Thursday, 22 December 2011

Game Thirty-Six: Habs v. Jets

For your consumption, the news out today of a planned protest by groups that could only be charitably defined as xenophobic nutcases, is scheduled for January 7th, over the hiring of the english-only Cunneyworth.

The story can really break two ways. It'll either just fade away (hopefully via a nice winning streak), or it can build into an all-out crisis, which would threaten to irrevocably poison the organization's ability to move forward this season. Of greater concern is how this could rub off on the players, some of whom Gauthier (assuming he's still around) will have to sit down with next summer to hammer out long-term contracts. In case you haven't been keeping track, those players include Price, Gorges, Subban ... and if we can't convince those guys to stick around the circus, you might as well cancel out all hope of a parade within the next five years, or longer.

Anyway, Price tonight hoping for the same result as game two of the campaign. It'll be interesting - what with the Jets riding a mile high in it's love-fest with the local fans, against the Habs depleted, dejected and demoralized roster.

8:19 p.m. EST: gameday: Okay not sure about what's going on, but Weber is in, Emelin is out (again), Subban is out a scratch (hmmm) as well as ... Eller? Wow. I can probably muster up the rationale for the first two, but Eller??

That's ... baffling.

- Further to that update, it appears that Emelin will play tonight. But Subban and Eller definitely out.

All I can say is given those scratches, if Cunneyworth doesn't get a W tonight, the Montreal media might roast him alive.

First Period:

- Incredible save by Price on Tyler Glass a minute after puck is dropped. Habs defense MIA.

- Jets crowd chanting "Carrrey ... Carrreey ..." ... because that worked so well against Patrick Roy, you know.

- Gill our el supremeo penalty killer gets 4 minutes for a high stick, and accordingly, Wheeler and the Jets strike. 1-0.

- Can't get past this. Eller alluded to some satisfaction with Matin's firing because the first game of the Cunneyworth era he got nearly 20 minutes of ice. Three games later and he's sitting in the pressbox. I remain baffled.

- Habs offense almost completely invisible first 9 minutes.

- Desharnais line with first applied pressure on Jets defense.

- Maybe its his slowness, maybe it's his hands made of concrete, but Moen really struggles to clear the puck from his zone.

- Have we hit rock bottom yet? Campoli caught out of position, and Glass cashes in on a clean cross-slot pass. 2-0.

- Really, the Campoli-Kaberle combo was just begging for a breakdown. We may see more horrors as the game progresses.

- Jets working hard for more. Wouldn't be shocked if the soon get another.

- So ... yeah. Campoli plays, Subban sitting makes this team better? #notlettingthisgo

- That was pretty much 20 minutes substituting as a disaster. How deep is this ocean before we reach the bottom?

Second Period:

- Apparently there's a ways to go down yet. Campoli is moved, matched up with Gill, and seconds into their shift, Jets take 3-0 lead (in Gill's defense, on a shot that Price ought to have stopped).

- Is Cammalleri the new Gomez? I have never seen him so invisible and ineffective as he is playing right now.

- Price getting mocked by the crowd. In light of that third goal, can't really blame 'em.

- Jets really should be up by four, as they somehow can't put the puck past a flip-flopping Price. Plekanec line and defense in total chaos.

- Cammalleri has been demoted to the 4th line. I guess I wasn't the only one seeing it.

- Emelin nasty high stick to the mouth. I'm thinking that's a two tooth amputation. Habs get 4 minute PP.

- And fittingly, it's the Jets who get a sparkling chance, an unbelievable save by Price off a rebound keeps the Jets from their 4th.

- Virtually no good scoring chances during the four minutes. Seems about right.

- As a 36 year Habs fan, I'm actually embarrassed by what I've seen tonight. Nearly everyone going through the motions. I think only Emelin has bothered showing up tonight.

- Habs powerplay has reverted to its early season form. So not even that is going well.

- Habs 6 poweplays. Have they mustered 3 quality shots on goal out of them? Even just one?

- Habs got 16 shots in that period? Coulda fooled me. That was just awful.

Third Period:

- Not a whole lot to say. Habs are going through the motions, I suppose thinking about getting the hell out of Winnipeg and the getting back home for the holiday break. Jets are in return, just sitting back and watching the clock wind down.

- Having Subban and Eller in the lineup certainly wouldn't have hurt - not after watching tonight's display.

- 4-0 Jets, with Campoli made to look like a fool. Guess who'll be sitting next Tuesday night? I think we have a good idea.

- The holiday break at least comes at q good time for the Habs, but the loss tonight doesn't concern me in that they lost, but in the way they lost. The players, almost the entire roster, didn't show up. They didn't put out the required and expected effort from a professional hockey player. This is nearly as low as you can go.

Thing is, there are no near-term, quick fix solutions. The Quebec media will have a field day over Cunneyworth's disastrous tenure to date, but what can ownership do? Beg Martin to come back? Find someone else? Who in their right mind would want to be the next coach of the Canadiens, which one must assume, would have to be from Quebec or bilingual. Are there any qualified unemployed individuals that fit that description? And if there are, again, why would they want the job?

It's a mess. It's all unravelled very quickly, and it's probably not going to get any better any time soon.

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