That is the only way to put last night’s 6-3 setback by the Canadiens at the hands of Mikhail Grabovski and the Toronto Maple Leafs. When this one was over, Habs‘ head coach Guy Carbonneau called it the most embarrassing game he’s ever been associated with.
And for good reason.
The Canadiens walked into the Air Canada Centre after having used smoke and mirrors to forge a record of 8-1-2 through the first 11 games of this season. And they proceeded to fall flat on their faces against a Leafs’ team that won all the battles. Every single one of them. They outplayed, outworked, outhustled, out “everythinged” the Canadiens, all night long. In the end, the 6-3 final score actually flattered the Habs, who were outshot 41-20 (12-3 in the first period, alone) on the way to losing 61 percent of the faceoffs.
Can you spell U-G-L-Y?
This is a clearly Canadiens team that has spent too much time admiring itself in the mirror; too much time believing in their pre-season press clippings after being called the “team to beat” in the East. This is a Canadiens team that might have more talent than the 2007-2008 edition of the club, on paper, at least. But the last time I checked, this game is played on the ice. And last night, the Canadiens left their game, in the locker room.
It would be easy to point a finger at someone like Patrice Brisebois, who was playing patty-cake with his man along the boards, on the play that led to the goal by Grabovski, his 7th of the season, to put Toronto ahead 2-0 early in the second period. But with Brisebois, while the talent might not be there, at least the effort is, on most nights.
How about all-star defenceman Andrei Markov, who did a terrific imitation of a pile-on as Nick Hagman blew by the Canadiens‘ D-man and proceeded to blow the puck past a beleaguered Carey Price to open the scoring eight minutes in.
While we’re at it, does Mike Komisarek look like a guy who is trying to play his way into a big, fat contract?
And where are the forwards when it comes to being responsible on the ice, when you DON’T have the puck???
Unfortunately, ten fingers aren’t enough when it comes to singling out the culprits on this Canadiens‘ team. For all the talent this club possesses, none of it will mean a lick, if it’s not accompanied by good, old-fashioned hard work. And on this four-game road trip, despite capturing five of a possible eight points, there wasn’t nearly enough of it.
So, now what?
Now what, indeed.
Well, how about we start by taking a look at the score sheet from last night’s game, down on the farm in Hamilton, where the Bulldogs beat the Toronto Marlies 5-2.
Let’s see now….Kyle Chipchura, the “C” on his sweater, having been named Captain of the Bulldogs 48 hours earlier…with a pair of goals; Max Pacioretty, who dazzled at training camp and has picked up the pace of late as a Bulldog…two assists; and Matt D’agostini, another solid performer in the pre-season and a proven point-getter at the AHL level…with his 7th goal of the season.
Why don’t we ask any or all three of these players if they’d like an opportunity to show the Canadiens’ brass that they have the work ethic necessary to make it at the NHL level? How about we give the likes of Guillaume Latendresse, Sergei Kostitsyn and Ryan O’Byrne the opportunity to get a different perspective on this game of hockey?
Now what, indeed.