Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sens win 3-1. (deserve it?)

The trend continues: Habs have not won a game when Travis Moen hasn't scored.

I think Mike Boone said it best:
The Canadiens don't pressure anyone. They don't scare anyone. And they don't score on anyone.

I put it a different, less eloquent way last night: the playbook on the Habs must be: play a passing game, and don't worry about getting hit (because no one is gonna hit you.) Last night the Sens made the Habs look completely bushleague - no matter what offence the Habs could muster, it just washed off the back of the Sens' back. Once the Visitors got some momentum though the power plays, they just passed the puck around easy-peasy and burned the game out. And the Habs had no answer. To many flailing stick checks, no anticipation, too much spectating.

The Sens made scoring look easy. We can't get one for all the silk in India. How come?

I've gotta chalk it up to 2 things -- coaching, and mental involvement. Coaching because I see no set plays on the powerplay; I don't see good puck movement and I don't see anyone ready to take shots. I say coaching because their breakout is terrible, and everyone except Gionta and Gomez have no idea where they should be or where their team-mates are. Where the Habs are chasing, other teams are prep'd and ready to go.

I say mental involvement because all the missed one-timers, the lack of defensive coverage, the lack of body checks and forecheck, and the constant chasing of the play. In 2007/08, everyone on that team was committed to winning. And it showed. When the team played there was a 'buzz' about them, and they drove the play (most of the time). This year, it seems like players are caught by surprise everytime they get the puck - the the shots are sharp, there is no support (no second shot: no crashing the net after a good chance, etc..) In short, everyone in blue-blanc-rouge seems to be waiting for someone else to do all the work, and they dunno how to get into the game.

Both of these things can be fixed. Martin will have to stop thinking like a GM and be a coach again. That means telling your superstars and your workhorses how they are expected to play together. And the team itself has to collectively commit to playing together, and playing to win. Backing eachother up - being ready for passes, being ready to support eachother on the ice. Not with goonery, but with heads up, stick on the ice, mental anticipation.

Having BGL in the corner sitting on the puck for 30s is useless unless he can get it to someone to score!

I think this team can be really exciting to watch -- but they all have to get off the sidelines and into the game with Gionta and Gomez and Cammilleri - and even those guys have to simplify a bit and score some goals, instead of just looking flash.

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