So I watched tonight's epic Canucks-Blackhawks game and compared it to last night's Bruins-Habs game. Other than highlights, I don't watch other entire games so the flow of the game seemed very different for me.
First of all, both VAN and CHI had defensemen who made plays. They intercepted, they played with the puck, made sharp passes to streaking forwards and TOOK THE BODY. Secondly, their forwards always carried the puck into the O-zone instead of chipping it like the Habs (and Rags) do. Their forwards challenged the opposing D, instead of taking to the boards they played heads-up and made plays.
Other than that, both of those teams, but more notably Chicago, were very comfortable with the puck. They kept the puck 1-2 seconds longer than we usually do, they were patient and sharp with their passes. Not just Kane and Toews, but Bolland's line, Hossa's line, every line.
All that to say: compared to Game5 of the BOS-MON series, the VAN-CHI game was much, much better. Habs hockey looks terrible compared to these teams'. I understand that it's a stifling defensive system and we can beat any team in the league with it but it's still ridiculously inefficient in terms of plays completed and successful set-ups.
If game5 hadn't gone to OT everybody would've rated it as the worst game the Habs played all year. Chippy passes, rolling pucks, miscues and misplays, no communication, and so on.
They couldn't set up on a powerplay which has been a major issue in the JM era. How come an NHL hockey team with NHL players who get paid much more than the league average NOT be able to set up a simple 5-on-4 powerplay? It's always the same play, chip it in, off-winger races to get it and blind passes the puck to the pinching d-man... Except when the chip gets intercepted by the opposing goalie, or the off-dman, or the off-winger who ices it and kills off 40seconds of our PP time. How come they never get the puck to the slot? Or skate it in and keep it instead of chipping it along the boards?
Is it the GM's fault for spending to the cap and not having the talent to play actual hockey or JM's fault for pulling in the reigns too tight and being overly negative? Or who cares, as long as we win?
If JM gets fired after this season will Kirk Muller be any different?
You described Chicago as a puck possession team that is very patient with the puck. Similar to Detroit.
We are the exact opposite to that. There tends to be a rush to get rid of the puck on our team, which often times leads to errant passes to nowhere or to an opposing player. I dream of having a puck possession team in Montreal but Martin cannot/will not ever have a team like that.
And I concur that our D men as well as our forwards when playing defense do not take the body. It is almost always stick checking which is not the best type of defense.
We can always dream though. And I think that Muller would probably be very similar to Martin. After all, he supposedly has responsibility for the offense.......and we are not a puck possession offense.
JM is an experienced and a smart coach i'm sure he will figure out something for Tuesdays games, my worry's are not with him. No I worry more about the players not being able to capitalize on major occasions and not being able like you said establish a good PP. I think the players are injured its just obvious we have way too much talent to be that bad... I mean we saw how terrible Wiz was yesterday and we know how dominant he is normally on the PP at least yesterday it looked like if he dint had it and it was because of an injury...it made sense.
I dont know what to say if the players are injured I really dont see a way how we could win Game 6... Half of the Bruins goals are garbage goals.
The reason their guys hold on to the puck so long is the combination skill and talent with size and strength. Hossa, Toews, Bolland, Sharp, Frolik, Brouwer, Bickell and Stalberg ALL are around 6-1 or bigger, 200 pounds and they have skill. Brouwer and Bickell to a lesser extent. They also have Keith who plays 28 minutes a night able to support the forwards in opposition end. And im not even mentioning Kane
But the simple fact is Montreal doesn't have a single player that can match Hossa, Keith, Kane or Toews in ability to control a game.
Montreal doesn't have the talent to play a style like Chicago. Montreal plays to their strength which is goaltending.
you need to have the talented athletes to play that way.
can't expect guys like Wiz, Gill, Sopel, Hamrlik to even try to play that way, it simply wouldn't work.
likewise, on offense, the puck skills of Cammy, Gionta, Gomez, and of course Darche/Moen simply aren't at the level where they can make those kind of patient plays with the puck under pressure.
Gomez can play with space, and tries to use his speed to give himself enough space to operate, but you can see that any time a defender is close to him, his ability to keep the puck alive and make a play with it disappear.
Pleks, Eller, DD, and Kost (to a certain degree) are our only fwds with that kind of skill/poise with the puck, and on defense, it's really only Subban at this point.
Both Hamrlik and Spacek were fairly solid in that department (and I think Hamrlik still is when "rested" i.e he's playing sub-18min game) but at this stage in their careers, they've regressed... I think that's actually part of why so many of spaceks plays look so horrible. it's like he's trying to make plays that his body/mind simply can't handle at this point, and hasn't figured out how to play within his limitations (the way a player like Gill has).
a coach can only do so much with the horses he's given... this roster doesn't have the kind of horses that VCR or even Chicago (after the purge) are loaded with.