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Absense Of Teamwork Stretches Canadiens Skid


My apologies for the above photo. Sensitivities. Animal rights. I understand. I wouldn't actually point a gun at a kitten, or any other furry descendant of the panther species. I don't believe in guns. I'm a pacifist. I'd never shoot a defenseless cat. I'd strangle it and gag it with kitty litter instead. But that's just today. I'm that mad. Pardon my language as i rant and get this game off my chest.

Now as for the Florida Panthers, much credit to them for playing a full 60 minute hockey game just as the game should be played - AS A TEAM!

Our Montreal Canadiens on the other hand, have some issues. Big Ones. Small Ones. Lots of 'em.

Play sixty minutes? The Canadiens, did anything but. Les Habs are playing as though they have no faith in one another. It has reached a boiling point. For them, and for fans.

Goalie Carey Price had a dressing room meltdown, tossing his equipement bag after the game, and cussing during an interview.

I think those are good things - a reaction I like to see.

Looking for it on the ice, the only player I could see manifest his disgust - albeit mildly - was Mike Komisarek. Koivu had it in spells, but you could see as the game went on that he was totally bummed.

Every Canadiens player should be damned pissed about this game.


The trouble as I see it, is that team work has gone AWOL. Everywhere you look, the Canadiens are not playing as a unit of five on the ice. The breakouts aren't paced. Players pursue different interests at varying speeds. Coverage is absymal. Players are giving up left and right, not coming back into the play. There is abundant nonchalance, defiant individualism, and recklessly uncaring committance.

Let me rattle off some offender's names.

Alex Kovalev - have a nice morning skate, did you? Three times, no less, a Panthers scooted past Kovalev, who was within a stride, and carried the puck past him. He looked as though he couldn't give a shit. He didn't reach or poke the player, he just watched him pass. It was said during the RDS telecast that the Panthers forwards were all over Kovalev, not allowing him to do much. That's just generous beyond belief. It's not hard to shadow a player when he doesn't do squat. Kovalev plays for himself, period. His feet were not moving without the puck. One day he'll wake up and discover he has team mates. "The Artiste" - my ass! This latest painting was a piece of shit.

Tomas Plekanec came out of the gate looking like the player of old, but shrunk after 20 minutes. I understand that his confidence is in a Parkinson state, but he is no green rookie and he shouldn't be thinking about what the right play to make is each time he skates a stride. He has hesitancy written all over his every action and reaction, and he'll remain on a fourth line until his balls grow back and he stops playing like the little girl he said he became in last season's playoff. Credit to him for owning up - now do something about it.

Andrei Markov played like his lookalike Mr. Bean. When he's off, he's become a bumbling idiot out there. At times in this one, he seemed to borrow Kovalev's cement skates. Other times, he borrowed Brisebois' vision, pinching in on plays where there was no opportunity at all, only to get caught up ice.

Brisebois was equal to all the worst things even mentioned about him. Hurry up and play that one thousandth game and ride off into the frigging sunset, godamnit!

Bouillon looked like he was just called up from the AHL. He was out of position all game. Rh44_fla_medium

Hamrlik did something that dropped my jaw at one point. I saw him actually turn away from a check - a player in possesion of the puck - to go to the net, where there was no harm. Once there, and finding a covered player, he returned to his check, who passed the puck to the area he had just left. Unbelievable.

Lapierre and Latendresse, my latest favorite dynamic duo, created a few sparks in the offensive zone, but seemed to have all the trouble in the world getting the puck from their own zone. They do not communicate as well there, and in this game, they barely hit anything that moved.

Robert Lang, after showing us the best of himself for close to ten games, has now shown his worst sides for five. Lang is intelligent with the puck - something he won't get much of playing with Kovalev. Defense was a foreign concept to him against Florida.

The Kostitsyn brothers should sit out a game together. Sergei was slightly better than his bigger bro, but not by much.

Matt D' Agostini is a rookie and played like one. He has little to learn in the AHL, and his challenge with the big club does not rest in finding goals on his stick. His coverage was horrid, but at least he makes a concentrated effort, skating back hard to repair his lapses.

Koivu and Higgins are slowly coming around after being out for a long stretch. I wish that for once Higgins would just get as angry on the ice as he seems to be when he arrives back at the bench.

I'm tempted to throw in a swipe at Carey Price while I'm at it, but he was abandonned all game long. It's no surprise the calmest guy on the team was furious after this mess was over. I'd throw something too, in his place.

I'd grab Brisebois and throw him at Kovalev!


My last strip to rip is Carbonneau. I had an uneasy feeling about this game the moment I read this mornings Le Journal de Montreal. After the Tampa loss, Carbonneau called a 9 a.m. practice for Wednesday morning. When asked about the perceived punishment, the coach countered that it wasn't one at all. The practice was simply scheduled for the earliest portion of the day to allow the players as much time as possible in the day's remainder for shopping and golf.

For fucksakes Guy, for a former player, you sure draw blanks at times!

A new team policy ought to be, no win, no golf.

That's about all I can yank from this one - I have a smashed remote to fix!

Photos from

Translation of caption in Le Journal comic: "That's enough with the holidays. You've taken the week prior to the All Star Game off, you aren't taking the week after off too!!!"