About last night …

Oompa-Loompas with Willy Wonka in the 1971 film of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Thanks to the great GG11, of  the late and lamented Four Habs Fans website,  for her Willy Wonka-themed Photoshop of  Michel Therrien and the Canadiens diminutive forwards.

Your Montreal Canadiens played the woeful Buffalo Sabres twice in five days.
Both games were at the Bell Centre.
Over the course of 122 minutes and 16 seconds – Game 1 went into overtime – the Canadiens had 73 shots on goal. The Sabres blocked 54 shots, and the Canadiens missed the Buffalo net 39 times.
Out of 166 opportunities, the Canadiens scored three goals.
Three. Goals.
Against a team that has allowed more goals than every team in the league except Calgary, the Islanders and Florida.
We’ll rag on the refs and lament Team Oompa-Loompa’s lack of net presence in a minute, but let’s just linger over that stat.
At the risk of repeating myself: 166 pucks on Canadiens’ sticks and the red light went on three times.

On Saturday night, the Sabres had 18 shots on Carey Price. The Canadiens blocked nine and four missed the net. So Buffalo cashed twice on 31 opportunities.

Comparable numbers for the home team: 39 SoG, Sabres blocked 31 and the Canadiens missed the net 15 times. 85 opportunities, one goal.

In Toronto, the Leafs were outshot 33-13 and won 3-2.

Vancouver had 13 shots in L.A. and beat the Kings 1-0. 

So, not a great Saturday for snipers … except Thomas Vanek, who had both Buffalo goals to run his season’s total to 16.

Ryan Miller has won eight of his last 10 starts against the Canadiens. He made 38 saves and was full value for selection as the game’s First Star, but I thought Miller was beatable.

There were rebounds. There were pucks sliding across the crease.

There was rarely a red jersey anywhere near these second-chance scoring opportunities. The Canadiens played primarily on the perimeter – a lacuna illustrated by two sequences in which Lars Eller went for a leisurely skate around the massed Buffalo defenders, ultimately losing the puck on both occasions and driving the crowd into howls of frustration.

Hey, we know the Canadiens can skate. But as the postseason approaches, can they crash, bang and score in the dirty areas where fancy skaters often fear to tread?

When the only forward with consistent net presence is a 5’8″ rookie, the Canadiens have a problem that Jeff Halpern isn’t going to solve.

Look, I love Brendan Gallagher. And you can’t fault Brian Gionta, David Desharnais and Gabriel Dumont for effort.

But I’m more than a little concerned about what will happen when Team Oompa-Loompa goes on the road to Pittsburgh and Boston for a back-to-back this week.

Is help on the way? Nope. The cavalry is stuck in traffic.

Rene Bourque has had a setback in his post-concussion rehab.

Brandon Prust, who was supposed to be out 10 to 14 days, has not played since March 5. There is no hint from the Canadiens on when he might return.

Nor is Raphael Diaz anywhere near ready to return. His absence means brutal power-play minutes for Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban. Both excel with the man advantage – would that Canadiens forwards were as dangerous – but it would be nice to have a better point shooter than Josh Gorges as a PP weapon.

The Canadiens cashed one of their three power-play chances against Buffalo. Markov picked out Michael Ryder on the lip of Miller’s crease, and Ryder did what Ryder does.

The Canadiens probably should have had more PPs. The Sabres did a fair bit of clutching and grabbing, driving the Bell Centre crowd into loud choruses of catcalls.

And for the second time in as many games against the Sabres, the refs blew a call on P.K.

In the Tuesday night game, it was a phantom high stick that sent Subban to the box and opened the door for Steve Ott’s OT winner.

In the second period on Saturday, Mike Blunden was penalized for interference – a dubious call that maybe wouldn’t have gone against a veteran of greater stature than the Bulldogs call-up. Then P.K. was penalized for Delay of Game on a clearing attempt that struck something – either a Buffalo stick or the edge of the glass – on its way out.

With the Canadiens’ penalty-killers protesting loudly, Brad Watson skated straight to the penalty box area and made the call, without consulting ref Justin St. Pierre or the two linesmen.

Barely over half a minute into the 5-on-3, Vanek tipped Christian Ehrhoff’s point shot past Carey Price to open the scoring. It was only the ninth time in 31 games the Canadiens failed to score first.

I think the NHL has to introduce a coach’s challenge. You can do worse than emulate the National Football League. And the speed and intensity of NHL hockey are such that calls will be blown.

There should be a mechanism to correct officiating errors. Give each team one challenge per game. And if the call is upheld, you take a two-minute minor.

I also want to get rid of staged fighting. But let’s start small.


There’s that word “small” again.







  1. adamkennelly says:

    since we have all had enough with the “Habs are too small” – from now on – lets talk about about our team not being Heavy Enough….guys are too light, can’t get to the tough spots often enough to score the ugly goals…as PJ Stock and Glen Healy said on the HNIC intro last night – Habs are complete underdogs vs. Pitt and Boston – why – basically because we don’t have enough size to deal with them over a 7 game series. Need muscle and we need it now.

  2. commandant says:

    I love Boone, but today’s column is a MASSIVE over reaction for a team that is among the highest scoring clubs in the NHL and had 2 regulation losses in their last 20 games.

    Losses happen. Opposing goalies have hot games and can steal one.

    No matter how bad the Sabres are playing and how many points separate Montreal and Buffalo in the standings, the Habs are not going 48-0 and Buffalo is not going 0-48. Its the nature of parity in the NHL… they are gonna win some games and we are gonna lose some games.

    The idea that losing to a team lower than us in the standings shows kinks in the armor, is quite simply not true.

    The difference between a good team (which the Habs have been) and a bad team (which the Sabres have been) is not that we never lose to a team lower than us in the standings. It is that the good team does not allow the losses to pile up consistently.

    With only 2 regulation losses in their last 20 games the Canadiens are doing exactly that. And there is nothing more we can ask of them, than to do that.

    As Therrien said, the team stuck to the gameplan they wanted to play last night. The dominated the Sabres in all areas of the ice, and the only reason they lost was Ryan Miller had a super game. Oh well… move on and keep sticking to the game plan when we have two tough games this week against the Penguins and Bruins on the road.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Maybe Boone was a bit agitated as he filed, but this particular loss surely underlines how badly a missing piece is needed: a large, obstinate presence in front?

      “With only 2 regulation losses in their last 20 games the Canadiens are doing exactly that. And there is nothing more we can ask of them, than to do that.”

      – I’d almost agree except for being 1 and 2 vs weak teams this week.

      So much else is working so well. Would love to see this issue addressed sooner rather than later.

    • Mark C says:

      Outstanding post!

    • New says:

      That is two games against the Sabres in a week with different goalies where the Habs stuck to their game plan and took 1 of 4 points because “the goalie was hot.”

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        I’d say Miller LOOKED hot, making a number of big first-time stops but equally yielding a bunch of very fruit looking rebounds and loose pucks.

        None of them plucked….

        • New says:

          You’re right. He looked hot, but if the Habs had played well and he lost 3-0 would he have been hot? Boone would be writing how Price wasn’t busy (when in fact he was huge), how Miller looked shakey (which he was) , and how the Sabres aren’t the same since Ruff left. Hockey is a fast game. So fast we sometimes imagine what happened, and if listening to Bob Cole, sometimes what never happened at all.

      • commandant says:

        Two games is a RIDICULOUSLY SMALL sample size from which to gather any meaningful data.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Apologies for being ridiculous!
          But I want respectfully to put it up to you and say not only is one week of hockey sufficient for raising concerns, but that it’s more than 2 games when you consider our overall record vs Isles and Sabres.

          • commandant says:

            Why are we worried about the Isles and Sabres though (two non playoff teams) instead of our overall record vs all teams. Much bigger sample size, and much more to go on when we consider those other games too.

            We are winning more than we lose, and with the exception of one game vs the Leafs we’ve been competitive in every game this season.

            I don’t think we need major changes. Stay the course and keep building.

            Is this a Stanley Cup team? The truth is probably not this year, but the rebuild is going very well and we’ve come a long way from 28th place in the league. Stay the course, keep building up the youth, and always look to make minor improvements to the team (at the right cost without mortgaging the future). Thats where this is headed.

            We need patience. And after last year, and with the way this team looks this year, I’m willing to give that patience to see a finished product built the right way that can contend for the next decade.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • jmsheehy19 says:

      thank you for your sanity.

  3. Danno says:

    Are the hockey sticks PK Subban and Brendan Gallagher play with made out of chocolate and manufactured by Willy Wonka?


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

    • billylove says:

      Back in the day, you might see a broken stick once a week. Now, they break all ther time. Whatever advantage newer, composite sticks might have is nullified by how fragile they are. I’ll take Bobby Hull’s shot with the “old” stick over anyone using the new and improved.

      • I wonder how many these stronger players would break now. I would love to see these guys in practice just once. In fat I may still have a bundle of sher-wood 5030 left in the garage to prove they would break them all easily. (OK I don’t have a bundle, I do have three though 😆 )

        Shane Oliver
        Twitter @Sholi2000
        Custom Sports Figures

  4. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Would it be so bad if Therrien just once openly criticized the refs? The bad calls against the Habs are one thing but they are not getting them either. The Sabres got away with murder the past two games. Gallagher was clearly tripped on a move to the net last night right in front of a ref and nothing was called. Is the embellishing charge of Julien having an effect? I don’t know…

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

    • Timo says:

      Habs can’t criticize the refs because they don’t have Jeremy Jacobs looking after them at the board or league office level. I think Therrien has learned that over the years. Look at Carbo who always used to bitch to the refs… didn’t get him very far. I believe if Habs ever become a force on (for more than 3/4 of a season) the ice they will get more respect and breaks from the refs. Maybe.

  5. JohnBellyful says:

    Maybe the problem with inconsistent — okay, bad — officiating is that there too many rules to remember (the book is 215 pages long with index). You got two refs, divvy up their roles. One calls the hooking, tripping, slashing, etc and the other one is solely responsible for handling the head shots, boarding, charging, etc where violence is the intent/outcome. They become specialists and develop a certain expertise and consistency that players would come to recognize and respect.
    You could argue that, given their narrower focus, they might become overly sensitive to perceived acts of mayhem, in trying to justify their existence, but that’s a small risk to pay if it goes a long way to taking thuggery out of the game. It would be up to the athletes to adjust their play accordingly.

  6. Lafleurguy says:

    Who’s up next, Penguins or Bruins?
    Will last night’s line-up work against these villains?
    How was the PK? How was PK? How were the two PK’s?
    Will Halpern be inserted into the line-up?
    Is Tinordi ready for regular ice-time?
    How far can this line-up go in the playoffs?
    When was the last time there was a Ryan Clowe post or even sighting?
    Do we need more PK’s?

    Tune in next post, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  7. Skeptical says:

    Their Goaltending beat us last night like the last game we played them.
    You can’t say the Habs didn’t play well. They out shot Buffalo 39-18 Our goal tending was questionable. Buffalo had 8-shots in the 2nd period and scored 2-Goals. We had 39 in the game and could only manage 1 Nothing more to say.

    • New says:

      I’ll say they didn’t play well. Haven’t since about the time Prust went out.

      • Danno says:

        Prust was a presence in front of the opposing goalie’s crease. And he took care of goons regularly and efficiently. These are elements which are lacking in his absence which translates into losses sometimes. Hope he’s back on Tuesday.


        “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
        Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

      • sheds88 says:

        They aren’t playing up to their standards. it’s hard to say they aren’t playing well when we had 85 pucks towards their net to their 31 on ours. We should be bury teams at the bottom of the standings, but there is something about division games that it doesn’t matter where both teams are in standings anything could happen. you’re 100% correct about prust. This guy brings a certain – je ne sais quoi… that ignites the entire team. his injury is proving he his this teams mvp.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Skeptical, short version of my windy grump below: when you argue “You can’t say the Habs didn’t play well”, you are by extension declaring acceptable the almost complete lack of presence in front of the net, and you accept those loose pucks that no one was there to pot. I guess it boils down to different views of “playing well”.

      And on Price. If your goalie holds the other guys to two scores, surely the rest of the team needs to be able to score 3 or more, especially against a lowly side (Miller’s great play notwithstanding).

    • commandant says:

      Our goaltending didn’t play well? How exactly is Price expected to make a save on a 5 on 3 PP on a point shot that is deflected directly in front of him? or on the great passing play and finish by Vanek.

      Look at the two actual goals, not the stats on this one.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  8. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Good morning, all.

    Interesting contrasts here today (and in post-game video) between acceptance and criticism over the loss.

    I want to refer to one of Boone’s comments and add one of my own. But before I do, it feels like saying anything negative here today requires some kind of allegiance-clarifying preamble!

    So: die-hard Habs fan, delighted with the rapid and unexpected turnaround brought about by the MB/MT duo, very excited by our record and by the certainty of hockey in May.

    Still proceeding cautiously, I ask, Is the team yet perfect? Is the team beyond a loyal and happy fan venturing a negative opinion?

    If you answered Yes to either question, please stop reading now!

    Boone: “I thought Miller was beatable. There were rebounds. There were pucks sliding across the crease. There was rarely a red jersey anywhere near these second-chance scoring opportunities. The Canadiens played primarily on the perimeter.”

    Without question, this is an issue. No way a team progresses through the playoffs without addressing this one. Further, while it’s great and valuable that our scoring is spread throughout the team, it IS a pity that one other avenue of scoring — ie. other than the PP and the periphery — the fast break, does not lead more often to the puck in the net. Pleks, Gionta et al. I love them, they give 100% and I am nowhere near advocating trading. I am just envious of teams with guys who more often bury those chances. ESPECIALLY when other chances are missed because of Boone’s point.

    How about this? (Please tell me, those more intimately acquainted with the blue paint): Wouldn’t it be worth making sure ANY non-smurf, even one with little scoring touch (eg Armstrong) parks himself obstinately in front, simply to make the D work harder, and you wear them down the way offensive linemen do, increasing the odds of lapses in the third?

    And my own point. Whatever of being philosophical about losing 1-goal games to top-8 teams, surely if we hope to be the kind of team that competes in the playoffs, we need to have a more ruthless record against bottom-dwellers? We finally got it right against the Isles, I AM disappointed and ungenerous that we didn’t do the business with the Sabres.

    • New says:

      The trick about scoring is what Buffalo did last night and what Ryder did. You evade your coverage and get a quick chance. Montreal blew their coverage and a better team maintained theirs. Two out of two games. Now the excuses start, posts, hot goalies, coulda, woulda, shoulda, Norris, Vezina, Adams, it’s all the same stuff. Reasons why the team didn’t put it together. Buffalo is a better team than Montreal right now. Several teams are.

      • commandant says:

        Buffalo’s record doesn’t indicate a better team.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

        • New says:

          You guys are funny. Two years ago Chara was sick as a dog and Montreal took the first two games. Couple days off, healthy Chara, and the Habs won just one of the next five games. Everybody rants how great the team was and the next year the same guys were third last in the league, proving we were all wrong. They weren’t great, the Bruins fell apart without Chara to force them into playing their plan, and keep the Habs to the outside.

          Fans here love the pretty play, the great pass, the rush, the perimeter, and since Geffrion the booming sound of pucks missing the net. Winning hockey is North South. Even Cherry will tell you that and he is old and dresses funny. (Also right and rich.)

      • sheds88 says:

        When we are healthy buffalo is NOT a better team than us.

        • New says:

          Ok, but Buffalo is a better team than Montreal ‘right now’. Several teams are.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Still can’t agree! Even including injuries.
            (And trying not to be a homer).

          • sheds88 says:

            i guess it depends on what you look at as being better. buffalo was more effiecient – 2 goals on 31 pucks to the net v.s. our 1 goal on 85 pucks to the net. but we dominated all other aspects. the obvious assumption is buffalo was the better team last night because they scored more goals, but even with our injuries and still able to dominate like we did makes it hard for to believe they are the better team

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Oh no, New!
        Trying to see it your way but can’t!
        Agreed, Sabres took their chances well, Montreal left way too many on the ice.
        But Sabres are better? No way.

  9. Habfan4lfe says:

    Congrats to the lousy ref that called Blunden on a good clean hit. Then another great call where the puck bounced off the glass and out for a delay of game penalty. Thank god for pro hockey with biased/CV rap referee’s.

  10. geo_habsgo says:

    I know that it is easy to blame the officiating for costing us goals against last night and it is certainly a valid claim as the officiating has been terrible, but at some point you also have to blame the teams poor penalty killing for not being able to overcome these contentious calls once in a while.

  11. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Given that this is MB’s first season at the helm, would you prefer he

    a) keep quiet and evaluate the current lineup in the playoffs?

    b) tinker a little bit, add some size and grit to the bottom end of the line-up

    c) make a big splash

  12. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Does anybody know if the playoffs will be compressed as well? or will it be 16 day rounds of playoffs again?

    Is it possible for a game 7 of the final being played on Canada Day?

  13. Timo says:

    Boucher is done. That didn’t take long

  14. This is why I have no use for the Edmonton Oilers. They have been sucking for how many years? How many young studs do they have? Building through the draft is great, but they way Montreal did it is perfect. They gave us something to watch in the playoffs, and even though the seasons were pretty crazy by hanging around, we were there in the post season and always gave the teams we were playing a run.

    I can handle a loss like last night. It sucks but oh well, there are a ton more we’ll win than not.

    Marc Bergevin is doing everything right. He has my 5 star go for green approval and I’ll let him know he can stay for this decade. 😆

    Outside the Habs he should move Guy back to Hamilton. You can’t fire an entire team when they suck. The coach is the first to go.

    TB became sellers yesterday afternoon, they need Seth Jones and should go for him now. Maybe we should entertain a lookC. So Marc work your magic and find us the missing link. We can’t hope that Moen and Armstrong are saving themselves. We saw Buffalo’s third and fourth lines, that’s how you’re supposed to play, fired right up, and all over the place like a swarm of black hornets.

    Work your Magic!

    Teddy Purcell! 🙂

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    Custom Sports Figures

    • Timo says:

      Lets see how great Bergevin is when Habs actually accomplishes something. As far as I am concerned Habs have been sucking for as long, if not longer, as Oilers, who actually made it to the SCF not too long ago.

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        Does that mean the Habs have sucked longer than the Flames as well?

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Okay so the playoffs 3 years ago and 2 years ago don’t count, but the Oilers SCF of 6 years ago makes them better in recent years? I respect your doom and gloom Timo, but you lose credibility with that post. 🙂

        • Timo says:

          Right, hit me where it hurts the most – credibility. My point is that Habs haven’t been a contender since last time they won the cup. I couldn’t give a flying F how Oilers did in that span. The way I read Sholi’s post was that Habs actually have been more respectable than Oilers which I think is not true. Habs have been just as pathetic for the past 20 years. But, since Oilers were used as comparison in the post, I felt compelled to point that as much as they sucked they have come a lot closer to winning the cup than Habs.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Gotcha bud, understood. CHeers Timo!

          • And my point is that the Oilers have no idea how to do it right!

            And your reply was to not give any credit until Marc Bergevin wins the Cup.

            That’s what we all read.

            Shane Oliver
            Twitter @Sholi2000
            Custom Sports Figures

          • Timo says:

            Slight correction – my response is that Habs don’t know any better than the Oilers AND not to give credit to Bergevin until he wins.

            … and I understand that I will never win a bottle of wits cause god knows I am always wrong.

      • Not too long ago? That was 2006, and they’ve sucked horrible ever since. If we were the Oilers, we would have burnt the Bell down by now.

        In one year Marc Bergevin really turned this team around. Sure we have minor injury woes but the team was dead last in 2012.

        Shane Oliver
        Twitter @Sholi2000
        Custom Sports Figures

        • Timo says:

          Remember how Bob Gainey turned the team around too and in the end of his glorious 5 year plan that brought us Jacques Martin and rest of the crew that is thankfully gone now? I will reserve my judgement on Bergevin until Habs make playoffs for a couple of years and actually make some noise in the post season.

          After 30 games last year Leafs were preparing to host the parade as well.

          • I should have never replied to you Timo, you are the exact opposite of the type of fan I would hang out with.

            I’m a happy fan, and have seen the worst in life. I DO NOT live through my favourite team for success.

            Every single comment you make brings fans down.

            I hate this conversation.

            Shane Oliver
            Twitter @Sholi2000
            Custom Sports Figures

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Did you ever read Winnie the Pooh, Sholi?

            If Timo doesn’t mind, I’d say there is a good bit of Eeyore about him: not hesitating to point out what’s negative in reality, but still loved by the rest of the 100-Acre Wood…

            Bit of a stretch?…

            (Now that I think of it, there are various posters here who could be classified according the Pooh-characters: Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Roo… I think Boone has to be Christopher Robin.)

  15. Ian Cobb says:

    Great fun watching this finesse and speed game played last night, but the game is just to fast for one part of NHL which has not kept up. And that of course is the officiating.
    The teams are way to close to each other in the standings for the officials to always be the determining factor in the outcome of every game.!

    The difference in last nights game was two bonehead calls putting us down by two players for a guaranteed goal scored. And a broken stick play, duffed pass by Gallagher.

    But the real difference in the game was the play by the Sabers defense in their own end. They a very large men that never let our players near Miller very often.
    Yes we had lots of action in their end but their D kept us away from most of Millers rebounds and they kept most shots and our players far to the outside all night. Anyone who went near the front of their net found himself on his backside, giving Miller great sight lines most of the night..
    Yes that was the biggest difference in the game last night, the way we had to play in their end on the outside.
    Both goaltenders played great games.
    On to Pittsburgh Tues!

  16. Skeptical says:

    So Boucher is gone in Tampa and that’s the guy 90% of Habs fans wanted. WOW. He looks like a Guy who would go on a shooting spree in the dressing room ….

  17. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Good Recap Boone…

    Drive to the net players:
    PRUST,WHITE,BOURQUE,BLUNDEN all NAG players…all absent (or Blunden w/4minTOI)

    I saw at least a dozen pucks sitting or floating about the crease
    area, but not a Hab in sight…

    do you think ELLER is going in there?

    anyway, a loss always reveals your weakness…
    without our NAG players we will lose 4 straight.

    and I thought DON CHERRY was prophetic pre-game.

    The N.A.G. (North American Grit) effect is the only path to success…

  18. RockinRey says:

    Remember all that hand wringing a few years back when Canada had the Hockey summit. What was wrong with Canadian hockey? We dont score. We dont allow players to be creative. What has happened to our dominance?

    Where are we now? Of the top 10 in NHL scoring, 9 are Canadian!!! Pretty cool to see. Blowing everyone away. Best hockey players in the world.

  19. Habfan17 says:

    All I will say about last night is they can’t win every game.

    I would like to see the Habs stand pat at the trade deadline unless they get an offer they can’t refuse that will make them better for the long term I would rather they try to sign two NCAA free agents;
    Antoine Laganiere, RW
    Senior, Yale University

    Among the group of available free agent forwards this season, none has garnered as much NHL interest as Yale senior Antoine Laganiere. At least a dozen teams are vying for the Ile Cadieux, QC native’s services. Among the teams pursuing Laganiere is the Vancouver Canucks, whose prospect camp he attended in 2011. The Edmonton Oilers and the Pittsburgh Penguins are also among those showing interest. The senior winger attended both teams’ prospect camps last summer. Laganiere is currently third on the Bulldogs roster with 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games to date. He co-leads Yale with two game-winners and ranks second with six power-play goals.

    Laganiere is a 6’4”, 197-pound power forward who uses his frame exceedingly well in creating space and opportunities. Where this is particularly noticeable is in his strong play in the dirty areas, an attribute that has made scouts take notice, as well. Laganiere takes full advantage of his size, reach and tremendous strength in maintaining both puck control and his positioning. He is not one to shy away from the physical aspects of the game. He can deliver solid checks and is aggressive on the forecheck. He is also a competitor. One notable improvement Laganiere has made since arriving at Yale is in his skating. He is an excellent skater with great mobility and skates with long, powerful strides. His added strength has greatly enhanced his speed and agility. Laganiere possesses great hands and a blisteringly hard shot. He can make nice, crisp passes, and along with his outstanding vision, can utilize open spaces quite effectively. He also has great finishing ability. One of Laganiere’s best assets is his stick, which he uses equally well in both offensive and defensive situations.

    Andrej Sustr, D
    Junior, University of Nebraska-Omaha

    Along with Western Michigan’s Dan DeKeyser, Nebraska-Omaha rearguard Andrej Sustr is the hottest commodity on the collegiate free agent market this season. The 6’8”, 225-pound native of Plzen, Czech Republic has had the attention of NHL scouts from almost the moment he arrived in Omaha nearly three years ago. But when his skill set began to catch up with his enormous size last season, interest in Sustr skyrocketed. There are now at least 20 teams hoping to land the prized junior defenseman. Among the teams showing strong interest are the Detroit Red Wings, the Los Angeles Kings, the Ottawa Senators, and the Vancouver Canucks. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose prospect camps Sustr attended last summer, are also in the mix. Sustr currently leads the Mavericks in defensive scoring with 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 34 games to date. Sustr has played nearly the entire season alongside 6’6” sophomore Jaycob Megna (ANA), comprising the nation’s biggest defensive tandem.

    While his gigantic frame is certainly one attribute that NHL teams like about Sustr, what has impressed them even more is how effectively he uses it. Sustr takes full advantage of his size, strength and wingspan in moving opposing players off pucks and taking away their time and space. He has good gap control and does an excellent job in containment, as well. Sustr is also a player that doesn’t shy away from playing the body, showing that he can dish out some of the most punishing hits in college hockey. Two of Sustr’s best assets are his stick and his shot. He uses his excellent stick work exceedingly well at both ends of the ice, whether it is in creating turnovers or distributing the puck. His cannon-like shot has improved in both accuracy and velocity over the course of his collegiate career. Another area where Sustr has really developed is his skating. He’s not the prettiest skater, but he moves remarkably well for such a big man. Sustr has also shown marked improvement in his agility and balance.

    This was posted on Hockey’s Future.


    • HabsFanInTampa says:

      Sustr has been picked up by the Bolts two days ago.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Andrej Sustr has already signed with the Lightning. I second that we go after Antoine Laganière though, nothing wrong with a big winger homeboy we can have for ‘free’.

      • Habfan17 says:

        Maybe Bergevin will have a chance at Dekeyser or Carey. Can’t have too many defencemen in the system and when you get them for “free” it is a bonus. Carey being a left wing would help since the Habs have a lot of prospects at centre and right wing.


    • RockinRey says:

      They can’t win every game ..yes. But they should . And Habs fans should not take anything less. We demand excellence.

      And if as a fan you don’t. There are other teams you can cheer for that are satisfied with mediocrity. Down here on the 401 500 clicks away a team comes to mind!

  20. HUDSONHAB says:

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned but I looked at the leafs/bruins game summary just now. 3 minor penalties and 1major? What a bunch of wimps! Aren’t these two teams supposed to be the meanest, toughest, biggest, take no prisoners teams on the planet?

    Sounds like they are just a bunch of big mouthed bullies that won’t go toe to toe with someone there own size.



  21. Un Canadien errant says:

    For some reason, I can’t post my recap. You can read it here if you’re interested.


  22. ont fan says:

    When the season started Diaz, Prust and Bourque weren’t even on the radar here. We were too small and perimeter players. Now look at the talk. We were shooting for a couple of years from now. We are right where we started from. Now it gets interesting for MB.

    • After watching Bourque last season I didn’t want him here at all. You can’t blame us for doubting him. His history proves his play. We need him back because he’s a good player right now. But if I were GM I’d get what I can from him and move him right along. It’s horrible to say that as basically you are using him but that’s business right?

      At the same time I feel for him, he may never play well again because of his injury.

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      Custom Sports Figures

  23. Propwash says:

    Time to panic everybody!!!


  24. otisfxu says:

    Sundsy morning question,,,,,Does Pacioretty look too much like a Dufus to be a real star in the league?

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Okay good now we can really take your posts seriously. Very good question you pose…..

      • otisfxu says:

        Sorry, but when I look at him,,,,,just would hate to see his mug on my Cheerios box,,,,,,scare the grandkids

        • RockinRey says:

          Never really thought about it but could he scare a glass of water? Is he the reason the ocean has tides? Or when he cries , do the tears run down the back of his head just so they dont have to look at his face?

          Is he that kind of ugly???

        • B says:

          Who cares what he looks like, he produces well overall.

          –Go Habs Go!–

          • RockinRey says:

            Lately? Hmm 7 pts in last 10 is ok. Would like to see more.

          • Mavid says:

            thats right, and what is ugly depends on who is looking at him..he is no beauty but he is OK..you want real ugly, try Chris Neil, or Ovechkin..

    • RockinRey says:

      Non factor lately. PK has been the biggest surprise . Backing up his play far more than any other player. Well except for Gally! And Prust!!

      • otisfxu says:

        Right, Pacs is a big strappin guy, wouldn’t last night’s game be a perfect place for him to step in and make something happen? Long way from an elite pwer forward in the legue

        • RockinRey says:

          Agree ..he has shown signs. But lets face it. Even some of the guys out West have their moments when they have been middling.

          Take Thornton, Getlaf, Perry, Or even Marleau. They have had their moments where they get slammed for inconsistency. It just seems that some of these guys disappear at times. People expect so much more.

          Even Patches. Thats why a guy like Crosby should be appreciated. This guy gives and gives. He might not make the score sheet but he is always a factor in the game.

          Can the same be said of some of the Habs fowards? Nice players. Just not Superstars.

          Of course the same cant be said of many other players that just cant control the game the way he can.

  25. Un Canadien errant says:

    A lot of commentors describe last season as one in which anything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Canadiens. Such analysis is inaccurate, hyperbole. We could point to a myriad of things that went well, or at least didn’t didn’t fail. The Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole line was magic once it was brought together halfway through the year. Carey Price had a strong season and was healthy until the final few games. Uh… Oh, yeah, Alexei Emelin, Raphaël Diaz and Yannick Weber all got significant minutes and seemed to improve as the season wore on. Andrei Markov finally played a few games. P.K. Subban, after a frustrating, uneven start, seemed to settle down and resume his progress.

    Last night’s game is one of those instances, where observers may be tempted to say, again, that ‘everything went wrong’. It didn’t. Only the score did.

    I saw some amazing stats on various game recaps, such as the wide margin the Canadiens had in zone starts and Corsi and even-strength Fenwick, and I would have been even more shocked had I understood what any of them meant. I’ve learned and forgotten and tried again to memorize what these numbers mean, but have been taking them with a grain of salt, since they are based on the notoriously unreliable NHL secondary stats such as takeaways/giveaways and shots and faceoffs. I also view them with a jaundiced eye because some practitioners of these dark arts used them to ‘prove’ that Scott Gomez was more valuable to the Canadiens than David Desharnais. The enhanced stats guys seem as reliable as Paul Ryan with budget data.

    In last night’s game however, theses stats lined up with what we saw, in that the Canadiens were constantly in the Sabres’ zone, buzzing around their net and peppering Ryan Miller with shots. The Sabres would finally get the puck out over the blue line, where a feeble pass would be intercepted by the Canadiens, and the whole cycle would begin anew.

    No, this was an example of luck evening out over a large sample size. The Canadiens have played well, but have had some bounces go their way and managed to eke out win after win, sometimes in extremis. Everything Michel Therrien touched seemed to turn to gold, the latest example being the Colby Armstrong offensive surge once being placed to the right of Lars Eller. Last night, the bounces didn’t go our way.

    Offensively, Nos Glorieux, who all season long have taken turns doing the scoring, were held off the sheet simultaneously. Not that they didn’t show effort and skill, just that they couldn’t convert, all at the same time.

    Meanwhile, the Sabres were bottled in their zone and rarely threatened Carey Price. Their two goals were fortuitous, the first on a 5-on-3 powerplay due to highly questionable penalties to Mike Blunden and P.K. Subban, the second when Brendan Gallagher fanned on a pass in the neutral zone due to a broken stick, which led to a quick counter-attack and a nifty move by Thomas Vanek. Looking at it with Buffalo-coloured glasses, you could say the Sabres ‘found a way to win’.

    P.K. has been the subject of social media conversation the last few days, or at least more so than usual, and yesterday it was apparent the pressure may be getting to him. Enjoined by his coach to be more disciplined, he vigourously argued his first penalty for delay of game, and the video replays seemed to confirm his point of view. On his second penalty, he tripped Patrick Kaleta in the neutral zone, a half-lazy, half-unlucky brain cramp of a play, in which he tried to get at the puck along the boards through the Sabres’ skates. He seemed agitated on his way to the box, in my view trying to communicate to his coach, his teammates and the fans that he was mad at himself for the penalty, that he understood, like the kid who broke the vase while playing baseball in the living room, after being told not to play baseball in the living room because he’ll break the vase. This is one of these instances where the coaching staff will be wise to pat our boy on the back and relieve the pressure, instead of adding to it. Go get ’em next time kid, we know you’re trying hard, we can’t win ’em all.

    Lars has caught my eye recently with his greater confidence and authority with the puck, but in this game on a couple of instances demonstrated that he’s still a work in progress. He stickhandled his way through a lot of defenders in the offensive zone, except he was being guided to the outside and the blue line by his opponents, and twice coughed up the puck across the blue line and the Canadiens had to exit the zone and tag up. This reminded me of Andrei Kostitsyn’s habit last season of taking the puck from the corner in the offensive zone to the blue line, where he’d flip it hot potato-style in his defenceman’s shin pads, while the defenders who’d shepherded him there licked their chops. Lars will learn. While I don’t extol the ‘cycle game’, it’s the equivalent for the forward of the ‘bang it off the boards’ approach for the defenceman, the safe approach. The puck is safer deep in the opposition corner than it is skittering along the offensive blue line, primed for an odd-man rush.

    The balm which will take the sting off this loss is that the Bruins lost also, so we ‘kept pace’ in our division. Especially since the Maple Leafs will fold, and the Senators should come crashing to earth. Anytime now. They can’t survive all these injuries. Right?



  26. HabsFanInTampa says:

    Just In: Guy Boucher fired by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  27. Steeltown Hab says:

    Let’s hope last night was the clear end to the Armstrong on the 3rd line experiment.


    Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

  28. Mavid says:

    Good Morning everyone..my first game back and they lose..bummer..glad to be home even with the snow… GO HABS GO!!

  29. Habfan10912 says:

    Even money we hear from Nuna today?

  30. scott9002ca says:

    Hey, its a been a long time since I posted here, but I usually follow the feed here, and read a few comments, just to get an idea of how some fans feel.

    I just wanted to make a few points. First, PK has been playing flippin awesome. he’s had some bad luck recently with refs blowing calls. Maybe a coach’s challenge limited to penalties actually called to be overturned, maybe even limited to specific penalties, like highsticking and delay of game where the camera clearly shows an honest mistake was made. It’d be tough on the refs, but they’re professionals, and need to accept some embarresment once in a while.

    Second, its one game! Jeeze, if we finish 4th I’ll be ecstatic! You can’t say we were outplayed last night. Once a few players recover from their injuries, we’ll be golden. It will make for an exciting playoff run. I don’t know if we need another addition, but I would accept it either way.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      You should post more often. Your post makes a lot of sense. I was more pissed about the no call tripping on a breakaway. Hard to justify missing those, eh?

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        Agree, especially since the ref’s have been handing out plenty of Penalty Shots this year.

      • scott9002ca says:

        Thanks! Yeah, that was bizare. What did the ref see? I know he’s a rookie, but that seemed cut and dry (and dangerous). Even Bob Cole was surprised it wasn’t called. But a coaches challenge on penalties NOT called is trickier, because then if its deemed a penalty was warrented do you nullify everything after that point including goals and other penalties? rewind the clock? Only if it leads directly to a goal? What’s the definition of that? a rush? not leaving the blueline? not losing possession? what if the other team briefly possesses the puck and loses it again in their own zone?

    • ArmyFan says:

      I’m certainly not jumping on the doom and gloom bandwagon – we’re still 1st in the Northeast. However, I have to agree with Boone’s assessment, as I kept saying the same things throughout the game last night — no net traffic, a butt-load of shots from the perimeter and bad angles, and sloppy with the puck (e.g. Lars Eller, although he wasn’t the only one). Makes the shots on goal and puck possession stats look great, but it’s not how you win hockey games.

  31. RockinRey says:

    RE: ALN
    These are some of the concerns that have been well documented on this site all season.

    Two schools of thought. Hey they are winning so why criticize?

    Second lets dissect whats really happening. They have been going to the net less and less as the season has worn on. Is that a function of lack of size? Could be. I think it is. Smaller guys are generally unwilling to pay the price to get to the dirty areas! Are the smaller guys finally becoming worn down? Maybe having second thoughts? Peeling away for fear of an injury?

    And the thing that the coaching staff should be telling the fourth line is hit, hit again, and hit some more!! Don’t deviate. Your job is to be tenacious and wear down the opposition D when your name gets called. Bottom line. They dont have the skill set to get creative. They should be all leading the team with hits. Even if it means just rubbing out the opposition. That kind of thing wears on guys that are contributing big minutes.

    As I see it these holes have been apparent all season. There is the lack of a true sniper, a big body on D and another forward with grit and the ability to contribute and be productive.

    In general playoff hockey allows for less space and tighter checking and does not allow for smaller guys to flourish unless driven by power play time . The lack of size is a concern and is something that MB has to address even past this season.

    But, are the Habs capable of winning one or even two playoff series? Certainly. But with the team as it is currently constituted does not strike fear into any opposition. They might catch lightning ( Price might get hot), and put together a game plan similar to the one that stymied Pit and Wash a couple years ago but, realistically they will be in tough against those Boston and or Pit. Its not solely about speed and talent. Its about the ability to get through tough, in your face “grind it out” series.

    I dont think they necessarily have to go for broke this year either. Its up to the staff to decide if they have a realistic chance for the cup. Of course we know each season any team has the potential to go on a streak and upset the fav’s and win a couple of rounds.

    I am hoping the Habs do so. I dont know if Price has shown any signs he is capable of doing that yet.

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      But isn’t it the little guys who go to the net on this team?

      • otisfxu says:

        only because that is all we have – little guys

      • RockinRey says:

        Not lately. I did not watch the game. But I watch most. They do play on the periphery lately.

        Thats why I was preaching to temper the enthusiasm . As the guy above posted I dont expect them to finish first in the conference. If they did I would love it. And I am rooting for them to do it..

        Just looking at the team with a critical eye they lack finish, some more grit, and Gallagher stands out the most to all of us as really the only guy who does not seem to be denied going to the net. Cant say I see the same from the other vets or diminutive forwards.

        • Old Bald Bird says:

          I am somewhat disappointed with Pacs this year. I thoguht he would be more agressive.

          • RockinRey says:

            Me too. He has been quiet lately. Not much of a factor it seems. The streak has camouflaged some of the true flaws with them .Which maybe makes the season all the more remarkable.

            Maybe thats why a lot of pundits are saying there are teams that may make the playoffs this year that are just as likely to miss next year.

    • Phil C says:

      I don’t mind criticizing the Habs even when they are winning, there is always room for improvement.

      Size and going to the net have nothing to do with each other. Dustin Penner is one of the biggest forwards in the league, and also one of the softest, MacTavish nearly lost his mind trying to get him to play physically. While on the Habs, Gallagher and Gionta go to the dirty areas all the time.

      Could they use Bourque and Prust back? Sure, but it is not easy to find big guys that can play hockey and who go to the dirty areas. Going for size over skill and speed is a bigger mistake than having a small team. I find the “Habs are too small” excuse gets dragged out every time they lose, but I’m not buying it. They just thought they could win without paying the price in front of the net, and they almost did. That won’t happen in the playoffs.

      As for wearing down your opponent with a physical style, I agree it is a valid strategy, but only if you are rolling several lines with that strategy. One line is not going to wear down the opponent on 12 minutes of ice time.

      It seems to me that Therrien prefers a puck pressure strategy instead of a physical strategy, so he doesn’t want the fourth line running around hitting because you get out of position and the forecheck breaks down. The fourth line’s job has been to defend, gets the puck deep, gets the cycle going, draws penalties and get offensive zone faceoffs. They have been doing that for the most part.

      As for goalies, give me Price over Fleury and Rask any day in a seven game series.

  32. Psycho29 says:

    Wow people…..this team is 20-6-5 overall, and 7-2-1 over the past 10 games.
    Time to put down the Timo Kool-Aid and come in from the ledge!!!!

    I had the French news channel LCN on this morning; all they are talking about is the Boucher firing. They even had a panel of 4 sportscasters at 8:15 discussing it. You`d have thought a Montreal team had made a trade or coaching change….Not Tampa!

    • Bill J says:

      Even in his sucktitude period, Jesus Boucher is adored by some French media outlets.

      Go Habs Go!

    • habstrinifan says:

      If you are referring to my posts may I say that I am not ‘upset’ at this loss or anything with the team right now.

      I just see a trend where we need to be more dangerous 5 on 5… and I see now as the opportunity to develop that. I also believe we have the players AND COACHES who can do it.

      • Psycho29 says:

        My post wasn`t aimed at anyone in particular, just in general at the doom n gloomers (or the posters who only show up during or after a loss)

        I love how this team has played so far this season. Can improvements be made, yes definitely…..but it`s headed in the right direction…

        And I`m very confident that MB isn`t finished making changes this season….

      • B says:

        Only 5 teams have scored more goals 5 on 5 while only 1 team has allowed more goals against 5 on 5. Not so bad.

        –Go Habs Go!–

  33. otisfxu says:

    Boucher fired,,,,,,,,that was a quick fall to earth

  34. Steeltown Hab says:

    TSN reported Vanek is drawing a lot of interest for the deadline. I’m not really a fan of making a deal and would hate to give up picks/prospects but I couldn’t think of a player situation that might be a better fit for the Habs right now.

    He’s got another year left so we’d have him one more season (huge contract but no long term commitment). He’d walk in and be our biggest offensive threat, Plekanecs finally gets a legitimate top-line winger.

    If we gave up a 1st and Thrower, that would be a bold move, but with three 2nds and another year with Vanek I’d do it.


    Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

  35. otisfxu says:

    We talk here like Prust returning will be the second coming. What do you think this guy is going to do – turn into the hulk and superman at the same time???

    He’s not a scorer, which we really need, and if he does take on some tough guys, he’s in the box for the whole game.
    This team is the same team it has been for years – too small, no real scorers. They don’t intimidate anyone.

    Also, I am tired of people complaining about bad penalties – So Blunden got a penalty – doing what we keep looking for – someone to knock other guys down. Tough teams don’t mind taking penalties – it pays off in the long run when the other team has to keep their heads up.

  36. habstrinifan says:

    Good Sunday Morning everyone!

    Please consider the following: We are deep enough into this short season and close enough to the playoffs season that the intagibles of hockey now come into play. Including the imperceptible factors which influence referees approaches to a game.

    Point 1. Therrien has coached the team very very well. He must, by now, have the confidence of being ‘in charge’. So no more putting players in the ‘public eye’ to drive home any philosophy. As Torts has done all season it seems. Once you do that I think those players become ‘people of interest’ to the referees… especially players who must play ‘on the edge’ both physically and what plays they make. Unintentionally that makes them being noticed and makes them receive more negative scrutiny from the referees and more borderline penalties.

    Point 2. Our PP cannot be our ‘go to’ offensive weapon when playoff time comes. In clutch playoffs situations there are less calls and more leeway. This team has to becme more dangerous offensively. Ryder for instance must be in regular 5 on 5… what P.K. is in a PP. A set up shooter/scorer. Plays must be designed/practised positioning him to ‘get that shot’ and all players involved must be alert and responsible to react a)defensively and b) opportunistically based on the outcome of those plays. If Ryder was not acquired as a ‘pure scorer’ then his acquisition was misguided. He has no other ‘standout’ ability on the ice. Galchenyuk could also be groomed similarly. His ‘scoring’ prowess needs to be focussed on and brought out now. He was drafted for that reason.. to be a scorer.

    Point 3. Eller is becoming by osmosis our top centre most dynamic offensive player. Time for the coaches to ‘admit’ that and parlay his play and ice time into him providing more scoring opportunities for his linemates. In other words give him the responsibility of setting up scoring… focus his play more…. like say a Crosby does instinctively. Crosby doesnt take the puck aimlessly (and overly carefully defensively)… he has one goal …setting up a scoring play.

    Point 4.. and the most important. This team needs to upgrade its 5 on 5 offensive ability. Either add a player or develop it from within. We cannot win a CUP without a scoring threat.

    • Cal says:

      Point 3: Eller, aside from 1 play, was horrible last night. Lots of puck carrying with no purpose. Skating on the periphery and not going for it and then losing it. He did this twice. People talk about his “vision.” He doesn’t have much, unless it’s tunnel vision.

      • Chrisadiens says:

        Agree Cal. Eller definitely had an off night, but those have been few and far between lately. He’ll bounce back.

        Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

      • habstrinifan says:

        You are making my point. What you see as lack of ‘vision’ I see as lack of combinative skill/training/guidance/purpose.

        • Cal says:

          Eller has Galchenyuk on his line. Which player do you think should be carrying the puck and setting up plays?

          • habstrinifan says:

            Wrong question maybe? Maybe ask should Galchenyuk and Eller be on same line. Look I didnt want to go there cause I am definitely not questiong coaching. All I am saying is that from the past few games Eller is becoming more important… lets exploit it ‘offensively’ And also develop Galchenyuk towards that end. We have no other players with their size and skillset on this team right now… not even Pacioretty. Gallagher is feisty and good but skill/size wise he isnt at their level.

          • Steeltown Hab says:

            Armstrong is single handedly killing that line. Eller can control the play cycle etc, with Galchneyuk and Armstrong on his line Imagine if he got some PP time.


            Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

        • Habfan10912 says:

          I see it as experience. The improvement we’ve seen from Eller from the beginning of the season is monumental.

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      I do wonder about Eller on the PP, specifically on the half wall instead of Pacs with Pacs playing in front.

  37. HabinBurlington says:

    Kovalchuk could be out awhile in Jersey, hit the boards hard with his shoulder last night.

  38. Chrisadiens says:

    Is it just me or is the Bell Center crowd much quieter than past years? I know last night there wasn’t much to cheer about but it seems all year, it been eerily quiet at the Bell. Maybe it’s just me?

    Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Morning Chris, apparently Cal isn’t as loud in person as he is online, this quiet crowd at the Bell Center last night can also be blamed on he and his friend. It’s going to be a tough day for Cal, but he will come out a better person for it.

  39. Lafleurguy says:

    And a “Good Morning” to all on this sunny Palm Sunday. Rollercoaster rides have always given me a queasy stomach. Attended a semi-final hockey game last night in which my grandson was cross-checked in the neck and I’m much more upset about that than the Habs futility against weak teams. Sorry.

    Now, a lot of you fellow posters are “good in the room,” while others….not so much. I adopted the listener role to hear reactions and speculations as to why M. Bergevin picked up Jeff Halpern off waivers, and respectfully, none mentioned the main reason: to stop the tidal wave of posts about P.K. the media darling and bring more attention to P.K. the penalty kill. It worked, Halpern didn’t play, and the P.K. was better (which one?)

    And finally, invoking full disclosure ethics, I would like you all to know that you played a vital role in the discovery of ASD* for which treatments are being hotly researched. Until measuring stick work and Litmus testing are finalized, the temporary treatment shall continue to be hefty doses of grandchildren and for those without, adopt Jack Daniels as your grandchild.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Sorry to hear about your Grandson. Hope he avoided injury and the perpetrator was properly penalized.
      Congrats on the discovery of ASD. Do we now refer to you as Dr. Guy?

      • Lafleurguy says:

        More frightened than anything. Mark Recchi and I mail ordered from the same place. Haven’t heard coyotes live before, and technically still haven’t but that was fun. Cheers Jim!

        “May you live in interesting times.”

  40. Arrow77 says:

    We lose one game and yet again, people are panicking because that loss HAS to be more representative than all those wins we had before…

    Look, we lost ONE game, and we played pretty darn well for a loss! Some nights, the puck just doesn’t cooperate. The net crashers? It’s better to have some than to have none but when Prust gets back, it will be a non-weakness again.

  41. John Q Public says:

    Where’s da checking gone ?
    No umph.
    Prust makes everybody better, come back soon we miss you.

  42. HabinBurlington says:

    Montreal was not the only “Top Level” team whose offense looked woeful last night. THe Boston Bruins also threw rubber at the Leafs, but also didn’t appear to be on the verge of scoring or winning their game. While they got a couple goals late, the Boston offense suddenly has gone dry also.

  43. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …hope no one took Me seriously earlier urging Marc hire Boucher

    …someOne HAS to design a useable tongue in cheek icon 🙂

  44. The Cat says:

    Im kinda glad Boucher got fired. Players slowly lose the will to compete under those ‘anal chessmasters’ type of coaches. Hockey players got to have fun too and not always be robots out there.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  45. 24 Cups says:

    Eleven days to the trade deadline. For weeks now posters have been talking about possibly bringing in a depth player or two. Someone to be insurance for a long playoff run.

    It now appears that MB is faced with a much tougher decision. The Habs can’t compete in the playoffs without Diaz and Bourque. The only player they have to replace Diaz is Kaberle. It appears that he will sit for the rest of the year in amnesty limbo. I wonder if he even practises with the team these days. Maybe Mike Boone could answer that question. As well, there is no one in the system that can replace Bourque. The fact that the team had to play Blunden and pick up Halpern is ample proof of that fact.

    So Bergevin has 11 days to figure out if he is going to make two trades to get replacements. The cost is going to be a lot higher than moving a mid round pick or a roster player such as Weber or Ellis. Trading partners will smell blood and they will want some of Montreal’s good kids or draft picks (Montreal’s 1st or Calgary’s 2nd).

    Montreal has been a very lucky team this year which has helped with their unbelievable turnaround. Now they face their first real crisis of the season. It will be interesting to see how Bergevin and Therrien handle it. April 3rd should tell the tale.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      The net presence that Bourque (this years version) brings is badly missed. Prust will help but he’s not a big time goal scorer. Whatever the setback was is not good news for us Hab fans. Diaz IMHO is the player we miss the most. There have been way too many breakdowns in coverage and it’s the two of the veterans who have been making them the most, Frankie B and Gorges. If I’m MB I’m still looking for defensive help first.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Good Morning Steve, agree with you. A couple of glaring holes suddenly, I really hope Bourque can heal up, but I fear his season may be over. Wish him well.

  46. Habfan10912 says:

    That one has left a sour taste in my mouth. I try not to overreact to just one game so I won’t but Josh Gorges is clearly becoming a weak link in the defense. Either, as other have told me, he’s having trouble getting his act together from the lockout shortened start or many of us have over estimated the guys talent level. Whatever it is it’s wearing on me.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Good Morning Jim, Gorges seems to be chasing the play somewhat, as opposed to being in a position to have it come to him. Granted on the second goal, with Gallaghers stick blowing up, that is a change in direction which no one can predict and definitely caught the Habs flat footed as a result.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Perhaps Gill played a bigger role in the Habs PK than we realized..

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Josh may have been better served by the Jacques Martin Système than the new one. He thrived when it was all about clogging shooting lanes and blocking shots. He was also a top-pairing defenceman by default last season, whereas this season he suffers a little by comparison.

  47. HabinBurlington says:

    The firing of Boucher seems a bit ridiculous. Yzerman has done Boucher no favours by giving him a team with no goaltending and no depth.

    Yzerman will be next to go there.

    • JohnBellyful says:

      Maybe Boucher would have lasted longer as NHL coach if he had just worn sunglasses. That death stare can only work so long before losing its potency.
      Imagine the effect he would have had on referees. Whenever he wanted to question a call, he’d lift his glasses, and look at the official for 30 seconds and not blink once.
      Edit: And he could wear those artificial lens that would make him look alien. Oooh, I get creeped out just thinkin’ about it.
      Edit edit: More alien.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        He does have that Ernest Blofeld look going which can be rather intimidating.

        • JohnBellyful says:

          He’d make a great vice-president of player safety. Put him in charge of administering supplementary discipline. No more hearings over the phone. Make the player appear in person to argue his case — ha, ha — and accept his punishment. Guaranteed, 15 minutes with Boucher’s piercing glare would cow a player into changing his behaviour for good. No more repeat offenders.
          And as a former coach very familiar with the lax administration of justice by wayward on-ice officials, he would be in no mood to show leniency for undisciplined play.

          • habstrinifan says:

            WOW! Spot on! Imagine having a hearing in a dark room with Boucher and all you see are his eyes.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Morning Burly. Tampa has these spurts, they did it again yesterday where they seem to score goals at will. I think the talent level has not equaled their play and this was a deserved firing especially with Ruff being available. I’m guessing that Steveie Y wanted to scoop up Ruff before someone else did. That said, I think Boucher will get another shot and eventually become a successful NHL coach.

  48. Harditya says:

    Guy Boucher has been fired. Confirmed by Darren Dreger and the team’s official website.

  49. FlyAngler says:

    Brad Watson is an arrogant SOB and I have suspected in the past that he has a thing for the Habs. Justin St. Pierre is just plain pathetic and misses more penalties than he calls such as the Gallagher breakway in the first period when he was obviously tripped. Campbell and Gregson have to go before things will get better………..

    “Elever le flambeau!…Raise the Torch!”

  50. HabinBurlington says:

    I believe Mr. Boone summed up the offensive woes of our Habs with his description of how it seemed our team our team was peripheral in the Buffalo zone. While the team carried the play, and dominated puck possession it never seemed that we could break down the Buffalo defence to a point which created a real quality scoring chance. The Vanek goal was a great example where the Sabres broke down the Habs (Gorges) defence and created a 2 on 1 leading to a an excellent scoring chance for their best goalscorer.

    I am not sure how this needs to change, but while Miller indeed was producing rebounds there simple was not any Hab players wiling to go to the dirty areas to pounce on them.

    The calls were poor by the Refs, but as Therrien stated at the start of the year, 3 goals per game to win the game. Once again 3 goals would have got the job done, but the Habs barely mustered 1.

    This team really missess Bourque and Prust, two player who get their goals by going to the net.

    Very disconcerting that Bourque has had a setback, Prust will eventually be back, but I think many of us questioned 10 days to heal a seperated shoulder.

    MT will face his first real Litmus Test this week, as the team could play better and lose its next two games. Interesting times are certainly arriiving for our Habs.

  51. Cal says:

    I have to apologize to all of you for being present at the Bell Centre last night. The loss is on me and my friend who has NEVER been at a game where the Habs have won.
    I knew it was a bad idea. 😉
    One thing I must say about the off-ice crap that goes on during breaks: is Montreal not a hockey town? The incessant noise and stupid “activities” don’t give fans a chance to talk about the bleeping game. I thought I was in Phoenix or something.
    The last thing is that DJ there should be muffled. Horrible music choices and too loud.
    Again, sorry for going and ruining the mojo.
    BIG WEEK ahead!


    • JohnBellyful says:

      Apology not accepted. it was your fault, Cal, alone, admit it and you bragged about it. Before the game. Yesterday’s song parody gave it away.
      Against the Win.
      Looks like you’ll be walking for awhile. No more rides on the bandwagon for you, my friend.

    • Chrisadiens says:

      I feel your friend’s pain Cal. Dad and I had about an 8 year spell where we didn’t see the Habs win. It didn’t take away from our enjoyment of the game or the trip. It became part of the tradition. 🙂

      Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

  52. Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

    Hyper-crytical, turn on a dime fans are the end result of the 24 hour news cycle on sports. 20 years ago the bulk of fans watched a game a week and read about the team in the paper. Now we know what the players ate for breakfast. Bound to affect how we look at the team. 1 game, 3 games or 5 games is too small a sample to understand what this team is about. Go back and watch those NHL Network championship season reviews. The ’86 edition of the Habs, if you watch the NHL Network show,was all over the map it seemed. It won a bunch, lost a bunch, had shoddy goaltending and defence, then won the cup. Keep that in mind the next time a game is stolen or an egg is laid.

    As far as moving forward this season, I doubt we’ll see a splash at the between now and the deadline. Far more valuable to let it ride, keep all our picks, and see what we get for the next 10 seasons. Look at this season as a bonus. If it continues, great! If not, they seem to be farther along than anyone expected.


    Double or nothing on the Kraken bet.

  53. Cape Breton says:

    I can’t find anything on Boucher being canned. Is this correct or just a rumour?

  54. JUST ME says:

    I just wish we would learn from the lessons of the past…When Boucher went to Tampa the Habs were complete ignorants for letting him go and made a big mistake.
    He was treated as if he just invented the wheel and that he was a genius and so on…He is just another coach with a lot of knowledge and will be coach with a solid organization for a long time to come .In Tampa his shelf life of 3 years is up. In my book he was doomed the famous day his 1-3-1- system exploded in his face that famous evening against the Flyers.

    But he is young and will find a place cause he knows how the players think and in today`s era in hockey it`s a must.

  55. Cape Breton says:

    Are we gonna use Halpern? Good 4th liner with lots of experience. Get him in there MT.

  56. Cape Breton says:

    48-0 would be nice, but can’t win them all. Tough week ahead. Hopefully Prust gets back soon.

  57. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Boucher canned

    …finally …hire him Marc ! 🙂

  58. JF says:

    That makes three times the Sabres have beaten us this year, and each time the referees have helped them. The first time they shouldn’t have gotten any points, the second time they might have won anyway, last night, without the phantom call on P.K., who knows? If the Sabres make the playoffs, they can thank the officials.

    As for the Habs, I can’t fault the effort last night. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at Miller. Nor am I yet concerned abut what Therrien calls net presence. Most games they do get into the dirty areas. Last year’s team played on the perimeter, this year’s mostly does not. It was a game in which they didn’t get the bounces, the calls went against them, and Mller, who is almost as much a Habs-killer as Brodeur, was all but unbeatable.

    But the injuries are becoming a concern, particularly Bourque and Diaz. Bourque’s relapse is very bad news; he could be out the rest of the season. As for Diaz, it’s more than a month now and he still hasn’t skated. The freak incident that apparently caused the concussion didn’t look like much; in fact, he didn’t know until more than a day later that there was a problem. The defence is doing OK most of the time without him, but his absence means that Markov in particular is playing way too many minutes.

    Bergevin is no doubt monitoring the situation with a view to making a move before the deadline. Last night’s result might convince him to get some help up front.

  59. Mike D says:

    Is it just me, or does that look like Saku Gionta to the right of Therrien?

    – Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

  60. HABZ24 says:

    Bottom line: if buff should make the playoffs lets hope we dont have to play them

  61. Bouleau noir says:

    The present roster have proved ealier on that ” crashing the net ” and ” net presence ” were important facets to their game when they wanted it to be. Looking back at the start of this season it easy to remember how willing they were to do anything to win games and turned the page over the negativity of the previous season.

    They slowly realised as the season went on that as long as they kepted working hard and kepted working within the system that they had enought talent to win most of their games which they did….. the fact that they have lost only lost 2 games in regulation out of their last 20 games tells it all.

    Why brake your neck and get a puck in the face if you can do without it, why risk injuries ? When the playoff start it will be a different story and THEN they will re-insert in full measure the crashing and the net presence which was already a large part of their game while in the first segment of this season.

    This is an intelligent team, they play a fast game, have good scoring depth and plays bigger than their size when they need to, I’ll go with that and when Bourque and Prust come back so much the better.

  62. RazzleDazzle says:

    Will the Habs ever have a player that competes as in top scoring. It would be nice, i mean its only been 20 years

    • savethepuck says:

      Or maybe you can be the Rangers with no CAP space who have 3 guys averaging a CAP hit of close to 7.5 million a year, and their next forward Callahan ( who I think wears a C ) at 4.25. After that, the next highest on the payroll is 1.7 Million. TheHabs only have 2 forwards at 5 Million then it drops, meaning they have depth. The Rangers traded all their depth to get a guy that was a great hockey player, but sacrificed their depth to do it.
      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Pricey

    • savethepuck says:

      Give 3 to 5 years and tell me Alex Galchenyuk is not there, because I’d be very surprised if he’s not. If not, how about Brendan Gallagher.
      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Pricey

  63. Sportfan says:

    Would be really cool if we got a guy like Hartnell on our team

    Maybe philly will give him up 😀 I know thats hard to believe but still


  64. Skeptical says:

    You be the judge. Buffalo 2-goals on 18 shots. Habs 1-goal on 39 shots. Is that offence or Goal-tending Problem?

    • Sportfan says:

      It feels like less people in front of the net trying to get garbage goals :s


    • jrshabs1 says:

      what do you think?…I think you are a leafer in disguise. why do you keep changing your avatar pic? just come out of the closet and admit that you are just trying to stir up s#@t tonight.

      Go Habs Go!!

    • showey47 says:

      I’d say offensive problem. How can you blame goaltending on a deflected shot on a 5 on 3 or a goal scored from point blank due to a dman losing his player? I guess the bright side is that this may force MB’s hand a little in acquiring another top 6 forward.

    • shootdapuck says:

      Nothing new whatsoever!

      This group even dating back 4 year are notorious for missing open nets especially shooting too high.

      The ‘sniper’ has lost a step at 34 years old and Gallagher as good as he is is not a physical net presence!

      Without Prust and Borque too many puck battles down low are lost and other than Gallagher net presence doesn’t exist and offensive play is on the perimeter.


      The cranial flatulence of PJ Stock:

      “On peut play cette game tres simplement”
      “Le game est tous de hard work”
      ” I have a pet peeve”

  65. Jrodder says:

    Wow, Very typical. The Habs lose their first “regulation loss” in 8 games, BTW are 20-6-5 !!!, and so called “fans” are ripping them up. Apparently they suck now, and are not playoff contenders. Ummm are you kidding me?? How good have they been down the stretch so far??? held the 1st place eastern conference for quite a while and are now right behind!! Especially compared to the horrific season we endured last season? We get a loss and people are prepared to burry them. Typical shitty fan. Have a little faith. This is the very nature of Competitive sports. There are 2 sides, you can’t win them all.

    And Boone, every time they lose you question how good of a team they really are, and when they win you praise them and say how enduring of a team they are. They have won way more then lost. Get your shit together a make a decision. We should all be enjoying of good of a season it has been so far.

    • savethepuck says:

      Welcome, hard to disagree with you here. The constant off again, on again, is very frustrating for me too. No matter how bad this team plays, I always stick by them ( yeah sometimes I look like an idiot by doing it ). But at least I don’t change my opinion of this hockey team 20 to 30 times a year. How can people feel foolish by jumping back and forth so many times? Seems like to me “we’re winning the Cup”, no I was so wrong, we absolutely sucked and need a good lottery pick. Wait a minute, “we just beat who?”. Wow, we are the best team in the NHL again, Go Habs Go!!
      For those who are constantly negative, good for you, stick to your guns, but I have no idea why.
      For those who are constantly positive, good for you, I am the same.
      For those who bounce back and forth depending on whether the team wins or loses on a given night, get a freaking life.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

  66. savethepuck says:

    Agreed about the coaches challenge Boone, the game is getting too fast for officials to see everything, no matter how many of them are on the ice. It’s not a dis on the refs, it’s only an understanding that nobody should be able to see things 100% correctly when things are traveling at that speed. Same as in the NFL, it’s not an insult to the refs, it’s just that things can be missed in real time that can be picked up in slow-mo.
    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

  67. Marc10 says:

    That was one frustrating game. The refs were no help.

    Max and Chucky need to get it going. I would have thought the crappy Sabres would be an ideal team to get back into a groove.

    Oh we’ll… Can’t win ’em all, but I thought we deserved better. Next time…

  68. Sportfan says:

    1 that photo is freaking creepy

    2 with the injuries this team has and the obvious need of another Prust with are put in a predicament. we have Gally, Gio, DD and Dumont now who are all very short that is one short guy per line. We need bigger forwards now we can’t rely on just Prust and Gally for energy. I believe MB is working on it as we speak.


  69. Habilis says:

    Those two PK phantom calls were brutal. It got me thinking, there must be a way to at least fix easy misses like that, easpecially in this day and age. So, here’s my attempt at a solution to the whole coach’s challenge deal:

    First things first, forget about the coaches. They’re not the problem here.

    Move one of the refs from the ice to the pressbox. Give him a monitor for replays and a headset to communicate with the on-ice ref. He could review close plays in real time and help the man on the ice get it right. Plus it’s one less excess body on the ice.

    Now I can see that the refs might not go for that, but the NHL could also just train some dedicated “video refs” to operate in that same capacity. We have the technology, why not use it?


    • DickandDanny says:

      Yes, agreed. Get one of the blind mice off the ice and put him somewhere he can see the game properly and help out the other joker with correct calls. Either that or bring in the coaches challenge asap. We lost tonight because of a bad call which resulted in a 5 on 3 (the kiss of death penalty) and that totally changed the complexion, and possibly the outcome of the game. So, anyone who says refs don’t influence the outcome of games is off their rocker.

      \”A cannonading blast from the wing, by Lafleur\”

    • Sportfan says:

      That would probably work a lot better in theory haha


      • Habilis says:

        You’re probably right, but they really do have to try something. Would there be growing pains (ie: game delays) in this kind of system? Yep. But once they got the hang of it, it would become second nature to them.

        I just thought this might be more complete as a solution compared to the coach’s challenge. The challenge can really only change one play. These guys should be getting it right all the time. I know reffing is a tough gig, but that’s the point. They have the means to help themselves, they just need to learn to intigrate it into the current system.

        • Mike D says:

          Absolutely correct. The Coach’s Challenge, while a step in the right direction only changes one play (assuming the ref agrees with the challenge to begin with). Having a “video ref” allows for them to get calls right ALL the time, which should be the goal.

          – Honestly yours
          Twitter: @de_benny

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …excellent solution

      …errr, only problem …makes way tooo much sense 🙂

    • savethepuck says:

      Don’t recognize you from past posts on here, but I’m surprised nobody replied. I totally agree about the fact that there was no referee conference after PK supposedly shot the puck over the glass. As always, I generally chalk that up to a referee that grew up in the GTA, or at the least was a Laffs fan brought up to hate the Habs by his father and/or grandfather ( when there used to be a rivalry). As a long time Habs fan, I agree there is an obvious bias by certain refs, even though I know there are some on here that haven’t been brought up and made witness to this over many years, that think we are paranoid.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

      • savethepuck says:

        Meant this to be a reply to DickandDanny below, have no idea why it showed up here.

        “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
        Carey Price

  70. DickandDanny says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a delay of game penalty (puck shot over the glass) where all the refs don’t gather and consult. What was up with the joker tonight going right to the penalty box to make the call without so much as a hint of consultation. Very poor officiating. It seems to go ok for awhile then we run into it again and that is what happened tonight. Some bad reffing, and lack of calls for us for sure. Ie: No call when Gallagher tries to cut inside on the D and gets tripped and ends up in the net. No call when Ryder has a breakaway and the Sabres player stick is wedged up between his family pride and he gets twisted up when he tries to shoot. No call when Buffalo had two many men on the ice at their bench and the player who came on played the puck. On and on I could go. Lets face it if your not a habs fan in the NHL you probably hate them. That’s the way it is love em or hate em. And, so you don’t think that refs carry that same mentality with them when they come in to do a game in Montreal. They all probably grew up hating the habs, so any chance they get to stick it to us when the have the power they do. And PK is on a lot of their hit lists, so no wonder when he shot the puck, and it supposedly cleared the glass untouched, it was straight to the box for him. Very unfair to the guy as the puck clearly hit the boards as shown on the re-play.
    \”A cannonading blast from the wing, by Lafleur\”

    • savethepuck says:

      Don’t recognize you from past posts on here, but I’m surprised nobody replied. I totally agree about the fact that there was no referee conference after PK supposedly shot the puck over the glass. As always, I generally chalk that up to a referee that grew up in the GTA, or at the least was a Laffs fan brought up to hate the Habs by his father and/or grandfather ( when there used to be a rivalry). As a long time Habs fan, I agree there is an obvious bias by certain refs, even though I know there are some on here that haven’t been brought up and made witness to this over many years, that think we are paranoid.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

    • Cal says:

      That ref was being spoken to by a linesman at the next stoppage who pointed at the glass. By then it was 1-0. A-hole ref.

  71. Say Ash says:

    Boone, the night-school Photoshop classes are paying off. This is your best work, by far.

  72. Da Hema says:

    The Habs should have won tonight. They didn’t. They’ll beat Boston next week. Take a pill.

  73. Timo says:

    Habs will not be a contender in the playoffs. They don’t have the players to take them far in the grinding, punishing series. While MB is busy signing washed up blasts from the past, the main weakness is not being addressed.

    • H.Upmann says:

      Hope to see you jumping off the bandwagon on Deerfoot

    • Say Ash says:

      They finished friggin’ last a year ago. Name a single team that went from last to contend in a single season.

      • Clay says:

        Anahiem, this year. They were 13th place in the Western Conference last season (close enough to last) and look at them now.
        Not to disparage the Habs here though – they are doing great, and I’m very happy with the season so far.

        ☞ The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. ~ Richard Feynman ☜

    • savethepuck says:

      Is the main weakness an unrealistic overdemanding fan base that expects them to go 82-0. ( sorry, only 48-0 this year ).

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

    • Cal says:

      Another happy day for Timo, which is pseudo-Slovakian for Lose, Habs, Lose.

  74. Skeptical says:

    Hockey is weird. Montreal Played Good and loss. Toronto Played bad and won. Makes a person scratch their head ….

  75. Hockey Bob says:

    Go Habs Go

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