About last night … with audio

Desharnais
Your last-place Montreal Canadiens threw a scare into a playoff contender.
It was Tyler Night in Buffalo as the Sabres got two two goals from Tyler Ennis and the winner, in overtime, by Tyler Myers.
For long stretches of the game, the Canadiens looked like what they are, a tired team wrapping up a road trip with very little to play for.
Then Peter Budaj, who was brilliant, was pulled for a sixth attacker … and things got interesting.

Check Randy Cunneyworth’s choice of personnel for the frantic effort that produced the tying goal:

• Tomas Plekanec, who had centred the Canadiens’ best line in Vancouver but was bumped back down to playing with the indefatigable, if minimally skilled, Ryan White and the enigmatic Rene Bourque, who finished the game with no hits or shots on goal.

• Erik Cole, who opened the scoring with his 26th of the season, matching his total a year ago in Carolina, and Max Pacioretty, who had missed most of the second period with an ankle injury.

• P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov, who made quick-witted plays on the puck as the Canadiens scrambled to generate some last-minute pressure on Ryan Miller. No surprise there with P.K.: 23:18 ToI for the Canadiens best defenceman. But Markov, who played a few seconds less than the 17 minutes he logged in Vancouver, had a rough night in Buffalo. He was on for every Sabres goal and looked … well, like a guy who missed most of two seasons – on Ennis’s first one.

• David Desharnais, who was hurt in Edmonton, played five minutes against the Oilers, missed the Vancouver game and bounced back in Buffalo, setting up Cole for hihis Cole and scoring the one that sent the game into OT and secured the Canadiens a fifth point – of a possible eight – on this long, gruelling and – let’s be candid – meaningless road trip.

Those were the Canadiens’ on-ice jersey numbers when the red-light flashed on at 19:55: 14, 76, 79, 72, 67 and 51.

And those are the names that will carry this team going forward.

It’s a tribute to their dedication that the aforementioned players had that much left in the tank at the end of a cross-continental road trip.

And credit for 33 stops and no chance on the Buffalo goals. Were the goaltender anything less than stellar, no way this game goes to OT.

I’ll be honest: Having travelled back from Vancouver on the red-eye, I dozed off about three times during the game. So this will be an incomplete summary of what went down.

But on the occasions when my eyes were open, they were watching a dominant performance by the home team. The Sabres needed two points to keep their playoff hopes on track, and they took it to the tired Canadiens pretty good for most of the evening.

In order to protect Markov and manage his minutes, Cunneyworth dressed seven defenceman. And as was the case in Vancouver, Chris Campoli played major minutes.  Low men on the ToI pole were Yannick Weber and Emelin, who was minus-2 in 15:49 and had Ennis’s second goal tick in off his stick as he scrambled to cover the odd-man rush created by Markov being caught up the ice.

On L’Antichambre, Guy Carbonneau was angry about the lack of intensity displayed by too many of the Canadiens. Carbo sees the futility of a lost season taking its toll on players who mailed one in.

He didn’t name any names, but Bourque was invisible and the kids, Blake Geoffrion and Louis Leblanc, didn’t contribute much.

Lars Eller played almost 20 minutes and was a team-worst minus-3. He was on for Myers’ winning goal.

There is no rest for this road-weary team.

The Buffalo game launched a week in which the Canadiens will play four games in six nights, including home and home with the Senators and – get your tickets early – a Saturday night class of the Also-Rans that has the Islanders visiting the Bell Centre.

359 Comments

  1. deggy24 says:

    Solution to NHL salary cap problem teams with high salary veterans is simple. Trade a player with a high salary but assume some of that salary under your team’s cap. For example, Tampa trades Vinnie to Montreal and agrees to pay 2.5 million of his annual salary (TB takes 2.5 million cap hit, Montreal 4.5) …. (not that I want Vinnie) .. this would have worked well for Souray in Edmonton .. Gomez a year ago in Montreal .. and countless others. Saves cap money for team that made mistake, allows movement of players, within the league, that are otherwise unmovable.

    Habs Win!

  2. rhino514 says:

    4thliners, for most teams, play around 5 minutes a game. So, no, I don´t think they are an important part of the team. I´d rather have “real” 4thliners, like White and Moen (who can also sub on the 3rd line than guys like Palushaj and Webber, but I don´t think it makes a big difference when they have such little ice time.
    But I think it´s a plus if you have guys on the 4th line who can be juggled on the top 3 lines in certain circumstances; i.e. of injuries, misconducts, or protecting other players who are getting roughed up. The 4th line allows a guy like Darche to be in the lineup, for all the criticism directed at him. Darche is a guy who, if someone gets injured on the top lines, can go sub and do things like go to the net or get in front of the goalie on the PP. He´s not good enough to be there every day, but he can do well with spot duty.
    He´s a very valuable sub. The proof is, last year, when the team wasn´t as deep, he got to chip in on the top 3 lines and ended up with like 12 goals.

  3. Chris says:

    Take the following with whatever size grain of salt you like…comparing goalie statistics without factoring in defence corps is a recipe for disaster. With that caveat in mind…

    There is an adage in hockey that your goalie can’t be expected to win games where you score less than two goals per game, and your goalie is probably wearing goat horns if you lose while scoring more than 2 goals per game. Using that adage to sort goalies, here is how they come out.

    The thieves – Goalies who salvage the biggest percentage of points with 1 goal or less of support

    Jaroslav Halak——-3-5-2 (40%)
    Ilya Bryzgalov——-2-6-2 (30%)
    Antti Niemi———–3-8-0 (27%)
    Jonathan Quick—–2-12-6 (25%)
    Brian Elliott———-1-4-0 (20%)
    Tim Thomas———1-4-0 (20%)
    Niklas Backstrom—2-11-2 (20%)
    Mike Smith———–1-9-3 (19%)
    Miikka Kiprusoff—–3-15-1 (18%)
    Henrik Lundqvist—1-9-1 (14%)
    Kari Lehtonen——1-9-1 (14%)
    Ryan Miller———-1-10-1 (13%)
    Roberto Luongo—-0-5-1 (8%)
    Jimmy Howard——0-5-1 (8%)
    Tomas Vokoun——1-12-0 (8%)
    Jose Theodore——0-11-2 (8%)
    Pekka Rinne———0-9-1 (5%)
    Marc-Andre Fleury–0-9-0 (0%)
    Carey Price——-0-17-0 (0%)

    As mentioned above, take this with a grain of salt…the simple statistic does not in any way suggest how easy or hard those points were to obtain. We know that Halak and Elliott have banked some points in low-scoring games where they only had 10-20 shots…that would suggest an easier game than some of those seen by Quick, for example.

    The Push – Goalies who garner points in games with 2 goals of support

    Kiprusoff———-5-2-3 (65%)
    Theodore———4-2-2 (63%)
    Price————4-2-3 (61%)
    Vokoun————4-3-1 (56%)
    Lundqvist———4-3-2 (56%)
    Fleury————–6-5-2 (54%)
    Quick—————6-6-3 (50%)
    Lehtonen———-4-4-1 (50%)
    Elliott—————3-4-2 (44%)
    Miller—————-5-7-2 (43%)
    Niemi—————4-6-3 (42%)
    Smith—————4-7-4 (40%)
    Luongo————-2-4-4 (40%)
    Backstrom———3-6-1 (35%)
    Halak—————2-5-3 (35%)
    Bryzgalov———-2-6-2 (30%)
    Howard————1-6-0 (14%)
    Miller—————1-10-1 (13%)
    Thomas————1-7-0 (13%)

    The Goats – Goalies who earn the least number of points when their team scores 3 goals or more

    Price————-20-7-6 (69.7%)
    Kiprusoff———–23-6-4 (75.8%)
    Niemi—————27-2-0 (76.8%)
    Luongo————-25-4-2 (83.9%)
    Bryzgalov———-23-3-2 (85.7%)
    Lehtonen———-23-2-2 (88.9%)
    Miller—————-19-1-3 (89.1%)
    Backstrom———12-0-3 (90%)
    Lundqvist———-27-2-2 (90.3%)
    Smith—————-25-2-1 (91.1%)
    Quick—————-20-1-2 (91.3%)
    Theodore———–15-0-3 (91.7%)
    Rinne—————-33-1-4 (92.1%)
    Howard————-32-2-1 (92.8%)
    Thomas————-27-2-0 (93.1%)
    Vokoun————-20-1-1 (93.2%)
    Fleury—————31-0-1 (98.4%)
    Eliott—————-18-0-0 (100%)
    Halak—————19-0-0 (100%)

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      If you wish to be taken seriously draw a clear distinction between percentage of points “salvaged” with exactly one goal of “support” and exactly zero goals of “support”.

      “Patch the holes, ride it out, Play for 2015″
      – Sean Bonjovi

    • krob1000 says:

      wow…that grain of salt just fell right into an open wound….ouch! that is some interesting stuff….is there a shootout factor there though?

    • Chris says:

      And my interpretation…

      For my money, this is a helpful illustration of why Jonathan Quick deserves to win the Vezina Trophy this year, although I suspect the very deserving Henrik Lundqvist will probably run away with it. Like Lundqvist, Quick plays for a team that does not give him a lot of goal support…the Kings were shut out in 6 of Quick’s starts and have scored 2 goals or less in 35 of his 58 starts. Compare that to Lundqvist (20 of 51 starts), Price (26 of 59 starts) or Rinne (22 of 60 starts)…Quick is clearly far less supported than those other guys.

      The fact that Quick’s stats are right there with Thomas, Halak, Elliott and Lundqvist and factoring in the number of points he has outright stolen for his team (10 points earned in games where the Kings scored 1 goal or less), I would even throw Quick into contention for the Vezina Trophy. Without him, the Kings aren’t even close to the playoffs.

      The other thing that jumps out at me is how over-rated Fleury and Howard probably are. Both guys rack up huge win totals because of playing for outstanding teams, but do very poorly when they don’t get significant goal support. Howard in particular has won only 1 game all season when he didn’t get 3 goals or more of support.

      And these numbers make Roberto Luongo look like a chump. Which is probably accurate, come playoff time. ;)

    • HardHabits says:

      ManApart and Tony are going to have a field day with this.

      Somebody should show this chart to the arbitrator that works on Price’s new contract. Habs should be able to get Price locked in for 4 years at 3.75 million per with those stats.

      • Chris says:

        Sadly, you are probably right.

        I just got so tired of reading how one goalie or another benefits from huge support. I’ve known all season that some of the guys that get credit for big support actually don’t.

        I was admittedly shocked at how poorly Price did in games with 3 goals of support or more. Part of that is definitely on the young defence corps, but some of that has to land on Price’s doorstep. That number is simply not acceptable for a team that wants to make the playoffs.

        If Price was even converting 85% of those 3 goals or more games into wins, less than most of the “elite” guys in the NHL, that would amount to a 10 point swing in the standings.

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          Any idea what the “league average number of games with 3+ goals scored by a team” is, and how the Habs compare?

          • Chris says:

            It would take too long to go through every team.

            For the 19 top goalies I looked at, Price received 3 goals or more in 56% of his starts. The high marks were Jimmy Howard (73%), Henrik Lundqvist (66%), Roberto Luongo (66%) and Jaroslav Halak (66%). Note that all 4 teams are safely entrenched in the playoffs.

            The low marks were Niklas Backstrom (37.5%), Jonathan Quick (45%), Ryan Miller (47%) and Mike Smith (50%). All four of those teams are fighting for their playoff lives.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Very interesting. I agree that these statistics are skewed because of the respective teams defense. Notice that Price and Kiprusoff have VERY similar numbers.

      I’d be interested to see these statistics adjusted to include shots against and percentage of shots which are deemed scoring chances. Although, it would take an enormous amount of research!

      • Chris says:

        Kiprusoff was the interesting comparison. Like you say, they have posted very similar numbers for teams that have both struggled this season.

        And notice where they are in the standings…Calgary is sitting on 76 points for the season, while Montreal is sitting on 65 points.

        Defensively, the two teams are pretty much the same (Montreal gives up 2.67 goals per game, Calgary gives up 2.69 goals per game), but Montreal has scored a bit more (2.59 goals per game to 2.46 goals per game).

        Basically both teams are the same…except that Kiprusoff has stolen 7 points in the 15 games the Flames scored 1 goal or less, while Price hasn’t stolen any.

    • ont fan says:

      Wow..you’ve got way to much time on your hands!

    • Bill says:

      It’s interesting, but … well, you said to take it with a grain of salt, since it doesn’t take into account the quality of the team, the quality of the D, or the style of coaching.

      That’s a little more than a grain! I would suggest that on it’s own, this information is meaningless, with all due respect.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        It is not meaningless, it is a start. I’m sure an algorithm could be written that places weighted averages on shots against and percentage of shots against from high quality scoring chances. Working out goaltenders particular save % on quality shots against as well as save % on simple shots against. Also taking into account the number of shots a goaltender faces under each category listed above. the benchmark being the NHL average for points accumulated when facing X amount of shots.

      • Chris says:

        Fair enough. Obviously, by the fact that I mentioned that there are significant grains of salt, I agree with some of what you point out.

        I will say that I find the quality of competition argument to be completely lazy thinking, however. Montreal has beaten Detroit, Boston (twice), NY Rangers (twice), Philadelphia, Vancouver, Nashville and Detroit this season. So despite being a minnow, the Habs can play with anybody on any given night. With this much of the season complete, quality of competition arguments generally average out and are almost pointless to even discuss.

    • To be fair, and as Chris points this out, playing behind a good defence — i.e. one that doesn’t include two rookies, two sophomores and Chris Campoli — makes a huge difference. As for what Halak’s and Price’s stats would be on each other’s teams, it’s anybody’s guess.

      It bears noting though that bad as those stats look, Price is just a few percentage points away from some pretty good company on both Chris’s “Thieves” chart (Miller, Luongo, Howard, Vokoun, Rinne, Fleury), and his “Push” chart (Kiprusoff, Vokoun, Lundqvist, Fleury, Quick).

      Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

    • New says:

      Chris I always try and read your stuff because it is worthwhile. In this case the problem is simply you have to believe that goalies win games. I do not believe they do. I believe they can lose you a game but that most NHL caliber goalies are competent and do not. Then you are left with where the shots come from. Hense Elliott and Halak almost the same, and played the same through the losing spell and now the winning spell under Hitch.

      • Chris says:

        Believe me, New, I don’t believe goalies win games. In fact, I think goaltenders are the most overrated position in hockey.

        The difference between an elite goaltender and a non-elite goaltender is basically miniscule in this day and age. Perhaps in the 1980’s, when goalies were generally not strong athletes, the goaltender was a difference maker. But in today’s NHL, a good team perfecting their own system can make good goalies (Osgood in Detroit, Elliott and Halak in St. Louis) look like gods.

        That being said, any time a goaltender can pick up 1 or 2 points in a game where their team gave them only 1 goal of support, I give them props. What I love about hockey is that every single shot could lead to a goal because of an unlucky bounce or a deflection. It is pretty rare (although it does happen) where a goalie doesn’t have to make at least one elite save. Even for those game where the goalie supposedly gets very little work, this is a huge amount of stress…we always hear ex-goalies talk about how hard it is to maintain focus when you aren’t seeing a lot of shots.

        The main reason I posted the above is to highlight the fact that what Jonathan Quick is doing this season is nothing short of phenomenal, but he doesn’t receive anything close to enough attention due to playing for the Kings. I’ll pat myself on the back and state that I had Quick ranked right behind Thomas, Lundqvist and Rinne coming into this season. Now, I would put him #1 or #2.

  4. 24 Cups says:

    To answer the question that was just stated below, I’m pretty sure that Mike Boone is recharging his batteries after having gone on a four game road trip through a variety of time zones. He not only ran the HI/O site and his game blog but also wrote articles for the daily paper which probably has a midnight deadline.

    I’m sure he’ll be back on the scene come tomorrow morning with an update as well as Hab/Gazette links pertaining to the Ottawa home and home series.

  5. SmartDog says:

    The Habs almost beat a bubble (probably non-playoff) team but couldn’t. That’s a good sign. I say “good” because:

    IF HABS WIN MOST REMAINING GAMES
    = later draft pick, Gauthier may keep his job
    This would be horrible.

    IF HABS LOSE MOST REMAINING GAMES
    = better draft pick, Gauthier probably will be gone
    This is what we need.

    I hate to say it but for their own sake, ABH – anybody but Habs!

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

  6. shiram says:

    HIO is tanking.
    The poor server performances, the Hickey controversy, the outtages, Boone sleeping on the job and now they are not even posting the Gazette’s link anymore.

  7. gumper says:

    Sorry to have posted and run down below. Thanks to all for the intelligent response to my earlier post. On a fine sunny day such as this I’m prone to donning the rose-coloured glasses. Have to agree with most that there’s lots of room for improvement inmy suggested roster. I just don’t know how much real improvement we can hope to expect given this year’s assortment of FAs and the tiny trickle of NHL-ready players coming out of the Hamilton pipeline. We may just have to grit our teeth and let things slide one more year. I think those who pointed out that Louis might carve out a larger role could possibly be right, however.
    Cheers

    • 24 Cups says:

      I’ve been thinking the same thing. I’ve checked and double-checked the UFA lists are it’s difficult to see who we would bring in to fill out the three or four (depending on Moen) roster spots that will be available.

      The other issue is the new cap and the CBA. The union has the right to activate the automatic cap increase ($69-72M) but the deal runs out on Sept 15th. What happens if there is a rollback from 57% to 51% or somewhere in between? Do the Habs want to waste cap space on short term fixes who will not be part of a Cup run in a few years? Should they just sign some guys on one year deals for average coin? What if there’s a lockout? Would it really hurt this team to miss a season (not that I’m trying to jinx us) in terms of the salary cap as well as the prospect talent gap?

      “General “Buck” Turgidson: Is that the Russian ambassador you’re talking about?
      President Merkin Muffley: Yes it is, General.
      General “Buck” Turgidson: A-A-Am I to understand the *Russian* ambassador is to be admitted entrance to th-the War Room?
      President Merkin Muffley: That is correct, he is here on my orders.
      General “Buck” Turgidson: I… I don’t know exactly how to put this, sir, but are you aware of what a serious breach of security that would be? I mean, he’ll see everything, he’ll… he’ll see the Big Board!”

      • krob1000 says:

        I still console myself at times by thinking that Crosby will want to fulfill his childhood dream and become a Hab. I tell myself that he is going to win this year and then have 2 cups in Pittsburgh (wtih another shot next year), he has scored the biggest goal in Canadian History….all that is left is for him to live out his childhood dream…and raise a Cup in Montreal!!! I told myself this after every loss….and now I tell myself this after every win since they still feel like losses.

  8. FanCritic says:

    Don’t care how good a coach is, he’ll never win with deadwood and we have a forest

  9. The Dude says:

    The Real question is ,if you added a Crosby or a Malkin too the Habs existing line-up would they be play-off finalist ? I don’t think we’re even close!The Habs are inundated with under performing ,high priced and long term soft athletes on the O and on the D!And a ton of 4th liners…and as for Budaj ,well Alex Auld had good games to but he’s not “either is Budaj” a proper back-up for the Habs.”the Picebergs just want a back-up for Price!” . We need two no. 1 goaltenders ” just like St.Lou!”

    • habfan53 says:

      Do you think St Louis thought Elliott was a number 1 if so why give him only the minimum this year .Next year his salary almost triples. Face it they lucked out like Montreal did when we had both Jaro and Carey .
      Watch what will happen in Vancouver when Schneider’s contract expires they won’t keep both

      to paraphrase Nixon: If the Bruins do it, it is not illegal

      • HardHabits says:

        The Habs didn’t luck out with Halak and Price. They drafted both of them. What the Habs did do was trade Halak after he became a local hero with a clear agenda.

        Price cannot play 70 games a season and be expected to perform in the play-offs.

        The reason why Elliot is getting so many game is so that Halak will be well rested for the play-offs. But if Halak falters and Elliot steps up there wont be any bread baking news conferences in St. Louis.

        Nor will Hitchcock get fired for playing Elliot.

        Contrast that to how the Canadiens operate.

        • joeybarrie says:

          The reason Elliot is getting so many games is that Halak went .838 and let in 20 goals in his first 6 starts while Elliot went .947 and let in 10 in his first 7. Including 2 shut outs.
          Just because YOU think a coach would be fired for playing a goalie doesn’t make it so.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            He was referring to Carbo being fired for wanting to play Halak and being “forced” to play Price, who looked lost back then.

          • HardHabits says:

            Both Carbo and Julien were fired for playing the other goalie. Carbo for wanting to play Halak over Price. Julien for wanting to play Huet over Theodore.

            Those are facts.

    • joeybarrie says:

      Its mind boggling to me that if you add a top 5 scorer to our team adding possibly 30 goals to our season and erasing at least 10 goals to adapt for team having to play a defensive game against us, that you would not think we would be in the playoffs.
      Take away missed games for both Markov and Gionta???? If that is your point. Adding a player to our current roster and figuring out if we are good…

      • HardHabits says:

        What’s mind boggling is to read about how the Habs are a piece or two away.

        The Habs are 2-3 years away. If and only if we fans are lucky enough to not have management throw everything at next season and another final berth in the play-offs again.

        The big fear all Habs fans have is that they will trade the 1st pick for a quick fix. Fans are beginning to wake up to what it takes to win the Cup. Making the play-offs every year as one of the final seeds is not part of that process.

        • Propwash says:

          It all hinges on whether or not picks pan out or not. There are no guarantees in drafting.

          _____________________________
          Don’t let the wultures getcha.

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          What do you see happening over the next 2-3 seasons that would make the Habs a contender?

          The recipe for being a perennial cup contender is a “Five Man Core” consisting of a Goaltender, top two D, Top two centers. IMO the Habs have 4 of the 5 man core in Price, Subban, Markov, Pleks or DD. Adding an all-star center to this team gives them a foundation for contention. The complementary pieces currently on the Habs are strong, Cole, Patch, Gorges, Emelin. Given a “True Number One” would solidify the Habs as a powerhouse in the East.

        • joeybarrie says:

          When have the habs ever traded a top 1st pick for a quick fix? So why is everyone so worried?
          You still haven’t explained how the Habs have gone 3 playoff series against the Top teams in the East, including the current Champs, and went to 7 games and still only lost the one to the Champs. They did it with 2 different goalies and mostly the same core players.
          With our PROPER D corps. A top draft pick and another top 6 player up front. We are a top 10 team in the league. If we can stay reasonably free of injuries, which is something we have not done.
          Give us a proper coaching staff and let price play 75 games a year and we can challenge for the cup.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Dude, the simple answer, YES!

      Adding Crosby/Malkin (in place of Gomez money) AND Brian Allen on D and this team would contend year after year after year.

      Patch Malkin/Crosby Gionta (100 goals)
      Bourque Plek Cole (80 goals)
      Leblanc Eller Moen (35 goals)
      Staub White Darche (10 goals)

      Markov Emelin
      Subban Gorges
      Allen Kaberle (30 goals from D)

      Price
      255 goals (3 per game)

      Pop the champagne!

  10. habfan53 says:

    Looking thru the posts below I see several that want Eller traded or converted to left wing.
    WHY WHY WHY WHY
    Eller is Possibly that big centre that everybody says we need.
    As I said yesterday he is 6’2” 200 pounds and learning.
    Yes maybe he should have spent last year in Hamilton but being the key piece coming back for Jaro that was not going to happen.
    As stated last year 7 goals in 77 games this year 15 in 67 even if you take the 4 goal game out that is an increase in ten less games.I also feel that like most of the young assets in the organization the last few years he has been mis-managed .
    Watching him the last few games on the penalty kill he has not hurt us and has given us a strong second unit after Pleks.
    His faceoff % has increased from 42.4 to 46% still not great but an improvement.
    Plus the fact that he will be only 23 years old at the start of next season I would like to see him given the chance to develop

    to paraphrase Nixon: If the Bruins do it, it is not illegal

    • shiram says:

      Habs have a problem down the line, solution? Trade all the centers.
      That’s how it works around here.

    • ed lopaz says:

      if the Habs (read: Gauthier) would have let Eller develop 1 more year in Hamilton as a center, this year Eller would have broken through to 20-25 goals and 50 points. As it stands, he still looks darn good to me.
      But he needs to stay at center permanently and given more responsibilty next season.

      Eller on the wing
      Weber on the wing, not even playing defence for shts sake.
      Max not being good enough for top 6 minutes

      and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.

      Pro development errors that have cost this team dearly.

      Once a player makes your NHL roster, you need to develop him properly.

      The way the players have been mishandled has killed this team.

      • habfan53 says:

        I have to hand it to Max when he told them that he wanted top 6 minutes in the past he would have been shipped out.
        On Saturday night he gave a lot of credit to DD saying that over the last few years they had worked well together.
        As for Eller I still think he has a shot at 20 goals not bad for 3rd line no PP and limited time early on

        to paraphrase Nixon: If the Bruins do it, it is not illegal

      • Malreg says:

        You have no idea what his results would have been this season if he spent last year in the AHL.

        Some guys need more time to develop in the AHL, others don’t. Would it have helped him? Maybe, maybe not.

  11. MTLCANADIENS says:

    we seriously need to stop getting points, i know we still got to play but id rather lose because we need a top 3 pick in the draft this year, only team i would like us to beat for the rest of the season our new york rangers and of course the maple leafs. other then that tank the rest. we cant afford a pick from 5-10 ranking in the draft

  12. habs11s says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXkI9lwjiOg

    ugly hit involving the top pick in draft….

    _____________________________________________________________

    “How would you like a job where when you made a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?” -Jacques Plante

  13. temekuhabs says:

    I was hoping Hrudey wasn’t right about Bourque, but man, he floated around all night long

  14. jols101 says:

    I loved watching the Habs beat the Oilers and Canucks, i was a proud Habs fan when they dug deep and scored in the last 5 seconds to tie it up against the Sabres. So why do I feel so bad about getting 5 out of a possible 6 points in the last 3 games. We can’t throw away a lottery pick by starting to play well now. It just doesnt make any sense.

    In a perfect world we win the last 12 games but decline to take the points. Can the Habs do that? Lol…

  15. HabFanSince72 says:

    Sorry to start another debate but someone mentioned that White is a career 4th liner and should be judged accordingly.

    My question is this: do you think a 4th liner is a position in itself or is it just where players who aren’t very good end up.

    For example, in football an offensive lineman isn’t a glamorous position but it’s still a thing in itself. You don’t put a guy who isn’t good enough to be a running back or wide receiver on the offensive line.

    On the other hand, in baseball, your pinch hitter really is just a guy who isn’t good enough.

    My view is that your 4th liner really is just a guy who isn’t good enough. Whether its a Sean Thornton or a Tommy Pyatt.

    So saying White is a career 4th liner is really saying he’s not very good. This is different than Louis Leblanc who is currently played on the bottom lines with the understanding that he is learning his craft.

    So 4th liner: an actual thing-in-itself or something that exists because there are 30 teams but there aren’t 300 Malkins in the world?

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • Bripro says:

      I think it’s a combination of both. Ask any player or coach on any team and they’ll all tell you that the 4th liners are an important part of a team, for all the right reasons; better time shared, play lights-out reduced minutes in key situations against specific line combinations, bring some jump to an exhausted first trio, etc.
      They should be able to be sent onto the ice in virtually any situation, regular season or playoffs, and not be a defensive liability.
      It’s great to have a solid forth line like the Red Wing’s Miller/Helm/Eaves or Boston’s Campbell/Thorton/Paille, but not every team has them because they’re either capped-out, injured, or (fill in the blank).
      And some teams just don’t have very talented 4th line players, so they play fewer minutes (Tampa Bay, Islanders, Columbus).
      The only way to achieve the right balance is through proper management, and we’re not there.

      • Ali says:

        The Bruins 4th line of Campbell, Thornton and Paille was pretty damn good last year during the playoffs. They need to have a purpose, not just players who you don’t know what to do with (Weber, Gomez, Palushaj)

    • ed lopaz says:

      if a player doesn’t have great NHL skills he will never be a top 6.

      because top 6 needs to generate a huge % of the goals.

      a player like ryan white could be a solid 3rd liner.

      10-15 goals a season and playing solid minutes, but not top 6.

      guys like Gainey and Carbo were pretty good 3rd liners.

      amongst the best 3rd liners of all time.

      I like a 3rd line that can be a shut down defensive line and some offensive upside.

      If I was White I would be very conscious of my defensive game.

      Louis Leblanc is earning a 3rd line role next season because of his defensive effort and positioning and smarts.

      That is what white should be striving towards.

      to answer your question, sometimes, in whites case for example, the player is still developing and he can be “promoted” from the 4th to the 3rd line.

      in the old days, the 4th line was often a “kid line” for this reason.

      guys who needed NHL experience, limited minutes however, to continue their development.

    • Cardiac says:

      It was my comment so I’ll be one of the first to reply.

      A fourth liner has a role. He is there to be the spark of the team. He is there to deliver a good check, be a nuisance to the other team, etc. An effective fourth liner does his job and does it well (Thorton, Paille, Draper). Try telling Boston and Detroit those players are insignificant. It doesn’t mean he is a bad player, less skilled, yes.

      Put it this way, there are 30 teams with 23 man rosters. That’s 690 active players. You take 90 of those players and play them an average of 8-10 minutes a game and they can say they are “good enough” to play among the best hockey players in the world. I think that’s awesome.

      “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
      – Jerry Maguire

    • Garbo says:

      I think this question can easily be answered with another question:

      Would you not rather 12 “top six” guys on a roster?

      It’s not like football, where a running back literally could not play O-line and vice versa. In hockey, it is simply the best 12 forwards available at any time make the line-up. The worse you are, the lower down the line-up you go.

  16. Hobie Hansen says:

    Ryan White has played a grand total of 56 NHL games. He is playing for a lame duck coach on a team that has nothing to play for. He is also coming off an injury that caused him to miss 3/4s of the season.

    Passing judgement on him, especially from the peanut gallery, is pretty weak.

    Next people will be saying, Andrei Markov really sucks eh…

  17. DorvalTony says:

    McLean: “Dave Stubbs is a nice guy, almost too nice.”
    Dave Stubbs: “Jackass fans.”
    — Oops! LOL

    “The ’76 and ’86 teams partied way more than ’08-’09.” – Mitch Melnick
    “Yeah but *they* won!” – McLean

  18. Habs_since_birth says:

    long time reader first time commenting…. anyone find the goal differential stat interesting? Looking at this season from the glass half full perspective, it is not that bad… Habs lost a ton of 1/2 games, 11 games in OT. And how many blown leads? Coaching? System? Mental toughness? hmmmm

    If you sort the DIFF stat, you see Canadiens 8th in the conference and 18th overall. What is this really telling us, who the F knows. But with not as many injuries and some better coaching……..

    Things WILL be different next year IF … we have a new coach,… IF, we have a new GM…. I think the core is there… ok, hope I don’t get to ripped up for a first time poster :D

    • Bripro says:

      Welcome newbie!
      If you don’t get ripped, edited or completely deleted from this site, you don’t belong here.
      So for now, we’ll all reserve judgement.
      I won’t tell you who to avoid. I think you’ll figure that one out for yourself.
      Since you’ve been reading, you already know all this, so safe to say:
      Good luck, God bless and tell your family it’s been nice knowing them!
      ;)

  19. HabFanSince72 says:

    On the topic of disappointing players…

    Ryan White? Personally, I think he sucks. But that might be harsh. He’s no Konopka that’s for sure.

    Lars Eller? 150 NHL games and he still can’t seem to figure the game out. Latendresse was like that after 220 games though, so maybe he needs more time. Also he has been the unlucky winner of the ” Be Scott Gomez’s Winger” prize recently, and that has the same effect on hockey players that mono has on teens.


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • shiram says:

      I liked White more last season, this year he just seems to skate around trying to get into trouble. Having him play 17-18 minutes is not good for the team.

      Eller is 4th in goals on the Habs, he improved from last season, and I think he can do better the next one.
      Finally a center with a bit of size, let’s not be too hasty to send him packing.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Well he’s not a heavyweight but neither is Darche. Nor is Blunden. But not every guy is Crosby or Orr or Fergy. We missed White’s energy and consistency on this small soft team. He finishes the check and keeps the other teams (more) honest. Excellent young 4th liner, or spot duty on 3rd line.

      “The ’76 and ’86 teams partied way more than ’08-’09.” – Mitch Melnick
      “Yeah but *they* won!” – McLean

    • Agree with your post. However Lars has improved.

      Last year he scored 7 goals in 77 games.
      In his second full year, he has 15 goals in 67 games.

      He works x100 as hard as Fatendresse ever did.

    • Strummer says:

      I agree with you on White. He brings zero offensive capability and given that this team is offensively challenged, White taking a regular shift won’t lead us out of the basement.
      Eller needs to play top 6 minutes in the minors for half a season at least- much like Max and DD did last year.
      They could never send him down as he was the “prize” in the Halak giveaway.

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

    • Cardiac says:

      White is a career fourth liner, so I’m not sure what your expectations are. As long as he puts some hustle into the eight or so minutes of ice time he gets and doesn’t take any dump penalties, he’s doing his job in my books.

      As for Eller, it’s really tough to say. Was the four goal performance a fluke? The kid obviously has talent or else he wouldn’t have been as highly scouted as he was. I forget who it was, maybe Benoit Brunet, that said whenever Gomez isn’t in the lineup is when Eller plays better. He scored a a goal recently when Gomez was out with the eye injury. But when he came back, poof! Gone. Gomez’s wing is like Long Island, it’s where players’ careers go to die.

      “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
      – Jerry Maguire

      • shiram says:

        Problem is White is playing from 12 up to 18 minutes, being Plekanec’s winger..

        • Cardiac says:

          I was merely stating what it SHOULD BE, not what it is now…

          “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
          – Jerry Maguire

      • Bripro says:

        I agree with you on White. He’ll never be more than a 4-line player, but his heart and determination are there.
        He’s the typical bouncer. He’ll take a bullet for any of his teammates, but he’ll never excel.
        Eller is another story. When he and AK were paired early in the year, they were great together. A very dangerous combination. Then AK got injured, and JM started to juggle lines, and when AK came back, now-new-coach RC didn’t put them back together, and AK is gone.
        I would have to think given the right wingers, he too could be very dangerous.
        They should pair him up with Cole and Max just to see how he plays with top wingmen. At least this would give management a better idea of what’s needed to make our young forwards thrive.

  20. Cardiac says:

    Is a defensive system still “boring”? Do high scoring games really add more excitement to the game? As a fan, do you feel just as satisfied after a 2-1 game as you would a 6-5 game?

    I am asking these questions because let’s face it, defensively we blow hard! Our shutdown center is -19 and our defensive corp is a combined -40 with only two in the plus (Subban and Gorges). Yet we have a first line that consistently scores every game and up-and-comers to provide secondary scoring.

    Now, how can a team like St. Louis, with not one player in the top 50 of scoring leaders, be so successful? The have a defensive coach, a real defensive coach! With a system… a REAL SYSTEM!!! You look at their roster and there are some similarities with ours. They have a blend of young studs (Perron, Backes, Oshie, Pietrangelo) with a blend of vets (Arnott, Langenbrunner, McDonald) and their goalie, well… nevermind…

    My point is you get the right coach in the with right team and anyone can be a winner.

    “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
    – Jerry Maguire

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      You mean getting outplayed and out-hustled and hoping your keeper saves everything isn’t a system?


      Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • Cardiac says:

        Circa ’93…

        “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
        – Jerry Maguire

    • Strummer says:

      Iteresting comment on the Blues.
      If you stack their roster up against ours (pre-injury) is there as much disparity as the difference in the standings indicates?

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

      • Cardiac says:

        I say no. They don’t have marquee players yet they win. They don’t need a Malkin, Giroux or Sedin.

        But would I take Perron, Backes, Oshie and Pietrangelo over Desharnais, Pacioretty, Eller and Subban? Perhaps… Is this an indicator that St. Louis is better at developing their pro talent? Most probably… Is their coach using these players more to their strengths than ours? Definitely!

        “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
        – Jerry Maguire

  21. 24 Cups says:

    Myers’ case is being reviewed by Shanahan.

    Myers was reacting to getting hit by another Hab on the original play and then took his revenge by hitting the smaller Gomez who didn’t have the puck and was up against the boards. These plays need to come with a five minute major and a game misconduct. A two minute minor doesn’t mean much.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkr7yn0kw1Q

    • boing007 says:

      Add to that a two game suspension.

      Richard R

    • arcosenate says:

      Love the comment below the video:

      “F#*# you Myers! Gomez was on pace for a 2 goal season!!”

    • DorvalTony says:

      If he had received a major, no OT goal obviously.

      “The ’76 and ’86 teams partied way more than ’08-’09.” – Mitch Melnick
      “Yeah but they WON!” – McLean

      • 24 Cups says:

        Exactly. Which brings me to my second point – why should the fact that the intended victim is able to resume play have any impact on the severity of the suspension? An illegal, dangerous hit is still an action that needs to be severely punished.

        BTW, you can also add the “no past history” defense to my list of peeves.

  22. Pricey Habs says:

    Figurative Question: Should the Canadiens trade Plekanec to NJ for the rights to Parise come draft day? Although it would be EXTREMELY risky (Parise goes straight back to NJ come July 1st), signing him before free agency begins would make Montreal a lot stronger offensively.
    I wouldn’t get too excited though, as this could only happen if the Gomez contract is bought out with no effect on the salary cap (new rules come into play), and if Kaberle is shipped elsewhere. This would be what the offensive unit would look like:
    Pacioretty- Desharnais – Cole
    Parise- Eller- Gionta
    Moen- Leblanc- Bourque
    Staubitz- White- Darche/Blunden/Goon
    This would leave us with two very strong offensive lines, a highly defensive third line, and a fourth line to smash up other teams and step in to protect our better players. I know, keep dreaming, some may not like it… just was hoping to spark interest.


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