About last night …

Martin Brodeur beaten for three third-period goals.

Roger Federer loses in straight sets.

I don’t know if the falcon can hear the falconer, but surely the Second Coming is at hand. And if the playoffs were at hand, how many teams would want to be facing your Montreal Canadiens?

They’re on fire. And my only concern (because a Habs fan always has concerns) is the team might be peaking too early.

There’s a lot of hockey to be played. But if Canadiens play the rest of their schedule like they played the second 30 minutes of last night’s game, the playoffs are a lock and a deep run is a possibility.

And if there’s happiness to be savoured in April – and, inshallah, May – we can look back to last comeback win as the game that defined the season.

This team has heart. And it has cojones, big brass ones you could hear clanking all the way from Newark.

Down 3-1 to their nemesis team and bête noire goaltender, winless this season in games they’ve trailed after 40 minutes, the Canadiens didn’t quit. The fourth line never quits, And neither, this season, does Alex Kovalev.

The team that had three shots in the first period fired 20 at Brodeur in the third. It was the team in front of Brodeur that had three shots in the last 20 minutes of the game.

For the opening 20 minutes, I thought it was a playoff preview, at least for the home team: in-your-face hockey, battling for every inch of the ice, tight, aggressive checking that gave Canadiens puck-carriers little time to make decisions, most of which inevitably were bad decisions.

But the young, nervous, tentative team didn’t wilt. And after surviving a second 5-on-3 power play, the Canadiens skated, hit and finessed the Devils into the ice.

Brent Sutter probably wishes he could hold a no-pucks practice this morning. The Canadiens enjoy three days off to savor 60 points (second in the East), 17 wins on the road and a cornucopia of positives – not the least of which is character – to take into the break:

• Do you suppose Bob Gainey knew something when he signed Bryan Smolinski? I can’t remember Radek Bonk scoring twice in New Jersey last season.

• And do you figure Tom the Bomb is an upgrade on Mike Johnson?

• Eight names on the scoresheet, 11 Canadiens had hits; 33-21 on faceoffs, Tomas Plekanec 11-4, Maxim Lapierre 4-1; the home team took seven penalties; John Madden, one of the best defensive players in the league, was minus-2

• Andrei K. is turning into one of the most explosive players in the league. That line is a joy to watch.

• Brother Sergei will never see either an NHL pressbox or the city of Hamilton again. And he might be back on the Saku Koivu line.

• The Captain has come to life and will benefit greatly from resting this weekend.

• Christopher Higgins may be ready to break out. He works the corners and gets the chances. It’s a matter of burying them, and that comes with confidence.

• How about that smurf Brian Gionta launching himself off a step ladder at a laughing Komisaurus?

Ah, that was a sweet one.

And maybe the best is yet to come.


  1. The Teacher says:

    That’s “incognito” Ian :)

    I noticed you spelled it like it is pronounced, which is good if you don’t know how to spell it. You’re pretty neat-o also 😉

  2. The Teacher says:

    Yup, I thought that also :) David Volek should be a honorary member of ours haha.

  3. tleblanc says:

    you forgot Phoenix

  4. Chorske says:


  5. christophurrr says:

    if this was the plan don’t you think price would be starting for the habs with christo on the bench?

    if he’s so ready to take the team on his shoulders for the long haul, why is he in hamilton?

  6. Will Longlade says:

    Assuming the Habs make the post season cut, I expect that Chips and Price will be called up at some point during the playoffs. This decision may be dependent on how deep the Dogs go in the AHL playoffs, injuries, trades etc.

    FYI, according to the CBA, the Habs can increase their roster size to any number of players after the Feb. 26th trade deadline.

  7. Will Longlade says:

    Rob Blake would be an excellent pick-up if the Habs could do it for a draft pick and/or a prospect from the Bulldogs. LA likely covets one of our young goaltending prospects (aside from Price). B.G., pls. make it happen.

  8. Fer_hab says:

    I have but hockey isn;t about being nice its about making the right decisions. The only reason Carey isn;t still up here is the lack of games in the month of January. He down their for a reason right now and its not to rot!!! I SAID

  9. RS says:

    Like most rumours, my main response is that it’s not going to happen. But count me among those who think Blake really could add something to the Habs defence. Other than Komi, who is great, and Cube who plays way bigger than he is, but is still a little guy, our D is not particularly physical or able to thrive amid a fierce forecheck. Would anyone actually prefer O’Bryne or Breezer over Blake in the short term? We have a top 3 D, we don’t have a top 4. Blake would fit nicely in our top four.

    I’m shocked that people are dismissing Blake like this. Rob Blake, not Jason Blake. Imagine Hamrlik and Blake as our second D pairing going into the playoffs!

    Assessing the cost of obtaining Blake is a whole different question. In general, I’m not too fond of giving up picks and prospects to get rental guys.

  10. Rugger says:

    The problem is that Division is so bad Washington could end up with the 3rd seed not the 8th.

  11. Chuck says:

    “Dance with the one that brought you, but leave with the one that will get you some.”



    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  12. krob1000 says:

    Maybe we should hand these 4 points over to the Caps to help them land the no. 8 spot so they can knock off the Sens in the first round lol.

  13. krob1000 says:

    I think Cournoyer12 had more fun than you.

  14. wd40 says:

    Lol.. it’s “Dance with the one that brought you”. :)

  15. krob1000 says:

    Agree….Perry is untouchable.

  16. krob1000 says:

    I honestly think the story in New York is Ted Nolan. HE could turn the Leafs into a decent team. They can’t score at all yet they are competitive. They are boring as hell to watch but they are ususally in the game until the bitter end.

  17. likehoy says:

    we’re rumoured for corey perry?? cause if we are…he’s a bona fide goal-scorer with good size…! But the likelihood is that Perry will be able to re-sign with the ducks cause nasalheimer and salami won’t be back after this years ridiculous ordeal.

  18. likehoy says:

    isles didn’t build within…they have maybe 3 players on their team that was drafted by them. THe ones that come to mind, campoli, hunter, and dipietro…the rest of the team is built on spare parts. They are the epitome of the theory that if you add two B’s do you get an A?

  19. likehoy says:

    definitely…and then hopefully meet the big and pretty bad bruins in the second round for an easy sweep to regain the juices.

  20. coutNY says:

    The guys favorite food is BoreSh#@t? He must be tough!

  21. krob1000 says:

    Eventually Carbo is going to have to decide whether Streit is a better forward or defenseman. That will go a long way in determining who stays, plays, comes or goes. One way or the other Streit has earned a spot ….at which position only Carbo knows. There are a lot of games left to be played and inuries happen all too often in this game so to expect to ride nearly half the schedule out without any losses wouldn’t be prudent. There will be more icetime up for grabs.

  22. 24 Cups says:

    RS – I think we would only want to bring Chips back up if we felt he was going to play every game. He could come up if O’Byrne goes back to Hamilton for conditioning purposes or if Dandy gets traded for a pick. Otherwise, I don’t think we’ll see him until the roster limit is lifted near the end of the year.

    The Original 24 Cups

  23. 24 Cups says:

    kRob stated that the Canadiens were “overcoming all of (their) deficiencies”. Two quick examples from last night. Obviously, they came back in the 3rd period after being down two goals. The other thing that I noticed was that all four Hab goals were scored in the slot or directly in front of the net (stand corrected). Not a lucky shot from the perimeter or a deflected shot from the point. The guys were paying the price and going where they had to go in order to score on a goaltender like Brodeur who displays such sound fundamentals. There’s winning the game and then there’s how you win the game. In so many ways this was more satisfying than the Boston rout because the Canadiens were able to correct past deficiences in their overall game.

    The Original 24 Cups

  24. Rugger says:

    It would be nice to be the ones to knock Philly & Briere out in the first round!

  25. showey47 says:

    get used to it, i think the days of us being used as leverage(briere) will be coming to an end pretty soon.

  26. 24 Cups says:

    Likehoy – Old rumours resurfacing again is what I suspect. Blake would be strictly a rental, I’m not interested. Marleau? Who would we rather have right now, Pleks or Marleau? Marleau’s dry spells are worse than the Sahara Desert. I hope and pray that we are a seller , not a buyer at the trade deadline.

    The Original 24 Cups

  27. RH says:

    Rob Blake? What’s Rob Blake going to add to the Habs defense that they don’t already have?

  28. Billy says:

    i was at the game last night….sitting in the corner where the habs scored 3 goals. im horse this morning. echo all the positive comments. was an absolute treat to watch the game last. i did not feel great going into the third knowing we had never come back after the 1st or 2nd period….let alone in NJ against brodeur.

  29. wd40 says:

    Great post, krob. i share in your excitement and optimism, however i’m not much of a writer so i’ll leave that to guys like you. i will say, it does feel like something very good is happening to this team. We are a far more balanced team and are getting office from all of our lines (almost). obviously i’d like to see guys like Koivu, Higgins, and Ryder — the ones you expect to get offense from — scoring, but it’s because of this balance, that we’re in the situation we’re in today. Hopefully, Koivu and his line-mates can find their magic and start popping them in with a little more regularity. Can you imagine what this team will be like if that should happen?

    Go Habs Go.

  30. J.T. says:

    Oh yeah…NOW they all want to come to Montreal…

  31. likehoy says:

    bar any injuries, probably not unless we hit a dirt road and get stuck in a slump

  32. J.T. says:

    Barrelling faster than the speed of light down the standings and out of the playoffs, if I recall correctly.

  33. likehoy says:

    tsn reports that we’re interested in rob blake…man…that’s like being interested in Adrian aucoin last year. Patrick Marleau is yet again mentioned in a rumour with Montreal.

  34. wd40 says:

    nice. 5th overall in the League at the all-star break. anyone know where we were last year at this time?

  35. RS says:

    Hell no! I’m thinking fourth or fifth round material.

  36. RS says:

    I’m going to repeat myself, but here goes. Does anyone think Chipchura has any shot at all of re-joining the Habs any time soon? Based on numbers, and as long as folks stay healthy, it sure doesn’t look likely to me.

  37. RS says:

    On second thought, the likely scenario (a prediction, not a recommendation) is that once everyone is healthy:

    Breezer plays most games, while Gorges sits and OB goes to Hamilton.
    Begin, Dandy, Tom K., Lats, Ryder, Sergei, Max, Smoke, continue to compete for roster spots, while occassionally sitting in the pressbox.
    Chipchura is stuck in Hamilton.

    But I still think we shouldn’t be surprised if the Habs decide the best way to deal with the excess of bodies and the tricky situation of sitting vets is to ship Sergei to Hamilton.

  38. HabFab says:

    I agree… why mess with what works, and make the other guys feel like they couldn’t do it on their own. Rent-a-players RARELY, if ever, work out (umm Nashville with Forsberg). This isn’t tennis, it’s a team sport, no one-player wins a cup for a team.

  39. wd40 says:

    How often can we say it? The future looks so unbelievably bright!

  40. RS says:

    A hockey player gets injured. Absolutely shocking!

  41. krob1000 says:

    To echo the sentiments of some singing primates…..”I’m a believer”. I have been all along but it is nice to see that many out there are also confronting their inner demons and moving beyond the last decade of diappointment. Anyone who has watched this team from the seasons onset had to be giddy last night watching that game. I was jumping around my basement like a 10 year old and my wife was quick to ask me if I finished all of my homework yet and joked that it might be past my bedtime.

    We have been building momentum it seems with every bounce back win and hurdle over previously pesty inconsistencies (penalty kill, faceoffs, stupid penalties, steady goaltending, spread out scoring, team toughness, character, coaching, ability to comeback, pride and standing up for ourselves and each other, not playing 60 minutes, sacrifice, the transition from boys to men for many of our young guys, the Devils, the Leafs,etc). With every hurdle the confidence grows and once we beat the Sens (even once) these guys will have all the confidence they need to play in the real season. Watching this team grow before us has been a treat and I encourage people to take Ian Cobb’s advice and really look at the big picture here because something very special is happening here.

    I am not saying this with regards to this win or the one against the Bruins. Instead it is the way we seem to be systematically overcoming all of our deficiencies that I listed above with relative ease that bodes better than well for our future (and present for that matter). The ability to make adjustments and rise to the occasion while maintaining both focus and composure is an ingrown trait and it has to be reflective from an entire organizational perspective. It is no different than the growth of any person who needs to draw from some sort of mentorship and often the “community” that raise that person is a huge factor in the end result. We have strong leadership from the top down. From Gainey to Carbo, Muller, Jarvis, Timmins and the scouting staff, Melanson, Koivu, Kovy, Higgins, Komisarek, and even the kids are reaping the beneftis and developing well ahead of schedule in performance as well as attitude and professionalism. Hell even the shedule makers and referees have jumped aboard the Canadiens Express apparently. Confidence is at a fifteen year high around Montreal and it appears on the upswing.

    This team has now proven to themselves that they are capable of great things when they bring a collective effort. They are as “team” as a team can be and their strength lies in their whole being far greater than the sum of its parts. I am happy for Markov but Kovy said it best when he said “The Canadiens are my all star team”. I will only watch the new little skill thing just for the sake of seeing what these guys can do but the game itself is a waste of time. I am already counting down until Tuesday when we can again begin our ascent to greatness. The Canadiens will make the playoffs and that is a fact that I am very confident in rattling off.

  42. likehoy says:

    the tsn hockey section has a poll and it asks what is the biggest story of the first half of the season. A story surprisingly under consideration “crosby’s injury” and he’s gotten 10% of votes…that is just absurd. Hockey fans have got to have something better to do than love and stalk sidney crosby.

  43. Bill H says:

    Very good analysis with regard to managing depth in the lineup. We tread a fine line between keeping role players motivated and creating frustration and discord. O’Byrne and K2 are certainly possibilities for Hamilton. They will certainly be on the bus before Brisbois, Dandy, Begin or Tommy K. It depends on their play and other factors that develop, including injuries and trade possibilities. But we don’t want to trade away all the depth in the press box because you never know what will happen with injuries.

  44. Trashknob says:

    JUST in case you need something extra to look forward to …


    Thank you Trevor.

    Everyone laughed at me when I took 40 to 1 odds they’d make it to the cup final at the beginning of the season. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW??? KO HABS KO!!

  45. Ian G Cobb says:

    Hey JT, this is a great place to use my new word if i can remember how to spell it corectly,–BRILLIANT

    I’m sure only people from the rock can put stuff like that together!

  46. Ian G Cobb says:

    Hey Tin Foil–Are you sure your not Ice Dog in cogneato. If not hop on this train ride with this great group of fans. Its starting to be a wonderfull trip.

  47. Ian G Cobb says:

    You got it JF–It is starting to come together, enjoy the ride!

  48. Ian G Cobb says:

    All the rental players that this club needs are all in Hamilton or Montreal. We have all the players that we need, the chemistry is starting to come together and by this time next year, the doubters will finally understand what they have missed. It is called the process towards the cup

  49. HotHabs says:

    League Standings
    Rank GP W L OT Pts
    1 Detroit Red Wings 51 37 10 4 78
    2 Ottawa Senators 50 31 15 4 66
    3 San Jose Sharks 49 27 15 7 61
    4 Dallas Stars 53 28 20 5 61
    5 Montréal Canadiens 49 26 15 8 60
    6 Anaheim Ducks 53 27 20 6 60
    7 Philadelphia Flyers 48 27 16 5 59
    8 New Jersey Devils 49 28 18 3 59

    I know this doesn’t tell the whole story and can be misleading. BUT… the new and improved version of our beloved Habs has something to be proud of heading into the all-star break. Looking at things with a glass-half-full approach, the team is only a point below Dallas and holds 4 games in hand while sitting only one point behind the Sharks and, dare I say, are a mere 6 points below the mighty Senators with a game in hand! Something to revel in and punish Leafs fans with, if you’re into that sorta thing!

    Now, I’m aware that some posters of the “rattling” variety might ‘poo-poo’ this and note that we’re not so many points up from 9th in our conference, etc… The kicker here is that the Montreal Canadiens are moving ahead with some steam, momentum, and determination. Those who constantly look over their shoulder soon find themselves in a wreck. Keep your eyes on the prize ahead, people!

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  50. Fagstein says:

    Ahem: Bwa ha ha ha!!!

    Let’s suck it up while we can, because we may never experience this again in our lifetimes.

  51. likehoy says:

    Let’s bask in our glory while we still can before we gotta get our hands dirty again.

    Come back around for the month of Feb, we’ve got a tough schedule ahead. Some key games we should lookgat, we start with playing the caps twice, who are surging right now (1point out of 3rd place with 2 games on hand), sens twice, rangers twice, and key positional games against the flyers and penguins. We also get to play the leafs this month…so huet or halak?

    If we’re going to make a deep run, a big rental player would be nice to put us over the top (hossa :)). Added scoring depth on the Koivu line, and we can have 3 scoring lines with a physical fourth line.

  52. JF says:

    This game was a huge confidence-builder not only for the team but for fans as well. I shared the feelings of others on this site who could hardly believe what was happening last night. To be honest, I thought the game was over when Jersey scored their first goal; I thought our guys would spend another frustrating 40 minutes being kept to the outside by the Devils’ stifling defense. Then about halfway through the second period when we started taking over the play and scored, I thought, “Oh well, at least we won’t be shut out this time.” Then that electrifying, unbelievable third period; we had Jersey on their heels, they were taking one penalty after another, they couldn’t get anywhere near Huet.

    I record my reactions simply to show how slowly and painfully confidence in this team grows among fans who have watched more than a decade of mediocrity resulting from years of blundering mismanagement.

    I have no idea how far we’ll go, but this year’s team is really good. For those who have doubted Gainey and Carbonneau in the past, Gainey has done a superb job and Carbonneau is developing into an outstanding coach. The years of mediocrity are over; Habs fans can really believe in their team and its future!

  53. Rugger says:

    So the checking line gets first star two games in a row!

  54. NoTinFoilCups says:

    hi everyone,

    I’m a first time poster, longtime reader and fan. Aside from a dislike of tin foil cups I also have little tolerance for fans who boo their team but, I have been known to moan on occasion ;>)

    Good riddance Ice Dog


  55. MikeL says:

    Mike, I agree with your assessment of Sergei. He wins more battles than Alexander the Great could ever imagine. He doesn’t back down from anyone, and seems to play better the more worked up he gets. The reason he is so effective on the top line is because he can make little plays that lead to chances. Ryder cannot do this. Koivu is losing speed, so he is not as effective as he once was at entering the zone. He and Higgins really benefit from Sergei’s presence.

  56. ebk says:

    The team had started to take control of the game part way through the 2nd period and then shot themselves in the foot. Begin took one of the dumber penalties I’ve seen in awhile. Then someone on the bench yapped and one-upped Begin in a big way. What a stupid penalty to take, down 3-1, the team gets a bench minor. That can’t happen in any league, let alone the NHL.

    Staring adversity, self-induced and otherwise, in the face for the first time in quite awhile, the Canadiens didn’t blink and produced a comeback that has this site filled with more hope than has been seen in a long time in Habland. In past situations like this, the team has folded like Rosanne Barr’s lawn chair but not tonight.

    Not this time…
    They dominated a very good team in the third period last night. They dented the armor of one of the NHL’s greatest goalies. They forced New Jersey in to five minors penalties. More importantly, they played with passion and pride.

    Fourty-nine games into the season Brian Smolinski finally shows up and plays a huge part in the comeback. Scoring his first goal on a setup from Kostitsyn I and banging home goal two early in the third to fully ignite the comeback. If Smolinski can play as well as he has the last two games and chip in with a goal or two now and then, the Habs seem to have found their 4th line.

    To me the most telling thing about how the Canadiens have evolved this season is that they won despite their special teams having an off night. On most other nights when the PP went 1-7 and the PK 3-5, this team would have done. Not last night and to me that is a huge step in the right direction.

    This team finds itself heading into the All-Star break with the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference. They have crept to within six points of the #1 seed and the Ottawa Senators. They are playing their best hockey of the season. They need to be, despite how well they have played, they still have only a six point cushion on the 9th place New York Rangers. It is going to be a battle from here on out, the good news is that they appear well equipped for it.

    Thanks for reading

  57. P St. Pierre says:

    Love it.

  58. drecha says:

    I agree, but you have to use those highs as motivation for when things get low.


  59. drecha says:

    I am still in disbeleif over last nights game, I really thought it was just a dream, I had to check the score on NHL.com this morning to see if it was for real. I am absolutely thrilled with this win, this is certainly a defining game for this team. This game will be one they think about when they are down by a couple going into the third in the rest of the season, hell if they can comeback against NJD trap, with Brodeur in net no less, they should be able to comeback against anyone in the league. This is a game you use for your foundation and build on it, I can’t wait for that lousy all-star game to be done with so we can get back to this exciting team. Here is to a bright future!!


  60. Rugger says:

    It’s not really fair that he has to do more back to back posts than the rest of us.

  61. HabsProf says:

    Well done, well done!

    English major back in college, eh?

  62. Revolution No. 9 says:

    I think that’s the most likely scenario. Player dump for draft pick though I don’t think we’re going to get a first rounder for anyone we’re willing to part with.

  63. HotColdHabs says:

    You mean the supposed “statsrattler”? I think he’s taking the day off cuz’ he can’t handle too many back-to-back posts….

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  64. Lafrich says:

    EXACTLY WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY!!! DAMMIT!!! I recorded it, and specifically stayed away from sports websites and sports-centre so I can watch it. Why on earth would you mention that here!!!!

  65. Cable Guy says:

    SergK isn’t going anywhere…..

  66. HotColdHabs says:

    I don’t think it’s a matter of management trying to keep everybody happy. The team will be happy when they are winning – which they are now – and the whiners will be drowned out in the celebration. Joy is contagious, friends. Team chemistry is really beginning to gel, and the complainers will inevitably end up on the outside looking in…

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  67. saskhab says:

    Ugh. Thanks Boone. I had recorded the Djokovic/Federer match to watch later today. I’ve never heard you mention the sport of tennis once so I never thought twice of reading this blog. Well, that’s ruined for me.

  68. HotHabs says:

    I must admit, I thought I was in the Twilight Zone after the Canadiens pulled off the comeback of the millenium. I had folded when the score was 2-0 and began to focus on other things, using distractions as a balm for the inevitable wound that was developing. The Habs’ 2nd goal tweaked my interest and I listened more intently from another room. The tying goal became the paddles to my failing heart and drew me back to the tube. And, a surge of renewed hope & ecstacy filled my soul when the game-winner arrived. So I pinched myself in an attempt to return to reality. I couldn’t allow silly fantasies to cloud my hockey sense, so I watched every highlight and recap reel I could find just to convince myself this was no dream! The score was real. The win was real. The Habs are for real.

    That game was a litmus test of the character, tenacity, and motivation of this team to win. It proved a few important points:

    1. The Habs have broken the curse of the Devils (no pun intended, but then again…)

    2. That game was a display of the team’s desire and ability to win, not only in NJ but in the playoffs – and, without a doubt, that’s where they are headed!

    3. Defeating the Devils on their home turf was a solace for Habs fans who’ve been incredulous about the team’s ability to beat tough teams with solid goaltending (myself included)

    4. It gave credibility points for the coaching staff to strategize a comeback and solve a typically sound defensive team

    5. As a result of the effort, I will change my name to “HotHabs”, thus removing the “cold” which was a reflection of my lack of confidence which had been proven by the team’s inconsistent play earlier in the season and dating back far too many seasons.

    I am convinced this team can win against any team in the league, and I think the same is now true of the team. They are far from being a powerhouse, but they are on the rise and their character and chemistry is developing nicely. They will certainly lose games, but those losses will be scattered and forgotten quickly.

    Enjoy the All-Star break. But, honestly I can’t wait for this weekend to pass so the real hockey can once again entertain us!

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  69. The Teacher says:

    Hmm, wondering if Carbo really didn’t say anything in the 2nd and the players got pissed cause they were getting screwed so they fought back?

  70. The Teacher says:

    Damn, where’s the CageRattler today??


  71. RS says:

    Sure it was a sweet victory, but just as you shouldn’t get too low after a loss you shouldn’t get too high after a win. I have been supportive of Smolinski all year and welcomed his return to the line-up, but let’s keep his performance in perspective.

    And whether he deserves it or not, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Sergei K. end up in Hamilton some time, especially once Breezer and O’Bryne (another likely candidate for the Dogs) are healthy. Will Streit end up back as a forward? Dandy will get back in the line-up once in a while. A guy like Sergei could easily get squeezed out.

    Does anybody see an opening for Chipchura to come back up? When he was sent down, I was sure he would be back up in 10 games or so, now I’m not so sure at all. Gainey and Carbo are going to have a hard time keeping everybody happy, even if the team is winning. That was always a good thing about Garth Murray, he recognized that he was a borderline NHLer. Guys like Breezer, Dandy and Begin (understandably) don’t accept sitting so easily. The improved depth and a healthy roster are good problems to have, but they are going to present a challenge. Either you manage to rotate guys in and out and hope no one freaks out or you send guys (like Sergei or OB) to Hamilton or you trade guys. And no I’m not talking about one of those Halak and Ryder for Lecavalier dream deals, I’m mean dumping a guy for a draft pick.

  72. J.T. says:

    The Ballad of Beating the Devils (or The Night Marty Brodeur Stopped Smirking)

    A road trip to the Garden State,
    It wasn’t looking good
    Brodeur was primed to close the gate
    And stone them where they stood.

    New Jersey was the first to score
    The pattern coming clear
    They’d done the same so oft before
    That Habs’ fans quailed in fear.

    The second goal. You heard that tap:
    Of nails in coffin’s lid.
    The Devils set up in the trap
    just like they always did.

    But something changed in last night’s game
    The Habs weren’t in a rout.
    A comeback win! No passing blame!
    The rally cry rang out.

    They roared out in the final frame
    Where there is Smoke there’s fire.
    His second changed the Devils’ game.
    And roused old Marty’s ire.

    The Captain evened up the score;
    Chris Higgins pulled ahead
    This was no common Devils’ bore.
    The Habs were hot instead.

    They now believe in Carbo’s words:
    To win requires hard work.
    They don’t do things by halves or thirds.
    Hey Marty! Where’s your smirk?

  73. Odie Clegorn says:

    Mike Boone,

    Nice alllusions in your analysis. Two questions for you: With a 61% success rate on faceoffs last night, do you think our center(s) cannot hold (their own against the Devils) and does this third period comeback signify the birth of a terrible beauty?


  74. Revolution No. 9 says:

    Ok, I’m officially on the bandwagon. I was waiting and waiting for the Habs to come back from a 2 goal deficit and win a game. They finally did it and against NJ no less.

    It feels good to be looking forward to the playoffs!

  75. Ian G Cobb says:

    If you have not been on the wagon all along, you may find it full up !

  76. Cable Guy says:

    No matter what happens the rest of the way this was the most important game this season hands down. We never gave up and thats not like us. All lines are clicking, Carbo looks like a genius. We have potential to go far. Future looks bright.

  77. 24 Cups says:

    In so many ways it was a standard Habs-Jersey game. They scored first, Brodeur held the fort, and their suffocating defense kept our forwards at bay. Then in typical fashion the Habs let it slip away. Three dumb penalities and another Elias goal to make it 3-1 late in the 2nd period. The third period was already written in stone.

    Then the turning point – an unsung hero scores in the first minute. Total dominance in terms of shots, faceoffs, and play along the boards leads to the Canadiens eventually equalizing the score. And then the winning goal comes on a powerplay from a guy who has been snakebitten of late and not really scoring when we truly need him to – – a guy with an “A” on his jersey shows why he has that distinction.

    This game wasn’t won on a fluke play, or poor refereeing, or an off night by Brodeur. It was won by going straight up hill when it would have been so easy to just mail in the 2 points after starting the third period down two goals. The guys didn’t quit, in fact they took the game away from the Devils from the moment they stepped out on the ice in the third period. Truth be known, it almost defies belief. And of course that is where the true beauty lies – it’s not just two points in the standings but rather a unique experience that allows the Habs to truly believe in their potential and where it just might lead them in the future.

    The Original 24 Cups

  78. HabsProf says:

    I don’t feel the team is peaking. Clearly, the Koivu-Higgins-whoever line has not been on fire. They did well last night (though only in the 3rd period, they were invisible in the first two), but that is a far cry from saying they are a consistent threat.

    Ryder clearly has the potential to contribute a lot more. It may take the playoffs to get him moving, but it looks more and more like the playoffs are where the Habs are headed.

    Kostitsyn the Younger has only ~20 games of NHL experience – he should continue to improve.

    Kostitsyn the Elder is indeed on fire, but he has the skill set to contribute at a point a game pace (or more) for the entire season. His passing is accurate and inspired (he is showing great vision with the puck), his shot fools goalies, and his confidence is soaring (as is his linemates’ confidence in him).

    In short, I see this team getting better, not worse. I still think that against tight checking and boring, stifling defense, they can sometimes stumble, but overall I don’t see this team as having peaked.

  79. OldGrover says:

    The Habs do have lots of trouble against teams that clog the lanes – those are the teams that cause problems. But they showed last night that they CAN push through that – they can open those lanes up again. It was a really good experience for them to figure that out – hopefully, that’ll continue.

  80. Chris says:

    The only big concern I would have about Sergei Kostitsyn is him hitting the wall that a lot of players fresh out of junior hit after the all-star break…I think it is less likely for him as he logged insanely heavy minutes in the OHL, but we’ll only know for sure when we get to the end of the season. Playoffs or no, this has been a great season so far. We are certainly not safely in the playoffs yet, but we’re headed in the right direction.

  81. Morenz7 says:

    I think you’re right about the tight checking and stifling defence, but a big difference from where I’m sitting is behind our blueline. We spend so much less time bottled up in our own end than last year. Komi’s growth, Markov’s emergence, Boullion’s rediscovered determination, and—of course—Hammer’s arrival: all have played a part in this. So too has the addition of stronger forwards who can win battles along the half-boards and push the puck out. The Kostitsyns, Smoli, and Lapierre pop to mind (and, in fairness, Dandenault).

    These are the reasons I think we’re a legit playoff team, that we haven’t peaked. Remember last year’s insecurity round about this time of the year? That gnawing sense we were doing it with smoke, mirrors and great goaltending? No more. Folks can say what the want about the highs being too high, lows being too low. That stuff is for players. I’m enjoying the hell outta this. Crack open another Ex, I sez, and let’s watch Kovy do his thing.

    PS Boone: any more of this versifying, and you’re going to have to change the name of your blog to “Preface to the Lyrical Ballads.”

  82. 24 Cups says:

    I know that Ian likes to keep an eye on certain statistics in order to chart the weekly progress of the Canadiens. One stat I like to keep checking is the differential between GF and GA. Right now we are +18 which is 4th best in the entire NHL – only behind Detroit, Ottawa, and Philly. I realize you can prove anything you want with statistics but I do feel it’s important for a team to have a proper balance between offense and defense. The Habs are displaying steady improvement in this area each week (mind you the Boston game sure didn’t hurt!)

    The Original 24 Cups

  83. Chuck says:

    We might have to get a new one with more elbow room. :)


    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  84. Moey says:

    Bandwagon, shmandwagon, you Ian and I will take the limo.

  85. Ian G Cobb says:

    Stock up the bar and we will even hitch up the horse trailer in case we have to ride into the lobbys of the hotels out west.

  86. Moey says:

    LOL…..good one Ian.

  87. Ali says:

    “And if there’s happiness to be savoured in April – and, inshallah, May..”

    God willing indeed Mike, God willing indeed.

  88. Jay in PA says:

    I agree with others who have argued that we’re not peaking yet. I suggest instead that we’re really just starting to achieve the potential we’ve long believed is just around the corner. The question is whether we can continue to improve further, and I think we can.

    One of the signs of an elite team is that all four lines contribute. We’ve seen good things and occasional magic from the bottom two lines in the last couple of games, thanks to inspired play by Smoke and Begin. The Koivu line is showing flashes of remembering how to score, and they’ll compensate when another line slows down. It’s all coming together.

  89. RH says:

    You took the words right off the end of my finger tips.

  90. Ian G Cobb says:

    By this time next year Jay, it will be nip and tuck to the top of the heap each game.

  91. Sbah Reverof says:

    More proof that, despite an exciting first half, we are on few people’s radar.
    Can’t wait until these people jump on the bandwagon in the spring.


  92. Rugger says:

    Hopefully we will stay under the radar until we get to the 2nd round

  93. Chuck says:

    Hey, at least they found the 1976-77 team worthy of a mention!

    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  94. coutNY says:

    Pierre Lebrun on how to eat crow… Not everyone’s turning a blind eye to the Habs success.

  95. Will Longlade says:

    Hmmm. No mention of the Hab’s renaissance. Doesn’t surprise me though.

  96. Chorske says:

    I saw a piece on Yahoo the other day- about the most surprising team in each conference. The guys decreed that the Flyers were the most surprising team this year. I’m certain they both had the Habs challenging for first in the east by the allstar break, yessir. 😉

  97. christophurrr says:

    that’s pretty ridiculous….

    how are the flyers surprising anyone?

    sure, the sucked last year, but look at all the changes they made!

    who is really surprised by their success? really?

  98. likehoy says:

    i’m a little surprised..that’s for sure…i had them pegged finishing bottom 8 teams in the conference…maybe sneaking into the playoffs but the emergence of mike richards has changed a lot on the team. Kimmo Timonen is also a major upgrade over joni pitkanen (didn’t think it’d be that significant) and coburn is a huge upgrade on zhitnik (didn’t think he’d make the NHL this year). Joffrey Lupul’s career has also been ressurected…so heading into the season there were a lot of question marks..but they have been answered all positively. I still hate them. Philly is second in the East on win percentage.

    i’m not surprised by our team this year. I had them pegged finising 5th or 6th…i just didn’t expect us to play this confident of hockey. We’ve had some recent success which has bode well for us, and may have some of us thinking we’re better than we really are, but consistency is important and we haven’t reached the level of consistency desired.

    I for one give the flyers the benefit of the doubt of being the most surprising team this year.

  99. Plek-Andrew says:

    I’m totally with you dude, at 100%. My little brother is a hardcore flyers fan since LAST YEAR when they sucked like hell so he tells me all these things. You actually forgot to mention the Brats(as i call them) like riley cote and steve downie, who are future stars. Mike Richards is the best example.
    Who even knew who Mike Richards is? People STILL don’t realize how incredble this 22 year old is. Poeple don’t even know who he is…

    “isn’t he that dude that signed a 10 something year deal?”
    That’s what they know him as. And he’s in his sophomore… imagine how incredible he’s gonna be

  100. Uwey says:

    My biggest concern with this team right now is still goaltending!!

    Huet is allowing at least one bad goal a game & last night was no exception. Did anyone else cringe just a small bit when that first Elias goal was scored? IMO, that was very stoppable shot from the face off circle, with no screen or tip on the way in. He was beat cleanly by a long shot over the trapper hand. Not a good goal on the #1 tender on a very young, quickly maturing team.

  101. krob1000 says:

    Long shot????….Elias is a sniper who was in the middle of the circle and given all the time he wanted. That was not anywhere near a weak goal at all. In fact I’d rate it the no chance catergory. He is a butterfly goalie and he took away everything but the top corner…..credit to Elias he hit and with a laser.

  102. Rugger says:

    Not at all, that goal was strictly a bad play on Begin’s part by not taking the time to clear properly.

  103. Sbah Reverof says:

    I thought Huet had no chance on all three NJ goals. If anything, his defense let him down, and puck-clearing was iffy sometimes, esp. early on in the game. He deserves a lot of credit for being pretty solid since that give-away against Atlanta, after which he saved the game in the shoot-out. He’s been a rock since.

  104. HotHabs says:

    Over the last few games, goaltending has been pretty sharp. Huet is playing very well; better still, he’s playing like a #1 tender in the top 10. Can’t ask for much more than that! His play has improved and he’s contributing to the growing confidence of his team. Actually, I’m glad Carbo has settled into a #1 guy. The swapping back and forth idea was not a good one – the team needs to know who the “go-to” guy is and Huet is that guy.

    I agree with the others: Elias has a laser and it had eyes for the top shelf. Brodeur, Luongo, or any other sharp netminder would be a long shot to grab that one! Bullets to the top of the net are near impossible without Lady Luck on your side.

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  105. Chuck says:

    A sniper’s goal, to be sure. Goalies will get beat with that accurate of a shot all of the time. The big question on that play was defensive positioning, not goaltending.

    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  106. The Teacher says:

    Bingo, Chuck.

  107. Bobby says:

    Hi guys,
    I always read your comments but I don’t really post cause I never have anything to add…

    This is off-topic, I was reading the comments on the article saying that Brian Burke doesn’t want to be with the leafs and I realized that leaf ”fans” really think their city is great … ( I knew they were bad, but I did not think they were that horrible).

    Here’s the site for whom is interested:

    Keep posting great comments guys

    Go Habs GO

  108. Hammer says:

    I feel like the Lions of Winter are coming home again. it has been many years or at least 1993 that I have felt this positive. I beleive the Habs will be good for the playoffs and may even suprise in the early rounds. It is my conjecture that BG is building this team for a serious 2009 run. It would be nice to get one more tough forward, and one more banging D man (though O’Byrne should be back soon).

    Viva Les Canadiens

  109. likehoy says:

    or you cheat and be ready for it…like every goalie on kovalev.

  110. HotHabs says:

    For anyone doubting the reliability and credibility of Huet, let his stats speak for themselves:
    -in 161 NHL games he has a 2.45 GAA coupled with a .918 Save % and 14 Shutouts to boot. So, while he has allowed some weak goals now and then, he is a pretty good goalie.

    How does he compare with other seasoned star goalies?

    -Luongo’s NHL stats = 459 games, 2.58 GAA, .920 %, 38 Shutouts
    -Brodeur’s NHL stats = 925 games, 2.20 GAA, 913%, 96 Shutouts
    -Hasek’s NHL stats = 721 games, 2.20 GAA, 9.23%, 79 Shutouts

    Give Huet a few hundred more games at that rate with a more defensively minded team in front of him and he’ll be remembered as one of the better puck-stoppers of our era.

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  111. StillattheMapes says:


    The real thing that bothers me is that we probably will not keep our team. I dare say that we will win the Cup next year, I am sure of it…. just because. Oh yes we will do.

    I was having a chat with a colleague about the ’94 Spos. Actually, the Evil Empire could have had that team back. They had another agenda, and we had a ridiculous lead of 7.5 and growing…

    Our problem is that we will not be able to hold our boys. Everything is 2009. That will be good enough for me. Just this one more time.

    Bowman was such a s8756t coach, and I don’t care what Dryden said, da986767n, he was just a goalie. He made a few saves.

    It does not matter if VL decides not to come.
    We have the talent.
    And if we actually do make the playoffs this year — I still have that kind of doubt — do not play this team if you want to survive.
    If we get in, we will be the finalist.

    Well, there you have it.
    A habs fan brought up with winning all the time.

  112. The Teacher says:

    Lol, what did you put in your cornflakes this morning? Because I want some :)

  113. Plek-Andrew says:

    I called into a sports radio show and i talked, when the Habs were slumping, about how i’m not worried because it came earlier in the season. When at some point, Dandenault was on the first line… one of the hosts at the show (i believe it was channel 990 i called_ was making fun of how garbage our team is to have dandenault on the first line.
    I told them I’m glad the Habs are going through this crap early on during the year because last year, we sucked for well over 23 games and missed the playoffs by a single point. Seeing as how we’re more safe in nets and defensively,and, lately, from an incredible amount of secondary scoring there;s no way that’s gonna happen. I said the earlier the Habs experience a slump, the earlier they can get out of this hypothetical slump and the earlier u can start collecting points to make into the playoffs.

    Everyone had the Habs finishing at 11th or lower in the East; all the experts. I said 4th or 5th. And that’s exactly what’s gonna happen because the team right now, not just statistically, looks like a true Stanley Cup contender.

    I don’t think people realize to what extent that’s really incredible. Basically we can be compared to the last year stanley-cup winning Anaheim Ducks, who finished the season with the second highest amount of points in the west. Whether one says the East is weaker than the West, that has no importance because statistically, the Habs are supposed to be in second place in the East but because of other division leaders, they’re lower.

    And what do we mostly owe it all to? The people we drafted instead of superstars like Ryan Getzlaf and without the Mike Ribeiro’s we got rid of.

    Imagine, just imagine for a second…. how much more powerful this team would be with simple an Ovechkin or a Lecavalier on our team… a true point-getter… just one…

  114. nightmare_49 says:

    Ex Hab Donald Brashear signed for one more year with the Washington Capitals yesterday.

  115. RH says:

    Bowman was such a s8756t coach, and I don’t care what Dryden said, da986767n, he was just a goalie. He made a few saves.

    I’m soooooooo confused.

  116. RH says:

    Oops. Supposed to be a reply to StillattheMapes.

  117. StillattheMapes says:


    Well I think they said something that I couldn’t write. Probably because they did not like each other very much. But it was one hell of a partnership and a team. And I was a good friend with someone who played in the NHL in those days, but not with the habs

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