About last night …

A terse and pithy (yeath, it will have great pith) edition of ALN because I have to dash downtown to join Mio, Hickey and Stubbs for the Habs I/O podcast.

Was it just a couple weeks ago we were talking about the Canadiens’ three scoring lines?

Now they have one. And if anything – slump, injury, ominous horoscope – happens to Tomas Plekanec-Alex Kovalev-Andrei Kostitsyn, this team is in deep sewage.

On the day La Presse decided he should be traded, Saku Kovu played a very good game: skated hard, plenty of energy, battled for pucks, no offensive-zone penalties.

But for the love of Michael Ryder, get the Captain some wingers!

The Sergei Kostitsyn/Guillaume Latendresse experiment was a disaster. The kids had no clue as to where they should be or where Koivu was or what the centre might set up for them. The line played like they’d met each other for the first time in a bar an hour before the game.

By the third period, Christopher Higgins was back with Koivu and Sergei K. I think Guy Carbonneau should leave this line intact, at least through the upcoming road trip.

Failing that, the coach should reunite Koivu, Higgins and Ryder and play Sergei with Maxim Lapierre and Latendresse. The Kid Line showed promise before Carbo, the compulsive tinkerer, started futzing around with it.

Let’s hope Roman Hamrlik is back for the game in Ottawa tomorrow. But Patrice Brisebois wasn’t bad last night, and Carbo may be tempted to move Mark Streit up front to give the Bryan Smolinski line some punch.


Bright spots?

Not too darn many.

• The Pleks line, of course. While recollections of the Jacques Lemaire-Guy Lafleur-Steve Shutt have been bandied about, I’ll make a more contemporary comparison: This is the most dynamic line since Doug Gilmour was centring Oleg Petrov and Richard Zednik. They had that great playoff series against Boston before Kyle MacLaren laid Zednik out.

• Josh Gorges is the number four defenceman on this team. He was solid again last night, with a succession of partners.

• Carey Price didn’t show any rust. Price wasn’t brilliant, but nor was he to be blamed on the three goals that beat him. I just wish he’d have a stand-on-your-head, 40-save game one of these nights.

• Vesa Toskala was the game’s first star, but I thought he had an easy 34-save night. Canadiens didn’t go to the net, didn’t screen him, didn’t pounce on the few rebounds he gave up.

• Leafs had 14 shots in the first period. Pith-poor defensive effort against a visiting team that isn’t the Detroit Red Wings.

• Add Mats Sundin to the long list of players who won’t be sending Mike Komisarek a valentine.

• Love him or hate, you have to admit Darcy Tucker is a player.

• Jason Blake is a whiner, a yapper, a diver and an overpaid pain in the ass. After Steve Downie popped him – probably the only fight of his career in which Downie was the sentimental favourite – P.J. Stock’s friend and fellow tough guy Jim Cummins derisively summed up Blake: "Jason Blake’s mouth writes cheques his body can’t cash."

On to Ottawa, where Dany Heatley and Daniel F, await.




  1. likehoy says:

    roger i thikn

  2. The Teacher says:

    Are you serious?

  3. Ed says:

    I agree. Higgins is like a lot of players in that he has to keep his eye on the puck so he won’t lose it. As for Plekanec, I think he has the best vision of all the Habs players. I am sure that he knows where all the players on the ice are.

  4. Ed says:

    cournoyer, RG?? I’m slow. What does it mean? I can only think of Robert Gainey. It could be computer talk, but I think you are like me, too old to be up on all this computer lingo.

  5. likehoy says:

    you think koivu has it?

    he’s a great passer!! he definitely has the vision

    i actually questioned pleks vision at the start of his career, but he’s improved so much, i actually didn’t think he’d be this good.

  6. ebk says:

    teach, i think you have reached your daily quota of posts. 🙂

  7. showey47 says:

    I don’t see it, our back end(when healthy)and goaltending is the foundation of this team. Why mess with it. When (or if) we can land that one guy who can spark the second line, we will challenge the sens for first place.

  8. Blitzen says:

    I think the one thing I would point out about Higgins is that I feel he may not have great vision. SKoz has it, Kovy has it, AKoz has it, Pleks has it and I think Koivu has it. But Higgins doesn’t. He works hard along the boards but always seems to me to have his head down. Hard to find your teammates that way.

  9. The Teacher says:

    Haha, This was just a joke guys!

    Hamrlik leave? God forbid!

  10. Yeats says:

    I’m in your camp. Unless you think that O’Byrne will be up with the big team shortly or Valentenko is ready, the Hammer is going nowhere. The hole that his departure would leave in the D you could drive a semi through. What did you think of the Breezer throwing a few checks last night? All I could think at the end of the game was that he was willing to finally use the body and we lost. Aside from the Pleks line, our forwards really suck.

  11. showey47 says:

    that possibility actually crossed my mind but i doubt it, that would leave a gigantic hole in our D unless there would be another top 4 D coming back.

  12. Ed says:

    Imagine, crazy talk on this site. Who would have thought it.

  13. nightmare_49 says:

    Houtather – I think i mentioned this before that Joel Bouchard and Hamilton have parted ways and Cote just got back from injury and has always been very slow and an awkward skater and was considered a prospect in the old NHL.

  14. 24 Cups says:

    likehoy – We are slowly improving on faceoffs – it depends on who we are playing on any given night. Perreault is still great on faceoffs but unfortunately can’t do anything else as a player. Just ask the Lousy Leafs what he did for them two years ago at the trade deadline.

    The Original 24 Cups

  15. 24 Cups says:

    Brett Engelhardt.

    The Original 24 Cups

  16. howtathor says:

    Yeah, what ever happened to JP Cote? That kid has been toiling a long time since his last call up. He’s got size, and can hit and is a decent stay at home defenceman. What about Joel Bouchard? He’s been in Hamilton on a tryout for a while…Obie should be back next week after some “conditioning”.

  17. howtathor says:

    Well written. I can only hope for success for Higgy Ryder and Koivu!

  18. howtathor says:

    Great post! Amen on the Koivu issue. I’m sick of hearing all the whiners calling for his head. I heard the Koivu Higgins Ryder line will be back tommorow night. I hope Carbo is more patient than one game or even one period! These guys have been together a long time and have an innate sense of where each other is on the ice. Much like the Plek line. Let em’ play Carbo! You got em’ so scared they’ve forgotten how to have a good time.

  19. nightmare_49 says:

    Remember San Jose gave up a 1st round pick of about the same value and Gorges for Rivet , granted they over paid a bit cuz they thought Rivet would be their missing link.

  20. nightmare_49 says:

    I totally disagree.

  21. The Teacher says:

    What if we give a first round pick? Could we get Vinny or Jokinen?

  22. likehoy says:

    i think that’s just crazy talk.

  23. nightmare_49 says:

    i agree , and Streit is a great sub on “D” but to play regular he’s too soft for the NHL , not so in Europe , and the opposing teams notice this and dump it in his end and pound.

  24. The Teacher says:

    How about this spin.

    Hamrlik is not really sick. He is just sitting like Ryder because he is being included in a trade and they do not want him to get injured.

    Now who could Ryder AND Hamrlik get us?

  25. likehoy says:

    i just read that we’re interested in Yannick Perreault…not surprised considering how bad we are on face offs…but can he still play hockey?

  26. Mike says:

    It’s not that heir bad, or that they are amazing. Its that if we utilize their skills, because every player has a specific skill, then we can form an amazing team.

  27. ClaytonM says:

    It looks like Gainey and Carbo have 3 choices.

    1) Trade to get Koivu a winger
    2) Trade Koivu for a 2nd line C
    3) Stand pat

    So here are my thoughts on his options

    1) Who is really a viable option? He can’t trade away our future to land a mercenary who will leave after a playoff run. We’re not in a position like Detroit or Ottawa that needs that 1 puzzle piece. Do we have a shot at Forsberg or this Brunnstrom guy? I doubt it. Is Hossa the guy we need for Saku or will he disappear come the playoffs? What is the asking price for Martin St. Louis? How pissed of is Savard at Martin Havlat?

    Of all the options Gainey had, my favorite would have been sigining Selanne. Oh well.

    2) I’d never have thought it a possibility and I still doubt Saku is going anywhere unless of course HE asks for a trade. The way the media and some of the fans have acted in the past and specifically this year, as much as I’d hate to see Saku in another team’s jersey, I wouldn’t blame him for demanding a trade. The guy’s been here 11 years and the best winger he’s had in that time was Mark Recchi. He’s continually assaulted in the french press by petty little douchebags who would be happy to have a no-heart guy like Pierre Turgeon back as Captain just because he’s quebecois, even if it meant we’d have to fight the laffs for the draft lottery instead of the sans for 1st in the East.

    If you leave, Saku, I hope you win a Stanley Cup before we get our 25th.

    3) Here’s the thing. If everyone who “knows hockey” was right and we should not be where we are in the standings, then we need Gainey to choose option 1 or 2. If in fact they’re a better team than they gave them credit for then why fix it if it ain’t broken? We have 7 players with 10+ goals, and if they stand pat, it’s a sure thing Streit, Ryder and S. Kost. will reach the 10 goal mark. The only team with more is Detroit with 8. It might sound like a meaningless stat, but what it shows is we have a team, not just one line (regardless of the posts and opinions spouted in the last 24 hours) or one player (Alex the Great). I’d take that over getting our due from the TSN Player Rankings, especially when it comes with probably the best blue line and goalie tandem in the NHL.

    Carbo needs to meet with Koivu Higgins & Ryder and tell them he’s putting them together for the remainder of the season to work out their issues. He needs to leave the Plekanec line alone, and he needs to tell the remaining forwards that they’ll be fighting for ice time even after a huge win against Boston. It’s time for Koivu’s line to produce. It’s also time for our 3rd & 4th lines to contribute on a daily basis, not just in a blowout win.

  28. likehoy says:

    what’s funny is that everyone based our success on how alex kovalev does this year. Even Red Fisher did. Clearly everyone knew how good alex kovalev can be for our team, it’s whether or not he wanted to. I think he’s a year too early…next year is his contract year…unless he has more up his bag of tricks for next year.

  29. New says:

    Last week they’re heros, this week zeros. Ever think that nothing has changed except your perceptions?

    Sorry, they’re not that good. Good news, they’re not that bad.

    There are a handfull of players in the league that can change a team.
    Smile, you have one.

  30. likehoy says:

    prove what?

    i don’t think we’re on the same wavelength here…

  31. krob1000 says:

    maybe….. but prove it.

  32. likehoy says:

    well said…

    but that team work thing with Elisha? that might be going somewhere else 😉

  33. Ed says:

    That’s okay. I forgive you, and I hope you don’t mind another minor correction. It is actually 4-3-1. When he was benched earlier on, I complained because it was always on the road, and never at home. My complaint was that he was been booed mercilessly at home, but Carbonneau continued to play him there, as if he wanted to punish him. It had to affect his confidence, and maybe Carbonneau was playing mind games with him. Also, this benching seemed to work at first, but I think it was because it was on the road where the Habs were playing very well. Carbonneau never benched him for a home game until the team started to win at home.

    Here is the game by game break down:
    Dec 6 – win over Boston on the road 4-2
    Dec 13- win over Philadelphia on the road 4-1
    Dec 20- win over Washington on the road 5-2
    Dec 22- shoot out loss to Atlanta on the road 3-2
    Dec 23- loss to Dallas on the road 4-1
    Feb 3 – loss to Rangers at home 5-3 (after they won the previous home game 4-1)
    Feb 5 – win over Ottawa at home 4-3
    Feb 7 – loss to Toronto at home 4-2

    Twice he has been benched for 3 consecutive games, and it is interesting to note that they have only 1 win in the last 5 games that he has been benched. If I were him, any desire I would have to play for Carbonneau would now be totally evaporated. He has to be boiling inside.

  34. ClaytonM says:

    Excellent post, HabsInBlood. Here’s something that struck me as proof that the refs have put their whistles away since New Years Day. When we had a PP, Kostitsyn gets crosschecked into the laffs net right in front of the ref. He also got high-sticked with again no call. Whenever there was a chance of a rebound from a shoot in, their D would trip, hook, hold, etc. so we’d not get the shot off. Here’s my point_


    If they can see those every time, where are they for the penalties? My belief is the New NHL has lasted longer than New Coke, but it’s time has come and gone.

  35. ClaytonM says:

    It might have to do with Dandy being a no-show for the majority of his games. He doesn’t hit, is ineffective as a forechecker, and scores in bunches. That and he whines when he’s a scratch. If he wants to play every game, he needs to play with heart every game.

  36. JF says:

    Higgins has been better lately, especially the two weekend games. He worked hard in the corners and drew penalties. He needs to go to the net more.

  37. sidhu says:

    I’m glad you brought up Ryder’s coming to Higgy’s defense – that was a character move. Gorges has gained points in my book because he regularly does the same thing.

  38. Hockey11 says:

    No, Ryder needs to be a top 2 line player and PP, he is ineffective on the 3-4 line. Lapierre stunk last nite, Dandy has 7 goals Tom the Fuse has 3. What is your beef with Dandy? Koivu has what 10 goals?

  39. krob1000 says:

    Maybe you can give us a report on this Trotter kid????

  40. krob1000 says:

    Message to Higgy…….

    1. You are not a terrible stickhandler, in fact you are a very talented stickhandler but sometimes you do to much of it when not necessary (sounds a little like an old linemate of yours).

    Lightbulb above my head!! I just had a thought and maybe Koivu is not getting open himself after making his passes. I will watch the next couple of games for this cause it might help explain Higgy and Ryder’s over stickhandling episodes. If you watch the Kovy line as soon as one of them passes the puck they move and try to get open again and that is why they are so effective at maintaining possession. The same proabbly goes for Ryder and Higgy too as early on they were very effective and always moved after a pass. I bet it really is that simple. Sounds like hockey 101 but it is very easy to slip into a habit of watching your passes or the paly after one…..it happens to basketball players all the time.

    2. You are taking on too much responsibility too fast and placing waaaay too much pressure on yourself and it affects averyone but mainly yourself.

    3. Keep that head up on the ice and off the ice.

    4. Stop talking so much to the press on behalf of the team. Speak for yourself and you will feel less pressure….especially after losses cause you definitely take them too hard. You shouldn’t feel great after a loss but man it’s not the end of the world.

    5. Make strong moves not plenty of moves…you have great strength, flexibility and speed so don’t compromise it by making extra moves (you listening Michael Ryder).

    6. Get back to going to the net……especially when you don’t have the puck…..either that or move after you pass it (watch an Avalanche game). You have great hands and are good witht he puck in tight and everytime you have been on a hot streak it is because you have driven to the net.

    7. Ask Komi to let Elisha give you a back rub……it looks like it is helping him. He seems like a team player.

    8. Intensity is great but it is also tiresome…..pick and choose your battles. There is no point in skating all out all of the time. That is not a license for laziness but it seems that yyou are involved in too many pointless races after pucks you know you won’t win and hustle for the sake of hustling. Great effort but the result is a tired player.

    9. Tiiiiiiiiime is on your side….. yes it is. You are a young player on the rise and any scuba diver will tell you that you can’t rise to quick or you risk getting the Bends. It will come….. patience is almost as virtuous as being a Habs fan.

    10. All the best from someone who has no right writing anything like this.

  41. ebk says:

    team is 4-4 without Ryder, 25-13-9 when he plays. Sorry for the mistake.

  42. Moey says:

    Agree, I single out Higgins too, he’s like a nervous juggler every time he has the puck.

  43. krob1000 says:

    Streit is most effective on the pp…absolutely. As a fourth line winger though I think we are underusing his puck moving abilities. He is as physically capable as either Gorges (despite everyone’s love affair with Gorges heart) or Brisebois and twice the puckmover and offensive player of either. Bouillon is a gamer but no offense whatsoever. I saw an interesting piece on the importance of the five man unit offensively in this trapping game. It is what triggered me yesterday to thinking about Streit moving back. Hamrlik and Streit would be one fine combo helping out the forwards and any unit with Hamrlik on it will be defensively able. They would help a second unit out and would have to help out whichever forward unit they are on with.

    I understand what you are saying as myself I have said the same thing all year but that little segment on The Score got me thinking. Detroit and Ottawa are both fantastic in 5 on 5 situations with implementing their defense into their offensive plans. Our defense rack upa ton of points but they also do so mainly on the powerplay and count Streit’s points when he plays forward. I’d like to try it and see what happens…..but to judge Streit’s defense skills (as I recall he was capable when we first got him) on his short fill in stints is unfair and not accurate. If we had more depth at forward this could potentially eliminate what most of believe is a need for a number four guy and instead give us a solid defensive 5-6 pairing. It would also result in Streit being on the ice more which seems to be a good thing.

    I am not completely sold on my own thought here ebk butthat little Score segment sure got me head spinning.

  44. Ed says:

    I heard it yesterday on Team990, and I liked the tune. I can’t see Ryder sitting just because he is being traded. If this were the case, whoever is coming here would also be sitting,unless it is someone who is injured. Carbonneau has no confidence in Ryder, and the total games benched is now 8. The previous 5 were long before trade talk began.

    In the last game he played, Montreal won 4-1, I believe, and he got into a minor scuffle taking up for Higgins, who was hit from behind. Usually Carbonneau benches someone after the team loses, but here he benched Ryder after a win. The next game, they blew a 3-0 lead, and lost 5-3 to the Rangers. Then they blew a 4-1 lead to Ottawa, but won 4-3. Now they lose 4-2 to the leafs. Maybe Carbonneau will make changes for the next game, but what’s the point. Ryder knows his days are numbered in Montreal, and how can he give his all for Carbonneau. Carbonneau has lost him, the same as he has with Halak.

  45. ebk says:

    I’d put Hamrlik with Bouillon and Gorges with O’ Bryne and Brisebois in the pressbox. Streit is much more effective as a PP defenseman and a 4th line forward.

  46. likehoy says:

    good point on higgins

  47. likehoy says:

    streit should play forward…it is where he’s the most effective.

    Carbo’s in Ryder’s head. Ryder just wants to shoot the puck…but now he has to think about Carbo wanting him to play well defensively…

    and while many of you continually single out koivu…i will single out Christopher Higgins. He is overrated. TSN loves to talk about how great his stickhandling ability is…but Higgins seems to fight the puck when it’s on his stick in my opinion. He misses more chances than Latendresse! He’s got all the tools in his toolbox…but he is unable to put his game together for a total package. He is like Alexandre Daigle. All the potential…but that’s just it…potential! Snake-Bitten? how often do you have to be snake-bitten before they label you as someone who just lacks finish. Despite all the worldly hockey sense…and leadership qualities…Higgins is so far from the finish product at the moment that I don’t think he deserves the A. Komisarek should takeover the A…and let higgins find his game with less pressure from being a leader. All this crap about him being groomed to be the future captain means squat if we can’t even groom him to be a good player.

  48. Moey says:

    Anyone in Montreal listen to CHOM this morning, there was a song played “Guy’s got a ticket for Ryder” to the tune of “Ticket to Ride”. Rumor has it that Ryder’s sitting out because he is being traded, they don’t want to risk him getting injured.

    And Mike, I agree with you, for the love of God, get Saku some wingers!!! He’s been flying solo all season.

  49. krob1000 says:

    I think Streit is more than competent if he were to perhaps play defense for a while. He needs a babysitter like Hammer or Komi though as he is vulnerable due to his mobility and desire to jump in the rush (this is a good thing). He has done as well as can be expected seeing as though he has been primarily used as a forward this year. I think if paired with Hamrlik he could fill in admirably and Roman could easily help compensate for Streis physical shortcoming. That pairing could move the puck very effectively and be responsible defensively. That would leave O.B. , Gorges and Bouillon to rotate or earn the five and six spots. Brisebiois will not be back next year and will not see much time once O’Byrne gets back but I do not think he has played as poorly as people suggest. I think that is our best option but Streit is also a decent forward and until we get another forward or two I can’t see them going this route.

    This likely won’t happen though as they probably won’t trust O.B. with Gorges or Bouillon yet but that is what I would do (at least try it). I think if that fails then Streit has to be a forward because you can’t have both halves of a pairing as smaller or less physical guys (not saying anything about Bouillon or Gorges heart …but ….)

  50. sidhu says:

    Great post – I agree wholeheartedly.

  51. Fer_hab says:

    Warning!!! This is not a brezzer bashing post even though it may sound like one.

    HE IS JUST TERRIBLE, I WOULD RATHER HAVE VALENTENKO, OBYRNE, COTE, ect missing assingnments, missing passes, giviving away the puck, not taking a hit for the betterment of the team. At least they will be learning from those mistakes and become better hockey players. WITH BREZZER WE ALL KNOW THAT HE WILL NEVER LEARN, OR IMPROVE ON ANYTHING. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. Example his hit on tucker may have been the hardest hit I ever seen him do ever. BUT its his 30 hit in 23 games are f’en serious. Get rid of this guy bring on someone who will learn from his mistakes and become a better hockey player.

    Go Habs Go

  52. Mike says:

    Canadiens with brisebois in lineup: 14-13-5
    Canadiens without Ryder: 3-4

    This is a huge statement. We need to get rid of Brisbois, with him in the line up we have 14 wins, 18 loses! He is to slow, and to weak to play in the nhl, yes he does have playoff experience, but so what. So does Carbo, so does kirk muller, are they playing for the habs? My suggestion, call up Pavel, call up cote, i don’t care. Get someone else.

    Michael Ryder HAS NOT BEEN PLAYING THAT POORLY. His linemates have. He is being used as a scapegoat. This guy is a SNIPER and is being asked to play a powerforwards role. He needs to just ome time/tap/redirect/shoot that puck into the net. The only reason why the higgins-koivu-ryder line did not work was because of higgins. Higgins is trying to hard to be that COMPLETE player that he is afraid to commit to a play and is therefore always behind the play. He is always 2 steps behind waiting for the opponent to steal the puck and come the other way. Koivu and ryder would always pass the puck into the middle thinking that he would be there in front of the net but yet he never was because he would be watching the play near the blue line anticipating the quick reverse of the opponent.
    Sergei understands the game that ryder and koivu play and would be the ideal candident right now to play with them. We need to get balance in our lines and i don’t see a better way then having 2 srong scoring lines, and good offensive and defensive third line and a shut down/ get in youer face 4rth line.

    Come on carbo, lets go with our best and be the best we can be.

    S kost – koivu- ryder
    a kost – pleks- kovalev
    higgins – lapierre- latendresse
    begin – smols – kostop

  53. ebk says:

    I agree but right now they is the best we got for 4 and 5

  54. nick says:

    Damn right he did. I enjoyed having Gilmour with us – as brief as it was. Now watch us end up with Sundin on the 26th. 😛

  55. 24 Cups says:

    ebk – I don’t see us winning a Cup with either Gorges or Boullion as our 4th defenseman. I’m not putting them down, I’m just saying that we will have to upgrade at that position if we want to go all the way to the parade.

    The Original 24 Cups

  56. Dan23 says:

    The Red Wings lost last night to the Los Angeles Kings. Losing games to teams you’re supposed to beat happens to everyone, even the Wings. It just so happens that I particularly hate losing to Toronto…and yes, The Hockey Sweater remains one of my favourite childhood stories.

  57. sidhu says:

    Mr Boone is being generous in his assessment of Koivu and Brisebois’ play. Koivu drew a 3rd period penalty, but he was a game-worst -2 amongst all forwards. Yes Brisebois had some hits, but he left his check on the Leafs’ player who scored their second goal.

    I agree with this though – give Ryder another chance, put him in the lineup against Ottawa.

    I wish we had Doug Gilmour on our squad now. He only played with us briefly, but boy did he make an impression.

  58. ebk says:

    I don’t usually agree with the headmaster and as such I was racking my brain trying to figure out where my thinking was wrong and then I read a little further and Mr. Boone threw me a bone with his statements on Brisebois and Gorges.

    Brisebois didn’t cost the Habs the game but he was part of the problem. On the second goal, he was the biggest reason the leafs scored the goal. He let Tucker cruise in to the slot uncovered and then was late getting to him. He seems to make a mistake a game that leads to an opposition goal.

    Also does anyone know why in a game where Hamrlik is out, Brisebois is on the ice more than Komisarek. Komisarek played only 17 minutes last night, was he hurt at some point in the game and missed a few shifts. That is the only think that makes any sense. Mikey is the Habs best defenseman after Markov and unless he was hurt, he certainly was capable of carrying a larger workload than he did.

    The headmaster also really likes Gorges and as such he has become a favorite among many posters. I think Frankie the Bull is the Habs 4th best defenseman but in all actuality both of them are playing well and doesn’t really matter who is better than the other. The team needs them both dressed and playing.

    Despite the friendly hack at Mr. Boone to start my post, I actually agreed with most of what he posted. For December and January, this team was fairly stable both with who was dressed and the make up of the lines. I do not think it was a coincidence that this was the best stretch of games the team has played. A stretch that placed them near the top of the Eastern Conference.

    The Kovalev line is playing as well as any top line in the NHL. the second line of Higgins,Koivu and Ryder are better than most teams. The Kid Line plays better together than apart, especially Sergie Kostitsyn. These three lines provide match up problems for the other team’s coach and more importantly put a lot of offensive pressure on the opposition and keep the puck in the other team’s zone. It’s easy to play defense 200 feet from the net. However for some unexplained reason, Carbo started messing with the lines and the team has not been as effective. The 4th line can come from the likes of Smolinski,Streit, Kostopoulos, Begin and Dandenault. Whatever the make up, they are not a shutdown line but when they play about 10 minutes a game, against the other teams 3rd and 4th line, they can be effective.

    Earlier in the year the Eastern Conference play-offs looked like Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Recently though, the Senators look beatable and two of the dwarfs started swilling HGH. Both Philadelphia and Montreal look like they should be able to compete with the Senators for the top seed. So before we start blowing up the team or jumping off bridges, take a look at the season as a whole. Could it be better, of course. It also could be a whole lot worse. Think the last 15 years.

    Canadiens fall to 14-13-5 with Brisebois in the line up and 3-4 without Michael Ryder. They sit 27 points away from a play-off spot with 27 games to play.

    Thanks for reading

  59. showey47 says:

    Bulldogs play at home tonight, hopefully obyrne gets alot of ice down their and then flys to ottawa to play tomorrow. It was also evident last night how much we missed hamrlik and i hope he is back tomorrow. Something to think about, it was funny to watch sundin try to act like a tough guy last night against komisarek. Mats probably knows this is the last time he plays against him as a laff. Two of the last 4 games of the season are against the laffs, neither one will mean anything to either team. We will be in the playoffs and the laffs will be long out of the race.

  60. Ed says:

    Here is a recent article on Ryder’s situation that I found very interesting.


  61. Xtrahabsfan says:

    GET RID OF THE FILLER PLAYERS and call in more Bulldogs ,Bob.Save money and get the hungrey back!Good-by Ryder,Dandy,Smoke,Brisby,Begin,Send them to L.A.

  62. nick says:

    Ok – so Carbo’s had Ryder on the bench since the weekend. At first there was alot of speculation he was going to be traded within the next few days etc etc…a week later , no trades – and he’s still in the press box eating hot dogs. What gives?!

    Any decent ideas as to why he’s sitting? It’s not for a trade – at this point he’s starting to lose his value. It’s not because he’s underacheiving… if that were the case we’d have a half empty bench and a full press box. So i ask – why do you honestly think Ryder is sitting?

  63. wild flower says:

    Check the stats, Bonk is the worst plus minus on the Preds and he hasn’t added many points since is fast start.

  64. HabsInBlood says:

    A lot of bitching and moaning about last night’s game. These were the notables as I saw them:

    (1) It’s funny how so many post game comments are directly related to the final result. The Habs didn’t play that bad a game … not their best. I saw a lot of what I’ve seen the past month or so – a team that skates and plays hard. The Leafs could have had a handful more penalties against them as their main response to our Habs speed was a lot of slashing, holding, hooking … most of which they got away with.

    (2) Streit and Brisebois should be our 7th and 8th choice on D when others are available. Streit should take full responsibility for the 1st goal and Breezer for the 2nd. There are 2 aspects to a defenceman’s game that one can evaulate in the defensive zone. The first is what you do with the puck in your zone when you have time and space. Streit and Breezer are both good most of the time in this aspect of their game. The second is what you do when battling for the puck or with possession but no time and space. Breezer and Streit continually prove that they suck in this aspect of their d-zone play. When Hammer and Obyrne are back, put Streit up front and Breezer in the rafters … please. Streit is still great on the PP … where he ‘s not in a position of having to play defense without the puck.

    (3) As for the 3rd goal, kudos to the Leafs for capitalizing on their PP opportunity. However, did you see the call on S. Kost? OMFG, McCabe was totally clutching and holding S. Kost’s stick and we get the call for hooking???

    (4) I do agree that there is a current imbalance in our 5 on 5 scoring. However, previously, when it was more balanced people were Bing & Ming about not having a “superstar” line. Well, the Pleks line has to be tops in the league over the past month or so – arguably playing like a superstar line. I guess we’ll never be satisfied.

    (5) I agree that Ryder should be playing. Maybe it’s his nonchalant attitude (compared to Dandy when he was benched) that is hurting him with Carbo now. If I were a coach, I would reunite the Koivu line for more than a shift or a game and let them work it out. S. Kost is a playmaker and has already shown chemistry with Latendresse … put him on the 3rd/4th (whatever) line with Laps and Lats. If we can get the Koivu line playing like they have in past, and get of all our D back healthy, the rest of east better watch out!!

    (6) Has anyone commented on Gorges awesome defensive play to setup the Kovalev short-handed goal? He took a goal right off of Darcy Tucker’s stick and then dove to get the puck to Pleks and the rest was history.

    (7) Can someone explain to me why the whistle was blown when Colaiacovo went down in the 3rd? We still had possession of the puck on the verge of an A1 scoring chance. I thought a ref doesn’t blow the whistle until an injured player’s team regains possession of the puck?

    Looking forward to Saturday … a great challenge for the Habs.

    Over and out from Denver CO.

  65. Habs-Kat says:

    I never understood the anti-Smolinski attitudes either. He’s an upgrade over Bonk or Johnson, IMO.

  66. Hot_Pie says:

    Brisebois “not bad” last night?

    Well you’re right, he wasn’t terrible, but he was slow, and wasn’t particularly “good” either.

  67. Odie Clegorn says:

    An excellent point-Carbonneau has always been an arrogant, smug, and narcissistic whiner with “delusions of adequacy” first as a player and now as a coach. This incessant tinkering with lines and players’ mindsets is his way of letting everybody know that “I’m Guy Carbonneau and you’re not.” Do we really belive that it was his coaching that got the Habs to within one point of the confernce lead? Or was it more a reflection of the Senators slumping? When I watched the team blow that 3 goal lead on Sunday, I couldn’t believe that they had a lead in the first place. Their offensive transition “system” consisted of getting near center ice and then lobbing the puck over the Ranger players’ heads and tehn skating all out to go get it first. And this went on forever. It reminded me of how third line defensive specialists used to play when the Habs were winning Cups. Dump and chase and prevent the other team from doing anything until the scorersare ready to go again.That has always been Carbo’s game and this is all he knows. He does not and will never learn how to coach and teach offensively talented players how to play to those strengths and skills. Thank God Kovalev was able to get his way and keep his line together.Look at his comments in the press after last night’s joke: “We need to get back to our DEFENSIVE game…” What else can we expect? This young team needs a young coach who can teach all aspects of this great game. Is there a young Glen Sather in the house? How the heck does Lindy Ruff do it? If Ryder is so bad defensively and “need to work on other things”, then trade him to the Senators today for that bag of pucks so we can see first hand and soon what a difference coaching makes!!

  68. Will Longlade says:

    I’m with you Mike. Carbo should reunite the kid line as the team’s third line and put Higgins back w/Koivu on the second line. Smokes should centre Begin and Kosty on the 4th line.

    Sure was an off night for the team. They’ll need to rebound quickly because the Sens will be interested in exacting revenge on Saturday.

  69. krob1000 says:

    Our entire coaching staff made their careers on hard work, defense first puck pursuit. Ryder has made his by floating in and out of open spaces when appearing to do nothing (that is why they use the term sniper…..accurate and undetectable). I don’t think they understand it and we all know ourselves that when he isn’t scoring it doesn’t look good at times. Still though I liked the way they had Ryder playing early on when it looked like he tightened up defensively but wasn’t comprimising his number of chances. Several times he didn’t shoot when he should have, trie to deke like Datsyuk, other times he had terrible luck and goalies robbed him and others he just missed …..either way HE DIDN’T SCORE MUCH BUT HE WAS PLAYING GOOD HOCKEY. As long as the chances are there goals will come….I thought everyone knew that.

  70. Plek-Andrew says:

    why the hell is everyone on smolinski’s ass?

    He’s playing good hockey guys… He’s a role-playing guy at this point in his career and if you pay attention to him, he plays incredibly smart hockey and makes really good decisions.

    Was anyone seriously expecting a 25 goal-scorer?

  71. Cable Guy says:

    Just cut out a copy of the standing from the paper and if a Leafs fan says anything to you just hand him the standings and walk away. It works for me.

  72. J.T. says:

    Yeah…that’s a good point. WHY does Carbo pick on Ryder while Latendresse, Lapierre, Dandenault, Smolinski, Kostopoulos, Begin, Higgins, Breezer and any number of other underachievers get a free ride? I know Ryder’s not scoring, but neither are a bunch of other people who don’t get publicly chastised by the coach. I don’t know if it’s Carbo’s arrogance or if it’s just that Ryder’s in the public eye because of all the trade speculation and people keep asking about his situation. I guess Carbo has to say something when he’s repeatedly asked about a certain player. I wish everyone would just ignore Ryder and let him do his thing under the radar like he’s always done before.


  73. fun police says:

    i also find that carbo comes across as arogant. every once in a while, he has to tinker with things to show he’s the boss, that it is about him. calling out ryder when he has the patience of job for guys like lats, smolinski, breezer, and laps. drives me crazy.
    now all day i’m going to have hear from leaf fan about how we are overrated, not that fast blah blah blah.

  74. fun police says:

    we had three scoring lines until bizarro carbo decided to put dandy on the third line. also, is it just me or is laps overrated? what does he do exactly besides being a good penalty killer. is he good in our end, not really, he turns the puck over many times trying to get out of the blue line. does he score? nope. does he fight? i fail to see what the big deal about him is. especially considering that he was on the ice with two minutes left in the game.
    can everyone agree that ryder would have been better in the line up than dandy.

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