About last night …

So far, so good.

Like Red Fisher, I was – and remain – skeptical about the trade that sent Cristobal Huet to Washington.

Fisher and I  have as much playoff goaltending experience as Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak. The road to  the postseason includes 18 tough games, and down the stretch there will be enormous pressure on two young guys.

Price was very good last night. Not great, because Atlanta didn’t force him to be great, but Price was cool, steady, confident – all the attributes that will make him a star in this league.

The team played well in front of him. Atlanta was held to fewer than 30 shots. There weren’t many odd-man rushes, and the PK killed four of five penalties.

Canadiens played a dominant third period: four unanswered goals, a 15-6 advantage in shots.

The team wanted this one as an affirmation of their ability to win without a new "impact player". And they did it.

In his late afternoon press conference, a weary-looking Bob Gainey
said he was happy with his team, despite his inability to get help.

Canadiens played like they were happy the roster will remain intact.

• They ended the night pointless, but the Tomas Plekanec line had 12 shots on goal, six by Alex Kovalev. They buzzed around the Atlanta end on several shifts, and the crowd loved it.

• On an emotional day when a popular teammate gets traded, a captain is supposed to take charge and elevate his game. Saku Koivu was great last night. He’s been good-to-great for several games now, and the timing of the Captain’s revival couldn’t be better.

• Happy to remain a Hab, Christopher Higgins played his best game of the year. He’s got 21 goals, and if last night was a harbinger, Higgins has a shot at 30.

• The defence played big to protect Price. Mike Komisarek had seven hits. Ryan O’Byrne had four of the team’s 22 blocked shots. Josh Gorges continues to impress: he was plus-3 on the game.

• Maxim Lapierre had a goal and skated miles. He and Steve Bégin bring huge energy to the third line.

• Mikhail Grabovski played 12 exciting minutes. He was brutal on faceoffs (5-9), but Grabovski looked more at  ease than he did at the beginning of the season. His speed terrifies defencemen. Guy Carbonneau gave him a couple shifts with the Brothers K,; I tried to think of a cool name for the line, but nothing alliterates with "Belarussian".

So an emotional day ended on a very high note.

Had Price faltered and the team played poorly, the boo birds would have chirped all night. As it was, the early chants of "HU-ET! HU-ET!" turned to "CA-REY! CA-REY!" by game’s end. 

Canadiens play five of their next six games on the road. It will give them a chance to get their After Huet act together away from the critical scrutiny of Montreal fans.

Pittsburgh may have become a stronger team yesterday, but no one else in the Eastern Conference made significant upgrades.

Ottawa continues to falter. Canadiens are in Buffalo to face the deCampbelled Sabres on Friday night and then back here for what should be a great game against New Jersey on Saturday.

Who would have predicted a March 1 matchup between Carey Price and Martin Brodeur? 

 

220 Comments

  1. ebk says:

    Washington is trying to make the playoffs and Huet will be their #1 goalie. I think that trumps the importance the other two represented to their new clubs.

  2. mjames says:

    I should probably ignore you juvenile comment but grow up – dolt.

    mjames

  3. thecapotc says:

    I’m not so sure Gainey made a mistake saying he wanted to pick up an impact player. Who knows how hard he was actually going after Hossa? Gainey is smart enough to change tactics, and a good bluff that doesn’t cost you anything and hurts the guy next to you long term isn’t a mistake.

  4. Wencz says:

    Biron and Bryz being #2 on their team does not necessarily translate into market value; I think it matters more how important they are to the team that they’re going to.

  5. Gooner says:

    I agree with you that he could have handled that situation a little better than he did but in his defence I imagine trying to explain the trade was not that easy a thing to do. It is never easy telling someone that they are no longer needed especiaally when you know they were giving it their all game in and game out and I am sure he knew that he was good in the room and the guys really liked him. We can only wish him luck with his new team. (Except when he plays us LOL)

  6. HabsInBlood says:

    Don’t forget as well that this is Pittsburgh. Can their revenue stream(s) even support a payroll at the cap limit?

  7. Will Longlade says:

    Bob, focus on the upcoming draft and resigning your core players to long-term deals!

  8. ebk says:

    Both Biron and Bryzgalov were clearly the #2 goalie on their teams. Hard to argue that about Huet. He has been the Habs #1 goalie for the last two years roughly and done a really good job. I agree that the decision was probably made on Monday, that to me seems like a last minute decision.

    I have no problem with the trading of Huet. He had played really well in front of a team who is not the strongest of defensive teams but Price is the future and that was easy to see. Get some experience for the kids and a return for Huet.

  9. HabsInBlood says:

    Another note to HIO. I presume you are leasing your rack/server space, right? Can you arrange an agreement where additional horsepower will be available when needed?

  10. Rugger says:

    Server will crash long before July – like when we make it to the finals!

  11. Dan23 says:

    I think a lot of the shock surrounding the trade of Huet was due to the fact that most fans felt he was a nice guy and a good player. It was nice to see all of that acknowledged last year when he went to the All-Star game.

    That said, I think most Habs fans should be ready to move on – we were going to have to face the traffic jam in net at some point, whether it was yesterday or at the end of the season. I really hope Halak gets some playing time at some point during the rest of the season and that we keep him in the organization. Surely dealing Huet is not just a vote of confidence in Price but also a message to Halak that the Habs want him to stay in Montreal.

    Despite yesterday’s performance, I don’t think we can take for granted that this team will make the playoffs. They are still a few pieces away from being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, but it is clear that the long-term future of the Canadiens is going to be a good one, and that is enough for me to get over the fact that we didn’t get Hossa yesterday.

    And just a note to HI/O tech guys: you should probably be thinking now about getting a new server ready for Free Agent Day on July 1! :)

  12. Bob Gainey says:

    The Crushin’ Belorussians?
    The Belo Fellows?
    The Belarus Caboose?
    La trousse biélorusse?

  13. Habhopeful says:

    I really hope this whole deal Pittsburgh made comes back to bite them in the ass…Crosby with his salary, Malkin will have to get signed during the next offseason (08-09) and he will command big money, and now they have Marion Hossa, who by all acounts has a very tough negociating agent in Rich Winter will atleast be looking at 8 Million/year, And thats IF Hossa decides to sign an extension, and plus they have gonchar whos making 5.5 Million and will have to resign Fleury and/or Conklin to bigger extensions who are RFA and UFA respectively at the end of this year…this looks like Pittsburgh could become the New Tampa Bay Lightning with all there high priced players, And even if Hossa doesn’t sign an extension, they’ve lost 3 mediocre to good players and a 1st round draft pick, I certainly hope pittsburgh gets knocked out 1st round in the playoffs be it by anyone, as long as there out, I’m glad Bob didn’t give up that much for Hossa as much as i would have loved to have him…

    “Like, you can’t get a girl pregnant when she’s on top man, I mean, its gravity…Just can’t happen.”

    -Jason Segel

  14. Bob Gainey says:

    Trading Huet also takes the goalie situation out of Carbonneau’s hands. He has no choice but to play Price.

    If we didn’t need some insurance in case of injuries, we would buy out Brisebois and Dandenault as well to force Carbonneau to give the kids a chance instead of flip-flopping all the time.

    At the same time, has no one figured out the genius of signing Brisebois, yet? It takes all the attention away from the kids’ mistakes as they develop and makes the rest of the team look good in comparison.

  15. Morenz7 says:

    Spot on, J.T. It’s not Cris leaving that’s the problem; it’s that we should have gotten more for him. If Price cools, Halak looks good to sub in.

  16. krob1000 says:

    The statement about evaluating the goalies was the only thing that really left a sour taste in my mouth yesterday from Gainey. I know it was intended to motivate and support the youngsters but I found it a touch disrespectful to a classy goalie who gave his all for us. Huet far exceeded any expectations and seemed to be liked by all. I like to think Gainey would probably like to have that one back and rephrase it so it didn’t appear so harsh for Cristobal’s sake. I know they are grown men and blah, blah, blah but I jsut found it a little harsh especially given Huet’s obvious disappointment with leaving Montreal and his teammates(not to mention he now has to face Ovechkin one-timers every practice)

  17. moser17 says:

    The Belarus Moose?
    Belarus-on-the-Loose?
    The Belarus Abuse?

    … The Chernobyl Fallout Boys?

  18. J.T. says:

    I disagree the Huet trade was a last-minute thing. I think Gainey had already decided to make the trade when Carbo announced Price would start against Atlanta, despite a poor outing against Columbus. I believe what Gainey said yesterday…that there had been an extensive review of the goaltenders and their performances, and Huet ranked third. I think that helped him decide not to re-sign Huet for next season, and therefore, to trade him for *something* before July.

    That the return was so low I think wasn’t a matter of planning on Gainey’s part, but a reflection of the goalie market. Recall Buffalo got the same thing from Philly for Biron last year, and Bryzgalov went to Phoenix on waivers for lack of a decent trade.

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

  19. nick says:

    Nah i don’t think we’ll see much flip flopping between goalies as we’ve been seeing with Price and Huet. Price is our number one man. I only expect to see Halak if either Price gets pulled, injured, or we have a back to back and he needs a rest. Bob’s move basically said, we have our goalie. We’re moving forward.

  20. von says:

    So Halak plays against Buffalo, Price against Jersey?

  21. ebk says:

    Last night was actually a big game for the Habs for the reason Boone states at in his blog. If the Canadiens lost, Price played bad, the media sharks would smell blood in the water and be all over Gainey and the Habs. They won, the media will turn to other prey and the Habs get time to settle back into the chase for the #1 or #2 seed.

    Very good first period, Lehtonen kept the Habs from opening up a big lead. Kovalev’s line was brilliant in the first despite not scoring. Madd Maxx continues to impress me, I think he’s going to be a very good 3rd line defensive forward/pest A-hole type.

    A shoddy 2nd period could have let Atlanta take control of the game but they looked a little disinterested and then got overwhelmed by an outstanding Habs 3rd period. When this team gets its butt in gear, the Habs can blow a team out of the rink and that is what they did in the third.

    I like Grabovski with Sergei Kostitsyn and Latendresse. That leaves Ryder with the Koivu line, which if it gets going will somewhat negate not getting Hossa. The makeup of the fourth line was excellent, I hope the turds in the pressbox stay there for awhile. None of them have done anything to distinguish themselves this year. Kostopoulos might be needed against some of the more physical teams but even that is debatable.

    The decision to trade Huet and trust Price and Halak in the long-term was certainly a good move, short-term, it remains to be seen. What they got for Huet was not a king’s ransom and it seemed almost spur of the moment. Which may explain the lack of return they got.

    It looks like the Habs have decided to embrace the youth movement full force, which I think is a great idea. The Kiddie Corps have played quality minutes and added needed depth that was lacking earlier in the season. I’d love to see Chipchura and Valentenko up ASAP and keep the butts in the pres s box firmly planted there.

    The decision was made to trust the young goalies, despite Huet playing well this season. I worry that Carbo will not have the patience to allow the Kiddie Corps to learn from their mistakes. Other than Hamrlik, the FA crop Gainey signed was a bust but the Kiddie Corps has made that a moot point and propelled the Habs into a battle for the #1 seed. Turning back to the likes of Smolinski,Dandenault, Kostopoulos and Brisebois will hurt this team in the long-term, so I hope Carbo rides the Kiddie Corps and lets them gain valuable experience for the coming years.

    19-6-4 without Brisebois and approx. 16 points out of a play-off spot.

  22. MikeL says:

    After a night to get over the initial shock of the Habs not landing Hossa, I have realized that Bob Gainey is an incredibly smart man. I agree with everything that he has done. The trade that sent Huet out of town was less about return value and more about a statement. He is telling the team that Carey Price is his goalie. I agree 100% with his decision. I have been saying for months that the Habs should trade Huet, I just didn’t think they would actually do it. You know why we never land the big name players?…because Gainey is too smart. There is always a less responsible GM out there that outbids him. I, personally, think Pittsburgh paid way too much for Hossa. I am happy with Gainey’s decisions and I can only hope he gets rewarded with such smart moves.

  23. Bob Gainey says:

    Keep in mind that it’s a 2009 pick.

    Anaheim is sure to do well this year. But next year is still up in the air. If they fall in the standings next year, our pick rises. In fact, given all the Anaheim Cup predictions from this year and the current average guess of 55th pick, there’s nowhere to go but up for this pick.

  24. gfunkdoc says:

    Damn, I think I was writing my message (two above) while you were posting yours. Total agreement.

  25. Xtrahabsfan says:

    HUET WHO?

  26. likehoy says:

    we’ve got small tits and big tits…i wonder if grabs likes to play between tits.

  27. 24 Cups says:

    Blitzen – I was only trying to find a player that would equate in terms of age, draft position etc. Personally,I think McDonagh could become our 4th defenseman once he leaves school. It won’t take him long to make the Habs. He’s a real blue chipper.

    The Original 24 Cups

  28. moser17 says:

    What have you got against moose? :)

  29. gfunkdoc says:

    I’m not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but I just wanted to point out that while Halak and Price have no playoff experience, neither does Huet, really. He’s played 6 NHL playoff games, 4 of which were losses. I’m not saying they’re better off without him, but it’s not like they were absolutely set with him in the playoffs. The trade definitely surprised me, though. Mainly because they only got a second-rounder in return. Has his play been that poor lately?

    I’m not terrified about the prospect of having Halak and Price. Both very young, but both very talented. Remember the run Halak went on late last season? It’s not as if Price is being left alone.

    At the start of the season when all the experts (?) predicted the Habs to finish 13th or 14th, we all knew that the outcome would depend largely on how the young guys played. That is even more true now. This very young group is going to get the chance to grow and play together. So far they’re doing alright.

  30. teamplayer says:

    thats incorrect, order does not flip, we would get the 55th pick
    but is anaheim gonna be that good next year? how good were they this year without selanee and niedermayer, they werent a playoff team

  31. 24 Cups says:

    JB – They only did that in the lottery year (Crosby). It is always in reverse order. So if Anaheim picked 25th next year then our 2nd round pick would be 55th. Hate to say it, but not many 55th round picks make it to the NHL. But with Timmins you just never know. (Lapierre was 61st and O’Byrne was 79th)

    The Original 24 Cups

  32. lemess says:

    The awkward teenage foreplay line?

    (GRAB – TITS)

  33. howtathor says:

    Smoke does have a no trade clause. Funny eh?

  34. HabsInBlood says:

    “BANG!! BANG!! BANG!!”

    That is the sound of the nail being hit on the head by the hammer.

  35. J.T. says:

    The Beleaguering Belarussians? Nah…too many syllables.

    As for the goalies’ playoff experience or lack thereof…as others have pointed out, there’s not a lot of difference between Huet’s six games of career playoff experience and Halak and Price’s none. Also, Price *has* been through four gruelling rounds of pro-hockey playoffs and won. Sure, it wasn’t the NHL, but the Calder Cup was a learning experience too, as far as pressure-filled playoff hockey is concerned. And you can’t dismiss Halak’s performance in last season’s stretch-drive. He proved he can handle pressure when he stepped in and just about dragged a tanking team into the playoffs. All of that experience gives them an idea of what goaltending in intense games is all about.

    And if we have to listen to the “they have no experience” complaint for the next four weeks, I think I’ll go crazy. We had to listen to that about Huet two years ago, and now, suddenly, his six games of experience are the cause of huge regrets and hand-wringing over the team’s playoff hopes. Ridiculous! I don’t have to go into the litany of rookie goalies who’ve performed brilliantly in the playoffs. I mean…for the love of God…until last season, Roberto Luongo had as much playoff experience as Price and Halak have now. Good goalies rise to the occasion, no matter what, and I believe the Habs have two good goalies.

    I’ll miss Huet because he was a good player for our team, and he was a really nice guy. But we have to look forward now.

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

  36. 24 Cups says:

    Blitzen – he has a NMC – I really don’t see us buying him out. I know you’re not keen on him but he is veteran insurance for the sretch run. Can play all three positions, has lots of experience, and is certainly well rested. I don’t think it’s a big deal right now.

    Your point does lead to another question – Dandy, Begin, and Tom the Bomb are all signed for next year. It will be interesting to see if they all come back.

    The Original 24 Cups

  37. nightmare_49 says:

    Very good post and Pittsburgh improved their team vastly but really took a real hit for the future and i’m not talking about Esposito who could be a wash. This season we’ll have to turn the page and continue to play the way we are capable and see how far we can go even with the obvious holes , it’s a nice team and the future seems bright and hope that managemrnt can have a good summer , surpris,surpris.

  38. CanadienErrant says:

    How about the KBG line? (K Brothers and Grabovski?) Kind of a strecth, KGB line would be better, but doesn’t work.

  39. nick says:

    Oh right… i don’t have to keep hitting refresh… trade deadline is over.
    Not quite sure what to do with myself now :P

    I thought they boys played great last night… Grabovski played pretty well, although i find he’s still looking for his ‘role’. One thing i enjoy was the fact that when someone bumped into him… he didn’t fall over… I’d love to see them keep him around for awhile, but with 4 vets sitting on the bench, i’m pretty realistic. How long do you figure they’ll keep him around?

    Oh forgot — regarding the Penguins… well, they have Fleury whos just coming back, Crosby who’s just coming back and Hossa is just coming into the picture. They’ve also gotten rid of a couple key up and commers. They might have a ton of talent, getting it to mesh properly is a totally different story. I don’t see them being the power house people are now fearing.

  40. JB says:

    On TSN JF Jr took a shot at Gainey for his trade of Huet and his lack of moves – that’s why Gainey is a GM and Jr is sittin next to Mike Millbury

    I really think we’re in good shape – we’ve improved on last yr. No one expected the Habs to be this good this yr. In reality, we’re still building for the future. We’ve got 20 yr old players in the line up for God’s sake. Let the team grow together.

    As for this yr, the only team in the East with moves was Pitts. Bobby Mac points out the issues they have – they just gutted their team for a 3 month rental player in hopes they will win the cup this yr. I would add does anyone really think they’re going to win with Ty Conklin as their goalie? No matter what type of reg season he is having.

    Finally as for Price being number 1. Ganiey has seen both Dryden and Roy. I think it’s clear he’s rolling the dice on that experience. Lets see where this goes.

    Regardless, we’re improved yr over yr – and i think the goal at the start was to make the playoffs this yr. Lets lower our expectations a little and watch the team we have grow

  41. Jonnyboy says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the draft order flips. So a 2nd rounder from Anaheim, saying they get the 25pick overall that year, the second round would be 36?

  42. Odie Cleghorn says:

    At long last we finally have a core of young talented players at every psoition who actually want to play in Montreal. Yet the old guard media members, who long for the glory days, continue to create pressure on these players and I don’t understand it. Perhaps they’ve forgotten, or choose not to remember, that Jacques Plante, Rogatien Vachon, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Doug Harvey, Larry Robinson, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, to name but a few, were all young once. And, like Price, Higgins, Komisarek, Plekanac, and yes, Ryder, they too “wanted to play for Montreal and in Montreal”. Why can’t we appreciate and acknowledge that wanting to play and for and win with Les Canadiens is the primary motivation and attitude that’s required to become a member of this team? The time for wooing and begging so-called “impact players” to come here is over. Well done Mr. Gainey, Mr. Timmins, and to all of the management and coaching staff – “to you from failing hands we throw the torch…”

  43. The Big O says:

    And Huet had 7 games and crumbled when it counted, so how much experience is 7 games worth? I think too much is made of experience at times, Huet was NOT a veteran, he only played 170 NHL games, so how much experience is that really? Two season’s worth, is how much! I think it was a good trade and I think Halak can do what Huet did, and I think the Canadiens Brass thought the same thing.

  44. NLhabsfan says:

    Gainey made two mistakes with the impending trade deadline. He announced he wanted an impact player to the world. He traded a good solid goaltender. GM’s are not his friend…. nor do any of them care for their competitor. I am certain another goaltender was involved but time ran out and he was left hanging…not that the price was too much. For now we was willing to offer up a few players. When was the last time Gainey announced what he was about to do. You don’t show your hand in a poker game and he did. I am sure Gainey will not make the same mistake twice. We will make the playoffs but it will be a bumpy ride. Luckily this is a young team that will learn from adversity in the coming weeks…. months. As far as Ryder being Carbo’s whipping boy as he has been…he is still here and Carbo has to give him a chance to play. You will not win many games with one line team.

  45. Blitzen says:

    Sorry but I doubt that Esposito ever becomes as important as McDonaugh.

    Also Gainey can’t afford to wait until AKoz becomes a RFA to sign him long term. If he does, you know someone will put a contract on him and Gainey will either have to overpay for him (something everyone here agrees Gainey avoided doing yesterday) or lose him for a few picks. I would apply this to Gorges and O’Byrne too.
    _____________________________________________________
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  46. Blitzen says:

    To me the only situation left to resolve is how will the guys who often sit – as they should since the kids are doing great – will respond. Be philosophical about it or bitch about it and become a nuisance and a distraction. It’s clear that the leadership is slowly moving towards youth. Kovy and Koivu are still there but the kids are stepping up.

    Does Smokes have a NTC or a NMC?
    _____________________________________________________
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  47. 24 Cups says:

    And so the trade deadline came and went – not with a bang but with a whimper. When it’s all said and done, it’s probably for the best.

    Gainey basically repeated what he did last year at the trade deadline. He traded one impending UFA and kept another to help the team make the playoffs. Huet in essence is Rivet and Ryder is Souray. The only real downside is that we didn’t get as much for Huet as we did for Rivet. That’s probably a reflection of the goalie market more than Gainey’s trading skills. Another way to look at yesterday is that we did get Hossa, he just came in the form of Ryder. Ryder is certainly no Hossa talent wise but he is now a rental for Montreal for the rest of the year and the playoffs. The huge difference is that Ryder didn’t cost us anything – you only have to look at Pittsburgh to know what that would have been for the Habs.
    McDonagh = Esposito
    Ryder = Armstrong
    Grabovski = Christenson
    1st rounder = 1st rounder
    That’s a hell of a lot to pay for a guy who might only play here for three months – and in front of two rookie goaltenders. Ryder was a pretty good rental for us to pick up and he may be getting hot just when we need him the most. We also now get to watch what Hossa can do in terms of making an impact and being a star in the playoffs. It will give us a great insight into whether or not we should sign him as an UFA this summer. And it cost us absolutely nothing to do so. The second rounder for Huet isn’t until 2009 and will be a low pick seeing that it came from Anaheim. Even if the player turns out to be an NHLer he won’t be hitting Montreal until 2012. That’s OK, we need to spread our assets out as much as we can. This is all about the long haul.

    Thr prime directive is still to make the playoffs and then go from there. 6th place would be prefect but after that it’s basically anybody except New Jersey. Once the summer arrives, the Habs can then deal from strength in a much calmer environment. Gainey will then be able to make his moves concerning re-signings, possible trades, promotions, or buyouts. All in all, I think yesterday went down the way it should. The Habs are still in great shape for the future.

    The Original 24 Cups

  48. Wencz says:

    Very sad to see Huet go, he was class all the way. However, I agree with most of the posts here, he probably wasn’t the guy to take us down the stretch and I think giving the lead to Price will enstill confidence and responsibility in him. The ‘win and your in’ thing wasn’t working for either of them. Price has shown he can win on the big stage, let’s hope the trend continues.

    I wasn’t too happy with the way the team played last night, except of course for the 3rd period. I felt like Atlanta was taking it to us on a night we needed to send a message (I guess we eventually did). I felt we didn’t bang enough in the offensive end, are passes were often sloppy (albeit the puck didn’t want to settle down for us), we weren’t strong on the puck and at times our defense was lost (Markov looks so nonchalant at times). Our PP is also worrying me, looks like the Pittsburgh tape is circulating (pressure them!). Lastly, O’Byrne looks like a fish out of water. I like his size and physicality but he seems to lack confidence.

    Glad to see the team in tact.

  49. cunningdave says:

    Huet is a great guy and a fantastic teammate, but experience is not a factor – he has played 6 NHL playoff games and lost a single series. His career playoff experience in other leagues isn’t that impresssive, either. Price, on the other hand, has won a World Junior and Caulder Cup, and was MVP of both teams. He actually has more tangible experience than Huet does, if you’re simply counting pressure situations that have been dealt with. And since Price is beyond his years in terms of poise, I think that we’re simply confusing age with experience.

    I’m not happy with the returns, but that obviously must have been the market for Huet. It’s not like Bob took the first offer he was given. I also think he must have firmly believed that having two ‘A’ goalies was not helping the team – that both goalies were off their rhythm. If Price is the future, then there’s no sense in coddling him anymore – as he plays more, he will only get better, and that’s a bit of a scary thought.

  50. usversusthem says:

    For once we got zero scoring out of our #1 line and still managed to blow them out of the water. They’re not exactly one of the best teams in the East but our ability to get scoring from the second, third and fourth lines was really heartening last night. The Sergei K goal was one of the nicest I’ve seen in a while in terms of a Habs player just letting a shot rip without any passing involved.

  51. Rugger says:

    Great to be able to comment again – I was lost yesterday. Anyway, I think play-off exp. is way overblown. The Habs past is littered with rookies who dominated in play-off runs; Dryden, Roy, Claude Lemeaux … Give our guys a chance and they will step up this year and go deep.

  52. fun police says:

    one of the things that i liked about last night was the fact that we actually had a third line. i’d prefer grabs out there any day over dandy or smo. that third line will give many teams fits . also, we actually had only one fourth line for the first time in a while. last night, was probably our best lineup.

  53. ebk says:

    Don’t think I ever made the statement that you are implying that I made. It was made by another poster.

    Kinda pointless discussion anyway. Huet’s trade seemed spur of the moment to me and you disagree. No big deal either way, Huet is gone and Price is the man of the moment

  54. likehoy says:

    lol…dolt i may be…but if jack nicholson can bring a big black dildo on set…then i feel quite alright with my mental stature.

  55. J.T. says:

    I disagree with that too…Bryzgalov is clearly the number one in Phoenix, a team in exactly the same position as Washington, and they’ve signed him to a deal to reflect that. As Biron is also the number one guy in Philly…a team that rebuilt from the ground up and chose Biron to be their man in net. The value they provide to their new teams in no way reflects the market value for which they were exchanged.

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

  56. howtathor says:

    Detroit did sacrafice Shaun Matthias (gwg in the WJC) in the trade to get Bertuzzi from Florida. Since then they’ve been a little more careful with their assets.

    I really think Huet is a better goalie than Mike Smith and that we could have gotten Richards but I think the organization was fixated on Hossa without a plan B. Purely speculation of course. Maybe Richards would not wave his NTC to go to MTL. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

  57. cmac says:

    You know,

    I was so upset yesterday afternoon. I felt that we got totally shafted by Pittsburgh’s last minute deal and I didnt really understand the Huet trade.

    The more I think about it, however, the more I can see how it makes sense.

    JT is exactly right, there simply wasnt a market for goalies. Bryzgalov was a Cup-winning goalie (he carried the team during Giguere’s injuries in the playoffs) and he couldnt be traded and had to be put on WAIVERS! A cup winner…on waivers!!! Think about that.

    Moreover, if they hadnt traded Huet, they could have ended up with a situation at the end of the year in which Huet would walk, and likely so would Halak, feeling like he doesn’t have a spot here. (He had wanted to go to Russia).

    If you listen to Gainey’s press conference, he makes it pretty clear that they had planned to trade him all along. I’m not convinced that the Huet trade wasn’t supposed to be part of something larger in the Hossa deal, but in the end, Pittsburgh came in with that expensive package including a 1st round pick!

    Regarding the fact that we didnt get an impact player…..

    Neither Ottawa nor Anaheim picked up a significant “rental” player at the deadline last year, look where it got them.

    Detroit has been probably the best hockey club for the last 20 years, I dont remember them ever sacrificing a large package of players and prospects for an expensive rental at the deadline.

    The point is that great hockey clubs are built from within. Over time, winning brings the UFA’s in the off season, thats clearly what Gainey is aiming for. And I have all the faith in him.

  58. 24 Cups says:

    cmac – Another point about Huet is that yesterday’s turn of events means that there are two less teams that will be pursuing him as a UFA in July. Obviously Montreal, and Tampa as well, as they go with Smith. Mind you, Washington may turn out to be his best bet with Chicago, LA, and Nashville in the mix to a lesser extent. I couldn’t see any of those three teams giving him a long term though. For his sake, he better impress the Capitals real fast.

    I also wonder how Ribeiro feels about Richards coming to Dallas. $7.8 mil a year for three years means that Richards is going to play with good wingers as well as on the PP. Ribs can’t be too happy about that.

    The Original 24 Cups

  59. The Teacher says:

    Haha! Theopendoor just let up a goal

    “Are the Habs ready to pay the Price?”

  60. G-Man says:

    I think you have the makings of a great conspiracy theory. :)
    BG is Machiavelli!

    Gilbert

  61. nightmare_49 says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if in the summer that Ottawa sign a free agent by the name of Cristobal Huet.

  62. Les-Habitants says:

    I got a chance to have great seats at the last game (right behind the Habs bench), and it was nice to see how fired up the guys were.

    I’m not sure how it looked on TV, but here were a few of my impressions:

    Price was good, he stopped all the routine stops but his team played well enough infront of him that he didn’t have to make any great saves. The one really dangerous shot against him all game was the lone goal. He was solid though, no real complaints.

    OB had a pretty bad game. He made several horrendous passes in our zone and I lost a few years during those moments. That said, he’ll get better…a poor man’s Komisarek one day, hopefully.

    The rest were all positives: the fourth line of Begin, Lats and Lapierre was good. Leave Begin at center, he can at least win faceoffs.

    Koivu and Higgins were dynamite, although they still haven’t developped great chemistry with Kostitsyn Jr…if they do, wow, it’ll be a really dangerous line. Leave Ryder with them on the PP, he knows what to do out there.

    No points, but man, the Kovy line is about to start scoring again…just wait for it, they were dangerous all night.

    Grabovski has wheels…although he looked nervous as hell. In his first shift, I could see his face as he took the faceoff and he was freaking out. He got kicked out of the faceoff circle in his first 2 tries before a linesman talked to him to calm him down. If he can chill out, that line will be able to produce, as both Ryder and Streit have been playing well recently.

    Finally, and most importantly, I got to see the man I was hoping Gainey would get at the trade deadline..Bobby Holik. The guy is a giant, and ugly as hell, but he could have helped this team alot. For a big guy, he can still skate well and no one was able to knock him off the puck…Komi tried to lay a huge hit on him, and all it did was knock him slightly off balance. In the checking role, we’re missing that big shutdown centerman that this team needs to move to the next level.

  63. showey47 says:

    How about you tell us who would of taken huet and what we should of got in return at this time of the season. Every team in or near the playoffs has established goaltending. Don’t you think gainey told every team that huet was available? Premiere goaltender? Not likely. Brodeur, luongo and kipper those are premiere goaltenders. Playing 40 games a season doesn’t make you a premiere goaltender. Brian burke could’t get anything for bryzgalov so he put him on waivers, and he is twice the goalie huet is. You can’t get market value when there is no market. Besides, 2 of our last 4 games of the season are against the laffs. If those games are actually crucial to us making the playoffs, do you want huet to be the guy in net? Neither do i.

  64. RussianProspect says:

    Hey guys check out this blog,
    Talks about Habs, and has great ideas, pre-game, postgame, everything.

    http://habsexpress.blogspot.com/

    Please leave comments.

  65. The Teacher says:

    I would suggest they would be in the same position they are in now?

    Huet would play well then give up crap goals/get injured. He is good but not a true #1. I guess maybe he would fit in well as he would play 40-45 and Emery/Gerber 35-40.

    “Are the Habs ready to pay the Price?”

  66. showey47 says:

    Yeah all ottawa needs is another goalie who can’t beat the laffs. If huet doesn’t resign with washington, i think he is going west. Maybe the kings depending on bernier, possibly detroit to split duties with osgood, nashville? He may find there is no market at all for him and head back to europe

  67. nightmare_49 says:

    Who knows , maybe that was his reasoning but in doing so he neglected the teams needs so whose the winner.

  68. showey47 says:

    great post, i was hoping we would of got holik, we really needed someone more like him instead of hossa. We are 3rd in the league in goals so we really don’t need offence but adding a weapon like him is tempting. Holik would of been the 3rd line center we needed, he is big,physical and close to 60% in faceoffs. I would of been ok with a trade that brought us holik and maybe recchi who has been on a tear since atlanta picked him up. He is also good buddies with saku plus would bring offence, leadership and playoff experience to a young team.

  69. The Teacher says:

    Well, looks like I’ll be at the Bulldogs-Crunch game this Sunday afternoon at 4PM. Taking advantage of the week off to visit my buddy in laffaland.

    “Are the Habs ready to pay the Price?”

  70. DownwithBobBarker says:

    one point about dropping huet yesterday: the loss of his salary opens up alot of room to make any last minute call ups we could want.
    on a seperate note, as good as the higgins koivu ryder and kostitsyn plekanec kovalev lines were last night, i’m convinced the bros. k would develop into a powerhouse on the same line together. just for the hell of it, imagine the line ups looking like this:

    higgins plekanec kovalev
    kostitsyn grabovski kostitsyn
    latendresse koivu ryder
    lapierre chipchura begin

    higgins and pleks have played together before and played well when they did. plekanec and kovalev already play well together, so why not try it out? the kostitsyns are great whenever they’re on the ice together, and a guy with grabovskis speed is only gonna make that line better. if he works on his faceoffs, that line could do alot of damage. koivu and ryder look like they finally woke up, so adding latendresses size along the boards might help, since he can back up koivu when he loses those battles on the boards (and then gets a hooking penalty right away after he lost the puck), so his grit on the boards will open up pucks, and all koivu has to do is give a nice feed to ryder. for the fourth line, i always felt lapierre and begin should play together, and i never thought chipper deserved to get sent down. he’s a strong 2 way center, and the laps and begin bring alot of energy to every game, so that line could definitely wear down the oppositions defence.

    Again this is just for fun. I like the team the way it is now, but u never know, maybe a little good old fashioned carbonneau chemistry experiment might make thigns even more interesting.
    Any thoughts or suggestions?

  71. Chorske says:

    Amen to the first bit, this is exactly what I was thinking. Extend some of our key guys, and try to sign a key UFA, allowing us to continue to improve without selling out our future.

    Not so sure about the line changes. I would be hesitant to separate the Kovy line that has literally carried us this season. And I really like how Koivu and Higgins play together.

  72. drive for 25 says:

    hossa has been injured after going knee on knee with glen murray and has left the game
    no word yet on how serious it is
    bob mckenzie said he had massive reconstructing knee surgery when he was in the minors

    Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new
    – Albert Einstein

  73. tonymr says:

    Perhaps Gainey had something like that in the back of his mind but, if so, it’s a strategy that could easily backfire since Atlanta (or Briere last summer) could easily have said yes.

    Cheers,
    Tonymr

  74. Chuck V. says:

    The New England Patriots are a franchise built from within. True, they went out and made more of a splash in recent years (Moss, Thomas, Welker, etc…), but they have built the core of their team from within, especially during the Dynasty Years.

    The Detroit Red Wings are another team that has drafted and scouted extremely well, kept their prospects, and they are a perennial cup contender. Again, an organization not afraid to go out and get a player or two if it will truly improve the club, but they remain a team that is built from within.

    The Montreal Canadiens are in the early stages or becoming a true dynasty. Our talent is coming from within, it’s growing, and it’s getting better. We have many, many years of good hockey ahead of us provided Bob keeps doing what he’s doing at the helm. He’s tried to land a few impact players so far, but was unsuccessful the past few summers (and honestly, if you were an NHL player would you want to play on a team that nobody thought was going to do well in the biggest pressure-cooker in the league? Now that we’re a good team, the players will come!) and he felt the trade for Hossa was giving up too much. Gainey knows what it takes to build a powerhouse team in the NHL and he knows what it takes to win Stanley Cups, both from a player’s standpoint and a general manager’s standpoint. I feel good about where this team is headed.

  75. BigHabsFan says:

    As of late Habs fans have been proud of the depth in the organization, and rightly so. But I propose that those of you that enjoy this aspect of the club (myself included) must be aware and accepting of the fact that senior members of the team, such as Huet, are destined to be traded, benched, cut, etc. We now have to deal with the proverbial double edged sword.

    When talking about Grabovski yesterday, Gainey remarked: “he has 14 points in 5 games, what more can he do (in Hamilton)?”

    I think that the same applies for Halak; what more can he do in Hamilton? He’s been one of the top goalies in the AHL for the last two seasons.

    What more can Carey Price learn as a back-up/minor leaguer? (I’m sure an argument can be made here, but Gainey and his staff clearly thought the answer was not much)

    Once you come to grips with the idea that the young guys who have taken resources and time to develop need to play in the big league, you need to extend this notion to other scenarios. Boullion? Begin? Dandenault? Smolinski? Koivu? Kovalev?

    All great guys on and off the ice, but the young guys need to play.

    In a year or two we are going to be saying: How much more can Chipchura, Valentenko, McDonaugh, Pacioretty, Dagostini, etc. do in Hamilton?

    Seeing a guy like Huet leave brings mixed emotions, and it may be something that Habs fans have to get used to.

  76. likehoy says:

    I’ve always said that the moment we trade steven begin is the moment we’re cup-contenders. Begin has limited talent…but has all heart, and definitely a fan favorite. Once we develop enough depth for a player to replace Begin (full-time…begin’s been in and out of the team this year)…it means we’ve got the depth to be a serious team.

  77. Chorske says:

    Excellent post, puts it all in perspective. We’ve spent the whole season beiong so excited about our prospects- I can’t remember a time when Habs fan paid so much attention to what was happening on the farm.

    I think Kudos go to Gainey for refusing to be suckered into a sucker’s bidding war for Hossa. I think Pittsburgh gave up too much for what would likely be a short term rental, and I can’t imagine what it would have taken to beat that deal. TOO MUCH, that’s what.

    I would like to see Halak get a bunch of starts- we haven’t forgotten how well he played down the stretch, and several posters on this site have suggested that he would sign in Europe / Russia next year if not allowed to play.

  78. subdoxastic says:

    Mr. Boone and HI/0’s resident wits, as for a name for Bros. K and Grabovski line: “The Byelorussian Solution”? I suppose only time will tell. Loved the additional speed to line-up.

  79. subdoxastic says:

    I’ve already posted this under “Surprise…” on the main page, but thought I’d post it here as well to increase my chances of getting a response. For those of you who’ve already read this I apologize for the repeat. For those who hate long posts– skip this one.

    I hope what doesn’t get missed in the frenzy concerning Hossa’s injury is the story of the same itself. The Pens were seriously outmatched in this game.

    While the Bruins powerplay was woeful at times (btw, pressure the puck carrier– particularly if he’s one of their D) they won the majority of the battles that occur in gritty stretch-drive hockey. They displayed a Strong forecheck (Savard’s a champ), some effective cycling and an excellent backcheck when their neutral zone blanket let them down.

    Tonight the Bruins demonstrated a dominant physical game, playing hard by repeatedly drawing a line as to the amount of space they were willing to give the Pens and then punishing the attacker.Thomas’ soujourns out of the blue paint to handle the puck were troubling however.

    For all the talking heads out there who were speaking of how much the Hossa trade would impact the Pens positively, would you like to reassess your rose coloured view of a team that is not (currently at least) demonstrating it can play playoff hockey (I’m talking to you TSN.)

    For those who would use Hossa’s injury as an excuse for the team’s performance: what does it say when the Pens (who suit Georges Laraque) involved in an already physical and adversarial game did not act to punish the Bruins (pick a player if you have to) on what was a blatant and intentional knee on knee. While the video used recently on TSN provides two angles, they are definitely sanitized compared to the footage initially aired during the sportscast.

    I assume that when Bob was eyeing up Hossa he was careful to distinguish between impact on the scoreboard (not a bad thing) and impact in the dressing room (a good thing– ask the sens). The Penguins perhaps miscalculated in their offer if the kittenish response by the team after the play is any indication.

    I’m still sighing in relief that we didn’t trade for Hossa and wonder if the Bruins haven’t found something to play for.

    P.S. Would love to hear reactions to Spezza’s butt-end incident and in particular how you felt it was addressed by Bob Mackenzie.

  80. krob1000 says:

    How about “Hell’s Bel’s”.

  81. 1010 says:

    Perhaps we should ask ourselves if this team would have won the cup with Huet in the nets. Nothing about his play ever indicated to me that they would[And I like the guy]. If you think he could carry a team to Stanley then anger about yesterdays’ events are justified. But if you don’t think he would have then Gainey makes a lot of sense. He had three goalies- all of whom deserved a shot- and only one net. As Bob stated. So now we find out. A lot of people have been mentioning Halak lately due to the indifferent play of both goalies. If Price falters Halak deserves a chance and will get it. Gainey’s put himself on the line with this call, and you have to respect that. If Price gets even one good series under his belt then it will have been worth it in my opinion. The worst case scenario is that he crashes and it destroys his ego and career along with it. That would be a tough one for Bob to live down. But still, and it’s worth repeating what I said on here last night, Bob’s got brass b@%$#.

    GO HABS.

  82. Mike Boone says:

    We have a winner!

  83. nick says:

    Nicely done!
    I was thinkin the Bell-Pass Russians…

    But then again, thats why i write software, not the paper ;)

  84. Nav says:

    Gainey made the right decisions at the deadline. Huet is good but not great & would not have lead us to the promise land. Price is the man now and he can hold his own. Hossa was too expensive, just wish he could have gotten some grit though. By the way, Paddock just got fired

  85. BigHabsFan says:

    I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say that about Begin. He is a great grit player who leaves it all on the ice, which is something that any team who would like to succeed in the playoffs needs. The point that I was trying to make is that there are going to be guys that still have gas in the tank, but due to our strong prospect pool will be pushed out to make room for up and comers who absolutely need ice time to develop.

    Bottom Line:
    If we want to applaud the depth that Gainey and co. have given the organization, then we must accept that there will be older/less efficient players who are going to be moved to make room for younger players to develop. This is the case on any team, but with the Canadiens this may happen faster due to a deep talent pool. Cristobal Huet moving to Washington may only be a sign of things to come.

  86. Chuck V. says:

    My buddy who is a huge Sens fan was really pissed that Huet was acquired so easily and was saying he’d kill to have Cristobal on his team. That said, I think Huet will want to get the contract he retires with rather than signing a short deal, which is what Ottawa would probably give him. If he doesn’t sign elsewhere, though, expect Ottawa to be players.

  87. Rugger says:

    Feel bad for anyone getting fired, but, expect a short recovery by the Sens for 3-5 games, then total collapse and we take at least 2nd seed into the play-offs.

  88. wd40 says:

    Begin? i have to respectfully disagree. i believe the one guy on the ice who routinely looks — for lack of a better word — lost, is Latendresse. Watching him play I can almost hear that old Sesame Street ditty “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other”:

    One of these things is not like the others,
    One of these things just doesn’t belong,
    Can you tell which thing is not like the others
    By the time I finish my song?

  89. habitual says:

    Not even close to being a good call. Begin kills penalties, blocks shots, and is one of the few forwards who brings a physical presence. He is not a 20 goal scorer, but he is the type of third line role player that every team must have.

  90. Hammer says:

    WHAT WOULD THOSE BE SAYING IF GAINEY HAD TRADED HIGGINS, LAPIERRE AND POSSIBLY ONE OF THE K BROTHERS ONLY TO HAVE HOSSA BOLT THIS SUMMER. THEN EVERYONE WOULD BE WHINING WHEN HIGGINS OR SERGEI RETURN AND BURY A FEW. GAINEY WAS RIGHT. HE WAS CORRECT IN NOT SIGNING SOUREY AND HIS ( -) STATS AND BUM SHOULDER AND NOT GETTING THIS HIRE A PLAYER HOSSA. THE HABS NOW HAVE CAP SPACE TO GO AND SIGN ELITE PLAYERS THIS SUMMER, OR SIGN THEIR FUTURE LONG TERM.

  91. jew4jah says:

    am i missing something? potsdam germany is not in belarus.

  92. wd40 says:

    yeah, you’re right. i see he was 2 when he moved to Belarus. i guess we’re figuring he’s more Belorussian than German…

  93. krob1000 says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Grabovsky

    You are sort of right but read this. He was born in Germany .

  94. Dru says:

    Interesting: http://habsexpress.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-if.html

    I’m starting to think that Gainey is more clever than people give him credit for. He wasn’t lying when he said he’s looking for an impact player, but the only way him speaking publicly about it makes any sense is in terms of driving up the price (no pun intended… well, maybe a little. I could have said that he’s standing Pat–take that as you will). Otherwise, why would he say what he was going for, knowing that it reveals his hand and increases the price of Hossa et alia? Not to say that we don’t want an impact player, but I’m guessing it’s going to come at an unexpected moment.

    Funny, though, how Montreal ends up being the place that drives up the price: first Briere, then Ovechkin, now Hossa. I wonder if this is counter to our build-from-within strategy, or perfectly consistent with it?! It’s an interesting thought; two of the potential contenders for the eastern (Washington not among them, for now) conference now have a lot less cap space.

    Not saying that Gainey isn’t also trying to sign “impact players,” but I wonder if he sees it as a win-win when that makes them more expensive when they don’t sign here. Meanwhile, Montreal gets more attractive for “impact” folks who want to win the Cup because of our strong drafting.

  95. 1010 says:

    Gainey said the price was too high, and given what the Penguins surrendered to Waddell it’s quite obvious he was right. A lot of us, myself included at times, have forgot how far this team has come this year. It has gotten this far because of the talent they have developed and not by making an outragious offer to a UFA, RFA, or trade deadline hero. And you’re dead on Hammer: Not worrying about Souray and his trip back to Edmonton was good management. Sometimes doing nothing at all is the best move.

    GO HABS.

  96. jew4jah says:

    that’s kinda what i thought. thanks for clearing it up.

  97. Chuck V. says:

    I think that’s the point he’s trying to make. We’ll know we have a really good team when we can keep a guy like Begin out of the lineup, because it will imply that this player can offer more than Steve does. Just my interpretation…

  98. Stefman says:

    That is truly excellent. bravo

  99. nightmare_49 says:

    You forgot Streit.

  100. jew4jah says:

    what’s wrong with being sexy? (see spinal tap)

  101. likehoy says:

    i laugh at the laffs…how the laffs won’t give up and become cellar dwellers for 3 or 4 years. Pittsburgh did it and it worked out great for them…crosby staal malkin whitney fleury…
    in two years at the bottom, laffs could have stamkos and tavares…thank goodness sundin is still on their team.
    laffs are 6 points out of a playoff spot with 17 games left to play…i hope they finish 10th.

  102. Norm0770 says:

    Begin has been out of the linup off and on all year with injuries and as a healthy scratch. I like him a lot but I think that the team is already competitive without him in, and the threat of being a healthy scratch has made him that much more effective when he’s in. He had 15 hits in has last 2 games…

  103. Norm0770 says:

    Excellent points. If you keep the players who are fan favourites, just because they are fan favourites, you become the Toronto Maple Leafs.

  104. Norm0770 says:

    Those are some pretty good looking lines.

  105. Uwey says:

    Guy Carbonneau gave him a couple shifts with the Brothers K,; I tried to think of a cool name for the line,

    How about the, Grab N Tits line???

    Grabovski and Kostitsyn line

  106. Mike Boone says:

    Too sexist! hey, this is 2008, man.

  107. Mike Boone says:

    Belarussian parents, I think. Speaks Russian.

  108. showey47 says:

    I honestly think grabs would make a better winger than center, he is quick but not very good in the faceoff circle which is already a weakness on this team and lacks upper body strength. Maybe he only needs time to adjust but i don’t see him as a defensivly responsible 3rd or 4th line center. You can tell he has obvious skill and can execute it at a high speed, i just feel he would be better off playing wing with a defensivly responsible center. Especially if he is gonna play a 3rd or 4th line role

  109. Uwey says:

    My apologise!!!

    It was for pun purpose only!!!

  110. longbow says:

    John Ferguson Jr seems to think the Habs were the big losers yesterday.I think we were the big winners.We still have all our prospects and draft picks and I don’t know of another team that can say that.And look at the talent pool we have.More players on the verge of making it to the NHL than there are positions available.Over the next 2 years Bob Gainey is in the position to make some very rewarding deals.Not only for players but for higher draft picks.Also,don’t forget Timmins and the boys will be adding to that talent pool.
    As for Huet leaving,I’m not worried.Price is a horse.Price and Halak might not have playoff experience but Huet only has 6 games.Also Huet doesn’t have a World Junior Championship or a Calder Cup.Price has always been a #1 goalie and needs to play alot and know he’ll play alot to be at his best.He’s also the type of athlete that likes the pressure of being the main guy.He’ll be fine.

  111. The Teacher says:

    I think you’re on the right track Dru. The players who were available in the last few years who signed for astronomical sums elsewhere weren’t really a fit for us IMO. Briere and Hossa aren’t the type of players I would expect Bob to get.

    Bob Gainey won’t jump the gun as we can all see by now. He is waiting for the impact player who WANTS to come here. Our youth gives us a lot of promise.

    I don’t know if he drove up the Price of Ovechkin.

    “Are the Habs ready to pay the Price?”

  112. the_larry says:

    Its perfect! Now whenever this line steps onto the ice, the Bell Centre should play ACDC’s Hells Bells song with the guitar solo intro.

  113. Cable Guy says:

    Thats coming from a guy that was hired the same time Gainey was…..looks what he’s doing now, a TSN analyst.

  114. showey47 says:

    I’m guessing he goes west to get as far away from the laffs as possible

  115. likehoy says:

    please don’t yell in the casino

  116. Will Longlade says:

    He’s a lion and his name is Hammer. I think he can yell if he cares to.

  117. blueline says:

    I too have reservations about the Huet deal (or should I say steal). This latest move by Gainey has all the hallmarks of the worst characteristics of previous Habs GMs Grundman and Savard. And that is the frittering away of valuable talent and getting little or nothing in return for it. Huet without doubt played an important role in getting the Habs to the level in the standings that they currently enjoy. He has demonstrated the ability to perform well under pressure. What Gainey did boggles the mind on several levels:

    1) he tremendously undervalued Huet, he should have and could have gotten much more for him if he hadn’t panicked and made the deal too early in the trading period
    2) he immediately improved a potential playoff opponent in the same conference! What was he thinking?
    3) it does nothing to improve the Habs and give it a boost going into the playoffs. In fact the depth and experience in goal has been reduced.

    Washington GM McPhee must be laughing his head off. He picked Gainey’s pocket and got a premiere goaltender from a team ahead of his own in the standings and gave up next to nothing to achieve it. If this is a sample of Gainey’s GM savvy then Habs fans better start praying for a miracle on ice.

  118. mbplekfan says:

    Gainey got a second round pick for a goalie that did not fit into their future plans and who the coaches placed at #3 on the depth chart.

    Huet was going to ask for a significant raise to come back while Bob knew he had to open the purse strings to keep the young RFA’s coming due.

    Gainey and the rest of the coaching staff determined that Price was the goalie of the future and decided that the future starts now.

    Price has a history of stepping up when called upon. Several people on the coaching staff disagree with you as do I.

  119. dudefella says:

    I disagree with everyone saying Gainey made some colossal error in trading Huet. I was, and still am, I guess, a fan of Huet. He was a serviceable goalie, and a great guy, but this isn’t Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur we’re talking about.

    First of all, Huet was a UFA, so no, this isn’t “frittering away” talent, it’s getting something in return for a player we may still get back in the offseason. A second round pick is nothing to sneeze at, either. Looking at the current roster on the Habs… Markov, Ryder, and Plekanec were all taken after the second round of the draft. Huet himself was drafted in the 7th round! Gainey and his crew are great at the draft, and I think that by trading a UFA for a draft pick, he may have gotten far more in return than you think at the moment.

    Secondly, Huet has a grand total of 6 playoff games to his name, and remember, he was only 2-4 in those games. Price and Halak, granted, have 0 games between them, but again, one lost playoff series does not a legend make.

    In defense of Price and Halak, last year when Halak was their #1 for a stretch, I thought he played well. He’s more than proven himself in the AHL, and I think he’s due for a promotion. Price, needless to say, has won at every other level in hockey. One of these two guys SHOULD be able to provide some decent goaltending down the stretch.

    In defense of Gainey, Huet was a tradeable commodity because, frankly, he’s old. He’s 33, and Gainey had to realize that chances were that Huet wasn’t going to be the goalie to win Montreal the cup. Why not a. get something in return for an expendable commodity, and b. get Price, the goalie who he’s banking on, some extremely valuable playoff experience?

    I do have to agree with your second point though… Montreal may yet play Washington in the playoffs, if they make a run for it. Huet may come back to bite them there, but let’s hope not.

    Challenging for the cup this year would be amazing, but I think the true value this year will be the playoff experience this young team gets. If they smell blood now, it can seriously change the way they approach the regular season and the playoffs in years to come, and I think with Kovalev being the remarkable role-model he is right now, great benefits may be reaped in the coming years.

    Go Habs!

  120. Hammer says:

    Why I have faith in Bob Gainey. I first watched Gainey as a rookie in the early 70’s. Here was a kid out of Junior cracking the Habs and having never scored 30 goals in junior! Right away I thought that there must be something special. Then I saw him level Bobby Orr with a check, then I knew he was special. He never panicked as a player and when ever the chips were down he was on the ice. They also had to develop a trophy just for him. He played hurt, and never complained.He went on to Dallas, then they won a cup. This man will not govern the team according to anything but his own philosophy. He has guts and readily admits his mistakes. Who else could take the daily barrage from the Habs press and persevere. He watched Sammy Pollock build the Habs, and he is modelling the frachise after what he learnt in the 70’s.My question to the naysayers, who would you rather have running the team?

  121. likehoy says:

    it’s an addition by subtraction

    arguably both halak and price have greater upside than huet.

    i’m sure 8/10 people can agree this year is not our year (another half will argue that 2009 is our year), but why not throw the kids into the fire to give them a chance of learning, rather than be 4 years down the road with 2 unproven goaltenders and a team talented and deep enough to win?

    mcphee’s laughing now…but who says huet will re-sign…and who says huet will still be good next year?

    I rather price/halak get playoff time this year and know how they stand next year. Eventually price/halak will have to play in the playoffs and why not this year…at 20/21 at least they’ll have experience unlike luongo at 27.

    trading huet also allows us to re-sign halak. If we did not show any confidence in halak…bye bye halak to mother russia along with perezhogin and soon to be grabovski. Then again bringing grabs up this late in the season MAY keep him in North America, but i’m certain as an RFA this year, grabs will be back in russia making 4 million a season.

  122. RetroMikey says:

    I am sorry to see Cristobal Huet leave…a classy player on and off the ice. If you are reading this Cristobal, Good Luck in Washington and I do hope they sign you to a rewarding contract to end your playing days in the NHL.

    I had this vision in the beginning of the season Cristobal would be traded come trade dealine and Carey Price would lead our team to the end of the regular season and into the playoffs. The only beef I had was that Carey Price should have started the season playing in Hamilton, play as many games as possible, and be called up 2 weeks before the trade deadline and start playing for Montreal and then trade Huet for a skilled young centreman we need..
    The plan was partially right but I do hope Carey Price does not get burnt out now to the end of the season.

    I’ve seen Jaroslav Halak play in Hamilton and this young Slovak will not disappoint us. He is a great goalie and we have the best 1-2 punch in young goaltending in the NHL. Halak will not disappoint us and he has such quickness and lateral movement that once he plays for us, everyone will agree that Bob made the right decsion in trading Huet.

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  123. Rugger says:

    Well since all the Naysayers are agreeing with JFJ, that must be what they are looking for in a GM!

  124. likehoy says:

    BG is the man

    but i’d like to say patrick roy be taken in for an apprenticeship…Roy’s fiery attitude and cockiness would make him an amazing asset to the management…he can at least just be like the PR person for carbo or gainey..haha

  125. likehoy says:

    sergei kostitsyn is starting to remind me of peter forsberg…how he never shoots but when he does it goes in…carries the puck well…passes well…and hits! but sergei is smaller and unfortunately not forsberg.

  126. mbplekfan says:

    Patrick Roy is a hot head who has been accused of domestic assault.

    Not quite my first pick for GM.

  127. blueline says:

    A couple of observations:

    1) don’t kid yourself, Huet isn’t coming back to Montreal. Why would he want to? Anyway, you can bet that the Capitals will do what it takes to keep him. Good netminders don’t grow on trees and I’m sure he has several productive years yet.

    2) as for draft picks, of course they can prove to be valuable. But simply accumulating picks for the sake of doing so has its limits. There are only so many roster spots and if what winds up happening is a growing surplus of 2nd and 3rd line players bouncing back and forth between Hamilton and Montreal then little is really accomplished. At some point you have to part with some assets to gain a superior one that you were unable to get on your own. I’ve seen little evidence of that having happened yet.

    3) by setting Huet’s value (remember he IS an NHL starting goalie) at such a relatively low value, what kind of a message is being sent to the GMs of other teams that the Habs may wish to deal with. They’ll ALL expect to get something for next to nothing in any future trading with the Habs. By being passive and not fully exploiting the Capitals obvious need for goaltending to get the maximum return for Huet, he’s set a precedent that will only make it that much harder down the road to make any deal that the Habs will be considered to have “won”.

    4) if the Habs had no intention of using Huet next season they always could have negotiated a new contract and then traded him in the off-season as part of a larger package to get the “impact” player Gainey claims to be looking for. That way maximum benefit could be achieved from what one already has. By frittering away Huet in a single player transaction now, the opportunity to use him as a component in a multi-player deal later is lost, and the result is likely the loss of another player you may not have really wanted to see go just to make a deal.

  128. Chorske says:

    This comes up every now and then. Back when we were all still griping about Carbo, a couple of folks floated Roy’s name as a possible coach for the Habs.

    I think we experimented with ‘passion over brains’ when we hired Tremblay, and those were the darkest days in the history of this franchise as far as I’m concerned.

    At any rate I’m not sure Roy would ever work for Montreal. He left here with two fingers in the air.

  129. dudefella says:

    You raise valid points. I think Huet would come back to Montreal if asked, though. I don’t think Gainey would want to sign him again, though, seeing as how we have Price, Halak, and still Danis in the minors.

    Did the Capitals really need a new goalie? Last I heard Kolzig was still playing fairly well… looking at his stats, maybe, but I always thought the problem was with the Defense.

    I think, though, that draft picks are never wasted. If we have too much depth, we can move them like Pittsburgh just did for Hossa.

    I was talking with my father around noon yesterday, and we both thought the deal stank of a cap move. Maybe there was another deal that got nixed at the last moment?

    It’s all academic in the end. I’m sure Gainey’s forgotten more about hockey than I’ll ever know, haha.

  130. DYCSoccer17 says:

    Amen to that. Lots of great goalies get their first taste of playoffs at a young age (Brodeur was 20). Every goalie has to start somewhere. The training wheels have to be taken off sometime. We got a ~55th overall pick for Huet. In the salary cap world of the NHL, it is vital to have a full cupboard of young prospects who do not command much money.

    As for the people who thought we could get more than a 2nd round pick for Huet, remember that a 2nd round pick is a hell of a lot more than Brian Burke could get for Ilya Bryzgalov. Burke GOT NOTHING FOR HIM. The market for mediocre goalies who have never played more than 42 games in a season is not great. The market for goalies that have played a grand total of 6 playoff games is not great, either.

    The market for big, physical defensemen is always high st the trade deadline. Hal Gill sucks, but the Leafs got a 2nd and 5th round pick for him. Craig Rivet sucks, and we got Gorges (who is just as good, if not better) AND we got a 1st round pick (Pacioretty) for him last year.

    Supply and demand, people…

  131. Hammer says:

    I AM GETTING A BIT TIRED OF HEARING EVERYONE SAY ” WELL HOW MANY PLAYOFF GAMES HAVE THESE TWO WON”. WELL FOLKS WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW MANY PO GAMES HUET WON FOR THE HABS. DID’NT THE HURRICANES RIDE A ROOKIE TO THE CUP?

  132. HabsInBlood says:

    By beating Huet no less. If Huet stops Brind d’Amour on that soft goal in the 3rd period of game 3, who knows what may have happened.

  133. Wops says:

    I totally agree.

    Huet has 6 playoffs game experience…so this means, Price or Halak should get close to this number this year.

    You have to be new in the playoffs one day or the other. Why not now? WE are rebuilding, give the kids some playoff experience, and you never know…Price is good in pressure situations, I am not worried.

    The only thing with the Huet trade, is that everybody feels we should have gotten more. If its a 1st pick, the trade sounds already better…
    _______________________________________
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  134. 24 Cups says:

    Ian – Just to set the record straight, this is Gainey’s 5th year as GM (as of this July 1st). Mind you, one of those years was a lockout year but that holds true for all the other teams too. We’ll be able to evaluate Gainey’s 5 year plan once this summer’s draft, trades, and signings are completed.

    The Original 24 Cups

  135. Bouleau noir says:

    Our dark age ended when Andre Savard was hired as a GM in 2001,… he brought drafting and players developpement to the forefront of his agenda and hired Timmins in the process of acheiving it.

    Andre Savard had predicted then that 5 years would be a requirement to put a cup contending team together.

    We had legions of quality prospects already when Gainey inherited the team in 2003,… all he had to do at this point was to go out there and find the complementary pieces required to built a team with them and around them.

    We are late on the 2001 prediction simply because Gainey has not been an all-around good GM,… he has qualitys but he doesn’t have the qualitys that were required to make the 2001 prediction become a reality.

    I am all in favor of his abstinence towards sacrificing for a mere rental like Hossa,… but I am critical of the very little he has brought the team thus far as a GM,… quite in line with our captain’s own critical view point as expressed by him last season.

  136. Ian G Cobb says:

    Good Morning all you solid Bob Gainey and developing Habs fans. Now that all the foolishness is over with, we can now get back to the game plan of growing our cherished draft picks in Junior, College,and on the farm around the minors.

    I have said many times that dynasties are grown over time with top quality management, scouting, and a patient progressive development program, throughout the whole organization.

    It takes at least 6 years of staying true to your program with out wavering to arrive at competing with the elite teams of this league. We are in year 3 with Mr. Bob Gainey and we are starting to see the steady improvement over the constant quagmire this franchise found itself in for decades.

    To manage a franchise to the elite level one must be strong of conviction and never bend to fan or media pressure. Yes we want to be at the top now, but that is not the reality. To arrive there we must build chemistry through trust and loyalty between management and players throughout the organization. From the prospect level to the NHL roster level, everyone must know and understand what is expected of them, as they work there way up the ladder.

    You cannot build the necessary chemistry for winning hockey at the elite level by renting our buying players that did not go through our process of learning our corporate philosophy.

    I remember very well when I was a kid, Mr.Molson senior telling me that if i was going to work in any capacity around the club, forum, brewery or any one of the Molson group of companies, it did not matter if i could read and write or not. It mattered not if I swept floors, played on the hockey club or even one day was a manager. He told me first and foremost everyone was a beer salesman and that they all and I now represented the Molson group of companies 24 hrs a day and they showed a scared 14 year old kid a winning philosophy on how to conduct oneself in life with loyalty and integrity. This two way loyalty is earned over time, never rented or purchased.

    Our franchise again has this type of management that has been missing for a very long time. Reaching the top is so much sweeter when you know the long and patient ride.

  137. krob1000 says:

    Are you in denial that Gainey tried to make a trade but the price was just too high Ian??? Please answer me stragiht out….do you honestly believe we didn’t try and obtain Hossa????

  138. JF says:

    I love your positive attitude, Ian, but I think that sometimes in your enthusiasm you overstate your case or make things seem more cut and dried than they are. Gainey thought adding an impact player would help us down the stretch and make us true contenders. He tried to do a deal but decided the price was too high. I think most of us agree.

    Your points about building the team through drafting and development of a core of players at all levels are good, but there is still a place for trades and free-agent signings. We got Kovalev and Hamrlik that way. Kovalev is a true leader this year, and without Hamrlik our defense is soft and porous. We also got Huet that way, and while he is gone now, he was a valuable member of the team and took us a long way. I think it’s unlikely that drafting and development will be able to build a complete Cup contender. There will always be holes to be filled by trades.

  139. Plek-Andrew says:

    Alright folks,
    time for insight from a 20 year-old. (Don’t roll your eyes at me)

    See nobody should really be disappointed we got rid of Huet. I loved him, belted his name out when I was at games but I do think his time to leave was now. Everyone said, up until 20 games into the season, that we couldn’t repeat what we did with a certain UFA this year (Souray, anyone?).
    Yes, it’s true that a 2nd round pick isn’t great but think about it… my boy Pleky was a 3rd round pick… who’s complaining? We’re great with our draft choices and that’s why I’m not sad. Think of the future…

    Everyone here, with no exceptions as far as I can remember, wanted to trade Huet because of the rule of thumb; what if he decides not to re-sign here? We lose another UFA to nothing? AGAIN?

    It’s funny how players always say “we have 21 000 general managers in the crowd”… well when you think about it, we were all right in saying that we shoulda traded Huet. Although his play was stellar, people kept pointing out that he IS NOT a proven goalie whether it be throughout an entire season or during a playoff run. I hate to go back on my word but it’s absolutely true.

    Guys… the organization made no efforts to re-sign him the way they made no efforts to re-sign souray, despite our wishes. We don’t miss Souray now… and God forgive me, but we won’t miss Huet next season either, if all things remain equal.

    Be optimistic. Gainey gave him a chance to go somewhere where there are plenty of youth, FREAKIN ALEXANDER OVECHKIN and finally, a chance to make big bucks next year.

    It hurts at first but let’s be realistic. The team made it this far together (yes, goaltending helped) but I always felt more comfortable with Price in nets despite his flaws. If you stay calm, your entire team stays calm. I guess it’s fair to congratulate Price on his status… my generation of youth (call us youth, if u please) THRIVE on pressure. Actually, we’re quite the lazy generation… Put a bit of pressure on us and our talents flourish. I know this not only of experience but based on that of my entourage and peers as well. Rest assured. Price is the man.

    Gainey isn’t a fool. He knows exactly what’s going through Carey’s mind.

    Let’s continue to show our support as TRUE habs fans, come hell or high waters. This is our team… This is the team we celebrate from here on…

    Thanks for reading.

  140. Ian G Cobb says:

    Good positive post my friend. And a second pick in one of the best drafts in years is a fantastic deal thank you very much. I’m glad you see it also Plek Andrew.

  141. Sami says:

    Great post Pleky, spot on.

  142. Sbah Reverof says:

    Couldn’t have said it better, kiddo. : )

  143. likehoy says:

    all reasonable as i continually justify a second round pick is still a good pick…

    but unlike huet…we did offer souray the same contract as hamrlik…but souray declined..

  144. Ian G Cobb says:

    24 your right, I was referring to time as GM only, not the lockout or the year behind the bench evaluating what was on the ice. Point taken, but he has been 100% GM for about 3 years. Maybe that is why he is a little ahead of schedule with this club.!

  145. ebk says:

    are you not the least bit worried about trusting such a young goalie with the #1 task. I fondly remember your posts lamenting that it takes quite a few years before a young goalie is ready.

    Trading Huet kinda goes against everything you had said about young goalies needing time and Huet being the guy to lead the Habs while Price grew into the role.

  146. krob1000 says:

    After the almost denial of Gainey’s willingness to make a deal I have simply come to the conclusion that Ian is still paid by the organization to provide good will and positive posts on various blog sites, mainly this one. Right, wrong or indifferent he will make his statements backing the team from a today only perspective. It is not a bad thing but I find myself all too often needing to comment back at them. If Gainey traded half of the team for Wade Belak Ian would have said we needed to build around toughness and stupidity to teach the kids a lesson. Ian….I respect the positivity but every once in a while we’d like to know what the real you thinks about some of these things. Maybe you can also post under a new name and leave a few subtle clues so you don’t think you are offending anyone on the team or in the organization lol.

  147. Plek-Andrew says:

    EBK,
    I covered any challenges anybody might have against me in my post. Pay attention to all the detail please.

    You’re claiming that I said things that I honestly don’t recall saying.
    And for those of you who know me, you know VERY WELL i like to brag about stuff i said months in advance.

    :D

    yours truly, the Plekster

  148. ebk says:

    Plekster
    pay attention to all the details, please. My post was directly below my friend Ian’s but slightly offset and to the right. Indicating a reply to his post. Sometimes hard to tell, I know

    My question was respectfully addressed to Ian Cobb. He had been saying for sometime that Huet would be around for awhile to help mentor Price as he grew into the #1 role. I didn’t agree with him but I could certainly see his point.

  149. Ian G Cobb says:

    ebk, I think Plek took my heat, But you are correct ,A goaler takes the longest to season into his position. And there is a great risk from 2 20 year olds. But to season them at this elite level will certainly do one of two things. They will both improve quicker under fire or they will crash and burn. I believe Bob feels they are both mentally tough enough, I sure hope so.

  150. ebk says:

    There was no heat Ian, just a simple question is all.

  151. Chuck V. says:

    Exactly, Ian. There’s always an exception (or two) to the rule. If nothing else, Price has certainly proved that he can handle pressure.

  152. nick says:

    Ok i know i brought this up awhile back… Still undecided on who to put on the back of the new Habs Jersey… Because lets face it, our boys play better when i’m sitting at home on the couch watching hockey with my jersey on right? … RIGHT!

    For all you die hard Hab fans… I have two questions…
    1- Who’s name / # would you put on the back of your new Habs jersey.
    2- Figure it’s safe to get a Kostitsyn 74? Kinda hoping to get more than a season or so out of this… can anyone see him getting moved out of the club any time soon. I can’t…Feelings on this?

  153. OldGrover says:

    Pleks – I can’t see him going anywhere. Or Komi. Or Markov.

  154. Norm0770 says:

    In the age of trades (won’t be any until after the cup is presented in June) and free agency there are only 2 names that you can count on being with the Habs for the next 2-5 years: Koivu and Price. Markov, Higgins and Komisarek are also pretty safe. If you plan on buying a new jersy more often go with your current favourite player.

    Or you could go retro with Richard, Beliveau or Lafleur.

  155. krob1000 says:

    Someone suggested to you no. 746 “Kostitsyns”….I liked that one…….or a Carey Price jersey with the name “Priceless” instead.

  156. jew4jah says:

    31 kordic
    24 odelein

  157. howtathor says:

    I have 2 (count ‘em!) Huet Jerseys so the choice could be a slippery slope!

  158. howtathor says:

    I kinda like #8 Komisaurus

  159. Cable Guy says:

    My buddy wears 30 Nilan on his jersey. We always run into Nilan at the games too.

  160. Chuck says:

    I’m guessing that you could get a #39 at a fair discount from the Habs store in the Bell Centre today.

    .
    .
    .

    ______________________________________
    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  161. JG says:

    I recently had the same question…who to put on the back of my new Habs jersey. In today’s NHL you never know when your favorite player will be traded so I decided to go safe with an old school player. I would have put Carbo’s 21 on my back but with coaches, you never know and if he eventually leaves here on bad terms, I don’t want to bring that with me to every game. So I decided to go back to my childhood and put my favorite player on my jersey, #26 Mats Nasund (who happened to make a cameo at BGs retirement ceremony). He was a real beauty!

  162. Mike Boone says:

    I’ve gotr HIGGINS 21 on mine. Imagine how I sweated out the trade deadline. I think you’re good with either 8, 14, 21, 31, 46 or 74.

  163. christophurrr says:

    i was going through this same thought process a couple of months ago when i got a new practice jersey.. was gonna go with good ol #39, but now i’m kinda glad i didn’t

    i guess it’s safe to get price?

    i think i’m gonna get a huet jersey of whatever team he signs with next year (unless it’s TO)

  164. Chorske says:

    Through the 90s I got a couple of captain shirts, and we all remember how long captains lasted in this town back then. They were like the Red Shirts in Star Trek: very short life expectancy. After a couple of debacles I ended up putting my OWN damn name on my jersey.

  165. obrien says:

    IMO, this is a very good question. If you like Kovy, then the safest bet is 46. Offensively, he has shown is a young Kovalev.

    If you prefer grit, 21. Sorry, I am very worried he won’t be able to put the numbers as we expected.

    Personally, I would think go for 8 as soon as he gets a new contract this summer.

  166. gmd says:

    I’d go with #8 or #31 as I think they will be around for awhile.

  167. jew4jah says:

    When will the US announcers learn to pronounce our team’s name properly.
    Mr Boone, could you send out a memo or mention it at your next journalist meeting. the canadi-ENS… i can understand getting player’s names wrong, but the habs, c’mon?

    the techno glitch yesterday made me think about a couple of things… when i watch family guy, i have the choice between spanish and english as an audio feed. why can’t RDS set up a similar thing with CJAD or other commentators. it’s 2008! ok so pot’s still illegal and we don’t have jet cars yet, but how hard can it be to watch a habs game in english in vancouver.

    i’m happy the trade deadline has finally come & gone without any major adjustments to our team. like it or not, huet’s gone. long live price.

    can’t wait to see how halak performs this weekend, assuming he plays in one of the 2 games.

  168. BigHabsFan says:

    Clearly they are looking at the East and saying “hey, we’ve got a pretty good shot as is, and we’re getting Sid back in a week. Lets get him a winger and get to the finals.” And once you make the final, you never know what can happen. Realistically, unless Fleury or Conklin are white hot, the Pens likely won’t win it all, but then again you just never know.

  169. wild flower says:

    Now watch for the Penguins chemistry assignment to fail while they also try to work Fluery back into the picture, screwing up Conklin in the process. If it was anyone else besides Crosby and Lemieux, I think the media would be more vocal in calling the Hossa trade borderline insane. Thanks Bob

  170. frank81 says:

    Hey Mike, On SportsCentre they mentioned that Huet left a message for the team on the whiteboard. Any info on what was written?

  171. Cable Guy says:

    I’d be curious to know what he said as well…..

  172. Mike Boone says:

    The guys in the room didn’t quote it chapter and verse except to say it was what a good guy and great teammate like Huet would write. I gather the message was loved playing here, love you guys, all the best in the future.

  173. Norm0770 says:

    It was in one of Pat Hickey’s articles today…

    “Had an awesome time with you off and on the ice. Best of luck.”

  174. notbigbird says:

    I’m sure we’ll all miss Huet and am disappointed that we couldn’t have got more in return but am somewhat dismayed at the hand wringing wrt to the playoffs as he doesn’t have much more playoff experience than the two guys we have.

  175. Norm0770 says:

    Agreed! 6 games and a 2-4 record doesn’t really instill a boat load of confidence.

  176. Scott in Montreal says:

    That’s precisely what I was thinking. Halak and Price are no worse than Huet and Price, and there is always Yann Danis down in Hamilton if it all goes to pot. I think Price is the type that responds when all eyes are on him and removing his safety net should keep him focused.

  177. howtathor says:

    Glad you’re back up Mike. Missed the blog last night. As they say, this is the first day of the rest of the season!
    Way to go Higgy, sticking it to Don (the undertaker) Waddell. The kids have something to prove from here on in. Loved Grabovsky with the K bros. I know what you mean about a nickname??? The flying Grabovsky’s??
    I think “Grabs” will settle in just right this time. All that’s missing is: Chipper come home!

  178. nick says:

    I thought Gainey 23 would be pretty classy too ;)

  179. howtathor says:

    The NHL is auctioning off the jerseys that were worn in the warmup for Saturday’s Gainey retirement game. Each jersey has #23 and the Gainey name and is signed by the player and Bob himself. All proceeds go to the Gainey Foundation.

    http://auction.nhl.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/User?id=monNHL&wl=12717464&type=A

    Oddly enough they also have the CBJ jerey with #23 on them. A nice gesture on the part of the CBJ’s.

  180. Dan23 says:

    Absolutely. Gainey 23 is now immortalized in the rafters. I was proud to wear it last Saturday night and for years to come.

  181. JF says:

    I’m also skeptical about the trade of Huet, although I don’t think he would have taken us far into the playoffs. How far Price and Halak will take us remains to be seen. I think the reason Gainey did it was to end the revolving door in the goaltender position. I think he figured Price would have more confidence if he knew he was the number 1 guy.

    Last night’s win was a relief. The team really needed it before embarking on a very tough western road trip flanked by two games against Jersey. They almost certainly won’t win the one at the end of the trip because it will be their second game in two nights, they will have travelled, and teams rarely play well the first game back after a road trip. So they’d better beat Buffalo on Friday and Jersey on Saturday.

    The Koivu line was great last night. This is the time of year when Koivu usually cranks it up a notch, and it seems to be happening this season. The last few games (except the Columbus game) Higgins has looked like his old self, much more involved, winning the battles in the corners, and above all going to the net. That third period was great to watch. As soon as they got the puck, several players headed for the net and created scoring chances. They have to keep playing like that. I loved Grabovski’s speed and puck-handling.

  182. Norm0770 says:

    Great ponit about Price knowing he is the number 1. The “Win and you’re in” approach Carbo has been using seemed to have played a little bit on both Price and Huet as they saw it as “lose and you’re out”. I think this was particularly true with Huet as he played poorly since Price came back from Hamilton.

  183. Will Longlade says:

    I also got a sense listening to Gainey’s comments that this move was intended to end the revolving door and give two fine young goaltenders an opportunity to display their talent. I think everyone will be surprised just how far this team can go with that tandem in the pipes. Price is definitely a money goaltender. And yes, he will have a bad game here and there, but his demeanor gives him the ability to rebound from adversity quickly. Halak gives the Habs an excellent 1-2 tandem in goal for the future..

  184. RH says:

    You’re right. The Habs HAVE to win in Buffalo tomorrow. It’s crunch time and every team with an honest shot at making the playoffs will be leaving everything on the table from here on out. The Bruins, for example, have managed to crawl back into the playoff picture with hard work, and beat teams they aren’t supposed to beat. I see no reason why Habs can’t beat the teams they ARE supposed to beat.

  185. HabsInBlood says:

    WRT to your back to back comments, they are basically in the same metropolis. It’s like playing one night in New Jersey (L.A.) and the next night in Long Island (Anaheim).

  186. Grabbed The Cup says:

    Rip me if you wish, but I accept and understand the trade. The Huet/Price tandem hadn’t been working since the first quarter of the season, Halak was being wasted as was Danis, it was time to move forward. This trade remedies several problems;

    It allows Price to get the starts he needs.
    It will provide the Habs a look at Halak as he heads into being an RFA this summer.
    It allows Danis to be the man in Hamilton and resume his progress.

    In a perfect world we would have recieved more than a 2nd rounder for Huet, but apparantely other GMs had the same view of Huet’s worth as BG. Let’s face it, we saw the best of Huet in his first year, and he was never that good again, time was up.

  187. Jay in PA says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head–Huet was a revelation in his first year, and there was always an expectation that the guy BG one referred to as “My Cristobal” was still that goalie, though his play since then never matched up.

  188. usversusthem says:

    Gotta say I have a lot of respect for Red and everything he writes, but I felt his article in this morning’s Gazette — specifically, his calling the Huet trade a “mistake” might have been a bit presumptuous. I realize he has a lot more experience than I with matters hockey, and his stature puts him in a good position to be able to speak his mind about stuff like that, but I feel that the word “mistake” is a bit presumptuous. The truth of the matter is, the moves made on deadline day don’t become successes or mistakes until they either pan out or don’t. So far the team, post-Huet, is 1-0. If Gainey’s faith in the two youngsters doesn’t pay off, then I will agree with Red that the trade might have been a mistake. But this morning is certainly too early to tell.

  189. Will Longlade says:

    Nice post.If the kids falter, it’s impossible to predict what would have happened had Huet stayed anyway. It simply becomes a matter for debate and there’s lots of people who want to weigh in on that subject. This trade was made w/the future in mind and in the best interests of the team.

  190. Sami says:

    I agree with you. Red has my utmost respect, but his article this morning was decidedly negative. Nobody will know how this trade pans out until we’re years into the future. Give the kid goalies a chance, I think they’ll thrive……….

  191. Exit716 says:

    I liked how Gainey has taken all the responsibility for putting Price into this role.
    Perhaps this is a way of getting the team as well to tighten up defensively.
    Does anyone think the real reason Waddell was spending all that time scouting the AHL is so that he can drop off his resume for later this year when he gets fired.
    What a brilliant GM in less than three years he’s managed to Turn Dany Heatley into Marian Hossa then into Colby Armstrong…..

  192. RH says:

    As far as I know, Heatley wanted, and needed, out of Atlanta due to the whole, speeding and killing his passenger incident. Waddell was only obliging him.

  193. krob1000 says:

    I think he turned a leaving Marian Hossa into an even better trade than anyone outside of Pittsburgh’s bfront office could have imagined. I think it was an outrageous price. Not only are Armstrong and Christensen decent young palyers with more upside but they are both signed at cheap rates through next year. I am glad Gainey did not match that price.

    Interesting to note that Hossa in my estimation (I’m no psychologist) almost seemed disappointed going to Pittsburgh. I think he expected to be suiting up for Montreal as much as we expected him to be. I am not saying he can be too disappointed…he’ll likely have Crosby feeding him saucers as Malkin seems to have found some chemistry with Sykora and alone. I haven’t heard about him signing or anything but I wouldn’t rule us out wuite yet int he offseason. Huselius is also a UFA and unless Calgary has some other plan (they didn’t get rid of Tanguay) they might have to choose between him and Langkow.

  194. Jay in PA says:

    I liked Huet as much as anyone did, and I know what a value he was in the room. I also wish we could have got something more for him, though that might be more a reflection of the goaltending market than of Gainey’s trading prowess.

    What I come back to is this:

    1. Huet’s stats belie the fact that he lets in one stinker per game. We’re a good enough team now that it doesn’t faze us like it did last year, but that’s not the kind of goaltending that gets a team through the playoffs. By Huet’s own admission in today’s Gazette, he hasn’t been the same since the Ottawa game (which I attended, and it was worse than it looked). The stretch run for the playoffs is not a time you want your goalie to be searching for his game.

    2. Huet only has six games of playoff experience, with a 2-4 record. Sure, he’s played in the Olympics and all, but Price has also been in plenty of elite/championship situations, too. I just don’t think the “trading away our playoff experience” argument holds much water.

    3. Huet would have been a UFA at the end of the season, and we’ve already got so much goaltending talent in the ranks as it is that we wouldn’t have resigned him. Getting what we can for him is fine with me, though I wish it was more.

    4. Halak deserves a chance. (So does Danis, if you ask me–as a backup, anyway, but that’s just the depth we’ve got in nets.)

    I don’t think we lost much anywhere other than in the dressing room. Unfortunately, neither did we gain a shutdown third-line center or a marquee scorer. But let’s face it–is this a team that is likely to contend this year? No, and it wouldn’t have been worth it to sacrifice our young core to bring in the pieces required to get us there. That’s what the leafs do, and look at the situation they’re in.

  195. HabsInBlood says:

    Wouldn’t it be better to sign Hossa as a UFA as opposed to giving up what Pittsburgh did? When you have money to spend like Montreal has, why rent? Having to pay Crosby and Malkin, I don’t see how they can make the appropriate commitment to Hossa long term. That’s a hell of a price to pay to rent an unproven playoff performer.

  196. Jay in PA says:

    True. Heatley was underperforming at the time, and he got some good play out of Hossa. Plus, Hossa’s a UFA and was not going to re-sign with Atlanta. Unless Pittsburgh wins the Cup (doubtful with Therrien as coach), Waddell came out at least even. If Esposito pans out, Waddell will have won the trade.

  197. RH says:

    Wouldn’t this create a revolving door, now, between Price and Halak, should Price continue to have growing pains? If Price and Halak continue to force Carbonneau’s hand, and go with the ‘win and your in’ card, then this trade will have been in vain. The Habs are not in 10th place, they are battling for the division lead and are, what three points from the conference lead? I, like some other posters on here, am still skeptical of this trade. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the rest of the season plays out.

  198. Will Longlade says:

    His major problem this season was that he was trying to be too Price-like. I’m thinking about all his puck handling gaffes and his propensity to handle the puck too much. May have been a subconscious thing, but it seemed to have put him off his game.

  199. doug says:

    CLASS ACT. Maybe he can come back and replace Rollie as our goaltender coach? ;)

  200. The Teacher says:

    Yup. Mike is definitely thinking ahead on this one also ;)

    “Are the Habs ready to pay the Price?”

  201. DYCSoccer17 says:

    Do you think either of the Kostitsyns will change their number to a more conventional hockey number over the summer?

    I know some rookies get these crazy numbers and then change them after their rookie year and after they realize they’re NHLers. Seems like many Habs rookies will keep their numbers out of superstition, though (Ryder, Markov, Rivet).

    I’d be worried that the Kostitsyn’s will change their number.

  202. HotHabs says:

    Lest we forget #79. That’s gotta be a safe bet on your jersey for awhile!

    enjoying the high’s & enduring the lows of being a Habs fan

  203. JasonM says:

    I’ll miss Huet. He was a first-class guy and you can see a few players were rattled to see him go. To me, he was the most reliable goaltender we had since Roy was ripped away from this team. Unfortunately, the team didn’t think they would win him and let him go for a solid draft pick in a market that isn’t all that favorable for goalies. We need to move on and hope our two young goalies can pickup the slack and help this team achieve their goals.

    In regards to Hossa, obviously Atlanta asked too much for him and Gainey didn’t want to offer too much for a rental. While I don’t know the specifics one only needs to look at what the Pens gave Atlanta to see what they wanted for him. It was pretty asinine if you ask me, I strongly doubt hell resign with them and to be honest I feel the Pens gave too much. They’ll regret it later.

    I missed the game but watched the highlights. Looked like a solid game.

  204. HabsInBlood says:

    Something else you have to ask yourself is “why the rush?”. Pittsburgh is in a similar spot to Montreal where they have a young core and are a team for the future. Last year, they were bumped out in the 1st round … it’s not like they were really knocking on the door to the finals. It would therefore seem to have been a bit premature to be giving away some of your core youth for a rental player this year … whether you are the Canadiens or the Penguins. It almost seems like it would have been a better choice for Ottawa. You can sense that maybe they have peaked and it’s now or never for their current team.

  205. Morenz7 says:

    Agreed. Red (god love the grumpy old bugger) is offside this time. Like others, I’ll applaud Huet’s class and calm demeanor. But two and a-half years we’ve been waiting for this soft-spoken fellow to prove he’s the real thing—the guy who stops that critical shot and turns the tide of the game. Sorry, but he hasn’t done it. Worse, like Jay in PA says, he tends to let in stinkers.

    Contrary to his pregnant pause when asked the question yesterday, I think Cris has been given the opportunity to succeed in Montreal. Many opportunities. Yes, they should have gotten more than a second-round pick for him. But mistake? No way. It was time to move on, and Price is not getting any better splitting his time between the Mtl net, the bench and the AHL.

  206. Mattee. says:

    Can anyone remind me of the habs lines last night. I’m not sure who played where. anyone? anyone?

    thanks.

  207. krob1000 says:

    serg-koiv-higg
    kovy’s line
    ryder,streit,grabs
    laps,lats,begin

    But they were messed up quite a bit due to pk’s and pp’s so they were kind of scattered all over the palce several times. Ryder playing the pp with saku and Higgy made it complicated for the next liens coming out. Then the pk did the same thing.

  208. HabsInBlood says:

    Perhaps Ryder is being reunited with the Koivu line? I think S. Kost and Grabs playing together last night looked promising. How about 1 of the 3rd/4th lines being S.Kost/Grabs/(Streit or Latendresse).

  209. CanadienErrant says:

    as far as I remember, it was:

    Higgs-Koivu-Little K
    Big K-Pleks-Kovy
    Streit-Grabs-Ryder
    Lats-Lapierre-Begin
    (to start anyway)

  210. kevrob says:

    very nice link, thank you.

  211. Ian G Cobb says:

    You have to look at everything as it goes by your eyes and evaluate,and yes if it fits you can make a move. But you cannot take 2 or three roster guys out of your program without causing real loyalty problems in a room that is as tight as ours. These guys have gone to war for each other both on the farm and here. They are young and deserve to be here. Bob was not going to shake the whole tree to get an apple.

  212. krob1000 says:

    No but there was a deal that would have shaken some of the lower branches and a sapling from Hamilton and he would have done it. …might have even thrown in a draft pick but two top nine guys both under contract cheaply, two first round picks….way too much. I am as glad as you that he didnt make the move at the inflated price but the deals being tossed prior to Pittburgh enteringt he fray were acceptable and wuold have been done. I think Hossa was set on coming to Montreal and might just end up here anyway wearing shorts and sandals in July. He definitely never indicated anything negative about Montreal.

  213. Cable Guy says:

    But in your previous posts Ian you were adament that we weren’t going to make any moves. The only reason it didn’t happen was that pittsburgh came over the top with a crazy deal and landed Hossa, it could have very well been us.

  214. Ian G Cobb says:

    No it could not have been us because Bob is not crazy.!

  215. Ian G Cobb says:

    Anyway the chemistry stays intact and the two kids battle it out between the pipes. With this team as it is I’m happy, we can only get better for years.

  216. krob1000 says:

    That I can agree with…….I don’t doubt our team can still contend and Ryder’s ressurection and the addition of Grabovski could help offset the lack of a signing anyway. I wanted Hossa for the long haul…still do. Our team needs our defense to be better though. While we need to be better defensively I actually mean our defensemen. They seem to be having difficulty at the offensive blueline keeping pucks in or making decisions that came easy to them most of the year. They have fumbled and it seems that when it rains it pours…..we never seem to have just one guy have on off night….it appears contagious and it starts at the top. How Hammer and Markov go is how our defense goes…….how they go we go. Everything starts from the back out.

  217. Ian G Cobb says:

    Your right of course about having guys on board to fill holes as our kids matured. Even Brisebois was brought back to fill in until the kids could step in. But you don’t give up players that have busted there butts to get here, and that is what teams want. They did not develop there own future and they wanted ours. We spent years and millions developing not to give it to a club that does not plan long term.


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