About last night …

Your Montreal Canadiens got a point they probably didn’t deserve.

Saku Koivu got a warm and well-deserved reception from fans who displayed their class.

On to Philadelphia for a measuring-stick game.

Are you confident about these guys being able to beat the Flyers?

Me neither.

Too much of last night’s game was too much like what we’ve seen too often this season: the Canadiens shooting ineffectually from the perimeter against a goaltender who can stop everything he sees.

And at the other end of the ice, opponents taking advantage of some soft Canadiens’ D to crowd Carey Price.

Want to feel good about an aspect of the game? How about the power play?

I’m going to steal some stats from my friend Arpon Basu, who covers the Canadiens for nhl.com:

” … the power over the last 11 games has gone a
whopping 12-for-39, a 30.7 per cent success rate. After starting the
year on a 3-for-47 run in the first 14 games, the Canadiens have climbed
to a tie for eighth in the NHL on the power play by going 46-for-123
over the past 35 games, a whopping 37.4 per cent efficiency rate.”

(Apologies for the technical glitch that turns the rest of this into one long paragraph.)

Basu is one of my neighbours in the Bell Centre pressbox. Before the game began last night, we were talking about Lars Eller, a player we both like a lot. 

With Eller putting in impressive performances on the Tomas Plekanec line, Basu foresaw an interesting scenario when Mike Cammalleri returns: dropping Andrei Kostitsyn down to the third line to play with David Desharnais and Pouliot. AK46 would replace Mathieu Darche, an exemplary, non-stop-motor hockey player, but not a scorer.

That may still come to pass. But last night, Eller’s defensive lacune – he got back late in coverage on Bobby Ryan’s goal late in the second period – won him a seat on the bench for the third period. And Darche, playing with Pleks and AK46, scored the late goal that made it 3-2 and set up that crazy finish to regulation time. 

The Jacques Martin haters doubtless will strike up a chorus of how the crusty old coach is ruining Eller because he’s not good with young players, yada-yada-yada. 

I don’t think it’s going to play out that way. In addition to size, speed and surprising grit, Eller is a very bright kid who is seeing this season as a learning experience. It will take time. 

Eller may not immediately turn into the star P.K. Subban has become since Martin’s dastardly attempt to “ruin” him. But he’s going to be a very good hockey player. Along with Benoit Pouliot, David Desharnais and maybe AK46, Eller is a 20something forward who’s going to give the Bell Centre much to cheer about as Saku Koivu fades farther into distant memory. 

Topic for discussion today as we await the football games: Should Pierre Gauthier trade for another defenceman? 

Yannick Weber wasn’t very good on Ryan’s goal. And even though Corey Perry scored on an Anaheim PP, Roman Hamrlik didn’t do much to prevent it. 

I’m going to reserve judgement on the defence corps until after Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia. The Flyers will test the six Dmen we saw last night (unless Alexandre Picard draws in for Weber), and I’ll be particularly interested in how P.K. and Wiz fare in the Wells Fargo Center pressure cooker. 

 

•  •  • 

 

Jonas Hiller’s win last night gave him 24 and tied Carey Price for the league lead. 

One area in which Hiller is number one: goalie masks. 

LOVE the basic black. No goaltending immortals.

No pop stars. No pagan deities or pictures of his kids. Black. Makes Hiller look like some sort of Stan Lee super hero. 

•  •  •

Guest Comment from PeterD: 

Our Older D are starting to show their age and cracks…I still believe we need to add one more large younger stud D-man to solidify our D-core…But it sure would be nice to have at least one goal finisher like a Ryan or Perry.  I am loving Patches…what a warrior to come back after the bruised ribs and play like he has these past two games…but we need at least one more warrior his size in our top 6.  With a butt load of confidence I think Pouliot could be that guy…man I love how he skates, stickhandles and his wrist shot is powerful…with the right amount of confidence in his own self and a good Center man and winger he could be out next and long awaited 50 goal scorer, but only if he gets his confidence up and get it to stay up.  Of course we would need a coach that would give him the latitude and playing time to keep scoring consistently, probably just dreaming though about all of that.  

 

130 Comments

  1. rogieshan says:

    Weber reminds me alot of a young Stephane Robidas when the latter played with the Habs - a decent skater and puck mover, but soft and prone to mistakes in his own end. While he has gained some confidence with more playing time, Weber is clearly overmatched against bigger opponents. Hindsight tells us we gave up on Robidas too soon, and it would be easy to make the same mistake with a still-learning Weber.   

  2. RockinRey says:

    Lets be clear he didnt lose out on the bid for Kovalev! He gave his agent a deadline and when they doddled Gainey went in another direction.

    Discipline? You dont discipline a player for making mistakes. There are clearly one set of rules for the rookies and one for the vets ie on Defense. Young guys need to be mentored and coached and learn from those mistakes. They dont just come in and are to be expected to have it all together. D take the longest to develop – that is fact and you can see through history. The vets, Markov included have made some boneheaded plays in the past but dont seem to pay for it. Not sure sitting Subban to teach him a lesson was right either , I see a different player than the one in the playoffs that was an immediate impact player, executing with confidence, and playing with maturity in all kinds of situations. Now he is playing okay but remains  a little tentative.

    And of note I remember watching Habs games , and seeing Robinson screw up ( as good as he was he made some bone head plays) in his own zone quite a few times.

  3. Cool Ice Price says:

    The Leafs made Hiller look like a fool.

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  4. habs001 says:

    interesting stats ..of the top 16 plus/minus players 5 are from boston…tampa has played 49 games and 29 of them on the road while florida has played only 22 away

  5. habitual says:

    Early days on Desharnais, Charlie.  He is getting points so we have to like that.  But he isn’t as fast or as strong on his feet as he appeared in the AHL.  The difference in the leagues showed up.  If he is going to stick he has to be willing to play with more determination along the boards – like Gionta does.

  6. theremster says:

    Gionta and company couldnt hit the net with a firehose last nice. Good thing Max Pac was there to bail us out. 

  7. punkster says:

    The NAG thing was a laugh last season. Still is.

    The NHL-REF-SYNDICATE is even better though. Run with it, H-P…run like the wind.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  8. Timo says:

    The call on Pouliot was the biggest joke I have every seen. Even CBC morons said it was a bad call.

  9. JF says:

    Very good post.  I agree with your assessment of the team and of Martin.

  10. twilighthours says:

    I actually love Weber’s development over the past several weeks.  He’s light years ahead of where he was when he was first called up.  He acquits himself quite well physically against much larger players, moves the puck quickly, and plays 1-on-1s well.  No way I’d scratch him for Picard.  He wasn’t great on Bobby Ryan’s goal, but Ryan is a moose, and that goal was caused by Eller’s mindless turnover just inside the Anaheim line.  I’m a fan of Weber now.

  11. B says:

    It should not have been a penalty, it was a gift from the referee.

  12. Cool Ice Price says:

    Martin had a better team in Ottawa & couldn’t win a Cup so he sure as hick won’t win a Cup in Montreal with what we have here?

     

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  13. SPATS says:

    Indeed, there were 7 skaters in black and white with orange accents against us at that point of the game. But our character prevailed, we shut them down and drew them into penalties and got the point. You can only be so flagrant so many times before Karma catches up with you

    OOH AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH!

  14. twocents says:

    Boy oh Boy, you have Hamrlik’s value on a yo-yo string. One About Last Night he’s a hero for stepping up in Markov’s stead, the next he’s the player most needing an upgrade.

    To some degree this pattern is reflected in his play, but that doesn’t justify all the vacillation. He and Spacek receive a lot of critical attention. Neither are spectacular types, so the mistakes they make, and each and every defencemen makes mistake from game to game, especially those who are expected to create some offence, hold a heavier weight than those made by a younger D who’s good moments are flashier.

    The fact is their games are characterized by the hallmarks of good late career players. That package comes with strengths and weaknesses. The strengths tend to be less eye catching than those of a typical 26 year old playing a similar role and their weaknesses often speak of limitations rather than mistakes, and that looks uglier. When all the money’s counted these guys are doing the job very well.

    I prefer Hamrlik over Spacek, but that bias likely speaks of the circumstances I just described, because they are truer of Spacek than Hamrlik.  I’m not saying another defenceman wouldn’t be welcome, but the reason lies more with Weber at this point than anyone else.

  15. tony d says:

    When Saku got that last penalty at the end of the 3rd, i turned to my wife and said, “Do you think subconsciously that was his gift back to the fans”? I mean it allowed us to tie the game , go to OT and gave the fans their money’s worth.  Just a thought.

  16. Mike Boone says:

    Don’t forget broken clocks!

  17. Mike Boone says:

    Amen, bro.

  18. Cool Ice Price says:

    Carey’s stats are better than Hiller & Halak’s so far this season. And Price’s stats at 44 games this season is better than Halak’s 44 games last season. Just saying

     

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  19. Curtis O Habs says:

    Got a point they probably didn`t deserve?  What are you talking about?  Did you watch the same game I did?  Constant offensive zone pressure, good cycling down low, created powerplays and goals.  What more do you want?  Oh, how about a gritty, come from behind point, against a rested, motivated, big west coast team?  The Darche goal, Max`s goals, all a result of good net presence. Maybe if our players were bigger we could shovel home a couple powerplay goals.  Wait a minute, we did that too.  Good point boys.  Kudos. 

  20. B says:

    I certainly agree they are not cup contenders and that hard working character players are a good thing. I too think Martin has done a good job with the Habs young players. I just don’t get the connection between that and developing Eller on the top line. They have not been cup contenders for a long time now, but before this season, that didn’t mean talented young prospects should be developed on the Habs top line or rushed out of the AHL. Are you saying it is the right thing to do with Eller now because Martin is trying to make sure the Kovalev era is over? I don’t get that connection either.

    I must be missing something here.

    I can see where some might think that in looking over the roster, there is an argument for Eller being on the big club, but I don’t see where he has shown that he belongs on the top line yet other than as a situational fill-in. Perhaps some are hoping that playing Eller full time on the top line will make him suddenly start producing top line numers? While I would love to see him do that, I don’t think he has developed yet to the point where that is a realistic expectation right now.

  21. Ian Cobb says:

    Here is where we place in the 30 team league this week.

    We have a very solid back up farm system, that has been put into place by the former management. With 3 of our top players out, two of them for the season, the quality of our players in the farm system, is keeping our team in the top 10 teams in the league. And we are only going to get a lot better.

    Enjoy our development progress and the process steps to the cup, it is most of the fun.

     

    Goals Against—118,  We are in   4th place.   Last week we were in   4th place with 107.

    Total Points—– 59,   We are in   9th place.   Last week we were in 12th place.

    Goals For——-128,   We are in 22nd place.   Last week we were in 24th place with 112.

  22. Displaced says:

    Call it attitude, confidence or other favorite intangible, but this team is playing like it believes it can win any game.  IMO, that makes them a better team than the one that started the season… Previously, they relied on superior goaltending and fell apart when they fell behind.  I’d love to credit JM’s system or the team finally gelling…  I can’t see a reason for that to just start randomly.  Instead, I chalk it up to youthful exuberance.  Most of the young guys played in Hamilton and expected to win games or came from junior or similar programs where they starred.

     

    P.S. Who else likes 4-on-4 hockey?

     

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  23. Ayan_SB says:

    Didn’t Robidas lead the league in hits last season?

  24. habs001 says:

    now we have to show that we can win on the road…

  25. punkster says:

    Pretty fair view of the game Ian. Refs were the usual inept buffoons, both teams took some dumb penalties, likely because the got away with so many missed by the monkeys in stripes.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  26. Ian Cobb says:

    Here is where we place in the 30 team league this week.

    We have a very solid back up farm system, that has been put into place by the former management. With 3 of our top players out, two of them for the season, the quality of our players in the farm system, is keeping our team in the top 10 teams in the league. And we are only going to get a lot better.

    Enjoy our development progress and the process steps to the cup, it is most of the fun.

     

    Goals Against—118,  We are in   4th place.   Last week we were in   4th place with 107.

    Total Points—– 59,   We are in   9th place.   Last week we were in 12th place.

    Goals For——-128,   We are in 22nd place.   Last week we were in 24th place with 112.

  27. Cool Ice Price says:

    AND why Max Pac was not one of the three shooters in the shootout is beyond me. Other than Pouliot, Martin’s shootout choices were aweful.

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  28. topher5468 says:

    Totally different game, Leafs suck and there was no “return of Saku” to motivate Hiller. All teams get a little extra playing juice playing in Montreal, it sometimes works against us, IMO……………….

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

  29. likehoy says:

    if they playoffs started today, we’d have another montreal v.s. boston match up.

    - Gomez is holding down the “overpaid” button

  30. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Off the top I’d just like to reiterate the overwhelming evidence of the NHL-REF-SYNDICATE conspiracy that is playing out against our HABS… Pouliot for hooking! it is as plain as day folks, understand and accept what is happening, then you can bring ‘reason’ to what plays out …there is corruption.

    MAX-PAX was/is the powerforward we’ve been yearning for, I shouted it 2 years ago.  It was a preposterous blunder by management that saw him sent to the minors at the start, we would have been clear of 1st if he was around for the sched in its entirety….oh well, the myopic must take the long road.

    Same deal with WHITE…again the myopic will declare he is not ready, he cannot score, he has not scored, he loses the puck, he cannot skate…. WRONG, in my opinion on course, he is MORE THAN READY, and was ready 2 years ago as was MAX-PAX.

    The North American Grit Speed movement (N.A.G.S.) is our path to success…as we utilize players counter to that theorem, so to will our success diminish. The proof is playing out before you.

    1:The N.A.G.S. (North American Grit Speed) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2: The NHL-REF-SYNDICATE will do everything in its power to deny us the cup. 3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/PAX now.

  31. stephen says:
    • Strange game, indeed. It was evident Koivu’s return created an emotional vacuum of sorts for the Habs, as there was a palpable lack of intensity on their part for at least the first two periods. The game did expose a few promising and/or pressing issues, however:

     

    • Pacioretty: Loved seeing him attacking the net on both goals, especially in light of his recent injury. Being irrational and rueful as any Habs fan, I hope Max can develop into a Leclair we can keep!

     

    • Weber: Like many others, I thought Weber held his own last night against the Ducks’ bigger bodies and overall, he has acquitted himself well. That said, if Gauthier were able to acquire a bigger body for the blueline, I would be inclined to see Weber sit out, if he isn’t a chip in that d-man deal to begin with. I simply can’t see Weber toughing it out over a 7-game series with the likes of the Flyers, for example. If we had a bigger, bruising blueline, Weber could easily have a camouflaged place amongst the corps, but because our blueline is relatively soft, Weber’s shortcomings (no pun intended) become more evident and consequential.

     

    • Darche and Desharnais: Is it me, or did Desharnais supplant Darche on the powerplay last night? Much as I appreciate David’s shifty playmaking, those skills seem bit redundant on a PP unit that includes Plekanec. Darche’s work in front of the net is much more complimentary to Plekanec’s playmaking, as evidenced by the second goal. Darche has shown a yeoman’s willingness to stand in front of the net, so why take that vital dimension away from the powerplay?

     

    • Moving forward, I think we do need to address our need on the blueline, namely a younger, bigger body. If that means seeing Weber sit or packaged in a deal, so be it. Weighing his negligible offensive output against the long-term lacunae in his defensive and physical game, it seems sensible to try for bigger and stronger. Not trying to pick on Weber by any means, but he is unfortunately expendable when you consider our existing strengths and weaknesses on the blueline.
  32. Mike Boone says:

    You’re absolutely right.

  33. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    I don’t think the habs are cup contenders at this moment, although I don’t think they’ll be a playoff pushover either. So this is a good season to build on the young guys. Eller will be a good one, and Pouliot is becoming grounded. Price is solid, and PK is going to be a star. It’s the best team since the last Cup, but the last cup was a bit of a lucky one.

    So while I would usually agree with putting Eller in the AHL, I actually think Martin is doing an excellent job with the young guys. Posters tend to think these kids need self-esteem, when it looks more like they need self-discipline. I think moves are being made at the NHL level to start developing character players instead of Ribeiros, Kostityns, Latendresses etc. The tone of the club is set by workers like Pleks, Gorges, Gionta and Gill. Martin is trying to make sure the Kovalev era is over.

  34. rogieshan says:

    The All-Star break will do wonders for Spacek and Hamrlik’s old legs.

  35. HardHabits says:
    Spacek is the weak link on D IMHHO. I prefer Weber to Spacek, but seeing them both on the ice at the same time and I go into prayer mode. What Weber needs is a solid veteran stay at home presence on the back end with him which isn’t Spacek. Nevertheless, no way in hell would I like to see Weber with Picard (that would be like MAB and the Breeze together) or even Spacek and Picard.
    Hopefully Spacek steps it up come play-off time, which he did last year, and this discussion will be moot.
    With PK and Gill as one unit and Wisneiski and Hamrlik as the other that gives the Habs two strong defensive pairings. However Spacek and Weber give the Habs a 3rd D unit that’s very vulnerable.
    I wonder what the off-season produces and because of this I doubt the Habs will make another move on D other than possibly calling up a farm hand. Will Gorges and Markov have successful surgeries in the sense of will they heal and be ready for action. Will the Habs re-sign either of the two or both?
    All we can really do is stay tuned.
  36. notbigbird says:

    Our guys instinctually fish for the puck instead of bumping the man. I don’t think that can be cured — at least with the old guys.

  37. Ian Cobb says:

    12:30 Pacific time my friend.

  38. Mike Boone says:

    Nope, that’s the one and only Patrick V. Hickey. I wouldn’t wear a yellow sweater if I were dead. My argyle is a snazzy blue and gray.

  39. Ian Cobb says:

    Good overview Stephen

  40. SeriousFan09 says:

    Canadiens need to be meaner and clear the net, seems every GA of late is scored the exact same way.

  41. Josh says:

    Ryans goal was a fluke that went off an arm. I don’t see how Weber could have done anything to prevent that.

  42. Ian Cobb says:

    Although the refereeing was terrible Steve, they out played us with their fore check most of the night. It was a close game, but we took a few penalties that we deserved and it cost us.

    The refereeing was poor for both teams by the way. Our power play was not up to top billing or the score would have been different.

  43. 24 Cups says:
    • Ian, I’d have to double-check, but I believe we are 6-4 this month with three of those defeats coming in overtime.  That means we have taken 15 out of a possible 20 points.  Not bad!  The last game of the month is against Philly in their rink so that will certainly be an uphill battle.  The good news is that we will have Price and MaxPac out on the ice.
    • I missed last night’s game as I was out of town at a Robbie Burns celebration.  I was just wondering if we got beat by a better team or was it a case of sub-par refereeing?
  44. bandaide says:

    Just back from the Canadiens Fan Practice me and the kiddo had a great time.AK47 got 4/4 on accuracy so did Gionta! surprise there :P My biggest surprise was Benny won the hardest shot 102MPH woot!! Place was packed c’nmon JM put Benny on point shot for PP BOOM! Have a great albeit colder than a witches you know what Sunday! cheers…lets hope Philly’s goatending can’t stop a nose bleed!

  45. ed lopaz says:

    of course that’s what martin is trying to do.

    every coach wants to teach his young players discipline.

    its the WAY MARTIN DOES IT – the tactics of benching because of 1 mistake – that is questioned here.

    ask yourself a simple question:

    does a bright hard working kid like Eller or Subban deserve to be treated this way because Kovalev was a lazy a-hole.

    answer: NO.

    its exactly players like Eller and Subban who are so bright, so hard working, and so dedicated, that deserve a more

    intelligent, more insightful approach.

    Kovalev was freakin coddled to the end – by BOB GAINEY – the mastermind behind hiring Martin.

    It was Gainey who ran after Kovalev to re-sign him, and just barely lost out to a bid by Ottawa.

    Let Eller learn discipline: YES!!

    But he has the brains, work ethic, drive and determination to learn using more modern methods.

    That’s the point, here.

    No one is disputing what Martin’s motivation is.

  46. HardHabits says:

    Dude!!!! Nice post. ;-)

  47. zak says:

    If he’s getting pts. what’s there to complain about. It takes a little time to adjust to the nhl. He’s learning every day and from what I’ve seen doesn’t make awful mistakes. good on ice positioning for defensive purposes and he makes good passes in the offensive zone. With Darche in front of the net and benny shooting they make a good line that score goals when the other two lines are in a funk.

  48. JIMVINNY says:

    Well seeing as how we deserved at least a couple more powerplays, and they deserved at least a couple less, and they scored two PP goals, I say that they are the ones who got points they didn’t deserve.

  49. stephen says:

    The problem, unfortunately, is that the Habs might not be able to afford the patience required for a wait-and-see player like Desharnais. On a team that is already both relatively small and short on consistent production, Desharnais might instead be replaced by a player who brings more immediate dividends.

  50. Chuck says:

    Oh please. There can’t be a conspiracy, because the refs aren’t even good enough to make it NOT look like they suck. It’s bad refereeing, pure and simple.

  51. WestHab says:

    Despite the loss of a point and lousy calls, I thought last nights game was one of the more entertaining. Lots of emotion and skating.  Considering the injury sitituation I basically like what I see. Without Marki, Georges and Cammy I would never have thought that they be getting the points that they are. Thank God that Patches’ injury was not as bad as media first reported.

    - Who will be at the Heritage Classic?

  52. twocents says:

    I wasn’t trying to be hard on Weber, I actually agree with you and I think he has a future with the team. But, as far as preparations for a deep spring run goes, his spot is the one that could use upgrading to a solid, preferably physical, defensive D. I certainly wasn’t talking about putting Picard in there for him.

  53. HardHabits says:
    It’s not within the Habs ability because they lack the size, skill, youth and speed to do so. Clearing the area requires knowing where the puck is also. You can’t just arbitrarily knock some-one on their ass (although it happens all the time with players jockeying for position) without them going for the puck.
    Like I said earlier. Price doesn’t let in many goals that can be considered good from a shooter’s perspective. The bulk of what he let’s in are either weak ones (very rare) or garbage ones (like the 3 in regulation last night).
    I tend to agree that if the Habs cleared the net this would eliminate goals from both categories (since most of the so called weak ones were in fact of the garbage variety as well).
    I’d have to add that there are also the odd deflections that find the twine every so often. Again it’s about having the speed, size, youth (by that I mean you can’t expect Hamrlik to be doing this) and speed to keep the area free of the opposition’s players.
    It’s about puck tracking. If all the players know where the puck is and have a good sense of where their opponents are, doing as they are doing is best. Let Price hold the fort, otherwise as we’ve seen in the past the defencemen tend to obstruct Price and make matters worse. Just get the puck to the corners and everything will be OK.
  54. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    excellent point about Karma!… when that ridiculous call against POULIOT happened, even the CBC were amazed, something told me that was the turning point, only going so far as you say… and that somehow the Habs would get the bounce they need, even if it came down to the last second!

  55. habitual says:

    Mike Boone:  Saying Martin isn’t good with young players doesn’t equal being a “Martin hater.”  Lazy thinking Mike. 

    And Martin isn’t good with young players.  The only reason PK is getting big minutes is because of the injury situation, and we otherwise wouldn’t be getting the benefit of what he brings now.

    I too want to see our D in Philly, but hardly because of how PK and the Wiz handle playing in Philly.  The Wiz isn’t a rookie, and PK’s never been shy of confidence.

    I’m more interested in how Spatch does.  He looks like he is gradually but steadily running out of gas.  I hope he finds a nice massage therapist and a soft couch during the All Star break.

  56. B says:

    Eller is a skilled young player who shows a lot of potential, but he still has much to learn. He lacks finish and still tries to do too much by himself. He is not a top line player yet, but I hope he continues to develop. I don’t agree with those who think Montreal’s top line is the place for him to continue that development. I think he would have benefited from more development time in the AHL, but I appear to be in the minority on that.

  57. Cool Ice Price says:

    The Old D can`t get the job done.

     

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  58. Cool Ice Price says:

    Halak lost to the Flyers in the playoffs just as Price did.  Price & Halak have both played 3 rounds in the playoffs.

     

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  59. Clay4bc says:

    Can we wait a while to judge? Maybe after Price has a few playoff rounds under his belt? Or do we have to call it now?

    Just saying.

  60. twocents says:

    Blind squirrels and loquacious fools.

  61. Cool Ice Price says:

    Getting paid huge amounts money from the fans is what should motivate these players EVERY NIGHT IMO

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  62. HardHabits says:

    There’s a world of difference between Gionta’s skating ability and Desharnais’. DD has gotten better since being up though and is adjusting. At 1st I though he couldn’t make it. Lately though I am seeing signs that he could raise his game still. He certainly doesn’t appear out of place. DD has dominated at every level he’s played, so far. I doub’t he’ll have a long NHL shelf life. Maybe he can prove all his detractors wrong. Marty St. Louis and Thereon Fleury had to do the same before him.

  63. topher5468 says:

    Hey Mr Boone, I was wondering, I was watching a video of Max Pacioretty on the official wbesite and I was wondering, was that you in the background wearing that snazy argyle sweater?                                           .

     

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

  64. stephen says:

    Thanks for the weekly updates, Mr. Cobb! Your sense of optimism is always very refreshing! We are a scrappy cat of a team, it seems to me.

  65. CHasman says:

    You made some good points and you’re right about Weber, he played a solid game.  Where I disagree with your perspective is the packaging of Weber for another defenseman.  In less than two years we will not have Hammer, Spacek or Gill on this team.  We just can’t afford to give away our young d-men.  Weber has really improved.  I remember a comment from Boone where he said Weber does not belong in this league and at that time perhaps he didn’t but he’s improved dramatically since then.  I’m not a huge Weber fan but I love seeing a young player improve so quickly and he does not cough up the puck as much as Spacek and is he lays out more hits than Hammerlik.

    So though I don’t like the idea of moving Weber I do agree that we will need some new blood on the blue line.

  66. B says:

    NBC had the Flyers and Hawks on at 12:30 this afternoon.

  67. B says:

    Nope, 12:30 PM Eastern. I have been watching it. Flyers are up 3-1 with less than 3 minutes to go.

  68. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    I notice nobody denouncing Desharnais. I like what I’m seeing from the kid. I like what the guy is bringing. Any comments?

     

    And if you guys could temporarily take off your sig files til HIO gets a server not run by an NHL ref it would be easier to read this technically weird site.

  69. topher5468 says:

    Agree 1000 %,                                                .      ”It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  70. topher5468 says:

    HaHaHa,    Ok, I’m not a big fan of yellow either

     

     

     

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

  71. Timo says:

    Habs are not a Cup contender? Whatever made you think that?

    What you say is right, but eventually, I would like to see us become one. I am going on 17 years and counting of rebuilding, reshuffling, re-this, re-that. Bobo’s 5 year plan did not materialize. The current plan, aka The System, will unlikely fair a lot better. I don’t think Martin has what it takes to win a cup (whatever it is) – first and foremost he doesn’t have the right players. And even if he did I seriously doubt he’d make the best use of them.

     

  72. habs001 says:

    some people like martin some dont but looking at our line up can we really say we should have more points than we have…regardless how many points we finish this year the team will be judged by its playoff performance yet of the 7 teams right now in the playoff is there a team we would be shocked if we beat them or if we dont beat them…

  73. Displaced says:

    double post

     

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  74. StevieRay says:

    Proper …

  75. HardHabits says:
    You guys need serious, and I mean serious technical assistance. In case you’re interested, I am a computer wizard. I could figure out what’s wrong with this clunker you’re running here and make it purr like a kitten.
    Do you have a budget? And I mean above and beyond the obvious perks of booze, drugs and easy women.
  76. HardHabits says:

    grep -info -insights -explanation | all posts < reply

  77. Deano says:

    Still need more words to explain his postion … I expect more of a Masters Student.

  78. Deano says:

    Deary … I know it’s early, but more words please.

    ;)

  79. Displaced says:

    Awesome!!!

    • Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?
  80. Displaced says:

    != means NOT EQUAL

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  81. Displaced says:

    I can only offer dated computer translation, he has to expand his own comment.  Try using “tar -x” or “tail – f” to get the end of the post  :-)

  82. saskhabfan says:

    Lets see,a barely 0.500 goalie with an average gaa and a below average save percentage with a nearly 4 million dollar cap hit. He could probably get us chipchura back. This is why there is such a low market for trading goalies. Jaro “he won all the games in the playoffs by himself” halak as his loyal followers would say,is now being outplayed by goalies who you couldn’t get a 3rd round pick for in a trade never mind a top prospect like eller.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  83. JohnBellyful says:

    Let’s find out: Go get it, Jaro. That’s it. Good boy! Now let’s try a puck.

  84. Bob_Sacamano says:

    “Your Montreal Canadiens got a point they probably didn’t deserve.” ??? Seriously, this has to be a joke. 40-26 shots, horrible reffing which favoured the Ducks a little bit. Hiller was pretty good, the Habs played the day before and yet they never quit. Even if it certainly wasn´t a great performance, a fully deserved point. 

  85. Deano says:

    Agree … Mike was having a senior’s moment.

  86. DearyLeary says:

    Shots != dominance.  

  87. Deano says:

    Random thoughts about players discussed above:

    • Pouliot: One dimeinsional “soft” player who needs a center and winger to set him hp.  He will not create opportunities himself.  Upgrade on Gui, Gui, Gui, because of his speed, but do not look for him to crack the Top 6 on a real contender.
    • PK: So much fun to watch.  I trust him to be the shutdown D that everyone is crying for.  I see more “rewards” and fewer “risks” each game he plays.  High skill and rapid growth in his game.
    • Patches:  Agree with everything said … he is making a big difference.
    • Eller: Just a little bit behind Patches in his development, but this guy is going to be very, very good.  Fast, smart, big and has some defence to his game.  Good on the wing, but better at center.
    • Darche:  Please keep him onthe 4th line and never on the Power Play.  Find someone else … please.
    • AK46: Not a very smart hockey player.  Skill yes … all the important stuff (desire, smarts, leadership, effort,) no.  A contended team can not have Pouliot and AK 46 … pick one.  The other can play in Anahiem with that other marginal player Max.
    • BIG TOP 6 FORWARD: Go get one quick with the extra cap space available.  The D will respond.
  88. Mike Boone says:

    Good points, but you’re too harsh on Benny. Not soft. Nice skill package.

  89. StevieRay says:

    Deano my man …..Pouliot soft ???Eller a little behind Pacs…AK not very smart ..Darche not on the PP…. what did you put in that morning coffee ????

  90. RockinRey says:

    Agree! Ak46 and Pouliot are guys that can play with really great players but are not top 6 on this team. Where all the intangibles are not required game in game out. They would only have to display hockey( smarts, leadership, effort , and desire) on a part time basis.

    I see a different PK though since his sitting, and not necessarily one I like. I see him as being okay but the he is tentative and some of the lustre is off…..

    Patches top 6? Jury is out but he needs to get dirty to be effective- his game has been infused with some edge the  last little while.

  91. BIG TOP 6 FORWARD( with some hands  who will go to the dirty areas); Go get one quick with the extra cap space available.  The D will respond.
  92. Absolutely agree the d might need a tweak but on the top 6 side it is a priority.

  • notbigbird says:

    With PK’s success, various condescending comments are made about JM “ruining” young players as if it were not remotely possible. Does anyone ever stop to think that some might possibly succeed inspite of JM and not because of him? I’m not actually saying that this is the case because I don’t know. I am simply reserving judgement. Sometimes that’s a good thing to do.

  • smiler2729 says:

    So the rumour sites have tongues wagging about the Habs and Steve Weiss or Robyn Regehr or Bieksa or Marleau… would AK46 fetch any of those? No. Okay maybe Regehr… Our best bet for help is the farm and the ladder (the proverbial ‘need to step up’).

    • Watched Halak stink in St.Loo last night, nothing against the guy, and he deserves to be a number one, but he’s lucky he’s in St.Louis playing like a mortal and not here where after last spring he’d be the talk of the town in a negative way ‘cuz there’s no way he’ll ever play that way again… Springsteen only wrote “Born To Run” once.
  • twilighthours says:

    Yeah but his real masterpiece was Thunder Road.

  • Chris says:

    Regarding Halak:  Have to be careful with comparisons.  Halak is 17-15-5 with a 2.58 GAA and 0.908 SV% for the Blues, which are clearly not great numbers.  However, his backup (Ty Conklin) is 5-3-2 with a 3.34 GAA and 0.875 SV%, so one could at least argue that the Blues lineup is not doing much right now.  We will never know what Halak’s numbers would have looked like this season behind Montreal’s roster.

    • I usually look at a goalie and his back-up to get some idea as to how their stats are reflective of the team in front of them versus their own individual quality.
    • A guy like Steve Mason had amazing numbers in Columbus his rookie year, but basically equivalent to those put up the year before by Pascal Leclaire the year before.  Neither guy is really an elite goalie, but they both benefitted from a Ken Hitchcock airtight defensive system.
    • Scott Clemmensen was a journeyman goalie for most of his career, but put up numbers equal or even better to those of Martin Brodeur in 2008-09, as Johan Hedberg is doing this season.
    • You are correct that Halak will not likely ever achieve that level of astounding play consistently.  But I don’t think many goalies have or will.  That was surreal goaltending.
    • The formatting issues on this website are crippling.  :)
  • Cool Ice Price says:

    I agree with your Halak line of thinking.

     

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  • Displaced says:

    Wonder what Halak would have fetched for us now?

     

  • JF says:

    I wrote my comment above in about 4 paragraphs, but when I posted it, the paragraphs were all run together. Same thing happened yesterday.  Anyone know what’s happening?  Is there some new trick I have to learn to achieve paragraphs?

  • JohnBellyful says:

    It’s a new policy. They want all posters to be pithy. Well, I’m pithed.

  • zak says:

    Boone, you sound like JM. Break up a good line thinking you’re going to make it better.Hasn’t worked yet.Is AK gonna be in front of the net the way darche does.He’s a perimeter score not a crasher and banger.

  • Mike Boone says:

    Watch it!

  • Cool Ice Price says:

    A mature moment maybe?  LOL

     

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  • Olivier says:

    Well, they got going once Martin cut his bench. Thanks to the Sens, he could do it from the bottom of the second frame.

    Have to agree with Basu on AK46 with 57&58. Kost is a 25 goals man when playing with Pleks; he’ll handle the tough minutes, dig pucks out against the Prongers, stuff like that. Unspectacular but useful. The game against Calgary, where, paired with Halpern and Moen, he kinda looked like a poor man Hossa cutting inside and ripping shots? To put it bluntly: THIRD PAIRING DEFENSEMEN.

    Put Akost with Pleks against the toughs, he’s a nice complimentary player. Put him with Desharnais and Pouliot against the 2nd and 3rd pairing D and 2nd and 3rd lines? He could go on a rampage.

    But you know what? I’m not convinced Eller and Cammalleri are strong enough defensively together to help Pleks. I’d contend #46 (especially on the LW) is a better defensive player than #13 and #81. So if AKost goes with Desharnais, Pleks might be in for a rough ride.

    Time will tell, I guess.

  • notbigbird says:

    I’m a Firefox guy, and I weary of having to also run IE just to keep logged in. After four years or whatever, this site should be much better. Boone and Stubbs are great, but my goodness, somebody should take some pride on the technical side.

  • Mike Boone says:

    We have ongoing technical issues. To deal with them, Stubbs runs and I drink.

  • Ayan_SB says:

    Cause beggers can’t be choosers.

    And desperate times calls for desperate measures.

     

  • Chris says:
    • Phillips is 32 with a lot of mileage on the odometer (912 regular season games plus another 97 playoff games).  He’s got no goals and only 3 assists and a team-worst -22 rating to show for his 49 games this season, both of which are tracking to be career worst numbers.
    • He’s also another left-handed shot…if the Habs make a move for this season, it should be for a right-handed shot on the blue-line.  They have a number of veteran lefties (Hamrlik, Spacek, Gill).  It’s the right-handed shot as the team’s current right D-men (Wisniewski and the two youngsters, Subban and Carle) are the ones that cause me the most consternation defensively.
  • _Habsoloutly_ says:

    What makes you guy’s think Ottawa is gonna trade players to a division rival?  I guess it’s nice to dream.

  • Timo says:

    I would then like us to make a pitch for Neal. He would be just fine on the first 2 lines instead of Moen. You know, cause Moen really belongs.

  • _Habsoloutly_ says:

    uh, ya, they can be choosers.  I’m sure there will be more than one team interested in Neil, Phillips or Fisher.  Not gonna happen dude. C’mon.

  • Da Hema says:

    The question is whether the Habs could wash away the stench of mediocrity emitting from a Senator. I don’t know….

  • smiler2729 says:

    Once again a ho-hum effort is salvaged by a frenzied ending to gain a point only to ultimately lose in the moronic un-Canadian shootout where every emotion of the actual game gets wiped out by what is basically a coin toss…

    • The most maddening thing is not the defensive lapses of a rookie (Eller) or an old vet (Hammer), no, it’s the continuing frustration that comes when a team constantly misses the net with shots whether they be close range or from the point – FOR MY SAKE (Pete), HIT THE FREAKIN’ NET!!!!
  • Cool Ice Price says:

    Last night’s loss was on Hammer plain & simple. He cost the Habs 2 goals.

     

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  • SeriousFan09 says:

    It’s just temporary Ian, site’s still having issues so they’ve taken some of the features out of posting while they sort it out I guess. Frustrating since we don’t have paragraph breaks anymore, brevity is needed now so it’s not too hard to read remarks!

  • Ian Cobb says:

    This New Input Format on this site is very frustrating. When you want to put in a punctuation mark or change your word or post your comment. It comes out different format.I just won’t post as much now I guess. Something about Old dog and new tricks.

  • Chris says:

    Watching the game last night, I almost got the feeling that nobody in the rink knew how to handle Koivu’s home-coming.  It was just a very odd game…very little energy, very little passion.  No goalmouth scrums, very little jawing between players.  I can’t say that I missed either of those two things, both of which I think are far overdone in today’s NHL, but they were both conspicuously absent for an NHL game in 2011.

    Maybe it was the West vs. East syndrome, where the teams don’t see one another enough to generate a passion.  But that was probably the worst hockey game I’ve watched in the past couple of years.

  • Mike Boone says:

    I agree, Chris. For 56 minutes, it was a surprisingly lousy game. Maybe the Koivu stuff sucked the energy out of it …

  • Timo says:

    Btw, I have a question – why, even when laffs are on national TV playing hotshot Ovechkin Capitals, Habs fans are still stuck with Bob Cole?

  • Steve C. says:

    Bob Cole was legendary in his prime.  And despite him absolutely sucking in years’ past (blame Harry Neale for rotting the poor man’s brain), ever since he’s been de-throned as #1 play-by-play man by CBC (Hughson is so boring, monotone, and even worse than Cole.  if only Mark Lee were available to the east coast), with a new colour man in Garry Galley and less pressure, he’s done a pretty fair job.  He gets less confused with names and seems to pronounce them better.  Who knew?

  • Mr.Hazard says:

    I believe Gerber was rockin’ the black mask first.

  • Steve C. says:

    Hiller’s mask is different.  It almost looks mat, it’s got some sort of coating on it.  And I believe there’s a golden trim, but I’m not certain.

  • RockinRey says:

    The d is not the weak link people think it is!. I think they could use an influence like Robinson at that end of the bench in my opinion( notwithstanding my previous post) . But the problem is nowadays the goals are scored moreso from dirty areas. An area from which have a propensity to avoid.

    Would I say no to a proven defensemen? Not at the right price.

    But this team needs a skilled guy so badly. No  more Darches and guys that work their ass off with an inability to capitalize.

    If they make a deadline deal they should go after a Bill Guerin type guy who will get dirty. They need some size, a guy who has some hands and can get to those areas that , Ak46 doesn’t go!

  • Deano says:

    Possibly … more a prediction of what “talent wasted” looks like in 5 to 10 years.  Reminds me a little bit of Murray Wilson … good but not top 6.  I’ll put this discussion in my suspense file for 5 years and we can discuss then.

  • Deano says:

    Too much of the coach in me (16 years) and not enough of the fan.

     

    ;)

  • StevieRay says:

    i hear you ..i coached basketball for years the reffed….i know what you saying ..re coach vs fan

    enjoy you coffee !

  • SHUTTemDOWN says:

    Agreed on Hiller’s mask…kind of Darth Vader-ish.

    Perhaps the Auld one out should don a similar style…maybe something like the Hab superhero avatar.

    Anything to make him seem more intimidating.

     

    What about stick durability? Lightsabres perhaps?

  • zak says:

    JM and his system hasn’t changed since he started in the league with St Louis 25 years ago. Seems he still thinks that his system will get him to the dance.

  • Ayan_SB says:

    Ottawa’s officially announced a rebuild.

    How’s Chris Phillips these days?

  • Rad says:

    Should Pierre Gauthier trade for another defenceman?

     

    –Only if the defenceman in question is big, tough, and physical. Otherwise, please don’t bother. The Habs brass seem to have something against aggressive, physical hockey players, be they defencemen or forwards. When questioned about this, both Gauthier and Martin talk about the size of a player’s heart, and how effective our fast forwards are because of their speed, yada yada, etc. I guess they didn’t watch the playoffs last year when those fast forwards were rendered inconsequential by a bigger, more physical Philly team. Or perhaps Gauthier and Martin look the other way when big teams like Atlanta keep beating up on us, or when opposing forwards keep scoring on us from close range because our under-sized defencemen can’t clear the front of the net.

     

    What would be the point in acquiring another defenceman if he is the same size as Weber? The only D-men out there that I would like to see us acquire are Regeher, Jovonovski, or Jay Bouwmeester — and only if the price is right. And I would only want them if I knew for certain that Yemelin was not coming over next year. Otherwise, I say hold on to your assets, and wait for Yemelin and Tinordi to develop. In the mean time, re-sign the Hammer for another 2 years, but give him reduced 3rd Pair minutes at a lower salary. And re-sign Markhov and Gorjes, and make sure they get the best physical therapy possible in order to make a full recovery.

  • Ian Cobb says:

    I hope it is temporary Robert.

  • JF says:

    For most of the first two periods, I thought we weren’t aggressive enough, lacked a bit of jump.  We let the Ducks push us around and squeeze us along the boards, and we didn’t get to their net enough.  When we did, we missed.  I think Gionta missed two chances, which made him an odd choice for the shootout.  Dubious officiating also seemed to work against us, as is often the case.  But we played a tremendous third period, so I’m not sure we didn’t deserve a point.  Anytime a team can create enough pressure late in a game when they’re down by two goals to tie it, they deserve a point.  And it’s something we haven’t been able to do all year until the Boston game two weeks ago.  Coming from behind, holding onto a 1-goal lead – both are aspects of the game the team has improved at.

    Basu’s stats on the powerplay stunned me.  I knew it had improved, but I had no idea how much.  Special teams are a key component of success.  Two or three years ago the Habs were first or second on the powerplay, but the penalty kill was only so-so.  This year, despite last night’s two powerplay goals against, both are solid.

    Max Pacioretty has made huge progress over last year and looks like turning into the power forward we thought we were drafting.  And I can’t say enough about Mathieu Darche, not only his work ethic and willingness to go to the net, but his intelligence.  He’s so quick to read the play and make the right decisions.

    6 points out of a possible 8 this week is not too shabby, especially considering that the games were two sets of back-to-backs.  But I’m not optimistic about our chances against Philly.  Price will need to bring his A+ game and we’ll need to capitalize on our chances better than we did last night.


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