Sunday, October 16, 2011

All Downhill From Here - The Avalanche in Montreal


Things seem so complicated during a losing spell. Therein lies the cure - simplify the game.

The Canadiens have lost the ability to defend their zone. Opposing forwards scream through the Habs blue line at will. Carey Price cannot stop a puck anymore than Erik Cole can get one on net. PK is looking like the foolish rookie trying so hard to do so much, only to cost the team that much more.

3 games out of 4 now, Montreal hasn't just been bad, they've been last place bad. In that scare we also find the comfort: the season is only 4 games old.

The boys frankly can't play much worse in their own end.

The unfortunate thing is that Montreal's poor defensive showing completely eclipsed some inspiring play at the opposite end as the team held a wide lead in shots over the Avs throughout the game. The forwards were overshadowed on a night where Hall Gill looked like skating was the most arduous task anyone could as of him, where the rookies turned in rookie performances that featured rookie mistakes such as taking a penalty late in the third that allowed the Avs back in the game. A determined Travis Moen looking every bit like a power forward, Lars Eller showing quick hands and spontaneous skill, Kostitsyn playing loose and Pacioretty renewing hope in Montreal that their long awaited natural scorer may be on the horizon  -  all this laid to waste by uncommitted, unfocused, incoherent defence.

It's a downhill slope these Habs are engaged in and as word spreads around the league that anything inside the Habs blue line is a free for all things may get far worse. No reason to throw the life boats to the water but there is cause for concern. Why so deflated on Thursday for the home opener? Why so easily prone to shut down for the last 2 periods during the season opener in Toronto? Is this group that took the eventual Stanley Cup champions closer to the edge than anyone else simply believing they are that good instead of going out there and proving it?

The season is young, the answers will come. Some of the injured will heal and the team will define its own sense of bonding. But there appear to be glaring holes on D so for an organization that prides itself on having hired a defensive specialist to man the bench, this should merely be a matter of early season tweaking.

Tweak fast.

The Avs, Leafs and Flames were all greeted with biscuits and tea at the Montreal blue line. Carey is alone and so far incapable of posting bail for the deficiencies before him. And when time came to take responsibility in last night's shootout, he wasn't up to the task.

Discomfort, worry, unease, these are all part of the conversation. Coach Martin has some work to do to get the players out of their heads and have them recommit to the simplicity of the game.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow dude - of course yer right but...

I only caught the 3rd period .. it was awesome.. shame about the end but fuck.. habs scoring goals .. gotta dig that

only sig. bummer was that cherry, kessel & asham had killer night. price & our beloved pk not so much. it happens. you dig?

Markov, hamrlik, spacek becomes lemelin, diaz, weber - we're all in shock

w: swetagno - I spent a lot money on education but I never learned of that tribe

Number31 said...

They'll get it eventually. That penalty on Diaz was bollocks but the penalty kill for it was dog poop smelly. Price can't even blink with the puck in our own end and staring for that long only makes you cross-eyed.

Darksyde said...

I agree with 31 100%. Just as having a good and composed goaltender gives the rest of the team confidence, the same works in reverse, I'm sure. Price has a front row seat to the Habs' recent Keystone Cops defence scheme, and it must do nothing to help Carey with his sense of calm. If he can't trust the D, then he starts worrying to much about the bodies around him, and less on the puck. Once the defence gets settled, and assignments met, he'll KNOW that PK will pick up person X, and Gorges person Y, which will allow him to concentrate on stopping the puck.

juce said...

I saw Price on the news after the game and he was very down on himself, says he blames himself for 3 goals he should of stopped.

Steve said...

I was going to say the same thing, just not in so many words, I couda chopped at least five

Steve said...

I was going to say the same thing, just not in so many words, I couda chopped at least five

Number31 said...

All goals for are ones a goalie wants back whether warranted or not. To me he was more deflecting "blame" off his inexperienced D like a leader. Boss.

Unfortunately to get that defence to work, they might have to just play some real boring road game style of hockey for a while. It might help them focus until the new guys get used to it all.

HabsFan4 said...

I agree with all of you and would babysit your children with my wife to prove it.