About last night …

Never a dull day in Habsland.

Depending on Scott Gomez’s condition, Jacques Martin has some decisions to make as the Canadiens begin preparing for a tough back-to-backer: the mighty Wings in Detroit on Friday, then a quick zip up to Toronto for an HNIC special against the Leafs.

Gomez is not having the kind of season that justifies his salary, but he will be difficult to replace.

Who centres Mike Cammalleri and Travis Moen?

It was Jeff Halpern last night and probably will be in Detroit. But with all due respect to the winner of the Walmart Trophy (if there were one) as the NHL’s Bargain of the Year, Cammalleri needs a more adept playmaker.

Lars Eller?

That would break up a line that hasn’t played a bad shift since they were put together: Eller, Benoit Pouliot and Mathieu Darche.

Gomez will also be missed on the Canadiens’ league-leading penalty-kill and on the second wave of the power play.

As we saw during that painful five-minute PP last night, there was no one capable of rushing the puck through the neutral zone to gain the blueline and start a set-up.

Gomez is good at that … as is Darren Pang’s favourite 21-year-old defenceman.

Would a Gomez injury mean P.K. Subban’s penance is over?

Among Martin’s options is dressing seven defencemen. I’d be reluctant to move Yannick Weber up front, now that he’s putting together a string of good performances on the back end. Has Subban ever played forward?

Martin could stick with his winning lineup, adding Dustin Boyd, who’s well rested. Or the team could call up a Bulldog, Max Pacioretty (with Maxim Lapierre moving to centre) or David Desharnais.

Decisions, decisions … but not as difficult as the ones Bryan Murray has to make before his Senators fade out of playoff contention.

Man, Ottawa was bad last night. I was sure they’d get a huge lift from killing off a five-minute PP; but with the exceptions of Jason Spezza and Nick Foligno, no Senator presented much of a challenge to Carey Price. The Canadiens’ defensive system is good, but Daniel F., Kovy, Mike Fisher and Milan Michalek were practically invisible. Even Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu weren’t their usual annoying selves.

And that D!

Josh Gorges talked about the cumulative effect of sound hockey: getting pucks deep on a consistent basis forces Dmen to spend a lot of time with their backs to onrushing forwards, and they become tired and worn down by the third period. That certainly seemed to be the case last night with Chris Phillips et al.

Speaking of fatigue on the back end, is Roman Hamrlik going to play 25 minutes against Detroit AND Toronto?

You can get a pretty good Abbott and Costello Who’s on First? routine going with Eddie Olczyk and the Old Czechs. But since Andrei Markov went down, Hamrlik and Jaro Spacek have played superb hockey against the opposition’s best forwards. Hamrlik, in particular, has looked like the player who was the NHL’s first overall draft choice (by Tampa Bay) in 1992.

He may have lost a step or two, but Hamrlik compensates with outstanding hockey smarts. He’s rock-solid in his own end and shows some zip in the O-zone when the opportunities present themselves.

Can he and Spatch play killer minutes for the rest of the season? They may not have to, depending on the degree to which Weber/Alexandre Picard/P.K. can step up.

•  •  •

If I get out of the Bell Centre early enough on game nights, I’m able to enjoy the 11:30 wrap-up on CKAC, featuring Dany Dubé’s brilliant analysis.

Last night Dubé talked about Jeff Halpern. The veteran centre is a neighbour of Lars Eller (whom Halpern calls “Larry”), and they usually share a ride to and from practices.

Dubé says Eller has learned a lot from Halpern during their commuting conversations. And it is a tribute to the team spiritedness of the veteran centre that he’s willing to befriend and teach a young player whose development will cut into his own ice time.

The Team Above All concept, which evolved during the playoffs last spring, runs right through the Canadiens’ room.

And I think a propensity to talk, rather than listen, is a big part of the problem with P.K.

•  •  •

Last season, the Canadiens won their 18th game on Dec. 23. A 5-1 pounding of the Hurricanes in Carolina raised their record to 18-18-3 and was the third in a streak of four Ws.

This team is 18-8-2 and riding three in a row, headed into Motown.

•  •  •

Speaking of numbers, Carey Price is on pace to win 50 games.

This would break the 48 W record Martin F. set in the 2006-’07 season.

 

 

107 Comments

  1. Kingofswing74 says:

    this whole p.k. thing is crazy! “I think a propensity to talk, rather than listen, is a big part of the problem with P.K.”. All the kid ever has to say when he’s interviewed is how much there is to learn and how much he has already learned. P.K. is a young player who is very aware of how far he has to come before being considered and elite defenseman. I’m sure weber gets it too, he’s playing well and he’s learning…yadda yadda yadda. But putting Subban at forward???!??? Are we going to even pretend for a second that weber’s “NHL ready” defensive playing merits him a consistent spot over P.K. on D? P.K.? The rookie who came into a playoff series against the defending stanley cup champion pittsburgh penguins, and gave life to a defense corps that had just lost Andrei Markov? A rookie not 3 games into his career, thrown into the hottest fires of the NHL and was used more than 20 minutes a game due to his DEFENSIVE savvy as well as offensive flair? We have been watching P.K. all season and we all know we have seen P.K. make just as many great defensive plays than offensive ones. I’m not upset with the scratching, at all. But 2 games is long enough, especially for a kid who has shown such great class, team smarts and passion for this team and his teammates, as P.K. has, abundantly, in his short career. Lesson learned, no harm done, now put our future all star defenceman back in the line up and everyone stop pretending yannick weber is half the player p.k. subban is.

  2. Norm0770 says:

    I agree that McGuire is an idiot, and that goes for almost everything he says.  I don’t know what game he was watching but he kept talking about how great Ottawa was playing through the whole game.  Even when they were being outshot 9-1.

    With regard to Halak keeping the Blues above the playoff line, the western conference is so tight…  7 points separate 1st to 12th place and 2 points from 4th to 12th with a 5 way tie for 8th place.  1 win could make a team jump 8 places in the standings.  It is going to be a great race all year long to the playoffs in the West.

  3. nick says:

    Montreal got Eller and Schultz in the Halak trade. Eller has played what… 25 games with the Habs, Schultz 0? Both kids will need to get a few seasons in the NHL under their belt before ANYONE can comment on the trade.

  4. Da Hema says:

    I do not interpret this entire Subban issue as Boone or Stubbs creating controversy. They are simply reporting on a topic that is newsworthy from a sports perspective. Subban is a gregarious and promising young player whose overall play nonetheless deteriorated culminating in an objectively bad game against Edmonton. Subban has a fan base that wants to know the reasons for his pressbox vantage point, and Boone offered a viewpoint (one I might add obviously will be quite informed given his vantage point). I see no evidence at all that Boone and Stubbs are generating any controversy at all. They have provided a forum for fans to contribute, and if anything it is some fans and posters here who are grossly overracting.

    ————————

    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  5. 24 Cups says:

    I stand corrected, but I was under the impression that neither White nor Schultz were doing anything special so far.  They both could be back in Hamilton next year for more seasoning.

  6. Da Hema says:

    Oh the memories. Dave Van Horne and Duke Snyder, and then he and Kenny Singleton. So smooth, so engaging, and always so entertaining (my brother and I used to laugh when something amusing was said or would happen on the field, and then Kenny would giggle in his unique, understated manner).

    A well-deserved honour!

    ————————

    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  7. Les-Habitants says:

    Dress 7 d-men I think is the best option.  Playing Hammer and Spacek 22-25 min a game is a HEAVY workload, and adding the extra d-man into the rotation will allow them to spread out the time much move evenly.  Add to the fact the (I believe) Gorges is playing injured, having 7 guys to share the work would be an asset.

     

     

  8. thebigguy says:

    Lol, his professional rep is on the line. Methinks you take HIO a bit too seriously.

  9. keepthefaith says:

    Please no Weber as a forward. I think its pathetic dressing a D up front.

  10. keepthefaith says:

    Exactly. How many times have Gomez and Cammy had something going and Moen mess it up?  Its not his fault its not his position. Moen is not a top six forward.

  11. keepthefaith says:

    So you are saying Mike Richards was right?

  12. Hammer says:

    Yes we should all prescibe  to the Douglas Mcgregor Theory X style of management. If that does not work, we could always advance to Fredrick Taylor for some advice.

  13. Chris says:

    Well-deserved honour for Dave Van Horne.  I spent many an evening listening to Montreal Expos games on AM radio (CJBQ out of Belleville), so he was the voice that I often ended up falling asleep to.  Great announcer and a classy guy.

    Canadian baseball fans were quite fortunate when you think about it…the Expos had Van Horne and Jacques Doucet as play-by-play announcers while the Blue Jays had Tom Cheek, another strong play-by-play announcer that knew how to call a game.  Too bad they couldn’t all go in together…I hope that Doucet and Cheek both get honoured someday as well.

  14. Chris says:

    Something I thought was a little amusing based on the righteous furor we’re seeing in Montreal Canadiens’ message boards of late.

    From September 30, 2010, I’ve pulled out some Habs-relevant excerpts (in bold below) from Elliote Friedman’s post titled “Farm favourites:  A list of AHL impact players” where Friedman polled 10 AHL/NHL coaches/executives about which AHL players were ready to make an impact in the NHL.  Here are the comments about Habs players:

    Under “The Five-Star Locks”

    P.K. Subban – “Not exactly a shocker. Several referred to him as “The best player in the AHL last season”…’Has size and skill and knows where to be defensively.” There was only one complaint and, interestingly, it used to be a major criticism of Dion Phaneuf in Calgary. “He likes to talk but rarely [never] backs it up.” He’s certainly vocal.” 

    My two cents:  if you’re complaining about Richards and Cherry being all over Subban, please note that he has earned a bit of a reputation coming up through the ranks.  He talks a lot, and it grates on people’s nerves sometimes.  Note that this article was back in September, before the negative comments that everybody is so up in arms about ever appeared.  I have zero doubt that Subban will turn out fine, but getting called out a little for his motor-mouth might not be the worst thing that ever happens to him. 

    Under “Mixed Results”

    Lars Eller (Montreal). The good: “Very smart, good puck mover, deceptive skater”…”Has great skill and it might be better for him on the wing.” The big debate about Eller is, “Where is he going to play?”…”It’ll be easier for him to make the transition as a winger because the D-zone responsibilities aren’t as difficult.” One AHL coach raved about him, while another said, “He’s definitely a Top 9 forward. Are his skills good enough to be Top 6? Not sure.”

    My two cents:  I love Eller…how could I not?  I’m of Danish background, so anytime I see a Danish player playing for the Montreal Canadiens, he’s going to be my favourite player.  But I see people are blasting Pierre McGuire (who I don’t particularly like either) for questioning Eller’s long-term potential.  Again, note that some people who watched the AHL for a living last season shared those doubts.  I like a lot of what Eller brings, but there isn’t a person in this world that knows if we’re seeing the blossoming of a true top-6 forward or if we’re seeing a guy who could become a modern day Radek Bonk, a good but not great two-way player who can still be a very valuable asset and have a long, successful career in the NHL. 

    Nor do I question the trade…I personally liked Halak more than Price as a player, but felt that either goalie was largely interchangeable.  To be honest, I still feel that way, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.  But I liked the trade when it was made:  we had one starting goalie too many, and Eller represents a lot of potential.  Even as a third line center, if that is his maximum achievement, he could become a very important piece of the puzzle.

    Under “Stock Rising”

    Ryan White (Montreal). May not win your hockey pool, but he’s getting noticed.

    That one surprised me.  I think White would be a very interesting player, but he’s losing out because of the numbers game.  He’s a 4th line player at best.  That means he either takes the place of Pyatt, who is an excellent penalty killer and saves our top-6 from having to play that exhausting role) or Lapierre, who I don’t really like as a player but he does play the pest role well and can contribute when he wants to.  Neither of those guys is going anywhere unless injured, so White is going to have to wait a bit.

  15. TheMostCupsPeriod says:

    By far your best post ever!!

  16. TommyB says:

    Great story, thanks.

  17. TheMostCupsPeriod says:

    Agreed, but the sign of a good leader is a willingness to recognize and correct errors within one’s control. I wasn’t so much praising BG, just  using an example of how someone connected with the team knew more than the HIO crowd who said he was lost…..

  18. bwoar says:

    Bingo.  Red Fisher would not even speak to a rookie with the team, to hear him tell it.  I think the youth culture in the NHL, and the tendency to lean on younger and younger stars to sell the game, has clouded a lot of perception towards rookies.  Not that I think Mike Richards has anything useful to say about it, but the fanbase ought to consider the time-honoured tradition of apprenticeship as having continued significance in the league.  Just another part of the least understood process in hockey, player development.

    Most of us do know one friend or another who is just that one notch too loud, who always finds a way to cross one step over the line and has to apologize sheepishly before doing it again minutes later…. it’s not disrespectful but it’s too much for a professional setting.  Usually those types need a big galoot to tell ‘em to knock it off and turn it down from time to time.  But they’re great people to keep things moving as they never lose the sense of humour that makes that loud quality valuable.

    You simply can’t ruin a guy like that by sitting him down.  He’s gonna get back up and he’s gonna be gregarious.  But he’ll do it much more carefully in the room, which I think will translate to a more mature outlook on the ice, too.

    As I’m from Winnipeg, and had the pleasure of watching Teemu Selanne play another fine game last night, here is my favorite rookie anecdote: As a rookie with the Jets, Selanne couldn’t wear his beloved number 8, which at the time belonged to surly vet Randy Carlyle.  (There was a pylon in the room with #8 written on it, too, someone oughta ask Craig Heisinger about that.)  Teemu wants to wear his #8, so the kid actually goes up to Carlyle and asks to BUY it from him.

    Carlyle glowers at him, “You don’t make that kind of money, kid.”  We know what Selanne went on to do that year: 76 goals, 132 points, rookie records.  But it all started with one guy putting him in his place, making sure the hot shot kid wasn’t taking up more than his fair share of the puny Jets dressing room.

  19. 24 Cups says:

    I’m not here to stir the pot, but I always find it interesting when people praise Bob Gainey for “remolding a rotten locker room”.  I give him credit for doing so, but also point out that it was basically a locker room that he personally built during the first go round that eventually turned ‘rotten’.  Just sayin’.

  20. otter649 says:

    And Carlyle is his coach now…..

  21. Rad says:

    The Henri Richard story is classic old school. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Chorske says:

    Fully agree.

    I was so sick of the nonsense with the Saku-Kovy era Habs that, as sad and surprised as I was to see them go, I was also excited about the team, and its team-first philosophy, than I had been in a long while.

    Full credit to Gainey for recognizing that his team needed a major personality overhaul.

  23. TheMostCupsPeriod says:

    Mr. Boone,

    What a shame you even have to respond to this drivel…

    Everytime I come on here it’s obvious that the posters have a far superior knowledge of hockey than those that are actually part of the team. I always assume that what you say here on HIO is insightful to us who no longer live in mtl and want a daily Habs fix. I also assume that you have insight and knowledge unavailable to the everyday Joe, except for those guys whose friend’s cousin heard that someone saw this or that…

    Win or Lose, this place can really turn into a zoo. Some are never happy, some say the same thing over and over again, and perhaps worst of all, those of us who come on here to cheer on our beloved Habs, get ridiculed for being “TRUE” fans.

    I stopped posting regularly last season when I was labelled a Price “fanboy” for thinking this kid was having some bad luck, and no goal support. The same “fans” who attacked me, keep telling me Halak’s numbers are great in St. Louis, he’s not getting support.

    BG remolded a rotten locker room into one where the team comes first, as it was in the glory days, and as it should be in the future. Gone are the cliques, the artiste and the guys who played when they felt like it, instead we have a hard working, well coached team that is 10 games above .500…

    But what do I know, Mr. Boone, what do you really know? I await the great Timo’s response so I can feel enlightened…..

  24. nova scotia vees says:

    Hey…easy on the Al McNeil comments.  Al was thrown into the volatile French/English situation when it was even tougher to be an unilingual coach behind the Habs bench.  As G.M. and Coach in Halifax, he was well respected by the likes of Larry Robinson, Pierre Mondou, Yvon Lambert and others.  I know this because I was a reporter covering the team at the time. He is a fine gentlemen and no buffoon.   He probably wasn’t ready to coach the Habs at that point in his career, and while  Henri Richard called him “the worst coach he ever played for”, he then retracted that statement after they beat Chicago on Richard’s 2 goals (game 7).

    As for Weber….he is no P.K.

  25. Chorske says:

    Such a gracious guest.

  26. JasonM says:

    Let’s call up Leblanc, he’s ready for the NHL! :D

     

    I kid though Boone, what is up with the assumptions that Subban doesn’t listen? I would kindly ask you to provide fact on that one.

  27. Mike Boone says:

    It’s Mr. Boone to you.

    No one will go on the record saying so, but if you parse some of their comments, read between the lines and listen to broadcasters close to the team, you get the unmistakeable impression that P.K. is consuming more room oxygen than is normally allotted to rookies.

    This is not a thinly-veiled Don Cherry racist put-down, nor a Panger malapropism.

    There’s a tradition on this team that young players should be seen and not heard.

    There’s a famous Toe Blake anecdote: When Henri Richard joined the club, someone asked the coach if the younger brother of the team’s star could speak English. “For the first six months,” Blake replied, “I didn’t know if he could speak French.”

    Did anyone catch the Cedrick Desjardins interview on CKAC yesterday. The essence of it: P.K. is P.K., a good guy whose irrepressible personality can be “overwheming” and who occasionally has to be called to order, a function that Alex Henry performed in Hamilton.

    It wil work out, and P.K. will be a great player. But learning to march to the prevailing drumbeat in a very tight room takes a while.

  28. Rad says:

    Great idea! He may be that elusive BIG CENTER that the Habs have been searching for, the past millennium or so. And that way, next time the Habs play the Flyers, at center PK could then go head to head against Mike Richards and have an entertaining discussion on the meaning of the word “respect.”

  29. Chris says:

    You were correct, Steve…White has been hampered by injuries after a slow start.  The article was from September 30, which was before the season started. 

    I was just trying to point out to people that some of this “news” that some fans are getting so bent out of shape over is basically part of the scouting reports on some of these guys that has followed them for more more than a year.

  30. Willy the bum says:

    Is there a sense Subban should dress as a forward? I always see him coming up on the opposition zone with the puck sometimes, so would it be possible?

  31. Kappy says:

    Yeah right.  Smoke another one!  Buffalo would have to play with 10 players to fit Gomer’s contract into their budget.  Gomez is un-tradable.

  32. krob1000 says:

    It’s paining, it’s boring ……the other teams are snoring..  It must be soooo frustrating playing against the Habs right now …so stingy, so disciplined and so fast. 

  33. Fred D says:

    It is  a trend, since the Canadiens came on television in the 50s, that fans think that the team is playing a bad game, until they start to win the game. Even then,they should have won by a bigger spread.

    It seems like we want to be ahead of the “losing curve” by having announced some comment early in the game that shows our prescient abilities….easily forgotton if we win and displayed in “triumph” if our comment proved accurate. (Refer comments after the early periods of yesterday’s game)

    I can remember the years when the Habs won alomost all the time, and hearing my Dad complain about a sloppy pass or a missed opportunity and saying  that the team was in trouble.

    Admittedly, as a fan also, I was not excited about the early part of yesterday’s game. The knot in my stomach went away later,even as I asked if we had won by sheer exellence or because the Senators weren’t up to the mark. (Probably a mix of both)

    In this league, anyone can win or anyone can lose, in any given game. We seem to be adjusting as games go on, to find a way to win, which bodes well for the season’s outcome!!

     

     

  34. habsruleworld says:

    lol,,, Mike komisarek is the best passer, (to the other team) I have ever seen!

    The Monster Gustavson, is smashing up his goalie sticks tonight!

    After Pitts goes up 3-0 nothing, Wilson puts Orr,rosehill, etc,..

    Pitts immediately scores another goal, what a brain dead move by Wilson!

     

    Loving it.  Habs will be the ones that ends Sindys point streak.

  35. RetroMikey says:

    Rumour Gomez traded to Buffalo?

    CKAC mentions something according to 25stanley.com

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  36. joeybarrie says:

    Don’t really understand why McGuire decided to make that comment yesterday. MAYBE if Halak had been keeping his team above the playoff line, and maybe if Halak had better numbers it would make sense to bring something like that up. However, Halak’s numbers being nothing special, and St. Louis dropping points, it really makes no sense to say the Blues got a away with larceny trading Eller, a rookie, who has 4 points in his 4 last games…

    Not only does it make McGuire sound like an IDIOT, your exactly right, it makes you wonder why he said it. That’s something you say when the Blues are playing. Maybe McGuire isn’t paying attention to the Blues.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  37. Clay4bc says:

    Something to consider…

    Pitttsburg has won 10 in a row..and we are only 2 points back – with a game on hand.

    Impressive.

    __________________________

    The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions. ~Susan Sontag

  38. krob1000 says:

    When I Red Darren Pang Blue it and made the comment I knew it was an honest mistake.  Let’s all Mauve on and Black away from this topic …Orange you aware you are fuelling the fire.  Yell-ow you want in your own living room but posting on here and Pinking on a good guy like Panger is not White. Disagree if you like but Green with me that Panger made an honest mistake would be Grey-t.

  39. Mr.Hazard says:

    Speaking of numbers, Carey Price is on pace to win 50 games.

    This would break the 48 W record Martin F. set in the 2006-’07 season.

     

    Holy crap!!

  40. andrewberkshire says:

    White struggled to start the season after an excellent camp and is now out with a knee injury.

  41. mrhabby says:

    a nice efficient , bit boring , defensive win last night. PK has to come back if not in Detroit for sure in TO as all his family will be in the stands…surely Martin will not keep him out.

    I hardly ever see odd man rushes. The overall execution of jacks plan is excellent. its boring but damn it works well.

    That being said its only the regular season. Were still 2 or 3 impact players away from being a top contender. Iam still in the group where some more size is needed and how is the markov issue going to be dealt with.Hammer and Spacek will be run into the ground by the time March-April comes around. Not sold on Weber/Picard as long term replacements. Team should be buyers soon.

  42. Ayan_SB says:

    You mean “white”.

  43. rwparent says:

    McGuire is an idiot. Eller has “top prospect”  all over him. He has the hands, wheels and smarts.

    It was very annoying to listen to goofy Pierre insult a smart management decision by PG.

     

  44. petefleet says:

    OK Boone.  You have been called out by several posters for your comments on PK and haven’t responded yet.  I submit that you were trying to create a controversy that doesn’t exist and got caught.  Your reputation is on the line here.  Time to eat some crow and fess-up.  Don’t leave us waiting.

    ”’Price is a pleasant suprise”’

  45. Dintrox says:

    Boone have you been drinking “Cherry” kool aid? Next you will be laying into pinkos, endorsing right wing politicos, and continue to talk everything Maple Leaf.

  46. Rad says:

    “And I think a propensity to talk, rather than listen, is a big part of the problem with P.K.”

    – I think there is evidence that Subban likes to talk. But is there any evidence that he LACKS a propensity to listen? I am not aware of any “problem” in that area. He doesn’t “listen” to any flak from opponents, but my sense is that he does listen reasonably well to his own teammates and coaches. For all his potential, he is not going to play like an all-star every single game at age 21. He’s a good kid, still learning, still improving. The benching was a good idea, but not because of any character flaws. It was a good coaching move, good teaching strategy.

  47. TommyB says:

    Just because fans are discussing the issue, (none of us know anything, really, about what the issue between PK and his coaches is), doesn’t mean we are no longer in his corner.  I think most of us are just plain curious, and it’s damn near impossible not to be curious when one of the bright lights on this team is not playing, and he is not injured.  I for one feel that the whole thing is no big deal, and just as JM has stated, is part of the learning process.  But I can still be curious.

  48. Kingofswing74 says:

    yeah seriously the kid was a revelation on every account until 2 or 3 games ago. now we’re looking in the rearview mirror trying to find problems with him? ill tell you what his problems are, he played badly vs. edmonton. dutin penner scored. we only got one point. were 18-8-2. we can handle an over time loss. get him back in the lineup.

  49. Danno says:

    I just drew a black — uhhh blank — reading your comment.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  50. DearyLeary says:

    I’m in complete agreement.

  51. Kingofswing74 says:

    do NOT bring our hockey pool into this. i’m so pissed. when i looked at your picks a few months ago. i laughed. out loud. then patrick sharp and chris stewart started to play like sidney crosby and alex ovechkin. WTH?

  52. DearyLeary says:

    Again, hearsay and innuendo.  I have seen no evidence that PK doesn’t play within the system, or is unwilling to learn, or communicate (communication necessitates listening) with his teammates.   Please, provide some evidence because this argument is beginning to get tired.

  53. Hammer says:

    I took offense with the same statement you did. All of a sudden those that were in his corner are now making observations that they would not have ever done when he was playing. My question to Boone, if this is not speculation and is based on  “facts”, lets put it out there. if not, it is just more unsubstantiated text, used to fuel the fire.

  54. matmacat says:

    I think we can all agree that the real trouble is Travis Moen playing with Mike Cammalleri. Moen probably dreads every game because he knows he’s not playing his role.

  55. Mats Naslund says:

    I was also very confuse by PM last night regarding the larceny of Jaro. No doubt Jaro is fantastic, but Eller is 25 games into his pro career and has stepped up his game, displaying incredible skill and grit over the past 10. Not to mention trading Jaro meant keeping our leading scorer and starting goaltender who is one of the 2 best goalies in the league… Yeah PM I think you need to grab your webster’s and take a second lok at the definition of larceny.

    No slag on Jaro who is still dear to my heart.

  56. matmacat says:

    maybe you should focus on how you’re going to catch up the 58 points you’re lagging…

  57. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Great memories. God I miss Montreal.

  58. Mats Naslund says:

    Please refrain from sane comments. The sky is falling.

  59. petefleet says:

    Don’t take offense Mr. Boone.  I personally was looking for what was behind your comments.  Most of what we read / hear is of positive nature when it comes to PK.  If you and other media have this kind of info, why not share it.  I got the impression that PK was given more than one chance to change his attitude / behaviour and I posted as much days ago.  The thing is, there has been very little hard evidence to support what you posted in your story. 

    Thanx for responding and clarifying your position.  I too believe that PK will be a great Canadien someday….soon I hope. 

    ”’Price is a pleasant suprise”’

  60. Mats Naslund says:

    I love the play of Weber, but I have to agree with you. PK sat. Message delivered. Its like a couple brain cramps and everyone forgets how unbelievable this kid is. We’ve waited and waited for the emergence of kids from our system! We finally get one and everyone wants to find problems with him!  

  61. VancouverHab says:

    Isn’t there an argument to be made that this is to Bob Gainey’s credit rather than discredit?

    We make a plan based on sound principles and set it in motion — it doesn’t work out in practice. Most people keep going and try harder and faster and more and….keep on going the wrong way.

    Isn’t it rare for someonw to say “I was wrong: it needs a total rethink” and goes back to first principles?

    After all “the best laid plans of mice and men aft gang agly.”

  62. Timo says:

    Lets place PK at center. A dman playing forward never gets old. Besides, I am eager to see how many more points PK will get playing middle than Gomez in the span of the next 3 games.

  63. VancouverHab says:

    Thank-you, Mr. Boone: that is usefully informative.

    My response re. the slur here on Don Cherry is that however so carefully one “parses” exactly what Don Cherry said, he said just what is being said here and no more.

    Don Cherry is anti-French (and discreditably so) and anti-European, but the evidence in regards to his attitude to other races (e.g. Iginla, Kadri, etc.) is very much in his favour.

  64. Mats Naslund says:

    Mr Boone I almost always agree with you on most things CH, but there is one line that I’m hung up on this morning:

    And I think a propensity to talk, rather than listen, is a big part of the problem with P.K.”

    I can understand that everyone can see how vocal and confident PK Subban is. As a 21 year old it is exceptionally rare to have the sort of swagger that PK has. Some people see it as cockyness.. Mike Richards certainly does. But Mike Richards doesn’t know PK from poop.

    In fact ALL of the speculation and rampant innuendo surrounding PK right now is largely devoid of any first hand knowledge of the young man. Is perception necessarily reality? By all accounts PK is well liked in the room, and certainly didn’t become an elite prospect by ignoring the coaching that he has had along the way. 

    We’ve taken a bad game in his young kid’s career and blown it into a situation where it is generally accepted that there is something WRONG with PK Subban because he made a rookie error. He’s a 21 year old who has averaged around 20 minutes a night! How are we not astounded that he has played like such a veteran?

    Until I hear from one of his coaches or teammates that PK talks too much to be able to listen to his coaches, I’m calling shenanigans on all the talk of “the problem with PK”. It seems to me his biggest problem is that he has 2-5 Million coaches, GM’s, and Psychiatrists in this country who think they know him better than the people who actually do.

  65. Chuck says:

    The Habs traded Halak, who’s having a decent but not great season, and in return got Eller, Schultz, and a goalie with 17 wins, points in 19 of his starts, 4 shutouts, a 1.92 GAA and a .936 SV%.

    Remind me again which team should be charged with larceny.

    Centre Hice: one fan’s attachment to the Montreal Canadiens

  66. Fred D says:

    Pierre is entitled to his thoughts, but the “larceny” comment is something he will have to eat,before the season is over. It will go well with cold crow.

  67. Kappy says:

    Great game by The Boys last night.  Wow, did Ottawa ever put up a stinker.  They got some serious problems in that room.  Anyone suggesting we bring Kovy back, I suggest you think again.

    Roman & Spatch played another great game last night.  I did not realize they have over 30 years combined NHL expereince.  Where does that pair rank this year amongst the best shut down D pairs in the league?  Are they top 5, 10, 20?  I think they got to be top 5.

    That nerd McGuire really pissed me off last night with his comment about the Halak trade.  He said that “it is absolute larsony” what Blues did.  He doesn’t know if Lars Eller is going to be a top 6 player.  Well, the jury is still out on that trade, but Lars is progressing very nicely.  He is showing signs of being a top 6 player by the end of the month and the goalie Montreal kept isn’t playing too badly.  In time this trade my turn out to be “absolute larsony” for The Habs.

    If Gomez is out next game I saw we put PK on the wing with Laps and Pyatt.  It’s worth a try.  Can you imagine all the cap relief due to LTIR if Gomez and Markov are both out.  I hope Gomer is alright and back soon.  You definetly noticed that he was not in the game last night and that they missed him on the power play.

     

  68. JVF says:

    Woah! There’s a whole lot to feel good about this morning! The only cloud on the horizon is the Gomez injury — bad back or knee? Do we call up Desharnais, Maxwell or just play Boyd, which would be the sensible thing to do? (BTW, anybody notice SK74′s minutes have gone up with Nashville? Great pass on a Colin Wilson goal the other night…) I’d like them to call up Desharnais, he deserves it and might get a little offensive thing going with Cammalleri, but I’m sure they won’t do that, so get ready for Boyd or PK at forward… I guess. What a team, though, and what a start! Bring on the Wings!

  69. RetroMikey says:

    Who centres Mike Cammalleri and Travis Moen? 

    Time for Gauthier to make that trade for a big skilled CMan we need with a big physical DMan.!

    If not, don’t be surprised if we exit early in the playoffs in the spring and say’ “oh well better luck next year”

    I want a Cup Santa!

    Do it Gauthier, pull the trigger for a big trade! 

     

    But congrats to the team for a great effort last night but we must improve if we are to compete with PIttsburgh, Boston and Philadelphia in the East.

     

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  70. Rugger says:

    Why trade now when we are winning and few teams have admitted they are out of it?  The later we wait, the lower the cost in terms of both cap hit and return players/picks.  Patience, PG will use his Markov (and maybe Gomez, but don’t think it is serious) IR cap space wisely.

  71. SeriousFan09 says:

    If my watch wasn’t broken again I’d be setting it to Mikey’s posts.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  72. RJB says:

    Were all ready competing with those teams, get over your doom and gloom. Its tiring and old.

    “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
    - Bilbo Baggins

  73. 24 Cups says:

    It was great to see the Habs win against a divisional rival as it allowed them to stay 12 points ahead of Buffalo and Ottawa. Boston won in overtime so the fight for the coveted playoff spot will be highlighted when the two teams play next week.

    The only area for concern has to be the wasted PP opportunities in the 2nd period. Having the man advantage for nine minutes without a goal is not a good harbinger for the playoffs. A major power outage like that could cost the Habs a playoff series.

    The hit by Kelly on Weber is just another example of how the NHL turns a blind eye to this kind of dangerous and unnecessary play. Weber appeared to be off balance and defenseless as it looked like Kelly had time to ease up. The standard Cherryisms about taking out your man and playing with an edge mean nothing to me. I live in fear that the day may come when an NHL player is going to land up in a wheelchair after one of these senseless plays. Where’s Colin Campbell when you need him?

    Coach Martin will have an interesting decision to make if Gomez can’t go on the weekend. Inserting Dustin Boyd means that Eller and Halpern have to take only more offensive responsibilities. Do we really want to have a rookie or a journeyman centering the 2nd line and being out on the PP? It may be fine for a game or two but it’s certainty not a long term solution. Subban as a forward? I suggested that when he was back in junior but we have to continue to develop a building block for our defense now that Markov’s career is in jeopardy. Our defense will be getting a major overhaul in a year or two and Subban has to be the centrepiece of that makeover. David Desharnais may well be the smallest player in pro hockey but he has been able to generate lots of offensive magic in junior and the AHL. It’s a big jump to the NHL and he probably won’t be able to handle the physical game but how will we ever know if he never gets a chance? Detroit isn’t an overly physical team and Toronto is weak down the middle so this might just be a great time to see what the kid can do. We can always revert back to Boyd or Laps at centre for next week’s games against Philly and Boston

  74. athanor says:

    How does the NHL decide whether a penalty should be considered for supplementary discipline? That major for boarding would seem to be something that could be looked at and lead to a suspension, I would suggest.

  75. JF says:

    Apart from their ineffectiveness on that long powerplay in the second period, the Habs played a nearly perfect game last night.  They dominated the first period and were unlucky not to get out of it ahead (according to RDS, Foligno’s shot seemed to glance off Spacek).  Last year, failure to capitalize on a 5-minute powerplay in a tight game would have killed their momentum and probably been the deciding factor in a loss.  The opposition would have seized the momentum, scored early in the third, and then shut the Habs down.  We saw instead a re-energized and more determined Habs team score early and often in last night’s third, while the Senators looked increasingly dispirited.

    I think the failed powerplay, combined with the injury to Scott Gomez, should key the return of P.K. Subban to the lineup.  He’s very strong on the puck and moves it well, so he would help a lot with zone entry, particularly with the man advantage.  In any case, his purgatory has lasted long enough.  I understand the message Jacques Martin was sending – no player is above the team – but a longer benching could hurt Subban’s confidence.

    Gomez’s absence hurt the powerplay, and if it is prolonged, fans will very quickly start to appreciate his value to the team, despite his lack of points.  No one else can gain the offensive zone with such speed.

    If Gomez can’t play Friday, I would have Halpern centre the second line as he did last night.  While a less skilled playmaker than Gomez, he’s experienced and opportunistic.  And I think it would be a mistake to break up the Eller line.  Either Lapierre or Boyd could centre the fourth line, or the team could elect to call up David Desharnais.  But I’m hoping Gomez will play.

    Mike Cammalleri had his best game in a while.  He has now scored in two straight games for I think the first time this season.  I hope he now realizes, despite his frustration over being taken off the Plekanec line, that he can still make an impact; he needs to continue playing the way he did last night.  Being chosen first star should boost his bruised ego a bit.

    Hamrlik is an absolute workhorse and unquestionably our best defenseman since Markov went down.  I hear a lot of talk on HIO about what we’ll be able to buy when his salary comes off the books, but I think he would be extremely difficult to replace.  Whatever Markov’s situation next year, the Habs should resign him if it can be done at about half his current cap hit.

  76. twocents says:

    JF, I’ve heard a few a people refer to Cammaleri’s frustration with being moved from Pleks line, however I am unaware of what this is based on. Did he say something to the media?

  77. 24 Cups says:

    Jane – Hamrlik is our best Dman right now as well as one of our top five players.  He doing exactly what he did last year when Markov was injured.  I think it ultimately wore him down and he struggled at times during the playoffs.  We could see the same thing this year.  BTW, Spezza really deked him out on the Ottawa goal.

    Hamrlik will be 37 next year so we have to be very careful when we entertain the thought of re-signing him as he will qualify under the +35 cap rule.  I agree with you about next year, especially if Markov doesn’t return.  However, Hamrlik should only get a one year deal.  3M would sound about right.

  78. Castor says:

    no, it means that when Markov IS in the line up, Markov is our best defenseman. When he’s not, it’s Hammer.

    Very simple and not stupid at all.

  79. Chorske says:

    I love apples, but I love oranges even more.

    So if I say, now that we’ve run out of oranges, apples are my favourite fruit, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t like apples until all the oranges were gone.

    Right?

  80. notbigbird says:

    Month after month …

    Year after year …

  81. RetroMikey says:

    Hockey is a business, nothing like marketing a trade to be made on this site, year after year, month after month, day after day, hour after hour, minutes after minutes,…..

    It will happen.

     

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  82. JF says:

    As far as I know, Cammalleri hasn’t said anything, but his frustration was palpable in his body language, his poor decisions on the ice, and his bad penalties.  I assume it stemmed from the breaking up of the Plekanec line and found it understandable.  Cammalleri worked just as well as Gionta with Pleks and AK46, and didn’t deserve to be taken off that line.  But he’s looked better the last couple of games, and I hope it continues.

  83. twocents says:

    I would be cautious about attributing body language to specific thoughts. I think it’s legitimate to observe and comment on body language/facial-clues, but the cause is well beyond our vantage.

    Cammaleri could have been frustrated with himself. If I remember right he went an 8 game stretch without a goal while playing with Pleks. He could have been frustrated in his personal life. He could have been frustrated with another teammate.

    Cammy has 3g/2a in his last 7 games. That’s .43g/game and .29a/game. Before that he had 6g/8a in 20 games. That’s .3g/game and .4a/game. So in fact his goal scoring rate is up since joining Gomez’s line, but his assist rate is down. His point rate is nearly identical with a slight improvement in his past 7 games.

  84. JF says:

    You’re right.  I shouldn’t jump to conclusions.  Thanks for the stats on Cammy’s points.  

  85. twocents says:

    No problem.

    For the record I wasn’t trying to show you up. I’ve been guilty of flimsy attributions myself. I just wanted to keep it in check a bit and from reading your thoughtful posts, I figured you would appreciate it.

    The fact is, I actually think Cammalleri meshes better with Pleks, but he’s not been right this season… so far. Which may explain the signs of frustration.

  86. 24 Cups says:

    Eric – Jane also apparently screwed up by stating that “Hamrlik has been our best defenseman since Markov got hurt”:-)  She’s having a tough day!

  87. twocents says:

    Tough day or tough crowd?

  88. JF says:

    Steve – One year and 3M sounds about right.  Another point: Spacek will be on the books for another year, and he and Hamrlik make a very effective pair.  Whoever we got to replace Hamrlik might not necessarily work as well with Specek, or indeed with JM’s system.  But both those guys will certainly need some rest as the season goes on; Hamrlik said last night that he tires much faster than he did as a 20-year-old.  Fortunately, with the solid play of Weber and Picard, we may now have the depth on defence to make that possible.

  89. Landof10000lakesHab says:

    Assuming Hamrlik is gone via UFA, will we see Spacek moved back to his natural LD? This move should be sufficient to improve Spacek’s play to the level of Hammer for his last contract year.

    BTW, I believe Hamrlik’s agent will be seeking 4M range. When you are the #1D on any team, if by default, or regardless of age, the compensation rate is not in the 3M range. A huge PG risk if Hammer is resigned and his skill erodes to 3rd pair next season.

    If Markov resigns, the Habs will need to spend at least 3M (or more) on an incoming free agent D. A more economical, long term vision would see PG resolve sometime this year via a trade for a top 4 D that has contract years remaining.

    I do agree with you that it is likely Hamrlik will wear down from playing +20 mins per game. Same if Spacek is used similar. Despite all the team success this season to date, this is an area of concern.

  90. mrhabby says:

    i don’t think Picard and Weber are the cats meow. There okay ,efficient and smallish I am not sold on these guys when the going gets really tough and i mean the playoffs.

  91. sholi2000.com says:

    From Canadiens.com

    Most wins by a Canadiens Goalie in a single season.

    42

    Set By

    Dryden and Plante (Jake did it twice)

    Games Played

    70

    set by

    McNeil and Plante (Jake did it twice)

    I’ll be a just a little proud if Carey Price can keep this pace up.  Those are some big names up there.

    Keep er going Habs, this could be a season to remember.

    But for some of us, there was never any doubt. :)

    They Call Me Shane

  92. SeriousFan09 says:

    If Price’s workload stops at 70 games, he would set the team wins record at 46-47 wins on a season. That would be quite the story, a modern Hab setting a team record.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  93. twocents says:

    If Gomez is out, and I were Martin, I would throw Cammaleri in with our young first rounders(Eller and Pouliot) and see what happens. Darche can be reunited with Halpern and Moen can join them.

    I don’t subscribe to the don’t mess with success line of thinking in a circumstance like this. If that approach is followed strictly we never discover the Eller, Darche, Pouliot combo in the first place, as the latter two were cooking with Halpern. Hockey is not statis, especially not in the case of players who are still developing.

    Once again respect is due to the coaching staff. This team is a finely tuned beast, and players can’t do that on their own. (Except in the one historical case I can think of. Which was really a case where latent solid coaching and incredible leadership/future-coaches carried a team coached by a buffoon depsite his ineptitude. This team does not have latent solid coaching.)

    Trivia time: Can anyone guess the team referenced in my parenthetical comment?  

  94. HardHabits says:

    Jean Perron’s ’86 Habs?

  95. HardHabits says:

    You’re comparing apples to oranges.

  96. Spoons91 says:

    Didn’t gomez leave because his skate broke?

    follow me on twitter — http://twitter.com/spoons91

  97. shiram says:

    That Was Pascal Leclaire.

  98. 24 Cups says:

    It’s either Perron or Al MacNeil but I don’t think Eric goes back that far.  Same goes for you, Dave.

  99. twocents says:

    It was Jean Perron I was thinking of.

    But, I am aware of the McNeil year too, Steve. Not though actual memory of the live events, but through lore. I mean you wanna talk about latent great coaching and incredible leadership… sheesh buckets of it!

    Oh, and since I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, I would hesitate to use the term buffoon in McNeil’s case.

    It gilded rather fluidly from my fingers in the case of Perron. 

  100. 24 Cups says:

    That’s not the way Henri Richard saw it.  Not to mention MacNeil was the only coach I can remember who was replaced the very next season after winning a Cup. 

  101. arcosenate says:

    Referring to MacNeil as a buffoon is ridiculous.  If Henri Richard saw him as a bad coach that’s one thing but buffoon, hardly. Man, if the equivalent of Henri said the same thing today before game seven in the playoffs what would you think of him?  On a team that wasn’t supposed to be there for god’s sake.

  102. arcosenate says:

    Al MacNeil is hardly a buffoon.  He won 4 Stanley Cups, 1 as coach, 2 as director of player personnel in Montreal, another in Calgary as assistant general manager.  He won 3 Calder Cups coaching the NS Voyageurs.

    Man, he made the call to put Ken Dryden in the net!

  103. christophor says:

    stop this nonsense

  104. krob1000 says:

    Halak is currently 27th in save percentage, 13th in wins, 12th in GAA ….decent numbers but not elite by any stretch.  I like Halak….but that was way out of whack…Eller is a great fit in Montreal and I am not so sure I would have wanted a roster player in return as it would have meant someone else had to go…we needed a prospect that addresed future needs, fit into our organizational plans, was available and was affordable moving forward in the middle given the salaries we are alreadt paying in the middle of the rink.  I think Eller was a great fit…I am a big fan of this kid…I think if he were thrust into a top role like Ennis, Couture, Eberle, Hall, etc he would have better numbers and more personal success……but our team is having better success than all of those other clubs and Eller just fits in a Habs uni….I am already a huge fan and am very enthusiastic about the Habs for the next several years and that is a Christmas miracle because I was convinced we were in a heap of trouble moving forward.


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