About yesterday afternoon …

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In a city celebrated for its superb restaurants, your Montreal Canadiens are rediscovering the joy of home cooking.
A ridiculously easy 6-1 conquest of the Buffalo Sabres – who played like they’d tucked into 18-oz sirloins at Moishe’s 10 minutes before the game – brought the Canadiens early-season record at the Bell Centre to 4-1.
They have not lost on home ice since opening night, and the Canadiens have outscored visitors 20-9.
Along the way, the homeboys have defeated two goaltenders who have excelled at the Bell Centre: Martin F. Brodeur and Ryan Miller, who was chased from the Buffalo net after 40 minutes.
Sunday afternoon, the Canadiens get another shot at red-hot Craig Anderson.

Last season, the Canadiens were 16-15-10 at the Bell Centre.

Only the Islanders and Columbus had worse home-ice records, and I doubt hockey fans in Long Island and Ohio experienced the agonies of Montrealers who had to watch their beloved team lose 25 games.

After seven games, the Canadiens are 5-2. Last season, they were 1-4-2. The 2011-’12 team needed 12 games – and an unlikely four-W streak – to get their fifth win.

It’s still very early. I’m still not certain this edition of the Canadiens will will be playing hockey in mid-April.

But they’re undefeated in February, undefeated with P.K. Subban in the lineup and undefeated with Ryan White in the pressbox … where the Sin Bin King could be for a while if Max Pacioretty makes another one of his miraculously quick recoveries.

Max-Pac won’t face the Senators in the pre-Super Bowl special. I expect Michel Therrien to stick with the lineup that demolished the Sabres. The coach will want to ease P.K. up from the 18:01 he played against Buffalo, and Tomas Kaberle was fine during his 7:28.

Pacioretty’s imminent return will present Therrien with some interesting personnel decisions.

We can safely assume that the six-man defence corps is set: Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin, Josh Gorges and Raphael Diaz, P.K. and François Bouillon. All excelled against Buffalo, but Ottawa will present a sterner test and a truer measure of who should be playing in front of the team’s superb goaltender.

Price has won head-to-head duels against two of the league’s best, Martin F. and Miller. Next up: Anderson with his sick GAA of 0.99 and save percentage of .968. Comparable stats for Price: 1.82, .932. Sunday should be a dandy.

The imminent personnel shuffle will be among the forwards. And if the win over Buffalo was an indicator, Therrien faces a delightful problem.

Lars Eller was great at both ends of the rink in all situations against the Sabres. I can’t believe he one of the game’s stars. Fans who voted must have been influenced by the Eller-bashing on L’Antichambre.

I was wrong about Eller, too.

Just like half the Commentariat was wrong about David Desharnais.

Yes, it was just one game. But DD’s two goals and a three-point performance by Eller suggest the centres are shaking off their early-season cobwebs and stuffing socks into the mouths (and keyboards) of their critics.

Tomas Plekanec also deserved a star. With Brian Gionta and a renascent Rene Bourque, who scored twice against the Sabres, Plekanec is experiencing the top-line harmony that eluded him with a succession of partners last season.

That line will stay intact, as will DD, Erik Cole and Pacioretty.

Here’s a combo I’d like Therrien to try: A Kid Line of Eller with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. The rookies’ speed, skill and energy are electrifying Bell Centre fans; and while you can’t fault Brandon Prust’s hustle, I think Eller might add more (figurative) punch in the offensive zone.

A year after struggling as a one-line team, the Canadiens could have three trios capable of scoring. Plus Prust, Travis Moen and Colby Armstrong/White.

Again, I’m not picking out my spot for the Stanley Cup parade.

But man, this team is fun to watch – especially in their own barn, which is becoming a place where it’s no fun at all for visitors.

• The Canadiens’ plus-8 goal differential is better than Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Vancouver. The only clubs with superior differentials are Tampa Bay, San Jose, St. Louis and Ottawa … The PK pitched a shutout  for the first time since the road win in Washington …  The kid learns fast: Alex Galchenyuk had his first winning night in the faceoff circle (7-6) in Ottawa and was 9-2 against the Sabres.

398 Comments

  1. habbernack says:

    With Eller with the kids who would look after THE KIDS, Eller? Don’t think so

  2. rhino514 says:

    It would be great if we get a point today considering we played yesterday.
    Also wondering as some of you why Markov ended up playing so many minutes and why Kaberle wasn´t use more as the game was over by midway in the second period.
    I also found it interesting that Bouillon didn´t play more minutes. Maybe his thirty-five year old body needed rest for today´s game, or was there something more at play?
    Great to see Desharnais and Eller get off the schneid yesterday. The only guy worrying me somewhat is Cole.
    Despite the lopsided score, there were a few glaring giveaways that could have hurt against a more opportunistic team…And love Diaz as a puck carrying Dman and on the PP but still not sold on him defensively. I hope he continues to improve.

  3. habsoul says:

    Pacioretty’s in the lineup? Geezuschristmas, the guy is the Bionic Man!

    Glad the game’s on early so I have something to occupy my mind before my beloved Niners take the field. Good times in the Bay Area.

    “When you are the Canadiens, you cannot make excuses.”
    — Henri Richard, on what it meant to be a Montreal Canadian

  4. Mark C says:

    Wow. I didn’t realize we had so many doctors that posted here. Especially ones with intimate knowledge of Max’s situation. Impressive.

  5. Danno says:

    I wonder how Eller’s figurative punch will compare to Niel’s actual ones.

    ________________________________________

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

  6. Mavid says:

    you said it yourself..its TSN..my recommendation don’t go on their anymore…just come here..that is all you need

  7. Mavid says:

    Grill them after? not sure..should I…they are ready to fall apart..

    • Captain aHab says:

      I have a recipe where I bake them in the oven with sauce in sealed foil wraps. That makes them real moist and fall off the bone but if I stop cooking them a bit eraly, thenI get them on the BBQ and finish them for a few minutes to get the grill marks. It also removes just a bit of moisture which I think gives them better texture.

      —————-
      Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

      • Mr. Biter says:

        ARRRRGGGG good Captain. I do my ribs on the new BBQ (in summer to f#%king cold here now) with low heat, plenty of sauce and the ribs on the upper grill. Works way better than the lower (main) grill as they don’t tend to burn. Takes a while longer but in the summer the idle time is for refreshments.

        Mr. Biter
        No Guts No Glory

  8. habsfan0 says:

    Any chance of Patches playing today?

  9. Lafrich says:

    Why is it that whenever I read a TSN article about the Habs and another team, it is always slanted in favour of the other team. This was written within the article prepping us for today’s Habs-Sens game: “The Sens took that first meeting 5-1 last Wednesday in Ottawa despite center Jason Spezza sitting out his second straight game. Ottawa survived without the high-scoring forward versus Montreal, getting goals from five different skaters.” Ummm…why is it not mentionedthat the Habs were without PK, Patches, and had Budaj in nets?

    • Danno says:

      They have a hate for our storied franchise because we are greater than all of them put together.

      ________________________________________

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

  10. Mavid says:

    Ribs, wings, those little wrapped hot dog thingy’s, shrimp, my hubby picked up some of that weird beer he likes at the LCBO..so much for my diet..but hey you only live once..

  11. JF says:

    I hope we win this afternoon, but I have a feeling we won’t. We played yesterday; the Senators didn’t. We scored a ton of goals yesterday, which often translates into not being able to score the next game.

    On the other hand, getting pounded last time we faced the Sens will give the team extra motivation.

    I just hope we play hard. Even in the pounding, I liked the no-quit attitude.

  12. YoNiko says:

    In order to properly judge Eller.. dont you think we should give him a chance? Honestly… He scored 16 goals last year (4 in one game,yes) but he played minimal strength minutes.. almost never on the PP and his linemates were Moen and Kostitsyn for the most part. He never had first line minutes.. never had Power play minutes.. and he was one of our better Penalty killers.

    Also, this year, he put on about 15 pounds of muscle in the summer.. Anyone that trains can tell you that that much muscle over a short period of time.. takes time to adjust to when it comes to agility and balance.

    Ideally.. We should try to trade Desharnais and perhaps package him with a young D prospect and pick up an impact player…

    Maybe Desharnais, Beaulieu and a 1st for say… a guy like Perry or Ovechkin. Then you play one of those two with the kids…

    Of course.. Armchair GM is simple and super easy and we, the playstation generation of NHL GMs have found it quite easy to make trades.. but its something to think about. Plekanec is so much more useful then Desharnais.. and He is not that much older.. I believe 3 years older in fact.

    HE hasnt even turned 31 yet. rarely if ever injured and plays in all situations.

    I believe that ina year or two.. when Chucky is ready to take the first line center spot, Plekanec will be up for nomination for a Lady bing or a selke….

    I may be shooting high.. sure.. but he is putting up points at a torrid pace this season and finally has steady linemates.. for the first time since AK27

    Eller will be a perfect fit playing next to the kids this season.. or even up front between cole and maxpac…

    Again this is nothing against Desharnais… I just value speed and size more.

    • Danno says:

      Ovechkin is done and overpriced. We don’t need another Gomez

      ________________________________________

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

    • vegas says:

      Ovechkin would be a risky move
      Who knows he might shine with a change of scenery
      He’d probably go nuts in the hockey shrine
      If people think PK is an attention hog he would be fair in comparison
      Then ther is the cap issue. you’d have to include Cole too and that may not be enough, unless Caps agree to take a bit of the salary. Kovalchuck would have been more interesting

      • YoNiko says:

        These are all hypothetical but i doubt the cap would affect a move like this. Kaberle will be gone and Gomer is gonzo too… there is always room for a player like this.

        I did however just mention names. Be it Perry or Ovechkin.

  13. Mavid says:

    funny that lacrosse is not more popular and televised more..it is fantastic to watch..fast, crazy tough..I really enjoy it..it should be on more

  14. HabinBurlington says:

    Who will todays 2nd half of back to back games be more difficult to perform, Boone or Price?

  15. Mavid says:

    I cooked the ribs all night in the slow cooker..in pineapple juice and onions …they smell heavenly..not sure if I can wait till super bowl time

  16. nychabsfan says:

    I often come to this site to keep a pulse of what is going on.
    Lately I am awestruck by the amount of negativity.
    it is very apparent that this team is going in a much better direction than it has in years,possibly decades.Yet you have people calling for trades on players lke Plekanec,who is simply the most over all complete,skilled,intelligent player on this team.It is like you cannot bear prosperity .Appreciate what you have,of course look towards the future ,they would be out of their minds to trade him,the work he does on the pk,pp and neutraizing top lines is exceptional . I would look to this site for intelligent conversation,not mindless radicals for the sake of being provocative.Before you bash me for being a NY’er realize I am an expat living in NYC and a life long habs fan…

    • Habfan10912 says:

      You won’t get bashed by me. I think you’ve made a very good observation of Pleks and his value to this team. He is a very good two way center. CHeers and keep posting.

      ———————————–

    • Mornin’ NYC! I’m also “down here” and love the cheap seats at an Isles Montreal game ($10 my cheapest to date) and most posters aren’t negative, although there are the usual trolls. I posted a similar comment about people last year and this, suggesting a trade of Pleks for who knows… Needless to say, nobody is safe in this league, but Pleks is not only one of the best all around players on the Habs, but in the league. Like many sports fans, there is impatience with what was once a dynasty and hasn’t been since the 80’s. Over 20 years of mismanagement, disappointment, etc… I mentioned yesterday that I pined for the teams of the 70’s and 80’s that i grew up with, but parity makes that unlikely in todays league. As for excitement, well, it is a far more exciting team than last year, but the ups and downs will still be maddening like beating Buffalo 6-1 and losing to Ottawa by a 5-1 margin where we fell apart for 5 minutes and were buried. At least this year we won’t likely be buried in the cellar, but alas, no top three pick either.

      Promote the Youth, Support From The Veterans and Remember the Heritage!

    • punkster says:

      Every single Habs player has been trashed, bashed and figuratively shown the door over the 6 years or so I’ve been following HIO. It’s simply the nature of the beast…and by that I refer to the beast in all of us who daily haunt this place. Though I find that here the negativity often stems from a fan’s desire to see the team improve, to play coach or GM, to simply be involved in the discussions. I can ignore most of the hair brained suggestions.

      Except tanking…I HATE the tank.

      Keep coming back…your voice is needed.

      ***SUBBANGIN’ NOW BABY!!!***

  17. on2ndthought says:

    Smiley, Pleks is not good in the faceoff circle, and is light on his feet (and on opponents). Otherwise he is the most complete player on the team, with a skillset similar to (though not as offensively tuned) as Datsyuk and Zetterberg). He is worth every bit of his contract. 3rd best player on the team, best forward. I want Eller completing the kid line once Max is back, Prust on the excellent 4th line with Moen and (White/Armstrong/Nokelainen).

    We have one bad contract (as long as Bourque keeps driving the net) and from last nights game Toronto sure look like a team that needs a Dman to skate out the puck or at least make a tape to tape forward pass (I saw ONE in 60 minutes). Give ‘em Kaberle!

    Three hills apart great armies stir
    Spit oath and curse as day breaks
    Forming lines of horse and steel
    By even yards march forward.

    • Captain aHab says:

      They won’t take Kaberle. That would be like the Rags taking back Gomez’ contract.

      —————-
      Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  18. kevin meldrum says:

    Great game P.K.was P.K

    Kevin Meldrum

  19. Propwash says:

    Funny that if the team wins or loses, somebody’s gotta get traded.

    ____________________
    DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  20. Adidess says:

    I wonder what these guys brains and bodies are telling them right now, as they start their routine for another ‘matinee’ game.

    My brain and body are telling me it’s too soon to have another game – and all I did was sit on the couch. That’s why they get paid the big bucks, I guess.

    —————————————
    Long signatures are annoying

  21. nychabsfan says:

    nychabshan

  22. Danno says:

    I presume Price will be in nets and if so I like our chances.

    ________________________________________

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

  23. Sportfan says:

    Whats this I hear about Max Pac playing today? isn’t that a bit soon?

    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  24. smiler2729 says:

    I think the big topic of discussion here will be Plekanec, to trade him or not.

    His contract is stupid and can Eller take his place?

    Nice to see Chucky win most of his faceoffs, something Pleky never does…

    _______________________________________
    Jack Edwards is a clam.
    Gary Bettman is a bobblehead.

    • showey47 says:

      IMHO i think the topic should be who becomes the 3rd line center when galchenyuk and pleky are our top 2 centers as soon as next season? Who can be more effective on the 3rd line playing with less talented wingers DD or eller? I guess they can play together with gallagher,thats a pretty good 3rd line.

      • The Cat says:

        I agree.

        [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

      • Blondie says:

        I think the topic should be which center gets traded. We simply have too many top 3 centers. 1st line is set (well, 1st this year I guess – Pleks line. 3rd line is set. That only leaves the 2nd and 4th. We have a couple of guys that can play 2nd (DD, Eller) but the one left out is too good for the 4th and we have plenty of wingers.

        I think MB is going to have to trade a center and offensive d-man. We could trade one of each for a big nasty defenceman, or a mitt full of picks but I think something is going to have to be done fairly soon.

        • Captain aHab says:

          I disagree…for once we have depth and with depth in a meritocracy comes the need to work hard or lose your spot. Trade away the depth and you trade away the need to work hard.

          —————-
          Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

          • Blondie says:

            I like having the depth too but it results in players who should be playing, sitting or playing unsuitable roles. It’s not good for their development and it’s not good for the long-term attitude/happiness of the team.

          • showey47 says:

            I agree captain ahab, for years we have been shallow (depth wise and height wise,lol) we need to keep the depth we have at center. This also protects us in case of an injury to a centerman. The best we can hope for is that who ever is the odd man out up the middle to be able to play as a winger and be effective and be able to move back into the middle position if an injury occurs.

        • vegas says:

          I want a big nasty right D too, but they seem to be rare, who do you suggest?

          • Blondie says:

            I don’t have anyone in particular in mind. I just think we have a little too much depth at center and offensive D and, for the benefit of the team and the players, we could try to use that to address a need.

    • neumann103 says:

      Plekanec is gold. They don’t make those kind of 2-way, every situation guys that often.

      If you could get a 10 years younger future star in trade, sure consider it, but while I believe there are about 29 NHL teams who would take Plekanec in a heartbeat, I don’t think there are many who would trade away the future. My big fear is that the Habs will hit a slump and make some kind of desperate lateral move for a guy of a similar age and similar cap hit which will do nothing useful.

      I think Bergevin has enough margin that he will not feel rushed to do something stupid.

      I do think that Eller has potential as a sort of Plekanec 2.0 which makes me pissed off to see him mismanaged, but that currently has no implications which make Plekanec expendable. I would however have Eller playing 3rd line Center and taking heavy 2nd PK minutes (ideally paired with Prust!) to alleviate Plekanec and keep him fresh.

      “Et le but!”

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Agree bud, lets enjoy this depth while we can. Injuries are hitting many teams and while I hope not to our squad it is inevitable. Plex is still young enough to be part of this team for a few more productive years.

  25. jimmy shaker says:

    324th….

    Shaker

  26. HabinBurlington says:

    Shout out to Mavid, I really hope the Habs can win the game today against the Sens. Would love for you to be able to have some fun with your Ottawa neighbours. As I type this I realize Hobie is from Ottawa as well I think, hope you get to enjoy the afterglow from this game.

  27. ed lopaz says:

    somehow people seem to think that coaches choose the players that play based on merit/ hard work only.

    yes. hard work is and should be an important consideration.

    but coaches also have a longer term view and they therefore will give certain players more flexibility to find their game, more leniency when they make mistakes, and more accolades or power play time when they succeed.

    David Desharnais vs Lars Eller.

    I’ll let you guys decide who you think is more likely in the longer term plans for Therrien and Bergevin.

    • habstrinifan says:

      Gott atell you ED, if you were asking me who in the long term would be a more consistently stalwart part of a team.. I cant answer right now. And I would be surprised if Therrien can.

      DD is dedicated etc etc but the weak areas of his game are very difficult to correct. There is only so much energy one can put into your career and he has put a lot.

      Lars is absolutely more talented and gifted physically. But his focus and specificity of game is way behind his gifts.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        I’ll agree with the “gifted physically” part, but whether he’s more talented is very debatable. David keeps seizing opportunities and overcoming the bias against small players at every level, while Lars isn’t forcing the issue. At some point, we have to allow that David’s vision, creativity, and combativity in the corners despite his lack of size add up to ‘talent’ in some way.

        • JF says:

          Do you watch tennis? What you say about Desharnas makes me think of David Ferrer. A smaller player without a huge amount of talent, but absolutely relentless and with good vision and a work ethic second to none. These qualities do add up to a kind of talent; Ferrer has been ranked no. 5 for the last couple of years (he’s actually 4 at the moment because of Nadal’s absence). He says himself that he’s the worst top-10 player in history.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            Not big on tennis, not since the days of Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, etc. I do get that tennis is no longer a small man’s game, it’s all about the big serve now, so it’s good that a smaller guy can find success.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I am not sure, but I sure love the fact they are BOTH on this TEAM.

      Was thrilled to watch what a great effort by all the guys yesterday, as well played game as I have seen in a long long time. Heck Budaj even looked great on the bench!

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Exactly Burly. We have to stop eating our own. Let’s support our boys, and let them force the decisions by the way they play on the ice during games and practice, instead of based on our favoured line rosters.

    • The Cat says:

      A coach can choose as long as it goes with the GMs philosophy, cause he cant really make the GM look stupid (by benching a recent acquisition etc).

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • NoTinFoilCups says:

      If we are gonna take this team to the next level we need less of guys like DD and more like Eller. We still have too many small players to compete with the top clubs. The reality of the NHL unfortunately. I prefer wide open hockey that allows the smaller skilled guys to shine. But we have to tailor the team to the often boring bump and grind that takes over especially in the playoffs. Diaz should be another casualty even though I love his slick passing.

  28. commandant says:

    Unfortunately, a bit of a sad story this morning. Another case of sexual abuse by a coach (and former NHLer) in a position of power.

    http://lastwordonsports.com/2013/02/03/the-story-of-michael-mcbain-and-the-tragedy-of-sexual-abuse-in-hockey/

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

  29. habstrinifan says:

    Is Pacs dressing for sure. I am not keen on this move right now. Give him a full recovery period. Be safe especially if he doctors aren’t 100 percent positive re him playing.

    Pacs is dedicated and eager and a beast but there also needs to be reality check if necessary.

    Secondly, despite my total satisfaction re yesterday, the PP was not as smooth and effective as earlier (and this was not Subban’s fault so let’s not go there). So why not go with he same lineup while Pacs heals and have that extra PP optio (Kaberle) if needed. We are gonna be needing specialty teams prowess in this game I think.

    So i say hold of on changes for this one game.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I think it’s a possibility, rather than a probability, for various reasons.

      1) To play him now would be a relatively aggressive move, and there’s no real need for it, the team is playing well and not desperate for a win.

      2) The roster they iced yesterday did well, and Coach Therrien will probably not want to monkey around with it.

      3) The seventh defenceman gambit, as much as we hated it last year, serves a purpose in this instance, as it allows the coaches to better manage the minutes that P.K. receives as he is reintroduced to the environment.

      4) By waiting another game to play Max, it gives him until Wednesday to heal up further, so why not wait another game?

      ———————————————————————–

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  30. Captain aHab says:

    I’m tired of the “now THIS next game is when we’ll REALLY see what the Habs look like” schtick. Marty F. Brodeur said the Habs are way faster than last year. I think we exposed the Buffalo D as slow personally. Don’t know what we’ll do against Ottawa but I like this team. No need for the next game to decide.

    Guys are crashing the net
    Keeping the game simple
    Shield the opposing goalie
    Smart quick succession of passes to break out
    Backcheck, forecheck, backcheck, forecheck
    Very good puck support
    Guys moving on the PP to create openings

    It’s a simple game really when the guys are willing to do what is needed.

    I have no doubt that Therrien has improved but I also think he’s been surrounded by quality assistants. The team concept isn’t just on-ice.

    —————-
    Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

    • The Cat says:

      I dont think any team will face ‘big tests’. Its a short schedule without lengthy road trips where the players’ wills are tested(for most teams anyways).

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

      • Captain aHab says:

        We may not beat Ottawa and may lose to Bawston but if they keep playing the way they have, they’ll win far more games than they lose. If we get three lines that can score, it’ll make it way tougher for opponents to line match even when on home ice.

        —————-
        Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  31. Un Canadien errant says:

    I have TSN playing in the background, they’re filling time with a “Hockey’s Biggest Hitters” special, and Dion Phaneuf makes the list, along with Wendel Clark, and Bryan Marchment, but somehow Bob Gainey and Larry Robinson don’t. And it’s not just a question of different epochs, since Denis Potvin also made the list.

    ———————————————————————–

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  32. Loonie says:

    Marc,

    You can choose to give Therrien the benefit of the doubt but he’s proven in both of his NHL coaching jobs that he is in fact an egomaniac.

    His ego got in the way at a critical time for the Habs in his first NHL job and his ego lead him to throw his entire Penguins team under the bus which ultimately cost him his dressing room.

    Now if you’d like to pretend that Therrien, Bergevin and the rest of the group sat down and discussed the possibilities with Eller and that he should sit one game go nuts.

    Eller played one game and was sat for two. He was then brought back into the lineup after Pacioretty’s injury out of necessity and quickly benched and demoted to fourth line duty. Yesterday he was used out of necessity and responded by playing in a way that would have made Therrien look like a fool for benching him again.

    If you and others want to credit Therrien for that resurgence in Eller’s game again, that’s fine. But you’d be wrong in my opinion.

    Eller was given the opportunity that many here have been advocating. A chance to stay with a line for more than a period or game. He made the most of that chance. If you want to give Therrien credit for leaving Eller on that line I’m okay with that. But can we please not attribute Eller’s skill level and production when with skilled players to Therrien please?

    Eller’s proven already that he produces offensively when he has talent with him, he proved it before Therrien’s arrival and will prove it again long after Therrien’s no longer his coach.

    • Chris says:

      As an unrepentant Lars Eller fan, I do think we have to be a bit fair. He had a good game yesterday, but it is a little early to say that there is a resurgence and not just a flash.

      Many players have had great single games. The Montreal Canadiens all-time assist record in one game is held by Lyle Odelein, who managed to post 5 points in one game, despite being largely a role-player at that point in his career.

      I think Eller has talent, but I’m still not happy where he’s at. He’s losing foot races that he won last year, and his new bulk hasn’t seemed to improve his ability to win battles along the boards. I worry that the Montreal obsession with size may have negatively impacted his game. Eller is a forward with speed, but you lose speed when you try throwing more weight on your frame. (For the record, I also think that is the major problem with Ovechkin.)

      • Loonie says:

        I won’t be predicting a 60 point season for Eller anytime soon. But whenever he’s with skilled players for a period of more than a game or two he produces offense.

        He showed it again yesterday and as soon as he’s back on a line with Moen and White there will be calls for him to be traded or scratched.

        Galchenyuk and Plekanec are the only two centremen on this team capable of elevating the play of their linemates consistently and the expectation that Eller produce consistent offense when on a line with one or two AHL or fourth line quality players is and will continue to be ridiculous.

        • neumann103 says:

          Tom,

          I think that a full season Centering Pacioretty and Cole could produce a 60 point season for Lars Eller.

          People can somehow praise Therrien for “improving” Eller but it is nonsense. He played one game, in which he was unremarkable – along with about 9-10 other MTL forwards, was scratched in what appears to have been a pre-conceived Therrien agenda (what else can you say about a benching like that), was kept out as White and Armstrong continued to make themselves apparent as the logical healthy scratches, is re-inserted and given fourth line duty leveraging none ofhis skills, and finally gets an opportunity when Pacioretty goes down although out of position.

          There are two really legitimated criticisms of Eller as i see it:
          1. He really needs to play Center.
          2. He has a tendency to disturb a long period of defensively sound play by trying one move too many near the blueline and give up the puck.

          Other than that I think the criticism of how his game is so deficient that he must sit in favour of Colby Armstrong is laughable.

          My concern has been that Therrien (and his ego) already made up his mind about players like Eller and Subban, and will diminish the team in pursuit of his own arrogance.

          “Et le but!”

    • rhino514 says:

      It´s not a matter of ego at all, nor is it a matter of giving credit, strictly speaking. coaches makes decisions on a game by game basis. Every game or series of games, a player is given more playing time, is given a shot higher up on the depth chart.
      Likewise, out of necessity, some players are given less playing time and moved further down the depth chart.
      Usually, these changes are game to game adjustments taking into account specific opponents. But i all cases, they are what we call coaching and making coaching decisions and doing what he thinks is best for the team.
      In the instances a player is sat out or moved down the chart or given less time; It isn´t at all about ego, and it isn´t at all about “humiliating” a word which is extremely charged in the English language and which you have made frequent use of.

      You should have some respect for the very hard road that someone needs to take for hundreds and usually thousands of games in the minors before they become an NHL coach; you don´t get there by NOT being competent.
      There hasnt been a coach of the ilk you describe since Keenan. And by the way, many coaches with these qualities you so abhor have gone. on to be successful coaches. Do you think Pat Burns was a nice guy in the dressing room?
      And here you have Therrien, emphasizing team play and work ethic, always speaking respectfully and very calmly, i might add, and he strikes you as an emotionally unstable, egocentric character?Why, because he blew up over ten years in the heat of the moment during a crucial game? Would you rather have Jacques Martin who no doubt would be even less emotional? Do you REALLY think Michel Therrien is flaunting his ego and wants to humiliate his players?? Come on now.

  33. Habfan10912 says:

    I hate the loser point. The Devils have played 7 games. Lost 4. They sit 7th in the conference with 9 points.

    ———————————–

  34. Lafleurguy says:

    Shoutout to Mike Boone for creating this website/oasis/playground/”Cheers Bar”.
    One can draw a response from Mike by posting ridiculous things about Carey or David.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  35. 24 Cups says:

    The game might have had a different outcome if Bourque doesn’t score in the final minute of a period that was so one sided.

    The give and take play between Galchenyuk and Gallagher on the 2nd goal was a work of art. Real hockey skill and pure talent that we rarely get to see these days in Montreal.

    On the other hand, the staged fight between Prust and Ott had nothing to do with real hockey. A total joke considering both these guys can play decently.

    Only real drawback yesterday was the fact that Markov was on the ice for 24.34 minutes. So why did the team dress 7 defensemen?

    Hab fans might want to compare PK Subban and Tyler Myers this season. They both make $2M in base salary BUT Myers received an extra 10M signing bonus despite the lockout and shortened schedule. He has been a giveway machine so far this season and right now is playing like a one hit wonder on the CHUM chart. Handing out 2nd contracts for 5-7M/6 yr term has to end. It’s just not necessary and can be counterproductive.

    Shoutout to coach Therrien. Don’t let MaxPac start playing again until after the Boston game. Gotta think long term.

    I watched the game yesterday at a watering hole that is managed by the former floor manager of the Hotstove Lounge. Lots of great stories about the laff staff.

    • Loonie says:

      Only thing I disagree with is the staged fight Steve. Ott was going after Gallagher and after the referee delayed the drop at centre ice Prust and Gallagher switched wings and Prust sent the message.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        The instigator on Ott kind of salved the wound, but idiots like him who are obviously out for trouble should be tossed from the game before they can impose their nonsense on the game.

        • Mr. Biter says:

          That’s why Prust and White are here for. Last year till Staubitz came poor Gally (substtitue name here) was on their own. Also remember Boroque can toss’em pretty good. His first game as a Hab last year he had a spirited staged fight (from hit on an opposing player while still with the Flames) and handled himself quiite well.

          Mr. Biter
          No Guts No Glory

  36. Loonie says:

    A lot of people crap on David Desharnais.

    Yesterday Lars Eller scores a goal, goes back to the bench and Desharnais is the first to congratulate him and give him a little nudge. Desharnais seemed truly happy for Eller on a personal level.

    Eller had a look on his face that any hockey player looking for an opportunity knows all too well.

    He was smiling at first and then he looked redeemed. He was relieved that he made the most of his opportunities yesterday, Desharnais was happy for him.

    And I hope if nothing else it showed some fans here that he does have offensive creativity, “vision” and “hockey iq”.

    • Marc10 says:

      Nice baiting. I’ll give you points for trying.

    • 24 Cups says:

      For me, it’s quite simple. The team now has five decent young players up front. MaxPac was a solid 1st round pick, Galchenyuk was a reward for mediocrity, Gallagher and DD were free Christmas gifts while Eller was the return for a major asset. Be patient, give them multiple chances to succeed and lots of quality ice time.

      Next year, dump Armstrong and give Leblanc his chance.

      • Loonie says:

        Great point Steve. Strong young collective group who just need to get through their growing pains. They don’t all need to be Crosby for the future to be bright.

  37. Mavid says:

    Pretty excited for the game this aft..better not be a repeat of Wednesday, a nice spanking will shut those goofs up as they are still yapping about the “spanking” they gave us..but just in case have your change jars handy..I plan to cheer for San Fran as my staff say they have the nicest uniforms, I have not looked to see if its true, what do you guys think?

  38. Cal says:

    Here’s a little more info about the surgery Max Pac underwent:
    http://www.chp.edu/CHP/laparoscopic+appendectomy+pp

  39. Curtis O Habs says:

    Thirty six seconds of three on three hockey. That must be close to an NHL record. I get a kick out of watching Therrien parade himself behind the bench like a peacock mating ritual. Vogue some more!

  40. Hobie Hansen says:

    Morning fellow Habs fans!

    Great to see Bourque playing the way he is after so many people around here seemed to give up on him. Not sure how people came to that conclusion or based anything on last year’s team? It was a circus last year that I put behind me heading into this year.

    Therrien is looking like a genius so far this year and I’m so glad we’ve got him behind the bench. People are way overreacting to him trying to settle Subban down a little and keep the team focused.

    I love the Prust and rookie line and I hope that Therrien puts White back into the lineup and rolls 4 lines again today, rather than dressing 7 defensemen. The 4th line has delivered a lot of energy and has played some good games so far.

    Anyway, so happy the last couple seasons of being the biggest pushover team in the league are slowly becoming a memory and we have a real coach and GM running the show now!

    Go Habs Go!

    • Loonie says:

      People are overreacting to his treatment of some young players but not overreacting in saying he’s a genius after five wins?

      Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        I did say “so far this year.”

        But I do think his treatment of young players has been good. Look at Eller yesterday, he was like a caged animal that broke lose. Hats off to Therrien.

        • Loonie says:

          Yep. Therrien deserves his share of credit for the improved results so far.

          K. You just had to push it too far. The great and wise Therrien put Eller with Cole and Desharnais out of necessity after Pacioretty’s injury and HE deserves credit for the way Eller played? Please Hobie. He scratched him after one game for two straight. Demoted and benched him in the two following games and again out of necessity went back to him yesterday.

          All Eller did was make the most of his opportunities and in a back to back game situation Therrien had no alternative but to use him.

          Sorry, but I strongly disagree here. This would be like saying Therrien’s handling of Price has lead to his .935 save percentage. Total joke.

          If anything, Eller and only Eller is to be credited for his results. He’s stayed professional and focused after being crapped on by an egomaniac.

          That egomaniac has the team playing well collectively but attributing his coaching style for an individual performance that’s been demonstrated under similar circumstances with different linemates and different coaching is ridiculous.

          • Marc10 says:

            Could it be that Lars was dragging his feet at the start of the season and the coaches rightly made him sit?

            I do like the simplistic notion that it absolutely has to be Therrien that’s at fault and that he’s some kind of egomaniac. It really is pretty convenient and plays nicely into some kind of dramatic scenario.

            Of course all hockey coaches have an ego. They have to. They deal with Alpha males on a daily basis. That said, the word from the Bergevin preseason retreat they had in Bromont (from Sylvain Lefebvre and others) was that this management and coaching group was a very good team. That they would share and discuss everything and that no opinion was unwelcome or that guys saw themselves as any better than the guy next to them. From Dudley to Mellanby, to MB, Gallant, Jodoin, Daigneault an even that egomaniac Therrien.

            Do you really think this group of season pros would suffer fools lightly. This a unified group and I’d put money down that Therrien makes the calls on who sits with all his assistants and with input from MB and his crew upstairs. He’d be nuts not to early in the season… and they’re all good mates by all accounts.

            But hey, it’s a great post and I commend you for dragging this fantasy this far. You’ve created a scenario where Therrien is some kind of fool and Eller is the second coming when in reality, it’s pretty simple. They sent the kid a message. The kid’s got talent and he’s responding. I hope it continues.

            (Damn. I knew you’d bait me…)

    • Marc10 says:

      I like the 7 D because of the extra skate it gives the centres, but completely agree with the rest of your post. Plus it’s always good to have backup on D.

      I’d avoid White facing the Sens just yet. I’d let him sit one more, just so he doesn’t have to get baited by them. He’s more than welcome to pay them back the other times we see them this season.

    • commandant says:

      I don’t think White will play, because I think Patches will be the guy back in the lineup.

      He may have to sit more than one game…. as Eller had to sit 2 or 3 too.

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

  41. Lafleurguy says:

    May be fanatics-colored glasses but didn’t PK look like Habs best D? Diaz will get slammed but earlier in the game he made a clever play in shoveling a loose puck under Price with the cage yawning.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  42. HabFab says:

    Did you know?

    When Scott Gomez receives his final payment from the Habs in 2014-15, he’ll have collected $32 million from the club. His stats to earn that pay? 222 GP, 23 goals, 103 assists, 126 points, 149 PIMS, and a -35 rating.

    Too interesting to pass up…sorry you all!

    • Clay says:

      And with that final payment one of the darkest chapters in Habs history will come to a close.

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

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Gomer was going to collect this amount of money from some team, and my conclusion is only that Glen Sather is smarter than Bob Gainey.
      Also, one would have to subtract Ryan McDonagh’s salary for the next two years…..he’s coming off his entry level contract at the end of this year. By the way, PK has more points in one game than should-be-ours’ has in 8 games.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Mustang says:

      In the catagory of most over paid Montreal Canadien of all time; Gomez is NUMBER 1. Hopefully he keeps that title for a very long time.

  43. munch17 says:

    Yesterday DD scored on a nice shot after a nice feed from Eller.
    He proceeded to take two penalties when we had a man advantage but was rewarded with more PP time in the 3rd period when he scored a meaningless goal into an empty net – again with Eller doing all the work.
    Pleks . Gally 27 were great as was Eller – effectively DD was the 4th most effective center on the team.
    But listening to l’antichambre after the game – you would think he played the game of his life.
    And all players are treated the same??

  44. Habfan10912 says:

    Call me a nit picker but I saw too much of Markov and Pleks in the third period yesterday given the fact that it was a front end of a back to back. MT seemed to manage everyone elses ice time better then these two. I think Markov’s was in the 24 minute area and Pleks was in the low 20’s.
    Had to find something to complain about. :)

    ———————————–

  45. Bash says:

    7 D?
    Message to Subban?
    Trade baiting Kaberle?

    With Pac back it won’t happen. Likely Eller goes to the fourth line…what a waste.

    I was a little torn when I watched Subban streak to the opposing blue line and then meekly dump the puck in. He’s on a leash for sure.

    When the crunch comes and we need him to rush the puck how will that play out I wonder? One mistake and he is torched?

    “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

    • Mustang says:

      Is he really on a leash? This was his first game back after a very long time away from the game and very little time to prepare. Maybe he was just be cautious. Give him a few games before making a decision.

      By the way, who would want Kaberle? What could Montreal get for him?

    • commandant says:

      It wasn’t a message, so much as an acknowledgment that the kid didn’t play during the lockout, and we weren’t sure about his conditioning. Turned out we didn’t need to worry, but it was good coaching to have a back up plan.

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

  46. Habfan10912 says:

    There is no way Max Pac plays today. Right?

    ———————————–

  47. Habfan10912 says:

    For those of us who think the GTA is the best fit for a NHL team:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/markham-arena-deal-gets-messy-211500307–nhl.html

    ———————————–

    • Mustang says:

      Just once I would like to see politicians take personal liability for this sort of project but of course that will never happen. Politicians of all stripes, support all sorts of projects but it is the tax payers who have to foot the bill if the plan does not pan out as promised. By then the politician(s) that promoted the project is long gone but is still collecting his/her pension.

      Can someone explain to me why pro sports must be supported by the general public? It simply does not make sense to me. Pro sport teams are entertainment, nothing more, nothing less. The dollars spent attending games will still be spent but on some other type of entertainment.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      The Markham proposal involves taxpayer funding of a hockey arena. They try to cover it up by taxing only new developments or parking, but it is pretty obvious that, as in the US, the city invests and someone else reaps the profits.


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

    • Lafleurguy says:

      would double us locals’ chances of getting Habs tickets

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  48. Habfan10912 says:

    The concussion bug hits the Flyers again.

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=653833&print=true

    ———————————–

    • Marc10 says:

      Ouch. Simmonds, eh.

      Their odds of making the playoffs are getting longer and longer… Laviolette is a good coach, but considering their D and the inconsistent goaltending, they’re primed for lost season.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      How many games does Erskine get for a deliberate and dirty hit to the head? Should be 24 but will be less than 6.


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

  49. CCL says:

    If we play the way we played against Buffalo. Ottawa is going down.


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