About last night … with postgame audio

Emelin against Phoenix

AUDIO: Josh Gorges | Travis Moen | P.K. Subban | Brian Gionta | Jacques Martin

Pierre Ladouceur’s game report card

Pierre Durocher’s last game story

As anyone who follows this blog knows, Josh Gorges is my man.
The poster boy for overachievement was an undrafted free agent coming out of junior and an unknown when the Canadiens got him from San Jose in the Craig Rivet trade.

That might have been Bob Gainey’s best deal.

Trading with Sharks’ general manager Doug Wilson, the brother of one of his best friends, Gainey got the first-round draft choice the Canadiens used to select Max Pacioretty in 2007.

Gorges showed up at training camp and impressed with his hockey smarts and spirit.

Both qualities were n display for the sequence that led to the winning goal in Phoenix.

Gorges got clobbered behind the Canadiens net by a taller, heavier Phoenix forward.

He picked himself up, dusted himself off, moved up ice and converted a nifty Lars Eller play into the goal that got the undermanned Canadiens two valuable points.

Gorges hadn’t scored since Oct. 15 last year. That one was a winner, too – 2-1 over Buffalo.

Then came a season cut short by knee injury, a summer of rehab and a one-year contract to prove his value to the team … again.

Many of the things Gorges brings to the Canadiens don’t show up on the scoresheet.

He’s one of the leaders in the room – and a valued source of good quotes for the media.

He’s Carey Price’s best friend on the team, and that was important two seasons ago when The Franchise was going through tough times.

Gorges is also a steady defence partner, and the latest beneficiary is P.K. Subban. Last season’s rookie sensation did not have a great October, but P.K. is playing smarter and more controlled since Gorges became his partner.

Subban and his teammates need a good November.

The win kept the Canadiens within four points of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but the schedule is about to become brutal.

Starting Saturday night in Nashville, the Canadiens play nine games in 15 days.

Five are at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens are 2-4-2 on home ice this season, but the advantage is a short ambulance ride to the Montreal General Hospital.

Interviewed at morning skate in Phoenix, Jaro Spacek said the team has had a healthy lineup for maybe 10 of the games in the two-plus seasons he’s played for the Canadiens.

The team that escaped the desert with two points was missing Andrei Markov, Scott Gomez, Andrei Kostitsyn, Mike Cammalleri and Chris Campoli.

Maybe we’ll see them all in the lineup at some point this season.

But I’m not holding my breath … like all of us were when Tomas Plekanec slammed into the boards and lay on the ice for a scary long time during the first period.

The whole season looked to be in the balance until Pleks came back to assist on one goal and do the spadework on another.

The team has two irreplaceable players: Plekanec and Carey Price.

One of them will be waking up sore on Friday, while the other savors a very solid effort, highlighted by the 17 saves Price made in the second period.

Price’s D helped. It was solidified by the addition of Yannick Weber, who was shifted back from fourth-line forward duty after Jacques Martin benched Alexei Emelin.

In addition to missing three top forwards, the Canadiens played and won a road game using three lines.

Playing hurt, Pleks centred the most dangerous lined, with Brian Gionta (a goal, an assist, five SoG) and Travis Moen, whose five goals leave him one short of last season’s total … with 67 to play, in a contract year.

David Desharnais played one of his better recent games, and both of his power-forward linemates, Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole, had good chances. And DD, who struggles on faceoffs, won 13 of 18 against Phoenix.

Lars Eller had three SoG, four hits and a couple takeaways centring Mathieu Darche and Aaron Palushaj, who played the most energetic game of his yo-yo Montreal/Hamilton season.

I’d still like to see Eller centring Cole and Max-Pac. But all the injuries have thrown the line combos into a blender, and bitching after a win is conduct unbecoming a blogger and a gentleman.

228 Comments

    • HardHabits says:

      If Colorado continues to decline that Varlamov trade will be looking sweet for Washington.

      • 24 Cups says:

        Colorado and Philly both could have had Vokoun for a very decent salary over a two or three year contract. Let’s say 3M at the most. Philly is in cap hell because of their stupid move while Colorado is in danger of giving Washington another Landeskog in return for an injury prone goalie who is a bit of a head case. They should have at least gone after Bernier or Schneider.

        It’s time for a cocktail. I think I rather fancy a single malt by the fireside.

  1. 24 Cups says:

    The Calgary Flames assigned veteran forward Niklas Hagman to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat on Friday. The move saves them 3M minus the roster replacement salary.

    • Mattyleg says:

      It’s all well and good to save money, but, as with Gomer, who you gonna buy to replace him?

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • 24 Cups says:

        I have no idea what Calgary’s budget is like. They may be just giving a rookie a chance to gain some experience instead of just trying to save cap space.

        I agree that we can’t really benefit from dumping Gomez’s contract right now. It would be foolish to make a trade to just fill the salary void. I would much rather wait until the summer when there would be a ton of options available. Gomez’s 7.3M doesn’t necessarily have to be alloted to another pivot.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Did the Flames ever get fleeced in that trade!

      It was Phaneuf and Aulie (who might make it in the NHL) for Matt Stajan, Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White.

      White, Mayers and Hagman all gone for essentially nothing, and Stajan has no goals and 2 assists in 12 games so far. Sutter signed Stajan to a 4 year $14M contract last year.

  2. HardHabits says:

    Last night there was an offensive zone face-off that Eller won. The thing is that he had Darche and Nokelainen as wingers. I was wondering why on earth was Nokia out there with Eller on an O zone face-off. Only a few seconds later that shift led to the tying goal in the 3rd period as both Eller and Nokelainen where playing the centre position’s coverage. So if it was Lars who took the face off it was Petteri’s task to take the shot from the point. Can’t blame Nokia outright because I have never seen him play wing before. Not a wise line combo IMO. Game is 2-1 and rather than put out an offensively oriented combination JM put’s out a defensive unit per se and the end result is a goal against.

  3. The Dude says:

    Barry Trotz =One amazing coach!

  4. LA Loyalist says:

    I am a big Josh Gorges fan, but that said, when we need him to score to win a road game in Phoenix… well, that kind of has pathetic written all over it.

    There’s a funny little town near there in the desert called Cave Creek. There used to be 2 bars, the “Horny Toad”, and the “Satisfied Frog”.

    As for the next game, the question is not whether or not Gomez will play, the question is whether anyone will notice.

    Bitter but not broken.

    • Habsrule1 says:

      Lots of teams get goals from unlikely sources…even game winning goals. I wouldn’t consider that pathetic.
      That said, it would have been nice to put the game away sooner, with goals from anyone from Gill to Cole.

      Go Habs Go!!

      “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • Bripro says:

      You know as well as I do that games are rarely won by your best offensive players. It happens, but the game is won by grinding and pitching it, mostly.
      That’s what he did last night. The entire D pushed last night. I think collectively, except for the two rookies, the main defensemen pushed to hold the neutral zone.
      And if Gorges ended up potting the winner, well good for him.
      I don’t see anything wrong with the journeymen pitching in.
      As for Gomez, his problem last year was finishing plays. But he’s always been effective in transition, and getting it out of our end.
      If he can play like he did the first 4-5 games of pre-season, I think we’ll see some good things.

    • saskhabfan says:

      You know whats pathetic? Buying a porsche which is driven by old women and actually bragging about it. Which one of the golden girls are you?

  5. Mattyleg says:

    Just heard from a reliable friend that Gomer will be a 4th line winger??

    If so, I think that’s fantastic.
    And not for any of the petty reasons you might expect; just that he needs to work his way back into his game slowly, and I think he’s better used as a winger.
    I’ve said it before: he already plays essentially a left-winger’s role. Skates in on the left, hangs out on the left, and dishes it to the centre.
    Hope he does well!

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • 24 Cups says:

      Gomez on the 4th line with Nokelainen works well. It gives the team two centres for face-offs and also opens up the opportunity for a PK tandem (with Palushaj getting restricted icetime which isn’t an issue. Not to mention it cuts back on Pleks’ PK time). It also says something to the rest of the team in terms of not immediately reinstating Gomez onto one of the top two lines.

      Having said that, a line of Darche/Eller/Blunden is laughable.

  6. Bripro says:

    I’m assuming this has already been posted. But for those unaware, here’s a heads-up.
    GOMEZ IS PLAYING.
    Yup, against Nashville.
    If you recall, the first four games of exhibition, he was very good, and uncharacteristic in his play. He actually took shots at the net, and didn’t dump as soon as he hit the opposing blue line.
    Let’s hope he carries this through. Good luck to him. I hope he earns his salary.

  7. mjames says:

    What if question!

    What if gainey had signed Gaborik instead of trading for Gomez. We would have Gaborik, McDonough and Higgins. We might have packaged Higgins and Lapierre for something of consequence. Who knows. Remember at the time of the Gomez trade, Higgins still had some real value. he had not tanked. We could have paid Gaborik at the level of Scotty, our superstar. Gainey and PG never think long term. The majority of their player moves are reactionary. Add to the mix the irrefutable fact that JM could not develop a player to save his life and you have the root cause of another mediocre year.

    mjames

    • Habsrule1 says:

      We also may not have Cammalleri or Gionta. Also, who says Gaborik even comes here? Nobody else did before Gomez was here.
      Not sure if you noticed how much better Eller is this year than last, but that may throw a bit of a wrench in the “JM could not develop a player” comment.
      BG did think long term with the FA signings that year, but fans have bitched about that too.

      Go Habs Go!!

      “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

      • HardHabits says:

        Cammy, Gio and Gomez represent in inordinate sum of cash in a salary cap system. Add to that Cole and Markov and you get the picture. Even that being said, Cammy and Gio came IMO because they bought into a huge pay-check and the tune that Gainey was singing, which was all about rebooting the Habs with a new leadership core. Very enticing if you ask me even without Gomez.

        • mrhabby says:

          “cammy, gio , gomez inordinate amount of cash”
          I have no issue with that cash..its what GM’S do sell, thats how it works or at least part of it. i guess you could argue BG had the opportunity the following year to tank but with new owners they wanted to see profit and they did by the Habs going to the ECF with those guys………its not all black and white.

          • HardHabits says:

            You assume much.

            There is no doubt that short term it worked, and Cammy and Gionta were a big part of that. It’s all moot without Halak’s heroics though.

            I do advocate that the Habs missed many an opportunity to rebuild many a time in the past. However I also reognize that the Habs have to spend to the cap limit in the market they’re in and I recognize that Gainey’s options were few at the time. Gomez still played big minutes in that run and contributed points, but that run was on the backs of those 3 plus Plex, hence the eventual burn out.

            It was a gutsy move for BG to rebuild the Habs like he did and the jury is still out on whether it was successful. I don’t even think we can say if it worked or not by 2015, unless of course if the Habs win the Cup by then. So at the very least we can agree that neither of us sees things as black and white.

      • LA Loyalist says:

        Let’s knock off the revisionism. Eller sucked the first year and should have been in Hamilton, but Mgmt wanted to look like geniuses on the Halak trade. We are damn lucky Eller is working out. No credit to JM.

        As for Gionta – is he even playing? It’s kind of hard to notice him with all the 5’10″ players around him.

        As for long term / short term / shhmort term, the TERM we need to worry about is when PK and Price should peak, and to surround them with the appropriate mix of talent, grit and veterans. They are our two guys who will be able to control a game when they are ripe.

        Timing, gentlemen. A plan, a vision… and it ain’t in JM’s notebook.

        We should probably get one.

        • Habsrule1 says:

          Did you watch the game last night? Our Captain is definitely playing now…..and it was about time.

          Anything to take away credit from JM. Eller has improved under this coach. would he have anyway? The easy answer is yes.
          Look, I’m not the biggest JM fan, but putting him down for every problem on the team and saying everything good happens despite him is very, very weak.

          Bring on Patrick Roy…he’s ready….I think.

          Go Habs Go!!

          “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Gaborik was (and remains) a risk because of injuries.

      Also, at $7M he only scored 22 goals last year (in 62 games). In 5 playoff games he had two points.

      He seems to be doing well so far this season however.

  8. The Pickle says:

    I don’t understand people who hope for Gomez to be traded to a team looking to hit the cap floor. If that was going to happen, it was going to happen this summer. The teams are all currently at the floor, so this cannot happen until the offseason. Also, if I was a team who suffers an injury and goes below the floor, I’m not trading for Gomez, I’m signing a FA to whatever amount I need to hit the floor.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      In any case you don’t lose the injured salary from your total cap hit, so there is no need to trade.

      God I’m a geek.

    • Habsrule1 says:

      It’s just a dream, really. It would have had to happen in the off-season or next off-season, but the more likely event is a buy-out if this season finishes anything like last season.

      Go Habs Go!!

      “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  9. NoTinFoilCups says:

    Emelin would be better off keeping his feet planted ala AK47. A more punishing result and avoid the possible penalty.

  10. C_exacte says:

    this is probably why Budaj is starting in Nashville = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DZFdQYhMKg

  11. habs-hampton says:

    A lot of fans here have a “pet cause” (anti-Gomez, anti-JM, anti-AK, pro-Emelin, etc.)

    I want to get your thoughts on my pet cause.

    PK

    I really believe that PK hasn’t been the same since the giveaway in the Avs game for a breakaway goal. I think JM or someone read him the riot act after that and told him he’s a defenseman first and a scorer second. He rarely rushes the puck anymore, and doesn’t shoot like he used too. He’s afraid to make a mistake like having a shot blocked or make a bad pass.

    I remember Robinson well. He was incredibly dominant at both ends, but he would also make the odd blunder that was REALLY bad. But Bowman understood that he was a high risk/high reward player.

    PK can be the same type of player (but not THAT good), but JM won’t let him because it is against the “system”.

    We should bring Larry in as a “special adviser” for PK and to hell with JM’s methods! PK will outlast him anyway. JM is going to ruin this guy!

    Anyone agree with me?

    Time’s up, JM must go!

    • JoeC says:

      I said it during the game thread last night, PK barly skates past the offensive blue line with the puck anymore, he shoots from centre ice more often then not. JM’s got a collar on PK to do nothing other thne what Gill would do…

      • G-Man says:

        PK should not make his forwards wait at the other team’s blue line for him while he rushes the puck. It creates a traffic jam and there is no one moving with speed. Dmen rushing the puck when there are forwards waiting is not a smart play.

    • Habsrule1 says:

      Interesting. I definitely would love to see Robinson in some capacity, but I also think PK is just having his ups & downs like every 2nd year NHL D-Man would have. He’s probably very aware of his turnovers and is being cautious on his own. As he gets better defensively, he will take more chances offensively. It’s nice to say just open up and don’t worry about mistakes or your defensive play, but then you end up with a Souray, or worse yet, a M-A Bergeron, when what we want is an Orr, a Coffee, a Robinson, or a Markov.
      I think he will be one of the best all around defenseman in the league but he will do it by learning about all his reponsibilities.
      Just my opinion.

      Go Habs Go!!

      “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • G-Man says:

      Robinson was +120 1 season. Unfair to compare PK to him.
      If JM changed his game, it is for the better- last night PK was a + for 1 of the few games this year. He’s still very young and I think Ladouceur can help him be better, but I’m all in if Larry comes to town.
      JM is making him better and is not ruining him.

    • LTHF says:

      Totally agree. Jm will ruin the career of every young player that he has, if they staY with the habs. Saw parts of the leaf/st louis game and the best 2 players were former habs, one with each team

    • HardHabits says:

      If you read my comment at NOVEMBER 11, 2011 2:05 PM you’ll see that our POV’s are diametrically opposed. Suffice it to say I disagree. Subban’s risks far outweigh his rewards when he plays with that reckless abandon with which you suggest he should play. Less is more for PK. With that in mind he’ll build his repertoire and add points in the future. Right now IMO he needs to silently up his +/- rating, as he did last night, by being on the ice when goals for are scored at the same time as being on the ice when goals against are prevented.

      • habs-hampton says:

        Sometimes less is less.
        I think his defense has suffered this year as well. I think he is one of those special players who can dominate the game, but he will make make mistakes as he learns. You can teach defense, but you can’t teach a guy to score. I’m willing to see him cough up the odd puck, cause I think the reward is worth the risk.

        I guess you’re right, we ARE diametrically opposed! But I think we both agree he will be a star for a long time.

        Time’s up, JM must go!

  12. Habsrule1 says:

    I think Price should play. With the 5 days off the Habs had recently, I’m sure he is not fatigued. Have him play the next 3 games, then put Budaj in against NYI on Thursday. That gives him a couple days off before playing a few more in a row.
    I have defended Gomez to death, but it’s getting very difficult. I still think getting him had an impact on getting Gionta and Cammalleri, which I still think were great additions to the team, but if he doesn’t turn things around fast, they have to bench him, waive him (if possible) or try to trade him to a team looking to hit the cap floor for whatever they can get.

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock


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