About last night …

A win, two valuable points to move within one of the Senators … but it was oddly unsatisfying.

You like to see your team at its best in the late stages of a game. Example: Eli Manning driving the Giants down the feld with the clock ticking down.

Your Montreal Canadiens: Four shots in the third period. The tying goal was inches from the line when Francis Bouillon swept it away. Saku Koivu (more about the captain later) lost a late faceoff in the Canadiens’ end, and were it not for a heroic zone-clearing effort by Steve Bégin, that one could have headed for OT.

Playing without Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley – both of whom will be back for the rematch at Scotiabank Place on Saturday – the Senators fired 12 shots at Cristobal Huet in the third period. They buzzed his net, harassed him, forced the Frenchman, he admitted later, to lose his habitual cool.

What is it with Canadiens’ three-goal leads? Nashville, the Rangers … and Ottawa darn near. I’m not enough of an Xs-and-Os guy to analyze the way Canadiens protect leads. But whatever the system is, it’s not working.

But a win is a win. Cristobal Huet was excellent … again. The defence played well without one of its stalwarts, Roman Hamrlik. And the Canadiens’ indisputable number one line – Tomas Plekanec centring Alex Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn – is treating Montreal fans to thrills we haven’t had since Jacques Lemaire was centring Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt.

Gotta love those European skill levels. And the magic seems to extend as far west as Switzerland. Mark Streit scored his ninth goal last night. That’s one fewer than Koivu – and he’s matched the captain’s 29 assists.

With his ability to play on defence and up front plus QBing the power play, Streit is one of the most valuable players on the team.

He’s certainly Canadiens’ best bargain at $600,000. Unlike Michael Ryder, Streit is setting himself up for a very nice UFA contract.

Sign him, Bob.

The Canadiens GM might also think about re-signing his other bargain-basement defenceman. Josh Gorges, who played almost 23 minutes last night, makes $495,000 and is an impending RFA.

Streit and Gorges together are making a shade under $1.1 million. Mathieu Dandenault makes $1.75 million. Life is not fair.

• The Captain is making $4.75 million. And you hate to say it, but Saku Koivu is not earning the money. Yet another offensive-zone hook put Ottawa back in the game –  just as Koivu’s penalty had done against the Rangers.

Is it fatigue at this stage of the season? Koivu is an older player, and we all know his heroic medical history.

Is it instability on his line? Ryder has had a nightmare season and Christopher Higgins has blown hot and cold. Sergei Kostitsyn was better off on the Kid Line.

Koivu was benched for most of the third period last night. That shouldn’t be happening to a team’s captain and leader … although the leadership role is starting to migrate one dressing room stall over to number 27. 

• Chris Neil gave Andrei Markov a shot at the final siren. We’re going to see a lot of that down the stretch and into the playoffs. I’m not overly concerned, although I sometimes wish Tom Kostopoulos were three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier. It’s great to  have a Chris Neil, but Brian McGrattan played three minutes last night.  Tom the Bomb played 11:41. Guy Carbonneau’s insistence on rolling four lines all season may help explain the extraordinary good luck Canadiens have had with injuries.

• Speaking of pests, Maxim Lapierre has to  step it up. His line, with Dandenault and Guillaume Latendresse, did nothing last night, and they barely played in the third period. 

• With the Senators screening him and slapping him around, Huet made 26 saves –  many of them difficult. He’s a very good goalie.

 • Carbo wouldn’t tip his hand, but we’ll probably see Carey Price against Toronto tomorrow. The Leafs lost 8-0 to Florida at the ACC last night. How sad is that?

• After the game Kovy said Canadiens need 35 more points to make the playoffs. Canadiens have 67. François Gagnon thinks 94 should do it, so Canadiens need 27 points in their last 28 games.




  1. likehoy says:

    we have many future captain material on our team…komisarek…chipchura…plekanec…i don’t think being a “future captain” is going to make or break his career as a Hab. It offers no protection as Carbonneau, Muller, Keane, Turgeon, Damphousse have all been traded away after wearing the “C.” (I may be mistaken but i think Lyle Odelein may be part of that crew too)

    what’s important is what bob sees about who will contribute the most in the next 10 years, marian hossa or christopher higgins? And from what I see, higgins is a long way to fulfilling his potential. It’s the second year in a row where everyone thinks he’s on the verge of breaking out, then loses form for one reason and another and is unable to recapture it. He’s still on pace for a decent season, 24g 27a for 51 points, but with his current form, he might not even break 45 points.

    Hossa is a perennial 40 goal scorer and an allstar with questionable heart, but a player who can score 40 goals year in year out has to be doing something right. All this talk about Hossa disappearing in the playoffs doesn’t mean squat cause there are plenty of players who break out in the playoffs after having poor runs to contribute positively (alfie, marleau, thornton). It’s not a question of “oh it’s the playoffs i might as well pack it in and not try” but a question of how teams key in on him and keep him in check and he has trouble fighting through the checks of tough playoff opponents. The right system and chemistry can easily offset that. Also it’s no secret that Hossa wants to win a cup as he only wants to go to a contender (as he previously said in an interview)…so he’ll be ready to perform if he’s picked by a team in contending position.

    now i’m not taking sides on whether higgins should be traded for hossa or not, those are just things to consider when valuing both players. I would dearly miss higgins if he were to leave, but the ultimate goal is the cup.

  2. The Teacher says:


  3. Hockey11 says:

    Hey Ed,

    Since Dandy doesn’t play PP ever her are the scorers minus PP goals

    Pleks 12
    Latter 12
    Kovy 10
    Kostitsyn 9
    Higgy 8
    Dandy 7
    Ryder 7
    Koivu 6
    Smokes 4
    Kosto 4 total
    Lapierre 3 total
    Begin 3

    And Dandy has been playing the least minutes and still producing top 6 forward in even strength goals. Carbo is clueless as how to manage these guys and play to their strength.

  4. Wencz says:

    Also, this is only Higgins’ 3rd season with the Habs. If you take a look at his offensive output from his 2nd season (last year), it’s quite similar to that of Hossa’s 2nd full season with the Sens (if you adjust his ouput for games played). Add that to all the other things he brings to the table and I don’t think it’s a good trade. But then again, it’s not a bad trade either of course, but I doubt Bob will do it.

  5. Wencz says:

    ya, it’s true, he hasn’t been very good lately. but I still think there is a lot of potential there. I think Higgins is a 30-35 goal scorer but he also brings a strong work ethic and leadership to the table. he’s future captain material, IMO. besides, trading up for hossa would only be for the cup run, as he is a UFA at season’s end; i don’t think bob would sacrafice a quality player like Higgy for that (unless maybe for a trade and sign, but I still don’t think so).

  6. Wencz says:

    with respect to those Hossa rumours, they mentioned Higgins in return, I don’t think Bob would do that, Higgy is being groomed to wear the “C”.

    maybe ryder, but nothing too valuable, and I think Waddell might take what he can get to avoid losing Hossa for nothing.

  7. Bouleau noir says:

    The hiring of Gainey as a GM happened but a few weeks, if that, prior to the drafting day on which Kostsytsin was shosen by the CH,… all the draftees that summer were the results of Savard-Timmins’s own picks as a result of their work during the 12 preceding months,… Gainey was there but went along with Savard’s selection from first to last.

    As Gainey stated in last season’s post-mortem speach… “the re-building process was acheived by my predecessors”…. a process that yielded him an incredibily hight number of NHL successfull prospects…. 9 in total,.. Komi, Higgins, Plek, A.Kostsi, Lapierre, Perezhogin, Hossa, Beauchemin and Hainsey.

    In my book, Gainey inheritated a very favorable situation upon which to build,… our team already had some good pieces and youth,… we were stocked with quality prospects as never before and the lock-out gaved him an incredible amount of UFA to chose from to fixe our team for the long run,… never mind the new CBA and newNHL that were both
    highly favorable turn of event for our franchise.

  8. Chris says:

    If you really want to have fun, take a look at the stats of a certain Daniel Briere, our supposed saviour who spurned us early in his career. Giving up on young offensive players is rarely a good idea. Never know when they are going to break out. The fact that Latendresse is ALREADY contributing is pure gravy. From a little stats study I did a few weeks back, I found that power forwards are often hitting their stride around 23 or 24 years old. Not sure if its that they finally learn how to take proper advantage of their strength, but there are only a few power forwards that come in and produce right away at the NHL level, even fewer who do it at 19 or 20 years old.

  9. Ed says:

    Yes, 3 goals in the last 8 games, thus breaking out of the slump of 1 goal in 31 games.


  10. Will Longlade says:

    Bob Mackenzie dispels this rumour in “No Truth to Canadiens-Thrashers Rumours”:


    Trading Higgins and more for Hossa would be a monumental error IMO. I’d be very surprised if B.G. would do this deal which smacks of desperation. I don’t think the Hab’s situation is desperate. B.G. can afford to sit back and make the deal that makes the best long-term sense for the team.

  11. likehoy says:

    actually no…gainey came on board, but let savard finish the job…savard was kept as an assistang GM until he left to pittsburgh.

    Gainey also offered plekanec for kovalev back when balej was shipped out instead, so it’s funny how that turned out.

  12. jamesb33 says:

    Boone – i know we all want to see the ENTIRE game dominated by Les Habitants, but hey: They beat the Sens! Let Koivu have a less fruitful season; let Ryder ‘ride’ the bench. If they win- they win!


  13. teamplayer says:

    i like kovalevs prediction better, i dont want the team to finish with 500 hockey and barely make the playoffs… when was the last time we had triple digits points? go habs go

    come on koivu i still got you in my pool!

  14. JF says:

    I don’t think I’m downplaying the win, but I don’t like to see the team unable to protect a 3-goal lead. I’ll be very happy if we beat the Senators on Saturday, when both Heatley and Alfredsson are supposed to be back.

  15. ebk says:

    great call and Andre Savard drafting Plekanec. He also drafted Komiserak and Higgins and doesn’t get enough credit for for starting the clean up after the Houle years.

    I do however believe Andrei Kostitsyn was drafted by Gainey in his first draft as the Hab GM.

  16. Hockey11 says:

    3 Cup rings and plenty of playoff experience to boot, very reliable defensively and he changed position for this team, what more can he do? He looked great vs Ottawa, has 3 goals in his last 7-8 games.

  17. 24 Cups says:

    Teach – I agree with you 100%. One step at a time.

    The Original 24 Cups

  18. Bouleau noir says:

    Thanks to Kovalev and the kids we are being treated with some of the best plays the game has to offers while watching the Habs,.. there are many teams on their way to acheive the always elusive cup contendind status but only a few of them can deliver the type of world class plays and executions that is becoming an integral part of what the CH is all about… I couldn’t be more anthousiastic about our team now that the nectar of hochey can be taste at any given time during the season with some awsome plays that are worth being remembered a long time after the fact.

    Andre Savard showed incredible flair when he drafted Plekanec and A.Kostsitsyn and Gainey did a nice follow throught with the aquisition of Kovalev,… the results are startling and our team is moving away from being the dreadfully goaly performance dependant team they have been for so many years.

    Having said all that I still fee Gainey to be a step behind with the building process of this team and that most of the weak points we have today to be the result of that,.. but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating the quality brand of hochey being played by our team.

  19. The Teacher says:

    Oh, most def.

  20. krob1000 says:

    I don’t want to get any more involved than i just did but I think you guys should at least consider it.

  21. The Teacher says:

    I don’t have an issue, I’m just flabbergasted sometimes.

  22. krob1000 says:

    Why don’t you guys both agree not to comment on each others posts anymore. You both make several good points and seem to have issues only with each other…simple solution don’t reply to each other or refer to each others posts.

  23. VancouverHab says:

    I couldn’t (repectfully) disagree more! How is beating the Sens — at this time in this place — not unalloyed joy?

    Look, put this in reverse to get perspective. Say we had lost last night, and Carbo had said at the post-game Press conference that “Kovy & Saku were injured, and we outplayed them in the first period, and, you know, the Sens second line is not doing all that well, a and, and and…..”

    It would sound like sour grapes, whining, pathetic. The Sens would look great & us crap. But we won the (*&^(*&ing game!!!. To mangle Donald Rumsfeld’s insightful remark, you win with the players, the stamina, the hot streaks & the breaks you have, not the ones that you wish that you had.

    Stop & smell the flowers, gentlemen!

  24. showey47 says:

    souray was the worst dman in the league last year when it came to plus minus and look what he got. Anyway i hope he resigns with us for a reasonable price.

  25. TheCharles says:

    I think you have a valid point, but I’d still like the see the boys on top. This is a good young team which is only gonna get better. Teams are already taking notice of the Canadiens, and I’d really like to see some character victories.

    For years now we’ve been waiting for the scouting and the great draft picks to pay off. We have constantly been waiting for the pieces of the puzzle to come together, and finally it seems to be happening. So I say let’s take first in the East. Let’s show every team in the NHL that the ghosts of the old forum are still around. I hope the boys show the rest of the league that they are the elite team that we all know they are.

  26. HabsProf says:

    Streit is not as strong defensively as Markov. That is a major consideration. Compare the plus/minus numbers: +2 vs. -8. Streit has never been a plus player. The versatility is a plus, but not enough to offset the defensive weakness.

    I see Streit as a better version of Dick Tarnstrom (sp?). An offensive defenseman who is below average defensively (though not as bad as Tarnstrom).

  27. ebk says:

    I thought so to about two weeks ago but he just keeps playing better and better. If he cracks 50 points, his agent should be shot if he can’t get him at least $2.5m

  28. HotHabs says:

    BTW, while I’m really pumped about seeing our beloved Habs atop the Eastern Conference, Philly is also eying the summit and has a couple of games in hand.

    The more I think about it, I think it would be better to stay off the conference perch. When you’re #1 everyone wants a piece of ya. But, then again what team wants to stop winning games? So, bring on the competition – I admit Thursday is the exception.

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  29. krob1000 says:

    Might have believed that before Luke Richardson chased him down after a horse length head start. I know Lats went into his glide to make his move but it should have been a clear cut break for sure. I can’t think of many guys that wouldn’t have broke away in that situation. I am not knocking him just saying how much better he could be.

  30. The Teacher says:

    Why do you keep asking me this?

  31. doug says:

    i was thinking the same thing. problem is that he’s more accurately described as a winger/defenseman. if he had all those points on defense we could be in a higher price zone, but as a versatile player I think he’d accept $2M if offered now.

  32. habfan53 says:

    Agreed. On 110% the othernightthey were talking about his speed and Michel Bergeron was saying he is not all that slow but because of his size he appears slower then he really is a lot like both Peter and Frank Mahovlich. The other thing Bergeron said was that at 20 he will get stonger and that will help his speed also

  33. showey47 says:

    I would like to compare him to the likes of glen murray who was a slow skater when he played junior for the sudbury wolves. His skating improved with time and turned out to have a great career as a goal scorer and power forward

  34. JB says:

    Keep Hossa – disappears in playoffs anyway – crazy

    and just saw who wrote the article – c’mon Brucy hasn’t written a word of truth ever..lol

    and read Bobby Mac’s “blog” on TSN – he’s reliable

  35. krob1000 says:

    I think he will be a great power forward and in no way was I saying anything like giving up on him. I have actaully posted comparitive stats with Vinny, Leclair, Bertuzzi and Thornton on here before to demonstrate that he is actually ahead of the curve for a big man. I just think he should address his skating now while he is young. He makes it harder than it needs to be is my point and with that extra step he would have a few more goals and then even his harshest critics wouldn’t have anything to say. The reason he looks awkward out there is because he does skate awkwardly. It makes him an easy target when things don’t go well….I by no means think anything bad about Lats.

  36. HotHabs says:

    Don’t know if anyone else came across this report from Canoe.ca regarding Habs wanting Hossa:


    Here’s a quote from the article:
    “If the Thrashers do make a deal, the Habs will have to compete with the Bruins, Senators and Wings. The asking price from the Habs is expected to be W Chris Higgins, a prospect and No. 1 pick in 2008.”

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  37. habfan53 says:

    Tiger has changes every 2/3 years he adapts Hopefuuly that’s what Guillaume can do I just looked up his numbers vs Lecavaliers 1st 2 years

    Latendresse 30 goals (so far) 19 assists -26 208 shots 69PIM
    Lecavalier 38 57 -44 291 66

    Not a big difference I would not give up on him either

  38. JF says:

    I agree that the win last night was somehow not totally satisfying. I thought the Senators outplayed the Habs for most of the first period and had a really strong third period, helped a lot by the penalties we took. On the other hand, the Habs were outstanding late in the first period and through the second. The first two goals were pure magic to watch. And what to say about Mark Streit, who causes a turnover leading to an unsuccessful 3-on-1, then streaks up the ice and scores seconds later. But all but squandering a 3-goal lead (again) leaves a bad taste and suggests that the team, while much stronger than earlier in the season, is still a bit fragile. It was Huet’s play (with Bouillon’s help at the goal-mouth) that ensured we won it in regulation. However, I thought we played pretty well defensively, and Brisebois for once was quietly effective in Hamrlik’s spot.

    But something has to be done about the Koivu line. I think Koivu is working hard, despite his bad penalties, and I know, as J.T. and others have pointed out, that he picks it up late in the season. But his line as it stands is dysfunctional. I’ve read everyone’s comments and suggestions, so I’ll throw in my two cents. Higgins has looked much better the last three games, but I have to agree that he and Koivu for whatever reasons simply are not effective together any more. Latendresse has been missing chances lately, but he might work well with Koivu if he parks himself at the net. As for Ryder, if Gainey does not plan to deal him at the deadline he should play. He’s been seen as the problem on the Koivu line, but if you remove Higgins instead, Ryder and Koivu might work. Someone, I think it was krob, suggested S. Kostitsyn could get Ryder going. It’s worth a try, although I really like him on the kid line. I’d even try Mark Streit up there. But if something isn’t done to get that line scoring and other teams figure out how to shut down the Plekanec line, the Habs are toast.

    I look forward to seeing how we match up against the real Ottawa team on Saturday. I think we have better goaltending; that is, Huet is better than either Gerber or Emery, and we’ll see how Price does. I’d say our defense is just about as good as theirs, so the result might depend on how each team can handle the other’s top line. In the meantime there’s Toronto, who will probably play a good game after last night’s stinker. I hope Price starts that one with a full dose of confidence!

  39. Barts says:

    In defence of Matt Dandenault, he does have two Cup rings on his finger, and in this league that buys you a big contract.

    RE: Koivu… it was fun while it lasted.

  40. ebk says:

    $2.5m to $3.0m for either three to four years, should get it done. Otherwise you might have to let him walk.

  41. showey47 says:

    Souray also overachieved last season and he is now making more money than markov. If streit puts up 60 points or so thats gonna call for alot more than 1.5 million. You can guarantee some team will offer him rediculous money.

  42. The Teacher says:

    Sorry for the repost, I meant to post it here.

    I really don’t understand the logic of overpaying for a pending UFA, especially when he will be free in 5 months. also especially when it will involve a loss of a an important player, a promising prospect, and 1 or 2 1st round draft picks in a deep draft.

    For Jokinen I might consider it, only because his salary is decent at 5.25 million and is signed for an additional year (never would trade 2 first rounders IMO, in ANY deal).

    Any trade has to be about short AND long term viability of the club. I’m not going to be happy if we go all out this year, don’t win, and then have to suffer through mediocrity for another 15 years.

    I’ll be satisfied with taking a toddler-step this year. I say this only because I believe we are entering the final stage of the rebuilding process and entering into the “yearly contender” stage. The problem with this is that we have to make the playoffs for 2 years in a row to truly be considered a “yearly contender”.

    I am not looking for a flash in the pan here. I’m looking for a strong, log-burning fire that warms and sustains the heart.

  43. krob1000 says:

    I sure hope not. I think around 2.5-3 million is probably more like it. Markov does everything well. Streit gets points but his versatility is also a reflection of his inability to cement himself as a legit top defensman. He is a big part of our success and he should be rewarded and will be. I would figure he will be resigned fairly early on for two or three years. I can’t see him wanting out and not wanting to be part of what’s happening in Montreal.

  44. Mike says:

    no, i don’t think so, and if he would i suggest a trade right now.

    Streit is overacheiving offensively and is not strong defensively (Sourray anyone?) although he is not as bad as sourray defensively. He still can not play defense and he should not be kept if he is payed over 1.5 million a year.

  45. krob1000 says:

    I want to say Gretzky went to Europe for skating as well. I didn’t know that was why Tiger changed his sswing…makes sense though. Tiger is in his own world.

  46. showey47 says:

    Off topic but i noticed that streit has already surpassed his offensive totals from last season and is currently only one point behind markov. Does anyone see the possibility that he may command markov type salary? Or something close to it? Considering his versatility also. Thoughts?

  47. Chorske says:

    It’s a lot of work but often an early intervention can help prevent long-term problems. Imagine if someone had done proper orthopedic surgery on Forsberg- I’ll bet with corrective surgery and orthotics, he would have played more games later in his career. Tiger Woods redesigned his swing while he was at the peak of his game because he was worried about developing wrist problems. I’m sure that Lats would benefit from intensive skating training, but it’s hard work and he has to want it badly- and from what I’ve seen in interviews, he simply doesn’t see “fast skating” as part of his role on the team.

    I want Komi and O’Byrne to take boxing lessons. 😉

  48. krob1000 says:

    I forgot to mention Latendresse last night. This guy has a future and people have got to start cutting this guy more slack. He has an unteachable awareness about the game and his big body causes nightmares for opposing defenders along the boards. He needs to work on getting better position if front of the net sometimes though and his SKATING. Everyone goes on and on about his skating and last night he had two chances that he probably would have converted if he were just a hair faster. I teach power skating (to kids granted) but I notice that Latendresse needs to work on straightening out his stride and getting his legs closer together. I am very new to the pwoer skating game but myself and a twenty year coach had a lengthy discussion about one of our better kids just recently.

    The kid is only 10 years old and is one of the smoothest skaters you have ever seen but his stance is very wide. To make an already long story shorter we decided it was best for him to work on lengthening and straightening his stride as the wide stance doesn’t allow him to get full strides and cuts down on efficiency (takes more strides to get same output). The wider stance is stronger but watching Rick Nash’s breakway last night and his long smooth strides reminded me again. Lats has obviously worked on his balance (for a while he was falling all over the place) but he has to bring his legs in closer and further out front every stride. It looks as though his feet never come inside his shoulders…even in breakaway situations.

    I have no right telling Guillaume Latendresse how to skate in all reality but it does bother me that noone seems to be working on him with it (maybe they are but I never hear about it)because it would help him. Anyone coaching or with kids out there correct this early …please.

  49. ebk says:

    The Canadiens can’t continue to have these 3rd period meltdowns were they let teams back in the game. The had Ottawa down and out and the allowed them to get off the canvas and make a game of it. If not for a huge Huet save at point blank range off Chris Kelly, this game was tied and they would be looking at back to back blown three goal leads.

    The Canadiens also took three of the dumbest penalties I’ve seen in a long time. Both Smolinski and Bouillon had time to make better plays and Koivu’s penalty was inexcusable. I might not be a true hab fan but I don’t buy into all this conspiracy crap that gets spouted about the refs. Penalties like those cost teams games in the play-offs. Almost cost the Habs the game last night.

    Speaking of that Chris Kelly shot, chances like that can’t happen if you are going to contend for the Stanley Cup. I think it further illustrates that the Begin-Smolinski-Kostopoulos line are not a very good defensive line. The next time they play Ottawa, It won’t be Chris Kelly with that chance, it will be Alfredsson or Heatly and the game will be tied. The bad thing is they may be the best the Habs have for that role, scary thought.

    I really don’t think the Habs missed Hamrlik at all last night. Gorges, Streit and Frankie the Bull stepped up and played decent games last night. Markov and Komisarek also absorbed more ice-time than normal, as well. I also think that Hamrlik has been rather ordinary since early December and I’m hoping he picks his game back up soon. He’s a good defenseman, so I imagine he will

    Frankie the Bull made a uncharacteristic error that cost the Habs the first Senator goal. He gets pushed off the puck because of his size but generally he doesn’t make mistakes in his own end. He and Hamrlik would be my pick for the second D pairing if Gainey makes no changes. He might well be the Canadiens resident tough guy, he knocks much bigger players on their butts regularly and generally plays sound defensively. In my opinion, he is the most under-rated player on the team.

    The Kovalev line just keeps getting better and better. Two absolutely amazing goals. I’m hoping Alfreddson and Heatly are back for Saturday because the only way to find out how good the Habs are and this line in particular, is to take on the best. Ottawa was down their two best players, I want to see how the Habs match up when the Senators are at full strength. I think the Habs will do ok.

    I’ll end just short of a Krob epic novel with a couple of things I find interesting. With Ryder in the line up the Habs 26-13-3, without him, 3-3-0. With Brisebois in the line up the Habs are 14-12-5. Without Patrice the Habs are 15-4-4.

    67 points down, 27 to go to a play-off spot

    Thanks for reading

  50. The Teacher says:

    Put Ryder in against T.O.

    He DID GET THREE goals in the last game last year.

  51. nn1 says:

    The win last night was not the habs’ strongest 60-minute performance – agreed. But they found a way to win, against Ottawa. True, the Sens were without two of their best, but they’re a very strong, deep, well-coached team, who needed a win badly and we were able to stop them. Were there things to work on? Of course. And there’s no doubt that Saku is not playing his sharpest hockey.
    But hey, there’s 28 games left and we’re winning hockey games. There is time before the playoffs to improve. This team has increasingly showed great character. It seems like they’re learning from every loss now, and that is of tremendous importance.
    Go habs go.

  52. mjames says:

    Makes sense. Ryder should play! The “pluggers” rotate. As nice as Dandy is , he should be on the 4th with Begin, Kost, and Smolinski. I think Smolinski has earned a seat in the press box at least for the next game.


  53. Mike says:

    Exactly my thoughts, that is why i am so surprissed and disappointed that we havent tried it.

  54. krob1000 says:

    I posted the same thing a while back Mike. Kosty Jr. would be perfect for Ryder as would Plekanec (that one is obviously out of the question). Sergei has great vision and his passes are almost always in a perfect postion for someone to shoot. He also loves to carry the puck across the blueline and hesitiate or slow things down a la Gretzky and hit trailers with perfect passes. With a triggerman like Ryder and a playmaker like Sergei I really think it could work out. I also wonder though if Ryder has seen his last game as a Hab though. I’d like to see that combo tried before we ship him out but I don’t think it will happen.

  55. Ed says:

    There are some people on here who agree with you Mike. Higgins started the year by carrying the puck much more than he did in the past, and he was reluctant to pass. His shots on goal were up significantly, because that appeared to be his new style. We could never fault his work ethic, but his style had changed. He is much better than Ryder at carrying the puck in traffic, and Ryder was there watching Higgins carrying the puck, and eventually shooting rather than passing. Higgins chances were way up, and Ryder’s were down. Ryder seemed to play better when he was put on other lines, but generally those lines did not last long.

  56. Chris says:

    Well, I’ve always thought that Higgins was a two-way player who had the misfortune of having some immediate offensive success in his career, thereby raising his and everybody else’s expectations, much like Brian Savage early in his career.

    I would be quite happy with Higgins as a 3rd line centre or winger, who could contribute some good offense, be a ferocious defender and not have so much pressure to be something he probably isn’t.

  57. Chris says:

    And to be honest with you, I find that Plekanec is one of the WORST hookers on the team when he’s defending in transition. He’s often behind the guy with a stick in the opposing player’s hands and waist and doesn’t get called for it. Koivu’s got the rep, so I guess we have to deal with it.

  58. JB says:

    I could live with that – but what type of player is Higgins – is he a power forward capable of 40 goals on 1st line or is he a grinder capable of 20 on 3rd. I thought Lats was maybe a power forward in training (if he learns to hit again) and Lapierre the grinder. Would putting Higgins on this line create just another energy line (ie 4th line) or is this a legimate scoring line?

  59. JB says:

    You may be right – 25 – 30 – 30 last 3 yrs I think – but point is the same.
    Maybe it’s Higgins with a game change – Maybe Ryder trying to play more defense.
    I’m loving the way the team is playin – but as someone else posted – if the Koivu line went gold – we’d be laughin.
    Just very disappointed how quickly everyone dumped over Ryder and have hung him out to dry.
    Think we have the tools to have a good run – but we’ve got to use them – sitting in the press box doesn’t cut it.

  60. krob1000 says:

    You should get one free with the $200 or $400 bricks on the link I posted below. Lol I didn’t realize how that sounded. Energetic hookers are called escorts I think.

  61. Mike says:

    Sorry my last post was such a mess. We can’t have Ryder on the third line because that is not how he plays. Truthfully, in order to capitalize on our teams strenghts, this is the onl line that makes sense to me. If you see flaws please explain.
    S kost-koivu-Ryder
    A Kost-pleks-Kovalev

  62. HotHabs says:

    Fair enough – pvr’s for all of us courtesy of HIO??? OK… I didn’t think so – don’t bother responding to that Boone!

    BTW, I love the line “Koivu’s a lazy hooker” – nothing personal on him, but that was hilarious!

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  63. Mike says:

    I’ve said since the begining of the season that I truley believe that the firdt line troubles were due to higgins changing his game and it doesnt suit koivu’s and ryders.

  64. HotHabs says:

    Was Ryder not the leading goal-scorer for 2 seasons, not 3? That’s what I thought…

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  65. krob1000 says:

    Same one I just saw it differently (I could be wrong I only saw it once). I thought Koivu quickly swung around trying to get the puck but was late and made stick on stick contact and at the same time the Sens player decided to accelerate forward but couldn’t because the two sticks were tangled in front of his feet. You may very well be right but I didn’t think it started at the waist. I sure wish I had one of those pvr things or whatever everyone talks about. I know Koivu has earned a rep. as a lazy hooker and that one had no impact on anything and I saw at least two of those late in the third period (one on Sergei K and the other on Andrei K) that looked worse and didn’t get called.

  66. HotHabs says:

    Possibly, but I think it has more to do with lack of confidence in himself and his line mates. He’s young and strong, but scoring droughts get between the ears and can make even great players forget how to use their skills. The mental game is very important in a player’s and a team’s success. Some of the Habs are brain-cramping for answers right now.

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  67. JB says:

    Looks like from the posts this morning that we’re finally starting to realize that this team is in trouble with Ryder in the pressbox. He’s taken a bad rap and all the blame for off yrs by Koivu, Higgins and himself. (Look at the 3rd period benching last nite)
    Play Ryder for the rest of the yr with Koivu and Higgins. Tell them they’re together for the rest of the yr. Koivu and Higgins are clearly not happy without Ryder and we can’t trade the full line.
    Put Junior on a line with Lats and Lapierre. Rotate the pluggers.
    Have to get these guys going – can’t rely on the 1st line all the time.
    I’ve been posting this on and off for the last couple of months. You just don’t throw away you’re leading goal scorer for the last 3 yrs. Get a grip.

  68. HotHabs says:

    The hook I’m talking about was when he was in the corner, lost his man and quickly swung around and clearly tried to stop the Sens player with his stick which started at the waist and slid down over the stick and to the knees bring him down in the process. Maybe we’re not thinking of the same incident – there are just too many! No matter. Koivu’s got to stop with the “old NHL” hooks and get his legs moving when he’s lost his man.

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  69. Wencz says:

    I wonder if Higgins might be playing injured. He was like a bullet early in the season and seemed a lot stronger; almost impossible to take the puck off of him at the time.

  70. krob1000 says:

    Really?? I thought he hooked the guys stick and although that slowed the other guy down because his stick was in front of him I didn’t think that was a penalty. I am no referee and maybe it still is a hook but it was stick on stick contact at first and not a slash. I thought that was let go.

  71. HotHabs says:


    Some good points made and I like your enthusiasm. It is the best time to be a Habs fan in a very very long time – not since the playoff run & cup win of ’93.

    I disagree about your assessment of the Koivu penalty. I found it to be grossly obvious and even a ref with coke-bottle glasses would’ve seen it! We agree, however, that it happens a million times too many!

    I like your idea of splitting Koivu and Higgins, and putting Kosti jr. & Lats with Koivu while Higgins plays with the 3rd line boys. Great coaching mind – couldn’t agree more those calls!

    Ultimately, the team needs another solid veteran D-man and a proven powerforward. Hossa would be the cat’s meow, but I’m not holding my breath. RDS mentioned Habs prospect Yemelin would likely figure into any deal for Hossa. With the right trade(s) this team is going deep into the playoffs – no doubt about it.

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  72. Hockey11 says:

    I often wonder if what game the Booner is watching,he said

    “Speaking of pests, Maxim Lapierre has to step it up. His line, with Dandenault and Guillaume Latendresse, did nothing last night, and they barely played in the third period.”

    Max played 15 min which was more than Smokes, Begin or your “3 goal Tom the Fuse”. Max’s line drew two penalties that resulted in goals and Smokes line took two penalites.

    Smokes line did little last nite.

    You also were lamenting the salary discrepancy of Gorges and Streit. Gorges cost us Rivet and he is 23 so he will earn his money when he prvoes his worthiness after a few seasons as will Streit. BTW, Streit really struggled last nite but his mistakes did not hurt us. Dandy earned his money the hard way and came as a UFA and cost us no picks or players and was one of the few players who WANTED to come here and has done everything asked of him and his 7 goals are more than Begin, Max, Breezer, Kosto, or Smokes, he does not play PP and has only two less goals than Streit who plays PP.

    We are playoff bound and certain players are playoff tested and proven, this is where they earn their mettle. As I fan these are the games I want to watch. This team did not make the playoffs and these players will soon learn that is a very different game and don’t forget Carbo HAS NEVER BEEN A HEAD COACH IN A PLAYOFF GAME AND will soon see that the heart and soul players will carry him as he over reacts to the press and freaks outs on the bench, again. He is improving as a coach but he has a long way to go. Why don’t you pick on the 4 million plus players that are not delivering.

  73. JB says:

    hmmm..basically this line needs to go back to how it played last yr. Higgins digs out the puck – passes to Koivu who dippsy doodles – who passes to Ryder who finishes. Having Higgins try to be a scorer and Ryder be the defensive awareness on this line has killed them. They need to play similair roles to the way the 1st line is set up.
    This all goes back to way too much line shuffling all yr.
    I like the younger too – but I wonder if he’s not better served on the kid line. We don’t want him snakebit like Koivu, Higgins and Ryder.

    Regardless – glad to see this message is finally making it out on this blog. Now if Carbo will keep some lines together for a month – we should be good to go.
    In reality, we are still 2 yrs from being a legimiate yearly contender like we were throughout much on the 80’s.

  74. oc38 says:

    ***posted as direct Reply***

  75. The Teacher says:

    That is reasonable to me.

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