4-2

And it wasn’t that close.

The Canadiens tried to play run-and-gun with a team of sharpshooters.

It didn’t work.

"Our defensive zone coverage was pretty bad," said Christopher Higgins, the Canadiens’ go-to guy for trenchant – and, in this case, understated – analysis.

"They scored four goals from the slot," Higgins added. "They were skating through the slot easily – not being checked, not getting their sticks lifted, slipping checks easily.

"We can’t play run-and-gun against a team like that. They’re too skilled."

The Canadiens had 38 shots on Martin Gerber. But most were from long range. The team in red buzzed around the perimeter as though the opening ceremony had been the retirement of Sergei Samsonov’s number.

Ottawa, as Higgins noted, glided unimpeded through the area in front of Cristobal Huet and scored four goals that travelled a total distance of maybe 40 feet.

"They backcheck, they play well in  their own end," Higgins said. "We can match them offensively, but we sacrificed defence."

And so it’s on to Long Island, where a loss on  Wednesday nnight would lleave the Canadiens one point ahead of the Islanders, who have three games in hand.

Yikes! 

 

251 Comments

  1. Jay_in_PA says:

    Mike: Why don’t you just treat the whole post-count scene like a PBS pledge drive?

    “If you pledge to post 10 times during tonight’s game, you get to join the Mike Boone Inner Circle(TM) which will entitle you to special privileges at next year’s Fan Summit. At the 25-post level, Mike will come over to your house and kiss your granny…”

  2. Naila Jinnah says:

    Cool! I didn’t know the bit about sport!!

  3. Naila Jinnah says:

    LOL! That’s funny in ways you can’t even begin to understand!

  4. Chuck V. says:

    JF

    Last year I remember the whole team was talking about how great it was that there were no more cliques in the dressing room and that the camaraderie was better but as we quickly saw, that was not necessarily the case (I’m thinking of the Kovalev controversies, Rivet, Samsonov, Carbo’s lack of communication). This year, while we’re not hearing the players talk about friendship and their newfound sense of team, we’re seeing it on the ice game in and game out. Instead of being a team weakness, the Canadiens’ lack of enforcer has brought to light the strength of unity on the team as they have been forced to stick up for each other game in and game out. Needless to say they’ve responded admirably, which bodes well for the rest of this young season.

  5. longbow says:

    OT and Shootout losses should be counted as a tie since we get a point out of it.
    Heres a strange fact…If you win 10 games and lose 72 in OT or shootout,you end the season with 92 points which should be enough to make the playoffs !

  6. Naila Jinnah says:

    If you click to a post from the main site, you will see the number of comments on each blog. It’s only if you go directly to the full blog post that there is no number.

  7. drecha says:

    I agree the record may be the same (kind of weird) but last year I always had that feeling that the other shoe was going to drop any time. I never really felt that they were legit. I don’t have that feeling this year, I really think that this team is playing like a “team”. The young guns are firing and getting better with every game and the veterans are producing as expected, hope that this carries on for the rest of the year.
    GoHabsGo!!!

  8. Ed says:

    Thanks JF. They had quite a record to late December. I will have to remember Wikipedia, as they seem to have everything.

  9. likehoy says:

    do you consider shootout/ot losses to be losses or are they separate from your under 20?

  10. JF says:

    Our record might be the same as this time last year, but this is a very much improved team. Not only are the individual players better, but overall play in every aspect of the game is better. The powerplay is much more creative than last year, our defensive zone coverage is way better with the result that we spend less time chasing the puck in our own zone, which results in fewer scoring chances against us, an improved transition game and more shots on goal. 5-on-5 is still a concern but better than last year, and overall team chemistry and work ethic seem to be vastly improved – witness the way the guys all stick up for each other, most notably in Saturday’s game. Also, the way we are winning games is much more convincing. As J.T. points out, there are few games in which we dig ourselves into a hole early and then have to spend the entire game trying to get out of it. More often than not, we set the tempo and play the game our way. And the only game this year in which we’ve been out of it from the start was the last Buffalo game. Lots of room for optimism, but tonight will be tough.

  11. Ed says:

    On the MAIN page, Dave Stubbs says Huet is starting.

  12. Leonard Zukerman says:

    Never looked at it that way but you clearly nailed it. Credit to management for seeing and correcting the
    flaws that existed last year.

  13. Fer_hab says:

    Have we named a starter for tonites game.

  14. Ed says:

    Hi Boone. I am sure this has been asked before, but why does your blog not show the number of comments attached? They are shown for the articles on HIO. Maybe it is there, and I am not seeing it. By seeing the number, it gives me an idea how much reading I have to do.

  15. Ed says:

    I am not aware of any place where the stats are readily available, but there probably is a site somewhere. The scores are available for last year, and you could do your own calculations. I would also like to know if they are readily available, and our total shots for and against, etc. I think the team has improved in this area.

    http://canadiens.nhl.com/team/app

  16. longbow says:

    Every year I hope they finish the season with fewer than 20 losses.I think this might be the season.19 or less.Thats the goal.
    It would be nice if they took advantage of the open roster spot to bring up different players from time to time to at least evaluate them under NHL conditions.
    I wish Ottawa hadn’t lost their last game.Good teams bounce back which makes the task of beating them tonight that much harder.

  17. Geoff F says:

    I stongly urge anyone who hasn’t done so to watch some of the Robinsom highlights prior to the ceremony. I realize it feels like only yesterday that i was watching Robinson skate around the ice and do his thing but watching some of those highlights brought all the emotion back. I especially like the hit on Dornhoffer but the way he comes in and picks Schulz out of the melee with the Flyers and sets the tone just reminds me of what the Habs need and what they are in the process of learning. The need to stand up for each other and not to take any crap from anyone. It’s a great feeling, i’m a proud Habs fan and today is a special day to be shared amongst us all!

    UNITED WE STAND BOYS!

    GO HABS GO!

  18. tareq514 says:

    is there anywhere where i can look up the Habs’ record after 20, 21, 22, etc. games?

  19. likehoy says:

    easy game boys.
    lets take the 2 points and go home and think about the next one.

  20. Girth says:

    Does that qualify as “good coaching”?

  21. zamboni says:

    Hope you’re right nightmare_49, nothing would make me happier than seeing character players rise to the occasion.

  22. zamboni says:

    Right on Moey,
    indeed they play crash and and bash style, but Philly tried that with us, so did Boston, and see what did we do to them.
    Somehow we can’t do the same to the Laffs.

  23. Moey says:

    They don’t dictate the pace, that implies that there is a game going on. They shut us down and they shut Ottawa down completely on Saturday night.

    Anaheim shut Ottawa down last year in the same way, it’s not a question of pace.

  24. Ed says:

    Ian, I think you are on to something. I don’t know if you agree with me, but I believe that Higgins likes to carry the puck, and is not a passer like Koivu. Therefore, when Higgins and Ryder are on the ice together, Ryder’s scoring chances are reduced accordingly.

  25. showey47 says:

    “Lacking in real talent, they have to simply stop us from playing our game. Just like they did to Ottawa on Saturday night”. This is called dictating the pace like i said in my post. The laffs are a slower team than us, especially on the back end. Their size is overrated since most of it lacks talent other than sundin, do you actually think the laffs should of won the first 2 games against us?

    Sure they outshot us last game but at the same time the poweplays were also 8-3 which played a huge role. If the poweplays had been 8-3 for us the game would of been over after the second.

  26. Ed says:

    Thanks Naila. I see that it is now at 61.

  27. Moey says:

    Bang on Rugger, only you said it much quicker than I did!!!

  28. Rugger says:

    I agree, when the Bruins used to play that way, I called it anti-hockey. They could only win by preventing a hockey game from happening.

  29. Moey says:

    I have to disagree on your comment about playing the laffs, it’s not so much that their slow,if that were the case we can out skate them ten ways from Sunday, so it should be an easy win. The real problem is that they play a crash and bash type of hockey. Lacking in real talent, they have to simply stop us from playing our game. Just like they did to Ottawa on Saturday night. Keep ‘em pinned against the boards and don’t let them get a decent play going. It’s not pretty to watch, but it’s the only way they can be successful. We play a very similar game to Ottawa, a pleasure to watch (IMO). In saying that, we have to hang in the full sixty minutes tonight….not fifty.

  30. The Ian Cobb says:

    Mike Boone– Watch the time of posesion tonight for the 1st line if Higgins is on with Ryder. Between the two of them. Last game Ryder had his best game and able to carry the puck after Higgins went down.

  31. Chorske says:

    Oooh, is that a score updater in the upper right corner?! AWESOME IDEA.

  32. nightmare_49 says:

    You made some good points about the Smolinski vs Bonk bit (Bonk i really liked) but IMO the difference between the two is Smolinski’s versatility (LW C RW) and Smol can change his style where Bonkie was limited. They are both good players but i’m happy with Smols and the best is yet to come. Bonk wasn’t the greatest in big games , ask Ottawa.

  33. Keg says:

    Long overdue for Big Bird. My Dad remembers watching him in Halifax while he was with the Vees. When I started following the Habs in the mid-70’s my earliest memories are of HNIC panning to him sitting in the Forum crowd after having been ejected from the game for fighting! Ahhhh, bench clearing brawls, those were the days!

  34. Les-Habitants says:

    Huge game, another great test for the Habs.

    We’ve essentially lost two 1-goal games against Ottawa this season, and last game was one we should have won. That said, we’re going to have to play a lot more sound hockey to keep this team at bay.

    Keys to the Game:;
    Higgins isn’t slowed too much by his ‘bone bruise’
    Ryder and Higgins pot a couple of the scoring chances that Koivu sets up.
    Plek and the Super K’s keeping rocking
    Tight checking the rest of the way

    One quick question, unless someone answered it above: Grabo has played C and LW thus far, so where does he fit in? Is he centering the 4th line like TSN is projecting, or is he playing RW next to Chip?

  35. Ftonhabsfan says:

    Well, after lurking for ages I guess Big Bird’s night is the appropriate night to chime in. Loved watching him play. So happy this finally gets done tonight.

    P.S. You know you’ve got a great site when people come in not only to read the content posted but also check out the latest comments by some of their favorite posters (is that the proper word there?).
    Nice job by everyone to keep the entertainment value so high at every level! Give yourselves a pat on the back..

  36. showey47 says:

    Hope we can carry over from saturday nights game without giving up so much goals. Playing at home will allow us to get the defensive matchup against ottawa’s big guns. This is a great oppurtunity to show the sens thta we are for real and close the gap in the standings, meanwhile putting some space between us and the laffs with games in hand.

  37. showey47 says:

    I think we play lousy against the laffs because we allow the opposition to dicate the pace of the game. I think thats why we play much better against teams that are firewagon type teams like pittsburg, ottawa and buffalo (not counting last game). So when we play a slow team like the laffs we get lulled into a slow pace game

  38. showey47 says:

    Bonk is also playing on the top 2 lines in nashville with much more offensivly gifted players. Smokes will only be here for this season and when chipper takes his job next season, no one will remember bonk.

  39. shadow says:

    16 Pocket Rocket
    While we’re obsessing about the similarities of this season’s record and last year’s record, I might add that the 2005-2006 season started exceptionally well too. That fast start at the 19 game “quarter pole” (13-3-3) was followed by a Canadiens’ Coach Canned by Christmas. And a final regular season record of 42-31-9 after M. Gainey stepped in; and 4 straight 1 goal losses to Carolina in the first round of the “playoofs.” So, let’s hope that histoire doesn’t repeat itself…twice.

  40. VancouverHab says:

    Mr. Boone:
    Podia is indeed the plural of podium — as stadia is the plural of stadium.
    And ‘sport’ is the singular and the plural: ‘sports’ is an American malapropism.

  41. LeB7 says:

    For the last 2 seasons, I always thought that Markov was our most important player except for the goalies. This year he is answering very well to the challenge of becoming our general at the blue line.
    So I might add to the list of differences from last year : Markov is even better.

  42. zamboni says:

    I agree with a previous poster that we should compare Smolinski to Bonk and not Freddy to Bonk, after all we got Smolinski to replace Bonk.

    To be honest I’m not sold yet that Smolinski is an upgrade to Bonk.
    Here’s 2007-2008 stats for the two.

    Player Games G A P +/-
    Bonk 19 7 2 9 -1
    Smolinkski 19 2 5 7 -5

    Let’s also not forget that at this point last year’s Habs had the best PK in the league, and we finished the season with a strong PK.

    If we consider the salaries of the two, then it really becomes a no contest where Bonk wins in leaps.

    Still, I’m enjoying watching the product on ice, if we continue this way, sooner or later all those so called hockey experts that predicted us to be the bottom dwellers will start eating crow.

    Why can’t we play the lousy leafs the way we played Boston?
    It’s not like their defense is better than Boston’s.
    Why can’t we really use our speed against them?

  43. Morenz7 says:

    Piche’s numbers are illuminating—and sobering. Season begins at the all-star break, a wise man once said (was it Red?). Watch for those flu bugs, boys. Watch that ankle, Higgy…

  44. Morenz7 says:

    Don’t have much to say. I’m just trying to keep Mike’s numbers up…:)

    Seriously though, I had the misfortune of attending Friday’s game in Buffalo, and I DID get that sick feeling that they were lapsing back into last year’s ways. The cure arrived Saturday night. Zowie. That was fantastic.

    And while this isn’t, er, “data-based” analysis, my two bits say that Jorges belongs in the lineup tonight. Anyone in the building in Buffalo could see that Breezer was awful. I’m sorry to heap more scorn on the man, but honestly, you can see his mistimed moves and ill-conceived decisions so much more clearly live … caught up ice at least three times… soft checking in his own zone. Only the poor play of the rest of the team camouflaged his weaknesses. Most important, I can’t ever see him making a bee-line for Reich (or whatever that idiot’s name is) to send a message about slew-footing our prize goalie.

    I know Mike and others have spoken kindly of the Breezer recently, but I’m just not seeing the great benefit to having him out there as opposed to one of their youngsters.

    ‘Nuff negativity. REALLY looking forward to tonight—Patrice or no Patrice.

    GO HABS GO!

  45. J.T. says:

    Great idea Jay! I’m rubbing my hands together in excitement over the “mystery” prize you get for fifty. Could it be the official Mike Boone bobblehead I’ve long coveted?

  46. piche says:

    Mike – Montreal won their 20th last year… and after 50 games we were still a point ahead of Ottawa. Here are a few more stats:

    2006 – 2007 Regular Season

    Through 10
    Team W L O PTS
    Mtl 5 2 3 13
    Det 5 4 1 11
    Ott 5 5 0 10

    Through 20
    Team W L O PTS
    Mtl 12 5 3 27
    Det 12 5 3 27
    Ott 8 11 1 17

    Through 30
    Team W L O PTS
    Mtl 17 8 5 39
    Det 18 8 4 40
    Ott 15 14 1 31

    Through 40
    Team W L O PTS
    Mtl 23 12 5 51
    Det 25 10 5 55
    Ott 21 18 1 43

    Through 50
    Team W L O PTS
    Mtl 27 18 5 59
    Det 30 14 6 66
    Ott 28 20 2 58

  47. Dan23 says:

    No expectations tonight except a classy ceremony dedicated to one of the great Habs players of all time, and hopefully a game as entertaining as the one these two teams played two Saturdays ago (or as entertaining as the game the Habs played this past Saturday!).

    A win would also be a nice way to cap off tonight’s ceremonies.

    Do it for Big Bird.

  48. Yeats says:

    Good catch, I was chatting with myself. It get really sloppy when I argue with myself. Have to tighten that chin strap on your helmet. I’ve hit my head on the ice with it loose and the helmet pops off and your head hits the sheet. It really sucks, you’d be better off playing like Brad Marsh in my opinion without a lid on.

  49. ganderhab says:

    I thought Ryder was one of our better players tonight, and I think it’s time to reward someone in Hamilton for working hard.

  50. StillattheMapes says:

    A first time post after some months of listening and enjoying many of the comments here on my favorite team.

    Well the boys didn’t play especially well in the first period, but they had some moments of sustained pressure and some chances which they typically missed, most of which Larry’s old teammates would have buried thank you very much (ti-10 and ole 22 for sure).

    I also agree with JT. It is all about karma, and Huet doesn’t have it. Sure he’s pretty good, sometimes great, but for some reason he makes his teammates uneasy and even downright nervous, he just doesn’t give off the right vibe. No one feels exactly right with him, at least this is what I see. Like Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur, or even Kenny Dryden — who was also very good but blessed by a certain alternate charisma and eventually an awesome team (and no, I am not saying he is in this class, though over time I hope he will be) Carey Price is also different because he has a sort of aura-charm, whether or not he is as good as we think he may be. He could be, but actually you know I think he will be. Why? Because he just has it, whatever “it” is. He has great physical talent and agility, he is being well-trained and not overly pressured (hah, well at least not in comparison with Manchester U waiting for George Best to play in the senior side), but somehow he just has the “right stuff”. Whenever he is the one on the ice, the Habs just play differently — I didn’t say better, well, not yet, but they do pay attention to him for some reason. The beginning……

    Meanwhile, I see we have scored. Finally. Geez this team, like most recent iterations, and this is a good one, we just can’t score. Hard for an old geezer like me who watched the boys score at will whenever they felt like it. They always just had that confidence.

    Now I see we have gone down another. Va bene cosi. But this team is very good and has some potential. An enjoyable thing to watch, enough to make me go to a live game again. I watched les gars stomp the Bruins at MacLaren’s in Ottawa on Saturday night with a few mates. That was fun, especially while the rest of the mob stood and bayed at the porcelain walls. Hey, these people actually think this is 1976-77 and they have equal talent. Sorry. Ottawa is so way over-rated. Les gars have an equal chance with hot goaltending, and yes they are going to make the playoffs easily, stop this last-year comparing. And always good to pound the real enemy. Sorry ladies and gentlemen, for me, the Boston Bruins are anathema.

    Let’s see now 4-1, now 4-2.

    Doesn’t matter really. Our guys just have to grind it out and play smart, and obviuously not get sick. They will have a chance later.

    Observations:

    LeCav’s goal the other night. No, do not even think about it. Someone did that to me once but he didn’t score. It was an interesting night in TMR, an old industrial league game.

    Did I say Ottawa is way over-rated.

    Sta bene all. Salve.

    PS.

    I went back and checked, and we are still losing.

    Here’s what I really think.

    84:

    I actually like you. You could be very good, and we have the legacy of John LeClair — en plus from nearby Vermont — to remind us how cautious we may have to be, so we are very, very wary. Play bigger. Play harder. Be mean. Get in front of the net and forget the boards (at which you are totally useless) and use the hands God gave you. You could be just a big Steve Shutt if you knew how. Go right now.

    26:

    No one thinks you are any good except the Bob-boss, though he seems surprisingly neutral-independent. I think that you are pretty good too. So play a few “arounds” of the net and be very nasty like you can. Carbo wonders, that would be the difference on this team (when he woneders) and you are way better than the alternative. Just play the way you can and one-time pass.

    I now go back.

    Karma. The big Habs had it, this team has very real possibilities for 2009, when it could (should) come to fruition.

    In fact, we probably only need one player to win the Stanley Cup this year.

    Ok lads and ladies, in your imagination, add just one like this, and you only get one player choice, all in their playing prime:

    Bob Probert
    Owen Nowlen
    Chris Simon

    Is there a choice that you would make? Maybe.
    Nought really.

    You all know. What we are really missing. Bobby P would be my selection, easy. One of the above = Stanley.

  51. The Ian Cobb says:

    Just got in, had to go to a friends to watch on the ottawa feed. Frustrating watching this developing squad, mistake after mistake. But Ottawa has built this club over the past 8 years and the final piece to there cup challenge was Heatly. We have a long way to go yet, we can play with these guys this year but they are a very good club and to come out in the first period at only 75% is not going to cut it. The price of admission was the Big Bird show, he like our whole organisation is first class. O well lets get ready for the Islanders. Were due for a TEAM game soon.

  52. Yeats says:

    We’re not even one quarter through the season yet. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Until we get to the deciding game of the Stanley Cup finals, and I pray to God that we’re there at the end, each regular season game has to fill that role. Again, if we remain healthy and avoid the barfing/crapping illness that beset the squad last year, I like our chances. On paper is the Cup ours. In a word, no. But, we weren’t favored in ’86, ’93, or in ’71 for that matter and it all turned out right. Remember, hockey is a slippery game, it’s played on ice.

  53. The Ian Cobb says:

    Yeats– your right of coarse, we are a good team this year and anything can happen on ice, it’s just that i’m a poor looser, for an hour or two. But I see all the positives also this year.

  54. The Ian Cobb says:

    Wow, I just realised we have given up a wopping 13 goals in 3 games. We are going to go backwards in a hurry if we keep that up!

  55. Yeats says:

    Ian: Make no mistake about it, loosing to the Sens sucked, but it’s an early regular season game. It’s not like we’re down 2-0 in Game Seven in the Old Chicago Stadium in 1971. (Could any of you out there really figure out the clock.) Just have to pick ourselves up against the Isle on Wedneday and be ready for the home and home agianst the Sabres.

  56. ClaytonM says:

    Here’s hoping Kitchener Waterloo or Hamilton never see an NHL franchise. The last thing we need is another Ontario team that confounds the Canadiens.

    That being said, it’s high time the sans come back to reality and start losing a few. They’re a great team, but not that good. It looks like teams get psyched out by them in the locker room before they even step on the ice. The Habs need to sit down and watch the first 2 games against Carolina when we owned Gerber if only to realize he’s not that good.

  57. howtathor says:

    Nice analogy vis a vis Sergei Samsonov. Ironically, the Black Hawks did retire Samsonov’s number at least for this season…shades of last year! Yup, I haven’t seen the slot so open since my last trip to Vegas’. While the run and gun game is entertaining, it won’t win many games against the Ottawa Senators. Boston Bruins yes! I think our scoring prowess from Saturday night went to our heads! 52 shots indeed! Carbo should know better.
    Thanks for the memories Larry!

  58. Sbah Reverof says:

    You can’t blame Huet for everything. We haven’t been doing well in our own zone of late. The other team is allowed to skate around us almost at will, and we are caught in the headlights as some guy, left alone for too long, one-times it into our net. We haven’t been winning the boards in the D zone and too many clearing attempts lack purpose. Huet is then left standing on his head while trying to stop the barrage.

  59. Yeats says:

    You’re right. On at least two of the Ottawa goals, not one, but two guys blew their coverage in front of the net.

    Considering that the NHL is really a glorified house league in which we play 82 games to eliminate the truely dreadful teams, our fate will be determined by injuries and the ability of the medical staff to insulate our guys from the “flu” that hit the squad last year. We get through a full season in good health and I like our chances considering what they will learn as a group over the course of the year.

  60. Naila Jinnah says:

    Well, sounds like it was just an average game, all around. At least we shot a lot, and hit a lot. Chris’ goal sounded awesome on FM radio.

    Long Island is always a toughie, but hopefully there’ll be extra motivation for Higgy and Komi… and this year, they can lead the team to a win!

    Price, I’m sure, will start in NYI, which means that, theoretically, Huet starts on Friday, and we see Price at home on Saturday :)

    Once again, thanks for the blog – Sports 30 just doesn’t cut it anymore. And all the comments truly add to the game description. A lot. So thanks to all of you. However, I’ll have to reprimand J.T…. With no notes after 2 and 3, how do I know what REALLY happened?! :O

  61. Sbah Reverof says:

    I love our chances.

  62. J.T. says:

    And, to YOUR accurate observations, I’ll add one more:

    This year’s team doesn’t take a rash of stupid penalties, forcing itself to play down a man for fourteen minutes every sixty.

  63. Yeats says:

    It had nothing to do with pleasure, you don’t think in those terms anymore after you have twin boys, but with the pain of watching the game against the Sabres. I could have said it was as much fun as hitting myself with a hammer, or missing when drinking a flaming suicide, or having someone clip a toe with my skate off in the locker room, but I was trying to capture the most graphic description of discomfort I could. And, to be fair, that one worked for most of the gang. It had nothin to do with sex.

    West Point, just think of it as a D-1 facility that they rent out to local players. (It is an absolutely fabulous place to play.) Crap, I’ve played pickup at Maple Leaf Gardens and the ACC. Truth be told, it’s cheaper to get a few hours of ice at those venues than it is at Chelsea Piers in NYC. I love playing in TO. Everytime I play there, I show up with my worn out equipment. Some canadian knuckle head makes an off-color comment on our way to he ice about my gear and I proceed to get at least a hat trick. Oh, I didn’t know you could play hockey. I mean, you wear glasses when you play. So did Al Arbour and the Hanson brothers ya jackass. Don’t worry about ragging on me. I am in hockey locker rooms at least two to three times a week. Be creative, do your worst and provide me with some material I can use down here. You can’t offend me, I have linemates in pickup who are damn near professionals at it.

  64. Moey says:

    Ohh…excuuuuuuuuuuuuse.. me. West Point huh? I’m impressed. But seriously Yeats, I hope our little interactions are taken with a grain of salt. (I laugh my head off). I think you have a great sense of humor, you are extremely quick witted. Just watch the **bated word, it’s not fit for all ages. Just a wee tip, not ill-intended.

  65. HabsProf says:

    The post was a little confusing, I admit. I said the biggest difference was the flu, but I didn’t mean to leave the impression that that was the only reason. Some of the other reasons are things that I listed (and you and others have pointed out some more).

    I do think, despite the identical win-lose-OTL/SO record, that this year’s is a better team

    Let me offer some other evidence, besides the loss margins, that last year’s wasn’t as strong of a team. Even while the Habs were off to their great start last year, I was never comfortable with their lofty standing. The fact was that goaltending (including Abby, who played well at the beginning of the season) stole too many points for me to say that I expected the team to continue to grab points at that pace.

    Evidence? Last year’s team, over the first 19 games, was outshot 639 to 561. And despite their 11-5-3 record, they only outscored the opposition 60-54. Without a doubt, the other teams outchanced Montreal.

    On the other hand, I think this year’s team can continue at or near the pace they are setting. It will be tough, but it is possible. Evidence? Over the first 19 this year, we have outshot the opposition 602 to 586 (a massive swing from the previous year). We have outscored the opposition by 61 to 50. And, imho, we have outchanced the opposition.

    Yes, our goaltenders have stolen a couple of games – even the Habs of Robinson’s prime had to have Dryden steal a couple. But we no longer need to the goalies to steal one every night. And I think we’ve had a couple stolen from us (Vokoun in the Florida game and Toskala in the second Toronto game come to mind).

    Let me mention those shots again – we went from being outshot 639 to 561 to now outshooting the opposition 602 to 586. That is a swing of 5 shots per game. There is the difference almost in a nutshell.

  66. Chorske says:

    OK, some perspective on the flu. If I remember right, what they caught was a norovirus. That particular bug is especially nasty because it is so contagious. I got the same bug in November of last year. For one week, I had to stay within ten feet of a bathroom, for all of the wrong reasons. By day 7 I had dropped almost 10 pounds, and I felt weak for maybe a month afterwards. The fact that these guys played through something similar puts them in the same leagues as the spartans in 300 in my books.

    Knock on wood, these guys are going to stay healthy. I for one am fully prepared to believe that the flu was a big part of last year’s meltdown.

  67. Zaskar says:

    Congrats to Larry Robinson on receiving an honour well deserved. Nothing short of a win is required on a special night like tonight. I think the team knows it.

  68. RetroMikey says:

    I am hoping we come out the gates flying from the drop of the puck, Ottawa can be beaten and we must keep shooting at Gerber at every angle! Hopefully the raising of the banner for Larry Robinson tonite will be an added incentive to the team and that each player should realize that it is with honour and pride to be wearing the rouge, blanc et bleu! 5-2 Habs win tonite with Ryder the first star!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  69. Lee Hayes says:

    I enjoyed Larry’s brief pairing with Rod Langway, at one point they had matching afro’s, they kind of reminded me of big bird, back in the day of no helmets and bad perms!
    I’m very happy for Larry, he day has finally come.
    I expect quite the emotional response for all involved, including all of us at home watching on TV.

    On to the sen’s…well we have to come out with the rare 60 min, fully committed to the game plan, overachieving home game effort. Or suffer the consequences of falling victim to an ottawa team that is out for blood. Doesn’t matter who it is in front of them, they just want to reset the tone if you will. Our Beloved Habs are in tough tonight, however we have been dominant in the Bell Center against ottawa of late(5 of the last 7), a win would reflect a gathering maturity in amongst our younger players, and team as a whole!
    Here’s hoping we get a win for Larry!

    RobertL, any stats on wins vs loses on retirement nights?

    Go Habs Go

  70. The Ian Cobb says:

    Lee– Your exitment is infectious, GOOSE BUMPS time!!!!

  71. Chorske says:

    From the Canadiens wiki entry

    Montreal Canadiens Retired Numbers
    1 Jacques Plante Oct 7, 1995
    10 Guy Lafleur Feb 16, 1985
    2 Doug Harvey Oct 26, 1985
    12 Dickie Moore Nov 12, 2005
    4 Jean Beliveau Oct 9, 1971
    12 Yvan Cournoyer Nov 12, 2005
    5 Bernard Geoffrion Mar 11, 2006
    16 Henri Richard Dec 10, 1975
    7 Howie Morenz Nov 2, 1937
    18 Serge Savard Nov 18, 2006
    9 Maurice Richard Oct 6, 1960
    29 Ken Dryden Jan 29, 2007

    Now all we need is for someone with a VERY good memory to tell us whether they won or lost.

  72. teamplayer says:

    last season we were 2-0 .. jan 29th game was vs sens too!!

  73. Y says:

    Ceremony is up for free at http://canadiens.nhl.tv/team/console

    click on games and then “live webcasting”

  74. Rugger says:

    Thanks for the link, I was able to catch the 2nd half of his speech onward. Class act by Ottawa coming out on the ice for it.

  75. P St. Pierre says:

    400 comments…let’s get it done. As far as Big Bird, my dad tells me time and time again of that hit on Gary Dornhoeffer. I’m glad his number is being retired. He definantly deserves this recognition.

    As far as the Senators go, let’s hope the Habs stand them up at the blue line and get some odd man rushes going the other way. The counter attack possessed by the Canadiens is very good and they can create lots of great chances off the rush, especially with Markov, Streit, and Hamerlik. I just hope they finish on some of them. Huet will need to have another outing like his last one vs. Ottawa.

  76. Fagstein says:

    Good move on Larry’s part trying a bit of the Français during his speech. But I think even some of the francophones in the audience were itching for him to just switch back to English.

    Montreal: Speak French and you’re a hero.

  77. Fagstein says:

    Carey Price shakes his hand. Was that kid even born when Larry Robinson was doing his thing?

  78. yathehabsrule says:

    Great ceremony…Has there ever not been one?

    Ok roll up the carpet and let’s play hockey!

  79. teamplayer says:

    as for the last 4 retirement nights are record is 3-0-1
    the otl came vs. Tor but the 3 wins came against OTT, ATL, and NYR
    my memory doesnt remember too much from the 90’s and before that.

  80. Chorske says:

    Teamplayer: NICE!

  81. McHabby says:

    I missed the ceremony :(

    I was under the impression it started at 8:30, the game time that is listed. That was the set up for the Jan 29 game vs Ottawa on Dryden night.

    Boooooooooo.

  82. TommyB says:

    I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be too young to have seen the great Habs teams of the 70’s that featured great men and players such as Larry Robinson.

    I feel so honored and blessed!

  83. The Teacher says:

    I think we can all agree that Larry Robinson was and always will be a class act during his career. This is what they mean by ‘intangibles’ and how it helps you win championships. Larry Robinson really did have everything it tookto be an ultimate teamate.

    Kudos to you Mr. Robinson, you are one of my earliest memories of the Habs and deserve all the accolades.

    Did Komi EVER take his eyes of the big screen?

    Chris Phillips in particular seemed really happy to be there as well.

    Now let’s beat the Sens, puck drop is supposed to be at 7:38??? I guess this is the “new” NHL where pre-game ceremonies now have to be done before the teams warm up?? what is happening at the bell Mike? is the ice being resurfaced (btw Dave, don’t think Zamboni’d is a word, and there would be no apostrophe in any case. Been drinking Scottish spirits lately? )

    GO HABS GO

  84. Keith says:

    Damn, I only caught the tail end of the Larry Robinson tribute but I heard it was awesome. At least according to the guy’s on CJAD. When is the game going to start?

  85. The Teacher says:

    ahh ok, can see them warming up now…

    A tad unorthodox wouldn’t you say?

  86. Geoff F says:

    Larry didn’t pull a Messier but i couldn’t help it!

    It’s a beautiful thing! IF the boys don’t get up for this one…

    P.S. I don’t know what you meant by Kostitsyn is riveted Mike but that’s what i’ve heard about the Kostitsyn’s. Apparently they don’t share the same respect for the sweater or the organization that you would think it deserves. I’ve heard a few stories about that and i have to admit i wasn’t impressed. Hopefully he makes up for it on the ice.

  87. The Teacher says:

    I don’t think this puck is dropping at 7:38 if they’re resurfacing the ice….

  88. The Teacher says:

    Do they need to get some authentic sweat on the jersey or something in order to auction it off.

  89. Keith says:

    Yeah I thought the ceremony was to start later(8:30).

    TommyB,

    Yeah I feel sorry for Hab fans too young to remember the glory years of the 70’s. I remember them vividly. What excellent hockey it was!I don’t feel so bad being old lol!

  90. Moey says:

    Me too TommyB, the seventies were the greatest. Glad I was old enough to enjoy it, but in all honesty I don’t think I appreciated it until now. The team was so good I think we all took it for granted. Now I look back and say, wow, I didn’t realize just how great we were. A fifteen year drought sure puts it into perspective.

  91. JDS says:

    400 eh Mike…. well here’s my two cents

    Why am I sniffiling as watch that number rise? Is it for Larry? For the Habs? Or am I just reminded that my youth has slipped away?

  92. Geoff F says:

    JDS, it’s probably for all of the above. I feel the same way even though i don’t think i’m that old.

    I remember like it was yesterday watching Larry and the boys play with my dad. It was great, wonderful memories. It’s only now i realize how good we had it even though i was watching the tail end of it it was still special!!!

  93. BJ says:

    #7 Howie Morenz Nov 2, 1937.The NHL All-stars defeated a combined team of Canadiens and Maroons players 6-5.

    #9 Maurice Richard Oct 6, 1960. Montreal 5 Toronto 0

    #4 Jean Beliveau Oct 9, 1971. Montreal 4 New York Rangers 4

    #16 Henri Richard Dec 10, 1975. Montreal 3 Toronto 3

    #10 Guy Lafleur Feb 16, 1985. Montreal 3 Buffalo 4

    #2 Doug Harvey Oct 26, 1985. Montreal 5 Hartford 3

    #1 Jacques Plante Oct 7, 1995. Montreal 1 Philadelphia 7 (they could of used Plante that night)

    #12 Dickie Moore Nov 12, 2005. Montreal 4 Toronto 5 (Overtime Loss)
    #12 Yvan Cournoyer Nov 12, 2005

    #5 Bernard Geoffrion Mar 11, 2006. Montreal 1 New York Rangers 0

    #18 Serge Savard Nov 18, 2006. Montreal 3 Atlanta 1

    #29 Ken Dryden Jan 29, 2007. Montreal 3 Ottawa 1

  94. Girth says:

    Interesting coincidence: 11-5-0-3 after 19 games 2 years in a row!!!

    I do feel, however, that this year’s team is stronger than last year… (as long as we remain healthy). If I remember correctly, the feeling last year was that we we’re playing over our heads. As for this year’s squad, my only real concern is that I would like to see more depth/options for the first line… where as last year there were an abundance of high-priority issues to be addressed. (Samsonov, Kovi, Halak/Huet, 5 on 5,… etc…)

    Anyhow, I don’t believe Ottawa is as good as their record shows… especially in nets. Confidence is the key to taking these 2 points.

  95. McHabby says:

    I was 8 during Larry’s last season in Montreal. Don’t remember him at all.

    My Dad told me once I was born in the wrong era haha.

  96. teamplayer says:

    hey teacher, you are correct Zamboni’d isnt a word because it is the name of the company that makes. The guy who invented the “ice resurfacing machine” is Frank J. Zamboni.
    Zamboni is the most popular brand in North America, second is the Olympia, which is what I drive at my rink. Pretty sure the bell centre uses zamboni though.
    what does this all mean? I’m not sure but I’m late to flood the ice now, and am gonna miss the puck drop again!

  97. Y says:

    Wow!

    TSN has us ranked #2!

  98. Keith says:

    Man I hate this new policy by the NHL. The game should have started by now!

  99. The Teacher says:

    IS RDS actually going to show the anthem playing???

  100. BigHabsFan says:

    hey guys, sopcast does not appear to have the game available…anyone have any tips for me?! thanks

  101. The Teacher says:

    Seems like the fans at the game are into it tonight, bodes well for us I hope

  102. Fagstein says:

    Someone in the RDS graphics department screwed up, giving Robinson 2 Vezina trophies.

    As the on-air guys pointed out, it was actually two Norris trophies.

  103. Geoff F says:

    I’m in the same boat BHF. SOpcast had the retirement cermony but not the game. I have no tips for you..i’m listening to CJAD. This Sucks.

  104. BigHabsFan says:

    agreed, cjad just ain’t cutting it!

  105. wd40 says:

    gotta watch those deflections.

  106. BJ says:

    Listening from Germany via CKAC (french Montreal radio)

  107. TommyB says:

    Moey, you’re right. We didn’t realize at the time how special it was. Just took that kind of thing for granted with those kinds of teams.

  108. McHabby says:

    Anyone know when RDS plans to start webcasting games? That news over the summer was just one big tease.

    Damn, 1-0 Sens.

  109. Kevin says:

    Markov has been taking a lot of penalties lately.

  110. The Teacher says:

    GOOD TO SEE hat there has been no letup after they scored that PP goal.

  111. Lee Hayes says:

    Thank you very much!!

    Go Habs Go

  112. Fagstein says:

    Wow. A full minute non-stop in the Senators zone. Crazy pressure here.

  113. Ali says:

    Great pressure as of late, too bad Ottawa is so good with the quick-strike offence, as Pierre McGuire likes to say. One mistake and the pucks in the back of your net.

    Need to score on this PP!

  114. Moey says:

    I love Higgy, but man oh man his puck handling is hectic. He’s so over anxious it keeps getting away from him. He has to chill out and keep his cool and the goals will come.

  115. Kevin says:

    I think that’s one area where Kovalev can teach him something!

  116. The Teacher says:

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’d MUCH rather have this year’s Ryder than last years. Pointe finale.

  117. Ali says:

    Breezer can’t get it out, and Boom, two-zip

  118. Girth says:

    He looked old and tired on that play …

  119. wd40 says:

    2 missed coverages, 2 goals. brutal.

  120. Y says:

    Oh wow…looks like it’s over.

    Goodnight all

  121. Geoff F says:

    Gut check time boys!

  122. Ali says:

    i’m getting flashbacks to that 8-2 thumping we got from Ottawa last season…

    the Habs are being too fancy in the neutral zone, and are struggling to get the puck out of their own zone

  123. showey47 says:

    why was grabovski out there against the heatly line

  124. Ali says:

    is it just me or does Pierre Houde sound completely zoned out?

  125. wd40 says:

    gerber is impressive. doesn’t look like we’re going to get any easy ones tonight.

  126. showey47 says:

    keeping shooting the pucks will go in

  127. Geoff F says:

    One goal and we’re back in it boys. Let’s not back down, i don’t want to lose to the Sens.

    If the Leafs can blank the Sens then we should be able to beat these guys.

  128. showey47 says:

    where was this gerber on saturday night

  129. showey47 says:

    we’ve already got more shots than the laffs had on him on saturday night

  130. showey47 says:

    why does it seems everytime we make a mistake its in the back of our net

  131. wd40 says:

    according to ESPN, the hits are 11-3 in favour of the Habs.. maybe we’ll wear them down. falling asleep here.

  132. The Teacher says:

    POOR LATS, can’t seem to stop falling down

  133. showey47 says:

    lats skates like he is wearing a brand new pair of skates right out of the box

  134. showey47 says:

    higgy looks like he is skating well, good news that the ankle is not as bad as thought. What a fking terrible call on ryder

  135. wd40 says:

    zzzz… the fans look like they’re listening to a sermon. come on guys! the crowd was ready for a game … those 2 quick goals sure took the crowd out of it. here we go, a nice SH goal. hey, if it can happen twice (or was it three times?) to the Red Wings…

  136. The Teacher says:

    Well, we got a LOT do to work on regarding defensive zone coverage during the intermission.

  137. Ali says:

    it was a soft call, but the best way to avoid those calls is to keep your stick on the ice, the players KNOW the refs are calling those nowdays…

  138. wd40 says:

    they should invite Larry into the dressing room during the intermission.

  139. Ali says:

    Classy Alfie! with the nice lil’ Merci Beaucoup at the end of the interview…

    I hate the Sens, but that guy is pure class.

  140. Moey says:

    When it comes to the Sens I make two wishes, # 1 – I hope we beat them, # 2 – if we lose let’s not be humiliated.

  141. Keith says:

    God I’m starting to hate the Ottawa Janitors almost as much as I hate the laffs. Can’t we beat this team? We are letting them go to the net with far too much authority. Doesn’t bode well.

  142. kevinhabs says:

    eerily looking like the buffalo game friday night

  143. Moey says:

    Do you guys think we can get to 400 posts tonight? We’re a skeleton crew. Let’s give it our best shot.

  144. J.T. says:

    Notes on the first:

    Too bad Robinson has to witness this. I wonder what the chances of getting him out in Breezer’s place might be? Or at least prying him away from Jersey to coach the D?

    Obviously most of the Habs went through the junior ranks where there’s not a high value placed on formal education. But Higgins is a Yale man…surely he knows enough about physics to understand that a goalie is a solid mass, through which a hockey puck has very little chance of passing?

    I spoke too soon when I said last year’s team dug itself early holes it spent all night climbing out of, while this year’s team is better. Not tonight.

    At least they’re winning some faceoffs. So that’s good.

    Dusting off the old crystal ball, I’m predicting Price on Long Island. Not that those were all Huet’s fault…but it’s a karma thing.

    Grabs is soooo fast. I wish he’d get a chance with some real linemates for a change. Imagine if he had a centre who was hitting him in the open?

    Oh well…hopefully Pleks and The A-Ks will kick it into gear in the second.

  145. Ali says:

    I feel for poor Saku, with a top-notch sniper, he’d have 25pts this season. I love Higgins, but the guy can want to be a 40 goal man all he wants, but i think he’ll top out at 35 goals if he keeps fluffing as many chances as he does…

    Anyone else asking Santa for Marian Hossa for Christmas?

  146. The Teacher says:

    uhhh kevin habs, with all due respect this game bears very little resemblance to the Buffalo game…..we are

    Skating
    Crashing the Net
    SKATING
    Controlling the puck
    SKATING!!!!!!
    hitting
    SKATING

    wait…did I forget to mention..SKATING??

    ok, it’s 2-0 but let’s not get carried away here.

  147. The Teacher says:

    THERE BETTER BE A PENALTY THERE!!!!!!

    I guess HUET has to become an actor now in order to get a penalty…

  148. Moey says:

    We all love Higgy and I think it’s for one reason, the song the girls would sometimes sing on the old Laverne & Shirley show (High Hopes), we know eventually that little ant will move the rubber tree plant.

  149. zamboni says:

    No, you’re dead right, the guy is completely zoned out, blamed Grabs for the second goal instead of blaming the poster boy Breezer.
    Not that the other poster boy Latts did anything during the Breezer cough up to help the situation.
    At least Grabs tried.

    just call a spade a spade Houde, go review the play.

  150. Moey says:

    Kovy would be a good mentor, he’s so relaxed, he makes it look easy. He rarely fumbles.

  151. Mr.Hazard says:

    Gold, Mike. ;)

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  152. ButJohnnyLovesHockey says:

    So I shouldn’t bet on the Habs tonight?

  153. Billy says:

    mike… very true. How bout Alex Kovalev of 07-08 is not Alex Kovalev of 06-07? the guy is bringing a whole new attitude to the game. and he knows it. quote on canadiens.com “I knew I had to change my approach and my attitude this season and that’s what I’ve done”

  154. Kevin says:

    Shouldn’t that be Josh Gorges is no Janne Niinimaa?

    I kinda feel bad for Niinimaa. The guy never complained about playing every 6th game. And he wasn’t that bad… maybe a tad overpriced, but he was no Theodore!

  155. J.T. says:

    Also:

    This year’s team does not give up the first goal within the first five minutes of the game, EVERY game.

    This year’s team has each other’s backs.

    This year’s team has a first line that’s hovering around even on the plus/minus stat.

    This year’s team has a PP that’s number one in the league without being a one-trick pony.

    This year’s team doesn’t win by last-minute digging itself out of holes it’s dug itself into with a crappy period early in the game.

    This year’s team plays a whole 60 minutes most of the time.

    As for the Sens not having lost two in regulation in 63 games…I’ll take a Habs win in OT just as well.

  156. FastRonnie says:

    J.T., in addition to your accurate observations I’ll add:

    -this year’s coach is not a rookie

    -this year’s boards are very much alive (thank you Mr. McGuire)

    -this year’s Kovalev has come to play ‘a la fresh attitude’ and it shows

    -this year’s depth chart and Hamilton call-ups are deeper and more mature and talented

  157. The Teacher says:

    LOL, Sportsnet blaming it on the new socks now…sheesh

  158. saskhab says:

    Tough one because of the long delay to start the game and Ottawa’s quick legs.

  159. The Teacher says:

    OOOOH, That looked nasty with Begin, thankfully his leg snapped out in time

  160. Chorske says:

    Not a bad game though, all told. We’re not being embarrassed. We’ve dug our ways out of deeper holes than this… but MAN is this Ottawa team a killer.

  161. Bill says:

    It’s not pretty. Gerber is on his game and the Sens are playing well defensively. I could easily see Gerber shutting the Habs out.

    Brisebois is having a rough, rough night. Ditto the Habs PP, just sucking wind. The Habs right now look absolutely scattered, no confidence at all. I would like at least to see them fight it out until the end, not pack it in.

  162. Ali says:

    Ryder: Passes when he should shoot, and shoots when he should pass

  163. HabsProf says:

    Interesting – Chipchura is not Bonk. I always viewed Smolinski as Bonk’s replacement, at least for this season. I always viewed Kyle as Bonk’s replacement two years from now.

    Still, gotta love this kid Chipchura. Anyone notice that he is tied for the team lead in plus/minus? A rookie!!! And on pace for 25 points as a fourth liner. Not bad, not bad at all.

    I think the real reason this team is not the same is simple – it hasn’t contracted the flu yet and hopefully (knock on wood) never will. I didn’t think last season’s team played bad at full strength until Huet was injured and Aebischer suddenly faltered (up until then, he had played well for us).

    One other difference – we aren’t losing big when we do lose. Of the five regulation losses in our first 19 games last year, 2 were by 4 goals and one by 3. Of the five regulation losses this year, only Friday’s Buffalo loss was big, by 3 goals. We have lost 2 games by 2 goals but each of them (3-1 to Carolina and 3-1 to Ottawa) required an empty netter to establish the two goal margin.

    This team has hung tough and been in a position to pull out EVERY game except for Friday’s Buffalo match.

  164. Jay_in_PA says:

    HabsProf: Excellent job bringing a data-based perspective to the question.

    I’m not sure I understand how you can say that the difference between the two teams is that last year’s team caught the flu bug and this one remains healthy when you go on to say that last year’s regulation losses to this point in the season were more likely to be by larger margins than this year. Admittedly, the sample of losses is thankfully too small to really to support any generalization.

    I prefer the interpretation that you offer at the end. This year’s team is more defensively responsible and has remained competitive in every game it’s lost. Even factoring out the effect of the flu, the upgrade in defensive play is going to win a few more games for us compared to last year. Add in a young core with an extra year’s experience (Pleks and Komi are shining examples, but not the only ones), the ability to keep everyone fresh by rolling four lines, and an overall upgrade in player quality and I think it’s just a much better team overall.

    I still see your point about last year’s team not being that bad. They were challenging Buffalo for the division lead before the flu bug hit. Still, with shaky goaltenting, terrible defense, and immature coaching, they were a team that would have been bounced rudely in the first round of the playoffs. This team, on the other hand, can definitely make it to the second round and, depending on how things go, maybe even the third.

    One last note to say that I really enjoy your posts. Keep it up!

  165. The Teacher says:

    WHAT A PLAY BY KOMI!

  166. The Teacher says:

    I don’t know about 400 Mike..Maybe it’ll pick up after the game ends cause it seems much more quiet than usual.

  167. Ali says:

    HOW could Ryder get the hook at the end of the first and whoever was hooking Streit MULTIPLE times on that rush not get one?

    ah, a call on Heatley, should’ve been two penalties there

  168. P St. Pierre says:

    This game is horrible so far. Montreal needs to get in front of Gerber. He’s going to stop what he can see, unless Kovy is the one shooting. I’m pretty ticked off with this game so far. Habs need some jump.

  169. zamboni says:

    time to get a PP goal.

  170. Moey says:

    Crap, the Habs are off their game tonight, you’d think they would bring their A game, at least to pay homage to one of the greatest defenceman and dynasties in hockey. I’m so disappointed so far…..but the fat lady hasn’t sang.

  171. Kilgore Trout says:

    sportsnet webcast for tvuplayer is now up and running @ tvu://64311

  172. Moey says:

    2-1……now that’s better boys, keep it coming!!!!

  173. The Teacher says:

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! nice play by Brisebois I have to admit moving in and taking some defensive converage with him to pen up some space.

  174. Keith says:

    YeSSSS. A lucky goal but we needed it. Those Janitor announcers are such tools!

  175. Ed says:

    Latendresse showed his strength on that goal. I don’t know how many others on the Canadiens could have done that.

  176. Ali says:

    Ryder! end to end baby, thats a Larry Robinson tribute!

  177. zamboni says:

    Yep, no argument about his strength,

  178. Keith says:

    Ryder is actually starting to shoot the puck for a change. Quite refreshing :-)

  179. Bill says:

    Ha! Jinxed Gerber good.

    Nice goal by Guy, that’s where he needs to score them from.

    Sens looking more dangerous than ever.

  180. Kevin says:

    Mike Boone: Kovalev is the Canadiens leading goal scorer and point getter. And he’s been working every game this year. I would expect to read his name more on your blog!

  181. zamboni says:

    You’ve got to be kidding me, he was setup for a perfect shot by Kovy, and he couldn’t even make a pass, we were lucky it somehow ended up with Latts.

  182. Ali says:

    4 minutes???? should be! hes bleeding!

  183. Bill says:

    Chipchura protects the puck better than anyone else on the team. He makes things happen and he is indeed quite smart, as many have said before. I’m on the bandwagon.

    Gerber looks sooo good tonight. The Habs will never score on him again. No way.

  184. Chorske says:

    I think they’re playing a pretty good game. We’re pretty much managing the play right now.

    And now a PP. Komi’s gonna look like Frankenstein by February if this keeps up.

  185. ButJohnnyLovesHockey says:

    Well I hope they finally get off their butts now.

  186. Moey says:

    Komi is going to need some dental work after that hit.

  187. Bill says:

    No replay on that offside? Looked like a bad call to me.

  188. NLhabsfan says:

    They need someone to stand in front of Gerber and muck it up.The guy is seeing everything.

  189. Moey says:

    Awwwwwwwwwwww….crap!!! 3-1.

  190. McHabby says:

    Not working for me.

  191. Kevin says:

    I’m confused… wasn’t Heatly in the penalty box for 4 minutes?? Damn it!!

  192. Bill says:

    What, it’s not a penalty if you trip players whose last names rhyme with ‘hipcherah’? Bullcrap. And the Sens score on the ensuing rush!

  193. The Teacher says:

    Zamboni, I didn’t say he completed the play nicely, but he did help set things in motion for the goal..it is kinda hard to take a shot if you’re a right handed shot when you’re receiving a pass from the left side ;)

  194. zamboni says:

    Then you must realize that what he did was a huge gamble, if he can’t take a right handed shot, and considering that Kovy was playing on the left, why in the hell is he gambling to rush, he got lucky with the bounce, it could have ended up costing us.

  195. Moey says:

    Mike,

    I have to agree with you about the Sens being on the bench for the ceremony, class act all the way.

  196. Chorske says:

    LOL, ok, I wish I hadnt said anything and jinxed em. That goal took some of the steam out of their sails, or whatever the expression is.

  197. Moey says:

    Hi Chorske,

    It’s the wind out of their sails, or one of my favorites the lead out of their pencils.

  198. CrashTheNetCrashTheNet says:

    Mike Boone said, “What it came down to was team speed, which the Bruins couldn’t handle, and a very encouraging manifestation of huge, clanking brass ones.”
    I said the same thing after the game but using the words “balls of solid rock” in referal to Begin (who certainly has a set)and yet my post was deleted????Isn’t this a site for adults? I mean its not like a racial slur or an attack on another poster. They’re just big ol” clankin’ balls. Anywho…Go Habs Go. Let’s kick feces tonight!

  199. Moey says:

    Mike just eluded to it so I think its the 4 letter “b” word that you used that did it, mind you in saying that I’ve seen worse that doesn’t get deleted.

  200. Geoff F says:

    Isn’t Kovalev, Ryder, Kostitsyn, Plekanec anybody from the Habs due to score any moment now? Maybe Koivu needs to show up Alfie???!!!

    Anyone….

  201. Moey says:

    Nice pass from the back of the net to …………nobody, jeeeeeeezzzz.

  202. McHabby says:

    FYI: Sopcast is Finally working.

  203. The Teacher says:

    Moey,

    I think Koivu was trying to bank it off of Gerber there…Sometimes it does work you know ;) Give him points for creativity at least!

  204. Bill says:

    Boone: I feel strongly that a preposition is a perfectly valid thing to end a sentence on.

  205. Moey says:

    You’re right teach…when a butterfly flaps it’s wings..you probably know the rest.

  206. Sbah Reverof says:

    Ugh, not pretty thus far. Hope they can pull it together in the 3rd. Keep up the proper grammar Boone, only good from it can come.

  207. MikeL says:

    After watching the first two periods one thing seems to be evident….The habs lack finish. They had more shots and chances than the Sens but Heatley makes scoring plays out of nothing and its 3-1. If Higgins had half the finish of Heatley, he’d be the 40 goal scorer he claims he can be. If a couch GM like me can pick that up, I’m sure Gainey noticed many many games ago. They lack a true scorer and I think he’ll get one sooner rather than later.

  208. Girth says:

    Quoting Churchill!!!

    “…the kind of grammar up with which you should not put.”

  209. P St. Pierre says:

    Despite Montreal outshooting Ottawa, the Canadiens are being outplayed. Either forcing turnovers that lead to odd man rushes, or sustaining some pressure in Ottawa’s end is how you score goals against this team. Martin Gerber is playing too well to expect goals from shots simply being thrown at the net. And Streit seems to be handling the puck like a hand grenade. Why the sudden lack of confidence?
    The Canadiens need to make some better defensive zone decisions as well. Huet should be banned from playing the puck, it makes my heart rate increase to unhealthy levels. Also, coverage within the Canadiens’ end needs to be tighter. There are too many lapses and the Ottawa forwards are too good to be given any kind of space.
    One good thing about tonight’s game has been the play of Ryder and Latendresse. These guys have both been in the doghouse most of the season, but they look good tonight. I also like Kostitsyn’s creativity. That line needs to get on the scoresheet tonight, preferably right at the beginning of the third.

  210. Bill says:

    Argh. How many more times do we have to play these guys? They’re way too good. Can anyone else believe that this Sens team was blanked two days ago by the Lowly Laffs?

    Ryder is showing tantalizing hints that he may show signs of life in the not too distant future. Yes, I am employing litotes quite deliberately. Score already!!

    I think I understand addiction, because right now I would gladly drain my bank account in exchange for seeing Alex Kovalev singlehandedly take over the game, score six goals in a row, and send the Sens home reeling. I need my fix! Do something, Alex!

    Yay for The Tenderness.

    Gerber will not allow another goal and Chris Neil will most certainly not be hit by a truck on his way to Chez Paree tonight. No way.

  211. Moey says:

    Okay, I just moved my laptop into the same room as the game, I was getting pooped.

    Bring on the third period, c’mon lads, do it for the big bird.

  212. ganderhab says:

    This post is for you JT – The last guy to hurt the Habs as much as Alfredsson was Irv Grundman

  213. Bill says:

    Let’s agree once and for all, then, that hits and face-offs are pretty unimportant stats.

  214. Keith says:

    Well these guy’s have given up tonight and so am I. I’m going to bed zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!

    GOOD NIGHT :-(

  215. Girth says:

    “It’s over. Turn the page. Carry on,” Grundman said outside the court following his sentencing.

    I suggest we do the same … and start playing like a team. (like on Saturday)

  216. MikeL says:

    I was just gonna curse Higgins for never passing the puck…and he scores

  217. Moey says:

    Yeah………….Adam ant!!!!

  218. Geoff F says:

    What are the chances we are going to make a game of this one?

    C’mon boys!

  219. Keith says:

    Maybe I spoke too soon :-)

  220. Chorske says:

    Gawd, one thing, these guys just don’t give up.

  221. Moey says:

    We really do need a sniper in front of the net.

    Dear Mr. Gainey,

    Please bring me a high scoring center for Christmas. I promise to be a good girl all year.

  222. P St. Pierre says:

    Haha…I’ll be a good boy too.

  223. Moey says:

    You can’t blame Kovy for trying!!! We can never accuse him of not finishing..

  224. MikeL says:

    Hey Boone,

    I noticed when the page loads theres an ad page or something named ads.kostitsyn.com. Whats up with that?

  225. zamboni says:

    Right on Mr.Boone, the Habs look tired, why do they keep the same unit on PP for 90 seconds is beyond me.

  226. MikeL says:

    Michael Ryder is a new player

  227. P St. Pierre says:

    I’m really nervous about the outcome of the this game because Montreal doesn’t have the kind of firepower to overcome Ottawa’s attention to defense with amount of time left.

  228. Moey says:

    You’re right Habsfreak, but I’d like to think it’s about a year away. bring on a sniper and let the games begin.

  229. Moey says:

    HabsFreak,

    In my own little Habsworld, I’d like to think of it like ’93, not the favorites, but with the right GM and coach…they bring a young team to the top. Just a secret wish, and I still think we’re just a sniper away.

  230. ebk says:

    offensive/defensive zone face-offs are important. I agree it can be misleading.

  231. Bill says:

    Refereeing is pure BS tonight. Fisher wrestles Kovalev down, no call. Markov waves his stick in the direction of an Ottawa player … two for hooking. Garbage. My four-year old could do better.

  232. MikeL says:

    Yeah, that was pretty frustrating to watch

  233. P St. Pierre says:

    Fisher gets away with a lot in any game. I think it’s because everyone likes how he plays, including me. But he gets away with a lot of extra curricular activity.

  234. Yeats says:

    Well, they better come with a better effort Wednesday night against the Isles on Long Island. Nolan has those guys playing good hockey. Coverage in front of our own net tonight was horrible. I would have started Price after the Bs game, but to be fair tonight wasn’t Huet’s fault. Carbo has to separate Ryder and Higgins once and for all. It’s just not working. Also, we spent too much time on the perimeter tonight in the offensive zone. Man, we could use some guys with the leafs’ size up front.

  235. stephen says:

    Agreed, agreed, and agreed.

    I didn’t get to watch the game, but it sounds as though our lack of finish and size up front did us in again. Against an Ottawa team that can skate with the best of ‘em, our quickness isn’t quite the factor it might be against slower squads. And the Sens’ defence is far too good positionally to be outdone by our relatively small forwards. When was the last time we had a hulking forward with hands? Hmm…seems to me it rhymed with “éclair”. Er, maybe we won’t go there, tonight..

    Anyway, the Sens are on another planet. Their Saturday loss was just an aberration in what is otherwise an other-worldly season.

  236. Yeats says:

    The problem with the last two games Huet has started is that, while we were down, when we started to come back and show some signs of life, he lets in a less-than-gorgeous goal. I hope he isn’t turning into “Abby Lite.”

  237. Yeats says:

    He has looked merely adequate in his last two starts. And, that won’t do pig.

  238. Moey says:

    Holy old crow yeats, are you talking/arguing with yourself?

    I practically have no fingerprints left trying to get Mike his 400, where were you and your mates tonight?

  239. Yeats says:

    Fifth grade homework with twin boys is harder than defending a five-on-three. Yes, I noticed my schizophrenia as well. I think I alluded to it in a following post.

  240. Yeats says:

    My mates? Well some, like me a resting up for pickup tomorrow night at West Point. Others are playing at another local rink tonight. The truth is that if I weren’t married with kids, I could play hockey every single night down here. There is more ice time available now than when I actually had some skill.

  241. Sbah Reverof says:

    A valiant effort tonight, the boys never said die, but we are not that great when playing catch-up all night, and Ottawa is simply the better team overall. That being said, man, did the reffing SUCK big-time tonight.

  242. Yeats says:

    Man, I’m noticing a trend. With each successive post Huet looks worse. I better stop here. By the end of the night, he will be Abby.

  243. Moey says:

    My apologies Yeats, I missed Stephen’s post.

  244. stephen says:

    Moey, if you check the times on Yeats’ posts and mine, you’ll clearly see he was chatting with himself, before I stuck my head in the door. ;)


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4-2

Canadiens win by two goals!!

And finally this season, a few bounces go their way.

The winner, for instance: a Roman Hamrlik shot that bounced off the glass behind Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller and then ricocheted off a Sabres defenceman who was trying to tie up Christopher Higgins, then off Miller and in.
The goal, initially credited to Higgins, was Hamrik’s

“Not a very nice goal,” Hamrlik conceded. “But you know what? I’m going to take it.
“We won. We have two points. That’s all that matters.”
Hamrlik played almost 26 minutes, had two assists and was the game’s first star.
Higgins’ got a goal – an empty-netter that put this one away and allowed the With the win, Canadiens to leapfrog Buffalo in the Northeast Division standings.

Red Sox are leading 10-1 in the third inning.
Dice-K tomorrow.

And I’m off to Hurley’s to hoist a few with Habs I/O Summiteers.

Thanks everyone for 195 comments.
You rock!

Third Period 24.9 Chris Higgins ices it on a 70-footer into an empty net.
4-2

Third Period 1:27 Kostopoulos makes a big shot block

Third Period 2:12 Huet fails to clear and chaos ensues.

Third Period 2:47 Pleks, Dandy, Hamrlik, Bouillon

Third Period 3:16 Here we go. Kovalev for hooking. And Lindy Ruff calls timeout.

Third Period 4:07 Line changes and no penalties will be crucial here. Will Carbo shorten the bench?

Third Period 5:18 Anxious moments for Grabovski line.

Third Period 12:46 Still a PP for 1:06. But the goal is being reviewed.
It was in off Miller, so what’s the problem?

Third Period 7:22 Another rebound off the boards, and Chris Higgins is right there.
3-2

Third Period 8:16 Two-man advantage for 1:04. This is where they HAVE to put them away.

Third Period 9:04 Stafford goes for ooffensiive-zone high-sticking.

Third Period 10:08 Hamrlik for tripping. His first penalty of the season.
This will be tense.

Third Period 12:00 Buffalo sends a three-man forecheck that gives the Canadiens all kinds of trouble.

Third Period 12:46 The Sabres skate faster than I can blog. Bring on the Leafs.

Third Period 15:10 Chris Higgins comes close … again. He should have six this season.

Third Period 17:00 Markov has made more mistakes tonight than he made last season.

Third Period 19:00 Next goal wins it … maybe.

• • •

Mike Komisarek has five hits and the Canadiens have a 27-10 advantage.

Bryan Smolinski has four shots, four hits and has won four faceoffs (44%).

• • •

J.D. Drew: grand slam
Woo hoo!
I’m a huge Red Sox fan.

• • •

Francis Bouillon, Mark Streit and the Koivu lline are -2 tonight.

• • •

This is turning into an interesting game. It’s the toughest test the Canadiens defence has had this season, because Buffalo is a buzzsaw.

Should be a lively thrird period.
Will the Sabres, who played last night, have their legs.

Second Period 1:51 Sabres imitate the Canadiens’ PP. Passing on the perimeter, then a shot right on Huet.

Second Period 4:40 Afinogenov for roughing. And a frustrating PP with too mmuch passing.

Second Period 5:18 And Breezer gets four minutes for HS. But there’s a makeup call on Buffalo.

Second Period 5:18 Best end to end sequence of the season. The Buffalo shot looked in from up here.
Commercial break, and they’re reviewing it.
Off the crossbar.

Second Period 7:21 Andrei Markov is having an unusual number of brain cramps.

Second Period 7:34 Brutal PP.

Second Period 9:28 Another PP. And the crowd is alive.

Second Period 9:50 I can’t take 38 more Bell Centre car races. So idiotic and noisy.

Second Period 10:00 Sabres REALLY pass the puck well. And they’re in constant movement in the offensive zone. Even without Brière and Drury, they have a great system going.

Second Period 12:50 First shot, first goal.
Chipchura’s first of his career
2-2

Second Period 14:20 All the energy has been sucked out of a very large building.
Through six minutes, the Canadiens don’t have a shot … or anything that looked like one.

Second Period 15:39 Derek Roy pounces on a giveaway for his fifth of the season.
2-1.
Three shots, two goals for Buffalo

Second Period 15:48Paul Gaustad redirects a Tim Connolly shot past Huet’s right pad.
1-1

Second Period 16:21 Lindy Ruff POed about something.

Second Period 16:25 Second Buffalo PP

Second Period 16:44 Great backcheck by Dandy. No shots yet.

Second Period 18:39 Live from the neutral zone: It’s Saturday Night!

• • •

My favourite new guy, Roman Hamrlik, played 9:31 of the first 20 minutes.
Mike Komisarek played 8:13 and Alex Kovalev 7:50.
Canadiens outshot the Sabres 12-t and outhit the visitors 14-6

• • •

First Period 02:00 A Tom Kostopoulos breakaway!
He didn’t score, but all is forgiven.

First Period 06:09 Cristobal: DON’T HANDLE THE #$%^ing PUCK!

First Period 9:46 Pleks hustles another penalty but takes one himself, crashing Miller on the continuation.

First Period 10:40 Steve Bégin loses his stick, gets one off the
bench and hustles back to block a shot.

First Period 11:49 Koivu gets stripped on the PP and takes a tripping penalty. This used to happen a lot last season.

First Period 14:27 Everyone is hustling. Dandenault raced down to prevennt an icing.

First Period 16:45 Smolinski-Grabovski (who got his first point of the season)-Dandenault
Chipchura-Bégin-Kostopoulos

First Period 17:26 Bing-bang-boom. Rebound off the boards and Bryan Smolinski smacks it home. PP
1-0

First Period 19:20 Plekanec hustle produces a Tllender penalty

First Period 20:00 Standing O for the King Clancy Trophy winner, Saku Koivu.

First Period 20:00 Kovalev, Latendresse and Plekanec to start.

• • •

Kostitsyn a healthy scratch.
Hmmmmm …

• • •

Pinch-hitting for his unilingual captain, Francis Bouillon does “Voici mon équipe …” on the big screen

• • •

Players are wearing Hockey Fights Cancer decals on their helmets.

• • •

Nice video segments with Francis Bouillon and Dickie Moore on what it means to play for your Montreal Canadiens.

• • •

Ryan Miller starts. He played last night also.

• • •

The game tonight is dedicated to people fighting the good fight against cancer.
There will be a pre-game ceremony featuring Saku Koivu.

• • •

I wish Tomas Plekanec would go back to wearing number 35.
14 has too much negative Rejean Houle karma.

* * *

Saku is in uniform.
Chantal Machabée is interviewing him at the Canadiens’ bench.

• • •

Is George Gillett in for a double?
Liverpool edged Everton 2-1 to win the Tyneside Derby today.

• • •

Two words you don’t like to read in the same sentence: “Canadiens” and “flu”.
So how about these five words to strike terror into your heart:
Saku Koivu has the flu.

Or maybe he doesn’t.
It might just be a bad cold that kept the captain, off to a spectacular start this season, away from the team’s morning skate.
Whether Koivu plays or not will be game time decision. If he can’t go, Tomas Plekanec will move up to the top line, with Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder. The “(Belo) Russian line of Mikhail Grabovski, Alec Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn would remain intact, with Bryan Smolinski centreing the third line and Kyle Chipchura dressed to centre the checkking unit.

• • •

Hockey is a funny game.
The Sabres totalled 95 shots in wins over Washington and Toronto then managed just 21 in a shutout loss to Columbus – in Buffalo! – last night.

• • •

Should be a good one with the Sabres at the Bell Centre tonight.

Buffalo plays an up-tempo skating game … as does the home team.
Both clubs could use a win. They each have six points and are bringing up the rear in the Northeast Division.

Tonight’s live blog may be lacking a crucial element: fan commentary.

The first annual Habs Inside/Out Fan Summit is happening today, and many of my most faithful correspondents – including Jay in PA, JT, Yeats, Jim M, Nailah Jinnah, Pleks-Andrew – are in town for the festivities and attending the game.
With all my most reliable posters in the Bell Centre and away from their computers, the over/under on Comments is 50.


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