About last night …

BeatFlorida

I thought the wheels would fall off after Toronto humiliated your Montreal Canadiens 6-0 at the Bell Centre.
It didn’t happen.
The Canadiens went to Florida and beat the Lightning and Panthers to launch a five-game winning streak.
I thought the wheels would fall off after Pittsburgh lit up the franchise goaltender in a 7-6 win.
It didn’t happen.
The Canadiens began their longest road trip of the season with a bitterly fought come-from-behind win in Boston.
Then, after stumbling against the Islanders, the Canadiens reeled off wins against Carolina, Tampa Bay and – with ease on Sunday night – the woeful Panthers.
The team travels back to Montreal on Monday with wheels firmly attached and motor humming on all cylinders.

Two games past the halfway point of this short season, the Canadiens are in first place in the Eastern Conference.

They’ve won nine games on the road.

Their defencemen have scored 17 goals – most of any D corps in the NHL. P.K. Subban has 18 points in 20 games.

Carey Price leads the league with 13 wins. His backup is 4-1-1.

Thirteen Canadiens have at least 10 points – more than any other team in the league.

The road trip included stellar performances, on different nights, by three forward lines.

The Canadiens won in Florida with Peter Budaj in nets and without the services of Brandon Prust, Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz.

Something is happening with this team.

And the question is: What now?

On L’Antichambre Sunday night, Guy Carbonneau suggested Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin should start to think big … like 25th Stanley Cup big.

“It’s not every year you have a chance to win it all,” Carbo said. The former Canadiens coach thinks the team’s current GM might consider accelerating his development plan. Perhaps Bergevin should tweak his lineup with a trade or two.

You don’t have to be a L’Antichambre panelist to recognize that our first-place Canadiens have a couple holes to fill:

• A rugged forward would relieve Brandon Prust of having to deal with the Milan Lucics and Colton Orrs of the league.

• The defence is undersized, and that could be fatal in the course of a seven-game playoff series.

Like his team, Bergevin is riding a hot streak. He hired Michel Therrien, signed Prust as a UFA and added Francis Bouillon and Colby Armstrong. Bergevin set the tone for the season by sending Scott Gomez home before the abbreviated training camp began. In consultation with Therrien, Bergevin kept two rookies, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, with the big club.

The GM’s most recent move was trading Erik Cole to Dallas for Ryder and a third-round draft choice this June. After a brief banishment to the pressbox, Ryder has filled in admirably for Bourque on the Tomas Plekanec-Brian Gionta line. And the draft pick increases the Canadiens’ inventory to six choices – a first, three seconds and two thirds – in the first three rounds of what is being touted as a vintage draft.

The stockpile also gives Bergevin some assets in piecing together a trade without compromising the core of a winning team.

There is no urgency to act. Having successfully completed a difficult road trip, the Canadiens will enjoy the annual Rookie Dinner (financed by Messrs Galchenyuk and Gallagher) in Florida then fly back to Montreal on Monday. There’s a home game against Ottawa on Wednesday and then a visit to New Jersey. The following week includes two home games against Buffalo bracketing another visit to Long Island.

March ends with back-to-back visits to Pittsburgh and Boston, then a home game against the Rangers.

Will the Canadiens still be in first place by then?

After two wrong calls on the wheels of the Stanley Cup Express, I’m leery of making any more predictions.

Carbonneau’s comments reflect hoary NHL wisdom that dictates when a team has a legitimate chance at the Cup, it’s incumbent on management to beef up for a deep run because, as Carbo said, you just don’t know when the chance will come again.

I love what I’ve seen from the Canadiens this season. Therrien has pushed all the right buttons. The team has talent, energy and, as exemplified by Brandon Prust, the heart and cojones that were too often conspicuous by their absence in recent seasons.

Can this team beat Pittsburgh or Boston in a seven-game playoff series? How about Toronto or Philly?

Chicago? L.A.? Anaheim or Vancouver?

I dunno, peeps. Let the Commentariat chew over the match-ups.

But isn’t it fun, 26 games into the season, to be having this discussion?

 

 

 

464 Comments

  1. Biggest_Greek_HABSfun says:

    @Boone where is Luis Leblanc ?? any1 knows? GO habs GO !

  2. SherbrookeW says:

    Habs Since ’68
    Well, always useful , if your memory goes back to dynasty years, to ask: What Would Sam (Pollock) Do? And the answer is that the greatest of GMs, in lining up a Stanley Cup run, would usually try two things. (The game was very different then,obviously, no “rentals” in mid season of UFA’s,etc. But the principles are the same.)
    1. Add tough two way wingers who were, above all, skilled at the PK. Glen Sather, Jim Roberts, Claude Larose all in that category. Would never underestimate the importance of the penalty kill in the playoffs.
    2. Add a super-charged scoring forward who for one reason or another had lost his way elsewhere: Frank Mahovlich, Pierre Larouche (who people forget scored fifty goals for the seventies Habs.) And be prepared to give up a movable piece of value to get him. It won’t happen because the cap numbers will never add up, but, in principle, Sam P. would have been delighted to try and add Ovechkin — exactly a player like the Big M, superstar fallen on hard times but still able to score big goals and in need of a new environment to do it in.

  3. nellis13 says:

    I don’t mean to be a wet blanket but we’re only 26 games in. It’s more than a bit too soon to be talking about the cup. The key to finishing well, as in past years, is injuries and they always seem to pile up for us in the second half of the season. What happens if we lose two of the following:
    Price
    Markov
    Subban
    Plekanic
    Would Carbo still be wanting to give away draft picks to make a big trade? Take a breath Carbo. We’re not there yet.

  4. Sal from the Hammer says:

    All I hope, is that if they do decide to go for a trade or two to bolster the team for a playoff run, I hope they spare some of the young D men they have in Hamilton, Beaullieu, Tinordi, Ellis, even Pateryn, who does not look out of place, and who has some size to boot. If they want to move some of their forward prospects, anyone but Bournival. Doesn’t leave much else, but, the Habs are better , long term, with these guys than without. Plus, realistically, and with due respect to Carbo, they might be a year or two away. It would be enjoyable to have a team that contends for a SC every year, like Detroit all these years, than to sacrifice the future for a long shot now.

    I know many posters want to see more grit added to the line-up right now, I just don’t want to sell off the team’s very bright future. The one thing they do have that might be appealing to teams looking to their own future is some of those second/third round draft picks they still have in this year’s draft.

  5. RockinRey says:

    Here is what you do.

    This being a consensus banner year in the draft. You hold on tight to those picks unless someone blows you away. Dont go down the Brian Burke path.

    You part with the Webers, Kaberles, Moen and Armstrongs, late round picks and anything from the farm as part of a package ( thats you Louis Leblanc and Geoffrion,) that has not been projected as something close to a serviceable player by central scouting or your in house staff and that can used to obtain the following:

    Forward that can contribute minutes and has size ( he must have a great buy-in attitude)
    Large body on d. Stay at home type. Shut-down guy. Not easy to find but realistically if they go for it likely a rental.
    And that forward is useful on the PK and might be a guy that has better than middling face-off stats.

    If Carbo is right , and i happen to think he is then you go for it. The pieces Boones mentions are the pieces I think are missing and dont necessarily grow on trees.

    There is a window. And like another panelist last night said dont deviate from the big plan and the development of players like Tinordi, Beaulieu and Chucky and Gally.

    Go habs go!

  6. hirky says:

    Well, been awhile since I posted here but thought I would throw out some questions to the masses….

    1) How did this team turn around the shot count? This team for the last couple years could barely get 15 shots per game, now they are getting 30+ EVERY NIGHT.

    2) How did this team start scoring 3-5 goals per game? They have been struggling for years to score 2 or 3. They really haven’t added big time scorers.

    3) Andrei Markov is obviously the key component to the PP, his skill has turned around the worst PP into one that strikes fear in opponents, can he really keep up this pace for 82 games next season?

    4) Can Michel Therriens system really be that dramatic of a change for the Habs??

    Carey Price will benefit from not having to stop 40+ shots very night come playoff time for sure. I can’t wait to see him get in the groove and start stealing games. GO HABS GO!!!!

    • Sal from the Hammer says:

      How? They fired JM. The most stifling coach in NHL history. He stifled one of the best line-ups ever in Ottawa . Did the same to the Habs. He does not know how to win. Second, as much as I admired him as a player, as a GM Bob Gainey was less than stellar. Not to say he completely effed up, but, overall his tenure did more to damage the team, than help it, and, it started when he hired JM.

  7. SteverenO says:

    Play-off run:

    What can the Candiens do to improve their chances come playoff time without making any trades?

    I would start with

    1. Reduce Markov playing time to max of 21 mins per game , keep him out of the line up in back to back games. We will need a strong and healthy Markov to go anywhere in the post season.

    2. Develop a second line PP unit on the blue line. While Emelin and Gorges have shown recent flashes of offensive ability, I truly think the answer lies with one of the forwards being used on the point. Plekanec has been used in that role in the past, but he is a key contributor to the PP as a centerman. Personally I would work on both Eller and Galchenyuk in that role and give both of them a chance . Diaz returning will help, and Boullion is acceptable, but I have a hunch that playing Eller (or Galchenyuk) on the point with the second PP unit may bring some very good results.

    3. Suck up to the refs. Don’t argue any calls. Don’t show up the refs in any way. The last thing we need is referees “looking” for calls to make against us.

    any other suggestions?

    regards,

    Steve O.

    • ed says:

      agree to reduce markov’s minutes.

      disagree on using a forward on the power play.

      Diaz will be back and Emelin is going to be better and better if we just leave him there for a few weeks straight.

      He was very effective in the KHL, and he just needs to find his NHL confidence, which we are seeing lately.

      • Sal from the Hammer says:

        I think all they need is for Diaz to get healthy. His shot is more than decent, and, he hits the net better than PK.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Hi Steve and Ed.
        I also like both points 1 and 3 (which is unpalatable but undeniable).
        As for the PP, I agree we should give Emelin the opportunity to grow into it. The commanding way he uses the body can make you forget he’s still an NHL baby.
        At the same time, Ed, do you reckon there’s something inherently wrong with putting forwards like Eller or Gally on the blue-line on the PP? Or would you just prefer not reducing Emelin’s opportunity? If there’s nothing much wrong with it, I would be interested to see how Eller and/or Gally might respond to that role.

  8. Mr_MacDougall says:

    All the trade talk… But what does the team NEED?

    Penalty Killing could be better.. are there any Hal Gill’s around?
    White and Armstrong don’t seem to cut it on PK… I suspect Pleks will be back logging those tough minute come playoffs.. any cheap 4th line PK specialists available? Number 6 pk specialist D?

    Other than that the team is what it is… Maybe a top 9 fwd for depth purposes.

  9. SteverenO says:

    Norris trophy candidate:

    If the trophy is awarded on merit, Francois Beauchemin should be the Norris Winner at this point in the season. His defence partner Sheldon Souray should also get serious consideration. Both are + 17 for the season , and both contribute to their teams very potent power play and also play on the penalty kill unit.

    regards,

    Steve O.

  10. Hobie Hansen says:

    We’re not the Rangers of 1994 with Mark Messier and Adam Graves. But that team added two very crucial pieces way back when that gave them the depth they needed to go four playoff rounds.

    Stephan Matteau and Brian Noonan.

    Our needs may differ slightly, but that is the type of move Bergevin needs to make. Two 3rd/4th liner guys with some experience and as much grit as possible. And when I say our needs differ, one of the two could be defenseman coming our way.

  11. Sportfan says:

    @HabinBurlington I was reading the article you posted about more NHL teams. The way I see it with the new divisions in palce for next season adding two more teams makes a lot of sense. I really see Markham and Quebec getting teams in the next 20 years and Seattle, but I was wondering doesn’t Kansas City have a relatively new Arena just waiting I could be wrong, but I’m sure Kansas could get a team too no?

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  12. habs001 says:

    Unless there is a total collapse the Habs should make the playoffs
    3 things concern me about the Habs in the playoffs that may not fully show up in the regular season
    1) pk right now 13th but not confident that all of the pk personal can do the job in the playoffs(hate to loose a series due to the pk)
    2) not sure if we can handle aggressive physically pounding forechecking along with the opposition d pinching(i have a feeling the refs will let lot of roughing go in the playoffs)
    3) scoring 4th right now and hopefully keeps up in the playoff but we have many forwards that have contributed in many other ways than scoring goals(armstrong,Moen,White,Prust,Eller) plus the Habs have the 2 kids who have contributed in scoring but who knows in the playoffs…so the team cannot afford any of the regular scorers to go into playoffs scoring slumps…

    • Phil C says:

      1). Getting Diaz back will help. A big physical defenseman would help in this regard as well. No question this is a team weakness that must be addressed.

      2) Montreal’s playing style negates this disadvantage. I used to tear my hair out last year watching the Habs line up across the blueline and allowing the easy dump in, then watch their small D get pounded. This year, they pressure the puck everywhere so that their D do not get turned around as often. A lot more neutral ice turnovers which plays to the strengths of the Habs’ offensive D. The Habs have given up the fourth fewest shots against, so that has to continue in the playoffs.

      3) The Habs have three balanced scoring lines instead of two stacked lines like many teams. I think it insulates them from slumps more than the top-heavy teams.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Great post.
      On the PK, I’d be more concerned with opposing skill than big bodies. It’s not 100 years since we lost to a crap team with an excellent PP. Phil’s point about the new playing style seems good to me.
      Cheers

  13. RetroMikey says:

    I’ve always said we need 2 big bodies up front and a ruggged DMan if we are to be a contender in our quest for a 25th Stanley Cup while many here are chewing me out and saying we are on a rebuild plan before the season began.
    I for one said we are a team in progres with the current roster and make the trades for bigger players if we are to compete this season or make the trades and go for a rebuilding plan and see results 2 or 3 season down the road.
    But Bergevin should make the trades and make it by trading a Gionta, Kaberle, Weber, etc…in a trade with some draft picks for that power forward who would instantly help our team on the offensive stat sheet as well.
    I dunno if we can survive a 7 game series against Boston, Toronto or Philly as well with our current roster.
    I’d make a trade sooner than wait if Bergevin thinks we have a run for the Cup.
    Otherwise, make the fans happy with our current situation but no complaints from the fans if we were not to go very far in the playoffs with our current team.
    Tough decision for Bergevin and Dudley to make.

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

    • krob1000 says:

      Trading the captain while the team is perhaps the strongest “team” it has been in years would be disastrous.

      PRust…..if I were the Habs looking at the schedule I would be sitting him for 17 days and having him play the back to back against Pitts/Boston…no need to return any sooner…make sure he is ok.

      • RetroMikey says:

        We have Desharnais and Gallagher who can perform more than Gionta on the offensive sheet.
        Now iss the time to trade Gionta and not only will he help another team, we can get some bigger, grittier forward in return.
        Everyone knows the C means C ya if you are a Captain for the team.
        Mike Keane or Pierre Turgeon will agree along with Saku Koivu.

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

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          There’s logic to what you suggest, RM, and, rationally, trading Gionta could be a fruitful venture.

          But you’re very reluctant to consider the significant implications for morale and the room. Do you underestimate them?

          • RetroMikey says:

            This is a business, as they say, no job is guaranteed in life in today’s society, especially in the world of sports.
            Craig Rivet was traded to San Jose and he was one of the better character players in the dressing room in his tenure with Montreal.
            We got Josh Gorges in return and everyone forgot about Rivet as well.
            I’m sure everyone will forget Gionta as well if we make a splash in the playoffs and go further than the second round without Gionta
            As they say, here today, gone tomorrow.

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

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Totally agree, except I’d be tempted to try and get away with keeping him off the ice vs Boston as well, maybe even Pittsburgh. They are both likely playoff opponents who would have good reason to target Prust as he returns from injury. (Obviously I’d be more likely to suspect Julien of this than Bylsma).

    • ed says:

      think you might want to change your signature? If we win our 25th Cup in the next 5-10 years, there is not much question who our goalie will be.

      • RetroMikey says:

        That is a big IF, so let’s not get excited.
        We had a similar experience in 2007-08 where everyone was dreaming of a 25th Stanley Cup in their heads.
        We all knew what happened when we faced the bigger Goliath team of the Flyers in the playoffs. Right?

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

        • Strummer says:

          I think goaltending cost us the Cup in ’08.
          We were in good shape everywhere else.

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

          • RetroMikey says:

            We were physically banged up in the Philly series, the Coach at the time Carbonneau will agree and the players as well.
            We just weren’t big enough with players to compete after a 7 game gruelling series against Boston.

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

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      The last two times the team was in the playoffs Gionta had very important and timely goals. His value is unappreciated.

      • RetroMikey says:

        His value is appreciated which I agree but now is the time to make that trade, you cannot have 4 small players on our team and go very far in the playoffs,
        One must go, so take your pick in Desharnais, Plekanec, Gallagher or Gionta.
        So Gionta to me is the odd man out, IMO.

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

  14. SteverenO says:

    Defensive forwards;

    Here is a quick look at how the Habs are doing on the defensive side. The numbers here are minutes of time on ice time per goal allowed, ranked from best to worse. This list includes even strength situations only:

    Forwards:
    Prust – 56
    White – 52
    Eller – 37
    Armstrong -33
    Moen – 33
    Galchenyuk – 32
    Bourque – 30
    Gionta – 29
    Plekanec – 26
    Ryder – 26
    Dumont – 22
    Gallagher – 21
    Pacioretty – 20
    Desharnais – 17

    Defencemen:

    Diaz – 41
    Emelin – 30
    Georges – 30
    Kaberle – 28
    Subban – 25
    Markov – 23
    Boullion – 22
    Patteryn- 22
    Weber – 16

    regards,

    Steve O.

  15. Ali says:

    Ryan Clowe please. That is all.

  16. The Jackal says:

    I see the discussion here is on who we should or could acquire for a playoff run.

    I’m as excited as all of you about the prospects of going far and making the drive for 25.
    But… I don’t think we should be trading assets at this point. We have a good squad that has chemistry and character, and we have a lot of picks to actually have lots of depth and be good for a long time.
    Any trades that Habs make should be to move players that don’t factor in, and if we are really adding a few pieces, then they HAVE to figure into the long-term plan.
    Rentals are not a sound option for us. Any trade should bring in a player who will fit with our plans.

    As for our cup chances… I think we can make some noise. The D may still be a bit small, but we have character and toughness. We are a much better team than the one that made it to the East finals, and we are a much better team than the one that took the cup thieves to 7 and OT – and we know that series could easily have been ours.

    I’m just excited for this ride, I trust MB and MT will make good moves.

    Go Habs Go!

  17. Loonie says:

    Did Pateryn win the Norris yet?

    • Mattyleg says:

      You’re ridiculous.

      He won’t win it until the end of the season.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • HabinBurlington says:

      How dare us fans enjoy it when a player from the AHL is called up and plays responsibly. Thanks for the reality check…..

      • Loonie says:

        Gerald the expectations of the kid were ridiculous the day he was called up. The “missing piece”.

        I’m excited to see him in the NHL too, but vaulting him to the top of the depth chart before having played a game was happening far too often late last week.

  18. Phil C says:

    In all seriousness, is Subban playing his way into the Norris Trophy discussion? He is tied for first in the league in goals by defensemen, despite having played 6 less games. He is currently tied for 4th in points for defensemen, but only one point out of 2nd, again in less games. He has 12 points in his last 10 games. The only other defenseman producing at greater than a PPG is Letang, but Letang doesn’t have the defensive skills to match PK. He is starting to get the minutes normally given to Norris calibre defensmen, averaging 26 mins/g in his last 5 games.

    Many of perennial contenders are having an off-year (Weber, Chara, Karlsson done for the season). Lidstrom and Pronger retiring has also opened the door for other D-men.

  19. HabinBurlington says:

    A Pittsburgh article on why the NHL will expand, with the endorsement of Crosby.

    http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/dejancolumns/3592048-74/nhl-expansion-quebec#axzz2NCZHjL2B

  20. habstrinifan says:

    I disagree with the opinion that MB should view this season as ‘only’ a step in his long term plan to elevate and keep the team at the ‘status of perennial contender’. (Wasn’t this Ronald Corey’s line?). To simply stay the course.

    This season is providing us with some opportunities which may not exist NEXT SEASON.

    1) The shortened season and the within conference play is a
    plus for us. Less wear and tear/less mental fatigue/less
    ‘message’ fatigue.
    2) The catalytic impact o the f ‘rookie fervour’ of Gallagher and
    Galchenyuk.(Do not underestimate what the infusion of these
    rookies’ drive has done for this team and wont be duplicated
    next year.
    3) The apparent emergence of Budaj(through coaching or
    whatever) as a bona-fide NHL back-up who can win games.
    Add the intangibles that it adds to Price re motivation and
    to the team re confidence.
    4) The Markov factor. We cannot expect Markov to be better as he
    gets older.
    5) The Subban/Price/Pacs/Pleks/DD/Prust/Emelin/Bouillion/Eller
    factors. While two or three of those players will be with us for a
    long while and will form the core for future succes, we cannot
    count on something like this season.. where every single one
    of those players is provinding a concrete identifiable
    contribution to this team THIS SEASON.

    5) The chemistry factor. It is obvious. This team is operating at
    the optimal level ‘chemistry’ wise. I do not have to remind
    sports fans/jocks how fleeting a team ‘cooking as a unit’
    is.. .. especially if that team is not constituted with Dynasty
    type talent.. which I dont think we are.
    6) Of course the Michel Therrien/Marc Bergevin factors. Again a
    combination of ‘optimum performance’ which probably wont
    continue season inton season. One of the not to be overlooked
    factors is the old bromide… no where else to go but up. They
    are in the right place at teh right time with the right message
    falling on eager ears…. after last year.

    Finally I ask you to recall Cole’s season last year. It was HIS BEST. And it was obvious that it wasn’t gonna be repeated THIS SEASON…. for whatever reason. Use that example to look at the team in AGGREGATE. The HABS as a team are having a ’2012 Cole-like season.

    So looking at all those factors. Do you want to say “let’s ride this out”. Or do you want to go out and get a tweak or two and give the team the impetus in ‘real bodies’ and in ‘effect of additions’ to go for ALL THE MARBLES.

    Don’t dismantle the core; dont mortgage the future; but recognize the momentum and chemistry and serendipity of everything clicking… and go out and bring in a part or two to bolster what we have for a huge playoff run.

    Sorry re the length of my post.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      I think you are right generally speaking. However we aren’t winning the cup this year. No matter who you add up front.

      I can give you 31 reasons why not.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      I agree for the most part. Id depends on what you mean by “go for it.”

      Given everything you’ve stated too many moves could destroy the chemistry the team currently has. A series of depth moves would be preferable in my opinion. Injuries should play a huge role in the decision making process. The team has TEN top 9 forwards (Plek, Gio, Bourque, DD, Patch, Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Ryder, Eller, Prust)

      Adding one or two bottom 6 forwards wouldn’t be that bad of an idea to allow for line juggling and a better 4th line.

      A 5-6 D with size and HIGH END defensive skills (PK etc.)

      Movable pieces: Moen, White, Weber, Kaberle, Leblanc,

      No draft picks please, unless it includes a player under contract.

    • JUST ME says:

      Nice comment ! I agree with you that we have to realize us as fan and the team as a team that we have a legitimate shot at making it to the top this year wich does not happen often enough in my book. But i think that we should not sacrifice anything for a short term goal when actually building something strong is taking care of the long term view. Would not sacrifice any draft choices or any of the few promissing youngster in Hamilton.

      I do understand that to get someone good you have to sacrifice someone good . Bergevin knows where he is going and luckily he comes from a different school of thoughts (Chicago) so i trust him if needed to get someone we least expected to help us .

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      If the Habs collectively are having a Cole-like season , doesn’t that imply that the bubble will burst at some point?

    • vancouverite says:

      Great post.

      Just to expand on your points:

      1) The shortened season = good for our small players, also good for veterans (namely markov, gionta)
      2) Getting Gally and Chucky is almost like we “acquired” two impact players already. who could have expected more?
      3) top goaltending tandem, agreed. hopefully price will get RED HOT by the spring.
      4) Markov may be in top form by the spring also – and we cannot be assured this will be the case in the future
      5) chemistry !!!
      6) management – MB and MT want to make their mark this year. also I believe MT has the guts and brains to win it all!

      I think all we may need is a rugged 2nd-3rd line winger to help us get the job done. #RYANCLOWE

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Great post, Trini.
      I posted “stick to the plan” last night, but you’ve brought me over.

      HFS72, would you maybe agree that recent playoff episodes have been on borrowed time, and that this year there is the possibility of a very new kind of overall solidity (overall, not the D just yet) in front of no. 31 that would help him find his playoff groove?

  21. Bripro says:

    Good morning everybody!
    I’d love to say it was a great weekend.
    Got most of my basement painted, and I have the lynch marks to prove it.
    And to make it much sweeter, our Habs turned this panicky road trip into one good one for the books.
    But I have some bad news.

    I’m reaching out on behalf of a buddy of mine who needs some help!
    His wife told him to go out & get some of those pills that would help him get an erection. When he came back, he handed her some diet pills.

    Anyway, he’s looking for a place to live. Let me know if you can help.
    I would offer a room here, but my wife knows why he’s out, and she’ll have no part of it.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Doesn’t Gomez or Cammy still have an empty house or condo in the area?

    • BJ says:

      He should go back and get a refund on the diet pills and re-invest on the “blue ones” and then there is no need for him to go back with his tail between his legs so to speak, no need to be flying at half mast.

    • The Jackal says:

      LOL!!!!
      That’s hilarious!

      That reminds me of front’s comment… something along the lines: lock your dog and your wife in the trunk. Come back a few hours later to open it and tell me which one is happy to see you?!

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I take it from your good humor my good friend that you had a very successful Friday Night Poker game? :)

  22. Strummer says:

    Whitey proved last night that we don’t need someone who can drop the gloves taking up a valuable roster spot.

    Just say “No thanks to the goon” and you have yourself a 4 minute power play. Just like Lucic used to avoid Laracque.

    Besides fighting is less likely in post-season

    Edit: Parros was -2 in 6 minutes played last night well short of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick
    ______________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Great point, Strum. I laughed aloud watching Whitey turn the tables like that.

      Must have been a helluva of a positive reinforcement for him in conjunction with what the coaches have been telling him. He must have enjoyed it which means he should want to do it again.

    • Bun E. Laroque says:

      Just watched that play on the highlight reel. Very impressed by White.
      Sort of the opposite of what he was doing earlier in the season.

  23. awesomerino says:

    If there’s ANY way to pry David Clarkson out of New Jersey, I sincerely hope MB finds it. He’s basically the 30-goal version of Brandon Prust.

    As good as he’s been, and as much as I like him, I’d even consider sending Pleks to NJ to make the deal happen. Armed with steady vet presences on the wing, I’d roll the dice on Galchenyuk to center the 2nd line, and give Lars the 3rd. A Prust-Eller-Clarkson 3rd line would be a soul-eating, goal-scoring juggernaut, IMO.

    That said, maybe 2nd line duty is an awful lot to ask of a 19 year-old, irrespective of talent or poise.

    • marlboro says:

      Plecks..So under appreciated. That guy is our best all around player. Home grown, loves it here, never hear a bad thing about him. Not my favorite player on team, but he’s the MVP imo.

      • Haberoooo13 says:

        +1

        Na Na Na Les Canadiens Les Canadiens

      • secretdragonfly says:

        Totally agree – love his style, love his hustle – my only knock is he seems to be a bit-hot headed at times and can take ill-timed penalties. But I wouldn’t give him up, especially with the team clicking the way they are.

      • Strummer says:

        I always felt Pleks was on par with Datsyuk, who had Zetterberg and Holmstrom as wingers in his prime as opposed to whoever JM threw out with Pleks.

        He proved when he had AK and Kovy as linemates that he was a tremendous all round player.

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

    • BJ says:

      Are there 5 centermen in the NHL more complete than Plekanec. The guy is amazing, why would we want to trade him? For Clarkson, no thanks.

      • awesomerino says:

        I’m not contesting his value at all. I just sincerely don’t believe he’s part of the Canadiens’ long term plans, and if he can help acquire a legitimately valuable asset, I think it’s an option worth exploring.

        By the way, are you saying that you consider Pleks to be a top 5 all-around center in the NHL? Does that mean there are only 4 centers in the entire league you’d rather have than him?

        • BJ says:

          More complete a player both offense and defense +PK. I cannot see that Clarkson would be of more value to us than Plekanec. There are better centermen but more unidimensional.

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        Datsyuk, Giroux, Crosby, E Staal, J Staal, Thornton, Bergereon

        I really like Pleks, and think the team would be CRAZY for not riding out his $5mill contrack.. steal of a deal!!!!!!!!!!!

        • BJ says:

          Those are very good centermen indeed that you list. I should perhaps have said in the top 10 but nonetheless he is under appreciated and a great asset to the team. Other than size I would not place him behind J. Staal.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            I’m a huge Plek fan, he care, he works, he enjoys playing against top opposition.

  24. marlboro says:

    Look, We’re good, This team competes every night. I’m no G.M, but I suppose I can play one..

    No way do I move any pick. We have a chance this June to get 3 Collbergs, or Throwers with our 2nds. Gainey gave those away here, and now he’s whispering into Joe’s ear over there. Glad we’re on the receiving end this time. Every year at the deadline, guy’s move for 6, or 7th rounders. I’d look for those deals. There are many posters here who know our salary cap numbers better then me, so I’m not even going to try. But if there’s a chance to get guy’s like a Perverly, or Kelly, like someone already mentioned, thats the play. Like Dominique Moore a few years ago. Was huge for us.

    I would concentrate on finding 2 very specific qualities though. Size and power.. ala a bigger Prust. I Don’t really care if its a forward or Defenceman, and second, this to me is the most important. A true faceoff star. Man, would a Yannick Paurault look so good right now. Once we have the puck, We’re tough to play against. For any team..

    Thats just my Arm chair thoughts.

  25. BJ says:

    Nice news from Europe. Magnus Nygren Habs 4th round choice in 2011 wins the best defenseman award in the Swedish Elite League at 22 years of age. In 51 games 13 goals and 19 assists and +11 (those are big #’s in that league.

  26. Ian Cobb says:

    We are sure having a great time this year. And we owe it all to Geoff Molson for reacquiring his families famous franchise!
    Only a Montreal-er deep with history, knows how it is suppose to be.

    Here is where our team places in the 30 team league.

    Points——–38, We are in 3rd place.. Last week 3rd place.
    Goals F——-84, We are in 5th place.. Last week 5th place.
    Goals A——-66, We are in 11th place.. Last week 11th place.
    Goal Diff— +18, We are in 5th place.. Last week +15 for 3rd.

    All the while remembering that Boston has 4 games in hand, that is a possible 8 points!

  27. Lafleurguy says:

    Toronto media had a report on the make-up of the Leafs, and 7 players were their own draft-picks.
    Thinking about the eight or so home grown players (I include undrafted DD as homegrown), they are a much stronger core the Leafs’. Recent 1st rounders may still pan out, but Carey, Max, and now Alex have turned out great which is such a contrast to 5 years ago and before extending all the way back to Stanley Cup year 1993. The two kids this year, P.K., Max, Carey have been our best draftees since Andrei Markov and late-bloomer Tomas.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

    • commandant says:

      Plekanec, Desharnais, Pacioretty, Gallagher, Galchenyuk, White, Markov, Emelin, Subban, Price,

      I’m counting 10 regulars in our lineup who are “homegrown”. 9 draftees plus Desharnais.

      You could go to 12 if you include Weber, Diaz.

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

  28. HabinBurlington says:

    I am really not so sure much needs to be added to this squad. I say this because perhaps the greatest strength this team presently has is a roster where every player has bought into the program or system.

    We have started to get the injury bug, yet for now the pieces being added are filling in quite nicely. I think more important than making a trade is the rehabiliation of Prust, Bourque and Diaz. In the meantime Pateryn seems to be fitting in, and how fortunate were we that he got his first taste of the NHL on the road with less pressure against two non-playoff teams (assuming TBay doesn’t find what ails them soon).

    Dumont has played okay also, however, if indeed he doesn’t provide the grit needed, I am not sure a Blunden couldn’t help this squad more in a 4th line role.

    I think the only real question mark I have on this roster presently is Travis Moen. He has always been a good foot soldier, but seems to me that the concussion he suffered last season may have taken some of the grit out of his game. I don’t believe his character makeup is such that having signed that contract has made his less hungry. Also, MT is watching this team closely and continue to play him.

    Time will tell, but getting these injured guys back healthy could be just as meaningful as any trade deadline pickups.

    • Phil C says:

      I agree, the chemistry is working, why mess with it. A big depth defenseman (as an upgrade on Weber in the pressbox), and a big fourth liner who can play is all they really need. Both of these things can be had for a relatively cheap price.

      Not so sure about Pateryn being ready. He would have to have a great learning curve between now and the playoffs. I think this playing time this year will pay dividends next year. He now knows what it takes to play in the NHL.

    • ed says:

      if I’m not mistaken it was Bergevin that extended Moen. Moen has good size and therefore fits well in this lineup. He scored 11 goals once in his NHL career, and has had more then 20 points once, that same season (21 points). Even in Junior hockey he didn’t score, nor did he put up points.

      So Travis Moen has to forecheck, hit, play smart positional hockey, good defence, and do the little things, the “small details”, like chipping off the glass when the team can’t clear the zone, dump the puck deep and not turn it over at the blue line, etc..

      Travis Moen plays the type of game that us, the average fans, do not appreciate – but the hockey professionals very much appreciate.

      I have always liked Moen. Every winning team needs a Moen.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I agree Ed, and I like to think I do notice the small things he does also. My only concern is that on occasion he needs to step up physically so that Prust can have a break. I like Moen and don’t want to see him go anywhere. He is still providing good minutes on a 4th line which now gets put onto the ice in key situations to settle the team down.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Great post.
      Also agree with Ed about Moen.

  29. ed says:

    if we add to this group the player (s) must bring with them the right character.

    Compare Gallagher to Ovechkin and you will see what I mean.

    Do fans in other cities understand Gallagher’s game? Or Desharnais’ game, for that matter?

    I don’t mind if Bergevin adds to the depth of the team, especially a big, tough d-man to clear the crease and take some pressure off Prust.

    But that d-man must have the “character” of a winner; a player who does not take any shifts “off”; a guy who plays for the team ahead of his own, selfish needs.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Ed hit one out of the park.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Absolutely Ed, character is perhaps more important than any level of talent.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Not relishing being the party pooper, but careless moves like Sather rabidly going after Parise and Suter and letting Prust slip away for nothing happens only once in while; and we may hit the jackpot again in the same season but it’s unlikely. I agree with the posts below that advocate building depth. The bruiser D-man will likely be a no.6 and as a reflection of the abundance of highly intelligent posters on this site, I asked a question concerning small detail, and instantly got informed answers. I would say that this hockey website has the most intelligent posters, but can’t – because I haven’t read all the other sites.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Agreed. But it’s interesting to recall Ovie in his early years. He was just fearless.

      • Phil C says:

        Yes, he used to be so dominant physically, almost superhuman.

        On a separate note, PEDs are supposed to be rampant in Russia. And I seem to recall a steroids dealer who was arrested in 2009 boasting about selling to the Capitals.

  30. HabFanSince72 says:

    Price to Toronto for Kessel and Scrivens.

    Do it MB.


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