A good night

The Rangers lost, and so did Atlanta.

And one more sleep until a Very Big Game.

• Pat Hickey on what the Bruins might do after losing Marc Savard

• Marc Antoine Godin on the future of Roman Hamrlik
• Pierre Ladouceur’s weekly report card
• Réjean Tremblay on Carbo’s return to coaching
How do you think he’s done?
•  •  •
Ouch! Andy Clark of Reuters took this shot of Keith Ballard after a collision with Milan Michalek last night.
The Vancouver Dman could be out for a while.


  1. jimmy shaker says:

    Why move away from that formula if it worked pretty much everytime they had someone bombing away back there.  Souray, MAB, Streit…..all these guys were very essential in getting the PP to #1 standing in the league.  And you think a defense made of Hagman, Kubina, Clarke, Ohlund, MAB and Jones is bad?  I totally disagree with you my friend.  They are a far bit away from “Abysmal” as you see it! 



  2. SmartDog says:

    Ob isn’t doing anything in Colorado that he didn’t do in Montreal. 

    What? Did he score on his own net?  jk

    You can’t defend Martin by saying he’s done as good a job as Carbo.  Carbo was a green coach – you expect him to have problems.  Martin should by now know how to treat players as individuals and get them to perform using different tactics from an extensive bag of tricks.  Hard to know what he tried but doesn’t sound like he talks to his players much or uses much encouragement.  To me, especially today, this is a problem.

    “It bothers me…there are old coaches in the league today that don’t know how to deal with these young personalities.” – Mike Peca on JM handling of PKS

  3. TomNickle says:

    Well he’s 21 years old and is far from being dominated physically.  In fact the hit that he almost took on Saturday would’ve been the only big one he’s taken on the season to my knowledge.  I guess I’m just not seeing these huge hits that you are.

  4. TomNickle says:

    He hasn’t looked lost at all in my opinion.  He’s definitely adjusting to yet another pair of linemates but he’s been a positive contribution to every grouping he’s been a part of.  There’s no reason for anything other than optimism about his game so far.

  5. habitual says:

    Let’s remember that this is really Eller’s first year.  He has speed, which unlike strength which he needs, cannot be manufactured.  Per my post below,  Desharnais is smart but, sadly, too small.  It neutralizes his speed and his smarts.

  6. habitual says:

    After a 10,000km round trip to see the last three home games in glorious Montreal, here are a few thoughts to share having seen live games:


    Gionta: You can see his speed on TV, but it is more impressive live.  You can see how he uses it to push the play.  Opposing D constantly worry about him.

    Defense:  Gill may look like he is skating in wet cement, but his positioning and game savvy has a subtle beauty.  He can give us another year after this and we need him. Ditto Hammer, who for a while was getting a lot of static here.

    Weber is fast and has a great shot but if he is to be kept we need another D with size – Weber is not big enough to fight for the puck. PK’s learning is coming, but boy, 2 years from now he will absolutely go from good to great. He’s the D other agitators go after, because his game changing potential is obvious.

    Offense:  AK sleep walks through shifts and periods, and then can come alive with a great shift. He is a better passer than I thought.  A key to waking him up would be to compel him to make 6 hits in a game – he’s a load and when he hits or gets hit he comes alive. 

    Desharnais sees the ice well and is good against teams like Washington; against teams like NJ, he cannot compete.  As playoff hockey is more NJ style, I fear he isn’t a keeper. 

    I love Pleks but he is dismal in the faceoff circle. He has got to be better, as it becomes painfully obvious watching live hockey how important puck possession is.

    Big Question: Do we need a forward or a dman at the deadline?  Forward! Pouliot and AK have size and can be great but what you see on TV is what you get live:  frustrating inconsistency.  We need a forward that will go to the net and fight in the dirty spots.  This really became apparent watching NJ play:  they collapse around the net in either zone and fight for the puck.  Ugly, but this is where most goals are scored, or prevented.

    Montreal is a great city.  Those of you who live there – and especially the HIO staff – have a dream job.

  7. jimmy shaker says:

    I never heard about the severity of his injury, but still, in a cap world throwing out a mill to a guy like that really isn’t that bad of a stretch.  The brass are going to have to throw out about 10 mill to marky over 2 years and I think he’s more of an unknown than MAB.  I wish him well in Tampa and hope they can smoke the flyers, if the boys don’t do it first.


  8. Hobie Hansen says:

    It’s too bad that Souray probably won’t make it back into the NHL due to his dispute with the Oilers and his massive contract. I’ll admit that I was wrong in saying that if his 5 on 5 ice time was managed correctly that a team could cover up his defensive issues. It looks as if his defensive coverage has gone from bad to worse and father time is catching up with him…


    I’ll always hold Souray in high regard because of his 26-goal-season from our blueline but more importantly his fearless efforts in stepping in for Koivu or other skilled players on our team. His plus minus was sometimes ugly but his heart helped overshadow his defensive lapses.


    When Markov was hit by Cooke or when Cammalleri was shoved into the boards from behind, I imagine Souray’s response would have been similar to his response here:



    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” – George Orwell

  9. The Cat says:

    In the article, MAB defends his defensive play!

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

  10. samTHEman says:

    If Savard’s career is done, it’ll be interesting to see if the Booins make a pitch for Spezza. Bruins need a big center and Spezza needs a change of scenery. They have the 2 1st rounders from the Leafs too..

  11. jimmy shaker says:

    All those goals/points and rockets from the point for that cheap of a price……I can’t see how the habs let this guy go. Yes, I know his D needs some work, but I still thought he did a decent job when he was here, he made some air gasping, stomach churning passes or plays, but I still like his offense and his willingness to take the body and clear the front of the net. Still remember him taking ovi out with a big hit in the playoffs. Still think he’s a similar player to the Wiz with a way cheaper price tag. Hopefully he can be back here for next year. Oh and thanks for the article HabsFanInTampa.


  12. Mark C says:

    Only one of those 1st rounder’s is left. I would be surprised if Boston made a play for Spezza, not their type of player and Boston has good center depth with Bergeron, Krejci, and Seguin. Also Spezza’s cap hit would create real issues for the Bs’

  13. The Cat says:

    Mario Lemieux once thought Spezza would be his heir apparent and dominate the NHL.


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

  14. The Cat says:

    For all his flaws, he was 100% heart out there. It wouldve made sense for that price for sure…but I was sure I heard his injury was pretty serious and that hed probably never play again.

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

  15. Hobie Hansen says:

    I think you’re right that Spezza would perform better with a change of scenery. He gets a bad wrap in Ottawa and drives the fans and media crazy because they claim he’s uninterested and doesn’t give 100% each night. However, the guys on the radio, many of which are ex-Sens, have been talking about how valuable he is lately…

    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” – George Orwell

  16. The Cat says:

    How about them Calgary Flames?

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

  17. krob1000 says:

    Spezza is very similar to LEmieux….the game when Lemieux played and now…not very similar.  The focus is so heavy on defense, the goalies so much better,etc.  Lemieux in his time was Gretzky like…but he scored so many goals and got so many points that when I look back at them or see highlights I often wonder how the goalie kept an NHL job (same with Wayne)…but it is all relative and at those times they were simply the best…by a landslide.  I can;t remember how many times on a PP mario on the wall would look cross ice…and just fire what looked like an average wrister form a seemingly impossible angle…it would go in…most of the damn time…it was incredible…..however, if Carey Price allowed one four of five of those goalsi na given seasonw e would run him out of town.  Spezza in the 80’s or early 90’s would have been a force…..he was a force in this era but he lacks the speed to be a one man show a la Ovechkin or Crosby…but give him wingers or a little time and space and Spezza is as good as almost anyone in the game. I think Spezza still has a couple 90 plus point seasons in him if put in the right situation. Mario never had to pay any attention at all to defenese…Spezzza is constantly reminded of hsi defensive deficiencies…and has actually worked very hard at it…but he still makes the bonehead drop pass at the blueline..because he is a creative player…problem is the backchecking is so foerce now, the speed so quick, the defensive responsibility and attention to detail so incredible taht he gets caught often. 

    Mario and Wayne each had time when they crossed the blueline, d men used to back in, they would curl or hesitate at the blueline and simply outthink the d and with an unreal precision hit a guys stick exactly where it needed to be to get a shot off….other players sticks were simply extensions of their own.  I have seen that in Spezza…especially when he first came up…..I used to watch Sens games all the time live in Spezza’s early years and he had that knock…..not unlike another similar player in John Tavares.  From 30 feet in they are all lethal…but none was especially fast or responsible defensively…..and the game ahs changed…..but I would gladly take Tavares or Spezza in a heartbeat…..either one would instantly be the best offensive HAB in decades. 

    I am really hoping Spezza gets out of Ottawa…I know many don’t like him but I am a big supporter..despite his goofy faces and laugh and demanor that sometuimes gets misread as uninterested.  I remember two years ago on here everyone knocking the Sedins, saying how useless they were, they were soft ..”the Sedin sisters” I believe was the term….well they were about the same age Spezza will be next year….the advantage they have…there are two of them….give Spezza is equal (like Alfie was before age caught up, or Heatley was) …he is magical with the puck.  People on here always love Vinny…I would take Spezza over Vinny any day of the week…

  18. The Cat says:

    Spezza is too lazy and too predictable, the guy wont shoot on the net, its like a disease, and the opposing defenders and goalers know it too.

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

  19. Habnofear says:

    I say let’s make the Habs a team for the History Chanel …you know sign up all the old farts and broken down  small players you can and kiss the playoff finals bah-bye forever…after all it’s been 19 fracking years!Then maybe let’s change the nickname from the Habs to the  Montreal old F-kers.Next to a Francophone Canadiens fan you guy’s are emotionally dead….

  20. fbkj says:

    who knew gary busey was a habs fan

  21. The Cat says:

    Good informative read, thanks krob.

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

  22. krob1000 says:

    despite that being partially true he still is consistently a 30 goal guy…a plateau that Forsberg only reached once…Spezza 4 times and on pace in other years but injury affected him.  30 goals on our club is awesome, and he is a better passer than our other 7 million dollar man and Gionta who will score 30 maybe has 0 assists in months….I wold take Spezza in a nanosecond..and I would bet managemnet would too….mangement of any team in the league too.  I would really love to know how many gm’s would say…no..I am not interested in Spezza don;t watnt o talk about it. I suspect zero…

  23. Storm Man says:

    You seem lost, Would you like me to point you back to that rock you come out of?

  24. HabFab says:

    More like Nick Nolte!

    Hello. it’s 7:30 in BC. Awake and hungover!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. The Cat says:

    I mentioned only his negative but I should have acknowledged his positives too, hes not all bad for sure, hes better than any centreman on the habs for sure…I guess his demeanor is what affects his rep too much, Lemieux had the rep of being lazy too, I guess its the long legs…

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

  26. habitual says:

    Weber is an upgrade – younger, faster, just as good a shot, and although he lacks size will battle for the puck.

  27. Propwash says:

    Who in their right mind would take love advice from BGL? The guy doesn’t eat meat for crying out loud!

  28. samTHEman says:

    I liked what I saw from Eller in the beginning of the season despite his low numbers but lately he looks lost out there.


    The question is…when Cammalleri is back, who stays? Eller or Desharnais? My answer is Pyatt but we all know that’s not happening.

  29. krob1000 says:

    I think their ability to slow the game down makes them appear lazy, the long legs and the fact they are not as fast as the high end pseed guys is real too…but lazy? nah. 

  30. joeybarrie says:

    Good post. I agree on almost all of it.

    Big Question. I think we need both a D and  scoring forward. However we need a a scoring forward MORE right now if you ask me. PK, Hamr, Gill, Wiz, Spach, Weber, Picard are capable of continuing in our current pace. And thats not too bad. I think a little more offence will take pressure off our defence and help out alot. I like what MaxPac is bringing, and I hope we continue to use him in a top 2 role, however we need another.

    We got the space for Gagne, and he is not doing particularly well in Tampa right now (despite his last few games).

    Andrew Brunette might be a decent temp player for us, and would prob not cost us much.

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

  31. Chris says:

    Biggest difference for me comparing eras?  Watch how many forwards skate backwards in a mid-1980’s hockey game.  It was almost non-existent.

    Today, every forward skates like a defenceman.  No wonder it is so hard to get through the neutral zone.  With that and the dramatic improvement in both goaltender equipment and skill, I would be shocked out of my tree if Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux get 140 points in today’s NHL in their best season. 

    The game has just changed so completely that scoring exploits like that are gone forever. 

    And I agree…there are a few centres in the NHL I would take ahead of Spezza,  but he’s definitely in my top 15 in the league and ahead of anybody the Habs currently have.

  32. jimmy shaker says:

    Younger, yes. Faster, not so sure. Just as good a shot, not even close. Haven’t seen him hit the net really in all of his 25 games to date. And battling for the puck, I say they both battle strong and really don’t back down at all. MAB in 1 game played has 2 points. Weber, 25 games played 7 points. I’m willing to wait on weber because he has the age thing on his side, but I like MAB more and feel he is the better of the two D-men.


  33. J_P says:

    Francois Gagnon was on the team 990 this morning, and I actually like his idea of putting Cammalleri with Desharnais when he gets back.  The line is a little small, but it could be rounded out with a Benoit Pouliot or Lars Eller.  It might even give a more balanced attack, and getting Cammy away from the other teams top checkers could give him the space he needs to get his scoring touch back. 

    If Lars Eller is going to go to the press box, they might as well send him back down to Hamilton in my humble opinion.  He needs a serious confidence boost right now, and playing against weaker competition in hamilton might be just what the doctor ordered. 

  34. krob1000 says:

    I actually haven’t seen a whole game in over a week…what is Eller doing that is so bad? I saw bits and pieces and he looked fine….he always seems to have issues on the wing with getting the puck out about 15 feet from the blueine..but he is a center. I have not noticed this in the partial games I saw but you are not the first person I have seen write something similar.  I know playing with Gomez and Kostistsyn must rpesent a challenge for anyone as they both play a “different” game, factor in he’s a rookie, playing out of position…and I can see it….but I find it hard to believe it is anything but temporary based on the rest of the season. 

  35. TomNickle says:

    Speed is the result of building strength and it blows my mind that there are a lot of fans out there who don’t see how effective Lars Eller is on the walls and in puck battles.  His strength is above average if not elite for a player of his age.  Strength is not an issue for Eller, it’s a strong point.

  36. J_P says:

    At this point, the whole Ottawa dressing room just seem uninterested.  I think canning Bryan Murray would go a long way in revitalizing that team, just like it did for the flames when they canned Sutter.  However, seeing as they are pretty much hopeless for the playoffs, better to leave in clouston and Murray, get a good draft position, and fire both of them at seaons end. 

  37. J_P says:

    If they keep this up, and kipper gets his game back, I don’t think any top seed in the western conference will want to play them. 

  38. J_P says:

    Barry Trotz is actually a Miracle worker though.  He could easily win coach of the year every single season just because his team is always competitive.  He makes the most of what he has to work with. 

  39. Chris says:

    So in the distant future, Jack Todd, Scott Gomez and Patrice Brisebois are all standing in front of the Pearly Gates.

    St. Peter says…  😉

  40. Kooch7800 says:

    Dude it is Tuesday! lol

  41. TomNickle says:

    I don’t know about the Pearly Gates but the way Jack Todd writes he should have a bodyguard full-time.

  42. Mats Naslund says:

    I agree that if they aren’t going to play him – he needs to be in the Hammer. Still, if you want an example of why that might not be the answer that everyone thinks it is – look no further than Desharnais. No one could deny how much he lit it up in Hamilton this year. I love his skills, but he hasn’t translated that into NHL scoring. Just because you playt in the AHL doesn’t mean it will benefit you at the pro level. There is still time for both of these guys. Frankly I prefer to have them both in Montreal.


    Lars Eller is 21. He’s miles ahead of most. Maybe he could use some time in Hamilton – but unless there is someone better in Montreal to replace him – I don’t see the point.

  43. Jordio-oh says:

    I agree. This may be an unfair generalization, but i get the feeling that most people who are unhappy with Eller’s play are focusing only on his offensive statistics and not his overall game. Its important to avoid unrealistic expectations because he’s a first rounder and considering the trade he was involved in.

    After watching him in every match, his game looks good given where he’s at in his career. He has the tools and the hockey smarts so that only bodes well for his development down the road. I don’t see him as a future Mats Sundin, as has been mentioned on here, but I also don’t see him just being a Jason Ward or Marcel Hossa.

  44. krob1000 says:

    Ovechkin is going to need an explosion to crack 90 or a 100. Crosby was doing an incredible job and IMo is better at being Steve Yzerman than Steve Yzerman ever was….plays a complete game, is one of the best on the boards in the game, incredibly strong, incredible skater, incredible passer, decided to be a gaol scorer ..avnd voila…Richard trophy…unreal really..in todays game he is the prototypical new hockey cyborg.  One way mules are now called out…..and the most ironic thing I find is the constant references to protecting the games stars and alleged attention to safety….when Wayne was on  the ice if you so much as crossed his path, Semenko was ready to have you swallo his fist , stick or skate blade.  Here is an off the wall theory that I should rpbobably thinka bout before posting but I’m gonna wing it… could Wayne and Mario actually be to blame for the dead puck era? We all blame the trap for changing the game and we all blame Lemire and the Devils…but was it out of necessity because two guys were so far ahead of the game that there was only one means of containing their ilk? One or even two guys could not stop Wayne or Mario, 3 or 4 guys could not, but larger goal equipment, a basketball like defense strategy, essentialyl 5 defenseman form the redline back…that stops nearly everyone.  If anyone can break through it …it will be Crosby..not only because he has the mind for it…but he is also that much stronger of a skater, battler, puck protector,etc..thatn everyone that he will still rise to the top…but it now takes that many tools to be the best…Wayne and Mario were just so visionary….people say they had crystal balls and were moves ahead of the game…I say they were the ones who realized they could be the game…they were the ones who dictated what was going to happen, that is how they predicted it….the only defense…don;t let them….stay uniform…trap with the whole team.

  45. habitual says:

    A fine point to debate, seeing as we agree he is good, but Eller takes too many hard hits.  He doesn’t have the strength to keep taking the pounding without putting on more muscle.

  46. habitual says:

    Yes! The MaxPac we see now is a vast improvement over his previous stint with us.  He is fast and constantly puts pressure on the opposing D, has a natural offensive flair and he can hit.  For those lamenting previous draft choices, he is a strong rebuttal.

  47. Jordio-oh says:

    Excellent point about the difference in backward skating forwards making the neutral zone tougher to navigate.

    If Crosby didn’t get hurt this season i still don’t think he would have hit 140, but he would have been close enough to make it exciting.

  48. habitual says:

    He’s listed as 6′ and 198, so maybe I’m wrong about the size, maybe he leaves himself vulnerable because I keep seeing him on the wrong end of checks.

  49. kempie says:

    Crack is a helluva drug innit?

  50. SmartDog says:

    I was going to write a note about how I think that Gauthier has done a pretty good job.  Instead I am reposting JF’s post below which says what I was going to say (and a little note from me at the end):

    The majority on this site were disappointed with the appointment of Gauthier, thinking the Habs were so intent on hiring a French Canadian they hadn’t looked beyond their own organization.  But so far Gauthier’s done an excellent job.  The only player he brought in last year, Dominic Moore, was an important part of our playoff success and scored the series-winner against Washington.  

    Gauthier’s off-season moves are also looking good.  On the evidence so far, Carey Price was the right choice in goal, and Eller, despite criticisms of his lack of production, is becoming a solid player.  The signing of Jeff Halpern was very astute, our inexpensive backup, Alex Auld, has been getting the job done (apart from the Calgary game), and even Picard has filled in well from time to time. The trade for James Wisniewski just before the news about Gorges broke was brilliant.

    The only negative is the trade of Ryan O’Byrne, and, to be fair, this happened when our defence was looking more solid, since neither Markov nor Gorges had been injured.  Also, I think the loss of both O’Byrne and Sergei Kostitsyn were the result of poor handling by the coaching staff.  O’Byrne never really had enough ice-time to solidify his game and build up his confidence, and Sergei was badly mishandled at least from the beginning of last year when he was singled out and cut from training camp after the other cuts.  Yes, he had attitude problems, but obviously Barry Trotz has found a way to get the best out of him, and I continue to think he could have been a valuable player for our team.  But, as I said, this is more on the coaching staff than on Pierre Gauthier, and overall I think he’s done an excellent job.  I hope he has one more big move in the works before the trade deadline; if he does, it will be one that will surprise everyone.

    I agree with all of this so thanks JF.  The one thing I would add is that while Gauthier has brought in some pieces he needs to deal with the fact that his bad trades all come from Martin giving up on talented players that he rides until they stop performing.  Imagine for a minute if MaxPac was traded (as he might have been) for the same thing (and based on his comments he was feeling the same way under JM as Sergei and Obi did).  That one additional bluncer would turn Gauthiers record (and the teams) around in a hurrry.  Martin has his strengths, but his poor ability with SOME of the young players has cost this team dearly.

    “It bothers me…there are old coaches in the league today that don’t know how to deal with these young personalities.” – Mike Peca on JM handling of PKS

  51. ZepFan2 says:

    I say it’s Randy Quaid.

    ———————————————————————— “Young people have seen that a team can play electrifying, fascinating hockey while still behaving like gentlemen.” ~Serge Savard~

  52. Ian Cobb says:

    Given a different roll, each game, for different opposition, changes the way you play my friend.

  53. J_P says:

    To counter your argument, look at Max Paccioretty.  A little seasoning in hamilton did him a world of good at the pro level.  Eller has the goods, he’s lacking between the ears, and a stint in the Ham against some lower level competition could be just what his game needs.

    As for Desharnais, the transition is much harder for him because he is a small player.  I think he’ll be solid, because like Gionta, he has a nose for the net, but he needs time to learn how to compete against much larger and much tougher competition.  He doesn’t have the time to operate that he had while playing in the AHL, and he just needs to adjust to the speed of the NHL game and learn to make quicker decisions with the puck. 

    Thats my take at least. 

  54. samTHEman says:

    Agreed. I’m not blaming Eller. It isn’t his fault. Still, the question arises whether he or Desharnais will be sent down….and I think Eller is staying up.

  55. samTHEman says:

    He’s a natural born center. He looks kinda off on the wing and tends to turn the puck over at the blue line sometimes. He’s big and fast with the puck though, so I would like to see him shoot more pucks at the net and see his line mates crashing the net (AK)

  56. J_P says:

    MAB has a lot more experience, so its not really a fair comparison to Weber.  However, its time the habs stopped bringing in vets as a band aid solution.  I’m glad to see that kids are getting a chance to fill in when we have injuries.  The best way for Weber to learn, is to learn at the pro level and make mistakes.

    Also,  the habs really need to move away from this “blast from the point” powerplay strategy.  Blasting one from the point is certainly an option, but we saw towards the end of the last season that teams knew that the habs always look for the shot from the point.  Other teams also knew that when you would pressure MAB and close his shooting lane, he would make terrible decisions with the puck. 

    As for his performance in Tampa Bay, one game isnt really a good sample size, and their defense is so abysmal, that MAB is easily the best offensive defensemen on their team.  That’s a knock on Tampa’s defense corps, not a compliment to MAB. 

  57. TomNickle says:

    Or they just put Pyatt in the press box again.

  58. kempie says:

    “Is this clown with you guys?”

  59. Mark C says:

    You can’t just blame Martin for OB, SK and Max. Check out the games played and ice time given to them by Carbo and it’s the same as Martin. The biggest issue with all three of these players is they got called up too soon, and that was done before Martin got here. Max is now playing fine under Martin, and frankly Ob isn’t doing anything in Colorado that he didn’t do in Montreal.  

  60. punkster says:

    Yeah, I can’t understand why they got rid of those two guys. It’s not like they had problems under any other coaches. Hahahahahahaha…

    Seriously, I find that whole argument is so weak and entirely false but I suppose it will continue to be dredged up. Particularly since the “fact” that he ruined PK and the “fact” that he ruined Pacioretty have been proven false. Then again, there’s always the “fact” that he’s ruining DD and Eller. 😉

    I just think that many people here tend to jump to conclusions way before the “facts” are actually in.


  61. Mark C says:

    These players’ issues aren’t all on Martin. Max’s problem wasn’t how Martin handled him last year; it was that he wasn’t ready for the NHL at that time. Put it to you this way: is the reason Max is good now based on how Martin is handling him differently or that he is now an NHL ready player? I think it’s mostly to do with him being NHL ready and has little to do with Martin.

    Hard to know what he tried but doesn’t sound like he talks to his players much or uses much encouragement.  To me, especially today, this is a problem.

    You admit to not knowing what he has or hasn’t done, but based on your own feelings you have an issue with it. Based on that and your tagline, I guess it’s pointless talking about Martin with you; you’ve made up your mind already.

  62. Mats Naslund says:

    My point was really that unless there is a better player to replace Eller – he’s your best option in Montreal. Even if he tears up the AHL, there is no real indication that would translate to better offensive numbers than if he continues to play with skilled NHLers. Even Max – who has been solid since his re-call has not been scoring with anywhere near the frequency that he did in the minors. 

  63. G-Man says:

    It’s either Gomez or Martin sucks. Shorten your post to this length and save us the time. :)

  64. G-Man says:

    “Scott, Patrice- welcome Stanley Cup winners. Who’s the tall one without a clue?”

  65. Da Hema says:

    Habnofear is the former poster xtrahabsfan.

  66. VancouverHab says:

    “Sorry Scott & Patrice: you’re very charitable forgving the vindictive mean-spirited hack-writer and hoping to get him to Heaven, but in here the refs can’t be gamed … so the little man goes where his big hate takes him — the real Sin Bin.”

  67. habitual says:

    What is it that  you find weak, from a mostly positive post?

    I’ve yet to read a post that says Martin “ruined” PK or MaxPac.  What people have been saying is that Martin has an old style approach to handling rookies.  Which is why Muller is there – to be the communicator.

    And let’s tell the truth about PK’s development:  he was brought out of the press box and given big minutes because the injury situation left Martin no choice but to play him, especially when the older D started getting tired. 

    Desharnais is up because Lappy demanded a trade.  Otherwise, do  you really think Desharnais would be getting the (now increasingly limited) ice time with the Habs?

    So let’s be clear:  Martin has strengths, and has gotten a lot out of a team that has trouble scoring.  He deserves credit for that, but he also deserves the criticism he gets for handling younger players.

  68. PeterD says:

    In Montreal, Sergei K. was a complete waste of space.

    JM and the Ghost did the proper thing by shipping him to Hamilton when he clearly did not want to play by the teams rules…show up on time, play hard, practice what we want you to do on the ice, and act like a professional athlete with pride and commitment on a big city team.

    That said, SK showed too flippant a regard for the team and the fans by his immature attitude. He may have talent and skill, but JM should not be expected to babysit players that are not ready and mature enough to play in the big league.

    I for one am really happy that SK is gone and that he is having a good season in Nashville…in fact the better he does in a new situation the more trade value he adds to his brother AK…another under achiever that the team is just about ready to cut lose and cut their losses.

    Bottom line for this years Habs, is that the coaching staff has shown they will try every game to get the best performance out of the talent they have on the bench, and obviously with this team, high scoring run and gun style, flying frenchmen is not the case here. Grind it out defensively as a team ala the “system” is what we are going to get until some more player moves take place to give us the offensive horses to score more.

  69. Duracell3 says:

    I don’t see big hits either, but they don’t have to make big hits on him, they merely push him off the puck all night.

  70. Duracell3 says:

    Forseberg scored 30 twice actually. Aside from that, he also has 2 Cups, 2 Olympic Golds and won 2 world championships, the calder, and art ross and a hart.

    Jason Spezza has not won jack shit, but for all the talk about him not shooting, we have scott f. gomez. Spezza has far more O-upside than our #1 centre and obviously more than gomez. That said, The sens will want picks, or something in return, and we would need to clear 3 million in cap space at least, and I doubt they want gomez, so what do you give up.

  71. SuperYogurt says:

    I really like Eller. He works hard every shift, wins his battles along the boards, gets right back up after being cross-checked and has shown flashes of great skill. No player is going to be great offensively when put out of his natural position, stuck with checking line teammates, and given around 10 minutes of ice time. Not to mention that it’s Eller’s first NHL season and his role is constantly changed.

    I know he’s spent some time with Plek, Cammy, Gomez, and AK, but he’s always being switched in-and-out. I also get the feeling that he’s being asked to play mostly defensively.

    I’m wondering if he has ever centred Darche and Pouliot? I seem to remember that Halpern has always centred those two. Has Eller been given a chance?

  72. punkster says:

    Good, clear, unemotional response. I appreciate that.

    The post you refer to is mostly a copy paste of another comment. My issue is with Rob’s portion, referencing JM’s “giving up on talented players that he rides until they stop performing” and referencing OB and SK as failings. These are not strong points as both players were not performing long before JM got here but they are examples continually used by people who wish to find fault with JM. As for PK, I never mentioned him but I can see your point certainly. The thing is I think he’d still be playing even with Markov and Gorges in the lineup.,.Picard would be down and Wiz would never have been picked up. (whole other discussion there though because PK is one raw talent in need of some strong coaching to get over the rookie mistakes he makes) Desharnais? Sure the removal of Laps opened up a spot but I doubt he’ll be here for long once Cammy is back…who knows, and really who cares, other than DDs immediate family. He’s not going to be a regular on this team, is he?

    However (yep, always a big but, isn’t there…which is infinitely better than a big butt I suppose 😉 I do not agree with the manufactured criticism JM gets for handling young players. Just look at the very long list of present day stars he has handled as rookies over the years. No denying he has a way with rookies…a good way. But that list and JM’s history is continually ignored by those with a desire to simply join the bashing bandwagon.


  73. SmartDog says:


    Exactly.  People hear something negative and decide they must rally to the rescue of our beloved team.  It’s ridiculous.  You are right – the post is mostly a positive review of Gauthier.    The concerns about Martin are not new (and not raised in a trashy way, just as issues), and the frame of it – that this may be one issue re. Gauthier’s leadership is a different twist that I think could provoke some fair discussion if people weren’t so bent on wrapping themselves in the bleu-blanc-rouge like the true patriots they believe they are and I am not (and others who see negatives as well as positives).  

    I’ve written a lot of positives about the team this year, but my negative posts get WAY more attention.  That’s not why I do it, I just write what I’m thinking… but it’s crazy how people who think they are “right” like to pounce all over any criticism of the team like it’s a hundred dollar bill in a subway station. 

    “It bothers me…there are old coaches in the league today that don’t know how to deal with these young personalities.” – Mike Peca on JM handling of PKS

  74. RetroMikey says:

    Don’t bet on Yemelin coming to play next season. 

    From what I hear, he is quite content playing in the KHL in his home country.

    Thank Timmons and Gainey for wasting a draft pick and marketing this guy over the years.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  75. HabFab says:

    Markov after back to back knee surgeries, maybe $5.5M out of respect.

  76. andrewberkshire says:

    If Ballard goes on LTIR this could easily happen.

  77. Chris says:

    I would be well and truly shocked if Daniel Alfredsson was traded from Ottawa. He strikes me as one of the few guys in the league that would be happy to play out his career in the same city.

    He had a shot at a Stanley Cup and knows how hard it is. If he takes a trade, I think it would have to be to a team that is a much stronger Stanley Cup contender than Montreal. A team like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (if Crosby comes back healthy) or even Washington. My best guess though of an Alfredsson trade? Alfredsson to Vancouver for Hodgson or Schneider. Sens get a top prospect, Alfredsson goes to a team with some Scandinavians (the Sedins, Samuelsson, Edler and Hansen) familiar with his style of play, making the transition much easier.

    Vancouver is a legitimate top threat for the Stanley Cup, have an elite prospect that they can dangle and would LOVE to get their hands on a guy like Alfie that could solidify their secondary scoring behind the Sedins.

  78. Chris says:

    Oh, don’t worry Steve…I am with you on Gorges.  He’s a good player, but we really over-value him here.  There are dozens of guys like Josh Gorges in the league.  They are great until they get over-priced for what they bring the team.

    Gorges to me is Sylvain Lebebrve back in his Nordiques/Leafs days.  A nice positional defenceman with little to no offensive game and minimal physical presence.  Those guys are essential to a successful team, but they are also the first ones to get jettisoned when their agent pushes their value too high.  You can’t over-pay for role players into today’s NHL due to the salary cap.  Gorges is a RFA this summer, so his contract demands can’t get too ridiculous.

    But when he hits UFA status, I think he’s the kind of guy you have to let walk if his agent asks for much over $2.5 or $3 million per season.

  79. Mark C says:

    Right, which is why it doesn’t really matter what message is sent, if these players aren’t ready yet.

  80. HabFab says:

    I’m just remaining cautious

    True that and not enough of it in fandom.

  81. Kooch7800 says:

    I think Carle with his injuries will never make it.  Nash on the other hand in a couple of years will be ready

  82. Chris says:

    True enough.  I’m just remaining cautious about Subban’s development, while secretly being giddy.  He’s been great, but he still needs quite a bit of polishing.  The offence, after a slow start, has really been coming along.

    And Yannick Weber is equally impressive.  He gives one heart attacks at times, but Martin and Pearn felt confident enough in him to start using him more heavily on the penalty kill of late.  His offensive production is not quite at the level of Subban’s, but he’s coming along nicely and was played roughly 20 minutes in 3 of the 4 games last week, indicating a growing level of comfort with him.

  83. HabFab says:

    My biggest complaint is that when he commits himself, be it going down,into the board or after a player. He doesn’t get back into the play fast enough.

  84. Mark C says:

    I hear ya about the AHL thing, but none of the players are currently making an overly strong case for an NHL spot next year. Carle and Nash are playing well, but it’s not like their making a Subban type push.

  85. Kooch7800 says:

    Thanks for the info.    I am all for Yemelin but it is tough to garauntee a roster spot for someone who has never played in the NHL. It sends the wrong message to your guys in the AHL. 

    Thankfully though, I am not a GM in the NHL!

  86. Chris says:

    I’m not arguing that Subban does a lot of things right defensively.  I also think he is better than Bergeron, and has a MUCH higher ceiling in the defensive end.  But he remains a work in progress.  My biggest complaints with Subban:

    • shot selection and release – that wind-up takes WAY too long, he fires into pads instead of just dumping it into the corner (a la Picard) and hoping for a friendly bounce and he telegraphs what he’s going to do.  He’s been tremendously fortunate thus far in not conceding breakaways, but as the scouting on him improves, that is going to change unless he makes adjustments.
    • shift management – a lot of the goals you see scored with Subban on the ice come after he’s been on the ice too long or has expended too much energy skating around.  The fantastic skating is great, but if he’s going to be a 22-25 minute per night guy, he’s got to learn to manage those shifts better.  The beauty of the Charas, Lidstroms and Prongers of the league is that they have those extra gears when they need them, but they really manage their minutes well so that they rarely get caught exhausted.
    • everybody in the rink knows when he’s going for a skate – you can just tell when he’s winding up for an end-to-end rush by the way he accelerates in his own end.  He drops his head and that’s all she wrote for a pass…he becomes very easy to defend on those, even if the crowd loves them.  That will improve with maturity
    • in the defensive end, he is not particularly great along the boards…I see him losing a lot of those battles, something a kid of his size and puck-shielding ability simply shouldn’t be doing.  Again, with maturity, that will improve.
    • penalties – only 5 players in the NHL have taken more minor penalties than Subban.  Of the guys in front of him, only Corey Perry could be considered anything but a goon.  Subban gets caught because he doesn’t position himself well at times, and he is a bit careless with his stick, resulting in some unfortunate tripping penalties.  Again, he’s young…Victor Hedman is not too far behind Subban in this category.  It takes a while for young defencemen to get the benefit of the doubt from the refs, and a guy like Subban is going to take a while longer because of his chirpy nature.
    • over-zealous in chasing in the defensive zone – tends to get keyed in a bit too much on one guy, sometimes losing track of the big picture.  He’s come a long way in that regard, though…in the OHL, he would routinely follow guys out to centre ice on their cycles.  Used to make me laugh…why not just cycle his mark out of the defensive zone every time and you’ve removed a top player from the play?  :)
    • the pinches – oh, the pinches…far and away the worst aspect of his game.  He simply pinches at the worst possible times.  He had a couple of real doozies this weekend that by pure luck alone didn’t burn him.  He’s got to become better at learning when pinching is doing nothing more than putting himself into a vulnerable position.  There is a time to pinch or hold the line, and a time to recognize that you’re in trouble.  He’s still struggling in that area.
    • defensive IQ – I can’t count the number of times this season Subban has gone for a skate deep into opposing territory late in a game being led by the Habs by 1 goal.  I don’t know what he’s thinking on those…he just simply doesn’t know how to play it safe.  That is the big difference between a Subban and a Hamrlik or Markov.  Those guys also make forays in deep, but they usually know when to do it and when not to do it generally.  Subban gets caught a lot right now, and there’s been some great shots of Perry Pearn tearing a strip off Subban when he returns to the bench.  The crowd loves it as it is exciting, but he must give Pearn and Martin nightmares sometimes.  :)

    Don’t get me wrong…I’ve posted a bunch of negatives there.  You could make a list that is much longer of the things he does well.  Subban is without a doubt a huge positive influence on the team’s success.

      I just wish that he would speed up that maturation process and rein in his on-ice exuberance a little.  I think it will ultimately make him a better player when he plays under control, offensively and especially defensively.

  87. patience is a virtue says:

    Hmmmm.  Big dif between MAB and PK is that Subban has been playing team high minutes against top line opponents, since returning from his tutorials in maturity in the press box.  He protects the puck and can make excellent breakout passes.  Sure, there’s lots of room for improvement, but he is already way beyond MAB.

  88. jimmy shaker says:

    Is this guy worth giving a big contract to bring him over finally. Looks like that is the only way he’ll move his pretty settled life from Russia.


  89. HabFab says:

    But yet, he was a plus 6 before falling into defensive disfavor. And seriously, which of our defensemen playing now, have not been a wild ride this season.

  90. Chris says:

    I admit to being VERY fuzzy on the whole European player rules (which are complete and utter garbage…I can’t believe the league got away with that crap), but I thought he could sign a long-term deal with only the first year having to be at the entry level.  So he could insist on a 5 year deal with the required $925 k in the first year, but $3M or whatever he wants in the other years.

    At the end of the day, the Habs will either be impressed enough to roll the dice, or they will be forced to write him off.  Yemelin plays for Ak Bars Kazan, one of the more wealthy and well-run franchises in the KHL.  He doesn’t have to worry about his pay-cheques the way players on other teams do, he gets to contend for a championship most years, and his wife and young child don’t have to adjust to the North American way of life. 

    There are a lot of pros to staying in Russia and very few cons, whereas North America represents a lot of risk:  end up in the AHL, end up with paltry playing time, struggle with the culture change, etc.  To make that worth his while, I don’t think he’s coming over for a one-year deal.

  91. Chris says:

    My only concern is that Subban’s defensive impact has been not much better than that of Marc-Andre Bergeon, who can also score in bunches, over the same time period.

    He’s getting better, but he’s got to learn to pick his spots. Right now, he’s a wild ride in both ends. :)

  92. Mark C says:

    Just as an FYI about Yemelin, if he comes over, his first contract has to be a one year deal; the max base pay is $925K (might not be 100% right, but it is less than $1M) with the option of adding bonuses.

    Really the only demand he could make, and it seems would make is to not play in the AHL. I don’t think this should be an issue. Yemelin has over 300 KHL/Super League games under his belt, and has been playing at an elite level in the last 70 games or so. The odds that a pre-prime age player putting up the numbers like Yemelin is, and needs AHL time or can’t hack it as a 3rd pairing D seem very low to me.


  93. HabFab says:

    Subban has had more of an offensive impact since the start of the New Year at 0.8 PPG. Those are Lindstrom numbers but time will tell.

  94. twocents says:

    Subban will have more impact offensively next year. I suspect considerably so.

    With Weber getting minutes and developing, I think we could fine in the O department.

    I am not trying to dismiss Wiz. He’s been great and in a no-cap world I would keep him.. But the cap exists and room must be made for the new blood.

    In a perfect world Spacek would be playing out the last year of his contract and the Wiz would stay.

  95. Mark C says:

    I believe there is a one year restriction placed on European players aged 25-27, which is where Yemelin would fall. Not 100% if an extension can be added or not, but that first year is locked.

    You are right about his situation being as good as it can be for the KHL. It will come down to how much he wants to play in the NHL, in the past he’s made it seem like this was a goal of his. However, that could have been contract negotiation 101 talk and nothing more.

    In any case, we’ll know if he’s coming or not in the next few months.


  96. 24 Cups says:

    A very honest post that doesn’t get all caught up in the Subban hoopla and hysteria.  This guy still needs a lot of work before he becomes a top-end defenseman (hey, he is a rookie, after all).

    I wrote the same kind of straight forward evaluation on Gorges  earlier in the year and had to go into hiding once it was posted.  We need to strive for more balance when evaluating our players.

  97. Storm Man says:

    If you have him in a hockey fantasy pool trade him if you can or dump him he is not coming back till mid March at best.

  98. matrags says:

    Just for discussion ……Has Crosby now become damaged goods..

  99. 24 Cups says:

    Eric – I’m not giving out two year contracts to players over 35.  Hamrlik gets a one year deal for 2.5M with the understanding that if all goes well, he might get another year in 2012.

    Your first pairing has a lot of ‘ifs’ to it.  I’m not signing Markov long term and Yemelin isn’t even a prospect in my eyes.  He’s nowhere on the radar until he at least gets off a plane from Russia.  I also seriously doubt he will be able to play first pairing minutes in his rookie season.

    The Wiz?  I guess the real question is how much will he bring on the open market.  Being 27 is a real bonus, but that is somewhat negated by the fact that he’s a subpar defenseman in his own end.  I think he’ll snag 4.5M for sure.

    Markov = 6.5M, Yemelin = 2.5M, Subban = 875000, Gorges = 3M, Hamrlik = 2.5M, Spacek = 3.8M, Weber = 875000  Grand Total = 20M (or 22M if The Wiz signs)

  100. JF says:

    Totally agree about the Hammer.  I loved his comments and his attitude.  Many players would be unwilling to accept a pay cut and a diminution in their role, but he’s prepared to sacrifice because he loves it here and he wants to win the Stanley Cup. 

  101. Kooch7800 says:

    I would resign wiz.  He is a lot safer than risking on Yemelin who has never played a North American game.  If he does want to come over and doesn’t make a bunch of crazy demands or want an insane contrat, trade webber.

    Wiz is second on the team in scoring and has 13 points in 15 games since coming.  That would be our most productive player on an offensively challenged team.  You also need his puck moving and shot to help take some of the load off Markov.

  102. twocents says:

    Based on his comments, give the Hammer a two year deal worth 2.25 each. I’d be happy to keep him at that price.

    Markov Yemelin

    Subban Gorges

    Hammer Spacecake


    The Yemer doesn’t jump the pond, sign the Wiz.

  103. HabFab says:

    Shucks! That is the problem when you have all the answers…you had better understand the d@mn question!! 😉

  104. twocents says:

    Wrong demotion, see above.

  105. twocents says:

    Hey Frank great to read you.

    But sorry, to you and Chris, I wasn’t talking about that demotion, I was talking about the one when Carbo was still coach. In the spring of ’09. His problems began long before the pre-season you mention.

    The demotion you are referring to does appear mishandled. I agree. Perhaps though there was more to it than we know. Certainly the heavy handedness wasn’t lost on Martin and Gautier and barring any similar events, with others players, you could easily think there was something a little more than met our eyes.

    We’ll never know. But I’d rather see Pacioretty getting those top line minutes than Sergei.

  106. HabFab says:

    But, Sergei was plenty pissed and petulant when he was demoted in the ’08-09 season.

    My argument here has always been that the problem was the way he was sent down, not why. He should have been sent down with the previous group of players or allowed to go on the bonding camp with the other players on the fringe,  who were sent down immediately after the camp. Instead of being singled out like he was “to go home, pack up and report to Hamilton next week but don’t come with us in case your contagious”. Stupid, just plain stupid waste of talent IMHO.

  107. JF says:

    You’re right that Sergei had problems before last year, and I’m certainly not trying to suggest that his loss is exclusively JM’s fault.  But I do think he was mishandled by the organization as a whole, and the events of two years ago lead me to think that there is room for improvement in the way the Habs treat their young players. The French press talked a lot about the need to “encadrer” young players, especially those living in a big city for the first time, like Price, and European-born players who don’t communicate well in French or English, like the Kostitsyns.  But maybe this problem has been addressed since then, because we don’t hear anything negative about this year’s crop of young players.


  108. Chris says:

    Demoting him to the Bulldogs while the Bulldogs were in Europe was perhaps the most heavy-handed slap in the face you can imagine.  Anybody with even a shred of pride would be pretty much done with the franchise after that, regardless of whether their own actions precipitated the whole mess.  Professional athletes are not really famous for their understanding of context, but they sure are adept at interpreting any slights against them.

    You would have be completely blind to miss the slight involved in that organizational decision.  Like you, I think the decision was not the problem, but the way the decision was made was so Mickey Mouse as to make the whole thing laughable, if it didn’t involve the waste of a pretty decent organizational asset.

  109. HabFanSince72 says:

    More chance of the mafia turning humanitarian.


  110. The Cat says:

    Larry is right. Youd think the NHL or NHLPA who both have the well earned rep of being stupid, would actually make a joint effort at not being stupid for a change.

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

  111. Chris says:

    Personally, I vote for Bugs.  If only to see him toy with Brian Burke in both official languages.

  112. HabFab says:

    Excuse me but please share whatever you are smoking!!

  113. Bill H says:

    If only Gauthier had the expertise and knowledge of some of the posters on HIO, we would be fleecing the other 29 teams when we trade with them.  Maybe the Molsons will smarten up eventually and do the right thing: hire the next Montreal Canadiens GM from amongst the posters here.  We have all the insight in the world right here.

  114. fun police says:

    i think it was meant as a “bazinga”



  115. Chris says:

    Chris Simon won the shooting accuracy contest. That doesn’t mean he is a dominant player over there…he wasn’t tearing it up by any stretch of the imagination playing for a last place club.

    The Russian league is very different, and its players don’t necessarily translate their skill over there when they move to the smaller ice in North America.

    Sidney Crosby was playing against junior players in 2005 and then stepped up to the NHL and scorched the league for 102 points. Alexander Ovechkin came over from the predecessor to the KHL and dominated the NHL a year after only recording 13 goals and 27 points in 37 games.

    Yemelin has done well in international competition against some of the world’s best players at his age. He could do fine in the NHL.

    Ramo has already had a shot, but sometimes players need to build their confidence. Tim Thomas built his career over in Finland, a good league but not quite at the level of play of the KHL, before coming back to North America to become a top goalie in the league. You just need to find the right situation sometimes.

  116. twocents says:

    Perspective is needed on their success, certainly. But, their performances are at the very least equal to being a top player in the AHL, and that’s a good sign. No guarantees but encouraging. 

  117. HabFanSince72 says:

    To put those KHL stats from the previous thread in context, the winner of the KHL skills competition this year was Chris Simon.

    Simon is a 39 year old former NHL goon.

    That’s who Karri Ramo and Alexei Yemelin are playing against.

  118. HabFanSince72 says:

    Read this Larry Brooks column on head shots. As I said earlier, it is jaw-dropping.



  119. matrags says:

    The best player in the game is  still out with post concussion symptoms, on the day after Sarvard is forced to call it maybe for good….we ask what about Crosby …..and why is Mat Cook still playing , Sarvard , Markov, and an obvious attempt to injure Ovi . On the street his assaults would have netted jail time.

  120. habs03 says:

    Been a year since PG was hired, I didn’t know what to think of it at first but so far he has done a great job, he gets a B+ for his work so far.

  121. EastCoastJoe says:

    I agree that Gauthier has done a great job.  I was hoping Halak was the goalie to be moved, but I thought he jumped the gun a bit too soon and could have got more in return.  I remember I was on the first tee on a golf course in Maine and a playing partner asked what I thought about the Halak trade.  He mentioned the names Eller and Schultz and I thought for sure he was razzin’ me (he was a Leaf fan).  But then again, maybe that was the best offer he received.  And I agree with O’Byrne.  Totally a coaching issue as was Sergei.  And the problem with players not being properly managed is when it IS time to trade them, their values are diminished and you get little in return. 

    As far as a move that will surprise everyone, I have a sneaky suspicion we’ll see Alfie in a Habs uni soon.  Just a gut feeling.  Not saying he’s what the Habs need or is the best option.  Just a feeling I have. 

    edit:  OK, Sergei wasn’t totally a coaching issue.

  122. JF says:

    The majority on this site were disappointed with the appointment of Gauthier, thinking the Habs were so intent on hiring a French Canadian they hadn’t looked beyond their own organization.  But so far Gauthier’s done an excellent job.  The only player he brought in last year, Dominic Moore, was an important part of our playoff success and scored the series-winner against Washington.  Gauthier’s off-season moves are also looking good.  On the evidence so far, Carey Price was the right choice in goal, and Eller, despite criticisms of his lack of production, is becoming a solid player.  The signing of Jeff Halpern was very astute, our inexpensive backup, Alex Auld, has been getting the job done (apart from the Calgary game), and even Picard has filled in well from time to time. The trade for James Wisniewski just before the news about Gorges broke was brilliant.

    The only negative is the trade of Ryan O’Byrne, and, to be fair, this happened when our defence was looking more solid, since neither Markov nor Gorges had been injured.  Also, I think the loss of both O’Byrne and Sergei Kostitsyn were the result of poor handling by the coaching staff.  O’Byrne never really had enough ice-time to solidify his game and build up his confidence, and Sergei was badly mishandled at least from the beginning of last year when he was singled out and cut from training camp after the other cuts.  Yes, he had attitude problems, but obviously Barry Trotz has found a way to get the best out of him, and I continue to think he could have been a valuable player for our team.  But, as I said, this is more on the coaching staff than on Pierre Gauthier, and overall I think he’s done an excellent job.  I hope he has one more big move in the works before the trade deadline; if he does, it will be one that will surprise everyone. 

  123. twocents says:

    Whatever blame you want to place on the coaching for the loss of those two players, you can’t ignore the fact that both players had problems establishing themselves the year before with different coaches.

    I think people go too far sometimes in trying to blame anyone but the player. I maintain that there could have been a way to build O’Byrne up and keep him. But, Sergei was plenty pissed and petulant when he was demoted in the ’08-09 season. 

    It’s not much of a stretch to imagine a 22 year old convincing themselves that a situation was intolerable and closing themselves off to any positive adjustments. He received a wake-up call this fall from Trotz and Poile when he was publicly criticized and benched early. This time he couldn’t blame the same old same old, and was forced to look in the mirror. If it happened in Montreal he could have just said, “Well it’s not me, I’m great, they just don’t like me here” and things could have continued as they were.

  124. twocents says:

    … and I think he’s realistic about his age and the stage of his career. All good things to be aware of.

  125. Cool Ice Price says:

    Souray too old, too slow? Just what the Habs are looking for. He would fit in nicely with the Habs other old Goats on D!

  126. Mr.Hazard says:

    Good articles!! I liked Cam Cole’s piece, and it was interesting to get a Souray update lol.

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A good night

The Rangers lost did.

So did Carolina and Atlanta.

Cammalleri praises Max-Pac

Auld acquaintances not forgotten

• Bertrand Raymond on P.K. Subban

• François Gagnon on Yannick Weber

• Pierre LeBrun on Canadiens’ mental toughness

• Pierre Durocher on the revived Martin F., who’s here Sunday


  1. larisalapointe says:


  2. habstrinifan says:

    Gotta read B. Raymond’s article if you havent done so. Are there truly any fans in hockey who have been blessed with the legacy of such indelible greatness as we have. Raymond subtly invokes the deep wish we all have that we are witnessing the emergence of a true HAB’s legend in P.K Subban. 

  3. Julie H says:

    Great articles as always

    ♪Your cares and troubles are gone. There’ll be no more from now on. From now on happy days are here again, the skies above are so clear again. So let’s sing a song of cheer again. Happy times, happy nights, happy days are here again♪

  4. CHsam says:

    Just found out this week that my roomate’s dad is Martin F.’s agent. Huh, small world.

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