About last night …

Let’s assume, for the sake of a nice Lord’s Day argument, that was the real Montreal Canadiens we watched last night.

So what do we have here?

• Great goaltending that gives the team a chance to win every night.

• An excellent first line, featuring the best two-way centre in the NHL.

• Four experienced, reliable defencemen – plus a surprisingly competent journeyman and an exciting rookie who’s thrilling fans and enraging opponents.

• One of the best penalty-kills in the league.

• Third and furth lines that are industrious, disciplined and capable of scoring once in a while.

• A second line on its way to becoming a third line if Lars Eller continues to improve.

• A power-play that doesn’t always totally suck.

• A defensive system that has not allowed more than three regulation-time goals since the season began – something none of the other 29 teams has accomplished.

Did I forget anything?

Oh, yeah: Team spirit.

Granted, the Sabres aren’t the Flyers. But you had to love the alacrity with which the Canadiens arrived, in numbers, whenever trouble started last night.

Patrick Kaleta? Invisible …. which had not been the case in Toronto on Friday.

December is not going to be an easy month.

Two winnable games – Edmonton and, yes, New Jersey – mid-week, then the sked gets hairy: San Jose at home followed by nine of 12 on the road; stops in Detroit, Colorado, Dallas, Carolina, Washington and the year-end Florida swing. Four sets of back-to-backers, including an ice-pack special: Philadelphia and Boston at the Bell Centre on Dec. 15-16.

If the Canadiens played like they did in Atlanta on Friday, December is going to kill them.

But if the real team is the one that beat Buffalo last night, 2010 will go into the books as a great year that included a miracle playoff run and a surprising season start.

Get Scott Gomez going, which will help Mike Cammalleri, and 2011 will be a very good year.

•  •  •

And now, because I’m lazy and want to watch football, here are a couple interesting observations from my favourite print analyst, Pierre Ladouceur of La Presse, and a member of the Commentariat, usversusthem:

Ladouceur outlined the genesis of the AK46 power-play goal that opened the scoring. On the previous shift, the excellent-all-night line of Eller, Mathieu Darche and Benoit Pouliot had controlled the puck in the Buffalo end and a desperate Steve Montador cross-checked Darche  on the lip of Ryan Miller’s crease. Twenty-two seconds later, Andrej Sekera flipped the puck over the glass and the Canadiens had a 5-on-3.

The ensuing goal can be traced back to Darche’s willingness to pay the Price in the dirty area.

“Positioning in front of the net is a question of will,” Darche told Ladouceur. “It’s my role, and I know there’s a price to pay.”

The bill, however, landed on the Buffalo tab.

(When I talked to Darche, he said some interesting things about Eller’s willingness to listen and learn. The kid is going to be a good one.)

Usversus them worked up some stats on Carey Price in December: 8-4-0, GAA of 1.59, save precentage of 95.1, three shutouts (and 73 bloody seconds short of a fourth!)

The Commenter concludes:

Worth noting: 2 of those losses came in games the Habs were shut out in.
Meaning: In the 10 games the Habs actually scored a goal, Price went
8-2. (Of his 7 regulation losses so far this season, the Habs have
scored 1 or 0 goals in 4 of them.) Also: Keep in mind, he let in 8 of
those 19 goals in the first three games of the month. Over the last 9
games, he’s been insane! 7-2-0, 1.23, .964, 3 SO… It’s unlikely he’ll
be about to retain his Movember mojo going forward, but if he puts up
anywhere close to these numbers for another couple of months the Habs
shouldn’t have too much trouble clinching the division even without
Markov.

How good are your Montreal Canadiens?

No one, least of all the team PR department, talks about Markov.

His creativity is still sorely missed on the PP. But Alexandre Picard has been very solid. He’s not a physical defenceman, but Picard is rarely out of position (which is important, playing with the irrepressible P.K.),  and he makes good decisions with the puck.

You don’t notice Picard … and that’s a good thing.

•  •  •

The annual Canadiens Blood Donor Clinic goes at Windsor Station tomorrow.

The team also will be out in force at Mary Queen of the World, Montreal’s beautiful cathedral, for Pat Burns’ funeral.

 

 

150 Comments

  1. Rad says:

    I am not defending Subban, and didn’t even hear the Subban comments, so am definitely “over it”.

    Ethnocentrism is just a euphemism and exactly equivalent to being a WANNABE neo nazi, please note the word wannabe. And not taking Cherry to task for all his “ethnocentrism” over a career spanning decades is itself STUPID and IRRESPONSIBLE. 

     

     

  2. thebigguy says:

    Hyperbole much?

    Look, Cherry was a failed hockey player and coach. While he’s certainly guilty of ethnocentrism, to call him a ‘wannabe neo-nazi’ is both stupid and irresponsible.

     

    He’s been critical of Subban. Get over it.

  3. Rad says:

    I also took some time to write to the CBC Ombudsman about Cherry’s narrow-minded, morally-reprehensible frothing at the mouth on a variety of subjects from hockey violence to ethnic superiority. Cherry is a wannabe neo nazi, and would be considered dangerous if he wasn’t such a buffoon.

  4. Timo says:

    That;s good info dude. I am not one to usually send letters but once in a while I do like to stir crap :) So I did. We’ll see if it even gets acknowledged.

  5. Timo says:

    How would TSN be any different? You got leafs homes on that network too. Most of Canadian sports networks are just plain embarrassing and the level of professionalism is the lower than Fox News.

  6. Danno says:

    Also, before the all-important faceoff it was AK who iced the puck with only 75 seconds left in the game. That was the beginning of the chain of events which lead to the goal. It’s too bad Pleks lost the face-off. If Lars Eller would have taken it the shutout would almost have been assured as he was eight for eight on face-offs. Also perfect for the night was Jeff Halpern who was three for three.

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

  7. Rad says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Hamrlik is re-signed after this year. He has been the Habs’ most consistent defenseman so far this season, and logged big minutes. The question is, how much does he have left in the tank, and how much money will the team offer him for, say, a 2-year contract? As he gets older and his minutes go down, he will not be worth his current salary, so I would like to see him sign for between $2.5M – $3.5M a year. Hammer has said he loves playing in Montreal, so let’s hope he re-signs at a significant discount to his current salary. He has been a rock this year, but that can’t be expected to continue as he gets closer to 40.

    I prefer Jovanovski to Bieksa, assuming either one of them could be acquired. Jovo is bigger and tougher and more talented. He would look great on the Montreal blue line. 

  8. HardHabits says:

    They stopped forechecking in the last 10 minutes. They went to the dreaded 1-4. On the goal Plex lost the face-off and AK46 got his stick in the way. If you watch the replay you can see the puck barely grazed but enough to redirect. Price was screened on the shot so no fault there. But invariably the coach said hang back and not press for more. They did after the goal but the goose-egg was cracked at that point. Mario Tremblay was upset for Price, oh the irony, after the game too.

  9. Danno says:

    It was weird. The whole thing was coming together nicely and you knew the jinx-mongers were trying to wreck the party.

    What’s interesting is that it could have been Price’s fifth shutout and they would all have been by a score of 3-0 which is quite remarkable. To me, it was like a beautiful masterpiece being scratched by a vandal.

     

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

  10. HardHabits says:

    The whole Bell Centre crowd was thinking it. Their was a collective sigh when the goal went in. Nice to see them chant “Ca-rey, Ca-rey” after the goal though.

  11. HardHabits says:

    Honestly Ian. It’s disgraceful to see Cherry on T.V.

    Remember this. He also said the Price was done in Montreal on the 1st game of the season. How wrong was he? Very, very, wrong. Price will win a Cup as Hab, IMO more than 1 too.

    Now about PK. Nobody is going to get him. So far we have seen Richards monkey-see-monkey-do Cherry and it is Richards who ended up looking like a whiney little woose. Myers went after PK last night out of stupid frustration. Who looks bad? Not PK.

    The truth is it is good that Cherry opens his idiotic trap. It exposes the morons in he NHL.

    My suggestion is this to NHL players. Don’t listen to Cherry. It will just blemish your NHL career in the end if you do!!

  12. Danno says:

    Worse than that. The RDS guys – Alain Crete, Mario Tremblay and Joel Bouchard, were saying the S word during the second intermission. I couldn’t believe it. Tremblay had a funny grin on his face as the conversation went on. But then again, he always has a funny look on his face…

     

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

  13. Exit716 says:

    Nah, he’s just soiled his Depends.

     

  14. HardHabits says:

    Don’t forget Pierre Houde also mentioned Price’s shut-out bid a few seconds before the goal. It’s a conspiracy.

  15. HardHabits says:

    Ian. I am with you on Gomez. Too many people look at his salary and expect him to score 84 points. BG didn’t hand him that contract, Sather did. Gainey brought Gomez in because he fits JM’s style of play. He is an industrious worker, when he puts in the effort. Last night he chased a Sabre from the O-zone back to the Habs D-zone and stripped him of the puck and got it out for another breakaway. He made a beauty pass to Kostitsyn that Miller stopped, but it still was a grade A scoring chance. You can see that Gomez looked away in frustration after the save as a shooter would do if robbed of a sure goal. What does Gomez need to do to buy an assist? The only adjustment I see is Gomez getting a litle less ice time and Eller a little more.

    I wish people would stop with the Gomez hatred, or G-Hate as I call it. Scrutinize his game and point out as Muller did where he is cheating or needs to improve, but get it into your heads that he is a Hab through and through. He wants to be here and the team is with him. He’s no cancer in the room. Nobody wants him benched. He’s not getting traded, contract or not, and he isn’t getting waived or sent to Hamilton.

    He wont find himself as the 3rd either, unless Eller wins 60% of his face-offs and starts scoring at a point per game pace. Gomez had less than 16 minutes of ice time and Eller had almost 12. That is as clear an indication that the coaching staff knows what it’s doing.

  16. HardHabits says:

    Imam Cherry has issued his fatwa.

  17. NoTinFoilCups says:

    MAB was a non factor in the playoffs. Why bother?

  18. Ferg says:

    Yeah Cherry gets more Toronto-centric every game. And he’s not alone. Glen Healy was practically in tears agonizing over the way his Leafs were playing last night. Not really Hockey Night in Canada anymore. Sure wish TSN would take over all of it.

  19. ProHabs says:

    Thanks for the links Danno.

  20. Exit716 says:

    You know P.K. personally, don’t you Ian?

     

  21. Ian Cobb says:

    I have just sent my letter off to the CBC pertaining to Don Cherry,s personal views of hate, violence, bigotry and bias directed at our youth in this country. I also advised them that this country was made up of many more other cities than just Toronto, in case they were not aware.

  22. Danno says:

    Good stuff ProHabs!

    Go here if you wish to make an official complaint about Don Cherry to the CRTC.

    You may also address your complaint to the CBC Ombudsman directly:

     

    ombudsman@cbc.ca

    Vince Carlin
    Ombudsman
    CBC
    P.O. Box 500, Station A
    Toronto, Ontario M5W 1E6
    Fax: 416/205-2825
    Tel.: 416/205-2978

     

     

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

  23. Mike Boone says:

    No, that one I like!

  24. sidhu says:

    Agreed — so in my mind, we do this: 1) get some depth this year (e.g., Bieksa) to reduce the minutes of Hammer and Spaceman, but which may push Picard to the 7 slot for the time-being, and 2) after this season, let Hammer go, insert Picard into a regular top-6 role, keep Bieksa, and find depth for the 7th slot perhaps through the UFA pool or Hamilton.

    In short, I don’t think we can have Weber as our #7 guy, we need depth, but that may push Picard out of a starting role.  We bring him back into a starting role next season after Hammer departs.

  25. ProHabs says:

    My letter to the CBC:

    Hello, I was wondering if someone can explain to me how it is possible that on a publicly funded network like CBC, someone like Don Cherry is allowed to publicly put a bounty on the head of a 21 year old athlete. It is unacceptable that on a highly viewed show such as Hockey Night in Canada, a show in which is watched by hundreds of thousands of kids, that Cherry is able to encouraged NHL hockey players to go after or injure Montreal Canadians defenceman PK Subban. I wonder, if your 21 year old son was the target of Cherry’s obvious campaign to injure, how would you act or feel. A response would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

  26. habs-hampton says:

    Actually, I heard it in the Ott-Tor game, but I think they were trying to ruin Ottawa’s SO bid. But of course it was the Leafs, so not much chance of it happening.

  27. Shiloh says:

    So I guess my hope for “Black Snake Moen” is out the window …..

  28. Ian Cobb says:

    Gomez is doing more for this team than most
    people appreciate. He is the second fastest player on the team and
    checks ferociously. When the play offs come around, this team will be
    able to adjust to any style from the opposition. Our team speed is totally intimidating every team in the league, and they cannot clutch and grab like years gone by. We are disciplined so as not to get drawn into the goonery. 

    Two areas that need work are, face offs and of coarse the power play. We will peek at the right time this year folks.

    I know we mail
    in a few games, as some players pace themselves until the play offs.
    Just watch out when these money veterans hit the ice in the spring.

  29. DearyLeary says:

    I like Picard in the 6 slot, but I would be extremely reluctant to give him big minutes.

  30. sidhu says:

    Props for mentioning Picard — he jumps up, skates hard to get back, and looks confident with the puck.  Great find.

    If we continue to sit near the top of the leaderboard, the question becomes whether we will nonetheless acquire some more depth on D, Picard’s play notwithstanding. 

    My take: yes, we need depth; but when Hammer’s contract expires after this season, Picard should be given a firm spot in the top-6.  He’s more reliable and about 4.5m cheaper.

  31. Danno says:

    Go here to make an official complaint to the CRTC about Bob Cole ruining Carey Price’s shutout bid.

     

     

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

  32. drivefor25 says:

    It’s not the network that pays Cherry. It’s you and me and all the other long-suffering Canadian taxpayers. Cherry has been so outrageous this year that I’m going to write to the CRTC and the CBC Ombudsman about this jerk/clown/bigot. Enough’s enough.

    Fan since ’71

  33. ABHabsfan says:

    You are quite right about that, but it was hypothetical.

  34. DearyLeary says:

    Well, there’s a simple reason you wouldn’t hear that in a Leafs telecast… they’re hardly ever in the position to shut teams out in the last 3 minutes because they allow goals.

  35. DearyLeary says:

    I think people need to remember that Eller is 21.  Our current best position player (Pleks) played 3 games in the NHL when he was 21. He’s on the fast track to being a second line center. 

  36. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Gauthier’s big move will be signing MAB in December, in hopes to jump start the PP back to last years status.

  37. ABHabsfan says:

    What a great game to watch last night. The Habs were relentless at the beginning and at the end. Some lapses in the 2nd but CP was there to hold them through. I thought Pouliot was really good, amazing set of hands. Pouliot with Gomez and Cammy might be worth a look. I realize they are all left hand shots but having 2 skilled players on the wings could help Gomez and Cammy gat it going. This would be to the detriment of Eller, who is better every game, but who would you rather have rolling, Cammy or Eller?

    Bob Cole ruined CP’s shut-out bid. Going on and on about being 3 minutes away from another shut-out and what-not. I realize it is blind superstition but you just don’t do that. Funny how when you start talking about it, it always results in a goal. You wouldn’t hear that talk in a Leafs telecast.

  38. DearyLeary says:

    Of all the new wave of ‘superstars’ how many are in the western conference?  They’re shooting the lights out in Philly, Washington’s got Ovie/Backstrom/Semin, Boston is riding Thomas, and Horton has been pretty good thus far.  The other team beating us in the East is Pittsburgh with the evil Sidney Crosby.

    Also, we’re right in the mix with the same +/- as Detroit and have played competitive games against three of the four teams that are ahead of us in that category (beat Pitt, Philly, and Boston, with a collapse against Philly being our fourth game). 

     

  39. Caper says:

    I was a fan of his for years. However I am sick of his rants against the Habs or individual players on basically a weekly basis. He does know hockey but his his love of Toronto is becoming too much. Other than Cherry, we all know the leafs are a horrible hockey team. and will be for a few more years to come.

  40. DearyLeary says:

    Are we sure that Jaro Spacek isn’t just some elaborate Dan Aykroyd sketch?  What on earth was he saying about Plekanec’s percentages?  hahaha

  41. Mike Boone says:

    I loathe FHF “funny” nicknames more than you loathe that rule. So let’s just call him Moen, shall we?

  42. habs-hampton says:

    Don’t forget the personal vendetta that Cherry’s sidekick Ron McLean had against Alex Burrows last year. He used our national, publiclly owned network to start a smear campaign against Burrows. Now I’m not a Canucks fan or Burrows fan, but that was really cheap journalism.

    Next, maybe the 5th Estate can bring in Ron and Don for a 30 minute special to try and ruin Subban’s reputation.

    The only real way to protect guys like Subban is to trade them to Toronto, then the 2 village idiots can fawn all over him.

  43. Mr.Hazard says:

    Best goal differentials in EAST: +26 (PHI), +17 (WSH), +16 (BOS)

    Best in the WEST: +15 (DET), +12 (COL), +11 (CBJ)

    What does this mean?? More disparity in the East, or just more scoring?

    Also: NJD have the 3rd worst goal differential in the league (after NYI and EDM) with -24!! On average, the other team scores one more goal per game. What a terrible stat!

  44. Danno says:

    Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

    Go here if you wish to make an official complaint about Don Cherry to the CRTC.

     

     —————————————————————————–

     

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    During
    recent broadcasts of Coaches Corner which airs during Hockey Night in
    Canada broadcasts on the CBC television network, TV personality Mr.
    Donald S. Cherry has been repeatedly suggesting that Montreal Canadiens
    defenseman PK Subban will suffer some physical retaliation as a result
    of his style of play.
    He has shown replays of violent acts and
    attempts against PK Subban as well as videos by other players including
    Philadelphia Flyers Captain Mike Richards making threatenning remarks
    against PK Subban.
    Mr. Cherry is constantly and openly encouraging,
    inciting and justifying violent forms of aggression to be taken against
    PK Subban.
    His main justification for the above is that PK Subban is a
    player who is new to the NHL and therefor should be showing “respect”
    by not playing with such a flamboyant style.
    This is totally unacceptable.
    I
    am shocked and outraged that this hateful vendetta against an innocent
    individual is allowed to be broadcast on our public airwaves by the CBC,
    our public television network.
    I would respectfully ask the CRTC to
    intervene on my behalf and on behalf of all Canadians who expect our
    public broadcaster to uphold our values and standards which include
    keeping our airwaves free of content which would encourage hatred and/or
    violence against an innocent individual.

    Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

     

    ——————————————–

     

    You may also address your complaint to the CBC Ombudsman directly:

     

    ombudsman@cbc.ca

    Vince Carlin
    Ombudsman
    CBC
    P.O. Box 500, Station A
    Toronto, Ontario M5W 1E6
    Fax: 416/205-2825
    Tel.: 416/205-2978

     

     

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

  45. stephen says:

    I think he was cleverly suggesting the effort on Friday didn’t quite constitute a ‘game’.

  46. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    I find it comical how PK is just some disrespectful jerk in Cherry’s ice, but Nazem Kadri is the second coming of Christ.

    -Dustin-

  47. CalgaryHabsFan says:

    Every time Cherry gets under my skin I always think of this moment and it always makes me smile.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12-x70nq0vI

    Cherry is a pathetic small minded little man who hates us because we crushed his dreams of winning the stanley cup.

  48. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    I didn’t see a whole lot of playing going on in Atlanta, but I agree that the Canadiens were scheduled to be there Friday night.  :)

    -Dustin-

  49. Keith says:

    I really liked what Travis Moen (aka:Moeman) did last night, coming to the aid of Mike Cammalleri and taking the instigator (how I LOATHE that rule), which is exactly what the team needs to do for one another since the Habs are a bit on the small side. Take a well deserved day off guys, you’ve earned it!

  50. DLHABSNUT65 says:

    Are you forgetting about the NO SHOW in Atlanta on Friday night or are you just trying to forget it! If that’s the case then I’m sorry I reminded you!

  51. RS says:

    Lots of people hate Sean Avery, but he was probably saying what a lot of players think when he said Cherry was a out-of-date clown who doesn’t know much about hockey today. I’ve got more respect for Avery than Cherry!

  52. DLHABSNUT65 says:

    I can’t believe the network actually pays for Cherry’s BS. He should have been put out to pasture 10 years ago or longer! He’s so prejudice it’s not even funny. Goes to show how out of touch with reality the CBC really is. If PK played for the leafs Cherry would love the kid! Well I think PK is awesome and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for PK, Eller and Price!! GO HABS GO!!

  53. andrewberkshire says:

    Alzner however wasn’t in the AHL because he wasn’t ready. It was very clear in his callups that he was the best defenseman the Capitals had defensively. He wasn’t called up because Washington didn’t want to pay him.

  54. stephen says:

    Count me amongst those who may have rolled their eyes at the Darche summer signing and are now more than happy to be wrong. In his own quiet, unassuming way, he has become an integral part of this lineup and shouldn’t ever have to find himself in the pressbox again.

    What he may lack in brute skill he makes up for in smarts and a tireless work ethic. I can’t remember the last time we had a player so willing to take the punishment that comes with standing in front of the net. The guy took a Subban blast to the gut and didn’t miss a shift.

    If Eller hones his very evident skill and develops a Darche-like hunger for the puck, we may very well have a gem.

    As long as I’m talking about admitting when I’m wrong about signings, I have to make a quick mention of Picard. Something not often mentioned about his game is his proclivity to pinch down low in the offensive zone to fish out a puck and sustain pressure, and how very infrequently it gets him or his team in trouble. The fact that Martin obviously gives Picard the green light to push down low at his own discretion speaks volumes about this ‘journeyman’ defenceman’s smarts and versatility. Call me daft, but I’ll take a Picard over a Bergeron as 6th-7th defenceman any day of the week.

    Hope everyone enjoys the game today! Go Als!

     

  55. yvresgyros says:

    Sorry, Wednesday vs the Kings, otherwise, it’s all factually accurate!

  56. yvresgyros says:

    Sorry, Wednesday vs the Kings, otherwise, it’s all factually acurate!

  57. rwolowid says:

     

    Agreed

     

    MY 2 FAVOURITE TEAMS,THE HABS&ANYBODY PLAYING THE LEAFS

  58. rwolowid says:

     

    Random thoughts :is Don Cherry trying to run P K out of the league by giving his seemingly blessing to hurt him for his idea of respect.I think he really he hates the habs success .Just that feeling I get everytime I watch Him.I think Don is way past his time to be put out to pasture.

     

     

     

     

    MY 2 FAVOURITE TEAMS,THE HABS&ANYBODY PLAYING THE LEAFS

  59. yvresgyros says:

    One thing I have to say in the Sabres defense, they were perhaps a bit exhausted on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Canadiens hadn’t played a game since Thursday VS the Kings.

    Anyone wanna dispute that?

  60. DearyLeary says:

    Agreed.  Pyatt doesn’t put up stats, but his role on the penalty kill, which has been lights out, makes him an asset to keep.

    I wouldn’t mind seend Max come up and compete for a spot with the likes of Lappierre, Moen, and Benny.  None of them have been particularly consistent, and cycling Patches into the lineup from time to time would be good for all of them.  Light a little fire under their asses, and we get to see if Max is able to put the puck in at the NHL level after a hot start to the AHL season.

     

  61. JF says:

    That must have been a great day, Steve.  Happy birthday to Erin.  My son Sam was born the previous year in England, unconnected with any hockey memory, good or bad!

  62. Mike Boone says:

    Nope. Martin loves Pyatt, who gives him great PK and fourth-line minutes, neither of which he’d get from Max-Pac.

  63. Mike Boone says:

    If Markov is done for the season the Canadiens have $5.8 million in cap space. I have a feeling, based on nothing more tangible than a tingling in my csalp, that Gauthier will make a move.

  64. Chuck Chuck Goose says:

    Nice to see Larry Brooks at the NY Post standing up for our boy in today’s column:

    “When Mike Richards talks about P.K. Subban needing to show respect for his elders, he means like the way he respected Peter Forsberg when they were teammates in Philadelphia, and the way he respected David Booth in that game last year, right?”
  65. BeachHabFan says:

    i can understand that ‘nobody in the PR department’ is talking about markov but gauthier must know to some extent what he’s dealing with by now. what’s the cap hit if markov is done for 6 mths or the full year? maybe he could grab impending UFA LW cory stillman from florida (i like eller a lot, but give him some time with a workhorse like darche so he can learn by example like benny has seemed to do) for prospect?

  66. Castor says:

    I LOVE Pyatt’s heart and effort but he should go back to Hamilton and we should bring up Maxpac.
    Both players will benefit and maybe Maxpac can help Gomez and Cammy’s line.

  67. Chris says:

    Jared Cowan might be struggling for Ottawa, but I was certainly impressed with Taylor Doherty, San Jose’s 57th overall pick in 2009, who is also of similar size. There is another guy that is apparently not the height he is listed at…most people that have met him off the ice suggest he is also closer to 6’5″.

    But then again, if you believe the media guides and team stats, Wayne Gretzky was 6′ tall as well. 😉

  68. 24 Cups says:

    I bet he wishes now that he had gone on to university this year.

  69. Chris says:

    I did confess it was all based on just one game so the report shoud be taken with a grain of salt! 😉

    On the serious side…there is no way he is 6’7″, which the media guides have him at. The Guelph Storm have a defenceman named David Searle who is listed at 6’5″ and that is a legitimate height in his case as I’ve seen him in his civilian clothes. He and Tinordi are pretty much the same size.

    The key thing I look for in OHL games is whether a player is dominating at his level of competition. A soon to be 19 year old star defenceman is usually playing long shifts (often double-shifted) and is out in every situation. That was what stood out for Tinordi. They were playing him the way most teams play their 16 year old rookies. Perhaps Robert was right in his reply, that Dale Hunter was managing Tinordi’s minutes as he recovers from a knee bump. But he very clearly was not dominant offensively or defensively, and that was against a Guelph Storm team that is really struggling of late.

    The main point of my post is that Tinordi will definitely take that 4 or 5 years that you mention before he is ready. Definitely not implying that he won’t make it, but patience will certainly be required.

    A lot of Habs fans immediately start saying “bust” when it comes to defensive defencemen if they aren’t in the NHL in a year or two. One need look no further than Ryan McDonagh, who is still in the AHL but remains a very bright prospect in the eyes of most scouts. Karl Alzner is another who comes to mind…he had been shuttling between Washington and Hersey for his first two pro seasons after playing out a 5-year WHL career before finally becoming a regular in the Capitals’ lineup this season.

  70. aroma says:

    Good observations.  Below I had suggested playing Cammalleri on his offwing with Eller and Pouliot, thinking that Gionta had finally clicked on the Plekanec line.  But I like your idea better – everyone except perhaps Moen playing on the correct wing:

    Plek-Cam-Kost

    Eller-Pouliot-Gionta

    Halpern-Darche-Lapierre

    Gomez-Pyatt-Moen

    To me, this looks like four solid lines.  Why should Gomez be allowed to continue to drag down wingers with scoring potential?

  71. SeriousFan09 says:

    The general consensus is that Tinordi hasn’t looked good with the Knights this season, but this is about 20 games in and the general thoughts on the Knights from what I’ve read is they’re not as good as they were and need to rebuild a bit. Tinordi is adjusting to the OHL and playing at his size, I remember him being one of the better ‘raw’ defencemen in the pre-season. You can tell he has a solid skating stride for a player his size and he’s showing some increased aggression in the OHL.

    Jared Cowan, a 9th overall pick for OTT from 2009 is still something of a project for them and he has a similar size.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  72. twocents says:

    Great post and well placed caution regarding Wednesday’s game.

  73. 24 Cups says:

    Jane – I hear what you’re saying about Edmonton but all the indicators point to us grabbing an easy two points.  Edmonton can’t score and they also can’t keep the puck out of their own net.  The PK is brutal and they have even reverted to starting Gerber in net (He won!).  The secret to beating Edmonton is to score early as it seems to deflate the team (and their young players).

    I know you are worried about the losses to Atlanta and Nashville when the team came up flat.  Let’s just say that the “Findlay reverse jinx” has been duly noted:-)

    On a personal note, it was 26 years ago when Guy Lafleur retired and broke Hab fans’ hearts.  The next day, my daughter was born.  After all these years, the love of daughter still shines brightly. Happy Birthday, Erin! 

  74. twocents says:

    Pleks was jacked last night. He’s been great all season, but last night his moves were so quick he was playing like a person who had no hesitation in him whatsoever.

    Eller looks so solid. Price? What more can be said.

    @Chris, re: your scouting report on Tinordi. I can’t help but think that’s a very premature outlook based on an extremely limited sample. Apparently the kid has grown 2 inches and put on 10 pounds since the draft, he’s a big boy. Kid’s like that can be very slow to develop, we all know that. At that growth rate he probably feels like he’s skating in someone else’s body. I am happy to wait and see what he looks like 4 or 5 years down the road and I am willing not to get to worked up about the reports in the meantime.

    And before people get too worked up about 4 or 5 years, remember Subban has taken a pretty quick road and it took him 3 years from his draft. Patience is required.

     

  75. JF says:

    The Habs we saw last night were the ones we see in most games.  The other version appears every few games but does not stick around for more than a game at a time – so far anyway.  The team is very resilient, which bodes well for a playoff series.  Most teams would find it difficult to win 4 games out of 7 against us.

    I loved the way the guys stuck up for each other last night, and the more I see of Mathieu Darche, the more I understand why Gauthier signed him.  He’s one of the hardest workers on the team, willing to go into the dirty areas of the ice and take anything in the way of punishment to hold his position.

    Eller looked great last night.  He has skill, he positions himself well, and he makes good decisions.  I’d like to see him centring the second line between Pouliot and Gionta.  I think Cammalleri was more effective with Plekanec and Kostitsyn (or is that Gomez’s fault like everything else?)  But although Cammy’s not scoring as much as last year, he’s better defensively, doesn’t turn the puck over so easily in our zone.

    Another strong game from Kostitsyn and Plekanec.  Kostitsyn’s pass to Gionta for his first goal was a thing of beauty, and Plekanec combined hard work and vision to win the puck off Tyler Myers and get it to Gionta in the slot.  As for the Captain, he had his best game this year and it’s great to see his scoring touch back.

    I’m very impressed by Alexandre Picard, not just by his defensive awareness but by the accuracy of his shot. Maybe he should give some lessons to P.K., whose shot is hard but tends to spray all over the place.  If he got it on the net more often, we might do a bit more damage on the powerplay.

    Beware of Wednesday’s game.  An extra day off, an opponent from the Western conference languishing at the bottom of the standings – precisely the conditions in which the Habs are likely to show up flat and indifferent.

  76. HabFab says:

    Sounds like Darche would make a fine coach in the future.

  77. 24 Cups says:

    HF – Let me be the first one to eat crow when it comes to Darche being on the roster this year.  I thought that the Habs should have gone with someone like Asham but Darche has proven me wrong.

    Comes to play every night, does his job without fanfare and helps out the cap with his league minimum salary.

    This call had to be made by Martin and it just shows how astute the coach was with this signing.

  78. aroma says:

    I was thinking the same…

  79. Mike Boone says:

    Absolutely. And like Guy Boucher, he’s a McGill man.

  80. Shiloh says:

    Darche is such an unusual player. He doesn’t really have exceptional skills in any facet of the game but he almost wills himself to be a part of the action every time he plays. He gets in front of the net, goes into corners, pops the odd goal – and plays the same every night. I really like this player – and I think you hit the nail on the head when you suggest he’ll make a great coach some day.

  81. Big Ted says:

    Picard has really done an impressive job of being solid in every facet of the game he’s been asked to play. He is sound positionally, he moves the puck well, and he doesn’t get out-muscled the way a ceratin Marc-Andre Bergeron was constantly. I think he can also be a contributor on the powe play as he gets more opportunity there. Players like Picard, Darche, Halpern, and Pyatt have really come out of the bargain bin to help this team and give us good play from the depth positions. What’s lacking is the presence of a second-line winger who has size and can score. Eller and Pouliot would be two potential candidates, but with JM insisting on leaving them on the 3rd and 4th lines, it requires another player to come in and do a better job than Travis Moen, who himself could be a decent 4th liner but who is not anywhere close to being a top 6 forward. This team is one second-line forward and one top 4 defenceman away from being able to call itself a legitimate contender in the East.

  82. 24 Cups says:

    ESPN’s top ten surprises of the season so far.  Carey comes in at #3.

  83. 24 Cups says:

    Dan Hamhuis shows how to throw a real body check instead of going for a head shot.

    Flashback to the days of Harper and Harris at the Forum.

  84. SeriousFan09 says:

    Hip checking is awesome and PK always manages to get one in each game he plays.

    My personal favourite by Vladimir Konstantinov, who had a cruel trick of fate cut short his very promising career.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  85. Ian Cobb says:

    Here are this weeks stats on where we place in this 30 team league.

    The number one most important stat for a winning team, is always goals against, because it represents the total team play.

    You can never win a championship without total team defence. Just look at where we are this week boys and girls.

     

    Goals Against– 47, We are in  2nd place.    Last week we were in  2nd place.

    Total Points—- 31, We are in  4th place.    Last week we were in   3rd place.

    Goals For——- 60, We are in 19th place.   Last week we were in  21st place.

     

    We are so far ahead of last year, it is scary.  Yes it would be nice for everyone, if all the boys were filling the net. But their main responsibility is to prevent the opposition from doing so and they are sure getting the job done. 

    What a great team we have here now. We are definitely capable of taking home the big one this year, hang on to your hats, this is going to be a ride and a half each night.

  86. 24 Cups says:

    Ian – Here’s a thought.  Why don’t you also include the goal differential (GD) as part of your weekly stats?  This is also an important indicator of how a team is really doing in their conference (I only look at Eastern Conference stat comparisons).

    Right now, we are +13 which is 5th in our conference behind Philly, Pittsburgh, Boston and Washington.

  87. 24 Cups says:

    Quote of the night goes to J.T. 

    “Seriously, can we get blades for Pouliot’s ass? He spends more time on it than on his feet.”

  88. RGM says:

    I don’t know how many hockey card collectors are around here but there was an eBay auction that concluded last night for one of the most significant cards of the modern era. Alex Ovechkin’s 1-of-1 The Cup Black Rainbow rookie parallel finished at an amazing $9,189 last night. As a reference point, I own the Josh Gorges version of this card and paid a whopping $125.

    Go Habs Go!

  89. Cape Breton says:

    Picard played one year here in Cape Breton with the Screaming Eagles and excelled in all facets of the game.  He was way more offensive scoring 10 goals and 26 assists in 57 games. THe following year he played in Halifax and had 15 goals and 23 assists in 68 games. So perhaps if need be, Mr. Picard can turn on the jets.

  90. 24 Cups says:

    The race to win the division title.

    Montreal 3 (wins) – Buffalo 0

    Montreal 2 – Ottawa 1

    Montreal 1 – Boston 0

  91. BeachHabFan says:

    what about toronto? bwah hah hahhhh

  92. aroma says:

    although on the nights when the Habs lose and are manhandled in the process, the comments reflect a different sense – that we need more muscle, toughness, etc.  and all is then not right with the lineup.   So I think there’s two big caveats (aside from the obvious one about avoiding injuries):  they have to survive December – seems that’s always a stumbling block every year for the Habs; and they have to figure out how to beat teams like the Flyers.  Travis Moen doesn’t quite strike fear in the hearts of the Milan Lucics of the league.

     

    One other observation:  is it just a matter of time before Gomez and Eller are essentially switched?  Now that Gionta finally seems to be benefitting from the magic that is Plekanec, could Cammaller play on his offwing (which he does do at times on some lines), creating an Eller-Pouliot-Cammalleri second line?

  93. Mike Boone says:

    Hope there’s enough crow to go around. I was one of the ones who thought darche wouldn’t be on the team if his name were Mathhew Davis. Pierre Gauthier knows what he’s doing.

  94. andrewberkshire says:

    That was the best rivalry in the NHL through the last 90’s to early 2000’s.

  95. Mats26 says:

    For all the Gomez haters/lovers:

    IMHO we have 140 games left with the new #11 as a Hab. In 2012-13, his actual salary goes way down while his cap hit stays the same, and he will actually becoem a tradeable asset. He will end up in Fla, NYI or some other market struggling to get ABOVE the cap floor – new collective bargaining agreement notwithstanding!) 

    For now, he’s a good team guy who has a knack for showing up when it matters most. So sit  down, take a load off, grab an Ex from cousin Geoff, and watch him skate around the perimeter until the end of Feb.


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