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Montreal @ Tampa Bay | Game Thread


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How many times have we seen this movie? Team 1 gets totally dominated in first period; comes out with the score relativeluy close due to strong goaltending; Team 2 falls asleep; Team 1 wins.

Still, a depressing result :angry:

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omg, that was wild. What ballz on Cube going after that huge guy after that hit.

Its only a matter of time till TB comes to the conclusion that they are loosing 20mil/yr and they can cut their losses in half by giving the Habs Vinny.

I cant see it happening this year though. TB hasnt really realized that they have to get rid of him yet. TB still wants to much for him.

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Carbo played the hell out of the laps line, as they were the only useful line.. that tells you the depth of our problems right now.. 3 guys playing, 9 guys coasting...

There's a lack of a competitive, gritty forwards up there. Guys who can play with a sense of urgency.

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Oh.. and Laps now has more goals then Pleks this season.. tied with Tanguay for the 4th spot.. Lang still leads the team...

Lats' stats are basically the same as Plex (1 less goal, 1 less assist), with 7 less games played. Heck, Begin has more goals than Higgins. Laps has more goals than Higgins has points.

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Lats' stats are basically the same as Plex (1 less goal, 1 less assist), with 7 less games played. Heck, Begin has more goals than Higgins. Laps has more goals than Higgins has points.

Laps got two tonight, he is ahead of Pleks now (unless that is what you meant...)

And we also have the Koivu problem.. he is either good, but then gets hurt, or he stays healthy and mediocre.. we can't rely on him to lead this team up front.. he should be our number 2 centre...

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I think, at the midway point of this season, that the greatest disappointment has to be Plekanec. For whatever reason, he just doesn't have "it." Unfortunately for him, it's not for lack of effort, by and large. Rather it's a lack of continuity in his game. If anyone is guilty of repeated brain farts, it's him. O'Byrne was villified on his first tour, but Plex has been given something of a pass.

And I find that hard to say because I'm a big fan.

Montreal has two good things going for it with Plex. The first is that he obviously knows how to do it and could, at any time, turn things around and start really helping the club. The second thing Montreal has is this: Plex had a great season last year and the rest of the league knows it and they may all think they have what's necessary for him to turn it around and start helping their club. His value as trade bait may be somewhat lower than it was last season, but he's still a relatively valuable commodity and will continue to be so until about 30 games into next season. Then, if he's still floundering, he'll start bottoming out.

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Bob has to pull the trigger on something...this team has more holes than swiss cheese!!!

Go on. No really, specifics please.

Actually, wait, nevermind. I'd rather see you post all that after a Habs win.

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And we also have the Koivu problem.. he is either good, but then gets hurt, or he stays healthy and mediocre.. we can't rely on him to lead this team up front.. he should be our number 2 centre...

The Koivu problem is a sentimental one. If you take away the attachment to a long-time captain who battled cancer, and look at the bottom line of what he's bringing on the ice, what you've got is an aging, above-average 2nd C who's neither a scoring or physical threat, has only played 3 full seasons in 12 years, has captained teams which had recurrent character, cliques and consistency issues and is currently paid 4.75M$.

Hey, Recchi is in TB now. Think that'd be enough to convince Saku to lift his NTC? It'd be easier for the Bolts' management to get theirs fans to swallow the loss of Vinny if they can say they got a well-known name like Koivu in return... :D

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Go on. No really, specifics please.

Actually, wait, nevermind. I'd rather see you post all that after a Habs win.

Let's start with a solid D-man and go from there.

Actually, add a power forward with a knack for going hard to the net as well...pretty obvious we need one of those.

The Koivu problem is a sentimental one. If you take away the attachment to a long-time captain who battled cancer, and look at the bottom line of what he's bringing on the ice, what you've got is an aging, above-average 2nd C who's neither a scoring or physical threat, has only played 3 full seasons in 12 years, has captained teams which had recurrent character, cliques and consistency issues and is currently paid 4.75M$.

Hey, Recchi is in TB now. Think that'd be enough to convince Saku to lift his NTC? It'd be easier for the Bolts' management to get theirs fans to swallow the loss of Vinny if they can say they got a well-known name like Koivu in return... :D

Please, don't tease me like this....

Edited by sbhatt
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Saku Koivu has always been a good centreman, and he still is. He's not the "problem." But I guess we are condemned to live in a universe where every time the Habs struggle, our best player for the last decade is attacked.

Would it be better to have Vinny or some other super-elite #1 C, instead of using Koivu in that role? Of course. That fact does not lead to the conclusion that Koivu is a problem. It's not his fault the organization has not been able to address a fundamental weakness that's haunted us since the departure of Damphousse (who wasn't a natural C anyway).

And let's not waste time fantasizing that Koivu can be used to acquire Lecavalier. Remembers those rumours that they wanted markov or Komisarek - ? Plus half the farm and a jillion first-round picks - ? And why would Koivu waive to go to a dismal hole like TB?

So a much graver problem, as several have pointed out, is the complete lack of a second C who can lead the offence, taking checkers off Koivu and making him better and generally giving our attack a compelling 'second wave.' This has been an organizational problem for years (one I've harped on at regular intervals, for whatever that's worth). Unless Plekanec recovers his scoring touch, we have a serious problem; conventional hockey wisdom is that you need to be strong down the middle. We ain't.

(By the way, if you break down Koivu's numbers in detail, you'll find he produces like an elite centreman for about 2/3 or 3/4 of every season...and then has horrific 20-game slumps where he does nothing. He's not so much a #2 C as a #1 C, two thirds of the time ^_^ )

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber
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What happened??

You didnt see the game?

Near the end of the game Cube was rubbed out at the Habs bench by Evgeny Artyukhin. Cube got up and slashed the closest TB guy, which wasnt Artyukhin, and then skated along following Artyukhin like he wanted to fight him. Lucky for Cube he didnt say "oh ya". Artyukhin would have destroyed Cube, he's HT: 6-5 WT: 254. Thats why TB kept thinking they are tough, because that guys huge. Artyukhin made several big hits. If BGL was in the game TB might not have acted so rough but Artyukhin might be able to give BGL a good go. I've never seen Artyukhin play before and have no clue if he can fight, but he's even bigger than BGL so if there somebody who could throttle BGL it might be him.

I could tell Cube was pissed from that hit but he was committing suicide seeking retribution against Artyukhin. Cube is lucky that Artyukhin wasnt interested at all. Artyukhin wasnt even really paying attention to Cube. He's probably like the Borg and only looks for people who are threats, and Cube was definitely no threat to him. :lol:

At one point earlier in the game Komi knocked Artyukhin down, but I'm pretty sure Komi never thought of dropping the gloves with him.

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oburned looked pretty good tonite at least no major brain farts. Definitely his best game this year imo.

I kinda blame O'Burned for 1 of the goals. O'Burned skated into Price and semi knocked him off balance/distracted him. Price recovered but shortly after that they scored. Had O'Burned not bumped him I think Price would have been more centered in his net. When they show the replay of the goal you dont see O'Burned hit Price, but he did just shortly before the 1 goal.

Other than that O'Burned didnt look to bad, he kept Stamkos to the outside on a couple of plays.

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O'Byrne looked good last night. Skated well, good passes, a couple of hits and for the most part his positioning was good.

The one thing that really stood out last night was how wimpy our forwards are. Patches was driving to the net constantly and creating chances by doing it. He is the only habs player that does it, everyone else just skates around the boards looking for the back door pass.

It has been this way for a long time but why the hell is Koivu the guy who is in front of the net on the PP? He gets bounced around like a yo-yo.

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Well that was UGLY. It's kind of funny reading posts after a loss, everyone seems to want to pick out a player and pile on.

The Bottom line is the Habs are really bad in there own end, unless either goalie bails them out consistently you get last night. they have been bombed by 2 of the worst teams in the east and NJ.

You can't really fault last night, 2 goals went in off his own guys and 2 were just piss poor defense. Can soemone tell Markov on a 2 on 1 he is responsible for the player without the puck, the goalie has the puck carrier, good lord you learn theat when your 8.

Passing and turnovers are really bad, the habs just can't break out of the D zone with any speed, they make a bad pass and right back in the Dzone.

How many dumb penalties can 1 team take? This looks like the team 3 years ago.

The sad reality is currently they have 1 line who gets it, unfortunatley if your a habs fan it's the 4th line.

If they lose tonight the Panthers are only 7 back i beleive. In the next 2-3 weeks we'll figure out if they are buyers or sellers.

Is it just me or when teams start to hit and lean on the habs they just fold up shop an quit? Artukin was just running arounf all night crushing people, the habs response, fold like lawn chair.

Oh yea, and what the heck is up with Pleks, i remember the shift where he skated it around the zone for 30 seconds, turned it over, then took a dumb penalty. I think that sums up his year. Alot of skating and nothing to show for it.

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So a much graver problem, as several have pointed out, is the complete lack of a second C who can lead the offence, taking checkers off Koivu and making him better and generally giving our attack a compelling 'second wave.' This has been an organizational problem for years (one I've harped on at regular intervals, for whatever that's worth). Unless Plekanec recovers his scoring touch, we have a serious problem; conventional hockey wisdom is that you need to be strong down the middle. We ain't.

(By the way, if you break down Koivu's numbers in detail, you'll find he produces like an elite centreman for about 2/3 or 3/4 of every season...and then has horrific 20-game slumps where he does nothing. He's not so much a #2 C as a #1 C, two thirds of the time ^_^ )

Yes, Koivu lacked support for a long time. But you can't say there's a lack of talent up front anymore. And down the middle we have Plex, Lang and Laps. The last two are doing very well. Should be enough to take pressure off Plex & Koivu. Yes, Plex sucks this year. But even if he was doing great last year, it didnt stopped Koivu from having one of his worst seasons. There's tons of wingers with talent now. How much more support does Saku needs? The offense worked well without him, why can't it be better with him?

Elite C's play above a point-per-game for the entire season, or at least very close. If their stats dip, they'll compensate with physical play and remain threats. Elite C's also usually have a strong 2-way game and step their game up when the game is on the line. Malkin, Crosby, Getzlaf, Savard, Datsyuk, Thornton, M. Richards, Roy, Lecavalier, Staal, heck, even Mikko Koivu is now nearing elite status thanks to his size, 2-way game and point production (in Minny no less, without Gaborik).

Fact is, if you try to look around the League for players with Saku's style, size, age, stats and injury issues, you realize he's closer to guys like Doug Weight or Steve Sullivan or Michael Nylander. Good playmakers, but nowhere near elite C's. If you had a Weight/Sullivan/Nylander as one of your top 2 C's right now, had a lack of size & grit up front and were aiming at the Cup, wouldnt you consider changing that spot amongst others?

That's all. Shouldnt be such a huge deal to simply make it clear that, hey, there's a lot of money spent there on a position (core top 2 lines offensive C) that could and needs to be improved. It's been proven that having or not having Koivu makes much less of an impact than having or not having Komisarek, Markov or Price.

I'll agree though, it's not the #1 priority. Heck, might not even be a possibility.

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O'Byrne looked good last night. Skated well, good passes, a couple of hits and for the most part his positioning was good.

The one thing that really stood out last night was how wimpy our forwards are. Patches was driving to the net constantly and creating chances by doing it. He is the only habs player that does it,

Only player not playing on the LaLaKo line. Those three spent the night in front of the net.

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Saku Koivu has always been a good centreman, and he still is. He's not the "problem." But I guess we are condemned to live in a universe where every time the Habs struggle, our best player for the last decade is attacked.

Would it be better to have Vinny or some other super-elite #1 C, instead of using Koivu in that role? Of course. That fact does not lead to the conclusion that Koivu is a problem. It's not his fault the organization has not been able to address a fundamental weakness that's haunted us since the departure of Damphousse (who wasn't a natural C anyway).

And let's not waste time fantasizing that Koivu can be used to acquire Lecavalier. Remembers those rumours that they wanted markov or Komisarek - ? Plus half the farm and a jillion first-round picks - ? And why would Koivu waive to go to a dismal hole like TB?

So a much graver problem, as several have pointed out, is the complete lack of a second C who can lead the offence, taking checkers off Koivu and making him better and generally giving our attack a compelling 'second wave.' This has been an organizational problem for years (one I've harped on at regular intervals, for whatever that's worth). Unless Plekanec recovers his scoring touch, we have a serious problem; conventional hockey wisdom is that you need to be strong down the middle. We ain't.

(By the way, if you break down Koivu's numbers in detail, you'll find he produces like an elite centreman for about 2/3 or 3/4 of every season...and then has horrific 20-game slumps where he does nothing. He's not so much a #2 C as a #1 C, two thirds of the time ^_^ )

I am not attacking Koivu, but he is a problem in the sense that he cannot be relied upon to carry this team alone. He is either mediocre or injured. Bursts of promise for sure. My point is that we need to find a way to make him our number 2 guy. I am not suggesting we get rid of him, but that we get a number 1 centre and dump pleks. If Koivu was a point a game guy who could play 75 games or more a year, then he could be our number 1, but he isn't that guy. Him being our best centre is a problem. This is not Koivu's fault and I suspect he would be in complete agreement as the team captain. If he had help at centre he would be more effective and the team would be stronger.

There is a reason we were in the Sundin race. There is a reason we are after Vinnie. We need a big, durable centre to take the pressure off. Personally, I would prefer having vinny, Koivu, and Lang as our top 3 centers. That is a team strong up the middle. Pleks is a number 3 centre at best, but I suspect he is the odd man out. He wants to be a top 2 centre like last year. I don't think he has it in him year over year. Last year was a career year for him, not an average year.

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You didnt see the game?

Near the end of the game Cube was rubbed out at the Habs bench by Evgeny Artyukhin. Cube got up and slashed the closest TB guy, which wasnt Artyukhin, and then skated along following Artyukhin like he wanted to fight him. Lucky for Cube he didnt say "oh ya". Artyukhin would have destroyed Cube, he's HT: 6-5 WT: 254. Thats why TB kept thinking they are tough, because that guys huge. Artyukhin made several big hits. If BGL was in the game TB might not have acted so rough but Artyukhin might be able to give BGL a good go. I've never seen Artyukhin play before and have no clue if he can fight, but he's even bigger than BGL so if there somebody who could throttle BGL it might be him.

I could tell Cube was pissed from that hit but he was committing suicide seeking retribution against Artyukhin. Cube is lucky that Artyukhin wasnt interested at all. Artyukhin wasnt even really paying attention to Cube. He's probably like the Borg and only looks for people who are threats, and Cube was definitely no threat to him. :lol:

At one point earlier in the game Komi knocked Artyukhin down, but I'm pretty sure Komi never thought of dropping the gloves with him.

Thank you, I seen the first and second periods so that must of happened in third? Anyway, that is good for Boo. He shows he aint fearless, remember he faught Orr and May. Those two are way bigger than Cube. I agree TB wouldn't have been so rough if BGL was in.

He would manhandle Artyukhin. That beast rarely fights. BGL beat Boogard, a bigger and more experienced fighter than Artyukhin.

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I am not attacking Koivu, but he is a problem in the sense that he cannot be relied upon to carry this team alone. He is either mediocre or injured. Bursts of promise for sure. My point is that we need to find a way to make him our number 2 guy. I am not suggesting we get rid of him, but that we get a number 1 centre and dump pleks. If Koivu was a point a game guy who could play 75 games or more a year, then he could be our number 1, but he isn't that guy. Him being our best centre is a problem. This is not Koivu's fault and I suspect he would be in complete agreement as the team captain. If he had help at centre he would be more effective and the team would be stronger.

There is a reason we were in the Sundin race. There is a reason we are after Vinnie. We need a big, durable centre to take the pressure off. Personally, I would prefer having vinny, Koivu, and Lang as our top 3 centers. That is a team strong up the middle. Pleks is a number 3 centre at best, but I suspect he is the odd man out. He wants to be a top 2 centre like last year. I don't think he has it in him year over year. Last year was a career year for him, not an average year.

Or put Plek as #2 and trade Koivu. Don't forget that although he may be having an offensive slump, Plek is quite good in his own zone. With the season he's having, he could probably be signed for 3 to 4 million for 3 or four years. I hate to say it, but I think I would rather have that. I love Koivu, and I have become emotionally attached to him as a franchise guy, but unfourunately his best years are behind him, ripe with illness, injury, and the 8 or 9 dark years that the franchise has had in my lifetime. In the 70's we had Lemaire leading at centre. He was also smallish, but he was a clutch guy with two brilliant wingers. But equally important was Jarvis. Risbrough, the agitator. Can Lappiere be th e next Jarvis our team? I don't know. In the 80's we got Bobby Smith. Not an elite, but a big guy with hockey smarts and the ability to use the team around him to win, but we had Carbo.

I believe that it's this combination that creates a winning team. Right now we may have that shutdown guy in Lappiere, but Plek could also play that role. I compare Plek to Mondou, and the whole Laps line line to the Risbrough, Tremblay, and Yvon Lambert.

I think we can win a cup without an elite centre, but the problem is, we never replaced Carbo. We need EITHER a shut down centre or an elite. Both would be great, but I can't see that.

We also needdamn defensive coach. We gotta quit handing over the blueline on a silver platter.

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