Habs Too Predictable

www.cbc.ca

www.cbc.ca

The Montreal Canadiens have played horribly for the past couple of weeks, is it because of the loss of Alexei Emelin or just poor play, perhaps the Habs have become too predictable?

Yes, the Habs have lost Emelin, and since doing so lost their only real physical defenseman which is making the defensive zone look confused and out of sorts, not to mention the fact that the opposing players that were weary of Emelin when he was on the ice are now not.

Emelin made opposing players think before coming in on his side, not knowing if they would get a train wreck hit or simply be pushed aside. Now that Emelin is injured, opposing players just walk right into the zone, for the most part, unopposed, which is creating chaos in the defensive zone.

The Habs will have Tinordi in the lineup shortly with Therrien confirming that he will be in against Winnipeg. Tinordi played with more aggressiveness since being returned to the Hamilton Bulldogs, hopefully he will bring that along with his size and good defensive play in general to help solidify a seemingly huge hole with the loss of Emelin.

Perhaps the defensive zone coverage is poor. Yes, it is. Non-aggressive d-zone play is hurting the Habs. Instead of running around like chickens with their heads cut off, the Habs should be a more controlled aggressive type in the zone. The Habs are too passive and soft at the moment in their own zone five-on-five. No hitting of note, letting opposing players just walk into the slot and shoot, plus a screened Carey Price isn’t helping anyone.

The penalty killing is atrocious. A change up is needed. More pressure on the point shooters would also help. The Habs for the most part are too complacent on the penalty kill, which is why they are brutal at it lately.

The lack of size (which hopefully Tinordi will fix some of) is hurting the Habs big time. No physicallity is the prime reason no one is afraid to stand in front of Price, size is a factor in taking a pounding, especially in the post-season.

The Canadiens defense looks tired already from constantly being hit by aggressive forechecks and puck battles on the boards, if the Habs defense is already tired, what will it mean for the playoffs? Short and not sweet is what it will mean if things don’t get sorted out.

One thing about the Emelin injury however, did we forget how to play on the offensive side of the puck also being that we lost a defenseman?

The Habs’ break outs were non-existent against the New Jersey Devils. The Habs couldn’t muster any offence until it was too late.

The powerplay is way too predictable, always setting up for the point shot. Teams focus on the point men and our PP is rendered useless. There is no imagination with the man-advantage, something has to change and fast! Why don’t we have someone next to or in front of the net more often?

With the exception of a few players, there are too many perimeter shots. No set plays, no drive towards the net, perimeter shots work when you do the rest, not just perimeter.

There is no emotion whatsoever it seems with the Habs, no aggressiveness, no desire. There is a difference between making the playoffs and taking it easy and not showing up at all. The Habs should be focusing on preparing for the playoffs, not wondering what has gone wrong.

At least if the Canadiens don’t care where they finish (which should not be the case) they should be resting Markov, Bouillon, Plekanec, and Gionta and have some Hamilton guys take their place, but they aren’t so why the losses by such a large margin (except the 3-2 loss to the NJD)?

Photo: Agence QMI

Photo: Agence QMI

Since when did Desharnais become our number one centre? He isn’t and hasn’t played well all season, one wonders why he keeps getting top minutes while not producing. DD is lucky that Gallagher has been on his wing for a couple of months or there would hardly be any points from that line.

Pacioretty has to do what he is best at, charge, drive the net hard. He hasn’t been doing that lately and his points of late show it. Not all his fault, DD is a centre and is supposed to feed Pacioretty which is not happening, or isn’t in the right areas. Pacioretty will get his game back, no worries there, but it might benefit him to have a centre which has been playing good all year, pick one, Eller or Galchenyuk. He did show some success with Plekanec as well.

Eller needs more ice time, his defensive zone coverage, faceoffs and general play is much better than DD’s. Hell, even Galchenyuk is out playing him with way less ice time!

Moen was finally sat, which didn’t change the outcome of the following game, but at least “a” non-producer of anything is paying the price.

Many things have to change, Michel Therrien even said about his team that they had no aggressiveness and weren’t playing with drive. Therrien also said that the question posed to him on why his team had no desire, he couldn’t answer.

The Montreal Canadiens are in the post-season, unfortunately if things don’t change, or if coach Therrien doesn’t have a few aces in his sleeve for the playoffs which he isn’t showing yet, it looks like it will be a quick exit.

Don’t get me wrong, I am, always will be a Habs fan, but I’m also no blinded by points, or the fact that they played great for a little over 3/4 of this shortened season. With the exception of Emelin (perhaps Prust, he seems to be playing hurt), no one of note is injured currently, Bourque should have his legs by now, Diaz came back recently and should be A1 for the playoffs, so why are they playing so badly?

Teams have adjusted to the way the Canadiens have played this year, problem is, it doesn’t seem like the Habs have adjusted to how other teams play. Why keep rolling four lines when trying to tie a game, or when they need a couple of goals? Sure, roll four lines, but if it isn’t working or you need a couple of quick goals, change it up.

Hopefully the Canadiens can get their act together with their last two games against the Jets and Leafs.

Pressure the Habs defense with an aggressive forecheck, pin them in their own end, hit them repeatedly and pressure the point men when the Habs are on the PP, every team knows it, up to Therrien to fix it now.

Go Habs Go, hope they go far in the post-season, but for now, the Habs are too predictable.

 

Reach me on twitter @habberfied

 

 

 

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One Response to Habs Too Predictable

  1. Hate to say it, but I agree with this author’s assessment 100%.

    Mark April 25, 2013 at 5:46 am Reply

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