About last night …

The kids are alright – and they should always wear white.

Maybe the Canadiens will don road jerseys tomorrow night at the Bell Centre, because the only way they’re going to beat the Leafs at home is by playing the way they did in Philadelphia.

And while we’re unlikely to see that fashion strategem, let’s hope Guy Carbonneau sticks with a young, high-energy lineup that offered tantalizing glimpses of this  team’s bright future.

It’s not like Montrealers are planning the parade route (tough to do today: it’s snowing), but there were enough good things last night to elevate us from the depths of despond fans have been plumbing for a couple weeks.

Carbonneau said his team followed the game plan and worked for 60 minutes. He neglected to congratulate himself for the lineup change that energized the Canadiens.

Sergei Kostitsyn: First-line RW.

Okay, it was only one game.  Kostitsyn the Younger didn’t pick up any points. But the kid had four shots on goal, worked the puck in the corners, snapped off accurate passes, knew where his linemates were, read the flow of play and consistently positioned himself properly. He has superb hockey sense.

In short, number 74 is not number 73. And Carbo confirmed that Sergei will  be  in the lineup again tomorrow. 

As will Carey Price.  There was some speculation that Cristobal Huet would be back to face the Leafs, but Carbonneau said Price will get the start. The coach praised his goaltender for a 30-save effort in Philly, saying Price had stopped playing deep in his net and did a better job of challenging shooters. Price’s positioning and lateral movement were irreproachable. He also handled the puck well and was, as always, cool under occasional pressure applied by the Flyers.

Price got help from his defence corps, who cleared rebounds smartly and controlled any Flyers who strayed in front of the net. Andrei Markov played a huge game at both ends of the ice. Mike Komisarek keyed a physical effort that saw the Canadiens outhit the allegedly intimidating Flyers 15-9. Roman Hamrlik took a bad  penalty but was otherwise solid. Francis Bouillon had a quietly efficient game, and I liked the play of my man Josh Gorges. I’d love to see him  against the Leafs tomorrow.

There were a couple scary sequences when the Flyers kept the Canadiens bottled up, but for the most part the guys in white cleared their zone efficiently and moved the puck smartly up ice. The transition game, MIA through all those gruesome home losses, was back.

• The PK, another recent faiblesse, was excellent last night. The Flyers went 1-for-6 on the PP, but Mike Knuble’s goal was a fluke. Canadiens killed a two-minute 5-on-3 that could have turned the game.

• Canadiens blocked 20 shots – four by Guillaume Latendresse. Gui! hustled all night, as did all the guys on the third and fourth lines. Maxim Lapierre used his speed to good advantage and won eight of 11 faceoffs.

•  Canadiens went 32-26 in the faceoff circle. The Captain – who played a great all-around  game – was 14-5. The only centre who had a tough time was Tomas Plekanec, who was 6-13 while excelling in every other aspect of his game. His pass to set up AK was a beauty.

• If Mike Richards is worth $69 million over 12 years, what should Bob Gainey offer Christopher Higgins at about this time next season? And Mike Komisarek? 

They’re forecasting a huge dump of snow tomorrow. Because of a storm in Boston yesterday, the Bruins drew 1,500 fans to watch them lose to New Jersey.

It would take an earthquake for there to be any fewer than 21,273 out to watch the Canadiens and Leafs tomorrow night.

And it will  take 60 minutes of hard-nosed hustle – and another kid-heavy lineup – to rack up a long-awaited home W. 

106 Comments

  1. cautiousoptimist says:

    Damn right. I’m getting tired of repeating it, but it isn’t any less true.

    Same goes for all you Lats-haters out there. He’s on track for 20 goals.

  2. OldGrover says:

    I think we all have to remember we’re supposed to be enjoying this. Let’s just hope for a good game tonight and that we’ll have things to cheer about at the final whistle.

  3. OldGrover says:

    It’d take more then that interview to convince me that Carbo literally didn’t say word one to the kid after he came up. That would be so staggeringly unlikely that it beggars belief. I’m sure Carbo at least told him his linemates and the game he wanted him to play… Kosty could have meant more that Carbo didn’t push him to play a style or that Carbo just let him play his game – which, as I recall, was what we wanted. Whatever Carbo did or did not say to him, Sergei sure looked good on that first line – and it looks like he’ll be back there tonight.

  4. Ali says:

    Kosty Jr said Andrei didn’t talk to him about the game, but they did talk. I still Carbo as the head coach to say something.

  5. Chorske says:

    Fair enough. I’ve been a grouch against the coach lately, it’s making me interpret everything as a sign of incompetence. I need a mini winning streak to shake it off.

  6. OldGrover says:

    I somehow doubt Carbo ‘blew him off’ – Kosty Jeune also said his BROTHER didn’t talk to him before or after the game :) I think that young Kosty was being allowed to prep for the game in his own way and/or didn’t understand the question. Not something to bash Carbo on – obviously, the way Carbo treated Sergei worked ok.

  7. Chorske says:

    No way. That is ridiculous. If that is true, that would seriously be the worst thing I’ve heard so far about Carbo. This kid is part of our much-vaunted youth movement and Carbo blows him off?

  8. howtathor says:

    I saw a RBK third jersey for sale on a website so it can’t be far off..

  9. howtathor says:

    AMEN! You’re preaching to the choir here. You know what? I’m gonna go to the game tonight and wear my Ryder jersey proudly and the first person who boos him will have to answer to me!

  10. Ali says:

    Scary fact: Kostitsyn JR said that Carbo didnt speak to him at all either before or after his first game. Not even to tell him to just play his natural game or anything. To me, that sounds ridiculous, and can only raise more concerns about Carbo’s communication and motivational skills.

  11. KamiDave says:

    Slayer > Slipknot. That being said, thrash metal is much better than silly NU metal, even though as far as that horrid genre goes, Slipknot is pretty decent. I don’t think the Habs song being Angel of Death would go over that well for some reason though… :p

  12. Mr.Hazard says:

    There’s a Facebook group petition for the return of the original song, which you can hear here: http://www.loreille.com/special3.html. I don’t understand the Vertigo thing either…

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  13. Mr.Hazard says:

    We can’t afford to play Ryder on the first line at the moment… We need Pleks, Kovy, Higgins, people who are performing NOW. But I do think he’d be better on the 3rd or 4th line than in the pressbox..

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  14. The Teacher says:

    Not really…since the money we spent this year on both smokes and breezer wont carry into next..and what else were we gonna spend it on eh?

  15. 24 Cups says:

    Dear Yeats – There really hasn’t been any significant music since the late 60’s. Even today, the Beatles still sound better than anything else being played. It’s kind of like being a Lousy Leaf fan and relating to the Stanley Cup:-)

    The Original 24 Cups

  16. 24 Cups says:

    If nothing else, you can’t trade him if you don’t play (showcase) him. This is turning into Samsonov all over again with the only difference being that Ryder isn’t a self centred jerk or a cancer to the team. Is there no one from the Habs alumni that could help counsel and support this guy?

    The Original 24 Cups

  17. The Teacher says:

    I dunno, he showed heart by adapting to be much better in his own zone. In my opinion, he has been getting frozen out of the play a lot. And not by his own doing either. Yes, he does hesitate a bit too much, but he’s pressing, with the available ice time he gets, who can blame him.

    I support Michael Ryder. I hated him last year, simply because he was the worst player at getting the puck out of the zone. Not so this year.

  18. The Teacher says:

    Breezer just SUCKS dude. I’ll NEVER feel comfortable with him on the ice.

    And Lats still needs summer skating lessons.

    He DID fall down and do something productive I must admit 😛

  19. Sbah Reverof says:

    Did anyone want to trade Ryder after the final game last season? Wasn’t Breezer a pleasant surprise just a few weeks ago? Should Huet be traded if his defense doesn’t feel like playing that night? Is Lats the Second Coming because he didn’t fall down and give away the puck? How long have I been asleep?

  20. Yeats says:

    So what’s it like going through life as if were 1967? I mean, I liked The Who’s Tommy, but Quadrophenia blew it away!

  21. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Ryderonoutoutofhere

  22. Yeats says:

    Thanks! At the very least, Ryder deserves the consideration others on the roster who have done far less for the team have gotten.

  23. ebk says:

    excellent post, my friend

  24. The Teacher says:

    Thank you,

    a good post concerning ryder.

    finally.

  25. Yeats says:

    I’m with you on this one. The one guy they had on the roster who could score with any regularity last year and they did a mind job on him. Hey, I love Koivu, but the Capt only has two more goals? Not exactly a member of The Production Line, eh? You let Ryder go and he will haunt the Habs like the ghost of Jacob Marley. Actually, it could be even worse. It could be the ghost of Bob Marley. When all the marbles were on the line in the final game against the Leafs on the road in Toronto last season, Ryder came through with a hat trick. That’s a memorable performance in my book and I don’t set the bar low. Maybe, if the coach had made a better choice on the kicker, we could have gotten to the playoffs. Don’t give up on this guy! I have this really sick feeling that when the dam breaks it could be the Johnstown Flood. Crap, how much patience have the Habs’ management shown with the Breezer. And, that useless sonofabutcher should never have been signed in the first place. He’s a living, breathing, crapping reminder of what we are not: a serious hockey club.

  26. kevin m says:

    PLAY RYDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If this guy scored 10 goals in each of his first two seasons with a 30 goal offering last year I might have said it was a fluke.

    This guy scored 25 goals in his freshman year and was a rookie of the year candidate. He then put back to back 30 goal seasons together in the NHL. You’ve got to let him work it out by putting him in situations were he has a greater than average chance to succeed. He has improved enough defensively so that he’s not a liability; therefore, there’s no reason to sit him at all.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think the Habs have another player on their roster who has scored 85 goals over the last 3 seasons. Yet, every year it’s the same old story. Ryder can’t skate, Ryder has problems defensively, Ryder can’t hit, Ryder’s not smart on the ice.

    He’s worked on his skating, his defensive play in particular and his overall play in general he has improved with every effort. GIVE HIM A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    REMEMBER THE 85 GOALS & PLAY RYDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. likehoy says:

    haha well said

  28. likehoy says:

    who’s coming the other way? evgeny malkin?

    ya right i hate sid the kid and we should do nothing to reinforce their team.

    They have a fairly mediocre team with a few bright spots. Last year’s run was a little too early for them

  29. likehoy says:

    Higgins 5-6 would be nice.

    Komi I wouldn’t mind seeing him here till he’s in the twilight of his career. A 10 year 3million a year would great. He’s tough as nails and rarely injured so he’ll be durable for the 10 years.

    Carey Price is a player that we’ve got to lock up for 15 years a la DiPietro if at the end of his current contract if he is clearly on his way to stardom (or already there). We can save millions instead of paying him 10 million a year if he does pan out to be the second coming of Roy.

  30. JasonM says:

    No thank you.

    And you don’t trade a goalie like Halak to another team in your division unless you’re getting your money’s worth from that trade and Malone IMO isn’t enough.

  31. sidhu says:

    We should get Ryan Malone from the Pens – he’s big, can fight, and can score.

    Halak, Gorges, and a conditional pick (if we sign Malone afterwards) should be able to do it

  32. tleblanc says:

    With the likes of Richards, Di Pietro, Smith, Briere all being locked for many years I don’t think its up to the GM to decide anymore. What is more dangerous is the no trade clause along with it. The reality for the next few years will be the terms of the contracts because all players and their agents are taking note of the trend to lose the older players and go with youth.

  33. JF says:

    I felt a lot better when I got up this morning than I have for weeks – how many is it now, three or four, since the Habs have been playing like a minor-league team. Pat Hickey described their game as nearly flawless, and I have to agree. If there was a flaw, it was the bit of indiscipline late in the second period which gave Philly that 5-on-3; but they made up for it with superb penalty-killing. The passes last night were beautiful to watch, the skating was fast, there were few if any defensive turnovers – altogether a beautiful game. A few days ago we were talking about “owning” teams or being “owned” by them; we’ve beaten the Flyers twice this year, and the games were probably the two best we’ve played all season; for the moment anyway, we “own” the Flyers.

    I really liked Streit last night, despite one or two hesitant plays on defense. He seemed to have more confidence, registering a couple of good shots as well as his two goals. After a strong beginning to the season, he has looked a bit lost; perhaps now we’ll see the player whose work as a forward last year was such a pleasant surprise.

    I hope Carbonneau goes with the same line-up tomorrow night. The kids have shown that they’re NHL-ready, and the more they play, the better they’ll get, which certainly can’t be said of some of the veterans.

    I agree that the Canadiens should lock up Higgins, Komisarek and Plekanec long term. Not twelve years, but maybe six. They all figure in the future of this team, and we don’t want someone else to lure them away.

    Now if only the Habs can play like they did last night at home – I’m at a loss to understand why they seem to be unable to – the rest of the season may not go down the drain after all.

  34. Chorske says:

    LOL, I’m with you. ‘Where the streets have no name’ always struck me as a weird choice: “I want to run, I want to hide…. we’re beaten and blown by the wind, trampled in dust”. Now THERE’S a winning sentiment. What’s next, Radiohead’s Creep? “I’m a looooooserrrrr, what the hell am I doing here?”

    I say, play something with balls. Or (in deference to the ladies) really BIG ovaries. I’m a bit too old to like slipknot, but something along those lines would be a definite improvement.

  35. Y says:

    That would be Hara Kiri (Hara = Stomach Kiri = cut) or Seppuku

  36. krob1000 says:

    Ouch!!! and here I am complimenting Lats for blocking that shot and it is probably what hurt him.

  37. ccs says:

    Hey BOB place this ad…All star ready goaltender very good condition, reliable, comes with former 30 goal scorer seldom used AS IS condition. Would like to get a power forward but may take best offer. Let the kids play…

  38. JF says:

    I think RDS was suggesting the Leafs would be asked to wear their blue jerseys so our guys could wear white. They also said a lot of teams are starting to go with white jerseys for home games.

  39. JF says:

    If TSN is correct, it sounds as though Ryder no longer figures in the team’s plans. I also hope it’s D’Agostini. He’s got more offensive upside than Milroy and Ferland.

  40. HabsProf says:

    Ah, I did misinterpret you. My apologies again.

    Komi may indeed be worth more than Richards. Nasty defensemen who can dominate are worth a lot, though his lack of a major offensive game will reduce his price tag.

    Time span? Yes, I would like to lock up players for a longer term than we have been. Since Montreal seems to have trouble attracting FA lately, why not lock up the people we have? That said, I remember a lot of people criticizing Gainey for his failure to sign Ryder to a multi-year deal. Right now, that may be a great non-move.

    In the end, there is always an element of luck. Good teams and good GMs reach the very top levels with a bit of luck to go along with their considerable skills and hard work.

  41. doug says:

    Just got off ESPN in their “trade rumor” section:

    “While Marc-Andre Fleury is out with an ankle sprain, the Penguins are looking for more options. And with Montreal’s wealth in net, Cristobal Huet could be on Pittsburgh’s list.”

  42. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Anyone else see this from TSN – Ice Chips?

    Anderi Kostitsyn and Guillaume Latendresse skipped practice. Kostitsyn took a therapy day after banging up his R knee Thursday in Philadelphia. Coach Guy Carbonneau would not disclose Latendresse’s injury. Both will try to skate Saturday morning but if one or both cannot play, Carbonneau says Duncan Milroy, Matt D’Agostini and Jonathan Ferland are on standby in Hamilton. Carey Price will make his sixth straight start Saturday against Toronto. He has beaten the Leafs twice in a row and will face them for the first time at the Bell Centre. Crisobal Huet is waiting for medical clearance to return to the lineup, which could come as early as Saturday morning when he sees the team doctor. If cleared, he will back up Price

    I hope it is D’Agostini or Ferland

  43. Mike Boone says:

    I didn’t mean they’re worth more than Richards (although Komisarek may be). Butting locking them up long-term might be a good idea. That said, 12 years is nuts. Maybe five to six.

  44. P St. Pierre says:

    I totally agree. I miss seeing the white jereseys on home ice as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Habs go back to that third jersey they used last year either.

  45. Habs Suck... Less says:

    Thanks Mike – well said.

    -In some of my previous posts I have adamantly insisted that Price has played with a left side cheat and deep in his crease while noting his slow lateral movement. He corrected those flaws last night and his game was bang on. If he can be conscious of those areas in preparation for every game, he will shine and prove his NHL worthiness at such a young age.

    -The call to bring up S. Kostitsyn was a very good one. Habs needed a kid to come show his stuff and they got it in the younger sibling. Koivu’s line will produce tomorrow if he is flanked by the Kosti brothers. While Pleks, Kovy and Higgins will be a huge threat to the Leaf’s anemic defense. No concerns with lines 3 and 4. They are fast, strong, and playing hard and forcing the opposition to make quick decisions and often cough up the puck under pressure. What more could you want from them?

    -Is this team better with #73 in the lineup? I for one say no. It is not bad luck or fluke that he hasn’t produced. He’s an ECHL product that got lucky and had a couple of good scoring seasons in the NHL, albeit with an gosh-awful +/-. But, one-trick ponies only last so long at the circus before being replaced with real talent. Do I feel badly for him? yes, and I hope things work out for him in the future, but he does not fit in the Habs’ plans now. I’m sure Gainey is ever thankful that he inked only a one-year deal. #73 will be gone or used sparingly as a reserve, especially if young Sergei continues to shine and put a fire under Koivu. This KKKjr. trio needs a good long look before making changes.

    -I hope Gorges & O’Byrne get lots more games in and that Breezer is only used as a reserve for depth (as originally intended). I’m not convinced that Bouillon and Gorges are the best combo, but they had a pretty solid game vs. Philly (then again, so did most of the Habs).

    -I think Smolinski or Begin’s job may be in jeopardy with the strong and energetic play of LaPierre. Begin’s willingness to drop the gloves will probably save his bacon!

    -Glad to see Price will play in net vs. Leafs on Sat. Huet will likely play the next game and return as the “#1”. That’s not to knock Price. He will still get in games, and in due time he will take the throne… just not yet.

  46. Plek-Andrew says:

    HabsProf;
    Richards has 14 goals and 21 assists lol. at age 22. On a team that’s rebuilding…

    Oh and Boone, good observations on Price. Sounds a lot like something a certain somebody said a week and a half ago about him staying deep in the net and not challenging the shooters… word for word… hmm…

    Anyways, guys it’s my first leafs game tomorrow evening. It’s the first time i’m in attendance… and I’m sitting just a little above where we were during the Summit (we were in the whites, i’m sitting in greys) so you can imagine my already-busted throat is gonna kill me by sunday morning.

    Can’t wait! And my boy pleky…. seems like there’s an improvement on a certain aspect of his game every single time he’s on the ice. I’m always blown away… plus the guys at my work are always praising Pleky now…
    Loved him since day one, also love Grabovski since day one. Heard he was injured but I know he’s gonna be the next Maxim Afinogenov. Same style of hockey.

  47. Sbah Reverof says:

    Excellent assessment, Mike, bang on.
    Also, I heard one of the RDS guys say that Carbo should leave his lines and game plan from last night intact for the game against the Leafs, and I would tend to agree. Given our recent, um, unpleasantness and the Leafs’ resurgence, we have to build on every little thing that goes right, and discard whatever has not been working.
    Good to see the first line re-energised, and overall I’m very happy with the 60 minute effort. We will win some and lose some, but with consistent effort and hard work, we will have nothing to be ashamed of.

  48. Fer_hab says:

    If Brezzer had any self respect left he should just announce his retirement(OR Hari Kari). How can he not after watching lasts night game. All he can do is pass (whoo hoo) he is a constant liability for us whenever he is on the ice. I am one of the biggest Carbo supporters but his choice of keeping Brezzer a starter is absolutly mind boggling.

    Glad to hear we might be playing with our white jersy’s on tommorrow.

    The solution to our baffling home record is simple.
    GET RID OF VERTIGO. IT IS THE MAIN REASON WHY WE CAN’T SCORE AT HOME CAUSE NO ONE ON THE TEAM WANTS TO HEAR THAT TERRBILE SONG. Play some Slipknot (WAIT AND BLEED)or bring back the old montreal goal song from a couple of years back anything even playing where the streets have no names is better.

  49. likehoy says:

    man i was waiting for some sergei/andrei magic. They’re going to be like the Sedin twins where they trust each other so much and have great communication (like they’re telepathic). Although, Sergei looks much smaller than Andrei despite only supposed to being 1 inch smaller and a couple pounds lighter. Must be the way he tucks his shirt in, but he looks a little quicker too (maybe cuz he’s smaller). A good all-round game, for Sergei, but Andrei could have a bigger offensive impact.

  50. Habsfan39 says:

    HOCKEY HOCKEY, i love hockey, i just love love love it!

    HOCKEY HOCKEy is back, they better but up another good game tomorrow!

  51. HabsProf says:

    When I read your note, I get the impression that you think Higgins and Komi are worth more than Richards. Sorry, haven’t seen it so far.

    Richards has 14g, 11a, 25pts, and is +9. He is 22 years old. Higgins is 13g, 8a, 23pts, +1 and is 24 years old.

    Komi is harder to compare as a defensive defenseman. I love both of them (Komisarek may be my favourite player, though I find myself really cheering for Kostitsyn the Elder lately), but I would certainly trade Higgins for Richards in a heartbeat, even though I would mourn Higgins departure.

    Don’t know if you were implying that Chris and Mike could expect more, and I’m sorry if I misinterpreted you.

  52. tleblanc says:

    Nice sentiment but it is denying the reality of today’s market. If you want the UFA’s or your guys to stay then you will have to belly up to the table with the rest of the league or act as the farm system to the rest of the league. That is today’s NHL

  53. Steiner says:

    I could be wrong.. and it would be really weird coincidence… but I thought I heard someone on RDS last night (Renaud Lavois maybe?) say that the Leafs are going to wear their Blue jerseys when they play here tomorrow night…. at least thats what I got from my translation.

    Could be wrong.
    But I wouldn’t mind seeing the white jersey’s on home ice. Not because I think it will make us play better, but I just like them more.

  54. notbigbird says:

    They were awesome in the previous game against Philly, and it’s my contention that they went downhill after that. Maybe they thought they were better than they really were after that game, and it changed their preparation somehow. Anyway, whether my analysis is right or wrong, I am hoping that this game is also a turning point — a positive turning point.

  55. the Maritimer says:

    Nobody should be getting more than a 5 year deal. Nobody.

  56. saskhab says:

    Higgins & Komi aren’t in the same ballpark as Richards. Richards is a Messier clone… that doesn’t mean he’s as good as Mess, but if Phaneuf is Bourque (or Stevens), Crosby is Gretzky, Malkin is Kurri, Ovechkin is Bossy (okay, Ilya might be Bossy), then Richards is Messier.

    If there’s anyone getting a 7-12 year deal from Montreal, it’ll be Price in 2 years, not Higgins or Komi.

  57. mbplekfan says:

    Ryder scored most of his goals on the power play last year. This was because Souray was being screened by the winger playing high. Ryder could cut off the boards and unleash that shot.

    Now the winger plays lower and takes Ryder’s lane away.

    Ryder is a no heart, no character, single dimension hockey player. I agree he should play, he should just do it elsewhere.


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