About this afternoon … with audio

PriceLA
It was a revelatory day in L.A.
We learned the Montreal Canadiens have not quit on their coach.
We learned Andrei Markov won’t be in the lineup until Christmas … if then.

AUDIO: Tomas Plekanec | Carey Price I and II | Jacques Martin | Brian Gionta | Louis Leblanc | Lars Eller

The Canadiens left Los Angeles at 7:30 Montreal time. Their charter will touch down at Trudeau Airport at 12:35.

It’s going to be a very happy flight.

Can they fit this much good news into five hours?

• Fresh off playing 27 minutes in San Jose, Raphael Diaz played 24:21 in L.A. He made good decisions, impeccable first passes and blocked two shots. Very heady hockey player. If/when Markov, Jaro Spacek and Chris Campoli return, Diaz is playing himself into the discussion.

• Joining Diaz in that discussion: Alexei Emelin. He’s the most physical  defenceman on this team … which is kinda like being the Republican Party’s resident intellectual.

• Mike Cammalleri – who was in a funk through the first quarter of the season – has found happiness with David Desharnais and Erik Cole. Once again, they were the Canadiens’ best line. DD skated around and through the California redwoods in San Jose and L.A. Cole took two penalties but had six of the Canadiens’ 27 shots on goal.

• The power-play finally scored. More importantly, the man-advantage units displayed patience and calm. Liberated from point duty for which he was manifestly ill-suited, Tomas Plekanec is a happy PP camper, playing the Alex Kovalev Memorial position on the right-side half boards.

• Josh Gorges played 26 minutes, including 5 on the PP and 6:43 shorthanded. The guy is a stud … and the Canadiens let his contract expire July 1, Gorges’ heart, guts and smarts will be rewarded by someone who recognizes leadership.

• L’s Angels: Eller and LL. They set the table brilliantly for Andrei Kostistyn’s goal, and Louis Leblanc collected the first of what will be many NHL points. So what happens when Max Pacioretty rejoins practice on Monday? Who goes to Hamilton, LL or Aaron Palushaj? Nice problem for Mr. Pierre Gauthier. They’ve got to give the kid a start at the Bell Centre, no?

• Carey Price … ah, what’s to say? So good, all the time. Should he have started in Anaheim?

• Hal Gill, who blocked a mind-blowing 11 shots in San Jose, added four against the Kings.

• Pleks took 29 faceoffs and won 15 of them. He also had four SoG and meshed well with Brian Gionta and the man of every line, Travis Moen.

And save a kind word or two for Jacques Martin.

For all the roasting he gets in certain precincts of the media, JM’s guys play very hard for him.

The bottom line: Neither Toe Blake nor Scotty Bowman could get much more out of this lineup.

Name one player playing at anything less than his potential.

Yannick Weber, who played 50 seconds at even-strength and may be on his way to becoming Mark Streit Lite somewhere else when the D corps is healhty?

Scott Gomez? He’d suck for Dick Irvin.

Let’s be realistic: This ain’t the 1976 Montreal Canadiens.

As 2012 looms, the team faces a tough December: five of the next six at home, then six on the road, including a back-to-back in Chicago and Winnipeg and a post-Christmas trip to Florida … where Mr. Markov has gone on ahead to scout orthopedic clinics

But the team – minus Max-Pac and Markov –  is 1-0-1 for the month.

Ho-ho-ho!

323 Comments

  1. ZepFan2 says:

    Testing

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

  2. phillyhab says:

    That was a very fun game to watch — something that couldn’t be said for most tilts of late.
    I loved our centers. Nokia played his best game in a Habs jersey. Our 4th line had the spark, energy, and chance that makes you want to roll 4 and keep the opponent on their toes.
    Ovechkin… err… Kostitsyn on the PP was beautiful to watch. He was a ‘quarterback’, no doubt, crisp passes, playmaking, and had everyone moving their feet. Haven’t seen beauty like that since Markov & Kovalev.

    Still, 3 of 6 points is not good enough. We’re in the position, as we have been so often in the last few years, where we need other teams to lose to get our spot in the playoffs. There are 5 teams in the east playing at or near .500, but most have games in hand.

    Here’s hoping we have a hell of a 2012. I think if we are not above .500 by the end of the year, we should be looking for a new coach.

  3. Hockey Bob says:

    I see the Habs dropped into a playoff spot yesterday for a cup of tea, sad to see but that is how it will be maybe a few more times a brief appearance in the eight spot but no playoffs this year.
    I know many of you are waiting and expecting the Leafs to fall out but it is not going to happen. The Habs can’t match the Leafs scoring with the two league leaders in there and they can’t match a stud hard hitting defender as in Dion. The only position they match up is in goal.

    Darche could not make any other team in the League your defense is small and soft, the forwards are small and soft a lack of toughness will be the ultimate undoing.

    The Leafs are for real.

    • Habsfan4 says:

      An updated take after the Western games. Sure short key guys, but the so to speak nucleus is in tact. But, the game the Habs play cannot win consistently. Simply look at Boston (hate to admit it), Detroit and Pitt. Bigger team, fast and skilled. The KEY is they cycle the puck and win the battles along the boards in the offensive zone. Further their forecheck in the O zone wins the puck turnover battle. Gionta, Cammy and Placky are open ice guys and the Habs don’t get open ice in today’s NHL. Get rid of them and Gomer and get some top draft picks. Why were the Habs so successful in the 50,s, 60,s and 70,s? They had the two top French Canadiens picks every year before the “Draft’

      • Badwich says:

        Agreed but Pleks? Not so sure. I missed the game but from comments I guess we played hard and Camshaft might have tried a little harder given his +- is still-4.

        It’s OK to be small, but small and soft???? That doesn’t work.

        And, 3 of 6 doesn’t make Mumbles a genius Mr. Boone. He coaches without passion or dare I say it, skill.

        Not everyone realizes my era Habs didn’t have to fight for their
        flying Frenchmen. Ah, the glory years.

        Taberwitt

      • AH says:

        Wrong; there is an article “The myth of the french canadian rule” or something like that, it tells the truth behind that so called french canadian player “advantage” the Habs supposedly had…I suggest you google it and learn the truth.

        • Badwich says:

          I guess they just got lucky with pics (think of all the great players they grabbed) in the dynasty years. Let’s get those scouts back on the payroll

          Taberwitt

    • el heffe says:

      Hey Bob, Please do me a favor and save this post so you can re-post it in four months. We’ll all have a chuckle. i promise.

      Charge it to the Underhill’s.

  4. habsfanforever7631 says:

    My lines against the BJ’s are:

    Plekanec Kostytsin Gionta, They were looking good in this trip before they were broken up for the LA game.
    DD Cole Pacioretty, They were Habs best line before Pacioretty got suspended.
    Eller Cammalleri Moen, Cammalleri is kinda struggling and almost everyone plays good with Eller.
    Nokelainen Darche Webber, Darche is not getting out of this lineup! We need Nokelainen, Webber is pretty good on the PP but sucs on defense.

    Leblanc is going down to Hamilton, hopefully he plays over 20 Mins there and gets even better.

    Now Habs, don’t play like a junior team against the BJ’s and we’ll get the win.

    Go Habs Go!

    • Hab-Q says:

      Sit Darche and play LL

      ______________________________________________________
      “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out”

      ~Rodney Dangerfield

      • 100HABS says:

        Sit Webber and play LL.
        Webber’s a liability even on the PP nowadays. No confidence. Replace him with Emelin on the PP – Yemmy showed some offensive skills early this year and in the KHL.

      • habsfanforever7631 says:

        If you sit Darche and play LL in his place then LL is playing 6 or 5 mins on the forth line, I’d rather him playing 20 mins in Hamilton. It’s good that he got to play 3 games with the Habs. Let him develop more. At least we no we can call up someone if we need. If he played in the second or third line with the Habs, I have no problem, but not garbage minutes on the forth line. Remember Pacioretty?

  5. Thomas Le Fan says:

    I just have to say that it’s beyond me why a Canadian “sportswriter” of little reknown has to take a meaningless cheap shot at an American political party and all conservatives in general. Is that supposed to make you look intelligent in comparison?
    Why do conservatives always get this kind of sucker punch from liberal snobs, who apparently live inside an echo chamber and who automatically assume that everybody intelligent agrees with them? Comrade Obama’s and your genius, aside, stick to hockey Boone. A subject that, hopefully, you might even know something about. We conservatives are hockey fans too. I hope the Gazette approves of you insulting and possibly alienating a large percentage of its readers.

    • Hab-Q says:

      So Boon’s a lefty- who effing cares.

      I have to agree we don’t need political commentary on this site.

      There are plenty of intellectual lightweights on both sides of the spectrum, so how about some equal time at least?

      ______________________________________________________
      “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out”

      ~Rodney Dangerfield

    • t1tan5 says:

      After re-reading this post a couple times, I still don’t know if this is serious or “tongue-in-cheek.”

    • SPATS says:

      Fact is, most of em are duped… Save for Ron Paul (who’d get my vote ahead of Obama and I’m a lifetime non elite working man)

      While we will agree to disagree on most agendas, I do agree that it has no place here and that’s all I’ll contribute… go habs go

      OOH AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH!

    • 100HABS says:

      You don’t want political commentary, don’t comment!

      I thought is was funny – laughed out loud when I read it.

      • Hab-Q says:

        you’re easily amused.

        ______________________________________________________
        “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out”

        ~Rodney Dangerfield

  6. Chris says:

    To all the people who complain that Montreal is always the victim of bad officiating, that Subban slash on Stoll’s stick is as blatant a missed penalty call as you will ever see.

    I’m not crazy about the rule, but they are remarkably consistent at calling slashing calls when you break the other player’s stick. That one could not have been more obvious.

    • Danno says:

      Subban says Desharnais skated on top or the stick before it was picked up off the ice and it was already basically broken and that’s why he didn’t get the penalty. PK says he just put his stick down on the ice to get the puck before it broke.
      That being said, I agree with you that it’s almost always an automatic call and I can understand the Kings being upset about it.

      ________________________________________

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

    • WestHab says:

      we got lucky there yes. That’s usually called. Refs make mistakes and they are not always against the Habs. I think it may have had to do with the very questionable call on Camy just prior. That would should have been let go and Subban should have been called for slashing. It was just evened out.

    • 100HABS says:

      Agree we Got away with One! But overall, the other teams get away with much more than we do. It is never more blatant than in Toranta or NY (MSG). Also Boons and Flyers.

  7. I guess DD’s good work on the Cali trip got noticed by Macleans magazine :P:
    http://puckbandits.com/2011/12/04/httpwp-mep1ux3s-cv/

  8. Haligonian-Hab says:

    OK. The Habs need to tank for a couple of years so they can get the next Cole Harbour stud Nathan MacKinnon. Popped five against St Patrick’s Ramparts last night. He’s unreal.

    Somehow he wasn’t invited to the World Jr’s camp.

  9. 24 Cups says:

    Here’s the Tootoo hit on Miller.

    Shoutout to Shanahan. You basically lost all your credibility during the month of November. Here’s a chance to redeem yourself and get back on track.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Jordin-Tootoo-runs-Ryan-Miller-in-his-first-game?urn=nhl-wp18939

  10. Captain aHab says:

    What’s funny is that Tootoo is gonna get suspended and I honestly don’t know that he was trying to hit Miller. I think he was trying to cut to the front of the net and ran out of space. I thought the Lucic hit was far worse.

    • Danno says:

      Shanahan has become worse than a really bad ref who is screwing up the game by making ridiculous make up calls after making many bad calls and the game becomes a farce.

      He’s either corrupt or incompetent. In either case, he should just step aside and let someone who can do the job properly take over.

      ________________________________________

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

      • Timo says:

        it is probably both.

        • Dulljerk says:

          I agree with Captain Ahab, looks like once he noticed he was out of room, he jumps and raises his arms to try to avoid injuring Miller. A couple of games at the most on this one. The Lucic one, hey, if you leave the blue ice you should be open game.

          “Muckers win games”

          • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

            That’s kind of lame man. If that’s what the rules actually state I’d agree, but a goalie has no expectation of being hit, so when one actually is bad things can happen. If they were fair game, they would either stay closer to home, or be prepared to be steam rolled.

            I think this hit is proof that the “fair game outside the blue paint” idea is flawed. Too easy a target, the same as a quarterback in football.

            ____________________________________________________
            They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

          • dallyd31 says:

            Not if you don’t have the puck. Sorry…same rule applies for defenseman and forwards also. Let alone taking a run at him from the blueline.

      • CanadienBoy says:

        I think is scare of the owners

    • Clay says:

      I don’t think that deserves a suspension at all. Totoo is an ass, but this was not nearly as serious as Lucics hit on Miller. If that wasn’t a suspendable offense, then no way this is.

      __________________________
      “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work. Yvan was proof of that.” – Jean Beliveau.

      • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

        That’s the trouble though, Tootoo is an easy mark for them to throw the book at, so they will. More inconsistency from the same people who brought you Paciorettygate and Paciorettygate II.
        ____________________________________________________
        They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

  11. vivsterjuve88 says:

    Also, i’d like to offer line solutions that make use of chemistry and allow leblanc to experience the bell centre:

    Pacioretty-Plekanec-Gionta (give them size WITH skill)
    Cammalleri-Desharnais-Cole (don’t mess with a good thing)
    Leblanc-Eller-Kostitsyn (looked good today)
    Moen-Nokelainen-Darche (a 4th line that might actually be able to forecheck?!)

    Looks good to me. Leblanc is gonna need more ahl seasoning after a little stint up here at which point moen can take over his spot to complete a 3rd line with proven chemistry (maybe ryan white’ll be back by then to man the 4th line!)

  12. vivsterjuve88 says:

    Not playing up to their potential?? What about cammalleri and gionta?? I know cammalleri got some good movement in this afternoon but really, both of these guys look tentative and overwhelmed on the ice. I wouldn’t be shocked to find out they’re both playing injured, neither looks to being playing to their potential, or even to their level of the previous 2 seasons.
    And how about Subban. Yes, defensively he’s been actually quite good and we just shy away from that. And yes, his potential is so high that at his young age, how could he be playing at it? But his gift is in his offensive mind, his ability to carry the puck, and that’s not just a skill for the future, it’s a skill we saw fully showcased in his rookie year even, so if we’re missing out on it now, he’s not playing at his potential imo.

    • malmn says:

      Cammi isn’t playing to his full potential but he’s a big baby and no coach can’t massage this type of princess.

      Gionta is most certainly playing to his full potential. He just doesn’t have the same skills he used to.

      You are overvaulting PK’s potential, like most Habs fans.

      GO HABS GO!!!

    • habsfanforever7631 says:

      Yeah I miss last years Subban. I think he only has one gole.

  13. Reid Rusonik says:

    By way of fair disclosure, I agree with Mr. Boone’s political slant as far as I can deterimine it from his occasional political remarks, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with a site about the Canadiens taking playful swipes at political figures who are something less than egalitarian. When the Canadiens became something so much more than simply a hockey team, their core was made-up of players who came from the working class and didn’t forget it–Maurice Richard, Jacques Plante, Doug Harvey–and were heroes for it. Regardless of its ownership, the team belonged to Montreal’s poor and working poor while the Leafs, for example, have always been a ‘private box’ institution. The Leafs have always won for someone’s entertainment; the Canadiens have always seemed to win as a reason for the average guy to still hope that things can be better, that anything’s possible and as confirmation that supreme elegance can be achieved by working together.

  14. VancouverHab says:

    Dear Da Hema:

    I read your pleasant remarks on Don Cherry & printed them out, framed them, and hung them over my desk….

    My heart is warmed, lo, even unto the sub-cocklar regions….. :–)

    • Da Hema says:

      Heheh. I am pleased you are pleased. Still though, do remember I was defending Cherry only from what I thought was an inappropriate comparison to Mike Milbury. But so long as you are happy…. ;-)

      Whoa! Wait! What’s this “sub-cocklar” stuff? :-(

      • VancouverHab says:

        Well, a comedian or actor of sorts whose name I forget (he does voiceover for a truck ad –includes derogatory reference to eating doughnuts) has a song whose name I also forget in which he talks about warming not only to the cockles of his heart but also to the subcocklear regions, which stuck with me as memorably cute.

  15. diehardhab says:

    Anyone have a link to Milbury bashing PK on HNIC?

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

    @MTLJosh

  16. Marc10 says:

    Did anybody catch Tootoo going airborn on Miller (his first game back from the Lucic hit…)

    It’s on RDS.ca

    And so the chickens come home to roost for ShannySham…

    • Duracell3 says:

      Had to do a double take. When he just lets go of the puck and dives in, wow…..I was a little let down Miller used his glove and not his blocker though.


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