Blog Entry

Showing Montreal some mercy

Posted on: April 22, 2009 11:53 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2009 12:42 am

Some day the Montreal Canadiens should thank the Boston Bruins for putting them out of their misery so quickly.

Really, Boston did the Canadiens a favor tonight by running them out of their own rink to complete an embarrassingly easy first round sweep with a 4-1 win. Right now Montreal is too busy licking wounds to realize it, but having this disastrous season drag on a little longer would have been as painful as it would have been pointless for an iconic organization that has imploded like never before in its long and illustrious history.

Truth is the sooner the Canadiens can get started plotting the overhaul that is so obviously necessary, the better. Montreal has to decide which of more than a dozen pending free agents it wants back and it needs to settle on a permanent coach, so staving off the inevitable in this series, even for another game, would amount to \little more than an unnecessary delay.

Clearly the Canadiens were grossly overmatched in this series agains their deep and talented long time arch rival. In fact they probably wouldn't have even been here had the two teams they were battling for the final Eastern Conference playoff seed not played like they wanted it less toward the end of the regular season. But Montreal's back door entry was always destined to be only a temporary stay of execution for a team that was done long before the post season matchups were established.

At least now, they don't have to suffer any longer.

The reality is that the Canadiens have been feeling the pain for months. Montreal started apart just before the All Star break it hosted as part of the franchise's 100th anniversary celebrations when rumors about a potential trade for Vincent Lecavalier had half the dressing room walking on egg shells. But ultimately, the team was crushed by the weight of what now seem like ridiculously unrealistic expectations in the NHL's most pressure packed market.

Coming off a surprise first place finish a year ago, Montreal planned, or at least hoped to seriously challenge for a Stanley Cup in its historic season. Instead, the Canadiens were victimized by internal dissension, off ice scandals and enough lackluster performances to result in a desperate last season coaching change. That brought no salvation, and only served to demonstrate that Montreal is a flawed team on many levels.

The deficiencies were brutally exposed in the schooling Boston provided in this series. Through four one sided games, the Bruins best players played the way they were supposed to, while their Montreal counterparts did not. More important, Boston put on a clinic in terms of overall execution and disciplined play that could take them very deep in this post season, but their task was made easier by Montreal proving it was more pretender than contender all along.

Boston was never threatened in this series, and certainly not in the finale despite Montreal jumping in front less than a minute into the game. It was the kind of start that should have given the Canadiens a boost, but instead they fell victim to mental mistakes and physical errors than even a good team would be hard pressed to overcome.

The Canadiens, however, are not a good team. Thanks to the Bruins, they can get started dealing with it.

Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals have to start dealing with the fact they might be eliminated after the first round for the second year in a row. Washington actually hasn't been to the second round since 1998, a span covering four previous playoff appearances, but the Capitals looked like they turned the tide against New York with a dominant Game 3 after losing twice at home.

However the Rangers responded with an impressive effort of their own to regain the momentum and take a 3-1 series lead. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist was the story again with a brilliant 38 save performance, but New York dominated in the faceoff circle for the first time and its league best penalty killing unit shut down Washington's power play on all six tries to help facilitate the win.

The real difference tonight though was a strong start by the Rangers that kept the Caps back on their heels and allowed New York to set the tone.

Best game of the night was in Calgary where the Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks added another chapter to what has become the most entertaining series of these playoffs.

Calgary got big games from big guns Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen, who both scored a pair of goals. But the Flames didn't make life easy on themselves by blowing a three goal lead in the second period before pulling it out in the third to send things back to Chicago with the series tied two games apiece.


Category: NHL

Since: May 1, 2008
Posted on: April 23, 2009 9:26 pm

Showing Montreal some mercy

Anyone saying that Gainey must go should back up & look at what they were saying about him at this time last year.  I'm not going to be a hypocrite and second guess him now.  I thought that the team was in great shape going into this year because all the young guys we had were going to bloom and blossom into stars.  Carey Price was going to learn from last year & develop in to the franchise goalie.  Mike Komisarek was going to finally establish himself as a solid blue-liner and we were going to breeze to the Eastern Conference finals.  Of course, None of these things happened. Exactly none of our youngsters took any sort of steps forward, in fact, they all regressed.  Price is just lost out there & maybe his "get in position & get big" style works in the AHL, but NHL shooters are too good & too fast for that style.  More goals went past him without him even moving than any goalie I have ever seen.  I think he just might not be that good...Komisarek had an awful year.  He was running around all year, trying to make those Big Larry robinson style hits, but he doesn't have that kind of skill.  It seems like once a game he would try to bury someone in the corner, miss, and get beat back into the slot.  Basically everything that all Canadiens fans, and a majority of the NHL community thought was going to happen with this team didn't.  There were absolutely no bright spots in this season.  It couldn't get over fast enough. As far as I'm concerned there are only three players that must stay on this roster: Koivu - he's earned the right to remain a Hab for life.  Markov - One the best, most under-rated blue liners in the league, & ...Kovalev - I know all the negative knocks against the guy, but he has soooo much skill.  Everyone else is open season.  By the way, I love the guy, but hiring Patrick Roy as head coach in Montreal would be disasterous!  His personality would implode under the media pressure that comes from being a coach in that city. 


Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: April 23, 2009 5:36 pm

Showing Montreal some mercy

Props to this Habs fan for not spewing excuses after the swift Round 1 exit. You make some good points, although I think the only one they should keep is Komisarek. Koivu is a classy guy but I think the extreme overhaul would have to include him too. Kovalev's passion is non-existent. I said he's had the 'meh' disease for far too long now. Just doesn't seem to care - especially when things start going south.


Ship the Kostitsyns out for draft picks, cut ties with Lang and Kovalev for sure, and go out and sign a couple of (semi)skilled players that play with some passion. If they could land Lecavalier, that would be a great start, although I think PK Subban is going to be a hell of a hockey player (they'd need to send Tampa this guy for sure in a package).


As much as I also dislike Schneider, I think he'd be a decent fit on the blueline for next year too. It killed them to let Streit and Souray go for nothing at all.


Lastly, get a good mentor with experience for Carey Price. Sign a vet to back him up and make a move with Halak to net some talent in return. If you're going to go with Price as the 'Goalie of the Future', you can't have Halak being a backup when he obviously could start for some NHL clubs. Cherry hit it right on the head - the kid is a good goalie, but way too young to have to deal with that kind of pressure (Montreal). He made a great point that Steve Mason can have a great year in Columbus because no one pays any attention in that city (compared to the big hockey markets).


Good post.


Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: April 23, 2009 5:07 pm

Showing Montreal some mercy


they need to get younger

no kovalev, no koivu, no schneider, certainly no lang

they have to let their young players develop.

they have good defensive prospects coming up - that should be good

they need to get MUCH bigger down the middle and on D



Since: Apr 20, 2009
Posted on: April 23, 2009 1:45 pm

Showing Montreal some mercy

 they still playing hockey in vancouver   

Since: Dec 18, 2007
Posted on: April 23, 2009 1:19 pm

Showing Montreal some mercy


Since: Jan 18, 2008
Posted on: April 23, 2009 11:27 am

Showing Montreal some mercy

Errrr.....what about the Devils - Canes??

NJ won Game 1 easily enough, but that's been followed by three barnstormers.

Locked up at 2-2, Game 5 tonight could be a classic. I hope so, I've got me a ticket (despite being a Nucks fan) 

Since: Apr 10, 2009
Posted on: April 23, 2009 10:59 am

Blow-up Montreal

 I am a Canadian that has followed hockey (NHL) for some 30 years. The Habs are at their lowest point ever. The sale of the team seems virtually a given. They need to get rid of Bob Gainey, possibly only sign half their free agents coming this summer. Get a veteran goalie that can work with Carey Price. The organization has put far too much pressure on that kid! Patrick Roy seems to fit the bill in being able to help in some of these situations? ( NOT AS A PLAYER - HIS DAYS ARE BEHIND HIM OF COURSE) Most importantly GET RID OF ALEXI KOVALEV! When you have players that don't want to play - they need to go! I believe that something will be up this summer in trying to aquire Vincent Lecavalier, I find it strange that the Habs needed help at the trade deadline and did nothing. It also has something to do with Carbonneu being fired. Clean House! Watch what Brian Burke is going to do in Toronto - it will, and should be a model.




Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: April 23, 2009 10:41 am

Showing Montreal some mercy

No question the Habs did not have it this year, at least after the allstar break. There seem to be many reasons for this floating around but the fact that they finished where the Bruins are now last year suggests that all is not as bleak as Wes lets on. A host of players this year took a step backwards in their development and I do agree that Carbonneau has to take a lot of the blame for that. Gainey probably should have taken action a few months earlier and maybe the team would have started to turn it around before the playoffs. Kovalev at least showed that he was a different player after the change.

I did always think it a negative to have two solid defensive guys like Gainey and Carbonneau running things. Montreal needs offense more than anything else so I would have had either a GM or coach who could actually help on this facet of the game. I'd stick with Gainey because he has good hockey sense, but get an offensive minded coach. Get at least one big D to help out Komisarek, he was a physical force before he got hurt but not so much since then and he's just not big enough to play that style of game. Keep Price, just start managing him properly, even Don Cherry for gosh sakes even realizes that the guy is being mishandled. He may wind up being like Marc-Andre Fleury and take a few years to get his head back in the right space after this. But he will be good so cut him some slack.

The big choice is what free agents to keep. I think they have to keep Komisarek and Lang if he's recovered. I'd keep Schneider and Kovalev at a reduced salary and after that think about going for some big free agents before signing too many more guys. A big D and a big offensive forward would change the team chemistry completely and then fill in with whoever fits under the cap. And assign a psychiatrist to the Kostitsyns, they are way too talented to underperform like they are. Sergei skates around taking bad penalties instead of scoring these days and didn't really learn much from being sent down. Andre has had his moments this year but then goes into long dry spells.

Bottom line is to not let the fans decide who they want to run out of town on a rail. If that happens the Habs might as well become the Toronto Maple Leafs. Montreal has succeeded by bringing along players at their own pace and now is not the time to start looking for scapegoats and trading them for nothing. Look at Ryder and Ribeiro, who would have looked very useful in red sweaters this last series.

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: April 23, 2009 10:08 am

Showing Montreal some mercy

The best series so far was the Canucks-Blues. Especially if you are a Canucks fan. Tongue out 

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: April 23, 2009 4:13 am

Showing Montreal some mercy

Rangers - Caps is a great series.  The Caps might be down 3-1, but if Lundqvist cools off the Rangers could be in trouble.  He was out of his mind last night.  That series along with the Pens-Flyers, Flames-Blackhawks, and Ducks-Sharks are all shaping up to be great matchups. 


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