About last night …

Given the situation – Leafs in town, six straight losses at home – it was the Canadiens’ best game of the year.

Everything worked. If I were grading the Canadiens’ effort:

Goaltending: A- (only because the Devereaux goal was a softie)

Defence: A … and that most definitely includes Ryan O’Byrne and my man Josh Gorges, who held his own against the physical Leafs and made some precise outlet passes.

Forwards: A+ Keyed by the Captain and Christopher Higgins, who’ve been re-energized by the addition of Sergei Kostitsyn, all four lines contributed to a solid effort at both ends of the ice. There were sequences when the Leafs just could not touch the puck in their own end. If that cycling-down-low game keeps up, the fans have to learn to chant "The wheels on the bus go round and round …"

Special Teams: B- for the power play, which went 0-for-3 and A for the PK because Toronto went 0-for-3

Coaching: A At one time or other, Guy Carbonneau used each of his four centres against Mats Sundin, and the big (talented) lug was kept off the scoresheet. Despite some no-calls that had the Bell Centre faithful howling with rage, Carbo was smart enough to realize his team was controlling the game and there was no point ragging the refs – least of a rabbit ears like Kerry Fraser.

Fans: F- Throwing beer from $150 seats unto the Leafs’ bench? Totally uncool, totally unMontreal, totally idiotic. C’mon guys! What is this, Philadelphia?


Would it be immodest to point out that that the Boone Reverse Jinx was a perfect 2-0 this week? I predicted wins by the Flyers and Leafs, prognostication that made sense on paper.

But the game isn’t played on paper (and if it were, Hal Gill would be an ink blot.)

I admit it: a week ago, I wanted to fire Carbo and trade half the team. But the league is wacky this season. With the exception of Detroit, every NHL team is vulnerable to slumps.

The Canadiens’ swoon came early. And while they’re not out of the woods yet, the team is sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference and has played 120 minutes of excellent, disciplined hockey.

And they’re young. Half of these guys would get carded in an Ontario bar. They make mistakes, but when the Kiddie Corps is on, as they were against the Leafs last night, it’s a sight to behold. The Bell Centre cognoscenti love the kids. It’s wonderful to hear applause for the subtle, Hockey 101 skills of Kyle Chipchura.

I wonder if Bob Gainey will make a move before the holiday trade freeze kicks in. There’s less urgency than there was last week, but the play of Sergei K., Ryan O’Byrne and Josh Gorges makes for some dicey personnel decisions as players come off the IR list.

Anyway, these are good problems to have.

Florida on Tuesday night. I don’t know that I can invoke the Boone Reverse Jinx without turning it into a joke.


  1. Chorske says:

    The ‘little tits’ / ‘big tits’ thing is funny but it won’t stick on the radio or in print, so we’ll probably have to find something else. I really like K2. It sounds… mountainous.

    To the old guns here: how did radio announcers deal with this in the RIchard / Mahovlich days? Did they just say the complete name, or did they use nicknames / first names?

  2. Chorske says:

    You’re not the only one. The Hamrlik signing was a piece of brilliant work. At the time I thought we we’d given a surprisingly long contract to someone I’d had in fantasy pools and considered ordinary but reliable. But he has elevated the defensive play of everyone he’s played with. I’m thrilled that a young gun like O’Byrne is learning from him. We would’ve ended up overpaying for Souray.

  3. leafs67_andcounting says:

    Yup, I think they’ll throw the book at him this time and if and when he ever comes back…..He’ll do something else stupid, it’s just the way he is and no amount of fines or suspensions is going to change that. The only positive is that it was against a dirty little jerk like Ruutu.

  4. leafs67_andcounting says:

    According to Yvon Pednault some Edmonton scouts have been attending recent Canadiens games. He named Kevin Lowe and Dave Semenko among others.Perhaps they’re interested in Ryder.

  5. gfunkdoc says:

    I agree, there is no point in trading Ryder right now. Who’s gonna trade for someone who’s scored only 1 more goal than Tom Kostopolous?? IF it’s gonna happen, it’ll have to wait, maybe ’til the deadline. The only non-young guy they could get something for would be Huet, and it’s not really a great time for that either considering the alternative only has 16 games of NHL experience. Although, I think they should learn something from what happened with Souray, and make sure they get something for him this year rather than lose him to free agency, despite the fact that he’s a great goalie and a fan favorite.
    By the way, am I the only one who thought Montreal traded up in the summer, losing a Souray who was about -56 and gaining a solid defenseman who now leads the team in that category?

  6. howtathor says:

    I really hope we’ve seen the last of Breezer and Smokes this year. I think it was a mistake to sign them in the first place. Now we’ll have to either buy them out, trade them or put them on waivers. We know that O’byrne will make the odd mistake but he won’t shy away from the corners and he’ll make that breakout pass to his OWN player. When Lats comes back I would like to see him play with Chips and Ryder. That would leave Dandy out as a swing forward/defensman in case of injury. I hope they keep Lappy and O’byrne and Sergei for the season.

  7. howtathor says:

    They seem to be having fun again. The enthusiasm is contagious! I wouldn’t doubt if they had a meeting, I don’t know about with Gainey but Chris Higgins is just on fire!

  8. howtathor says:

    Jarku Ruutu eh? Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

  9. howtathor says:

    Sounds like another Janne Lahti…yawnnnnnnn!

  10. howtathor says:

    I think it’s: Heyyyyy Baby, dis moi est-ce-qu’il faut….energie cardio. Of course that just my lame anglo interpretation πŸ˜›

  11. Chorske says:

    The whole incident never happens if Bert doesn’t sucker punch the guy from behind. Drop the gloves, turn the guy around, and beat on him when he’s facing you. Bert himself admitted he was wrong. I like to think his tears were genuine.

    That said, Moore should’ve been called for the hit on Naslund. Still doesn’t justify crippling a guy.

  12. nightmare_49 says:

    I haven’t looked at the Poisson posts for weeks cuz of the faux-francophone style which i found classless and immature and living in Montreal and an anglo i don’t find that form of humour appealing at all. Otherwise i don’t find his posts bad but one thing is for sure , he cannot stand to be criticized but he sure can give it.

  13. Ali says:

    yeah, maybe I was confusing the Kovalchuk thing with that one.

  14. likehoy says:

    he’s back in europe.

    He’s putting up almost a point per game in finland and he did that in the AHL last year. He must be a strong player with talent but suspect skating. He’s listed as a centre so maybe Gainey’s looking to give us more size and depth down the middle.

  15. The Teacher says:

    If that’s true, my bad..didn’t see it…haven’t seen Mr. Clayton in a while..so wasn’t sure why he interjected himself into it. don’t recall him poasting last night either…but I did come home after the game was over…

    anyways, it’s done…

  16. RS says:

    The Habs may or may not want to trade Ryder, but I think the Canucks might be a good fit. I won’t even speculate about what the Habs could possibly get in return (not much frankly), I just think that Van could use the guy.

    On their powerplay they are determined to put a right-handed shot out with the Sedins. They take Naslund off their line and put Ryan Kesler out there (since he shoots right and Naslund shoots left). They’ve even used Linden (shoots right) sometimes in that spot. No disrespect to Kesler or Linden, but neither is a sniper like Ryder (current troubles notwithstanding). If you want a guy to stand around on the left side and fire the puck when it is handed to him on a platter from one of the Sedins, then Ryder would be a nice fit. The Canucks could get him from the Habs, try him out for the rest of the season and if it works consider signing him in the offseason. Otherwise leave him on the market.

  17. Chorske says:

    I think they’ve been expecting the Dman depth chart to be eroded by injuries / flu etc. Brisebois is a good guy to sit- he’s a mature guy and I’m sure he understands why he’s sitting. I’m not sure where his game went south again- he started off the season playing more responsibly, making few major mistakes. He probably benefited from his pairing (w. Hamrlik), and I have to admit that I’d much rather see a younger guy like O’Byrne benefit from that kind of tutelage.

    It’s just for a season, and it’s not costing us much to have him as an insurance policy (however shaky he may be). I’ll eat my hat if he’s back next year, tho.

  18. ebk says:

    guess we should have just stuck to Chris Simon, huh showey

  19. Grabbed The Cup says:

    I can’t add much to that, you pretty much nailed it.

  20. Chorske says:

    Hahahaha. Maybe just to go pee, eh?

  21. ClaytonM says:

    No, I just assumed that with the losing, I’d have to wade through everyone calling for Carbo and Gainey to be fired, Koivu and Price/Huet to be traded, etc.

    Was I wrong? Did anyone have something constructive to add during the slump? Besides the usual crowd of you, DD, Yeats, JT and Ian Cobb that is?

  22. showey47 says:

    yeah but i think yeats is a new yorker, but i’m not sure. Either way its not his fault his hockey was cancelled, he seems like a character guy who wouldn’t let a snowstorm stop him from playing hockey.

  23. Grabbed The Cup says:

    Hopefully these back to back 60 minute efforts will force Carbo to abandon that system as well as his loyalty to the vets.

  24. Grabbed The Cup says:

    So where have you been, too disgusted with the slump to post?

  25. mjames says:

    Do the vets deserve to be reintroduced? These kids have earned their playing time more so than any of these vets. Regarding the Carbo bashing, if our coach lets the kids skate and play and forget about that dumb 4 across trap, then I think there will be little bashing if any. If he frustrates the team by imposing on them this defensive shell, then there will be bashing and rightly so.

  26. The Teacher says:

    cancelled pickup because of the weather????

    wow…did the arena lose power? Did a water pipe burst?

    because of weather? We DO live in Canada πŸ˜›

  27. Grabbed The Cup says:

    You’re wrong there teach, killroy fired the first shot at Clayton long before you arrived on the scene.

  28. showey47 says:

    Bert was trying to fight but moore wanted nothing to do with him and kept skating away from bert. The whole thing started by moore giving naslund a head shot, when markus was in a vulnerable position and there was no penalty call on the play. If there was a call, maybe the whole incident never happens.

  29. The Teacher says:

    unneccessary Clayotn, you are insulting Kiljoy when you’re not even part of it…

    “Poor baby. He got censored. Doesn’t everyone realize how superior his posts are to the rest of ours? His use of sarcasm and…well, just sarcasm, no other arrows in the quiver besides that”

    Whats’s that all about? poor baby? attacking his sense of humour?

    so should you be banned?

    I think not…

    just lay of the personal attacks..cause your post can start another long saga we can all do without.

  30. The Teacher says:

    or better yet..get rid of the stupid instigator !!!

  31. The Teacher says:

    I do agree…with Showey…

  32. ClaytonM says:

    After reading his posts it felt to me like Easter was just around the corner instead of Christmas. Then I realized it was just killjoy nailing himself to his cross. Poor baby. He got censored. Doesn’t everyone realize how superior his posts are to the rest of ours? His use of sarcasm and…well, just sarcasm, no other arrows in the quiver besides that.

  33. JB_15 says:

    I was at this game, I was behind one of the goals about 10 rows up with a huge habs flag waving it if anyone saw.

    Anyway, thats not important. This was the best game i’ve ever seen the CH play live, and I’ve been to a lot of games. This was so fantastic for so many reasons. I am excited about this team again, I think we have real hope to go deep this year if the effort persists.

    Question: Does anyone know what they are saying (in french) during that “Energie Cardio” song they play at the Bell Centre?

  34. Chorske says:

    Bertuzzi got cut a fair amount of slack because he is (was?) such a premier player. But the thing is, all punches to the head have to be wrong, precisely because the head is such a sensitive area that an injury like Moore’s can easliy occur. You want to fight? Take the instigator penalty and kick the guys ASS. We’d all be championing Bertuzzi rather than wondering whether he even has the right to play.

  35. showey47 says:

    i went to the rochester amerks website and he isn’t even on their roster. I wonder if he went back to europe.

  36. showey47 says:

    he is a 6’3″ 235 pound center who was drafted in the 7th round by florida, i think he is 25. I have to wonder about his skill level though if he can’t crack the lineup and garth murray can

  37. showey47 says:

    hey thats the good thing about this site. People having different opinions about topics pertaining to hockey. Especially when its done civily and not with the “i’m right and everyone else is wrong” attitude. It is probably wrong for me to group all punches in the head to same group, but i don’t think bert should be grouped with simon mainly because simon used his stick to attack hollweg and his skate on ruutu. These are essentially weapons and this shows intent. Bert tried to pick a fight with steve moore in retaliation to a cheap head shot that berts best friend and linemate markus naslund recieved from moore.

    By no means did i condon this action on berts part but i highly doubt there was an intent to end a players career. He was doing what any player should do when their captain is attacked which is stick up for him. But todd went about it the wrong way.

  38. Grabbed The Cup says:

    I think it was Garret Stafford if memory serves correct.

  39. sidhu says:

    Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2iWygvPnC4

    No place in the game for that blatant attempt to injure. Given his history, Simon could be facing a very long suspension.

  40. showey47 says:

    perezogin was suspended from the ahl or a year for two handing another player in the head

  41. Steiner says:

    Markov was suspended for shoving a linesman… in a game against Toronto in 2005.

  42. ebk says:

    Again with all due respect, I don’t think you are being entirely fair lumping all punches to the head into one large group. Obviously there are varying degrees.

    Have a good night, it was nice to here your point of view.



  43. Yeats says:

    I didn’t see any of that stuff. What remains, however, is pretty bad in and of itself. And, we were all just basking in the glow of a glorious win over the leafs, go figure!

  44. Grabbed The Cup says:

    Yes yes the evil summiteers, what a load of crap that was, and obviously not completely put to bed… Seriously though you missed quite a show this morning, although I could have put him over the edge completely with simple Nelson Muntz haha, I declined as it was just too easy.

  45. showey47 says:

    his no-movment clause hopefully means no-movement from the pressbox as well

  46. ebk says:

    With all due respect, I couldn’t disagree with what you say anymore than I do
    It was a cowardly brutal attack from behind that resulted in severe injuries to the other player. He may be a great guy but it doesn’t change the facts of what he did or the result.

  47. Yeats says:

    Gosh, I didn’t see any of that stuff, but pickup was cancelled because of the weather and I decided to sleep in. All manner of evils were planned at the Summit: the Kennedy assassinations, a Latin American coup d’état or two and a conspiracy to push the Canadian dollar up to $C1.00/$2.00 to destroy their export industies. Frankly, it made The Axis of Evil look like a bunch of cub scouts.

  48. showey47 says:

    As for simon i believe there is a slim chance that he may have to turn in his nhlpa union card, but as for big bert i don’t feel the same way. I have always wondered what caused the broken neck on moore. Was it the actual punch or the 6 man pile up that ensued while he was unconcious? Anyone who has played an elite level or even just competitve hockey like jr.A hockey know that shots to the head by a punch are not uncommon. Maybe i have a bias being from sudbury and knowing the bertuzzi family quite well but i do know that there was not an intent to injure like chris simon’s last 2 acts of stupidity. In case no one noticed todd is a 6’3″ 250 pounder who’s strength resembles more nfl than nhl and had it been someone alot smaller and not as strong who punched moore there would of never been an injury and would of been at worst a roughing penalty. At worst i think todd is a victim of his own intensity and physical strength.

  49. Moey says:

    I don’t know what happened late last night, but he wasn’t making a lot of sense this morning. He was posting some pretty nasty stuff and those were deleted minutes later. I get ragged on too, and at times I deserve it. Sometimes it’s just fun to poke the bear with a stick especially if you know what buttons to push. All in fun, no malice intended.

  50. ebk says:

    I believe you are correct, it falls under attempt to injure. No idea how long he will get. I will say after his last incident, he should never had a chance again to play in the NHL.

    There comes a point in time, these player forfeit their right to play in the NHL. I believe Simon has, as well as Bertuzzi.

  51. Ali says:

    so did someone on the Habs a season or two ago. I dont remember if it was Markov or someone else. Maybe Perezhogin.

  52. Ali says:

    Not alot has changed. Carbo is taking it easy on the 1000 line combinations a night, and not chirping as much to the refs. I find when we struggle to get the puck out of our zone, we struggle in all other areas. Because we’re so desperate to get it out, the passes into the neutral zone are not accurate, result in turnovers or bad dump-ins, and we are always on our heels.

    The game against Tampa in the 3rd is when they started getting soem confidence back, and were moving the puck better. This team doesn’t have size up front, and we’ve seen that other teams can match us for speed, but against slower teams like Philly and the Leafs, we look like we can sweep the medals in skating at the olympics, and we come out on top. A game against quicker teams is where we will truly be tested.

  53. ebk says:

    sorry, I was referring to the 8 we dress a night. Call me a traditionalist but I like the usual six

  54. likehoy says:

    i know if you kick, you’re put under review for suspension. Kovalchuk got 1 game last year for kicking (instinctive, no malice)

  55. Yeats says:

    Thanks. I have nothing against the guy. Heck, if he wants to rag on me go ahead. I get ragged on at least twice a week at pickup hockey not to mention the ongoing ragging I am subjected to at home. I have a pretty thick skin and learned a long time ago how to laugh at myself.

    Hopefully, the boys have turned a corner. I really enjoyed watching them the last two games. Have a great week as well. All the best, Brian

  56. doug says:

    Didn’t see it; what happened?

  57. doug says:

    didn’t see it what happened?

  58. showey47 says:

    Probably attempt to injure. What is probably gonna affect the suspension even more than the deliberate act is his history of suspensions. I believe he has at least 7 suspensions, i would be surprised if he gets less than 40 games

  59. doug says:

    I think he’s fine. . . when he settles down he’ll realize that it takes two to tango.

    As for you, I can’t imagine ever not having a positive impression about you. I’ve never once been even 1% offended by you – your M.O. is more to make everyone comfortable by pointing out what brings us together (e.g., Mattee and Brazilian soccer) than what rips us apart.

    I think the guy was fine, and do agree that it seemed like he was impersonating a francophone and now that that is confirmed is certainly not what we’d want given the contentious environment in quebec re: language issues. I could say how “Grabs the Puck” may have been more vindictive/attacking but I didn’t see what you or Moey had done beyond playing along.

    Oh well, on to other things! Have a good week, my friend.

  60. Mattee. says:

    I was looking through the rulebook, and I couldn’t find anything about attempting to hack off a players limbs with your skates… anybody have a clue where the league stands on this topic?

  61. Bill H says:

    I agree with you Doug. But I don’t think you’ll ever know it because of the problem you just described. I doubt you’ll ever find your way back to read it. I don’t know what the answer is, but I find it very difficult to navigate and pick up where I left the discussion.

  62. Yeats says:

    Nobody likes to lose, but I think a major criticism when they have is a lack of effort. You may lose, but if you’re clearly busting your behind, the fans won’t rag on you. That’s why I go light on Ryder. If he weren’t trying, I would feel differently about him.

    When you say cut down on the number of d-men, do you mean on defense or on offense? The only position where we don’t dress at least one d-man is in goal.

  63. ebk says:

    The team now is young and seems to be talented. Let us hope that we have seen the last of Smolinski and Brisebois. I can live with losing with kids, I think most people can.

    It would make me much happier if we could cutdown on the number of defensemen dressed ever night. But what the heck, you can’t have everything.

  64. Chorske says:

    I’m calling BS on your complaint, Kilroy. The moderators on the site are quite level-headed. I know this from experience: I requested that someone get booted a couple weeks ago, probably because I was cranky and tired. I got a VERY polite explanation for why that person was NOT going to get banned. And in the end I am glad the cooler heads prevailed because (as I have said elsehwere) the poster in question (Cournoyer12) actually has a lot of interesting things to say, and I was the one being an ass. I’m big enough to admit when I made a mistake. You clearly crossed a line or two. I’d just apologize, and move on.

  65. Yeats says:

    The Capt did bring his A game last night and was clearly leading by example. If we see the Breezer at all for the rest of the season, I’ll be really disappointed. I rather see O’Byrne as a regular make the odd mistake. You know he is going to pound someone one of these nights and we’ll be telling our grandchidren about it 20 years later. I also like the fact that he is comfortable enough out there to make the breakout pass on his own. On that note, I can’t wait to see Price victimize an opposing squad on a bad line change with his passing. The only time you see a down-low cycle like that is generally in pickup when one team is way overmatched. The leafs looked absolutely pathetic several times last night as the Habs put on a clinic. Fraser was, dare I say, surprisingly bad last night. He generally calls a bad game when the Habs are on the ice, but we didn’t even get the usual pity calls he doles out. I was suprised that the other ref went along. Must have been a conspiracy. The talent is clearly there, Carbo and the gang have to be more positive and try to bring it out on a more consistant basis.

  66. ebk says:

    players like him have no place in the NHL. They will stay, though until the mindset of the league changes.

  67. Yeats says:

    You’re right. The talent gap is pretty narrow across teams in the Eastern Conference. All you have to do is actually make the playoffs with a healthy squad and anything can happen. I thought that if we got in last year we had a better-than-even chance of beating the Sabres.

  68. Chorske says:

    No Kovalenko, Malakhov, or Theodore.

    Whoops, sorry: time warp.

  69. ebk says:

    Through injuries etc, the makeup of this team has changed. Let us hope they Habs actually show the patience they talk about and keep playing the kiddie corps. This team right now is better than the one they broke camp with. Is it good enough to compete night in night out in the NHL? That is the million dollar question, if the Habs are going to fight for a playoff spot, lets do it with the kids

    The East is so mediocre that they could finish anywhere from 4 to 12. They may be the second best team in their division. So who knows

    not sure if I answered your question or just blurted out something else.

    thanks for reading

  70. showey47 says:

    I would have to say that having a number one line that actually resembles a number one line might be a good reason. Saku, higgy and sergei’s down-low cycle was absolute poison against the laffs slow defence. Not having breezer in the line-up and virtually zero defensive blunders, a true energy player like lapierre instead of slowinski. Mats and his linemates were a non-factor, i was so glad not too see that stupid grin mats gets on his face when he scores a goal. We threw more punishing hits against a team that apparently ownes us physically. Kerry fraser was the laffs best player last night, he gave them every chance to get back in the game. But price owned them yet again, just think if we had started price in the first 2 games against the laffs we would probably be 5-0 instead of 3-2

  71. Yeats says:

    I ragged on him last night — all of my posts are still there for all to see — but I didn’t think I was too harsh. There were, however, several posts after mine suggesting that someone give the poor kid wearing the TO jersey on TV a few beers that were deleted. That’s where I think his problems were last night.

    His negative opinion of me, as far as I can tell, stems from a post several days ago where I blew the cover on his faux-francophone style. Frankly, I found it a bit grating after awhile and if I were a francophone might actually have been offended. He kept going in and out of character the way Julia Roberts did with her Irish brogue in the movie Michael Collins. I replied to one of his posts noting that his English had improved dramatically and inquired as to whether he had purchased the Rosetta Stone language program. Predictably, he called me a wise@$$, but who amongst us would argue with that. I sure wouldn’t.

    That’s my take on things. Reading some of his posts as Kilroy today though I have to say that I didn’t mean to throw the guy off a cliff mentally. Let me know what you think?

  72. showey47 says:

    no brisebois or smolinski

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