Is coaching the problem?
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01-28-2010, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Although I was surprised when Gainey nominated Jacques Martin as his new head coach, I am not going to blame his coaching abilities for the Habs average season thus far. But if you want to blame Gainey for the players he picked last summer when he had all this money to give away, just remember that Martin was also part of the selection process. It is as much Martin's team as it is Gainey's.
But I am not going to blame that selection. I think we got exactly what was expected from each of those players apart from Jaroslav Spacek (or was he overrated?). It was nonsense to anticipate a career season from everyone. Gomez, Cammalleri, Gionta, Moen, Gill and Mara are playing as expected. I'm happy with our first 2 lines when including AK. They're too small? They're still producing. Cammy is on his way to a 40-goal season; Gomez is almost at PPG in his last 20 games, Gionta was effective before his injury (little early to evaluate him now).
So what's left? Either the support or the system.
I have no clue what the system is and if it is being applied or not. I remember Martin talking about puck possession and, although I don't have stats for the past 10-15 games, I doubt we have improved that much in that department. Obviously, one has to adapt to the opponent's system in the course of the game. Much more difficult to control the puck against the trap, hence the puck dumping in so many games. But I've seen Montreal failing to adjust against other teams defending the puck dumping with a defenseman way back.
It's obvious that we're not getting as much from our 3rd and 4th lines as we did last year. Laps/Lats/Kosto were forming one of the best 3rd line in the East. Our 4th line would often find a way to keep the puck in the offensive zone, putting pressure on the defensemen. Sure it may sound absurd to put the blame on the supporting cast after we've only scored one goal in two games, but it is a team work. You can't expect the first lines to produce as much when we spend most of the game in our own zone.
Both the Panthers and the Lightning have been controlling the play. Their puck possession throughout the game must have been over 60%. This means that our defense was wasting a lot of energy running around. I saw a few counterattacks on our part developing with only one player against 2-3 defenders. Something else I noticed: when in control of the puck in the offensive zone, the player would have no alternatives whatsoever. Either his teammates were too far, or they weren't moving trying to get away from their cover.
I don't mind Martin. It's obvious to me that Guy Boucher is the future but I don't see him behind the bench after only one year in Hamilton. I do believe that this team is better than what they've shown in the last two games. In fact, this was probably their worst showing this season. Let's see if they can respond better against the Senators.
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