About last night …

PrustCarolina

Here’s my theory: Glen Sather felt guilty.
When Brandon Prust became an unrestricted free agent last summer, the Rangers general manager could have re-signed his rugged winger.
Instead, Sather let Prust walk. And the Canadiens signed him to a four-year, $10 million deal.
Most of the punditocracy thought GM Marc Bergevin had overpaid for a role player.
But with half the season completed, Prust is one of the main reasons your astonishing Montreal Canadiens are in first place in the Eastern Conference.

Where does the guilt come in?

The well-traveled Sather played the 1974-’75 season in Montreal. He became a good friend of the legendary Red Fisher; and in subsequent seasons, as an NHL executive, Sather has savoured the delights of our beautiful city, including the great steaks at Moishe’s.

So perhaps it weighed on Sather’s conscience after he unloaded Scott Gomez’s toxic contract on Bob Gainey. Maybe he figured he owed us one and made good by letting Prust leave the Rangers.

OK, that’s a totally idiotic idea, even by my standards.

But Prust has been the revelation of the season to date. And this franchise was WAY overdue for a pleasant surprise.

In the 4-2 win over Carolina Thursday night, Prust had the first three-point game of his career. The goal he potted to open the scoring was Prust’s fourth. In 82 games with the Rangers last season, he had five.

Prust never takes a shift off. He kills penalties. He’s fit in seamlessly with a variety of linemates – including rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk. He leads the team at plus-13.

And he’s not afraid of Milan Lucic.

At this point, $2.5 million – prorated for a 48-game sked – makes Brandon Prust a bargain.

And value for money is something else we’re not used to in Montreal.

Prust’s line was the Canadiens’ best in Carolina.

I don’t know what team psychologist Sylvain Guimond told Lars Eller, but for the last week the Dane has been great. Eller had a goal and two assists against the ‘Canes. He was part of a penalty-kill that pitched a shutout. Eller went 13-9 on faceoffs and had a couple hits. Possibly emboldened by the proximity of Prust, Eller is using his size effectively.

Galchenyuk did not show up on the scoresheet, but the kid’s game is coming along and he fits in nicely with Eller and Prust. I liked Galchenyuk’s intensity on the puck during some third-period shifts when the line kept Carolina bottled up in their end.

The Canadiens got two points for 40 minutes of hockey thanks in no small part to their goaltender. During a second-period onslaught that was the team’s worst 20 minutes of the season, Price made 19 saves and foiled Eric Staal on a penalty shot.

But this being Montreal, someone will phone TSN 690 Friday morning to criticize Price’s glove hand on the Drayson Bowman goal.

Give it a rest, peeps. Price made a season-high 42 saves in Carolina. He is one of the main reasons this team has not lost consecutive games in regulation time this season.

And with the exception of the woeful second period, Price got help from his teammates. An injury to Yannick Weber forced Michel Therrien to go with five defencemen, and everyone stepped up.

Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban each played in excess of 27 minutes. That’s still a tad high for Markov; but Subban, who had a goal and an assist, continues to play some of the best – and, this season, most disciplined – hockey of his career.

On L’Antichambre, Michel Bergeron praised Subban effusively.

“You can’t coach a P.K. Subban like a Gorges or Bouillon,” Bergeron said, pleased that Michel Therrien seems to have loosened the reins on his flamboyant young defenceman.

“P.K. is a thoroughbred,” Bergeron added, and extravagantly talented players screw up once in a while. “Larry Robinson made big mistakes … after he made 100 great plays.”

Josh Gorges, of all people, had a goal and a assist. Scoring to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the first period, Gorges converted a perfect pass that Prust gleefully described as “backhand sauce – my specialty.”

Alexei Emelin executed a Savardian Spinorama  at the Carolina blueline before firing a shot that Justin Peters could handle cleanly, with Prust burying the rebound. Emelin also dished out eight hits.

Some Canadiens had off-nights in Carolina.

The David Desharnais line was invisible. Michael Ryder was benched for the third period, ceding his spot on the Tomas Plekanec-Brian Gionta line to Travis Moen. Ryder, Ryan White and Colby Armstrong played single-digit minutes.

But the Canadiens survived 20 minutes of horror to bag two more points.

They head south to Tampa Bay with two wins in three games on the longest road trip of the season.

Carey Price has his mojo back. And Brandon Prust might make us forget the last former Ranger to pass through these parts.

 

930 Comments

  1. HABZ24 says:

    No rust just thrust in prust we trust !

  2. frontenac1 says:

    I love the Cube. He showed a few brief flashes of that meaness that I remember. I want to see more Frankie goes to Hollywood!

  3. frontenac1 says:

    Give Dumont a shot. He’s a tough bugger and can handle his Dukes.Boston is the team to beat in the East.Don’t believe the hype on the Leafs amigos. They will crash and burn. Bet on it! Saludos!

  4. Cee_8ch says:

    Am excited to see Habs sitting in the lofty number 1 position…it’s been a long dry spell. Hats off to Bergevin and the people he chose to work with him. So far a lot of good decisions have been made. It is a great thing to be a Habs fan again.

  5. The Teacher says:

    To be honest, pacioretty is already better than Cole. I’m not looking at pacioretty as aspiring to become like cole, I’m looking at him aspiring to be like a mike Gartner kind of player. A consistent goalscorer for a long long time

  6. brandonhab19 says:

    Probably should have added to my trade idea. That’s only if you find out Perry has any interest in staying in Montreal.

  7. joeybarrie says:

    4 points in 5 games.
    18 in 24.
    Not really sure why we are bashing him. He is still 2nd in scoring on our team given his points in Dallas.
    Give him time to adapt to our style of play.

    While i didnt like the paper airplanes when he was in the pressbox. He has produced pretty well since then, and have no doubt he will do well here.
    We just have to look past the last game…

    • krob1000 says:

      Eller sucks becuase he doesn’t rack up the points
      Ryder sucks becasue he doesn’t offer an all around game
      Price sucks because he doesn’t make spectacular saves ( or enough of them??)

      They all suck because the people alleging they suck suck at deciding who sucks…suck on that

  8. brandonhab19 says:

    Ryder looked awful last night but his cap comes off the books and that’s all that matters. Knowing that Perry or Ryan are on the outs in Anaheim.
    If I’m Bergevin I offer Gionta Eller a 1st and a prospect for either one of those guys and see what Anaheim says.

  9. derfab says:

    I liked Ryder 6 years ago, but I think Bergevin made a real mistake. True, we dumped a significant salary (which we could also have done this coming summer) but it looks like we got a dud with no legs for a quality vet who could do much better in Bourque`s spot right now.

    • calvee123 says:

      derfab, I totally agree about this move made , Cole / Ryder. I said that this trade stinks when it was made. Ryder was not doing much, I thought, when he was in Montreal years ago, and now he’s back. I thought Cole would show his toughness when it comes to playoff time. This is when Cole would be the tough forward he is know to be and be his worth at that time. Now he is gone, but they did dump salary. I guess it is a hard no win situation. Maybe Ryder will come around. Hopefully he will.

      • mrhabby says:

        the cap goes down next year to 64m. MB had to do something. Cap space is king ..bottom line.

        ps..mb is thinking long term here.

      • Habfan17 says:

        It is a good trade. Ryder holds the spot until Bourque is ready to come back, then he is off the books next season when they need cap relief. They also got the 3rd round pick. It was a good trade.

        Habfan17

      • city center says:

        Agreed. If Habs were out of playoff picture when the deal was struck, I would have felt better about dealing Cole since it was a move designed for future finances. But to give up a big strong goal scorer who drives the net for a perimeter player (even one with an accurate shot and quick release) I think is a mistake. I hate saying anything negative about the team as the GM has done great and the record thus far is fandango, but just thinking ahead to whom I would rather have down the stretch, my answer is Cole. Seems like he is everything we want Pac to become.

        Also, regarding Eller above, I would not deal Eller. He may never be a natural goal scorer but too early to conclude that. Seems to me like he is showing some real excellent play with great chemistry with his new linemates–very dynmaic line last night.

      • LizardKing12 says:

        It was very important for Bergevin to open up cap space in order to set this team up well for the future. I doubt he was actively shopping Cole. Dallas came knocking and he wasn’t going to turn down a deal that had a player who produced just as well as Cole last year, had more than double his points this year and a 3rd round pick coming our way. He likely would not have gotten such a deal in the offseason, especially with the kind of season that Cole is putting together.

        As for your point about the playoffs Ryder has 43 points in 70 career playoff games and was a big part of the Bruins cup run with 8 goals and 17 points in 24 games. Erik Cole on the other hand has only 14 points in 43 playoff games and has never been a key contributor on a cup winning team. Come playoff time I’d take Ryder, a proven playoff performer, over Cole.

        Despite not looking great since returning Ryder still has 4 assists in 5 games. He is a natural goal scorer that scores in bunches, the goals will come. Even when he scored 35 goals last year he had 4 stretches of 5+ games, including one 10 game goalless drought. But he also had a four and five game scoring streak and five 2 goal games.

    • piper says:

      There will probably be more trades coming up that won’t make sense talent wise but with the cap dropping teams will do what they have to.

  10. Sportfan says:

    It feels like sunday, but its friday and really warm out how great is that? So will we make any trades around the deadline?

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  11. Bripro says:

    I love this phone app. 5 minutes to scroll down to the post window just to say:
    Time to go lose my shirt boys. Have a gray evening in whatever you’re doing and see you on the ice tomalli!
    Cheers!

  12. Luke says:

    Well, Beer O’clock on Beerday afternoon.

    Enjoy the weekend somewhat anonymous internet friends.
    Thanks for another inter-taining week.

  13. 24 Cups says:

    Ottawa beefs up.

    “Bob McKenzie‏@TSNBobMcKenzie
    OTT looking for a physical player, preferably one who can drop the gloves with some authority.”

  14. krob1000 says:

    Tiger at minus 11 at Cadillac…49 of top 50 golfers in the tourney….is this a “measuring stick” tourney?

  15. Danno says:

    The Canadiens have called up Greg Pateryn from the Hamilton Bulldogs to help shore up the blueline.

    http://dennis-kane.com/pateryn-joins-the-big-club/comment-page-1/#comment-72679

    Good luck to the new guy, and hopefully he can impress.

    ________________________________________

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

    http://dennis-kane.com/

  16. 24 Cups says:

    Getzlaf – 8 years, 66M. Screw the lockout and salary cap.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=417663

    • krob1000 says:

      There was a lockout? Easy to forget when the HAbs are at the top of the standings!!
      It is a shame because MB stood up to Subban who deserved more money and then Feaster throws that offer sheet at O’Reilly….and here we go again. At least Getzlaf has tenure and a proven body of work

  17. The Teacher says:

    Brandon prust topping the MVP for the Habs vote at 50%. All I know is he got my vote.

  18. habfan53 says:

    Thought I would have some fun and see how some of the current roster places on the all time list. For players it is only on a points total and coaches regular season wins.
    Some of the old time fans will love some of the names.

    Defenceman:
    Markov 5th alltime 28 pts behind Savard and 63 behind Harvey
    Bouillon 32nd 2 behind Streit
    P.K. 36th 4pts behind Odelin and 26 back of Bouillon
    Josh 46th 1 back of Ed Weirich and 2 behind Spreg Cleghorn
    Webber 70th 1 behind Junior Langlois
    Diaz 73rd 1 behind Wieznewsky and 1 ahead of Hal Gill
    Kaberle 81st Tied with Lou Fontinato
    Emelin 100th 1 behind Ryan O’Byrne

    Right Wing
    Ryder 16th 29 points behind Claude Larose
    Gionta 28th 1 point more than Mickey Redmond
    Bourque 71st 1point more than John Kordic (60 less games)
    Gallagher 76th 1 behind Marius Czerkawski

    Left Wing
    Max 27th 24 points less than Marc Tardif and 16+ than J Leclair
    Moen 50th 12 less than Cole

    Centre
    Pleks 13th 1 spot and 39 points behind Howie Morenz
    Desharnais 39th 20 behind Gomez and 27 ahead of Max Lapierre
    Lars 50th 1 less than Jackie Leclair
    Galchenyuk 85th 1 more than Edddie Litzenberger (listed as Cntr)

    Goalies
    Carey 9th in wins 5 less than Theo 21 more than Hodge
    Buidaj 38th 3 more than C Maniago and T. Esposito

    Coach Regular season wins only
    Therrien 12th 4 behind Martin and 17 behind Vigneault

    Like the DODGERS “Wait till next year”

  19. 24 Cups says:

    Shoutout to knowledgeable computer geeks like Dave (Hard Habits). Is the program called ‘System Mechanics’ worth purchasing? Over time, does it make a difference in terms of speed and reliability of your system?

  20. Maksimir says:

    Here’s one for ya… if Hab’s are looking like contenders come the trade deadline how about:

    Moen/Weber/Draft picks for Iginla? Maybe even throw in.. dare I say it.. Gorges? Only if Kaberle is playing well down the stretch or Patryn steps in..

  21. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Both of Gorges’ points last night were things of beauty: the finish on his score, the pass to Eller.

    Who has seen him do that before?

    • shiram says:

      I’d say he has that one game about every season where he pots in a few points but he normally goes back to being a stay at home D the next game.

      • Mattyleg says:

        Not sure if we’re going to see that this year.

        He’s been under the tutelage of Jacques “No-Risk Hockey” Martin in recent years, this year, it’s Michel “Total Hockey” Therrien, where defencemen are expected to contribute to offense, and attackers are expected to get behind the puck on the backcheck.

        Gorges has the goods to offer more on the attack, and I get the feeling we’ll see more of it.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          That would be great.
          It looked like the Hurricanes were even more surprised than I was to see him that deep in the zone.
          More please.

        • shiram says:

          He’s had a few games where he tried to be more of a threat in the O-zone, but nothing like last night. I’m sure he can help out, but I would not expect him to rack in the points.
          Maybe 20-25 points in a regular season?

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            It might well be best that way, so that opposing teams don’t pay him as much attention as they do Subban or Markov.

            If it’s true that JM held him back and MT wants him to jump in more, I think it would be great, especially with the element of surprise he’d have if it’s infrequent as you suggest.

          • Mattyleg says:

            That would be a perfectly acceptable total!

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • lavie says:

      As a Dman, it’s his new stage.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      MT and the coaches obviously told the defencemen to really jump into the play. Maybe they saw something about Carolina on film?

      “You’re always, always, always looking to make your team better. Always.”- Marc Bergevin

    • krob1000 says:

      His Peewee coach

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I liked what I saw when he jumped into the play but I thought it was just part of the 4 on 4 package where a dman can join the rush in the O zone.

  22. Buzz Lightbeer says:

    It would be nice to see Pateryn play tomorrow but MT will probably go with Kaberle,i hope i’m wrong. But at the halfway mark in a season that everybody assumed would be a transition,slow learning curve,rebuild year when we could see some of this youth get a shot. We now find ourselves in first and will probably go with the veteran.
    Do you guys think MB will hold course with his plan for the year?,or do you think he will try to add some pieces and make a push for the cup?

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      I agree, I feel like if he was going to actually use the player he would have called up Tinordi but wants to keep him playing big minutes in the A.

      ———————————

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

    • shiram says:

      They played Weber instead of Kaberle, they could play Pateryn to see how he handles NHL minutes.

  23. HabinBurlington says:

    Is having your goalie see very few shots a help or a hinder to a goalie? Seems to me, when a goalie has long periods of time with no shots or at least any of significance, this can almost be worse than a nice steady spray of shots to keep them in the game.

    • Mattyleg says:

      If you’re Philly, you don’t want either of your goalies to have to stop any pucks.

      Because they won’t.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • krob1000 says:

        I would still let them shoot at Bryzgalov just so I can hear what he has to say about it

        • Mattyleg says:

          “You know, the shooters say they can see a lot of space in my net… There is a lot of space! Every night I go outside and look up, I see a lot of space; it’s everywhere, all around us.

          When I’m sitting on the bench, you know, waiting to be brought on (because you know I will be, because Leighton, or Boucher, or whatever that other guy’s name was… Bob, I think… wil get pulled)
          I think about going into space. You think I’m watching the game, but in my mind I’m visiting the stars.”

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • Gerry H says:

            Classic. Bill Lee had nothing on Bryz.

          • Mattyleg says:

            Heh heh.

            I made that up, but it’s completely plausible from Breezy!

            And yeah, Spaceman laid down the tracks for Bryzgalov before Bryzgalov was Bryzgalov.

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

  24. HardHabits says:

    Don’t know if it’s been mentioned or not but:

    Defenseman Greg Pateryn will join the team today in Tampa. The 6-foot-2 rearguard has registered eight points this season in 22 games with the Bulldogs.

  25. Marc10 says:

    Oh and found this interesting stat on Kuklas…

    .871 — Save percentage by St. Louis’ three goaltenders, the poorest in the NHL. The Blues have allowed 69 non-shootout goals despite permitting a League-low 23.3 shots per game.

  26. Marc10 says:

    Few UFA players are worth taking out a mortgage and compromising the team’s cap. Looking at Chicago’s core:

    – Keith
    – Seabrook
    – Sharp
    – Hossa
    – Toews
    – Kane

    That’s the guys you commit long term, big all star coin to…

    Ours in 3 years might look like this:

    – Price
    – Subban
    – Chucky
    – Patches

    I gather we’re 3 away. Markov, Pleks and Gio are on that list now, but that won’t last.

    Based on the above the missing stars could be:

    – #1A Dman
    – #1A center
    – #1 winger

    You might draft them. Maybe a guy like Gally or Collberg or Tinordi/Beaulieu gets there one day, or you pick them up in UFA land.

    Is Corey Perry worth throwing Hossa money after? Stats say yes, but considering the tax differential and his long and successful tenure in Anaheim, it’s quite the long shot.

  27. Steeltown Hab says:

    My fb status “Wait…..so you’re telling me the leafs aren’t getting Getzlaf?” …love trolling all the leaf fans.

    ———————————

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

  28. The Dude says:

    Wow ….so far 326 votes agree with me bout Prust. Once in a while fans surprise me around HIO and put their crushes and Ego’s in pocket and get it right ! I always do :arrow: – – – – – :razz:

    • habs-hampton says:

      You know. I think I’d rather have a team like ours, where the MVP voting isn’t one-sided. Its great to have a Crosby, but we have 3 solid lines, and on any given night at least one of them seems to step up. It makes it hard for other teams to defend against us. I’m still a little concerned about our defense. I don’t want Markov to continue to get 20-25 mintes pergame. He can’t do that into June. and I’m afraid tht Gorges is going to be too beat up by playoffs time as well.

  29. Da Hema says:

    I am not ashamed to state I have a hippo-crush on Prust….

  30. commandant says:

    Today a look at the UFA rentals that may be available from the Colorado Avalanche

    http://lastwordonsports.com/2013/03/08/mile-high-trade-deadline-shopping/

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

  31. HabinBurlington says:

    So Anaheim has 20million of capspace to replace 7-8 players on their roster next year. Big 3 being Koivu, Selanne and Perry, 2 of their UFA defensemen and some young perhaps less than significant RFA younger forwards.

    Yes this team has room to re-sign Perry, but will he want to re-sign and will the team be willing to spend to cap max in order to replace the production of Koivu and Selanne?

    Will be interesting to watch, but I think Anaheim trades Perry at deadline. They need some younger controlled salary players.

  32. Hobie Hansen says:

    Love that poll and the results. Been on this site pleading my case for a guy like Brandon Prust for several years with 10 people lining up to tell me I’m wrong. Good job Prust baby!

    • Loonie says:

      Revisionism Hobie?

      Staubitz was the answer to your prayers. I think it would be more accurate to say that you accepted what the good Lord gave you rather than saying he delivered on your request.

      :)

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I agree Hobbie and my vote went to Prust but I just rewatched last nights game and my gosh this Gallagher kid is pretty good. He’s around the puck constantly and wins a lot of battles. Love this kid.

    • Habsrule1 says:

      With all due respect to everyone’s opinion, I think it’s Prust by a country mile.
      That said, others have had a huge impact as well.

      Go Habs Go!!

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

    • shiram says:

      I was on board with Prust from the start, he was the only guy I really wanted the Habs to pursue last summer.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Only 10?

      “You’re always, always, always looking to make your team better. Always.”- Marc Bergevin

    • adamkennelly says:

      I called for Prust to be signed when he was a UFA from Calgary..also called for Moen – at the same time..1/2 was not bad..2/2 after 3 years is ok too.


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