The Canadiens look ready for the opener

Montreal Canadiens' Brian Gionta scores a goal on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon during the first period of play of their NHL pre-season game at the Colisee in Quebec City

POSTGAME AUDIO from Pat Hickey in QC: Steve Yzerman (between periods) | Brian Gionta | Mike Cammalleri | Carey Price | P.K. Subban | Hal Gill | Jacques Martin

PREGAME AUDIO: Tom Pyatt | Guy Boucher | Mike Cammalleri | Hal Gill | Jacques Martin

Unplug the panic button.

Five sleeps till the opener.

Playing without Andrei Markov, Lars Eller, Ryan White and Travis Moen, the Canadiens looked great against a very good team, romping to a 5-1 win.

Carey Price is ready for the regular season.

So is Scott Gomez.

The team looked great in all aspects of the game … including courage, as evidenced by Josh Gorges going after the thug Ryan Malone, who tried to decapitate Chris Campoli


  1. Everlasting1 says:

    An observation on that pp..Gomez has got to be more aggressive to the net on that give-and-go to Patches. He’s such a scaredy-cat.

    When the Hebrew scouts investigate the Promised Land of Canaan and return to discourage the other Hebrews from entering it..”We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” [Numbers 13:33]

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  2. PrimeTime says:

    why is 990 play by play 1 minute behind the action?

  3. Chris79 says:

    Pacioretty on the wing on a Powerplay is just not Righteous.

  4. JIMVINNY says:

    That’s not Downie.

  5. HardHabits says:

    The curse of the French-Canadian goaltender amplified when he’s an ex-Hab too!!!

  6. JIMVINNY says:

    Malone just slammed PK’s head into the glass. Definitely should have been roughing.

  7. HabsFanMTL says:

    i love the radio broadcast but i can’t stand the delay its almost like 15 seconds delay while watching it on tv. i’d rather just listen to the broadcast on rds

  8. jo_maka says:

    The Count put Diaz with Spatch tonight. That’s it. That kid is doomed….
    Open-mindedness is not a skull fracture

  9. zak says:

    Still juggling lines. You would think he’d use the lines that his gonna start the season with, to start developing the chemistry instead of juggling lines to see if they have chemistry.

  10. Chris79 says:


  11. HardHabits says:

    Those Crosby commercials remind me of this clip.

    I couldn’t find the original commercial that RBO are spoofing though. Too bad. It was gold!!!

  12. So I guess the people who were using Yzerman as an example of how beneficial fighting is look pretty stupid today. He doesn’t seem to agree with that narrative at all.

    • HardHabits says:

      They day fighting is banned it will no longer have an impact. You yourself claimed you loved it when White pounded Boychuck for taking a run at Subban. Can you honestly say that there was no benefit to White taking Boychuck on?

      Once the players get it in their heads that there is big money to lose and disciplinary action that can affect their participation in the game these attempted hits wont need the great equalizer.

      May I recommend that you try to use another word than narrative. Whenever you say it, it sounds dismissive and makes you appear to be ultra-pompous. Well, More than usual. 😎

      • Loving it doesn’t make it effective or right. The Romans loved the gladiators. Was it effective? Hell no. Later in that game Chara broke Max’s neck. It was satisfying in a blood lust way, but it had zero effect on that game or on the dynamic between the two teams. Did the Bruins stop taking runs at Subban? No.

        I’m content to sound douchey if the alternative is to be a) ignorant and b) wrong.

  13. Propwash says:

    Every game is a must-win Boone!

  14. SeriousFan09 says:

    What also is helping the whole Nordiques thing is an absolute epic level of corruption on behalf of local and provincial government to give a billionaire everything he wants.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      The Conservatives are also showing their particular brand of “fiscal restraint” and “principled leadership” by agreeing to fund a private building in the only region that elects members of their party to Parliament 😀

  15. Brazhabs says:

    Anyone have a link for the game? Once again CBC only streaming the laffs game…

  16. JIMVINNY says:

    Mr. Boone, you really have a thing for Red, don’t you? I almost puked a little reading the man-love you showed in the cup drought article.

  17. PeterD says:

    Mike Boone…do you have any insight into R. White’s injury…what is hurting him and how bad?

  18. HardHabits says:

    Habs should claim Tikonov.

  19. Except for the Declaration of Independence, I hate Philadelphia. I can’t stand the Phillies or the Eagles. And, the Bruins don’t come within a country mile of the disdain I have for the Flyers!

  20. C_exacte says:

    what a crazy group of CH fans we got up in quebec, who’s the mime?

  21. Captain aHab says:

    Will there be some gellin’ tonight? You know the fans’ll be rooting for TB.

  22. cuzzie says:

    The more I look at the Habs lineup the more I understand why other teams may find it to be an easy day at the office. Very soft team.

    Stay Thirsty My Friends!

  23. All I need this game for is to carry me until 8:37pm when a real franchise takes the field on the way to a 28th championship.

  24. Bill J says:

    I really hope Weber is traded now. He’s no Streit on D, and I’m not convinced he can replicate Streit as a forward either.

    If you want to add an avatar here, read this and follow the steps

    Go Habs Go!

    • Mark C says:

      Isn’t this a bit premature? Weber turned 23 a little over a week ago. Streit didn’t make the NHL until his 27 year old season. Maybe he’ll never be Streit, but too many people are giving up on him way too soon.

      Streit’s first NHL season (27): 48-2-9

      Weber last season (22): 41-1-10

  25. HardHabits says:

    Boone always with the hyperbole suggesting that a vague unease grips the Commentariat. Nothing vague about it.

    The bandwagon is clearly parked on the edge of a cliff.

  26. DEANDALLEY says:

    I love these lines.

    Martin should be keeping these lines together for a while, not for a half a game!

    • Bill J says:

      I’d like to see Palushaj on the third in Darche’s spot.

      Other then that, 4th line will change depending on injuries I hope.

      Defensive pairings is another story. Not a big fan.

      If you want to add an avatar here, read this and follow the steps

      Go Habs Go!

  27. HabFab says:

    Re Yemelin sitting, Spatcho needs some game condition practice in also.

  28. wall2bay says:

    Boone, Hickey or anybody….pls fwd this link to JM

    “I kind of feel sorry for players who never got a chance to be a Montreal Canadien” – Cammalleri

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Okay watching that I want to go and body check any bruin fan I see! Great video thanks!

    • AK_PK_Usay says:

      I was ready to invade china…

      Obama should give this speech, then give the JFK speech

      • Everlasting1 says:


        When the Hebrew scouts investigate the Promised Land of Canaan and return to discourage the other Hebrews from entering it..”We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” [Numbers 13:33]

        “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

        • AK_PK_Usay says:

          speech got me pumped, and i know most people don’t want to admit it, but china’s interests are not our interests…

          anyway, it was meant as an exaggeration of how pumped i got

    • Everlasting1 says:

      I would think every seriously minded competitive team would have a motivational coach with a similar speech. But “I don’t understand mistakes” should be rephrased lol

      When the Hebrew scouts investigate the Promised Land of Canaan and return to discourage the other Hebrews from entering it..”We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” [Numbers 13:33]

      “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

      • wall2bay says:

        I know I’m not in the locker room but I can’t see JM doin 10% of this.

        “I understand victory and never surrendering!”-

        “I kind of feel sorry for players who never got a chance to be a Montreal Canadien” – Cammalleri

  29. Josh says:

    This is the Habs roster for the season pretty much except for the 4th line. I wonder what the excuses will be this time when they get smoked once again?

    • AK_PK_Usay says:

      top 3 lines with eller look good, but that 4th line has been more invisible than papa smurf behind a counter.

    • Da Hema says:

      I have some gratis quotes for the players after tonight’s game.

      “The lights were too bright.”

      “We are all concerned about the future of the European Union.”

      “We would have won had we outscored our opponents.”

      “Time ran out.”

      “The pucks were imbalanced.”

      “The ice was lower in our end.”

      • AK_PK_Usay says:


        PG completely misunderstood us when we said “if it wasnt for JM we wouldnt have made it to ECF” we meant to say “we would have went further”

      • Everlasting1 says:

        And last but not least, “The officials are conspiring against us”.

        When the Hebrew scouts investigate the Promised Land of Canaan and return to discourage the other Hebrews from entering it..”We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” [Numbers 13:33]

        “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  30. Da Hema says:

    Yemelin not playing can’t be a good sign for his NHL aspirations.

  31. HabFab says:

    Pat Hickey tweaks injury update;
    Good chance Travis Moen will be ready for season opener but Ryan White says he has a long way to go.

  32. Mark C says:

    Magnus “Ver Magnusson” Nygren, scored his 4th goal of the season, he now has 5 points in 7 SEL games and is tied for the league lead in goals.

  33. tbovs says:

    This preseason the compete is just not there…I however will not leap head first off bandwagon if they lose tonight. If they go 2-8 in the first 10 games … i might consdier it but we shall see. It just seems there is no sense of urgency because the games do mean NOTHING. They just don’t care or at least the regs don’t save Price the last 2 games he’s played and maybe PK. You had guys like Bournival and Gally who played to get a spot on the team but no one else really stood out like they played like they wanted it. Maybe there are too many “veteran locks” on the team. I guess there is one or two spots open at F and D but really not too much. Just hate to see the lack of jump plus injuries don’t help either. You look at the Oilers who are havinga great preseason and playing with jump and purpose trying to prove people wrong or to change minds we just aren’t doing that. Frustrating but reality.

    It doesn’t matter now but a slow start to the season could be the difference for fightin for home ice in the playoffs OR fighting for 7th or 8th. Hopefully things change and we get a good start…I think thtats all I’m really concerned with. We havea good team that can play a good system, we just need to pump up the compete a little bit and find another gear.

    That felt good to type…been reading posts for like a week and getting more and more depressed…so I had to get that off my chest.
    Phew!!! Feels better. Now ….. GO HABS GO…..

    • AK_PK_Usay says:

      Im no Dr, altho Dr Rechi’s story is inspiring… But not posting and only reading IS bad for your health, its like being price in JM system, you get bombarded and no one starts the counter…

  34. Da Hema says:

    I wonder if Boone could be rationally persuaded not to post images of himself….

  35. The Dude says:

    Man,I look at this line-up and think not only does this team for tonight look like a broken puzzle but if the lost pieces were found they would be from the wrong puzzle.I know there are too many teams and too many leagues but I call B.S. on this mismatch of athletes.And as for preseason gold panning for a polyfiller fix for this year…BLAH!

  36. JD_ says:

    Off the grid the past week, smack dab on Nowheresville Island, Pop: 3.


    I see the Habs have had a tumultuous preseason. Would it be fair to assume this place put Kingda Ka to shame over the course of events?

    That’s what it’s all about. It’s all good.

    Haven’t seen the hits but really appreciate that Shanny’s trigger-happy. Let him go to town. I’m all for it. The key, however, is that this isn’t near-term window-dressin’ and that we will be able to discern some modicum of consistency over the course of the season, particularly in the face of what will undoubtedly be a growin’ cacaphony of second-guessin’ and gripin’ from all corners. Hopefully, the complainin’ will be a little more thoughtful than that recently emanatin’ from Marty Brody, apparently not currently in the runnin’ for the league’s philosopher king.

    Yemmy’s benched. Ruined even before the regular season gets underway. Damn. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

    If it’s true Don Meehan convinced Doughty to hold out for an additional $200K per annum – a whoppin’ and seemingly quite petty 3% on the purported initial offer – next offseason’s go-round with Poindexter Bentley is gonna be a really rude affair. There’s just no way around it. May as well just – barrin’ a deterrent in the new CBA – get used to the idea.

    Emphasis on if this is how it went down.

    Preseason is rarely a precursor. Injuries not helpful. Plenty of time left to panic, no need to use up all the kilojoules now.

    That is, of course, pendin’ the outcome of tonight’s game.

    • savethepuck says:

      All the videos of the suspension hits with Shanny’s explanations are on except for the latest suspension to Clark Macarthur

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

  37. AK_PK_Usay says:

    And now for one of my JM rants,

    Habs are a fast team, where does speed play into playing 5man D and letting Price get bombarded…

    Yemelin has looked blah, but so has everyone on our D except PK.
    Diaz looks good only on PP… Gill has been slower than usual

    • govenah says:


      What is really bugging me is this skate to center and dump the puck recurring nightmare. I thought we wanted to be a puck possession team. By the time we get the puck back we have to shift again! I hope in the next few days they can learn to get a shift turnover happening with out giving up the puck. Detroit does this. Getting a fresh line out with possession is going to make all the difference. Go to Collingwood and practice this please.

  38. HabsFanMTL says:

    what the fark is going on? Are guys had all summer to get in tip top shape, add on some muscle……..felt real good, anxious to start the season, then after a few skates or couple of pre-season games, 9 of them get hurt? how easy is it to get injured in this damm sport?? upper body, lower body, hang nail…..what about Eller? i know he got operated on his shoulder but that was long long ago……..he said he put on muscle this summer worked out feels great, he still can’t play contact? wheres ryan white? whats his injury??? geeeshhhhhhhhhhh come on guys what u gonna do when the dammed real season starts??????

  39. Sharks9 says:

    Shanahan continues to hand out the discipline, this time to a Toronto Maple Leaf!

    Hopefully the next one will be a Bruin.

    25 before 14

  40. samTHEman says:

    Why isn’t Palushaj on the 3rd line RW with AK and DD? Bah..

    It’s P.K. Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime

  41. smiler2729 says:

    What me worry?

    “If the Bruins played the Taliban, I’d root for the Taliban”

  42. 24moreCups says:

    Love it every time Knuckles is on the Team 990, never got the chance to see him play but I sure enjoy hearing his love for the team.

  43. ManApart says:

    Not terribly concerned by the preseason record, but by the play of the regulars. Not too many have had a good camp. Outside of Cammy can’t say I’ve been impressed by anyone. Gomez and Patches have been OK. Pleks, Gionta, Cole, DD, AK46 have not been great. Not freaking out, but a little concerned.

    I think those guys should be OK, but I really am not loving the D. Pretty bad actually. Gill on the first pairing? He’s looked terrible this camp. Gorges-Campoli 2nd pairing? Not great. Spacek and Diaz are borderline NHLers. Yemelin hasn’t been too impressive either. The loss of Hammer and Wiz will hurt bad. Huge downgrade replacing them with Campoli and Diaz. There are some scary offenses in the conference like Philly, Caps, Tbay, Pitt with Crosby, even Boston and the Rangers. Jersey isn’t shabby either. With Gill, Spacek, Campoli and Diaz being 2/3rds of your D-squad, I think some of those teams will be licking their chops.

    • Ton says:

      I never did like your posts but I will say this one is good and of late I commend you they have been for more constructive than months past. I agree with your assessment of the team/defense and its current state.

  44. kempie says:

    “Yemelin a healthy scratch. Hmmmmm ….”

    I remember Subban being a healthy scratch for a few nights last year. It worked out pretty well. I think these guys really need to watch the team from high up sometimes. Especially Dmen. I think it helps put things in perspective for them.

  45. habs001 says:

    With Markov out i dont see our d providing any more offense than last year ,it may even provide less…i still see the majority of our games being 2-1 and 3-2…many of our forwards score in bunches and they tend to go on scoreless streaks of 7 to 8 games or even more…does not look like the faceoff problems of constantly losing draws in the opposition zone when we are on the pp or in our zone on pk or key moments has been dealt with…i still dont think we are a top 10 team in the nhl….potentially we can be a top 5 team in 2-3 years…

  46. HabinBurlington says:

    Thanks Sam for posting the lineup.

    HH, I did the same exercise awhile ago and I too was surprised how similar the standings were. However, I still think the system is flawed. Simply put it is ridiculous that some games produce 3 points while others produce 2. That is just flawed and is yet another example of how Bettman just doesn’t get it. Though I am somewhat of a purist and don’t want to see 3 points for a win, I think they need to make all games worth the same. Given that, I think 3 points should be awarded for reg. Time win and the current 2 for shootout or Ot win and the same 1 point for the loser.

    • HardHabits says:

      I think the games should be two points period. Eliminate the shoot-out. The only time I want to see a skater in alone on a goalie with everybody else on the bench is during a penalty shot.

      That being said if the league wants to eliminate ties just make the OT 10 minutes of 4 on 4 and if nothing is settled, add another 10 minutes of 3 on 3. I guarantee you no OT will go 20 minutes.

    • LNev says:

      I think he does get it. As you said the standings remain similar with or with out the extra point, but while the ranks are similar, the spread between ranks grow. The extra point creates the illusion of a tight race, when the reality is a much bigger gap.

      Basically, it keeps Leafs fans thinking they are “this close…”

  47. Old Bald Bird says:

    I guess we’re sitting our one tough D guy tonight. Oh well.

  48. HardHabits says:

    Praying for Overtime

    I always thought the OTL skewered the standings to make it look like a team had a better win record than they should have. Well. It turns out I was wrong.

    I did a little analysis of what team’s records would like with a W-L-T-OTW setting and the result has conflicted with my long standing perception.

    I guess that is one reason why I have no head for religions. When confronted with facts or reasonable arguments that contradict what I might think is right I tend to change my mind, unlike those who are indoctrinated and try to bend everything to fit their POV.

    So back to the epiphany.

    Montreal’s record last season was 44-30-8 for 96 points
    They went to OT 16 times with a record of 8-8

    I was thinking what the wins versus losses would like if the standings were using a Win-Loss-Tie-Overtime Win scenario. Well. Not much changes.

    Take for example Montreal’s record last season which was 44-30-8 for 96 points (14 games over .500). With that record they went to OT 16 times with a record of 8-8.

    With a W-L-T-OTW system their record would look like: 36-22-16-8 for 96 points (2 points for a W, 1 point each for T and OTW).

    In this scenario the Habs still have 14 more regulation wins than losses. So in essence the loser point isn’t the big bad swindle I presumed it was.

    What could be valuable with this scenario is to place teams according to their regular points as is the norm and then use the regular season wins as the next tie breaker with the OTW as the one following that. This could put the added onus on trying to get the regulation win.

    • Bripro says:

      HH, I’m trying to understand your point system.
      I assume you meant 1 point for a tie (not an L) and 1 point for an OTW.
      I would rather you earn two points for an OTW and nothing for an OTL.
      A win is a win. and a loss is a loss.
      The structure, as it stands now, allows he players to take their foot off the gas with a few minutes left in the 3rd, because they know they’ve got a point in the bank. I think they should have to earn two, or get nothing.

    • avatar_58 says:

      1 point for a win, nothing for a loss. That’s how I want it

    • Gerry H says:

      I’ve never understood the hang up with the OTL point. Before three point games, teams were always rewarded with a point for a regulation tie. No, for me the thing that skewers the standings has always been the OTW and SO bonus point. Sudden death OT is one thing, but getting that bonus point for a shoot out goal, in my view, is perverse.

      • HardHabits says:

        Nice. I totally agree and said the same thing above.

        I’d go even further and say I see a consensus building against the magical extra point altogether.

  49. habsfan0 says:

    I wonder if RDS2 will be available to Rogers subscribers in the Toronto area.

  50. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Vancouver placed Ryan Parent on waivers. Might be a good insurance policy to stick down in Hamilton in case of further injury to our D corps…

  51. HabinBurlington says:

    Doughty is LA’s best player and should be highest paid. Why would Lombardi make the statement we won’t pay more 6.8 and then proceed to do so. Sounds like another poorly handled situation by the Kings. Starting to understand why Ryan Smyth wanted out.

  52. HabinBurlington says:

    Does anyone have the lineup for the game tonight? Can’t understand why my cable provider cogeco doesn’t provide RDS in HD.

    • samTHEman says:

      Mike Cammalleri – Tomas Plekanec – Erik Cole
      Max Pacioretty – Scott Gomez – Brian Gionta
      Mathieu Darche – David Desharnais – Andrei Kostitsyn
      Aaron Palushaj – Andreas Engqvist – Yannick Weber

      Hal Gill – P.K. Subban
      Josh Gorges – Chris Campoli
      Jaroslav Spacek – Raphael Diaz

      Carey Price

      Jeff Woywitka, Alexei Yemelin, and Aaron Palushaj are the healthy scratches.

      [EDIT] learned via twitter than palushaj is in for blunden. not sure if he’ll be on the 3rd line with AK and DD or on the 4th

      It’s P.K. Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime

  53. Habitoba says:

    Now I don’t normally agree with Don Cherry but I think he touched on something legit when talking about the equipment players use, stating that if the protective equipment is designed so that the wearer doesn’t feel a thing when hitting, it now becomes a weapon. If you don’t feel a hit when you make one, you’ll never think twice about the big crushing blow that’ll send a man in traction. Has anybody heard about anything the NHL might be doing about this?

  54. C_exacte says:

    the ol’ colisee, ah the memories of ’93, win one for denis savard!

  55. LA Loyalist says:


  56. Danno says:

    Are the Habs contenders or pretenders this year?



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

  57. HardHabits says:

    Nice to see that the intellectual rookies are at day care and the veteran thinkers are posting quality comments today!!!

  58. samTHEman says:

    So which Habs prospects are looking to make their national World Juniors team? SF09 can you enlighten us?

    USA: Tinordi
    Canada: Beaulieu, Bournival, Gallagher, Ellis?

    Which have the best chance?

    It’s P.K. Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime

  59. Marc10 says:

    Ouch! That Tinordia train can roll! Unfortunately it leads to a goalscoring chance… But I bet the guy he crunched won’t be breaking out on the right flank with that much pep the next go round…

  60. LA Loyalist says:

    There is rust, and then there is rust:

    “Jonas Hiller has given up just three goals on 67 shots in three pre-season starts after a lengthy bout with vertigo following the all-star break. ”

    I’ll leave the editorial comments to you guys.

    • Bill J says:

      You’re quickly becoming the Anaheim E1 of HIO…

      No offense intended, but only you two post about other teams the way you do, while semi constantly alway dumping on the Habs.

      I’m sure you know how much E1 is appreciated around here.

      Just sayin’

      If you want to add an avatar here, read this and follow the steps

      Go Habs Go!

      • LA Loyalist says:

        Just providing some perspective. I see Kings often at the practice rink and my kid plays in Anaheim often on his travel team, and always wants to see Koivu and Selanne.

        I just got annoyed at all the “pre-season” excuses for our goaltending. Hiller hasn’t played since freaking February and comes in cold and plays like that? To me that’s perspective, and the perspective isn’t good. I’m not worried about Price, but I’m quite worried about how we’ve played so far. As far as dumping, my dumping is almost exclusively on Gomez (yeah, I’m sick of myself too on that topic) and Martin. I think we have some terrific players, but I don’t think Le System suits the guys we have.

        That’s all. Let’s just say I’m more loyal to the IDEA of the Montreal Canadiens – fast, clever, classy, skilled – then the used car lot reality we sometimes get.

        Your point is fair enough and I understand. Just the Hiller example was just too amazing and our excuses too lame to not comment.

        • Bill J says:

          Fair enough, I understand that where you live determines the hockey news you hear about.

          I do not think you’re a troll or anything like that, you certainly are passionate about the Habs. I was merely pointing out a perception I took from your post, thanks for not being insulted by it and in turn not replying with anger.

          If you want to add an avatar here, read this and follow the steps

          Go Habs Go!

          • LA Loyalist says:

            Of course not anger, if we all agreed on everything who would post? It would be really boring. I’ve learned a lot here, and (believe it or not) I’ve changed my opinions on some things. And sometimes it’s useful me being in LA, I saw Penner play with Edmonton and I wanted him for Habs… but seeing him in LA, last year and in pre-season games, he would have been a mistake for us and i was wrong.

            There, I said it. 🙂

  61. Neutral says:

    Message for JM. Habs have problems scoring right now in pre-season, when you and your coaching staff can figure out why? and sooner the better, this is gonna be a good team, I think the “D” will come together.

    you can’t shuffle lines for 82 games and expect to win a cup.

  62. HabFab says:

    RL tweets that Goaltender Nicola Riopal 22 has been invited to the Bulldogs camp this afternoon. Riopal was the top goaltender and MVP in the Q back in the 2008-09 season. Drafted by the Flyers but not offered a contract for this season.
    Does this mean that Delmas concussion is worse then originally thought or team looking for more depth?

  63. neumann103 says:

    Forgive the vanity, but I published this magnum opus in the “Dryden calls for tougher head contact rules page” but since now everyone has moved onto the “Last Tangle in QC” page it will disappear into the mists of time.

    I mean, is an actual forum structure to much to ask from HIO. You know threaded comments? Some coherence?

    Anyhow, in the spirit of unrestrained ego and in response to the todays NHL sucks because the talent level is diluted with non-NHL calibre players, I reproduce and present the contrarian view.

    You are Welcome!

    Normally when I get into discussions about the “good old days” of hockey, I am the old guy articulating the “get off my laaaaaawnnn” point of view. I get the sense that among the HIO commentariat there are many even older (!) than I am.

    My first hockey memories are of Mr. Dryden’s rookie playoff run. The year he took off to finish law school was simultaneously completely understandable to my nascent upper upper middle class mind and incomprehensible to my hockey heart. There is an image burned in my mind of a pan down the Habs bench showing the lost faces in a doomed effort against the New York Rangers whose collective angst resounded “Bunny is a nice guy and all, but Kenny we hardly knew ye.”

    All in the service of saying, while I am no Red Fisher and certainly cannot contend for the curmudgeonly crown, I am not someone who regards the Koivu years as the golden age. Patrick Roy is still “the new guy”.

    The notion that players today are far less skilled than any particular era in the past is nonsense. At least as far back as 1970. And honestly if you are contending that further back than that somehow gets to a promised land of NHL skill, watch some of the games. The 1950s looked like playing in slow motion at a time where the big guys were a size that barely escapes “smurf” designation today. A modern Select team of 12 year old boys would school the Stanley Cup Champions of the 1930s.

    It is a reasonable assumption that expect that the expansion of the NHL has watered down the talent level by overstressing the pool of available players. I can see how you can postulate that filling 150 roster jobs in 1967 vs 800 in 2011 could lead to dilution. But it just is not true. The skills of players today vastly exceed any previous era. The only legacy NHL teams of the 50s or 60s or 70s or even 80s that would have a prayer against a current NHL bottom feeder team are the dynasties of Habs, Islanders and Oilers that owned 4 or 5 consecutive years of dominance.

    You can make the relative argument. Or the distribution argument. Was the worst player in the NHL in 1970 farther away from Bobby Orr than the worst player today is from Sidney Crosby. But no matter how you look at it, today’s NHL player is the product of a machine that turns 4 year olds into purpose built machines in a way that just wasn’t true 30, 40 or 70 years ago.

    I agree that virtually any NHL roster has some players who really don’t belong. I think 5 or 6 per team is the high end, but probably every recent team outside the Detroit Red Wings has had a couple, maybe a bad team has four. Sadly (given recent events) this was always my response to Wade Belak. The “how does he occupy a roster spot in the NHL?” response. Frankly this was my reaction to Hal Gill, prior to his eye-opening (to stupid old me) stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    What has changed to explain the dearth of 50 goal scorers? Goaltending, for one. Goaltender equipment for fifteen. The difference in the style, focus and gear in nets is huge. The open ice slapshot from 45 feet was a staple goal scoring play of my youth. Today such goals are dismissed as soft goals that “he shoulda had”.

    Puck skills today are way beyond anything in the past. Go to any rink and watch any age of kids. I agree that there is a bunch of hot dog dangling BS that looks good in practice but would be pointless in most game situations, but seriously to derogate the puck handling skills of today in favour of the Bobby Clobbers of the 70s would be insane.

    Dare I say “the trap”? Maybe it is nearer and dearer to my “I can barely skate” heart, but I learned very early and maintain to this day a personal philosophy that I am not going to generate many goals for, but I can certainly prevent many against. Apply this to players with actual talent and rinse and repeat. So as much as I chafe at the JM defense first style, especially as applied to a team with this mch speed, you can understand how it happens.

    So, take those rose coloured glasses off, turn down the Bobby Sherman records, put those Beatle boots up on the couch and turn on the hockey game and consider that a Player like the Habs overpriced, can’t play outside the Carolinas, what was PG thinking, Power Forward would simultaneously be the fastest player on the ice and a veritable one man wrecking crew if transported back 40 or 50 years.

    So yes, I agree, “these kids today!” what with their long hair and their rock and roll, and their hula hoops, it’s getting so’s you can’t tell the boys from the girls except for the colour of their tramp stamps (don’t ask me how I know…officer) but really the golden age wasn’t so golden, the good old days weren’t that good.

    But the Leafs still sucked.

    “Et le but!”

    • Danno says:

      Interesting read.

      Regarding your opening remark, I prefer the old format of the Habs Inside Out blog much more than this new version. The old version was far superior in so many ways. It’s a shame, but it looks like we’re stuck with what we’ve got now.


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

    • Chorske says:

      Hey Peter- said this in the other thread, and I’ll say it again here: GREAT post, couldn’t agree with you more.

      Keep up the awesome work and don’t be shy about the magnum opuses (opera). Those of us with adequate attention spans will enjoy them. 🙂

      • neumann103 says:

        Thanks for the kind words. I saw your post describing the effect of goaltender quality and their equipment and couldn’t agree more. The position is completely different in virtually every way than it was even 30 years ago (which was hardly the dark ages) let alone 50 years ago (which really was, I mean the Leafs were winning then).

        And “Magnum Opera” would be a great name for a Norwegian Speed Metal Band.

        Off to Oslo to make millions!

        “Et le but!”

    • HardHabits says:

      I thoroughly enjoy sifting through the muck and the mire that is the HIO comments section but even after going through mounds of dirt and soil we can still find gems like these. Good job sir!!!

    • LA Loyalist says:

      I’ll tell you the difference.

      The old-timers did it because they loved the game, and they loved their team and their communities. They were deeply competitive. They wouldn’t usually even talk to another team if they were on the same train or in the same hotel.

      Eddie Shack had a Christmas tree lot. Dickie Moore started a construction rental business. Peter Mahovolich worked the comedy clubs as a stand-up…

      The difference is now we have a lot of kid millionaires. I’m not saying they’re not entitled. I wish The Rocket had made $10M a year, but it’s made things more complex. Most of them are great kids and responsible.

      And some of them are complete A**holes like Drew Doughty. I’ve just decided to have a big woody on for him over his little tantrum of having to be paid more than Kopitar. Don’t tell me it’s the Agent. Agents advise, but it’s the client’s decision. The kid’s a jerk. I don’t care that he’s Canadian.

      A modern era team would probably kill an old-school team, that’s harsh reality.

      But the old-school team would care more, and in the big picture that’s more important.

      • HardHabits says:

        More dirt.

      • neumann103 says:

        I have no idea what the heck Drew Doughty or his agent were thinking, in essentially holding out for three months as an RFA over what amounts to less than 3%. Is it that important to stick it to Dean Lombardi or to let Kopitar know who’s boss, and how does that play out in the dressing room for the next 8 years. Absolutely mystifying.

        But I grew up in Kingston in the 70s.

        Syl Apps was my Alderman (city councillor).

        Wayne Cashman worked construction in the summer and was a neighbour of my grade school teacher.

        A little later, former Leaf and Whaler Jim Dorey was my insurance agent.

        Not to mention the personal association with future NHLers of my own age. I went to school with one current NHL coach and at least one future one. In the early 1980s every draft year featured people I went to school with or knew. Although really by that point those who made the NHL were going to make big bucks as loing as they could stay.

        etc etc etc

        Players of the 70s and earlier were integrated into and had a stake in the community. They were certainly more “regular folk” both in terms of income and social status, and both in their hometowns (where most returned for the off season – and the off season job) and their NHL team communities.

        And yes, it blows my mind that someone would sign for $6 million a year to play in a no-hope helltown over $5.5million on a team with a chance to win the cup, or a community in which there is more to do than drink and sleep.

        But where this particular strand of the “gold old days” thread loses me:
        The owners.

        Or more to the point, there is absolutely nothing positive or honourable or good about players being taken advantage by scumbag NHL owners. It is freaking shameful how little these guys were paid until the combination of the NHLPA (for all its Eaglesonian evil) and the WHA (and all its Sandersonian insanity) forced the escalation of salaries into something starting to approach the market value of the labour.

        Let me repeat this (since it becomes more relevant as we approach the CBA): “Professional Sports team owners are nearly universally scum, and any sob story BS from their ilk must be stomped.” Yes I think the megalomaniac billionaire team owner can be a good thing (real world experiment in progress see: Sabres, Buffalo) because Resources + Ego x Commitment to win ought to = Good Hockey, but we should never ever ever feel sorry for the poor put upon pro sports owners.

        And it makes me vomit when people fall for the “greedy players” meme, that the owners got away with during the last two NHL lockout/stoppages. And don’t forget, that last one was a lockout.

        The great majority of players want to play. They want to play for winners. They want to be paid well for the few years they have, which can be even fewer if they get concussed right the heck outta there (Can. Worms. Opener). Most care about the fans, the cities and the sport. But in an age of blogs and cellphone cams and professional autograph dealers, it is not quite as straight forward as little timmy asking for an autograph.

        And seriously we all saw this, right
        a 17 year old junior who has the good grace…

        Now back to your regularly scheduled Norwegian Speed Metal and the stylings of Magnum Opera

        “Et le but!”

        • LA Loyalist says:

          … great points – and I said that I wished The Rocket and Davy Keon etc. had made their $10M.

          I lived through the Harold Ballard era in Toronto. Worse than evil, psychotic. And of course we had Bruce McNall in LA. The list is too long.

          The other side of that coin is the faceless corporation, like the Leafs and their Teachers Pension Fund ownership. I don’t know how to solve this problem, unless it’s community ownership like the CFL sometimes had (or had).

          I thought Georges Gillet was a good man, I pray every week for the Molsons to be wise and judicious and have some freaking vision to preserve our heritage. And then there’s Long Island and Phoenix.

          Maybe you can do a long rant next Saturday on ownership AND the NHLPA – who deserve lots of blame too. Looking forward to it because as free market capitalist as I am, I don’t have an easy answer for you.

      • Chorske says:

        More incoherence from LALoyalist on an otherwise solid morning of posting.

        Let me know the next time you do your job for free- or give your boss a home town discount because you love your damn job so much.

        • AK_PK_Usay says:

          I thought his post made a solid point and is quite valid in today’s nhl.

          Your post on the other hand is trolling, as you don’t have any logical argument against his post, you just attack the poster…

  64. habstrinifan says:

    Just finished reading Mr Dryden’s article.


    Mr Dryden speaks and speaks well!

    No excuses are now available to anyone involved in those sports he mentioned, especially hockey.

    Read Mr Dryden and then ‘just do it’ people.


    I have watched only ONE fight this pre-season. The one between Canadien’s Schultz and whomever. I didnt feel as before! But I was afraid to admit that. Because I wondered if, when once the season starts, and my team is locked in combat for real playoff points, I would jump up off the chair and demand that JM send someone on the ice to set the tone, to exact revenge.

    I remember being very uncomfortable and having none of my normal partisan interest as a Canadie’s fan. Part of my disinterest, and even sadness at the spectacle, was the freshness of the news concerning the enforcers’ deaths during the summer.

    Part was the realization that, hitherto, I had been asking young men to awkwardly demonstrate inapposite skills performing an inapposite task in my game so that I could vicariously avenge the perceived brutish transgression of someone on the ‘other team’.

    And, as My Dryden said, I looked upon these young men as ‘fighters’ and nothing else. Disregarded the uncomfortable fact that in a season or two they may be injured cast-offs toiling in real pain in a minor league rink somewhere, while fans, like myself, howled and hollered and satisfied their lust for blood, their need for revenge or ‘justice’.

    I want NO MORE FIGHTING in my sport!

    I love grit and push back resilience and aggressiveness and yes even enough ‘truclenc’ to make the other team wary of free-wheeling.

    BUT NO FIGHTING PERIOD! And of course a continuation of Shanahan’s strict enforcement of the rules against head hits.

    Count me in as one who knows IT is TIME to remove all inapposite violence from the game.

    Thank you Mr Dryden for a great article.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Good post. Let me give you an (I hope) interesting analogy.

      I worked on marketing Call of Duty. I never thought about it, I bought if for my kid even though he’s too young. We have video clips from it running in a loop at my work all the time, along with a bunch of other stuff.

      Now, after the Norway shootings, I can’t look at it. I took it away from my kid (he’s pissed). I wouldn’t work on it again.

      I changed totally on the topic of video games due to a real world event.

      I’m all for VERY hard checking if it’s clean, but I’ve realized that letting the players fight is in reality letting the NHL and the NHLPA entirely off the hook of any responsibility for the consequences.

      Head shots need to be fairly, consistently and harshly punished.

      Fighting needs to be gone.

      My kid is 8. He just had his first concussion (very mild, luckily). It’s the second in his circle of friends in a year, and they’re not allowed to hit at all and wear tons of gear.

      Ken Dryden for some big job. I won’t say to replace Bettman (though god knows he must be replaced) because Dryden is a thinker not a doer and the Commish needs to be an executional and politically adept guy.

      Stop fighting. Now. Just end it. And head shots. It can be done and our sport will be far better for it.

  65. Bill J says:

    Interesting poll on the right side of the page today. I’ve had the pleasure of having dinner with Price last season. Along with fellow HIO members, RGM (Richard) and yathehabsrule (Kevin). Meeting him (Moen and Wiz too) was a memory I will not soon forget.

    If you want to add an avatar here, read this and follow the steps

    Go Habs Go!

  66. SlovakHab says:

    Hal Gill joins Twitter – you can follow him here: @Skillsy75

  67. twilighthours says:

    SF09: that Tinordi sequence was something. A man against boys.

    If you’re sick of not being able to view the HIO comment structure from your iPhone, try downloading Mercury browser. If you have alternative suggestions, please send them along!

    • Dust says:

      i’m definately going to have to catch the barrie colts game when london comes to town. want to see him and person for sure. Any other teams in the OHL you can suggest me going to see for habs prospects?

    • Mike D says:

      I also watched the link SF09 included below of the hit/fight. In the replay of the hit it looks like Tinordi delivers somewhat of a head shot. Doesn’t look intentional and it wasn’t the principle point of contact either, but you can see the opposing player’s head snap back in the slow-mo replay.

      Really liked how Tinordi handled himself in the scrap though. Hopefully he’l be able to do that against men someday in the NHL if need be.

      – Honestly yours

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        I’ve watched the video over a few times, to me it looks like one of those ‘almost’ hits to the head, looks like Tinordi put his shoulder right at the top of the guy’s chest and exploded into him, knocking him over.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

        • Mike D says:

          Right at the 0:48 mark of the video clip you can see Tinordi’s shoulder making clear contact with the other player’s chin/jaw.

          It was definitely a “full-body” type of check and you are correct that JT explodes into him, but there was head contact made as well. As I mentioned above, it certainly wasn’t intentional.

          – Honestly yours

          • HabFab says:

            Interesting point and I’m curious to see how the NHL plans on handling such hits. Tinordi is so much taller then the other player, he would have to be almost on his knees to avoid hitting the head with a check. I believe it was fairly obvious that Tinordi targeted his opponent’s center mass but the height differential was too much to avoid any head contact.

          • Mike D says:

            @ HabFab

            Absolutely correct. I’m also curious to see how the CHL handles these types of hit because they have a much stricter policy on head shots than the NHL does (or did). In Tinordi’ case, he’s taller than most NHL players so just imagine how much taller he is in comparison to OHL players. In that video, he practically is on his knees in his approach to the hit.

            – Honestly yours

  68. CanadienBoy says:

    Had a nightmare last night ,Komisary is the hits leader on D and Pou Pou and Tender scoore 30 goal each

  69. SeriousFan09 says:

    Prospect Round-up:

    Michael Bournival continues his torrid pace to start the year, he scored two more goals in a 7-2 win with his Shawinigan Cataractes after literally racing after being cut to get to the game. He has 7 goals in 3 games.

    Olivier Archambeault scored his first goal of the season and with his new team the Drummondville Voltigeurs, in a 4-2 losing effort to Nathan Beaulieu’s Saint John Sea Dogs but was -2 over the game, Beaulieu took 3 minors, including one that resulted in a GA and was +1 on the night.

    Jarred Tinordi, freshly minted captain of the London Knights has a perfect 1-0-0 record so far as his team trounced the Sudbury Wolves 8-2, Tinordi was +1 over the game, had a big hit and a fight he won rather handily.

    Darren Dietz had an assist and went +3 in a 4-2 win with the Saskatoon Blades over the Red Deer Rebels.

    The Hamilton Bulldogs engaged in pre-season action against the AHL Calder Cup Champion Binghamton Senators and took a 4-1 victory. Alex Avtsin notched two goals, Brian Willsie had 1G, 1A, Brock Trotter collected three assists, Olivier Dame-Malka, Gabriel Dumont and Joe Stejskal each collected a single helper. Besieged goaltender Robert Mayer, threatened by both Lawson and Delmas for an AHL spot had 23 saves.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  70. cuzzie says:

    In Hickey’s article he writes that the Habs have two contract spots left. Is there a limit to the amount of players an organization can have under contract? Anybody know?

    Stay Thirsty My Friends!

    • kempie says:

      50 contracts is the limit, including Bulldogs

      • HabFab says:

        The Bulldogs can also sign players to AHL contracts. They become the property of the Bulldogs but not the Canadiens. Montreal cannot call them up unless they sign them to a NHL contract (the 50 limit).
        At this moment the Bulldogs have 3 players under AHL contracts;
        Dame-Malka, DeSimone and FitzGerald.

    • SlovakHab says:

      Yes, there is a limit: 50

      • cuzzie says:

        Thank You,

        Stay Thirsty My Friends!

        • cuzzie says:

          There are 7 unsigned prospects due contracts in 2012 or the Habs lose their rights.

          Stay Thirsty My Friends!

          • HabFab says:

            Plus I understand that Beaulieu’s birthday is in a grey zone and he has the option next year to play either AHL or CHL. From their development so far, don’t expect contract offers to 2 of those 7.

          • cuzzie says:

            Grey Zone, like my Sunday Morning’s.

            Stay Thirsty My Friends!

          • cuzzie says:

            Which 2 are you referring to?

            Stay Thirsty My Friends!

          • HabFab says:

            Kishel and Westin

          • cuzzie says:

            Thanks. I see where Kishel might have been a shot in dark attempt.

            Stay Thirsty My Friends!

          • HabFab says:

            Serious thinks we should grab skilled Russians that slipped thru the draft with our last pick due to the lack of agreement with Russian Hockey. I concur for the most part but am also happy with picking up other players that have slipped thru like Sullivan this season, who was ranked seventy something but went to the final round. Kishel was not ranked by anyone and seems to have been nothing but a wet dream of Timmins.

  71. solomio says:

    Hickey….when in life does winning not matter, unless you lose on purpose?

    “I figure PG has one or 2 moves left to bring the Habs that extra step closer to perhaps being the best in the league.” – Einstein

  72. kempie says:

    Hey look, there a link to a story that starts “Red not impressed by…”
    He sure is consistent.

  73. tbovs says:

    In reality the only game that warrents coverage is the opener…this is a sideshow. The guys aren’t competing because this means nothing to them. The games don’t count for squat and such…..BUT…..the lack of compete can come back to bite ya when T.O. is hungry and starts to blow by us in the opener (which unfortunately I am expecting). Again this is just the opener…things will improve and players will get their game speed and compete levels back but it takes time.

    • solomio says:

      Tbovs I agree with you….I’m thinking Leafs will also beat Habs in opener but about the exhibition series how do you explain that the opponents do care and are competing harder and beating the Habs.?

      “I figure PG has one or 2 moves left to bring the Habs that extra step closer to perhaps being the best in the league.” – Einstein

      • SlovakHab says:

        Considering that Kadri is out and Lombardi, Connolly and Bozak are day-to-day, if the Leafs beat us we are in a serious trouble…

        • Dust says:

          i agree slovakhab. i haven’t been worried all preseason, but, if they lose to the leafs. i will shake my head furiously

          • SlovakHab says:

            I don’t think Leafs have much of a chance unless they have all bounces going their way.

        • Just a Habs Fan says:

          Don’t forget Komi is playing so that is a plus for Montreal. Boy I watched that game last night and he was absolutely terrible. He was in Montreal also but I think we got blinded by the attempted and sometimes successful big hits. I know I was a fan of his but often there was this feeling that he took himself out of the play.

          Toronto is an improved team though I think and if Wilson can manage to stroke them some instead of humiliating them as he often does they will do quite well. Probably in the fight for a playoff spot…well that’s my feeling anyhow.

          Hope I am wrong with that prediction.

  74. Captain aHab says:

    Fischer’s article feels like it ends midpoint, and without a point.

  75. JohnBellyful says:

    It’s the preseason, I get it. The games are meaningless. Still, there are indications that something might be amiss with the Canadiens, but we won’t know for sure until the real season begins, will we?
    Here’s what to watch for in the next month, signs the team could be in trouble:

    – Martin calls a timeout during the national anthem to go over once more how to chip the puck off the glass to clear the zone.
    – Budaj is pulled during the pre-game skate and is replaced by Lawson after failing to stop a shot. He blames his defence.
    – The two Randys play Rock, Paper, Scissors behind the bench.
    – At the start of the third period, Martin hands out photocopies of the definition of a goal. Three of the forwards nod knowingly.
    – AK blasts his teammates for their lacklustre play and asks to be traded to Hamilton.
    – Price raises his arms over his head in disgust – to acknowledge his team’s first shot at the 14:37 mark of the second period.
    – The two Randys exchange blows over who does a better job of opening the gates during line changes.
    – Players cheer when they don’t find their name in the lineup.
    – Markov shows up in a full body cast for the team photo.
    – the fans now sing ‘oy vey, oy vey, oy vey’
    – The two Randys are caught on camera painting graffiti on the glass behind the bench
    – A players-only meeting is cancelled when no one shows up.
    – Gomez leads the team in scoring and is on pace to finish close to last season’s total.
    – Martin admits The System might need tweaking™ and is fined for using a trademarked word without permission. The next time he speaks to reporters he says The System might need twiking.
    – The two Randys leave in a huff but agree to split the fare.

    — “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” —

    • tbovs says:

      I think I peed a little……ROFLMAO!!!!

    • sevenman says:

      In the spirit of JBjul’s post, here’s one from the past…..

      Saturday 16 October 1999

      50 signs that the Canadiens are in trouble

      The Gazette

      You know the Canadiens are in trouble when. . . .

      – 1. You can’t even give away Ronald Corey’s old seat behind the Habs’ bench.

      – 2. Rookie Mike Ribeiro asks to be returned to the Rouyn-Noranda juniors.

      – 3. The coach keeps asking the stickboy if he’s ever played in nets before.

      – 4. Psychic Jo-Jo Savard keeps gullible general manager Rejean Houle on the phone for 45 minutes before predicting “the Habs will make the playoffs . . . NOT!”

      – 5. Houle seriously considers calling up a few beer-leaguers from Les Boys.

      – 6. Moishe’s steakhouse serves filet mignon a la Ribeiro and it comes thin and medium rare.

      – 7. New team president Pierre Boivin announces that all future first-round draft picks must be able to turn both ways.

      – 8. Boivin promises to begin three-year rebuilding plan “in a couple of years.”

      – 9. Hockey-card collectors suddenly adopt “a look but don’t sign” policy with Habs players.

      – 10. Coach Alain Vigneault keeps pulling goalie during sudden-death overtime.

      – 11. Discarded Hab Jonas Hoglund has more goals with Leafs this season than Saku Koivu, Martin Rucinsky and Trevor Linden combined.

      – 12. The once-hapless Leafs now look at Habs as “an easy two points.”

      – 13. Team groupies now hanging around visitors’ entrance.

      – 14. Houle is accused of tampering after trying to lure sportscaster Randy Tieman away from CFCF No-Stars.

      – 15. Head scout Pierre Dorion is seen taking copious notes at Quebec City pee-wee tournament.

      – 16. The big knee-slapping joke among the scouting staff is that they “haven’t seen a junior game in years.”

      – 17. “Red Light” Racicot is once again being touted as the team’s goalie of the future.

      – 18. NHL president Gary Bettman inadvertently announces the league plans to expand to Montreal.

      – 19. Mario Tremblay, after dipping into egg-nog at team Christmas party, urges Houle to reacquire Patrick Roy “just so we can run that little punk out of town again.”

      – 20. Houle is surprised to learn Kansas City Scouts are no longer in league.

      – 21. After 45 years as Habs beat writer, Red Fisher asks to cover indoor soccer.

      – 22. Coach Vigneault asks his centres to develop their faceoff skills by having them drop the puck during practice.

      – 23. The Habs are listed as the official farm team of the Montreal Rocket juniors.

      – 24. Vladimir Malakhov hints he’d rather be kidnapped by the Russian Mafia than stick it out in Montreal.

      – 25. Cash-strapped Molson considers installing video-poker machines in team dressing room.

      – 26. None of the players know what to do after being named the game’s first star.

      – 27. Vinnie Damphousse finally lives up to the expectations of Habs management . . . as a member of the San Jose Sharks.

      – 28. The Stanley Cup only returns to Quebec with former Habs like Patrick Roy, Guy Carbonneau and Claude Lemieux.

      – 29. Shayne Corson is lobbying to have the Molson Cup awarded to the player who drinks the most beer.

      – 30. Alouettes tickets are more scarce than Habs tickets.

      – 31. Montreal Mayor Pierre Bourque changes his municipal merger slogan from “one Island, one City” to “one island, one 20-goal scorer.”

      – 32. Montreal mayors used to casually boast the Stanley Cup parade “will take the usual route.” Nowadays, they boast that falling crime rate is attributable to fewer Stanley Cup riots.

      – 33. The Habs’ summer softball team has a better record than the hockey team.

      – 34. The players’ wives are seen hanging out in singles bars.

      – 35. Figure-skater Josee Chouinard is hired by the club to teach players how to fall without losing their smiles.

      – 36. The goal judge behind Montreal’s net is forced to wear heavy-duty sun block.

      – 37. Premier Lucien Bouchard finally abandons his referendum strategy, admitting “winning conditions” are impossible with Habs around.

      – 38. Habs are interested in acquiring noted floater Stephane Richer – again.

      – 39. Visiting teams regularly hold post-game victory parties at Shayne Corson’s downtown restaurant, Shayne 27. After initial misgivings, Corson joins in “Habs suck” chant.

      – 40. The fabled team motto on dressing-room wall, “From failing hands we pass the torch,” is changed to “Last one to Shayne 27’s is a dirty rotten egg.”

      – 41. The scouting staff abandons habit of drafting big, slow players from Western Canada, and instead stocks up on small, slow guys from Quebec.

      – 42. Sovereignists and partitionists agree to redraw Quebec borders, but can’t decide who should get stuck with sterile Molson Centre.

      – 43. Team trainers plan to vaccinate players against Y2K bug.

      – 44. Passe pop singer Mitsou insists she’s too busy to sing national anthem at home games.

      – 45. Old Forum ghosts, apparently ghost-busted from the Molson Centre by blaring music, are last seen heading back to old Forum.

      – 46. Habs players attempting to make restaurant reservations at Les Halles are abruptly referred to nearest McDonald’s Drive-Thru.

      – 47. The Molson Centre Zamboni driver is offered a $50 bonus for every player he runs over.

      – 48. Former assistant coach Dave King is assigned to scouting missions in Egypt.

      – 49. Patrice Brisebois’s rookie card plummets in value . . . from 2 cents to one cent.

      – 50. Corey says the real reason he stepped down as president is because he was tired of doing the wave alone.

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