Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Game #55

Price Outdoes Halak and Lets in 7

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Wednesday February 11th, 2009
Opponent: Edmonton Oilers
Venue: Rexall Place, Edmonton, AB

Team Stripes

Final Score: 2 - 7 Loss

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (L)
Opposition starting goalie: Dwayne Roloson (W)

Habs goalscorers: Mathieu Dandenault, Francis Bouillon
Opposition goalscorers: Sam Gagner, Zachery Stortini, Andrew Cogliano, Ales Hemsky, Kyle Brodziak, Dustin Penner, Liam Reddox


Play of the game
The play you're straining to see on the press catwalk monitor...

The play of the game, or the play that had the most bearing on the game was Ryan O'Byrne's penalty 5 minutes into the first period. We had a good start to the game, but in such a fragile state we needed to score first and needed to limit Edmonton's chances. After he took his penalty (which was thanks to a total defensive breakdown) the Oilers scored on the ensuing PP. In my eyes, and apparently certain players' too, the game was over at that point.


Game puck
Trophies are for the end of the year, play well in the game, you get a lovely puck...

Saku Koivu
There were more people who cared tonight than who cared in Calgary, Saku, however, once again was the player who cared the most. No deficit is ever too great for Koivu to stop trying and it is for that type of effort that I believe he is a great skipper.


Dome hockey team
We're going into the last minute with these 6 (and they're attached to the ice, so they're not coming off)...

Forwards

Saku Koivu
He didn't figure on the scoresheet, but he was our most active forward. He played well again with 2 wingers that in all honesty don't really belong in the league, but at least he makes them better. Can you imagine harnessing his effort and passing ability with 2 30+ goal-scorers?

Tomas Plekanec
I was very impressed with Plekanec's first shift in which he was all over the Oil. He skated hard tonight, but was again not too great in our own end; was anyone though? He ended the game with 2 assists and went 10-6 on face-offs.

Mathieu Dandenault
It is a sad day when your 7th best defender (9th if you include Hamilton players) is one of your 3 best forwards, so today is quite the shocker. You can't, however, fault Dandy from doing what he is assigned to do. He scored a goal and added an assist, doubling his season point total in one fell swoop. He was, before his injury, playing solid defence so I would be tempted, call me crazy, to use him on defence as we have about 4 guys who are really quite lost back there.

Defencemen

Roman Hamrlik
Another former home and another top-defender night for Roman. He was on the ice for 2 of Price's blunders, but wouldn't you know it, neither were his fault. He ended the game at even (hard to do given the score) and played more than any other Hab.

Josh Gorges
OK, what is going on? Another blow-out, another +2 performance from Josh! Is it possible that one of our poorest performers over the past month has turned back time and is once again playing solid D? You bet it is, Josh was used half of the game at forward and half at D, but actually looked quite good in our own end. I for one, however, am not shocked that Carbo used him less than everyone but Georges and Dandy because if this losing skid has taught me one thing it is that Guy's ideas are often the complete opposite of what we need.

Goaltender

Jaroslav Halak
We could change this section to: List the Goalie Who Didn't Start. It really is getting that bad unfortunately. Carey was his usual sulking, unable to let a bad-break go, give-up self tonight. If only he could find the All-Star (ha) in him and keep the goals-against to 3 or less we may occasionally come out with a point or two. There was no chance of winning this one as all I saw in goal was a guy who happened to own pads. Does anyone know how long we have to wait for the future to be the present? I have waited 150 games for the future of our franchise to arrive, why do I get the feeling he isn't coming?



Eye-Openers
In this new section we are going to try and shed some light on certain plays or events that would otherwise go unnoticed

This game was a clear example of why we must do something to improve this team, to give us a chance to play into April. The problem is, you see, that we are on the road and the trade deadline is 3 weeks away. Those are two great reasons not to make a trade, I mean isn't that the only day you are allowed to trade anyway? Plus, why trade for someone when we are on a road-trip? That really sounds like a lot of work to co-ordinate schedules and flights - we may as well leave it. Unfortunately it is this type of thinking that is and will kill us even more. We have an obvious need right now - a goalie - and since we are desperate it will (rightfully so) cost us a lot. Should we not do anything because of the high price tag (no pun intended) or should we do what it takes to give this team a shot? I think we could win some games with a few 3 or less goals-against performances and I would be willing to give up whatever is needed to get one of the 60+ goalies in the world that can do that on a nightly basis.


Overall Comments

Morale was high, instead of hockey they bowled and alas the problems were sorted. Well, Carbo and co., I think the main problem, evident for a month, isn't off the ice, but on it. Tonight we started strong and, in fact, we gave a lot of effort all game. I have never seen a team down by 5 goals try so hard in the last 5 minutes - it was encouraging. The problem, however, isn't around the opposition's cage, but it is in our half of the rink. It looks like we are abandoning any type of defensive system to 'go and do it ourselves'. See, there is no trust, no trust that Price will make a save and no trust our teammates will do what they are meant to in the defensive zone. All of this leads to players bunching up as everyone only trusts themselves to get the job done. This in turn leads to players out of position, turn-overs and eventually a lot of goals. It was a poor display tonight, but offensively I saw life. If we can give that kind of effort in front of a goalie we trust can make saves then I know we can win another game at some point.

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