About last night …

There was a time – within the living memory of some of us – when supersatrs wearing the red, white and blue of the Montreal Canadiens would go out and smoke their hapless opponents.

That was then.

Alexander Ovechkin is now.

Last night, the Canadiens were the smokees.

Hey, stuff happens. Ovechkin is a monster. Four goals, crushing hits given and taken (apparently the Francis Bouillon check broke his nose).

It’s too bad the most dynamic player in the NHL has to weave his magic in a half-emty arena.

 

The Canadiens were outworked, outhustled, outhit and, ultimately, outscored.

But they never quit. Canadiens salvaged a very unlikely point and edged close to Ottawa in the standings.

The Brothers K scored and Guillaume Latendressse came to life. 

The Islanders, who are at the Bell  Centre tomorrow afternoon, don’t have anyone comparable to Ovechkin.

The Rangers, in on Sunday, have Jaromir Jagr, but it’s while since he played with the kind of indomitable fire we saw from the great number 8 last night.

And we won’t see him again –  until the playoffs. 

99 Comments

  1. Chorske says:

    I totally agree. He is definitely up for a raise but he has to log another 3-4 years of consistent play before he makes anything close to Markov money.

  2. howtathor says:

    I think Dumont could have easily filled Ryder’s shoes on the Koivu line. He’s not afraid to go to the net and is a team leader on the Preds. Maybe with the long term contract he is more tradeable now. You never know what these guys with half empty buildings are thinking!

  3. Mike says:

    ryder is a proven 30 goal scorer, yes he is having a bad yeear but wtvr. He is clearly done in mtl and maybe they can sign him. If we give stl the rights to talk to him and sign him then maybe. The reason i said this is because they are both powerplay playeras. Right now stl has a horrible pp and this is where they both excell. It was just a thought. Maybe if we through in a corey locke. Or someone else. anyways, i was just trying to bring this discussion up and see what kind of deals could be created.

  4. ebk says:

    why would St. Louis even consider it

    Ryder has no trade value. He is having a horrible year and is a UFA
    Streit is a good player but a UFA as well
    Dandenault has even less value that Ryder because he will be paid 1.75m next year, which is a horrible contract for a 4thliner/6th Dman type

  5. Mike says:

    Whats your opinion about this.

    brad boyes, lee stempniak and a 1st and 3rd rounder, for ryder, streit/dandy and 1st and 2nd rounder

  6. nightmare_49 says:

    Your follow up was excellent and i agree with all of it except the part about Lats but i will continue to have patience (20 years old) and hope he can turn out to be a more all around player like Sergie Kostitsyn (20 years old). He sure is in the right place at “times” but consistancy is really lacking. Good piece.

  7. nightmare_49 says:

    Food for thought , as i always said Higgy and Saku together don’t cut it and Derek can you get that message to stubborn Carbo some way cuz we started playing great when we split them up last time. Your read on Lats is 100% correct IMO.

  8. nightmare_49 says:

    Mike Boone was just on AM radio (940Montreal) giving his recipe for his Super Bowl Brisquet and hopefully he could share it with us. What are we chopped liver. Chef Mike or Chef Boone r dee.

  9. mjames says:

    Regarding your comment on Higgins I posted the following reply to JT’s earlier post where she seems to imply a Higgins trade for Jokinen. Since you seem to also think that Higgins could go I suggest you read my response to JT. I have posted it here for your convenience.

    “Regarding your comment on Higgins, I am not about to endorse a trade where we surrender a potential future Steve Shutt plus a package of players for a 38 goal scorer.

    Look at Jokinen in his first three years compared to that of Higgins.

    Jokinen’s goals scored was 9,11,6 respectively while Higgins was 23 and 22 during the first two years and is on pace for 26 in his third year. Higgins will only get better whereas Jokinen has topped out at 38. God only knows what would comprise the rest of the package.

    If Gainey pulled off a trade like this it would go down on par with the Chelios and Leclair trades.

    I hope Gainey does not pull a Milbury which is what this trade would be. Normally your are voice of reason but I do not know about your implying a trade involving Higgins.

    mjames”

    mjames

  10. coutNY says:

    It Definately would not include Koivu ~ he has a NTC, so why would he leave for a non-contender team that would obviously be rebuilding if they’re getting rid of Jokinen. They’d definately want a Higgins, but… I am not sure we’d part with a 24 year old talent because he’s in a minor slump.

  11. Derek says:

    If I had to make one roster change, it would be switching Latendresse and Higgins. Higgins needs to gain some confidence back, and latendresse did well last year with koivu and Ryder. Now this shouldn’t be looked at as a promotion for Lats, because truth be told, despite his 2 goal night last night, he’s been pretty bad lately. I think this wouldn’t hurt the 3rd line and it could only help the first line since it’s…well….not producing as it should.

    Keep it up boys, playoffs are in sight!

  12. ebk says:

    Komisarek needs to add some offense to his game to break the 5 million barrier. He will be close however. I think he is better right now than Hamrlik but has a fair way to go to catch Markov. Markov will be a finalist for the Norris Trophy this year.

  13. ebk says:

    you and me both

  14. ebk says:

    Huet last night stopped all the shots he should have and stopped a few more that he shouldn’t have. He gave his team a chance to comeback and tie that game. If He was not as sharp as he was, the team would have got blown off the ice in a big way. Last night the Capitals were simply the better team. Huet made a few big saves to keep it close, Lats banged home two to tie it up and Montreal stole one point that they didn’t deserve. It happens in the NHL, teams need to steal a few points now and then. It is impossible to play outstanding hockey for 82 games.

    I might be going against the consensus on this site a litte but the Habs defense is really starting to worry me. They give up to many shots and more importantly to many good scoring chances. Teams that forecheck and bang them around tend to have pretty good success against them. If they are serious about a run for Lord Stanley’s Mug this year, they really need to find a partner for Hamrlik. Streit, Bouillon and Gorges are not up to the task. Don’t get me wrong, I like all three, especially Frankie the Bull, but the Habs need an upgrade to take the next step.

    Speaking of Hamrlik, I have not been impressed with his play the last 10 to 15 games. Whether it is simply because his partner is not up to the task and that put mores pressure on him or something else. He needs to pick his play back up the the level it was for the first 26 games or so. He needs to play much better than he has of late to justify that big contract

    For the first 26 games, Hamrlik had 2 goals and 11 points and was a outstanding +10. The last 24 have been a struggle with 1 goal, 6 points and a horrible -5. He needs to pick his game up and soon. Certainly the stats do not tell the whole story but I had been concerned that his play had been slipping for a while and hopeful just a better partner will get him out of his little funk.

    The Habs may not have a legitimate #1 line but the certainly do have a legitimate #1 pairing on Defense. They are certainly in the running for the top pairing in the league. Night in, Night out Markov and Komisarek prove they are the two best defenceman on the team. In the latest stretch of 24 games Markov is +13 and Komisarek +9. They play against the other teams best line every night and still manage to chip in offensively. Markov has had 16 points and Komisarek 10 points.

    On another note, what more can you say about Andrei Kostitsyn. He will inherit the mantle from Kovalev as the team’s best and most exciting forward. He does something every game that gives you a little glimspe of how bright a future this kid has.

    The Kid line was outstanding as well last night. Lats will never do enough to silence his critics, hard to knock a 20 year-old with 14 goals but the anti-lats fanclub will find away. Lapierre has been the Habs best center defensively since his call up and is a huge pain in the ass to play against. Sergei Kostitsyn has had a very productive rookie season and his future looks to be bright as well. These kids need to play and play a lot.

    The fourth line had a really tough game last night. They were at least two steps behind the Ovechkin line all night. The three had played decent the last few games, so it is not time to push the panic button. I would however question the strategy of matching them up as a checking line. I don’t think they are very good at that. They can however hold their own against the other teams 3rd and 4th lines, so lets use them that way. I might sub Dandenault in for Kosto or Begin.

    There were a lot of positives to take from the Habs off-night. They battled all night when clearly they were not at their best. Stole a point and moved to within 5 points of Ottawa. More importantly, their cushion on the ninth placed team grew to 9 points. So it was a loss but at least a good one

    15-3-4 without Brisebois in the lineup. Hope Carbo can fight off the temptation to put him back in.

    63 points down, 30 to go to the promised land.

    Thanks for reading

  15. Chorske says:

    You rarely see a single player take control and single handedly win the game like that. It happens all the time in basketball, especially at the college level, but not usually in pro hockey. There was no stopping him.

    We may have lost, but hey, the game was a lot of fun to watch and we salvaged a point. Rock ON, boys.

  16. nightmare_49 says:

    IMO the first move would be to split up Higgy and Saku cuz Higgy didn’t play well when Ryder was put on the 4th line. Higgy just has to keep it simple and be a corner man and crash the net and forget about being a fancy dan and trying to beat everybody cuz when he does that his head is down and has little vision of what’s going on around him. Keep it simple , Chris.

  17. nightmare_49 says:

    Nice post but as far as i’m concerned Ribero wasn’t a fit here and was very fortunate last summer that the Stars weren’t able to land a top line center and had to re sign him to a one year contract , their confidence in him wasn’t the greatest , and he took advantage of the situation and the rest is history $$$$$$. Dallas’s style is a perfect fit for Ribs.

  18. krob1000 says:

    5 million or more for Komisarek after one good season is way too much. Those other guys are proven veterans one a first overall pick and the other a first team all-star. I think Komi is awesome but he is not in that league yet and if he expects that much than we are in a lot of trouble.

  19. nightmare_49 says:

    Chef Boone ar Dee – Many thanks for posting your recipe for the Super Bowl Brisquet and i’ll file it for future use ,our playoffs , can’t wait. I’ll be going to a Super Bowl Party on Sunday and thinking about the brisquet while scoffing the same old cold cuts. I think they missed the boat when they didn’t offer you a TV cooking show with your expertise and your sense of humour it would surely be a hit. The show would be only a side line , of course.

  20. howtathor says:

    The secret to longevity!

  21. Blitzen says:

    Komi will DEFINITELY want something like Markov and Hamrlik.

    But if Higgy is looking to break the bank, I think I would let him walk right now, especially if it means not being able to resign the Kosts in the future. I’m starting to worry about him a little.

  22. Revolution No. 9 says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one with the impression that if we won 10 in a row and then lost one, we’d see Carbonneau’s audition for Cirque Du Soleil.

  23. Blitzen says:

    Gorges will kick him in the shins to keep him sidelined.

  24. Bill H says:

    Good point 24. Bob’s priority should be to sign our own RFAs and UFAs.

  25. HotHabs says:

    Where would Washington be without Ovechkin???? Not in last night’s game! WOW!!! What a display of grit and talent! Not to take anything away from the Caps, but he singlehandedly beat us on the score sheet!

    On the other hand, what an awesome show of determination by the Habs to make it a game late in the 2nd and into the 3rd. This team really has heart. Ottawa, I’m sure, is looking over its shoulder… (especially with key injuries to slow them down)

    I totally agree that Hamrlik was not in this one, and I think Kovy was a no-show or was blanketed by Caps coverage. Higgins was disappointing, too. Nevertheless, others picked up the slack and stirred up things to steal a point.

    Way to go, Habs! Now let’s smuggle in 4 points from the Empire state over the weekend…

    PS – if a Jokinen trade goes down with the Habs, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see either Higgins or Koivu go south – along with Ryder.

    [this post is also on "Alexander the..." blog, but really was meant as follow up so I put it here also]

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  26. howtathor says:

    LOL Mike, Pepsi eh? sounds delicious! What time should we be over?

  27. 24 Cups says:

    kRob – It was just a silly aside after all the endless banter that we have all participated in the past few days concerning possible trades. It was sent with a wink and a smile. I won’t be surprised that by the time we reach Feb. 26 the only trade the Habs will have made will be Dave Stubbs for Damien Cox! As ebk stated, “I’m all typed out”. Habs Rule.

    The Original 24 Cups

  28. showey47 says:

    i really hope this does not mean breezer will be back in the lineup.

  29. Mike Boone says:

    5 to 8-pound brisket (I buy mine at the Biftheque butcher shop on Côte de Liesse.

    Preheat oven to 325 F

    Line the bottom of a roasting pan with chopped onions.
    Toss in the brisket (Fat side up), puncture it all over and smear with any or all of steak spice, meat tenderizer and Knorr onion soup mix.

    Add a small can of Pepsi, making sure the liquid gets under the meat.

    Cover and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours, basting every 20 to 30 minutes.

    Let cool, lift out and slice thinly.

    De-fat what’s left in the roaster then pour it in a blender and buzz it for gravy.

    Enjoy. But I’m not paying for your angioplasty.

  30. vic says:

    Gee we lost a game,time for changes

  31. likehoy says:

    they have before…and higgins and koivu did better for a while..then they were put back together

  32. Chuck says:

    With skates on. :)

    .
    .
    .

    ______________________________________
    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  33. Bouleau noir says:

    I caught up with the game last night when WAS had registered their third goal making it 3-0,..(playing on the outdoor ice rink made me being late again)… it turn out to be a good thing since the part left to be seen was the only part worthed being watched,.. for me anyhow.

    We are a vulnerable team,… even thought we have managed favorably in most situations so far this season,.. I still think that our previledge situation with INJURYS as compared with most other teams has played a significant role in making our present position in the standing as positive as it is.

    I dont think I am making an error to include this element ( our luck factor ) when I try to evaluate the thickness of my team this season against the one of our competitors.

    Regardless, with 9 points ahead of the 9th position I feel pretty confident about our team’s hability to secure itself a playoff spot,… my conscern is more about our near futur,… I feel Koivu is not growing in strenth and his admirable qualitys might not be on tap for our team for long… like starting next year.

    Had Gainey got his way with Briere last summer none of that would be of any conscern today… but his failure to do so only accentuated on how casually was Ribeiro tossed aside our roster a year prior Gainey’s pitch for Briere.

    To me the main feature of a cup contending team in the newNHL is its habilty to score goals,… a team has it either by having top end scorers in its line-up or by having a nice spread of offensivelly able talents all the way down to its third line.

    We dont have top end scorers,.. but what we have as a team is a descent scoring depth and an efficient PP scoring unit,… our depth of scoring will need to be improved upon still further in the futur if we want our team to improved its lot in the league.

  34. Mike says:

    haha. it’s about time.

  35. 24 Cups says:

    Dumont got 4 years at $4 mil a year. Montreal would have never given him that contract, especially seeing he would have quickly become our third line right winger behind Sergei and Kovi. The price just seems to keep going up and up on second tier players. Dumont is a good player, not a ‘very’ good or ‘excellent’ player. He’s hot right now and maybe he has come into his prime. Time will tell. But he can also have very long dry spells when he is unproductive. He also has been getting a ton of ice in Nashville due to injuries and trades. He wouldn’t get as much ice and powerplay time here. I’m glad that he signed so we don’t have to deal with acquiring him and shelling out that kind of coin.

    The real issue now becomes what will we have to pay our guys when it’s their turn to re-sign. Komi is a real steal at $1.9 mil. If he continues to improve we may have to shell out the same money as Markov/Hamrlik to keep him. Then there is Pleks. If Legwand and Dumont are worth $4 mil then he has to be worth at least that much. Higgins will probably get the same money even though he’s not as good as Pleks. Then there is Andrei K. Streit. Huet. And Koivu and Kovalev the year after. Maybe we won’t be signing a high priced UFA after all. As the world turns.

    The Original 24 Cups

  36. ebk says:

    It would be an interesting offer that is for sure.

    Enjoy your Scotch, I’m all typed out.

  37. krob1000 says:

    I can’t see what I typre on this computer so sorry for whatever msitakes there will be.

  38. krob1000 says:

    I am on a broken computer here but 24 you forced me to endure the torture. I do not say get rentals I say geta big time frward for our run over the next three or so years. I just think we have made further quicker than we thought we would. I DO NOT WANT ANY RENTALS. I WANTA TOP SIX FORWARD preferably a top line guy for the next few years. If that means making a bundle deal then go for it . The NOW pa

  39. 24 Cups says:

    ebk – I just shovelled snow for an hour – the scotch in my glass never tasted better!

    The problem with a big ticket UFA isn’t next year but the years that follow – that’s why I was so alarmed about all of the big contracts that have been handed out recently. To be honest, I haven’t really sat down and mapped it all out like some people (including yourself) have done. I would prefer to sign the building blocks next summer and make a decision on Koivu and Kovalev at the same time. Then I would see what I have to play with and make a move at that time. As far as buying out the grinders is concerned, the problem that I see is you have to give them 2/3 of their salary and then replace them with another player which would bring you back to the same place, salary wise. I know we’re going to overpay for Dandy, Tom, Begin, and The Cube next year but we have the cap room so I can live with it.

    I know I come across as one of the more conservative posters on this site (I’ve been told) and maybe that comes with age. Just to let you, and anyone else know, I can roll the dice if need be. There are some people who feel we should go for the bundle this year ( are you there kRob?!). OK. This is Stevie thinking outside the box. We need a scoring winger and a stay at home defenseman who can clear the front of the net and partner Hamrlik. So here’s my off the wall trade. We go to the Rangers and say what do you want for Jagr and Malik? Both would be gone at the end of this or next year so we could handle the salary. They won’t be as expensive as you think and the Capitals pick up half of Jagr’s salary and cap space. The only question is what would the cost be? If Huet can withstand 4 rounds of playoff action, then these two guys would give us a real shot at the Cup this year. Ryder? I would trade him for a tough, gritty playoff type player. My choice – Ian Laperriere of Colorado. Trust me, this guy is much more than his stats show. He would be a great Hab and wear a variety of hats for us.

    The Original 24 Cups

  40. likehoy says:

    streit is a complementary top 6 if anything. he has good speed good hands but questionable instincts as a forward…but doesn’t have the physical package either. He can definitely hold his own as a top 6er but don’t expect him to carry the bulk of the offence at all…not to mention streit has no wrist shot to talk about (i don’t think i’ve ever seen streit take a wrist shot or snap shot ever…always the big slapper or he’s in the right place at the right time).

  41. likehoy says:

    they’ve talked about higgins having hockey sense beyond the average player. He has shown very little of that as of late. His linemates getting pinned in their own zone while higgins is cheating up against the point…then in the offensive zone he’s just lost and not winning any battles…

    i think it’s time to split up higgins and ryder as roommates…whatever ryder’s drinking..higgins seems to be taking sips out of the same cup…

    they should put higgins with kovalev and ryder with smolinski and see how the veteran leadership off-ice will help them through their games.

  42. Mike says:

    we might as well try the kost-koivu ryder line, whats the worst that can happen?

  43. nightmare_49 says:

    The Super Bowl in 48 hrs. and Mike Boone hasn’t given us his favourite recipe for brisquet yet. I guess were not in the clique.

  44. nightmare_49 says:

    When we had injuries and the flu bug Streit played on the top 2 lines and didn’t look out of place. When we’re desperate i’m sure this guy can put on the pads.

  45. Rugger says:

    I would not mess at all with the two Kost lines except to give the kid line more ice. Takes some of the burdon off Koivu’s line so they can concentrate on reconnecting.

  46. ebk says:

    I was trying to figure out if they would have enough $$ next year to sign Hossa
    I think $8.0m a year for five or six years is as high as I would go for him

    For 2008/2009, They have 18 players and roughly $35 million spent.

    Adding in the RFA players and my best guess at their salaries
    Andrei Kostitsyn $1.5m, Max Lapierre $1.0m, Josh Gorges $800k and Jaroslav Halak $800k

    Offer Streit $2.0m a year for a three year term, maybe four

    This is what you would have

    Goalies… Price and Halak
    Defense… Markov,Komisarek,Hamrlik,Bouillon,,Streit, Gorges,Valentenko and O’Bryne
    Forwards… Higgins,Latendresse,Koivu,Plekanec,Andrei Kostitsyn,Max Lapierre, Begin, Chipchura, Dandenault, Kovalev, Kostopolous and Sergie Kostitsyn.

    22 players and just roughly over $42 million.Gainey would have about $12 million to play with as the cap is estimated to be well over $54m bext year. That should give you a good shot at Hossa.

    I actually would look at buying out three players. If Gainey buys out Dandenault, Bouillon and Kostopolous he would have an extra $3.3m to play with. Buying out Dandeualt would save #1.3 and Bouillon about $1.4. Kostopoulos would only save $700k so maybe he stays. Dandenault and Bouillon combined would be a $2.7m saving.

    If Hossa takes $8m of the $12m. the extra $4m and the contract buyouts of Dandenault and Bouillon would give you enough money to take a crack at keeping Huet for another year or so.

    This would probably be the end of one of Kovalev or Koivu as a Hab. Unless they would sign for lower than they get now. For the 2009/2010 season, Komisarek, Higgins and Plekanec will be getting nice big fat contracts in the $4m per year range. Maybe even higher.

  47. showey47 says:

    has carbo tried brisebois yet? LMAO, but seriously we need someone who can play the right side. Maybe try locke with him, corey played wing in the ahl playoffs last season and was second in scoring.

  48. Mike says:

    i would like to see
    kostitsyn koivu ryder (this would be interesting because all 3 can “snipe”
    kostitsyn pleks kovalev
    higgins laps gui
    kostop smols begin

  49. krob1000 says:

    Anyone else remember how well Streit played with Koivu last year. He is actually versatile enough to be considered for our top three lines in my opinion if we aren’t making a move. Just a thought because the only two possibilities we haven’t seen are Streit being bumped up (for more than a game) or Kostitsyn and Ryder.

  50. Mike says:

    mike glumac is one of their prospect, hes played with them before and is over 6 feet, so hes not small. The reason why is think the blues would be the perfect team to deal with, is because they need proven scorers, a mobile defenseman and pp specialists. They will get that from ryder and streit, and also dandy. the reasons i would like boyes is because he is big, and can finish his opportunites which is exactly what koivu needs. Also it would drastically help higgins out because it would relieve some pressure from him. I would be willing to even send a defensive prospect. (no one to important) or a goalie prospect (dejardines?)

  51. krob1000 says:

    Your examples are very good examples of very bad signings. I understand your point and with three examples you have a strong case but our GM is too smart for something like that.

  52. Bill H says:

    I don’t know who Mike Glumac is. He is not listed on the Blues’ roster. Is he in their system? I think you are getting warmer by throwing in Grabs. So what’s the deal with Boyes and Stempniak? Are there rumours that the Blues are shopping them?

  53. Mike says:

    the thing is, u have to account for team morale. if we can get quality in return, i think we should do it. even thoough the return would set us back a bit at first i think overall if we can get quality back we should do it.

  54. HotHabs says:

    I’m not saying Higgins will be traded or not, but I don’t think Gainey factors in the “he’s so well liked” part of the trade equation with too much weight!!!

    Can you imagine the conversation?
    Gainey: “I’m thinking about moving HIggins to acquire player-X who can bring so much more to the table for us”

    Carbo: “But, Bob we can’t move him.”

    Gainey: “Why not?”

    Carbo: “Everyone likes Chris so much!”

    This ain’t no cheerleader squad! NHL hockey is a big business, people. Winning is a huge cog in the wheel of financial successes. Fans get over their sentiment when the team is winning and cup contending!!! So, while Gainey will likely remain true to his colors and refrain from making any major moves before deadline, if he does make a move and send a couple of “fan favorites” away for much needed on-ice performance, then so be it. If we’re winning and making a run for the cup with better depth and improved overall play, then bring it on!

    Deep down I think people are more afraid of tinkering with team chemistry than player endearment, even more so when the team is winning and climbing the standings!

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  55. krob1000 says:

    Sounds about right to me.

  56. 24 Cups says:

    ebk – (ouch:-) I have no idea how any of this works out under the cap because we would want to build a team that can realistically take a three year run at winning the Cup. Your plan is certainly valid and realistic. I wonder how much Hossa would get as a UFA. $8 mil a year for 5 years? Can we win a Cup in the next two years with Price in net (and no Huet)? Do we have enough size/toughness up front? Should we pass on Hossa and spend the money on a second tier right winger, defenseman, and Huet? Will McDonagh and Pacioretty make an immediate impact when they arrive in two years or will they need time to adjust? Can we only attract UFA by overpaying (Hamrlik – term, Smolinski, Samsonov?) I know one thing, it’s sure not easy being Bob Gainey.

    The Original 24 Cups

  57. ebk says:

    The Dumont signing might set the bar for both Higgins and Plekanec.
    Higgins maybe $3.0 to $3.5. Plekanec around $3.5 to $4.0

    A case can be made that right now they are very similar to Dumont.

  58. ebk says:

    The Dumont signing might set the bar for both Higgins and Plekanec at about 4 million a year. Higgins maybe 3 to 3.5. Plekanec around 3.5 to 4.0

    A case can be made that right now they are very similar to Dumont.

  59. 24 Cups says:

    Chorske – I think I hit a chord with all of the posters above including you. I think what we have to keep in mind is that we are no longer paying players what they are worth (right now) or what they will be worth once they have paid their dues and earned their stripes. Those days are officially over. It is strictly a market condition which is also fueled by a fear of losing a player at a young age to another team before he gives his original team his prime years. I’m not going to list all of the names here – we know who these players are that have been given overpriced contracts during the past year. There seems to be one every few weeks right now. Dumont is the lastest. Let’s stick with Komi to prove a point. Someone mentioned that he’s not as offensively gifted as the other guys and that is quite valid. Well said. But right now, Eric Brewer is getting $4.5 mil a year – Bieksa $4.0 – and even Scott Hannan (who is older and more established)is at $4.5 mil. What will Campbell get this summer? I may have exaggerated Komi’s value a bit (it did serve it’s purpose of getting everyone’s attention!) but we could easily end up with 8 players making more than $4 mil each by the end of next year. And that doesn’t include Andrei K. Komi aside, my point was (and is) that we will be spending a lot of coin in the next year. Personally, I think it might be more than some posters on this site are ready to handle. I just want us to secure those players (long term) before we start chasing some big fish UFA who will demand both money and term. We must choose our long term building blocks wisely.

    The Original 24 Cups

  60. ebk says:

    ouch….
    4th Dman would make them tougher and Ottawa has huge goaltending issues, so you never know. I would not over pay for it but I would like to see them get one.

    I’d be thrilled if Gainey offered Hossa a big fat contract next year to play in Montreal.

    RW- Hossa, Kovalev,K2 and your pal Kostopolous
    C – Koivu, Plekanec, Lapierre and Chipchura(Grabovski)
    LW Higgins, K1, Lats, Begin
    Hamilton—D’Agostino, Maxwell, White, Ferland and Milroy

    D Markov,Komisarek,Hamrlik,Streit,Gorges, Bouillon,Valentenko and O’Bryne
    Yemelin, Carle in Hamilton and Fischer and McDonagh on college

    G Price and Halak

    not to shabby and Gainey would still have a good chunk of $$ left to play with, so maybe the do sign Huet of a few years

  61. Mike says:

    Grabowski maybe?

  62. Mike says:

    How about:

    brad boyes, lee stempniak and a 1st and 3rd rounder, Mike Glumac for ryder, streit/dandy and 1st and 2nd rounder, Corey Locke, Mikhail Grabovski

  63. BigHabsFan says:

    an overtime loss…the perfect occasion to post this link to the hockey news:

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/13120-THNcom-Blog-Ducks-no-sure-thing-for-playoffs-and-alternative-points-systems.html

    it shows how the standings would look with a different point system; something that i would love to see the league implement. notice how atlanta and edmonton go right to the bottom of the standings in the first scenario…

  64. Mike says:

    i’ve been saying that for 2 weeks,. ryder trulwy hasnt been playing terribly. Higgins is playing like a defensive forward and has lost his edge. he can not be traded because he is so well liked and him being traded will kill our team chemistry and overal happiness.

  65. Mike says:

    I know this trade is not going to happen, allthough stl really needs ppl specialists. which ryder and streit can help them with. But we would have to throw in a prospect or 2.

  66. 24 Cups says:

    ebk – are you related to kRob by any chance? Do you two guys get paid by the word by your employers?!! All kidding aside, I enjoyed yur post and have also wondered if we should pick up a journeyman 4th defenseman to hold us over until the kids are ready. Of course, someone else would counter that and say that the kids need the icetime to gain valuable experience. But a solid 4th defenseman would also take some of the pressure off of Hamrlik. Another major area of concern is right wing – we are going to need a third right winger next year (assuming Ryder is gone). Size and grit would be the first points on the resume that I would be looking for there.

    I guess it all comes down to the timeline of when a person feels Montreal can legitimately contend for the Cup. As much as I’m elated at our play this year, I don’t really feel we have enough to go all the way. And there’s certainly no chance we could ever give Detroit or Anaheim a run for their money in the final this year. However, some major building blocks are falling into place.

    The Original 24 Cups

  67. Bill H says:

    Sure, throw in Corey Locke. He’ll never get a chance in Montreal. He’s too small and hasn’t the speed of a Martin St. Louis to compensate. I still don’t think the Blues would go for it. They’d want a little more quality to sweeten the deal.

  68. JF says:

    It’s not often that Markov and Komisarek have an off-night, but they certainly did last night. Our defensive coverage was poor. We gave Ovechkin far too much time and space; with good coverage a couple of those goals could have been prevented.

    Something has to be done to our former first line. Koivu is still working hard, but at the moment Higgins is more of a problem than Ryder. He can’t finish anything, shows no imagination and is never in the right place at the right time. I don’t think he should be traded, but definitely moved to another line or even the pressbox for a couple of games. Maybe put Latendresse with Koivu and Ryder and if that doesn’t work, then Sergei Kostitsyn. As a last resort I would even try Dandenault up there.

    Ovechkin was of course spectacular last night, but his performance overshadows a bit the significance of our guys’ fighting back from down 3-0 to grab a point in a game when the team as whole was not playing well. This would never have happened last season or last fall. It showed great character and, along with last week’s come-back win over Jersey, goes far towards developing team confidence and chemistry.

    Huet kept us in the game last night. Since his gaffe and recovery in the Atlanta game, he has been playing extremely well. With Price in Hamilton, he has been given the opportunity to prove that he’s good enough and durable enough to be a genuine number 1 goaltender, and he’s making the most of it. I really hope Gainey re-signs him because I think Price is going to need at least another year before he’s ready.

  69. Bill H says:

    Mike, that trade has possibilities but I don’t see St. Louis going for it.

    Ryder for Boyes – we get the edge on that because while Ryder scored 30 goals twice, he cannot score so well 5-on-5 and has shown he is a defensive liability when he is scoring. It remains to be seen if he can recover his scoring touch while being responsible defensively. Boyes is younger, has a lot of upside offensively and is responsible defensively. Can play RW and C. A bargain with cap hit of $1.5M but is RFA at end of season while Ryder is UFA at end of season, definitely needs a change of scenery, and we probably couldn’t/wouldn’t resign him anyway.

    Stempniak for Streit/Dandy – Stempniak is cap hit of $2.5M and under contract til end of next season. I’d prefer to give up Dandy over Streit as he is a spare part right now and doesn’t seem to fit into our plans. Plus at $1.725 he is a cap liability to sit in the press box. But I’d trade Streit too if that is what is required. While Streit is a bargain at $0.6M, he is UFA at end of season and it will take a lot more to resign him. So I think we have the edge on this part of the trade as well.

    St. Louis 1st rounder for our 1st rounder – St Louis will finish deep in the bottom half of the standings while hopefully we will finish deep in the top half, so we win on that swap. St. Louis wins on the other draft pick, but not by so much, especially considering drafts become more of a crap shoot the lower the pick is.

    BG should definitely pull the trigger on this one, if he can, but I expect St. Louis would laugh at the offer. Maybe I am missing something here. Is one of the St. Louis players tainted insome way that I don’t know about? Seems like a one-sided trade to me.

  70. ebk says:

    I say four to four and a half for K-Rex

  71. Mike Boone says:

    A gentleman does not discuss such matters. Suffice it to say I had a mst enjoyable time and returned to my humble suburban abode at 3:30 a.m.

  72. Blitzen says:

    So did you get lucky Mike?

  73. Ed says:

    Mike is not one of those kiss and tell guys.

  74. Blitzen says:

    A gentleman doesn’t discuss these things but surely none of us are gentlemen. ;-O

  75. The Teacher says:

    Hahahaha!

  76. Blitzen says:

    Oh come on now, you just can’t make the big “I’ve got a date” announcement and then not follow through with details. That has to break several of the rules in the Code of Conduct for Men.

    Unless of course the date was with Jack Todd.

  77. Ed says:

    Now, if that does not get a response from Mike, nothing will. He now has to defend himself. lol

  78. likehoy says:

    OV is the most dangerous player in the game at the moment, even if sidney crosby came back from injury, OV would be more dangerous cause of the amount of goals he scores on his own when you think he has no chance. OV is on pace to 68 goals…I would love to see him break 60 for sure.

    On a Habs note, we had a good second half to the game and we played well enough to tie it against a weak defensively team. We won’t be so lucky against Ted Nolan’s team if we’re down by 3 at any point. Hoping to split the weekend games at the very least considering our poor track record on the sunday game. Brilliant that we get a tougher team on Sunday…we get the chance to lose and lose to a team we probably could have lost again anyways.

  79. showey47 says:

    Even though we lost there are still some positives we can take from this game. We came back when being down 3-0 when earlier in the year it never would of happened and came out with a point and 3 out of 4 in a home at home. Sergei,lats and laps are starting to click with a good combination of size and skill (i was gonna add speed but lats doesn’t quite fall in tat category).

  80. Rugger says:

    I would be extremely pleased with 3 out of 4 for the balance of the season.

  81. J.T. says:

    The Thrilla on Capitol Hilla? Okay…maybe not. But one thing you have to say about our guys this year is their games are very rarely predictable. They played most of the game like they were bored and/or tired last night, and STILL managed to pull off a tie. If it were any team other than the Washington Ovechkins last night, the Habs would have won a game they didn’t deserve to win based on effort alone. Which says something for the talent level the team has reached since last season.

    The Kid Line was great while the Pleks line was the focus of the Caps’ D. That’s important to see, because the first line is going to get a lot of shut-down attention down the stretch. On the other hand, the Koivu line has got to start doing *somthing*. Anything. If they don’t, the team may make the playoffs, but it won’t go very far. Six hundred pounds of deadweight will almost certainly drag down a team in the post season. I know everyone is advocating a Ryder trade…but he’s not the coldest guy on that line. Rumours of a trade package for Jokinen involving Higgins don’t look so ridiculous right about now.

    The biggest error last night was Carbo using Smolinski and Begin in OT. There should be no reason to use fourth liners in OT unless you’re killing a penalty. Smoke took Ovechkin out, then stood around with his back to him while Ovy got up, moved into the slot and poke the winner past Huet. Of course, it didn’t help that Markov lost his stick on the play just before…but such is life. It’s too bad those guys were out there at the end, because Carbo made a great decision to go with the Kid Line in the last minute of regulation, rather than the miserable Koivu line.

    All in all, no team could have stopped Ovechkin last night. If he played 82 games and playoffs like that, the Caps would win the Cup. Habs need to build on the nice comeback and skate a lot better tomorrow afternoon. Ottawa’s in Carbo’s sights and his finger’s on the trigger.

  82. krob1000 says:

    good post as usual…..I can’t help but think Sergei Kostitsyn is an incredible playmaker and could be a great set up man for Ryder and we have not seen that yet. Lats played well with Higgins and Koivu but Ryder just doesn’t work there anymore. I don’t want to knock Carbo for giving Ryder a chance again as I was the biggest advocate of the move but it clearly doesn’t work. Both he and Higgins seem to never be in a dangerous position when Koivu gets the puck. Ryder has not looked good lately although when he was getting crticized the most he was actually playing pretty well.

    There were several defensive breakdowns last night and our defense was banged around by Washintons big forwards (Semin, Kozlov, Ovie, Brash, etc). I thought Pleks line actually generated several chances and just had them stopped or missed the net. I felt the same way about Ovechkins line when we supposedly shut him down on Tuesday. Chances eventually mean goals and Pleks line still got chances so I am not so worried. Koivu’s line…..very worried. They need to be broke up soon but I think Ryder playing there makes him a “top six” forward. come deadline. I think he could still do a lot but not on that line and without significant powerplay time.

    Sergei K is the wildcard right now and he has proven he can work with Higgins and Koivu and now with Lats and Lapierre. Try him with Ryder and see how that goes and then decide what to do for the stretch run.

    The boys showed they could battle and they didn’t give up so I for one was very happy last night given my state of mind a period and a half in. The late goal in the second was the ultimate display of perseverance by Pleks. Many guys would have just skated away from that puck after missing his chance but he hustled into the corner after it. Before going into the corner he took a quick look back to see if anyone was open or is he should just dump it at then net. He found someone and Andrei scored. Any coaches out there or fans with kids show your kids that goal because it demonstrated the importance of playing until the whistle blows and the importance of surveying the situation BEFORE you get the puck.

  83. coutNY says:

    I remember Boone saying after one of blown leads, "That's what good teams do... They find a way to win even if they don't aways deserve it..."(sorry if I butchered your insightful words, Mr. Boone but I think that was the gist of it.) We may not have won but we are refusing to role-over and play dead, We’re fighting through adversity, and best of all we’re acting like a team.

    We have many different contributors contributing which will benefit us more than depending on one machine.

  84. mjames says:

    Regarding your comment on Higgins, I am not about to endorse a trade where we surrender a potential future Steve Shutt plus a package of players for a 38 goal scorer.

    Look at Jokinen in his first three years compared to that of Higgins.

    Jokinen’s goals scored was 9,11,6 respectively while Higgins was 23 and 22 during the first two years and is on pace for 26 in his third year. Higgins will only get better whereas Jokinen has topped out at 38. God only knows what would comprise the rest of the package.

    If Gainey pulled off trade like this it would go down on par with the Chelios and Leclair trades.

    I hope Gainey does not pull a Milbury which is what this trade would be. Normally your are voice of reason but I do not know about your implying a trade involving Higgins.

    mjames

  85. kevin m says:

    J.T.

    Excellent points…especially concerning Smolinski’s “Momemtary Lapse of Reason” when he falls against the boards with Ovechkin, then gets up and skates away from him to apparently cover someone else who could have been a GREATER DANGER for scoring the winning goal.

    I was absolutely beside myself while watching Alexander the Great sneak over to park himself beside Huet unmolested.

    Smokes had to get up, stay put until the BIG “O” gets up and then stick to him like glue.

    Smokes should sit in New York while Dandy gets a kick at the can.

  86. Ed says:

    Mike, you are very late today with your “About last night” blog, and you have less to say than usual. It must have been that late night date you had last night. I hope the overtime did not negatively impact your date, and the date better be a Habs fan. It’s good that you are now here.

    A lot of fans are talking about Higgins’ and Koivu’s play of late, and some are blaming the play of that line solely on Ryder. Granted, Ryder is no help the way he has been playing, but let’s look at Higgins & Koivu over the last 11 games. Also, remember that Ryder has been on that line for the last 4 games only.

    Koivu-11 games, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, -6
    Higgins-11 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, -2

    I could be wrong, but I think S. Kostitsyn played with Koivu & Higgins before Ryder. The stats for the 3 players for those 7 games before Ryder are:

    Koivu – 7 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, -7
    Higgins – 7 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -2
    Kostitsyn – 7 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, -5

    It is obvious why changes were made, and in the 4 games since then, Kostitsyn has 2 goals, 3 assist, 5 points, and is +5. Koivu and Higgins have 4 points and 1 point respectively, Koivu is +1, and Higgins is even in +/-. Some fans want Kostitsyn back on that line, but I think that might be bad for him. He is flourishing playing on the kid line, while his stats were not that good in the previous 7 games.

    I really don’t know what the answer is to the problems with the Koivu line, but I don’t think that the Plekanec line or the Lapierre line should be tampered with. They are both playing well.

  87. Bill H says:

    Great post. Thanks for digging up those revealing stats. Its great to see K2 on the scoreboard. Let’s hope Carbo finds the key to unlocking the scoring of Koivu and Higgins. We need them to go far in the playoffs.

  88. likehoy says:

    well you know what that really means…higgins is lagging

    so kostitsyn koivu ryder should be tried out ;)

    higgins has to find his game…he’s skating…but not to any areas in particular…just skating

  89. showey47 says:

    Looks like dumont is off list as a possibly habs trade, he apparently re-signed with nashville this morning

  90. krob1000 says:

    That sucks…..every time a guy gets signed the value of the others goes up.

  91. MathMan says:

    Not to detract from an amazing, five-point, all-around performance… but I’d have been more impressed with Ovechkin’s performance if the Habs had given Ovechkin the same sort of defensive coverage they gave him on Tuesday. I felt the Habs’ defensive breakdowns against Ovechkin last game was at least as much a case of “didn’t” as “couldn’t”. Tuesday they had two guys on him almost all the time, Thursday… not so much, and I was stunned at how open he was on that diagonal-pass one-timer goal, when he really should not have been.

    Let’s face it, while some of his goals were amazing and unstoppable superstar stuff (like, say, that amazing shot through Streit’s legs), some of them were plain blown defensive coverage (one-timer on diagonal pass, and the OT winner). Great players get open, but great D-men should be able to cover them.

    Amazing performance by Ovechkin, to be sure, but it was abetted by Markov and Komisarek having an off game and Montreal’s sloppy defensive coverage. Montreal certainly could not have shut down Ovechkin completely tonight, but they could have avoided one or two goals with the kind of defense they brought Tuesday.

  92. J.T. says:

    Others…like Ryder?

  93. krob1000 says:

    No the supposedly available pool of players like Tanguay, Jokinen,blake,etc. I guess reciprocally that would mean Ryders would increase too though but I meant the tier above Ryder.

  94. showey47 says:

    i don’t think there is a tier below ryder, i shouldn’t be so tough on ryder. Sure he isn’t doing much but neither is his linemates

  95. Fer_hab says:

    Great game last night. Glad we got a point.
    Cristo-bal looked a lot like his normal self. This is a good sign as Carey’s been getting his swagger back down in the A and should be ready to take the ball and run by the end of the month.

    IF we can give Carey the same offensive output as we have been giving Cristobal, no one wil be questioning why we are playing the Pricer.

  96. krob1000 says:

    That’s the combo I’d liek to see experimented with. Sergei is more defensively respnsible than expected so I don’t think it is as dangerous (defensively) as it would have sounded earlier on.

  97. Revolution No. 9 says:

    Home team sends their lines out last. With some teams, on some days, it makes a big difference.

  98. J.T. says:

    I’m not saying I’d endorse a trade involving Higgins necessarily, but it just doesn’t look as crazy as it did last year before his injury. I like Higgins. He works hard most games. But he’s like the kid in school who has to bust his tail to make B’s. Points just don’t seem to come easily for him, and if he’s hurt or not mentally into the game for some reason, they don’t come at all. The last two seasons he’s had disconcertingly long periods of very little production.

    As for Jokinen, he broke out with 36 goals when he was Higgins’ age. His last four NHL seasons, five if you count this year, have been 25-goal plus years…four of the five it’s been closer to 40. With that he brings size at centre, a good faceoff ability, heart, speed and grit. He’s a pure goalscorer who’s been playing with less than stellar linemates throughout his career. Put him with the Kostitsyns and he’s a fifty goal man.

    I’d love to see Higgins turn into the next Steve Shutt…that would be my first priority for the team. Ideally I want them all to reach their potential and grow into winners together. But if Gainey thinks that what we see is likely what we get with Higgins, and he had to trade someone good for a guy like Jokinen, I’d rather part with Higgins than Pleks or the Kostitsyns.

  99. Moey says:

    For the first time last night I was having visions of trading Higgins. Every time he had the puck I cringed because I knew it wouldn’t result in a goal or a setup. I really like the guy and I think he has a really positive attitude and he’s a hard worker, if only that would translate into some goals, we’d be in business. That line is really struggling, but I cut Koivu some slack because IMO he has paid his dues. I’d like to see him get a couple of decent line mates.

    I agree with you, in a perfect world I’d like to see his game improve, but if not, he and Ryder would be my first pick for trades.


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