About last night …

The most popular game of “what if?” among Canadiens fans focuses on Andrei Markov?

What if the team’s best player hadn’t been injured during the season opener and missed almost half the schedule?

Here’s another one:

What if Brian Gionta hadn’t missed 21 games?

If the Canadiens’ toughest, hardest-working and most consistent player had been available for more games, this team might have more than 82 points heading into the last seven games of this crazy, roller-coaster of a season.

Gionta scored two goals, including the winner, in that crucial conquest of Florida.

He has 25 in 54 games. Last season in New Jersey, Gionta scored 20 goals in 81 games.

As my friend Sean Gordon of the Globe & Mail suggested when we chewed over the 4-1 win, maybe Bob Gainey knew what he was doing whe he signed the diminutive sniper.

 

I invite the Commentariat to correct me (which gives them an inordinate amount of pleasure), but I can’t remeber Brian Gionta playing a bad shift this season.

He never quits on a play. He battles for loose pucks. He skates fearlessly into the dirty areas where a succession of speedy, skilled Canadiens forwards have feared to tread during recent seasons.

Gionta is the unSamsonov. And he’s a MAJOR upgrade – not least for his impeccable dedication and work ethic – on Alex Kovalev.

Just like Gionta’s former Devils teammate, Scott Gomez is an upgrade on Saku Koivu.

And just as the third member of their line, Benoit Pouliot, is an upgrade on Guillaume Latendresse … no matter how many goals the former underachiever scores in Minnesota.

Through Gainey’s off season rebuild and Pierre Gauthier’s tweaking – notably the addition of Dominic Moore – your Montreal Canadiens are a better team than they were 76 games into last season.

The nightmare in Buffalo might have haunted a team with less grit and character.

Not this team.

Even after Florida made it 2-1 and every Canadiens fan on the planet held their collective breath and thought “Noooooooo, not again!”, this bunch was determined to avoid déja vu all over again.

After the Three Stars were announced, the Bell Centre PA system serenaded departing fans with a James Brown classic. And there was much to feel good about:

• Moore’s line contributed quality shifts. Travis Moen, playing with a visor for the first time in his career, killed penalties, worked the boards and had a few scoring chances. Sergei Kostitsyn continued to display the tantalizing skills that raise hopes he could become a star.

• Markov was Markov. Like Gomez and Gionta, he was plus-3. And while the power play fired blanks in two opportunities, Markov and Marc-André Bergeron combined to give the Canadiens a oint threat thats been missing.

• Jaro Halak was Jaro Halak. A light load – 24 shots – but key saves, including a beauty on Nathan Horton, when the game was tight. Jaro is 24-11-3. If the playoffs start tomorrow, he’s the Canadiens’ starting goaltender … as he will be when the playoffs start next month.

• Jaro Spacek is a class act. Hugely popular with the media because he’s accessible, win or lose, and because he’s such a good guy, Spacek was genuinely concerned by the damage his clean hit did to luckless David Booth.

• Jacques Martin showed class by heaping praise on Booth, whom he  called “an outstanding young man, one of the better kids I’ve ever coached … a professional on and off the ice.” Let’s hope Booth is going to be OK. His concussion, resulting from a Mike Richards cheap shot, put the kibosh on Florida’s season.

• Tomas Plekanec made it 100 goals in the NHL with his third empty-netter since the Olympic break. The return of Mike Cammalleri has fuly restored mojo on the Pleks line: Andrei Kostitsyn had three shots on goal and four hits. We can only hope Pleks’s 200th will be scored in a Canadiens’ uniform.

The game was not a DVD collection classic. But it was a crucial win for the Canadiens, snapping a three-game skid (during which they salvaged two points) and exorcising the ghosts of Buffalo.

Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia lost – the latter two in three-point games.

The Canadiens are sitting sixth as they await a Saturday night visit by Martin F. and the Devils.

If the playoffs began now, their first-round opponents would be the Sabres – a team the Canadiens, for 56 minutes, looked like they could beat.

That’s another “what if?” we can kick around.

•  •  •

Maxim Lapierre’s return to the lineup meant champagne all around on L’Antichambre.

Max played a team-low 7:49 and was a non-factor: 4-4 on faceoffs, one shot, one hit, one blocked shot. No PP or PK time.

Glen Metropolit’s place on the Scott Gomez wave of the PP was taken by Benoit Pouliot.

Will Metro and Mathieu Darche be back aganst the Devils?

Or will Martin stick with a winning lineup?

•  •  •

Funny how seldom these days you hear anyone say the Canadiens should have kept Cristobal Huet.

274 Comments

  1. Greg says:

    We took 3 of a possible 6, and 4 of a possible 8.  1 point against TO (shootout loss), 0 points against Ottawa, 1 point against Buffalo (shootout loss) and a win against Florida.  1+0+1+2= 4.  With the playoff race so tight, .500 isn’t gonna cut it.  But your right, not the end of the world.

    “I lined up next to him at a faceoff, looked over and said “Hi Rocket”. All he did was growl.”

    -Gordie Howe

  2. forskis says:

    The only problem with last night’s win is that it gives incentive for JM to not put Darche and Metro back in….just wondering, some of the members on Antichambre were not pleased that Lapierre was scratched, what was their reaction to Darche’s scratch?

    I say put those two guys back in on Sat. because that 4th line did not look very dangerous…lots of scrums along the boards but not much else.  Pyatt got his scoring chances from when the lines were in the middle of changes it looked like last night.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  3. showey47 says:

    Without gionta missing those 21 games he is on pace to score somewhere around 38, as would have cammy without missing his 18 or 19 games. Benny’s production with a hab over a full season,same thing. So, 3 potential 35 to 40 goal scorers in our lineup? When was the last time we had that kind of potential scoring in our lineup? Oh and i forgot about ak46.

  4. linp says:

    Gionta’s heart is as big as Koivu. He has earned the respect of the fans.

  5. Geoff F says:

    Sorry man but i disagree with your assessment on the hit.  If you are looking at your feet and you walk into a wall is it the walls fault or your fault.  Spacek came face on to booth and had Booth had his head up he’d have seen him coming and would have plenty of time to prepare.  Second When your head is down the first thing to make contact would be your head assuming you are the same height not bent over etc…  Given that if watch the play carefully you’ll see the Spaceks shoulder connects with Booth’s chest then the impact causes Booths head to snap back and the follow through and Jaro’s momentum carried him up and forward.  No elbow no nothing.  Even with his head down Jaro gets him square in the chest so that to me indicates that the hit was as clean as they come.  That doesn’t take anything away from the fact that it’s very unfortunate that Booth was hurt, and that something needs to be done.  It is probable that Booth’s previous concussion now has him more more susceptible to further concussions, and i believe that might have been the case here.  In my opinion they have not gone far enough in the rule as this is a perfect example of how the rule will not work in most instances.  I believe they should add some soft padding above the hard outer shell on the shoulder pads.  They wont want to take off the hard shell because they block shots, but if they were to add a type of foam that gives more on the hit they could soften the hard shell a little and make it so that both players will feel the hit.  Maybe people will be less reckless if they fear getting hurt.  Either way i hope Booth gets better soon but i would review that hit again because that is NOT a head shot, it just appears to be that way!

  6. Shiloh says:

    If we look at the past three games, we took 4 out of possible 6 points – not the end of the world. The shootout loss to the Sabres was tough, but so was getting the point for the tie.

  7. soperman says:

    That makes me feel good about the team.  When we are arguing about who should be left out and not who should be brought up.

    “Pusie possessed a wickedly wild shot, so inaccurate that he could not hit the province of Quebec if he was standing inside the Montreal Forum.” Dick Beddoes

  8. soperman says:

    You kept track?

    “Pusie possessed a wickedly wild shot, so inaccurate that he could not hit the province of Quebec if he was standing inside the Montreal Forum.” Dick Beddoes

  9. nogoalov says:

    On most occasions, pulling the goalie for an extra man don’t pay off. The second empty netter was the one they didn’t get against the Sabres. I was scared again, but they did what they have been doing consistently since the break – they won.

    Since we’re on about trends, Habs fans (maybe we’re not an anomaly) just love to beat up on ex-Habs, whether they’re doing well with their new team or not. Not so long ago folks ’round here were looking into the “Cristo-ball”, touting Kovalev Koivu, and their lost boy – Lats. Carey Price, the poster boy was the savoir…and he’s still here. Latendresse’s good fortune in Minnesota is living testimony to the old adage – “there has not been a bad wind yet, that didn’t blow somebody good”!

    We’re all fools at sometime, and as I keep reading posts on HIO I am reminded of that.

     

  10. showey47 says:

    considering huet lost to those same flyers in the first round,probably. But then again with huet’s history of not being able to win big games we probably would have lost to the bruins in the first round.

  11. soperman says:

    I would also like to see Metro resigned and play every game.  He is a role play who knows his role and JM seems to know how to use him.  I find it hard to believe that he would take offense to sitting out for a game because he seems to be such a genuine team player.  To me he has the same attitude as Tom Kostopoulos – “just tell me what to do, coach”. 

    And I really don’t think the organization disrespects him.  He is a fourth line center who gets major time on the power play.  And he produces goals on the power play.  If the coach didn’t appreciate him, he would not get this PP time and because he produces, they must respect his play – coaches tend to like results and effort.  He gives both.

    “Pusie possessed a wickedly wild shot, so inaccurate that he could not hit the province of Quebec if he was standing inside the Montreal Forum.” Dick Beddoes

  12. Geoff F says:

    I don’t think Cammy is the right choice.  He says the right things and knows how to work a camera however he’s been in a few scraps with team members this year in practice.  He doesn’t have an “A” on his chest which means the powers that be don’t think he is “THE” candidate.  But the most important point of all is Cammy dissappears for stretches.  If he’s not scoring goals, you don’t see him much.  Gionta is ALWAYS doing something, if he isn’t scoring he’s forechecking hard creating turnovers and working hard till the last buzzer sounds.  So looking at Cammy on his own he does in my opinion have some potential however in the team dynamic Gionta is by far the/a better choice.

     

  13. projectpete19 says:

    the same people that said Huet should not be traded are the ones that are saying Price should be traded

  14. JF says:

    That certainly took away some of the bad taste left by Wednesday’s disaster.  But I have to say the Habs got a bit lucky.  Their two first-period goals were pure gifts.  Before that, the Panthers were playing a hermetic style;  we had no skating room and few scoring chances.  Everything was on the outside, and if the Panthers had scored first, they might have kept it that way.  That said, I think we played a solid game; our confidence didn’t seem to have been dented by what happened the other night.  After Florida scored, we were a lot more aggressive than in the same situation on Wednesday, and I could see the determination not to let the win slip away.  But the empty-netter was certainly a relief.

    But I felt bad for Carey Price.  He was excellent on Wednesday, facing more shots and more dangerous ones than Halak did last night.  But he gets a loss while Halak gets a win and first star.  Since the Olympic break, our goaltending has been outstanding, with the exception of the first period in Anaheim and the Edmonton game.  Whether it’s because the team plays better in front of Halak, or because he gives up fewer goals at key moments than Price, or because Price is just unlucky, we win more often with Halak than Price.  So he’ll be our starting goaltender for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.  I think, from Price’s demeanor, that he has grown up enough over this tough season to accept that.  But I hope we don’t trade him.

    Gomez said after the loss in San Jose that the team has realized they can compete with anyone.  Since the Olympic break, with the exception of the games against Toronto and Ottawa, they’ve been playing that way.  The defense is a lot tighter than earlier in the season, zone clearance is less laborious, shots against and scoring chances are down.  Overall we’re a lot less passive than we were.  But in tight-checking games, there’s still a tendency that way, and the beginning of last night’s game looked like that.  We still need to be more aggressive at the net, particularly on the powerplay.

  15. Barts says:

    I’ll still take Metro over Lapierre anyday of the week…

  16. jimhasbeen says:

    boone is a pimp

  17. The Juice says:

    The point is, the Habs needed a veteran backup in the playoffs. What did we get for Huet, a 2nd round pick? Not worth a potential chance at the cup in my opinion. Furthermore, I think Bob thought the team had a better year ahead than the current one so he made no moves at the deadline to take a run, instead injuries ruined the team in ’09. Lesson: if you’ve got a hot team, go for it! don’t wait for next year.

    ps-I bet the Hawk’s go further than the Habs this year…any takers?

  18. tony d says:

    Give Gionta the ‘C’ already! fer fek’s sake

  19. Mike Boone says:

    Thanks for the kind words, man … and for the heads-up re Max/Metro. I added a note.

  20. jbroderi says:

    maybe, but i think it was key tat even if he stayed, he wouldn’t be resigned.  I think that might be boones point, but I can’t speak for him i guess

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  21. ed lopaz says:

    game vs Jersey will be a much better barometer on how this team will fair come playoff time.

    this week we played our best game against Buffalo; that to me was very encouraging.

    but we should note that Buffalo, playing only for playoff positioning at this time, might not have brought their A game.

    Spacek was genuinely concerned by the damage his clean hit

    the hit is considered “clean” because it did not come from the blind side – i.e – spacek was in front of booth

    however, I think the rule did not go far enough – this is still a head shot; in this case, shoulder to the head

    Pat Hickey confirmed that this was a shot the head in this morning’s article.

    here’s my suggestion – if we agree that shots to the head are dangerous, even if they are not blind side hits,

    I would make a shot to the head the same as a stick to the face.

    the player is responsible for his stick and even an accidental infraction of a stick to the face is penalised.

    a shoulder hit to the head should be viewed the same way –  an automatic penalty – it can not go unpunished – and if the league rules that the player intended to injure than a suspension can be handed out.

    the rules could be modified in the offseason – but we should try and eliminate all hits to the head.

     

  22. avatar_58 says:

    Granted, but would we have still lost in round 2? Hmm.

  23. ed lopaz says:

    Hockey is a simple game when its played properly.

    move your feet

    move the puck

    shoot when you can

    go to the net

    play every shift as though it was the 7th game of the finals

    If you are lucky enough to attend a Habs game with your son or daughter, just ask them to watch Gionta play the game – every second of every shift.

    Gionta “GETS IT”.

     

  24. G-Man says:

    Decent game after the last 3 minute horror show in Buffalo. Metro sat because this was a back to back and needs a break once in a while, so he can be better against NJ. The Habs were playing the Panthers, not the Penguins, for eff sake, so Laps got a chance and did…nothing much. He’ll be riding the pine again next game, and Darche will be back at the expense of…who the bleep knows?

  25. The Cat says:

    There are a lot of what ifs we can kick around but there is one worrying factor, the habs record isnt good against teams with a winning record.

  26. The Cat says:

    Totally agree.

  27. Habitant out West says:

    Considering the Habs young goaltender sh’t the bed in the playoffs and lost to a team they outplayed… I still think it was a bonehead move regardless of what’s happening between the pipes two years later.

  28. bigjames says:

    after what happened to us in buffalo the other night, i say we have to build up as much of a lead as possible. and if you have an empty net, you have to bag it. to not bag it is bad karma in my view.

  29. Greg says:

    What ever happened to “keep your head up”? If that was anyone but David Booth, we wouldn’t even be talking about it.  I feel bad for Booth, his career is likely over, and he’s just a kid.  But Spacek laid a clean hit (no jump, no boarding, no charging) on a guy that wasn’t looking where he was going. If you take that out of the game, you’ve got ringette on your hands.

     

    “I lined up next to him at a faceoff, looked over and said “Hi Rocket”. All he did was growl.”

    -Gordie Howe

  30. Black Snake Moen says:

    Booner,

    just let me say again that youre a fantastic read and that I’m glad your a Habs fan too so guys like us can tune in…when the games on and im not home, I know i can find HIO on the web from my phone and see whats REALLY going on in the game…I tell ya man, it really makes a big diff, and I commend you guys and the site for runnin it…I just wish i would be able to comment from on the HIO mobile site….I’m all over it every night and read everything here but I can’t comment unless I run to the computer which is rare…help me out site tech guys!

    anyway…I figured we’d see more comment on the Laps in / Metro and Darche out situation…I know the decision wasn’t the wrong one, but did Max’s 9-odd useless minutes really factor in the game? that’s really buggin me about JM……You take a guy like Metropolit, I wonder how bad he wants to play for JM after that slap.  And i know some will say that any 4th line center shouldn’t take offense to being a healthy a couple games a year…but I mean, what team would ever tell their LEADING powerplay scorer to sit down so the hometown black sheep can try to be a good boy again…I don’t think the caps would tell Brooks Laich or Mike Knuble to hit the pressbox and this time in the season…really puzzling to me…….

    I guess PM doesnt want Metro back next year, and realizes he’ll be gone in the next 10-15 odd games in a Habs jersey, which sucks….I really wanted to get Metro resigned but I realize it’s not likely to happen given the situation and that he’s a 35 yr. old whos coming off career numbers and might want more than his $1 mill per or whatever so he can pocket a little more for his family before he’s done in 3-4 odd years….really sucks, i love that guy, he plays his heart out everynight, you see it that smile thats forsure…

    but then the other thing about Max’s return, (god forbid what the french media would do if he sat another game! or the rest of the season!) the other thing, why not sit Pyatt over Metro or even Darche…seems logical on how the depth-chart-ey way of doing things woul go….but man I love JM and the hard-on he’s got for Pyatt’s play hahaha…you can tell they love his speed and he always grew up being sucha smart player, and I think their realizing that now and with more confidence he’s only get more comfortable…he really is Pierre Mcguire’s prototype of the “active player”….people, think Todd Marchant for the years he played for the Oil up until their cup run…smart, dependable, 3rd line gritty, speedy guy who can kill penalties…..Pyatt can be that for Habs, I hope they make him a regular next year…but I still would understand, and will understand when he gets the hook before the playoffs, but I cant wait to have a beer with him and shake his hand on a job well done this year haha (both T-bay kids we are)

    thanks again boone, keep it up

    ps. I like us at 6th right now, Buffalo can bring it on, Habs will be ready next time

  31. 100HABS says:

    We took 3 out of 6. Look at four games, we took 4 out of 8.

  32. Ian Cobb says:

    Very calm leader, I agree. He leads by example.

  33. Ian Cobb says:

    Two pennies. —And Markov is bilingual also, great choice.

  34. Ian Cobb says:

    I agree,clean hit. I still don’t know how he got hit so hard in the head, maybe his head hit Spacek’s chest????

  35. twocents says:

    Hey, apparently Markov had words with Price.

    I suspect there may be more to him than meets the eye.

  36. JF says:

    I don’t give much for the chances of any team facing the Redwings.  They’ve looked formidable lately.  The only question surrounding them is whether Jimmy Howard can withstand playoff pressure or, like other rookie goaltenders, will wilt and fold.  But I don’t think Chicago have much chance whoever they face with the goaltending they’re getting.

  37. joeybarrie says:

    I disagree with Markov being the best man for Captain. He is too quiet to do what we need in the locker room. Cammalleri (in my most humble opinion) is the guy we need with the C.

    To me if he has the effect you say he does. Which I agree completely. He is already doing his best to help lead in his way. Changing this is giving him expectations I do not think he wants, and goes against his perceived character.

    I wish to let him concentrate on what he is currently doing and doing it well. To me being the key player is not what being a captain is all about. I want some of the qualities we had in Carbo, Gainey and Muller. I love Koivu, but there was something missing in his Captain style. I think he did a GREAT JOB, in a way no one else has done. But I want a little of the Camma fighting with Lapierre in practice in our Captain.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  38. joeybarrie says:

    Sometimes, people don’t think before they post. Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20… At least we got to the second round. IF HUET HAD OF PLAYED IN A HABS JERSEY HE WOULD HAVE DONE MUCH MUCH BETTER… I mean cmon he is French, so…………

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  39. Ian Cobb says:

    It is a tough chore but we must find a way for players to ease up when the head might be impacted. Last night the hit was clean enough and at first even on replay I did not see his head get hit. I thought contact was in front and he suffered wipe lash or his head hit the ice.

    Anyway my point is this, if any player hits another player in the head by accident or otherwise, just like a stick infraction, a penalty should be called.

    Now! the problem starts. Is it a 2 min penalty, double, or 5 and a game.? It will be the discretion of the referees on the ice, and reviewed by the league for further action.

    I don’t care even if it is one of our own. We must take the head contact stuff out of this game today. They changed the rules to make the game twice as fast as it was for the better I might add. Now they have to find a solid method to protect the lives of those who are now in much more mortal danger. No grey area’s, get the respect back in the game with enforcement now.

  40. joeybarrie says:

    If we had of kept Huet for the rest of the season, he would have walked for nothing and people would be yelling even more. We traded him for the draft pick that got us Matt Schneider when we needed him. We would have had to pay him 5.5 million to stay. Gainey did the right thing. 5 million for a save% of .909 and a GAA of 2.53. We got that with Price for much less.

    ALWAYS THE SAME, as soon as he does well somewhere else, Gainey is an idiot and he would have won us the Cup. As soon as he doesnt do so well, falls off the radar and nothing is said.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  41. twocents says:

    I agree about his approach with the media. It is a fairly new aspect for him, but he commands respect here too with his thoughtful and unique presence in those situations.

  42. Geoff F says:

    I think your assessment is spot on.  The thing that i really like about Markov is that he doesn’t spew the same drivel over and over in post game interviews.  He says what’s on his mind, he thinks about his answers and i love it when he sometimes throws a curveball and lets the reporters deal with the uncomfortable silence that ensues.  I personally like and expect a leader to step out of line and tell it like it is when necessary.  I agree that Markov is an excellent candidate for all the reasons you have mentioned and more!

  43. Chorske says:

    Except that Halak has the right to seek arbitration, and Price does not.

  44. Ian Cobb says:

    I pick Phoenix to be in the western finals. And maybe just maybe…….

  45. showey47 says:

    You wouldn’t pat your stanley cup winning goalie on back and was the starter? When huet gets there i will give him the credit others think he deserves,till then he should at least win a playoff round and be a starter doing it. I can’t believe people still want to have this conversation about huet. The guy ranked somewhere around 40th in the league in save percentage.

  46. jbroderi says:

    A little off topic, but just a note on Chicago.  If they draw the red wings, does anyone really think that they will win that series?  I know they have a better shot than last year, but I just don’t see the hawks or SJ playing that great of hockey, while Detroit has been getting healthy and steadily improving.

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  47. ed lopaz says:

    Ok – I’m convinced – thanks.

  48. jbroderi says:

    no crap there, my friend. Yiou make some very strong points. 

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  49. twocents says:

    Oh yeah, Jaro Spacek and his team leading +13 really sucks and should be benched. The boofons on L’Antichambre, led by Napoleon Bergaparte, said the same thing last night. And they meant permanently, in favour of little Bergy.

    There is no shortage of morons.

  50. linp says:

    I am sure that Metropolit will be playing tomorrow as the 4th line center. The choice will be between Pyatt/Lapierre/Darche. I prefer Pyatt because his play is more effective than the other two. But the french media may have an influence on JM’s decision.

  51. jbroderi says:

    That hit is everything that uis right with hard fought hockey, completley different then cooke’s.  he mainly hit the body of booth, not really the head, but even so, spaceks hands and arms were down, the way they should be.

     

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  52. showey47 says:

    lmao,yup.

  53. ken says:

    Idle- What are you talking about?  Huet was an UNRESTRICTED free agent.  How could we keep him for part of the next year?  Please!  That was an excellent trade by Gainey.  Trade him or loss him for absolutely nothing in the off season.  Funny how most people have no clue what it means to be an unrestricted free agent.  Just like with Price and Halak, the habs are in the driver’s seat.  They are both restricted.

  54. avatar_58 says:

    So if a miracle on ice occurs and the hawks win won in the next while will Huet be justified?

    I wouldn’t pat the goalie on the back just because he was ‘there’

  55. avatar_58 says:

    We all know the truth though – he wanted to play in the BETTER hockey city ;)

  56. Bob Barker says:

    I’d take Duchene. Tavares will probably put up more points in his career but I love Duchene’s speed and two-way ability.

  57. showey47 says:

    you realize huet lost to those flyers in the first round right?

  58. Harani says:

    Hey y’all! The game last night was so much fun! I had blast and finally picked up win#37. Gionta…seriously…WOW! And as boone mentioned, he never takes a shift off. And if you listen to the post game thoughts on RDS, you hear the guys in the background say “That’s the hardest-working empty-netter I’ve seen.” and “Way to go Gio!”

    Also, the moron sitting in front me said that Spacek sucks just because of that hit and JM should make him sit (and he was a Habs fan!) What a douche!

    “I gotta feeling…that tonight’s gonna be a good night!”

  59. twocents says:

    As much as I doubt they will name a captain this season, I still think Markov is the eventual choice. If he signs long term this summer, as the rumours suggest, I think it will be done at the start of next season.

    You can see that players and coaches look to him whenever were in a tight situation. Gionta, Pleks, Gomez, Cammalerri, all make good candidates on some level. But, Markov is simply the key player on the ice. It’s not just points. When the forecheck is hemming us in every Habs player will look to Markov if they can get possession of the puck for a moment. He grounds them.

    In post goal celebrations you get the sense that he is the alpha dog, the one others go to for praise. He’s calm, cool, collected, and when a little fire is needed he can summon it while maitaining
    control. Every player who has ever been paired with him plays their best hockey. He is respected by his teammates, throughout the league and internationally. 

    Alright enough of my crap.

  60. The Juice says:

    Bang on. Had we kept Huet back in ’08, I am sure we would have gotten past the Flyers and who knows how much further. I was watching highlights of that series and the Habs were scoring at a pace I’ve yet to see duplicated. 3 lines were firing, problem is that Carey Price was exhausted (and overweight)….ah the what ifs….

  61. showey47 says:

    at least giggy won a cup which justified his contract.

  62. idle says:

    In fairness Mike, I’m not sure that those of us who were saying they should have kept Huet meant that he should still be playing for us today.  At the time he probably should have been kept, for the rest of that season and maybe part of the next.

     

    It’s a MAB MAB world.

  63. krob1000 says:

    nope….Giguere was! and still may be if the Monster does anything next year

  64. krob1000 says:

    I think the injuries we had have kind of camouflaged this fact Showey…nobody expected this out of Pouliot and Gio has really come on…..I still think the key to everything for us comes through depth but it our “top six” are a far more legit top six then they look on paper when viewing their goal totals.  Many of them are very responsible players as well with perhaps onyl Ak46 lacking consistency among the group.  I won;t stray from my belief that we need three lines scoring to really compete with the big guys but we are a heck of a lot closer then I expected and getting Pouliot going has been a big reason why….and he is more complete and suited to our faster game.  You also are neglecting the fact that Sergei and Moor can chip in here and there and IF and it is an IF one more guy gets a little offense going like Moen or Darche they can ice three lines that are capable of scoring.  That trickle down could have us icing the best 4th line in the game as well with guys like Metro and Lapierre and maybe even Moen is someone else emerges…..that is depth…and that is what we will live and die by.  I think a number 1 line vs number 2 ,line debate right now would turn into a month long back and forth in the mold of Koivu/Kovy.  We have  IMO two average or slightly below, number one lines, a weak second line and an average third line………I’d take that model over most teams in the league..it all comes down to depth for us.  Thank goodness for POuliot, SK, Moore, Darche, Pyatt ……what I call the second rebuild because that one is the key to me…I believe the key has always been how well our supporting cast plays because our good players  before were good too….but now we are firing on all cylinders…hell….Max Pacioretty isn’t even being mentioned anywhere and I know he is hurt….but when playoff rosters are expanded there is a chance he gets called up and that could get interesting too if he were to challenge for a depth spot….who knows maybe maxwell, pyatt, darche, moen …whoever? maybe someone else becomes a Chris Kontos or John Druce……combine that with our balance on the tp end and we are pretty interesting right now and still flying far under the radar….

  65. Flabadagub says:

    Seriously!?!? This is a disgrace. I’ll continue to never watch those jerkholes and tell everyone I meet for the rest of my life, to do the same.

  66. Geoff F says:

    Then we agree to disagree.  However i would probably not use Pat Hickey to explain this away, i feel it weakens the argument. 

    I will just suggest this and if you still disagree that’s cool.  Look carefully at the hit just prior to impact, Spacek’s arm is just below chest level, he moves it forward to initiate the first contact as one would do when making a hit.  So it’s not SHOULDER DOWN (the variety most often associated with attempt to injure).  He leads into the hit with his arm at just below chest level meaning he’s square and straight up on Booth.  The Shoulder then catches Booth squarely in the upper Chest area at which point Booths head bounces off the shoulder from the momentum of the impact.  So if it’s black and white, then yes shoulder made contact with head but the head impact is a consequence of the clean hit to the chest and the aftermath of the forces.  If that hit is illegal then body checking will have to come out of the game because almost any hit of that kind of force will involve some sort of consequential head impact.  Especially if the two players are of different sizes, weight, or even direction of entry into the hit.  At this point it becomes impossible to evaluate.  I look at it as Spacek entered the hit cleanly and after that physics kicked in and that’s not on the table here.  So if we are only concerned about head impact (in isolation and out of context) i agree with you but if we are looking at this as part of a violent game then this was not a dirty hit with intent to injure.  I believe it meets the sniff test of a clean hit.   I’ll add this though both the coaches and players on the Panthers agreed it was a clean hit.  I’ll take their assessment before Hickey’s any day of the week including Sunday, they were on the ice, they saw it first hand! 

  67. showey47 says:

    Huet is the most expensive backup goalie in nhl history.

  68. showey47 says:

    lmao,no kidding. At least we don’t hear much of “michael ryder will be the next john leclair” anymore. For a million bucks more i will take gionta over ryder. Was i the only one who was sick and tired of huet blowing games against the leafs? Never mind against playoff teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if the hawks lose in the first round if they stick with huet. My money says the hawks start with niemi.

  69. Shiloh says:

    You’re right, Showey – I must be getting old.

  70. forskis says:

    We lucked out on that…he said that he that he did not want to play where he lived in the off-season…

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  71. avatar_58 says:

    I still don’t care for Gezlaf, but we could have had Parise and that still stings….

  72. SlovakHab says:

    What if we drafted Getzlaf instead of Kostitsyn and Hossa signed with us instead of the Red Wings..

  73. SlovakHab says:

    I totally disagree. You need to play hard and score as much as you can. So if you’re up 5-1 and have a penalty shot – will you try not to score just to avoid a bad carma? 

    I would like to do that all the time. Score as many goals as possible. Beat your opposition! It’s not like injuring someone or doing something disrespectful.

    If I lost a game, I would feel more disrespected if the oposition tried not to score on my empty net just not to embarass me..

  74. Flabadagub says:

    …yup.

  75. 100HABS says:

    I’m talking about putting it into people’s head that they can’t hit the head. It was not a dirty hit, and I’m not sure Spacek could have done anything to prevent the hit when he saw that Booth had his head down.

    But, again, when you get hit and your stick buckles on the boards and hits the guy in the head (completely accidental, nothing you can do) you get an automatic two minutes. The same should go for all contact with the head. IMHO

  76. jbroderi says:

    there was no contact with the head, from my view and others, clearly shoulder to chest.

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  77. 100HABS says:

    I agree 90% of players receiving that hit would have had only the bleeding nose and not the concussion. It’s still a hit to the head.

  78. Mike Boone says:

    Brilliant post!

  79. Da Hema says:

    I would not gloat yet Smiler. First, it is not a certainty the Habs will make the playoffs this year. It looks very likely, but Atlanta could still pass us and Boston. Second, even if we make the playoffs, are you truly looking forward to this team playing Washington or Pittsburgh? The stars would really have to align in our favor just to avoid getting swept in the first round (again).

    ————————

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

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  80. Mike Boone says:

    Horses— he puts me to shame!

  81. bigbighabsfan says:

    Thank you sir. I appreciate it.

  82. matrags says:

    right on about Gionta what a pick up, heart desire , grit , I laughed out loud on the fourth goal. Mucking until the end, He is six five and two hundred and fifty pounds of heart , and that can take you a long way.

  83. hablifting says:

    ZZzzzz.

    Glad you’re impressed.

  84. matrags says:

    and about Gionta , goes to show that some of those little scooters of Atom A hockey ,can make it all the way.

  85. Chuck Chuck Goose says:

    Cammy got offered more by Toronto but chose Montreal (for obvious reasons)

  86. B says:

    The new, improved and upgraded everywhere Habs have a .547 points%. Last years horrible train wreck had a .567 points%. Make all the excuses you like, but the bottom line is that the new team produces a little less points than last season’s team. We will soon find out if this season’s team can exceed the 93 points last year’s disaster managed. They made some very good moves and some not so good ones as well, but so far it looks like Gainey blew it up and built a more expensive team that has yet to show an improvement over the old one. I wonder how the betting odds for this team winning the cup compare to last season’s?

  87. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I don’t care if We win another game this year …I love this Team
    for it’s courage, tenacity and professionalism

    …I will remember
    this year’s Team for these reasons alone for a long time

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  88. Mr.Hazard says:

    I know lol, I made a comment about it after the game last night. The comment just seems lacking in relevance, because I haven’t heard people talk about Huet since the beginning of last season!

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  89. B says:

    It is a myth that guys signed here just because of the Gomez trade. They signed here because it was the best offer they got.

  90. Mr.Hazard says:

    Wait a second, let’s be reasonable! I get the point, but you can’t seriously not care if we don’t win another game this year?!

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  91. WarHero says:

    Not quite with on not winning another game … but I am sooo with you in that this team finally has some guts & balls! My only knock is that we don’t hit enough, other then that, i’m good :)

     

    ————————————————————————

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  92. WarHero says:

    Amen! I always love seeing the smallest guy in the league taking on the biggst guy :)

     

    ————————————————————————

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  93. WarHero says:

    hahaha, right on :)

     

    ————————————————————————

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  94. WarHero says:

    I’ve been saying that since the start of the season. We let a man go who would have been the next captain (Kovalev) go for man that should be the next captain of this team :)

     

    ————————————————————————

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  95. jbroderi says:

    I kind of agree.  They didn’t say “christ, they got gomez!!! sogn me up Bobby”

    but i do think that if they didn’t have a centre that they could promote to the news guys, it might have been a tougher sell.  There were many factors as to why gio and cammy signed here, with gomez just being own part of it.

    The other factors are all the hot ladies in montreal!!!

    with nice bums, like my picture shows!!

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  96. 100HABS says:

    No offence, señor Mike, but you have to admit: 1) he wrote goodly, 2) you write fast!

  97. WarHero says:

    First off, great post! Really enjoyed the read!

    This is what I would like to see be done with the goalies, while it may be unlikely, it could be a possibility depending on if our tenders are in for the money or not.

    1. Sign Halak for 2 years for about 2.5 mill or so.

    2. Sign Prce to a 2 year 2-way contract so that he can always get playing time and improve his game. We have 2 great goalies in Hamilton (Desjardins & Sanford) who could easily serve as an NHL back-up if need be and it would also give Carey a chance to feel some of that Magic that Coach Guy Boucher (The next Coach of the Habs for sure) is serving up with the Dogs. Many people would agree that the bigget mistake Gainey ever made with Price was not letting him develop in the AHL. While it may have worked with Fluery, it was not the answer for Carey.

    Getting Carey to sign a 2 way is the wild card and truly depends on how much Price wants to remain a Hab. Unfortunately, we all know what loyalty counts for these days.

     

    ————————————————————————

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  98. WarHero says:

    Goodly? hehee

     

    ————————————————————————

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  99. Willy the bum says:

    David and Goliath.

  100. twocents says:

    Nice post. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the matter in such a thorough and well written fashion.

  101. bigbighabsfan says:

    It looks like the Habs will be playing in the post-season. Their recent stretch has been as consistently good as any they have had in the last few seasons. The games they have lost recently could have went either way and I don’t think they’ve really been outplayed since the Philly games. Martin deserves praise as do the players for surpassing most people’s expectations. There are some real gamers on the team now. That goal by Gionta was just great even if it was just window dressing. Typical Gionta, great hussle, just went down there and stole a goal. Loved it. My personal opinion is that it will be a short stint in the playoffs. I don’t think this team is built for the playoffs and if I were betting I would bet nearly any team in the league including Toronto over Montreal in a 7 game series. That’s merely my opinion of course and others have theirs as well. Regardless, it was vital for this team to make the playoffs because I think it is going to have huge implications as to how the goaltending situation and roster shakes out in the offseason.

     

    Halak’s stock has risen exponentially this season. I think its fair to say that in most people’s eyes he had been a dependable back-up goalie who lacked the consistency to take the number one job. I am not sure if that is fair as the role was handed to Price and after his rookie season, there wasn’t much reason to think that it was going to change. Even this season where Halak has been stellar and Price has followed up a mediocre to poor sophomore year with an abysmal one, Price has I believe had more starts..might be wrong on that but it’s close. The point is that I don’t think a lot of people in positions that matter have seen Halak as a bona fide starter. A guy who will give you 60+ games. You have to think his play has made some believers. But until he wins a playoff round you’re going to hear exactly that – “yeah but..”. If the Habs hadn’t made the playoffs I don’t think the goalie situation woule be any clearer in the offseason than it is now.

     

    It’s a delicate situation for Gauthier. My belief is that the organization and most people still see Price as the future. I think that at this moment his stock is still significantly higher than Halak’s on the trade market as well. But it is falling make no mistake. There were enough people seduced by a combination of a big talented kid racking up trophies, and typical hysteria from the Montreal media, that he is still a guy on GM’s radar, and I doubt there is a club in the league who wouldn’t take a chance on him. But whereas he was one of the most coveted players in the NHL even a year ago, I don’t believe you are going to see anyone offer an elite player for him right now. He has reverted to prospect status, albeit a prospect with huge potential. It’s probably a moot point anyway because the Habs have no money for another star player. Gainey spent it all. Any deal involving Price would either have to be for young cheap players, or else someone would have to be willing to bring along Carey’s fat sister, be it Hamrlik or whoever. Combine that with the enormous risk of cutting bait with a guy who has been hailed as the next great one, and I see a Price trade as unlikely. Ideally you want to keep him around for at least two more seasons at a reasonable cost but his agent may have other ideas.

     

    The threat of an offer sheet is a real one as well. That could put Gauthier in very deep water. The idea that this is a breach of etiquette is outdated. This isn’t a bridge game. I wonder if any of these billionaires are, or allow their employees to be, as timid in their other endeavours. If I’m an owner and I have the cap space to take a chance on a potential star player, my GM is making that offer or he’s working somewhere else. I’ve never seen another sport where executives worry about hurting other’s feelings. If there is a big enough offer then I don’t know if the Habs will have the resources to match it. So if they are convinced he is the future, they had better get that signature this spring, or live with the possibility of losing him for draft picks.

     

    The situation with Halak is the same but different (yogi?). He could also get an offer sheet but I don’t think it is as risky from their perspective. I think Halak is looking to make bank next year and who can blame him. He doesn’t seem willing to take a backup role in Montreal for any period of time, so a long term solution with Price in the picture is unlikely. My hunch is that Montreal will try to do one of two things with him. Trade him. If not, they go to arbitration, they get a one year deal, he plays out his UFA year here, no doubt with a bit of a chip on his shoulder but thats fine.

     

    It’s a very interesting situation. You have a goalie who is out to prove everyone wrong, and another who is out to prove them right. The recent policy of doing nothing at all until it is too late will not do. It’s a decent club but the salary situation is going to require a lot of creativity from the front office if they are to improve. As for right now, they have a little breathing room in the standings and can afford to get Price into some games. Look for him to get one start in the back to back and then back to Halak for the third game regardless of what happens. Things can change fast in hockey. Halak can fall on his face in the playoffs and Price can come in and go on a tear. It’s possible though there is no reason to expect it and I don’t think that would be the best scenario for the franchise.

  102. Willy the bum says:

    I would definitely give the “A” to Moen instead of Gill.

    But I must become Jacques Martin first…

  103. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Wait a minute….trolls are short and you once told me you were short smiler2729,hummmm?……You Bastard!!!!!!!!!

  104. ManApart says:

    You think you’re so sane? some of the nonsense you’ve said over the year doesn’t fit into that category. Starting with how you’ve never given Halak any credit and always was a Price blowhard, no matter what the evidence showed. Well who’s eating crow now? Am I gloating about me telling you who the #1 goalie would and should be? Yeah.

  105. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    2009-10 with Markov in the lineup: 23-10-5. 51 pts in 38 games (.671)

    2008-09 with Markov in the lineup: 41-27-10. 92 pts in 78 games (.590)

    2009-10 without Markov in the lineup: 14-20-3. 31 pts in 37 games (.419)

    2008-09 without Markov in the lineup: 0-7-1. 1 point in 8 games (.063)

    This year’s team is better and it’s not close.

  106. 100HABS says:

    Habs have 7 games left. My bet – they go 4 -2 -1. That likely puts them in 6th place , playing Buffalo (http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Northeast/Canadiens2.html).

    I think we’ll get past the first round against Buffalo. Then who knows?

    The other places will move very little – Pens and Devils will switch spots. Boston in 7th and Flyers in 8th. Ottawa stays 5th.

  107. 100HABS says:

    That BigBig comment is way too long to read. I have work to do!

  108. SPATS says:

    What is Yappiere’s contract status? I doubt JM and PG give a flyin f*** what the antichambre crowd have to say. How many more minutes we gonna waste on him…. Metropolis or Darchebag any day IMO

  109. Da Hema says:

    Those are revealing statistics! In one sense, it tells us just how mediocre the current group of defencemen (sans Markov) are.

    ————————

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

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  110. smiler2729 says:

    Yeah, I’m eating crow on the Halak thing… he’s good. He’s real good. And pretty much the biggest reason the Habs are where they are…

    Mmmm, crow.

  111. smiler2729 says:

    I never told you I was short, I’m 6’1″… hmmm, maybe it was the evilsmiler2729 that sometimes types crap under this moniker. I’m gonna kick his ASS

  112. WarHero says:

    Hence why I said it was highly unlikely :)

    ————————————————————————

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  113. smiler2729 says:

    C’mon GonzoHippo, just watching post-season hockey is going to be a buzz this time…

  114. smiler2729 says:

    Wash it down with a beer or six… that’s how I usually eat my crow (Halak, Halak, Halak…)

  115. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    Oh, okay. I misread your point. You’re just comparing the overall team situation now to the situation this time last year. That makes more sense. I still disagree with you, but at least I see where you’re coming from now.

    Good talk.

  116. smiler2729 says:

    “War And Peace” in every sense.

  117. SPATS says:

    GIONTA FOR CAPTAIN, DRYDEN FOR PM

  118. Da Hema says:

    I agree it will be interesting, and I think they will not be an absolute embarrassment like last year in the playoffs. But they will need outstanding goaltending. I hope either Halak or Price provides it.

    ————————

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

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  119. Gormdog says:

    ridiculous. Both Washington and Pittburgh have goaltending issues. Not saying we would take them in a seven game series but it would not take a miracle to win one or two games against em.

  120. B says:

    So the mediocre D are not among the “upgrades everywhere”? The GA/G are down from to 2.67 from 2.93 last season, but some might point to better goaltending and the Martin system.
    Note that G/G are also down from 2.95 to 2.60.

  121. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    No doubt that we are a shell of ourselves without the MVP back there. I’m just glad that the changes were made, otherwise we could have been 1-30-5 by the time Markov made it back in December.

  122. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    I think for sure that Martin’s system is a big part of the reduction in goals for and against. I think it’s probably also to blame for the reduction in hair for a lot of Hab fans.

  123. smiler2729 says:

    I get the sense that no matter what he does in Montreal, Jaro Halak will never get the respect he deserves and his play is a result of the chip-on-his-shoulder/screw-‘em attitude he has burning inside. Even with the starting job he had for Slovakia at the Olympics which some just passed off as Halak not having much competition from Peter Budaj, he always has to prove himself to someone out there.

    Simply put, Halak is a solid NHL goalie.

    Obviously his playoff performance this year, win or lose, will make or break his reputation as a bonafide NHL number one. There is some feeling that maybe he becomes another Cristobal Huet, a goalie who built an early reputation by coming out of nowhere and shining until the NHL shooters caught up to his game and have pounced on his weaknesses.

    Then there is the other feeling that Halak becomes another Dom Hasek, who, destined to a career backup and afterthought in Chicago, was given the chance to prove it all night, every night in Buffalo. The reality is he probably is somewhere in between but the fight he has demonstrated has won him fans in Montreal slowly but surely over his 3 seasons here.

    As for Carey Price, immaturity and some pretty bad luck (of his own making perhaps) have many wondering what the fuss is all about after all. The games where he is on with a mojo are awesome to watch but his tendency to let a deflating goal by him has killed him many times in the eyes of the fickle fans.

    But athletically, he has the ability to go from his standard mechanical butterfly style to the scrambling never-give-up acrobats of Curtis Joseph, Marty Turco and ultimate ball hockey goalie on ice, Tim Thomas. It’s Price’s consistency, which is rooted between his ears, that needs honing.

    Price, being 22, is too valuable to simply give up on, the impatience of many fans notwithstanding. Once his head gets to where Halak’s is, he can be a franchise changer. Having Halak’s performances to push and challenge him is HUGE.

    Bottom line: right now Jaro Halak is peaking, Carey Price is not. Halak is the number one and Gauthier has to deal with deciding which is best fit to handle Montreal and all that comes with it for the long haul.

    Yikes.

  124. B says:

    So if Markov was in the lineup all season, Montreal would be solidly 2nd in the conference with a 100.65 points (75 games * .671 points%)? While it would be nice to think that with Markov they should have the edge over every team in the East but Washington, I just don’t think that is true. Extrapolation can be fun, but actual points are what count. Anything else is just idle speculation.

  125. petrov14 says:

    PAT BURNS HAS ARENA IN QUEBEC NAMED AFTER HIM

    I had no idea that Pat Burns was so sick. Last I had heard he beat his cancer.  Its truly a shame.

    ______________________________________ Lets name a Captain…..or does it even matter anymore?

  126. Danno says:

    Habs need to ride the Metro with Darche Vader.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  127. petrov14 says:

    Gionta would be an awesome Captain!

    ______________________________________ Lets name a Captain…..or does it even matter anymore?

  128. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    Totally agree, I don’t believe that we are a 2 seed even with a full year of Markov. I just saw you post numbers above, and posted some to give perspective. The extrapolation argument also applies to your original point. Yes, the Habs had more points last year, but if Gainey brought back those players, I think we would be in FAR worse shape than we are, both for the present and the future of the club.

  129. Mr.Hazard says:

    Why would people talk about keeping Huet when we have two excellent top-notch young goaltenders? I was all for keeping him, especially if the alternative was throwing in a rookie as starter. Look how well that turned out for Price! I still love Huet, but who needs him with Halak and Price backstopping us?

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  130. The Teacher says:

    You make very good points and your post was a pleasure to read. Too bad some people don’t have the pateince to read something like this.

  131. Duracell3 says:

    I can’t agree Gomez is much of an improvment over Saku. 13 more points thus far for $4,107,143 more. You can’t tell me that you couldn’t have kept Saku and gotten 13 points out of another $4,107,143 UFA.

     

    Albeit the move was more out of wanting to change the whole face of the team rather than performance based.

  132. B says:

    Hard to say really, but no harm in speculating I suppose. While I don’t think standing pat on last season’s team was the way to go, I am not sold on all of the whole scale changes that were made. Some very good moves, some not so good ones. The bottom line to me still remains that this season’s more expensive team has yet to show an improvement over last season’s disastrous blow up fodder. With their nasty cap situation, it will also be a challenge just to keep together most of the current team next season. I am not yet convinced they are in a better overall situation now.

  133. Duracell3 says:

    Lapierre is an “Arbitration Eligible RFA” at season’s end, as is Halak.

  134. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    I disagree with you there. I think that this year’s team has shown great improvement on last year’s. The consistent game effort and tenacity is spread throughout almost the entire team, as opposed to 1 or 2 guys last year. And while it isn’t fair to do a straight extrapolation, the numbers don’t lie. This group is better with Markov and they’re better without Markov.

    As for the cap, we’re tight this year and next; after that, we have some space. If we can move either Hamr or Spatch this summer, I think we’re in decent shape. If we had signed last year’s crop to multi-year deals, we would be in a similar predicament with an older, less talented, group tying us down.

  135. megagoten says:

    we’re supposed to talk about how huet let in 7 yesterday

  136. likehoy says:

    I don’t know if anyone’s noticed this but Brian Gionta has always scored more goals than assists when he’s playing with Scott Gomez…but when he’s without Gomez, he’s put up more assists than goals. I think that show’s he’s a versatile player that can adapt to people’s games such that he continues to be effective offensively.

    here are his stats for reference http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=1881

    - Team Halak V.S. Team Price…Montreal Canadiens Fans are similar to 14 year-old Girls going through Puberty.

  137. B says:

    My original post in this thread was responding to what I felt was premature crowing (pun intended) over how the team was upgraded everywhere. My opinion on this is unchanged. I do believe the goaltending has been better, but that was not due to any upgrading. I don’t believe in speculation that this version has more effort than the previous one (or the old cliche that they want it more). They certainly do have a much worse cap situation. It would be a shame to have to move Hamrlik because of it, I think he has been solid for them, especially when Markov was out and they had lean on him more than intended. Too bad they were put in a situation where because of cap space they will have to make moves they would otherwise not want to make.

    All that said, if they can hold on and make the playoffs then anything can happen, especially if they get some hot goaltending. It certainly would not hurt to have a healthy Markov in the playoffs either. Go Habs Go!

  138. showey47 says:

    Which moves were good an which were bad? The only one i question is spacek. Had it not been for fluky injuries both cammy and gionta would be pushing for 35 to 40 goals and we gave up no assets to get them. Did we lose the gomez trade? No. He had a rough first 30 or so but since the pouliot trade he’s been on a point per game pace. Gill is good when he plays the proper role. Mara has been injured half the year,but once again no assets give up and will be gone after the season. Ask ottawa if they want kovalev for another year at 5 million and saku had no interest in coming back.

    The difference between this year and last year was markov didn’t miss half the season . We also got off to a wicked start last year,something like 20-4-3 or something. We did have injuries last season,but nothing compared to this year. Do you think we would have squeaked into a playoff spot last year without markov playing half the season and having 2 top 6 forwards out for a combined 40 plus games? No chance, we would have had a lottery pick instead. This years team is better then last years team. I only wish gainey had brought back lang.

  139. forskis says:

    The crowing is somewhat warranted because many said that the changes to the team would result in no playoffs and a lottery pick, also when every other team re-tooled, the trolls/detractors said that the re-tooling of the other teams was BETTER than the Habs’ re-tooling…well, here is where the crowing comes in:  the re-tooling of the other teams DID NOT WORK, they are worse off than last season for the most part…the trolls/detractors are saying that the Habs are where they are today because the other teams suck; yes, that is true, but that is because you were wrong about the re-tooling of the other teams in the first place.

    Many lamented that we had Gainey and not Chiarelli….it looks like Chiarelli pulled a Gainey:  a first-place team where everything fell into place but ousted in the 2nd round followed by a disastrous year.  At least they have those draft picks from TO.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  140. showey47 says:

    I’m pretty sure last years team was just as expensive as this years team since we are close to the cap every year. The money was probably distributed differently throughout the lineup. Remeber robert lang (who i liked) was a 3rd line center making 4 million and we had a bunch fringe players like begin,dandy and cube who were making somewhere between 1.2 and 1.9 million dollars.

  141. Duracell3 says:

    Possibly, but no more likely than a Canadian Goalie going to the KHL, at least for now, as the rules state a foreign (non-former-SSR national) can only play 65% of the games. Although you may have a point as his salary range might mean he makes a lot more in the KHL.

  142. Danno says:

    La belle Chantal Machababe as Governor General!

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  143. Danno says:

    Speaking about retooling. Toronot has the most tools in the whole league.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  144. notbigbird says:

    Dryden isn’t dead. Why should we want to do a post mortem on him?

  145. B says:

    True, but they were not carrying much commitment over to the next season. They had a ton of room to move last summer whereas that is certainly not the case this coming summer.

    At the end of last season they had about $23.5M committed for the next one on 11/12 of their regulars (5/6 F, 4 D, 2 G) and a few minor leaguers:
    http://www.nhlnumbers.com/overview.php?team=MTL&season=0809

    They currently have about $45.7M committed for next season on 11 of their current regulars(5 F, 6 D, 0 G), a few minor leaguers and Laraque:
    http://www.nhlnumbers.com/overview.php?team=MTL&season=0910

    With only $13M or less left to spend (depending on where the new cap comes in), the unsigned guys for next season include: Plekanec, Pouliot, S.Kostitsyn, Metropolit, Moore, Lapierre, Darche, Pyatt, Bergeron, Price and Halak. Mara is not signed (or likely to be) for next season.

    Huge difference there.

  146. B says:

    Last season’s team had injuries too, Tanguay and Lang missed 64 games between them and other top forwards missed some games too. Between injuries and suckage, only 3 D played more than 66 games (only 4 more than 54). Like I said originally, make all the excuses you like, but the bottom line is that the new team has produced a little less points than last season’s team did. As far as subjective opinions go, I just don’t share the rosy everything has been upgraded opinion expressed by others here in this thread. Different strokes.

  147. The Juice says:

    @ Danno:

     

    Zing!

  148. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    Yes, both teams had injuries, but there is only one that was common to both teams – Markov. As I stated before, we are a better team than last year when Markov is in the lineup and when Markov is out. I don’t understand how you don’t see this team as an upgrade over last year’s. There is only one guy who left the team that is currently outperforming the guy we got to replace him – Gui – and I would still make that trade any day of the week.

  149. HUDSONHAB says:

    Gionta has been what I expected from him.

    Gomez? Not so much. I will say this however, if Gomez continues to play like he has the past 15 games or so, I will take back every swear word I sent his way the first 50 games.

    Hab4life

  150. Thomas Le Fan says:

    What if all the other teams went to, “No, I mean old time everything, Tommy!” or got wiped out by the T-shirt cannon? Or heck, what if we had have finished last a couple of times instead of over-achieving with mediocrity?   

  151. B says:

    I am comparing this season’s team as a whole to last season’s team as a whole. I am not comparing how certain new faces in Montreal are doing individually compared to how certain subjectively matched players not in Montreal anymore are doing this season.

    The bottom line is that so far, the team is scoring a bit less and not producing quite as many points as last season. This season’s team has a -2 goal differential, last season’s team had a +2. These are slight differences. The cap situation is a big difference. I don’t expect any big changes in the team stats through the remaining 7 games. Make excuses, blame injuries, extrapolate and/or compare slices of stats all you want, but claiming that everything is better is simply a subjective opinion to me, one that we differ on. I am just not convinced yet that Gainey made everything better last summer. Different strokes. Not a big deal really.

  152. showey47 says:

    Look what happened when the injuries struck the team last year,they went from a top 4 team to falling ass backwards into a playoff spot only. The amazing start of the season saved their asses last year from not being a lottery pick team. This years team was actually able to stay some what competitive despite not having markov for half the season. How many games would last years team have won if markov missed half the season? How many potential 35 goal scorers missed time for the habs last year? ZERO,ok maybe lang. This year how many? Gionta,Cammy,Pouliot and possibly even ak46(more like 30 though). Thats why i say better “team” this team still finds ways to win half the time when battling tough long term injuries.Last years didn’t. It’s hardly excuses,its called common sense. Just look at how “great” those players we let go are producing for their new teams. No playoffs for tanguay or koivu and do you think ottawa wants to pay kovalev another 5 million next year?

  153. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    My point is that the team was old and worn down so Gainey went out and found us better players at each position. Yes, last year we had more cap room. That’s why he went out and got more players. If he resigned last year’s guys instead, we would be in the same cap position, but with older guys who aren’t as good as the ones we have now.

    To be honest, I’m not even sure if I have your argument right, so I apologize. Are you saying that you wanted the team from last year resigned, or is it something else entirely?

  154. DearyLeary says:

    Gomez’ contract is worth eating because I have no doubt that Gionta and Cammaleri only sign because of Gomez.  With Subban likely to come up next year we can likely offload one of our bigger contracts at the back, and maybe package with one of our keepers to snag a big piece come draft day. 

    But for now, I’m excited to see if we stay healthy and make a little noise in the post season.

  155. punkster says:

    Outstanding points of view. Got me thinking on a different line about these two goalies. Not a slam dunk any which way. I suppose we’re in an admirable position to have 2 such good tenders but the situation damns us.

  156. Rugger says:

    Here are some what if’s:

    What if Hab’s win 0 more games, Atl needs to go 3-4-1 to keep us out

    Habs win 1 game, atl must go 4-3-1

    Habs win 2, ATL 5-2-1

    Habs win 3, Atl 6-1-1

    Habs win 4, Atl 7-0-1

    Very promising.

  157. smiler2729 says:

    So now all the Gainey bashers are eatin’ crow…

    Upgrades everywhere, upgrades that a lot of us here got pumped about last July 1st and were shot down by trolls at every mention of how cool it was to have Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, Gill & Spacek.

    Heck, I got pumped by the Dom Moore trade cuz I saw how good he was last season for Toronto (I have to live here with Leaf Morons) but Gauthier got the troll shaft for giving up a 2nd rounder.

    I never even cried when Bob shipped out Huet to Washington for a 2nd rounder a couple of seasons ago (his Hab career forever etched in my psyche by two images – one, letting a weak Matt Stajan wrister from the blue line in during the final game of the ’07 season and him on knees for a shoulder high Cory Stillman shot to end the Habs’ playoff run in ’06)… I can’t believe the trolls whined about Bob dealing him for something/anything.

    But the so-called trolls own the space here as most sane fans either post rarely or just not at all.

    Am I gloating?

    Yeah.

    PS. What if Chris Chelios and Patrick Roy were never traded…

  158. ooder says:

    the good year followed by a disaster seems like a common trend for the east.

    at first it was buffalo, then the sens, then the habs, now the bruins.

    it seems like verything evened out now though

    ——————

    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  159. B says:

    My main point remains simply that so far, this season’s team has not done better than last season’s team. Certainly nothing to start crowing about yet. Sorry if I was not clear on this. Below is a direct cut and paste from one of my other posts in this thread (currently about 5 or 6 posts below this one):


    While I don’t think standing pat on last season’s team was the way to go, I am not sold on all of the whole scale changes that were made. Some very good moves, some not so good ones. The bottom line to me still remains that this season’s more expensive team has yet to show an improvement over last season’s disastrous blow up fodder. With their nasty cap situation, it will also be a challenge just to keep together most of the current team next season. I am not yet convinced they are in a better overall situation now.

  160. Thomas says:

    We’ve all seen Gio on a number of occasions check Chara, or Meyers, or some other ‘big dude’ defensemen off the puck in the corners, don’t deny it, i’ve sen it with my own eyes, the guy is a legend.  This guy has a heart the size of an elephant, and the determination of a pacific salmon.

  161. 100HABS says:

    Okay. Work is over, I had time to read it. First let me congratulate you on your grammar in such a long post. You put Boone to shame.

    What stands out to me in your blurb is the question of offer sheets for the goalies. The Offer Sheet Rules say we get different picks depending on the amount of the offer. Assuming anyone bothering with an offer sheet would give $4M, we’d end up with at least 2 first round choices. Seeing as we have no spare cash, I think we’d have to let it go. It also may not be such a bad thing.

    Frankly, I still believe it ‘s Halak this year, Price in the future. Halak was not this good 2 years ago, and Price still has a .912 which is fantastic for a 22-yr-old. But I do believe we won’t be able to sign both this summer with our current cap hit. That is unfortunate. So I think maybe we match a Price offer sheet, take the picks for a Halak offer sheet.

  162. I_SAY_FIGHT says:

    the only problem with trading price is that halak will go to the khl as soon as he becomes a UFA.
    BBBOOONNNNGGGGG

  163. jbroderi says:

    double post

     

  164. jbroderi says:

    apologies, i guess his nose is broke.  Even though I don’t agree with your point, i can see where you are coming from.  None of us have the perfect answers, but we all agree we have to stop these injuries, or no parents are going to let their children play hockey.

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  165. 100HABS says:

    Just read all the news I could find on the Booth hit. The broken nose was a comment by Brunet yesterday, but there is no mention of it today – although he was bleeding, I just don’t know from where.

    It was confirmed that he suffered a concussion and his season is over. HOW IS THAT NOT A HEAD SHOT? If you watched even once, you see him crumple – he was clearly hit in the head and concussed upon contact with Spacek.

    You are obviously in some kind of freaky denial.

  166. Natrous says:

    Sooo… concussion = headshot? I don’t think so. I for one have suffered a concussion or two, and I can tell you for a fact that the 2nd one happens a lot easier than the 1st one did. Any hit that makes a player stop instantly – and thus shakes the brain to any degree within the skull – can cause a concussion, regardless of where the hit was administered, be it to the torso, side, or head.

    The comparison of high sticking without intent or damage to any hit resulting in a concussion is absurd and just doesn’t hold water. Concussions happen on clean hits, and that’s just part of the game, just like in football. It’s one thing to target the head and be suspended soon after, but it’s another thing to throw a clean hit that results in a concussion. Apples and oranges.

  167. 100HABS says:

    The guy was knocked out and had a broken nose. It doesn’t really matter what you can and cannot see, there was obviously contact to the head.

  168. notbigbird says:

    Heart and tenacity and a fair bit of talent?

    I am also quite happy that he moved on, but I have never understood belittling him (which is not necessarily what you initially intended to do) because he supposedly wasn’t a first line center. He was a wonderful player in his own right. Besdes, by certain criteria, I wonder how many teams have a true first line centre. I would include the blathering about Gomez in this question. I think we may have to distinguish between elite and first line. Perhaps neither Koivu or Gomez are elite, but perhaps they are/were both first line? In Gomez’es case, for example, he’s been the first line centre for three times. Kind of proves a point — for me anyway.

    PS: I know I’m rambling into other areas. I get carreid away sometimes. :)

     

  169. showey47 says:

    Koivu did not want to come back,he wanted to move on. Gainey didn’t “let him walk”, koivu wanted to leave.

  170. jbroderi says:

    we wouldn’t be habs fans if we didn’t get carried away  ie:  the o zone penalty comment.  a little below the belt for old saku

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  171. B says:

    Koivu never was a super star and he never was payed as one either. Gomez is a slight improvement (.76 ppg vs .64 ppg) but that is comparing a $3.25M 2nd line center to a $8M ($7.357M cap hit) supposed 1st line center. I think that ppg and assists are the only stats where Gomez has the edge this season. I am not sure if the slight improvement is worth the huge $ difference, especially for a team that is so tight up against the cap.

  172. B says:

    A very sensible and well made post. Note that Koivu is 35.

  173. Da Hema says:

    I very much admired Saku, and you are right that his first knee injury appeared to be what put the cap on his potential.

    Saku was the right player on the wrong kind of team. His size, and the fact he played on some very thin and poor Hab teams, meant opponents were able to singularly focus on him. I wonder how he would have fared with the Habs teams of the 1980s and early 1990s? Mats Naslund was about the same size as Koivu, but he was able to play with guys like Craig Ludwig, Chris Chelios, Larry Robinson, Chris Nilan, and Mike McPhee–players who cannot but add 20 pounds of courage to their teammates. Some of the treatment Saku received by opponents in his career in Montreal would have been met by deadly force had he played with the 1980s Habs.

    Oh well. I wish Saku the very best in Anaheim!

    ————————

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

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  174. B says:

    Funny that most ignore the 23 minors Gomez has taken so far this season. He has taken more penalties than Koivu this season and last.

  175. The Teacher says:

    It’s because we knew Saku intimitately as a player, so a lot of fans were like an old Italian wife, nagging at the same thing over and over LMAO!

  176. jbroderi says:

    I don’t want to be lynch mobbed here, but I’m going to say it like I see it.

    Koivu provided a huge emotional feel good story when he battled back from cancer, but he was only ever a second line centre.  How many times did he break 70 points?  twice, maybe three times?  Maybe he was this great leader, but I still think the emotional support carried him farther than he play did here in Montreal.  I like Koivu very much, but it was clear that they would never win anything with him, unless he was a supporting character.  What has he done for Anaheim??

     

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  177. captaink4life says:

    I’m not disputing the fact that he wasn’t a superstar, 1st line centre. All I’m saying is without all those injuries, maybe he could have been.

    As far as playoff succes is concerned, it takes more than one guy to win a Stanley Cup. Can you remember when Koivu had the supporting cast to make a legitimate Cup run? He can’t really be blamed for that. He did everything that was asked of him, yet it was never enough. Not re-signing him was the right move though, both for him and for the organization.

    His role in Anaheim is what it should have been here. A 2nd line centre on a team with real, bonafide stars like Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan. Unfortunately for Anaheim though, they’re underachieving tremendously. At 36, Captain K is nearing the end of his career. I don’t think anyone expected him to go to Anaheim and put up 75+ points. He’ll finish somewhere between 50-60, which are very respectable numbers for a 2nd line center (think Scott Gomez but for $4M less :P).

     

    You will always be a Canadien in my eyes, Saku

  178. jbroderi says:

    you make some good points, and we agree on his career potential.  we also agree on not resigning him.  I always liked koivu, don’t get me wrong..

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  179. TheDagger says:

    He has the best +/- for the Ducks this year!! Absolutely loved him on the Habs, never took a day off, great leader, I too wonder what could have been if he had better luck health-wise. Nevertheless, will always be one of my favorite Habs ever!

    “A month before the season I stop putting ketchup on my french fries.” -Mario Lemieux on his off-season training.

  180. notbigbird says:

    What does first or second line ability have to do with anything? Sorry, but if measured by the same criteria, Gionta is also a second line player. Koivu was a tiger who made players around him better; Gionta and Gomez are more of an ensemble. It seems, they need each other.

  181. The Juice says:

    Not resigning Koivu was Bob’s biggest gaffe. How can you let our Captain for so many years walk?? He was the heart and soul of the Habs and I’d take him over Gomez any days (half the price too). Sheesh

  182. jbroderi says:

    1st or second line has everything to do with it when you are trying to make him a savior or saint to the franchise.  What leadership qualities were so evident?  maybe all the dumb o-zone penalties he took?

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  183. Da Hema says:

    Really? How can we ignore that avatar?

    ;-)

    ————————

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

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  184. jbroderi says:

    sorry, ignore this

  185. Ian Cobb says:

    Wrote and posted this after the game last night,  it was supposed to be put up on today’s, ABOUT LAST NIGHT. So here it is!

     

    I have a much better appreciation for Moen’s game. He made a huge
    difference tonight. The team as a whole is better than they show most
    nights. I believe Martin plays a far two passive style of game. He
    needs to turn the boys lose to create spontanious plays at times.

    Halak did not have a ton of shots but his very solid play has put him
    in the driver’s seat. He is a little more careful with the puck , after
    he touches it, it always goes to a safe area or to one of his team
    mates or he kills the play.

    Cary on the other hand is a little
    more daring and adventurous and the puck often ends up with the
    opposition as he tries to do a little to much with it. He will be a
    great goal tender in this league in time. It would have helped a lot if
    he had of spent a year or two in Hamilton to mature and hone his
    skills. But he will have to put in his development time of the fly now.
    It might take a little more time this way, but he will get there and be
    a real force for us.

    Martin Knows who his #1 is now, and will use him mostly the rest of the way I think.

    We
    cannot continue to play this way and be successful against better
    teams. Once we get the lead we do not try to put the games out of reach
    offensively. We go into a more defensive posture of play.

    At
    one point of play tonight we had 6 goal tenders on the ice all standing
    in the shooting lanes ready to block shots or passes. No one was
    attacking the man with the puck. Just a matter of time before they pot
    one playing that game.

    Can you just imagine the amount of
    penalties Gill, O’Byrne and Hammer will be taking in the play offs if
    we play that way against the speedy Washington or Pittsburgh clubs.
    Gill might as well sit in a chair in front of the net waving his stick
    back and forth watching the opposition fly around him.

    We have as
    good of a 4 line hockey club as most in this league, but our defence
    will only be addressed next camp. Until then we will continue to sit on
    the edge of our seats and chew our finger nails for the remainder of
    the year.

  186. twocents says:

    Ian, I totally agree about our passive play with a narrow lead. It makes me uncomfortable. But, like in New Jersey it can be mastered and be a successful strategy. A damn nerve racking and boring strategy, but a credible one nonetheless if these players can master it.

    They haven’t yet and I would be way more comfortable if the plan was altered to include more puck pressure and continued offensive focus in those situations.

    But I/we ains’t the coach.

  187. matrags says:

    I am one who thinks  that the emergence of Halik is the best thing to happen to Carey Price . Sometimes  a young talent whose cup runeth over too often and early loses the prospective gained from adversity and long nighrts  when the cup is empty. Price will look back on this season as a milestone in his developement ,learning its lessons  one can only acquire in adversity , gaining the experience  that will shape  his character and make him the great goalie  he is destined to be.  

  188. avatar_58 says:

    My gut tells me we lose a goalie this off season. :( Which I really hate because Price is my fav and Halak is a damn superhero some nights. It’s just not fair….

  189. Gormdog says:

    I think you just blew the NHL’s mind. Way too logical for them to handle!

  190. The Teacher says:

    You have to be careful with the first one because often times when bracing your shoulder for a hit, it goes up. So that would be a very arbitrary point to put it because it leaves it open for interpretation.

    The only thing about the second point is that if a player has his head down and is looking for the puck, he kinda is an idiot, but having been in that situation before and being the hittee, I don’t disagree with it that much, especially if it within 5 feet of the boards. Hits like that in open ice I’m not sure about.

     

    Agree on the 3rd point.

     

    The fourth one, you are getting into hockey plays now. If a player if reaching for a puck and gets hit normally gets killed, it’s his problem. As an NHL player you have to protect yourself from hits like that. If a player purposely targets the head on a play like that, then ok.I guess I am wondering why this point even has to be here.

  191. jbroderi says:

    I personally think that there are a few factors that need to be examined for hits to the head, mainly in terms of supplemental suspensions.

    • was the head the first point of contact, or did  he head hit after his shoulder, arm, etc

     

    • Did the hitter raise his arms or shoulder towards the players head, or did he stay level. (scott stevens always lifted upwards.  if he played in todays game, he would be suspended frequently.  as it is, he made the hall of fame partly on those boerderline hits)
    • We know that hitters never play the puck, but did the hit serve a purpose as to seperate the player from the puck, or was it a late hit after a pass, shot etc.  Also, if the puck was in his skates, was there an uneccessary agression with the hit.
    • obviously, the blind side hit should carry more weight than a simple north-south hit.
    • lastly, could the hit be looked at as taking advantage of a vulnerable player.  Off balance, reaching in for a puck, etc.

    I think that these factors, if interpreted correctly, may lead to a more stable platform to address suspensions from.  Any other suggestions??

     

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  192. Ian Cobb says:

     

    Eric, I still think this team now, can take clubs that will have home ice advantage in the play offs. We are not the team of last year to be sure and we are twice as good as we were in the first half of the season.

  193. twocents says:

    i think we can beat Buffalo, have a shot against Washington, could possibly take New Jersey with a superior goaltending performance, but I don’t see much hope against a healthy Pittsburgh. 

    Ah, but that’s what the playoffs are all about, you never know what can happen.

  194. Danno says:

    Anything is possible guys. So long as Chris Lee isn’t officiating.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  195. Habscore says:

    Thanks again for these great “About last night”. Simply love it. It only pumps me up even more for the next game. For most of us readers, the HabsI/O site & twitter (in other words, you guys)are part of our everyday routine. :)It’s my night reading or makes my morning coffee even more enjoyable the next day. Keep up the good work!

  196. Danno says:

    Gotta get our fix, whether we’re winning or losing it’s great to share thoughts and discuss. I also like Dennis Kane’s blog.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  197. jbroderi says:

    Agreed!! I don’t know a lot of Habs fans Down Here (there are lots, I just don’t know them)  so it’s nice to be able to talk to fellow habbites on a regular basis.  Keep up the good work!!

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  198. avatar_58 says:

    Yep, even after losses. I like that usually Boone echoes the sentiment of fans. INCLUDING our temper tantrums and “wtf was JM thinking” moments :)

  199. PrimeTime says:

    Good Morning Mike.

    I see all is happy in your “Boone’s World” today….Better keep an eye on the number of posts though as numbers project to be low after that win and a subsequent positive ALN. Hope you have teed up and are prepared to instate a more controversal discussion for this afternoon. A drop in posts until our next lost will not suffice.. You know what to do if all else fails ;)  

    Anonymous.

  200. cautiousoptimist says:

    After seeing the replay of Spacek’s hit a few times, I can’t for the life of me see where Booth’s head hits anything.  The media are calling it a headshot, but I just don’t see it.

    1. http://www.flickeringpictures.com – not a hockey site, but still kinda neat
    2. Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”
  201. Ian Cobb says:

    I think his head hit Spacek’s chest!!! clean enough. Maybe it came in contact with the ice??

  202. jbroderi says:

    I know!!  how did he cut his face??  It just looked like his body kind of folded in on itself when he got nailed, but i didn’t see head contact either.  He didn’t go to the hospital for a cut, whether he got one or not.  He was seeing stars, big time

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  203. Ian Cobb says:

    I love the great hip checks, body checks, but can not touch a players
    head with your stick or body. No grey area. If people like knock outs
    watch boxing and even there they have padded gloves, not armoured
    platted.

  204. OldGrover says:

    I don’t think that’s a controllable thing, though, Ian.  You hit someone shoulder on shoulder, he folds around and his head hits your chest – penalty? You are moving to check, he drops his head – penalty?

    High sticking is different – if you keep your stick down, you cannot be penalized for high sticking, whatever the opponent does.  With the head shot rule, anyone checking can be penalized without them being able to control it.

  205. 100HABS says:

    Spacek hit: To me, that’s a two-minute penalty. Not in the present rulebook (including the new modification) but I believe it should be.

    A player gets an automatic 2-minute penalty for accidentally tapping a player on the back of the helmet with his stick. No pain, no mark, but it’s a high-stick. No problem with that rule, it makes players think of controlling their stick.

    I would do the same for shots to the head. Spacek did nothing wrong. If Booth kept his head up, it would have been a harmless but effective hit. But like the auto high stick, he made contact with the head. By putting an auto 2-minute on that, the players will re-program themselves and the number of hits like these (unintentional, but dangerous) will be reduced.

  206. OldGrover says:

    Does that mean nobody can check Gionta?  That Hal Gill or Chara or O’Byrne can’t check anybody?  There’s a 12″ size difference between various players in the league.

  207. jbroderi says:

    I strongly disagree.  I still didn’t even see his head hit anything.  I am all for a rule about head shots, a harsh rule, but i didn’t see contact to the head, spacek didn’t jump or even raise his arms or shoulder.  He just went straight in.

    You do make a good point on the high stick rule though.  I hate when they call that and the player is on his knees though, not really a high stick.

    I think that hit is what you teach kids about. 

     

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  208. jew4jah says:

    clean hockey hit.  it’s not a little girls league. (see moen)

  209. TheDagger says:

    So what was Spacek supposed to do there?  Get on his knees?  Let Booth go around him?  It would be an absolute non-issue if Booth didn’t have scambled eggs for brains from that illegal, DIRTY hit by Richards.  Spacek’s hit was a clean, perfect hockey play.  I don’t understand how anyone can even begin to look at this as a dirty or penalty-worthy play.  I swear some people want this league to turn into Disney On Ice.

    “A month before the season I stop putting ketchup on my french fries.” -Mario Lemieux on his off-season training.

  210. ooder says:

    I disagree, had that been any other hockey palyer other then david booth, who has had a major concussion this year, that player would have been fine

    ——————

    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  211. Danno says:

    That’s what I thought Ian.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  212. OldGrover says:

    I just have to say that I love this – http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Northeast/MapleLeafs.html

    I’m almost more pleased to see they aren’t quite eliminated, but rather that if they go 8-0-0 they STILL have only 0.3% of making the playoffs

    Which is awesome.

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Northeast/Canadiens.html – 96.3% of making the playoffs for us!  Monte Carlo analysis is very cool.

  213. STZA says:

    sinteti toti poponari

  214. andrewberkshire says:

    Surprisingly Boone, there’s still a few posters around who bash the Huet trade, and even make the claim that he’s as good as either goalie we have.

  215. SeriousFan09 says:

    Perhaps they can ask the Hawks fans how he does in front of the best Top 4 Defensive unit in the NHL? Below .900 save % is a farce for a guy who is supposed to be a #1 goalie.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  216. Mike Boone says:

    One hates to be judgmental, but they’re f-ing imbeciles who know nothing about hockey.

  217. jimhasbeen says:

    who did we get with that 3rd rounder (or 2nd?) in return?

  218. Mike Boone says:

    Ah, that explains it. If Huet played BEHIND Duncan Keith et al, he’d have a higher save percentage.

  219. andrewberkshire says:

    Agreed completely. Should definitely ask some Hawks fans how they feel about their goaltending after tonight.

  220. SeriousFan09 says:

    His tendency to join the odd-man rush has been highly criticized this season.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  221. andrewberkshire says:

    I’d have to agree Boone! That said I never thought Huet was nearly as bad as he’s been this year. What a disaster.

    .895 save percentage while facing around 22 shots per game, behind the best defensive team in the West… Price or Halak would be run out of town with numbers like that!

  222. avatar_58 says:

    Say what you will but Huet was my fav hab when he was here. A workhorse doing what he had to do. Remember he was traded so PRICE could be #1, not Halak. How’s that worked out for us? Halak is plan b, a plan b that’s worked out due to pure luck of the draw. How many other teams have TWO young guys looking to steal #1?

  223. Chuck says:

    I’ve got a feeling that we wont be saying “_____-who?” after the next goalie is shipped out of town.

    _____________________________________

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

  224. avatar_58 says:

    But hey I’m sure for the first few games people will be all over the trade. Until the player traded for begins to suck, the other goalie has a few soft games and the traded goalie posts back to back shutouts.

    Then again as habs fans who the hell are we kidding, we’d complain anyway

  225. Robert L says:

    Everyone, and I’ll add myself (been there), thinks they know everything about the game as soon as they learn anything about hockey. The thing is, the more you learn, the more you learn you do not know.

    No one is a “know-it-all”. Those trying to profess such, are in fact the imbeciles Boone refers to. You might convince yourself…

    http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/

  226. SeriousFan09 says:

    Travis Moen, solid 3rd-line player who will play through anything. I’ve liked him since the moment he started playing. He does just what the team needs him to do, what more can we ask for? He makes the Moore line the best 3rd line we’ve had all season, they’ll be a big part of the playoff success this team could have.

     

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  227. Bob Barker says:

    yeah Moen is a prototypical third-liner. I thought he was a great signing. 

  228. jew4jah says:

    gionta is the kind of player koivu should have been.  what an improvement.

    gionta or cammi for captain already.  (my vote is for cammi, he’s of the tribe)

  229. captaink4life says:

    Koivu would have been that player (and maybe more) had he not suffered a very serious knee injury, a battle with cancer and almost losing his vision in one eye. You may have forgotten that he was leading the LEAGUE in scoring when he suffered that first knee injury, but I haven’t.

     

     

    You will always be a Canadien in my eyes, Saku

  230. avatar_58 says:

    They SHOULD have kept Huet. It would have meant a lighter load for the young goalies. Halak or Price in hamilton building confidence – the other as a backup role learning the ropes. Switchable too – if need be. Instead we traded our veteran, who was NOT playing all that bad, and decided to roll the dice.

    While they are doing ok now let’s not forget what has happened with Price in the playoffs. Young goalies should not be thrown to the wolves. I mean look whats happened – we may be forced to LOSE one. Unacceptble in my eyes given they are both studs. I only hope mr Halak can drag the team further into the playoffs than they have been in a decade.

    Or hell if not, let Price have a go. That’s one positive – we do NOT have to rely on one guy. (Unless you are one of those dolts who blames the loss on Carey that last game.)

  231. light_n_tasty says:

    I don’t think Halak needs a lighter load.  

    You say we may be forced to lose one of our goalies because Huet is gone.  But do you really think we could keep Huet ($5.625 million cap hit) Price, and Halak?

    I loved Huet while he was here.  He was a great story.  Maybe they should have let him go as a free agent in ’08.  But they got a pick for him instead. No biggie.

    Personally, I think Huey’s 5.625 is being better spent, even if it was used to overpay free agents and Gomez.

  232. andrewberkshire says:

    And what’s Huet’s playoff record? Never won a single round.

  233. Bob Barker says:

    you mean the same Huet that let in 7 goals on 27 shots last night playing on a stacked Chicago team? Huet was a UFA and wasn’t worth resigning. Chicago’s basically paying him 5+ million to be their backup. 

  234. showey47 says:

    Would you pay huet’s 5.625 million dollar contract to be a back up? For those bitching about only getting a 2nd rounder. You think the hawks could get that for him now? Huet has one of the worst save percentages in the league.Thankfully for him,he is on a team that only allows about 22 shots against per game and scores 5 goals a game. Teams like the hawks,on most nights,can cover up below average goaltending.

  235. dicktracy says:

    Looks like we  might not know our playoff matchup until the last day of the regular season. Lots of work for the scouts.

  236. matraque says:

    I also have a what if.

    What if Halak had 5 more games played?

    ——

    Komisarek: 0 – 4 – 4 (-9)
    http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8469460

  237. andrewberkshire says:

    He would probably have 3 more wins?

  238. light_n_tasty says:

    Since we are on what-ifs, here’s some updated Markov / Halak stats.

    w/o Markov: 14-20-3 (.412 win %)

    w/o Halak:  13-19-5 (.406)

    w/o Both:   8-14-3 (.364)

     

    with Markov: 23-10-5 (.697)

    with Halak:  24-11-3 (.686)

    with Both:   18-5-3 (.783)

     

    Caps win %: .778

    NJ: .632

    Pitt: .627

     

    SJ: .703

    CHI: .697

    PHX: .667

  239. sillywalk says:

    It looked to me like his ears were bleeding, not that he was cut.

  240. Jbird says:

    Sounds good to me.  Although who really cares about the A’s ;-)  Would they strip Big Hal of the A????  That would be a controversy. *eye role*  

    Personally I wish Cammy played better all around so they could give it to him.  But I say its a no brainer on Gionta – guy is a stand up all around proven player.  By the way that was the coolest empty netter I’ve seen.

     

  241. VancouverHab says:

    OK Gomophobes: the Habs’ second goal tonight — who in the NHL could have done more or better in the full set of sequences that led to Gio’s goal? I say no-one — & it’s a set of plays that any historical great would be proud to own.

  242. light_n_tasty says:

    w Cammy: 26-25-6 (.510)

    w Gionta: 27-22-5 (.551)

    w MAB: 26-20-7 (.565)

    Habs: 37-30-8 (.552)

     

    Take from that what you will.  I would argue there’s not much there to take. Obviously, I’m not arguing one player is better than the other or whatever.  What I am suggesting is that, when both Halak and Markov play, they have a HUGE impact. I’m also not claiming that the great numbers for Halak+Markov are due only to their play.  I’m sure it’s also a factor that Halak+Markov really only happened in the 2nd half, after the Pouliot acquisition got the Gomez line going, and after other players have had time to ‘gel’.

    Speaking of Pouliot: 18-9-5 (.667): hmmmmmm……

    As for Price, I don’t recall mentioning him in my post…but, in my view, when two goalies play on the same team, the only stat that really counts is wins.  I don’t really care how great Price plays when he loses.  And he is very very good at that.

  243. Braz_Habs says:

    It was a second rounder in 2009, mate. We traded it to Atlanta along with a 3rd for Mathieu Schneider when our PP was suffering last year, similarily how it was before MAB arrived in town…

     

    Supposidly they drafted some kid named Jeremy Morin with it:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=7148&hubname=nhl-thrashers

  244. Shublips says:

    Moen played his best game of the season, Halak was solid and Moore looks like has found a home on the 3rd line!  Hopefully they bring a solid game against Jersey on Saturday!

    Read more:
    http://www.habsaddict.com/2010/03/montreal-florida-brian-giontas-two.html

  245. 100HABS says:

    LOL – it’s a good point, but nobody can hit Gionta’s head with a stick, even though it’s barely at the height of a backswing for a minor-league slapshot.

    Also you’re not allowed to elbow G – Chara, for example, has had to adjust to that.

  246. avatar_58 says:

    Yes because he *would* have gotten the contract another team offered yes? No he wouldn’t. Also the pick they got for him was flipped was it not? Look how well that year went. So theoretically they lost him for nothing. I don’t see why he couldn’t have been signed for far less.

    As for his production since leaving the habs – I ask you, what about Kovalev? Same thing. Maybe some players don’t do well being bounced around? Is it too much to think maybe they LOVED Montreal and that’s why they did better here?

  247. showey47 says:

    How do you know he wasn’t looking for that kind of money from montreal? Are you his agent? Funny how people keep saying the term “home town discount” which you didn’t actually say but you are implying. Other then markov,when was the last time that happened? The hawks would love to lose huet for nothing this upcoming summer. The caps offered huet close to 5 million which he turned down and instead gave it to theo. But yeah,i’m sure huet wasn’t looking for money at all. He cashed in on a retirement contract good for him,he wasn’t getting it from us and that i’m thankful for.  As for kovalev, he had one good year in montreal. Long story short,either goalie we have now is better then huet and combined has come for almost half the cap hit. Huet’s gone,live with it.Once his contract is done he will probably be joining guys like biron trying to find nhl work at the league minimum wage.

  248. 100HABS says:

    It’s also not wrastling. It’s also not boxing. It’s a contact sport and I don’t like to see guys injured. I like to see them play hockey without fear of cheapshots, but with grit and determination. You don’t have to make contact to the head to play hockey.


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