So how do you like your Montreal Canadiens?

budaj

The new kids in town are a backup goaltender who will lighten the burden for Carey Price and a power forward who makes the Top Six picture murkier – but probably better.

From where I’m sitting – in a waterfront saloon, next to a lady of a certain age who keeps asking if I know Pat Hickey – the Canadiens are an appreciably better team than they were on June 30.

Peter Budaj’s most recent numbers weren’t great: 15-21, 3.20 GAA, .895 save percentage. But that was on a crap Colorado team, playing behind a defence so bad the Avs gave Jan Hejda a four-year contract today.

And Budaj played 45 games. Two years ago, as a backup appearing in 15 games, his GAA was 2.64, with a save percentage of .917.

Playing for a Jacques Martin team that makes goaltender protection Job 1, Budaj can give the Canadiens enough quality starts to cut Carey Price’s workload down to maybe 65 games … which will help The Franchise toward another superlative season that’ll set Price up for contract negotiations we don’t even want to think about.

Budaj comes to Montreal with the reputation of being a hard-worker who is popular with his teammates: ideal attributes for a backup goalie.

And while the thought of a Carey Price injury sends chills down my sweat-drenched spine on a hot summer night, Budaj is a more credible insurance policy than Big & Bald.

Besides, you have to love a guy who has Ned Flanders from The Simpsons wearing a Slovakian flag on the back of his mask (Budaj’s, not Flanders’).

Props to my great and good friend Arpon Basu for laying out why Erik Cole would be a good signing – and writing it 24 hours before the deal went down.

Yes, Cole is another Canadiens forward on the wrong side of 30. And four years is a good chunk of term for a physical player who’s survived a career-threatening injury.

But Cole is coming off a 26-goal season (he’d have been second to Brian Gionta’s 29 on the Canadiens) in which he played 82 games for the first time in his career.

Cole said all the right things in his TSN interview: the magic of Montreal, the mystique of the Bell Centre, every player’s favourite city, yada-yada. It was interesting, though, that he mentioned a phone conversation with Gionta, during which the Captain presumably began the process of welcoming Cole – a fellow upstate New Yorker – to a tight-knit team.

Cole has size, he can skate, and he scores most of his goals at even-strength. He adds grit and another Stanley Cup ring to the lineup, and Cole creates a bit of a Top Six traffic jam:

Gionta, Michael Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec (unless he’s demanded a trade to Philadelphia so he can play with Jaromir Jagr), Scott “I can’t possibly be any worse, can I?” Gomez, a fully-recovered, inshallah, Max Pacioretty, Cole and Andrei Kostitsyn.

If AK46 is odd man out, maybe he can spend the season leading up to his UFA status on a third line with Lars Eller. There were hints of chemistry between them this season;, but I think Eller, who won’t be back from shoulder surgery (thanks for that, Adam F. McQuade) until November, is evolving into the kind of centre who can play with anyone.

Round out the bottom six with David Desharnais (who has the potential to move up), Ryan White, Travis Moen, Mathieu Darche and someone who wins a job in training camp.

Or maybe Yannick Weber will realize his teenage dream of becoming Mark Streit Lite.

I see Weber in a swing role: a seventh defenceman who can play up front and help on the PP.

My Top 6 D are Andrei Markov (hey, if we have to hold our breath every time he’s hit, does the cumulative hyperventilation create some kind of high?), P.K. Subban (The Co-Franchise, another fun negotiation for Pierre Gauthier next year), Hal Gill, Josh Gorges (should we be getting nervous about how long it’s taking to sign him?) Jaro Spacek (playing sane minutes) and the Dman  who’s my summer book favourite to be an eye-opener when the puck drops, Alexei Yemelin.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s your 2011-’12 Montreal Canadiens.

James Wisniewski will be missed if the Markov of old has become an old Markov.

Roman Hamrlik will be missed for quiet leadership and the gazillion minutes he was too old to play but had to because of the Markov injuries.

Jeff Halpern will be missed on faceoffs and the PK.

Benoit Pouliot will be missed for all-too-rare flashes of tantalizing talent and that straight right that decked David Krejci, a very rare winning fight against a Bruin.

And while I firmly abhor violence, consider it the tool of the ignorant and join the good hockey fans of Vancouver in mourning that disgusting post-final spectacle, I am hereby serving notice:

If Benny becomes a star in Boston, I’m gonna break a window.

485 Comments

  1. punkster says:

    Konopka is a useless, one dimensional stiff.

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  2. lukas-joshua says:

    Wiz will be missed

    But this is PK’s team now

  3. Gindan69 says:

    You got to love the team chemistry on this team. Cammy just tweeted a pic of him and Markov working out. It’s fairly rare for players to stick around in the summer much less work out and socialize.

  4. JohnBellyful says:

    I’m all frenzied out.
    Cole – yay.
    Budaj (pronounced who-dat?) – okay. (He’s big, not bald. He’s no Alex Auld).
    Get a deal done with Gorges and White, and add a hard-nosed winger with hands of silicone, not silica, and the Habs are set for a Stanley Cup run.
    Provided …. its topline players stay healthy … and play at a level comparable to their career bests.
    It’s hard to guard against injury, especially the freakish kind, ie, those caused by freaks such as (too many to list), but perhaps something can be done to minimize the risk of separating a shoulder, pulling a groin or spraining a wrist. A regime that would strengthen and fortify certain stress points where practicable, and add elasticity in other areas where flexibility offers the best defence to a stiff bodycheck by cushioning the blow (think of Elongated Man). A regime that hastens the healing process and returns the player to action within days of being injured, not weeks or months.
    Naturopathic medicine, yoga, herbal teas, tai chi, reiki — whatever it takes to keep the team intact, I’m all for, seeing how well the team fared last season despite missing three key players.
    As for playing up to potentials realized in the past — hypnosis?

  5. 24 Cups says:

    Brad Richards took a $1.3M pay cut to sign with the Rangers. According to CapGeek, the contract runs the same in each season for nine years, which means they will be paying him 6.5M when he is 38, 39 and 40.

    http://www.capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=690

  6. SmartDog says:

    5 QUESTIONS:
    1. How many goals will Cole score this year without Staal to make space for him.
    2. Who’s the better player: AK46 or Cole?
    3. Will Benny be better in Beantown?
    4. What else SHOULD JM/PG pick-up before training camp?
    5. What else WILL JM/PG pick-up before training camp (or nothing)?
    SD

    • lukas-joshua says:

      28 to 30 the guy loves playing in MTL
      Cole, AK is lazy
      No he’s also lazy
      Gagne
      Well I hope so

    • thehabsfan29 says:

      1.i say cole puts up 20-25, (minimum 16 goals)
      2. Cole no question about it. Im still very upset that we re signed AK46.
      3.Never. Benny is the biggest 1st round bust since patrick stefan.
      4. Shane O’Brien would be a great pickup. i think konopka also would be very useful and maybe Arnott or Conolly (connolly only for really cheap and a short term deal)
      5. He will pick up someone to fill halperns spot. other then that don’t expect much

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      1. 25, Pleks is a solid playmaker and the opposition can’t focus on him with Cammy always hanging around as a threat to one-time it.
      2. Cole for applied effort, AK for talent.
      3. No
      4. Matt Bradley, kind of fighter who will put himself between a star player and a grunt to make sure they don’t get touched.
      5. Who knows, I suspect Engqvist is in the running to fill out 4th-line C.

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

    • alestar says:

      1. 29
      2. Cole (AK has more raw talent…)
      3. better (unfortunately…)
      4. Konopka and a depth D-man (re-sign Mara for a year?)
      5. see above

      XXIV…and counting

    • Rugger says:

      1. 32
      2. Cole is better, AK46 has more skill not yet utilized
      3. Can’t be worse so yes
      4. 4th line center with face-off/PK skill
      5. exactly what i am telling them to do

    • t1tan5 says:

      1. Low 20′s, but his presence could significantly improve Cammy and Plek’s numbers.

      2. When both are on? AK without a shadow of a doubt. Problem is that AK isn’t “on” often enough, but those 20 games a season are magical.

      3. In a word: no.

      4. A bottom six gritty forward and maybe some more depth on D.

      5. Pick up a goalie for the Bulldogs.

    • Propwash says:

      5 answers.

      1. We’ll see
      2. We’ll see
      3. We’ll see
      4. We’ll see
      5. We’ll see

    • solomio says:

      1. Minimum 25 if not a whole lot more. Habs have some very talented playmakers.
      2.AK46 with oodles of unmanifested talent.
      3.Yes, no doubt
      4.Konopka for a really decent 4 th line
      5.Nothing after Konopka

    • Stev.R says:

      1. He’ll score 27 goals, 11 on the PP
      2. Cole on consistency.
      3. No, minors for him.
      4. Trade Gomez for Stastny. Sign Gorges. Send me season tickets.
      5. Right handed checking line center who wins faceoffs
      Possibly depth dman; Maybe Hannan if we could get him dirt cheap.

    • Bill says:

      1. 25-30, same as last year, provided he plays 80-82 games. Cole makes his own room. Plekanec is as good a playmaker as Staal.

      2. Cole is based mainly on consistency. I don’t believe that AK46 is “lazy” as many say, but he does go into long funks. With Pacioretty, Cole, and AK, the Habs now have size and physicality on all four lines.

      3. Benny was decent in Montreal, and was not given a lot of ice-time or PP time. I think he’ll be just as good in Boston, and if they give him more of a chance – i.e., consistent top six and PP time – he’ll score 25 goals or more.

      4. Nothing, we’re good. Save some cap-space to accommodate a couple of pending-UFA rental players to address injuries and playoff aspirations.

      5. Habs will sign Gorges and White. Then they’ll see who makes the team out of camp (Palushaj?).

      Can’t believe you don’t like the Cole signing! He was exactly the right player to get. PG nailed it.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • SmartDog says:

        No, I actually like Cole and it was probably the best fit out there next to Jagr. (Jagr’s bonus being he only wanted 1 year and plays well with Pleks.)

        But from a long term perspective I don’t like the contract – he’s 32 and has had a lot of injuries. We seem to pick up guys on the decline and that’s just not a good idea. (Unless they come at a bargain….I really wanted them to pick up Recchi when he was available for cheap a couple years back, and look how that turned out!)

        What I’m more bothered about is that they let Bennie go. As a 3rd line guy for his $ he was just fine AND he had more potential which guys like Moen don’t have. It’s JM that didn’t want him, and that sucks. More wasted trades, more wasted young talent.

    • savethepuck says:

      1. 20 to 25 in a defensive system, but I obviously hope for more
      2.AK46 is the more talented player. Who plays better is a different question.
      3.For the love of God, I hope not.
      4. Nothing before the trade deadline in Feb.
      5. Read # 4.
      “That For the love of God, I hope not.beautiful bastard scored semi-conscious.” On the Rocket’s Game 7 game winning goal against the Bruin’s April, 1952

    • Bugs says:

      1) Calculate number of Cole goals scored in Mtl and table it to 41. Then, divide by half and add to original number for other 41. Should provide exact answer.
      2) One night, it’s one; one night, it’s the other.
      3) Crystal ball still in shop.
      4) Crosby.
      5) Probably not Crosby.

      Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

  7. lukas-joshua says:

    Cole will put up 28 goals this year

  8. stephen says:

    Not sure of the club’s cap numbers at this juncture, but would a guy like Jason Arnott be suitable to step into Halpern’s vacated spot?

    I presume he would have to take a sizable pay-cut from what he had been making in years previous, but it seems to me he has the size and faceoff abilities we’re looking for.

    • t1tan5 says:

      I really doubt that Arnott would sign here to play on the third or fourth line. That being said, I would like to see him on the team.

      • savethepuck says:

        Agreed, and that would move a developing Eller to 4th line duties which may be a mistake.

        “That beautiful bastard scored semi-conscious.” On the Rocket’s Game 7 game winning goal against the Bruin’s April, 1952

    • Stev.R says:

      Arnott would be great for our fourth line. Only problem is he may be the #3 center on FA this year and some bottom dweller will sign him to fill a second line center role….

  9. Dwayne33 says:

    Brad Richards signed with the Rangers 9 years 58.5 million

  10. thehabsfan29 says:

    Richards to rangers
    9 yrs/ around 6.5/season

  11. punkster says:

    I see the Konopka love fest is still on. Help me here; I have yet to read anywhere an article or blog comment that provides any possible redeeming value for a player who is known as “Supergoon” by Isles fans.

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      I think people are in for a rude surprise if they think JM is ever going to have a guy on his team who fights 20+ times a season.

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

    • HardHabits says:

      I’ll answer that for you Mr. Scarecrow
      ———————
      Konokpa was 47th (1075) in face-offs taken
      4th (57.7%) in face-off win percentage
      He can fight
      He blocks shots
      ———————
      Plex was 3rd over-all in face-offs taken (1577 taken @ 50.0%)
      Gomez was 32nd (1197 taken @ 48.0%)
      Halpern although won 56.9% only took 594 face-offs for 100th over-all
      ———————
      Habs lost round 1 to Boston in the face-off circle
      Habs got their asses kick by Boston’s 4th line in the regular season
      ———————
      Now. You might like seeing the Habs getting their asses kicked but I don’t. Back in ’76 when you were still a Leafer the Habs built a team to deal with the Broad Street Bullies. That ’76 team was tough as well as skilled. The current Habs are not tough. Oh they have heart. There is a decent fight in that dog, but face it. A chihuahua (Gomez) isn’t going to beat a doberman (Chara) any time soon in this reality.

      • habstrinifan says:

        Like this post! I have been touting others but I will be very very happy if we sign Konopka.

        Edited: Went back and compared Konopka with Shane O’brien. Not same position I know. But O’Brien is a better NHL by far. I say O’Brien instead of Konopka.

        • HardHabits says:

          If Konopka doesn’t get signed, and I doubt he will, I wont lose any sleep. But it’s his type of player that get’s people’s knickers in a twist. Konopka is the type of ass-kicker the Habs need.

          The arguments against signing him come from the HIO pussy committee. They come from the same bunch of pollyanna rose coloured lens wearing members of the HIO Strawman Committee, those who think the Habs were one OT goal away from winning the Stanley Cup.

          Very few people here saw the Habs beat the Flyers in 1976. If the Habs skated the type of team back then that these figure skaters would love to see we’d be at 18 cups.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            I never said we were an OT goal from the Cup. I don’t think any of the reasonable minds around here do either. We weren’t Konopka away from beating the Bruins either.

            Montreal tried to bring in the designated brawler with Laraque, oops. Konopka will be playing from the 4th line and fighting 4th-line goons like Orr, Voros and the like, the staged brawls that don’t actually mean anything. Konopka on MTL last season would not have stopped Chara’s attemped murder either, Chara wouldn’t have been afraid of a guy he can pick up and throw into the Club Desjardins seats if he wants to.

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

          • HardHabits says:

            SF09. You are not who I am talking about. You are actually one of the more level headed and balanced members of commentariat here. I am talking about others. They know who they are.

            The one area where you need to stop misconstruing is in the goon department. If ZK was all fighting I would say no. He has many attributes the Habs require, grit and pugnacity being a just a few.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            HH, it’s hard to compare the current roster with the 70′s teams. We had players with size and skill then, especially on defence, guys like Robinson and Lapointe and Langway. We just needed one or two tough guys on the roster (Bouchard, Lupien) and that was enough.

            We now have, for better or for worse, a small but skilled team. Adding one or two enforcers might help, but they also might deter from our success. Konopka can’t take on Chara, Lucic, Ference, McQuaig and Thornton by himself. If we add another one, and put them all on the same line, then we have a weak fourth line that will take penalties and get scored on.

            Everybody seems to think that adding size and grit will magically complement our roster without any problems. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk.

            I’m not a basketball fan or expert, but I did pay attention to what Steve Nash was doing a couple years ago, and the pundits all said that the Suns couldn’t win because they didn’t have size or a true center to dominate in the playoffs. Well they plugged in Shaq, and that was subtraction by addition, now they had a team that wasn’t fast or big. I don’t want to run the risk of doing the same with our team.

            Adding guys like Cole seems like a no-brainer, because he can skate, but I’m not convinced big guys who scrap and slash and fight but have no skills or skating ability will really help us.

            ———————————
            Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

            http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

          • HardHabits says:

            @Un Canadien errant: And that is why I respect you. You present good arguments and respond to my points. Unlike Andrew Berkshire who uses a strawman argument against me and then claims I am the one making the strawman argument.

      • agreed

        we need a guy that’ll sodomize lucic while pointing at the bruins bench

        konopka is that guy

      • punkster says:

        This is without a doubt the most useless use of stats I have seen here in months.
        OK, you want stats? 300 plus minutes in penalties. How about no takers at the trade deadline this past season?
        Nobody wants this clown and you should be embarrassed to even consider putting a Habs uni on this stiff.
        Oh, the old “you may like seeing the Habs getting their asses kicked…” excuse? Ya, right, because BGL Lite is gonna suddenly give us street cred, because we now have the almighty “nuclear deterrent”, because Supergoon will pound the crap out of anyone who hurts our guys…after the fact.
        Get real HH. This ain’t a video game.

        Stick that where the tanks don’t roll buddy! ;)

        ***Subbang Baby!!!***

        • HabFab says:

          Foo fight! Foo fight!

        • HardHabits says:

          Well then at 300 minutes he should fit right in. As I remember the Habs were one of the most penalized teams last season.

          Most of Konopka’s penalties were off-setting majors. Unlike the Habs penalties which were of the lazy kind. You know hooking, slashing and interference. So if the team had a bit more back-up, a bit more grit, there wouldn’t be a need for the Habs to be so chippy. Hence less penalties.

          You’ve been on the wrong side of every argument since HIO’s inception. No point in breaking your streak now punkie?

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            What good is a face-off specialist who’s in the box that often for fighting? Surely we can get a 55% guy who won’t get his hands smashed up all season from excessive fighting and perhaps miss games because of it.

            Habs probably got BSed on calls more than any team last season.

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

          • HardHabits says:

            JM can teach him to play responsible defense. Also IMO it was the Isles coach that let ZK go all postal.

            The Habs deserved every penalty they got and more than likely got away with a few. The non-calls against them only matter to the HIO Scarecrow Committe because they are a team not tough enough to grind it out 5 on 5 so the whiners here wanted more PP to even the playing field.

            The Habs lack of size and grit, along with the defensive system they play, is the reason why the Habs were so penalized not to mention so often injured.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            The issue is HH, if MTL ‘deserved every penalty they got’ the teams they were playing against got away with a ton more. Hockey is the only pro sport where the majority of penalties will go uncalled typically and MTL generally will come out the loser in any game where the infractions are high because other teams will have their penalties ignored while MTL is called for lesser infractions.

            There is no way on this PLANET that PK Subban committed the most minor penalties across the NHL this season. But he was called the most b/c he was on Montreal and he’d gotten slammed all year for being ‘that guy’.

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

          • punkster says:

            You’re grasping at straws again HH. Do I need to remind you that last night you were off the Konopka bandwagon? Please. Keep current with the meds.

            ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • solomio says:

      Face offs my boy & apparently penalty kill. He can also score.

  12. 24moreCups says:

    A nice little high light video of Erik Cole.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krGGggUVIiw

    • dre1744 says:

      I like how Cole doesn’t hesitate to bang in the corners and he has some nice hands around the net aswell….. I’m starting too like this guy!!!!!!! If our top guys produce up to ex
      pectations we should have a very good year!!!!!!

  13. habstrinifan says:

    Still in UFA day fame of mind here! Any thoughts from anyone re Gorges and White’s negotiations.

    Whom do you think is more important Gorges or White. Seems obvious on the surface (Gorges.. more proven commodity) but I looked at Diaz’s pedigree compared to Gorges and their bio… similar.

    So is PG not gonna play his hand on these two until he finishes his UFA signings… meaning he still has something significant up his sleeve.

    Who is more important, considering the currently signed roster.. WHITE or GORGES!

    Easy answer at first Gorges.. but when you picture in Diaz, is it White. We have no one like White right now. While it may be argued that Diaz could take Gorges’ place.

    Of course it would be better to have them both signed. But if PG is working on something else, which player is then better retained by the team in light of Cole’s signing. White or Gorges.

    Personally, I would say White because losing him as an RFA will return less to us and will deprive us of his toughness. We dont want to have Cole being the sole source of grit.

    Is the concern even worth pen and paper now?

    • thehabsfan29 says:

      I would take Gorges over white ANY DAY

      i like white but Gorges is a key part of this team
      He loves montreal and he wants to stay here and there is no question that the habs will sign him

    • HabFab says:

      Not sure of your point. Those two players are not interchangeable. However as for Diaz, he is comparable in play to Weber. In fact the word out of the Swiss when he signed, was that he was ahead of Weber in development and close to Strait when he came over ( at 2 years younger).
      If your point is who gets signed? Both do!

  14. Shiloh says:

    We signed Cole to a long term for a 32-year-old and a lot of money, but it’s no crazier than most of the deals out there. I’ve been thinking that he actually might be a good fit for Gomez, who likely won’t be moved. If Cole’s ability to get into tough places translates into a spike in Gomer’s performance, maybe we’ll benefit twice through his acquisition.

  15. CHsam says:

    Just so bizarre to think that Bugs’ boy is now a Bruins. Weird.

    I wonder how they’re going to address his skating, balance, and strength issue. If he wasn’t able to fix it in Montreal or Minny, I can’t see him working it out in Boston.

  16. SmartDog says:

    It’s funny that now that Benny’s gone to the Bruins, everyone seems to realize that he could come back to haunt us.

    Benny has talent you can’t teach. He’s a young guy with some issues. A good coach is going to turn him into a solid player. More to the point, I don’t see us picking up anyone much better for our 3rd or 4th lines for the mere 1.1 he’s making. Letting him go is another JM move. Yeah JM teaches a good system, blah, blah, blah… but talented kids developing out of Hamilton under JM are just as likely to get thrown in the dumpster as end up on the Habs. That’s the coach we have. If he wins a cup, it’ll be worth it. If he doesn’t, people will be more aware of the price we’re paying with this old fart at the helm. And so far history suggests he’s not likely to do what he hasn’t been able to elsewhere in 100 years of coaching.

    • ZepFan2 says:

      I’ll take that as a stab at JM.

      You do know Benny was also coached by Lemaire, right?
      ———————————————————————-
      Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

      • SmartDog says:

        Lemaire is a great coach, but also old school. Benny has confidence issues and needs a more supportive coach. He’ll find it in Julien and he’ll value being on a team where he doesn’t have to be one of the tough guys. He’ll have a great season and will show what we coulda had. Like Dags showed it in St. Louis, like O’Byrne showed it in Colorado, like Lats, like Laps, like so many of our young players since JM arrived are showing us they have talent that JM was not able to harness.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      MTL was not the first team for Pouliot to drop out of because he couldn’t get it going. He has severe confidence issues and a work ethic problem around the gym. Some guys you just can’t fix.

      And for crying out loud I’m going to put this in my tagline soon enough if people keep harping on it. You do NOT win the cup with PATRICK LALIME as your starter. JM got hosed in a goaltending-based era of having not a man who could stop a puck when it mattered.

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

    • punkster says:

      Talent you can’t teach? So JM is to blame for not teaching him how to stay on his skates, for not teaching him how to get his head out of his nether regions, for not teaching him to consistently work hard? I can see blaming JM for the economic meltdown a few years back, even for the rapid increase of the use of hard drugs in our youth today. But how do you blame JM for the failure that is Poopoo?

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

      • SmartDog says:

        The proof is in the pudding. Let’s see how he does under Julien.
        I’m telling you he’ll be worth a lot more a year from now. His 1.1 million is going to seem like a great deal.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          The same way he did under defensive scheme coachs Jacques Lemaire and Jacques Martin. Not much will change under Julien, who probably doesn’t like players who fall down randomly, well except Brad Marchand of course.

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

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          I agree with you SD. Pouliot may well be this year’s Nathan Horton.

          On the plus size, if Poo does well in beantown maybe Molson finally realizes there’s a problem here. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Nathan Horton wasn’t nearly the career disappointment that Pouliot was, for all the flak against his 3rd overall selection he had scored at least 20G in each of his last 5 seasons in FLA. He improved his consistency and effort level in Boston but comparing those two is a joke.

            If he does well there, it’s because he’ll be playing sheltered minutes on the 3rd line, out of the spotlight of being expected to be anything but ordinary.

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

    • Alexandre Daigle had talent you can’t teach as well, and he never haunted anyone.

  17. Hobie Hansen says:

    I absolutely love that we should be able to throw three lines out there that can score.

    I think a lot depends on that 3rd line. I understand that they’re pretty much sold on Eller in the middle because he’s fairly big and he can come back and pick up the other center in the high slot but I think Desharnais might work better.

    Eller is obvisouly bigger than Desharnais and I think he can dig for pucks in the corner and work along the boards better than Desharnais.

    I’d like to see this:

    Cole-Plekanec-Cammalleri
    Gionta-Gomez-Pacioretty
    Kostitsyn-Desharnais-Eller
    Moen-???????-White

  18. samTHEman says:

    Will PG go after a 4th line centre to replace Halpern while Eller is out? Even with Eller in the line-up, JM might opt to use Desharnais on his wing leaving a whole on the 4th line….Konopka maybe? Would sure be nice to see him beat up a bruin for once (thanks Benny!)

  19. jo_maka says:

    Not stellar, but decent work nonetheless from PG. I’d like to see the top 6 to look like this if everyone is healthy:

    Cammy – Pleks – Cole
    Patch – Eller – AK

    I know, that means Gomez and Gionta on the 3rd. But I’m not confident in Gomez facing a better opposition yet until we see him improve. Gio and DD had something going on in the playoffs too, smurf or not

    ……………………………………………………….
    Open-mindedness is not a skull fracture

    • Mike Boone says:

      The team’s captain and leading goal-scorer ain’t being demoted from the Top 6.

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger
      Gazette City columnist
      mboone@montrealgazette.com

      • jo_maka says:

        Then let’s rephrase that for a top 9 and a bottom 3 rather than a tp 6 and a bottom 6. Use the lines as you want. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, I don’t care.
        AK was the leading goal-scorer before JM put him on the 2nd, then he slumped. Got his game back on the 3rd. If Gio is that instrumental in Gomez’s game because of some chemistry, why not. Do you think a lot of 3rd liners would want to face whichever of those line-ups ? It’s just about the ice time, that’s all. Not less used, but just put him against a lower oposition so he can get his confidence back.

        ……………………………
        Open-mindedness is not a skull fracture

      • issie74 says:

        Good to see you back Mr.Boone!

        NorthTOHab

    • JayBee says:

      Why on earth would you put a 30 goal scorer (give or take) on the 3rd line? C’mon dude.

    • neumann103 says:

      I am with you on the whole “pleks #1 and Eller #2 Center” vibe but no way is Gionta going to -or deserving of – the third line.

      Presumably Cole starts on the Pleks/Cammy line and if he falters AK comes back. As a lefty who usually plays RW AK becomes the default top 4 winger if anyone goes down. If AK can get regular minutes with Eller on the third line it could be good for him. But if JM inisists on Hamrliking the old guys and shorting the third line it will not be good for the team or the development of the kids.

      Speaking of the kids, the key thing will be not burying Eller. He is the real deal. I hope JM knows this. I am pretty sure that Kirk Muller knew this. And while he is a hard worker and willing to play a role, it is clear that he is a better center than winger. DD may be more suited to being moved to the wing.

      It will not be popular on this board but Eller is better than MaxPac and realizing this will be key to development of the young’uns in 2011/12.

      I would be interested in starting off something like

      Cammy Pleks Cole
      MaxPac Gomez Gionta
      DD Eller AK
      Moen Engqvist Darche

      and seeing how that works out. I expect there is, or likely could be chemistry on all those lines.

      “Et le but!”

  20. samTHEman says:

    “hey, if we have to hold our breath every time he’s hit, does the cumulative hyperventilation create some kind of high?”

    God this is why I love reading your stuff Boone! LOL jokes

  21. tbovs says:

    All I know is that we have a top six that is more reliable. I would love to see a grinding faceoff centre in the bottom six or a trade for AK 46 for another more reliable grinding forward to play top 9 mins. But as of now we have a good defence and more reliable core for the forwards so all in all PG did good….B+.

  22. jimmy shaker says:

    I like our habs, but would like’em a whole lot more if we could’ve kept the wiz, or at least now land obrien and konopka. What I do see is Florida making a huge statement in their signings. There only weak spot is theodore is their potential starter if Vokoun moves on. Also Philly and Buffalo made some great moves and are going to be very tough to beat. The race for a top 8 spot to make it into the dance, got that much more difficult.

    Shaker

    • HalifaxHabs says:

      The only huge statement Florida is making with their signings is they are willing to way over pay for middle of the road talent.

      Keep the Wiz at 6 years/33 million? wow, yeah, thank god you had no say in the decision making process Jimmy.

      • jimmy shaker says:

        Easy boss…..I forgot your opinion is the only one that matters here!

        Shaker

        • phillyhab says:

          You thought Philly’s moves were good? They gave up their team identity and their strength at center for a goaltender, albeit a very good one. I think they’re going to be like the Rangers of the last couple years — some good pieces that don’t come together.

          They’re going to have to make a move for a center. I’ll reserve judgement on the blowup ’til then, and I can’t wait to see what kooky trade Holmgren has to sell to his already fuming fanbase.

    • Caper says:

      Florida will miss the playoffs. Dale Tallon has lost it again just like he did when he became GM of Chicago. Tallon’s drfting can be attributed to those around him. His trades fall on him. Brutal signings.

  23. LA Loyalist says:

    Well you’ll learn to appreciate freedom when you’re in reeducation camp – but then it will be too late.

  24. thehabsfan29 says:

    Anyone else wished we signed brunette?
    i think he would have been a good fit in montreal and not that expensive (2m/1 season)

  25. Neutral says:

    I look at the cole deal like this. we improved our 1st line and with AK46 on the 3rd line we improved our 3rd line. now if we could improve our 4th line with a little scoring not just toughness this is gonna be a pretty good team. the defence looks great and the goaltending looks great so PG if you think there’s no one in the system who can improve the 4th line try to bring in a player that can put up some points than we’re all set by the way very good job so far…..Boston won the cup with 4 decent lines and good goaltending we can do the same one more good move and we’ll have a real chance…….

  26. Brinkley says:

    It would appear that Cole would be just what the doctor ordered for the HABS….a player with good size, decent scoring and all around skill.

    My concern…..how much can Cole score without Eric Stall?

    In ’08 – ’09 Cole played 63 games in Edmonton and despite scoring 16 goals – often appeared lost on the ice.

    Last I looked the Habs did not have a centre the calibre of Eric Staal.

    Hope Cole’s time in Montreal is marked with (hockey) prosperity and success.

    • edgar_falcon says:

      in my opinion pleks has equal skill to stall just plays more defensive and gomez has the skill too (although we have yet to see it in montreal) so i think cole will be a great addition to the habs plus i think the whole team specializes in passing ability off, and def (well almost everyone)

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Maybe Cole met the same reporter Pronger did in Edmonton, and that got him to lose his focus.

      ———————————
      Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  27. LL says:

    Benny going to Boston is really intriguing. An unexpected twist.

    Guy Lafleur totally underachieved in his first 3 years. Benny is only 24, the kid still could be that guy everyone is hoping for. If Chiarelli, believes in him, it’s a huge confidence builder.

    Both Lemaire and Martin are “strict” coaches. Julien might be able to pull off what they couldn’t, or Benny’s time has come?

    Why do I have this vision of Benny as Robocop in Boston? lol

  28. Anthony Stewart at 6′ 2″ 235 lbs shoots right and would be a big plus on the right side at a cheap cost. Habs have alot of left hand shooters. Here is a look at what the lines might look like?

    Cole – Plekanec – Cammelleri

    Pacioretty – Gomez – Gionta

    AK46 – Eller or Zherdev – Stewart

    Moen – White – Darche or DD

    Habs needs to add another center until Eller is fit to return. How about Nikolay Zherdev at 6′ 2″ 203lbs C/RW?

  29. hirky says:

    I love the Cole signing, not a huge fan of the money but we got the guy we needed. A lot of people are mentioning the ‘Edmonton Cole’. Not sure why 16 goals is sooo bad. That is still 5th best on the Habs.

    Not sure why everyone isnt asking for the shot blocking guru Sopel to come back. I think he could be a cheaper and younger alternative and better than Hamrlik or Mara IMO.

    I hate that they are considering Weber as a FWD. I understand the reasoning somewhat but it never worked great for Streit or Dandenault. They didn’t light it up as forwards. I say leave the kid develop as a Dman which is his natural position.

    There are still several real good players out there that could fill roles for the Habs. I would love to see the likes of: Brendan Morrison(2nd/3rd line center/PP guy), Simon Gagne(maybe too expensive but Gagne is a goal scorer plain and simple), or JP Dumont(rumoured to the Habs last season, and since he was bought out he could come cheap). I am not sure why no one took a shot at Matt Gilroy, he is a great young Dman. I think he could be a blue chipper that people will kick themselves for not picking up. And what team couldnt use a young Dman with potential.

    As far as the guys who left: Hamrlik although he was a steady Dman, he was old and made too much money. The Caps overpaid him and they will not be happy with their return i guarantee that. Pouliot only got a 1yr deal, so the Bruins couldnt have been that high on him. I think they just needed a cheap alternative to Ryder and they have no more young guys like Seguin and pesky Marchand. I would have loved to see Wiz stay for his point shot but who turns down $6mil/yr? I dont know what to think of Halpern leaving, i loved his faceoff ability but hated that PG put him on the 1st line. A great alternative to him would have been Belanger but he isnt a spring chicken either. I am not sure about Budaj replacing Auld. The last goalie we got from the Avs was a bust also(yeah you David Aebischer). But a backup that is 2 years younger and just as qualified to fill in for Price isnt a bad move in the short term. I think they could have been better off with a guy that could take the #1 job if YIKES! there is an injury, say someone like Conklin or Turco or Boucher. I dont understand why they didnt re-sign Drew McIntyre since he took the Bulldogs almost to the Calder. I hope that signing comes soon. The goalie cupboard isnt exactly stocked.

    A lot should be said for making a bit of youth movement and start bringing some of these young kids up to fill holes rather than trying to fill the holes via Free Agency. If the Habs stink for a year or two it isnt the end of the world. A couple Top 5 picks would do wonders. I say make room for Desharnais, Palushaj, White, Tinordi, Kristo, Leblanc, Avtsin and Weber to start taking on larger roles. The names may not be as prestigious as Jagr, Cole, and Richards but they could be future stars who knows right?

    I am turning my attention now to the CFL, hockey can wait for a few months. :)

  30. PureGuava says:

    Mike,

    I think it’s time to start putting Eller in the #2 slot. Bump Gomer to the third line. If Gomez continues to play as poorly as he did last season, he can’t keep taking minutes away from our future – because clearly he won’t be a part of it.

    Darren Pang does work for the Blues, and thinks Eller is the real thing. He also suggested putting him with Cole. I would take Panger’s assessment on a player over McGuire’s any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    ..and Benny will score 26 goals next season.
    “Of course I’m crazy, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.”
    - Robert Anton Wilson

  31. I like that PG didn’t do what a lot of GMs did yesterday, make horrible decisions and way overpay people. Cole wasn’t cheap, but relative to the free agent market yesterday, he’s worth the money. PG filled a huge gap the Habs have had for a while, and he filled it without breaking the bank. Budaj has put up good numbers in the past, and he’ll do a decent enough job backing up Price.

    What I’d like to see the Habs do now is pick up a gritty player that can float around in the bottom six. Konopka, A. Stewart, someone like that. Won’t cost a ton, and will give us some depth and toughness. Also, what do people think of Niclas Bergfors? He probably wouldn’t cost a crazy amount, he’s still young, and he’s shown some decent stuff before. I think a change of scenery and some consistent opportunities could bring out the best in him.

    Also, why hasn’t Gorges been signed yet?

    • Bugs says:

      Yes, a…(ahem) “guy who floats around on the bottom 6″…that’ll solve all our problems.

      Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

      • Well, the team needs someone who isn’t suiting up every night, in case someone goes down. So there’s gotta be someone else, because as of right now, I believe the Habs only have 12 forwards signed. Right now it’s not an issue of who you’re gonna drop from the bottom six, it’s whether or not you’ve even got someone to put in the lineup when there’s an inevitable injury.

        Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying.

  32. Mats Naslund says:

    I like the Cole signing a whole lot. I expect PG will go after at least one bottom 6 player to replace Halpern. Whether that is Konopka or Stewart or someone else remains to be seen. I like both. I have also been on the O’B(rien) bandwagon for a while now. I don’t think this is our team quite yet.

  33. JayBee says:

    Thing about Budaj. Will he be able to mesh well with Price and take a lot of the pressure off? I think Auld really helped Carey off the ice. Lets hope Budaj can be the same calming figure.

  34. Chris F says:

    Just wondering if anyone else has picked up on the “very very interesting” absence of one loud-mouth Brian Burke during the festivities yesterday. Afghanistan??? Really?? I believe it’s all part of his plan to spit in the face of all the negative media he is welcomed with from around the league. I believe it’s all part of his plan, and the numbskulls at TSN are in on it. If you watched what was said yesterday when Burke was mentioned, everyone stayed really, really quiet. It was all too obvious for me.
    What do you think Mr. Pierre McGuire would have said if PG decided to leave not only town, but country on the biggest day of the year for improving ones team? Ummmmmm?? I wonder.
    I believe they all know the answer, because I believe they all know that not just Richards but Stamkos as well has been contacted by Burke’s cronies. You don’t think any of the 25 journalists sitting around for 10 hours yesterday had no idea of Burke’s plans, or why he was out of town, or what he intended to do with Richards?? Teams lining up in Mississauga to lay out their plan for Richards and give their best pitch, all too much of a show for me, all too similar to a certain “decision” in BBall.
    The acting was simply sickening, and I will be absolutely shocked if Richards ends up anywhere but Taranna, makes me sick really. Burkes probably laughing at watching replays of the debacle yesterday on TSN as we speak. He can’t wait for the moment to get off the plane and make a b-line for any available camera, proving his ego alone was enough to get Richards signed, didn’t even need to be here!!!!
    Lets just watch, not sure if anyone else has posted similar comments, but it just seems to convenient and well planned to me. The TSN panel, all deserve Academy Awards for their acting jobs yesterday.
    It’s tampering at it’s finest. And the NHL totally approves, you don’t think Buttman want’s a winner in T.O, nope, that wouldn’t help with t.v. ratings at all.
    I wonder how many conversations Doug Maclean, he of Rogers Sportsnet, has had with Richards over the past two months. Maybe had a few drinks together in PEI, I wonder. What’s the kick-backs like for these personnel after Richards signs???
    Hey, you never know, I might be totally wrong.

  35. habs33 says:

    I haven’t posted in ages – well, at least since the site moved from Habs Inside/Out to Hockey Inside/Out – anyway, I’m pretty happy with yesterday’s moves. PG kept his head about him and addressed a couple big issues for us.

    Budaj – I really don’t care too much on this one either way. By all accounts he’s the ideal team player (but so was Auld, no?) but he suddenly gives the Habs a little more credibility in the backup role. There was a time when Colorado was ready to give him the reins as their undisputed #1 G, so obviously he’s got some potential. I don’t hate the term or the money on this one, especially given the GM’s propensity for going nuts on July 1.

    Cole – arguably the best move made by any GM yesterday, if only for the fact that it fills an immediate void. For years I’ve been wanting to see Cole in the red, white and blue and not the red, white and black and yesterday that wish came true. I can’t remember who said it – Arpon Basu, Stubbs or Bob MacKenzie – but someone mentioned that with Cole it’s addition by subtraction and that’s entirely true. We’ve now got Habs Killer #1 playing for us, and that can only be a good thing.

    It’s too bad that Hammer, Halpern and the Wiz are gone but good riddance to Benny P. The guy just didn’t (or wouldn’t) compete. It’s pretty hard to win the fans over when you’re skating around like it’s beer league hockey. Maybe the B’s can turn him around. Maybe. I’m not holding my breath.

    It’ll be interesting to see what else PG has up his sleeve. I think there’s at least one more move left and I’m going to have to assume it’s gonna be a well thought out, cap-savvy move that fills another void. I like what I’ve seen so far out of PG.

    PS – anyone know how to get avatars back on Hockey Inside/Out? I can’t figure out where to set that up. Thanks!

    Follow me on Twitter:djamesross

  36. JF says:

    The first two hours of free agent frenzy were reminiscent of last year, when Gauthier’s only move was to sign a backup goaltender no one could get excited about. Peter Budaj? An upgrade on Alex Auld? Really? I don’t get it. Would the Habs really have confidence Budaj could carry the team if Price were injured? And if, barring such injury, he’s expected to play about 15 games, couldn’t Auld have done that? His numbers last year were pretty good.

    But the addition of Erik Cole makes the Habs seriously better. He’s a big, strong, tough winger who not only scores clutch goals but should also make his linemates significantly better because he’ll be good at digging the puck out of the corners and going to the net. Arpon Basu mentions lots of things to like about Cole: most of his goals are even-strength, he scores when it really counts, he plays very physically, he’s a leader. I love this signing and hope he stays healthy.

    We still need more grit, if not Konopka, then maybe someone like Anthony Stewart. And for a spare defenceman, why not Paul Mara? He’s big, he can play with an edge, and he seemed to like it in Montreal and accept a limited role.

    Now Gauthier just needs to devise a way to fleece other teams of their first-round picks. This year it was Boston and Philly drafting ahead of us even though they went further in the post-season; next year, Washington could win the Cup and still draft in the top 3. Come on, Gauthier, there must be a GM out there whom you can sucker out of high draft picks with a spare-part player. Do it!

    • 24 Cups says:

      Jane – There were some truly insane moves yesterday but I’d have to top the list with the Leino contract as well as the Varlamov trade. I mean couldn’t the Avs have gone after Schneider or Bernier?

      The Cole signing also doesn’t sit that well with me. It’s about a million a year too much as well as as a year too many. It would be interesting to see what Gauthier’s competition was that would force him to dole out such a brutal contract. The Habs could have taken Cole’s cap hit and brought in a trio of players – Brunette, Torres and Halpern. What about Rupp?

      Budaj? I would have gone with Garon, Boucher or Auld. Budaj could never win a job in Colorado even though it was his for the taking for four years. I guess it really doesn’t matter as all he really has to do is win half of his limited starts. I’m also not sure why we couldn’t get this guy for around $900,000.

      As you noted, we still don’t have a 4th line centre who can handle the usual criteria. Guys like Reasoner, Gordon, Halpern and Belanger are now all off the market.

      I hate to say it, but Philly made some more good moves yesterday. Same goes for Washington while Chicago still tries to fill out the roster with cheap leftovers.

      • JF says:

        Steve – I’m not sure the Habs could have gotten Cole for less or a shorter term given the offers made to fairly similar guys like Leino and Fleischmann. Or Maxim Talbot for that matter. Teams always overpay on July 1; I don’t think we overpaid as much as some, and Cole fills a gaping hole. He’s exactly the kind of player we can hardly ever draft and have been unable to acquire through trades or free agency. I like the signing.

        We still need more muscle and someone who can win faceoffs, an area where we’ll certainly miss Jeff Halpern. In our series with Boston, it was our inability to win faceoffs as well as our inability to score at even strength that made the difference.

        As for Philly, I’m afraid they’ll be scary good in a couple of years, if not sooner. I have to admire Holmgren’s nerve. I think he absolutely robbed Columbus, and I’m not sure he didn’t do the same to L.A.

        • 24 Cups says:

          Good point about Leino and Fleischmann. I just have difficulty coming to grips with the fact that 2nd line players are now making 4.5-5M.

          Cole for Pouliot is a big upgrade and we had the cap space. I just wish Cole was a bit younger and not so injury prone.

          Emelin for Hamrlik should be an upgrade based on age and temperament alone, although Hamrlik will be missed more than most Hab fans want to admit. Emelin is still unproven and there will be some growing pains.

          Auld for Budaj is a wash although we may have wasted $250,000 in cap space on this signing.

          I’m assuming that Gorges and White will re-sign so that just leaves one more spot on the roster. Let’s hope it someone with size who can fill the void left by Halpern.

          • HabFanSince72 says:

            I dare say there are a few players out there who can replace Halpern. Maybe even Lars Eller?

            Not sure why Talbot at 1.9M wasn’t pursued. He told RDS he’d like to come here.

            If we’re talking crazy deals then Jovanovski has to be up there. It’s a 35+ contract too.

          • The Big One says:

            Agreed. In a perfect world, as per my last post, I’d like to see Halpern’s replacement being a guy who can win faceoffs and add a physical edge – not easy to find.

      • The Big One says:

        The difference between Cole and a trio of players – Brunette, Torres and Halpern, is that neither of those 3 players is a top 6 forward, Cole is. I would have liked to seen him sign for about a million less, and about a year less, as you said, but unfortunately, I don’t think it would have happened due to the market conditions. Mtl. had a big time need for a big winger who can score. That need has been there for years, and it was finally filled (obviously Max Pac helped to fill that last year).

        I love the fact that Mtl. now finally has 2 scoring lines that they can role, that should be consistently dangerous. They have a 3rd line, with AK, Eller, Moen, that has the ability to add pressure with their offensive skills and forchecking (AK and Moen). As for the fourth line, it will be a bit of a mish-mash of a line – DD and Webber primarily for PP usage and White and Darche to add a bit of muscle and some energy.

        What I would like to see – a faceoff specialist and real tough guy. I hate to admit it re. the tough guy, but I unfortunately think that one is needed.

        All in all, Mtl. filled it’s biggest need yesterday, and the team is quite a bit better than last years version.

  37. HabFanSince72 says:

    ” If Benny becomes a star in Boston, I’m gonna break a window.”

    He’s not going to become a star but he might become pretty good.

    And if he does, PG and JM will keep their jobs.

    And H I/O will talk about it.

    • ed lopaz says:

      I think the Bruins picking up Pouliot is one of the most interesting things to happen yesterday.

      there was the fight with krejci.

      there was also that charging penalty Pouliot took when he ran one of the Bruins against their defensive boards.

      a few of us had pointed to those 2 plays, and suggested that there was a fire in Pouliot that needed to be nurtured, and guided out of hibernation.

      I think that is precisely what the Bruins intend on trying to do.

      And sometimes, Claude Giroux is a perfect example in Philly, when a player is playing on a team with a CULTURE of physicality, he wants to and needs to try and fit in.

      Hockey is more physical and violent than it has ever been.

      I like Cole – he is a step in the right direction for us.

      I would trade Pouliot for Cole in a second – so we are clearly a better team today.

      But Pouliot in Boston might be the perfect fit for that kid, as well –

      Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

      • BsFanforLife says:

        I was less than enamored with signing Pouliot. Not because of the punch or whatever because it is what it is.

        He said yesterday after the signing that he basically wants to be playing on the top 6. When he has done nothing to prove he is worthy of a top 6 role. He wants that spot handed to him though.

        When is it ok to stop talking about “untapped potential” and start talking about a bust?

        • ed lopaz says:

          bergeron is a great player who is made even better playing for the Bruins, even Krejci has some edge to his game because the Bruins expect him to play with at least some jam.

          I dont think either of those guys would play with the same edge to their game up here for us.

          I think you may be surprised what Pouliot will give you guys.

          since he only cost 1 million out of a 64 million budget, its not such a big gamble if he busts.

          Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

          • BsFanforLife says:

            I can understand that aspect and he does give us “another big bodied skater” with talent for little money toward the cap but my concerns are attitude. He seems like a guy who just doesnt get that he gets bounced around or sat because he doesnt produce at times and feels entitled.

            We have a pretty decent farm system going right now and we have already gotten a Cup out of guys coming up from the AHL and still have others that are looking pretty ready to win a job. Why take the risk on a guy who is not living to that potential and could create problems for guys who could slide right in and do the same thing.

            And if Benny puts up 20+ goals and has a 50+ point season I will come back and retract all these statements.

        • Mark C says:

          How are B’s fans and the Boston media going to handle this signing? Pouliot is one of those “driving, turtling, slimy, cheap shot, and gutless pukes” that doesn’t play the game the right way like the Bruins do. This must be a real crisis of the conscious for you guys.

          • BsFanforLife says:

            Like I have said, for me its not what has happened in the past that bothers me, its his attitude. As far as your statement about “playing the game the right way” I dont think there is “right way” to play. the B’s, Philly and such play a hard hitting, physical game, MTL is obivoiusly built to skate, teams like WSH are built for firewagon styles of hockey and such….. I dont think any of those ways are wrong, they are just different and if it works for your team thats great. And youve heard it from a B’s fan here first: every team, even Boston, has divers so Im not of the “GET UP” crowd in Beantown.

          • Mark C says:

            Good for you BsFan, you are a dying breed in the Boston area.

      • habstrinifan says:

        I have thought about those two instances too and you may be right. Boston may be the place that fosters the combativeness in Pouliot’s game, and if this happens he will be a greatly improved player.

        Then again what we see might be what we get re Pouliot.

        Your post does lead to one other question though. How much would the infusion of that ‘culture of push-back physicality and toughness’ improve our team. Adding Cole will certainly introduce some of it but I would like to see one more big tough intense body, preferably in the back-end. And not Mara.

        My choice is O’Brien but I also like the suggestions suggested by others. For it could follow that our culture of speed and skating and sound defense may add to the completeness of any ‘steals’ we may pick up to bring us their toughness.

        Some of these, like O’Brien, do have good skillsets which have not been nurtured.

        Good post.

        • ed lopaz says:

          I also like Obrien – I like defenceman that protect Price – not the ones looking around for the linesman to come in and protect them.

          Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  38. poppycambridge says:

    their doing great i think

  39. RockinRey says:

    Boone a tree hugging pacifist? Who knew! Pouliot is a sub for Ryder we can only hope the guy fails miserably with the B’s.

    Sorry to see the Hammer and The wiz go. They are so much better options than Spach.

  40. Marc10 says:

    A lot of negativity out there and I don’t really see why.

    We’re not going to get Edmonton Cole. Don’t worry. He’s just another Stanley Cup winner joining a team of experienced winners and hungry kids. This is a guy who plays his best hockey in our building. Wait til he does it with our fans behind him. He’s my pick to win the fabled hat-trick pin this season.

    Yes the term is longer than we’d all like, but on the up side if he helps us take a step up. He’s going to take pressure away from Ak46. He’s going to give JM one more option to get the second line firing. He plays a great North-South game.

    It’s the right move for our top 6.

    Now Pierre needs to add grit to our bottom 6. White and Moen can bring some, but we need a stone cold killer. A guy who will forget Big George’s code and put fist to face when we need it. There are plenty of guys like that out there. All we need is one at 6-7K and we’re done.

    “To be irreplaceable, you have to be different”.
    Andy Warhol

    Go PK Go!

  41. HabFanSince72 says:

    So it is down to LA, NYR, Laffs and Flames for Brad Richards. I’m going to be a bit controversial and say he turns none of those teams into significant cup contenders.

    He would make teams like Detroit, Vancouver, Washington, Philly real contenders, or at any rate increase their odds, but they can’t afford him or don’t want to.

    He’ll make a lot of money though.

  42. adamkennelly says:

    Is this team really that much better? I don’t know – its certainly not a definite YES…Cole is not young and it is very possible we get the EDM Cole and not the Carolina Cole…how is the line-up that Boone outlined going to stop the Bruins – and whomever else feels like it, from roughing up our team – making it hard for our skilled players, potentially causing injuries – basically playing our Habs with abandon and no respect. If our management does not respect our players enough to try to protect them – why should our opponents? As a long time player, coach and fan – I find this embarrassing.

    • G-Man says:

      Unless we can all see the future, nothing is definite.
      PG has improved the depth with a winger that can be physical and score.
      Hiring a goon won’t win you games or prevent thuggery- see Savard, Marc.

      • habstrinifan says:

        While adamkennelly may have stated his cause a little to harshly re the prospects of the team in the coming season, he is right that we need a player or two to discourage opponents (and Boston was brazenly one of them) who approached a game with us “with abandon and no respect”.

        It doesn not equate to hiring a goon and WILL help our team pushback against foes like the Bruins.

    • likehoy says:

      we were one shot away from beating the bruins, and we did it without markov and pacioretty.

      - Gomez is holding down the “overpaid” button

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Shane O’Brien would provide the depth on D Mr. Gauthier says he wants, and the toughness you want.

      ———————————
      Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • 123456 says:

      how do you stop the bruins? well first of all what was the habs record against them last year? and secondly, there are a lot of teams to beat not just one.

  43. The Cat says:

    I think the habs will miss Hamrlik’s resilience. When I look at the new D for the habs, and if Im the other teams’ coaches, Im telling my forwards to pound them into submission, so Im pretty sure injuries will be a problem for the D once again.

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

  44. The Cat says:

    I dont get how Budaj will lighten the burden on Price, I dont think there is a plan to lighten the burden, I mean what did Gauthier think he was getting with Auld? Auld pretty much performed as advertized

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

  45. Un Canadien errant says:

    I’d still like to have a go at signing Simon Gagne, he’s a winner and a scorer, we need guys like that. Not sure if we can get him at a decent price, even maybe a hometown discount, but that would help our offence and depth.

    Shane O’Brien for depth and toughness, and we’re all set.

    ———————————
    Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  46. Un Canadien errant says:

    The more I think about it, and the more I look at the lineup, the more I’m getting mad at Benoit Pouliot. He caused the giant hole on our top line, and forced Moen and Darche to play out of their comfort zone. If he had been producing at even a decent level, he and Pacioretty would have been the two big scoring wingers we’ve been needing for years.

    And now he goes and signs with Boston.

    I’m a little bitter, and not inclined to wish him luck as I did before.

    Hope he ends up bouncing around the East Coast League for a while.

    ———————————
    Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  47. Un Canadien errant says:

    I think the contract I’m most anxious for is the Bruins signing Kaberle. Please oh please.

    ———————————
    Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • Marc10 says:

      I am ecstatic the Bruins did not sign the Wiz. If they could resign Kaberle, that would be the icing on the cake.

      We still need a center to cover for the absence of Eller in the early part of the season. And we need a physical presence. Konopka seems tailor made for both roles. Wins faceoffs too.

      Just wondering how tight that would bring us with the cap knowing that Gorges needs to be inked. If we’re too tight, then we need a killer we can dress against the Bruins, the Rangers and the Leafs. Cam Jansenn or that monster from Edmonton.

      Loved the Flyers making an absolute dog’s breakfast with their lineup. Lost a lot of physicality with Powe, Carcillo, Carter and Richards leaving town. I wonder how tough Hartnell is going to be all alone with Briere and Giroux to back him up…

      “To be irreplaceable, you have to be different”.
      Andy Warhol

      Go PK Go!

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        I was terrified the Bruins would get Mr. Wisniewski. Signing Kaberle instead would be a ten point swing backward this regular season.

        I’m also not sure about the Flyers. They have talent for sure, but everyone seems to take Pronger as a given. I think he and Jagr are both a year older, and Pronger might be starting to break down.

        ———————————
        Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

        http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  48. JayBee says:

    I think what’s great about the Cole signing is Andrei is on the 3rd line. He’s not expected to play in the top 6. I like that kind of depth. I’d personally like to see Gagne or Stewart added for more depth (not necessary though) and Konopka/Drury for the 4th line and O’Brien at D.

    If Goat boy did that, I’d think this team had what it took to make a deep run.

  49. Bouleau noir says:

    Erick Cole is a perfect fit to our team, I am smitten by Gauthier’s aquisition, love Cole’s mixture of speed, physicality and leadership skills, cant wait to see him as a Habs next season.

    • habstrinifan says:

      Smiiten you say? As in O’Brien smiting down those Babylonians of Massacusets. PG should get him.

      You will have to stop yourself going from smitten to besotted though.

  50. Marc10 says:

    Wiz talks about the fans on his way out. Cole talks about the fans on his way in. This guy gets it and is going to make us better.

    I cannot wait to see this team in full flight. We’re definitely better today. If we find a way to add a junkyard dog on the 4th line, we’ll be all right.

    Always good to turn a Hab Killer into a Bruin killer. Good stuff.

    “To be irreplaceable, you have to be different”.
    Andy Warhol

    Go PK Go!

  51. TEAMHABS says:

    Really like the moves PG did today. Pretty savy and smart. PG now needs to address the goaltending problem in Hamilton. Really thin in this area. Habs didn’t draft any goalies this year. What was once a development strength with habs is now a glaring weakness.

  52. The Dude says:

    Based on faith the Habs will win the Stanley Cup NEXT YEAR AND EVERY OTHER YEAR “tax issues, size issues and injury issues and coaching and management issues aside” AND ALL THOSE WHOM DISAGREE ARE HEATHEN BRUINS FANS WHOM KNOW NOT HOCKEY! Who needs a plan anyways….just fill the seats tabanoche!

  53. Say Ash says:

    it’s pretty funny reading the bruins blogs, the really don’t know what to say about benny now

  54. habs001 says:

    i am still not convinced that pouliot will even make the bruins as a starter and predict he will not be on that team by the end of the season….pouliot in clutch games has as much ability to score a key goal as pyatt..

  55. Trisomy 21 says:

    Time for Part 2 of my game, since I can’t stop thinking about hockey.
    Where will Brad Richards sign? He claims to be considering a place with stability and potential to win a cup. I’m sure the money from the teams most interested is fairly similar, since this is what separates the big 4 from the others.
    It sounds like The 4 teams he’s narrowed it down to are the Rangers, Leafs, Flames and Kings. Where do you think he will land?
    I think the Kings. I think they have the best chance for a cup run of the group, and like i said I’m sure the offers are fairly similar dough.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I just don’t see him with the Leafs. He’s not an Ontario guy, didn’t grow up as a fan of the Leafs in PEI, can’t be eager to be part of the eternal rebuilding process there. Even the weather might be an issue, he’s been a warm weather guy his whole career now.

      I think Rangers, with Kings second. If the Flyers can pull another rabbit out of their hat again, I’ll stand up and applaud.

      ———————————
      Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

      • HabinBurlington says:

        He is going to LA or NYR. He doesn’t want to play on a Cdn team where he gets the scrutiny. IMO. While I kind of wished we could get him, something scares me about the fact a Cdn kid doesn’t want the pressure of playing for a Cdn team. Just weird…

  56. Timo says:

    My reaction to today is… Meh. Could have been worse, could have been better. Main problem is still upstairs and behind the bench. Players are just a consequence of that problem.

    • Muckbringer says:

      show some emotion other than your flyer love and hate for habs in the spotlight for once! i kid because i love

    • Hahaha man, you’re never happy. I can imagine MTL winning the cup and your first comment would be “if they do this next year too, THEN I’ll be impressed”.

    • Muckbringer says:

      bye t

    • habstrinifan says:

      I posted that the next big decision might be who they bring onto the coaching staff. The choice may show if JM gets it. I am starting to believe that PG, by his moves so far is beginning to get it.

      I sincerely believe NOW that PG is NOT just filling holes but priming his team for a good run at the CUP. And if he is then he must be aware that the ‘system’ requires a ‘tweak or two’.

      If JM had ‘tweaked’ his approach in that series between Toronto and Ottawa he would have had a Stanley Cup. Ottawa was by far the better team but their respnse to Toronto was timid.

  57. to all the whiners

    eric cole is the biggest habs killer since leclair

  58. Say Ash says:

    Cole, Fleischmann and Leino all (nearly) got the same contract. Did we get the best of those three?

  59. habs001 says:

    this line up is playoff bound unless there are several major injuries to top players…but just like the rest of the east the habs will not be a dominant team where you are sure they will beat the team they play in the first round…caps,pitts,flyers,bolts,sabres.bruins, etc whoever we play in the first round will be a toss up…

    • Muckbringer says:

      we have shown our depth in call ups. the future is bright

      • habs001 says:

        all teams basically write the same about their future players…if you blocked out the name of the players and teams in the articles they all sound the same….our prospects and draft picks are not head and shoulders above the majority of the other teams…parity is so close that making the playoffs is the goal but after that it really comes down to breaks and clutch plays and o/t goals…next playoff in the first round we will be life and death to beat whoever we play just like they will be…

        • Muckbringer says:

          helps if your dad is the executioner. SHHHH! he left at the start of the finals. bruins won fair and square.

          SHHHHHHHH!!!!

          • habs001 says:

            a canucks vs habs cup final would make bettman and nbc/comcast suicidal..too bad of the time zone otherwise they would have come up with the idea that all canadian teams are in one conference so there is no way you can have 2 canadian teams in the final….maybe i am cynical but i still have a feeling that within 5 years some interesting things will be exposed either in a book or tv documentary about what influences happened this year toward boston and the jacob/bettman love in….campbell looks like a man with a lot of demons

  60. Muckbringer says:

    i heard boston will let us play them for cup etchings tomorrow. apparently there has been such a huge wave of objections from god, that even bettman must oblidge

  61. Habby says:

    Gionta, Michael Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec (unless he’s demanded a trade to Philadelphia so he can play with Jaromir Jagr), Scott “I can’t possibly be any worse, can I?” Gomez, a fully-recovered, inshallah, Max Pacioretty, Cole and Andrei Kostitsyn.

    Ok, I loled. I’m Muslim and I appreciate that. I think we all prayed for Max. Can’t wait to see those extra 10 pounds out there.

    By the way I think we play Boston in bunches, as opposed to the spread out play of last year. Less time = more hatred?

    The drive for 25 is alive!

  62. HabFanSince72 says:

    The only void Konopka would fill on the Habs is the relative lack of players whose last name starts with the letter K.

    Ever since the Kaypocalypse of 2009, and then the departure of his little bro, Andrei has had to share the load all by himself.

    Otherwise this very marginal hockey player brings nothing to our team.

  63. Say Ash says:

    What number is Cole gonna wear? Any guesses?

      • Say Ash says:

        that would be bad news, my friend

      • longbow says:

        Starting to think you might be right. Got a feeling something is going down.Not sure what but could it be possible that he’ll be in a package that allows the other team to determine what his salary will be when they acquire him?

        “Wanting is often more pleasurable than having.It is not logical but it is often true.” – Spock

        • Say Ash says:

          Gomez better be riding shotgun.

          • longbow says:

            Exactly what I’m thinking. Pheonix or Colorado.

            “Wanting is often more pleasurable than having.It is not logical but it is often true.” – Spock

          • Andrew65 says:

            Can we please get off the Gomez thing? We have him, we can’t move him, and if we did, we’d be short one top 6 centre who’s ready to take on big minutes. Who plays with Patch and Gio? Eller’s not ready. Maybe next year.

            But I really think Gomer’s going to bounce back. Let’s give him until Christmas before the lynching.

          • longbow says:

            @Andrew65 No,sorry.We ain’t getting off the Gomez thing.Not gonna happen.There are possible scenarios.

            “Wanting is often more pleasurable than having.It is not logical but it is often true.” – Spock

        • Muckbringer says:

          sather got rid of him at the beginning with a lower cap floor, just sayin

          • Andrew65 says:

            You know, my season ended with a big hate on for Gomer, but now reality has set in. Even if we can foist him off on a team looking to hit the cap floor, why would they ship back a decent replacement who’d likely be making decent money? We may be able to get rid of him, but who’s going to replace him for this season? If he goes, to me that says we have no expectations for the year. Like it or not, I think he’s our best option this year.

    • Andrew65 says:

      I’m more concerned with what number he’ll score!

  64. HabFanSince72 says:

    The Colorado Avalanche GM is a fellow by the name of Greg Sherman. Here is his wikipedia entry:

    Greg Sherman ((born March 30, 1970 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States) is the current general manager of the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League,[1] a post he has held since June 3, 2009. Sherman stepped into the role following seven years as a special assistant to the general manager for the club. He replaced François Giguère.

    He seems to be Milburyesque. I say we take advantage of this guy.

  65. Andrew65 says:

    I like our team. I like them a lot. Get Georges and White wrapped up, and let’s get ready for a great season. Palushaj and Engqvist as first 2 call ups. Engqvist as 4th line centre until Eller is back. Big bounce back from Gomez, another year of experience for PK and Price, Yemelin will be a revelation. Can’t wait for the season to start.

  66. HardHabits says:

    I declare HH to be off of team Konopka. Yes, he has an excellent FO win %, can take a high # of FO’s, is tough.

    But as a defensive liability it’s doubtful JM would keep him in the line-up for very long not to mention he is left handed and the Habs need a right handed face off specialist.

    So if the Habs can find all those qualities, and by that I mean wins face-offs and can take many, is tough, is a right handed FO specialist, and is not a defensive liability, I’d say the Habs would be one gritty and big stay at home defense-man away from me being back on the band-wagon.

    Of course they’d be one pre-season loss away from me jumping off of it. :-)

    Edit: I am on the fence now about ZK. He blocks shots too. If he can be taught to not be a defensive liability and keep the fighting to a minimum I’d like to see him signed. Nevertheless the Habs have the cap space and the options to fill the two remaining spots.

  67. phillyhab says:

    I think we look good.

    Gomez looks like he’s here for the season, which might not be so bad. He’s got nowhere to go but up. I hope if his play stays poor JM isn’t afraid to drop him down to 3rd line duties, provided DD or Eller are performing.

    Cole was a great pick-up. Like Basu and a lot of folks have already said — size and grit, etc. HUGE upgrade over Moen as a top-six. The most intriguing thing is new role for AK. Assuming MaxPac is going to be 100%, AK will be a 3rd liner/first unit PP. I have a good feeling about him in that role, and, should MaxPac falter, he doesn’t look out of place in the top 6. It’s not our “big center”, but now we have a big body on every line.

    I like Budaj. Haven’t followed him much. I always though he was a very decent goaltender from the few times I’ve watched him play. Had no idea his numbers were so bad. I think — I hope –the plan is to have Carey play a more humane amount of games this year, and Budaj is less scary a prospect than Auld, though I didn’t think Auld was too bad, and his time was not managed well by Martin.
    Personally, I probably would have tried for Boucher.

    Pouliot to the B’s — damn. He fills Ryder’s role of underachiever, but never had Ryder’s money season. Who doesn’t dread his success there? What a nightmare that would be.

    Are we done? A lot of people have been asking for Konopka. Would it be worth it, looking ahead to possible trade deadline moves or the imminent Price/PK raises? I’m not a capologist. But if we pass on Konopka, who’s playing C ’til Eller comes back? Trotter? Russell?

    What the hell happened to the Flyers? God I hope they suck next year.

  68. JD_ says:

    For all the Zenon chat, it ain’t gonna happen.

    Other than the BGL signin’ – which I remain convinced was done by BG to ease Sundin aboard – I’ve yet to see this org go for one-dimensional players.

    Whether you like it or not, it ain’t gonna happen.

  69. mcmikel says:

    Count me in with Konopka addition.

    The players we lost will not be missed. Cole might force Gomez to elevate his game… Budja can play 20 games if needed, something we couldn’t count on from the previous backup.

    Go get Konopka!

  70. Trisomy 21 says:

    Time for a little game!
    The worst signing of the day?
    Was it Wisniewski? $5.5M? for a not so well rounded defenseman?
    Jovo? $4M for a guy who’s 35?
    Jagr? $3.3M for a 39 year old who had a great WC but has been out of the NHL for too long?
    Maybe it’s someone else? Let’s hear your thoughts.

  71. Hobie Hansen says:

    Konopka!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. LL says:

    Tomas Plekanec (unless he’s demanded a trade to Philadelphia so he can play with Jaromir Jagr)

    Boone is back – hilarious.

  73. Bugs says:

    Slowly but surely, we’re pickin up better goalies outta Colorado…

    Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

    • JD_ says:

      And in a couple of centuries, we should kinda be sorta close to somethin’ maybe approachin’ even.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I’ll always remember Rejean F. Houle announcing the trade, and smugly declaring that he had insisted on Thibault and not Fiset. As if Fiset was a non-starter, but with Thibault it sudenly made sense to trade away Roy.

      ———————————
      Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  74. Mark C says:

    “hey, if we have to hold our breath every time he’s hit, does the cumulative hyperventilation create some kind of high?” – The Boone abides.

  75. jimmy shaker says:

    Konopka is the last link to this puzzle…..please get him PG. Faceoffs, and some physicality that will keep the tiny cubs on a leash for sure!

    Shaker

  76. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    So from this, I’m guessing you’re still unhappy, right?

  77. shakey says:

    gotta say this signing really worries me too. much as i admire boone’s optimism, I think cole is a big gamble, has been inconsistent throughout his career, was a bum in edmonton, and will blow very hot and cold. i guess we have to hope gionta and gomez inspire him somehow. on the bright side, we needed size up front, and although I think this contract is too heavy, it seems like that’s the going rate for this type of player.

    here’s hoping.

  78. dasbooth says:

    He had his most productive time with Brind’amour and Battaglia, and other then the broken neck, he is rarely injured. I don’t buy your post, nonsense ranting. Cole was what we needed at a lightly inflated price MTL has to pay anyway due to the income tax difference in QC.

    “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

  79. rmhayward says:

    All I can say is well said !!!

  80. Niflster says:

    Black and white? Alright, we had nothing, and now we have, something.
    Until proven otherwise, that is, once he has PLAYED for us, you need to start not trying to be our GM. Which, if I’m not mistaken, you never have been, nor will be. :)


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