Time for home ice to become advantageous

Starting Tuesday night against the Capitals, Canadiens will play five of their next six games on home ice.

For most teams, that would be an advantage. But the Canadiens have the worst home record in the NHL.

After this homestand, the Canadiens will have 28 regular-season games left, 14 of which will be at the Bell Centre. Their schedule ends with three on the road, followed by two at home.

The team’s record after the All-Star break last season was 15-17-1 en route to missing the playoffs. I think they’ll need 17 wins to get it done, and that should be do-able with 19 home games.

•  •  •

Mathias Brunet of La Presse has written a good piece on Ryan McDonagh.

Mike Eaves, the former NHLer who coaches McDonagh at the University of Wisconsin, compares his freshman defenceman to Mike Komisarek.

McDonagh is plus-8 on the season and is a top-four  defenceman as a freshman at Wisconsin. 

27 Comments

  1. Les-Habitants says:

    …maybe…
    but then again, the first 14 games with Niedermeyer back they were 10-2-2….

    i dunno man, the ducks played more confidently with niedermeyer…now they have a 50-goal man, fresh for a playoff run.

    lol, dude, i dunno…i just keeping looking at their roster…lol
    they have 5…FIVE top pairing d-men on their team….F-I-V-E!!!!
    I mean, comeon!! and jonas hiller, their backup, has played amazing when he was in too…

    maybe selanne won’t score…maybe begin will score 40 goals in the remainng part of the season….
    i guess crazier things have happened

  2. HabsProf says:

    Many thanks.

  3. saskhab says:

    Montreal is not the worst home team in the NHL. They have the least amount of wins, but that’s just because they’ve played less home games than other teams.

    Montreal is 9-8-5. Not good, especially when you read it as 9 wins, 13 losses.

    Starting from the bottom… LA is 12-16-1 at home. That’s worse than us. San Jose, who leads their division, is 11-11-4. Florida is 10-11-4. Carolina is 11-11-2. Atlanta is 12-12-2.

    Fact is, recently we haven’t had a chance to really turn our home record around. Our home games have been sandwiched in between much longer road stretches. Now, in the stretch drive, it flips. We don’t have long road trips anymore, aside from our Pacific Coast tour in March.

    Our home record went south in November and December when the team was struggling big time. It was good in October and recently there just haven’t been enough games to be anything but about average.

    We’ll see a different home record soon enough.

  4. likehoy says:

    agreed…movement is necessary for a serious playoff run. Our depth is too thin to make a serious stanley cup attempt. (if ryder and higgins play the way they can…our lack of depth would be overcame…but chances or ryder snapping out of his funk this late into the season?? unlikely)

  5. likehoy says:

    i only skimmed through but here’s the gist of it.

    mcdonagh is most comparable to komisarek…even though he’s immediately compared to ryan suter. Mcdonagh is smaller than komi but he has the same playing style (physical with a good breakout pass) and is doing well for his first year in wisconsin. He’s a +8, 3rd on the team, and only his dman partner has a better rating on defence.

    pretty much that’s it.

  6. HabsProf says:

    Anyone care to provide a translation of the piece on McDonagh, for the benefit of those of us whose french is far too rudimentary?

    General highlights of the article would suffice.

    It would be much appreciated.

  7. likehoy says:

    maybe selanne and niedermeyer under-perform or stretch their groin cause of not playing enough…and then brian burke will be quoted for..

    “i’ve made a huge mistake..”

  8. HabsProf says:

    As a general rule, I feel that the trade deadline is too late in this league. Too many rent-a-players. Sometimes a playoff team bears little resemblance to the team that started the season.

    This is just another aspect of the same phenomenon. Obviously, signing players late opens the team to risks of not making the playoffs or having a tougher first round opponent. But if you can survive that risk, it is of great benefit – the “new” players are not as worn down. Also, you dont’ have as much cap hit since you are only paying them for half of the season.

  9. I am Canadien says:

    Welcome to the new NHL….
    $$$

  10. Les-Habitants says:

    Man, I don’t know if anyone has touched on this yet, but Teemu Selanne is back…with the ducks.

    I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself when i saw the news.. lol. so, basically brian burke just signed a healthy Finnish Flash, one of my favorite players that I’ve ever seen, and, oh, just some random norris-winning, i’ve won every trophy in history, defenseman for the last 30 games + playoffs…

    so not fair…have you seen their lineup??? I mean, their top 5 d-men are: Pronger, Scotty, Schnieder, Beaucheman, O’Donnell….
    Their top 2 scoring lines will have some combination of bert, selanne, getzlaf, perry,weight, and kunitz….
    not to mention the best shutdown line in hockey with a selke finalist, another player who should have been a selke finalist, and a great bruiser…oh yah, and a third line of great up and coming talent that would be a good 2nd line on any other team….

    i mean…COMEON!!

    oh yah, sorry, forgot to mention they also have a pretty decent goaltender…one good enough that they waived the starting goaltender for the coyotes….

    so yah, no biggie, burke just signed two of the biggest “deadline” players for free….

    COMEON!! lol

  11. ebk says:

    I think you are right, 34 more points gives them 94 on the year. Should put them in. The last three years the 8th place team has had 93,93 and 91 points.

    Nice call on Huet in the Devil game by the way. Gotta give you kudos for that one.

  12. The Teacher says:

    14 or 19 home games left Boone? Which is it?

  13. Rugger says:

    It is 19. They have played 22 at home and 27 away.

  14. ebk says:

    After this homestand, the Canadiens will have 28 regular-season games left, 14 of which will be at the Bell Centre. Their schedule ends with three on the road, followed by two at home.

  15. Mike says:

    its 14 games after this next 5 game stretch

  16. Rugger says:

    The worst home record statement has been made quite a bit lately. Yes Montreal has the least home wins, but they have played less home games than most teams. They are 1 game over .500 at home while there are 8 teams currently .500 or under in the league. The Habs are not playing great at home, but they are not the worst.

  17. RS says:

    Check out some of these other home records:
    Carolina is 11-11-2.
    Atlanta 12-12-2.
    Florida 10-11-4.
    Chicago 13-13-1.
    Edmonton 12-12-1.
    San Jose 11-11-4.
    Phoenix 11-11-2.
    LA 12-16-1.
    Do the Habs have the fewest home wins? – yes. Worst record? – no. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. Yes, it is still true that the Habs need to play better at home.

  18. likehoy says:

    off-topic but I want to open this for debate…

    Heading into our centennial year…I would feel it as a confidence to the fans and a tribute to Koivu for him to be able to remain the face of our franchise during the 100th anniversary. Obviously as a franchise..moving forward is important and if trading koivu at this point of his career (which will yield nothing more than draft picks or young unproven players through history of trading scoring veterans)is the best choice, so be it…but at the same time I personally would love to have Koivu leading our team on the ice every game for centennial year and having him taking ceremonial faceoffs and having his photo taken with greats. I would feel it a little awkward if I saw someone else take the faceoff.

    As many have stated…2009 will be our big year and if you look carefully at the contracts…we have at least 4 players with their contracts expiring at the end of 2009, kovalev and koivu included…I think Gainey planned it a bit…if they don’t succeed in 2009, then they won’t be tied down to fading stars…but if they win, they can re-sign their stars (at costs cause of their age).

  19. howtathor says:

    I agree with you 100%. Koivu is the face of this franchise as much as Komisarek, Pleks, Kosty, Price, Lats, Laps, Markov et al are the future. Bob Gainey knows that, the fans know that and I truly believe we can succeed as we are now. Even if we added someone up front to replace Ryder it would not change the face or the character of this team. I we go deep this year or next with Koivu and Kovalev, then I would resign them if they so chose to do so. That is called loyalty and it is what the Montreal Canadiens are all about (with apologies to Patrick Roy, Mike Keane, Kirk Muller, Eric Desjardins, Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, Vincent Damphousse, et al) .

  20. G-Man says:

    Time for the Habs to turn it around at home. The last 2 games were the start of something, so let’s hope it’s good. With the emergence of Kovalev as THE leader on the team and Komisarek having a breakout year on D, the near future (this spring) looks like it’s going to be very interesting. 20 wins to 100 points. Whodathunkit?

    Gilbert

  21. ebk says:

    reading the players comments on the other blog, not even the players expected the Canadiens to be this competitive.

  22. Trashknob says:

    mark my words: the habs will reach 100 points

    biggest reason they will have a better second half than first: ryder will either get it going or be traded for someone who will. overall line 2 will tear it up while line 1 will continue to destroy

    as long as we stay healthy, we reach 100

    =========================================================================
    I got 40 to 1 odds they’d make it to the cup final at the beginning of the season. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW??? KO HABS KO!!

  23. RH says:

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone bought one of those Centennial Bricks yet? They’re kind of pricey, if you ask me and am still trying to figure out how to sucker my parents, the in-laws, and my wife into buying one for our son. Now, if they were selling them at 1909 prices………

  24. I am Canadien says:

    Side note: Kovolev is just too fun to watch. How he wasn’t in the Allstar skills contest is beyond me….

    enjoy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtbZZEuYNUM&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSpRyThtO9E&NR=1

    $$$

  25. HabsProf says:

    Did you notice one of the victims on the #2 play in the first video? Dandenault, back when he was with Detroit.

  26. Chorske says:

    The second video is lame, its a homemade job that cuts away from the action too early at every scene.

    The first one IS sick, and yeah, you have to laugh about that line : “…and Dandenault is complaining…” Anyway, thanks for posting it.

  27. JF says:

    I think the Habs started turning their home record around with the great 4-1 win over Toronto a few weeks ago. They’ve been playing better and winning more games; the only one they blew was the one against Washington, which Price at any rate felt was partly his fault. There have been no home games recently in which they basically didn’t show up (like the ones against Detroit and Carolina early in December); in fact their only two bad games lately have been on the road (Dallas and the Rangers). I think they have the depth and the confidence to win games at the Bell Centre consistently. They are developing more of a killer instinct, and they know they can come from behind. They need the support of the fans; we shouldn’t start booing them the moment things don’t go well, but continue to believe they can do it.


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