After the Canadiens' fourth consecutive loss against the Oilers yesterday, it is clear that the Canadiens players don't want to play for their coach anymore. They have lost nine of their past 11 games, during which they scored only 25 goals (2.27 GF per game) and surrendered an astounding 48 goals (4.36 GA per game).
The Habs have lost their last seven road games and have still four road games to go before returning home on Feb. 21 against Ottawa.
Carbonneau keeps juggling his lines like a Cirque du Soleil juggler, trying to find some chemistry among his players, but since they don't play together for more than a few shifts, it's hard to build chemistry.
Carbonneau doesn't have a game plan. The Canadiens don't fore-check, can't make a good first pass, are unable to clear the front of the net, don't finish their checks, and don't win one-on-one battles. They clearly need to go back to basics; however, they don't practice. Carbonneau prefers sending them to a bowling alley to hone their shooting skills.
The Canadiens are lucky to have registered that many points this season, because they've been sloppy most of the season, but they have been able to win some games because of their talent. The problem is that the farther we get into the season, the harder it is to win games without working, and the Canadiens don't work. As soon as they get scored on, they stop hustling and playing hard; they simply give up.
When you give up, it means you don't care, and that's the job of the coach to make the players care, which is not happening right now.
I know that Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau are close friends, but it's time to put an end to their working relationship, especially since Gainey can't find a trading partner just yet because of the salary cap. We are still three weeks away from the deadline, and the Canadiens can't afford to wait that long to make changes.
The Senators waited way too long before canning Craig Hartsburg, as I had predicted on Jan. 7, 2009 (Hartsburg was fired at the beginning of February).
GM Bob Gainey must make his move NOW! Time to put a veteran coach behind the bench—someone with extensive experience like Larry Robinson, Bob Hartley, or John Tortorella.