About last night …

PopeMikeI

Pope Michel I?
Hey, why not?
Through the first third of this short NHL season, Michel Therrien definitely has the infallibility thing going.
Seriously, name one wrong move Therrien has made in coaching your Montreal Canadiens to a position in the standings 14 spots higher than where they finished last season.

Exhibit A: Lars Eller. A healthy scratch for the second and third games of the season, Eller has been excellent – playing on the wing and at centre, in all situations, in all three zones, with a variety of linemates.

Exhibit B: Ryan White. Called out by Therrien after a series of brain-dead penalties, White spent seven games in the pressbox and did not get back into the lineup until Brendan Gallagher was concussed by Luke Schenn on Saturday. So did you notice who was taking – and winning – a defensive zone faceoff with Henrik Lundqvist on the bench and six Rangers skaters looking for the tying goal?

Exhibit C: Raphael Diaz. Opening night against Toronto, the Swiss sophomore played 14:49. Against the Rangers: 21:58 – more than Andrei Markov, more than P.K. Subban, more than Josh Gorges.  And who was on the ice  to protect that slim lead and score an insurance goal?

Answer me this, peeps: Where did you have Raphael Diaz on the Canadiens depth chart before the season began? And where is he now?

Why did Diaz top the ToI chart, including 2:47 when the Canadiens were shorthanded?

Because Michel Therrien coaches a meritocracy. Play well and you play a lot.

But the coach is not rigid.

Play not so well, and Therrien will give you time to get your stuff together. See DESHARNAIS, David.

Plus this:  Therrien’s careful spoonfeeding of ice time to Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. And his deployment of surprisingly versatile Brandon Prust (plus-3 against his old team) as their protector.

And this: P.K. Subban is less flamboyant, more effective.

If Jack Adams Trophy voting were held today, Therrien would definitely be part of the conversation. And that may be the case when the real voting happens, a ways down the road.

 

Are your Canadiens an all-conquering juggernaut?

Of course not – as evidenced by 40 minutes during which it was only necessary to Zamboni the end of  MSG ice defended by a team being forechecked to death. But the beleaguered Canadiens – who didn’t get a shot on goal until the game was 16 minutes old and were held shotless for an eight-minute stretch of the second period – hung in and played rope-a-dope.

And despite playing their second game in as many nights, the Canadiens picked up their pace in the third period to bag two more unlikely points.

The team doesn’t quit. They battle, they play a sound defensive system in front of a great goaltender (and his backup), they’re disciplined (two minor penalties, despite chasing the puck for long stretches of a tough game in New York).

Unlike too many teams of  too many recent seasons, this edition of the Canadiens has character. And that’s a tribute to the coach and his staff.

There are 32 games to go. And let’s be honest: a Canadiens collapse is not inconceivable.

But the only NHL teams with more wins than the Canadiens’ 11 are mighty Chicago and surprising Anaheim. The team is halfway through a killer portion of its schedule – six games in eight nights – and they’ve won all three and five in a row, dating back to the Florida trip.

Beginning next Monday, the Canadiens will play 11 of 15 games on the road. It will be difficult, probably impossible, to maintain a pace that has them 4-1-1 away from the Bell Centre.

Injuries will happen. Key players will have off-nights.

In an interview during an English Premier League soccer telecast this week, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said in any given game, he didn’t expect more than eight of his players to perform well. The key to success, Lord Ferg added, is to a system and players who can rally and pick up the slack for guys who are having off-games.

The Canadiens have that esprit de corps going. With the exception of Tomas Plekanec, everyone on the team has had bad nights. Some have had many.  I’m looking at you, Erik Cole.

But with the exception of the Leaf Lashing, we haven’t seen a game in which the whole squad sucked. Someone always seems to take up the slack. And their readiness to rally is a tribute to that guy behind the bench.

But I don’t think we’ll see Therrien in papal vestments … not after what happened when he wore the mustard-coloured jacket for a playoff game.

• Hey, check out this honey of a goal by Pavel Datsyuk, who shakes off a forecheck and goes end-to-end:

 

662 Comments

  1. habs-fan-84 says:

    Four things:

    -It’s so refreshing to see a legitimate 4th line! It’s been many, many years but we finally have an effective 4th line.

    -Eller continues to shine. If Eller is in the longterm plans of the team it will make Pleks’ transition into retirement a lot easier for both the team and its fans.

    -The Cole, DD and Patch line is just starting to wake up…if that line can get going again we’ll be dangerous

    -Carey Price…what great positioning last night…looked steady as a rock.

  2. Arrow77 says:

    I’m now pretty convinced we’re gonna end up benifiting the shorten schedule in the end.

    Plekanec has never been able to be excellent for a whole year; he tends to wear down. But 48 games? Totally do-able.

    Is Diaz really that good? I don’t know but in a shorten season, his good stretch will matter tremendously.

    Michel Therrien’s style has a tendancy to get on player’s nerves pretty quickly (I don’t believe, no matter what Boone says, that Eller deserved to be scratched for that one bad game, nor that Therrien deserves credit because a versatile player is doing well). But again, 48 games is not very long and the honeymoon period might still be there at the end of the year.

    At this point, I not only believe that the team will make the playoffs but that it can do so hoping for a good spot in the conference. The DD line is getting slowly better and we can expect Galchenyuk to be better at the end of the year as well. He may have faults but Therrien has found the right system for this team.

    • Habsssssssswin says:

      Starting next week, we’re playing 11 of 15 games on the road. So I think we’ll wait to see after that stretch whether (fingers crossed) this is the real deal, or not …. From what I’ve seen so far, this looks like a team coming together.

      • boing007 says:

        Montreal is not the only team that will be playing a long stretch of road games, so maybe it will all even out.

        Richard R
        Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • boing007 says:

      Eller’s a better person now, thanks to MT.

      Richard R
      Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • CanadienBoy says:

      MT pushing the button that he believe will force certain player to get better, that is why is the coach and a fine line between genius and the goat

  3. Luke says:

    Since we are fixing PK, can someone get him to stop slapping his stick when he misses a pass or is frustrated? He quit (well, did the stop & pause; so did others) on the Ranger’s goal as well… Just keep playing man. You are driving me crazy.

  4. scavanau says:

    Did Tortorella take a page from the George Costanza book of work ethics? “Always look annoyed and people will leave you alone”.

  5. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Who ARE these guys?

  6. Hobie Hansen says:

    Great Picture of Therrien HIO. Great way to honor the front runner for coach of the year. The man has been pure class since his arrival. He has mastered the coaching position through a lot of hard work over the years.

    Thank you Michel Therrien for helping turn around the Montreal Canadiens!

    Thank you Rene Bourque and Brandon Prust as well!

  7. HankHardball says:

    Good things happen when you make the effort. Like they did last night when the Rangers pulled the goalie with Plekanec in the penalty box.

    The guys stepped up, refused to break, and got the empty netter to seal the game before the Rangers were able to apply any pressure.

    The luck you take is equal to the luck you make.

  8. habfan53 says:

    Went to bed last night and the HABS were in first when I woke up this morning it was’nt a dream.

    Now a few thoughts on last nights game.

    – A great version of Ali’s rope a dope for 40 minutes.
    – Probably Ryan Whites best game of the year
    – They may not score much but LOVE that 4th line
    – The centers are winning more faceoffs Pleks, Chuckie and Lars
    50% or better last night
    – It is great to see a coaching staff pat players on the back.
    – Diaz is just getting better and better
    – Finally a worthy player to wear 27

  9. HabinBurlington says:

    And on another note, I also agree with Stubbs as it relates to Carey Price and his new masks, and how they represent team images only. I didn’t have anything against his old ones, but i love the new ones much more.

    Now we just need to get Ned Flanders off of Budaj’s mask and replace it with either Barney of the Simpsons or Frontenac holding a single malt with a Cohiba!

  10. Marc10 says:

    Still waiting for the most outrageous MT bashers to start tucking into their crow… Maybe they’re vegans or something?!

    Hmmmm…. Crow! It’s tasty, it’s nutritious and it helps lower that overblown ego.

    On ya Boone for putting that picture up. The holy fire radiating from Saint Mike will burn right through the non believers. ;-)

  11. HabinBurlington says:

    Could this be the season where the leader in the SouthEast Division has less points than a team in Northeast or Atlantic division who don’t make the playoffs?

    At present Rangers are in 9th place with 17 points while Carolina is in 3rd place with 17points, Philly in 10th with 15.

    • Chrisadiens says:

      Interesting. This could be the year. I think it was 3 years ago the Seahawks won their division at 7-9 and the Giants were left out of the playoffs with a better record. The Seahawks went on the beat the heavily favored Saints in an upset for the ages.

      Re-alignment is soon on the way.

      Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      with a short schedule it throws everything out of whack. The habs jumped from 5th to 1st with one win. If we go on a 4 game losing streak we will be out of a playoff spot.

      So hold on the rollercoaster has a lot of track left!

      This type of season makes it tough on a GM to evaluate players

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Without the mathematically incorrect playoff structure, attendance in the Southeast D. would probably collapse if there were little chance of making the playoffs. We need an intrepid reporter to inform us about overall attendance in this abbreviated season, right after he/she asks Markov what his thoughts are about PK’s return to the team.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  12. Lafleurguy says:

    Was going to post a brief one, but wow!, some misguided posters were busting Mike Boone last night!….Incredible! You do great work Mike, despite not being perfect. Red Fisher enhanced my enjoyment of the Habs, especially during lean years. You do the same, Mike.

    Last year was a lean one, I think, and long forgotten are fan-emotions invested over the loss of Jeff Woytwitka on waivers, when “shined” by the Flyers to claim a disabled Blair Betts. Trading Brock Trotter to get Petteri Nokes was necessary, but exposed the appalling lack of depth the team had back then. Raphael D. was the one positive find from last season. And, at this point in time, Kaberle is a better asset than Spacek would have been, and, TK is not a drag on this year’s salary structure for the team.

    Amazing to watch Prust/Galchenyuk/Gallagher(pre-injury) and realize what a major upgrade over Leblanc/Palushaj/Nokelainen they are. I don’t think last year’s coaches could have reined in Ryan W., and Eller is receiving different handling this year as well. Easy to overlook how major the return of Markov is. Why don’t the reporters ask him now about the impact of PK’s return? Could go on, but will save some ideas for later.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

    • habfan53 says:

      If you ask Markov anything he’ll reply “NEXT QUESTION”

      Like the DODGERS “Wait till next year”

    • Mike Boone says:

      Thanks, man. I am humbled by the comparison to the great Red Fisher.

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger

    • Phil C says:

      I thought the criticism was obvious trolling and is best ignored. The troller said Boone was too negative, yet there is only one comment that could be construed as negative “And let’s be honest: a Canadiens collapse is not inconceivable.” But anyone who has watched hockey in the salary cap era knows that any team is only a few injuries away from suckitude at any time, so I see that comment as pragmatic realism instead of negativity. Imagine Boston without Chara and Rask. We saw the Rags without Nash (Oy-yoi-yoi). Imagine if they lost Girardi too.

      • Lafleurguy says:

        Kind of raises the question of how important depth is. Only remember Brandon Dubinsky’s name, but Tort’s Stars On Ice gave up a package to get the unable-to-perform Nash, and the contracts of Gaborik/Richards/Nash probably handicapped their ability to re-sign Prusty. Thank you Glen Sather (Mr. Gainey is not making trades for us anymore).

        “May you live in interesting times.”

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Agree with everything except “And, at this point in time, Kaberle is a better asset than Spacek would have been”. Spacek would have been retired as Kaberle should be. Kaberle is still around sucking money out of the salary cap faster than a Dyson. He is untradeable and will have to be bought out in the summer. If Cole does not fully turn it around, the Habs are going to regret not having the chance to buy him out.

  13. HabinBurlington says:

    Interesting reaction here in Toronto to the Leafs loss. They are now praising Kadri for doing everything! Seems it is considered tough to start punching Hedman in the head when you have a teammate standing in front of you as a shield when attacking a defenceman much larger.

    Seems team truculence in a loss is better than skill in a win.

  14. Chrisadiens says:

    The more I think about it, I’m glad Jim Nill stayed in DET. Detroit is in the decline and maybe their GM “luck” is running out. Perhaps Detroit is stuck in its old ways of running hockey operations? Chicago on the other hand seems more “new” NHL and it looks like they won’t lose this year. Chicago also went through a very tough cap situation and won a cup more recently than Detroit. Yep, we landed the right guy. Just more confirmation.

    Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Chicago must be on pins and needles this morning as it relates to Hossa, he really has been playing great this year. If indeed he is gone longterm, this could and would be a significant loss.

      No doubt though that the Chicago team/organization seems to be doing a nice job. Hard to count out the RedWings, until they actually start missing playoffs…..well they have been a model for some time.

      Having said all that, I love the choice of MB. He appears to have many qualities, and it is nice to have a Francophone running this team. I have zero ties to Quebec, but do understand what they represent and to be able to have a leader who is born and raised in the teams back yard is a wonderful thing.

      • Chrisadiens says:

        My guess is Hossa is out for the year. This is his 3rd(?) concussion. I can’t imagine a quick recovery after so many head traumas.

        Agree about the francophone thing. It’s a different culture in Montreal and it needs to be respected. It also helps that he is pretty good at his job. :)

        Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

      • Mad Habber says:

        By now I think Chicago is used to playing without Hossa, I don’t think he has ever played a full season for them.

  15. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Habs rope-a-doped their way to victory. Good road win. Just enjoying the ride.

  16. remi_10069 says:

    I will admit when I’m wrong. MT has the team going, i thought he was a bit of a moron which he could be but he’s got the troops riled up. You can tell these guys are gelling like crazy…When the team gels, everyone wants to play better, work harder, not for themselves but for the team. Nothing beats that attitude.

    pipes

  17. Keeper64 says:

    Is it me or did both Richards and Gaborik seem non-existent in this game? Great job smothering them. Watching all the Ranger players comments after the game, they felt the game was boring and we clogged up the neutral zone. Well coached MT.

  18. D Man says:

    Habs win, Leafs lose. Full glass!

    You can’t be both a Habs and a Leafs fan

  19. NL Hab says:

    A lot of trade rumors out there and a lot of big names apparently being tangled as trade bait. I love the look of our team right now. However, the thoughts of landing an Iginla or Perry or Weiss sure to seem to get the appetite going. Ryan O’Rielly would be a good addition but apparently he thinks he is Sidney Crosby. What would be too much for these guys. Desharnais, Weber, Kaberle and Armstrong seem like possible trade bait. What would Calgary realistically want back. They would surely want an Eller, and Tinordi/Bealieu plus a 1st rounder I imagine. I would say this is the same for Perry and Weiss as well. You can be sure that Bergevin has at least inquired of the availability of all of these guys, including O’Rielly. We obviously wait until around the April 3rd deadline to see where we are in the standings to make a move, but if we can stay close to the top of the East and we add one of these forwards, you have to like our chances at the cup. Add a big Defenceman as well and I think we are a contending team. However, we don’t give up the farm to get these guys. How much is too much?

    Et Le But

    • Ozmodiar says:

      Would love it if they could land ROR. Younger version of Pleks, but grittier and better on the dot. Pleks, ROR, AGally, Eller down the middle would be sweet.

      However, overpayment is likely required – both in assets going back and contract. In other words, not gonna happen.

    • Chrisadiens says:

      MB won’t be trading any young talent or draft picks. He’s just not that type of GM. I think we just stand pat and build through the draft and develop the kids. We are overachieving right now, but in the next few years we can become contenders with this philosophy.

      Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I am with Chrisadiens on this one, while I am loving the ride we are on, I find it hard to believe that this current group is destined for playoff greatness. (I would be very happy to be wrong)

      We have a great deal of building blocks in place with some much needed re-enforcements coming, specifically to our defence. I would like to see this group continue to forge ahead and perhaps we do some tweaking which involves the movement of a Kaberle type player to further bolster the future.

    • Phil C says:

      Weiss is not an upgrade at centre and is only a year younger than Plekanec. Pass.

      O’Reilly is asking for too much money. If Bergevin wouldn’t pay Subban, no chance he pays O’Reilly. Pass.

      Iginla would only be a rental at the deadline, but I think the price will be too high (at least a 1st rounder). Pass.
      (I’m not convinced Iginla ever leaves Calgary)

      Perry would make sense, but only if you could sign him long term and I’m not sure he would sign in Montreal. You would have to give up a significant roster player for him because Anaheim are in the middle of a Stanley Cup run themselves, so I doubt Perry gets traded as a rental player.

      Given what you have listed for trade bait (ie not very much), I would be looking at smaller trades to improve depth.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      MB will not make a major trade until this offseason when he has a good idea on the quality of his team and his prospects.I keep hearing good things about ROR’s character but he wants big money and the captaincy and he hasn’t even scored 20 goals yet? DD had more points than him last year. Seems like another big ego to me…

    • NL Hab says:

      Yeah, I do agree with all of your statements. They are certainly overachieving right now and it would take a huge overpayment to get one of these guys. Plus our salary cap situation is not the best. The thoughts of one of these guys donning the CH would be awesome to see. Maybe grab one of them as a UFA in a year or 2. Brassard from Columbus is also a name being thrown around. Would the Habs be will to do a Eller for Brassard deal straight up. Apparently the new Columbus GM loves Eller, which is why he drafted him back then. Who is the better out of the 2? I don’t know. The great thing about the Habs now, is that everyone has bought into the system. This is a shotgun season and anything can happen, so I still like our chances. Look at Philly, they are off to such a shitty start, that it may affect there chances of even making the playoffs. Anything can happen this year, and I have faith in our boys. We do need A big Defenceman more so than a forward I believe. Robyn Regher, Ryan Whitney and Anton Babchuk are UFA’s next year. Could be a nice deadline rental.

      Et Le But

  20. Steeltown Hab says:

    Boone, as for Exhibit B Ryan White, he’s played that way all year, just took some bad penalties, not sure Therrien is the reason for his play. Let’s just hope Armstrong is the scratch when Gallagher is back.

    ———————————

    Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

    • ed says:

      neither is Eller’s play related to being benched.

      • Steeltown Hab says:

        Yupp.

        ———————————

        Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

      • neumann103 says:

        Exactly. There was nothing wrong with Eller. Benching and demoting him did not ruin him but it did not make him better. The kid does everything asked and seemed low maintenance.

        PK has not been used appropriately.

        I had Diaz 4th or 5th on depth chart to start the deason and would have him third 3rd or 4th now.

        So far Therrien has appeared to be close to the best posdible Therrien. If he can deliver 18 months before he goes nuts and loses the room, mission accom;lished. But this is a far cry from being nearDivine or semi-infallible

        “Et le but!”

  21. Strummer says:

    Poor Brad “Front-Load” Richards.
    His contract calls for $12 million this season so does that mean it’s pro-rated over 48 games to a mere $7.024 million?

    If so what a financial ass-kicking

    ______________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

  22. Marvin says:

    Many Habs fans are among the most fickle fans in any sport. Years of winning can do that to you. It was only a few games ago that many (yes including you Mr Boone) were pushing this team under the bus after losing three in a row – and that was after claimng how great they were for winning their first set of games. Now we’re back to proclaiming the greatness of the team. Pick one side guys, and stick to it.

  23. turnonthejets says:

    I still think PKs TOI should be higher and maybe he should be out with Gorges but I’m also finding it hard to doubt this coach who I was less than stoked about at the time of his hiring.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Before Monday and Tuesday his TOI was increasing. If memory serves me right in Saturdays game he was 2nd to Markov. Maybe his sore throat/flu was a factor in these two games. Plus the skate issue last night may have cost him a minute or two. I wonder what we’ll see Thursday?

      ———————————–

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      He should be getting more minutes, no doubt. Hard to complain while we’re winning but ya its a no brainer.

      ———————————

      Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

    • Phil C says:

      Even though he has been with the Habs for a while, PK is still the youngest defensemen in the group. Markov, Diaz, and Gorges are playing very reliable hockey, so it’s understandable why the coaching staff favours them in many situations. PK is 4th in TOI/game after those three.

      PK has an amazing skill set, but I find he also makes the most mistakes among the D. Emelin also makes mistakes (compared to the other D), so I would rather see PK with Markov, but having Markov and PK on different lines has advantages too.

    • WindsorHab-10 says:

      So far, Therrien is handling ice time to players just fine. Keeps them fresh & focused I believe.

  24. Strummer says:

    Observe the Datsyuk highlight from last night.

    That’s our Chucky in a few more years.

    ______________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

  25. kirbhabs says:

    Unfortunately, the best we can do his fourth in the east. The Bruins are just too solid, and have three games in hand and will definitely win our division. This protection of top seed to the division is stupid, I hope this is eliminated with realignment.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      No shame in 4th in our conference. Especially after last season, eh?

      ———————————–

    • dano58 says:

      Why so unhappy? We would have been happy with a playoff berth at all last year so enjoy the ride and worry about placement later because if we are as good as we look so far who cares who we play.

      GO HABS GO!!!

      “Opinions are like assholes and everybody has one.”
      Hopefully the Habs brass only takes the best ones!

    • Cal says:

      The best the Habs can do is #1. After last season’s gong show, this great start is exactly what Hab fans around the world dreamed about but never thought possible. This season, anything is possible so enjoy the ride.

    • Gerry H says:

      While I agree with 10912 that 4th would be a fine result, I’m not so sure that the Bruins are a lock. They are having a hard time scoring goals and have half the goal differential of the Habs. They’re a damn good team, but far from unstoppable.

  26. adamkennelly says:

    Habs played rope a dope and it worked perfectly. 2nd of back to back games on the road – good idea…rangers needed to pound a few in early – because they did not, they lost. Torts is a moron – Saturday night should be fun as we go for 7 in a row.

  27. HabinBurlington says:

    If indeed MT is chosen to be the next pope, who takes over as Habs coach, I dont think Gerrard Gallant has improved his french enough yet.

  28. showey47 says:

    Big win,ugly albiet,but still a big win when its 3 in 4 nights. Big kudo’s to ryan white who stepped to win a big defensive zone faceoff and battled hard along the boards. His hard work led to diaz scoring the empty netter. We are all pretty much aware of white’s willingness to drop the mits with anyone,but its showing that he is useful in multiple aspects of the game (like faceoffs and penalty killing) that is going to give him an oppurtunity to have a successful hockey career.

  29. Habfan10912 says:

    Dear Coach Torts;

    You don’t like watching hockey like that? Have your ownership invest in some new refrigerating equipment so players can skate on actual ice and not that half frozen elephant poop.

    ———————————–

    • I was thinking the same thing. Ice has been bad there since forever. Worse part is that it’s there end that’s worse. The right side blue line in, and the left corner. They spent all that money making the gardens look pretty and forgot to install ice :lol:

      LET’S PACK THE HOUSE
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      Shane Oliver
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    • HabinBurlington says:

      I think we may soon be seeing a showdown between Brooksy and Torts. Love watching those two getting into pissing contests.

    • Luke says:

      Dear Coach Torts;

      You don’t like watching hockey like that? Don’t coach it. Let them free wheel and create the entertaining hockey you so desperately want. You have the power.
      This is one of those rare moments, Coach Torts, when you can have immediate, tangible effect on what you are complaining about.

  30. HabinBurlington says:

    Team played a very conservative game on an ice surface which appeared to be garbage, pucks bouncing like crazy. While the Rangers did indeed carry much of the play, it didn’t feel like they were getting that many great chances. Granted we did get a couple of breaks on goalposts as i recall.

    But the team indeed played a classic road game on the tail end of back to back. Yes the Rangers were missing Nash, but we were missing Gallagher….Okay perhaps not equal, as Gallagher does play with much more energy :) But every team is always going to have somebody out of the lineup. Each game has two or three points up for grabs, and I love the fact that we are winning so many non overtime games, preventing the opposition from picking up the nice try point.

    I enjoy this team, and I don’t know if they can keep up this pace, but I love the long term outlook for our squad.

    MB is going to start having difficult choices to make in the off seasons to come. Nice problem to have.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I think I posted yesterday that I never realized the skill level of Nash until he was traded to an eastern conference team. If he had played in a bigger market and not Columbus he would be talked about in the same breath as Malkin and Crosby. This guy is just a wonderful player.

      ———————————–

  31. HardHabits says:

    Datsyukian deke. I love it.

  32. Cal says:

    Oddball question of the day: What is up with PK’s skates? I have never seen him fall so often for no reason. If he switched them, he better switch back because it looks like those new blades are crap.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I know. I thought after the last malfunction he said he was getting a second pair.

      ———————————–

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I think it was Stubbs who tweeted something about them as well during the game. Have no idea if he switched up from last season, I would hope this isn’t a scenario where a new endorsement deal requires him to wear a different skate which perhaps he is not as comfortable with.

      I will be curious to see how Mcilroy plays golf this season as he just signed that massive deal with Nike and has now switched out all his clubs.

    • Kfourn says:

      I was thinking about that too, and I notice he has a very odd style of skating, kind of like running on the ice. This coupled with the fact that he’s put on more mass could mean he’s exerting too much force on the plastic blade holders.

      _______________________________________________________
      Well, he’s kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace “accidentally” with “repeatedly” and replace “dog” with “son.”

      “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

    • Jarliy says:

      PK uses Reebok’s top-end skate, the 20K’s — formerly known as 11K’s. His holders and runners are Bauer Ls2 TUUKs, same as last year. Those are the best holders on the market; if he’s slipping, it’s because of the shitty ice or he’s off-balance from a sinus cold.

      ********************
      You just been Subbang’d!

  33. Habfan10912 says:

    Hoosa is elbowed in the head last night and had to leave the game. When will this crap end?

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=656491

    ———————————–

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Good morning Jim, I watched the replay a few times and it appears both players are kind of reaching for the puck, almost like a jump ball and Hanson comes down on Hossa.

      I would like to see an angle from the other side, as I have seen it from their backs, but I don’t actually think Hanson is being malicious. I think this shows how sensitive Hossa’s head still is from his terrible concussion suffered from the braindead play of Raffi Torres.

      Either way, it is sad that a player like Hossa, who is playing so well could now be out for awhile, or perhaps longer.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        Morning Gerald. He’s meeting with Daddy and his buddy Shanny at 330.

        EDIT: Confirmed phone hearing only
        ———————————–

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Interesting, he will be easy to suspend as he isn’t a good ol boy from Kingston and doesn’t play for a Northeast U.S. team.

          By those metrics perhaps indeed he will indeed be suspended.

          • Habfan10912 says:

            Here is my thought. Where primary contact is made to the head it should be an automatic penalty. I would also allow on ice officials to video review and if they deem the contact was indeed to the head that player is ejected. Someone is going to be killed.

            ———————————–

          • koivu4pm says:

            Quick! trade him to boston for 3 days!

          • Clay says:

            Phone hearing usually means just a stern talking to though :)

            __________________________
            ☞ The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. ~ Richard Feynman ☜

          • boing007 says:

            Karate chop to the back of his neck.

            Richard R
            Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

      • Looks like he’s jumping for the puck, but who knows what some of these players are thinking…..eh Chara…I’ll get you and your little dog too.

        LET’S PACK THE HOUSE
        Be A Pro Fundraiser Feb 24th (see web site for details)
        Shane Oliver
        Twitter @Sholi2000
        http://www.Sholi2000.com
        Custom Sports Figures

        • Habfan10912 says:

          That’s why I’d take the guess work of intent right out of it. If the contact is to the head your getting a suspension.

          ———————————–

    • Strummer says:

      The offender was named Hansen and could be a relative from “Slap Shot”

      ______________________________________________________
      “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

  34. Habfan10912 says:

    Torts is a classless piece of crap who’s act may be wearing thin in the Rangers dressing room. I cannot remember a coach in any sport saying the other team was bad AFTER losing. A classless act by a bully blowhard. I hope we run them out of the building Saturday night.

    ———————————–

    • Cal says:

      Seconded! Good morning, Jim.

    • rnnoble says:

      I might be misinterpreting your comment, but I think you might be taking his Torts’ comments a bit personally. Tortorella said that both teams were bad last night, and that the Habs were a bit better. Considering the Habs didn’t get a shot until the 17th minute of the first, and were practically locked in their own zone for 40 minutes, it’s hard to argue that they were good. They were good enough to win last night, but it was far from the best we’ve seen them this year.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        Probably so rn. I just think most coaches if they were going to, would call out there own team and not the team that won. Just showed a lack of respect for the competition IMHO. As far as the play, you are probably right but playing on half frozen elephant poop plus the back end of back to backer may have dictated the Hab’s strategy. That said your points have merit. CHeers.

        ———————————–

  35. Old Bald Bird says:

    Nicely played game. I think the Gally’s and maybe even Eller are a large part of what makes this team better this year. Pleks is playing well but he did take another penalty near the end of the game. There have been two recently, and by rights there should have been a third. Overworked?

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Morning Bird, from the replays I saw, I don’t see how that is a penalty on Plex, seems more like the refs looking for a call. The Penalty Eller had drawn earlier seemed kind of ticky tacky and thus the refs felt they owed the Rangers one, or at least that is how my Bias thinks! :)

  36. Cal says:

    Well, folks, it’s been a long, long time since the Habs have hit these lofty heights, so I am taking advantage of it. Top of the World: http://calshabsongparodies.weebly.com

  37. HabFanSince72 says:

    To continue with the theme, can we expect Loonie’s Mea Culpa re:Therrien today?

    Watch this space.

  38. topher5468 says:

    Torts at his presser, “2 bad teams playing and we were worse than they were. One of the worst hockey games I’ve ever been involved with”. One good thing he did say, that the non icing call wasn’t an excuse of why they lost. I might not have been our best game, but after playing 3 in 4 nights and not getting into NY until after 2 AM, while they were rested, I thought we played a smart road game. Boring?, maybe, but i’ll take the 2 points .
    A link for anyone interested. http://blueshirtsunited.com/videos/2539/torts-discusses-one-of-the-worst-games#.USS0nY4cjbU
    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  39. AceMagnum says:

    Bill Lindsey!!!

  40. Marc10 says:

    Putting White out there with 1:30 on the clock spoke volumes about this coach and this team. The kid stepped up. Ditto for Diaz.

    Our team grew a couple of inches tonight and packed on some confidence. They’re playing smart, their penalty minutes are going down, and they’re learning how to keep a lead and win.

    And the bad news for the rest of the Conference is the Wolverine has come out of hibernation.

  41. frozengolf says:

    I know this might sound crazy, but I think that Diaz could become our next Markov. They are eerily similar…Both players are European (Russian vs. Swiss); very similar builds (about 6′) and (about 200 lbs); both came out of nowhere (Markov was 6th round pick, Diaz free agent); both are offensively gifted, both defensively sound. Both players are smart on the ice, seem to make the right play almost everytime. Am I wrong? Maybe, but think about this: Diaz hasn’t played a full season yet (the Rangers game was his 75th in the NHL), and if continues to play like he has, he could bloom into another Markov.

    _________________________________________________________
    “We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.”

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Interesting. He urge looks good.

      Gaston Therrien suggested last night that if PK had been there from the start Daz might not be playing, since he started off as 7th d-man.

  42. Bun E. Laroque says:

    Today the magic # is five. Five wins in a row. Five is also the # of shots allowed by the Habs in each first period of the past three games.
    Amazing !!

  43. Timo says:

    It was a good road game. Even though Rangers had outshot Habs by a wide margin, few of these shots were actually dangerous. Habs shut it down – period.

    Cole needs to sit. That play on the Rags’ goal was inexcusable. I think Subban shot him a look and Price looked less than impressed. But I’m sure it’s been discussed to death already. As always i am late to the party.

    Props to AG for a great goal and great play leading to that goal.

    Hey, did anyone noticed that Michael Therrien knows what a timeout is (as opposed to Carbo or Martin)?

  44. Habilis says:

    So our boy Chucky is now third in rookie scoring (10) behind Tarasenko (12) and Conacher (14). Of course Galchenyuk is the youngest by far, 2 years younger than Tarasenko and 4 years behind Conacher.

    Chucky is also the leader in plus/minus, with a +9. The only rookies even close are Silfverberg (+5), Despres (+6) and some kid named Gallagher (+7).

    Anyone else starting to remember last season more fondly because of this kid? What an absolute steal he was at number 3.

  45. Habitant in Surrey says:

    TSN’s Calder Trophy Rankings:

    1. Alex Galchenchuk C/W Montreal 76.2
    2. Brendan Gallagher RW Montreal 75.01
    3. Cory Conacher LW Tampa Bay 74.49
    4. Vladimir Tarasenko RW St. Louis 73.00
    5. Justin Schultz D Edmonton 71.81
    6. Simon Despres D Pittsburgh 71.57
    7. Brenden Dillon D Dallas 70.72
    8. Jonathan Huberdeau LW Florida 69.80
    9. Dougie Hamilton D Boston 68.81
    10. Patrick Wiercioch D Ottawa 65.85
    11. Jake Muzzin D Los Angeles 65.84
    12. Tye McGinn LW Philadelphia 65.64
    13. Jonas Brodin D Minnesota 65.41
    14. Andre Benoit D Ottawa 65.36
    15. Nail Yakupov LW Edmonton 64.52
    16. Drew Shore RW Florida 63.93
    17. Brendan Smith D Detroit 63.15
    18. Marcus Foligno LW Buffalo 62.68
    19. Mika Zibanejad C Ottawa 62.03
    20. Brian Lashoff D Detroit 61.88

    • 25insight says:

      Great confidence booster for him if he gets it! By the way, what happened to all the Tarasenko hype

    • jols101 says:

      This is indeed the TSN rankings of this years Rookies but it has nothing to do with the Calder Trophy.

      TSN uses a variety of factors to determine how each player affects the result of the games they play in. They do it for every player. They have the full list on their website as well(veterans + rookies). It is nice that they value Galchenyuk and Gallagher as highly as they do. A feather in their cap if you will. But these rankings have no bearing on who will win the Heart, Calder,Vezina or Norris Trophies.

      The Calder will go to the rookie that gets the most points like it does most years. -

      • Habitant in Surrey says:

        …I know TSN are not the gatekeepers for any NHL trophies, any more than You or I

        …their metrics and evaluations, though, are in effect reflecting their ‘opinions’ of whom are the best rookies

        …and, likely, their opinion of whom should be awarded the Calder Trophy

        …their opinion being no more weighted than Yours or mine, except for the exceptional soap-box they have

        …but, it is THEIR opinion of currently top-ranked rookies, and therefore THEIR opinion of who would/should win the award

        …n’est-ce pas ?

  46. 25insight says:

    The Habs played EXACTLY the type of game that a tired team needs to play. Like a tired boxer constantly grabbing his opponent, the Habs iced the puck more times that I can count to keep the game from getting any kind of fast-flow to it. They were a wall of iron defensively and were very opportunistic in the Rangers’ zone. The first star for this game should be Michel Therrien. MICHEL, WELCOME TO MY WOLFPACK

  47. Da Hema says:

    Oh Sweet Mother of Jesus! It IS a miracle!! First place in the Eastern Conference!!! WOOT!!!!

  48. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Wow that Datsyuk video is amazing. He went through Nashville’s D faster than Price’s lunch went through him Saturday…

  49. frozengolf says:

    It really nice to see Diaz play well. I’ve liked him since day one, and I’m thrilled to see him get better seemingly every game. His signing in the summer of 2011 (by P.G.!!) almost makes up for drafting David Fischer in 2006…almost.

    _________________________________________________________
    “We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.”

  50. habsfannfld says:

    So what are everyone’s thoughts on our situation at centre? Long term, it’s pretty apparent that Galchenyuk is our future number 1. Pleks is our number 2 for years to come. Eller IMO has been outstanding of late, and more suited to a 2-way game than DD. So what do we do with DD this summer? Sign, trade, move him to the wing? Right now it’s a great problem to have

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      That’s why MB gets the big bucks while we sit back getting ready to second guess him.

    • wildwilly says:

      With the shrinking cap in place, there’s a good chance he will sign elsewhere with a team that has more space.

    • SUMO says:

      You bring up a good point. Galchenyuk is definitely the future #1 and could be the #2 by the end of this season.

      I think the wildcard here is Lars Eller. He is only 23yrs old and has yet to scratch the surface of the player he can become. With Gallagher’s injury, he is now given a chance to play with better linemates and he is chipping in offensively. If he can prove that he is capable of producing +60pts a year and be a tough, 200ft player, then you can consider keeping DD and dealing Pleks.

      Don’t forget that Plekanecs is 30. By the time Galchenyuk matures into the main offensive threat it could be 2-3yrs. Pleks will then be 32-33. Deharnais is only 26 and also just showing a glimpse of the player he can be and probably won’t be too expensive to re-sign at the end of the season.

      Anyway good point you bring up. I’d say package DD with Nathan Beaulieu to try and get Nino Neiderreiter, Matt Martin and 2nd round pick from the Islanders. Outside of Brendan Gallagher, we don’t have too many pure goal scorers in our system.

      #1 – Alex Galchenyuk
      #2 – T Plekanec / D Deharnais
      #3 – Lars Eller
      #4 – Ryan White

      • Clay says:

        Sorry, but Pleks is way (!!!) more valuable to this team than Desharnais. You don’t get rid of Pleks to keep DD, unless the return is extraordinary.
        Having 4 good centers is a good problem to have though.

        __________________________
        ☞ The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. ~ Richard Feynman ☜

        • SUMO says:

          Absolutely agree, Plekanec is the Habs most complete centre, i was trying to make a point where he could be expendable. if Eller can develop to become the #2 then Pleks becomes tradeable because Galchenyuk is going to be the #1 centre probably by next yr, then why not keep DD because of his age and cheaper salary.

          The centers ages are Plekanec (30), Deharnais (26), White (24), Eller (23) and Galchenyuk (19).

  51. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    If Michel Therrien is the Pope, what does that make Tortorella…the Dope?

  52. Komihater says:

    Forget the fact that Tort’s called us a bad team, that really doesn’t matter especially sitting in first place. Imagine the head coach calling his OWN team bad after a loss and how that feels and what it does to the mindset in the locker room. I used to kinda like him, but hes lost it.

    And on another note imo, i wouldn’t worry about Cole, i expect the train to be right on time later in the season and i expect even bigger thing’s from him may.

    • Habilis says:

      I agree on both counts. Cole is a notoriously slow starter. Not a great thing in a 48 game season, but the Habs have obviously done ok with him at half speed. His improvement will only help.

      Torts is just an animal and as such he belongs in a cage. Not even kidding. He really should be removed from society. If he wasn’t a millionaire NHL coach, he’d have killed people by now. You know it’s true.

  53. Richrebellion says:

    Boone do you ever get tired of being all doom and gloom? The habs are in first in the east and you still just had to mention the fact that they could fall apart. Do you also get tired of being wrong? Even though last season was a disaster some saw so many positives, the habs were bad but they weren’t that bad. They just needed a few more pieces to really reach their potential and a good coach. They got that and as I have said all year long this team will continue to win games. Boone you started the year hating on the habs and their chances of being successful. They have shown threw the first quarter of the season that they are for real. Join the bandwagon and stop all this hating!

    Also just because you didn’t see Diaz for what he was doesn’t mean others didn’t. He progressed slowly last year while on a team that was depleted by injuries. Then went back to a swiss league filled with NHL players and tore it up, why wouldn’t he be high on your depth chart?

    This team is for real, they have the depth, the defense and the scoring ability to win games. This team will compete for a cup much before any of the media and supposed “experts” ever thought possible.

  54. habfan53 says:

    OK honestly who thought what the heck when they saw White coming out to take the face-off with 1:30 left??

    What a way to say thanks coach. And how come he does’nt get an assit on the goal?

    Like the DODGERS “Wait till next year”

  55. DorvalTony says:

    Why don’t the zebras call slew-footing any more???

  56. showey47 says:

    habs have 39 points from their defence so far this year,1st overall in the league.

  57. PrimeTime says:

    Wow this place is a boring read when the goons and morons leave. Awesome!!! LoL

  58. Propwash says:

    Hilarious pope joke got modded, and I had a gif lined up for it too…

    ____________________
    DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  59. forskis says:

    Not sure, why some people are harping on Torts’ post game comments….he wasn’t far off the mark considering there were 8 shots total in the first period and the game totals were around 24-19…pretty indicative of a “bad” or very controlled game…

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  60. citizenSanto says:

    Pope Michel I, LMAO!
    Classic Boone. :)
    Thanks man, for the read and the laugh.

  61. Ian Cobb says:

    The new route for the parade this spring starts in Brossard, across the Champlain bridge to the Bell Center!

  62. otter649 says:

    Twice as many people wanted Muller as coach over Therrein – Voted MT as Habs have had too many rookie coaches and things normally do not turn out well other than Perron-Burns-McNeil as the exception & not the rule…….

    • Clay says:

      I also voted MT, for the same reason as you. Personally, I like and respect) Muller a lot more, but it’s not a popularity contest.

      __________________________
      ☞ The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. ~ Richard Feynman ☜

  63. habfaninyyc says:

    If Cole and Gionta don’t start performing, what is their potential return in a trade?

  64. Phil C says:

    Another example of good coaching: Even strength ice time for defenseman:

    Emelin: 18:29
    Markov: 18:28
    Diaz: 18:16
    Bouillon:18:15
    Gorges: 17:41
    Subban: 16:51

    That is great distribution of ice-time in a back-to-back game. It has been a while since the Habs had 6 defenseman that they could roll shift after shift. With injuries being so important in the National Parity League, this is a good formula for making it to the playoffs healthy.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Still not crazy about PK’s ice time but they won so irrelevant. However, if NY scored like TB did with PK on the bench, sentiment on the site would be different tonight.

      • boing007 says:

        Maybe, just maybe, Coach (Pope?) Therrien has been analyzing his assets and is now slowly rounding the team into shape.

        Richard R
        Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • habsfannfld says:

      Everyone is pretty concerned with PK’s TOI. Maybe it’s because he never had a training camp, missed games, and is just rounding into form. Or perhaps we’re just more balanced this year. Either way, there’s no cause for concern. PK will be out there when it counts most.

  65. Ian Cobb says:

    I do not have much to say, I just sit back and enjoy every shift. As a matter of fact, I am a bit afraid to say anything that might jinks what is happening out there.

    Thanks Jeff Molson!, Senator Hartley is very proud of your moves to date, I am sure.
    What ever it is, that you are putting in your beer these days. Just keep on making it the same way!!!

  66. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Probability of Michel Therrien becoming pope is the same as PJ Stock joining Mensa…

  67. SmartDog says:

    Great game. Even when they were being outplayed the Habs did a good job of limiting the Rangers chances. This team doesn’t quit. And they don’t make many mistakes either.

    – BTW, Prust was a +3 on the night – our only player on for all 3 goals. Way to go Prusty!

    – On a totally different note, Cole needs to be scratched. It’s obvious. Desharnais at least isn’t SUCKING. Cole needs to sort himself out. Right now I’m thinking maybe we can trade Kaberle and still have that other buy-out in hand….

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

  68. RetroMikey says:

    Praiseee the Lord!!!
    Take the W, and get outta the Big Apple!

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

  69. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Habs fans prayers were answered tonight…sorry, had to say it with that picture.

  70. Stevie.Ray says:

    If there is one positive from last year it is that it forced a sense of reality onto us. It’s going to be a long stretch of away games where anything can happen. I’m happy we’re winning but I’m not getting ahead of myself

  71. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Mr. Boone you might be going to hell for that picture…okay purgatory at least…

  72. Da Hema says:

    To: John Tortellini (aka Fonzie), Head Coach New York Rangers
    From: HIO Commentariat

    Dear Mr. Fonzie:

    Sit on it!

  73. habsfan0 says:

    1st like the Habs

    Spoke too soon…about me, not the Habs

  74. Sportfan says:

    First on this page to say GO HABS GO!

    Check out the blog guys ! Yes I said that already
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  75. mark24 says:

    First, lol What a great pic. Go habs Go!

  76. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Wow…that was a good one!

  77. ooder says:

    ” Not too much happening yet” lol boy you are in for a surprise

  78. Sportfan says:

    Yeah its the 3rd period that is really fun to watch!

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  79. Marc10 says:

    Your question will no doubt be answered Saturday when we beat Rick at the Bell.

  80. LTHF says:

    Any word on whether Gallagher is playing tomorrow, if so who sits? I think White deserves to be in ,especially after that last faceoff in the habs end


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