About last night …

My man Dave Stubbs probably knows this, but for me it’s a puzzler:
How often has the First Star been a player who didn’t get on the ice until the game was almost seven minutes old?
Take a bow, Alex Galchenyuk.
You may have made Canadiens history.
And the best is yet to come for the 19-year-old rookie.

Fearless prediction: Galchenyuk will be chosen First Star of many games during the 2014-’15 season. And he won’t often have to wait seven minutes to get into the action.

What took him so long to get off the bench in the 2-1 win over Boston?

During a conversation over pre-game dinner in the media lounge, my man Arpon Basu, who covers the Canadiens for NHL.com, was saying Michel Therrien does not try to match lines during games. The Canadiens’ coach focuses on situations when he makes his line changes. As an example, Basu pointed out that David Desharnais would not be sent out to take a faceoff in the defensive zone.

(And guess who lost the D-zone faceoff that led to Boston’s only goal?)

In his postgame press conference, Therrien said Galchenyuk spent the beginning of the game on the bench because of situations, including two minutes of four-on-four when Andrew Ference and Francis Bouillon took roughing minors a couple minutes into the game.

Galchenyuk made the most of his belated opportunity. He scored on his first shift – a fluke goal, like the other two scored in the game – and spent the rest of the game making positive plays with linemates Lars Eller and Brandon Prust.

Man, this kid is going to be good. Likewise Eller. And Brendan Gallagher.

The future is very bright for your Montreal Canadiens.

And the present isn’t bad, either. The team is three points off the Eastern Conference lead, with a game in hand on the Crosby-less Penguins. The teams meet April 17 in Pittsburgh, and the Canadiens will be looking for their first win in the season series, after two one-goal losses.

Thin margins have been the story of the season in games between the Canadiens and their main conference rivals. The win over Boston was the third in four meetings, and every game has been decided by a goal.

Won’t it be fun if they meet in the playoffs?

And won’t Carey Price be ready for it?

That, for me, was the big takeaway from Saturday night’s game. Price, who lost to the Bruins Feb. 6 at the Bell Centre and was yanked after 40 minutes in the March 27 game in Boston, got the Boston bear off his back with a stellar 26-save performance.

Price got a lot of help from his supporting cast, notably a depleted defence corps that blocked 23 shots. An first-period injury to Alexei Emelin forced Therrien and D coach Jean-Jacques Daigneault to deploy five players in various combinations, and the Dmen rose splendidly to the challenge.

Josh Gorges had the most ice time, 26:18, and blocked six shots. P.K. Subban was customarily brilliant in 25:03 and picked up another pair of assists to boost his point total to 32. In the defenceman scoring race, P.K. has opened up a four-point lead  over Ryan Suter and Kris Letang.

The defenceman who really stepped up, however, was Davis Drewiske. Acquired from L.A. for a fifth-round draft choice, Drewiske played 23:50 against the Bruins, blocked four shots, had a couple hits, made excellent first passes and was unflustered by the Boston thumpers who tried to forecheck him into errors.

If Emelin is out for a while – and the injury looked bad – Jarred Tinordi probably will be recalled from Hamilton – unless Raphael Diaz is ready to return. But in three games with the Canadiens, Drewiske has looked like a really good addition.

Of course, it helsp a man-down defence corps if they don’t have to kill many penalties. The Canadiens played a superbly disciplined game and were not shorthanded until the final minute, when Zdeno Chara embellished Eller’s tug on his size XXXXL jersey. Then with Tuukka Rask on the bench for a sixth attacker, the Boston power play couldn’t even attempt a shot on goal.

Of the Bruins’ 27 shots, Chara had four and Dennis Seidenberg had five – 33 per cent of their SoG from two defencemen, plus another three from Johnny Boychuk. Top-shooting Boston forward was Gregory Campbell, with three.

Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand had no shots. Milan Lucic and Jaromir Jagr had one each, Nathan Horton had two.

Contrast the impotence of the Boston forwards to the Canadiens: Michael Ryder and Max Pacioretty had four shots each. Ryan White was the only forward blanked on the shot sheet.

The Canadiens have a well deserved day off on Sunday. A year ago, they played their final game of a miserable season.

In the lineup on April 7, 2012: Chris Campoli, Brad Staubitz, Blake Geoffrion, Aaron Palushaj, Frédeeric St. Denis and Louis Leblanc.

They won’t be playing April 9, 2013, when the Washington Capitals come to town.

• My friend Chris O’Brien forced himself to watch Hockey Night in Canada and offered this observation:

Here on Leafs Corner on your local community cable network, let’s discuss the trade deadline, especially the impact on the Leafs.

Luongo or Kiprusoff, let’s talk about what they didn’t do anyways. In Coachs Corner, let’s replay last week’s where we brought in 3 Leafs players postgame to kiss and cuddle,  in case you missed it last week. Please TSN take over the rights next year.



  1. tbonesr says:

    Knocking cbc is always easy, tsn does there share of leaf lovin! Don is don & that’s why people wstch him.

    • zenfit1 says:

      Toronto has “infiltrated” the NHL…even on the NHL website, there are proportionally way more articles about the Leafs, who most people could care less about, than about any other team. Articles that are yawningly irrelevant to virtually most hockey fans. It’s so self-indulgent it’s infuriating and how do they keep getting away with this. Only solution, move the NHL (canadian) headquarters plus the hockey hall of fame OUT OF TO! MOVE THEM ANYWHERE BUT THEY DON’T BELONG IN TO. Break up the Toronto cabal. But more importantly, and way more despicable is the fact that the CBC is supposed to be Canada’s NATIONAL Network. Other Canadians besides Ontario residents pay into it. Where’s the equal representation at a national level??? How can this go on so long in Canada? Cause Canadians are way too passive way too polite to make waves…Are the Leafs really “Canada’s Team??”

  2. pmaraw says:

    if letang wins over subban, it’s a farce

  3. rhino514 says:

    I think MB has done a lot of great things up to now, but a couple of things that boggle my mind.

    The way Subban is playing now, it´s really going to hurt us after next season. He could command anywhere from 7 to 8 million. The team could have signed him long term for, what, 5 million a year? Did they really believe Soobbie didn´t yet have the maturity to handle a big contract?

    The DD extension. Don´t like it. It delays the development of Galchenyuk. Also, as we can see, without two explosive wingers on his line, DD´s production is so-so. If you recall, that extension was announced a couple of days after Eller had his most explosive game in a habs uniform, his coming-out-party game. I sincerely wonder if that extension gets done if Eller steps it up a couple of weeks earlier. Another downside is, if DD doesn´t step it up considerably, his contract might not be very tradeable, though with teams now being able to split players´salaries almost everyone becomes tradeable.

    Two questionable moves, especially the second one.

    • The Good Hab-bit says:

      Very good point about Subbans salary – I was think the same when they were negotiating. If you consider the impact his cap hit will have after the 2 years extension, then it is obvious that MB shot himself in the foot by winning on the short term deal. Wasnt it obvious that he would be worth 5 years for 25m???

  4. Strummer says:

    Hey PJ Stock-
    If Habs traded Cole because he didn’t get along with PK why didn’t they trade Plex after his fight with PK in practice last year?

    Everyone doesn’t get along with everyone else in a dressing room from time to time, so unless they are banging someone’s wife its usually no biggy

    “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

  5. commandant says:

    Mitch on Luongo, Lecavalier, and other buy out candidates with huge years left on their deals


    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Storman says:

      They have nice pensions coming there way in form of buyouts damn, I would love to see the ability for teams to cut players like Bryzgalov…without guaranteed monies..

  6. Loonie says:

    Continuation of last page’s discussion regarding Subban.

    If you(anyone) saw him in junior you rarely saw a player who took a chance that resulted in scoring chances for the opposition. He was playing on one of the biggest ice surfaces in North America and that naturally allows more room for effective passing in the defensive zone by the opposing team and as such harder work for defensemen.

    Subban was physical, stunningly quick, the most creative and effective on the ice with the puck on his stick and the most difficult to beat one on one for opposing forwards.

    To say that he was weak defensively or that his defensive game suffered as a result of taking chances, being a risk taker or as Bob McKenzie put it a “riverboat gambler” is to have an opinion of somebody who has no clue what PK Subban was to the Belleville Bulls throughout his ENTIRE junior career.

    There are some people on this board from the Quinte area who know what I’m talking about. And those who take Bob McKenzie’s third hand Western Ontario scout’s analysis as first hand were and are misinformed.

    This is no more relevant than today. Scouts from all over the World just finalized rankings for this year’s draft crop. Many of those scouts accept money or gratuities, make analysis based on personal relationships with junior coaches and have their own predefined criteria of what will make a successful pro player and when they decide the ranking of a Brendan Gallagher, keep this in mind.

    I’m no Central Scouting employee, but I’ll trust my evaluation of PK Subban based on more than fifty games in his junior career before I’ll trust the third hand analysis of Bob McKenzie(who I respect).


  7. commandant says:

    When we think about the cap, one thing has become apparent. There is always a way.

    The Rangers were supposed to be in cap jail so many times and yet its never stopped them from getting Nash or whoever they want. They always find a way out of the cap issues

    The Flyers do the same, as do the Bruins. So do the Penguins. Spend now and fix the cap issue later. Its never become an issue for these teams

    In fact the only team it ever forced into cap jail and to serious issues was the 2010 Blackhawks and this was for two reasons. The 2009 RFA fax machine fiasco by Talon that made Versteeg, Byfuglien, and their RFAs into UFAs and forced him overpaying to retain them. And winning the cup kicked in huge bonuses for Kane and Toews (and the Conn Smythe another bonus).

    Without that no one would be in cap jail in the 7 years of the cap. And guess what? Chicago won a cup, got good young assets for Versteeg, Byfuglien, Ladd, etc… and are again a top team three years later.

    MB comes from Chicago, he better than anyone should see it. Build the best team possible and then fix cap issues later.

    No sense making cap space too big an issue

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Bripro says:

      I’m with you, Ben.
      I don’t see the cap as a big issue. On top of it, MB seems to have a keen perception of value-added players that their current teams don’t seem to know or acknowledge.
      Drewiske, although not flashy, seems well grounded and played with more ease last night. What a find!
      Ryder… we picked him up for … wait.. I remember.. who did we send away again? 😉
      Bouillon is playing like an early-30s veteran and Prust is the find of the NHL this year.
      And with that, how much cap space did the team mortgage? Not much. I have confidence that they’ll get the players they need without giving much up.
      This adminstration is so much more in tune than the Goat and company.
      I really do see the team skating all the way into June.
      I’ve already painted my “X” where my fold-out chair will be on Saint Catherine for the spring parade. Oh no, I’m starting to sound like a Torontonian.

      • Timo says:

        I don’t see it as a big issue either. Habs can always clear some cup space by dumping both Desharnais and Pacioretty. It’s like what… about 8 mil/year that’s not producing? Add Moen to that and that’s over 10 mil a year. No issues.

        • Bripro says:

          I’m not certain I’d give up on Max and DD just yet.
          They’re definitely more sporadic than last year, but they still offer moments of brilliance.
          No question, DD plays better against “smaller” teams, but I still believe that the two can contribute a lot. The heart is certainly still there.
          If there’s one contract that irks me (aside from Kaberlazy), it’s Gio’s.
          I know he’s our C, and always tries to play big, but I find he’s slowing down a lot this year and isn’t nearly as effective. And if he loses his speed and doesn’t shoot like he used to, then he’s not of much value to the team, IMO.

          • Strummer says:

            next year Gio will take up $5 million of the $64million cap when you could plug in gally at $870k on that line and do a better job

            “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

        • Habfan17 says:

          I would say there is a better possibility that Gionta and even Pleks get traded before DD and Patches. Pleks has reached hos peak and has very good value. With Gallagher and potentially Ryder on the right side, and Leblanc and Kristo in the wings, not to mention White and Blunden, The Habs can afford to trade Gionta this off season, maybe even Gorges. That would clear cap space and make room to bring up younger players. Especially on defence since Markov has one more season and the experience is there with Emelin Subban, Boullion and Diaz. Drewiski is also looking like a solid pick up.

          With what they coud get for Pleks, nd the opening at centre, Galchenyuk, Eller and DD would take the top 3 spots and I would see them in that order, meaning DD would be on the 3rd line. Maybe not to start the season, but if Galchenyuk shows he is ready, soon afterwards.


          • Habfan17 says:

            Please, before anyone says they can’t trade their “best”players and leaders, Philly with Carter and Richards, did it and if they hadn’t screwed up their goaltending and had so many injuries on defense, they would be strong cup contenders.

            With the experience that Subban, Prust, Eller and Patches have now along with Galchenyuk and Gallagher, I think they will be fine and Bergevin would probably bring in a couple of UFA’s to fill out and balance the roster with players who add what is currently missing, a bit more size and grit.


  8. Storman says:

    No Biggie Trini, i was in debate with others , but i had to bite the bullet when you announced Tinordi call up, its all good bro.. no biggie

    @ Trini what was up about that Tinordi call up you shut me down with last night , when i was preaching Beaulieu skills, 2nd wave PP need, stats, etc.. and the reason he should be called up..

    Trini not sure where you got your info on Tinordi call up last night but i checked the NHL roster move wire after and did not see any mention of , where and why did you announce that call up,,

    Canadiens have to be careful as league stipulates you only have 4 call ups after trade deadline, we have used 2 in Dumont and Beaulieu although we should be ok as that rule is relaxed when your farm team is eliminated from playoffs, it is a rule to protect integrity of AHL teams late in the season..

  9. Can someone provide an update on all injuried Habs if possible? Are any close to returning to lineup soon? Thanks


  10. habstrinifan says:

    Loonie says:
    April 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm They weren’t as effective as early no.

    But in terms of value Subban has work to do to match bang for the buck.

    Couldnt reply to this post Loonie (max replies). Let’s drop Subban’s name for now.. he is such a lightning rod and also so hard to quantify.

    Let’s take the othe rplayer I mentioned to try and prove/disprove my point.

    If someone asked you today that you had to pick either Pacs or Gallagher to ‘not have’ in the playoffs which would you choose. (Now I dont want to lose either of course). I am just trying to drive home that no rookie has come into the HABS team and become so impactful on the success of that team as Gallagher has … within the past 6 to 8 years I would say. Even while I type it I have Carey Price as the possible .. so let’s say skater.

    • Loonie says:

      I believe the three best players this season in order have been…..

      1. Plekanec
      2. Subban
      3. Gallagher

      I don’t want this team to lose anybody to injury but I feel Gallagher’s a more valuable player than Pacioretty right now. Not because of the scoring but because of how he plays.

  11. Mr. Biter says:

    Most memorable line in last night game (just after the Bruins only PP started) CBC announcer “Bruins clear the puck out of their zone, GOOD FOR THEM”. Had to continue watching as game was on Vcr or would have considered going to NESN where at least you know the announcer is a homer.

    Mr. Biter
    No Guts No Glory

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Heard it too Biter. Thus us NOT a national broadcast and if they still maintain it is they are lying.

      • Mattyleg says:

        For all the claims that RDS are ‘homers’, Pierre Houde would never say something like that, or anything close to it.

        He never cheers for the Habs, nor does he ever accuse other players of foul play, and if he is ever proved wrong by replay, he always apologises.

        Pure class.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • Timo says:

          I will take any play by play commentator from RDS over anyone on CBC or TSN or any other network any day of the week and twice on sunday.

          Thank god for RDS. I don’t even remember last time I watched a Habs game in English and I don’t miss it one bit.

        • habsfan0 says:

          One of the great things about Houde is that he could call a game as flawlessly in English as he does in French.

    • Strummer says:

      Who actually cleared the puck out of their zone- was it the Bruins or the Habs?
      Cole is always mixing up teams and players.
      Cole doesn’t necessarily cheer for the Bruins he’s just out of torch with reality

      “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

    • Storman says:

      No i Was right there with you Timo and @ Trini what was up about that Tinordi call up you shut me down with last night , when i was preaching Beaulieu skills, 2nd wave PP need, stats, etc.. and the reason he should be called up..

      • habstrinifan says:

        Sorry Storman. I am sure I saw a tweet by Rene Lavoie from RDS saying Tinordi was called up. My Bad.. I guess … unless I find that tweet now.. then I am only the messenger and can’t be blamed.

        I didnt mean to shut you down re his skills… where did I do that?

        • Storman says:

          No you didn’t shut me down Trini its all good, i was in debate with others , but i had to bite the bullet when you announced Tinordi call up, its all good bro.. no biggie

        • Timo says:

          Guys, last night doesn’t count. We were all distracted by that photo posted here.

          What happened to that picture, btw?

  12. habstrinifan says:

    Folks Folks Folks! On the PJ Stock comments about P.K and Cole. PJ is echoing perception started by Aaron Ward some months back. And when Ward was challenged on the statements he made, Ward responded with his explanation which, once you hear it, you would be incredulous.

    I wont try and give my representation of the entire chronology of this Cole hates P.K bit (I see nothing to give me a definitive answer either way) but google and look for the names Ward; PJ; and Le Brun and you decide.

  13. SmartDog says:

    Re. Cap space…

    NEXT YEAR, we’re fine. Kaberle will go, we have most of our F and we have a stream of good, inexpensive D in the pipeline.

    But the FOLLOWING YEAR… when PK goes up to 7 million or so and Eller is also up for renewal AND we lose a lot of inexpensive players… this could be an issue, though it seems like MB is stocking the pipeline.

    In Today’s NHL, you need some young, discounted players to win.

    1. We’re really strong on D depth. I would draft this year for big wingers. Or make trades for big wing prospects. Guys that could come in within 2 years and be had for cheap on entry level deals while making an impact. Especially LARGE Fs.
    2. We WILL have a problem at Center. Galchenyuk won’t/shouldn’t be playing wing 2 years from now. Galchenyuk/Pleks/Eller/DD. None of these guys belongs on the 4th line.

    One of these guys will need to be traded. For my money, it’s DD. Which is why it’s strange that MB signed him to such a long contract. The writing HAS to be on the wall for one of these 4 guys long-term. And with Ellers play, it shouldn’t be him. Also we need the size. Unless they trade Plekanec (and put Eller in his place). But trade Plekanec?!!!?? Oy. I don’t want to think about it.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  14. habsfan0 says:

    It’s been confirmed that Toronto and Detroit will be playing on January 1, 2014 in the Winter Classic before some 100,000 fans.

    Free paper bags will be handed out to all Laff fans upon admission to the game.

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