About last night …

Phoenix Coyotes on a Monday night.

Not the recipe for a classic.

But guess what?

The Canadiens and the once-a-year visitors hooked up for a great, crowd-pleasing hockey game.

The pace and intensity, Jacques Martin said, were “unusual for the month of October.”

Skating, hitting, superb goaltending and spectacular scoring were more typical of late April and May.

When it was over and the Canadiens had moved into first-place in the Northeast Division, one of the officials told Alexandre Picard that was the fastest game he’d worked this season.

The Coyotes can fly (there’s an image for the Discovery Channel), and they came hard all night.

This was a quality W, and credit the Canadiens for matching the gut level of a tough Western Conference team.


Martin accurately described the visitors as a “fast team that had 100 points last season.”

A fast team missing its best player.

Shane Doan was serving the last of his three-game suspension. On the way to the elevator from the pressbox, Doan mentioned how frustrating it was to watch a loss – especially an L in a game that could have gone either way.The three stars were the Canadiens top line.

Correction: the three stars were the Canadiens only forward line.

Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn, in OT, scored the team’s three goals.

The Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta line – completed, at various times, by Tom Pyatt, Benoit Pouliot and Mathieu Darche – was blanked … again.

I think G&G need a scorer who will go to the net, like AK46 is doing for Pleks and Cammalleri. Benny should fit the bill, and there have been flashes. But the line is not generating the consistent pressure we’re seeing from Pleks and his wingers.

Is this excessive nit-picking?

The Canadiens are 5-2-1.

They’re getting very good goaltending from Carey Price. He was slow popping out of his butterfly on Derek Morris’s high shot to the glove side. But as has been the case all season, Price  did not let a soft goal get him off his game.

Someone in the pressbox wondered how the Canadiens survived a game played at that pace with a D that includes Hal Gill, Jaro Spacek and Roman Hamrlik, aka the Slow Three.

Once again, P.K. Subban contributed a yeoman effort, skating the puck out to safety against ferocious forechecking. And credit his D partner, Picard, with another solid effort. The journey,man is not going to thump anyone, but Picard is smart with the puck and good in the O-zone. He started the sequence that led to AK46’s winning goal.

And another rookie, Lars Eller, finally got his first point as a Canadien.

I love this kid. I’m 100 per cent convinced he’s going to be special.

In addition to his obvious gifts in the O-zone, Eller is playing a conscientious defensive game that is going to please his D-minded coach and win more ice time.

Through the first two periods, Eller played 5:20. He ended at 10:02 and was one for key moments late in the game – including the OT 4-on-4 that produced his assist and the winning goal.

“No matter how much time (Eller) gets, he plays hard,” Martin said. “I like his talent.”

Martin also liked the power-play, which produced its second goal of the season. Thje coach feels the PP is creating more chances, but I think there’s still too much action on the perimeter and not enough in the dirty zones.

When he’s on the first wave with Plekanec and Cammalleri, AK46 goes to the net.

The Gomez wave, however, has Gionta parked in the crease – and the captain is just too small to do a credible Johan Franzen impression.

Again, too much nitp[icking.

The Canadiens will have their team photo taken Tuesday morning, and there should be smiles all around.

They have survived the absence of their best player, and every indication points to Andrei Markov’s return against Florida on Saturday.

The goaltender who’s under more pressure than any other player in the NHL has been a solid contributor to the team’s success. And every W boosts his confidence.

Price’s five Ws tie him for the league lead with Keri Lehtonen and Michal Neuvirth. His GAA is 2.23 with save percentage of 91.8.

Price needed a good start, and he’s got one.

Tomas Plekanec continues to prove he’s worth every penny of his contract. I still say it was impossible for the Canadiens to re-sign both Pleks and Jaro Halak. Plekanec’s play is making his general manager look good.

The PK gave up a goal, but it’s still one of the league’s best. The addition of Jeff Halpern helped, and his penalty-killing wizardry is part of the total package Plekanec is delivering every night.

The PP is, as Martin often says, a work in progress. The Canadiens are winning without it, but that’s not a full-season strategy.

A big week has started well.

•  •  •

After AK46 soared through the air on his winning goal, one of the reporters told him it was reminiscent of Bobby Orr.

Total blank.

Number 4 wasn’t big in Belarus.

•  •  •

Roman Hamrlik blocked five shots and cleaned up several of his D partner’s messes.

It will be interesting to see what the D pairings are after Markov comes back.

Beyond Gill and Gorges …


  1. nightmare_49 says:


      TB – Accurate post. There was even a poster on this site that thought Gainey could walk on water. I think he posted under the name Jim M.

  2. 24 Cups says:

    Mike – I’ve come to accept that Hamrlik and Spacek tend to run hot and cold throughout the season.  It’s the nature of the beast. 

  3. 24 Cups says:

    Jane – I thought the same thing when the three stars were announced.  The almighty dollar has basically killed this tradition.  I’ll be heading for the exit as soon as the game counts down.  No need to stick around anymore.

  4. Will Longlade says:

    Both of those match-ups have great story lines.

  5. Will Longlade says:

    Both of those match-ups have great story lines.

  6. Natrous says:

    I was also interested in taking a look at Artyukhin, until I did.. He’s a big foward with a mean edge and ugly mug, but his two-way game is non-existant and we all know how JM would deal with that. I figured he’d wind up somewhere giving his albeit limited skill set and size combination, but I guess his dirty hits (and subsequent suspensions) have sullied his rep across the league.

  7. forskis says:

    I am just surprised that he was an FA at all…

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  8. TommyB says:

    There are plenty of Gainey supporters here on this board, but perhaps this board is better suited to the complainers. Bold moves by Gainey, when he changed ten faces on this team, including the captain, took us to a sweet little unexpected playoff run last year. Put the ten old faces back in there…I don’t think we do so well. Some minor tinkering this year by Gauthier, another target for the complainers, will only improve on the foundation Gainey laid. Gainey supporters are here RR, but it gets tiresome banging your head against the wall.

  9. MikeL says:

    I agree. Spacek was horrible last night. Lost every puck battle he was in.

  10. MikeL says:

    “Artyukhin’s Russian agent claims
    that Montreal, San Jose and New Jersey were interested in signing the
    player. Artyukhin is set to join SKA.”
    from Dmitry Chesnokov (dchesnokov) via Twitter

  11. StevieRay says:

    I’m hoping your right .. but last nite he had no shots, no hits , no blocked shots , refuses to play a north south game like Pleks , and won only 30 % of his face offs …  A slow stater .. maybe … however sometimes his body language is telling me he’s not a happy camper …. maybe he needs to change his number back to 91 … but somehow this line has got to get going . Yes Giota leads the team in shots but I dare say 90 % of them are from 30 feet out and farther . With no traffic or Gomez going to the net … you won’t score from there …as AK says .. I go to net ..I look for rebounds … sounds like the KISS theory to me

  12. forskis says:

    Wanted to bring something else up…the ticker on Sportsnet mentioned that Arthyukin was going to the KHL…anyone know the story of what happened there?  I remember more than a few people around here wanted him in Habs jersey.

    Good game last night…although I would have put Boyd in for Darche just because Boyd is used to these Western Conference style games.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  13. likehoy says:

    let’s nto forget that gomez is a career slow starter…

    remember last year? he had 5 poitns in like 20 games…

    then he had 20 points in 20 games

    – I support Carey Price as the Number 1 Goalie!

  14. G-Man says:

    1 tenth of the season isn’t much. If Price can play consistently for 1 season, I may gain a little faith. A few games in October are nothing in the grand scheme of things.

  15. Norm0770 says:

    Mike, I have to disagree that Gomez and Gionta need a different winger.  I think Gionta and Pouliot need a different centre.  Gomez’s timing and passing has been off all season.  Eller between Pouliot and Gionta might be worth a look in practice at least.

  16. JF says:

    Not a classic but an intense, fast-paced game that was fun to watch.  In fact, apart from the Jersey game (and every team will have a few of those), the Habs are being fun to watch this year.  The games are close, they compete hard, they’re in it until the last whistle.

    I’m loving the apparently reborn Andrei Kostitsyn with his speed, his driving to the net, and his beaming smile when he scores. It’s great to see him skating around tossing pucks to the crowd, and I think this interaction with the fans will both boost his confidence and help his cause in Montreal.  Is it possible we’re finally seeing the player we thought we were drafting in 2003?

    Plekanecs got the third star, but for me he was our best player. He was effective in every situation, he created chances, drew penalties, and scored.  He is always seen as a second-line centre, but on many nights he looks to me like a dominant first-line centre.

    We need someone with good hands on the Gomez line.  Had it been Pouliot or Eller going in with Gionta, that loose puck that Pyatt failed to put in the net would certainly have gone in.  I’m not sure why JM keeps trying pluggers on that line; it might produce an occasional spark, but long-term it isn’t a solution.  He should go with either Eller or Pouliot and give them about ten games to get the chemistry going.  Eller has looked very good and made a key play on the winning goal; he obviously has his coach’s confidence or he wouldn’t have been out there in overtime.  But Pouliot showed last year he had chemistry with Gomez and Gionta.

    What surprises me the most about this team is how solid our defence has been.  Before the season started I thought that was likely to be the weakest part of our game, and I was surprised, early in the season, to hear Philippe Boucher on L’Antichambre say that the Habs had one of the best defences in the League.  That probably remains an exaggeration, but our D are efficient, they move the puck well, and they make far fewer mistakes than last season.

    About the three-star selection: the players chosen all had good games, but how is it credible to award all three stars to the same team in an overtime game?  The Coyotes played well and deserved to win as much as we did.

  17. nightmare_49 says:


       Nice wrap up by Mr.Boone and i totally agree that The Hammer played his best game and his game is back after his early season setback.

       However, what if the Coyotes had clicked on some of their opportunities during regular time. Would we be raving about the Pleks line or bitching about the poor play of Spacek and Pouliot.

       IMO the only real mistake JM has made this year is his lack of patience with Benny on the Gomer line. JM is playing head games with Pouliot and his replacements have a total of one assist this season, poor cards to inspire Benny. Wednesday i can see Darche in Pyatt’s spot and that is only a bandaid. Give Benny ten straight games without f***ing with him on Scotty’s line and see if it would pan out, stop panicking.

       Spacek had a rough game and lost most of the battles cuz he was late getting there, but he’ll rebound when he is paired with Marky upon his return. Go Habs Go.

  18. Jbird says:

    “Is this excessive nit-picking?” – Yes. 

  19. Stooof says:

    freakin hilarious bro. i agree with your assessment of the top two lines. awsome.

  20. Jbird says:

    And for all the whiner’s: Your boy, Lars Eller, made the play and was given the chance on the ice (Halak trade won us a game) STFU!

    Great game – Love the A-Kost’s new 1st star tradition. And “the Price was right” . . . you _____!  Thought Gomer even played well. Poul is the dude for that line.

    Eller is like Plek.  He will play on the third line with Max and Pyatt and learn his skill as a centre. He’ll be alright.  That’s exacltly what Plek did.

    3rd Place! Eat it!

    Is Shane Doan their “best player”?  New Westminster’s Home boy Kyle
    Turis soon to replace that! Or someone? Stepniac?  Shane Doan????  Come
    on now!

    And Darche?  I don’t get Darche  . . .

  21. VancouverHab says:

    Mathman — you’re the man. God bless your common sense: Long may you post.

  22. Richrebellion says:

    I would disagree, first off after last year everyone should realize we have a playoff team. Some guys just step it up come playoff time and this team has those guys. As for top end players, I dont know what you would consider Cammy, pleks, Ak, Gionta and Gomez? Not to mention the potential in Eller and Pouliot. 

    Are bottom six is what can really push us over the edge, Boyd and Halpern were both great additions. Halpern has made our pk almost unbeatable and Boyd adds more size and grit to our bottom with the ability to score. 

    Plus as most people know Defense wins championships, and as a whole our defense has looked mighty fine both last spring and early this fall. I say as a whole because they were built to fit together, Gill and gorges are an unlikely pair and no1 would have considered them an elite shutdown pair but they did a hell of a job on the best 2 players in the world last year. Markov and Subban are clealry top end talent nothing else to say. As for spacek and hammer, they round out our team with experience and as more of a third pairing they will see less mins and be able to play a much more steady game. 

    Price is the thing that puts this team over the top, now I know Halak was amazing last year but against Philly he just wasn’t that good (not blaming anything on him). Price has that next gear as we’ve seen him win the calder cup and a wjc. He has that Patrick Roy ability to get in the zone, where no1 can beat him. 

    This team will be a contender in this years playoffs.

  23. habs001 says:

    i believe we are building to be a real dynamic and dominant team in 2-3 years…right now we are not..every game is very close and can go either way…based on the 8 games we played i dont think it is a stretch that we could be 8-0 with a few bounces and breaks…but just as easily we could be 1-7. 

  24. habs001 says:

    this team has a very good chance to be a cup contender in 2-3 years…right now we do not have enough top end players to win 4 rounds…if this roster was any other team very few if any hab fans would say that it is close to winning the cup…

  25. sag says:

    Agreed, unless the goalie is standing there in the first place, no one stops that one

  26. Richrebellion says:

    Ok so I’m a big Bob Gainey fan, and on this wall he has taken a lot of crap. But can someone give this guy credit for the team he built? In 1 year he managed to take a team that was falling apart and rebuild them. They struggled with injuries all last year and were finally all together for the playoffs and they did damage. Now Gauthier(Gainey) stuck to his guns and kept Price and Pleks over Halak and look where we are! This team is looking better and better every game. This team is for real and they’re doing all this without our MVP (Markov). I truly believe when I look at this team that they could win a stanley cup, they have all the pieces in place and great leadership. 

  27. Richrebellion says:

    I think the first problem is the fact that gomez doesn’t shoot, everyone knows that hes gonna pass to gionta, so the other team covers gionta and there goes the line. I don’t know if it was just me but I saw them make plays but every time Gomez went to pass to Gionta he was covered. They need another scoring threat on the line to open up space, as well as a little more shooting from gomez. ( dont get that either he was once a 280 shot guy in NY 2 seasons ago!)

    I think the other problem is the pp, even guys like gionta and gomez need that boost of confidence to put the puck in the net. Last year gomez had 19 ppp and gionta had 16, this year nothing is working for them. The biggest part to a PP is the defense, PK has done well but has no1 to play with. With markov one of the best pp quarterbacks in the game back the pp will roar back to life and once again will be atop the nhl. 

    Btw can’t anyone ever be happy here? Last year we couldn’t score 5 on 5 and everyone hated, now were one of the best 5 on 5 teams in the league and no1 gives them their due. The pp will come and with our new 5 on 5 game the habs will be a force to reckon with! 

  28. Xtrahabsfan says:

    J…I said some of you ,why worry so much?Peace and if you and yours think  I’m going to munch down on your crapola,lol tain’t gonna happen.You must remember ,last year a lot of people were wrong about alot of things  and I wasn’t one of them…nor did I rub it in.And they we’re so rude AS THEY CRASHED AND BURNED IN FLAMES and I felt sorry for them…but I don’t take sheit! PEACE…

  29. habs001 says:

    eller will be a big key in 2-3 years when some  of our other prospects are on the team…the potential that some of our forward prospects have is very encouraging….we could have a real dynamic forward line up…right now we have too many pyatt type forwards and looks like pouliot is turning into that type also…you need a few but not 7 to 8  

  30. Richrebellion says:

    Maybe Halak was the problem… After all whenever he wasn’t around price, price played stellar. His rookie year, Halak in Hamilton and Price is solid. Halak comes up and fucks up Price up until Halak is traded away and all of a sudden guess what Price is a top the NHL again! To me its simple, after all we are in first now aren’t we? Something Halak has never given us! 

  31. SPATS says:

    JM was heaping praise on Eller, Imagine this…

    Cammy winds up on a test drive with Gio and Gomer. A Mexican, A Jewish Italian and the little captain with the big ballsack. Instant production and confidence which leads to Two #1 lines… cuz….

    Eller moves up to work with Pleks and AK, gets first line minutes and the scando iron curtain komrade (s.i.c.k) line is born. Kontinental Hockey on roids…

    Benny pairs up with Darchebag and Lappy. the Franco Federalist line.

    Boyd, Halpern, Moen and Pyatt are the interchangeable blue collar syndicate line. They know their role and look out for the brotherhood.

    We have the czech geezers, of mice and men, the kid from Scarborough and the recent citizen

    The Price is right and the cup is ours!

    It’s getting seriously fun to watch these men gel…


  32. J Haul says:

    I was coming to post something very similar. I mean, guys just make great plays sometimes. In times like that you have to credit the player, not blame the goalie. What a friggin’ bullet that shot was. Getting beat on it doesn’t mean it was “soft”. Goalies are human and can only react so fast.

  33. MathMan says:

    Because Spacek is much better than Picard, and is a generally effective D-man, even though his game has these moments that make you go WTF.

    When Martin stops playing Spacek against the opposition’s first line, that’s when we’ll know he’s lost his coach’s faith…


  34. Propwash says:

    I did it simply to try and figure out the logic in their past ramblings. Also, I like to watch ’em eat crow 😉


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  35. MathMan says:

    Fearless prediction: at some point, Gionta will start scoring and Gomez will start raking in assists. The story will be that these two had to start contributing and that finally Gomez has started working and setting up Gionta and showing his vision and Gionta has finally rediscovered the intensity he is known for and that he goes to the net more.

    Of course, they won’t have changed a thing, but that’s still what the media will say. They can’t go out and say that it’s only bad luck that Gionta has only one goal when he’s cranking four shots a game (a shooting pace that could see him in the vincinity of 35 goals if he were scoring at his usual pace, rather than a very unfortunate 3.1%). If the puck had gone in at the usual rate, Gionta would have four goals, Gomez would have seven points, and nobody would be complaining, even though they would be playing exactly like they are now. And as a bonus? They’re limiting chances against. A lot.

    The exact same thing happened to Cammalleri last year, who took 24 shots to get one to finally go in. He turned out okay.

    Gomez and Gionta are perfectly fine. They’re playing like they always have. Their only problem is that the damn puck won’t go in. It happens to every scorer, a classic goal slump, and the only reason it’s so visible is that it’s happening right at the start of the season. But the “oh they finally started working harder/different” narrative will trump reality.  😉

  36. NoTinFoilCups says:

    All this talk about D pairings with Markov’s return. Why not sit Spacek and keep Picard in the mix?


  37. Propwash says:

    Oooor maybe, hypothetically speaking of course….

    Price has what it takes to be a winning goalie  since day one, but the situation that was presented to him held him back?

    Xtra, you are trying to prove a point that so far holds no water, and the only time you chime in is when a goal is scored against the Habs. Maybe it’s time you move on, and enjoy the fact that there is definately a good guy that’s minding the net, and focus on the other aspects of the game? Reading my sig can hopefully shed some light on the situation, I doubt it though.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  38. Mr. Biter says:

    Why do certain posters continue to bring up Price/Halak. Halak’s gone Price is playing excellent and we’re in 1st place in the East. Quit the bitching. All we need is MAB back on the PP and we’re unstopable (had to get that in).

  39. J Haul says:

    There’s a difference between “shared training tips” and “Halak taught Price well”. I’m sure the goalies talk and work on things together, but to imply Halak was something like Price’s goalie coach and mentor is laughable. Sure, Price likely picked up a few things from Jaro, but it’s a two way street. The one thing I’ll give you that Price might have learned from watching Halak is that it takes a strong work ethic and to be successful in the NHL.

    I suspect that Halak was more focussed on making sure his season continued to be sucessful than “bringing the kid along”.

    Also, the end of your post was unnecessarily rude.

  40. Chuck says:

    I knew it! Even though Halak is playing for St. Louis, he’s also responsible for the Habs wins, too!


    Centre Hice: documenting one fan’s attachment to the Montreal Canadiens.

  41. SeriousFan09 says:

    Or Price became what he used to be? WJC Star and the backbone of the 2007 Calder Cup Champion Hamilton Bulldogs? Winner of a playoff round that included two SO performances against the Bruins in 2008? Price is becoming who he used to be when he first started in nets for MTL, a calm, focused netminder with great athleticism and a solid mental game.

    Jacques Plante mentoring Bernie Parent, this was not. Credit Pierre Groulx for undoing the damage Roland Melanson did.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  42. Wayne says:

    “coach feels the PP is creating more chances, but I think there’s still
    too much action on the perimeter and not enough in the dirty zones”

    I agree with that observation. I’ll also say that, as refreshing it is to see Subban exercise some creativity, I think he should consider reigning in his tendency to wander deep too early and often on his portion of the PP. I know I said in a previous post that I thought PK’s wandering in deeper would create some chances but lately, it makes the PP appear too frenetic. IMO this is, at least partially, what JM meant by a work in progress.

  43. Chuck says:

    He’d try to throw Price under the bus for his choice of soup at dinner.


    Centre Hice: documenting one fan’s attachment to the Montreal Canadiens.

  44. Xtrahabsfan says:

    I stated that Halak taught Price well…show him how to hang in there! What you don’t think Price learned from Halak last year ?Geese how  could he not …almost every game he sat there and watched Jaro pull off  miracles! Did he not or are you in your lil world that Price and Halak weren’t on the same team last year and shared no training and tips together …..Some of you are so brain dead it pathetic!

  45. Propwash says:

    I missed the shutout against Ottawa, but I’m wondering if Xtrahabsfan was throwing Price under the bus for that one too.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  46. HardHabits says:

    So no word from Tony tonight?

  47. PureGuava says:

    Gomer didn’t really come alive last year until mid-season.

    “Of course I’m crazy, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.” – Robert Anton Wilson

  48. PureGuava says:

    I agree about Eller – he’s gonna be great. As sad as I am to see Halak gone – Price has been solid, and the Dane can play.


    “Of course I’m crazy, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.” – Robert Anton Wilson

  49. HardHabits says:

    In that scenario do the Habs beat the Lightning in the ECF?

  50. The Juice says:


    Phoenix visits once every 2 years

    Habs are first in the EAST.

  51. Chuck says:

    Actually, just saw the replay on Canadiens Express. Price is out of his butterfly before the shot is taken, but as he’s screened as the shot is taken he puts the pads on the ice. In the butterfly or not, that shot is still going up under the crossbar.

    The also showed the goal from the camera that was in behind Morris as he took the shot; you couldn’t see Carey, so obviously Carey couldn’t see the shot.


    Centre Hice: documenting one fan’s attachment to the Montreal Canadiens.

  52. soflohabsfan says:

    Anybody on twitter? I started 2 hash tags #upshallfail and #smacktalkfail and have been tweeting ole ole ole to Upshall all night let’s make him regret that tweet.

  53. Shiloh says:

    Defence pairings will be very interesting. Do they play PK with Markov? That would make some sense because Martin could just roll them out first on the power play and it wouldn’t screw up the other pairings. I think Gionta is avictim of Gomez’ very average play so far – Benny makes the most sense on that line. I really like Picard. He is solid.

  54. JIMVINNY says:

    Nitpicking for sure. There were two players directly between Price and that shot. He heard it, but definitely never saw it. He’ll always be in the butterfly in that situation. It’s his best chance of stopping a shot he can’t see.

  55. 21BIGGionta says:

    just watched Andrei’s post game interview. Ha he’s funny. Doesn’t understand much, but funny

  56. Propwash says:

    Eller stickhandles reeeeally well. I’m far from being an expert, but I’ve seen this guy in the past few games do things with the puck that is reminiscence of Kovalev.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  57. Chuck says:

    Carey might have been slow getting out of his butterfly, but that slapshot, partially screened, into the top corner isn’t being stopped regardless. Sometimes you just have to credit the shooter with puttin’ it where the goalie ain’t gettin’ it.


    Centre Hice: A New Approach to NHL Scheduling.

  58. Will Longlade says:

    First of all, that was just a great hockey game. Last year the team took a giant step in the right direction. This year, it’s just plain fun to watch the Habs again.

    This version of the Habs has big cajones. The way they played tonight is a reflection of their Captain.

    I thought Gomez played a decent game. He shouldn’t be evaluated based on the size of his paycheque. He brings a valuable dimension to the team with his speed, defense and puck carrying abilities. 

    Ryan who?

    Aren’t you glad the Habs didn’t trade Subban for a rental player?

    Montreal- St. Louis Stanley Cup final? Wouldn’t that be a journalist’s dream match up!



  59. 21BIGGionta says:

    Paul Bissonnette knows what’s up http://twitpic.com/30wvq5

  60. DearyLeary says:

    Eller was noticeable every time he was on the ice.  The more he gets accustomed to the pace of the NHL the better he’ll get.  Speed, puckhandling, vision, instinct, goes to the net (OT goal doesn’t happen without his work) and an underrated wrister.  What’s not to like about the kid?  It’s not surprising the rumour mill had him being the only piece anyone was trying to wrench from St. Louis’ hands.

  61. K-hab25 says:

    Minnesota tried to get him just before we traded for him. It’s obvious people think this kid is highly skilled. I find it hilarious people are complaining we didn’t get an older player, with a lower ceiling, just because they’re further along in there development at the moment, doesn’t mean they’re better players than Eller. This kid was there top prospect and we got him for a guy who was our back-up for the majority of the last 2 years. St. Louis took a big risk trading Eller for an unproven goaltender, but I think it’s going to be one of those rare win, win trades. I’m glad we got Eller and happy for Halak aswell. He’s getting the opportunity to be “the man” and happy that Price is getting the same chance aswell.

  62. Castor says:

    Yeah  GG line has got to be fixed. Gomez zooms into the zone and the opposing team smother Gionta because they know that Gomez has no other option.

    if it’s NOT Eller then it should be Pyatt, Lapierre Eller on the third line. 

  63. NorthBCHabfan says:

    That may be a big part of the problem. When I see Gomez full speed ahead wig-wagging down the ice, I automatically watch to see who he is going to pass off to. Sometimes I wish he would charge in and try to score himself. From the view above and possibly to the other team, he may be too predictable.

  64. OneTimer says:

    Nice ALN Boone, go Habs go!

  65. Bryan says:

    I think the D pairings will be:





    I really think Gorges is the only other D Man we have right now capable of handling top line minutes with Markov.  PK’s getting better in his own zone, but he’d be a good balance to Hamrlik I think.

    Picard’s play has made O’Byrne expendable.  Send him to Hamilton or trade him.  He has no spot on this team.


    The Habs are making me slightly less bi-polar.

  66. DearyLeary says:

    You must have had too many wobbly pops with the game to think they’ll ever split up Gill/Gorges.

  67. linp says:

      Gill-Spacek are the slowest D-men in the league.

  68. Richrebellion says:

    What you forget is that d pairings arent always together, for PK and PP markov wont be playing with spacek. Therefore Spacek mins wont be close as on any given night Markov will play 5 mins on special teams. 

  69. RJB says:

    Spot on Boone! They did what they had to do, couldn’t be happier for a monday!

    “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
    – Bilbo Baggins

  70. Bryan says:


    I know it’s worked in the past, but I think Gorges is being under-utilized with Gill.

    Who else would you put with Markov?  PK?


    The Habs are making me slightly less bi-polar.

  71. DearyLeary says:

    Judging by ice-time numbers over the first 8 games, all of the D-men, minus Picard and OB, have been playing around 20 minutes.  With Marky’s return I’d suggest that with all the D-men playing roughly equal minutes this would imply the pairings along a more balanced approach.




    Being able to roll 3 pairings like that allows for more flexibility, and doesn’t expose our defencemen to being overworked and thus more prone to injury.  This also gives us one mobile defenceman that can move the puck well per pairing (in Markov, PK [arguably Hamr too], and Gorges), and the ability to keep the others playing solid positional hockey without having to worry too much about turnovers.

  72. Bryan says:

    Blech, Spacek’s been our worst d-man so far.  No way he can handle top line minutes.


    The Habs are making me slightly less bi-polar.

  73. SUMO says:

    Why no one every mentions Pleks as a potential Selke trophy candidate is puzzling. Plays hard in all 3 zones. I remember last year, Bruce Garriouch at the Ottawa Sun wrote anyone who signed Pleks as would regret it. Wonder if that Hack is willing to write a retraction. This is a FA singing everyone can be happy with.

    Eller is looking like a younger, bigger, version of Pleks. Would be nice to see him with Benny or someone with some hands who can get him the puck. Hes physical and competes. This guy will be a player.

    Markov’s return will help our D, obviously. He should also help our forward lines as well as Hamr & Spacek can go back to be a #2 pairing.

    Picard made a great play on the winner. He didn’t panic with the puck and waited till he got help before throwing it in front. A very smart play.

  74. HardHabits says:

    He needs to up his face-off percentage but I concur.

    I posted something similar earlier on >>

    Submitted by HardHabits on Mon, 10/25/2010 – 22:26.

    Plex and Datsyuk are comparable. I hope Plex gets the nod for the Selke.

  75. SlovakHab says:

    Yes! What a pleasant start of the day!

  76. 21BIGGionta says:

    That must be fun ! waking up watching a habs game ha!

  77. SeriousFan09 says:

    Eller should get to play with Gio-Gomez soon, kid’s doing too well to not give him some quality Top-6 time with his willingness to go to the net.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  78. Bill says:

    Look, Boone, I’m one of the readers who loves what you write more than I can say without blushing. I actually envy you, for the job you get to do and for the skill with which you execute it. BUT. How can you in all good conscience keep saying that it was “impossible” for the Habs to sign Pleks and Halak? I mean … I don’t even care that Halak is gone, really. Price has done everything you could ask for, and the jury will be out on which one of them is better for years and years. The Habs had to make a call, and they made it. I like Eller and everything is cool in Habland. But it’s a million bucks out of sixty million, and it could very, very obviously have been done in a dozen different ways.

    The main thing is this: saying it was “impossible” to sign both Pleks and Halak is simply a way of justifying the trading of Halak and thus defending Price … and the trade needs no further justification and Price needs no further defense. So stop it!

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  79. SomersetVII says:

    I think he means signing halak and plekanec and Price as well, of course you could sign halak and plekanec if you trade price, but i dont think he was implying that.

  80. PrimeTime says:

    I respectly disagree. The organization needed to make some serious decisions in drawing up their blueprint moving forward. Halak sort of hung himself, in an ironic way, with his playoff success. He became unaffordable in respect to filling out the rest of the team. I believe the organization figured he would want no less than 3.5-4 M to stay, considering “hero statas”. The gamble was to choose Price and have more room to sign others….including Pleks who is becoming a perennial Selke type player. Why put so much in 1 Goaltender when you can have a projected equally as good in the other choice?? Halak is good but it takes more than a solid G to win….plus we got a former 1st rounder who will be a top 6 guy for years Halak became too expensive for the good of the team…..not just resigning Pleks. Tough choice, but they are the ones that define you. We’ll see how PG is judged in a few years.

  81. Mike Boone says:

    Halak was an arbitration-eligible RFA. Coming off his playoff performance, it was not inconceivable that an arbitrator would have awarded him $3.5 million to $4 million. He may also have received an offer sheet in that range.

    Given the team’s commitments to Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, Markov, Hamrlik et al, please tell me how a Halak contract and the kind of deal they wanted to give Plekanec would fit under the cap and still let them fill out their roster with guys who have two functioning legs and know how to play hockey.

    Also, they’d have had to deal Price for a prospect because – as was the case in the deal with St. Louis – they couldn’t afford the salary of an established player.

  82. Richrebellion says:

    I agree with you completely, the plan was always to keep Carey Price. It wasn’t the cap that stopped them as they could have easily found ways around the cap to make him fit. The fact was why pay Halak 3.5 million to do what Carey can do better for 2.5 million? Now, I’m not saying Halak isn’t a good goalie but Carey Price is quickly showing why he could be THE BEST goalie in the nhl period. With potential like that how can you let that go? Plus you get to add Eller to your team a first round pick with tons of potential. And all you have to do is trade a guy who you picked in the 9th round. Its obvious it wasn’t the cap, it was the ability to get a 1st round choice for a 9th and still be able to have the best goaltending in the league. Simple and easy decision.

  83. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’ve found Pleks is pretty hot/cold with his faceoff results, some nights he’s really on, other nights he can’t win a single one.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  84. Bill says:

    I don’t object to the decision. But to say that keeping Halak would have cost the Habs Plekanec is just too mendacious to let pass. That’s just spin.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  85. Mike Boone says:

    Oh, now I’m a liar?

  86. Propwash says:

    So far, the gamble is paying off, no?


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  87. howtathor says:

    Souray and Huet are but two examples of how to deal with cap space. The only problem I have with keeping Halak is that he would keep Price on the bench at 3 million. Too much for a backup goalie. I think the trading of one of them was inevitable and Price has more upside. A lot of so-called experts recommended keeping both but sooner or later they both have to play 60 games.

  88. CatznDogz says:

    I kinda hope Auld gets his first start maybe Friday. He needs to get in there soon, and Carey could use a night off on this busy week.

  89. MikeL says:

    Eller reminds me a whole heck of a lot of a young Saku Koivu.

    He skilled, likes to pass, great back checker, and he’s smart. He said this after the game…

    That’s where you want to be in OT, on the ice. But it takes time for a young player to gain the confidence of the coach.”

    The kid gets it.

  90. habs33 says:

    Mike, you’re absolutely right – for the longest time I couldn’t think of who Eller reminds me of, but it’s Koivu! The way he moves, the way he battles, the way he gets open and knows where his linemates are. Great job!


  91. Mr.Hazard says:

    Good point.

  92. mon_chums says:


    The Gomez wave, however, has Gionta parked in the crease – and the captain is just too small to do a credible Johan Franzen impression.”

    I think you meant Holmstrom!


  93. Fansincebirth says:

    It’s like people want to see him fail so they can say “see, told ya so” even if it means the Habs fail.

    Some children are like that….

    “Without the strength of the past, the team may face a choice – to win, or to be French-Canadian?” — Ken Dryden

  94. StevieRay says:

    I agree dawg … how about ?

    Pouliot Eller Gionta

    Laps Gomez Moen



  95. RetroMikey says:

    Not jumping the bandwagon yet, but my hat goes off to the team so far. 

    We need a fast start in the first 20 games and then can concentrate on our weaknesses such as Spacek and O’Byrne and bring in another quality DMan as well as, we are still so small up front that we need to get bigger up front and a faceoff man.

    Kudos to Price playing so far, but can he keep it up as our starting goalie?

    Teams that are in a funk like Philly, New Jersey  or Pittsburgh will pick up their game, so it is important we play at our best as well game in and out.


    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  96. forskis says:

    I agree…build the cushion, then fix what ails you.  The Habs are seven points ahead of last year’s pace (I think) and Price is used to the workload, he knows that he cannot let up or he is starting from zero again…so far so good, I think he is already halfway to his win total from last season.

    As for those other teams…I agree that Philly will get out of their funk…is Pitts even in a funk?  NJ though has all sorts of bad energy floating around and I think it may be a sub-par season for them.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  97. Colomb27 says:

    Spacek and O’Byrne? I’m not sure if you watched the playoffs in the spring but Spacek was a shot-blocking machine who rose to the occasion and logged serious ice-time for our team. And as for O’Byrne, Picard has taken his spot thus far and when Markov returns on Saturday night Picard will be a proven 7th man if someone goes down.  He has played well, but more importantly, he has played smartly.  In most cases, it is not the quality of the player that you miss, but rather the liable player that steps in to take his place.  Our D is fairly deep.

  98. forskis says:

    Somebody brought up Price vs. Halak again….last season their stats were close but Halak had more Ws and the pro-Halak guys said that Price’s stats mean nothing because W’s are all that matter and fair enough…this season Halak has better stats but their Ws are the same (Price has more Ws only because of more games played) and all of a sudden Halak is the better goalie because of stats and not Ws?  The pro-Halak guys are stretching now…you wanted Ws from Price, now you are getting them…what else do you need (at this point).

    Regardless Price has 2 steps to go to put an end to this argument:

    1)  Have a good/great regular season…so far so good but it will only be put to rest after Game #82;

    2)  Have a great playoff run.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  99. Timo says:

    On the other hand, guys like Spacek could use an odd night off, just to rest the old bones so that they have enough energy to sponge all the shots come May.

  100. Timo says:

    HOw about a doggy treat?

  101. habs365 says:

    As a team they are playing great, every line is playing hard can’t figure out why there’s only one line scoring

    and carey is a real #1 goalie and I’m not knocking Halak, team play and great goal tending is the reason why they are in 1st place.

    keep it going guys the team is looking great…

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