That was some 53rd birthday present the Habs handed their coach.

THE GOOD

  • The game ended.  Thanks Will.

THE BAD

  • David Desharnais. His penalty opened the floodgates. Columbus entered the game with a smoking hot power play. “Don’t take any penalties” was surely part of the pre-game message. Four minutes in the Habs captain takes a hooking penalty. (Max – Here’s some free advice: When you lay an egg on home ice and are bailed out by your all-world goalie, take the opportunity in the next game to make an early statement. And if you must take a penalty make it a charging call.) Halfway through the period, Desharnais takes another weak penalty – this one for tripping. Thirty two seconds later Cam Atkinson opened the scoring and a record setting night in Columbus was underway.
  • Max Pacioretty. “We need more from him” said John Tortorella on Pacioretty’s effort level for Tortorella and Team USA during the World Cup. “It’s an exhibition game” was Pacioretty’s response. In the first Max-Torts head to head meeting since September, Pacioretty was in full on exhibition game mode.

  • Andrew Shaw. What’s happened? Playing with all the energy of a flickering lighter.

  • Andrei Markov. Was not ready to play.
  • Alexei Emelin. Yet another weak tripping penalty which helped put the game away for Columbus early in the second. Back to the third pairing. He is going to physically destroy somebody in orange and black at the Bell Centre.
  • Jeff Petry. Whooosh.
  • Greg Pateryn & Nathan Beaulieu. So soft. At least until the score was 9-0. By then Beaulieu was back alongside Shea Weber.
  • Brendan Gallagher. Turned the puck over deep in his own zone while Pateryn played Twister and Seth Jones took advantage to give Columbus a 2-0 lead. Double minor for highsticking led to two more power play goals by the Blue Jackets. Thanks to the Habs, the best power play in the NHL is now firing at 44%.

THE UGLY

  • Al Montoya. Now in three separate record books (NHL, Columbus, Habs) for all the wrong reasons.

  • Michel Therrien. Shameful. No other way to put it. He can try to talk himself out of it all he wants and his apologists can go on and on about how “once the game was lost you have to protect your #1 goalie” with another game coming up in less than 24 hours but, to quote Joe Biden, that’s just a bunch of malarkey. There is no way any goaltender at any level should be subjected to a 10-0 humiliation. Montoya clearly had a case of the shakes. It happens. With a save percentage hovering around .950 he was due for a stinker. His teammates felt it too. The right time to pull him was in the second period after Alexander Wennberg appeared to have made it 5-0. But Wennberg clearly kicked the puck in. There was plenty of time to make a decision. If Therrien had really thought the Habs could still make a game of it when they entered the second period down 3-0 then surely by the time Cam Atkinson scored his second goal of the night to make it 4-0 he had to want to yank Montoya. There was Carey Price in the shadows, goalie mask in hand. So what happened? Then came the no-goal call. But still no move (let alone a time out). Inexplicable. Did he think his team would suddenly rise to the occasion down by five to prevent further embarrassment? He said the decision not to pull Montoya wasn’t just his. Why not? He’s the head coach. Why do you need input from anybody to know that what you’re doing is just wrong. If they were so concerned about properly resting Price or being eventually forced to put him in during a blow out loss, then why bother bringing him to Columbus in the first place? Oh and one other thing –

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18 Responses

  1. Mark Paterson

    I couldn’t agree more about the pointlessness of having Carey Price travel to Columbus if, short of an injury to Al Montoya, the team had no intention at all of using him. A goaltending change is a card for a coach to play that (like a timeout – something else Therrien seems to absolutely refuse to use early in games) can wake a team up when down by two or three goals, when there is still enough time to make a game of it. In the next back-to-back situation, on Price’s night off, just call up Charlie Lindgren to warm the bench and let the number one rest at home.

    • Larry

      Montoya clearly gave up on the game and deserved to get his lit up! No way they should have brought Price in to this debacle! Price is their franchise goalie! What purpose would have been served bringing Price into a lost game! Risking injury to Price for the sake of a backup goalie would have been a foolish decision!

  2. Rick L

    Can’t blame this one on Subban … seriously, Therrien can’t throw any player under the bus for that one … it stops squarely with him … would like to hear what he says should Price get shelled tonight … is it too early in the season to think of a “TSN turning point”… that’s about the only solace I can take from that humiliation …

  3. Elijah

    Enough with talk of ‘leadership’ and ‘character’. What kind of coach leaves his goalie in for 10 goals ? What kind of captain leaves you frustrated night after night at his lack of effort ? What kind of $6M 3C has zero goals ? And what kind of GM puts all of this on the guy who donated 10M to the Children’s Hospital ?!! #FFS

    • Tony

      Great post Mitch !
      I guess Therrien thought he was coaching a ball hockey team last night as the boys would laugh it off over a couple of beers !!!
      What a joke and when reporters are asking him questions sometimes I think he forgets that he’s the actual coach of th Montreal Canadiens and not a star guest on L’antichambre !!!
      Unbelievable , not one player tried a hack , chop , anything to send a message to Columbus that it’s 6 nill and stop boosting your stats etc .
      I gotta believe that Price was begging to get in there to help out Montoya , what’s the worse that could of happened is that Price doesn’t get the start tonight so as to rest him but at the cost of losing Montoya and possibly the team as they consider their Coach a complete moron !!
      Seriously 10 0 !
      Wow
      I’m kinda of hoping that Price really wanted in and honestly I’m sure he did , like not helping an old lady that has fallen as not to dirty your new suit !!
      Wtf , how do you sleep after that ?

    • Larry

      I agree the leadership clearly has been overstated! 10-0 shows NO character! FIRE THERRIEN!

  4. Charlotte

    Exactly the type of game where PK would get angry and power the puck so hard it would go through a guy’s leg bone (just as Foligno) and into the net. Then he would howl, turn to the bench, slap all their hands and yell encouraging words as they celebrate this one little goal. This team doesn’t have anyone that I could see doing that. The ducks are now firmly in row, the boat shall never be rocked, and they’ll roll out the cliches post-game to remind you how they just hate to lose. Difference is if they had lost 10-3 (with 2 goals by PK) your post-game show would have been about the 3 turnovers by PK that cause a goal..

  5. Kevin Smith

    Like I said after last game, they suck at breakouts. And for all the TSN690 criticism of analytics (with a mild amount of “numbers matter, but analytics people are arrogant” that came on the heels of weeks of arrogantly dismissing analytics), they’ve kind of been pointing to this happening. I mean, they haven’t said “blowout coming”, but they have shown that the team has been worse than results suggested, depending on high shooting percentage and high saves percentage. They didn’t get either last night, and so they lost. Badly.

    Because it’s fun: Weber’s leadership sure was helpful last night.

    Except it’s obviously not fun. If Therrien wins a cup, I will admit to being wrong and be happy that he won, but until then I remain of the opinion that we will not win with him. He has no clue how to adjust his team beyond changing the lines and he stubbornly insists on sticking with style that relies heavily on amazing goaltending. And sure, we have an amazing goaltender, but he can’t play every night and there needs to be a plan B, C, D, E, F, etc.

    All the bullshit about the room being different is the exact same nonsense that was said last year, before Price’s injury. It was the best room anyone had been a part of, until the team started losing. Then we found scapegoats: the flashy black guy who knows there is life outside of hockey, the rookie backup goalie, the injury caused lack of depth, the lack of Francophones, poor leadership, etc etc. But never the coach (who has a barely-.500 record when Price doesn’t play), never the system. Now? It’s the captain, the 2nd/3rd centres. But I still haven’t heard much, if any, criticism of the system. The coach, a little, but only because of player usage, maybe some mention his not using a time-out. The GM? None that I’ve heard. He’s brought in some good pieces this summer, but is happily sticking with Therrien and Lefebvre, and not only that but he really threw his weight behind Therrien. Weber fits Therrien’s system – but that system sucks! And now we have a slow defense, lacking in creativity and poor as puck movement.

    So yes, we’re 9-1-1. That’s great! But problem signs are there. Unless Therrien learns to adjust (or magically gets fired), we will be depending on Price to maintain an insane and record breaking .950 saves percentage for 60-odd games and into the playoffs.

    • Jason

      I couldn’t agree more on the “breakouts” Kevin. When the other team dumps it in and forchecks hard we have no answer other than throwing it up to the winger who is already smothered and turning the puck over and over and over…
      The last 2 games have been an embarrassment. The simplest pass seems to fail them.
      Like Nilan, I am beside myself how you could get beat so badly and not blow gasket.
      1-0 darn
      2-0 alright guys let’s get this back
      3-0 Ah jeeze, no Carey back there
      4-0 wow that sucks
      5-0 cmon we’re better than this right
      6-0 I guess it’s just not our night
      7-0 I feel like I’m forgetting something
      8-0 if Shaw’s not mad, I’m not gonna get mad… that’s his job.
      9-0 Hey isn’t this how many goals Roy let in before quitting and leaving the Habs forever?
      10-0 man o man, I can’t believe we just a got a 10-0 whipping and didn’t even lose our cool, we are so disciplined. No suspensions for us today… and a bonus, we got to hear the neat cannon ten times. What a swell game.

    • Sharon R.

      Thank you Kevin for your comparison, especially to last year. I remember all the positives when they were winning – we’re having fun, we’re playing as a team, etc etc etc. Then the wheels fell off and the love story ended. Wonder if MB is still willing to go into a foxhole with his buddy, MT?

    • Mitch Melnick

      I don’t dismiss analytics. There’s a lot out there I enjoy discovering, especially when you have to dig a little deeper. But I reject the simple either/or notion of Corsi for individual players. For anybody who truly thinks that Alex Semin, as just one example, could have really helped the Canadiens beyond his 15 games last season, based on his Corsi rating is silly. He couldn’t skate, he couldn’t keep up, he couldn’t penetrate to take a quality shot. In short, he was DONE. But his Corsi would suggest otherwise. But I DO believe there is something to be said for Corsi as a team stat. But then again, there a lot of people like me who have been adding shot totals for years without needing a name for it. We thought it was called math.

      • Kevin Smith

        I specifically said TSN690 for a reason, rather than you. I think at times you have been dismissive, but other times you have been quite open to it, so while I sometimes (often?) disagree with you, I also very much respect your opinion (wouldn’t be reading your blog otherwise!). Not a fan of some of your colleagues, notably Tony and Knuckles, who I do feel are very dismissive of it, nor am I a fan of some of your interview subjects, notably Pierre McGuire, who seems to think it was tried and failed without ever bringing evidence to support that.

        I disagree with you on Semin, but not because his stats were good. I felt that having that Eller-Galchenyuk-Semin line was viewed as a threat, opening up the Fleischmann-DD-Weise line to weaker opposition. Losing Semin, and then soon after Gallagher, meant they went from having 3 scoring lines to just 2, making it easier to stop them. Keeping Semin, even if he continued to struggle, at least would have been better attacking depth. Would it have worked? No idea, and I recognize hindsight is 20-20. But we know how things turned out, couldn’t have been much worse if they’d kept him around.

        The thing I like with corsi is the With You / Without You stats. You’re right, Semin had good corsi numbers (55.5% at 5v5) – but you can also see that his numbers were strongest with Eller (59.3) and Galchenyuk (56.7). It’s all small sample sizes, but to me that suggests they were carrying him a little, because of how much he struggled without them: his corsi without Galchenyuk was 49.0, and without Eller was a poor 41.5.

        Similarly you can see how Tom Gilbert played in Florida: his 51.8% 5v5 corsi from 13-14 is pretty good, but when he was apart from Brian Campbell he had just 47.2%. This suggests that he was carried by Campbell.

        I guess my point is that Corsi is important, but it isn’t important on it’s own. It needs the eye test, it needs goals and shots, it needs WOWY, it needs scoring chance info, zone start data, and quality of competition, etc etc. But I have never seen an analytics person say x player is good because of his corsi, and I have seen plenty of anti-analytics people dismissing it because x player’s corsi is good but they actually suck.

  6. Kostas

    Awesome as always Mitch.

    Till the suits upstairs figure out that Coach is more interested in his image in front of media than actually coming up with solutions (and I don’t mean juggling lines or replacing Lehkonen with Carr)
    This team will never win it all.
    In his defence,however, no team will ever go very far with BOTH 14 and 51 as centers. It’s been obvious for a few years now. Why can’t they figure it out?

  7. Sharon R.

    So true every comment. At least P.K.won’t get the rap for this one. I love Chris Nilan’s tweet about wishing someone would get pissed. If PK was there, I think he would have been pissed. Always blamed for doing too much. So much for the “character in the room” – where are you Max, our fearless leader?
    Mitch, I agree – shameful what he did to Montoya. The poor guy – he did not deserve this.
    Oh well, nothing to say. Let’s hope they bounce back from it.

    • Larry

      There was no option with Montoya! No way you bring the best player in the world into that train wreck of a game. When you let in 10 goals you deserve to be hung out to dry! It will be interesting to see what changes Therrien makes tonight!

  8. Dave

    Yes Mitch! Very well said!
    My issue and back gets up with the captain. He has made it clear that this team is so close and it is no team of individuals ie: 76 in Nashville. Well, maybe he should play like an individual because the way he is leading as the captain is atrocious. Sounds like Allen Iverson when he was saying that the World Cup was exhibition. Maybe he should stop doing commercials for homes because he`s in a dream world. At least 76 could do it all and give 100% and more on the ice. Very disappointed in 67 and now that he has his little buddy with him, they are just as putrid as i could have ever imagined..