News for Tuesday, December 11th

Interesting piece in the Capitol Times on the subject of Ryan McDonagh being left off the USA World Junior squad: two of his WIsconsin teammates - Jamie McBain and Blake Geoffrion - react to the news with surprise. Perhaps their support will reassure Canadiens' fans, who have responded to McDonagh's cutting with typical stoicism, i.e., by burning Bob Gainey in effigy and egging Trevor Timmins's house. Fans fear that McDonagh, the club's top pick last year, is following in the footsteps of David Fischer, the previous year's top pick, who has been having a difficult adjustment to the college game this year (while fighting injuries, it should be noted). See Ryan McDonagh's stats here, Fischer's here.

Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator has a good article marking the beginning of an important six game road trip for the Bulldogs. The Dogs have had a rough season, which Radley attributes to the absence of a full dozen members of last year's championship team. How the Dogs perform over the next six games won't make their season, but could break it: they could be all but eliminated from playoff contention before Christmas. The turnip doesn't fall very far from the truck, does it?

John Tortorella says that Vincent Lecavalier is the best player in the NHL, makes the bold prediction that none of the "Big Three" members of the Lightning (Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards) will be traded, and hints that Richards - who injured his leg in a lopsided loss to the Leafs last night - will play against the Habs. Richards has never missed a game due to injury.

habsblog.com asks the question, who is better at motivating his troops, John Tortorella or Guy Carbonneau? My answer: at home, Tortorella, on the road Carbonneau. I mean, if we're equating winning percentage with the coach's ability to motivate, as habsblog seems to be doing. My question: how simplistic is it to chalk up a team's victory or loss to how much the coach 'motivated' the players prior to the game?

Eyes on the Prize has a long discussion on the perils of blaming the coach when things go wrong. Here's an example of how easy it is for someone with a little sense to step back, look at recent history, and arrive at a reasonable conclusion, which in this case is the conclusion that the Habs have suffered for ten years not because of coaching, but because of their roster. Have to disagree with Eyes' assessment of Claude Julien, though. Never liked him. The New Jersey Devils agreed, and canned him en route to winning their division. Now that I have the chance to watch him behind the Bruins' bench, his Junior B goon tactics only confirm my initial dislike of him.

Finally, a really good discussion on alt.canadiens about the state of the Habs, with hall-of-fame armchair GM Gerry Warner delivering his usual double-serving of shrewd analysis.

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