About last night …

For 58 minutes, the Canadiens had the makings of a goaltending controversy.

If Carey Price had shut out the Sabres in Buffalo, who’d get the start against Florida at the Bell Centre on Thursday night?

Well, we’ve been spared that mystery, eh?

Jaro Halak will be in goal as your Montreal Canadiens attempt to bounce back from what might have been the most disappointing loss of a season that has not lacked for heartbreak.

For almost 57 minutes, your Montreal Canadiens played a near-flawless road game.

As Kirk Muller told Renaud Lavoie on RDS after the second period, the Canadiens were executing their game plan: stressing simplicity, getting the puck behind the Buffalo D and forechecking effectively to slow the Sabres down.

As bad as the team had been against Ottawa on Monday night, they were superb against Buffalo: skating, puck support, short crisp passes, aggressive team defence that prevented the Sabres – no slouhes in the skating department themselves – from moving through the neutral zone with any speed or spark.

Then Ryan O’Byrne took the fourth of four consecutive penalty calls against the Canadiens.

And with 3:33 left in the game, Lindy Ruff pulled Ryan Miller to give the Sabres a 6-on-4 power play.

And the roof caved in, a collapse that continued through the Overtime and into a woefully one-sided Shootout.

Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

What a bummer.

And 24 hours later, we’ll find out whether Jacques Martin is capable of rallying his shell-shocked troops.

There are positives to build on:

• The return of Mike Cammalleri was the spark that Tomas Plekanec’s line needed, as evidenced by the first goals Andrei Kostitsyn has scored in almost three months.

• Marc-André Bergeron played a solid game on the fourth line and gave the power play a point presence that the Sabres were obliged to cover, opening up the ice for the forwards.

• Until the debacle of the final two minutes, the penalty-killers played an outstanding game.

• Brian Gionta was brilliant in every aspect of the game. If the Canadiens had 18 skaters who played with the energy and spirit of this guy … OK, maybe a few them a little taller … they’d go 82-0.

• Benoit Pouliot, MIA for a few games, complemented Gionta and Scott Gomez with his size and forechecking zeal.

• Carey Price, playing his first game in 17 days, was excellent. The kid just can’t buy a break this season. I wouldn’t stand anywhere near him in a thunderstorm.

The Canadiens were a transformed team from the disorganized, lifeless group that lost to Ottawa.

It’s a short plane ride home from Buffalo. I wouldn’t want to be flying back from Dallas and thinking about a loss like that.

The point pushed the Canadiens up into sixth place, past the freefalling Flyers.

But man, that was a tough L to take.

For 57 minutes, a shutout over the division leader and a nice springboard into the final games of the season.

Instead, a dagger into their hearts … and the task of regrouping very quickly, because a loss to Florida would plunge the city into full-on panic mode.

•  •  •

Remember that great scene in Good Will Hunting when the math prodigy, played by Matt Damon, breaks down as he talks to his therapist (Robin Williams) about trying to protect his siblings by taking beatings from a drunk, abusive father.

As the tears flow down Damon’s cheeks, Williams hugs him tightly and repeats: “It’s not your fault … it’s not your fault … it’s not your fault ..”

Know what?

Carey Price needs Robin Williams.

•  •  •


On a particularly hallucinogenic Antichambre, Michel Bergeron suggested MAB was a better Dman than Jaro Spacek and Norman Flynn second-guessed the decision not to dress Maxim Lapierre.

PJ Stock, of all people, was the lonely voice of reason.

I gotta find out who’s catering weed for that show.



  1. JF says:

    I haven’t felt so angry all season as I did at the end of that game.  It took me literally hours to calm down.  Couldn’t relax, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think of anything but that…

    But we did the esact same thing to the Ducks a couple of weeks ago, so we just have to swallow it and move on.  I just hope the team is not so deflated they’ll suck tonight against the Panthers.  That’s one we really have to win.

    Lindy Ruff deserves a lot of credit for pulling Miller on that powerplay.  It’s something I’ve wished all season JM would do – pull the goaltender on a late-game powerplay when we need a goal.  Perhaps he’ll learn.

    Take the positives.  We’re in 6th place, and for 57 minutes we played an almost perfect game, looking a lot more like the team that won six in a row than the one that was disorganized against Toronto and had no energy against Ottawa.  We have to keep playing that way.

  2. fun police says:

    are you serious?  really?  have you ever played a single game of hockey in your life?  to blame goaltending for last nights lost is a terrible knee-jerk observation.  how about them sitting back for the last five minutes?  how about the constant parade to the penalty box after ruff berated the refs?  

  3. Chris says:

    Mike is simply pointing out that Halak has pretty much indisputably earned the #1 goalie title for the rest of the season.  As such, he will earn the bulk of the starts, unless Price does something heroic (like getting a shutout against the division leaders) that FORCES Jacques Martin to continue starting him.

    Price, through no fault of his own, did not get that shutout.  So he goes back to the bench in favour of Halak, just like every other backup goalie has done in the NHL, including Halak when he was the backup.  That’s life.

    Price will be back next season with another opportunity to seize the #1 title.  And he’s got all the tools to do it.  But the coach isn’t igniting that controversy with 8 games to go in tight playoff stretch drive unless he absolutely has to.

  4. Chris says:

    Jean-Sebastien Giguere played fantastic in his two Stanley Cup runs, but he is a hot-and-cold player who has lost his starting job twice now.

    Chris Osgood.

    Domink Hasek, a shell of the goalie he was in his prime during his Detroit tenure.

    Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been up and down…yes, he was good that year. But he hasn’t been nearly as strong other seasons.

    Cam Ward was a revelation when the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup. He then had a couple of decidedly average seasons, then had another great run last year that had everybody putting him in the mix for the Olympic team this season. Until he, and the Hurricanes, inexplicably imploded once again.

    I always find it funny how often Stanley Cup wins convert goaltenders into “stars”. There should be very few stars at any given position…when the label starts being thrown around liberally, then the meaning of the term gets diluted. “Okay” to me means average, and a lot of the above guys have been decidedly average: good years, bad years, in-between years. But none of them had been consistently at the top of their craft for a few years around their Stanley Cup victories.

  5. SlovakHab says:

    A couple of my observations:

     – Before we sign Plekanec for a 30-milion, 5-year contract, I’d like to see him raise his production. 2 points in the last 5 games, 4+2 in the last 13. A clutch player?

     – I really like Carey Price, but his 13-19-5 record is terrible. So much talent, but 10 less wins than JH with roughly equal number of games played and 8 penalty minutes? I just dunno about him anymore.. (Can’t blame him for the last night tho – he was excellent!).

     – 3 minutes before the end of the game, I thought AK, Moore and Price will be the 3 stars of the game. I think we got a flashback of how Anaheim must have felt a couple of weeks ago.

     – Buffalo had no business winning this one. O’Byrne really screwed up with that high stick.

     – If only Gomez could finish, he’d be almost worth what we pay him. 12 goals all season long? And how’bout that empty net – could’ve been a difference-maker.

     – I just HATE losing to the division rivals. Make that 3 in a row with L to Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo. Totally sucks

     – You know who else sucks? Pierre MacGuire. Couldn’t stand listening to him. My online feed actually didn’t show the commercials during the breaks so I could hear them talk during the breaks. Interesting insight of what’s happening when we can’t hear them. Didn’t make him any less bearable tho.

     – Every time I’m up until 3-4am to watch the Habs play, they blow it. 

  6. thebonscott says:

    my only concern, is we make the playoffs, yay, and face new jersey in the first round, i don’t know if i can watch montreal lose 4 straight by scores of 3-1, and of course the whole time Mr. Brodeur is snappin pics of his son. i would rather not make it.  one request, please not new jersey, against anybody else we have a chance, but we can’t beat new jersey.

  7. RJ says:

    Boone, your defense of THE FRANCHISE has grown tired. He had no pressure until the end and he folded when it mattered. Bad rebound (as the you and the Halak bashers often say) on the tying goal and scorched in the shootout.

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  8. tony d says:

    Only caught the 3rd period….thought it was in the bag. Man Carey seems to have a hex on him or something…that kid can’t catch a break. He needs to go into a sweat lodge and exhorcise some demons or something.

  9. Moey says:

    I’ll make this quick, I feel like a seal in shark infested waters. 

    “I wouldn’t stand anywhere near him in a thunderstorm” I just choked on my tea, well done Mike!


  10. gatorg says:

    Going into Buffalo and getting a point is still a positive. Go from there. Cammi looked good, MAB makes the PP look legit. kill  the cats and get ready for the devils. take the positives.

  11. The Cat says:

    Why were they wrong on L’Antichambre for second-guessing the benching of Lapierre? Everytime they defend a french player its because of everything else except hockey. Might we consider that they maybe right? They were right about Lapierre how he is effective as a pest and shadow. But thats habs hockey: draft players and then have ’em play another style.

  12. G-Man says:

    “I gotta find out who’s catering weed for that show.”

    More like acid, Boone.

    AC needs something to bitch about. If it’s not the effort, it’s the lack of Quebecois. Same old s**t, different day.

  13. The Cat says:

    Like they said on L’Attaque a cing, JM lost this game. SK, Cammaleri out there protecting a lead…Stupid.

  14. badbalance says:

    Giving up on him so early would be a huge mistake. A big enough one that I will lose my respect to the organization

  15. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    Those were legit penalties.  Can’t really argue too much.  But you are right, 6 in a row is a bit much.

  16. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    Don’t go too hard on the Habs tonight.  They played an awesome game and deserved the win.  Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way its supposed to, and Buffalo got a chance to get back into the game.  Gotta put them away early I guess.  Can’t fault the boys thought, they put in a great effort.  If Miller wasn’t so solid tonight we would have been talking about this win for a while.  BTW, Price/Halak debate aside, Price is one unlucky guy.

  17. elenar011 says:

    Didn’t see that. Agree wholeheartedly.

  18. Chuck says:

    It’s not that you blamed him, Mike. But it comes across as though you feel that he’ll take enough blame from his coach so that he won’t be rewarded with the start against Florida.


    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  19. Chuck says:

    Yup. Another “massive” 2-goal outburst in support of Carey.


    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  20. Chuck says:

    …never mind that a Hab was high-sticked in open ice as they exited their zone moments before the call against O’Byrne.


    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  21. elenar011 says:

    Only you apparently. Just voicing my opinion. If that warrants a ban, bring it on hab “lifer”.

  22. Da Hema says:

    A middling, not a bad, team Timo.


    “There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge….”

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  23. SeriousFan09 says:

    Not even close, penalties ignored while we got called on our own stuff, player blatantly hooked down in a sequence that led to a Sabres goal. Ruff cried and the refs gave his team all they needed to crawl back in the game, the way those old cranks behind the bench can browbeat the refs is insane.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  24. Chuck says:

    Ahhh… light_n_douchy!



    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  25. Chuck says:

    SIX penalties in a row. I guess that the Sabres must’ve played oh-so-nice from the 5:35 mark of the second period onward.


    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  26. Rob D says:

    Ring ..ringgg..ringggg..

    It’s the pop gun calling. He wants his offense back.


    That Gomez fan was emblematic of the season in terms of finishing.

    They are what they are. A smallish team with limited scoring and mostly older and mediocre D-men who rely on superior goaltending and all out work ethic to win. I’m surprised they are as high in the standings as they are but the east is weak this year.

    I hate to say it, cause I know how many players are set back in their development by hasty callups, but they need a PK to lift them out of it. A spark..espeically from a rearguard who can carry the puck, make plays and skate..and score. Maybe I’m crazy but ..hell, I think this time as presently constituted isn’t going to last long in the SC derby.

    It was a terrific effort tonight..they played as well, almost to a man, as I have seen from them all season. Encouraging after the putrid game against TO in particular. But they still lost. That’s scary and I am worried, as Mr. Boone and others seem to be, about the long term effects of this kind of crushing loss so late in the year. This one could linger.



    I loved Lapierre last year..had high hopes..but he deserves his benching. I can’t believe someone could watch the games and dispute that. He’s giving 60% TOPS most nights and that’s not near enough for someone not names Crosby or Ovechkin.





  27. light_n_tasty says:

    Losing brings out the douchiness in me.

  28. andrewberkshire says:

    You can thank Lindy Ruff being a whiney bitch for that. The officials got intimidated, such BS.

  29. Chuck says:

    He was wearing his centennial mask tonight.


    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  30. Chuck says:

    Yeah, at least we got that. He must’ve been working his ass off in practice, because he didn’t look nearly as rusty as I feared he would have been.

    All was fine until they went up 2-0 and the parade to the penalty box started…


    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  31. thirdstone says:

    Well let boone defend himself when words are being put in his mouth. Hell that last goodwill hunting bit literally said “its not your fault” with price crying. Maybe that was interpreted as a swipe… but it wasn’t. Clear support from boone.

  32. andrewberkshire says:

    Why ya gotta be like that?

  33. andrewberkshire says:

    The only “okay” goalies that have won championships in the last 10 years were Hasek and Osgood, both with the extremely well coached and stacked Detroit Red Wings. 

  34. light_n_tasty says:

    “I worked so hard for three weeks and I was doing all the things I wanted to do out there” Price said.

    Except win….

  35. SeriousFan09 says:

    If Price goes to the Hawks, they will end their Cup drought no question of that, but I still have to back the Habs first.

    Only thing that holds the Blackhawks back is goaltending, they get Price, it’s the Red Wings of the last 15 years all over again.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  36. andrewberkshire says:

    At least you got to see him play amazing, you can take solace (however little) in that.

  37. SeriousFan09 says:

    He’s been a lot better than his record shows this season, with any luck PG will recognize that and keep him on. If this team is going to have a future, they should hang on to a 22-year old goalie with star potential while half the league searches for gold in the draft and caps out in free agency looking for ‘the guy’. Aside from Osgood, how many ‘okay’ goalies got their team the 16 wins to get a Cup in the last 10 years?


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  38. andrewberkshire says:

    If Price is traded to the Blackhawks, I’ll watch their games, but there’s no way they’re my favourite team. I like Price, but he doesn’t hold a candle to the Habs as a whole.

  39. matraque says:

    So you prefer Price over the Habs?  Why?


    Komisarek: 0 – 4 – 4 (-9)

  40. TitoS74 says:

    If Price is traded to the Blackhawks, then they become my first team, the Habs second, and the Bruins third. I’m making it public so that everybody can see it.

  41. andrewberkshire says:

    It’s no secret that Bowman thinks a lot of Price. I’m really worried that Gauthier won’t heed this advice though.

  42. TitoS74 says:

    He’s absolutely right. This year has been touch on Price, but next season, assuming the new GM is smart enough to keep him, he will have even more confidence, because he would’ve already been through the worst yet.

    He will bloom and explode next season. These rough times are only fine-tuning his skills to turn him into a machine that can be better than Brodeur.

  43. SeriousFan09 says:

    In print Just a short quote from Hickey’s Inside the Dressing Room feature.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  44. TitoS74 says:

    Very sound advice. Where did you pick up that quote?

  45. andrewberkshire says:

    Where’d you read that?

  46. andrewberkshire says:

    And let in more goals in each game than Price has in 3 games against them.

  47. SeriousFan09 says:

    Quote from Scotty Bowman who watched this game: “Don’t trade Carey Price”

    Sound advice.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  48. makka83 says:

    Halak won as many games against the Sabers this season as I did. 🙂

  49. makka83 says:

    check a while back when Halak lost 6-2 against Buffalo for his comments or the game before that he lost again the Sabers this year. 😉

  50. jew4jah says:

    what’s with price & his masks? 

    i propose a ban country music & religion from hockey.

    (exemptions are stompin tom, cuz he’s hockey eh, and johnny cash cuz he’ll kill you that’s why)


  51. habsfan321 says:

    Halak would never have a loss like that. He’s perfect. </sarcasm>

  52. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …on one hand Our Guys will retroflect on how well They played the majority of this game with the Division leading team, as They have played very competively with most of the elite teams this season

    …the final result also gives Them a very solid reason to be angry with Themselves and resolve it won’t happen again

    …We are in 6th place …not 8th

    …this could break Us …or make Us

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY


  53. andrewberkshire says:

    What’s your boy Halak’s record against the Sabres this season?

  54. jew4jah says:

    it was steve’s fault!

    he called SHUTOUT with six minutes to

  55. diehardhab says:

    Alright lets relax there boone. we’re all a bit uptight after that ending.

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  56. Da Hema says:

    If this team had just scored one more goal from the multitude of glorious chances it had and gone up 3-0, they would not have lost this game.

    This current Hab team can neither score enough goals to be more successful nor hold the leads it does get. Bad news either way.


    “There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge….”

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  57. Mike Boone says:

    Please find the part of my story that blamed the loss on Price. Man, try to read more slowly, willya?

  58. diehardhab says:

    Your avatar really screams objectivity!

    If you want to find something wrong in price’s post game statements then go ahead but I have no problem with him showing some passion and some emotion!

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  59. Exit716 says:

    I think it’s weak to play up the goalie controversy Mr. Boone.

    I don’t think Price decided to put on two of the team’s weakest defensive players in the final minutes of a one-goal hockey game.

    Camalleri and Kostitsyn?


    This loss is all on the bilingual experienced defensive tactitian with zero Stanley Cups and years of playoff failures.

    This game reeked like most of Robin Williams’s movies, but this time the star was the overwhelmed and underwhelming head coach, just hanging around long enough to serve up a first round playoff defeat.

    Take your backhanded swipes at Price all you want. This loss is entirely on Martin and his lack of coaching ability.


  60. t1tan5 says:

    I don’t why you are referencing a win when saying that he can’t win. There are better examples. And on top of that, you are talking about the Caps. The best team in the NHL by far. Who cares how we beat them.

  61. matraque says:

    I would like to know what Halak would have said after a loss like that.


    Komisarek: 0 – 4 – 4 (-9)

  62. diehardhab says:

    agreed. see my post below

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  63. diehardhab says:

    “I’m not happy whatsoever,” Price said. “Not one bit. We got to find a way to get that done. That’s a point we need, and we need to find a way to do it. We played hard for 55 minutes and after that we just sat on our a** and let them come to us.”

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  64. hab lifer says:

    for those remarks, you should be banned from this site.

    you’re pissing off alot of people.

  65. matraque says:

    Price will sit tomorrow.  He cannot win a game…

    Remember that game against the caps.  He had a ton of goals and we won in a shootout.  Barely won.


    Komisarek: 0 – 4 – 4 (-9)

  66. HUDSONHAB says:

    Ouch. Alot of guys had good games and no one (maybe Benny) had a bad game. Poor Price.


  67. Born in a Bad Year says:

    Blame the coaching.  They had a chance of putting the right defensive paring on the ice and they blew it. We only have two defenders who clear the front of the net and those are Gill and O’Byrne.

    If either of those parings had been out there would not have been a Sabre standing in front of the net looking to score. The coaching tonight was Carbo-esque in its stupidity.

    Markov had been on the bench for a minute and a half and O’Byrne had just come out of the box.  Gill and Gorges had just been on for the previous goal. O’Byrne and  Markov would have cleared the crease and the zone.  Hammer and Spacek are fine for regular play but are not our best defenders when there is constant pressure that might go beyond the time of a normal shift. They just don’t have the legs for that kind of play.

  68. ProHabs says:

    What did little Carey have to say on CJAD in his post game reaction??

  69. elenar011 says:

    I’d like to see Price start. Played a hell of game, deserves the win, and the shutout. It’s a risky move putting him in, but he’ll play his heart out if he gets the chance. He’s pissed. Lol.

  70. SeriousFan09 says:

    Agree, he played well enough to get his shutout, he deserves another chance to get a win. I like your reasoning, we need to use him and see what he can give us, especially with the playoff dates approaching.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  71. wild flower says:

    I don’t really care one way or the other, but I see the logic and thought the same.  

  72. Number31 says:

    If Martin had any balls he would play the kid tomorrow. He can never get any momentum going. SAME thing happened in that Sharks game. I don’t know how a team can’t get themselves inspired enough to win the game when the guy in nets is making over 40 saves for you. He almost blanked the Buffalo Effing Sabres here. One of the LAST teams you want to go to a shootout with. This wasn’t the Oilers.

    And if he’s such a defensive coach, why in bloody hell did he put Cammy and AK46 out to protect a lead that late in the game?! Oh right, this is the guy that had MAB on the PK earlier in the season and wondered why the PK was so bad…

  73. diehardhab says:

    IMO we should start price tomorrow. I heard his post game reaction on CJAD and he was really pissed, and rightfully so! The team laid down after 50 minutes. I would start him for 2 reasons:

    1) It sends a message to the players that they can’t be blaming their goalies for losses. Thats 2 straight games that they have done this when they last left Halak on an island against the sens.

    2) Price is gonna be really pissed, and I would love to see him take his anger out on the panthers and get a win. Last thing I would want to see is for him to mellow out.

    All that being said I understand starting Halak tomorrow and just want a win. 

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  74. wild flower says:

    After reflecting on the result, I’m not so sure it is accurate to say the Habs collapsed. They were penalized near the end of the game – finally the Sabres scored on one of their power plays after that a momentum shift led to the tying goal and then the overtime/shootout is a crap shoot that we lost. Big deal, happens all the time – we are sixth because crap happens to other team to.

    If Price was so great tonight, why is it an automatic that Halak starts agains Florida? Seems a bit like Price is getting the raw end of the stick again when it comes to the quality of oponents faced.

    What if Price had let in a crap goal like the one Hiller let in tonight? Anehiem should trade the bum – except they already traded the other bum to the leafs.



  75. SeriousFan09 says:

    This is becoming unbearable, I can see the Playoffs going exactly like this if we get there, getting leads, throwing them away like they’re day-old donuts.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

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