About last night …

OK, so the Canadiens bundle Scott Gomez, Alex Auld, Alexandre Picard, Jaro Spacek, Danny Kristo and a third-round draft choice in 2015 and trade them for …?

The deadline is Monday afternoon at 3.

Based on what we saw in that nailbiting win over Carolina, here’s what I think Pierre Gauthier will do:

Toward the end of Jacques Martin’s postgame press conference, Barry Morgan of CJAD noted the Feb. 28 deadline and asked the kindly old coach “what areas of improvement have to be improved in your view?”

Martin grinned, secure in the knowledge this one would be easy to duck.

“Last time I checked that was the GM’s responsibility,” Martin said. “We know our team well. If Pierre (Gauthier) can improve the team, he will. If he can’t, we’re happy with the players we have.

“You have to look at the sitation. What is the cost to get certain players. You gotta think what’s long-term for the organization?”

Gauthier knows his team well. So does Martin.

And 63 games into the season, most of us know the Montreal Canadiens pretty well.

The D is long on bodies but, minus three regulars, short on talent.

Roman Hamrlik is heroic (especially when he plays 17:30, with no exhausting PK shifts), P.K. Subban is a future superstar, Hal Gill is a wily vet, Yannick Weber shows promise, James Wisniewski is a PP asset who has problems on the back end and Brent Sopel is, as advertised, a depth defenceman whose PK abilities enhance Hamrlik’s chances of making it through the season alive. 

The forwards … don’t get me started.

After getting home from the Bell Centre, I tuned in the end of the Boston-Vancouver game. Based on what I saw, here’s a news flash:

The Bruins are good.

They’re really good; and barring an epic collapse, they’re going to win the Northeast Division.

General manager Peter Chiarelli has fine-tuned his club for a deep playoff run. The addition of Tomas Kaberle shores up the Boston D, and Chris Kelly adds speed up front.

Karberle played 20 minutes, including 2:57 on the power play. Kelly’s 22 shifts included 2:45 on the PK.

Playing in his hometown, Milan Lucic scored the winning goal and added two assists. The bruiser who derailed Mike Komisarek’s career has 27 goals this season.

Could the Canadiens use a beast like Lucic, who was drafted one spot behind Ben Maxwell in 2006?

Mos’ def.

Is there a power forward who can score out there, waiting to be fleeced out of some GM by the wily Gauthier?

One two more questions:

Would a Dustin Penner, for example, make the Canadiens better than Boston? And what would be cost?

Gomez, Auld and Picard?

Done.

But what if Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini wanted P.K. Subban or Max Pacioretty?

No way.

What if he asked for a package that included Lars Eller?

Look, I hate to ruin everyone’s Sunday. But based on what I saw at the Bell Centre and on HNIC at home last night, your Montreal Canadiens would have a very tough time winning four of seven games against Boston.

They play the Bruins at the Bell Centre March 8 and in Boston on the 24th – two chances to prove me wrong … again.

But I’ve watched this team play 62 games this season, and I haven’t seen a Cup contender.

Maybe Carey Price can pull a Jaro 2.0 in the playoffs. He certainly has the talent.

Maybe Andrei Kostitsyn can continue to flourish, freed of the shackles that playing with Scott Gomez imposes. He has the talent.

Tomas Plekanec, who was brilliant last night, has the talent. So do Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta.

Then it thins out.

I thought Gomez played a decent game last night, but maybe that’s because my expactations have sunk so low. He played 15:29 (to Pleks’s 22:22) and won a couple faceoffs during the Canadiens’ only power-play.

But the Bell Centre crowd is on the edge of turning Gomez into their newest bête noire. Had the Canadiens lost last night, the $8 million man would have been serenaded with a full-breezer chorus.

Benoit Pouliot is maddeningly inconsistent. Chosen one spot ahead of Carey Price in the 2005 draft, Benny  played all of eight minutes in a crucial late-season four-pointer.

Linemate David Desharnais played 11 minutes and took two penalties of the pussy-ass variety in which this team specializes. But the diminutive one was 7-3 on draws, and DD was on the PP unit that produced the winning goal.

Along with Pacioretty and Eller, Desharnais is part of the Canadiens’ future. Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri are just hitting their prime, and Brian Gionta has some miles left in the engine.

But then you get into spare parts: Jeff Halpern, Travis Moen, Tom Pyatt/Ryan White.

Again, I hate to spoil anyone’s Oscar night, but this is not a lineup that strikes fear into the hearts of the Bruins or Flyers. 

Nor, I fear, will it become one, no matter what Pierre Gauthier does tomorrow.

I’m not giving up on the season. And I reserve the right to reverse myself and fire up the bandwagon as soon as the Canadiens string a few Ws together (which they haven’t done since the beginning of the month).

But this ain’t my first rodeo.

The Canadiens just don’t have the horses … and I wouldn’t sacrifice any of the colts.

 

 

 

 

129 Comments

  1. longtimehabsfan says:

    My take on last night’s game:

    Habs started strong and then got shaky defensively once Auld made that giveaway behind his own net.  To their credit, the Habs had several excellent scoring chances and were robbed once by Ward, had a puck jump over Cammy’s stick for what would have been a sure goal and had the whistle blown on Gionta’s goal on the PP just before the game winner.

    The Habs were uneven 5 on 5 in their own end but survived somehow. 

    PK Subban was outstanding.  Lars Eller, very good.

    Gomez was his usual enigmatic self [he has replaced AK46 as the frontrunner for this year's Enigmatic Player of the Year Award].  Can’t get rid of his contract and I wonder how much better this team would be right now if Saku Koivu were on the team in his stead. [Sorry for opening old wounds.  Here's more: Kovalev looked pretty good on offense for the Pens last night.  But I am aware that he could very well take the next 5 games off].

    The Wiz is an adventure in his own end and he gets my BP rising into ER territory.  Sopel was good for his first game and I wish Weber had more upper body strength.

    Auld? After his boneheaded play in the first I held my breath every time the Canes shot at the goal.

    Although DD took two dumb penalties I liked his hustle and toughness along the boards.

    What this team is missing is a consistent game changer and I don’t necessarily mean a scorer.  Pleks and PK are the closest things we’ve got to that right now but the former is stretched thin and is playing with only one winger [Halpern is simply out of place on that line] and PK is still young and cannot be unleashed this early in his career. 

    The answer?  If I were JM I would take Arpon Basu’s advice and sit Gomez down, appeal to his veteran instincts and ask him to take over the defensive center role on the team.  I also believe he would be good at it and it would take the pressure off of both he and Pleks and free the latter to use his excellent offensive skills.  Between DD and Eller, the Habs would have a decent creative punch down the middle.  

    As for the conference, aside from goaltending, no one matches up that well against the Flyers.  Carter, Richards, Brierre and Giroux give them a distinct edge over the top four forwards on every other team in the East. 

  2. Corporate says:

    We will not get anything for Gomer. COntract is too big. Secondly, we are not 1 or 2 players away from the cup. LIke I said on the other board I would not sacrifice anyone on the team for a rental that is not guarenteed to sign here. 

  3. DLHABSNUT65 says:

    Right now I’d take a 7th rounder for Gomez, or maybe we’ll have to package a decent prospect and/or a draft pick to get him outta here! I just think right now he’s hurting this team and is being out played by so many teammates!! I’m dreaming big ok!! lol

  4. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    Booner, if you tuned into the beginning of the game you would have seen Kaberle try to give away a close game. His defense is awful, and I don’t see what he brings offensively to a stacked team. He’s staaaaaale.

    But I guess its easy for everyone to jump on the Bruin bandwagon. I mean they did finally beat us – once.

    Yeah, we got problems, maybe they can be fixed, maybe not. But if Gauthier does nothing, I am certainly not envious of any trade that has been made by other teams. Though I wonder if we could have gotten Craig Anderson for Alex Auld and a bum or useless pick…

  5. bp says:

    It’s almost Gomez for Sourray time. At least Sourray will get injured in a fight and be on LTIR so you can save on cap space. Although Gomez has a limited no trade so Edmonton is likely on that list. Barring that, if Gomez doesn’t somehow come alive in the playoffs, he should start he year in Hamilton next season. 

  6. HardHabits says:

    Certainly wouldn’t hurt. So far the Habs have been conquering the NE. Had they done better with the SE they’d be in a better spot to contend for the NE title.

    Boston vs NE 8-6-3
    Boston vs SE 13-4-1

    Montreal vs NE 12-5-2
    Montreal vs SE 6-4-2

    All wins are important.

     

  7. DLHABSNUT65 says:

    I don’t think anyone really got a shot at signing the Sedins outside of Vancouver!! I think they were re-signed before they hit the open market. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

  8. Corporate says:

    You are right. And that is where the bog controversy with Burke happened. Trying to talk to them before Vancouver had a ldeal laid out,. 

  9. Rad says:

    Sedins were not signed for several days after July 1st. They were the last of the big names to be signed that year.

  10. christophor says:

    Unlike Burke, most GM’s don’t break the rules trying to negotiate with players while under contract with other teams. They re-signed before they became UFAs.

    Also, every time a good signing or trade is made in the league, all we ever hear is “What’s wrong with PG/BG, passing up a deal like that?”

    I wasn’t aware that every signing and trade has to pass across PG/BG’s desk before going through.

    “Oh hey, Pierre. It’s Joe. I’m just wondering what you think about Neil to Pitt for Gologoski.”

    “Oh hey, Bob. It’s Mike. I’m just wondering if you’d be upset if I re-signed Henrik and Daniel.”

  11. Mr. Habs says:

    “Maybe Carey Price can pull a Jaro 2.0 in the playoffs. He certainly has the talent”

    Halak got very lucky in last season’s playoffs. Halak is a Flash in the pan. Another Steve Penny.

    The Habs have no trouble scoring on Mr. Floppy, so the Habs can beat the Boston Broons Goons!

  12. MathMan says:

    “Opportunistic” teams are lucky, not good. Now if a team generates a lot of chances and converts on a lot, you may call them opportunistic, but really, they’re only reaping the rewards of their excellence. This is not what Boston does, however. If two teams generate the same number of scoring chances and one scores more than the other, well, calling that first team better is risky.

    Frankly, what nobody says about the Red Army game is that the Habs’ goalie was off his game. But again, comparing the 70s to the 2011 hockey is apples and oranges. 

    And in modern hockey, there has been no such thing as a team with a sustainable shooting percentage skill. While it’s possible that the Bruins are the first team to be so, I find that very difficult to believe. Hockey is a percentage game. There may be no dice rolling, but it’s still a game where chance plays a huge part. Boston’s shooting percentage is unsustainable, and its save percentage even more so. Looking over the statistical trends in hockey for the last 10 years or so makes that obvious, but it’s not something fans or people in the media typically do (which is a shame).

    As for Montreal. They have no business being a seller. They are much too good; they are in a playoff position with a record that is frankly below their actual level of play. They have sold players before to get first-round picks (remember Rivet?), but they’ve not been in a selling position still then. Considering how good they are and how good they’ve been at integrating their young players in their team, it would be completely foolish of them to do so.

    On another note, Montreal is not fast tracking anyone. All the rookies and young players who are with the club right now are genuine NHL caliber players. That they are able to do this and sitll maintain a top-10 club (and yes, the Habs are absolutely a top-10 club) speaks very well of theit depth and player development.

  13. RockinRey says:

    I agree Mr. Boone they need more firepower. I dont want to hear next year. Sure the beasts are Boston and Philly but anything can happen and with a calculated move this could put them over the top.

    But I disagree DD is not part of the future. Price, Pleks, Pk, Gorges, and Max P are untouchables. The rest are bait!! Simple as that .

    Saw DD in Hamilton and he was nothing special. He is playing over his head and making the most of it albeit on limited minutes.

     

     

  14. HardHabits says:

    I watched the game last night against the Canucks and the Bruins are very good.

    As for the number of shots they give up, that isn’t the important stat. They are tops in the league for goals against and 5th in goals for. They are second in goal differential at +45. Those numbers matter. Not fictitious possibilities and almosts. This isn’t horseshoes. There are no points given for number of shots. It’s the ones that go in or are stopped that matter. Did you ever watch the Red Army play in the 70s?

    They Habs are not unlucky. They are just not very good. They are a good team but not better than that, at least not on paper.

    We as Habs fans saw a team gutted and rebuilt. We are now basically an expansion team without the benefit of acquiring a few high draft picks and that is what is hindering the Habs.

    When the Habs start making trades for 1st rounders, when the Habs starting having more than 1 pick in the 1st round, then they will start putting together a championship team. Until then they are a play-off team. Nothing more.

  15. Corporate says:

    May be. I would ask Boston if they lost 4 of their big D for the rest of the year, would that effect the way they play? 

  16. christophor says:

    I like this. Good work.

  17. habstrinifan says:

    I have read Boone’s assessment and just read one response to it.

    It already seems that, unlike our last one-win streak, there is now a realistic theme in evaluating ‘our team’.

     

    Boone is right! We are not what one may describe as a ‘cup contender’ and it would be unwise of PG to make any trade/acquisition right now based on adding a ‘big name’ player who ‘will’ vault us to contender level status.

     

    But WE WILL BE AT THE PARTY! (right?). So I hope PG will do something to help us make some noise. A reasonably good run in the playoffs, say taking it to the 2nd round 7th game with valour and hardwork, will add to the learning curve of our players and to the buoyancy of the team and its fans for next year. 

     

    What do we have?

    Goaltending… if Carey stays healthy he has grown enough and is talented enough to steal some games outright and provide competent enough goaltending to ‘give us a chance to win’ EVERY NIGHT.

     

    Tight contests experience… Weird phrasing but you know what I mean. This team has played all year, either winning one goal games or losing one goal games. Rarely are they blown out. Even the whooping we took from the Boontowners still ended up a close game. This is a very very BIG mental advantage that this team has over Boston(especially) and many other teams.

     

    Last year’s playoffs vibes… If Carey kicks ass in game one of our first playoff round, or a Cammallieri becomes ‘striker extraodinaire’, then that memory WILL return and we can develop a momentum which may take us a long long way.

    I believe the above factors are our biggest assets. So let’s address what we need?

    Defense??? Well it would be nice if we did have a BIG TOUGH big impact defender a la Pronger. But we dont and we WONT get one at this trade deadline. I dont see any real guaranteed horse available.. unless we mortgage our future. And even then I wont bet on anyone singlehandedly improving our defense as a group by a huge factor.

    We have lots of bodies. Mara and Sopel are not at the peak of their careers but we have them and so lets live with them. Leave the defense as is. Let JM accept , what seems to me unanimous advice, and develop more judicious usage of the veterans. And on any night that defense will be able to stand up against ANY team. Except… and this is the elephant in the room EXCEPT.. it must be helped with some real upgrade in offensive push back.

     

    And this is where PG MUST thelp the team and where he CAN help the team.

     

    He must get two bodies. They dont have to be expensive. They do not have to be renowned superstars or superstar prospects. Both must be BIG. Both must be able to play the ‘team game’. Both must flourish when the going gets tough. I dont mean flourish as in scoring the goals themselves, but their play must be consistently tough and impactful that they ‘make space’ for our small forwards and give them the confidence to ‘do their thing’

    One must be first and foremost a ’grinder’ with a mean streak, experience and defensive responsibility… and must be willing to take and give a punch. The other must be a ‘scoring threat’ through both his talent and his work ethic and experience.

    I believe we can get two such players for a reasonable exchange of draft picks and prospects. Prior to this weekend, I had wanted Neil and Phillips. No sense getting Phillips unless we pare down our defense in the transaction. Too many bodies aint good. And Neil is hurt I think.

     

    I would like to see a player like Anthony Stewart or Vermette out of Columbus. If we can get either (priority Stewart) and augment that acquisition with a Neil type player, I say go for the deal/s.

     

    Having done that JM must adjust somewhat. He must realize that the HABS is one of the most penalized team in the league not because of conspiracy or lack of discipline. We didnt by accident acquire the ‘most undisciplined’ players in the league. Having a tough player or two will do lots to correct the ‘frustration’ penalties we take. But opening up his system to allow a little more offensive pushback and forechecking will improve that ratio because our players will then attract more calls… similar to the penalty Subban forced Carolina to take last night. He was ‘pushing the play’ and the opponent was trying to ‘thwart the play’. This is what we need.. more forechecking where we are ‘pushing the play. He was not just dumping it out. It was clearly his intention to go on the offense. 

     

    So I have said my piece.. made my rant. It is my opinion as a fan.. that’s all. I dont need the insults about ‘not having coached or won a stanley cup. All this is is me doing what I hope Boone and the owners/masters of this site intended… being a fan.

     

    Thanks for reading!!

     

  18. Corporate says:

    Yeah but you see him go and you see he has the hands and vision on the ice. As long as he doesn’t lose confidence he will be a very good player for the habs. he is not the answer, but part of the solution. 

  19. Wayne says:

    Yes, it’s true… and my definition of a good Gomez game at this point would be for him to stay +/- 0 and to not touch the puck on his shift. I know this is harsh but for me, it’s come to the point where I don’t even look at the TV when he starts a rush. I wish they’d trade his hunched over baggy ass to Russia.

  20. Rad says:

    You need to check your facts.

  21. MathMan says:

     

    “I watched the game last night against the Canucks and the Bruins are very good.”

    Disagree. And I’m going to question the wisdom of judging a team to be “very good” based on one game.

    “As for the number of shots they give up, that isn’t the important stat. They are tops in the league for goals against and 5th in goals for. They are second in goal differential at +45.”

    Yes, because they are opportunistic on the offense (some would say “lucky”) and their goalie constantly stands on his head. The shots against indicate that their defense is actually at best mediocre, and that Tim Thomas is basically keeping this team afloat — with goaltending that is highly unlikely to be sustainable.

    Teams like that are built on house of cards. Their eventual fall is inevitable The Habs have had teams built this way in the past, so we know all about this, yes?

    “Did you ever watch the Red Army play in the 70s?”

    The modern NHL has nothing to do with anything prior to at least the 90s. They would routinely score goals on slapshots from the wings, for crying out loud! If that happened nowadays, we’d scream about the goalie allowing a softie — and we’d be right, because the game, and especially goaltending, has changed so much!

    With NHL parity, modern goaltending, and the trap, teams have to build sustainable success on puck possession. Goaltending and shooting percentage (especially the latter) are highly volatile and regress hard to the mean. There’s a talent component in goaltending, but shooting percentage is not something that varies much team-to-team. Heck, outside of a few outliers, it doesn’t even vary all that much player-to-player.

    “They Habs are not unlucky. They are just not very good. They are a good team but not better than that, at least not on paper.”

    They are, however, better than most teams (including the Bruins) at controlling the play, getting puck possession, generating chances, and preventing chances against. That may not make them as good as Philly or Tampa, but they are better than the Bruins in the ways that matter, the ways that won’t suddenly come down to Earth at any time. Unfortunately, they’ve been snakebit — their shooting percentage is 15% less than it was last year, and it was no great shakes last year — but shooting percentage at the team level is not a skill. Whereas the Bruins’ shooting percentage is unsustainably high — something that should worry Boston fans, when set alongside their weak defense.

    “When the Habs start making trades for 1st rounders, when the Habs starting having more than 1 pick in the 1st round, then they will start putting together a championship team. Until then they are a play-off team. Nothing more.”

    This year’s team is a harbinger of better things to come, no doubt. Rebuilding via tanking is a fool’s errand. People always talk about the two teams that succeeded, never about the twenty that failed at it.

    Montreal is building the right way — the same way Detroit has. They’re accumulating good players, emphasizing puck possession, drafting and developping well, and they are not trying to tank for the fool’s gold that a high draft pick represents. Besides, as NJ and previously Philly demonstrated, even a good team might run into a rough patch and end up drafting high, so why tank for it? It’s going to happen sooner or later based on simple variation.

     

  22. christophor says:

    This is readily available information, my deflated friend, that YOU ought to check. 

    Here’s a bit of trivia: What event, relevant to our discussion, occurred on June 30, 2010? You shouldn’t need 3 tries but I’ll give them to you. Go.

    Also, the number is 6.1mil.

  23. bobinsask says:

    Great analysis.  I think this is the best commentary you have written on the Canadiens this year and I hope that Pierre Gauthier has the same mindset as you do.

  24. RockinRey says:

    Lets nip this in the bud! Just because they were UFA’s does not mean they had any real intention to shop around.

    Montreal was never in the running

    Toronto , even with a previous relationship with Burke were not given a sniff.

    They were never an option. Given how difficult , and it was well documented , that free agents really did not want to come to Montreal, the Gomez acquisition was necessary. And even as I said previously he would not have been my first choice.

    The Habs never ever had a shot at either Sedin!!! Dont know how you came to those conclusions.

  25. Rad says:

    Pretty impressive that they signed 5-year deals at significantly BELOW market value, while everybody else is trying to get every last dollar he can out of management. 

  26. Fool of Chu says:

    I thought that it was pretty close to market value: they were players scoring at a point-per-game pace for some seasons until they broke out in the season directly after they signed their 5-year-contracts, meaning in 2009/10.

  27. Rad says:

    Just read the TSN story, and I guess you’re right. That’s not the way I remembered it though, oh well. My bad.

  28. MathMan says:

    Less than you might think. B’s defense is already pretty weak. Yeah, they have Chara, but after that, it gets grim. It’s all about Tim Thomas standing on his head. Trading Wideman away was not a good idea.

    It might hurt their transition and thus their offense, but the Bruins went after Kaberle for a reason: their puck-moving skills from the back end are very limited.

  29. GrimJim says:

    Then how could TSN post the story on their signing at 12:26pm  July 1, 2009 with JP Barry quoted as saying he and the Sedins talked over the options for 24 hours prior and decided they wanted to saty in Vancouver?

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=283415

  30. Rad says:

    Ok, ok. You were right, and I was wrong. Happy?

    And yes, I know the number was 6.1. 

  31. RockinRey says:

    The Sedins never had any intention of leavin the Left Coast . What gives you any idea it was an option. The acquisition of Gomez was as much about ( acquiring a name that still had some rep/cred) . It was as much about PR , changing the culture, afte Kovi and Koivu and Tanguay were shown the door.

    I have read that it helped with the recruitment of Cammi and Gionta because of the chemistry that he and Gionta had in Jersey.

    I have to say I was lukewarm on the signing and understood it. I didn’t agree with it but i understood it. That said if they could ship him the hell out of town for anything… I would do it.

    To say the Sedins or even one of them was an option is completely absurd.

  32. RockinRey says:

    He has vision no doubt. And I am not completely writing him off. But I would use him as bait if they can package him with something else.

  33. smiler2729 says:

    DD could be the next Martin St.Louis or Danny Briere, I’d hang on and see.

  34. christophor says:

    Incorrect.

  35. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    accurate observation on AK… I agree, and can’t understand why he hasn’t been reunited with CAMM/PLEKS..

    Halpern is a good player, but is more suited for the 4th.. its actually a bloody joke! that AK is with Moen/Eller and the other leftovers…. JM needs to get his head screwed on right.

     

  36. Corporate says:

    All people see is the contract. Stop it. We have him. There is nothing we can do about  it. Why aren’t people on Pouliot’s back or Ak46. as much. That boggles my mind. Also, Gionta may be a workhorse but that hasn’t translated into points either. Cammy has been very sub par also. Now should we trade everyone?

  37. Ian Cobb says:

    It was nice to see the team play with a little fear and some panic last night. Knowing that it was a must win situation for both teams, and the fact that we were playing without our quality dependable 1st string goal tender.

    I saw second effort out of players that had not been playing up to their potential. I have no doubt that we can beat any team in this league when our backs are against the wall.

    Just like in the play offs last year, we seem to find that extra gear,only when needed. And then when ahead, they go on cruse control, letting the opposition come to them.

    They are as frustrating a team to watch every night, but they sure keep me watching on the edge of my seat. Which is great entertainment, but hard on the blood pressure.

    We even started making timely hits and by players who have been silent most of the year in that dept. But those stupid penalties have to be eliminated. At least Pouliot has not taken any foolish penalties in the past two games. He is generally good for at least one a game. He probable knows about the trade dead line coming up. And Kostitsin seems to know the date also.

    Anyway we only have one more crack at the Rangers, another 4 pointer and we have two more cracks at the bean town boys. Who won’t be caught unless we can take both games, tall order.

  38. Rad says:

    One thing I never see mentioned is that the year Gomez was signed, both Sedins were available, and eventually re-signed by Vancouver for a lousy $6M/per season. Yet Gainey saw fit to not only acquire Gomez for $7M +, but actually give up Ryan McDonagh for the privilege of doing so. Gomez over a Sedin at $6 million??? Did Gainey have a lobotomy that year?

    “He’s big, he’s bald, he’s useless Auld.”

  39. EricInStL says:

    I usually like to dump on Boone, but he is spot on.

    The only thing that can really help the Canadiens is Tim Thomas turning back to the pumkin he can be and some over confidence.

    Who knows, we’ll find out, heck the way it’s going they might not even meet Boston.

    So like I’ve said we have a nice little team, who’ll struggle to make the playoffs and that is that.

    Have a great Sunday.

     ”A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject”–Winston Churchill

  40. Sheldon says:

    It really is pathetic when the performance mark for the highest paid guy on the squad is to have a decent game.

  41. 24 Cups says:

    Spot on.  Let’s make a run to finish 6th with the players we have.  Give Price and the other young guys a chance to gain experience and prove their worth.  Once the playoffs start, our highly paid top four skaters can really start earning their pay.  After all, that’s what everybody says they’re here for when it comes to justifying their signings.

  42. HardHabits says:

    It’s better than your verbal diarrhoea.

  43. 100HABS says:

    AK46

    In November, AK46 was our leading goal scorer and point-getter. Then JM decided to move him to Gomez. Everybody thought it was great that Gionta started producing with Pleky. But AK’s point production went downhill. Everybody points to AK not using his potential. When AK was put back with Pleky, he started producing again.

    I saw Andrei working hard and making good passes to Gomer, but Gomer keeps losing the puck. AK almost never received the kind of passes Pleks dishes out every period. Gomer’s not playing like and $8M dollar man, more like an $800,000 dollar NHL player. I don’t see much difference between him and Pyatt – neither can score when given great opportunities.

    Habit’s article clearly shows how AK’s production again plummeted when the was put back with Gomer Feb 1. Now with Eller, all is good! If AK had been left with Pleky all season, I swear he would have 30 goals. It seems like JM is trying to keep him down… trying to make sure he doesn’t get too many points or his contract will be more expensive.

    AK46 is, IMO, getting a bad rap due to JM playing him with Gomer.

     

  44. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    great summary Mr Boone.

    Carolina isn’t going anywhere, i missed assesed them, they are garbage… Ward has lost the eye of the tiger, Cole is just going through the motions.. and they lack any significant grit….so no threat to our playoff position from them.

    I thought SOPEL played an excellent, safe, stay at home game… he wasn’t a crazy man out there like MARA was the other night… for a guys first game, he read it like a book, exactly what JMARTIN wanted, no bone headed plays from the back…. kind of reminded me of our great defensemen of the past who were defined by one word “STEADY”…. not flashy or risk taking.

    but the defining moment came when the toothless, grittless hurricanes had a little scuffle in front of Price after the whistle and our little WEBER was being targeted, immediately arrived SOPEL with a towering FACEWASH to the offender… and then another hurricane arrived and kind of weakly bear hugged SOPEL!… instead of facewashing SOPEL!… sure when he saw it was S.O.P.E.L stiched on the back of the jersey, everything changed.

    AND THATS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT FOLKS!

    although lets be fair here, Carolina is no real test…. thats coming MARCH 8th.

  45. Wayne says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Especially the general nuance you spoke of on the Gomez signing.

  46. jmsheehy19 says:

    I would love Stewart, but I can’t imagine Atlanta giving him up with out us giving up AK or Patches, especially since that franchise is kind of in limbo right now so they’re not gonna wanna take on any salary.

  47. Ian Cobb says:

    I still think we are going to win two rounds of the play offs. All by 1 goal.!

  48. cunningdave says:

    I saw David Booth play up-close in Miami.  I’m no scout, but that guy was pretty effective against Detroit.  I think he could really help Montreal – he has a frame similar to Pacioretty – big, but speedy.

     

    Also, it’s no longer possible to write comments on this forum using the iPad, because of this dumb formatting widget.  Come on, guys, let’s get it together.  At least provide a link for raw-text editing.

  49. WestHab says:

    Not alot about last night unless you count the boston/vancouver game?! With so few wins lately you sure did bum me out, Boone. But I do agree. My feeling is as long as both #79 and #26 are out there is no point in selling our best youth. This team can only reach full potential with some of the 2 players above.

  50. jmsheehy19 says:

    I haven’t posted in a very long time but I’m coming out of the woodworks to address two points.

    1) To all those screaming that Auld is the worst goalie in history: He has a save percentage of .915 and is 5-2-1 (really 5-3-1) all while getting minimal sporadic starts. Those are are the numbers of a good backup. Other than the first goal last night, he played pretty well. Goals are going to be scored, stop acting like every goal is a weak goal. The only game in which he’s played really poorly was the Toronto game. Again, goalies are going to have bad games, get over it. The screaming for his head is absurd.

    2) To the sudden love in about the Bruins. Are the Bruins a good team? Yes. Do they look built for a cup run? Yes. Will they win the division? Probably. Are they some unstoppable force? Our 3-1 record against them would suggest otherwise (and if the refs called the 8-6 loss like a hockey game rather than a bar brawl, we may be 4-0). They aren’t god’s gift to hockey, There a good team. And guess what, as much as so many people like to pretend otherwise, so are we. Missing our top two defensemen, we’re 33-23-7.

    PS. Can we stop lamenting on the guys we miss in the draft? I know it’s nice to think about the team we could build with 20/20 hindsight, but we’re not wasting picks like the islanders or something. Players will be missed in the draft, that’s how it goes for every team. Maybe people should focus on the players we drafted that others could have grabbed, like Patches, PK, or Plekanec.

    That is all, back to the woodworks for me.

  51. 12cournoyer says:

    Return to Glory

    Bang on Mr. Boone. I had come to that realization after the December swoon and nothing of late has caused me to change my mind. The only trades that should be made on Monday are those that will help this team going forward next year. Keep the core-Price, PK,Max Pac, Pleks, Gionta and Cammy, support the young and enigmatic-AK,Pouliot,DD,Eller,Webber, and go from there.

    This team is entertaining bit not contending. It took me a while to accept that, but it is the truth.It is like an addiction, I had to realize that before I could get better.

    Serenity Now!!

  52. Mike Boone says:

    Wow, I’ve won your approval. Now I can die happy.

  53. habitual says:

    Scrappy on a Sunday morning?  Shows what a win will do.

  54. HardHabits says:

    I have great deal of respect for your writing and thoughts however I feel I must play devil’s advocate to them because I cannot accept their conclusion.

    Opportunistic teams are very good teams.

    My point about the Red Army was they took few shots and buried the ones they did, not from the outside but from close in, from the slot or on breakaways and turnovers, they too were opportunistic.

    Is Boston’s shooting percentage unsustainable or is it an element of their skill? There is no dice rolling in hockey. You make your own luck.

    I also agree that this season and the moves made are potential harbingers of good things to come. It could also lead nowhere and back to the middle of the pack. Time will tell. I am cautiously optimistic.

    I did not mention tanking. I mentioned trading players for 1st rounders or acquiring more of them. The Habs are too prone to give up 2nd rounders and 1st rounders for rentals and that is a tendency that has to be reversed.

    The Habs unfortunately would rather try everything in their power to finish 9th in the East than finish in the year as a seller and opt for picks instead.

    Detroit is far and above the cream of the NHL. They are today what the Habs were long ago. I would gladly relish in the Habs following suit.

    IMO though that would mean taking longer to develop the up and coming talent which is the opposite of what the Habs do. Currently the Habs are so thin and replete with injuries that they have no choice but to fast track their prospects. Those are not signs of a team on an upswing but the signs of a team frantically trying to maintain it’s tenuous position, which currently is outside the top 10.

    Like I said, it’s just food for thought and I am not prone to accept your analysis as correct. There are many flaws to your premises and they don’t necessarily support your conclusion.

  55. Mr. Habs says:

    Really 5-4-1 but who’s counting!

  56. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    I’m firmly in the stand pat camp, unless some rival GM is totally out to lunch and wants to make an offer we can’t refuse, although I imagine Garth Snow’s line is gonna be busy…..

    I’d like to see what our emerging young core can do with a little more repsonsibilty, a social experiment if you will.  Play the guys who are percieved to be top 6 as such and see what happens.  I think our d is what it is and is an easier area to focus on this summer as many of them are UFA’s anyway…..

  57. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    I like the entertaining but not contending part.  Can the entertaining younger players grow into a contending core?

  58. habitual says:

     The only consistent veteran forwards who have been consistent are Gionta and Pleks (no,not Cammy.)

    This is therefore a very young team.  Everyone talks about how young the Oilers are – they are; but let’s list the players that are young in age and time in the NHL:

    MaxPack, PK, Carey, Desharnais, Webber, and Eller are all expected to make significant contributions.  I include Price because though he is in his 3rd year, he is only 23.  Pouliott is 24. Add roll players Pyatt and White and we have 7 or 8 young players on the ice at any one time.

    I haven’t looked at other teams rosters to be sure, but I have to think that, throwing average age out, we have one of the younger teams in terms of sheer #s.

    The point?  I’m ok with now, and like the future.

  59. mrhabby says:

    Back from Dominican Republic  following the habs occasionally down there. The bruins are good but come on hardly a shooo in to win it all. Tiny Tim can have melt down easily.

    that being said. the habs don’t have the horses so why not let the young guys get some more experience. the cost to add is way to steep and GMS always over pay so why make any further changes and giving up some of our youth.

    i like the sopel move and gives gg lots of flexibility come July 1, 11.

    the trade dead line is dead all the action is on July 1,11.

     

  60. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    And we’re in the ATL for deadline day….

     

    Worse rebuilding schemes than acquiring young rugged forwards with a hint of skill.

  61. habstrinifan says:

    Type of player we need and could come rather inexpensively.
    But still prefer Stewart from Atlanta.

  62. Miltie01 says:

    Pleks and Gionta have not been consistant either, none of the vets have. Some have been on, and when guys like Pleks are on they are on, but all our vets have had their moments. The young players have shown flashes, but they have not been dominant, and they should not be relied upon to be. Add in the injuries and you get what you see. I am actually pretty happy with it overall, it has been a good year for growth, and as far as I can see it will only continue next season.

  63. PureGuava says:

    They were playing without their Captain, leading scorer and best player – Eric Staal…and nearly won!

    Grow up.

     

  64. Caper says:

    Like  many Habs fans, I too have to restrain myself from yelling at the TV when Gomez is on the ice. My 14 year old son calls him Bambi when he starts jumping from the offensive zone to make a rush. I keep telling myself (or at least convince myself) that without him we likely would have no Gionta or Cammaleri.  We have been bridemaids for years when it comes to signing UFA’s. I keep telling myself that at least Gomez has a good attitude and by all appearances, is not an issue in the dressing room. At that 7.3MM annual cap hit I am resigned to the fact that his earleist exit is trade deadline ’14 and I truly do not believe that he will be sent to the minors ( the players should do themselves a favour at the next CBA and rid of this).

    I think that the only real possibility is AK46 tomorrow. Loads of talent and a tank if he wants to be. If only he had the head to go with the talent. I fear that the SOB will go somewhere and wake-up. And I have no doubt that he will. He would look some good in Detroit and I wonder what we could get back.

  65. PureGuava says:

    And quit brown-nosing.

  66. PureGuava says:

    Pyatt always works and isn’t a defensive liability….for 7 million and change less per season.

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

  67. PureGuava says:

    Eller isn’t a ‘leftover’. I see the future.

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

  68. JF says:

    Agree about Auld, although I’m always nervous when he’s in goal.  His main problem is he doesn’t get enough ice-time, which means he’s rusty at the start of games.  There were better backups available in the summer (I wanted Hedberg), but whether they would have been satisfied with the very limited role Auld is playing here is another question.  But Auld is doing okay.  Although he wasn’t good in the Toronto game, I can’t say he cost us the game since we tied it early in the second period.  Lack of discipline, phantom calls, and sloppy defence cost us the game.

  69. BienvenueSurLaPasserelle says:

    I’d be curious to know if Gorges has been pushing to get back for the playoffs. 

    On a side note, Scott Gomez immortalized in 90′s hip hop? Why yes, yes he was: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjBzrtACgo8

    _____________________ To You From Failing Hands We Throw The Torch, Be Yours To Hold It High.

  70. New says:

    I think Gomez doesn’t realize he is not playing well. That stupid slash last night should have been five not a double. There was no accident there. I really suspect that at 2.5 million Gomez would be a better player. Right now he thinks his play is worth what he is paid. He has the talent but he drags everyone else down. AK? Take a careful look at the stats. Kostitsyn will come in on target this year, or above his average production, despite playing with Gomez so much and sometimes on the third line.

    To me it comes down to this. Gomez despite his skill often hurts the team. AK despite his unrealized potential usually helps the team.

    If the team had a center who could take Gomez’s place I am sure they would move Gomez by tomorrow or bury him in the minors.  He likely feels he isn’t appreciated for all that he can bring to the table and forgets that he hardly bothered to dine with the team since the trade.

  71. jmsheehy19 says:

    ESPN.com and NHL.com both have him at 5-2-1. I gave him the extra loss for the toronto game. Which game am I missing for his 4th loss?

  72. Timo says:

    I don’t think Sedins would have ever signed here. I think the sisters can’t play separately from each other. It;s a girl thing. 

    However, I still don’t get WTF was the hurry that BG was in. I understand the change of guard thing, I thought it was couple of years overdue. However, it seemed like there was no vision or strategy behind the signings. Unless of course the vision was to create a team of munchkins. Original, but hardly effective. 

  73. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    really? oh thanks for that great information… so glad we had Markov our best defenseman and Gorges our other best defenseman in there… and of course our lead leading Goalie mr.Price, thank GOd he was between the pipes…. wow, with those 3 players in there, no wonder we only nearly won!!!… imagine if they were out!

  74. MathMan says:

    The Bruins are good. They are not, however, “really good”.

    They have the PR as an unstoppable juggernaut. They are not. They do not control the game well, give up too many chances, rely on goaltending far too much. But they are “opportunistic” and their goalie stands on his head a lot, so they win a lot of games they should lose. (Look at those shot metrics. The Bruins’ profile is not impressive at all.)

    However, as the Habs of previous years will attest, this is something that will invariably come to bite one in the ass. To put it succintly, the Bruins are overrated, their success is built on a house of cards, and they are poised for a fall.

    Incidentally, I also think it was very risky of Chaierelli to invest resources trying to prop up a team with such a bad defense — one that allows the third most shots in the league. But I suppose Burke gave him the ammunition.

    I think that the Bruins are not one of the stronger playoff teams in the East. I think that the 6 spot opposing them will be a good place to be in the East — better than 4th or 5th where the team will have to face a stronger opponent.

    It certainly looks like the Habs will be in that 6 spot. I think we have to feel pretty good about that. After all, quite besides the fact that their underlying numbers are much stronger, the Habs are 3-1 against the Bs this year and 8-2 in their last 10, no? Or has that fluke 8-6 game caused everyone to forget that?

    Would Penner make the Habs better than Boston? Frankly, I think that no — because I think the Habs are already better than Boston.

  75. forskis says:

    Well, my argument is this…maybe it is circular reasoning:  in order to win the Cup, the team would need to be competitive…so if it is competitive, that means it COULD win the Cup…the team is SOMEWHAT competitive, so the chance is there, miraculous or not…and we all know a full tank might not succeed and we would end up with a ton of really unhappy people if a tank did not pan out.

    Chicago and Pitts are bad examples to use in terms of bad times vs. good times….Chicago fell off the sports map in that city with fewer and fewer people going to their games and no attention paid to them…and Pittsburgh went into bankruptcy and was almost moved/dissolved…another reason why Chicago is a bad example:  they lost in the 2nd or third round, then won the Cup and the season after, they might not make the playoffs….that is not consistent competitiveness.

    Besides, with this year’s team, we do not need to hope to make the playoffs, they’ll be there with a better seeding than last year DESPITE the moves other teams made in the offseason to get better that were trumpeted by other posters here (guess those moves are not working out as well as others thought, huh?)…as for the results, on paper, I would agree with you…this team SHOULD get annihilated, but hey, they have been in that boat before several times against Boston, last season and it will not be the last time the team will be labeled as fodder.  It is the nature of sports….let it get played out, then determine corrections after.  It is a process…make the first round, the second round, the third round….they have done that in the past few seasons, the next step is the Finals…and the only way is to let them play and work for it.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  76. RetroMikey says:

    It’s all about money forskis, money is greed, greed works!  No player is loyal anymore to one team anymore as in the old days.  Hossa, Komisarek, Kovalchuk, Gaborik, etc……players that go on to greener and richer pastures.

    I would love a full tank, knowing that at least the team is doing something to rebuild this team back to a contender.

    I don’t give a hoot if the team is competitive and fills the Bell Centre to capacity every night, show me the Cup. 

    All that matters is knowing that it will get worse before it gets better if the organization wants to keep doing the same trend over and over, make this team competitive for the owners and hope the team makes the playoffs and pray for a miracele in the playoffs.  This has been going on for over 20 years!

    Never hurt Chicago or Pittsburgh over the years of bad time before good times, did it?

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

  77. samTHEman says:

    Just because you get 1st round picks doesn’t guarantee you a Cup or a shot at the Cup. Look at the Oilers with Hall, the Islanders with Tavares, Tampa with Hedman and Stamkos. It takes waaaay more than that

  78. Wayne says:

    Dr. Fat Picks? Who does he play for?

  79. RetroMikey says:

    We are not a Cup contender, agree Boone and won’t be for many years.

    If I were Gauthier, start trading and obtain drfat picks or prospects in return. and after all, we are on another 5 year plan under Gauthier this time around since Bobby was not be sucessful as a GM to bring the Cup home.

    Just want Gauthier to admit this team is not good and that we should rebuild and follow suit what Boston and Philadelphia are doing, big is better and with skill.

    So say sayonara to a Pleks, a Cammy, or a Gionta, whoever wants the smurfs, our Montreal Canadiens have to so something to shake this organizaton back to respectability and not worry about selling out every game at the Bell Centre and make the fans happy and be optimistic all the time that the Cup is coming. poor marketing I say.

    Boston and Philly this year with maybe Pittsburgh squeeking in to the SC finals from the East.

    Keep Price or the fan favourite Subban (until he signs somewhere else to greener pastures which he will), but I would staqrt being more aggressive and not onservative as we have in the past on the trading block.

    I would enjoy a team that is young and rebuilding than a team we assembled this past few seasons.  Great run last year with a hot goalie and it is highly unlikely that we will not have that great playoff run this year.

    Trade Pierre, trade!  The team is not a Cup contender!

     

     

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

  80. forskis says:

    Just curious what makes you think Subban will jump ship as soon as he can?

    Also, isn’t the point of this team to keep fans happy?  I would worry when they start not caring about the fans…but everyone has different ideas as to go about it….I do not think the fans would enjoy a tank job and a full rebuild…besides, isn’t the history of the team one about continuous building and rebuilding piece-by-piece while keeping up some semblance of competitiveness?

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  81. samTHEman says:

    Yup. Not very mobile. Miss Gorges. He was one of the best at chasing the puck in our D zone and clearing it

  82. Wayne says:

    Is it me or is Sopel really slow? Watched him snow-shoeing back up ice early in the game. Don’t look too goodly IMO. Brad Marsh speedskating skool… Looks like he also has difficulty turning to face the foreward after backing up in the D-Zone. Uh Oh! It’s not all bad I guess, we shipped Gomez out for him, right… oh, wait.

  83. samTHEman says:

    How is it that Boone gets to say”pussy-ass” in his blogs without getting them deleted?

  84. Danno says:

    Here`s a Pussy-Ass video for you…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLXIJTQl1Wc&feature=player_embedded

     

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

  85. Mr. Habs says:

    Why does a dog like his n_ts?

  86. punkster says:

    Ah, hindsight ;) I was a “Keep Both Tenders” guy last season and it would have been nice to find a way but I don’t think there was a will. The answer to your question is probably yes, we would have gotten more if he had continued his fine play. Problem with hindsight is all the other variables. What if Price AND Halak choked this season, or either one choked, or OB woke up and played well or Laps suddenly emerged. It is what it is. The same for Gomez and AK this season. What ifs can’t really play into a GM’s decision making or it just becomes a guessing game.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  87. Displaced says:

    What if we had kept Halak – traded OB (ouch, 100 stitches) and Laps to make room to re-sign him and have a better 1-2 tandem.  What would Halak be worth now to playoff team that needs an upgrade?  Would we have picked up more than Eller and Schultz? 

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  88. punkster says:

    Good stuff, and Gomez wouldn’t fit on any team this season. He’s in a slump, tailspin, whatever and like Price last season he is struggling. But I don’t find that a good reason to give up on him. Like Price he has the talent and smarts to bounce back and be a valuable contributor. (as an aside, imagine where we’d be today if PG listened to the commentariat here and dumped Price last season)

    ***Subbang!!!***

  89. larisalapointe says:

    I doubt anybody hates Jaro.

  90. Displaced says:

    Hey Punky – I like Hamr.  I’d just like to see him playing 16-18 minutes next year.  As for Gomez, he has his moments.  But where would you see him playing on this year’s Flyers or Canucks for example…

    Price struggled last year (based on my observations and his W/L record).  He’s playing great this year and the biggest reason we are where we are.  Halak did that for us last year.  I don’t understand the hate directed at Jaro.  Ok, he doesn’t play for us, but come on.  People are treating him like an ex-girlfriend that we dumped who hooked up with a decent guy we’d have beers with.  You can fill in your own punch line about their collective concerns about manhood.

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  91. Mr. Habs says:

    If it were not for Price Auld would be 5-4-1

  92. monsieurx says:

    Same old song gets old, get over yourselves. We beat a good carolina team that has our number in our barn. If we could do it last year than we can do it this year, just have to have hop, so tired of everyone giving up so easily, and come april it will be the same ppl who say they love this team. We dont need to get much bigger our speed kills, Phili is a very good team they are more skilled than us, they are better not because they are bigger but because they are better, but i fully believe in the chosen one, who ar 23 is scary good, and will become the best goalie in the league for years to come, if he already isnt. Spring hockey is different, and this city fuels the hockey team, its just hard to swallow such neggative energy after an impressive win, and after a second game in a row where we score 4 goals. They are coming together, enough is enough already, sure id like some size, but this team will have to do, and i’m fine with that, we have dominated boston this year, we will win the March 8th showdown. Anyway im rambling now.

  93. JF says:

    If it’s the Bruins and Flyers in the east, I’ll be pulling for the Flyers.  I can’t stand the Bs or Claude Julien, and find them dirty.  The Flyers, for all their reputation, are not a dirty team.

  94. JF says:

    I’m confident that Gauthier will not make any deal involving our young, developing players – Subban, Pacioretty, Eller, Desharnais – which means effectively that he won’t move at all, unless it’s a depth move. There’s simply no move he could make right now that would put us in the same ballpark as the Bruins and Flyers, and sacrificing our young talent in the hopes of pulling an upset in the playoffs seems shortsighted.

    As for the trades people have been calling for – Gomez and Kostitsyn – I can’t see the former happening and I hope the latter doesn’t.  If a team wanted Gomez, we’d have to do it for the cap relief, although I think it would make us a worse team for the moment despite the fact that he’s certainly not having a good season; but I can’t see this happening.  As for Kostitsyn, he has been showing us recently what he’s capable of if given the right linemates and put in the right situation.  He and Eller seem to be developing some great chemistry, and both have been looking better than they have for most of the season.  Kostitsyn’s inconsistency means teams looking for scoring wouldn’t be willing to give up much for him; we’d probably get a marginal prospect, a draft pick, or a fourth-liner.  Kostitsyn at his best is an impact player, and we’re seeing bits of his best the last few games. I hope Gauthier offers him a one-year deal over the summer with a slight raise to show him the organization still believes in him.  Perhaps the numbers and a bit more consistency will come next year. 

    Last night was a bit of a mess, with Auld’s shaky performance, the blown leads, and the turnovers, but I thought the team played better defensively in the third period.  There were fewer turnovers and less spece for the Canes.  I also liked Cammalleri’s performance, both offensively and defensively.  If he is finally getting going – and that goal was a beauty – there are grounds for hope that our offence will be a little less anemic than has been the case so far this season.

  95. habitual says:

    Good post.  I don’t see trading AK is going to result in an upgrade.  I mean, really – who is going to give up either a prospect worth having, or a better player?

    The rest of the year will determine the length of contract offered to him.  Let’s hope he justifies a long one.

    And, like most of the rest of those posting, no, this is not a legit Cup contender.  Who could anticipate pulling for the Bruins, which is what I’ll do if the alternative in the east is the f*&*& Flyers.

     

  96. 24 Cups says:

    Jane – Sometimes golf is more important than hockey.  Yesterday was onw of those occasions for me.  I missed the game but was happy to hear about the outcome.  I don’t believe posters have the right to comment on specific games if they didn’t see them or just watched the TSN highlight package.  Having said that, taking a four pointer using your emergency back-up goalie has to be good news.

    I’ll be happy if the Habs stay pat during the next 36 hours.  It’s easy to talk about who we should get, but people rarely mention what they are willing to give up.  The cost has been pretty steep for some of these deals.  Teams have really overpaid for rental players.   There was no choice for Montreal in the transaction for the Wiz.  I hate giving up 2nd rounders but what could G&G do?  5th rounders rarely make the NHL so I can live with the Mara (depth) deal.  A 4th round pick for Sopel is kind of the same situation and he just might be a candidate to return next year as a 6th or 7th Dman.  He’ll be taking a pay cut for sure.  If he does sign, then the pick becomes a mute point.

    I’ve been on AK’s back ever since I joined the site.  Trust me, I take no solace from knowing that I was right.  Regardless, there’s something in my gut that tells me the Habs should give this guy one more try.  Qualify him this summer and see what happens.  If he’s still a Jekyll and Hyde, then he can be moved at next year’s trade deadline in a Pouliot-Lats type deal.

    On a personal note, if The Social Network beats out The King’s Speech tonight, I will finally know that the world has passed me by.

     

  97. habstrinifan says:

    Give a shoutout to Boone here. Some time back in his blog he observed that ‘AK46 and Eller’ were developing a ‘vague chemistry. Boone the artisan wordsmith hit it on the head on both his hockey acumen and his penchant for phrasing then. That chemistry aint as vague NOW it seems.

  98. Mike Boone says:

    I might go see The King’s Speech this afternoon. But I loved The Social Network and Winter’s Bone.

  99. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    Neither are better than Winter’s Bone, I’d even put Toy Story ahead of them.  The true best picture for me was Barney’s Version…..

  100. JF says:

    Steve – I absolutely loved The King’s Speech.  I thought it was magnificent.

  101. notbigbird says:

    I agree with your Oscar take … and most hockey related issues as well.

  102. notbigbird says:

    Winter’s Boone?

  103. sidhu says:

    A sobering, realistic assessment, Boone.  We, myself included, tend to get excited after a W and with the trade deadline approaching.  But, having seen all but one of the Habs games this year, the fact remains that we aren’t a very strong (physically, and in terms of depth and skill) team.  Like most of our games and like the season as a whole, we simply get by.

    It is tough to see other teams (mainly the Bruins) play so hard and also make aggressive moves to win.  That only increases our expectations with respect to the Habs play and the GM’s potential moves.

    Interestingly, Weber played no PP minutes last night — for an “offensive defenseman”, that is quite odd.

  104. Shiloh says:

    Do you mean “lick” instead of “like”? Of course, if he’s going to lick them, it’s nice if he likes them.

  105. Cape Breton says:

    I agree with Mr. Boone that the Habs don’t have the horses, but the head coach ain’t helping matters any.

  106. Cape Breton says:

    Martin is a terrible coach. Twice gainst the leafs he starts the backup goalie and loses both games. And he continuosly gives awful players Hamrlik and Gomez quality minutes per game because as far as i can see, he doesn’t like rookies. And the rookies he plays end up faltering after great beginnings. I remember Martin had a powerhouse in OTTAWA and never won shit. Get rid of this guy!

  107. habstrinifan says:

    I think you will be surprised by Gallagher. He looks to have the consistency of a player destined to be an everyday durable and effectibe NHLer… in spite of his size.

  108. mjames says:

    I am not really blaming PG entirely for failing to improve this team although his recent moves have hurt the team. PG’s inability to improve the Habs is more the product of some cap mismanagement and poor drafting notwithstanding the Halak, Subban, Pac, Weber picks. You can’t ignore the Gomez cap hit which is basically a write off nor can you ignore picks like the White, Maxwell, Fischer, Laterdresse, Chipchura, etc.  picks. I envy how Tampa Bay, Philly and  Bruins have managed to take their teams to the next level. Yes I know they all had very early picks and one of them won the lottery with the Phil Kessel trade but these teams do highlight two things necessary for success, which is smart cap management and judicious (some lucky) drafting.

    If I am PG I stop with giving away all these draft picks for these band -aids. We are wasting picks because these players that we got are going to help us win the cup. Next year I sign my core players and that includes AK46. God he is the only play-maker we have . In any event I dump the grinders and restock with new grinders with some goal scoring, albeit limited, potential. That means we release the likes of Moen, Pyatt, and Darche. I also revamp our defense and let some of the older players go. Have we not drafted any defensemen that have the potential to play in the NHL or are they also waisted picks.

    What the above shows us is that PG has some real issues before this team becomes an elite team. Currently he is wasting picks with these recent moves. 

    I thinks PG’s marching orders are to make the playoffs in order to make some money for the Molsons. They know full well that they do have a real playoff team here. 

    I believe we have years ahead of us before we can reach the next level. I don’t see much  coming up. Maybe Leblanc but I do not know. We have Kristo but this guy apparently does not know enough to wear shoes in North Dakota winter, plus he is undersized. We have a Russian Dman as well as someone whose father played in the NHL. I think we have an undersized Dman at Michigan. The cupboard looks a little bare to me.    

     

     

     

    mjames

  109. Timo says:

    He will? You sure about it? I am still waiting for that pizza from the last season, G. 

  110. Habitoban says:

    “Benoit Pouliot is maddeningly inconsistent. Chosen one spot ahead of Carey Price in the 2005 draft, Benny  played all of eight minutes in a crucial late-season four-pointer.”  Lowest TOI of anyone on the team, I believe.  His fault??? That will learn him!!!

  111. punkster says:

    Hey Dis, better check the backup goalie stats because Auld is not a stiff. He’s 5-2-1, 2.61 and .915. He’s not a Price or Thomas or Luongo but he is a backup and delivering pretty well what would be expected of him. I also don’t agree with your Gomez and Hamrlik views but discussing those two on here simply degenerates into a pissing contest when others jump in. I will say this; Gomez is a strong veteran presence who is having an off season and Hamrlik is a strong veteran prescence when playing reasonable minutes. 

    Final comment: This place is wacko. Last season there was a rather vocal faction screaming for Price to be traded. He was useless, he didn’t care, he spent all his time partying, blah, blah, blah. This season he’s a god, the second coming of Patrick Roy, the elite tender we “all” believed him to be. I see the Gomez situation as no different. The drama queens will vocalize and the rest will simply relax and enjoy the show.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  112. Displaced says:

    As a way to set the table for last 48 hours of the trade deadline, let’s use Boone’s post as a blueprint for our future. I’ll simplify using Elite/Average/To Be Developed/Needs Upgrading so we don’t get bogged down in granular rankings.

     

    Elite (meaning they would play a similar role on a Cup winner): Price, Plecs, Cammi and Gionta

    Average (meaning they are overplayed here, but would play A role on a Cup winner): Halpern, Wiz, Gill, Gorges (top 4 there, top 2 here)

    To be developed: Pouliot, AK, DD, Eller, Patches, Subban (with respect), White, Weber,

    Needs Upgrading (played way above where they would play on a Cup winner or just useless): Gomez, Pyatt, Moen, Hamr, Spacek, Auld, Mara

     

    By my count, we need a top 2 centre, two top wings, a top 2 defense, a top 3-4 defense, a backup goalie and a some guys to fill the third and fourth lines.   

    Good news, PK is playing top 2 minutes and has top 2 talent.  He’s arguably ready now, and will be next year.  Weber is playing 3-4 minutes and could be that player next year.  Patches, Pouliot, and AK could be those wingers now.  DD MIGHT be a legit second line scoring centre next season.  We have to hold onto all three to see which two make it.  That leaves DD, Eller and White to vie for third-fourth line roles. 

    So PG has to focus on 5-6 defenseman and a backup goalie.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.  For extra credit and a real good chance he needs to bring in the following, an established 80 point centre, an established 80 point (35g) power forward and an established top D – that minimizes pressure on the youngster who may fill those roles and provides a cushion in the event of injuries.

     

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  113. Timo says:

    But I’ve watched this team play 62 games this season, and I haven’t seen a Cup contender.”

    Something some people realized before a season even began. For others it takes 62 games. 

  114. rogieshan says:

    The only way this team can beat the Bruins or Flyers in a series is if Martin can roll four lines consistently and win the PP-SH ratio. The problem is this rarely happens. Too many undisciplined penalties and Martin’s penchant to bench guys have resulted in the team looking disorganized at times and never fully playing a three-period game.

  115. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    Intended for New:

    “Right now he thinks his play is worth what he is paid.”

    Come on man; Do you really think Gomerz EGO is that big?

    I really ddon’t see him sucking up all that negativity and saying ” eat-it Habbies;Where’s my dough Yo!”

    Of course it does APPEAR to look like that but he’s an assist-man who’s been able to ride on some coattails for most of his(Devils) career.He’s purely not able to handle the PRESSURE…which we know, has ran a few guys outta town. And it’s unfortunately going to have to be that way.

    He wears #11 because it reminds him of his childhood…exactly the way he’s played.

     

      

     

     

    “The sh*t is CHESS!NOT CHECKERS.” Denzel W.(Training Day)

  116. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    Kickin’ DIA-LEC-TICS.

    U go Boone…

    “The sh*t is CHESS!NOT CHECKERS.” Denzel W.(Training Day)

  117. Displaced says:

    For all the comments about Gomez, including some negative posts from former fans, he isn’t going anywhere this year.  JM likes him.  He gives Gomez top 6 wingers, lots of minutes, and ice time at critical moments.  Eller didn’t mature fast enough and may still not have overtaken Gomez on the depth chart and DD came up to late to really JM’s confidence as #2 centre, so Gomez is still here. 

    So grin and bear it but take some comfort in this, our cap absorbed his salary for 75% of the season, so we might as well hope he performs in the playoffs. 

    Before next season, PG has to decide what value Gomez has to this team.  If it’s not much and he can’t trade him, then there’s Hamilton and there’s precedent, Redden, Souray and Finger are examples of players whose contracts savings are worth MORE than their on-ice performance. PG is a budget kinda guy so I’m sure he’ll appreciate the savings.

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  118. longbow says:

    Reeeeeeally need to dump Gomez for absolutely anything.It’s not about the player or draft pick we get in return,it’s about freeing up the cap space he’s wasting. 7+ million can really come in handy on July 1st. If there’s any deal to be made by tomorrow I hope it’s for our long term benefit.

     

    Einstein’s definition of insanity – “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

  119. G-Man says:

    Have you ever seen anyone lose his balance and fall on his own as much as Pouliot?

    Let the braying continue about Gomez. If the Habs make the playoffs, he will amp up his game. All players have crappy seasons. Price last season, for example. Gionta looked pretty good finishing that non-goal set-up by Gomez last night thanks to Blind Bill Mcreary. The only shackles AK has are in his head. All forwards playing with Gomez should hit the space he just vacated- it’s that f!cking easy, but these wingers are too stupid to get it. Gionta does and he was a force last night.

    Who cares what Boston and Philly have- whatever it is- it won’t be enough for those perennial chokers.

     

  120. habs001 says:

    since we have played the bruins they have a few new players and while we are 3-1 vs the bruins we have not played them with their new line up…we have a history of success vs the bruins so maybe that magic will be present if we have to play them in the playoffs…stats wise we dont match up too well…bruins have scored 26 more goals and by the end of the season it looks like they will have 12 forwards with 10 or more goals..they have given up 18 less goals also…they are tied for the second best road record in the nhl…last year vs the caps and pitts there were players we could concentrate on as they had high goal totals but bostons goals are spead out….each fourth line forward for the bruins will have more goals than 3 of our fourth lines combined…


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