Here we go. Time for the overwrought to overreact. I heard someone on press row say after the loss to the Caps, "Jacques Martin is done."

Revoke the pass for being a fan and letting it cloud your judgment for that is so ridiculous it is beyond laughable.

The truth, and it is what the uneducated forget, is that without a sound defensive system with all of the injuries this team has had, they would be in twelfth place right now.

Credit to Jacques Martin is what always should be given in the last two years for the achievements that are well beyond the talent level of this team, especially with a bus load of injuries suffered this year.

How short are the memories of a final four berth last year? Shorter yet considering the praise heaped on them after an 8-1 demolition of the Wild.

Jacques Martin is closer to getting an extension from the GM than a firing right now.

If this team exchanges scoring chances one for one, they lose almost every time.

Any argument to the contrary is first mistakenly putting a talent assessment on the twenty on the ice much higher than they actually have.

The system in place allows these players to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

But the nuance of that statement has in it an admittance that the team has weaknesses.

The clearest weakness now as it always has been is there are not a lot of guys who can score. The ones that can have to play within the defensive structure, or that structure all falls apart.

Dreams dashed

So the key players who must secretly wish for the joy of having the shackles removed, have to play within a sometimes painfully dull system. Mike Cammalleri who no doubt dreamed of 40-goal seasons with the Flying Frenchmen is grounded into his stifling role. Cammalleri knows that invites to play for Team Canada in the future because he is a scoring machine just aren't coming in this environment. Cammalleri sacrifices 15 goals a season playing in this structure and I don't know how it doesn't kill him.

Tomas Plekanec, PK Subban are also among the creative asked to forget the shinny childhood joy for the purgatory that is adult hockey.

The reason the five or six joyously talented are asked to play within that defensive inertia is the fourteen that team with them can not join them at that higher level.

The Canadiens game as we all know is speed, and speed needs time to get a head of steam up. That starts with a first outlet pass to a player lengthening his stride. The transition game is completely lacking from the defencemen to provide that speedy start. Sopel, Gill, Mara, have strengths, but starting a quick transition with an outlet pass is not one of them.

These Habs are so slow in the neutral zone that they are forced to dump it in every time and sadly they are never the first on it either.

That's partly the new rules becoming old again as players go through an obstacle course and mostly it is no speed gained at any moment anywhere.

Gomez needs to be harpooned

That brings us to Scott Gomez who is averaging a million dollars salary for each goal this year. He has three years left on his obese contract. It will weigh down this organization like a beluga, if they don't harpoon it. It is an embarrassing moment Ismael that they have to swallow.

Gomez is feeling the wrath of the frustrated fans as the highest paid scapegoat. It could fall to many others, but the $7.5-million target is always most easily spotted.

Gomez is the oldest 30 year-old that the NHL has seen. Where those great skills went and how they diminished so quickly is beyond comprehension. Gomez has to find a solution and my feeling is it starts by getting in better shape with a physical and cardio-vascular commitment from May to September to give his body a chance to see if his mind is still sharp. He had great vision, but his body won't let him show it, so get in the best shape of your life and at least that is an honest effort to right his sinking ship.

No steals by Price lately

My truth is these Habs are playing very much like they have played all season. Take the loss against Washington. It was by one goal. This team has been in one-goal games all season and won many they didn't deserve because of Carey Price. I agree with Martin Brodeur who says Price deserves the Vezina this season.

Price hasn't been stealing them lately because they can't even get him one.

Price's goal support is 28th among goalies in this league. He has 8 shutouts. If he didn't, the Habs would be in 12th.

The goalie, the structure from the coach, some players with excellent leadership skills who have put team before individual pursuits, and a dedicated and mature room, are masking some serious issues. There is not an abundance of wonderful Vancouver Canucks-type talent here and the injuries have been major.

Is it always doom and gloom when there hasn't been a goal in three games for the first time since 1949? Of course, but the Habs will make the playoffs because of the defensive system in an injury riddled year, not despite of it.

Martin is working with what he has. Some nights, like recently, that can be pretty frustrating when you want a goal and can't believe just one won't come.

But if one puck did go in against Washington, and it could have, then we could just as easily, as we have many times this season, be boasting that these guys simply find a way.

Bring yourself back to January 1 when Markov and Gorges had both undergone knee surgery and try to remember if you thought that was a bridge too far.

We look too much at the minutia. Let's instead look at the overall picture. The Habs will make the playoffs in an injury riddled year with the highest paid player struggling for double figures in goals.

That's an achievement. So enough of the coach is done and more of what the coach has done.