Canadiens Defensive Zone Breakdowns Give Senators Easy 4-2 win

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    Habster:

    There is no hockey organization,…wait, let me rephrase that,…. there is no sports organization in the world that can retire a player’s number better than the Montreal Canadiens. Without a doubt, the classiest team in sports.
    It may have been long overdue but the Larry Robinson jersey retirement ceremony was beautifully orchestrated and well worth the wait (though Big Bird might disagree about the wait part!!!). It was a fitting moment for such a wonderfully talented player and more importantly, a great and caring person off the ice. Watching Robinson’s #19 being hoisted to the rafters brought even a tear to my eye so I can’t imagine the emotions and thoughts that must have been overwhelming in Larry Robinson.
    As much as I enjoyed the jersey retirement ceremony, I can’t say the same for the Hockey game played between the Senators and Canadiens which the Habs lost 4-2. Before the first period was barely nine minutes old, the Senators had a 2-0 lead with goals from Patrick Eaves and Chris Neil. It was the type of game you never thought the Canadiens could win as the Senators never trailed the entire game. The Canadiens have played reasonably well against Ottawa but just can’t put a full game effort against them. The top defensive pairing of Markov/Komisarek had an unusually weak game with each going -2 and having difficulties with defensive zone coverage. Ottawa scored three of their goals within 10-12 feet of the net with numerous player open in the low or center slot. When the Canadiens crept back within a goal of the Senators with Latendresse’s fourth goal, they gave up a goal on poor defensive zone coverage.
    It was an odd game which the Habs dominated in various categories (F/O % of 60%, Outshot Sens: 38-29 and out hit them as well: 38-16) but were outplayed and for the most part, out hustled, bottom line!!!
    Game points:

    • Give credit to the Senators for their aggressive PK play which limited the Habs league leading powerplay to one goal on seven chances. Kelly, Vermette, Fisher and Alfredson never let the puckhandlers get comfortable or allow the PP to set up in Ottawa’s zone.
    • The Grabovski/Latendresse/Smolinski line had its problems with defensive zone breakdowns. “Grabs” was skating well but once again had trouble winning battles along the boards. Unfortunately, he will be sitting in the press box against the Islanders when Kostopolous returns to the lineup.
    • I know/understand Carbonneau wants Michael Ryder to shot more often but Ryder has to be a bit more selective when he does shot. There was a couple of occasions when he was shooting from very bad angles with teammates open for a pass. Passing has always been a “dirty seven letter” word to Ryder who isn’t known for sharing the puck.
    • I’m I the only person that gets pissed off when a player takes an offensive zone penalty (usually a hooking infraction) because they are lazy and aren’t skating hard enough ( Koivu, Kovalev and Ryder all come to mind for this problem thus far this season).
    • And lastly, I attempted to watch the Sportsnet telecast with Gary Galley and Dee Brown(I’m not sure of his name???) but after a few minutes, I thought I was listening to a Toronto Maple Leafs broadcast on CBC. I understand that the Senators signed a TV contract with Sportsnet but talk about a one sided/homer type of broadcast where most of the stats, analyzing and color commentary surrounded the Ottawa Senators. Needless to say, I went back to RDS and the great broadcast tandem of Yvon Pedneault and Pierre Houde. What was I thinking!!!???
    • THERE ARE SO FEW CLASS ACTS IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS THESE DAYS BUT I’M PROUD TO SAY THAT LARRY ROBINSON IS ONE OF THEM……CONGRATULATION BIG BIRD, YOUR PLAYING DAYS AND CLASS WILL BE PROUDLY REMEMBERED WHEN WE SEE YOUR #19 HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS!!!!!!!