About last night …

Two entries for Bob Gainey’s to-do list:

• Sign Mike Komisarek to a contract extension

• Sign Mark Streit before he becomes an unrestricted free agent

Boston tried to run the Canadiens out of the TD Banknorth Centre last night. Komisarek didn’t let it happen.

You can’t intimidate the big moose Habs I/O posters have begun calling Komisaurus. He leads the NHL in hits, blocked shots and thugs stared down. Komisarek is at his absolute best in tough, physical games.

Is there a better defence pairing in the league than Komisarek and Andrei Markov?

Komisarek is signed through next season and then becomes an unrestricted free agent. In the Ovechkin environment, I don’t know what kind of package it would take to tie up Komisarek, but keeping him in Montreal should be the general manager’s highest priority.

Mark Streit is making $600,000 this season. That’s how much Ovechkin will earn for five games in the richest years of his new deal.

Streit is the most versatile player on the Canadiens’ roster. He contributes solid and occasionally spectacular minutes on D and up front, helps Markov quarterback the power play, plays heady hockey at both ends of the ice.

Don’t wait till July on this guy, Bob. Streit deserves a three-year deal and $2 million per wouldn’t be out of line.

Now that we’ve discussed money issues:

• How about Mathieu Dandenault’s F-you stare at his coach after the fourth goal? Cheeky, with gusts to insolent. But you want a guy who wants to play.

• My man Josh Gorges played 15:32 and was plus-one. He’s still prone to gaffes, but the Kelowna Kid is only 23 and gets better every game.

• Tomas Plekanec is this team’s number one centre. He, the great Alex Kovalev and the rapidly emerging Andrei K. scare the bejeezus out of every defenceman they face.

• Andrei Markov: 28 minutes. He and Kovy are the team’s MVPs, with Komisarek closing fast.

• Maxim Lapierre: a goal, some judicious jabbing at Zdeno Chara, 10-4 on faceoffs.

• 10 names on the scoresheet, three even-strength and two PP goals, a perfect night on the PK.

• Sergei and Gui! were each minus-2 last night. But I’m not worried about them.

• You don’t want to tinker with a winning lineup, but would Christopher Higgins benefit from being reunited with Saku Koivu? And would Gui! like playing with fellow poster boy Lapierre?

• Bryan Smolinski will be tough to displace on the fourth line.

• Which goaltender should make the All-Star team, Cristobal Huet or Tim Thomas? based on last night, none of the above.

• • •

Rock’em, Sock ‘em Russians:

Don Cherry, P.J. Stock and Bobby Clarke call this the feel-good movie of the year.

Habs I/O poster DYCSoccer17 sends along a YouTube clip of a wild brawl in the Russian hockey league. The fun begins when Canadiens prospect Alexei Yemelin, number 74 in white, pulls a Dale Hunter on an oponent who has just scored.

128 Comments

  1. krob1000 says:

    This was supposed to be a reply to the post at the bottom of the page. Sorry!

  2. krob1000 says:

    I am from Kingston and Don Cherry says a lot of things I disagree with but he knows hockey and he knows a good performance when see one. He still praises Lafleur who probably ended his coaching career so if there is one thing Cherry does do it is admit he is wrong if proven so. He admtis his bias for the Leafs and Bruins but he undoubtedly saw the game against the Bruins (I think he watches every game…seriously)and he undoubtedly will have nothing but good things to say about Komisarek on that game. I am not sure it will ever happen on teevision because the game will be forgotten by Saturday likely with a new slate of games.

    The only way it gets mentioned is if Cherry goes off (which he may) about the Downie and Thornton incidents that have both happened this week. He will give the linesmen hell probably and rigthfully so for holding guys to get pounded. Thornton and Downie are partially to balme but the linesmen are more at fault as in both cases one linesman did their job and one failed. When someone fails it means someone is defenseless and both Blake and Hamrlik were victims of circumstance. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t mention that now that it has happened twice in week.

  3. krob1000 says:

    It is awesome …this is the best year in trecent memory…..so many positives….even during ouir little slide a couple weeks back there were still good things happening. I think the coaches finally have the respect of the room this year and last year it was iffy at best. Now that guys like Kovalev, Koivu, Ryder, Hamrlik, Higgins, Pleks, etc have bought in then it completely changes the attitude and atmosphere……for us too. You can see the confidence in their play and you can see it one the ice. Great time to be a Habs fan isn’t it.

  4. nightmare_49 says:

    Your point about Smolinski has some merit as it was brought up by Gaston Therrien in his post game wrap up on RDS. Smols seems to anticipate the play and is nonchalant and in the New NHL things are so much faster that he’s got to step it up a bit on his reaction. He sees the play well but his reaction is a bit slow , a la Bonk , and needs to be quicker. As far as footspeed goes , i’ve seen him turn it on before the injury and didn’t seem to lack speed but it doesn’t happen too often and must pick up his pace to be a center on the energy line or he’ll be a back up winger for the top 3 lines in the stands. I must say he made a nice pass to Streit on Dandy’s final goal.

  5. Conor says:

    nice to see the Komisaurus nickname getting some play. this guy intimidates the hell out of opposing forwards. when Sergei K is flattening guys with open ice hits and Mathieu Dandenault is scoring two goals in a period, you know things are going well. habs haven’t lost in regulation since the Dallas debacle, bring on the Rangers!!

  6. Bill H says:

    I agree that there is better value to be had than Bouillon ($1.875M) and Dandenault ($1.725M). For example Streit at $0.6M and Gorges at $0.495M. However, both the aforementioned players bring experience to the lineup and Dandenault brings some versatility. A team does need a balance of youth and experience. I think that was what Gainey was going for when he signed those guys. Well, if you think Bouillon and Dandenault are overpaid, take a look at the Leafs defensive corps. LOL

  7. ebk says:

    I kinda mixed my metaphors with the kids. Should have said they will be knocking at the door, not will be kicking it down.

    You might also notice that I said may not make it to next year as Habs. Seems like a fairly reasonable conclusion to me.

    It seems a stretch that Gainey would be willing to pay $1.9m for a 4th line forward and 1.9m for a #6 dman. Not a great use of financial resources in the salary cap era.

  8. krob1000 says:

    Maybe someone challenged him and said that Kostopolous played one of his better games of the sxeason the last game and is now sitting in the press box. This is exactly the type of itnernal competition we need to entice out of the depth players. I saw a lot of guys who looked very involved last night in the extracurricular stuff after the whistles and I can’t wait until these kids all realize they are now men. It is slowly happening before our eyes and at times it looked like Boston tried to dominate us physically and we withstood it and displayed the “team toughness” that we need. We don’t need an enforcer as a regular but we do need guys standing up for themselves and one another and drawing penalties. Guys blocking shots and sacrificing their bodies to go after loose pucks. I saw all of those things going on last night with the exception of a two or three minute segment at the start of the second period.

    Boston came out hard and guys looked tentaive but then guys starting fighting back and realized they could dish it out too (Komisarek is an animal). These are huge confidence boosters and the games against the Bruins this year have been dream outcomes for the coaches and fans alike. They always turn extremely physical and we always seem to win. You couldn’t draw it up any better if you wanted to teach these kids how to win and grow(physical, hard fought, fast paced wins). Awesome game all around. I really don’t think anyone had a poor game but I think Sergei Kostitsyn and to some extent Andrei looked a little uncomfortable (as one would expect from rookies) when the bodies really started flying. Games like this can only make them stronger though.

    PS Can someone please tell Mcguire that Andrei plays with Kovy and Koivu with Sergei…..you’d think he would fix his mistake after the first game.

  9. J.T. says:

    One other thing…isn’t it great how there are so many better things to talk about this year than last? If this was last year and Dandenault was scratched for the first time in his NHL career, it would have generated headlines and commentaries all over the place. Remember the Rivet benching? If that happened this year, amidst all the goodness we’re seeing now, it would barely register.

  10. Bill H says:

    Hamrlik makes $5.5M and he is 33 years old. I think Komisarek will be worth as much as him. He may not have the same offense but he is much more dominant physically, as we saw against the Bruins. And as the salary cap goes up, so do contracts.

  11. Bill H says:

    I think your projections for the Habs defense next year are a little bit on the optimistic side.

    McDonagh is a great prospect, but he is 18 years old and in his first year at college. Its highly unlikely that he will be playing for the Canadiens next year. I’d go farther and say he is a long shot for the year after. Komisarek, for example, came up through the NCAA as well. He played 2 years in college and then 56 games with Hamilton before he got his first call up at age 20.

    Yemelin, as you know, is in Russia. He has 1 point in 40 games this season, and while its true that his game isn’t scoring goals but rather playing a strong physical game, there is no indication as yet that he even wants to play in the NHL. And if he does come, it seems likely that he will be playing in Hamilton first.

    Valentenko is the best bet to make the big club next year, as he is already in Hamilton. But he is only a fifth round pick and is rated only a 6.5C by Hockey Futures. That’s a potential #5 or 6 defenseman and the C means he has shown some flashes, but may ultimately not have what it takes to reach his potential. He’s got 7 points in 31 games in Hamilton.

    It seems rather unlikely that Brisbois will be back next year as he has a one year contract. But I wouldn’t be waving bye to Bouillon or Dandenault just yet.

  12. 24 Cups says:

    Hey 12 – I think his name was Steve Downie:-)

    The Original 24 Cups

  13. 24 Cups says:

    Thanks Captain. It would be a hug boost if Pacioretty could make the Habs in the next two years and be a solid regular that hits and scores. He just may be our best forward prospect including all the players in Hamilton.

    The Original 24 Cups

  14. mjames says:

    I agree with your views of the game.

    (i) Komi made an exceptional play when Markov lost his footing, thereby allowing Savard, I think, to skate in.
    (ii) I was not too terribly impressed with Simolinski’s play. Maybe I was not paying attention to see some of his good plays. I found him to be slow. Maybe I am wrong.
    (iii) I would like AK46 to play a little tougher with the puck. I thought he was losing a few battles to the Bruins. I really think this is kid is going to break out. He will be unstoppable if he can play a little like Higgins along the boards and improve his forechecking. I think he needs to play with a little more confidence. Ovechkin and Crosby play with confidence. AK46 should try to emulate them.
    (iv) I was wondering who Dandy was looking at following his second goal. He was sending a message to someone. He earned another start.
    mjames

  15. 24 Cups says:

    Hey Mr. Boone – Finally got around to watching your video. Yemelin did great but I’d also love to have #30 (in white) on my team. He was the star of the video!

    The Original 24 Cups

  16. JF says:

    That was a very satisfying game with the exception of Huet’s shaky play, which concerns me going into games against the New York teams. Komisarek is wonderful to behold in these physical games, and his cross-crease dive on that Boston 3-on-1 was great. I thought Mark Streit was a revelation last year with his versatility and his effectiveness both as a forward and on defense, but he is even better this year. Gainey should certainly sign him before he becomes a free agent. As for Komisarek, someone was suggesting that next year the Islanders would be after him, and that this might even suit him since he is from there. If he can be signed this season, he should be; if not, at the beginning of next season .

    I was happy Dandenault got two goals last night. His look at Carbo showed that he really minded being benched; it was the first time in his NHL career. I didn’t think he deserved it, and I hope he goes on showing Carbo that he doesn’t.

    Kovalev has to be playing some of the best hockey of his career. He is absolutely electrifying; in fact, that whole line is.

    As the kids develop, this team will only get better.

  17. J.T. says:

    I’ve been calling Pleks’ line the first line for months now. At least, in my head!

  18. likehoy says:

    how does Stoll not suit us?

    Gritty centre with good face-off ability and a point-producer. He is the real version of the Smolinski we wanted.

  19. Higgins21 says:

    Stoll doesn’t suit us. Neither does Murray. No sense talking about either.

  20. gfunkdoc says:

    Komisaurus! That’s just fantastic.

    Isn’t it about time we just started calling Pleks’ line the first line?

  21. likehoy says:

    jarret stoll would be a great move…in my opinion…he would give us much needed long-term depth at centre because I don’t see much after Plekanec, Lapierre, Chipchura, and Koivu. (i’m not going to factor in begin who’s oft-injured and smolinski…who will be gone at years end). You can make an argument for Corey Locke, but wait…can you really make an argument for another undersized centre? Stoll’s 6’1 200 lbs but TSN player profile says he’s a gritty player, he might not be the big centre we long for, but it’s a step up already. He’s only 25 so he has a lot of years left in him.

  22. likehoy says:

    LOL games played would be funny since he’s injury prone and mistake prone lol.

    Probably points…and playoff rounds NOT cost by him.

  23. 24 Cups says:

    I wonder if the agents for Komi and Higgins advised their clients to just take two year contracts with the idea that they could cash in big time once they had made their mark in the NHL. Maybe Gainey didn’t have a choice. Plus the salary market has changed radically in just the past six months. Hell, the past 16 hours!

    The Original 24 Cups

  24. howtathor says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with signing Komisaurus long term along with Higgy and Kosty and Pleks! I like what Bob did in the summer with giving Komi and Higgy identical contracts. That would work for me again. Too bad Bob didn’t have the forsight at the time to sign them long term. With Komi holding up the back end and Higgy as future captain of this team, the future looks bright. Pretty soon UFA’s will be asking to come here instead of the other way around. I love the young core of this team with more on the horizon. Soon we’ll have Pacioretty, Mcdonagh and even Subban and Weber not to mention Carle and Valentenko. The talent pool is boundless for the future. Just need that one more proven sniper or Ryder to get going!

  25. nightmare_49 says:

    I was refering to the Gazette’s three stars at the end of Pat Hickey’s report on the game. I just noticed Andree Kostitsyn was a star , must be for showing up.lol.

  26. howtathor says:

    Stoll has been seeing a little power play time in Edmonton. He’s 6/14, but is a -11.

  27. Will Longlade says:

    He sure seems to be playing that way. He has to play with the same edge as he did last night more often. Beautiful baby.

  28. lennon says:

    why is Huet allowed to touch the puck outside his crease? Nothing good ever seems to come from it.

  29. lennon says:

    IS it just me or is komisaurus the second coming of Scott Stevens?

  30. 24 Cups says:

    Glenn Murray is signed for over $4 mil next year which is about the same salary as Koivu or Kovalev for 2008-09. Enough said.

    The Original 24 Cups


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