational speeches are not unlike an accountant's overview of the company's quarterly losses. Personally, I think JM is a probably a pretty good coach - as in prep and system. Where he falls significantly short, at least as far as I can see at this juncture, is in motivating his players to work within that system and play with passion each shift on the ice. I don't think there's much issue with the team being intellectually prepared to play, rather they aren't emotionally ready, which leaves them prone to concentration-related error.

JM, I believe, is only one part of a full coach. He requires a yang to his yin in order to be successful, and as good as a guy like Perry Pearn is at the coaching aspect, once again, you have a bean counter-type with a deficiency in relating to and motivating his players. The more I see/read/hear about this edition of the Club, the more I think the single biggest change was Kirk Muller. Forget the PP stuff (for which he was obviously a good influence), I have the distinct impression he was the motivational guy. Everyone knows how passionate Muller is - he cried when Montreal dealt him, for Pete's sake! To remove that kind of emotion from the room? Does JM have more than one outburst a year? And when he has that outburst, is it really an outburst, or more the case of a quiet guy being slightly less quiet?

At this point, I think if you're going to make one change to the club, it's to hire (re-hire?) an assistant who's significantly more rah-rah. This club can play a good game under Martin - IF they're motivated to do so. Lure back Muller (obviously ideal, but infinitely remote unless he's the head coach) or hire, say, Patrick Roy. This team needs the preverbal fire lit, and if anyone can do it, it's 33.

A more drastic measure would be to fire Martin, hire (perhaps) Muller and support Captain Kirk with a disciplinarian as an assistant (Carbo?)

It's my opinion that there's no lack of talent out there, but rather a lack of passion. Even with this patchwork defence, I believe this to be an improved club over last season talent-wise. (Particularly since Weber and Yemelin seem to be playing improved and impressively solid games respectively.) The Club just needs to find the passion and will to win games; to outwork the opponents.

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Look, people may be overthinking this. If you take it at the most straightforward level, the single biggest problem we've had so far is not the coach. It's a dismal power play. And the single biggest change to the power play is the departure of Wiz. Hammer's departure is also a blow in more general terms (he was also part of the second wave on the PP). We can go on and on about JM, but he's missing two key cogs in addition to Markov when it comes to what has been a real key for this team in the past, the PP.

Also, like I've said before, we're only 1-4-1, not 1-5 or 1-6, etc.. The flat effort against Pittsburgh may have had to do with not getting rewarded for a stellar effort against Buffalo. It often happens that a team that happens to end up demoralized. We win the next game, we're two games away from .500. All is still possible.

The loss of Muller may or may not be significant. Certainly the team has not shown the bounce-back that it usually has in the past. But when you consider that a couple of power play goals could have made a huge difference up until now, I really feel that it has to come back to that...and therefore to the failure to replace Wiz. To the extent that this team has lost its famous resiliency, that may be because it's no longer confident that it can score reliably on the PP, and knows that it doesn't have the horses to dominate 5-on-5.

Finally: lots of crazy coaching configurations are being bounced around in this thread (by me as much as anyone). But really, Muller with Roy as his asistant? Does anyone really think the imperious Roy will take second-banana status to anyone? Carbo as assistant coach - Mr. 'Communication Is Not My Strong Point?' Yikes. If we do go 1-8 or whatever, I think it might be worth taking a flyer and hiring either Roy or Muller as head coach (since the season is probably lost anyway). But these sort of Coaching Dream Teams sound like a recipe for self-immolating ego clashes to me.

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Sometimes a little adversity is great to help bring some cohesiveness. Of course I want the Habs to win but the guys are not playing well and I almost think losing will do us some good long term. This group needs to be beat up a bit more before they 'bounce back'. I think its going to get worse before it gets better and that is ok by me..

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I'm more concerned with Pierre Gauthier. Don't get me wrong, if Martin was fired, I honestly think nobody would care. He's the leagues most boring coach. But the signing of Eric Cole is starting to scare me. Did he play a lot with Eric Staal? If so, did that fact pump up his stats? I don't have those answers, but I do know Mr. Staal is a good enough player to do that. Second on the list is Andrei Markov. I love him, but we're certainly hanging our hat on this fragile player. He better provide 60+ games of all star hockey this winter, or we're looking at 10th place.

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I'm more concerned with Pierre Gauthier. Don't get me wrong, if Martin was fired, I honestly think nobody would care. He's the leagues most boring coach. But the signing of Eric Cole is starting to scare me. Did he play a lot with Eric Staal? If so, did that fact pump up his stats? I don't have those answers, but I do know Mr. Staal is a good enough player to do that. Second on the list is Andrei Markov. I love him, but we're certainly hanging our hat on this fragile player. He better provide 60+ games of all star hockey this winter, or we're looking at 10th place.

Cole was Staal's regular linemate.

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Well i hope Desharnais is slotted as 2nd line centre now? I asume Gomez is out, with wrist injury or something?

Price has a great bounce back game and even better sign for me was Subban's play.

I already picked on Martin enough, but Cammalleri on 4th line and the dogs-breakfast of line scambling was at its finest in that game? Moan had more ice time than Cole?

Oh well that is only 1 bad game after 2 super ones and alot of young guys are benefitting from the injury situation, which should do great for the team in the long run.

Yemelin had just that 1 bad turnover, but still is looking more comfortable out there and i love the Diaz and Weber combo on the PP points, just needs a bit of time is all. We at least have great speed on the backend now with old lead foots Hamrlik and Spacek out of lineup.

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Over the course of a season every team has a slump. What did Washington lose 8, 10 in a row or something last season and they still managed to finish first in the Eastern Conference. Our slump is happening in October instead of later in the year. As long as we get out of this soon, we'll be fine, we just can't let it go on too much longer, and beating the leafs would be a great way to end the losing streak.

This team is definitely playing with no confidence right now, they need a good bounce or a good break to build off of and start believing. One win and things will turn around.

Also for anyone who might believe in the power of the "hockey gods" I can't help but wonder if the Team jinxed itself by celebrating Price's 100th win on the website before it was made official. Can't plan the parade before you clinch the title.

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I think we have a few issues, including injuries and some coaching strategies. That said, we have a lot of small, skill, soft players and it shows. This is the responsibility of the GM, not the coach. We had a stupid preseason schedule which forced a lot of players sticking around instead of building team chemistry. This is probably also the choice of the GM (and maybe president), not the coach.

I sure hope Cole and Pacs can bring that "go to the dirty areas, drive the net" element we have been missing. So far, its only Pacs. We really need a big, nasty 3rd line. They don't have to score. They don't have to be idiots (think Avery). They need to be miserable to play against. We don't have them. It shows.

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But brobin, this team is not smaller or softer than last season's. That can't be the explanation.

I still say: Wiz and Hammer, in that order. Two huge subtractions, unreplaced. (Then there's the nonexistent Halpern replacement, but never mind).

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But brobin, this team is not smaller or softer than last season's. That can't be the explanation.

Agreed, if anything this team is bigger,, and less soft than last year with Emelin and Cole added. Too bad only one of those 2 has lived up to expectations to date.

I still say: Wiz and Hammer, in that order. Two huge subtractions, unreplaced. (Then there's the nonexistent Halpern replacement, but never mind).

Hammer was supposed to be replaced by the combination of a healthy Gorges, and Chris Campoli.

Wiz will soon be replaced by Andrei Markov and thats actually an upgrade.

Sometimes a slump is just a slump.

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-another example of JM's inapt thinking had DD play his least minutes of the season in a game which we lost our #1 C after like 10minutes

-as good as diaz, weber and emelin have been. we are 1-4-1! i'd give my left n_t to have hammer back right now!

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Alrighty. Been reading and watching the players comments. Plekanec "I'm sure we'll win and fans will be happy and they will stop trading half the team and fire the coach again". LOL

A win against the Leafs would be HUGE.

As for me getting upset at JM last night... well, he's got more time to add some W's to the stats.

The next 5 games will give more insight into how the team reacts to the slow start.

Toronto

Philly

Florida

Boston x2

70% is needed.

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Agreed, if anything this team is bigger,, and less soft than last year with Emelin and Cole added. Too bad only one of those 2 has lived up to expectations to date.

Hammer was supposed to be replaced by the combination of a healthy Gorges, and Chris Campoli.

Wiz will soon be replaced by Andrei Markov and thats actually an upgrade.

Sometimes a slump is just a slump.

I agree it's an upgrade. But it's an upgrade that won't take effect until sometime in November. The $50 000 question is whether this team can hang on by its fingernails until then. (That's also putting an enormous amount of pressure on a guy who has hardly played in two years, but beggars can't be choosers at this point).

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But brobin, this team is not smaller or softer than last season's. That can't be the explanation.

I still say: Wiz and Hammer, in that order. Two huge subtractions, unreplaced. (Then there's the nonexistent Halpern replacement, but never mind).

Who do we have down the middle.. Pleks, Gomez, DD.. I am not shaking in my boots here. We might be a bit bigger on the wing, but we are not playing it. We are pushed around. We are a perimeter team. Our forwards are still pushed around by the D in the slot.

Last year this was partially masked by Price having a career season. We also had a PP / PK that saved us. I was not happy with the team makeup last year either. I am not looking for a "designated fighter" either.

We need to get stronger (if not bigger) so that a career season by Price gets us a cup, not the last playoff spot.

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I stand by my comments. I don't think Martin should be fired, or Gauthier, but if this team is in the cellar two months from now, big changes will come. This was never billed as a rebuilding year. Aside from Patches and Yemelin, where's the upside been? Price has been decent, The D-K-P had one good game, Subban started the year looking like Dennis Wideman, Cole and Moen have switched roles, the list goes on and on. I heard it was a bad preseason, now a rocky start, what if December comes and this is just the way this team is? I'm no Martin hater, but where is he to put his foot up the as of this lackluster bunch? Accountant or not, he needs to prove his mettle with more than Andrei Kostistsyn. This team has the potential to be a solid 3-6 playoff team...c'mon Habs!

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I agree with most of that Lovett

Things are early now, but if we are still looking like this in mid november/early december changes will be necessary.

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Look, people may be overthinking this. If you take it at the most straightforward level, the single biggest problem we've had so far is not the coach. It's a dismal power play. And the single biggest change to the power play is the departure of Wiz. Hammer's departure is also a blow in more general terms (he was also part of the second wave on the PP). We can go on and on about JM, but he's missing two key cogs in addition to Markov when it comes to what has been a real key for this team in the past, the PP.

Also, like I've said before, we're only 1-4-1, not 1-5 or 1-6, etc.. The flat effort against Pittsburgh may have had to do with not getting rewarded for a stellar effort against Buffalo. It often happens that a team that happens to end up demoralized. We win the next game, we're two games away from .500. All is still possible.

The loss of Muller may or may not be significant. Certainly the team has not shown the bounce-back that it usually has in the past. But when you consider that a couple of power play goals could have made a huge difference up until now, I really feel that it has to come back to that...and therefore to the failure to replace Wiz. To the extent that this team has lost its famous resiliency, that may be because it's no longer confident that it can score reliably on the PP, and knows that it doesn't have the horses to dominate 5-on-5.

Finally: lots of crazy coaching configurations are being bounced around in this thread (by me as much as anyone). But really, Muller with Roy as his asistant? Does anyone really think the imperious Roy will take second-banana status to anyone? Carbo as assistant coach - Mr. 'Communication Is Not My Strong Point?' Yikes. If we do go 1-8 or whatever, I think it might be worth taking a flyer and hiring either Roy or Muller as head coach (since the season is probably lost anyway). But these sort of Coaching Dream Teams sound like a recipe for self-immolating ego clashes to me.

I don't disagree with your assessment of the power play. It's a crucial element that's been lacking. Muller was the leader in that department. I don't deny that the Wiz would be a help, but I can't completely agree with his absence being the significant reason it's failing. The players don't win battles on the PP. There's a lack of passion in the play (which is ingrained in their overall play except for the game against Buffalo) which, from my view anyhow, is the reason the PP isn't producing. Everything is "by the book" and very predictable as well - very coached. The creativity on the PP, that passion I was talking about, seem to be absent.

While the PP is an issue for sure, I'm more concerned about the mental complacence.

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Biggest issue with the team continues to be Forward Support in the defensive zone. If the forwards were better in their own end it would solve everything. If we backchecked better, we'd even end up scoring more goals.

Seems counterintuitive? I agree... but hear me out.

Think about the type of goals this Habs team has scored at Even Strength over the last 2 years. What do you see? Do you see a team cycling the puck in the offensive zone? Do you see a team winning board battles and then setting something up? Or do you see a team that creates through the use of odd man rushes? 2 on 1s, 3 on 2s, and other quick strike, counter attack style plays.

I know what I see, and its the odd man rush that creates a huge part of our 5 on 5 offence.

This is a team where 5 of our 9 most talented fwds are 5'10 or shorter, but are speedy. With such a lineup you can't count on a puck possession game. You can't count on playing a strong forecheck and cycle style of game. You just don't have enough big forwards to do it, when 2 guys on every line lack size.

So how do you create offence? By using that speed in odd man rushes.

So how do you create odd man rushes? Simple.... you need to force the other team to turn over the puck... either have a takeaway, or block a shot and pick up the loose puck, pick off a bad pass, win puck battle, etc....

So in this way better defence.... the forwards supporting our defencemen (what they haven't done at all this year), would help this team not only give up less goals, it would actually help us create more chances at the other end.

This is how the 2001 New Jersey Devils were the highest scoring team in the NHL.... this is how Martin's Ottawa teams scored a lot of goals.... this was how we reached the final four to years ago.... this is how we took the first two games in Boston last year... and this is what we need to get back to doing if we want to be successful.

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In reply to above. Yes - and I find that even with the current D core, that they have the ability to make a good first pass. The times when those first passes don't work so well - the forward is up the ice too much. When they are close together, they make quick passes and skate up as a unit. Yeah it's kinda like the flying V. Hehe.

I think a lot of what Bruce Lee said about Martial Arts applies to hockey.

"The highest technique is to have no technique. My technique is a result of your technique; my movement is a result of your movement. A good JKD man does not oppose force or give way completely. He is pliable as a spring; he is the complement and not the opposition to his opponent’s strength. He has no technique; he makes his opponent's technique his technique. He has no design; he makes opportunity his design. One should not respond to circumstance with artificial and "wooden" prearrangement. Your action should be like the immediacy of a shadow adapting to its moving object. Your task is simply to complete the other half of the oneness spontaneously." - Bruce Lee

I think when they go down a goal, they get ' artificial and "wooden" ' and forget "the system", which is really just a spontaneity of the opponents "non perfection" in any of the three zones of play. That's why the players are talking about their play, and not the opponents play in the interviews.

Yeah this post is kinda "spiritual' yet, you have to understand yourself, and for a team game, they have to act as one - not individuals. There is no I in team, as it's said.

If anything is the problem, it was mentioned in this thread somewhere - it's the emotional response to getting scored on. They loose faith with the "system" which isn't really a system - it's trust in themselves and their abilities.

:habslogo:

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On a hockey board that is usually quite sane I have seldom read so many knee jerk reactions. We have looked better than every other team we played, regardless of the outcome. Yes we were cold against the Pens, but after putting in a full effort against Buffalo and losing why are you surprised by this? Happens all the time in hockey.

OMG Cammy on the 4th to start the game? JM is a moron! WHo said that? Hang your head and go back to EA Sports. If I am a coach and my star forward returns early from a nasty injury I do the same. Might have even been Cammy's call. Remember he was unsure if he was going to even play that game? Had to test the leg though. Sometimes line juggling is needed. Makes me wonder the avg age of fan on this site.

No upgrade on WIz? WTF is Markov? WIz was only signed to fill in for him. Again stupid comments in regards to that. SHould we have kept Sopel the pilon too? He was replaced by Emelin by the way. Hammer was replace by Diaz, not a bad long term move there IMO. Next season Spacek will be replaced by Beaulieu and you will be saying we should have kept him too, mark my word on that.

Yes Jm over played the kids in the preseason, I knew then we would lose all Oct, but who cares about Oct? The Leafs win the cup every Nov but are out of the running by March. Rather be them? Patience please,

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Biggest issue with the team continues to be Forward Support in the defensive zone. If the forwards were better in their own end it would solve everything. If we backchecked better, we'd even end up scoring more goals.

Seems counterintuitive? I agree... but hear me out.

Think about the type of goals this Habs team has scored at Even Strength over the last 2 years. What do you see? Do you see a team cycling the puck in the offensive zone? Do you see a team winning board battles and then setting something up? Or do you see a team that creates through the use of odd man rushes? 2 on 1s, 3 on 2s, and other quick strike, counter attack style plays.

I know what I see, and its the odd man rush that creates a huge part of our 5 on 5 offence.

This is a team where 5 of our 9 most talented fwds are 5'10 or shorter, but are speedy. With such a lineup you can't count on a puck possession game. You can't count on playing a strong forecheck and cycle style of game. You just don't have enough big forwards to do it, when 2 guys on every line lack size.

So how do you create offence? By using that speed in odd man rushes.

So how do you create odd man rushes? Simple.... you need to force the other team to turn over the puck... either have a takeaway, or block a shot and pick up the loose puck, pick off a bad pass, win puck battle, etc....

So in this way better defence.... the forwards supporting our defencemen (what they haven't done at all this year), would help this team not only give up less goals, it would actually help us create more chances at the other end.

This is how the 2001 New Jersey Devils were the highest scoring team in the NHL.... this is how Martin's Ottawa teams scored a lot of goals.... this was how we reached the final four to years ago.... this is how we took the first two games in Boston last year... and this is what we need to get back to doing if we want to be successful.

i agree that counter attack offense much like the tactic used in soccer has played to our advantage... but it also leads to alot less chances that you need to capitalize on and our team is shooting blanks...

i point to 4 plays in our last 2 games... pacioretty getting fed by AK and he walks in from the left side on miller and shouts wide.. plex with a wide open net, miller on the ground and he fires the puck along the ice into his chest! then you have darche's breakaway from pretty much are blue line and firing a shot directly at fleury and coles 1 timer in the slot to break the ice on his career here as prime examples of a team that is in fact "sqeezing their sticks" (subban's quote) since the calgary game!

we didnt play bad against the leafs or colorado but didnt play 60 minutes = 1point

our offense was firing well in a game the jets werent ready for = 2pts

calgary and pitt were outright losses in my opinion =00

buffalo was a sure W if only we had some execution =0

so we've played well enough 7 of 12 points but only have 3!!

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On a hockey board that is usually quite sane I have seldom read so many knee jerk reactions. We have looked better than every other team we played, regardless of the outcome. Yes we were cold against the Pens, but after putting in a full effort against Buffalo and losing why are you surprised by this? Happens all the time in hockey.

OMG Cammy on the 4th to start the game? JM is a moron! WHo said that? Hang your head and go back to EA Sports. If I am a coach and my star forward returns early from a nasty injury I do the same. Might have even been Cammy's call. Remember he was unsure if he was going to even play that game? Had to test the leg though. Sometimes line juggling is needed. Makes me wonder the avg age of fan on this site.

No upgrade on WIz? WTF is Markov? WIz was only signed to fill in for him. Again stupid comments in regards to that. SHould we have kept Sopel the pilon too? He was replaced by Emelin by the way. Hammer was replace by Diaz, not a bad long term move there IMO. Next season Spacek will be replaced by Beaulieu and you will be saying we should have kept him too, mark my word on that.

Yes Jm over played the kids in the preseason, I knew then we would lose all Oct, but who cares about Oct? The Leafs win the cup every Nov but are out of the running by March. Rather be them? Patience please,

So far, Markov has not been much of an upgrade on Wiz, now has he? Unlike the anti-JM crowd, my point is that the current slump is to be explained in significant (not exclusive) measure by a dormant power-play, and that our suckage on the PP is to be explained primarily by the fact that the player who drove it - Wiz - is gone. Further, we have nobody on the current roster even remotely capable of filling his shoes. (Subban has that potential, but he couldn't do it single-handedly last season, and he still can't). Since Markov won't be back for weeks, this is grounds for grave concern.

Now, Hamrlik didn't drive the power-play, but he was part of the second wave; and he would certainly represent an upgrade overall on the three rookies. Diaz is obvious a better long-term option than Hammer. But what are your expectations for this season? Is this a 'rebuiliding' year? If it is, then sure, throw the first two months of the season away playing a Samuel Beckett-esque game of Waiting for Makov.

I've said repeatedly that we are only at 1-4-1 and that the situation is not yet catastrophic. But it is deeply worrisome, because two or three more losses will put us in a position where making the playoffs becomes statistically improbable. We won't be able to survive our traditional December slump, for instance. If you saw this as a rebuilding year all along, then that's no problem. If, like me, you saw the Habs as a team with an outside chance of contending, then that's a very disappointing outcome and there is reason to be asking what's going wrong and how to fix it.

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I'd like to see the overall "compete level" raised; you go into a corner to check the guy with the puck FINISH the check don't turn away from him. Make the extra effort, whether it's on the backcheck, blocking a shot WHATEVER it takes to get the puck or thwart an opposition scoring chance.

Maybe I'm too critical of our team, BUT watching other teams/games they seem to be skating harder, and doing more (of the little things) than what I see from our guys/system.

And no GDT thread yet.................Good, good we gotta break this funk somehow. We need to all get settled in 1st and compose our thoughts, I say wait until the 1st 5-10 min into the game befroe we start a GDT.... :popcorn:

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