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

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.




  1. Bill says:

    This is really long, I hope you didn’t miss all of the O’Reilly Factor to write it :)

    The comparison to Goldstein is really not apt. In the novel, Goldstein is essentially a fictional character created for the express purpose of being an object of hatred – moral, spiritual, political, and racial – to absolutely everyone. Cherry, in addition to being real (I get your point that he has a persona, but it’s still him) is actually very, very popular. He is probably the most popular television personality in Canadian history. Habs fans and intellectuals hate him – for different reasons –  but outside of that, he is actually a loved and respected figure.

    If you’re simply saying that he represents all that a certain minority of people in Canada deplore … well, that has nothing to do with Orwellian visions, except that it lets you use the word Thoughtcrime, which a lot of people on the far right like to do.

    1. You are absolutely right that as far as I know, Cherry has hardly “put a bounty” on Subban’s head. However, he has made a point of repeatedly mentioning that someone is going to hurt him, and he implies that this is action would be legitimate and expected: he thus uses his bully pulpit to set the expectation that someone should clobber Subban for vague and unspecified reasons, and therefore condones the action in advance. It’s not putting a bounty out, but it is increasing the likelihood of violence by legitimizing the action.

    2. Don Cherry doesn’t like visors because he thinks they’re pussy and European. Period. How many times does he have to make a reference to “visor-wearing wimps” for that to be clear? It has nothing to do with careless stick use, though he occasionally makes mention of that highly dubious notion in some sort of attempt to veil how primitive his thinking actually is.

    3. Thanks for defining “nationalist”, “patriot”, and “xenophobe” for everyone. You really must think you are talking to idiots all the time. Don Cherry has made so many disparaging comments based on nationality that for you to argue that he doesn’t resent foreigners – “chicken-Swedes stealing jobs from our boys” – is just baffling. His deliberate mangling of foreign hockey players’ names would absolutely be considered racist if the players were not from European countries. I met Don Cherry in one of his restaurants and he said something I won’t repeat about French Canadians. I found that illuminating.

    You’re letting your personal gripe against Political Correctness (the 90s are over man) creep into your consideration of hockey and HNIC. There are many legitimate problems with HNIC and its star, and pointing them out does not amount to a witch-hunt.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  2. doug19 says:

    Yeah! Max Pax is now third in AHL scoring with 11 goals and 14 assists!

  3. 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!


  4. SeriousFan09 says:

    I don’t buy this for a minute, he’s just a senile hypocrite.

    1. Cherry is a hypocrite, Nazem Kadri’s been far more disrespectful in incidents on the ice than Subban ever has but has he said anything about it? No because the kid is a Leaf and he can do no wrong with his ‘magic hands’.

    2. The AHL finally enforced visors because a young man who was not wearing a visor, a prospect to maybe become an NHL player one day suffered a career-ending eye injury from a puck striking him in the eye. I can think of at least three our four pucks striking Habs players in the visor area in the last two years or so that could have caused a severe injury but the visor saved their face and possibly their eyes, I can’t imagine how many players have been saved from pucks hitting their face by wearing the visor. He mocked visors openly, saying it was the “Frenchies” or the “Euros” who were wearing them mostly, as if to imply the hard-boiled Western Canadian and Ontario hockey players were carved out of wood and didn’t need to bother with silly protection. He laughed a couple times last year when players had their helmets knocked and the visor scratched their faces. Travis Moen nearly had his face carved right open because a skate struck him where a protective visor would have left him with no injury at all last year, where was the mention of that?

    3. Don Cherry has implied that European-born and trained NHL players did not have the ability to lead an NHL team to the Stanley Cup (Good thing Nick Lidstrom doesn’t watch Coach’s Corner). Take one second and imagine you replaced that with Black and lead an NFL Team to the Super Bowl. Yes, he’d have been run off the air in the States in about 20 seconds, if that. It was a bigoted, xenophobic statement. He has this grand delusion he has to protect hockey from these vicious foreign influences. Article comes up how European goaltending is starting to take over in the NHL, he blew his stack and ranted about it on Coach’s Corner. The insinuations he has made about Europeans over the years are bigoted, he mocks them with his ‘shtick’ by disrespectfully mispronouncing their names. It is irresponsible that he considers himself someone the ‘kids’ listen to and he’s the example and says don’t trust the Euros, you’re better than they are. It fosters distrust and hatred for no reason and these kids may end up playing with European players but they’ve got this message of hate in the back of their head from a senile crank.



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

  5. HardHabits says:

    You might want to employ a spell checker.

  6. Da Hema says:

    So clear, so balanced, so conceptually precise. A+.

    I suspect, though, you are well beyond the cognitive capacities and capabilities of some posters here.


    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  7. yvresgyros says:

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

  8. yvresgyros says:

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

  9. rwolowid says:





  10. 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.






  11. VancouverHab says:

    I wonder if H-I/O will tolerate respectful disagreement on the topic of Don Cherry. I begin to wonder if Mr. Cherry is not Emmanuel Goldstein for a certain type of person in Canada: that is, a caricature created solely to be (a.) a marker of ideological correctness and (b.) a target for emotional expressions of ideological hatred.

    In other words, attacking “DonCherry” is proof that someone is a “goodthinker”, and defending Don Cherry is proof of “thoughtcrime.” Additionally, “DonCherry” allows people to vent emotion cathartically (in the proper sense of the Greek word κάθαρσις–katharsis–‘purifying’ or ‘correctly-ordering.’)

    So I would like to be accepted for giving a reasonable defence, not of the fictional character “DonCherry” created by Left-wing urban elite Canadians (or by dis-balanced Habs fans ), but of the words that Mr. Don Cherry has actually said. It’s a touch long, and of course read no further if this causes you bother.

    I’ll limit it to three points of easy defense, on which the Cherry-haters have created exact falsehood: that is, are saying the exact opposite of the truth.

    1.] Don Cherry (unlike “DonCherry”) has not called for a bounty of P.K. Subban, nor does he “hate” Subban. First, Don Cherry has repeatedly stated — in plain English — and publicly demonstrated, going back many years, his respect for P.K. Subban.  Second, Don Cherry has simply pointed out as a matter of plain empirical observation that opponents are targetting P.K. Subban. Don Cherry has, verbatim, deplored this.

    So here, where the Cherry Haters claim that “DonCherry” is causing harm to P.K. Subban, the exact opposite is true. Don Cherry is defending P.K. Subban from violence by asking him (as he has similarly asked other superstars-to-be in the past) to modify verbal behavior that draws the deplored violence.

    2.] “DonCherry” is claimed to mock the wearing of visors on helmets because he likes violence and wants people to incur harm. Here again, the exact opposite is true. Don Cherry (the real person) has perpetually advocated that visors not be worn because wearing of visors causes head and eye injury. The claim that Don Cherry has made from the beginning is that eye and head injuries have increased since visors started to be worn becuase players become careless with their sticks, where in the past players were careful of their sticks knowing of the risk of injury

    Now, a person may disagree with this argument. But three things are unarguable. The first is that this argument is one against violence. The second is that this is a reasonable argument–you may disagree with it, but you have no just cause to sneer at it. And the third is that this is a matter not of opinion but of pure science. It is a testable hypothesis. If the incidence of eye injuries in the NHL goes down in a visor-environment, then Don Cherry is wrong. If the incidence goes up in a visor-environment then the Cherry Haters are wrong.

    So the caricature of “DonCherry” promoting violence is, here again, actually ideological violence from the Cherry Haters. (And it culpably ignores all the time, effort and money that Don Cherry puts in to his “STOP” campaign against hits from behind and his constant advocacy against touch icing: two other cases where Don Cherry — unlike “Don Cherry” — uses his platform to denounce and reduce injury and violence.)

    3.] Don Cherry is not a fringe figure, nor is he a “racist” or a “xenophobe.” The proper term for Don Cherry’s politics is “nationalist.” Using a scale of definition drawn up by George Orwell, Don Cherry thinks that Canada is (a.) the best country in the world and (b.) other countries are inferior to Canada. For comparison, a patriot thinks his own country is the best for himself, and says nothing one way or the other consequentially of other countries; and a xenophobe has a deep fear of foreigners.

    Medieval Japan is a locus classicus for xenophobia. Don Cherry is perfectly happy to have Canadian teams participate in the NHL with foreign teams (i.e. Americans) and to have foreign players (e.g. Americans) play on Canadian teams.

    Don Cherry’s attitude here is so far from eccentric as to be centric. A majority of Canadians share this general position (I here neither defend nor attack this position); and in fact left-Wing urban elites make public expressions vis-à-vis the United States of America that are within shouting range of being xenophobic (I can provide manifold example from print.) So here again, the Cherry Haters have it exactly backward.

    In conclusion, if this analysis causes you to simply repeat anti-Cherry bigotry, mouth typical anti-Cherry slogans, and spew hate and hateful remarks against either Don Cherry or some reasonable and respectful counter-position, then ask yourself: who is the hateful one here, and who is the one feeling self-righteous about their own ideological correctness? Remember, is to say, Emmanuel Goldstein.


  12. 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?

  13. Cape Breton says:

    Leave the poor guy from Kingston alone Ian. I betcha you were at the Canadian icon’s lone NHL game back in the day of all-radio and nothing else. I don’t mean to be rude Ian, but the guy loves Guy Lafleur. Give him credit for that, anyway. 

  14. 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.


  15. Ian Cobb says:

    Yes, very well.

  16. 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!

  17. Da Hema says:


    I was unable to watch HNIC last night. What precisely did Cherry say to elicit such strong language on your part?


    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Da Hema says:

    According to your ill-informed understanding of “ethnocentrism,” the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba in Nigeria, for example, are neo-Nazis. You err. Might I suggest (plead that?) you enroll in a political science or philosophy course to improve your conceptual thinking?


    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  21. 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?”
  22. FormalWare says:

    Danno: This ROCKS. I’ll follow suit.

  23. Rad says:

    Cherry is all of the above, and a wannabe neo nazi to boot … in his dreams. And out of deference to Godwin’s law, I will have nothing further to say on this.

    You have yourself a nice day, BIGGUY.

  24. thebigguy says:

    Ethnocentrism is not a euphamism for “wannabe neo nazi.”


    Obviously you don’t know what ethnocentrism is, nor euphemism and I sincerely hope ‘neo nazi.’


    No one with any sense of history would compare Don Cherry to the idiots that roamed the streets beating up Jews and blacks while trying to recreate a 4th reich.


    Call Cherry a moron, call him uneducated, call him a shitty human being. Don’t call him a neo nazi though.

  25. Chris says:

    Don Cherry and Mats Naslund detested one another.  They had a running feud for years.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on his xenophobia:  Cherry is the very definition of the term for me for the reasons we’ve discussed over the last couple of weeks.

  26. HardHabits says:

    It’s Godwin’s law.

    I for one have had it with Don Cherry. I want him off the CBC. Let him him spew his venom from Fox news or in the USA. He’s like Canada’s version of Rush Limbaugh.

  27. JF says:

    Ian, I agree about Gomez.  He does a lot of good things that people don’t notice because he doesn’t put up many points.  But he’s always a slow starter; he gets better as the season goes on, and he was very good in the playoffs last year.

    I think you’re a little over-optimistic about the team.  Yes, we have great speed, but Atlanta looked faster the other night.  So did the Flyers after the first period on Monday, although I usually see them as being slow.  Also, we are not always disciplined – witness Friday’s game in which we gave the Thrashers 7 powerplays.  The team has weaknesses which I’m sure Gauthier will address once the Markov situation is cleared up.  There’s no immediate hurry as long as the team is winning, so I think he’ll take his time and work for the best solution rather than just throwing money around.

  28. 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?

  29. 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.

  30. 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. ;)

  31. 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. 



  32. 24 Cups says:

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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:





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

  36. diehardhab says:

    Missed coaches corner last night but seems like cherry got in another shot on PK. What exactly did he say? Any different then his reaction to Richards or PK nearly getting a stick in the eye?

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  37. 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.

  38. Clay4bc says:

    Ian, it’s not what he is doing – rather, it’s what he is not doing. Gomes is the highest paid player in the history of this team, and as such he should put up points consistently. We have players like halpern do do what Gomez is doing, and for A LOT LESS money. At league minimum, Gomez is a great bargain. At 2 million, he is fairly paid. At his present salary, he is a disgrace.


    The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions. ~Susan Sontag

  39. twocents says:

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

  40. 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! 

  41. Clay4bc says:

    Well, yes and no. One can certainly be a “right-wing urban elite”, but no one would call them that, as that is a right-wing buzzword…? And if you are neither, you would still be labelled “leftist” by tthe “right”.


    The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions. ~Susan Sontag

  42. 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.


  43. VancouverHab says:

    More than adequately. Apologies if my American analogy was stupidly-put. We’ll agree to disagree over what constitutes xenophobia: but your position is kindly & clearly put.

    Go Habs ;–)

  44. Timo says:

    Can one be an urban elite without being on the left or right wing? Just asking.

  45. 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.

  46. Timo says:

    Sigh. You guys are making my head hurt. Too many long words and no pictures.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. VancouverHab says:

    Chris: I think the origin of Don’s attitude to “Europeans” (= “Scandanavians) is in the public domain: both in and out of his autobiography. And that is his GM in Colorado forcing him to play a Swedish goalie whom he (the GM) had signed, and that resulting in games being lost & Don Cherry losing his job.

    It isn’t, I agree, a noble motivation for the attitude, but it is defensible, and hardly rare. And it isn’t “xenophobic.” (There’s thousands upon thousands of similar attitudes here in Vancouver regards the Sedins.)

    And Don Cherry does have highest praise for individual Scandanavians: he unequivocally loved Mats Naslund, and Koivu was a favourite too (he once said “I think Saku Koivu walks on water.”)

  50. Exit716 says:

    Actually, the fault in the whole Cherry-PK situation is Ron MacLean. MacLean can’t and won’t stand up to Cherry. He’s too busy being a sidekick. He’s the one that needs to have his rear end handed to him. MacLean is a smarmy little gutless puke that can’t handle his role as moderator.

  51. solomio says:

    Think highly of yourself do ya Mike?

  52. 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.

  53. 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!”

  54. 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. 

  55. Chris says:

    “Medieval Japan is a locus classicus for xenophobia. Don Cherry is perfectly happy to have Canadian teams participate in the NHL with foreign teams (i.e. Americans) and to have foreign players (e.g. Americans) play on Canadian teams.”

    As much as Canadian fans don’t like to admit it, Americans and Canadians are sufficiently similar that I doubt we would trigger xenophobia in one another.  We speak the same language (even though they seem to spell so many words wrong!), watch the same television, listen to the same music, watch the same movies, eat (largely) the same food and buy the same clothing.   I have little doubt that Don Cherry would find European hockey players born in the England, Scotland or Ireland equally acceptable, as they meet most of those criteria.  Unfortunately, those countries’ youth are too busy playing soccer to produce NHL-calibre hockey players.

    While most continental Europeans will usually confess that Canada is certainly closer to Europe than the U.S., it remains a very different place. Cherry can’t seem to deal with players from the Scandinavian countries, which I suspect are far too socialist for a guy like Cherry to ever like, and former Eastern Bloc countries, which I suspect are still tainted with Cold War prejudices in Cherry’s mind.  And then there are the Russians, for whom Don Cherry seemingly feels a distaste that might make even Harold Ballard blush due to its purity.

  56. 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.

  57. Mike Boone says:

    Not to brag, but I’m a McGill grad and majored in English.

    So I employ a vocabulary that’s a bit richer than Tony Marinaro’s.

  58. 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!”

  59. Chris says:

    I’m all for Don Cherry finally getting turfed from the air.  That a guy like that gets a soapbox from which he can spout his xenophobic invective has been a national embarassment for any culture that prides itself on its multi-culturalism.  But the thing that I’m finding amusing here is that whenever somebody on CBC character assassinates a Montreal Canadiens player on-air, Habs fans everywhere start a letter-writing campaign.

    This type of crap is not new.  If anything, Cherry’s treatment of Subban is actually pretty tame:  he’s not doing any more than warning the kid, much like he did to a sixteen year old Sidney Crosby before him, that his mouth is writing cheques that his body might not be able to cash. 

    As for his small-mindedness, he’s been a small-minded fool who has been spouting his xenophobic invective for over two decades.  I wrote my fair share of letters about Cherry to the CBC regarding his anti-European rants back in the 1990’s (if you think Subban has it bad, imagine how a guy like Alexei Yashin felt back in the 90’s when he was having his character assassinated on national, publically funded television every week), until I realized that nothing is coming of it.

    Until Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner no longer draws in viewers, he will have his soapbox.  No amount of letters from annoyed Habs fans will change that.  Money talks, especially for a cash strapped CBC Sports division that relies on Hockey Night in Canada for its revenue to run all its other programming.

    If you want him off the air, tune him out…I haven’t watched a Coach’s Corner in probably a decade because I simply refuse to waste my time on Don Cherry.  Every once in a while I catch one of his controversial rants off a hockey blog, reminding me of why I stopped watching him so long ago.  Only when enough viewers do that will he actually be removed..

  60. 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.

  61. JD_ says:

    Again, I don’t pretend to know what Don wants. Other than question what it is he might want, nobody really should pretend to know, but that’s their business.

    On the second point, and with all due respect, forget the semantics and investigate the historical record, if you wish. You will find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to split hairs.

    Your final question is just downright strange. When did you and I ever discuss some Canadians’ attitudes toward Americans?

    I think I’ve presented my side of the discussion more than adequately. You obviously don’t have to agree but I’ve nothin’ to add.

  62. 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!!

  63. 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!”

  64. Exit716 says:

    Nah, he’s just soiled his Depends.


  65. HardHabits says:

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

  66. 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.

  67. HardHabits says:

    Imam Cherry has issued his fatwa.

  68. NoTinFoilCups says:

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

  69. 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.

  70. VancouverHab says:

    Ah — you are right. I did say that. What I meant to say was “wanting to have harm done to.” So I am going to have to continue to despair because people here think Don Cherry wishes harm to come to P.K., when  the opposite is (in my opinion) true.

    On Don Cherry being a ‘classic xenophobe’, can I ask you, if we agree to use the term “xenophobe” for Don Cherry instead of ‘nationalist’, then:

    • what makes someone a nationalist?
    • what word do we use for, say, North Korean leaders in their attitude to foreigners?
    • what about the view you & I hear everywhere in Canada, including among Cherry haters, expressed about America and Americans? Why is the reflexive and unbiquitous anti-Americanism of many Candaians not also “xenophobia” in your use of the term?

    Good debating with you – thanks.

  71. ProHabs says:

    Thanks for the links Danno.

  72. Exit716 says:

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


  73. 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.

  74. 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:



    Vince Carlin
    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!”

  75. Mike Boone says:

    No, that one I like!

  76. 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.

  77. HabFab says:

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

  78. 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.

  79. aroma says:

    I was thinking the same…

  80. Mike Boone says:

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

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 24 Cups says:

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

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.”

  89. 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!

  90. 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.

  91. 24 Cups says:

    The race to win the division title.

    Montreal 3 (wins) – Buffalo 0

    Montreal 2 – Ottawa 1

    Montreal 1 – Boston 0

  92. BeachHabFan says:

    what about toronto? bwah hah hahhhh

  93. 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?

  94. 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.

  95. andrewberkshire says:

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

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