About last night …

They won’t be sending the game DVD to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but a W is a W. But any time you can hold the home team to 18 shots _ only one in the first period – you’ve played a very solid hockey game.

What did we learn?

• Tomas Plekanec is the best two-way forward on the team: great 5-on-5, power play, PK. Number 14 is so much better than the number 35 who struggled to figure out his linemates, Boris and Natasha, last season. Now he and Alex Kovalev are like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (should Fred have passed to Ginger for the hat trick last night?). Add a rapidly emerging Belarussian and the Canadiens have one of the fastest, most highly-skilled and dangerous lines in the league. I can’t remember who was prime minister the last time we saw three-way passing like this.

• Make it four-way passing when Andrei Markov is on with the Pleks line, snapping off tape-to-tape 40-footers. He’s unreal – and Markov blocked six shots last night.

• If the team is patient and lets him learn from his mistakes – of which he’s good for at least two in every game – Josh Gorges will become a very reliable defenceman.

• Cristobal Huet handles the puck the way I handle my finances. Next summer, he should join the Long Island gym where Mike Komisarek and Christopher Higgins work out with Rick DiPietro. The Islanders’ goalie might be willing to conduct a tutorial.

• Speaking of goalies, Carey Price let in seven goals on 31 shots last night as Peoria dumped Hamilton 7-2. I’m starting to get a teensy bit concerned about our goaltender of the future.

• The Captain was very good last night. I think he’ll get Higgins scoring again soon, and Sergei K. will help them both.

• Last night’s defence pairings are the ones I’d go with for the rest of the season: Markov-Komisarek/Hamrlik-Streit/Bouillon-Gorges. Sorry, Breeze.

• Canadiens took one minor penalty – and scored on the PK. Gotta love that discipline.

• The power play went 0-for-2 but had some brilliant puck control and a few good chances.

• Bryan Smolinski is a smart veteran who will give Guy Carbonneau quality minutes through the second half of the season.

• I liked the fourth line last night. But who sits when Steve Bégin returns?

• Garth Snow would never give him up, but I’d trade for Trent Hunter in a Long Island minute.

• Thursday will be fun. Atlanta smoked the Wings 5-1 in Detroit as Marian Hossa got a hat trick, Keri Lehtonen made 46 saves and the Thrashers overtook Carolina for the Southeast Division lead.

• Sergei Samsonov, playing on a line with Erik Cole and Rod Brind’Amour, had a goal and two assists last night.

 

76 Comments

  1. blnieder says:

    I agree with Boone, but lets make it more interesting.

    Jokinnen and Vokun from Florida to Montreal for:

    Ryder, Higgins, O’Byrne and 1st rounder 2008

    Huet, Dandanault and 1st rounder 2009, 2nd rounder 2008 to Tampa Bay for:

    Brad Richards and 2nd rounder 2009 to Montreal.

    Then:

    A.K. , Pleks , Kovi
    Saku , Joki , D’Agostini
    Latendresse , Brad Richards , S.K.
    Begin , Chipper , Lapierre

    Markov , Komi
    Streit , Hammer
    Georges , Cube

    Vokun
    Price
    Halek

    I’s love to see whether we could complete with Ottawa, however, I’m still a little worried about the Defense a bit. We could use Campbell from Buffalo. Then our transition game would be formidable.
    Then WOW.

  2. The Teacher says:

    Read below and don’t cut out 60 percent of what I said next time. Thanks. This discussion is over.

  3. The Teacher says:

    WHAT the….. heck?

  4. The Teacher says:

    Umm yeah..i said they could send him to Paris for treatment, AFTER the fact….

    and I don’t think the posters after were reacting to MY comment either.

    These were my comments..don’t think they were over the top.

    “awww, poor baby, lol, send him to Paris for treatment.

    but i will say I respect how he handles himself with class and his devotion to the Habs.

    however, he is done.”

  5. The Teacher says:

    How about 110% or Team990?

  6. The Teacher says:

    Maybe because you’re on an English site?

  7. The Teacher says:

    Notmocking, he’s injured..I don’t take pleasure in his injury..never did say that…what’s up with you today?

  8. The Teacher says:

    True, I guess, it’s just old and cheap with no grounds in actual fact..Kind of like La Presse, and 110% if you think about it…that’s all I’m saying

  9. TommyB says:

    A Selanne/Koivu pairing sounds reasonable, but isn’t Anaheim in tight against the cap now? I guess it would just be a matter of what else goes into such a deal and what the numbers are. Interesting, for sure.

    I have been thinking all season that Koivu could be traded, if he desired, this year. The key words: “if he desired”, and maybe that time has come. The only question I have is, who comes our way? Did you read anything about that?

  10. The Teacher says:

    I don’t really like rumours coming from rumour sites, let’s not turn this great site into a rumour site also….

    Tanguay’s not really a good fit for our team either in my mind.

  11. likehoy says:

    ya what is going on?! don’t forget mickey ribs being the best player in dallas

    next thing we know pierre dagenais will sign with the detroit red wings

  12. Mr.Hazard says:

    I was laughing when I saw that Samsonov scored! Then I went from amused to surprised when I saw that he added 2 assists. And Theo with the shutout!

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  13. TommyB says:

    Higgins will be around for a long time to come. I agree with you that who his linemates are would influence the type of play we get from him. I think Higgins is the ultimate team-guy, and he just goes out and plays with whoever Carbo chooses. The results will differ based on just who he is playing with, and that is not a slam against any of his linemates.
    Some guys click (offensively) together and some guys don’t. Right now the team is playing well and Higgins will be content to do whatever Carbo asks him to do. Give me a team full of those types.

  14. likehoy says:

    well i know they were both blue chippers…komi going 8th overall…but did they know about the long island relationship and how it would pan out on a team??

  15. Chuck says:

    Actually, this has to do with the Habs getting national coverage over the laffs. Quite relevant, I’d say.
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    ______________________________________________
    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  16. The Teacher says:

    According to my T.O. friend, fans in Montreal are squawking about Kovy? I don’t hear anything on this site, what are idiot radio fans saying? Or French ones for that matter?

    He says we’re becoming worse than T.O. and he’s a Hab fan but sometimes doesn’t sound like one. Said the Canadiens should move to Hamilton.

  17. The Teacher says:

    Yeah, where would this world be if we couldn’t eh? 😉

  18. ebk says:

    Andre Savard deserves some credit for helping turn this team around. He did a very good job with what he inherited.

  19. The Teacher says:

    BTW, my friend in T.O. says that 6 of the 7 goals Price gave up were tip-ins….

  20. 24 Cups says:

    Hey 12 – I don’t know a lot about this guy (don’t get to Dartmouth much these days!) but I remember that he has good size as he is over 6′ and 200 lbs. I believe this is his fourth year at college so I would assume he’s off to Hamilton next year if he signs with the Habs. My big question would be is he a good skater? If so, then he has a chance to maybe take the 4th spot on right wing once Dandy and Tommy K’s contracts run out at the end of next year. Add him to the Hab’s list of Americans that was on another post today. Americans and Russians – that’s most of our young players! How ironic.

    The Original 24 Cups

  21. Yeats says:

    That’s right up there with the observation that there is a positive correlation between the number of divorces in the United Kingdom and the number of marriages consummated by the Church of England.

  22. RetroMikey says:

    Steve Begin will find it hard to crack the lineup. Sorry Mike, I know ya like him but, hey that’s life!

    Not too worry about Carey Price! He’s not God and everyone is panicking right now. Relax everyone, have a Jack Daniels, and breathe deeply. He’s playing in Hamilton, gaining so much experience, games like he let in 7 goals will make him angry and determined to work on his techniques better. Was at the game and many of us fans believe he will come back roaring like a tiger! He was a little cocky and over confident when he made the team in Montreal and now he’s back in the minors which he should have been right from the start. But he will come back to Montreal before the playoffs a better goalie than he was before he was demoted to Hamilton.

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  23. G-Man says:

    Good thing this was the Islanders and not a team that can score. Habs did not do much in the 3rd, when good teams put their collective foot on the gas. So what Koivu looked interested. He hasn’t scored since… it’s been so long I forget.

    Gilbert

  24. 24 Cups says:

    Likehoy – Andre Savard was GM when these guys were drafted and I wonder if he received any flak for drafting two Americans in a row. Mind you, they were both rated to go in the first round so it really wasn’t going out on a limb. Add Fischer, McDonagh, and Pacioretty and you have 5 Yanks in 7 years. So much for the Flying Frenchmen.

    The Original 24 Cups

  25. likehoy says:

    does anyone think gainey (timmins) knew what he was doing when he drafted komi and higgins a year apart? Like how they’re best friends and grew up together.

  26. Chuck says:

    “The Leafs are traditionally given carriage in the majority of the Canadian markets because they are the leading audience producer for Hockey Night.”

    Well, no kidding, Sherlock. If they’re shown in the majority of the markets, then it just stands to reason that they’d have the largest audience. Same goes for any team that you give national coverage.
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    ______________________________________________
    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  27. vic says:

    I hope Price has not lost his confidence,and the coaches handle him better
    He wouldnt be the first goalie to lose after going through the pressure he was put in.Why the didnt use Halack more confuses me.
    I just hope he makes back to where he was.

  28. 24 Cups says:

    Sidhu – He had to go to arbitration last year with the Isles so I don’t know if that’s an issue. I would think that a few teams will be after him and can’t believe that Nolan/Snow would want to lose him. He’s a nice contrast to Guerin and Satan on right wing. But you never know. We could always offer him the $3 mil a year we’re paying Ryder – because that’s the guy he would be replacing. Hunter’s only drawback is that he’s not a very good skater, kinda plods up and down the ice. If we sign him, he sure won’t be playing on a line with Chipchura and Lats.

    The Original 24 Cups

  29. habsontheisland says:

    Thanks 24!! My glass is always half full, I’m a habs fan.

  30. 24 Cups says:

    Thanks Teach – It makes me feel good that every once in a while an old fogey like me can relate to the under 50 crowd:-)

    The Original 24 Cups

  31. 24 Cups says:

    The Original 24 Cups

  32. The Teacher says:

    LMAO, good one!

  33. 24 Cups says:

    Nick – Could you imagine what would have happened if Kovalev passed to Pleks and the Isles intercepted and scored to tie the game? And then that mishap was followed by a scoreless overtime which was then followed by an Islander winning goal on Huet during the shootout? This site would have had a meltdown!

    The Original 24 Cups

  34. 24 Cups says:

    I was under the impression that Mike Boone was Gorges’ agent.

    The Original 24 Cups

  35. 24 Cups says:

    Great post kRob – you touched a lot of bases. Lats has been missing in action the past few games and needs to get the lead out. I think every once in a while he needs to be kick-started by the coaching staff and his fellow players. This is probably a reflection of his age and lack of experience more than anything else. His place on the PP is in front of the net but that’s a role that has to be earned. We need some production from him and Sergei K in the next few games.

    The Original 24 Cups

  36. The Teacher says:

    Welcome, Welcome,

    Remember what the under 50 crowd says, the rest are just old fogies 😛

    Unless you’re an old fogie of course 😉

  37. 24 Cups says:

    Habsontheisland – Welcome rookie poster, here is your first tutorial:-)

    If someone under the age of 50 makes a post on this site then totally ignore it – they know nothing about hockey and the Habs.

    If someone over the age of 50 makes a post then absorb every word and print it to keep for future reference.

    AND remember, on this site the glass is always half full, whether it be your beer or your perspective.

    The Original 24 Cups

  38. The Teacher says:

    Thanks :)

    I might be guilty of that also with Breezer, but he HAS not been as bad as I feared this year.

    Koivu hasn’t played well this year, but if he does, say it, right?

    As for trading him…I’m hesitant to do that..If he wants to leave, let him leave on his own. If he wants to stay, keep him, as long as he knows he will have a diminishing role a la Stevie Y.

  39. sidhu says:

    Some fans have pre-conceived notions about certain players. So if you already made the judgment that you don’t like the player, that he should be traded or sit in the press box, it will take a lot to get over the threshold of changing their minds. Brisebois is the best example of that principle. I admit that I have the same perspective with respect to Koivu – he may have a two-goal game here or there, but I’d still think it’s time for us to get a good return for him.

    As fans we can all see the same game and arrive at different conclusions, I’m just being honest with the approach that I bring to my comments and to what I think is best for our club. So kudos to you Teach for sticking to your guns in the face of a negative reaction – it certainly makes for more lively discussion!

  40. krob1000 says:

    Whenever things go bad in Toronto they suddenly try and drum up controversy about the Habs. They did this already once this year with Kovalev but now that our team is stable these things don’t rattle us anymore. The Leafs will not trade Sundin. He is far and away the teams best putter and his short game will be needed on the course in early April. Trade your best putter!!!How can anyone be so stupid…..only in Toronto.

  41. Will Longlade says:

    Exactly. TSN has no class and if they knew anything about hockey they would have conceded that Kovy made the right decision. No question. Keep things simple. This rule doesn’t only apply to situations in which a team is defending a one goal lead. It always applies.

  42. Chuck says:

    As long as they don’t exchange cards in February. :)
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    ______________________________________________
    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  43. Chuck says:

    After Kovi got around the Islander that dove at him on the half-boards, there was yet another Islander between Kovi and Pleks. A drop pass would have been foolish and would have surely resulted in a turnover… regardless of what the TSN replay guy said.
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    ______________________________________________
    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  44. krob1000 says:

    Some people just don’t know how to look at the good in things. Koivu WAS buzzing, had some good chances, was skating, was working and I thought he actually played fairly well against the Rangers too. If he converts someof his chances peole talk differently but I saw the entire game and he played well. The last two games he has looked like himself again after his bout with the flu. People think a flu last a day,two or three but if yuo are a professional athlete that needs to operate at maximum output it can have a lasting effect (see last year). He is back and our three offensive line approach is working out great. This team is far superior to last years and on the upslope. Too bad you missed the first period because it was our best. The game really should have been over in the first.

  45. The Teacher says:

    I know, boone saying Koivu had a strong game made me feel better about how I saw the game. Seemed like a lot of people didn’t agree with me on that point.

  46. sidhu says:

    And take a look at the responses to Teach’s claim that Koivu showed up last night:

    http://www.habsinsideout.com/node/2817

    You’ll have to scroll down.

  47. sidhu says:

    He needs a linemate who can really skate with him, which is why I think he did so well with Pleks when they have played together.

    I’d say Higgins has had a solid year so far overall, but he has the potential to be even more productive.

  48. The Teacher says:

    This is reposted from last night, when I got in after the game.

    Well I saw the last two periods and I have these comments

    1. Koivu showed up, which is important if our team has playoff aspirations
    2. Kovy line was exciting and played well
    3. AKOST can hit like a tank, Kovy felt it also!
    4. Huet saved our butts in a 2 min span during the 2nd period.
    5. Gorges sacrificed his body every shift.
    6. Smokes played a lot better than what he has shown us this year.
    7. 2 points, which is most important.
    8. That third period was tense, but they made it
    9. Quite possibly S.Kost’s finest game. Played awesome defensively.
    10. championship teams sacrifice the body. 25 blocked shots..impressive.

  49. sidhu says:

    I mentioned in a post yesterday that we should sign Hunter to replace Ryder.

    Hunter is a UFA at season’s end, we should definitely go after him — he’s big, strong, plays the PK and PP, drives to the net, and hits almost as often as Komisarek.

    He only makes $1.55 million this year, so he should be affordable.

    Go Habs Go!

  50. RS says:

    Higgins has become a serious concern.

  51. Mike says:

    no, he shouldn’t of. the ice was horrible last night, the players complained that all the passes were flopping and pucks kept jumping over sticks. With th defenseman right their, if kovalev would have passes and the defenseman intercepted the puck or the puck would have jumped over pleks stick then we would not have ganreeted the win. What kovalev did was the smarter play.

  52. habsontheisland says:

    First post!! I’ve been following this site all year but never had an urge to sign up until today. I must say Kudos to the people who run/maintain this site. Decent win last night. Nice to get the 2 pts for sure. Ice was really slow, it seemed to me. Pleks looked good last night as did mostly all of the habs and both Kostitsyns are capable of delivering big hits. Love it.

  53. krob1000 says:

    I think Kovy is our best two way forward now (that statement would have been laughable if made at any point in the last ten years before this season). He has been killing penalties lately and his anticipation is incredible. He also goes right at guys and gets his big frame in the way. I have never seen this type of play from Kovalev before but it is awesome to watch. Him and Plekanec were incredible shorthanded last night. That shift at then end of the game was amazing too. Kovy is still the key but there is no doubt Pleks is going to be a two way star (he already is but only us Hab fans know it right now). Plekanec is great as is that whole line. I am now a full believer in Andrei Kostitsyn too. He is no longer shying away from any physical stuff and it has helped to elevate his game. Ever since he got into that fight (voluntary or not) he has been a changed player….for the better and I am expecting the same of O’Byrne upon his return.

    I thought all of our forwards played great and gave solid efforts going in both directions. Smolinski and Ryder had their feet moving and Ryder is continuing to emerge as a solid backchecker (must have had the same brain surgeon as Kovalev). He is still not getting playing time and that perplexes me as he is doing all of the right things but I can’t really argue too much with our success. The grinder line is going to be every important to us down the stretch (whichever form it takes). It seems as though Carbo is now using his best players (Kovy, Higgins, Koivu, Pleks,etc) more on the penalty kill and our fourth lines’ ability to eat minutes until the lines are able to reset will be very important. Koivu’s line had several chances and looked good to me despite some criticisms I have read on other threads.

    Our defense played well too with a great game being played along the boards in our own end. Normally it can be frustrating to see them dump the puck around the boards blindly. Last night I thought they made more aware decisions on when to dump it around and when to just chip it back to the other defenseman behind their net to let the forwards get set and become available for outlet passes asn set up an effective breakout. They are also avoiding dumb penalties in front and behind the net which is also nice to see. Markov made some great pases last night and looks to be back to his early season form again.

    Huet played a phenomenal game and made the big saves when necessary. He does have to stop playing the puck so much but that can’t be allowed to take away fromt he fact that he brought his A game and was a big reason we won. I wonder if Rollie has said something to him because on bad angle situations he seems to be playing less on his knees (still crouched but at least being sure to cover the top part of the net). It was very obvious that the Islanders were looking to go high on him and that may have played a role in his change too but it was apparent that he made a conscious effort to cover the top of the net in thos situations and that can only be a good thing. I remember Pierre MCguire harping about that when he first came in to the league and the more I see him play the more I realize Mcguire was right and he has to be aware that that is likely what the other teams scouting reports will say (that and give Huet the puck on dump ins).

    Now for the negatives…….Don’t worry there aren’t many.
    I do think we missed the net far too many times from great scoring positions. I believe just getting the chances is always a good sign but in those first two periods we threw away several great opportunities. We also need to be a little more selfish at times on odd man rushes. It was nice to see Higgins giving pucks to Ryder there for a couple games but he too is a shooter and he passed up a couple great chances by trying passes from great shooting positions. Get greedy boys……Plekanec is the best example of this as Kovy told him to look to shoot more and it has paid huge dividends.

    I do have one request though that I think is warranted of late and that is to take Lats of the PP and put Ryder or Sergei Kostistyn on the second unit. Personally I would like it if they were both on the second unit with Sergei on the point. Lats has 12 goals (10 even strength). He has played better than anyone expected him to all year but he is not power paly material on a consistent basis. I think here and there or as the twenty second sometimes third unit he could work. He would also be great for situations where our power play struggles as he can help us get to the net and restore the basics and simplicity but we have better players for the job on most nights.

    All in all a great performance again and one more babystep towards greatness.

  54. nick says:

    i was thinkin Kovalev shoulda passed to Plekanec on that last goal, but after looking at the replay, you can see Plekanec dropped out of the play after Kovalev passed him at the blue line. Ah well….

  55. J.T. says:

    Why? I think it’s sweet.

  56. Hot_Pie says:

    This Boone man-crush towards Gorges has got to stop, lol.


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