About last night …

GiontaSubban

Did your Montreal Canadiens win one for Eddy Palchak?
Or maybe they wanted to impress 130 HIO Summiteers.
Whatever the motivation – beyond gaining two points in an insanely competitive NHL – the team played one of their best games of the season in cooling off the red-hot Rangers.

So at the quarter-pole of the long race, what have we got here?

Who are the real Montreal Canadiens?

The team that was masterful in all aspects of the game – from goaltending through D to forward play and special teams – against the erstwhile high-flying Rangers?

Or the Canadiens who were awful every which way against that other, not-so-high-flying New York team?

Maybe we should postpone this assessment until about 10:30 Monday night, after the Canadiens have played host to the Stanley Cup champions at the Bell Centre.

Jacques Martin has indicated already neither Hal Gill nor Jaroslav Spacek will be available for the game.

That means the Canadiens will face the big, bad Bruins with a defence the inexperience of which was highlighted in a graphic on Hab-hating Hockey Night in Canada. So green are the Bottom Four – Yannick Weber, Alexei Emelin, Raphael Diaz and Frédéric St. Denis – that someone on Twitter saw the HNIC report and compared the Canadiens’ blueline corps to an expansion team.

Know what?

The callow gossoons of this 102-year-old expansion team held the New York Rangers, winners of seven straight, to 17 shots on goal – 10 through the first 40 minutes.

And here’s the stat my friend and colleague Patrick V. Hickey was citing to anyone who would listen after the game: Canadiens skaters blocked as many shots as Carey Price saved (including four by Emelin, who was woeful on Long Island).

This is not to minimize the performance of Price, who hasn’t given up a goal in 132:30. And if Price doesn’t rob Marian Gaborik in the first period, who knows how the game might have unfolded.

In addition to his rock-solid even-strength play, Price is the key element of a penalty-killing unit that has not surrendered a goal since the first period of the Canadiens’ visit to Madison Square Garden, two weeks ago.

Josh Gorges said Price was “like a third defenceman” on the PK. His stickhandling ability is producing rink-long clears, killing “another 30 seconds every time”, according to Gorges.

The power-play scored twice against the Rangers, including a point blast by much-maligned Tomas Plekanec.

The Rangers have the ninth-ranked PK in the league – the Canadiens are third – but the PP was able to maintain puck possession and set up great scoring opportunities during its six man advantages.

Erik Cole scored the game-winner less than four minutes in on the Canadiens’ first power-play. It was Cole’s third PP goal so far – matching his total in Carolina last season.

“I’m maxed out,” Cole joked. “Might as well shut her down for the year.”

Cole was a PP workhorse, along with his linemates, David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty, and point men Plekanec and Yannick Weber. Watching them move the puck around with Detroit-like precision makes you drool at the prospect of adding Andrei Markov to the power-play mix.

The goaltender and special teams are hot, fulfilling Jacques Martin’s three main criteria for success.

The two top lines, centred by Plekanec and DD, were superb against the Rangers. So was the third line, deprived of Andrei Kostitsyn but featuring a very energetic and hard-working Scott Gomez.

Martin Biron saved his best stops for poor old Gomez, who hasn’t scored since Feb. 5. But the veteran made things happen on every shift and collected assists on both goals by former New Jersey teammate Brian Gionta.

Has Gomez crawled out of his crypt to rejoin the living?

Have the Canadiens shaken off their early-season cobwebs to become an Eastern Conference player?

Since firing an assistant coach who had a goatee and beginning their Movember ‘stashes shortly thereafter, the Canadiens are 8-3-1

Before Perry Pearn walked the plank, the team was 1-5-2.

The trend line is definitely headed on an upward trajectory.

Bring on the Bs.

•  •  •

Stuff I forgot to write last night because it was late:

• Solid minutes from the fourth line. Aaron Palushaj has great wheels, and bravo to Mathieu Darche and Petteri Nokelaien for going right after Rangers thug André Devaux.

• More than a few people are looking at Frédéric St. Denis and thinking “Josh Gorges Lite”.

• The Rangers outhit the Canadiens 28-15. It won’t do to let Boston have that margin Monday night.

• Sean Avery doesn’t chirp anymore.

• Neither does P.K.

•  •  •

• •  •

Ron Reusch, who took in the Hamilton Bulldogs game at the Bell Centrre Friday night, was impressed by Louis Leblanc and, in particular, by Alexander Avtsin.

My friend Ron, who knows hockey, says the Russian was overmatched playing in the AHL as a 19-year-old last season.

Avtsin is a year older and has added some muscle to his 6’3″ frame.

Reusch thinks the kid is going to play for the Canadiens.

369 Comments

  1. geo_habsgo says:

    Love coming here after a win. After a loss there is always way more comments but barely anything of real substance. After a win is when I find we have the best discussions and insight from members of the commentariot.

    I really like how the team has become competitive in the last month or so. Even when we lose now I feel like we were at least in the game as opposed to that 6 game skid…This is definitely a playoff team from what I see. Just in the way that we seem to respond to adversity with our best hockey which bodes well for a deep playoff run. Thinking of the playoffs is another reason why I’m not to down on the way Cammi has played thus far. He’s been clutch when we need him to be and I have faith.

    Not sold on Gomez but I also think that somewhere deep down is the player he used to be. He will either turn it around with Montreal or his career in the NHL is over. He’s got some good hockey left in him I think.

    • Mr. Biter says:

      Right on about Gomez. He’s got 62 (plus play-off) games to sh ow he is still an NHL player. Hopefully last night was the start of of the turn around. If he does and time will tell it would verrrrrry good for the Habs.

      Mr. Biter

      • habsblood82 says:

        id prefer having 7.4 mil in cap space to get 2 impact players.

        • geo_habsgo says:

          I think everyone would, Habsblood, but it just isn’t realistic right now. He is not trade bait and who would we give up even if we did bury his contract in the minors? I don’t think this would be a case of addition by subtraction. I don’t want Gomez on the top two lines anymore, he just doesn’t deserve it. But as long as he’s playing on the bottom 2 I think he has some worth.

          • Stuck_in_To. says:

            I agree that Gomez is most likely to stick around and on the bottom two lines is where I want to see him … however, he should not be given the center position on the third line. As long as Gomez is taking that position away from any of Pleks, DD or Eller, he is doing more damage to this team than just playing out his ridiculous contract. He is hurting our development too.

  2. SPATS says:

    This team is in its 3rd year with its core leadership group and head coach. Like many here, I notice a pattern that frustrates. We have a team that consistently rises to the occasion when there is a rivalry or any excuse to get fired up (Carolina – Cole) But, this same group seems to phone it in on occasion when the game isn’t as hyped up.

    Anyone else wonder if we have one too many veteran millionaires? Not just Gomer bashing here either. He wasn’t there in some of the recent phoned in efforts. I’m talking guys who can’t seem to dig deep enough at the start of the tilt when the opponent doesn’t excite them. It’s almost like they need to fall behind or take lazy penalties to get them going…

    If I’m JM, I use the ice time to rattle their cage. I do it on the road, and I do it while we’re hot. We have some bonafide young talent making noise. Send all of the veteran millionaires a tweet on game day when we’re in (you choose the soft spot) Tell em one of em is going to be in the pressbox that night. Let them come together, work it out and talk their way into the lineup. Maybe then they’ll realize that every shift of every game matters. Keep the pedal to the metal.

    Sorry I missed the summit again Ian! Back in Victoria now!

    OOH AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH!

  3. Don’t look now, but these Habs that are too small and don’t have a #1 center have a center who’s 14th overall in scoring, FIFTH among centers. But he’s just a 2nd line center, right?

    ______________________________
    Seriousfan09 has started a Movember team named McPhee’s Irregulars. Donate to him, or me or the team to raise money for a great cause!
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    • geo_habsgo says:

      Don’t be silly. He is just an overachieving 2nd Liner who plays like a little girl. You clearly don’t know anything about hockey :P

    • christophor says:

      To be fair to those who’ve argued that Plekanec is the *ideal* (guess you missed that part) second line center, he’s gotten off to point-per-game paces before and maintained them beyond halfway into the season, only to peter-out.

      • geo_habsgo says:

        Fair enough. He is a streaky player no doubt but I really think he’s been getting better every season and I still don’t think he’s peaked. He is one of the best two-way centers in the league and I think that his offensive side is looking pretty polished this season. More than ever, I find, he’s looking like a mature player who knows his role and plays with complete confidence. No more of those little girl comments from him. I also have noticed that he hasn’t been disappearing when it matter this season.

      • Define peter-out. Plekanec has finished in the top 24 in points among centers 3/4 years and is top 5 so far this year. Not that this is even relevant because nothing you brought up actually addresses the criticism I was pointing out.

        Plekanec is a legitimate 1st line center in this league, that is all.

        ______________________________
        Seriousfan09 has started a Movember team named McPhee’s Irregulars. Donate to him, or me or the team to raise money for a great cause!
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        • christophor says:

          I like to be charitable when dealing with arguments and so was just trying to raise a point that has been made. Your tone is anything but charitable, as is your dismissal of this point (that I don’t necessarily buy, by the way). It’s exactly relevant, given your original argument, which was: (1) Plekanec has X rank among centers in scoring; (2) scoring is more important than size in determining whether a player is a legit # center; therefore, (3) Plekanec is a legit #1 center. In response, it’s been argued that Plekanec has shown to steadily decline in this ranking as the season progresses. That’s a direct challenge to the only reason given in your original comment/argument, and so it’s very relevant. I don’t think it’s a good enough reason to say he’s not a #1 center, but that means it’s actually you who needs to say more about why not.

          This is how burden of proof works: one person presents reasons for a conclusion, and if they’re rejected, that person can either (a) show why there’s a problem with the rejection, or (b) provide other reasons. You try strategy (a) because you say the point is irrelevant, but I’ve shown why that’s definitely not right – it addresses your only point. Your next step is strategy (b), and you do this in other comments below and in the rest of your response to me – you provide other reasons, like end-of season rankings. Bravo, but for some reason you think this actually implies strategy (a), that my response was irrelevant. But that can’t be right, since these other reasons aren’t in your original comment. You can’t say, “that direct challenge to the only argument I’ve given is irrelevant because of these other reasons I’ve neglected to mention or allude to initially”. No, what should you do is bring up those other reasons in response to me, drop the “irrelevant” charge, tweak your tone, and you’re good to go.

          Deal with the best formulation of the argument you’re rejecting and don’t dick-ish about it. That will go a long way. For example, I agree with you and yet we’ve had this back-and-forth.

    • adamkennelly says:

      you’re right – Habs are not too small – they have tons of huge guys..Cammy, Gio, Gomez, DD, Pleks, Diaz – not to mention our 4th line which puts the fear of god into the opposition….but no way this team can be without Darche he brings so much to the table. you should save that post for the end of the year – since the Habs consistently have players in the top 20 in league scoring….

    • Chris says:

      Let’s be honest…Plekanec was even higher last season after 17 games. How did that end up?

      The knock on Plekanec has never been that he is not a good center. But there is a legitimate knock that he wears down as the season grinds on. His defensive play remains stellar, but he has struggled to produce at the same level in the stretch and in the playoffs.

      • No Chris, the knock has ALWAYS been that he’s not a legitimate #1 center. Plekanec is 5th in points this year among centers, was 24th last year, and 16th the year before. This is while being THE best penalty killing forward in the entire 30 team league over the last 5 years, taking the tough matchups (something the Sedins never do), and playing in stifling defensive system.

        The knocks on Plekanec are delusional make-believe and it’s time people realize what they have when they have it.

        There is literally no metric by which Plekanec isn’t a 1st line center in the NHL. It’s just Habs fans being whiny babies.

        ______________________________
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        • adamkennelly says:

          metrics eh? has he ever even been considered for the Selke? I think the complaint about him not being a #1 center is not a knock on him at all – its a knock on the team..a team that has a center with a $7M Cap hit – who clearly should be our #1 center…plus your points analysis is a bit of a crock – where did he (or any other Habs) rank amongst league scorers- your #1 center should enable his wingers to score some points no? Habs would be a much better team if he was our really good #2 center.

          • neumann103 says:

            It is kind of a truism to pose the hypothetical that your team would be better if you had someone better than your #1 guy at that position.

            Plekanec plays a different and more varied role than almost anyone at the position. The only real comparable is Ryan Kesler. Would the Habs be a better team if they had a Sedin centering the first line? Sure. You think that means that half the teams in the league wouldn’t give Gary Bettman’s left nut (the remaining one) for Kesler as their #1 guy?

            Since we are dealing in hypotheticals: Put Plekanec on an offensively minded team with first line wingers and see if he doesn’t score above 85 points consistently.

            But that is not the role he is asked to play. What he is asked to do gets less attention and money and hype than a Stamkos, but Stamkos couldn’t do Plekanec’s job.

            Plus he is a two-time Selke winner… in this simulated fake league
            http://nshl.8.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=1504

            “Et le but!”

          • Chris says:

            Neumann: Good point. I would argue that Zetterberg and Datsyuk in Detroit are also good comparables to Plekanec and Kesler, as is Toews in Chicago. Jordan Staal is developing into that calibre of player in Pittsburgh.

            My problem with Plekanec is that when he plays that shut-down role, as he did masterfully against Crosby and Backstrom a couple of years ago, it comes at the expense of his own offence.

            There are many ways to shut down an opponent. Plekanec is very good at that, but so are players like Henrik Sedin or Pavel Datsyuk, who shut down their opponents by controlling the puck so completely that the other team really doesn’t have much of a chance to score.

            It is a semantic argument, as I think all of us agree that Plekanec is a very good player and clearly a top-line centre. The dispute might center around whether people believe that Plekanec can be the top-line centre of a Stanley Cup winning team. The jury is still out on that one, but that is true for a ton of the best centers in the league, not the least of which are Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

        • Chris says:

          There are some that say that, no question. But there are others that say he is a #1 centre, but perhaps not quite good enough offensively to get the job done for a Stanley Cup contender.

          That you insist that the knock you cite is the one that everybody holds against him doesn’t make it right. I think a significant majority of Habs fans and non-Habs fans see Plekanec as a top-line centre.

          Where the doubt persists is whether he is at the same level as guys like Datsyuk, Kesler, Crosby, Malkin, Toews, etc. Those are the guys that, like Plekanec, face the best players every week. What I want to see from Plekanec is for him to assert himself against that calibre of player in the playoffs.

          You can insist the knocks are delusional. It is your prerogative.

          But it doesn’t make you any more right. It is a matter of opinion.

          As for Henrik Sedin, why in the heavans would Alain Vigneault use him for those “tough matchups” when he has Ryan Kesler? Kesler has been better than Plekanec as a defensive and offensive forward in pretty much every category over the past two seasons and was rewarded with a Selke Trophy last season.

    • Bob_Sacamano says:

      One or two weeks ago some moron here posted that Pleks isn´t even a second line center for him. I personally don´t care if he scores 60, 70 or 80 points, he´s a great player, our best forward and we should be happy to have him.

    • Bill says:

      If Pleks were two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier – with the exact same game and stats – the same people would tell you he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

  4. 24 Cups says:

    For those who may have missed it last night – the Eddy Palchak video tribute.

    http://video.canadiens.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=66&id=136240&navid=DL|MTL|home

  5. Mr. Biter says:

    Flying down to Florida monday night so I’m going to miss the game onRadio or T.V. unless the hotel has NESN then I can watch the re play. Looking into my Crystal Skull vodka bottle (better than a Crystal Ball) I see the Broons coming out end trying to intimidate the Habs early. If we get good Refs who take control fo the game and we score early the Broons will not and mostly won’t in close games goon it up. If however we are taking them to the woodshed and winning big I do worry about the health of some of our smaller “Skill” player near the end of the game.
    I’ll be back Monday night to look at the # of posts and that usually tells if we won or lost.

    Mr. Biter

  6. Mike D says:

    Great win last night!

    To Ian and the rest of the Summiteers, I’m glad our boys put on such a good show for you. Safe travels to all on your way home. I’m hoping there will be pics posted soon.

    – Honestly yours

  7. habsblood82 says:

    Cole with his third goal on the PP:

    “I’m maxed out,” Cole joked. “Might as well shut her down for the year.”

    AWESOME! I LOVE THIS GUY!! MY NEW FAVORITE PLAYER ON THE HABS!

  8. AH says:

    Aaah..shaping up to be a great weekend in sports for myself; Habs roll over the Rangers, and “Eldrick T.” wins the decisive point to clinch the Presidents cup!…now a win by the Eskies will be the icing on the cake!!

  9. habsblood82 says:

    Calm down now! Habs played good but the rangers played like crap,Gomez was ok… not great lol. Without anyone to burry the puck he aint got crap. Nice break away Gomy! He’s trying hard i give him that but dont expect 10 goals from the guy.. its not gonna happen.

    • ZepFan2 says:

      “Without anyone to burry the puck he aint got crap.”

      Yeah too bad he couldn’t play with Gionta. Maybe he’d at least get some assists.

      :razz:

      ———————————————————————-
      Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

      • Mr. Biter says:

        Without someone feeding Gionta the puck with a perfect pass there would have been no goal. Most goal scorers have great set-up (assis)players on their line. If the 2 of them can play for the rest of the season the way they player with the Devils I would be very happy.

        Mr. Biter

        • habsblood82 says:

          Eller could set up as well and maybe better than Gomer. The first Gionta goal was a fluke.How fast we forget that last year they played together most of the season and in the playoffs, ehh… wich killed us.

          • ZepFan2 says:

            “How fast we forget that last year they played together”

            Yeah, remember how crappy that Gionta-Gomez-Pacioretty line was last year before Pacioretty got hurt.

            :razz:

            ———————————————————————-
            Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

          • Mr. Biter says:

            Excellent reply by ZepFan2. BTW who took the name ZepFan1?

            Mr. Biter

          • ZepFan2 says:

            @Mr. Biter

            “BTW who took the name ZepFan1?”

            Who knows? Mine is a play on words.
            I’m a HabsFan and a ZepFan2.

            :smile:

            ———————————————————————-
            Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

          • habsblood82 says:

            so the 14 mil line couldn’t produce after the loss of the 1 mil dollar player? lol

          • ZepFan2 says:

            “so the 14 mil line couldn’t produce after the loss of the 1 mil dollar player?”

            It’s called “chemistry”. They had it.

            Moen wasn’t the player he is this year.

            Btw, you do know Gomez assisted on BOTH goals by Gionta last night, right?!

            ———————————————————————-
            Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

          • habsblood82 says:

            ya i know he did. the first goal was also a fluke goal. All i care about is the win, gomez improved but is not worth half his salary thats all im saying.

    • olematelot says:

      Gomez was more than “ok” last night

  10. patience is a virtue says:

    Two of the most interesting stats available on the Habs this young season are their shots for and shots against totals.

    They are averaging 31.4 shots per game, good enough for 9th in the league, despite their terrible start to the season.

    More impressively, they are averaging just 26.8 shots against, 3rd in the league. Despite a banged up defensive corps, and the terrible start. The speaks volumes about the effectiveness of JM’s much maligned “System”.

    They are out shooting their opponents and winning the puck possession battle most games. I wonder how this translates into average goal scoring chances for and against, but can’t find those stats – anyone?

    In anycase, the combo of low shots against and great goal tending bodes very well for the next 3/4 of the season.

    Once Markov is back and the offense really starts to fire on all cylinders, I’d say we have a contender on our hands. I have been saying that all along. This is not a bubble team.

    But only time will tell…

    • HardHabits says:

      I think the biggest test will be the next 62 games.

    • twocents says:

      I said it to start the season too, this is the best team we’ve iced since the one that won the last Cup.

      The addition of Cole, the return/progression of Pacioretty, the added mobility on D, and the potential for a healthy Markov are all big steps forward.

      If they continue to establish a more active team identity, they will be very hard to play against,

      • HardHabits says:

        If they can stay out of the penalty box and the infirmary they can at least put in a good showing come play-off time but they still tend to teeter from amazing to awful too often and with regularity so far this season. I will concede that the evidence shows that they are on the upswing since Ladouceur replaced Pearn.

        Once they can maintain some consistency I might come on board. Saying it’s the best team since 1994 isn’t saying that much though. The Habs average out to 16th over-all in that period. Only one top 10 finish. Even the team that did finish 3rd over-all and won the East was taken to 7 games in round 1 and wilted in round two and after having the best start of the season the nest year had the worst 2nd half, lost 4 straight in round 1 and was followed by a complete over-haul heretofore unheard of.

        At the moment I think the Habs have a very good young core with which to build around. Possibly the best since 1993. The farm has a few good prospects but nothing to get too overjoyed about and even with the potential there the cupboard isn’t necessarily bursting with abundance.

        At best I can be a cautious optimist but generally am a pragmatic realist. The team still looks like a middle of the pack team right now and has much tweaking or development to go until it can ever be a top 5 team or a dominant team in the NHL.

        I still think the Habs need to do much more about acquiring top flight offensive talent especially at the draft or in trades, along the lines of players like Cole and Pacioretty, who have been revelations thus far this season.

  11. twocents says:

    Chris, regarding Hartley, and this is purely academic since I agree that the best option is to stick with Martin, I am not sure that you are being fair to his time in Atlanta.

    When I look at his record there I don’t only see, “only able to get to first round once”. I also see the fact the team’s regular season record improved every year until the year he was fired, and the fact that no other coach has duplicated, let alone surpassed the winning percentage his teams had from ’05-’07. In addition, no one else has had them get to the playoffs.

    Sure he had some real talent there, but so did the others.

    • Chris says:

      Eric: I don’t diagree with you. But perception is terribly important when it comes to coaching decisions. Just as the knock on Martin was his inability to create a consistently good team in Florida and his lack of Stanley Cups with Ottawa, Hartley carries some baggage.

      Hartley is not a bad coach. I’m just not sure that he could be sold as a mid-season upgrade. If this was the summer, then much of my comment disappears, as more rational minds often prevail in the summer than they do in the passion of mid-season.

  12. Rob says:

    Ian Cobb,
    You, sir, are an absolute gem. Thank you so much for continuing to organize this event. This was mine and Alayne’s first summit, but will not be the last. For those of you who have not attended a summit yet, you owe it to yourself to make whatever arrangements possible to attend. Not only will you have a chance to meet some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet, talk to some of the most passionate Habs fans you’ll ever talk to, and attend some of the most enjoyable events you’ll ever attend….but you’ll get to part of some very worthwhile causes.

    Ian has done a great job of turning the summit, not just into a weekend of great fun, but also into an event that supports some very worthy causes. We all know about the Gainey foundation charity raffle, but this year, summiteers were introduced to an initiative to help increase the awareness of one of the least understood and increasingly prevalent injuries out there: concussions. And as I learned this weekend, this potentially debilitating injury isn’t just affecting athletes. So I’m very thankful that Ian brought the people from stopconcussions.com to do their presentation, and hope that we can involve them in our fundraising efforts in the future.

    And lastly, to all the great Habs fans I met and spoke to this weekend, who helped make the whole event so incredible, it was such a pleasure and honor to meet you. We are all very fortunate to have fallen in love with this team who has brought us great joy, not just through their accomplishments and history, but through the connections that it continiues to bring and create for us in other aspects of our lives. Please stay in touch (you can email me at rob_eats_rice@hotmail.com), and I’m looking forward to seeing you all again next year!

    The Montreal Canadiens: sporting the best AND worst fans since 1909!

    • cuzzie says:

      WOW! If there is one next year I will work it into my schedule. Ian from now on you will be known as SAINT IAN. THE ORGANIZER! We Bow to you.

      Stay Thirsty My Friends!

  13. Hobie Hansen says:

    Well if Emelin can play like that every night he has to stay in the lineup! That was his best game in a Habs uniform.

    There’s not too many guys on the Habs right now that will go out of their way to finish their checks but Emelin is one for sure.

    And as much as I think the Habs should do whatever it takes to rid themselves of the Gomez contract, I was so pulling for him to score and was glad he picked up a couple points.

    Great game by the Habs last night and if the defense ever gets 100% healthy, I think this team has just enough to hang in there with any team in the league.

  14. habsfan0 says:

    If the Habs do to the Bruins what they did to the Rangers..then we might have something here. However, inconsistency has been a trademark of this team this year.

  15. cuzzie says:

    I know This is a sacriLege hockey site, but I love watching the CFL when they are playing in November especially in the Tundra of Manitoba.

    Stay Thirsty My Friends!

  16. Bripro says:

    Anyone notice how Price is turning into a sniper with his tape-to-tape passes? Last year, every time he touched the puck, I got nervous.

  17. RGM says:

    Fun with numbers…
    A few weeks ago Carey went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA and .950 SV%, which was good enough to be named the NHL First Star of the Week.

    This week’s numbers? 2-0-1 with a 0.65 GAA and .973 SV% and 2 shutouts.

    Just sayin’.

    Had to laugh about Alan Walsh tweeting about Jaro making some “Halakian” save in the third period. Blues lost. D’oh.

    ———————–
    GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is our year!
    RGM’s Movember page: http://mobro.co/RGM81

    • Chris says:

      Yep, but Halak was still named the 3rd star, not the winning goaltender for the Wild.

      Halak is 2-1-2 with a 1.36 GAA and 0.946 SV% in November. Like Price (4-2-1 with a 1.55 GAA and 0.940 SV%), Halak has turned his season around with a strong November after a rough October.

      • JoeC says:

        Price is a hab, halak is not, so guess what , who cares about Halak hes gone and Price is a better goalie then Halak hands down.

        • Everlasting1 says:

          Why don’t you save that retort for your fellow kinsmen who continue to bring him up? Foolishly, I might add.

          ——————————————————————-
          Thus sayeth the Lord, “Destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks.” Amos 2:9

          “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

        • Chris says:

          I agree that Price is better.

          But if RGM is going to continue to bring up Halak’s troubles, I’m going to point out how silly that is. I like almost all former Habs, especially guys like Halak who developed in Montreal’s system. I have enough of an attention span that I can wish them well while still cheering for the Habs.

          As for the rest of your comment, do you say the same thing when people bring up retired Habs? From the stars like Richard, Beliveau, Roy and Robinson down to the pluggers like John Ferguson, Pierre Bouchard and Mike McPhee, Habs fans have a wonderful ability to remember the players of yesteryear that contributed so much to the franchise. Jaroslav Halak gave success-starved Habs fans one great playoff run and was a very likeable personality while in Montreal. That he has an idiot for an agent shouldn’t be held against Halak…all of these guys have idiots for agents.

  18. Psycho29 says:

    Just wanted to say thanks to Ian for organizing the Summit…..it was a great success. Nice to see everyone. Lisa and I had a wonderful time.
    Some of the Summiteers we met came from far away…Pensylvania, Manitoba, and Virginia.
    Terrific prizes for a great cause! I won the Belleville Bulls team autographed stick, and Lisa won the 1962-63 Canadiens’ Media Guide. (Wow…it cost 50-cents back then!)
    And Rejean Houle, what a classy guy……

    Looking forward to the 2012 Summit already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. patience is a virtue says:

    “Maybe we should postpone this assessment until about 10:30 Monday night, after the Canadiens have played host to the Stanley Cup champions at the Bell Centre.”

    I’d say we should wait until the next next time the Habs play the Bruins, on Dec 19, to pass any kind of meaningful judgement. Hopefully by then Markov will have a week or two worth of games under his belt and we’ll start to get a glimpse of what the most exciting and complete offense Mtl has had in over 15 years is really capable of.

    I expect the PP to join the PK near the top of the league within a month of The General’s return.

    • Mike D says:

      I still absolutely LOVE that Marky’s nickname is The General. :-)

      – Honestly yours

    • habstrinifan says:

      Nice Post! You sound very optimistic about the team’s level of skill. And I am in agreement, maybe not as gung-ho but I do think this team has all the pieces except a veteran D like Markov(and he will be back) and a veteran someone to really rally the team playing a sandpaper role on a 4th or 3rd line. You know someone big like Cole, experienced like Cole, with a fearless but not reckless impact on the bench and on the ice. I think he can be found around the league but it must be a smart well thought out acquisition and I am gonna leave that to bettter minds now.

      And of course, THEY must be ALLOWED to SKATE and play as last night. No sitting back. I dont want to introduce any negatives but whatever the mandate ( maybe even subtly sent by use of players) or vibes that came from the coaching ranks to the players last night, it MUST be maintained.

      I think the STAR of last nights game was that element. The team SKATED without reservation or tentativeness.

      Whoever provided that MOTIVATION and encouragement WAS the star. If it was JM’s doing then ALL THE CREDIT for this game goes to him.
      Bring on ANY team when we play like that. We may lose games but we wont be humiliated and stepped on.

  20. Habitant in Surrey says:

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opinion/2011/11/capitals-need-to-solve-ovechkin.html
    …now that Elliot Friedman is part of the group on HNIC’s Hot Stove, He is showing-up Mike Milbury and Glen Healey as the absolute reactionary imbeciles We always knew them to be
    …Milbury says trade Ovechkin !?! …yeah, …predictable and STUPID !
    …as outrageous as Don Cherry has been over the years, at least Don has some credibility and has given some earthy insight into the game of hockey …plus he’s a true entertainer
    …tell Me please, exactly WHAT ??? does a Mike Milbury have to blight HNIC ?
    …can’t stand the guy

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

    • AliHaba says:

      Lots of talk about trades won and lost over the years. Here’s an opinion for you to chew over……if the most important stat is Stanley Cups won, can you not say that the Habs won the Chelios/Savard trade?

      • Rugger says:

        Unfortunately, there is no way to track the “Stanley Cups would have won” side of the equation.

      • Da Hema says:

        Success is determined by the objective. If the objective was to begin the long-term process of hallowing out the Canadiens’ defence and turning the organisation into the Toronto Maple Leafs, then, yes, trading a Norris Trophy player for an aging chain-smoker was a victory.

        • AliHaba says:

          And the objective is obviously to win the Stanley Cup which the Habs accomplished in ’93….. don’t see any cups in Chicago those years.

          • Da Hema says:

            I am not sure if you actually watched the playoff run of that year, but Savard was a non-factor–and ultimately did not play in the Cup finals.

            I regret now even replying to this thread. With all due respect, if you are sincere that trading Chelios for Savard was a victory for the Montreal Canadiens, then you are an idiot.

    • Bripro says:

      I’m with you on the qualities od Friedman, and what a waste of airwaves both Millbury and Healey really are.
      But you and I are apart on Wallpaper Cherry. He KNEW hockey, when it was slower. But it’s too fast and too international for him to keep up with.

  21. Greatest Fans on the planet.

    Thanks for another great Summit.

    Off to Mcgibbons for some fun.

    Summit Fans Are the Best fans.

    Carey Carey Carey

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

    • Rob says:

      It was an absolute pleasure to meet you this weekend Shane. My wife and myself had about as much fun as we’ve ever had in Montreal…. And I’ve had some pretty fun times in Montreal! :P

      my signature refers to the dichotomy that exists among Habs fans, but this weekend I only met best of them. I look forward to meeting up with you and the rest of the summiteers in the future!

      The Montreal Canadiens: sporting the best AND worst fans since 1909!

  22. chanchilla says:

    anyone know when ryan white is scheduled to return? i do quite miss his beautiful hair.

  23. montreal ace says:

    I still marvel at the progression Carey price is showing in team leadership, and how he has helped the D with his passing and zone clearance. I like the fact he compliments his guys, and is not afraid to share credit for good games with his mates, who seem to enjoy playing in front of him. Gomez played well enough to get a star last night, hope its the start of more which I believe will come. We seem to have a strong stable of defenceman and when injuries hit other teams we will be in a position of strength, I hope we do so wisely. Dirtbags coming in monday, with one guy who does not get noticed but is dangerous and thats Boychuck. I cant believe that hit on Raymond in the playoffs last year and how slow and deliberate it was. I know if I had been in Raymonds position I would have been yelling stop. I cant think of a less deserving team to win the stanley cup in my lifetime, and its not even close

    • Habby says:

      I’m so glad someone else remembers that hit on Raymond. That was terrible! Guy’s been out so long. Wasn’t sure if he would be able to walk. And the Bruins made a huge deal out of the Nathan Horton concussion. A broken back is pretty serious too. I fear they’ll try to injure one of our players. That’s usually how they deal with teams they’re trying hard to beat.

      The drive for 25 is alive!

    • HFX-HabFan says:

      Recall last season when Boychuk attempted a knee-on-knee on Subban and White made him pay with his fists.

  24. Everlasting1 says:

    I can see Gomer is in everyone’s good graces after bringing his A game (‘A’ pronounced as ‘ah'(short sound) ), that no longer requires him to actually score for satisfied results.

    ——————————————————————-
    Thus sayeth the Lord, “Destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks.” Amos 2:9

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    • The Chicoutimi Cucumber says:

      Yeah, because Gomez is a goal-scoring sniper who should be evaluated only by his goals-scored totals, not his two assists last night. Idiotic.

      • PureGuava says:

        7.5 million dollars a year to get 30 assists and 5 goals is the definition of idiotic.

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

      • Everlasting1 says:

        Is this directed at me? Sarcasm? Are you his agent? Are you paying him for his play/point production? I have so many questions..

        ——————————————————————-
        Thus sayeth the Lord, “Destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks.” Amos 2:9

        “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

        • HFX-HabFan says:

          Remember when Halak played in Montreal? He’d be a better backup than his countryman Budaj right now. Albeit an expensive one.

          • Everlasting1 says:

            I acknowledge Price resigning to play for a losing team :)

            ——————————————————————-
            Thus sayeth the Lord, “Destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks.” Amos 2:9

            “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

          • Everlasting1 says:

            nice edit job, albeit too late.

            ——————————————————————-
            Thus sayeth the Lord, “Destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks.” Amos 2:9

            “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

        • The Chicoutimi Cucumber says:

          Yes, it’s directed at you. My point is that it is ridiculous to evaluate Gomez based on goals scored – yet lazy media commentators and fans continue to do this. The guy is a playmaker, and always has been a playmaker. He should be evaluated on the basis of assists, chances generated, and the degree to which his rushes are effective in tilting the ice in our favour. Last night was the first game in a long time that he actually played like he did prior to last season. Attacking him because he didn’t score a goal is dumb as well as ungracious.

          As for his salary, nobody except Sather ever thought he was worth 7 million. Let’s stop beating that dead horse. If he plays every night like he did last night, he will return to being a top NHL playmaker and a legitimate #1A centreman, and that will go some distance toward making us real contenders. That should be enough.

          • Everlasting1 says:

            Gainey thought he was worth the price of admission.
            Btw, congrats.. you’re officially the biggest Gomer apologist on Blogland. He’s a play maker all right..except this ain’t dress rehearsal, and tix don’t come cheap.

            ——————————————————————-
            Thus sayeth the Lord, “Destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks.” Amos 2:9

            “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    • RGM says:

      How’d your boy Jaro do last night? I see he brought his “not quite good enough” game.

      ———————–
      GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is our year!
      RGM’s Movember page: http://mobro.co/RGM81

      • Everlasting1 says:

        Shoot-outs are a crap shoot. A SV% of .938 is terrible huh? Troll harder.

        ——————————————————————-
        Thus sayeth the Lord, “Destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks.” Amos 2:9

        “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

      • Chris says:

        I don’t know why you’re egging this on. Price and Halak are now both 0-2 in shootouts, Halak having given up 3 goals on 5 shots while Price hasn’t stopped any of the 4 attempts against him this season.

        Both guys are good, with Price probably being better. But both of them are weak in the shootouts thus far.

  25. vince8_31 says:

    Let the kids play. Send spacho packin. Keep Gill cause he’s a leader and can help the boys out, but other than that, let the kids play.
    And lay off g love,
    He’ll be just fine

    • montreal ace says:

      I really like both players but maybe this season their last paycheck will not be in a habs jersey. I dont think they will be signed next year so lets get something for them

    • Mike D says:

      IMO you have to keep Gill. He’s a beast in the playoffs.

      We’re finally getting good value from Spatcho (contract year, plus finally playing the side he’s supposed to) so I’m on the fence about trading him. His experience would also help a young D core during the stretch and certainly in the playoffs.

      If we could get a 2nd rounder for old Spatch then I’d probably do it, especially if it came from a team who will likely be picking in the first half on the round. If we did that, then I think it’s also imperative to trade one of the other guys (likely Campoli or Diaz – preferably Campoli) for another 2nd rounder. That would give us three 2nd round picks including our own. From there, we could potentially trade 2 of them to a team to acquire their 1st rounder and end up with two 1st round picks, or just keep them and have 4 picks in the top 60 of what I hear is a good draft class.

      – Honestly yours

  26. Thurston says:

    The Habs have already ended New York’s long winning streak. Time to do the same to the knuckle-dragging Bruins.

  27. Rugger says:

    A lot of discussion of Monday being “a big test”. I agree, it is a big test – for the Bruins. Road game against a somewhat hot team that they have already lost twice to this young season. Big test for the B’s.

  28. habsfan reduxit says:

    … I understand there were quite a few of you who attended the game last night, and it is of you I wish to ask my question. Am I wrong to assume there were also in attendance a number of total and complete morons, idiots who disgraced the organisation’s efforts to honour the late Eddy Palchak by hooping and hollering throughout the announced moment of silence?

    … it certainly sounded as though that were the case during the opening stages of the television broadcast.

    “Whenever you have the puck, and don’t know what to do with it, put it in the net.” – Toe Blake

  29. Danno says:

    “The callow gossoons of this 102-year-old expansion team”

    Well said Mr. Boone!

    ________________________________________

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

  30. Bripro says:

    I passed my summit tickets onto Mattyleg because of a surprise 50th, including a bunch of Sens fans who were in town. I must say, I love Ottawa people. So friendly.
    We got back in time for a very good 3rd, and the Anti-chambre.
    Bergeron was right. He was mentioning how the Rangers probably arrived friday well rested and lookEd at the Hab’s roster of green D and thought this will be a walk in the park.
    “day har nay? Eh mo Lin? Diaz?” Never heard of them.
    If impression was quite funny. Bring on the Bs and let’s squash their 8 game winning streak.

  31. mjames says:

    A very good win last night. I was glad to see our young defense play so well. I hope we stay the course and not replace them with those retreads that are currently injured (save for Markov).

    So what do we have after 1/4 of the season – a fair to middling team which is two games below 500. It has a slight chance to make the playoffs and no chance for the cup. Same old same old – we have seem this movie for over ten years now.

    Notwithstanding his two assists Gomez is the same. The guy has lost his skills. His breakaway was pathetic. If PG is serious about winning the Cup he would cut this guy at the end of the year. McDonough , Gaborik and Higgins for the Gomez (essentially that was the Rangers side of the trade) – One of the worst trades in the history of hockey with exception of perhaps the Chelios, Roy and Desjardins/LeClair trades. It seems we make on of these dumb a** trades every 5 to 10 years which puts us in jail for several years. You know we really suck at trades. Too bad Pollock and Bowman are no longer around.

    mjames

    • Chris says:

      At 9-8-3, the team is not 2 games below .500, but 1 game above .500.

      I realize that many people here are trying to make a crusade out of “loser points” but it is a bit of a red herring.

      A 5-5-0 team that has won 3 games in overtime would, by your definition, be a .500 team with 10 points out of 10 games while conceding 13 points to their opponent.

      A 4-4-2 team with no OT or shootout wins would be two games under .500 by your definition, despite having 10 points out of 10 games and only conceding 12 points to their opponents.

      Unless you are willing to go into every team’s record and see how many of their victories are via shootouts and OT and diminish THOSE points as well, then the “loser point” argument is heavily flawed.

      The “loser” point generally balances out over a long season for the better teams in the league.

    • gmur says:

      You mean Higgins, McDonagh, Valentenko for Gomez, Pyatt, Busto…

      What a Busto…

      Higgins has 50 points since the trade in 138 games. 0.36 points per game.

      Gomez has 91 in 169 games. 0.54 points per game.

      That difference doesn’t cover the cap-hit the trade saved the Rangers and imposed on the Habs. If the trade happened at all, it should have Higgins for Gomez, that’s all.

      McDonagh has become a big, dominant defenceman. Valentenko appears to be a potential 5-6th defenceman. Very bad trade.

  32. cuzzie says:

    Whoa boys! There’s some friction on some of these posts, could it be because some of you didn’t get the friction you desired. It’s perfectly alright to not be The “Master Of Your Domain”.

    Stay Thirsty My Friends!

  33. Sportfan says:

    So I have a question if all our D by say February are healthy like Gill Spacek, Campoli and Markov who of our young D Weber, Emelin, Diaz get sent down and who becomes the 7th man out of all our D???

    • emelin not being sent down, not sure if weber would have to clear waivers, so its most likely diaz getting sent down, or a trade(s?)

      • KLear says:

        I think Diaz shows best puck management skills which JM likes. Weber has proven reliable when placed in proper roles. Emelin may have best upside but still work in progress. Emelin may get the short straw here. Don’t be surprised if Campoli gets moved to make room.

        • emelin wont get the short straw, its in his contract

          • Bripro says:

            He has a one-way deal, and it’s thought that if he’s sent down he’ll return to the KHL but they can send him down if they chose. It might do him some good to spend a few weeks of 25 minutes/game in Hamilton to get his confidence up a little, because, IMO, he’s slowly getting there. He certainly hits like a Mack truck.

          • POOF

            asset gone cuz he goes back to the K

          • HardHabits says:

            It’s not impossible. I believe a good pitch can be made to convince Emelin to go to Hamilton to work on his game. He’d have Avtsin as a person to connect with so he wouldn’t be alone. The Habs could convince him that he is in their long term plans and that they want him to get top pairing minutes in the AHL. Let him dominate there. Same pay.

            Eller could have used the same trajectory. It certainly helped Pacioretty.

            Once every one is healthy there will be a log jam on defense that’s for sure. Something’s got to give.

          • Bripro says:

            Didn’t the Hab’s organization try to convince him to play in Hamilton for 4 years?
            And poor Eller will continue to look lost until AK returns.

        • habstrinifan says:

          I am biased but I would move Campoli. Providing MARKOV is healthy and can play the rest of the YEAR, I would keep our draftees/signings over Campoli.

          Maybe for a 3rd line hard tough worker.

          • KLear says:

            I actually like Emelin over Weber once he gets there in the long run. But how many games do we lose waiting for him to ‘get there’…??? He would easily be the best D-man in Hamilton based on the games I’ve seen, and the confidence boost may be all he needs….

    • Danno says:

      I was thinking the same thing. They did an impressive job last night as well as against the Hurricanes. And they dug deep to bounce back from that ugly game against the Isles. I like the steadiness Fred St Denis is displaying. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds…

      ________________________________________

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

      • Bripro says:

        You’ve got a point. St-Denis is making a case for himself and hard on JM to send him back down.

        • Mike D says:

          I agree that St-Denis has played better than expected, but logistics pre-determine that he will be the first one sent down once one of the injured Dmen return. He has the shortest stint with the big club of anyone on the current roster, was the last one to get called up, has a 2-way contract, and likely expects (more than the other guys) to be sent back.

          I think Diaz might the next one to get sent down but I’m not sure if he has to clear waivers. Something tells me he might and if that’s the case he would be te next one to sit in the pressbox.

          Weber definitely would have to clear waivers because he has a 1-way deal so although he might spend some time in the pressbox, he won’t be sent down. I think the same applies to Emelin unless the club feels confident he wouldn’t jet back to Russia if he was sent down temporarily to get more minutes and move up the learning curve faster. I think he might have to clear waivers too and if that’s the case, he will likely spend some time in the pressbox.

          If we have a healthy D core in the new year I think/hope Campoli will be traded for something useful but that also depends on the standings and if the club feels like they are real contenders or not. If they believe they are, Campoli might be retained for the rest of the year since he has experience and can be a good fill-in if one of our offensive Dmen were to get hurt. He’s also not hurting the cap so the only down-side is not getting (at best) a 2nd or 3rd rounder for him.

          – Honestly yours

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            Mike D, instead of guessing who is eligible for waivers and who isn’t, you can refer to Capgeek, this info is available.

            http://www.capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=2

            As far as one-way and two-way contracts, they don’t have anything to do with having to clear waivers. Waiver eligibility is determined by age and number of games played in the NHL. Both Mr. Emelin and Diaz can be sent to Hamilton without going through waivers.

            ———————————
            How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

            http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  34. twilighthours says:

    It’s funny to think that people used to argue Ovi vs Crosby as the best player in the world. The biggest Difference between these two is that ovechkin is complacent while Crosby never is. Matt Bradley alluded to ovi’s attitude in the summer. By the time Sid got hurt, there was No longer a comparison: Crosby was miles better.

    • Stev.R says:

      I believe Bradley said only good things about Ovi and his attitude in the offseason.

      • twilighthours says:

        “I never worry about Ovi. He’s an all-in guy. He’s young, he makes his mistakes… you’ve got to remember, he’s 25 years old, he’s got a guaranteed $120 million, he’s on top of the world, and he still for the most part makes the right decisions…

        Ovi has some growing up to do as far as taking care of himself and things like that, but as far as his want to win, he really does just want to win the games, and he doesn’t care if he scores or not. That isn’t an act.”

  35. twilighthours says:

    Chris, I assume you mean panther Brian Campbell. Otherwise, lots of goodness in that post.

    Ovi: Boudreau ruined him by never asking him to be a team player, or to improve. I’m holding out hope that he continues to suck hard for another 2-3 years and habs pick him up. He’d love to play in mtl. Another kovalev situation.

    • Chris says:

      Doh! Thanks Twilight…I did mean Brian Campbell!

      I think Boudreau does have to take the blame on that one, although it is a league-wide phenomenon where teams try to rein in their best players. I think the same thing applies with Ilya Kovalchuk, another player that I think would excel in Montreal due to his love of the spotlight.

      I think the mark of a truly great coach is to recognize the risk-reward of changing some of these guys. Scotty Bowman waged a very risky battle with Steve Yzerman to make him more responsible, but he already had an heir apparent (Sergei Fedorov) in place so the risk wasn’t so great.

      Teams trying to re-forge talents like Kovalchuk or Ovechkin risk too much, because replacing an elite scorer of that ilk is impossible.

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        Issue I think in WSH is Boudreau has changed his tune for the 3rd time now. First time around it was just do what you want, score goals to win, overwhelm with sheer firepower. That backfired in the post-season as they ran into matchups and stronger defensive schemes.

        Boudreau decided to reshape for a defensive oriented system, but still seemed to keep two sets of rules for his players, Stars and Not.

        This year, he’s decided he’s going to impose one set of rules for everyone and further defensive play but it’s come down to the team not buying in anymore. Boudreau was once polled as the easiest coach to play for and they liked it. They had their best years under that and are perhaps not buying the “Trust me guys, if we start playing like THIS we’ll win it all” of Boudreau’s system-swapping. I think it’s time for WSH to start over with a new guy.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

  36. Chris says:

    And looking around the league…

    Quite the resurrection for Mike Smith’s career out in Phoenix. He raised his record to 9-3-3 to go with a 2.12 GAA and a 0.936 SV%. He and Kari Lehtonen in Dallas (11-4-0, 2.44 GAA and 0.928 SV%) are great examples of how much the team in front of a goaltender can change their fortunes.

    Without taking anything from Erik Cole, who has been great for the Habs after his characteristic slow start, the UFA I was most intrigued by last summer, Tomas Fleischmann, has been a great addition to the Florida Panthers. Much uncertainty surrounded Fleischmann due to blood clots in his legs last summer, allowing people to overlook that he’d been a solid offensive player the past two seasons. A point-per-game player thus far with the Panthers, he has combined with Stephen Weiss (a player that I am happy for, as he has endured a long career with very little support in Florida) and Kris Versteeg (another great pick-up by Dale Tallon) to form one of the more dangerous offensive lines in hockey. With Brian Campbell (thanks Twilight!) and the young Dmitry Kulikov on the points, that is a pretty impressive amount of firepower on the Panthers’ power play that now ranks 6th overall after finishing 30th and 29th overall in the past two seasons, respectively. People keep writing off the Panthers as the most likely to fall out of the playoffs, but I’m starting to wonder if they are for real. They are using the formula that Montreal used for a few years: a devastating power play combined with a good defensive effort.

    Coming into the season, I was shocked at how many people were writing off the Bruins because of the loss of Recchi and Ryder. I definitely figured that those losses would hurt, but was amazed that people were not looking for a big year from Tyler Seguin, a kid who was not terribly productive through most of last season while he learned on the job. But he had a good playoff and had far too much talent to be held back. With 10 goals and 21 points in 18 games, Seguin has realized his potential and is on his way to becoming a star in this league. The presence of Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly for an entire season also help the Bruins, who have seemingly shaken off their lethargy of the early season. Monday’s game will be a great test for the Habs.

    One of the best pick-ups of last season appears to be Joffrey Lupul by the Leafs. Lupul showed flashes earlier in his career, but had been stunted by trades, injuries and a crisis of self-confidence. But he seemed to be invigorated by playing with Kessel last season, and with 10 goals and 24 points through the first 20 games, he has maintained his form.

    Jeff Carter, who was injured for about 10 games, finally potted his 1st goal of the season last night. Thus far, that trade has been a landslide victory for the Flyers: they are still at the top of the Eastern Conference because of the brilliance of Claude Giroux, and 22-year old Jakub Voracek and teenager Sean Couturier are both outperforming Carter and will only get better. Without risk, there is no genius. Dumping a player that was widely perceived as being selfish and a bit of a stain on the Flyers locker room and bringing in two excellent young players who can contribute immediately was a genius move by Paul Holmgren.

    Can somebody tell me what the heck happened to Alexander Ovechkin? After averaging just under 54 goals in his first five seasons in the league, Ovechkin is on pace for his second straight ~30 goal season. Gone is the joy and reckless abandon that he once played with. Someone needs to sit him down and explain that he needs to find that fiery spirit that made him the choice of most people as the league’s best player. I don’t think he’s even in the conversation anymore, and that is sad. I was never a huge Ovechkin fan, but I hate to see a talent like that somewhat wasted.

    And just to tweak some people here a bit, can somebody explain how a team with Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Ryan Malone and Marc-Andre Bergeron is 21st overall on the power play? Guy Boucher might walk on water, but he’s sure not doing much with a team full of some of the best offensive talents in the league. I recognize that their goaltending in Tampa Bay is brutal, but that team is a huge disappointment and looks to be in for a big fight to make the playoffs.

    • Bripro says:

      I knew that Ovechkin couldn’t keep going hitting everything that moved forever. His body can only take smo much then starts to take it’s tole.
      As for Tampa, you answered your own question. Their goaltending is brutal.

      • Chris says:

        True, but my point regarding Tampa Bay was more a puzzlingly anemic power play given the All-Star calibre talent they have to work with. And the goalie can’t do much to help there.

        As for Ovechkin, his hit total was actually higher last season than it had been before. I do agree he isn’t gunning for “knockout” hits as much as he was, but he is still hitting. It is just the points that have dried up.

        • Bripro says:

          You’re right. But watching the Caps get trounced, I get the impression that the team as a whole seem to be running out of gas. And they don’t seem to have the chemistry that the Hab’s have.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Good points, you should give us a regular Around the League column, every Sunday or Monday.

      I have to credit my participation in SeriousFan09’s HIO Memorial Fantasy Hockey League for making me more aware of what is going on in the league aside from the Canadiens. Checking the scoreboard, we find my Whistler Marmots leading his Montreal Expats 150-112, with Sunday’s action not likely to change the outcome for the week. Now I ask you, who is the real expert on hockey?

      ———————————
      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  37. el heffe says:

    it’s official. Rangers fans are among the most ignorant league-wide. Some of the comments on BlueShirtsBanter are laughable to the point of being assanine. One fine example, and this by the writer of the post, “the officiating didn’t help” also, “the officiating was horrendous” and on and on. I have seen some bad games by good teams before and usually the fans, such as the ones on here, blame the team for a lack of effort. But the blueshirters blamed Tortorella, The Refs, The Fans, The Ice, The Boards, etc. Calling the Habs a shitty team that the Rangers should have crushed easily if not for the refs, boards, fans…..

    Charge it to the Underhill’s.

  38. twilighthours says:

    Randomness:

    -cole is full value. We are paying this guy 3/4 of cammalleri’s $ and 9/15ish of gomer’s $ and he has been so much better than both of them.

    -not sure how much longer darche has a spot on the team. He’s definitely bringing the least. Palushaj is better than him. Good on AP for sticking around.

    -those kids on D, who were so horrible in October, look a lot better now. Crazy logjam when the 4 vets get healthy.

    -gomer was great last night. Might even have been better than Desharnais.

    -Eller is so lost right now. Playing wing is hurting him. He’s not doing himself any favours by turning it over so much though. Lots to learn.

    -price is so, so good.

    -loved nokelainen’sc response after he got gooned.

    -I hope every canadiens’ fan appreciates what plex brings every night.

    -pax has his off nights still. All part of establishing himself.

    -on to the bruins. I expect B’s killer cammalleri to pop a couple.

  39. Habsssssssswin says:

    Come monday …..
    Chara you are next !!
    Lucic, Marchand …. tick tock tick tock !!!

    C’mon Boys …Don’t wait for Shanny or The NHL suits to fight your battles anymore …. Time to Man Up !!!!

    What Chara did to Max wasn’t accidental or reckless, it was deliberate. …. and you Lucic, if what you did to Miller, happened in my Beer League, you would have got your ass kicked ..’Nuff said.
    ….. GO HABS GO …….

    http://i.imgur.com/UHVqV.jpg

  40. SmartDog says:

    I only caught pieces of the game because we had friends over (not Habs fans)… but what I saw was amazing.

    And I’ll say it: Gomez was playing like his ass was on fire. And it showed on the scoreboard. So way to go Scott. I’ve got nothin’ against you dude. If you play like that consistently I could be a fan.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  41. twilighthours says:

    Larry brooks has tortorella saying that del zotto couldn’t handle cole, and switched mcdonagh into that matchup instead.

  42. Badwich says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I’d understand the one man waste of energy if we had “the Swedish sieve” in net but we don’t. I’m tired of watching the Habs play in their own zone all night.

    Taberwitt

  43. Coach K says:

    Much better result eh, when you don’t just send in a lone forechecker and try to protect a lead.
    Regardless of what the kindly coach says, the road to success is not necessarily paved with solid goaltending and special teams. Chances of winning (as they showed last night) are greatly improved by staying out of the box and having the desire to play in the other team’s end pretty much the whole game. They owned the offensive zone and that’s why that game was so much fun to watch! That’s what the teams of the 70’s used to do…mind you they had the horses and coaching to do it every game. Hopefully this game is an example of what’s to come!

    “Shut up and play against him” – Bob Gainey (2011 Heritage Classic)

  44. NoTinFoilCups says:

    http://blueshirtsunited.com/posts/1355-tortorella-postgame

    An uncharacteristically subdued Tortorella post game. Basically says they could not keep up with our speed and they had little possession chasing the puck the whole night. Said he was not going to discuss individual players but then mentioned that McDonagh could not keep up with Cole’s speed.

    Perhaps unintentionally Torts makes us look damn good. Gotta love it!

    • FormalWare says:

      Actually, I think Torts was saying Michael del Zotto was too slow to check Cole, so he tried to get Ryan McDonough out against Cole, instead. He did go on to say that none of his defenders could keep up with the Habs, in general.

      If Eller were pronounced “Ell-ay”, Larry would be #2 with a bullet!

  45. cuzzie says:

    Kind of feel sorry for Brendon Nash. With all the injuries on “D” he would have had his chance to prove his worth, but that’s sports. When Wally Pipp got hurt for the Yankees some kid by the name of Lou Gehrig got his chance, and the rest is history. Them the breaks.

    Stay Thirsty My Friends!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Cuzzie, “the rest is history” expression is one of my pet peeves. The preceding is also history, since it is recorded and historical fact. I find that expression is nonsensical.

      Not picking on you, we all use it, I just hate it, like the word ‘irregardless’.

      ———————————
      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  46. twocents says:

    In discussing whether this team will continue to press in third periods with a lead, wondering if they will just fall into what is viewed as Martin’s defensive shell, a few things should be noted in Martin’s defense.

    Firstly, he said when he came to Montreal that he would spend his first year ingraining defensive awareness and postioning into the whole team. He said he would have the team play more offensively once he felt he had instilled the right culture. I think we started seeing that transition last year.

    Secondly, on occasions over the past year or so, when they have sat back in the third, Martin has consistently stated that he did not want them to fall back and that this was not the game plan.

    This speaks to players falling back into this approach because they lack the confidence in their game to play more aggressively when the game is in hand. Which is a byproduct of the transition they’ve been undertaking.

    So perhaps, Martin has been true to his word all along and what we have seen in a few games this year is this team beginning to believe it can force the play for 60 minutes and still come out on top. In other words, it could be part of Martin’s plan.

    This would make it a long range plan and that’s something many fans are too impatient for.

    Listen to me, defending Martin when not so long ago I had crossed over to the let him go side. I think the players have recently proved they still believe in him, and that’s what matters the most with a coach.

    • Chris says:

      I agree with you. And like you, I was one who had also crossed over to the let him go side.

      Martin’s Florida teams were justifiably blasted for playing a boring, defensive game that led them to nowhere. But those teams also featured a significant lack of talent.

      Martin’s Ottawa teams were much more offensively talented, and played a correspondingly higher-tempo and riskier game. Martin has taken a lot of flak for never winning a Stanley Cup despite Ottawa’s regular season records, but this overlooks that he was never really provided with the goaltending to do so and the NHL turned a blind eye to the brutal obstruction tactics that the Leafs used against the Senators while knocking the Sens out in 4 out of 5 seasons. In a league that occasionally seems to be rock-paper-scissors, the Senators were confounded by the Leafs in the same way that the Flyers have had the Canadiens’ number or the Blackhawks seem to be in the heads of the Canucks.

      Like everybody else, I get frustrated when the Habs lose like they did against the Islanders. But the reality is that the team is in okay shape 20 games into the season, 3 points back of the Leafs and Sabres and 2 points back of the Bruins. I still have every faith that will make the playoffs, where Martin has shown that his teams can compete with the best in the league. The early season swoon coincided with a noticeable lack of form for Carey Price. Price is back to the level we all expect of him, and the team’s record has ascended to a level we all expect of them.

      Montreal is not going to win the division…that title is pretty much Boston’s to lose (8 straight wins, 6 of them seeing the Bruins score 5 goals or more). But they should be safely in the playoffs and if they go in relatively healthy, have as good a chance as anybody if they get the luck that a successful playoff team needs.

      • The Cat says:

        I dont think its fair to blame Lalime, Toronto pretty much manhandled them is what happened.

        [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

        • Chris says:

          I remember reading an interview with Shayne Corson the summer after the Leafs knocked the Alexei Yashin-led Senators out and he flat out said that he felt bad for Yashin because he couldn’t believe how much interference Corson was permitted to get away with.

          That was a great example how the referee’s turning a blind eye to “let the players decide the game” was in effect deciding the game for the players.

      • twocents says:

        The fact that the team can play games as strong as this one and the Carolina one, with so many D out, is testament to this organizational approach.

        This is miles away from the last team, which hinged so heavily on Markov and Kovalev. Often looking lost without their particular individual skills,.

        • Chris says:

          Two things have me very hopeful:

          1) The number of youth playing…most of these kids will continue to improve.

          2) I don’t feel like the team has hit a “hot streak”. They have been full-value for their record.

          I still have issues with some of Martin’s decisions and what I perceive as his occasional digging in on some players while letting others go free for the same crimes, but I can’t argue that he has had a good run in Montreal thus far. And like Jane said, there is no other coach out there that I would want to see replace Martin mid-season. The Habs need to be patient with their kids, something that mid-season replacements rarely are as they are playing for a job the following summer.

    • twocents says:

      If that’s the case, numerous players have clearly stated, on several occasions, that the game plan was not to sit back. And, that they could not explain why the did. That fits pretty well with what I said above.

      • twocents says:

        Players have said, “we shouldn’t have sat back” but that isn’t saying, “we were told to sit back”

        In fact, players have clearly said on occasion that they were told they were not supposed to sit back, but still did.

    • JF says:

      Great post. I started thinking last year that Martin was beginning to change the way the team played. The first year, they did nothing but defend (or try to), and spent a lot of time hemmed in their zone or dumping and chasing. Last year, zone clearances were becoming less laborious, and more time was spent controlling the puck. After the Carolina game, I said we were becoming a puck possession team, and I think last night’s game showed that even more. The team is built on speed and skating, and when they control the puck, they’re becoming hard to beat. If they’re now, as you said, acquiring the confidence to believe they can go on attacking when they’re ahead and still win, there may be fewer nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat games in which they barely hang on, and more dominant performances like last night’s. Early last season, I wrote something to the effect that Jacques Martin was a patient man, having spent an entire year doing nothing but teach defence and watch his team screw up time after time (especially in the first half of his first season, when the defence used regularly to break down in spectacular fashion). I think his patience is beginning to be rewarded.

      I’ve been critical of him at times but never in the fire-JM camp, partly because I thought he was doing a lot of good things with only moderate talent in the line-up, partly because, even leaving aside the French language requirement, there seemed to be no one at all currently available who could do a better job. When the Habs decide it’s time for a new coach, I want them to make the right decision and get the guy they really want. For now, Jacques Martin is doing well overall considering the injuries, on some nights brilliantly.

      • twocents says:

        JF, I agree with you excellent post.

        Except I diverge on two points:
        – I think this team has better than moderate talent, significantly better.
        – I think Hartley is legitimate option, again I’m not calling for Martin to go, but Hartley is a legitimate option.

        • Chris says:

          I think Hartley is an option, I just don’t know if I could say he is a legitimate option.

          Hartley has not coached in the NHL for 3+ seasons, and has not coached a team beyond the first round since taking a relatively stacked Colorado Avalanche team to the conference finals in 2001-02.

          More importantly, Hartely is coaching in Switzerland on a two-year contract. He might have been a better candidate last season when he was watching all the NHL games as part of his media gig, but it would be a very tough mid-season adjustment to come into the league without a lot of knowledge of what the players’ tendencies are. He’d have to rely on Cunneyworth, so if such a move was made Cunneyworth is pretty much the only one that makes sense.

        • JF says:

          twocents – You’re right, this year the team has significantly better than moderate talent. The return of Pacioretty and the addition of Erik Cole make our forward group a lot more dangerous; and I love our young, mobile defence corps. They just need experience. But the last two years, I think it’s fair to say the talent was only moderate; and I think Jacques Martin got about the most that could be gotten out of that group.

    • Badwich says:

      Amazing!!!!! One game and all of a sudden you think that Mumbles has a long range plan?? His plan is to keep his job and he may have figured that given he was facing the Rangers, losing in an exciting style would be better received than losing in a Mumbles approach to the game. Who knows? Perhaps Geoff is involved??

      Change his long term plan with so many regulars MIA?? Sounds like something a quality coach would do?? The Ranger streak had a lot to do with our win and les boys did play hard but the Torte’s post game comments explained a lot.

      Mumbles has got to go.

      Taberwitt

  47. The Cat says:

    Things are kinda lame around here when the habs win.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  48. RGM says:

    When the team plays as well as we know it can, as they have in two of their last three games, it is easy to love them. The D shuts people down, Price shuts them out, and everything seems to click. As we stand right now, a win Monday vaults the Habs to the unparalleled (this season) heights of 6th place and finally into a playoffs spot. The dreadful start seems to be behind them, and they’re in a position now where they can definitely start making some noise in the very tight Eastern Conference. They’re three points behind the Sabres. The best players are playing like the best players. Much to like!

    ———————–
    GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is our year!
    RGM’s Movember page: http://mobro.co/RGM81

  49. adamkennelly says:

    Fantastic team game last night. relentless skating – D zone coverage that reminded me of the playoff run 2 years ago. Cole is scary good – generating a ton of scoring chances – more of them could start going in. Still wish we had a real 4th line but I digress…

  50. novahab says:

    Well now there are questions about the D men. Does JM go back with the Vets or has some of the kids earned their spot. Monday night will be a big test on this question. Also JM reunited Cammy, Gionta and Gomez and Gionta scored. When AK comes back does he end up on a line with Pleks and someone else. Wow that could be three scoring lines. I think Gill may have to be a little worried he been relpaced by speed and skill.

    • habstrinifan says:

      Had to watch the full game this AM. Agree with concern re usage of GILL in particullar when he returns. Is it time to give him less of a role?

    • Coach K says:

      Hey novahab,

      In some respects I’d have to agree with your comment about Gill and the amount of ice time he should see when he returns. However, he does bring one aspect that no other D on the team can. When the Bruins or Flyers send their huge forwards in to crash the net, he’s the one D we have who is physically big enough to contain them and hopefully by extension, prevent injury to the goalies. While he is a plug as far as his skating goes, he can also be a good mentor. I wouldn’t “healthy” him but might limit his ice time. so he can stay fresh

      “Shut up and play against him” – Bob Gainey (2011 Heritage Classic)

  51. MikeMcLaren says:

    Well, as a sumiteer, I was certainly impressed if that’s what they were trying to do.

    We joke about “never in doubt” but it was a great thing to witness a game where that was pretty much the case through 60 minutes of play.

    As always we had an excellent time at the summit and for once we got to see a win! Good times.

    /\ike
    GO HABS GO!

  52. habstrinifan says:

    My schedule didnt allow me to watch or follow Boone’s blog on the first two perioods. But I caught the third.

    Was amazing. I really dont know what to make of the team.

    The main STORY I think was their skating. They never STOPPED. It is beautiful and so damn tingling watching HABS red-sweaters skate as beautiful and as relentless (and carefee).. CONGRATS TO EVERYONE WITH THE TEAM.

    Summiteers must have had a wonderful time watching this game as a group. This seemed so much like the HABS playing up to their legacy.

    Goals and victories will come. So also will the setbacks because this is SPORT, but as LONG as HABS play the game in the fashion of last night… FANS will be happy.

    This was habitant hockey.

  53. G-Man says:

    Considering the horrendous start, the Habs are back in the thick of things. All of this is being done with a patchwork D and lapses of offensive production from key players like the injured AK and the streaky Gionta. JM, the coach with the virtual guillotine poised over his head, has done a masterful job righting the Habs and finding the right chemistry that works best.
    Will the Habs approach perfection every game? Hell no, but we can all see the effort and commitment to the much maligned “system” that JM employs. The rumours of his demise as head coach will spring back up the next loss, which could come as early as 9:45 Monday night, but, for now, can we not bask in a solid victory for a change instead of the incessant whining?

    • caladin says:

      Couldn’t agree more

      ____________________

      Keep Hope Alive

    • 24 Cups says:

      The 20 game mark is always a time for reflection and evaluation. After a dreadful 1-7 start, the Habs have now gone 8-4. They are presently one point out of the playoffs and two wins behind the laffs.

      Anything can happen, but it would appear that the two teams in front of us who are most likely to miss the playoffs would be Toronto and Florida. Likewise, the two teams that want to realistically squeeze in would be Tampa and Jersey.

      We’re in the hunt, to be sure. And that’s with five kids on the D.

      • G-Man says:

        The young D will be inconsistent, but if the forwards play with that kind of commitment, this team will be very tough to play against.
        Employing that speedy system vs CJ’s Goon Squad™ Monday night will be a stern test. That team slows things to a crawl so they can shift gears to stir things up. The Habs can go at full throttle and leave the Gooins wheezing on the bench. I see the same cheap thug tactics coming for Monday. The trick is to not to be drawn into it and to score a couple early.

        • habstrinifan says:

          “Employing that speedy system vs CJ’s Goon Squad™ Monday night will be a stern test. That team slows things to a crawl so they can shift gears to stir things up. ”

          One of your better posts. Very realistic. It will be a great test to see if

          a) the game strategy will be to maintain the relentless use of aggressive skating.

          b) in-game adjustments are made to put out something of a ‘big push back’ line to respond. Cole will of course be foremost in any line to do that.

          I think if those two cures are applied then the great skating of this team will emerge and serve them well, regardless of the final score.

          Just dont stop trying to SKATE and SKATE hard regardless of the score.

    • habbernack says:

      Lack of offensive production from AK?? He’s played 13 games and has 5 goals and 4 assists

      ability is what you’re capable of doing.
      attitude determines how you do it

  54. CanadienBoy says:

    Niece to watch Cole out skate out muscle a D man and score, hope AK and PAC are learning,nothing like success to breed success

  55. SeriousFan09 says:

    Ugh, can’t believe I missed the Summit. Should have just called in sick.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  56. The HonestFan says:

    Big test Boston and making playoffs

  57. Timo says:

    7:30 am game on Sunday… brutal. I think I am going to play The System today. Did anyone catch Torts’ comments after the game? Priceless.

    • caladin says:

      link?

      ____________________

      Keep Hope Alive

    • tbovs says:

      He just loves to hear himself talk and rant and say things of non consequentialness…..he is as polished as the rusted pole he has shoved up his behind…i can’t stand him…loud mouth american coach who won a cup in Tampa becuase of the team he had…brutal. And people want that hear in Montreal…nice to put the face of classless on the franchise who is classy….Stay thirsty my friends.

  58. coachdoug says:

    “much-maligned Tomas Plekanec…” Is someone maligning Tomas? Who would malign the only Hab who is consistently the Habs best all around player and point leader. The fact that a Center is even at the point on our 1st powerplay unit speaks volumes about this guys versatility. 6 points in the last three games…almost never misses a pass and defensively may be the best Center in the league. I hope Plek wears the CH for life.

    Go Habs Go!

  59. Xsteve50 says:

    Did anyone think at this time of the season that Price would have more points that Crosby…..

  60. Bob_Sacamano says:

    When people are bringing up the game against the Islanders, they shouldn´t forget that this was our second night of back-to-back games and we played Budaj. A good goalie, one day of rest and a forward group that really supports the D makes a big difference.

    After a bad start to the season our overall record now is not weak, it´s average but we´re right in the mix.

    • Coach K says:

      Agree Bob. I chalk it up to a poor call on the coach’s part. If you want to lock down a win why play the backup behind what is admittedly a kiddie corps defence? Even with the forwards MIA, your best odds of coming out with 2 points would have been with Price; I would think. To do otherwise was certainly a recipe for failure.

      “Shut up and play against him” – Bob Gainey (2011 Heritage Classic)

  61. SlovakHab says:

    Frankly – I was 100% sure the Rangers would beat the (*%^ out of us in that game.. Really surpised with the team, although the record is still weak.

  62. JF says:

    That was our best game this season. We nearly always have one bad, not to say disastrous period, or at least a period when critical mistakes change the momentum or give the other team some life. Even against a woeful Carolina team, we allowed them a lot of chances in the third period. Last night we played 60 minutes with no let-up, no collapse, no trying to sit on a lead. We kept forechecking, kept attacking, absolutely stifling them and taking away any chance they had of even making a dent in our lead. Very impressive, and a lot of fun to watch. I hope Jacques Martin concludes that the way we played the third period is the best way to protect a lead. Keep attacking, keep outshooting the opposition, keep working.

    JM always says that he believes special teams are one of the keys to success. Our penalty kill, absolutely porous for the first eight games or so, has been all but perfect since; and the powerplay has now scored in four straight games and is suddenly looking like a dangerous weapon. If we can stop giving up short-handed goals, our special teams will be fine.

    I love this team. I love their speed, their determination, their hard work, their no-quit attitude. And I think, if the whole team is ever healthy at the same time and gets to play a few games together, they’ll be a very good team.

    That isn’t to say that there won’t be more games like Thursday’s outing against the Islanders. Our very inexperienced defenceman are going to have games where they temporarily forget what they’ve learned, or get caught out of position, or make the wrong move out of panic. It’s part of the learning process. The answer isn’t to bench them or trade them for aging veterans, but to be patient and let them learn. The team will be stronger for it, whatever happens the rest of this season.

    • habitual says:

      Four long, positive paragraphs? You’ll get kicked off the site ;-)

      I agree with being patient. We’ll never otherwise know if Emelin’s inconsistency is inexperience or lack of talent.

  63. Marc10 says:

    Hey, that St Denis kid can play. So much for inexperience, he’s playing with poise.

    I hope he gets a goal before he’s inevitably sent down. But you could easily see this guy slot in as a number 6 instead of Spacek.

    Very happy for Carey, for the HIO gang on hand to witness a shutout and … a fine game for Scotty G!

    Did anyone see Richards or Gaborik beyond small flashes?! Yeah, me neither… Callaghan and Dubinsky are easily their best players. Enjoy the win! I hope we get another one against the Bruins in a few days.

  64. slychard says:

    I was puzzled to hear boo’s from the crowd during that manic passing gem during one of the PP’s. I found it not only mesmerizing to watch but effective in several aspects, the lack of SOG’s was actually encouraging since it showed great patience and poise on the players involved to continue that sustained rush that worn down the rangers and left ‘em looking like chickens without a head or an old manic dog chasing it’s tail. Of course the crowd roared when that one SOG fired by Plekanec hit it’s mark. The PP seem’s to slowly be coming to life recently which is encouraging and, as Boone put it, makes one drool to have Markov in the mix, and once he does come back this PP will make fan jaws’ drop from awe so low we’ll have to wear bibs to soak up the drool. Very encouraging indeed. As for the boo’s save them for the bruins on monday, I just hope Ian and none of the Summiteers partook, but I’m glad they witnessed a doozy, maybe i’ll pry myself from the beach here in Key West to attend next year.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Kiss my hAbSS!!!

  65. Shane1313 says:

    Plekanec scored. On the powerplay :O
    Couldn’t resist.

    Brilliant game for the summiteers. Must have been great.
    We looked like a “team” out there. I like that

  66. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …relieved to hear Alexander Avtsin is beginning to put it together
    …anyhow, bedtime
    …I’m going to bed sober and happy
    …Ian & The Gang I suppose are posting bail, not as sober, but also as happy
    …good night to be a Habs’ Fan :)

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  67. HabsProf says:

    If I may add my own comment about the inexperienced D?

    What we need to remember is that, while these guys do not have much experience at the NHL level, they do have a lot of pro experience. Emelin, Diaz and St. Denis are all 25 years old. These guys are not youths who are still maturing. They’re pros and if they don’t have a lot of experience at the NHL level, they are still better than calling up some 19 or 20 year old who may be overawed or easily rattled.

    And I would suggest that, while not as good as the NHL, the KHL and Swiss leagues are probably superior to the AHL. Emelin has 300 games at the KHL level. Diaz has over 350 games in the Swiss league. And St. Denis has 3 years of pro experience with over 150 games in the AHL.

    Heck even Weber is 23 with 150 games in the AHL.

    Again, not to say that their short time in the NHL is irrelevant. I’m just saying that it is not as important for these guys as it would be for some 20 year old fresh out of junior hockey with only 20 games in the AHL.

    _____________________________________

    They brought their f____ing toys with them!

  68. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …and, what a hit of Viagra difference Cole has made …He scares the s**t out of the opposition when He skates like a train towards the offensive zone …and, for this Fan, consistently lifts Me out of My seat like Frank Mahovlich use ta do
    …brilliant signing by Pierre Gauthier, among His many good moves as GM
    …and, since You have indicated You are a fairly smart GM Pierre …sign Josh Gorges to 3 to 5 year contract before Christmas will ya please ?

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  69. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I think most of You underestimate Diaz, Emelin, Weber and St. Denis
    …can They keep this up consistently ? …hmmm, I do think They have what it takes
    …could a D with Markov, Gill, Spacek or even a Hamrlik play better than those 4 did tonight ?
    …They totally shut-down a very good team, with a Brad Richards and a Gaborik included
    …except for the Islander game They have looked consistently solid
    …the Islanders’ game went like it did because it was a short-turnaround back-to-back where ‘the legs’ just were not there for Themselves nor from the O support
    …this ‘inexperienced’ D of Our’s is collectively very fast, quick, skilled and intelligent
    …SPEED KILLS !!!
    …Their speed compliments Our forwards to a ‘T’
    …We hear arguments We need a big stay-at-home lummox to lay the lumber and clear the crease …well, I prefer a tough, smarter-than-You D that can be one step faster than the other team’s fast tough lummoxes
    …and, right now, We are swimming in excellent burgeoning Defensive talent
    …definitely I wouldn’t like Campoli to return and take a position from one of these 4
    …I love Gill, but I’m asking Myself if He returns will it be a retrogression ? …Markov has been away awhile, and I think Bobby Orr He ain’t …Spacek, hate to say, because I really like that hockey smart Czech, but these young bucks are telling Me Jaro is yesterday’s news
    …very, VERY ! tough decisions for Pierre Gauthier and Martin to make
    …Boston on Monday, I want this ‘inexperienced’ group to remain together …the result of THAT game will tell Me if I am right or wrong

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

    • savethepuck says:

      With regards to Campoli, when he is healthy, he will be shown as trade baiit. Too many here forgot about Marky and how good he really is. He will suceed in being the guy who made more Habs fans than Carey eat crow.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

  70. Mats Naslund says:

    People need to relax about Emelin. If you watched a camera feed of any player for 60 minutes you’d see a lot of mistakes, but somehow only his (and Gomez’s) mistakes find the highlights. I’m sick of hearing how he makes mistakes en route to another shut out where he was incredibly effective . Yes he’s got a ways to go but for once let’s give him the benefit of being able to make a mistake in order to learn.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      He does have some quirks in his game that catch the eye, but I’m with you, we need to play this guy and coach him to smooth out the burrs. Having Mr. Weber, Diaz and St-Denis on the same blue line is not going to lead to a lot of wins, we need our team to have diverse skillsets.

      ———————————
      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

      dosnt take many penalties for a rook

    • savethepuck says:

      I agree with your opinion that too many on this site like to find problems with little mistakes. Nothing wrong with Emelin in the last couple weeks IMO

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

  71. Un Canadien errant says:

    Callow gossoons. Nice.

    cal·low   [kal-oh]
    adjective
    1. immature or inexperienced: a callow youth.
    2. (of a young bird) featherless; unfledged.

    gos·soon   [go-soon]
    noun Irish English .
    a boy; lad.

    ———————————
    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  72. kempie says:

    How does Carolina let Erik Cole walk away? I mean how can you not resign this guy?

  73. HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

    ERIK COLE not good on the powerplay my A$$!!!>

  74. Un Canadien errant says:

    What a game for the Canadiens, and what a game for the HIO Summitteers, I’m not jealous at all that I didn’t get to watch it, all lubricated and blow-hardy, with the rest of those knuckleheads.

    We’re a quarter of the way through the season, and the cut of the jib of our Canadiens is relatively apparent. Our Glorieux are a courageous, hard-skating team that has skills but lacks a little bit of finish. They play inspired hockey when faced with a formidable opponent, but can come back to earth against teams that are not natural rivals or a juggernaut. They seem to be injury-prone, they’re not physical, but they don’t back down from anyone. Their Top 6 matches up relatively well against most teams, but depth is a serious problem, with a fourth line that can scratch and claw and kick the opposition to a standoff on some nights, but is completely overmatched on others. Injuries have forced them to call up players such as Andreas Engqvist, Aaron Palushaj, and Frédéric St-Denis who have no business being in the NHL right now. Petteri Nokelainen, Mathieu Darche and Scott Gomez are borderline NHL’ers.

    We can hope that with the return of Hal Gill and eventually Andrei Markov and Chris Campoli, the young defencemen who are now carrying the load will be able to allow Mr. Martin to ease the veterans back in, instead of having to rush them back and overuse them. Andrei Kostitsyn’s return would provide more offensive options to the team, and allow the team to return Mr. Palushaj to Hamilton for further development. Ryan White’s feistiness and physicality are also sorely needed, although we are probably months away from him being back and effective again.

    Overall the Canadiens don’t stack up well with the league’s powerhouses when it comes to depth on the ice and in the organization. It will continue to be a problem, since it is a pipe dream to expect that the Canadiens at some point this season will be fully healthy and that this idyllic situation would persist into the playoffs. As other injuries strike, the remaining Canadiens will need to dig deep and work harder, since Hamilton cannot be relied on for reinforcements.

    Tonight’s game was a joy to behold, as the Canadiens skated from start to finish and bewildered the ‘powerhouse’ Rangers, who probably didn’t get the cash-stuffed envelope to the referee’s dressing room in time before puck-drop, as evidenced by the 8-5 minor penalty disadvantage they incurred, in marked contrast to the last game played between these two teams at Madison Square Garden.

    The small and soft and young Montreal defence was effective, skating away from trouble and clearing the zone with short easy passes to our assiduously backchecking forwards. I did notice PK relapse and perform a needless 360 and stickhandle in his own zone that ended up in a giveaway and caused 30 seconds of pressure by the Rangers, but overall he had a solid game and seems to be absorbing some of Josh Gorges’ level-headedness. Alexei Yemelin was again lowlighted by the RDS crew for a poor play where he tried to flip a clearance pass through the centre instead of banging it off the boards, which was easily intercepted and led to a Rangers scoring chance. We got the sense that Mr. Ladouceur was thinking of this play when being interviewed by Marc Denis, as he referenced the need for the defence to keep it simple and play it off the glass instead of trying to embroider plays. We also get the sense that Mr. Emelin will have a tête-à-tête with Mr. Ladouceur in the video room and this will be drilled into him. We needn’t be too concerned about this, he’ll be ‘coached up’ and will learn.

    I was happy we overpaid for Erik Cole this summer, and was puzzled at his low icetime and absence from the powerplay unit at the start of the season, but right now we are getting our money’s worth. He might be the player I enjoy watching the most on the Canadiens, an all-round good guy who seems to fit in well on the team and fights hard and drives to the net as if it’s his own parking space and someone’s about to swipe it. His first goal, on the powerplay, seemed to pump up the Canadiens, and he kept buzzing all night, setting up a few scoring chances which weren’t cashed in and which made me wish he was a little more selfish and kept firing it at the net himself. It also led me to wonder if Jacques Martin was thinking that Mathieu Darche would have scored that one better, putting it even more top corner and burying it deeper in the net, with more authority, but I decided not to be uncharitable and dismissed that thought on a fair Saturday night. Mr. Martin seems to have belatedly come to the same conclusion we all have: we’re paying this guy big bucks and he has a decent shot to go with his wheels and size, let’s play him like a dime-store banjo. Even strength, powerplay, shorthanded so he can create a few breakaways for himself, let’s use this guy.

    Scott Gomez garnered two assists, which we shouldn’t turn up our nose at, but the breakaway chance that he messed up is emblematic of his impotence. This and a couple other less glaring misses on scoring chances makes one wonder if a bald voodoo doll wearing a tiny #11 bleu-blanc-rouge isn’t blindfolded and handcuffed somewhere in a Boston basement. How he can go 46 games on the team’s #1 or #2 line, along with a generous helping of powerplay time and four-on-four situations, without even deflecting one in off his jockstrap or his wallet? I think I might have scored one or five by now if I’d been given the same opportunities. Heck, Réjean Houle or Andreas Dackell would have a couple by now.

    Let’s hope that our team shows the same inspiration against the Bruins on Monday, and that the unrelenting heat on Brendan Shanahan for letting Milan Lucic skate free for his charge against Ryan Miller forces Shanny to warn his refs to be on the lookout for excessive Bruins thuggery in excessive amounts. Combined with a powerplay that is improving, this should be enough to prevent the evisceration of David Desharnais or Raphaël Diaz by Andrew Ference, although he insists he’s not that kind of guy.

    ———————————
    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  75. punkster says:

    Excellent game in the extremely enjoyable company of 130 HI/O Summit attendees. Hurley’s was still packed with the crew when I left and every one was wearing an ear to ear grin. Very few injuries to report.

    Thanks to Ian Cobb for another great event!

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  76. el heffe says:

    troll

    Charge it to the Underhill’s.

  77. AND THE ” LEAF-FAN-INCOGNITO” MOUTH-RUNNETH-OVER.
    Who are you trying to fool, leaf.

  78. Propwash says:

    Haters gonna hate.

    _____________________
    Dooooooooooooooomed!™

  79. Mike D says:

    Shiloh, you can find Habs stuff all over the city….literally. You don’t even have to go to a “sports store”. The swag at the Bell is official of course, but it’s also expensive. One Habs toque I saw at the Bell was $40. It was really nice for a toque and everything, but $40 is f’n ridiculous. I bought a pretty nice one at a store in the underground mall near the Bell for $10.

    – Honestly yours

  80. theres no reason to look elsewhere than the bell center for habs gear

  81. cuzzie says:

    Go midtown. Logo sports you’ll get what you need. You will also be a stones throw from Champs and Schwartzs and Coco Rico very Good chicken. Moishes, great steaks but pricey. Coolest part of Montreal. I kid you not.

    Stay Thirsty My Friends!

  82. Danno says:

    The Red Cross’ symbol is a red cross on a white background – not a white cross on a red background – as is the Swiss flag.

    http://www.thetelegram.com/media/photos/unis/2011/07/30/photo_1797247_resize.jpg

    http://www.flags.net/SWIT.htm
    ________________________________________

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

  83. Mr. Biter says:

    Good one, Danno.

    Mr. Biter

  84. Danno says:

    CHeers Mr. Biter!

    Maybe the Habs are a Swiss Army knife of skilled hockey players; employing everything from a corkscrew to a toothpick to get them out of any jam – MacGyver style?

    http://shirtoid.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Macgyver-is-the-father.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp8vbwz0Teg

    ________________________________________

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

  85. Mr. Biter says:

    New MacGyver, Micheal Weston (Burn Notice). Lots of neat updated tricks.

    Mr. Biter

  86. SPATS says:

    yep, he spelled it Jerry, married to Sheila, recently deceased

    OOH AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH!


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