About last night …

Who would have thought Canadiens would get goals from Michael Ryder, Christopher Higgins, Saku Koivu … and still lose?

Back to the drawing board for the shut-down game.

As Mike Komisarek learned – and he will learn, because Komisaurus is a bright guy – cross-ice passes can be dangerous … especially when you’re protecting a one-goal lead and Evgeni Malkin has just left the penalty box.

As Alex Kovalev should have known, penalties are not good in tie games.

Ditto for Roman Hamrlik, who had Canadiens playing shorthanded for two minutes while they were trying to regain momentum late in the third period.

Mo was fickle last night.

Coming back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits,  Canadiens seemed to  have the wind in their sails. But the PP during Malkin’s penalty was a mess, and the wind shifted suddenly when he brought the Penguins back.

The list of Canadiens who suffered through off nights would include Andrei Markov, Cristobal Huet, Tomas Plekanec, Kovalev and Guillaume Latendresse.

Gui! has been invisible for a while. He needs either new linemates or a hot dog night.

Some observations:

• The front page of the Journal du Montréal on Thursday had Montrealers smelling the Cup. There was a different smell at the Bell Centre last night, but hey, stuff happens.

• Pittsburgh is good. They have a terrific nucleus of young talent – even without Crosby. And a team with allegedly questionable D held Canadiens to 21 shots on home ice.

• The league’s Russian superstars are doing a number on Canadiens. Alex Ovechkin lit them up a couple weeks ago. Last night it was Malkin. And Ilya Kovalchuk is here on Tuesday. 

• Canadiens’ power-play was 2-for-2 before soiling the bed during Malkin’s penalty.

• Saku Koivu was excellent. The Captain is alive and well for the stretch run.

• Sergei K. gets better every game. You don’t want to break up the Pleks line, but I’d love to see the Brothers K together.

• Max Lapierre tries – God knows, opponents find him very trying – but no one sparks this team like Steve Bégin.

• If Michael Ryder had played all season like he’s played the last few games, he’d be closing in on another 30. 

• Mark Streit is in a bit of a funk.

Let’s see what Carey Price and some new lines can do on Bob Gainey Night. 



  1. 9410 says:

    Also they have no first rounder this year, and its a doozy of a draft.

  2. 9410 says:

    Vokoun really did turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made in the last decade. I pray we learned the lesson, and Halak benefits the organization as one of a growing number of late-round draft pick gems.

  3. 9410 says:

    Realistically I just don’t see any situation where one of the players who have oft been mentioned in the rumor mill, as being a perfect fit in Montreal, with the possible exception of Olli Jokinen. He’s very good offensive player, has years left on his deal, is pretty cheap for his talent, good on face-offs and forward muscle hes not afraid to use. Let’s be honest, Martin will ask for arms, legs, kidneys and everything else he can get. I agree with Booner that we will see Jokinen traded to the west, where the GM’s are going to be trying like crazy to close the gap with Detroit now that Lidstrom seems to be badly hurt. Martin does not need to deal with having Jokinen muss Martin’s always immaculate(and awful)hair, 4 times per season.

    The only thing I see wrong with bringing in Jokinen is where do we put him? If he centres the second line, where do we put Saks(who I don’t really think will be traded since he has picked it up in the last 5 games, has always been our best playoff performer, and he belongs to the Candiens Family which makes him nigh-immovable). We can’t move saku to the third line, and Ollie is less effective from the wing. But this is one of those good problems. The only real knock on Ollie I have heard, is he does not have stellar leadership qualities, and with this group, it should not be a problem to overcome.

    I feel that Gainey will bring in some form of defensive centre who is usually the kind of player who gives a good solid, tough performance in the Second Season. he’ll try to bring in the face off help, and also give more depth to the bottom six. That’s what I feel is what we will get, it wont be too expensive and would add the always necessary grit for the playoffs. But then again I thought we would see Huet traded by now, so I could be wrong yet again. (I don’t think hell be moved, as a side note, which means im out a nice expensive dinner.)

    I wish you all a merry Gainey Day.

  4. Bill H says:

    Exit, I believe what M00ks meant was that when a young team like the Canadiens becomes relatively successful, and players like Komi, K1, Pleks, Higgins etc become RFA or UFA, the home team will not be able to compete for their services. It has nothing to do with small market. Canadiens will spend up to the cap. But if we go a couple of rounds in the playoffs this year, and maybe farther next year, the players responsible for that success will want big bucks. BG can’t sign them all and stay under the cap. We’ll be producing our own Briere’s.

  5. m00ks says:

    Richards wouldn’t set us back no more than Hossa would for a shorter period of time and with the rate of salary inflation, 7.8 mil would almost be a bargain for an elite player. That being said, I still prefer the scoring winger from Atlanta. Jokinen would even be better if Florida wants young guns; we got cowboys in diapers take your pick. I’m speaking of the farm of course.
    I think we have the cap space for a high-end player with the cap increase next year and a couple of dumps here and there in the off-season. Joki to SJ, Richards to CBJ, Sundin to Detroit paves way for Hossa to Mtl in a perfect world.

    Edit: Wadell couldn’t sign Hossa. Let the bidding begin!

  6. Ed says:

    Sorry Mike, but I could not find the prediction of Ryder’s goal. As for Detroit, they have a few serious injuries, including Lidstrom who, besides the reported leg injury, might actually have a concussion (as per McGuire). However, I can see them being interested in Sundin. He could push them to the finals.

    If Neil is gone for the season, who could Ottawa get to replace him? It would not be easy to get a similar type player.

    I don’t see Montreal making any major changes, but then, Gainey has been known to surprise us when we least expect it.

  7. howtathor says:

    Redden was reportedly going to San Jose for Matt Carle. It was purely a salary dump for the Sens who must be getting up there, while getting a very good young player in return. Big “threes” don’t come cheap!

  8. sidhu says:

    BG’s a smart man who selects his words carefully — almost anyone can qualify as an “impact player” and my guess is that BG has a very expansive definition of what constitutes an “impact player.”

  9. The Teacher says:

    I think he wants money in his bank account.

  10. Rogie30 says:

    Mike, if Jokinen is going, we have to make a play for him, please Bob, please.

  11. howtathor says:

    I would go with Price and Halak the rest of the way. If it doesn’t work out then they will have gained the experience of a playoff. If we can get some value in return for Huet and Ryder then I’m all for it. The best fit for Huet would be Tampa where he could mentor Kari Ramo or LA with Bernier. When I say mentor I believe that Huet will be looking to play 60 games a year and have at least a 3 year contract. If we indeed do land an impact player we can use the cap space to sign him long term. That an the impending RFA of Kostitsyn and others, I’d say Price would be right in goal.

  12. Mike Boone says:

    Today’s trade blather:
    Reading between the lines (can you do that with a radio broadcast?) of what Pierre McGuire was saying to Melnick, I get the feeling Detroit will make a big play for Sundin. Swedish connection, etc.
    Brian Campbell is not going to sign in Buffalo, and McGuire thinks that after all the players they’ve lost for nothing over the last couple seasons, the Sabres will deal him. But how do they reconcile that move with their playoff push?
    Olli Jokinen is almost certainly out of Florida. I see him going to the Western Conference, where his grit will be a welcome addition for the war of attrition that their playoffs will be.
    McGuire thinks Brad Richards will be moved and would fit in Montreal. I’m HIGHLY skeptical – particularly as concerns two more seasons at $7.8 million.
    It looks like Chris Neil will be gone for a while, possibly the season. That means Ottawa will almost have to make a move.
    For all the huffing and puffing in these parts, I don’t see the Canadiens pulling off a blockbuster.
    But notwithstanding last night’s prediction of the Ryder goal (you can look it up in the game blog, just before the third period began), I’m never right about anything.

  13. The Teacher says:

    Easy to avoid.

    Just don’t expect anything :)

  14. m00ks says:

    When BG says “impact player”, it’s gotta be a big gun for next year’s run. Let’s face it, this current roster has maybe 2 years to win a cup before players get too expensive to afford. He’s looking for an “impact forward”? That screams offensive arsenal, “anything else would be uncivilized”.

  15. HotHabs says:

    You’re right. I just didn’t have much to add, so I took a shot in the dark… and missed!

    enjoying the high’s & enduring the lows of being a Habs fan

  16. Y says:

    Gainey downplays trade talk:


    I’m guessing there won’t be any big moves in Montreal come Tuesday

  17. likehoy says:

    so what in Gainye’s definition is an impact player??
    I don’t want to feel cheap when he lands a player like Jim Dowd and he says “we have made a move for a player that will make an IMPACT on our face-offs”

  18. likehoy says:

    theo’s just had the cockiness to make him a good goalie…like rick dipietro. Garon lacked that edge…as does huet…it’s what separates an elite goaltender with a good goaltender…brodeur has it, luongo has it, roy had it…Price is supremely confident in himself…but not so much cocky.

  19. nightmare_49 says:

    Great analysis and i’m not going to call you _ _ _ _ Ed.

  20. moser17 says:

    I don’t know, Markov and Boullion and Komi all looked very “off” last night, and Markov not just on that particular play. All night they were breaking out poorly and throwing the puck around instead of making those crisp up-ice passes to their forwards that we see when the team is clicking. I think Boone is right: off night for several of the key players.

  21. krob1000 says:

    Tell me about it….it is the only game I made it to this year and likely the last as we have a little one on the way in the spring.

  22. showey47 says:

    That was his second career game i believe. I was so pissed because heatly got away with knocking breezby over from behind and scored on a breakaway. Then we finally fight by to tie the game and t.k. makes a brutal giveaway to give the sens the winner.

  23. The Teacher says:

    Most definitely Showey.

  24. krob1000 says:

    Unscreened clapper from the blueline on the ice about two minutes into the game I went to see in Ottawa. It ahppens to every single goalie that has ever played the game.

  25. showey47 says:

    When did carey let in an unscreened wrister from the blueline?

  26. showey47 says:

    I was kind of pissed when we traded garon, i always thought he had a bigger upside than theo due his size, lateral movement and overall agility.

  27. likehoy says:

    i just checked his stats…he has one of the worst shooting % i’ve seen. He averages 23 goals a year…but his shooting % floats around 8%…so weird…

  28. likehoy says:

    that’s not true…

    Claude Julien and the Boston Bruins LOL 6-0!

  29. likehoy says:

    well i guess he might not have the biggest head if you consider him coming from Eastern Canada…but could you argue that jay feaster really had that great of foresight to see that every player was going to be over-paid so might as well overpay early?? I actually think Drury and Gomez probably used Richard’s contract as a benchmark. Richards is more of a 70-75 point average player. Richards had a contract year and won the Conny Smythe and he definitely used that to get his big pay day, so maybe he played the market and managed to score his big pay day and that makes him a smart guy. But I still question Richards’ heart considering Lecavalier signed first to a 7million a year deal without a no-trade clause, and Richards gets more money and a no-trade clause…so if he thinks he’s better than lecav in Tampa, then in montreal he might think he’s the best player ever…Also he just seems like the type that would crunch in the media of Montreal. His relatively normal seasons compared to his big year has Tampa a little annoyed of him, imagine if that happened in Montreal?

    With all due respect, I don’t think Gainey would have offered Richards an offer sheet at any rate. Gainey’s too conservative and too classy to do something like that. Also the fact that if Richards was signed to over 5million, we would owe the Lightning 4 first rounders, Gainey wouldn’t dare give up 4 first rounders (along with something like 4 second rounders and 3 3rd rounders)

  30. Ed says:

    Good analysis on the scoring for the last 5 games. It does appear that the secondary scoring is starting to come through. Some observations:

    1. How could Plekanec, with all his skill, only get 1 assist while Kovalev got 9 points? I’m not worried about him because I think he has still been playing well.

    2. Ryder has been good offensively while having a +4. Maybe he has now adjusted to being good defensively, while figuring out how to score as well. Also, his ice time has been limited in most of those games.

    3. Koivu is doing well for a guy that some people think looks tired and disinterested.

    4. Streit, with his +5, has really improved the minus figure he had.

    5. O’Byrne and Bouillon, at +3, are doing well considering how many goals we have given up.

    6. Lapierre, with his +5, is doing much better than I think is expected of him, in the role he is in.

    7. S. Kostitsyn’s production has fallen off, but he is still playing well, and looks great on the point on the PP.

    8. What has happened to Latendresse as he has yet to record a point in February. It has to be affecting his confidence.

  31. HotHabs says:

    Habs kryptonite: playing former coaches!

    enjoying the high’s & enduring the lows of being a Habs fan

  32. the Maritimer says:

    Not necessarily. I know it seems Richards is overpaid, but look what Scott Gomez (60 pt. scorer) and Chris Drury got for their services. Richards got 91 pts. not long ago and was MVP of Tampa’s cup run. He was given that huge contract BTW because Jay Feaster was scared to death that our own Mr. Gainey was going to sign him to an offer sheet when he was about to become a RFA. If you look at some of the contracts being signed by FA’s now, Richards contract seems like a bargain to me.

    I don’t know why you think he has a swelled head or an ego problem, but most people from Eastern Canada are not like that. Perhaps you know something I don’t because I’ve never met the man so couldn’t offer an opinion. I just know he plays hard.

  33. Ed says:

    Thanks, I took it in good humour. It might even be a good handle to go by, or not. If I have time tomorrow, I might throw some new stats at you regarding a certain player, if he is still with the Habs. Also, I agree that there are a lot of things to think about when looking at goals against. I’m not sure where the Oilers stood when they were winning 5 cups in 7 years from 1983-1990, but I know they were scoring a ton of goals, while Grant Fuhr was bombarded with shots, and had a high goals against average. For more stats see


  34. likehoy says:

    agreed…i echo your tomas vokoun sentiments…or even mathieu garon now.

    Halak deserves a chance, pointe finale.

  35. likehoy says:

    I’ve made the comparison before and I’ll make it again: Brad Richards will be Mike Ribeiro part 2. Soft, skilled, big headed. 7.8 million a year is enough to say about his head. That’s more than Vinny Lecav and who out there really thinks Richards is a more complete player than Lecav?

    Another telling fact is that he needs teammates to play well…if we complain Koivu has no wingers, then Richards will have no wingers…If we want to pay for a centre…we should pay for Jokinen…at least he can play alone since he’s been doing it since he got to Florida.

    The maritimer just wants a maritimer on his team ;).

  36. Bill H says:

    Sure there is a chance. It depends on what Huet’s market value is. If BG gets an offer on Huet and Ryder (whose market value has just taken a good bounce) that could improve the club, that would leave Price and Halak in nets. They would both get their chance to prove they can do it.

    Now that Ryder is playing better, it seems a shame to trade him. But a hot streak of 4 games does not guarantee a return to his former goal scoring. And I suspect he is gone at the end of the season anyway. Given what he has been through, why would he want to continue with the Canadiens. He’ll be looking for a change in scenery and someone will offer him a solid contract in the hopes that he can bring some goalscoring and some of that new found defensive responsibility.

    Huet is the same…gone at the end of the season. Its wishful thinking that he would sign with us so he can mentor Price. He’s got a chance to go for big bucks and long term. He’s worth more to someone else than he is to us because we are so deep with young goaltenders.

    But in both cases, it depends if they offer meets our needs. Bob won’t give either player away. If he doesn’t get a good offer, he will keep both players.

  37. likehoy says:

    habs kryptonite: cristobal huet every other night.

  38. MikeL says:

    I understand your point, and it’s a very legitimate one. I just think it’s worth the risk. And the experience factor isn’t really a huge issue. Price went on a AHL playoff run and won the championship last year. Huet is more mature, yes…but he really doesn’t have a lot of playoff experience either. He has played one series and he wasn’t exactly awesome.

  39. JF says:

    Fun practice or not, I think the danger going into last night’s game was that the team would still be riding the high from Tuesday’s comeback. A lot of the guys said before the game that they still didn’t have their feet on the ground. I think they had trouble getting properly focused. But the longer=term effect of the win on Tuesday has to be good.

  40. The Kid says:

    I disagree. There is no doubt that Carey is going to be one of the premier goalies in this league, but he’s not there yet. We’ve already seen what a brief rough patch can do to the kid’s psyche: one bad game and he starts letting in unscreened wristers from just inside the blue line. Neither goalie has been playing to their full potential of late, but it’s reassuring to the players and coaches to know that if one of them has a bad game, you have an equally good goalie anxious to get in net.

    Aside from all that, if Huet gets dealt and Carey is left by himself, we have NO back-up. Don’t say Halak or Danis because they are both rookies with the same minimal experience as price. If carey were to get injured or start playing poorly, the team would be finished.

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  42. MikeL says:

    I’ve been saying this for quite a while now, but I’m gonna bring it up again. I think the Habs should deal Huet and get some return assets. Huet is a good, but not great, goalie. I do not think he is good enough to go on a playoff run tho. Price is no better than Huet at the moment, but the potential is there. Why not take a chance and see if that potential comes out in the playoffs? If the Habs ever went on a playoff run, I think it would be Price in nets.

  43. nightmare_49 says:

    That was meant to be a complement Stat-ic Ed , lol. A stat on time.

  44. showey47 says:

    He could at least be a very good back up. The thing that crossed my mind today while talking about goaltending is. What would of happened if halak started the last game against the laffs last year and won. Carbo would probably of had little choice but to start halak for the playoffs,since he is the guy who got us there. Say if halak stole a series or two then get eliminated, where would of this left huet coming into this season? Possibly an expensive back up.

    Instead we have the possibility of having the best goalie in the ahl bolting to the russian super league if he can’t get a spot with the habs. I would hate to trade him because he has tom vokoun written all over him if we do.

  45. Rogie30 says:

    Habs kryptomite.. us fans.

  46. Will Longlade says:

    Anyone out there think that there’s a chance that Halak may emerge as the Hab’s playoff goalie?

  47. nick says:

    Right on. I’ve also heard reports he doesn’t have a great attitude in the dressing room. If true – we don’t need someone like that around.

  48. Bill H says:

    There has been a lot of discussion about scoring, in particular secondary scoring. That is, scoring outside of the top line of Kovalev, Pleks, and K46.

    I’ve done some digging for statistics, focusing on the last 5 games. Of those 5 games, we won 4, scoring 18 goals (including one shoot out goal by Koivu that is not included in his totals) while surrendering 13 goals. These 5 games followed a stretch where we lost 4 out of 5 and we were obviously struggling. So I thought it might be useful to look at the 5 most recent games where we have enjoyed some success.

    During that stretch, Kovalev has been the top performer by far, with 9 Pts and a +/- of +1. Our top line has collectively scored 15 Pts and a +/- of -1, with Pleks in a bit of a slump at only 1A.

    Meanwhile, players not on that top line have scored 12 goals, plus the shootout goal by Koivu.

    Some other notables: Ryder with 4 goals and Higgins with 2 goals. Markov with 7A, but struggling with a +/- of –2. Streit and Lapierre leading the team in +/- at +5 each. Ryder +4, O’Byrne +3 and Bouillon +3.

    Our goal scoring is in pretty good shape, but our team defense, as reflected in goals against is less than stellar. We did well in 2 games, one of them being the shutout by Price. But in 3 games, we surrendered 13 goals, which is quite shabby. This is partly reflected in the +/- and it is why the +/- leaders should be properly recognized for their contribution.

    In summary, I think that our recent success can be attributed to continued scoring on our top line, particularly Kovalev, combined with good secondary scoring, with a new spark from Koivu, Higgins and Ryder. And some solid +/- from Streit, Lapierre, Ryder, O’Byrne and Bouillon. We will be even better when we tighten up a bit and play better team defense.

    Scoring over last 5 games:

    Total GF 18 GA 13

    Kovalev—-4——-5——–9—– +1
    K46——–1——-4——–5—— -1
    Pleks——0——-1——–1—— -1
    Markov—–0——-7——–7—— -2
    Koivu——2——-4——–6——- 0
    Ryder——4——-1——–5—— +4
    Higgins—-2——-0——–2——- 0
    K76——–0——-1——–1——- 0
    Smolinski–0——-1——–1—— -1

  49. Will Longlade says:

    You’re bang on!

  50. Will Longlade says:

    I agree; certain players had forgettable nights, h/e, even when the Habs were down by two, I had a strong sense that they were still in the game and a W was very much within their grasp.

    We’ll have to see how Price and Huet fare down the stretch. There’s no doubt in my mind that Halak will get called up before the end of the season if Huet can’t emerge from his funk and get back on track (assuming he’s not traded before the trade deadline). One of things that I’ve noticed about Huet’s performance since Price returned to the lineup is that he tries to be too “Price-like”. For example, he attempts to handle the puck way too often. This gets him into trouble and puts him off his game. IMO it’s a subconscious thing. The other big knock against Huet is that he has difficulty handling the pressure of big games. IMO this letter factor makes him ex. expendable regardless of what Red Fischer thinks.

  51. Ed says:

    “Static” Ed, huh. Is that as in static electricity? I am really like the Habs, onwards & upwards. :)

  52. Will Longlade says:

    I thought I saw two redirections on the slow motion replay. But then again, I also thought Malkin’s goal on the breakaway was a bit offside.

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