CH vs. Flames - November 20th, 2003
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11-20-2003, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Fist let me say how absolutely fed up I am with Pedneault who supposedly has the knowledge of the game but lets his personal bias get in the way constantly. In no way, shape or form was that last goal the result of anything Souray did; he had his man, and he had him covered well. On the other hand, one of Pedneault's precious French players (his bigotry is astounding at times), Quintal, let his man go completely from the moment the puck was dropped. Gelinas was allowed to walk in alone and it was Quintal and not Souray who was completely at fault. Pedneault, take yourself off the air with absolute assine comments like that, you only show your bigotry.
Secondly, the reffing in this league is getting worse and worse and tonight it might have struck a new low. I am so sick and tired of hearing how the NHL needs to improve the game when the simple fact is that, if the refs bothered to call the rules as they are written in the damn rulebook, the game would be fast, fun, and it would allow the skill players to shine. Instead we see absolute crap like tonight where a team that plays based on the 'clutch and grab' principle ends up coming out with a goal because of it. I'm not saying the Habs were blameless 'cause they were anything but, however when the refs say they don't want to decide a game by calling everything, they take the opposite route and end up deciding the game because of complete inaction. On the Flame first goal Ryder had his stick held *blatantly* at the blueline before it was dumped in, then Bouillon was hooked equally *blatantly* forcing him to cough up the puck. It's this kind of crap that causes fans to give up on the game and the league to look, quite frankly, stupid.
Thirdly, despite the 'penalty goal' which I call it, the Habs TOTALLY deserved to lose this game by showing a complete lack of concentration and virtually zero second effort all night. Player after player messed up on simple plays and the Flames were on the puck first all night. Even when Montreal had the puck, the Flames were on them quickly and instead of giving a second effort, these pathetic souls packed it in and trudged back to the defensive zone. It was an embarassing effort on almost all accounts.
Notes: (and it's going to be ugly)
Theo: I have a tough time watching a goal go through a goaltenders legs even if it is on a scrambly play in front of the net and that first, while being the 'penalty goal' was still tough to swallow from a 'tending standpoint. However, despite that one play, I thought Theo was excellent tonight and allowed a team to stay in a game it had no right to even be present for. A
Bouillon: A tough night for sure with multiple poor passes. His defensive coverage was off and his game was just not up to snuff. I'm sure after the 'Nuck-Nuck game he was told to lay off the personal attacks, but he went from an extremely physical game to one in which he was an innocent bystander. C-
Rivet: He scored. Freakin' yay. Then again, he was probably one of the better defenders for the Habs tonight, and the way he's been playing lately, that's *saying* something. Still, he's a step behind regularly in the zone and has these terrible brain farts where he gives up the puck a la vintage Breezer in the middle of the slot. C+
Brisebois: Unbelievably, a bright spot tonight. He made one ridiculous pass cross his own zone again, but wasn't burned for it, and other than that played a sound game sticking to the basics. His coverage was good, and I'm starting to see him and Markov gelling nicely. B+
Markov: Speaking of which, it looks like that goal the other night was exactly the tonic he needed. Tonight you could see his hand-eye coordination again, you could see him winning battles along the boards, you could see him making nice plays with the puck, and you could see him positioning himself like we all know he can. Sure, he made a couple of gaffes, but all in all, it's nice to see that he looks to be getting right back on track again. A-
Quintal: No more comment needed on that second goal. He was a step behind all night tonight and everything good I said about him last game keeping people to the outside and only allowing the perimeter shot was completely thrown out the window in favour of blowing coverages, poor nay dismal passing and just a completely out-to-lunch game. D-
Souray: Well, he was better than Quintal. But again, I found him a step behind tonight. He may have been our best defenseman for the last couple of weeks, but he *must* become more consistent. Games like tonight when he's beaten, can't make a pass, and his decisions are poor make me very grumpy when I know he's capable of *so* much more. B-
Langdon: Fought Oliwa after the latter cross-checked him in the face opening up a gash on his nose (Oliwa was given 5 and a game for intent to injure). He finished his checks and did almost everything you expect a goon to do. B+
Begin: Still goes out there and plays a consistent hard-working game, and he's such a pleasure on a night like tonight when everyone else should be wearing a bag on their heads. A
Sundstrom: On the fourth line he was typically lost, however when Audette got injured and he was promoted to second line duty, all of a sudden he was the man of the hour with multiple scoring chances. The biggest problem I have with him is his total lack of second effort. He does a great job doing something, but *never* follows it up, and if he did, good things would happen very consistently for him. B-
Audette: Took an elbow to the head (no penalty, surprise surprise) and left the game in the first, I believe it was. I say I only believe because before that he was typically invisible. F
Perreault: One of his better games, particularly when Sunny was put on the line and that threesome started playing well. He was buzzing around the net and had a couple of really good chances to score. At least he was moving off the puck tonight and not standing picking daisy's waiting for the puck to come to him - the thing I hate most about guys with talent. Defensively he's a cancer, but when he works in the offensive zone, you can forgive that to an extent. B-
Ribeiro: In the first period he was absolutely and totally atrocious and I woke my wife just screaming at the useless punter. Pass attempt after pass attempt he'd lift his head and whiff or just make a butt-stupid choice. However, he managed to get it together and in the second and third he played a really strong game. He was finishing checks, playing with intelligence and aplomb in the offensive zone and both set up and had many chances to score. He really needs to sit down and look at this game and then concentrate hard on playing the way he did late in this one - then he's a bonified #2 centre. B
Bulis: Typical game working hard and making things happen. I think the only reason he wasn't moved to the number two line when Audette went down is because he has good chemistry with Juneau and Dax and the three played a strong defensive game again. A-
Juneau: I'm sure there will be plenty of Hab fan whiners saying he's useless, but once again he did his job marking out the opposing top line. Sure, they did score, but not while Juneau's unit was on the ice. Probably the single most underrated Hab at the moment. A-
Dackell: Okay, maybe it's Dax who's the most underrated. Dackell, whom most want to see traded or sent to the minors was once again excellent in his role and tonight showed something a little extra on the five minute PP when *he* won the puck in the corner and it was *his* shot that was easily the best up until that point in the PP (3:00 in). I wish Dackell haters would just shut up about him being small and not physical and watch what he brings to the game. B+
Ryder: With an effort like the one he gave tonight, I think he might miss that outdoor match in Edmo. He was absolutely putrid, particularly in the first when he accomplished precisely zero except a few turnovers. Hopeless defensively tonight as well. He was marginally better for the rest of the game, but didn't give a second effort or win anything all night. Seventeen and a half minutes of totally wasted time tonight. Did he think after last game that he'd made it? D-
Zednik: Same question for you! Utterly useless. He didn't throw the body even once tonight; not on the forecheck, not trying to stop another player, not for anything. He was hopeless in his defensive coverage and really took up nothing more than space on the wing. From him, you *have* to expect way more. F
Koivu: No wingers, and therefore was left alone out there. He still gave it his all, but really it was him and the two defenders quite often. Certainly, he made his share of errors, however he at least still made smart plays, and was probably one of the better Habs. I think his game probably looked far worse than it would have had he had two players on his wings instead of moving burlap bags. B+
It was like watching the Habs of two to three years ago - you remember that team? The one that couldn't string together more that two passes in a row? There was no cohesion to the Habs, no flow, in fact, there was no pro hockey. It was like watching an AHL game, except of course our AHL team would have kicked their butts in effort alone. Call it the game of stupid mistakes, they're going to have to really buckle down against an Oil team who will make them *pay* for the same kind of errors.
Finally, the special, or not-so-special teams. There needs to be a lot of work done, as many have mentioned, otherwise we're not going to get very far this season at all. The PK was marginally better tonight, but let me ask this: when you have one more person on the ice than the opposition and they have the puck, WHY does everyone back off and just wait patiently for the clearance? It's absolutely assinine! Force the play, you have the extra man! Create odd-man situations and then *win* the puck. Against an aggressive team like the Flames, *move* the damn puck quicker - stop pausing to reflect on how nice it is you have the stupid thing. Simple, simple, simple thing, *particularly* that first which costs us regularly as we watch the other team play with the puck. I *hate* that.
The Habs had better focus for the next game against the Oil, because if we play the same way tonight, the score is going to be a lot worse - the Oil can score goals. Dare I say that Saturday's game will be the last in the 'observation period' that Gainey has set out for himself? If we are embarrassed on a national scale, might not the axe finally drop on some of these players who don't give full efforts?
Finally a question: have Hossa and Hainsey been pulled out of the lineup in preparation for a trade? They've been sitting longer than usual, and since most Hab fans I've spoken with have no clue why Hossa is out of the lineup in favour of some of these other players, it's a legitimate question, I believe.
A concerned fan.
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