Postgame 7 – Put down the panic button. I mean it.
The end of that game was a nightmare. Ugly, ugly, ugly. I really wanted a win. The Habs could really have used a win. Instead it’s 2-5 for the season so far and way at the bottom of the standings.
Way to go, Habs fans, cheering and clapping when Alex Kovalev drove the nail in the coffin. What team do you cheer for, anyway? Standing ovation at the beginning of the game, I would have understood. Instead it was jeering at the beginning of the game and a fucking standing ovation when he scored a goal against your team.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Alex Kovalev. I never loved him on the Habs as much as I loved Koivu or Higgins and I never could love him as much as I love Andrei Markov. But he’s not a Montreal Canadien anymore. He plays for a division rival. One the Habs will be fighting for a playoff spot all year long, if the current slump ever ends. It’s not necessary to boo or jeer Alex Kovalev but what the fuck was that when the Canadiens were already down?
Back to the slump. I don’t even want to say, “at least they’re doing better than the Maple Leafs” cause how much better are they doing, really, when you consider the respective rosters?
So what’s wrong?
Lack of chemistry: It’s not that Martin doesn’t know what he’s doing. He just doesn’t know what he’s supposed to be doing with this lot. Yet. There’s a lot of trial and error involved. And until something sticks there’s going to be a lot of linehopping. In the meantime, the players also need to get a feel for each other’s styles of play, which is hard when you’re constantly switching partners and linemates.
Lack of Andrei Markov: If you have any doubts that this guy is the league’s most underrated and underpaid defenseman, raise your hand and we’ll come school you.
Lack of Andrei Markov also means:
Lack of awesomeness on Special Teams: I don’t even want to get into this. Last year, it was pretty frustrating. This year, it might make me become one of those people that throws things at the T.V. during hockey games.
Lack of coordination on Offense: Can’t break out of the D-zone, can’t keep the puck, can’t get into the offensive zone, can’t get past the goalie once in the offensive zone. If the Habs can do what they did in the first five minutes against Ottawa for maybe 20 or 30 minutes a game, they’d run away with the score, Jacques Martin notwithstanding.
Lack of patience: We Habs fans need to calm the fuck down. Some of us knew the Habs were going to drop five of their first ten games. We just didn’t know they were going to do it all in a row. Personally I figured they’d lose a couple, win a couple, lose a couple more and then settle down. Didn’t think it would look like this, though.
Don’t blame the goaltending. Carey Price has been okay, except for that game against the Canucks, and that wasn’t his fault. He could stand to get better, but he’s good enough to backstop a team that plays hockey properly. therangersfan called him “reliable” the other day. This, from a guy that gets to watch Henrik Fucking Lundqvist steal seasons for his team, not just games. The goaltending is fine.
Also don’t jump off buildings. A losing streak like this is reason to panic in February or March. Right now it’s just a reason to get mildly annoyed at the Sens and Bruins fans who are thoroughly enjoying this. This is going to mess with the players’ heads for sure, but they’ll figure it out.
NYR note, just cause: The Rangers have now won seven games in a row. That in itself is awesome, but they also contributed (twice) to the Maple Leafs Losing Streak of Epic Fail. Chris Higgins, however, hasn’t been having a wonderful few matches lately. Torts needs to smack him and his ego upside the head.