Habs blow a lead (again), Martin blames the kids (again)

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In some ways, Thursday night’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks was even worse than the Canadiens’ pitiful game against the cellar-dwelling Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday. Montreal blew a 3-0 lead against the Canucks and lost 4-3 in the shoot-out. Back in the glory days of the ’70s, as Ken Dryden noted in his classic book, The Game, the team, even if they were playing poorly, would find a way to win. This club somehow always finds a way to lose.

This team should just refuse to go to extra time. They now have seven overtime losses, including six in the shootout. They can’t score on the shootout and Price, who’s been fabulous in regulation time this season, can’t seem to stop the rubber in the tirs de barrage.

But what kills me here is – surprise, surprise – Jacques ‘Mr. Personality’ Martin’s explanation for the loss. Guess who’s the goat? Not the coach. No of course not. His defensive system works real well right? Not the veterans who look like they’d rather be playing anywhere else. No apparently it’s the fault of the youngsters who’re showing ‘growing pains’. I mean did Marcel Marceau Martin not notice that on the tying goal Tomas Plekanec, Hal ‘Time To Hang Up My Skates’ Gill, Josh Gorges, and Travis ‘Sniper’ Moen were all in the Habs zone looking lost? In other words, not a rookie in sight.

Apparently he didn’t notice. Instead it was back to the usual excuse for his mediocrity. One journalist in the scrum asked if maybe it wasn’t time to hit the panic button.

“No it’s not time for the panic button. It’s called growing pains. When you have young players, these are the kinds of things that happen. We learn. We get better. And it’ll pay off in the long term.”

Pathetic really. As my pals Andie Bennett and Mike Finnerty quite rightly pointed out on Daybreak Friday morning, it’s always the same post-loss song-and-dance with Chatterbox Martin – blame the kids.

Here’s another excuse.

“It’s simple. It was the special teams. They scored a short-handed goal, they scored one four-on-four, and they scored a goal on the power play. We worked well. It wasn’t a question of a lack of effort. They’re one of the best teams in the league and we competed with them. But in the end, it was the special teams that made the difference.”

He was also asked about their terrible extra-time record of seven OT losses, six shoot out losses, with the Hab-nots scoring on only four of 20 shootout opportunities.

“Last year was probably the opposite. We won a lot of games in the shootout. So just different years. For some reason the pucks aren’t going in and we’re not stopping them in the shootout. The shootout is a one-on-one competition, the shooter against the goalie, so you look for your top guys that have shown in the past that they can do it to do it.”

Can you believe that answer? Oh well, it was better last year. I don’t really know why. Whatever. Wow, talk about an inspiring pep talk.

Another journalist asked what Martin would say to worried Habs fans.

“What’s important is to stay in the race. Eventually injured players will be back to improve the team and also we’re learning. Look at tonight’s game – a line like Moen-Eller-Kostitsyn closed the door on one of the best lines in the league. Unfortunately Lars took a penalty at the end of the game that cost us but he’s a young player who’s showing promise. So there are positive points and we hope that it will pay off in the second half.”

He was also asked if there was a conversation going on within the team to crank it up in overtime so as not to get to the shootout.

“You try in overtime but there are two teams out there. Tonight we had one chance and they had one chance. Pacioretty had an excellent chance and their goalie made the save. And our goalie made the save on their chance.”

I can just say one thing. When Martin gets fired – and every coach does get fired and heaven knows no one deserves to be turfed more than Martin – please, please do not let this guy become an analyst on a sports network. I just couldn’t take it. He makes Benoit Brunet sound like Ken Dryden in comparison.

P.S. Just heard about the Tomas Kaberle trade and yes that just makes me feel a whole lot sicker! It is indeed hit-the-panic-button time!

P.P.S. More on that later.

 

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