About last night …

Photo Shop of the Kiddie Corps by the great GG11 and posted to her Women on the ledge web site

Want to nit-pick?

May as well. There’s no football on TV.

• The Canadiens took their 10th bench minor of the season for Too Many Men on the ice. Only Tampa Bay, with 11, has more. It must be an organizational faiblesse that Guy Boucher took with him.

• Andrei Kostitsyn’s boarding penalty occurred 200 feet from his own net.

That’s it.

With the exception of those two errors, your Montreal Canadiens played just about a perfect game.

Sure, it was scoreless for 30 minutes. But the Leafs, who always look like Cup contenders against the Canadiens, played like what they are: a bottom-dwelling team that will be selling at the trade deadline.

Mikhail Grabovski, who always brings it against his former team, was a non-factor. Mike Komisarek is Toronto’s sixth defenceman.

After the Boston game, there was a lot of buzz about the formula for beating the Canadiens: Rock ‘em/sock ‘em, Don Cherry hockey. Beat them in the alley, beat them on the ice, beat them at the concession stands.

They’re small. They’re scared. They’ll mass-turtle.

Toronto either wasn’t into trying it or just couldn’t skate fast enough to nail anyone – least of all David Desharnais.

How Brian Burke must have agonized to see a player generously listed as 5’7″ bedazzle his allegedly tough hockey team.

 

 

On the drive home, I listened to CKAC’s Dany Dube, my favourite hockey analyst. He said a key to the win was Jacques Martin’s decision to give his players Friday off.

That might have have raised a few eyebrows after the Canadiens’ loss to the lowly Islanders.

But last night’s game was the Canadiens’ fifth in eight days, and February began with three sets of back-to-backs.

Dubé said the extra rest did wonders to restore Roman Hamrlik, who was brilliant against the Leafs, and Jaro Spacek, whose fine work included a shorthanded shift while Hamrlik was in the box. Dubé could have included Jeff Halpern among the geezers who benefitted from time off.

The Canadiens are off today, and the upcoming week is a bit less taxing: the surging Sabres, in what should be an entertaining game at the Bell Centre Tuesday night, then west to Edmonton for a Thursday game and a couple days off preceding the Heritage Classic in Calgary.

There are 25 games left in the regular season, and the Canadiens will play 15 of them on the road.

Not easy, especially for a team beset by injuries. But there were many positive indicators last night – including a third line that’s becoming the second line.

My friend Arpon Basu has written a splendid piece on Desharnais and Benoit Pouliot. We all love Mathieu Darche, but Ryan White brings more speed and grit to that line. With White digging, DD passing and Benny scoring, they’re a joy to watch.

There were reports that Max Pacioretty left the Bell Centre without a sling on his arm. That was good news: Max-Pac’s assist last night gave him points in four straight games, and he’s a critical component of the Canadiens’ Kiddie Corps who brings a physical complement to linemates Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec, who was great again last night, particularly on the PK.

Scott Gomez was better than he was against the Islanders. Jacques Martin singled ou Gomez’s backchecking on his first shift, adding that Gmez’s effectiveness is directly proportional to how hard he works.

On a give-and-go, Gomez found DD with a perfect cross-ice pass to the far post for the prettiest goal of the game.

Trouble is, Desharnais is not Gomez’s linemate. Andrei Kostitsyn and Lars Eller continue to struggle. AK46 had the aforementioned dumb penalty, and Eller hasn’t been on the scoresheet since Hosni Mubarak had a secure grip on power.

Enough nit-picking!

Your Montreal Canadiens snapped their losing streak. They’re eight points clear of the final playoff spot and have matched Washington’s total.

And I forgot to mention Carey Price because his excellence is so routine it has become inconspicuous.

Enjoy your Sunday.

•  •  •

Guest Comment from PeterD:

Never mind the co-number two center thing…DD
has in my mind and I hope in the minds of the coaches surpassed Gomez as
the number two center behings Plekanec.

Tonight I loved the DD,
Pouliot, White line…what a great 2nd line…I noticed they played more
even strength minutes than the Gomez line…so I make them line #2 and
Gomez Line #3…make lots of sense to me.

Even strength TOI — Gomez = 9:59, DD = 11:27. 

With
Gomez mired in a season long offensive slump, it makes more sense to
make room in the offensive lines for a more productive offensive
oriented player, and the Mighty David Desharnais seems to taking all the
opportunities provided to make that a reality.  Gomez still has some
quality offensive skills and he has some good defensive skills for the
PP and PK, but I think he needs to be established in the 3rd line role
and accept that he is no longer a top 6 performer on this team.

When
Moen showed up on the AK and Gomez line, some of us thought, oh no here
we go again with Moen inthe top 6…but I saw it dfferently, on this
night I saw it as Gomez and AK dropping down to form the 3rd line with
Moen and the elevation of DD, Pouliot and White into the 2nd line
status. With Pleks, Patches and Gio as our 1st line.

 

 

162 Comments

  1. matrags says:

    Now tell me Chris , Is Don Cherry Racist. If not , do his comments  border on being racist, and if so , why does he still have his bully pulpit on the supposed flag ship for broadcasting of our National Game. Chris does racism exist , is Frenchy  used to describe French Canadiens Racist, and if he is racist even if he himself does not believe he is , isnt it still racism, and wow right there on good old hockey night in canada.

  2. sp00k says:

    Milk almost came out my nose when I heard Bill Berg (on the NHL network) call Lupul a cry baby!

  3. wotever says:

    Speaking of the AHL, Toronto shouldn’t be considered a measuring stick against NHL teams.  Not that DD’s been playing bad.  Just saying last night was a televised practice against some kids from st. leonard.  

    (What’s that you say?  they left the ice before the game started?  Are you sure?)


    It’s just a game.

  4. Chris says:

    I don’t think we’ve seen too many guys as cocky as Subban though. We only see the flamboyance on the ice, we don’t hear the conversations on the ice.

    There’s a great quote in Michael Farber’s article on Subban from a couple of months ago:

    “I played with Alex Ovechkin his rookie year, when he scored against Philly in preseason and skated by their bench and winked,” says 34-year-old center Jeff Halpern, who is in his first season with Montreal. “Everybody on our bench was like, Uh-oh, we’re going to get our asses kicked. The question was, How do you take away somebody’s enthusiasm? P.K.’s cut from the same cloth. I don’t think he goes out of his way to showboat, but that energy… . A lot of top-end skill guys come down on him one-on-one, and you can actually hear him challenging [them]. I think in the future, more guys are going to come into the league with that kind of energy.”

    I loved another line in that article, that Subban is an on-ice filibuster. We’ve all played sports at some level…there is no player that frustrates you more than the one that is yapping at you incessantly. If they can’t back it up, you don’t respect them. If they can back it up (and Subban has proven that he can, both by fighting and by his scoring exploits), you just resent them.

    The media reaction to Subban has been visceral. But it was equally visceral to other guys in the league, such as Sean Avery or Ray Emery or Maxim Lapierre. Steve’s example of Claude Lemieux is perhaps the best example, as were Esa Tikkanen or Ken Linseman, those guys that would just get in the ear of opposing players and never leave.

    Tomas Sandstrom is another one who was supremely cocky when he came into the league, and rubbed a lot of players the wrong way. He was frequently the victim of slashes and was unfortunately targeted for a vicious cross-check to the face by Dave Brown. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZqXmTfbQwE)

    And the most recent example is perhaps Nino Neiderreiter. Nazem Kadri refused to shake his hand after the 2010 WJC semi-final game. The book on Neiderreiter is that opposing players didn’t have a lot of respect for him. And the Cammalleri lost it on him in the pre-season, earning himself a suspension after slashing him in the leg.

  5. Habnofear says:

    So in 2 years when Price’s agent ask for 7-8 million per are you gonna be happy bout Gomer?By the way it’s time to give Price a long term extension…

  6. BC HAB says:

    I hate that picture. It looks stupid. what was boone thinking of pasting it on here. It makes the young guns look like a bunch of sissies.

  7. Chris says:

    I can assure you…the multiculturalism of the classrooms and workplaces is pretty firmly entrenched in Canada.

    Has hockey kept up?  No, and there is no question about that.  It is improving, but it is a slow process.  But my comment that you quoted is not concerning only the hockey teams, but the vast number of ways in which people are exposed to different cultures.  For example, most of these guys have played multiple sports growing up, especially soccer and baseball in the summers.  Watch the pre-game rituals of the players…it often centers around kicking around a soccer ball. 

    Having coached soccer and played soccer for many years in a VERY “white” city (Guelph, Ontario), I feel safe in the assumption that these kids have grown up playing sports with individuals from a variety of cultures.  And I’ve never seen it be an issue…I’m not saying that racism doesn’t exist within individuals, but on a macroscopic scale across the league, I find it to be highly unlikely.

  8. Chris says:

    I do believe Don Cherry’s anti-Euro and anti-French Canadian diatribes qualify him as a racist.

    But he is more of a bigot: a buffoon that has become so entrenched on his own idea of how the game should be played that he lashes out on any player that doesn’t fit.

    But in fairness to Don Cherry, who I have frequently stated should be removed from his bully pulpit on CBC, he is one of Jarome Iginla’s biggest fans. He was one of Ray Emery’s biggest fans. I recall him being very positive on players like Mike Grier and Anson Carter, guys who play the game the way he thinks it should be played.

    So I don’t think Cherry’s rants on Subban hail from some bias against visible minorities. He has always been consistently hostile to mouthy players like Lapierre and Avery. Subban is another guy that is probably just too mouthy for Don’s liking.

  9. Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

    I wouldn’t say that it is BS. I also wouldn’t say that all NHLers are racist. But I do believe that race has a lot do with how PK is being treated.

    Racism isn’t the same as it was 50-60 years ago, but it is most definitely present. It just isn’t shown on the surface as much. The NHL is way behind other sports leagues when it comes to involvement of people of colour. Willie O’Ree broke the colour barrier in the NHL in 1958 and Mike Marson was the second African-Canadian to play in the NHL, and that was in 1974. That’s 16 years later. There has never been a black coach in the NHL. The NHL is very much a white man’s league. More than any other sport.

    It is my opinion that other black players such as Iginla and Simmonds are not treated the same way as Subban because they have “fallen in line”. I love Iginla, but he’s a very low-key kind of guy off the ice, and does things “the White way” as Darren Pang would say (too soon?).

    The problem PK has is that he is brash, confident, and highly skilled. You mention that he is in trouble because of his mouth, which is true, but that does not mean his treatment has nothing to do with race. If PK Subban were white, would there be so much media attention about the things he has done? Really, what has he done that other highly-skilled rookies haven’t done before?

    I believe that the NHL is a very white-bread, boring, uninteresting league when it comes to personalities. All of the unwritten codes that are referenced show that hockey players are still living in the past. The NHL has really not progressed that much in comparison to other sports leagues. I also believe that PK Subban represents a threat to a lot of NHLers who do not want to see the brash antics of the NBA and NFL make their way into this old boys’ club.

    As for players growing up playing with all kinds of people…do you really think a lot of hockey players have grown up playing with or against many confident, outspoken and highly-skilled Black players? I seriously doubt it.

    Do not dismiss race as BS in this case. The NHL is way behind the curve when it comes to its treatment of people of colour.

  10. Da Hema says:

    So far as what happens on the ice is concerned, you are in my opinion right on. Subban is a key defenceman, but he is also young and inexperienced, and so he will get extra attention. I would target him too since, as a young defenceman, he will be vulnerable to turnovers.

    What has yet to be explained adequately is the media’s efforts to report about players who make it sound as if Subban as the dirtiest player in the NHL. I am frustrated because these pussies like Lupal whine in front of a camera about Subban, yet say and do nothing about truly dirty players like Matt Cooke. Yes, Subban clearly has a motor mouth. But so does Jeremy Roenick–both on (when he played) and off ice–and hundreds of other NHL players.

    I think most of this is just old-fashioned Hab hating by the media outside of Montreal who are finally realising that their precious Toronto Maple Leafs will never be a successful organisation no matter who is brought in to return them to the promised land.

  11. matrags says:

    of course he  draws attention because of his skill set, and he has to expect that he will draw attention because of it legitimate tools of the game.  However , there is an elment in the attention he is drawing that is extremely unsettlling. The Ledgend grows ,as does his rep around the League ., whether he deserves it or not.

  12. Habnofear says:

    The Leafs a terrible team and only get worse as 1967 gets farther and farther away. They need to tank for the next 10 years….

  13. ZepFan2 says:

    “If it was a race thing, how come we’re not hearing this about this for Mike Grier? Georges Laraque? Wayne Simmonds?”

    I’m old enough to remember when Blacks with an education, who weren’t afraid to use it, were considered “uppity”.

    This is were I believe the difference lies between those you named and PK. IMO, PK is considered “uppity” in the minds of some players and media.

    I never believed at first that it could be about racism. I have my doubts now.

    ———————————————————————— “Young people have seen that a team can play electrifying, fascinating hockey while still behaving like gentlemen.” ~Serge Savard~

  14. sidhu says:

    Just to continue a conversation from yesterday about our options with Scott Gomez.  If we buy him out (which may have a 1% chance of happening, but I want to be clear), the savings would be:

    $5.5m next season
    $3.5m the season after that
    $2.5m the season after that

    For each of the next three seasons, however, we would lose $2m against the cap.

    See: http://www.capgeek.com/buyout_calculator.php?player_id=624&buyout_y=2011&buyout_m=06&buyout_d=15

  15. Batalla says:

    You know, at $8M, Gomez is a dud.  This cannot be argued.  But if you take salary out of the equation, I really do see what he brings to the team and it’s odd that the so-called hockey knowledgeable don’t see it too.

    DD was absolutely fantastic last night.  Again, no arguments from me.  But he’s a tiny guy that no one has heard of and he’s technically on the 3rd line.  That means he is checked differently than Gomez who has been heard of (read: scouted) and is on the 2nd line.  Basically, that just means that DD has more time and space (relatively speaking).

    When the team was without Gomez, the PK was affected, and even Plekanec’s play became more laboured despite Gomez not even being on his line.  Checkers could focus on Pleks, Pleks had to play more, etc.  All that means is that while Gomez is not producing as much as we all believe he should, he brings things to this team that cannot be easily measured statistically.  And let’s face it, Gomez is better defensively (for now, and despite the -4 showing in Boston).

    I know that DD will get there.  He has certainly proven that to all of us.  So we all know that he will replace Gomez at some point.  But let’s not say that’s today.  Gomez is the #2 guy for now.

  16. matrags says:

    What has Subban done to make him the topic of such deep discourse. Did he alledge that he slept with another players wife , did he openly attemp to maine an opposing player ,the reps of the guys you mentioned were earned over extended careers, Subban has not played a full season.

  17. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    Here,here…well put.

  18. Chris says:

    I agree that Cooke is far more dirty. And you’d be hard pressed to find a player not playing for the Pengins that has anything nice to say about Cooke. Roenick was a motor mouth, and the league ended up marketing it. But Roenick certainly got called out a fair bit for his nonsense.

    We’re on a Habs website, so we see the articles assembled on the Habs. I suspect we’re blowing the Subban thing out of proportion just as much as we think the “Toronto” media do. Subban is a fan-favourite, so many can’t stand to see him criticised. But there are lots of guys that draw more visceral hate around the league than Subban, who some guys just think is a bit too arrogant and cocky for his own good.

    The players really detest people that they perceive as dirty, guys who routinely hit to hurt or are involved in very dangerous players resulting in serious injuries. For comparison’s sake, check out the articles below on Matt Cooke…those are much stronger condemnations of Cooke than anything we’ve heard regarding Subban.

    Rob Brown on Cooke:

    http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Cooke+dirty+Avery+just+cheap+former+star+claims/4273353/story.html

    Don Cherry on Cooke from last March:

    http://communities.canada.com/edmontonjournal/blogs/hockey/archive/2010/03/14/don-cherry-to-matt-cooke-quot-you-re-a-gutless-backstabbing-like-fu-i-can-t-say-what-i-called-him-quot.aspx

    Jeremy Roenick on Cooke:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Roenick-Matt-Cooke-is-chicken-excrement-deserv?urn=nhl-318976

  19. habstrinifan says:

    “But the vast majority of these guys grew up playing alongside people of all nationalities, going to school with people of all nationalities, working for people of all nationalities and being taught by people of all nationalities.”

    Ok you had me just reading along with disinterest until you the segment of your post which I have quoted above.

    Quite simply it is INACCURATE!

    In years to come that statement would be more valid.

  20. matrags says:

    great debate guys , I have to go , but we shall watch and see.

  21. matrags says:

    great debate guys , I have to go , but we shall watch and see.

  22. habstrinifan says:

    I think when he trash talks he does so in ‘over and over and over’ again.

  23. merlin_24cups says:

    Anybody watch Sports Center this morning??

    They are all over P.K.. They interviewed Lupol. He said he doesn’t mind the kid but guys aren’t going to give him the benifit of the doubt for to much longer. Can anybody explain that to me?. For What? Because he didn’t take his helmet off before the fight?. I’m seriously missing something here. 

    P.K. is an energenic guy that is exciting to watch. I haven’t seen him do anything really “different” to warrent anything negative. The archer after the OT goal was completly exceptable. Is it just jealousy that makes these guys whine about him? 

    Subban talks alot during a game. Its obvious he does it when the cameras are on him. He’s not alone in the league for that. But its part of the game. No penalties that I know of. Richards talked about respecting older players. Yeah I can give him that. But Pronger never showed P.K. any respect when he tried to run Subban from behind last year in the reg season. Subban made the play then got outta the way. Proger called him everything but a valiant Knight on a flying horse. I’m sure Pronger was trying to “welcome” Subban to the league, but a hit from behind isn’t very “respectful”. Respect is a mutual thing.

    This kid has shown his resiliance to the negative comments and keeps coming out to play. He has changed for the better in my opinion. He is very solid on the blue line and his head is in the game. He has been very dependable since the clinic started filling up with D men. 

    Maybe I’m talking outta my a$$. I’m just an armchair coach. However, there is a bunch of you on here whos opinions I respect and wonder what your thoughts on this are.

    As for MTL blanking the Leafs….WOOT!

    GO HABS GO!!!

  24. Chuck says:

    I can see it now: Gomez is bought out, then for the next four years HI/O posters complain that we need another centre that can move the puck through the neutral zone with speed.

  25. Chris says:

    I remember very distinctly how Sidney Crosby was represented…the best player in the league, many were falling over themselves to distance themselves from recognizing his brilliance because of his on-ice whining. 

    Now that his whining has subsided to a more acceptable level for a superstar, people are quite confident in giving Crosby his due.

    Maxim Lapierre was in trouble because of his mouth as well.  I highly doubt it had anything to do with his being French-Canadian.  People just couldn’t stand him on the ice.

    Sean Avery gets in trouble because of his mouth all the time.  He is also a very good hockey player and is a fairly intelligent guy.  He just knows how to push everybody’s buttons, and is brash enough to not give a rat’s patootie what anybody thinks of him and continue pushing those buttons.

    I keep mentioning those guys, and I don’t want it to come across that I’m equating Subban to them…well, maybe Crosby!  ;).  But I do see elements of their annoying traits in Subban and can easily see how it sets people off.  Chris Pronger is another guy that has some of those traits…he’s a jerk on the ice (stealing the pucks at the end of games, for example), he’s dirty (far more so than Subban) and he’s cocky.  And it has always been one of the stories around Pronger.  That Pronger is also one of the top defencemen of the next 20 years diminishes the impact of the negative side of his personality on his legacy and public perception, but it is definitely there.

    Subban can do the same by becoming one of the best players in the league.  He’s got a ways to go, but he’s shown a lot of promise in that regard.  When that happens, he won’t be a precocious youngster who was a little too cocky for some people’s liking, he will be an NHL superstar that happens to be a great interview off the ice and annoying as heck on the ice.

  26. The Cat says:

    The big news is that Gomez still managed to end the night at -1.

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

  27. Da Hema says:

    I don’t agree many here are “blowing it out of proportion.” There is something disproportional about our opponents’ claims about and media coverage of Subban’s alleged dirty play. And it isn’t just our opponents and the media. How often are we forced to watch our opponents literally draped over Subban’s back as he tries to skate up the ice? Or the absurd amount of hooks that visibly slow down Subban? Yet the officials haven’t called one goddamn penalty over these obvious, blatant infractions. I think Subban deserves a medal for tolerating all this bullshit both on and off the ice.

  28. topher5468 says:

    MAB with a game winner in OT last night. I hope Shaker is happy today. Oh yea, Halak was yanked last night in a game that D’Agostini had a fight, A lot of former habs in the mix last night. Burner played well for a free falling Avs team. 

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

  29. Danno says:

     

     

    Triple-low-five Celebration

    People try to put us down
    Just because we’re from H-H-Hamilton
    Jacques Martin’s system’s awful c-c-cold
    I hope I retire before I get old

    Talkin’ ’bout

    Triple-low-five celebration
    Triple-low-five celebration
    Triple-low-five celebration…

    Why don’t you all f-f-fade away
    Don’t try and change how we all play
    We’re not trying to cause a b-big s-sensation
    Triple-low-five celebration

    Triple-low-five celebration
    Triple-low-five celebration
    Triple-low-five celebration…

    People try to put PK d-d-down.
    Just because he’s the talk of the town.
    Not trying to laugh at Leaf Nation
    Triple-low-five celebration

    Triple-low-five celebration
    Triple-low-five celebration
    Triple-low-five celebration…

    This is my celebration
    This is my celebration, baby

     

     

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

  30. Habnofear says:

    You know I was gonna jump on the bandwagon stating it’s not the race card but can you really know what’s is in the minds of all of Subbans opponent’s? There are many forms Racism, hate and jealousy and almost everyone is guilty of it at one time or another,jeez just look at the world around us…it’s a goon show I tell ya!Think of all the Nuclear weapons pointing at every direction and then say Racism,no way!

  31. Wops says:

    Boone! What the hell is this picture?

  32. mjames says:

    Good post. The reporting reminds me of bullies in the school yard. Some hyprocritical hockey player like Richards says something an all these socalled reporters jump on the wagonr in order to perptuate some myth. As I said they are like bullies. 

     

    mjames

  33. Shiloh says:

    I don’t want to see Weber moved.

  34. Habitoban says:

    No doubt it’s been said, but Price was great handling the puck.  Leafs were stubbornly dumping it in all night but Price was on the puck quickly and moving the puck smartly.  Saved our D a lot of wear and tear and we were on offence most of the game as a result.

  35. Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

    I see what you are saying, but you haven’t really addressed any of the points that I brought up.

    The NHL clearly has a problem with cocky players in general. Like I said, it is a white bread league. Very plain, very boring. I’m talking about the personality that is displayed both on the ice and off it, not the actual quality of the product being shown on the ice.

    However, the attention PK is too much for what he is actually doing on the ice. I really do believe there has been NOTHING wrong with anything PK has done so far on the ice, and I would gladly call him out for something if I felt there was a need to do so. Why is PK all over TSN? Why does he rub Don Cherry and Mike Richards the wrong way? Why is any of what he does brought up as a bona fide ISSUE? It is about more than him just being cocky.

  36. Bill says:

    Gomez does bring something to the team, and when he’s really fired up and on, he’s more than useful. But you can’t ignore the cap hit, because the money spend on him prevents money from being spent on someone potentially better. If there were no salary cap, I wouldn’t care a bit what he was being paid.

    Also, he’s not always fired up and 100% effort. That’s what I’d like to see from him for the cap hit. I am confident that come the playoffs, if the Habs make it, he’ll give it everything he’s got.

    I’m enjoying watching Desharnais go. Who knows, he might be one of those rare little guys who can be productive in the NHL despite his puny stature. I wouldn’t mind having a Martin St. Louis or a Theo Fleury sized guy if he can put up the goods. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine Pleks, Gomez, and Desharnais as the Habs top three centres. That’s giving up a lot of size down the middle.

    Full Breezer 4 Life


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