Habs Given The Bone By Underdog Lightning


You could call this post "A Shrink's Eye View Of Habs Underperformance 101"....

I have a theory here, and my shrink tells me that it will do me good to share it out loud.

Yes, the Canadiens losing to lower standing teams is repetitve, humiliating, and nonsensical, but as I do, we all have to find a sound reason as to why this occurs consistently, and come to grips with it.

For starters, a few facts:

Out of a possible 56 points in 28 games so far this season, the Canadiens have 37, meaning they have somehow managed to squander 19 possible points along the way.

True, they have not won all their games, but wait, it gets way worse.

In the NHL overall standing as of right now...December 13, 2008...only four teams have more points than Montreal currently. Of the four, the Canadiens have a better winning percentage than the New York Rangers, who they recently handled quite nicely. That leaves San Jose, Detroit and Boston ahead of them.

Of those three teams, they have beaten and lost to Boston, and won against Detroit.

They must be faring pretty well if 26 of 30 NHL teams are chasing them in the overall standings, right?

Not even close, my friend. Please, take the other couch. Help is on the way.

I've come to a conclusion that hockey games are like blind dates. It's a game of inches, and you never know how much you'll get. Pardon me while I tune out the weather forecast - calling for snow.

So far this season, Montreal have surrendered invaluable points to Buffalo (1), Anaheim (2), Columbus (1), Toronto (2), Boston (3), Philadelphia (2), Carolina (2), Islanders (1), Washington (2), New Jersey (1), and now Tampa (2).

The rhetorical after each humilaition from coach Carbonneau always involves him stating how well he seemingly prepared the team to face the opponant. I've no doubt he has, Carbonneau knows his stuff. Technical details notwithstanding, this team however, could make any coach a basket case.

Up for the big game, beat the Stanley Cup champs. Days later, they come up soft against the NHL cellar dwellars.


Hockey teams aren't all that unlike us normal folks in real life when it comes to expectancies. We get our hopes up. We get crushed. Life is like that, inside arenas and out. We judge. We analyze tendencies. We jump to conclusions. We meet challenges. We underestimate opportunities. We vow to change. We succumb to habit. We follow instead of leading. We take for granted. We get complacent, comfortable, superior and above it all.

In worshipping our heroes, we expect them to be superhuman, and rise above all this human nature.

On the other hand, when they fail, it is often termed that they lack the characteristics of the common working man.

Hell, they are paid in the millions. They should be that much better than we are, right?

You could say that looking at the worst in people, brings out the worst in people. When looking at the flipside, of all that's good, it brings out the best in us. A challenge, we rise to. Give us humans a sub standard, and we'll adhere to it.

The Canadiens can beat the Red Wings because it pulls such instincts from the soul. They fall to the Lightning because they have chosen to see them as failing.

Life analogies always apply to hockey that way. If you are a hockey fan, deep inside, there's no way around that notion.

Guy Carbonneau prepares his team to meet lowly clubs by focusing on how to beat them presently, when they are at their worst.

Teams that face the Canadiens are always highly motivated, and at their best for a multitude of reasons. Mom and Dad are watching, for one. Habs games are seen everywhere for hockey parents with a buck.

In prepping to face these perceived weak opponants, all the video evidence provided to the Canadiens players show these teams at their worst, when they will in fact be at their best against the Canadiens.

Maybe that's the problem?

You gotta wonder whether the players are shown video of recent Lightning games. My thinking would be to pull out old tapes of Lecavalier and St. Louis and say, "Here boys, watch what these two did to the Canadiens in round 2 of the 2004 playoffs. This is how they'll play tonight. This is who will be showing up"

That could work!

Photos courtesy of Habs Inside Out

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