Quick hits

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but you have to wonder when a referee named “Markus Vinnerborg” works a game involving the Detroit Red Wings …

Yes, the Canadiens played with appalling lack of discipline in the first period.

Mike Cammalleri’s penalty epitomized the kind of selfish play that has me wondering whether Cammy is dealing with a bad case of PMS – P(lekanec) M(issed) S(orely).

But no call when Brian Rafalski nearly took Tomas Plekanec’s knee out?

Five consecutive minors called on the Canadiens before Jonathan Ericsson took Detroit’s only penalty of the game?

No calls in against the Wings in the third, even though the Canadiens were outshooting the Wings 19-3 and were being smacked to the ice and held in front of Jimmy Howard?

Unlike his predecessor (and current l’Antichambre star), Jacques Martin doesn’t abuse officials. He’s smart enough to realize it’s a mug’s game.

But the kindly old coach didn’t like a late no-call when Travis Moen was held, and he let the refs know it.

And after the game, Martin said his team played Detroit even 5-on-5.

But let’s be honest: A very talented team – arguably the best in the league when they’re on their game – played 40 great minutes and won the game.

And 29 games into their season, the Canadiens became the last team in the league to give up more than three goals in regulation time .. and it took an empty-netter to do it.

The turning point: AK46 misses an open net, and Pavel Datsyuk goes shelf to make it 3-1.

The earlier turning point: Josh Gorges tries to freeze the puck, killing a 5-on-3. But the Wings pop it free, and a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer makes it 1-1 with less than a second left in the first period.

On L’Antichambre, Tony Marinaro said the game proved the Canadiens’ greatest need is a replacement for Andrei Markov, as opposed to a Top Six forward.

They need both.

The old Czechs each played more than 22 minutes against a speedy, slick-passing team. Granted, the Canadiens don’t face Detroit – or anyone that good – every night. But the absence of Markov’s ToI will hurt more as the season progresses.

Up front, the usual suspects played their hearts out: Pleks, Benoit Pouliot (what a goal!), the rapidly-emerging Lars Eller. But AK46 took the night off, and it becomes increasingly obvious the team needs another finisher, preferably with size.

There’s time to work that out.

If the Canadiens could duplicate their third-period effort for 60 minutes …

But factor in Detroit sitting on what looked like a safe lead.

Still, the team never quit.

As I wrote on the game blog, this season is proving the CH stands for CHaracter.

•  •  •

P.K. is back.

Subban played almost 20 minutes, and his speed and puckhandling skills were a big part of the third-period comeback.

He’ll be in the lineup against Toronto.

But Carey Price, spectacular against a 29-shot bombardment through the first two periods, may get a rest to give Alex Auld some work.

•  •  •

Jeff Halpern was plus-2 and did yeoman service in replacing Scott Gomez.

It’s a deceptive stat, though.

Maxim Lapierre was minus-2, and I thought he played a helluva no-quit game.

•  •  •

Loved Lars Eller.

Always do, and he had a great game against his fellow Scandinavians. (Is Denmark in Scandinavia?)

But 2-7 on faceoffs wasn’t great.

•  •  •

Nicklas Lidstrom: 40 years old, played 25:16, scored a goal, blocked three shots.

And how many players in the league can go backhand shelf to score like Pavel Datsyuk.

Man, that’s a good team.

•  •  •

More tomorrow.



  1. oshawahabsfan says:

    Alright, you sold me, minus the Max Pac part. I’d like to hold on to him for a little longer and see what he can do next season if he keeps tearing up the AHL for the rest of this season

  2. HabFanSince72 says:

    Is there a team in this league that doesn’t “need another top 6 forward”?

  3. RJB says:

    It’s been mentioned, but holy crap Linus Omark’s shootout goal was nasty. Just filthy, what a beaut 

    “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
    – Bilbo Baggins

  4. HabFanSince72 says:

    Yes, Brian Burke is the worst GM in the league, but Glen Sather is a close second.

    Derek Boogaard. $1.6M. 22 Games, 2 points. 7 fights. Got his nose broken two days ago.

  5. yehaken says:

    Let’s trade [three habs you either hate or can’t remember why you know their names] for [three guys who have been killing it in your hockey pool].

    Sprinkle in some stoopnalysis about how you think JM should handle the situation, and maybe some some Eklund sauce, and you’ve got…a weeknight.

  6. joeybarrie says:

    A big guy who can score 30 goals on a crappy team. I think Penner might really benefit from playing under JM. His contract runs out at the end of next season, and i doubt he would be tough to unload if he doesnt really make it happen here. I think it woul dbe on eof the better moves to make. The up side is alot. I think he is just getting into the age where he realizes what he needs to do to get himself another big contract. It could be perfect timing.

    Trading MaxPac is not a bad move for a proven 30 goal scorer with even more size.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  7. joeybarrie says:

    No question it will be Boyd. He didn’t do anything wrong that I noticed, but he didnt have a huge effect on the game. 8 minutes. Easy call in my mind.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  8. Timo says:

    Maybe he should worry about playing for 60 minutes instead of floating around… then refs will automatically become less of a problem. Cammi starts to annoy me.

  9. Chorske says:

    Poor Kovy blames his coach for making him the scapegoat over in Ottawa.

    He actually says: Il a décidé de faire de moi le bouc émissaire. Ça m’est arrivé tout au long de ma carrière, alors je vais l’accepter.

    Wah effing wah wah.

    Best non-signing of BGs tenure. Bon debarras.

  10. Timo says:

    Hah… did it really become obvious that we need another top 6 forward? Just now? Not like a couple of years ago? And I would argue Habs would have done ok without another (producing) top 6 and a top dman had they decided to show up for the game at 7 pm instead or around 8:30. 

  11. oshawahabsfan says:

    For his physical attributes, absolutely, could be gold with Gio and G-Love. However I share the same concerns as Serious about his work ethic, mental attributes

  12. Samovich says:

    I think Penner would be a good fit with the Habs!

  13. oshawahabsfan says:

    Also, I forgot to add, that fourth line looked real good tonight. Problem of course is who sits when Gomez is back, I’d say Darche but that line is too good right now to break up

  14. HardHabits says:

    That goal by Datsyuk was sick. Even Gionta shook his head afterwards.

  15. sidhu says:

    Speaking of Penner — here’s him tonight sticking up for a rookie:


  16. oshawahabsfan says:

    A little bit of undiscipline cost them tonight. Five on five they outplayed the Wings for large stretches. Without those penalites, it’s likely win number 19. Ah well it’ll come tomorrow night in 3D!!!!!!

  17. Samovich says:

    Thanks for the clearing that up, but was not too lazy when he got a cup ring?, plus JM is a coach that could motivate him? He is a big body that can skate and Whitney would be a good puck moving D-man. And an Oiler 3rd round pick is like any other teams second round pick….

  18. SeriousFan09 says:

    Saw EDM-TBL going to SO and noted Ellis in nets. Oilers kids getting a free run on him… TB was screwed.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  19. showey47 says:

    lmfao,what a crazy assed shootout goal by omark.

  20. sidhu says:

    What a goal by OMARK!

  21. iwardhabs says:

    Yes Boone, Denmark is officially in Scandinavia.  I can verify this.

    And a solid competitive effort for our guys – we lost, but not because we were out-classed on fundamentals.  This was a good ol’ loss to a team we’re capable of beating in the long run.  

  22. sidhu says:

    Penner was just used by the Oil to kill off a PP in OT.  He seems to be used in critical situations and wears the “A.”

    And what a shoot-out goal by Eberle!!

  23. SeriousFan09 says:

    Dustin Penner has been notably criticized for lazy play in his career and Tenderness? Latendresse, or Guimauve as I always preferred. Don’t need an anglo version of him, need someone we can count on.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  24. FormalWare says:

    The way I see it, Darche has got the smarts and the jam to complement Eller and Poolio; in fact, it may be one/both of Them who need to improve, for this very good line to become great.

  25. larisalapointe says:

    I would love to see a rematch of these two teams. It’s this type of hockey I watched as a kid and was forever hooked. Too bad we only play Detroit once a year. Our team is a contender. It’s hard to see that when you’re playing the Sens what seems like 15 times.

  26. Samovich says:

    Who is known to be lazy? anglo tenderness ?? too much whiskey tonight? it was just a thought)) and i believe the future is now! Maybe I had too much whiskey)))

  27. showey47 says:

    brendan gallagher scores his 25th in his 30th game (after one period) for the vancouver giants. Hope this kid makes the wjc team.

  28. darcy1 says:


    1. probably about the same as the devils paid for Kovalchuk (good solid player, 2 prospects & a first round pick)

    2. We COULD … but we’d have to non-tender AK and hope Hammer becomes a bargin in sept & resigns for 500 K

  29. mbplekfan says:

    And why the heck are Gorges and Gill using composites? Wood sticks only for those two. Neither is a threat to score and the heavier wood sticks will hurt opposing forwards more when they get hit with them.

  30. SeriousFan09 says:

    How about we don’t trade our improving prospects for a guy known to be quite lazy? DO we need an Anglo Tenderness?


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  31. mbplekfan says:

    Eller and Pouliot and turning into a fine pairing. Darche is ok for now but these two are going to need another good player to take them to the next level.

    Pacioretty is playing well in Hamilton and has the combination of size and skill that we need. Unfortunately he is not quite ready.  If we can play better than .500 hockey through January we could look to call him up late in the season and see what happens.

    I certainly wouldnt trade any of our assets for a rental at this point unless it was to shore up the defence when Spatch and Hammer run out of gas.

  32. showey47 says:

    Not only was that pleky call crap,he was also walking in alone on howard. We could have gone up 2-0 at that point instead of being tied after one. Thats a prime example of how one bad call can be a factor in determining an outcome of a game.

  33. Samovich says:

    Just thinking out loud, but how about Max Pac, Carle, and a 1st round pick for Penner, Whitney and the Ollers 3rd round pick?

  34. Chuck says:

    I can’t help but think that if Price was a Red Wing, he’d already have 22 wins.

    Centre Hice: my last Canadiens game at the Forum

  35. SeriousFan09 says:

    Probably too much and probably a no on the cap thing, as long as Gomez is around the Habs can’t commit big salary to 1 player (*Cringes for SmartDog posting) and Plekanec is too much of a bargain contract, in his prime years to ignore.

    Rather see the Habs bid for Langenbrunner, much cheaper and he’d meet some old friends from NJ in Gionta and Gomez, Cup experience and a team-first man.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  36. notbigbird says:

    So we played the mighty Wings almost even despite all of the penalties, but it is said that we really really need both a forward and a defenceman? Look, maybe we do, but after barely losing against the supposed best despite great odds, I think we still need a longer look before we come to those conclusions. Particularly at forward, both Eller and Pouliot seem to be developing nicely, and we have yet to see the real Gomez, so we might be fine. Perhaps Gomez will re-emerge after this layoff. If sitting is supposed ot be so freaking fine for PK perhaps it will be good for G-Love.

    The team has had problems coming back by seeming to almost give up, but they didn’t in this game. I think this was an important game. Essentially they learned that they can play with the best.

  37. sidhu says:

    Brad Richards with a nice shoot-out goal — if he were to come to Montreal, I wonder 1) what we’d have to give up, and 2) if we can sign him with our cap restraints

  38. sidhu says:

    It’s sometimes a cop-out and too convenient to blame the refs for a loss, but tonight the refs get an assist on the Wings’ win.

    The Pleks call on Rafalski, giving the Wings an extended 5-on-3 was total bull.  How an NHL genuinely goes down like that from a stick check is unbelievable.  Sadly the ref bought it.

    The Cammy call was a very quick stick check that got caught up in the hands — it definitely could have been let go.

    The too many men call was also borderline — the player that Gio was replacing was a yard or two from the bench, in the imaginary ‘box’ that some describe as a safe zone for changes.

    But, that said, the team did not quit and played hard ’till the end.  We gave a Wings a run for their money, even though the game was stacked against us thanks to the stripes.  They also had a healthy line up, we’re missing Markov and our number two center. 

    We need a W tomorrow — we play Philly and Boston next week, back to back, and need some momentum going in to those games.

  39. solomio says:

    Don’t know what its gonna take to make a believer out of me. I’m withthe team 100% but I’m still not convinced that they are a championship team.

    As you all have said we sure do need another top 6 forward and a top 4 defenceman.

    That third period in a losing cause will be emotionally draining.

    My feeling is that this is the start of a 4 game losing streak. We’re due.

  40. Keith says:

    Cammalleri takes a veiled shot at the officials with his too many pp’s comment imo. Just heard it on the CJAD post-game show.

  41. JF says:

    Aside from the penalties, we played a good game.  And if the Wings had been called for half the infractions they committed, we might have won.  But it was a gutsy effort, particularly down 2 goals in the third.  There’s no quit in this team.

    I think Auld should play against the leafs.  Price looked a little tired, and he needs to be well rested for the back-to-back games against Philly and Boston.  Early in the second period, he seemed to misjudge a shot, made the save anyway almost despite himself.  Auld needs to play, and with the busy December schedule, it wouldn’t hurt Price to sit.

  42. Samovich says:

    Mr. Boone, all great points and a very nice succinct evaluation as usual. It may seem pedestrian to blame the officiating when your team loses, but facts are facts and the refs were awful and the y should be held accountable in public by the NHL. The Cammi infraction and others against the Habs were deserved, but on the other side of the coin it is unacceptable. The Red Wings did only one thing wrong? That is a miracle of natural physics . NO team can possibly play so angelic!!!

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