About last night …

Enroth

Every now and then, the old P.K. comes out to play.
And this is not an unalloyed blessing.
Look, let’s agree the greatest thing the general managers’ meeting can accomplish is the implementation of a coach’s challenge in the NHL.
If there were one, Michel Therrien could have tossed the flag or whatever in Overtime and a video review would have absolved P.K. Subban of making contact with his stick against the noggin of Buffalo’s ever-dangerous Mark Pysyk.
The high-sticking call would have been rescinded, the teams would continue their 4-on-4 battle and who knows how the game might have ended?
As it was, however, Subban was in the box watching his teammates heroically kill 1:59 of his penalty before pesky Steve Ott buried a rebound to secure two points for the Sabres, who probably won’t need them.

The Canadiens needed the point they earned.

It kept them atop the Northeast Division ahead of Boston, which lost 3-1 in Winnipeg. The Bruins still hold a game in hand, but they are two points behind the Canadiens.

Both teams play on Thursday: Boston at Ottawa, the Canadiens on Long Island. Until then – and perhaps beyond – Montreal has a first-place hockey team … albeit one that didn’t look it for long stretches of the game on Tuesday night.

Postgame attention was focused on Subban and the penalty that wasn’t really a penalty. But should the Canadiens’ most valuable skater have been going for a kill shot on an inoffensive Sabre (Pysyk had a shot on goal during the first period and was invisible thereafter) in an OT situation?

Of course not. But that’s what you get with P.K.: occasional, though increasingly rare, examples of the youthful and not entirely prudent exuberance that made the flamboyant defenceman a darling of the Bell Centre through his first two seasons.

P.K. was not the reason Buffalo won the game. The Sabres got two points because Jhonas Enroth made some big saves – particularly on a Brian Gionta shot that would have won it for the Canadiens in regulation – and because the home team played a sloppy game.

Woeful defensive zone coverage by the David Desharnais-Max Pacioretty-Brendan Gallagher line gave the Sabres their early two-goal lead. And the Canadiens’ attack couldn’t get into gear until the furious third-period rally that included 15 shots and goals by Pacioretty and Colby Armstrong.

The Canadiens had 34 shots on Enroth through 60 minutes (they had none in OT). But the significant numbers, for me, were the 23 shots the Sabres blocked (Mike Weber had six) and the 24 times Canadiens’ shots missed the net.

That’s a season high, and the number of misses indicates lack of patience and poor execution among Canadiens shooters.

Gionta, Alex Galchenyuk and Andrei Markov each missed the net four times. The general air of ineptitude in the offensive zone was frustrating to watch in a game that drew murmurs of discontent from the usual sellout crowd … although the sound might have been snoring, because long stretches of the game were dull.

Excitement, when it finally came, was generated by the DD line – seeking and nearly achieving redemption for its defensive errors – and by the new Lars Eller-Galchenyuk-Armstrong trio.

Gallagher was brilliant in beating Cody Hodgson and Tyler Myers behind the Buffalo net to set up the Pacioretty goal and nearly won it with his own unlikely shot off the crossbar.

Eller continues to use his size effectively in the offensive zone, and Galchenyuk picked up his first point in six games with a nifty pass to that sniper Armstrong.

The imminent return of Rene Bourque and, let us hope, Brandon Prust will confront Therrien with some interesting personnel choices. Although he did not juggle his lines in-game against Buffalo, the coach must have been tempted to do something to bring the Canadiens’ attack to life. Bourque and Prust would have helped.

The player whose return would be of greatest benefit has not been cleared to start skating. The Canadiens’ power play went 0-for-2 against the Sabres, and Raphael Diaz would really help. As it was, Josh Gorges was used on the second wave, and he’s just not enough of a point presence to be useful.

Jarred Tinordi played 11:13 in his Bell Centre debut. The rookie took a penalty for firing the puck over the glass but looked generally competent, as did his confrères on the Canadiens defence corps.

Markov topped the ToI list with 26:10. Markov is averaging 24:39 a game – almost two minutes more than P.K., who is 11 years younger (and whose knees are healthier). This is a concern as the playoffs approach.

But by then Diaz should be back.

And the snow that buried Montreal on the last day of winter will have given way to crocuses and Cup dreams.

 

 

 

366 Comments

  1. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    .

    “You’re always, always, always looking to make your team better. Always.”- Marc Bergevin

  2. Habs1852 says:

    What a joke, Michel Therrien calling out PK like he did was just stupid. Alienating our best player, yes he is our BEST player will only hurt the Habs in the end. Yes discipline is important but for the coach to single out PK and and not Patches was just plain stupid !

  3. nova scotia vees says:

    I think the call on P.K. was curious, to say the least. I have seen players hit in the face with a stick and nothing…And why did Max not receive any heat here for his really stupid penalty in the last few minutes. That killed our late game mo….
    Finally…I think that P.K. looks frustrated. M.T. has put a barbed-saddle on a throughbred. He hesitates at times when he should be blasting away. At least he hits the net. If we end up losing him, I will truly believe it was because of his colour and not his talent. And once again…get rid of Moen..please.

    • hab fan in leaf jungle says:

      You could be right but I think it is just that the Habs have never liked players who are too flamboyant of personality. They like the understated type of personalities who don’t get noticed for anything other than their hockey excellence…like Gainey, Lafleur, Lemaire. Dryden, Carbo, Serge Savrd etc. That’s why they got rid of Ribeiro and Corson and Chelios and Leclair etc. for very little in return. I hope it’s not a racist thing but just a personality thing.

  4. frontenac1 says:

    Hey Bri! Maybe those Russian doctors used some of that armour plating from those surplus tanks after the Cold War ended. Yeah,that’s it! TU-74.Yemmy has tank parts !Saludos amigo!

  5. Roy_s_WINK says:

    How some of you could possibly suggest that Gorges isn’t needed on this roster is disgusting to me.

    He is a stand-up player who hits and defends AND fights for his teammates both on and off the ice.

    A true leader and will be the next man to wear our hallowed “C” on his chest.

    • Sal from the Hammer says:

      Josh Georges is a rock!

    • sheds88 says:

      ill never question gorges heart, but i don tsee him part of this team moving forward. i am sure he is great in the dressing room, but what does he bring indivisually to the team ? speed?, hard hits?, a rocket of a point shot ? clear the crease with authority ? drop the gloves ?
      none of these. there has got to be someone out there that we can pick up that can do a few of those things and kill penalties like gorges can.

    • hab fan in leaf jungle says:

      Remember that he was a throw-in on the Craig Rivet deal which got us a 1st round pick (who turned out to be Max Pac) and a kid named Josh with a last name that people didn’t know how to pronounce properly.

  6. habfan53 says:

    So I keep saying that this years team reminds me of the last Cup winning team in ’93. With the exception of Goalies Roy over Price
    the teams are very similar. No big stars although in 93 there was Vinny D and Capt’n Kirk. After that it was Bellows, Keane, S. Lebeau Savard, Carbonneau, Dionne and a young John Leclair up front. I think this years top 9 compare favoribly.
    On defence it was Desfardins, Scneider,Haller, Daigneault, Odelin,Sean Hill and Dufresne I think this years is better.

    The 93 Canadiens did not have the best talent but they worked as a team . There was some luck Buffalo beat the Bruins and the Islanders beat the Penguins most importantly the kings knocked off the Leafs (Yes be honest they had the better talent).

    But it was a great team effort and TEN overtime wins in a row by St-Patrick. I believe this years edition with the same luck could do the same.

    • Sal from the Hammer says:

      I’ll just say to you the same thing I have said to obnoxious Leaf fans these many years. The Habs beat the team that beat out the Leafs, in this case LA. !!!! Why you think so-called “better talent” was an issue is befuddling to me. It could, by extention, be argued that LA had even “better talent” e.g. Gretsky, and they got beat, in 5 GAMES…end of rant!!

  7. Loonie says:

    Bergevin,

    Good: Price, Prust, Armstrong, Eller and Subban contracts. Keeping Timmins, hiring Therrien and surrounding himself with people he trusts who he can delegate to as well as the Tokarski deal.

    Not so good: Moen contract, Ryder trade and the timing of the Desharnais contract.

    Bittersweet: Bouillon contract.

    I’ve seen enough of Ryder to not like the deal. The cap relief and draft pick are nice but I truly think we downgraded at the position at a time when Cole was picking up his play. Selling high is always good policy but I think the team is a bit weaker today than it was with Cole.

    The Desharnais contract didn’t have to be done now. He would have been arbitration eligible but his play this season so far doesn’t justify the contract in my opinion. I feel last season does. But we also have a logjam at centre. We may have Desharnais at a bargain but if he plays like he did last night and for much of the season going forward I wouldn’t want him next year. This could have waited.

    I think the Bouillon deal is bittersweet because he’s a very good player seemingly been an excellent help to Subban. That’s invaluable. But we still can’t stop teams from crashing our crease and he isn’t the solution to that problem. He may not be a big part of the problem. But when you’re committed to younger options elsewhere his spot in the lineup should be used to fill the need.

    I’d give Bergevin an A grade.

    • habfan53 says:

      I disagree with Ryder being a downgrade, yes Cole brought more physicallity (?) to the team but before he went down last week Ryder was coming around to Therriens system, I found him more responsible defensively and he seemed to have found his scoring touch. I expect that to be back by the weekend.
      As for the Desharnais contract yeah it might have been a bit early but I don’t think it will be a millstone.
      And I can think of worse scenarios than a Francis Bouillon being your 7th D-Man.

      Finally an A is not a bad grade and a big improvement over Gauthier and Gainey who I would have given a D and B- respectively

      Like the DODGERS “Wait till next year”

    • Roy_s_WINK says:

      Buy low, sell high.

      Cole had an amazing year last year and Ryder is younger and a better compliment to the players he is sharing a line with now.

      Again, we are winning and people still have negative things to say about the team. Ridiculous.

  8. DorvalTony says:

    No Chernobyl jokes today, moron?

  9. jrshabs1 says:

    Regehr got his stick up in P.K.’s face a shift before the penalty. P.K. was pissed so he went head hunting with his marchand hybrid hip check..he missed. Would have liked to see P.K. drop gloves with Regehr if he was so pissed for the simple fact that he would have avoided the ill timed minor penalty that came in o.t. Fighting has a place in the NHL..a fight there could have resulted in 2 points.

    Go Habs Go!!

    • christophor says:

      a proper call from the referee could have resulted in 2 points.

    • bel33 says:

      I love PK.. but Regher would have destroyed him in a fight. Robyn fought Chris Neil the other night and didn’t look out of place.
      Not a smart move on the hit for sure… but fighting RR would have been a bad decision as well… not to mention more penalty time.
      My two cents…

  10. Loonie says:

    Could Bergevin get anything for Moen?

    And another question, if Bergevin can find a new team for Kaberle does anyone think he’d use the amnesty buyout on Moen?

    • mdp2011 says:

      I doubt he’d use the buyout on Moen, he’s the one who gave him that contract.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      If anyone was to want him, I would think it would be Anaheim, due to that past success there. Problem is I am not sure they are looking for contracts of length right now, they would want to unload a quasi problem contract in exchange. Haven’t looked deep at their roster recently to know.

    • Cal says:

      Tom, is it trade everyone day?

    • hab fan in leaf jungle says:

      Make no mistake about it. Moen is a valuable asset to any team in the playoff hunt and deeper. He could command a 2nd and a 3rd round pick as he is signed to a 3-year contract and is a gamer. I suspect that he may have an injury that we are not privy to; similar to the injury that Bourque had last season but the fans only found out after seasons end prior to his surgery.

  11. MrNax says:

    Just as a follow up from a comment that was posted below.

    HardHabits,

    That’s funny, I don’t remember suggesting any trades. Nor do I remember tearing a strip off of the team. Oh wait… that’s because I didn’t! All I did was suggest that the team doesn’t improve that much (if at all) with the return of Diaz. For the record, I think the habs have a great team. Keep your own insecurities to yourself instead of projecting them on me… Thanks bud!

  12. HabFanSince72 says:

    So Pierre Gauthier.

    Of course he was bad as a GM for all the reasons we know, but signing Markov and trading for Eller, two very controversial moves, have turned out more than alright.

    Chicago aren’t dumb either.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      His identifying of players is probably above average, his leadership is beyond repute, and he was director of Pro Scouting at time of Gomez trade.

      All in all, I am thankful for his good moves, not thankful for his bad moves and Very Thankful for his removal.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Nicely done.

      • Sal from the Hammer says:

        That about sums it up. Neither Gainey, or Gauthier, were all bad. Very OLD school. The sum of their tenures is in the negative category in that, they did way more harm than good. So I’m thankful, for Gainey the player, but, not so thankful, for Gainey the GM. Plus, he gave us the Goat.

    • hab fan in leaf jungle says:

      PG did some really good deals. We got the 2nd round pick for Cammy as well as Bourque and saved some money. The Black Hawks picked him up fast and he is now doing Bergevin’s old job. Signing Markov was an ethical thing to do for a guy who has been there since the start of his career and gave the Habs a home-town discount on the previous contract. We also got Geoffrion and a 2nd for a loveable pylon named Gill. Believe me , it took some guts to trade Halak. The latter is often injured and is now a back-up to a rookie named Jake Allen in St. Louis and Eller is emerging as a solid centreman. Thanks PG for your efforts but your time was just up.

  13. veryhabby says:

    Bouillion resigns. the boys on anti-chambre were talking about that. That both sides wanted him back but just had to figure out the $ and term. I thought they were joking. I have been EXTREMEMLY surprised and happy with Bouillon’s play this year. I wasn’t too keen on the signing (you know we need a big guy back there). But they were talking that he is a perfect mentor for the kids on D.

  14. frontenac1 says:

    Yemmy answers the bell again last night,rebuilt face and all.That’s mojo amigos.TU-74 is back!

    • Bripro says:

      And if he keeps it up, he’ll have no face left.
      Not a smart move. He needs to put that cage back on to remind the opposition that he’s got a fragile face with the plate in his jaw.
      For both fights this year, he makes me cringe.

  15. Bripro says:

    I noticed watching the after-game dressing room interviews that no one was smiling.
    And it had to due with their (lack of) performance. Even Gally didn’t smile, which really never happens.
    I like that. It tells me this team doesn’t like losing.
    They remind me of the ’76-77 team which only lost 8 games.
    I remember Lemaire taking a fit after one of those losses. Last night’s reaction was somewhat reminiscent.
    That’s a good sign. They hate to lose.
    And it’s a far cry from the resignation of last year.

  16. habfan53 says:

    Armstrong ties Gomez with 2nd goal.

  17. Sportfan says:

    With MB basically keeping the same D for next season I wonder if he is working to get a top 6 forward or another Prust? I remember reading that he said he rather make a move that is for the future and long term over short term rental

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  18. habfan53 says:

    With regards to Bouillon extension MB and MT must have been watching Antichambre last night as that is what they (Therrien and Gauthier) were saying. That Bouillon was mentoring Tinordi as he did with PK earlier when he came back.
    With Tinordi it will be a year long lesson. Much like Markov and Emelin this year

  19. Luke says:

    So we can stop talking DD’s extension and start talking Boullion’s extension.

  20. Sportfan says:

    So Frankie got an extension for one more season

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  21. piter says:

    Personally, I think PK did the wrong thing in going for the big hit. A few things bother me about it;
    Wrong timing-Not in OT, with only four skaters aside. Even if he would have connected, he still would have taken himself out of the play. When he missed the hit, he kinda reached over with his arms to try to catch a piece of the Sabre player and take him out of the play. He could have easily gotten an interference penalty instead of the high sticking call he got. It wasn’t the first time during the game that PK missed a hit. He missed two earlier in the game, if I remember correctly. I’m happy that we got the loser point, we did deserve it. It’s great that Boston lost in regulation, while we walked(skated) away with a point. In saying all this, I’m a big PK fan. I just think theres a time and place for a big hit, and OT wasn’t the time. We shouldn’t dwell on a bad ref call. Instead, learn from it, be happy with the deserved point, and in future not put ourselves in a position to have a ref make a bad decision to start with.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Bad timing for sure, more of a momentum swing kinda play.. OT is not the time.

      Would have been a crushing hit had he connected though!

    • HowieFlinker says:

      We cannot expect P.K Subban to have a perfectly split personality to be aggressive most of the time but not at the instant when we did not want him to be in hindsight. His aggressiveness is what makes him (already) 1 of the best defensemen in the league. As for his phantom penalty we unfotunately got a bad break this time. We will get our share of good breaks and lousy calls by referees in our favour. Finally, the Canadiens have a surplus of promising young defensive prospects. At least 2 of them with size will play in Montreal next year. That would place a slowing, smart Markov and aging but also smart Bouillon on part-time duty. One of the prospects or older defensemen could be packaged with another prospect who is farther down Bergevin’s depth chart for another power forward. Bobby Ryan? Bergevin who seems to have a very sensible long-term plan will find a way to capitalize on his players on the farm.

      Howard Flinker

  22. Loonie says:

    So next season we have Markov, Subban, Emelin, Gorges, Diaz and Bouillon under contract.

    Status quo at the position.

    sigh.

  23. Mr_MacDougall says:

    I’m not crazy about DD, Patch and Gallagher are creating most of the opportunities, and also creating most of his faceoff wins (which are usually scrambles and not clean wins)

    With that said, he is a valuable offensive center, signed to a decent contract.

    Most people watching the games would agree that Eller could easily replace DD on the second line.

    • Loonie says:

      The distinction is “should he”?

      Eller’s producing more from a third line role with less even strength and powerplay ice-time. He’s better defensively with less capable linemates.

      People clinging to the idea that Desharnais is better remind me of those who believed Gomez was better than Desharnais over the last two seasons.

      The ship has sailed.

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        With that said, I like the player.. it’s the “too much of a good thing” the Habs have 3 second line centers now.. nobody knew Eller would amp it up this year under Therrian, but he has, it’s great.. DD can play with good players.. he seems to be quiet.. he under a reasonable contract, I get the feeling the Habs will no longer be losing players to Free Agency under MB.

        • shiram says:

          Many people were clamoring for Eller to be given a chance to prove his worth. I would not say I knew he would play so well, but I definitely thought he would keep on improving greatly.

  24. The Jackal says:

    Frankie the Bull signed to a one year contract extension BTW.

  25. bel33 says:

    Just tweeted… Bouillon gets a one-year extension.

  26. The Jackal says:

    I love Boone’s blog, been reading it since ’07.
    But if one thing can be said to be axiomatic about it, is the way it is written after a win vs. how it is after a loss. It basically echoes or bipolar comments.

    When we’ve won this season, ALN has been cautiously optimistic, but our losses… boy – we don’t look good on those!
    It’s pretty funny. I’m sure we all feel that way, but let’s be a bit less down on the team, they are a revelation regardless of what happens this season!

    • New says:

      You’re not going to get many impartial comments on the HIO or Gazette site. That means everyone talks about Subban getting a penalty when he didn’t do anything, except take himself out of the play.

      Players are like fans and the media in one important way. When things are going badly they get down and when things are going well they get arrogant. They think “We should be able to take two and then on Thursday…”. They beat themselves. That’s when you start hearing crud like “hot goalie, posts, crossbar, water on the ice, dog ate my homework”.

      Some players dogged it last night. They tried to turn it on but needed the refs to be lenient. That didn’t happen. If they go into the room and take responsibility it is no big deal.

  27. Wintercount says:

    - Eller playing with great imagination. It’s my price of admission.
    – Galchenyuk dishes hard passes that his linemates seem to handle with ease, that’s a lost art, found.

    And in the rolling pucks on edge dept:
    Make the linesmen wear gloves preventing heat transfer to “la rondelle” and fine them “a grand” if they hold on to the puck longer then 3 secs on faceoffs. If that don’t work, tie a rope with a 10lb weight over each faceoff circle and have the guy with the machete …

    – If Gionta ever were to be traded, be as good a time as any.
    – Buffalo played a good road game.

    et voila

  28. HabsWinn-ipeg says:

    Watching Eller carry the puck up the ice last night – when was the last time you saw a Habs forward carry the puck like that? (Scott Gomez is not an acceptable answer)

  29. habsfan0 says:

    I wonder if the Sharks will be tempted to move Scott Gomez come trade deadline day?
    The Leafs might be interested.
    Just for Laffs.


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