Monday's practice was delayed by more than an hour while coach Guy Carbonneau held a video session with the team. The focus was on fixing their defensive zone coverage as Carbonneau says they've been thinking offence too much and opponents are exposing that tendency. - TSN
No, that's not the problem. The problem is gap control once we gain possession of the puck in our defensive zone. Not saying our coverage has been good, because it hasn't. But I think that's more the problem than anything else.
With the parity prevailing in the NHL, the Habs players realized over the week end that talent was not enough to win games. The athletic qualities must be backed by good work ethics and a certain rigor in respecting the game plan.
In the last two games where the Habs added 1 meagre point in the standings following a loss by shoot out in Columbus, the weaknesses have been numerous. Firstly, we must talk about discipline. And, contrary to what we may think, Tom Kostopoulos isn't the guiltiest player. He is asked to play with intensity. The type of infraction he committed in Toronto is inherent to his role on the team.
We must pay closer attention to the other infractions.
Our player of the week, Saku Koivu, was guilty of an interference infraction against the Blue Jackets which changed the course of the game. Some will say that it was a borderline call. He nevertheless prevented his opponent from continuing his progression after the face off. With a -2, Koivu is at the top of a weak class.
Tomas Plekanec accomplished nice things in his offensive zone. His intensity cannot be questioned. However, he committed a few positioning faults in his defesive zone. In spite of his three points in two games (one goal and two passes), he finds himself with a (-1) performance.
It's the same story for these two players' right wingers. Alex Kovalev realized some nice plays in his offensive zone but too often he attempted impossible plays with risky passes which became turnovers. We don't want to restrain the Artist in his genial improvisations but we would like him to be more prudent in certain situations.
Concerning Alex Tanguay, we can't criticize him too much with his production of 1 goal and 2 passes in these two game. But we cannot remain silent on his (-2) performance. Moreover, he caught a bad penalty in his offensive zone against the Leafs.
The left wingers on the first two lines were given lower marks than their linemates on the right side. Chris Higgins works hard but he was caught deep in the offensive zone on Mark Methot's goal in the game against the Blue jackets and we must also mention that he has missed several good scoring oppotunities. In our evaluations we must also take into consideration offensive errors.
Andrei Kostitsyn showed flashes of genius on certain plays, but we would like to see more regularity in his efforts. His pass to his brother in Columbus was magic. We would like to see such plays more often.
Now a few words about the third line. We must note a certain awakening on Sergei's part who, of late, has worked with more intensity. Robert Lang was OK but he won only 13 of 34 face offs (38%). Guillaume Latendresse, for one, must start attacking the net with more fierceness. We're not talking only about his positioning in front of the net but we would also like to see him cutting with the puck toward the net in order to obtain better scoring chances and force his opponents into catching penalties.
Finally, the fourth line has played up to expectations. It's sad for Steve Bégin and Mathieu Dandenault but a certain stability in the lineup is necessary. It was time for Carbo to confirm Maxim Lapierre, Kostopoulos and Georges Laraque in their role.
The Habs' defense is fragile as shown by the nine goals allowed in two games. Firstly, for a second game in a row, Jaroslav Halak wasn't up to the situation while Carey Price couldn't steal a win in Toronto.
Against the Leafs, we realized once more that defensive success depended on very little. It was sufficient for Roman Hamrlik to be absent and for Andrei Markov to have an ordinary game to show the blatant shortcomings of this defense.
We repeat it: The habs need another defense player !
Patrice Brisebois was hired as a 7th dman and it would be unjust to ask him to do the job of a 4th dman. He must play this role because Ryan O'Byrne simply isn't ready to play in the NHL.
Without Hamrlik who didn't play his best game aganist Columbus, we had to break the Josh Gorges-Francis Bouillon duo on Saturday. Excellent together, Gorges and Bouillon didn't show the same efficiency while playing respectively with Brisebois and O'Byrne.
Last edited by Beakermania*: 11-11-2008 at 03:46 PM.