About last night …

PriceCarolina

Must we discuss the hockey game that was played at the Bell Centre Monday night?
Nah.

What’s to discuss?
The Canadiens have OWNED Carolina this season.
The 4-1 win completed a sweep and brought the aggregate score to 11-3.
The Hurricanes are a one-line hockey team, and the Canadiens effectively contained Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty (who hit the goal post while the game was still close) and that Russian dude Jim Rutherford thinks is worth $7 million per through the 2016-’17 season.
Carey Price made 18 saves, the penalty killers held Carolina to two shots in 10 minutes of power-play time and Max Pacioretty scored twice for the first time since Feb. 27.
It will probably take 52 points to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens have 51 … which means they’ve punched a ticket to the dance, even if they go 0-12-1 between now and April 28.
And there’s a really good chance they’ll do better.

So let’s jump ahead to the merry month of May and think about how deep this team can go in the postseason.

And let’s look ahead to 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

Will Marc Bergevin bolster his lineup before the NHL trade deadline?

How?

Based on what I’ve seen through 35 games, I think the Canadiens general manager should proceed with extreme caution.

The team has surprised everyone this year … probably including Bergevin and the ace hockey men – Rick Dudley, Larry Carrière and Scott Mellanby – working with him in the Canadiens’ front office. No one expected this team to be first in the Northeast Division ad second in the Eastern Conference – five points behind the Crosby-less Penguins, with a game in hand – as April begins.

The Canadiens have won 23 games – a total exceeded only by Pittsburgh, Chicago and Anaheim. Their plus-27 goal differential is third best in the league.

If the Canadiens can remain among the top four teams in the conference – and there’s every probability they will – Pittsburgh and Boston can be avoided until the latter rounds of the postseason.

If the playoffs began now, the Canadiens would meet the Devils in the opening round. The Martin F. Brodeur Jinx notwithstanding, I prefer New Jersey to either Ottawa or Toronto. There’s less of a chance of an upset against NJ than there would be in a crazy, emotional eastern Canadian series against the Senators or Leafs.

So the Canadiens are a lock to make the playoffs and a good bet to go at least one round deep and maybe more.

Is a 25th Stanley Cup a possibility? And what should Bergevin sacrifice to boost the chances of a June parade in downtown Montreal?

At the risk of having the Commentariat rise as one to suggest the Ol’ Blogger be dipped in Nutella and fed to hungry grizzly bears, I think your Montreal Canadiens are a very good hockey team that’s not quite Cup calibre.

Now I don’t want to rain on the aforementioned parade. Strange things happen in the playoffs. And if Carey Price finds his inner Jaro Halak … well, who knows what could happen?

But the best is yet to come, and I wouldn’t want any trade-deadline moves that compromise the Canadiens’ bright future.

This team will be a lot better when Alex Galchenyuk is logging more than the 7:57 ToI he had against Carolina.

Nathan Beaulieu, who played 15:17 and was plus-2, is going to be a good defenceman for a long time.

The core of the team – Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Brandon Prust and, yes, David Desharnais – is signed long-term to affordable contracts. Lars Eller will get an extension next season. And we can hope that P.K. Subban is re-upped before Christmas. Five years for $35 million will be the basis of the discussion – more if P.K. wins the Norris and the team goes deep.

Brendan Gallagher is playing his heart out for $870,000 in a deal that has two more seasons to run. Jarred Tinordi will be in Montreal next season.

Oh, and the goaltender is signed through 2017-’18.

And the Canadiens have six picks in the first three rounds of a vintage draft.

Bottom line: Barring a first-round loss to the Leafs, the agony of which would be assuaged by watching the whole Hockey Night in Canada studio crew perish when their pants explode, this has been a GREAT season.

Unlike Ray Shero in Pittsburgh, Peter Chiarelli in Boston, Paul Holmgren in Philadelphia – the list goes on and on – Marc Bergevin is under ZERO pressure to make a blockbuster deal.

The Canadiens’ GM is playing with house money.

So what should Bergevin do?

On L’Antichambre, Mathieu Darche made the case for prying Jason Pominville out of Buffalo. Darche considers Pominville the second most complete player in the league, after Patrice Bergeron.

Pominville would be a great addition. But there’s likely to be a bidding war.

Jaromir Jagr to play with Plekanec? Also an interesting possibility.

But given the uncertain state of Raphael Diaz’s health, the inexperience of Beaulieu and the risk of playing Andrei Markov 24 minutes a night in the postseason, the Canadiens mainly could use help on D.

Stéphane Robidas, from those nice people folks in Dallas who provided Michael Ryder?

He’d be good. But the Stars are still in the playoff hunt.

Ryan O’Byrne? Maybe … if the price were right.

That’s the key. If I’m Bergevin, I’m not discussing the Canadiens’ first-round pick, or the Calgary and Nashville choices they hold in the second round.

The GM has made two astute acquisitions: Ryder and the waiver pick-up of Jeff Halpern, who was voted First Star against Carolina.

As has not been the case in recent seasons, Canadiens fans should trust the general manager to make the right moves.

It might mean doing nothing … and that would be fine.

 

 

292 Comments

  1. steve29 says:

    Can someone explain to me why someone like Detroit didn’t offer a bunch of money for PK and hope the Habs couldn’t or wouldn’t match as Calgary did to Colorado as they’ve stated many times that they wanted a top dman

    • habstrinifan says:

      Maybe cause people believed the negative press. Lots here did. He was slated for trading cause the team would be better without him by many here.

    • Strummer says:

      A lot of organizations view the offer sheet as a lack integrity given what they went through in last years lock-out.
      Calgary as we have seen is short on integrity.

      ______________________________________________________
      “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Detroit knew Montreal had the money to match any offer, all it would do is drive up the price of their next RFA stud dman. Unlike Jay Feaster who just drove up the prices for future RFA centermen.

      • commandant says:

        Exactly.

        If we look at the history of offer sheets we notice that they are made on teams who lack one of two things (or both)

        Cash (see Nashville, Colorado, etc…)
        or
        Cap Space (see Ryan Kesler’s offer sheet, Niklas Hjarlmasson, etc…)

        Montreal had both, so Detroit knew an offer sheet wouldn’t have been successful.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
        http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • kirk_is_work says:

      No point offer sheeting Habs RFAs since the ownership can afford it.

  2. dhenry1234 says:

    Jarred Tinordi will be in Montreal next season? I actually disagree after watching Nathan Beaulieu’s two games. Excellent skating and he seemed to fit right in. I enjoy watching him more than Tinordi. That’s no chirp to Tinordi either. Have to give him credit on his call up too, and there’s no telling how good he’ll be down-the-road.

    I think Beaulieu has a better chance of making the roster next year considering his current play, but hey, things change.

    PK – Diaz
    Markov – Emelin
    Gorges – Boullion
    Beaulieu or Tinordi

    As you can see, we have a lot of depth at the D position. Now the question; Which one of these D-men are in MB’s plans for the future?

    • Mattyleg says:

      So you think we’ll only need one d-man callup next year?
      I don’t.
      Two for sure.

      Tinordi didn’t have much chirp because he was busy doing his job right. When he’s more secure, he’ll step in and give it a go, I have no doubt.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Kooch7800 says:

      They are both very different D men. Tinordi is a stay at home D man who should be physical (isn’t there yet) and Beaulieu is a great skating puck moving D man who see’s the ice well and will eventually take over Markov’s spot as the PP quarterback. They have different intangibles and it would be more of a question of who is out of the line up for what style they need on D.

      I think they two of them could actually be paired together down the road as their styles would work together.

      Both are huge prospects for the habs. Our D in 2 years is going to be stellar and with Price in net we are going to be in the mix for awhile.

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

  3. Phil C says:

    Tyson Strachan could be a good pickup. He has been playing top-four minutes on depleted Florida blueline. Last game against New Jersey he played over 23 minutes of even hockey. He has size, plays a physical style, and will drop the mitts. He has no offensive side, but if Emelin or Gorges get hurt, the Habs need a better option than Weber, or 20 year old rookies.

    • adamkennelly says:

      Tyson Strachan would be a great addition. I kinda like Matt Martin – basically like another Brandon Prust. He pretty much ended Tom K’s career last night but was nice about it.

  4. Sportfan says:

    List of te Flames picks for the up coming draft boy they have a lot of 7th round picks.

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  5. Lafleurguy says:

    We have some trump cards. How would you feel if St. Denis were inserted into the line-up? Me, I would trust his play more than O’Byrne/Beaulieu/Tinordi/Pateryn.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  6. Ian Cobb says:

    A few play off games going into overtime, will spell disaster for our D, unless we work others into extra min. that they can handle.

    What to do??

  7. Ian Cobb says:

    I am very content if Bergevin stays pat with this roster, but I do not want to see Markov have to play to much over 20 min a game in the play offs.
    The key will be if Diaz can play and if number 40 can get his ice time up to 18 or so min. Emilin cannot play anymore than 18min without draining Markov, covering up for his errors.

  8. 24 Cups says:

    So Pominville gets to name eight teams he doesn’t want to play for if he’s traded this week.

    If I’m an NHL player here are the eight teams and/or cities I don’t want to play for: Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton, Dallas, Phoenix, New Jersey, Winnipeg and Buffalo.

  9. Lafleurguy says:

    The Bulldogs are out of playoffs (did folks know Brady Vail scored on saturday night). So, defensemen St. Denis, Beaulieu, Tinordi, Pateryn, would be available for the playoff roster. How large a roster is allowed in the playoffs?

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  10. 100HABS says:

    I liked Tinordi more than Beaulieu. Bigger and just as mobile, and doesn’t seem as hesitant with the puck.

  11. SuperHabFan says:

    Do people here still not realize they use Plekanec’s line as the shut down line? They constantly log in the most TOI and play against the other teams top lines. And yes this line includes Gionta, because he knows how to play a shut down game while also playing offence. Nash on the Rangers, completely shut down. Eric Staal and Semin, shut down. People asking to get trade Gionta or think he’s is underachieving because of his numbers just have no idea what is actually happening on the ice…

    • Loonie says:

      Gionta’s defensive play is stellar, but I think it runs contrary to what most see in a great defensive player.

      He doesn’t have the physically imposing nature or takeaway skills of a Toews or Datsyuk.

      What he does better than almost anyone else in the league is putting the puck in great areas.

      He never makes a cross-ice pass unless he’s sure it’s going to get through. He makes the opposition make a difficult pass too.

      His play with the puck makes him excellent defensively in my opinion.

      • SuperHabFan says:

        Yes, exactly. His name gets tossed around like he is worthless. People seriously don’t understand how important his role is on this team. He logged in 19 min last game for a reason.

        • Loonie says:

          I wasn’t comparing them. I was making the distinction between how they are good defensively in my view.

          Basically saying that just because he doesn’t play like those guys doesn’t mean he isn’t good defensively, good in different ways.

  12. HabinBurlington says:

    So reading all the posts this morning, seems we are all in agreement of what is needed. Matt Stajan…. Okay I could be a day late posting this.

  13. frontenac1 says:

    Obyrne sometimes scores on his own net and likes ladies purses.A real card.

  14. Sportfan says:

    I am not against adding another depth defensemen at all it would be nice to get another d who could defend and contribute on the PP. Beaulieu is great help for the PP 2nd unit not the cube and gorges together.

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  15. habstrinifan says:

    Boone calculates that we need to go MINIMUM 0-12-1 in our 13 remaining games to ensure ourselves of a playoff spot.

    Wont rest easy until we get that 1 point!

    I think MB needs to make a deadline trade to make sure we get it.

  16. Mr_MacDougall says:

    I’ve been a hater, but Travis Moen has been looking a little better the last two games. Seems faster, getting to the net, and even threw the odd hit.

    He must have been playing hurt.

  17. HabinBurlington says:

    While Beaulieu looked okay last night, I don’t think he is ready for the playoffs to be a 6th dman. Perhaps 12 more games helps a bit, but he will be unable to provide 12mins. per game I don’t think. Assuming Diaz is out, I think the Habs do need to get a dman to play 10-14mins. per night. I don’t think O’Byrne is that guy. Of course thankfully this is MB’s problem not mine.

    • Loonie says:

      I agree pal. I haven’t been as impressed with Beaulieu as most. All of the tools are certainly there but he seems slow to react and isn’t really anticipating the play well at all.

      He’ll get there but this team needs something else for the playoffs.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      It is possible that one of Tinordi, Beaulieu, Pateyrn can step up and play decent.

      It would be nice to add another Boullion type though.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      But I thought Monsieur Bergevin takes our suggestions seriously?!

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  18. Mr_MacDougall says:

    @Loonie

    I agree that Calgary should and will continue to tear things down this year. They will have to keep enough assets to reach the cap floor.

    I think Stajan (only + on the team 1 year left) Cammy, Stempniak, Glencross, Giordano are all in play.

  19. Arrow77 says:

    If we pick somebody up, I’d be okay with O’Byrne. You was playing top-minutes in Colorado (admittedly, one of the worst defense in the league) and pairing him with Bouillon will give us a 3rd pair that we could play more than just a few minutes a game. More importantly, you know there won’t be any bidding war for him, so the price won’t be too high. I’d keep Beaulieu with the team, for those days where the power play needs help.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      O’Byrne played 16 minutes last night and was a minus 2. One game does not a career make, but I suspect he continues to struggle with the same tasks he struggled with in Montreal.

      Physically he would be a wonderful addition, able to play decent key minutes for the Habs in playoffs is another question.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Either rookie (Tinordi or Beaulieu) trumps O’Byrne in my opinion.

      • Strummer says:

        Komisarek could trump O’Byrne, and we know he’s available

        ______________________________________________________
        “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

  20. thehabsfan29 says:

    Really Hope MB makes a deal before the deadline.

    My dream is to get pominville. i know a lot of people don’t want him but hes a upgrade over gionta and hes a proven goal scorer. yes hes been cold as of late but that could easily change with a new team

    Clowe is another possibility but only if the price is right. HE IS NOT WORTH A 1ST! and no desire to resign him for a long period of time (heard he wants 7-8 year extension)

    Jagr is another possibility & i cant see it costing very much to get him. we all know the chemistry he has with pleks. Could be a solid move

    as for d-men

    Erik Johnson could be a great fit but the price might be too high

    Gioradano another player who would look great with us but his contract is tough to take on.

    Maybe Nick Leddy from chicago? (not sure if the hawks would move him though)

    Again it’s Just my opinion on some players we should take a look at trading for before the deadline.

    • Loonie says:

      Jason Pominville is Dustin Brown without the physicality but better defensively.

      He’d be a great add for any team. And he’s exactly the kind of player you want at this time of year because his style of play allows him to thrive in any lineup and any line combination.

      He’s been the Sabres’ swiss army knife for years and while they haven’t been great, he has.

    • habstrinifan says:

      Like!

  21. Bash says:

    The Loose Caboose!

    Sorry…posted in the wrong place. This is the accepted term for PK’s signature rear end of the freight train!

    Also known as the Marchand Mash and the Lucky Lucy!

    “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

  22. Sportfan says:

    Does anyone else feel like Calgary is getting shafted a bit by Feasters decisions? I know only time will tell blablabla, but that conditional pick for Jay Bo is a very unique pick. I though St Louis was in a higher spot in the playoffs not 8th.

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  23. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    We (over the last 15yrs) always had the talent and some great goaltenders…. what we didn’t have was GRIT, MUSCLE…

    it was a cake walk to come to the Bell Centre…a joke.

    even last season, whats the difference? 4 or 5 players with GRIT and an infusion of the Veteran Youth Movement.

    North AMerican GRIt and the VETERAN YOUTH MOVEMENT…
    and we have First Place…

    oh…and lets not forget, a coach with $#%@…you know.

    The N.A.G. (North American Grit) effect is the only path to success…
    GALLAGER = Future Captain of your Habs

    • Loonie says:

      Johan Franzen probably has the best combination of skill and grit in the NHL.

      He’s from Sudbury right?

      • HAB-PROFESSOR says:

        NAG is a style of play, not where you’re born.
        that said, it is more prevalent in N.A. then Europe.
        by a country mile…


        The N.A.G. (North American Grit) effect is the only path to success…
        GALLAGER = Future HAB Captain

      • Lafleurguy says:

        There’s a Sudbury in Norway, but Franzen is like Dave Murray of the Penguins in that he’s from Sweden. (just kidding about Norway)

        “May you live in interesting times.”

        • HAB-PROFESSOR says:

          FRAZEN is a great player, in the NAG style, thats why detroit locked him up real good.


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

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Veteran youth movement sounds as oxymoronic as non-whining Claude Julien.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

      • HAB-PROFESSOR says:

        It is the YOUTH that are given a chance… and play as VETERANS.

        do you not think that GALLAGER who is a YOUTH is playing like a VETERAN??…what HAB veteran is playing as GALLAGER does??

        NONE…. understand now?


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

        • Cal says:

          Veteran youth is as ridiculous as experienced rookies. Your statement makes as much sense as nuna: “It’s too bad none of our rookies have NHL experience when they are called up.”

    • Elephant Man says:

      Oh prof, you’re bang on! It’s all about Prust, Armstrong, Moen, and White. I’m fed up of hearing how we’re successful because Price has been so solid all year, or because Markov is back, or of course the much dscussed infusion of new talent in the two Gally’s, and some have even floated the ridiculous notion that Eller’s play has helped free up the attention that the other higher scoring centers get from the opposition. Whatever the case, I ‘m with you, screw talent, go with NAG every time…. yeesh.

      I and I am not an animal, I just reproduce that way.

      • HAB-PROFESSOR says:

        they work hand in hand… its the NAG that will allow the Talent to play unhindered, un-facewashed, un-slapped out after whistles…

        all we had was talent that ran to their mommies as a fellow player lay on the ice… those days are over, thanks to management/coach.

        NOW WE HAVE SOMEONE THAT WENT AGAINST LUCIC.
        IS THAT NOT PROFOUND!!!!


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

      • Cal says:

        Like the Kings won it all without Kopitar, Richards, and Carter?
        Another Homer Simpson post. Doh!

  24. commandant says:

    Great game last night and Boone is right, total domination.

    With Bourque said to be skating now, and a return to the lineup before the playoffs too, Boone is also right that no big move is needed at forward.

    Lastly Boone is right in seeing that we need another defenceman. Teams generally don’t go far in the playoffs without having to persevere through at least 1 injury to a top 6 defenceman. Right now we have 5 reliable D. A rookie with 2 games (at home, and protected by linematching in Beaulieu), a D who looked AWFUL the last time he played in Weber, Tinordi and Pateryn in Hamilton who Therrien doesn’t trust to get minutes in big games, and Kaberle, who likely is a buyout and the team doesn’t want to play and risk injury.

    Hopefully Diaz (who still isn’t skating) can comeback and give us a 6th reliable Dman. However even if he does, I believe we need to add 1 dman for a playoff drive. If Diaz can’t come back, we might need 2.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

  25. Steeltown Hab says:

    Hopefully a couple goals wakes Pacioretty up like it did last time, tired of seeing the line carried by Gallagher.

    Beaulieu looks solid, can’t wait to see him settle in even more.

    Under 10 mins for Galchenyuk ln….

    ———————————

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

    • commandant says:

      I think Patches is gonna go on a hot streak now. Like most guys in the NHL who score 30-40 goals per year, he will go on incredible hot streaks followed by incredibly dry runs. Thats the nature of goal scorers… they will score 9 goals in 10 games, and then none in the next ten. Its something Habs fans should have learned after years of watching Zednik, Ryder, Kovalev, Gionta, Cammalleri, and now Pacioretty. Its not something unique to Patch.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

      • Lafleurguy says:

        One of the many great things about Lafleur in his first nine seasons, was how he wouldn’t have long droughts. It was surprising how few hat-tricks or four-goal games he had. Mind you, if he would have had these types of games, he may have attained the 92 or 85 goal seasons Gretzky, Lemieux, and Hull had.

        “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Phil C says:

      That was a great power forward move he made for his goal. O’Dwyer is probably still wondering what happened.

      • Steeltown Hab says:

        Yupp. I just want to see him go back to doing the things that made him successful, which is fore-checking hard and laying the body a bit more.

        ———————————

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

        • habstrinifan says:

          Max laying on the body? I never sa wthat in his game. Skating like a bull without fear to the net and shooting every chance. That’s what I see and that’s what he needs to bring … staright nort south speed and freight train like style.

  26. Sportfan says:

    Like many of you I am loving this Habs team players, management, coaching its been solid and really exciting to watch. We have a bright future too, but right now I’m just going to sit back and relax and enjoy what this team has done this season.

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  27. Thomas Le Fan says:

    We don’t need no stinkin’ inner Halak. 50 shots a night with Price standing on his head isn’t something I want to see. Let’s keep it to under 25 and let our sieve of a goalie win it all for us.
    Go Habs!

    There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk.

  28. j2w4habs25 says:

    LEAFS @ HABS FIRST ROUND.

    Carey Price #31

  29. Lafleurguy says:

    Burly touched on a significant event in the Rangers game. It was the play where Nash plowed into Price. Knee-jerk response kicked in for P.K. who was about to nail Nash with a cross-check, but Carey quickly waved P.K. off. Couple (of) things. Carey’s reflexes are faster than a knee-jerk response which involves nerve conduction at 120 metres per second. Second, his mental focus was switched on fully, and Nash hardly scored a blip on Carey’s radar (in the literal sense, no Ranger scored at all). Third, Carey is tough. Fourth, a()lot of non-Habs fans rate Carey very highly (see Nick Kypreos, Pierre Lebrun). Fifth, a()lot of Habs fans just don’t watch other goalies in action, e.g. Corey Schneider’s game yesterday would have had Habs fans running him out of town if he were a Hab.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  30. Elephant Man says:

    As a fan raised on Stanley Cups, the last twenty years have been tough to say the least, but no matter what may come to pass this post-season the bad times are over. It’s really quite amazing the transformation the Habs have gone through in the last few years, from a fringe team with largely bare cupboards to a contender with a healthy, bordering on bursting, pipeline of talent. As Boone said “The best is yet to come”.

    Ah Mr Boone, you’re really not as controvertial as you think, unless I am equally so, since I agree completely that we should’nt mortgage ANY bit of our future for temporary gains, since that’s typically how most teams take steps backwards in their building process. Your assesment of going after O’Byrne is astute, he wouldn’t cost much, (Weber?) and the notion of seeing O’Byrne and Tinnordi paired together in the near future is just so damn tantalizing for the obvious reasons. You want controversy? I wonder what we’d get for Markov in this thin market?

    I am not an animal, I just reproduce that way.

  31. Habfan10912 says:

    I don’t want to sound unfair here but we sure do love are ex players here, don’t we? Ryan O’Byrne? Geez the O’Byrne I remember could not move the puck at all, was incapable of making a pass out of his zone, and was a turn over machine. I fail to see how adding him would improve the team. If MB is going to make a move can we get a top 4 dman who can do all the things O’Byrne can’t? Please?

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Agree with you J. Can’t remember him skating nearly as well as young Tinordi, and neither of these big men skate like Nearbig Beaulieu can.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Phil C says:

      Are you willing to pay the price for a top four guy? Two second rounders as a minimum, and Murray is not even a top four guy. A guy like McBain will cost you a roster player or a top prospect and a pick. Do you really want to mess with the roster that’s winning?

      Tinordi has a lot of potential, but he is still to young/green. They need some veteran help.

      • Loonie says:

        Use some prospects……

        We’ve got the Salming award winner sitting in Sweden and a Hobey Baker Finalist who may not sign with the team.

        If we’re unlikely to retain their rights it would be best to use them in between now and 3pm tomorrow to get an impact player.

        • Phil C says:

          Kristo’s uncertainty would diminish his trade value.

          If they could add a player under contract or an RFA for a prospect, maybe. High price for what could be a 16 game rental.

    • 24 Cups says:

      O’Byrne is sixth on the Colorado depth chart. This for a team that is in the hunt for last place overall. He lacks mobility and has no offensive game that could ever replace Diaz or help out the PP. A 3rd pairing of O’Byrne/Bouillon would get eaten alive in the playoffs.

      • Phil C says:

        A replacement for Diaz wil be very tough to pull off at current prices.

        O’Byrne played some good shutdown minutes for the Habs in the 2010 playoffs. If Emelin or Gorges get hurt, I would rather have O’Bryne than Weber. O’Bryne is not great, but he is what is available.

        • Strummer says:

          There’s a Diaz replacement in the pressbox, well rested I’m told

          ______________________________________________________
          “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

  32. Habfan10912 says:

    Nap alert! NHL Network is broadcasting TSN’s Trade Centre all day Wednesday so ALL of North America can partake in the Leaf love-fast bore fast. Adjust your afternoon naps accordingly.

  33. Phil C says:

    The Habs are Cup contenders. Best offensive defenseman in the league, especially with Beaulieu looking like he could stick. Any team that has one of Markov or Subban on the ice for almost the entire game is dangerous. They are also playing great team hockey which makes them better than the sum of their parts. A desparate Carolina could only manage 18 shots, that kind of team defense is how you win championships.

    I think they they are set up front. They have made it to the trade deadline with their top nine in tact, with Bourque skating again. I would not want to see Eller or Galchenyuk in the pressbox for a guy like Jagr. Maybe replace Armstrong if he is hurt badly. That would be cheap.

    On defense, I am so glad they passed on Regher and Murray. But a depth right-handed defenseman might be a good idea if the price is reasonable. A guy like O’Byrne or Strachan as an upgrade on Weber in the pressbox. You cannot have too many defensemen.

  34. 24 Cups says:

    Two days to go.

    As Mike Boone mentioned, the Habs need a defenseman but not a guy like O’Byrne or Zanon. Any new player has to be cut from the same cloth as Diaz.

    The only problem right now is that most teams are still in the playoff race. The only teams that are down for the count would be Buffalo, Tampa, Florida, Calgary and Colorado.

    As I mentioned last night, Jay Feaster’s incompetence continues to astound me. The Iginla and Bouwmeester deals were brutal. Montreal could have certainly outbid St Louis as long as Calgary would have taken back some salary for next year. That was an opportunity that MB should have pounced on.

    Boston plays Ottawa tonight. You just never know. If Montreal can finish 2nd in the conference they would be looking at teams such as New Jersey, Long Island, NYR, Washington or Carolina. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    • Loonie says:

      I want no part of the Rangers or Capitals Steve. They can get hot and be as good as anyone.

      New Jersey, Carolina, Islanders or Jets?

      I’d be tickled.

      I agree about Bouwmeester also. Bergevin may not want to trade a first round pick but goodness that was a less than modest package for an excellent player.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        Goal-tending always seems to steal a series or two in the playoffs. I’d worry about NJ being one of those teams if they get there. Not sure the Capitols have the goal-tending to upset any of the big boys. Agree that the Rangers could be scary.

        • Lafleurguy says:

          Got New Jersey all the way to the Cup finals last year, where Brodeur ran out of gas. Mike Smith eliminated the Blackhawks I think. What was amazing was the Devils going from out-of-the-playoffs to Cup finals in one turnaround season. But as the East’s sixth seed, they were fated to lose to the West’s eighth seed in a storybook outcome. The mention of success from low seeds are just words of caution that the playoffs are a different season. For example I wouldn’t be too happy about matching up against the Islanders in the playoffs based on our futility against them.

          “May you live in interesting times.”

      • 24 Cups says:

        Bouwmeester is a bit overrated in a Dion Phaneuf kind of way. However, he can eat a lot of minutes and has great size. He would also be in his UFA contract year next season so you would assume that he would be playing all out.

        Markov/Emelin – Subban/Gorges – Bouwmeester/Diaz
        Bouillon – (Beaulieu and Tinordi in Hamilton for more seasoning and emergency call-ups).

        If Montreal could somehow fill the Cole/Ryder hole they would then be poised for another Cup run next year.

        There is no doubt that we could have topped the St Louis offer.

        • 2mins4lookinsooogood says:

          No way would the Habs have touched JB even if he was free … 6 million dollars next year with a projected 9 million dollars available to sign several players PLUS signing/replacing Ryder.

          “Don’t crush that dwarf Alex Henry, hand me the pliers”

      • 24 Cups says:

        The Capitals are the Sharks of the East. I’ll believe it when I see it.

        The Rangers have talent and the best goalie. That could be problematic but based on past history I think you still have to go with the notion that you can win the Ranger match-up.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        Carolina and the Jets maybe but I see the Islanders and New Jersey as teams who could upset someone. Marty is the x factor (see last season) and the Islanders forecheck gives the habs big time trouble.

        There isn’t too many easy series anymore in this league

        “Keep your stick on the Ice”

    • HAB-PROFESSOR says:

      we need size on D….. not the Diaz effect.

      it gets nasty in front of Price in the playoffs, remember….


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

  35. leehammer says:

    I suppose the topic of the day is trade deadline chatter. But seriously, I can’t believe how easy the CH made that look last night. That game was just never in doubt at all. Been several years since we cruised to victories like that.

  36. HabinBurlington says:

    Given the Leafs have been given permission to speak with Kippers agent seems to me that Feaster has indeed already agreed to a trade in principle with the Leafs.

    I do hope Calgary is at least taking the Leafs 1st round pick and a significant prospect, not Eric Knodel.

  37. Cal says:

    A significant piece would be a Bogosian or Bieksa type Dman. I hope that MB can land one. Being a top 4 team in the conference means you HAVE TO make a move to bolster the roster for a Cup run. A note to all those who don’t see a Cup team: 1971, 1986 & 1993. Chances for a Cup run DO NOT come along every season. 2 decades have passed. Bergevin should go for it.

    http://calshabsongparodies.weebly.com

  38. Loonie says:

    Trade winds blowing.

    Lots of talk about what the “market” is for players. Question, who gave up more, the Blues or the Kings? The Kings got a rental for two second round picks, the Blues got an incredibly versatile and useful defenseman for a first round pick, and he isn’t a rental. I suppose the better question is who got more value for what they parted with? I say the Blues by a landslide.

    Marc Bergevin doesn’t strike me as stupid, I don’t see a scenario where he gives up a huge haul for an average short term fix. I could see him sending a nice package for a player like Bouwmeester or a modest package for a stalwart defenseman with a short term contract.

    The question burning in my mind is how he proceeds with Danny Kristo. If he can’t get him signed by this evening I think he becomes a trading piece tomorrow. And with that in mind here are some assets that I would be eager to use if I were him……

    Danny Kristo(if unsigned tonight)
    Magnus Nygren(rights expire in June)
    Habs 2nd round pick
    Habs 3rd round pick

    I think some or all of that could get a nice player or in the case of all of it, one hell of a player.

    • HardHabits says:

      There just isn’t that much available on the market. My perception is that Bergevin won’t make a move unless it bolsters the team long term.

      • Loonie says:

        Pominville, Malone, Gaborik, Stewart, Hemsky(maybe), Fleischmann, Kopecky, Glencross, Ryan at forward.

        Yandle, Robidas, Boyle, Giordano, Whitney, Kulikov, Salo, McBain and Streit on defense.

        I think there’s quite a bit out there.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I mentioned last night, the Blues operate on a very tight budget, given they now have all the Bouwmeester salary, I do think Chris Stewart may be available.

          • Loonie says:

            Probably. I see more long term solutions available than rentals right now.

            And with what Bouwmeester just fetched the time to strike might in fact be right now.

          • Loonie says:

            Double.

        • Storman says:

          Giordano, Glencross, both have very cap friendly value for player contracts,,,, Feaster would officially jump to the top of the worst GM of all time list, I really do not think either of them are available that is pushing your list like TSN does for there 8 hour show…

          • Loonie says:

            They’re willing to trade Bouwmeester and Iginla but not Giordano or Glencross?

            Doesn’t make much sense.

          • Storman says:

            Glencross 2.5 Million until 2015
            Giordano 4Million signed until 2016
            Jaybo 6.7 UFA after next year,
            Iginla UFA next year
            Who would you trade in a rebuild, and you do have to keep some semblance of your team moving forward or do you just say screw you to your fan base, Giordano is going Nowhere, The only team that might pry Glencross free would be Ottawa with one of their young stud goalies either Lehner or Bishop might get it done..

          • Loonie says:

            We’ll see how it goes. I don’t think Feaster’s hanging up the phone when teams call about those two players.

            If Iginla and Bouwmeester can be had, so can they.

        • Fransaskois says:

          Out of those…. Pominville, Giordano, and Malone are the ones I believe are realistic options for the Habs to go after. Guys who could really make a difference for the team (offensive threat, top 4 dman, physical player). Although, I don’t think Pominville fits into a long term plan very well, especially at the price Buffalo would ask.

        • HardHabits says:

          Ryan Whitney

      • Strummer says:

        There may be more available after the season as teams have either missed the playoffs or came up short and may have cap issues as it drops to $64 million
        ______________________________________________________
        “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

        • Loonie says:

          One of the NHL’s lowest budgeted teams just added a $6.7 million aav defenseman without sending salary back.

          I don’t think economics are playing as much into the market as the media says.

          • Strummer says:

            It’s not budget issues I was referring to but cap space.
            St. Louis still has the 2nd most cap space available.
            Other teams won’t have that flexibility and may have to move assets in the off season

            ______________________________________________________
            “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

          • Loonie says:

            There are only three to four teams with a cap crunch for next season.

            Most of the league’s teams are in fine shape for a $64 million cap.

  39. Captain aHab says:

    I’m somewhat worried about PK’s signature check -the one where he goes backwards into the opponent. What worries me about it is that it often takes place about 5 feet from the boards. If the opponent sees him coming and slew foots him, either intentionally or not, Subban will end up going into the Boards with the back of his head leading the way. He’ll be completely out of control and won’t have time to protect himself.

    I would much prefer for him to just staple guysto the boards like Cube does. PK is big enough that he can hurt guys that way too.

    —————-
    Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      A PK injury would be disastrous to this team. Daryl Strawberry once said he was the straw that stirred the drink. PK is that for this team. He is the emotional on ice leader for this team. A joy to watch.

  40. HardHabits says:

    I think the Habs are Cup contenders as is. I also think they have the organizational depth to sustain injuries and still be in it. Any move that the Habs would make should not just bolster the team on the short term but should also improve the team moving forward. I highly doubt Bergevin will opt for a rental. Personally, I see the other team’s moves (apart from Pittsburgh’s) as inconsequential.

    Should the Habs go deep after standing pat, the punditocracy will be out in full force lauding the Habs for sticking to their developmental guns. Nope. The Habs will just appear to be that much more ominous for not flinching.

    • Captain aHab says:

      Pretty sure MB has already said that his philosophy doesn’t involve rentals.

      If the Habs do nothing and get bounced in the 1st round that same punditocracy will be out there saying that MB was too gun shy.

      My hope is that he’ll keep all of his picks in the first two rounds this year, gather a bunch of prospects, then in the coming years trade a pick from time to time to get pieces.

      —————-
      Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  41. Habfan10912 says:

    Habs move up one spot in Fox’s NHL power rankings.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/powerRankings

  42. Habfan10912 says:

    My apologies to all of you who think fighting is a vital part of the game but I think it’s bush league.
    Martin calls over a trainer after knocking out his opponent are old friend Tommy K.

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2013-04-02/matt-martin-knocks-out-tom-kostopoulos-islanders-devils-fight-video

  43. HabinBurlington says:

    I am in agreement with most everything Boone wrote, and trust/hope MB makes the right moves based on what is available. If it means he tinkers so be it, if it means he stands Pat, that is fine also. My only concern is why Boone wants Price to start channeling multiple groin injuries preventing him from playing.

    Yesterday Price took a pretty good bump from one Cane player, and was completely unfazed by it. I am not saying let Price get him, but there is an advantage to having a larger stronger goalie, they seem a bit more durable from the bumps along the way.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Someone wrote recently that this team deserved to be given a chance to win it all. I guess I agree with that as long as the team doesn’t get fleeced. I’ve seen baseball teams who were in contention at the deadline fall into a slump after their management failed to add a piece or two for a playoff run. Do you think there might be a psychological impact if MB fails to add a player or two to this roster at the deadline?

    • Strummer says:

      If the inner- Halak Boone was referring to was that of the 2010 playoff run where Jaro was stopping close to 50 shots some nights and helped upset the top 2 seeds in the East, then it works for me.

      ______________________________________________________
      “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

  44. on2ndthought says:

    someone on here mentioned Greg Zanon from Colorado. He fits the need and should be relatively cheap. I wonder about including a compliance buyout to a team that has none to make.

    “a cannonading drive”

  45. ed says:

    the price for a “rental” stay at home, tough defenceman with experience is TWO SECOND ROUND PICKS???

    It was just yesterday that we acquired The Wiz for next to nothing compared to that.

    So I can understand why we didn’t win the Regyr or Murray lotteries. I would never give TWO 2nd round picks for rentals like that.

  46. Praj12 says:

    “And if Carey Price finds his inner Jaro Halak …” ANd what then ride the pine like Halak is in St.Louis. Gees you old geezer!! I know what you meant but enough is enough. Halak is gone he was lucky to have that great run. Move on old man.

    HABS fan since ’68

  47. Skeptical says:

    To win a cup we need a little more scoring. playoffs is different hockey. scoring wise we’re just a tad shy. if the top teams don’t get eliminated we should be good enough to make it out of the 1st round.

    unless luck is on our side we won’t go much further. we’re still not good enough to go all the way and not much on the trade list to give us that extra. I hope MB stays on the plan he has in place. With the young kids coming up. we have a bright future.

  48. JF says:

    While I agree that Bergevin should proceed with extreme caution, I do think we need a little help on defence. The Boston game was only last week. Markov played nearly half an hour in that game, and it was arguably his worst half-hour of the season, although he somewhat redeemed himself by scoring the tying goal. He played a much more reasonable 22 minutes last night, but this or even less should be the norm. Emelin has also struggled a bit lately. Beaulieu has looked good in his two games, but he’s a rookie. Having an extra body, preferably a big one, would help. If Raphael Diaz comes back, we have that body (and he certainly wouldn’t be “extra”), but it’s six weeks now since he was concussed and he still isn’t skating. Therrien said yesterday that he was making progress; do he and Marc Bergevin have any idea how much progress? Failing Diaz, we have extra bodies in Tomas Kaberle, whom no one claimed off waivers, and Yannick Weber, who has played all of two games and looked (understandably) rusty. I doubt most fans think they are sufficient insurance.

    Up front I think we’re fine if Rene Bourque comes back and plays the way he did before his injury. I believe he’s close. If we need someone else for the fourth line with the injury to Colby Armstrong (whom the Antichambre guys saw walking normally as he left the Bell Centre), Gabriel Dumont did not look out of place in the games he played. Given the abandon with which first-round picks are being tossed around, I wouldn’t move on any of the big names still in play – Ryane Clowe for example. The big names always get over-hyped at the deadline, and teams acquiring them usually give up more than they gain. But I wouldn’t put it past Bergevin to target some player completely under the radar whose skills address a specific need and to get him for a song. Who among us saw the Michael Ryder trade coming?

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I agree with the gist of your posy JF. At this point once assumes Bourque returns sooner then later and fits right in where he left off. I think if MB is to make a move it’s for a defenceman. Right now it looks like Beaulieu might be making a home for himself in a bottom 6 pairing he’s a rookie with limited NHL experience and a veteran with more of a physical game would be my preference going into the playoffs.
      As a side note, Josh Gorge is now looking like his old self and with Halpern have gone a long way in turning our PK unit around. It’s pretty much all good news here.

  49. Hamayoune says:

    “And if Carey Price finds his inner Jaro Halak … well, who knows what could happen?”

    I love Mike Boone lolll

  50. Danno says:

    Would Claude Giroux and the Flyers be willing to talk to Marc Bergevin? If so, wouldn’t that deal be worth pursuing?

    ________________________________________

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

    • geo_habsgo says:

      You really think the Flyers would trade their best player? I don’t want to give up what we’d need to give up to land a player of his stature.

      I am one of those delusional people who think we can sign Kristo and see him make an immediate impact.

    • Storman says:

      Yes but if you are the Flyers and for some crazy lunatic reason you would think about trading Claude Giroux to Montreal, the only player that would open the discussion would be PK , end of discussion No chance…

  51. Sportfan says:

    So riddle me this :P Would O’Byrne actually be a welcome edition to this team?

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  52. The Cat says:

    I dont get it, when the habs arent that good, fans think theres always a chance, but now that theyre good, you hear ‘lets not make any drastic moves, this aint a cup winning team’…Habs should go for it, theyre relatively injury-free. Who knows next year? A couple of key guys go down and theres your year.

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

  53. topher5468 says:

    Anybody see what happened to our old friend Tom the Bomb, he took a bomb from Matt Martin, out cold, Terrible, He was sticking up for a teammate.

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  54. Bob_Sacamano says:

    Standing pat in our situation would be pretty stupid. We are one of the three best teams in the EC. The Pens have made some moves, that other team will make at least one too.

    We have six picks in the first three rounds, a lot of good prospects at D which means that players like Ellis or Pateryn are easily expendable and we should do nothing? Really?

    Yes, this team should be even better in one or two years but with the Rangers a lot worse than expected and the Flyers missing the playoffs this could already be our year. The East is wide open and it´s not that unlikely we “only” have to beat one of the other two top teams to go all the way to the SC final. Yes, there are other dangerous teams but all with less talent than the Habs.

    I´m completely against giving away two high picks for a mediocre rental like Clowe but we can easily afford to trade our own 2nd rounder (maybe plus a conditional pick) for some help on D.

    • Da Hema says:

      It is good to see a contrary view about the question of standing pat. I do, though, see some problems with your arguments. First, if Ellis and Pateryn are “easily expendable,” then why would other teams be interested in them? What kind of impact player could we get for them? I do not mean to make light of your claim, but it sounds a lot like some of the less-thoughtful posters here who think other teams will take our groundchuck and give us tenderloin in return.

      Second, why do we need help on defence? If I am not mistaken, aren’t the Canadiens’ defencemen top of the league in point production? Both Beaulieu and Tinordi have demonstrated they can play if needed. The defencemen in general move the puck quickly and efficiently to the forwards. With the exception of Markov and Emelin — both of whom can be somewhat erratic — I do not see the defence as a weakness on this team at all.

      I would rather the Canadiens make a major trade prior to the draft, or later in the off-season, for an elite forward. But I still believe the Habs should stick with the current group of players and see what transpires in the playoffs. The playoffs will reveal more clearly what this team needs (or doesn’t need).

      • Clay says:

        To add to your point about not needing help on defence, I believe we are top 4 in goals against in the league. This speaks well for our team defence.
        That said, I’m all for improving the team – if the right player at the right price becomes available. If not, I’m very confident that this team has a real shot at the cup.

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

    • CharlieHodgeFan says:

      I wouldn’t consider standing pat as a stupid move. I agree with Boone that this isn’t a cup team, without a fluke. Bring on the fluke, but it isn’t to be expected.
      The ranking of this team is unexpected, and everything is a bonus.
      The testing out of young defencemen says Bergevin is thinking that way too. There’s an appearance of long term thinking here – the team isn’t being built to be an also ran anytime soon.
      A big stay at home defenceman in the 4-5-6 style would be good, as long as the cost isn’t crazy. The injury to Diaz has to be dealt with. But I’m happy with the forwards, assuming Bourque returns as the player he was earlier.

  55. HabFanSince72 says:

    Calgary didn’t get much for JayBo. (At least they are now solidly in the running for a top three draft pick.)

    Would we have given up our 1st and two non-prospects for him?

    • Storman says:

      His cap hit of 6.7 Million limited what the Flames could get in return and who could afford to keep that hit especially next year when the cap drops, we certainly would have strayed way off course in our own capology management, JayBo not being a rental and having to fit that salary in to your plans next year eliminated a lot of teams including Montreal and rightfully so.

    • Chris says:

      For that price, I certainly would have. Bouwmeester, Markov and Subban give you a formidable back-line, and he can eat so many minutes that you can get Markov into a more optimal 20-22 minutes per game range. Moot point now.

  56. calvee123 says:

    I totally agree with you Boone! Stand pat and let this team go into the post season. If they are playing this kind of hockey then they will go far. They were 1 goal shy from beating the Pens. A couple of posts in, instead of out, and the would of won. Also, had they beaten the Pens, they would feel more confident to do it again. This way, the Canadiens still need to accomplish this task. If it takes a playoff series to do it, say conference finals, they stand an excellent chance at it. They can go far in my humble opinion!!! Go Canadiens Go!!!

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      I don’t think we were really one goal shy of beating the Pens even though the score was 1-0. If we had scored two goals they would have scored 3 or 4.

      On the other hand, the Pens without Crosby are definitely within reach.

  57. Un Canadien errant says:

    Mr. Boone, as much as you might fantasize being dipped in Nutella, be advised that bears much prefers sardines and peanut butter smothered in molasses. They’ll figure out that bear traps have a big bucket of that stuff, and return again and again for more, even if they have to deal with that inconvenient tranquilisation and relocation business every time.

  58. Un Canadien errant says:

    Ho hum. Another win for the Canadiens, routine really, against an opponent they were supposed to beat. No big deal. As Chris Rock says, you don’t get credit for doing s*** you’re supposed to do. Beating on Southeast weak sisters doesn’t get you a medal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaPHPQt91w8

    Sure they were a little torpid in the first period, and let the ‘Canes score first. Bear in mind though, you have to build the suspense a little bit, let things marinate. If the hero shoots the bad guy and gets the girl in the first act, it’s not much of a movie. Everyone loves a comeback.

    Max broke out of his funk tonight, with a great goal and the empty-net clincher. Just in the nick of time, since he’s on my fantasy team, and it’s Day One of the playoffs, and I was starting to think I might have to do something. But not no more. He stays, and contributes.

    There was an interesting sequence of events for Max. In the first period, he had a two-on-one with David Desharnais, but with the usual roles reversed, so he had the puck and had the option to shoot, or pass to David. He chose the latter, and it almost worked, but it was the wrong decision anyway. Max was allowed to walk in to the net, he was near the faceoff dot when he passed the puck to a covered David Desharnais, whereas he was unopposed, with his way clear to the net. Now, the argument can be made that the Carolina goalie Justin Peters was set and in perfect position for the save, so trying to move him with the pass was the right call, but I persist that a sniper like Max, was he in a groove and playing with confidence, should be licking his chops in such a situation. You’re 20 feet away from the goalie, he’s yours. You can double-clutch, you can fake the pass, look off the goalie, the choice is yours. Instead, Max figured he might as well pass. Pity.

    In the second, another two-on-one developed, again with David Desharnais, and this time Max chose to shoot, but again displayed his lack of confidence. You could see him overthinking, double-checking to see if David was really covered, then choosing a wrist shot, from pretty far away, when he wasn’t being pressured and could have closed the distance. Worse, he didn’t try to freeze the goalie or mess with his timing, and didn’t try to disguise it. It’s like he decided to shoot when he ran out of options. Still worse, he put it right in Mr. Peters’ chest. Not on the pads to try to cause a rebound. He didn’t try to pick a corner. The RDS boys commented on how frustrated he was going back to the bench.

    Finally, in the third, with forward Patrick Dwyer stranded playing defence, Max saw his opportunity and juked him out of his jockstrap, walked in on goal, shot, and then converted his own rebound, and you could see the relief on his face. To reward him for his patience, the hockey gods saw fit to allow him an additional goal, an easy empty-netter to close out the game.

    P.K. Subban played another strong game, strong on the puck and in his zone, and being creative in the offensive zone. He picked up an assist on Andrei Markov’s powerplay goal, adding to his impressive scoring stats. Canadiens fans have lately decried how P.K. might not be getting the attention he deserves, notably in a nhl.com poll that listed the Top Ten defencemen in the NHL and excluded him. Never mind that the poll was probably conducted early in the season, before P.K. started gathering steam. Anyway, if opposing teams treat P.K. the way the Hurricanes did tonight, Montréal fans may wish that he was flying a little more under the radar. They mugged and hit him whenever they got a chance. Now Mathieu Darche, speaking on l’Antichambre, explained that this kind of attention only motivates P.K. and makes him play better, but the wrestling takedown that Patrick Dwyer performed on him was downright ridiculous.

    Of course, no penalty was called on the play, it being seen by the refs as acceptable in the give-and-take idiocy that is the NHL. If the talented player being mauled by a fourth-liner doesn’t respond, the fourth-liner most often doesn’t get called, and wins. If the talented player does respond, it’s maybe seen as good old-fashioned hockey, boys being boys, and the refs let that carry on. Again, the plugger wins. If it gets out of hand, the refs may decided to call offsetting minors. Yet again, advantage mugger. Thank you, Messrs. Bettman, Daly, Shanahan, Campbell, Cherry, Milbury, Kypreos, …

    On the night, P.K. did pick up four minutes in penalties, but I don’t have a problem with that. One was a ‘good’ penalty, a roughing call he got while trying to hit Eric Stall. I want P.K. to keep hitting and playing tough, and sometimes he’ll get called, and that’s the cost of doing business. I’d encourage him and Alexei Emelin to continue laying guys out, and if they get sent to the box occasionally, that’s a worthwhile tradeoff. The other penalty, for holding the stick, happened while he battling hard for the puck in the defensive zone, so a penalty that Tomas Kaberle isn’t aware can be incurred. Again, P.K. fighting for the puck is a good thing, he should try not to grab his opponent’s stick, but we won’t be concerned until it becomes a habit.

    One more thing about P.K., and it’s about his reputation in the NHL, and all that that involves. He’s got a reputation as a chirper, a diver, and instigator who starts trouble and then doesn’t finish it. He’s voluble, which we love when he’s on camera, but probably grates on the referees. As Benoit Brunet explained, on both of these penalty calls, maybe if it’s Nick Lidstrom or Chris Pronger who’s doing the same thing, the ref doesn’t blow the whistle. So P.K. has to overcome that bad reputation, that isn’t entirely undeserved. The thing is, he’s progressing in that area in leaps and bounds. He’s much more quiet on the ice, more business-like. After his UFC tilt with Mr. Dwyer, after pinning him against the net, he didn’t ‘front’ the Hurricane forward when the whistle blew. Instead, he looked away and tried to skate off. That is such a change of behaviour from last season, when he would probably have started a shoving match, and then let Josh Gorges or Hall Gill come in and save his bacon when the enforcers from the other team poked their nose into it. We’re seeing a qualitative change in P.K., and he has a lot of baggage to shed, but by continuing to play hard, by putting up points, and not taking part in the cheap stuff, he’ll become the player we know he can be.

    And by toning down his antics on the ice, he’ll make himself an obvious candidate for inclusion on the Canadian Olympic team next year, which wasn’t even in the cards at the start of the season. With discipline being paramount with international refs in play, and locker room chemistry being a crucial consideration, P.K. needs to show Team Canada management that he’s not the same unruly kid who broke into the league, but a maturing powerhouse of a defenceman who has a head on his shoulders, and can be calm when required.

    Carey Price played another solid game. His detractors have lately accused him of ‘not stealing games’, not being the reason for a win when his team is being outclassed by an opponent. I think a big part of that perception is that when Carey is on, he’s cool, clinical, playing the percentages, and he makes every save look easy. He’s not a pirouetting fool like Dominik Hasek, Tim Thomas, or Mike Palmateer, who turn saves into histrionic highlights. So when he’s on, you almost don’t notice Carey. He’s big and in the right position and the puck hits him and it’s no big deal. Like, chill out.

    One facet of his game that we’re also taking for granted is his puck handling. I’ve referred to it often, and I want to again, because it’s another skill he has that makes him world class. Today, I noticed three distinct situations when the Carolina forecheck was menacing, but in each case he coolly defused the threat by moving the puck to the right man. On one occasion, he waited for the ‘Cane to commit himself, then dished the puck to Josh Gorges, and it seemed like no big deal, but I stopped and rewound my PVR to make sure I’d seen correctly. And sure enough, my eyes didn’t deceive me: Carey was in front and to the left of his net, let the Hurricane tip his hand, and then backhanded the puck behind his net, off the boards, to Josh on the left side. A perfect bank shot, like he called it. As a relatively immobile defenceman myself, I fully appreciated the artistry, and the advantage a team has when its goalie can help out its D-men like that. Sure enough, Josh passed the puck safely out of the zone and les Glorieux were off to the races.

    So a 23rd win in Game 35. Only 7 outright losses. That’s 20% of our game. Pretty good I guess. Third win in a row. 7-2-1 in the last ten. Ho hum.

    ———————————————————————–

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …see Normand, the reason You are never NUMBER ONE/FIRST !!! …like Our HH below, is You write novelettes to HH’s mumbles :)

      …mais, certainement!, You argue best to be best than first !!! …N’est-ce pas ??? :)

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        I know, these novelettes take time. I jotted a few notes while watching the game, and told myself this would be a quick recap. And now it’s way past my bedtime, and I remember I meant to wax my snowboard, but I let it slide, busy watching hockey, but I guess I have to do it, or else tomorrow it won’t let me slide on the slush. So down to the crawlspace I go, looking for the waxing iron and scraper.

        Good night all!

      • Habitant in Surrey says:

        …ouefff ! …should be a French spell-check on HIO :)

  59. JUST ME says:

    This team is a contender AS IS. Look at the standings and at every game ths season and it shows. This team is a team. As montrealers we have blamed each and every member of that team one by one instead of focusing on the team unit as Bergevin did. We have very different players on every line ,every position and we get different results every day so even if one seems to be on an off day, the team unit is still doing the job.

    Of course we must cross our fingers and hope that we remain healthy but i just do not see what and who i could add that would fit that team and mostly who would not be too expensive. I think that the Habs have their fate in their hands for the first time in a long while and if they are patient and act wisely it should remain like this for many years.

  60. vegas says:

    i say a minor tweak and we go for it
    My choices would be Jared Boll and David Savard
    Big rugged right winger to replace Armstrong if he is injured, and a young strong right handed Defensman
    Moen and Webber, maybe throw in a 4th? what do you think?

  61. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Coach Therrien was effussive in His praise of DD’s line

    …it’s funny reading some of Our HIO members continually critiquing, especially DD …often proposing packaging Him off in a trade for some lumbering marginal player on another team

    …I, Myself, can’t avoid some skepticism, as I have thought DD’s play recently was not producing, along with Patch’s

    …but, it takes someone that knows what He is talking about, like Therrien, the Coach, Himself, to set Us ‘amateurs’ straight on the value of a Player

    …when a Player is not putting up the points doesn’t mean He is not contributing in many other subtle ways …within the concept of a ‘Team’

    _________________________________________________________
    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

    Campaign to Retire Toe Blake’s Number 6 !!!

    • Marc10 says:

      They played great tonight. There won’t be many complaints if they stay on this form (and by they I mean Max and DD… not Gally who is awesome every night).

      That would give us three solid lines. (Prust will re-ignite Chucky and Eller soon enough…)

      And with Bourque coming back, we’ll have a spoil of riches up front!

      I’m worried about Diaz. I hope MB is able to get somebody on the blueline for the stretch run… That’s the most pressing concern at this stage (but seeing what the Kings gave up for Regehr, I don’t know if he’ll have much luck…)

      • Habitant in Surrey says:

        …I will be completely satisfied to go as far as Our present character veterans and young guns will take Us

        PostScript: gorgeous sunny weather here in BC today Marc :)

        • Marc10 says:

          Agree. If Bergie can dig up a gem for nothing, I won’t complain. Otherwise no worries, eh…

          Another fab Fall day in Sydney (yep… we’re in Fall…)

  62. Da Hema says:

    This team is the best Canadiens team I have watched in a very long time. Barring additional injuries, I don’t see any gaping holes on this team, and the future is especially bright on defence. Soon the Habs will have one of, if not the best core of defensemen in the NHL. The future is bright.

    The team has an elite goalie and an elite defenceman. What the team does not have is an elite forward. The question is whether the Canadiens will continue to thrive with balanced team scoring, or whether the more tight-checking playoffs will expose the absence of an elite forward. The 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh makes me ponder this latter possibility.

    I don’t have any ideas about where the Habs could find such a forward. Perhaps they will get lucky and Galchenyuk will become that elite forward, or Pacioretty will become more consistent, or this year’s draft will yield one, or the team will make a trade and sacrifice some of its young players.

    Just some thoughts. I thought they played an excellent game tonight against Carolina, and that the score kind of flattered the Hurricanes.

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …$ 7 million/season over 5 years for a supposed ‘elite forward’ in the name of Alexander Semin

      …Our non-elites made him disappear tonight …no ?

      • Da Hema says:

        I never considered Semin an “elite” player, even if Rutherford did. When I mean elite, I mean Crosby, Kane, or Stamkos — certainly not someone like Semin. And it is one thing to play Carolina, and quite another to play Pittsburgh or Chicago.

        • Habitant in Surrey says:

          …as I said above, I love Our Team, and am quite satisfied not to overpay from Our future for a marginal player whose talents are basically no different than We already have

          …what I ‘love’ about Our Team is the PROVEN heart and character, almost without exception …so, We may get an uptick in potential ‘talent’, but lose some ‘heart and character’

          …Stanley Cups are won with heart and character

          • Da Hema says:

            I agree — especially concerning the young players on the team and those recently drafted — but I never said anything about the Habs picking up a marginal player. I think the Habs should go this year with what they have on the team. If the absence of an “elite” goal-scorer is a problem in this year’s playoffs, the organization can deal with that over the spring and summer.

    • Marc10 says:

      Credit to everyone, they’ve stepped up eh! (Not necessarily in order…)

      1. Prust – what a warrior
      2. The kids – how awesome have they been?
      3. Bourque – what a turnaround
      4. Pleks – Our best forward most nights
      5. Diaz – Holy second PP unit Batman!
      6. Markov – Le General
      7. PK – All Star, Norris Candidate, PP Gun
      8. The goalies – Top 5 tandem for sure
      9. Cube – Hits like a mule, great babysitter
      10. Eller – Has he played a bad game since he was benched?
      12. Ryder – What more could you want from our returning sniper?
      13. Gio – Good to get the ‘lead by example’ leader back for a full season

      And of course the coaches and the GM…

      They came prepared with a plan to turn this ship around. Did they ever pull that off!

      In Michel and Marc I trust!

  63. habsfanla says:

    I hope Bergevin reads this. We are officially a contender this year. I say swing the bat. The short season worked in our favor. In today’s NHL a chance for the cup isn’t every year. Boston, Detroit, and Pittsburgh are consistently contenders and each has 1 cup to show for it. San Jose and Vancouver have none. We aren’t going to be a dynasty and neither is anyone else. Next year we’ll be playing a full season and those teams below us are going to be better. Our best chance is now.

    • Stevie.Ray says:

      No, our best days are ahead of us

      • Chuck says:

        Agreed. I’d rather be like a Pittsburgh or Detroit, icing strong teams every year that have a chance to win it all. That way there’s a bigger probability of winning a Cup.

        ___________________________________________________
        Being a Hab fan is like buying real estate: only over the long-haul will you appreciate the true value of your investment.

    • Marc10 says:

      Our best chance is in years to come, but I get the wanting to ‘win now’ while we do have a very good shot.

      The problem is, there’s little out there in UFAland and what is out there is asking a lot.

      If the Caps don’t make it and want to offload Erskine, great. Jagr would also be a plus… but at what cost?! Ryan Clowe? The old Ryan Clowe would be worth it… This one, I’m not sure.

      Do you really want to ship Tinordi or Beaulieu? They will be play 16 years a piece in the NHL based on current form…

      If that’s the price to get a 41 yearold or some big guy that hasn’t scored all year, I say no thanks. If you’re asking for a first and Pateryn, maybe I’ll listen. That’d be my attitude if I was MB.

      There are just too many teams left that think they can make a go of it at this stage and the ones that have given up are asking a lot. Let’s see what happens, but I’m happy with this team (and I don’t know that what’s out there takes us over the top regardless or makes a significant difference…)

  64. billylove says:

    Boone, sorry man, but you are wrong. This team is cup worthy. I have watched all the top teams, both conferences, and I like a matchup with any of them. In today’s NHL, it takes a little good fortune, lots of hard work and solid goaltending to win a cup. The habs have the last two ingredients and with a few breaks, a cup is a real possibility.

  65. HaBo says:

    Boone: Love the line re HNIC crew’s premature eradication….if only 90% of them Would dissappear.
    I do think the habs need another depth d- man; one w some size bec the playoffs are much more physical and intense and these
    1on 1 battles around the net and along the boards will be much harder to win during The Marathon…..especially for smaller d-men.

    I agree w Lathedog; grab Kovalev to play or spot off Galchenyuk
    in the playoffs. Plus his PP prowess woild be very welcome and so
    would his role as an extra top six forward; even if he is in a back
    up role.

  66. Stevie.Ray says:

    If you minus Price’s two worst games of the season (The 6-0 L to TOR, and the 7-6 L to PIT), then:
    his GAA is at least 1.93 (actually lower due to OT)
    and his SV% is .926!

    That would be the SECOND best GAA in the league, and the THIRD best SV%. Outliers in a shortened season will kill your stats!
    I know cherry picking his two worst games doesn’t mean anything when you don’t do the same to the goalies you compare him to, but my point is that except for two games (every goalie is allowed two bad games right), then he is near the top of elite goalies in the league.

    • Propwash says:

      He’s easily top 5 in the league without a doubt, and all the hockey analysts will say the same thing.

      ____________________
      DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

    • Clay says:

      Price is doing just fine, but I hate when people play that card. The thing is, if you minus Price’s two worst games of the season, then to be fair you have to do the same for all of the other goalies. This would likely leave them in much the same order they are in now.

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

  67. Buzz Lightbeer says:

    Little bit of a snoozer but we were all business. The “W” was never in doubt from the puck drop to being behind 1-0. Sorry Kirk,still love ya. And that was the most greco-roman infused hockey game i’ve seen. Some beautiful take downs.

  68. jedimyrmidon says:

    It’s rather ironic:

    With the Canes, Erik Cole loved to score against the Habs… and he mentored Pacioretty who apparently now loves to score against the Canes!

  69. Propwash says:

    The Habs could very well be a contender for the big prize. If they can land a decent D-man for a reasonable cost come trade deadline, then all the better. Technically, they have one in Kaberle however.

    ____________________
    DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  70. jedimyrmidon says:

    “Barring a first-round loss to the Leafs, the agony of which would be assuaged by watching the whole Hockey Night in Canada studio crew perish when their pants explode [...]”

    Some other folks on here have thicker skin than me, but such a scenario would be excruciating to endure and would probably mean not watching or reading anything from CBC, TSN or Sportsnet for a whole season at least…

  71. LatheDog says:

    Is there any way possible that Bergevin can acquire recently retired Kovalev for a Cup run??? What do you guys think that would entail?

    Do we need extra depth? I think Kovalev would love the second chance with Montreal.

  72. ZepFan2 says:

    Boone, I’d rather Price channel his inner Roy.

    ———————————————————————-
    Ka is a wheel.

    For Your Life

  73. HardHabits says:

    Am I late?

  74. HabinBurlington says:

    An article came out in the off season from Stubbs, after the hiring of Michel Therrien. Needless to say, Gill didn’t have much use for MT during his stint in Pittsburgh. Clearly some change has occurred in MT’s coaching style since, but I cannot see Gill wanting to join an MT Coached team, and perhaps the feeling is likewise.

  75. Lafleurguy says:

    You are sensible in your suggestion. Getting 6 million dollar men-on-defense requires 1st round picks and packages, and none of the poster proposals mentions the 1st round pick.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  76. Sportfan says:

    I wouldn’t hate that move thats for sure.

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  77. Cal says:

    You sure this isn’t an April 1st post?

  78. Stubby27 says:

    I have to agree with terrygain we need a heavyweight, maybe Hurricanes would let Westgarth go, this would be a huge pickup maybe with pominville or clowe

    Ken (Stubby 27) Musson

  79. athanor says:

    Sorry about any bubble-bursting, but his line had 15 of the team’s total 29 shots on goal.

  80. Loonie says:

    You speak of defenSemen as if they have one purpose Terry. There’s more to playing defenSe than passing the puck.


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