Habs Get Halaked? No – They Came Up Short.

If there was ever a way to lose fans or followers – this article would be the way.

But having always been one to not back down from speaking my mind, here I go.

I knew I was going to hear it. Going into tonight’s game against the St Louis Blues, there was only two reactions that were going to be voiced, and each was as easily predictable as the other.

The Montreal Canadiens were either going to win, or lose. Bold prediction I know. If the Habs had come away with a win tonight, they would have been praised for overcoming adversity, but more-so, they would have been celebrated as the team that “won it for Patches”. If they lost, they would be heralded as the team that couldn’t possibly be held responsiblele, as they attempted to get over the hit from Chara.

The realism of tonight is that the Montreal Canadiens failed to show up for a game that they could easily have had in their pocket.

From the initial puck drop, Les Boys hardly showed an ounce of interest in a game that they could have dominated. A defensive team that is built with much speed, left all of that in the changeroom, bringing little to the ice.

I know that I’ll be considered inhuman for my criticism. I’ve already been told by Twitter followers that I’m unrealistic and far too unforgiving. But I’m OK with that.

I watched a team come out and perform with guts during the third period in the Boston game on Tuesday night. I saw them overcome adversity and come together in strength and determination. I saw them play in unison for an injured team mate. I also saw them stand up to players like Lucic, when he was calling out for a fight to spark his team.

Spirit in the third was what I saw on Tuesday.

Tonight I saw the same players skate like they were ghosts. I saw the same guy that shot down Lucic, skate around like it was practice. I witnessed a lack of passion and drive. Even after going up by a goal – I witnessed a shell of the team that I have seen play for the past 2 weeks.

I don’t discount that they’re all still shaken up by the Pacioretty hit. But even Max – who’s out of the hospital now – probably would have liked to see a touch more effort. He’s injured – not dead. Play for him boys – with passion!

Remember when Markov went out in the playoffs last year? The whole world said the Habs were done because the backbone of their defense was gone. What did the Canadiens do? Stepped up – played hard – proved the rest of the world wrong. And won games for their fallen comrade.

I know this isn’t the playoffs, but 2 points is a lifetime these days. Are we fine with finishing in 2nd place to the Bruins after what happened the other night? Don’t we want to send the ultimate message and take over first place in the Northeast? Hard to do when you leave points on the table like they just did. The divisional rival Bruins lost in OT tonight. This was a chance well wasted.

I’m not a slave driver, but I also know that the old adage of “The Show Must Go On” is a motto that must be lived by at this point in the season. We’re too far along to give up points now.

Pacioretty is as healthy as he can be right now. Let’s all be thankful for that. But let the team also realize that there is only one form of vengeance for anything in this league.

Winning … and doing it with purpose.

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About Iain Carnegie (@emann_222 on Twitter)

I have followed the Montreal Canadiens for over twenty years, even while living in the heart of Toronto. I spent 5 years in the mecca of hockey, moving to the Plateau region of Montreal in the summer of 2009, I've been writing extensively on the Habs franchise at Bleed Blue Blanc Rouge BBBR has now moved to it's new home here at WordPress, , where content continues to matter.
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12 Responses to Habs Get Halaked? No – They Came Up Short.

  1. Saraa26 says:

    Before today’s game, they had to deal with all the media, with Patches who’s injured and with the fact that the NHL is spineless and didn’t suspend Chara. It kind of takes your mind off of hockey, so I can understand why they weren’t playing their best tonight. I’ll let this one go. Now let’s hope it’ll be a different story on Saturday vs the Penguins. I don’t share your point of view, but I understand how you can feel that way. Don’t worry, I won’t unfollow you. 🙂

  2. Melissa says:

    Another fabulous post! I didn’t actually see the game but I, like you, am a realist and know the Habs are capable of playing with such lax as you described.
    This is a very precious time of year and in order to be a Stanley Cup contending team you must be able to shake off the bad and play through it.
    I’m actually surprised you didn’t mention Halak more, that’s where I thought you were going with this when you said ‘if they lost’.
    Definitely not losing me as a follower, you just keep gaining my respect because you are a HOCKEY fan as well as a Habs fan and appreciate the good, bad, and ugly that a team has and can give insightful critiscm not angry fan B.S. Can’t wait for the next post!

    • First – I’m blushing!
      I’m so glad that you understood my position. I don’t want to come across as someone who’s heartless, but they really needed to step up tonight. This is no time to sit back. This is the time to surge.
      Thanks for reading and commenting – you’re a fave here at BBBR!

  3. Carol Wpg says:

    I’m with Sara, I’d let this one go. I was expecting them to either come out swinging or flat, not mediocre, as you said, and was leaning towards flat. I realize they are pros, but they’re young. That was a hell of a heartbreaker they had to witness 2 nights ago and having the NHL react the way they did would knock the wind out of most who saw it up close. Sure did me and I was only watching on TV.

    • I don’t disagree that it would knock the wind out of most sails – but they aren’t young … they have Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Hal Gill, Mike Cammelleri, and Brent Sopel that have all seen some serious time in the NHL.
      I know it’s a tough time … but they are capable of much more than they produced tonight – regardless of circumstance. If this happened in the playoffs – they wouldn’t be “allowed” a night off.
      Tonight was no different. I believe in them – but they need to keep the pedal to the floor!

  4. mike says:

    Once again great article, and I totally agree, playing a AHL team the way they just did is unacceptable, lack of effort and will to win. Especially agree with the fact that what better way to avenge Patches than to take home ice advantage away from the bruins. In my humble opinion, they should call up Nigel Dawes to play with Gomez and Gionta cause pouliot is obviously more comfortable on a line with Desharnais and less pressure. His turnovers were costly and seemed like he had no legs. Dawes will never be Pacioretty but maybe can help with some goals(33 in 53 games) what do you think? Continue the good work, this is good writing.

    • I couldn’t agree more as far as Pouliot is concerned. He was probably the biggest ghost on the ice. I think you’re absolutely right that this is a perfect time to attempt Dawes on the second line. Desharnais and Pouliot have great chemistry and should remain together. I was concerned that Martin might move Kostitsyn back to that line – that would be detrimental. I hope that he doesn’t think of doing that come Saturday.
      Thanks for reading and leaving your comments Mike. Thanks for the compliment too!

  5. Shawn says:

    Ya I’m with u on this one, I understand the circumstances around them, but at the end of the day this is their job to play hard and insprired no matter what. It was almost like they were using this excuse while they were playing, like it wasn’t their fault they were playing like crap, once again the only one who showed up in this one was pricey like always.

    • I think there was a bit of the excuse underlying the lack of play. I also think that JM needs to address the top 6 issue because there was clearly a lack of chemistry there. I also think that even though Price showed up – he was also weak in his play. His puck handling coughed up the rubber on a few occasions, and despite making some HUGE saves, he let in a couple of soft ones.
      Here’s hoping for a better performance on Saturday v the Penguins.

  6. Danno says:

    Nice webpage Iain. And I like the way you summarized the St. Louis match. I think the boys understand perfectly well that winning is the proper response as they did in Pittsburgh so convincingly.

    Even though are hearts are with Max, the show must go on – and it has.

    Go Habs Go!

    • Thanks for the support here as well as The Hockey Writers Dan!
      And also for the follow on Twitter as well.

      I was happy to see the result that the boys pulled off against Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. They definitely looked like a team that was re-focused. Tonight they’ll face another test with Washington. But if they can continue playing as they did Sunday – they can keep picking up the points.

      Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts on future posts, Tweets, and at Habs Inside/Out as well!

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