Quick Hits

Breathe in deeply and enjoy the fresh air of a six-point gap between the Canadiens and eighth-place.

Then breathe out – with a whooshing sound – and consider how terribly wrong this could have gone.

And nearly did.

Thre road games this week.

Get well soon, Carey Price.

After the second period, Ron Reusch was telling me how good Curtis Sanford had looked in the Bulldogs game at the Bell Centre on Friday night.

Reusch and I were ready to put Alex Auld on waivers and the next bus to Hamilton.

But when the game was on the line in the third period, Auld made the stops he had to – with a lot of help from his friends.


Jacques Martin talked about the addition of Brent Sopel and the difference it made to Roam Hamrlik’s ToI.

Hamrlik, who had played an inhuman 28:33 in a losing cause against Toronto, was down to 17:30, a much more reasonable wokload for a defenceman on the wrong side of 35.

Hamrlik was not used on the Canadiens’ penalty kill, which was 4-for-4 with Sopel playing 2:08 of the shorthanded time. 

Hal Gill, who’s almost as old as Hamrlik, played five of his 26 minutes on the PK. But his partner is the boundlessly energetic P.K. Subban, while Hamrlik is paired with the less effective James Wisniewski.

Gill had three turnover, while Wiz and Sopel each had four. It was a jitery night on the back end against some fast, aggressive Carolina forwards.

What won the game was speed and aggression by he Canadiens – especially Andrei Kostitsyn, who has two goals and two assists in the three games he’s played with Lars Eller – and without Scott Gomez.

Martin alluded to “chemistry” developing between AK46 and the rookie, who contiunues to prove he’s a better centre than a wing.

The coach also liked the play of his reconstituted top line, with Tomas Plekanec centring Jeff Halpern and Mike Cammalleri.

Plekanec was the only forward whose ToI exceeded 20 minutes. His 22:22 included almost four minutes on the PK and a stint at the right point – with Wiz shifted to the left – on the Canadiens’ only power play.

For the life of me I can’t understand Martin’s reluctance to give P.K. power-play time. There were 20 seconds of PP left when Subban finally came on with Hamrlik – and they both assisted on the Kostitsyn goal that won the game.

It was not one for the classic DVD collection.

Playing with the desperation of a team scrambling for a playoff spot, Carolina outshot the Canadiens 31-27 in their own building and had the fans restless through most of the evening.

But a W is a W. The Canadiens survived an Alex Auld start, bagged two crucial points and head to Atlanta with some momentum.

• Interesting stat: Tomas Plekanec became the first Canadien in 20 years to score 20 goals five years in a row. Can tyou guess the last?

Stéphane Richer.

More tomorrow.



  1. habstrinifan says:

    Chara was NEVER a leaf. Gill did manage to escape before it was too late, but sadly being a leaf did take its toll.

  2. Rad says:

    Agree with you, that would be a pretty dynamic tandem. And they’re both big. Pouliot can play center too, I think he should be tried there. Give him more responsibility, I think he’s ready to break through.

  3. Miltie01 says:

    The need to scapegoat is what continues to flow around here. It always has.

  4. Miltie01 says:

    Pouliot is having his time managed and he is all the better for it.

    He is not getting shafted, they took him out of a bigger role because he could not handle it.

  5. christophor says:

    Gionta will have more goals than was expected of him by the end of the year, and scoring goals is his job. And if your defense of Gomez is that AK has sucked, well, that’s a good case you’re making there. People aren’t criticizing AK enough? Please. At least AK has had good stretches. Oddly enough, his worst stretches came when playing with a certain centerman.

  6. Timo says:

    So is Dawes not going to see the big club at all? I mean, can he not take Pyatt’s spot? I think he is sort of a gritty type of player. 

  7. HardHabits says:

    Just put Moen and Pyatt with Gomez. Make them a shut down line and play them against the other teams best lines. I know that’s a lot of money to pay for a defensive forward but it’s not like Gomez is contributing on the scoring sheet and that way Gomez doesn’t bring anyone down to his level of ineptitude as Moen and Pyatt aren’t going to score any ways and if they do manage to pop a few in or press the other team in their end it’ll lead to more chances from the other lines.

    The Habs could have 3 scoring lines that way.

  8. andrewberkshire says:

    If he gets called up it’ll be after the regular season because he’d probably get claimed on waivers.

  9. Timo says:

    So Chara is just as tall as Gill… how come he can skate faster?

  10. andrewberkshire says:

    Gomez is having trouble against some of the weaker competition, he would get shredded against the players Pleks plays against. -19 would be -35 or more.

  11. Miltie01 says:

    Gomez most of the time plays the second lines of our opposition, and quite often within the game Martin will shift him against the top line to get Pleks better chances against a weaker line thus giving him more chances to produce. For all the times you call out the stats I am surprised you have not noticed.

  12. christophor says:

    Gomez and Hamrlik both have 30 pts

  13. DearyLeary says:

    He’s a different person?  

  14. andrewberkshire says:

    I’ve noticed that Gomez continually gets shredded whenever he’s against the other team’s top lines, and Martin hasn’t adjusted to not do it. Yeah I’ve noticed that.

  15. Miltie01 says:

    They are tied at 4th on the team. Gionta and Kostitsyn are tied for 3rd at 33 each.

    This may make look Gomer look bad, but he has alot of company now doesn’t he ?

  16. matraque says:

    DD – Pouliot – Patch

    Gomez – Pyatt – whoever’s left


    Canadien en 5! Never go Full Retard http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svwGRJA28lY&feature=related

  17. Miltie01 says:

    Let’s put DD or the new Eller line up against them, then we can speak of shreading…..

  18. bigdave says:

    Coordination …maybe?



    “The Allo Police Media – a collection of bitter ex-coaches, players and wannabees whose collective lack of success accounts for their present positions in Sports’ equivalent of a Jerry Springer Show”

  19. andrewberkshire says:

    Hamrlik is a 37 year old defenseman who’s been forced into more icetime than he can handle, and he has more assists than Gomez, who’s a “playmaker”. That’s an embarrassment. Add in that Hamrlik has an even rating and Gomez is -19, and it’s even worse. Gionta has 33 points, but he’s paid for goals and leads the team with 22. Gomez is paid to get assists and he’s being outpointed by two defensemen and PK is knocking at the door.

  20. christophor says:

    And the last time Hamrlik was considered an offensive dynamo, Yugoslavia was still a country.

    Out assisting a playmaker in spite of being a defenseman AND having to rediscover what offense is.

  21. andrewberkshire says:

    DD and Eller are rookies, are they expected to be better than Gomez? No. This isn’t an excuse for him, as much as you’re trying.

  22. christophor says:

    I’d like to see Pouliot and Pacioretty play together. 

    Pouliot’s been getting the shaft all year. I hope he’s still willing to resign.

  23. matraque says:

    Gomez and Gionta could still stay together i guess… but Everyone that plays with Gomez, they end up sucking


    Canadien en 5! Never go Full Retard http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svwGRJA28lY&feature=related

  24. christophor says:

    The ultimate test:

    Put Gomez on Plekanec’s wing with Cammi. 

    Will Plek draw the talent out of Gomez or will Gomez suck the talent out of Plek?

    Call HBO. This is made for TV.

  25. Miltie01 says:

    Gomez gets the passes off most nights, he can’t force his wingers to score. Can you honestly tell me you have not seen him give someone a goal gift wrapped and had them missed ? Gionta was bad for it the beggining of the season. He also has had to play with Andre while he was playing one of his many hide and seek games, and don’t forget Moen, how can you get assists with Moen ? Gomer is having a tough season, but he does get the passes off. If there was better finish on the wings his stats would be better too. We are a poor scoring team for a reason, and while he is part of it, he ain’t the only one.

  26. Miltie01 says:

    Once again I have said it a million times Gomer is having a tough year. Yet he isn’t as bad as is being made out.

    You can excuse Gionta’s lack of points all you wish, the facts remain he gets paid alot of money and he is not producing to his potential, heck Cammy has had a bad year for him and he has more points only playing what 47 games ?


    The problem for Gomer is he gets half his points on the PP not helping his plus minus stat.

    Beyond all the crap that goes around in circles….who do you put out there instead ? Gomez is taking the hit so the kids can play only in situations where they won’t get burried alive. Did you ever stop to think about something ? Last year JM always tried to roll all 4 lines if he could. Hey talked about it many times during post game press meetings. Why has that changed ? Why do the third and fourth lines get 5 to 10 minutes most nights? The kids are not ready for it. Think about that .

  27. Miltie01 says:

    I have seen Andre have poor stretches for what four seasons now, with many different centers. Why is Gomez the only center to get the blame for his lack of production ?

  28. andrewberkshire says:

    “Did you ever stop to think about something”

    Well since we’ve descended into that, have you ever stopped to check stats? You’re arguing that Gomez is being relied on more this year than last, when in actuality he’s getting less ES TOI/G than he was last year, so it’s not like the team isn’t rolling 4 lines as often as last year. This argument is especially bizarre when you consider that the biggest improvement from last year to this one is a capable 4th line without a Laraque, D’agostini or MAB playing on it, so the 4th line is actually getting more ES TOI/G than last year.

    Yes, Gomez has managed half his points on the PP, but your logic is so ridiculously flawed I really don’t understand your point. Does this excuse his complete ineptness at ES? Not in my mind, he only has 15 PPP, tied with Cammalleri who’s played 13 fewer games.

    Also interesting that you note Cammalleri is struggling this year, when most of his struggles occurred when he was put on a line with who else? Gomez. Gionta’s longest stretches without production? On a line with Gomez. AK46’s biggest struggles? On a line with Gomez (yet he produces against stiffer competition while playing with Plekanec).

    Another point on why Gionta’s total numbers are down, when he plays with Gomez, just like Kostitsyn had to earlier, he becomes the primary backchecker on the line because Gomez is too lazy to do it himself. Gionta also hangs back in the offensive line when he’s on Gomez’s line because he knows the puck is more likely to be turned over, whereas when he’s with Plekanec he goes straight to the net.

  29. Clay4bc says:

    The immovable force meets the irresistible object.

    Be careful what you wish for – A black hole may form and end life as we know it.


    The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions. ~Susan Sontag

  30. andrewberkshire says:

    The excuses continue to flow, it’s everyone else’s fault except for Gomez. Next up is the “he’s just having bad luck”.

  31. andrewberkshire says:

    Probably because in most years Andrei has looked disinterested and defensively irresponsible where as this year his intensity level has ramped up and he’s been a much more complete player.

  32. 21BIGGionta says:

    for some reason i found this interesting: the only player that hasn’t missed at least one game is our captain

  33. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Gomez Sucks, face the truth Uncle Miltie.  You Gomez apologists are almost as pathetic as the guys play.

  34. Miltie01 says:

    You are the one who said he gets shredded and Martin has not adjusted. Martin is doing the only thing he can, let the guy who can handle the crap he is given by the media and fans. Would you prefer him to put DD and Eller in that role and have them destroyed ?

    We don’t have a great, deep team, and Gomez is struggling. There is nobody capable right now in the organization who can help out…..what exactly do you expect ? 

  35. andrewberkshire says:

    DO you honestly believe DD would be -20 facing the same QOCOMP as Gomez has? I sincerely doubt it. I would at least like to see an experiment. My point, which you continue to miss, is that the play of a rookie or two rookies or the hypothetical play of said rookies doesn’t excuse Gomez. In what world are you living in where your own poor performance can be justified by the imaginary scenario of your peer possibly failing as miserable as you are in the same situation? That’s not how the world works, and not how hockey works.

  36. andrewberkshire says:

    There’s no need to scapegoat, the team is fine. We’re talking about the failure of one player.

  37. bhoneywell says:

    Sanford was pulled early in the game after playing well tonight here in Syracuse.

    Bulldogs 3 Crunchies 2. Nigel had 1.

  38. gourou04 says:

    I’m sick and tired of Gomez, his lack of production and Martin’s patience with him… but you make a good point. Let’s hope Gauthier does something about that.

  39. SLYDER says:

    and boom goes the dynamite


    FACT: Gomez sucks

  40. samTHEman says:

    Gomez a 1st and a 2nd to Florida for Weiss and Santorelli. Done deal per my dreams

  41. OneTimer says:

    Something I enjoyed seeing tonight – don’t know how many of you all caught it too – there was a puck battle in the corner at some point involving DD and a much larger Hurricanes player. Lil’ DD unexpectedly layed the shoulder into the ‘Cane with perfect timing, knocking him off balance, and came away cleanly with the puck despite giving up (what looked like) 6″ on the guy…beautiful little play that didn’t amount to much, but yet another example that DD is gonna be a special player. 🙂

  42. Miltie01 says:

    You ever watch Mats Naslund play…..that used to be a very common occurence !!!

    The kid does have skill and he competes, lets hope he can keep getting better, it will be a hard road for him.

  43. OneTimer says:

    Mats Naslund, a lil before my time, sorry 🙁 I was 8 when they won in ’93

  44. G-Man says:

    Yawn. Habs wind and it’s “Gomez sucks night.” You guys are worse than the Anti-Chambre crew. All “Gomez Sucks” all the time. Good players have poor seasons. Get over it.

  45. Miltie01 says:

    Too bad, he was one of my favorites.

    Try looking on youtube maybe, if they have him he made plays like you described.

    He was an amazing little dude.

  46. HardHabits says:

    I hope that’s all it is because he’s -20 and playing lazy. Whenever he’s on the ice I get the same feeling like when MAB was on the team.

    Maybe he needs a really crappy season to bounce back but this season is practically a write off for him production-wise and it’s unacceptable.

    I’d like to see him benched a game or two. Enqvist would be an upgrade at this point.

  47. sidhu says:

    Maybe we can send Gomez to the Islanders, who have $17m in cap room and Gomez can take the veteran center spot vacated by the injured Doug Weight, who will be a UFA at the end of the season.

    Gomez, Kristo, and Carle for Comeau and Konopka

  48. Chris L says:

    A wise man (Ken Hitchcok) once told me about having pairs for the forward lines, have two guys that mesh and fill in the 3rd.  Pleks-Cammy, Gionta-MaxPac, AK46-Eller, DD-Benoit.  Some good pairs here and the recent move of Eller to Centre has reignited AK46.  Not sure what needs to happen to get AK to play like he did tonight… the crushing hit to set up Eller was later rewarded with GWG!  DD keeps plugging away, had a great shift with a shot and then 1 on 3 took the puck away – if everyone played as hard as he did.  on the blueline, PK was a horse tonight – the kid has been amazing of late… no longer a rookie – controlling the flow of the game and making better decisions. 

  49. Shiloh says:

    I agree with the posters who have had enough of Gomez. He just doesn’t get it done. His career average season is 16 goals and about 59 points – and for that we are paying elite level salary – totally ridiculous, but most of us knew that when Gainey inexplicably traded for him – and sent a young defenceman the other way!

    But that’s not the issue any more. We have now reached the point where he has very little value – even at one-seventh of his salary. He is a quickly-fading journeyman who really can’t help us get to the next level. They say the young Molson’s are pretty heavily leveraged, but the team can’t afford to have him around much longer. He has to go, even if that means eating his salary while he plays in Hooterville.

  50. BC HAB says:

    I caught it as well. Very impressive. The guy is a keeper. I think he is gonna have a very long successful career. Future top 6, I guarantee it.

  51. Gormdog says:

    Great answer, and i’ve become a Gomez basher myself, but:


    The point of his post was matchups. Gomez’s poor production is very apparent but there is a reason why JM always choses to matchup Gomez V the other teams top 6 as opposed to any center not named Plecky.


    He loves the veterans but JM is taking his time and doling out his ice time appropriatley for the young guys. Guys like Hamrlik get leaned on because they are reliable veterans that the kids learn from just by WATCHING them play.


    I think for all the insult JM gets abotu handling players, if you take this season as the only barometer well then he is doing an EXCELLENT job. Pacioretty, Weber, Subban, Desharnais, Pouliot, Price. These are all untapped assets and JM seems to bringing the best out of them. Part of that process has been “earn your ice” and a short leash.


    Gomez is having a very BAD year, but statisticallyt he is paying the price by taking top 6 minutes and top 6 matchups when JM doesn’t think others are ready to step up. It’s a slow process but Gomez has played a signifcant role……

  52. christophor says:

    I’ve been thinking of him at center for a while now. It just makes so much sense.

  53. Rad says:

    Yup. I think he would thrive with the added responsibility. There is no question in my mind that he is top-6, and should be playing 15-18 minutes a game. The more he plays, the better he will get. He is not someone you give 6 minutes of ice time to, like Martin did last game against the Leafs. Pouliot is the kind of player you roll the dice with, he has unlimited potential. I would rather go down with Pouliot than with a guy like Moen, who got almost 14 minutes from Martin against Carolina….ludicrous to be giving a journeyman winger that kind of ice time while Pouliot got 8:40. I really think we need a new coach. Can you imagine how great Pouliot could be under a coach like Boucher, who gave him a real opportunity to play?

  54. Bouleau noir says:

    The Pouliot- DD and the Eller- Kost pairs are giving our depth lines a nice level of offensive skills, this could  very well be what was needed in order to improve our 5-on-5 scoring from what we have managed thus far this season…. in any events such a configuration makes for better watching, specially when rolling four lines equally as we tend to do here when under favorable conditions.

    Althought Eller asn’t yet display his skills with authority it seems to me that Desharnais as already proven his worth out there by being an offensive threat on a regular basis…… which came to me as a nice surprise.

    It will be interesting to watch the next three games and see more from those depth lines in action….. on the other hand I have a good feeling that the Gomez line as presently configured is ideally meshed and will start to deliver the goods.



  55. Rusty says:

    Are you kidding me? “Will not get you anywhere”? Gomez in plain terrible even had he made an average salary. It’s now proven beyond all doubt that every winger who plays with him is miserable and every one who gets out of Gomez’ line starts producing (AK46). JM must stop managing salaries, he must start coaching!!! We have four centres who are better than Gomez; Pleks, Eller, Desharnais and Halpern. And Gomez is no center. He has no line leadership, his puck distribution (what more do you need from a center?) is awful and he takes the worst penalties. He can’t even sustain a rookie finishing his check without getting a double minor. At the most — AT THE MOST — he is a fourth-line winger. There maybe his skating can come handy, without any pressure to produce. What was JM thinking putting Gomez on the only PP we got? And of course, despite time running out we scored once Gomez was out. This has been a 60 game experiment that must END NOW!
    And finally – Eller is a bona-fide center.

  56. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    Keep talking about how bad Gomez is.  It’s not going to get you anywhere.  He’s here to stay, so get over it and support the guy, slump and all.  You think that the boo’s and the media coverage is helping the situation?

  57. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    The regular season is a process.  He is having a rough stretch, but it can be turned around.  He was solid in the playoffs last year.  He’s not putting up numbers right now, he is working hard.  He just may prove everyone wrong.

  58. rhino514 says:

    I am trying to understand this fast-growing comment which goes something like “Pouliot´s minutes are being restricted because he can´t handle a larger role and he is the better for it”. It makes it sound like playing 3 o 4 more minutes a game creates some type of insurmountable pressure?? Can anyone explain that to me? Any player with talent who goes from 11-12 minutes to 15-16 is going to play better as he will not be playing in fits and starts.

    BTW look at Kovalchuk in New Jersey since Lemaire took over. No one stresses defence more than him, and yet he´s found a way to increase the icetime of Kovalchuk, who isn´t a good defensive player. Look at the results; he´s going nuts now. Not saying Pouliot is Kovalchuk. But he has a talent, and a coach finds ways to maximize a player´s strengths. I agree that he probably would be an even better centre than winger, given the time to transition.

  59. LizardKing1967 says:

    I am just as upset over Gomez’s season as most of you are, but I would like to add my two cents:

    1- he did not ask fo the salary that was given to him; an idiot gave it to him

    2- he did not ask to be in Montreal – BG had to bring in a big name, so he’s here.

    3- All very good players have off seasons – unfortunately this year is Gomez’s

    4- He is, and should prove again, that he is a playoff performer.

    5- Last but not least; Did we not have a HUGE fan favorite (including one of my favorites) in Kovalev, and he TANKED for whole seasons at a time. But then again, he did ALWAYS come around at playoff time.

    Be patient, leave Gommer alone, and let’s judge once the playoffs are over.


    He’ll never be worth his salary, but remember, he didn’t hold out for the money – IT WAS GIVEN TO HIM



    Jim-out. I BELIEVE!

  60. Displaced says:

    What did we learn:


    1. Auld can start badly and still deliver a W

    2. AK can play when he’s motivated by a talented youthful centre, or pending trade

    3. Eller is a C-E-N-T-R-E,  duh.

    4. PG had no interest in Sturm, the Caps picking behind us got him, which probably means no major additions to the forward ranks

    5. Despite the enormity of the win and opportunities for heaping praise on Cammi, Plecs, Auld, AK, Eller, HI/O was filled with negative comments about Gomez, including some from previously staunch supporters.

    6. JM likes Sopel

    7. PG has a man crush the size of a fifth round pick on Mara, the soon to be regular healthy scratch

    leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  61. Displaced says:

    I hope you’re right about Gomez stepping up in the playoffs.  If not, then we have to answer the question, who’s the idiot: (a) Sather for signing him; (b) Gainey for trading for him; (c) both

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  62. Displaced says:

    Finally, real a solution to the Gomez problem — play him as a fourth line wing.

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  63. Displaced says:

    Great point.  Lemaire turned the Devils around in large part playing his best players. Kovalchuk gets 25 minutes per game on most nights.  Pouliot was the third pick overall in his draft year, I’d bet he played north of 20 minutes per game in junior and accepted the pressure of leading his team and the being a highly touted pick. 

    JM doesn’t play Benny and AK enough – IMO.  They should be in the 14-18 minute range and given time on the PP.  They’re big, talented, young players who can score and absorb lots of minutes.

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  64. Mike Boone says:

    And help the Islanders’ playoff push?

  65. habstrinifan says:

    Excellent and appropriate comparison.

  66. habstrinifan says:

    I agree. I hope he gets called up soon.

  67. sidhu says:

    Mainly to help mentor Tavares… and fight Brent Johnson

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