About last night …

Happy birthday, Jaroslav Spacek.

He’s 37 today.

I don’t know what Jaro, one of the team’s media-friendly good guys, has planned by way of celebration.

But tomorrow night the Leafs will give him the bumps.

Because Hal Gill was out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury to that long upper-body, Spatcho played 20:38 against the Islanders. He was teamed with P.K. Subban and was on the ice for only one New York goal, Michael Grabner’s first, erasing a 2-1 Canadiens’ lead.

When Jacques Martin spoke about the Gill absence putting a strain on his older Dmen, he included Spacek. But Roman Hamrlik played 27:07 and was on for two Islanders goals, finishing the game at minus-1.

New York cycled effectively, spreading out the Canadiens’ defence and working the puck back to the point, maintaining possession for long periods and wearing out the Canadiens D, which looked tired in the third period.

P.K. was, as usual, one of the best players on the ice. Yannick Weber played well against a team that was nothing like Boston in terms of physicality. Alexandre Picard had three giveaways (Hamrlik had four), but finished the game at plus-1.

James Wisniewski nearly gave the game away, passing inexplicably to Matt Moulson which resulted in a scoring chance with 41 seconds left.

I’m harping on the D, as usual, because without Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and, now, Hal Gill, the Canadiens’ blueline has become the team’s area of greatest vulnerability.


After the Beantown Beat-down (love those alliterative phrases), I thought the Canadiens’ greatest need was more size up front to cope with the hulking Bs, Flyers, Rangers and other potential playoff opponents who enjoy significant grit advantages.

It would still be nice to pry David Clarkson out of New Jersey. But if Gill is on the shelf for a while, Pierre Gauthier has to go D hunting again, as he did after Gorges was hurt and the GM acquired James Wisniewski.

Trouble is, the trade deadline is 17 days away. A lot of shoppers have crowded into the Mall, and demand is driving up the price of supply.

There are rumours Brian Burke wants a first-round draft choice, a prospect and a roster player for Tomas Kaberle. That’s ridiculous, but the Toronto GM could probably snag two of those elements from a playoff-bound team that needs help on D.

Chris Phillips? Less expensive, better on the back end than Kaberle. But Bryan Murray’s phone must be ringing off the hook.

The game on Saturday looms large as an indicator of where the Canadiens, losers of three straight for the first time in 2011, are at.

The team has given up 15 goals in the three losses. Three times last night, the Canadiens failed to hold a lead.

They are still comfortably ensconced in sixth place, four points up on the Rangers with a game in hand. But the schedule is about to get scary.

After the Leafs Saturday and Sabres next Tuesday, there’s a western swing to Edmonton, Calgary for the outdoor game and – gulp! – Vancouver.

February ends with home games against Toronto and Carolina.

March starts with three on the road: Atlanta, Florida and Tampa Bay. The Canadiens play 15 games on 30 nights, including two sets of back-to-backs.

If the D is still depleted during March …

Well, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.

So let’s dwell on happier thoughts, like the steady improvement of David Desharnais. His line, with Benoit Pouliot and Ryan White, was the Canadiens’ best last night.

The team is getting ongoing excellence from its young players. That augurs well for a promising future – but how much of it will Pierre Gauthier have to sacrifice to help the present?

•  •  •

The Sporting News has named the 10 greatest NHL teams of all time, selected by a panel of former players, coaches and execs.

Numero Uno: The 1976-’77 edition of your Montreal Canadiens. Guy Lafleur had 56 goals and 136 points, Steve Shutt scored 60, Larry Robinson was plus-120, the team went 60-8-12 and swept the Bs in the Stanley Cup final.

Second best? The 1955-’56 Canadiens, who went 45-15-10, led by Jean Beliveau’s 47 goals, 38 from Maurice Richard and Jacques Plante’s 1.86 GAA in 64 games.

After the 1983-’84 Oilers, the ’81-’82 Islanders, the ’51-’52 and 2001-’02 Wings and 1969-’70 Bruins, the ’64-’65 Canadiens were ranked eighth best of all time. In Sam Pollock’s rookie season as GM, they won a 13th Cup for the franchise … and were led in regular-season scoring by Claude Provost, with 64 points.

The ninth and 10th spots were the 1991-’92 Penguins and ’46-’47 Leafs.

Let the arguments begin …

•  •  •

Guest Comment from Displaced:

When the Flyers traded for Pronger, I thought, they
WAY paid overpaid for an older defenseman with rapidly diminishing
skills…  I was wrong.  But I missed the big picture.  They have a
singular goal – win the Cup.  Not “make the playoffs”.  Not “be
competitive”.  Not “make money”.  Win the Cup.  They spun their wheels
early last season and brought in Laviolette, a coach with a Cup winning

What is our goal?  Seriously…

and PG have had success (hell, lots more than most) but they seem to be
making the safe moves rather than going for it.  And our team seems to
be inheriting that conservative trait.  Let’s review our recent major

– Our major acquisition for last year’s
playoffs was Moore.  Nice pick up.  Cost us a second rounder.  He
certainly contributed to our unexpectedly good playoff success.  But is
that a Cup win move?  No. 

– We lose Markov and
Gorges and replace them with Wiz.  Again, nice pick up.  Moderate
cost.  Is that a move that will win the Cup? 

Two years ago, we added Cammi, Gio, Gomez, some older D, and bring in
JM to coach.  Are Cammi and Gio really first line forwards on a Cup
winner?  Probably not.  Gomez top line on a Cup winner – sort of.  He
was a rookie when the Devils won their second and scored 55
regular-season points on their most recent Cup winner.  Again, nice
additions and perhaps the best players available that offseason.  Not
really Cup winning stuff.  

– JM is the Volvo of
NHL coaches.  Nice guy.  Safe pick.  Long tenure.  Lots of wins.  Good
organizational guy.  Never won a Cup.  Hell, he had to buy tickets to
get into the Cup game.  He has  the second most regular seasons wins
without a Cup appearance.  Second to Ron Wilson… ouch. 

is becoming our trademark.  I’d be more optimistic that there’s a Cup
in our future if we rolled the dice, swung for the fences, or reached
for the brass ring.  If this team isn’t going to win it all, break it
up.  If it has a shot, make the big moves.  Until we start taking
chances are theme song as fans might be Stuck in the Middle with You. 


  1. light_n_tasty says:

    I dunno.  Smart trades that didn’t sacrifice competitiveness?  The Perry pick came from Dallas and the Carter pick came from Phoenix.  I would love to see who they gave up for those picks but I don’t have time right now to look it up.

  2. jhaze says:

    I completely agree! The NHL is killing the great game of hockey by not enforcing its own rule book.  It’s crazy to think that fans would prefer to watch the Cookes’ of this world than the Sidney Crosbys’. I understand hockey is a fast, contact game but come on!! Most fans want to see the skilled players do their thing, not MMA on Ice.

    Don Cherry can go to Hell! 

  3. light_n_tasty says:

    Nice to have you on board.  But eaaaaaassssyyy with the tank talk!

  4. Displaced says:

    Goring definitely helped the Isles win their first Cup.  But he played there for five years, won 4 Cups and a Conn Smythe.  Torrey made a great long term move that paid immediate dividends.  I think most GMs forget the rest of the story as they run around at the trade deadline picking up UFAs and older players with a lot of mileage.


    And… Harris and Lewis were 27-28 years old (I believe) when they were traded.  So Torrey didn’t give up young prospects or picks for Butch. 


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

  5. G-Man says:

    Ever since Buth Goring “put the Islanders over the top” there has been the sense that contenders should buy at trade deadline time. Or, conversely, that also-rans should sell.
    How about developing the team from the ground up that can compete, with a blend of veterans and youth? Making a trade to get on the sports pages doesn’t help. The “Wiz” is a case in point. Other than his shot, there’s not much of a Dman there. Habs could have brought someone up and given him a look rather than trade for an over-priced MAB.

    The knee-jerk reactions to Gomez’s season are laughable. There is not 1 player in the league that doesn’t have a couple “bad” seasons. Throwing every player in the midst of a slump under the bus all season long is tiresome and changes nothing. We can all bitch and moan about contract sizes, but every team has someone on it that is overpaid.

  6. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Typical….nobody had/has any praise for WHITE… a tough rugged NAG player who was instrumental in Pouliots goal.

    you see, thats the problem here, good players that do non-flashy work and get lost in the blur of ignorant analysis. The Habs have lost that Blue Collar tough attitude, more precisely from bigger players. When it appears, we need to promote it… or have we already forgotten 2-9-11…

    1:The N.A.G.S. (North American Grit Speed) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2: 02/09/11 never forget the masacre 3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/HENRY/PAX now.

  7. danimal3000 says:

    Sooo, I have been thinking about that Bruins game and listening to the “pundits” on the subject.  Everyone is saying that the Bruins put out the playbook on the Habs the other night, but I really don’t get it.  How is depending on Blind Refs to not call suspendable actions a game plan?  The B’s should have had a third of their line up suspended for their BS that night.  The pundits, including Macguire, who I now realize has no integrity whatsoever as a journalist because he wants a job in the NHL and so will not call out the real issues, were all saying the Habs had it coming or this is what you do to beat us.  What about the freakin’ rules of the game?  Macguire got up on his soapbox on team990 right before the game about disrespect and headshots and then during the game on TSN he used those exact qualities to go on about what a great player Marchant is, including showing a clip of BM hitting Subban from behind, and then saying “What a great young player.”   !!???  WTF??!!  Isn’t that the opposite of what he said just hours earlier.  Such Bull.  He says “The League” has to do something, but the league can do nothing if their police  (refs) will not enforce the laws.  I grew up watching wide open hockey in Edmonton, and quit watching hockey in the clutch and grab era because it was sh*t hockey.  What is the point of all these rules, of the “New NHL” bull if the refs won’t call THE F’N RULES!!!!  They are making me not want to watch hockey.  I am not being a homer here, Boston should have had 9 the other night except for a blind call and I watch other games too.  The reffing in this league is SOOOOO F’N BUSH!!!       

  8. G-Man says:

    The NHL is as laughable as the CFL when it comes to officiating. When “star”players get special treatment, lie Crosby, Ovechkin, etc, to the detriment of all other players it makes the league a joke. When the “disciplinarian” of the league Colin Campbell does NOT suspend his son even after being videoed pummeling Pyatt with his elbow pad, the league is a joke.

    Many here say hockey is not for the feint-hearted. It appears to me that the NHL isn’t for any people who believe in rules, because the refs throw them out every game.

  9. forskis says:

    I agree with the poster below about Maguire having little integrity and just wants attention and an NHL job:

    During a Carolina game on TSN, Gord Miller was taking about a Connecticut minor league team that named itself in homage of the Whalers and Miller said to Maguire “your old team” or some such effect and Maguire answered, “I don’t associate myself with the Whalers, I consider myself a Pittsburgh Penguin.” or some such effect….

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  10. RetroMikey says:

     Our Habs have a singular goal – not win the Cup but have an entertaining team for the fans to be happy..   “try to make the playoffs and just maybe eke out of  the first round to make the fans happy”.  “be competitive on some nights to make the fans happy  ” sell out the games to all those suckers buying tickets and make money”.  and………..not win the Cup.

    This is going to happen every year by year.  We need major changes….let’s start trading if we want to rebuild this team and bring a winner to Montreal!  This team does not have enough gas or talent to go very far this season.

    Pierre Boivin, you made your money and can retire nicely, but you destroyed our franchise along with others in the organization.

    It’s all about money in this organization, not about bringing home Lord Stanely to Montreal.


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

  11. HardHabits says:

    The bottom line is that to succeed talented young players are needed. These players are acquired via the draft and only via the draft.

    How are the Habs going to get to the next level? Is there a way to get there without dropping a few notches to draft lottery territory for a few seasons and trading assetts for picks.

    Is Ottawa now in a better position to rebuild than the Habs? At least they can tank. All this a few years after they made a Cup appearance. They can trade Fisher for a 1st round pick. When was the last time the Habs traded for a 1st round pick?

    3.5 years more of futility and the Habs may finally concede defeat and become sellers.

    Meanwhile other teams get the cream of the crop and the Habs are forced to luck out in the later rounds.

    I am also beginning to have serious doubts that the Habs can win the Cup with Cammy, Gionta, Plex and Gomez as it’s core, especially with JM coaching them. Plex is not a #1 centre, neither is Gomez, heck he’s below Plex on the depth chart. The Habs need a bonafide #1 centre. They need to tank or trade away players for 1st round picks. Otherwise they’ll always be pretenders, merely playing for a play-off berth and the extra earnings. The Cup it appears is an after though to Habs management.

    I have conceded defeat to the Gomez bashers. It is my new opinion that the Habs need to unload the Gomez contract over the summer and start from scratch. No big signings. Let’s tank baby!!! Just once or twice. Stock up on draft picks like Philly did. Make a run at acquiring a bevy of young players and really rebuild.

    The Habs are spinning their wheels. Their cute little Austin mini wheels. Meanwhile the Flyers and Bruins are taking their pick-up trucks for high speed fun in the mud and crash banging the little Smart Car around like bumper cars do.

    Who knows? Maybe that little thing will sneak under those big wheels and cross the finish line 1st. Dont hold your breath.

    I’d rather a team that can crash and bang with the best of them. The Habs are far from being that team.

  12. forskis says:

    Not surprised to see some posters posting the same message over and over again only after a winless streak starts….also not surprised to see some posters jump ship and change their tune only after a winless streak starts.

    These things happen….the B’s loss was ugly, yes…but they have lost ugly before, as have other teams…it will not be the first time, nor will it be the last for ANY team…they will lose ugly EVEN IF the team was built the way YOU wanted it.

    So, bring on the Leafs and let’s see if they get back on their feet…if not, then let’s see if they do it against Buffalo…and on and on…the only way to figure it out is on the ice not online and let the bosses do whatever they are going to do.  Look at the Green Bay Packers, they are a public trust and I believe, a publicly owned team…did they ask the fans to draft Rodgers in the 6th round?  No…MANAGEMENT did and they stuck with him DESPITE the fans when Rodgers was still learning to adapt to the NFL.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  13. HardHabits says:

    If Jonnyboy’s wish below comes true and the Habs can unload Gomez to the Idleslanders (typo intended) and the Habs can sign Brad Richards in the offseason then tanking isn’t needed. Otherwise explain me how the Habs are going to acquire a bonafide #1, something the Habs haven’t had since ’93, some say since Bobby Smith.

    It took the Flyers and Ducks one draft to land 2 franchise players in the same 1st round. The Habs need to think about grabbing top 1st rounders. Whatever it takes, and tanking is the quickest route, because I doubt the Islanders or Oilers are going to make a 5.5 million dollar offer sheet for AK46.

  14. light_n_tasty says:

    Yah, the Flyers and the Ducks did great in the 2003 draft.  But they didn’t “tank” to get those picks.  Philly finished the previous season with 107 points and Anaheim made it to game 7 of the stanley cup finals.  So…tank??

  15. ABHabsfan says:

    Eric Brewer is the guy we need. He fits our needs perfectly and he should be signed min 3 years if he is willing. I am trying to start a ground-swell, is it working yet?

  16. HardHabits says:

    How did they get those picks?

  17. Hammer says:

    I believe the revolution which is the status quo in Habsville is starting to perculate. It is now evident that there are a few passengers on the bus and they can not hide under the seats anymore. The youth on the team has exposed the lollygaggers such as #11 and #46. They are taken up bench space from youth that are slowly but surely pushing them out. Time to bury #11 in purgatory ( Hamilton) maybe he will be claimed on rentry wires, and let #46 go south with his brother. At this time I would give either of them away for a bucket of KFC. I for one was a supporter of Gomez though it was waning and blew up the other night when I saw him and POPGUN46 yucking up on the bench when others were been pounded. Could you imagine what a coach like Pat Burns would have done to those two acting that way?

  18. P St. Pierre says:

    I’m not going to jump all over Martin for his handling of Ryan O’Byrne, but seeing the kind of minutes he’s been playing with the Avalanch and being an impact on their blueline, makes me wonder. Did they give him enough of a shot? He’s a terrific skater for his size and maybe with some more confidence, he would have shown the kind of mental toughness as well as aggressive behaviour that he’s displayed in Denver. I think he would have been good to have around in that Boston game and being young, you aren’t asking as much if you get him to play significant minutes.


    Perhaps I’m wrong, but I just think that when you don’t give a guy a chance to prove himself, you don’t really know what you have. As much as Chris Pronger is an idiot, he’s extremely effective. I was hoping that O’Byrne would develop into a similar player someday. Again, I might be mistaken, but man, we need some size and stability on the back end now.

  19. Richrebellion says:


    I dont see your logic here at all first off Pronger is one of the best d men of all time, the guy just wins! He got edmonton to the cup final, then helped win Anaheim a Cup and then took Philly to the cup final but it wasnt a trade dealine move. We signed Gio, gomez, gill and Moen all stanley cup champions and we made it to the eastern conference final. BG rebuilt the team in a year and thats playing it safe??
    As for trade deadline moves name me one team since the lockout that made a huge trade at the deadline and won the cup? Not one team, Pens got hossa and still didnt win only to win it the year after when they didnt go after the blockbuster! The little trades like moore are the moves that help you win a cup

  20. Rob says:

    i suppose it was too much to expect a leopard to permaently change its spots .

    The Montreal Canadiens: sporting the best AND worst fans since 1909!

  21. SeriousFan09 says:

    Philly’s Top 10 draft picks from the last 10 years.

    James Van Riemsdyk (At present, Max-Pac is on a better PPG pace he is this season and seems to have more balls) and Joni Pitkanen. Philly is where they are because just about all their 1st-rounders flip into NHL players and even if they don’t keep that player, they flip that guy into a trade for their benefit. Habs haven’t gotten much out of their 1st-rounders in the last 10 years. Hainsey lost for nothing, Marcel Hossa to the KHL. Komi walked as a free agent, Higgins moved as a spare part in the Higgins deal. AK, well we know he’s not bringing back much unless we have pictures of another GM with farm animals. Chipchura was a 4th-round pick back and Fischer’s return is the 2nd-round compensation pick that now belongs to NYI for Wiz.

    Habs are building up, but unfortunately for most people it’s not fast enough for them. Jarred Tinordi drafted “Well he won’t be ready for 3-4 years” well that’s a draft for you when you don’t have… a Lottery pick. We are only now seeing on the fourth year from what is now seen to be a very, very succcessful 2007 draft by the team what the they wrung out of that average draft class, three NHL talents in Pacioretty, Subban and Weber. 2008, Danny Kristo will be in Hamilton next season, along with 2009’s Louis Leblanc and late-round steal Alex Avtsin who’s already building up there. We must wait at least 2 more years, perhaps 3 for enough young players to develop into what we need for a Cup to really be in the cards. I said this all season, it’s not a Cup Year even with all hands on deck. It’s a development year for our young players and just going with what the team has.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  22. HardHabits says:

    2007 is the best year in a while for the Habs. They need to hit like that more often since they rarely have dibs on 10th ot higher. Since tanking only happens in New Jersey, Ottawa, the Isle, Carolina, Edmonton, etc. It appears the Habs will never get a blue chip forward let alone centre. The other option is trade players for picks but the Habs are more habitual to trade picks for players.

    The sad thing is they missed out big time on the 2003 bonanza.

    If the Habs are not a top 5 team by 2014 and I mean looking like a top 5 team for years to come then a good 3-4 year tank is in order.

    If not prepare to become the Montreal Maple Leafs.

  23. Habnofear says:

    This is the Hard Habits I know …nice.

  24. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    you’re not wrong..Obryne was going to be a stellar defenseman for us..but the organization made another error.

    1:The N.A.G.S. (North American Grit Speed) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2: 02/09/11 never forget the masacre 3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/HENRY/PAX now.

  25. The Cat says:

    Well said.

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

  26. PeterD says:

    Wow!  What a busy and sad site today…everything from we suck as a team, we should tank and go for high draft picks, to Management wants to play safe and not go for the Cup.  Wow!

    I am one of those that think managment neds to go out and make some bold moves, right now.  This team needs to improve and it needs more scoring size and youthful strong big D-men.  And we need these moves today so that we can build some chemistry and competence towards the play-offs.

    Let’s not forget that this franchise has won 24 cups, and every game we have the likes of Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard and other hockey greats sitting in the stands watching the recent version perform.  Let’s not forget the history of this proud franchise that we had an overload of information about last season.  This is a great and proud franchise!  The most honoured and respected franchise in professional sport of any kind…maybe the Yankees rival us in that regard.

    To think that management is playing on the safe side of the street because they don’t care about winning the Stanley Cup, or that the team is simply happy to put in enough effort to get into the playoffs is outrageous and possibly bordering on mindless.  This is the only franchise in the league where hockey and the day to day, minute to minute activities of the team are looked upon with religious fervor.  Where the balance of French-English politics is ever present.  Seems that if an Anglo-phone player is more productive than a Franco-phone player the media seems to think that the Anglo player is somehow treated to more opportunities than the Franco player…GIVE ME A BREAK!

    The fans and media for this team have a way of “eating” the confidence and life force out of any player that puts on the sweater.  Why do you think Saku Koivu is enjoying life in Anaheim?  He is not subjected to the constant glare of the media and fan base and the constant criticism that goes with that.

    Pierre Gauthier, in my opinion needs to make one or two big name moves, spend the picks, prospects and roster players needed to get the big named players in return that will be here for at least 3 years…so build for today and for tomorrow.  Not rentals.  The team core we have now is not good enough to sustain a play-off drive and win the cup by only adding a small piece or two at this point.

    I say, swing for the fences and make a bold statement.  Just because we have certain players on our roster now, does not mean they need to be there tomorrow.  There is not a prospect in the system that should be considered untouchable, however, I think we have two or three current team players that should be considered untouchable.   Price – Patches – PK Subban…all others should be considered movable parts.

  27. Rad says:

    I like the David Clarkson idea. He would give us a spark. 

    Elsewhere on the trade front, I would try to get a deal done with Atlanta: Kostitsyn, Pyatt, and Wisniewski for Zach Bogosian and Anthony Stewart. I think Bogosian may be available for the right price. Both those boys are tough, exactly what we need. I would throw in the kitchen sink too, to make that deal.

  28. Rad says:

    I agree with your comments about Ryan O’Byrne. A big, physical defenseman, with character, exactly what we needed, was shipped for yet another undersized player from the Quebec league. We developed him for 5 years, and just when he was ready to play, we unloaded him. Martin never gave him an opportunity to prove himself. 

    No wonder we can’t win a cup. We don’t have the right decision makers at the top.


  29. The M says:

    I hope you have a heckuva shiny kitchen sink.

    Atlanta would have to be completely insane to make that deal…. This type of offer belongs on the HF boards forum. 

    Atlanta would get an enigmatic Belarussian, a fourth liner with zero offense and a powerplay quarterback defenseman who is a UFA at seasons end.  Montreal gets a potential franchise defenseman and a breakout powerforward…

    Sorry to jump on you but that deal couldn’t be pulled off in EA NHL 11

  30. The M says:

    And where is Colorado in the west conference standings? six points out? bringing back Forsberg? O’Bryne as a top pairing defenseman? They’re not as good as some people think.


    when you say:

    3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/HENRY/PAX now.

    does PAX mean pacioretti? and White is called up.  has schultz even scored in the AHL this year?


    And keep posting man, your posts are hilarious…

  31. Rad says:

    I see you share my high opinion of the Atlanteans. However, their coach doesn’t, and recently benched Bogosian. Have you never heard of a team getting fleeced in a trade? All you have to do is look at Montreal picking up Gomez last year for the aforementioned “potential franchise defenseman.” And have you seen what the enigmatic Belarussian’s brother has done after a change of scenery? Some of these players just need to play in a different city to reach their potential, and that is why trades are often made. That’s how/why we got Monsieur Pouliot. I’m telling you, Andrei would look good in a Thrasher uniform.

    Make me a counter offer, Mr Atlanta GM. Maybe we can still make a deal. How about just Bogosian? Or just Stewart? How about I throw in a draft pick? No? That’s alright, I’ve got a call in to L.A. for Wayne Simmonds.

  32. billylove says:

    Yes, after the Sabres visit on Tuesday, the schedule gets real scary. 15 of the last 24 on the road. We need to get as many points as possible when on home ice or else the playoffs may be in jeopardy. Our road record sucks. Think the playoffs are a lock? Not at this point. The Sabres are playing strong hockey lately and have three games in hand, they scare me. Not making the playoffs would be a f-in disaster!

    These next 2 will be tough, physical contests. You know the Leafs would just love to beat us at home and the Sabres will contest center ice all night long. We really need at least 3 points before boarding the plane. C’mon boys, no lazy shifts allowed. We’re at the beginning of the stretch run.      

  33. Habnofear says:

    Gomez,Eller and AK  were playing against the islanders not Philly…of coarse they played better,come -on there buddy lol..

  34. forskis says:

    Was it disapointing to lose last night?  Yes it was…but at least Gomez, AK46 and Eller were much better than the night before…good enough that JM trusted them late in the 3rd and in OT…Gomez saved a goal but with his doldrums it caromed to the other side of the net for a goal anyway…but they all got the message and were much improved….we are 6 weeks in to 2011 and the team has its first 3-game winless streak…it will be up to the younger players to carry the team, but that is what younger players are for in the long run.

    Lots of you are already prediting this loss and that loss, demanding this and that….let the GM do whatever the GM does….as much as people harp on them and their moves…they do not do these moves BLINDLY…people used to complain that the Habs’ GM had no plan…well now that they do, people complain that the GM’s plan is not “their” plan….let’s just see what happens on the ice game-to-game…they have 26 games left and have a cushion…THEY WILL BE OK

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  35. Mark C says:

    The best player traded last year was Visnovsky, is he a swing for the fence type player? Maybe, but they didn’t really need him with Markov playing.

    The year before, Jokinen, Loepold, Vermette, Antropv. Not sure any of those guys are big time impact players.

  36. Jonnyboy says:

    My deam would be as follows:
    Gomez to the Island for a 6th round. His salary is going down, but his cap hit isn’t, which helps the Island reach the floor for less money. As well Johnny T needs some support, so that should help him out. With less pressure I think he can play a little better. Finally I don’t care what the habs get back.
    Then Mtl signs Richards in the off season. Even without any other changes this team is way better. Add a 6th d man who can throw some and a 4th line that instead of being players not good enough for the 3rd line add a couple of leglit 4th liners with some character who can throw.

  37. Jonnyboy says:

    Lots where both.

  38. Mark C says:

    Exactly, without the Moore trade last year, I don’t think Montreal makes the playoffs and thus no valuable playoff run. I’d hate to think of where this team would be without the Wiz trade, even with his short comings. A second round draft pick is a lottery ticket just like the playoffs, just with better odds and a lower playoff.

  39. Jonnyboy says:

    My father is a big Boston fan and with Centre Ice and being retired catches about 70 games a year. He was never that big of a fan of Wideman. He had trouble hitting the nets with his shots and never seemed to be that clutch. Rumor is Zach Bogosian isn’t fitting with the current coach down south, how much to pry him out of there? Heres a look at some potenial free agents this summer, there are a couple I wouln’t mind picking up.
    Scott Hannan,
    Eric Brewer,
    Joni Pitkanen,
    Kevin Bieksa,
    Christian Ehrhoff,
    Ian White,
    Steve Staios,
    Jim Vandermeer,
    Jan Hejda,

  40. Displaced says:

    Good points.  Plus, playoff experience helps build team chemistry and expedite the development of younger players.

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

  41. Displaced says:

    How about someone like Dennis Wideman in Florida.  He’s signed for another year at $4m.  Not too old. Decent size. Som offensive capabilities if we don’t resign Markov.  Certainly replaces a Spacek type with 10 years less wear.  Florida can’t expect much more than a second.

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

  42. Jonnyboy says:

    Only trade I would support would be someone we are keeping for the long term. We have PK and one old man signed on D for next year, so I’d love to trade for some long term help on the backend. But I stress long term.

  43. Mark C says:

    Your point is well taken, but the Lang and Tanguay trades were made following a 1st place finish and Montreal was going “all in” for a centennial Cup run. The trades didn’t totally work out, a lot of that due to injuries to both players, but it’s purely revisionist history to suggest the trades didn’t get the team closer to the Cup.  

    I’m all for protecting organizational depth and winning Cups is all that matters, but at some point teams have to make Moore and Wiz type trades. It is a business after all, and both the Moore and Wiz trades helped Montreal win important games that did/should get them into the playoffs. Sometimes it makes sense to sacrifice organizational depth for taking a shot at the playoffs, building a winning culture, and making money. 


  44. Displaced says:

    Not much to get excited about among the FA crop.  I don’t see enough of Bogoisian to have an informed opinion.  He looks good on paper.  Another HIO just started a push for Brewer.   I’d like to see us add a top scorer, someone who can get 80+ points.  We haven’t had one of those in more than a decade.

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

  45. Jonnyboy says:

    But thats the point of the original post. If we were close those years we should have made a leap of faith and gone for a big fish. Moore isn’t going to win you the cup, sure he can help in the playoffs and he’s a good player. But if your going to go for it, swing for the fences.

  46. Mark C says:

    I doubt that the “swing for the fences” type player was available, at the very least none were traded.  

  47. Jonnyboy says:

    Really? What year?

  48. Displaced says:

    I think you’re right on the money.  Do you think PG has the guts to made a Pronger-like deal in 2-3 years when our young players are the core, supported by veterans?

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

  49. Mark C says:

    Yes, only a depth type trade or a larger deal with the player acquired under contract for at least a year or two.

    The OB trade looks really bad, but I wonder if he ever would have been able to turn it about in Montreal. The one silver lining is that at least Weber looks like a legit NHLer.


  50. Mark C says:

    That’s a great question, I have no idea. I hope so. He seems aggressive albeit on a much smaller scale than what might be needed at that point.

  51. Mark C says:

    Great original post, the only thing it was missing was context given to timing and availability, IMO.  Pronger was brought in to be the missing veteran piece on a team with a great young core group (Richards 24, Carter 24, Giroux 21, Carle 24, Coburn 24, Van Riemsdky 20) and a great middle aged core (Briere 31, Hartnell 27, Gagne 29, Timonen 37). The timing was right to add Pronger on to the team and make a run at the Cup over the next 2-3 years before the contracts catch up to the team.  At the time of the Pronger trade and now, Montreal has had a good middle aged core (Plekanec 27, Cammalleri 28, Gionta 31, Gomez 30, Markov 31, etc.)  Not a Cup contending middle aged group of players unless a strong young group is supplementing them. Unlike Philly, Montreal’s young core is underdeveloped and too young right now (Subban 21, Price 23, Max-Pac 21, Weber 21, Pouloit 23, Eller 21), however in the next 1-2 this group might become strong enough to supplement and in some cases over take the middle aged players. Outside of the unknown – is this group going to be good enough – the major difference between Philly and Montreal at the time of the Pronger trade is the age of the team’s young core.  

    True blue chip players rarely get traded, and it is even rarer to see them traded at the deadline. The only great players traded at last year’s deadline were traded for each other (Visnovsky and Whitney). There is very little in the way of availability to make a Pronger like trade, and you better be right about it or it could be a be set back.      

    It pains me to write it, but 2012-2014 is the real Cup contending window for this team.  The older group of players should be OK and the young group hopefully will be emerging as great young NHL players. Also, a few of the real young players could be getting their feet wet like Max-Pac and Subban are now. I know this is part wishful thinking, but frankly this is the same position that teams like Philly and Chicago have been in recently. Let’s just hope Montreal’s youth develops a little bit better than other teams.     

  52. Displaced says:

    Hi, nice to meet you, I’m “Displaced”, complete with quote marks… We can’t just wait for our young players.  If Subban= Markov, Eller=Gomez and Patches=Gionta, then we are stuck on a treadmill to nowhere.  We need these young players to play well and have a cast of veteran leaders – at the same time.


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

  53. JF says:

    Steve – I ceertainly didn’t mean to give the impression I was satisfied with the point last night.  But after the tough game in Boston, I knew that whoever we faced, last night would be difficult.  The Islanders may be the worst team in the Conference (though for my part I think Ottawa has that distinction), but they’ve beaten us soundly once this season, and the other two games were close.  We’re a team that has to play solid defence to have a chance of winning, and last night our D looked tired.

    As for the post by “Displaced,” it’s hard not to agree with it.  The team that Gainey put together two years ago is not a contender.  We all knew that last year, and most thought this year that, with a healthy lineup, we’d have at best an outside chance.  We have to wait for our young players like Price, Subban,  Pacioretty, and Eller to develop before we see where we are.  That’ll be a couple of years, by which time it might be easier to shed some of the big contracts.

  54. 24 Cups says:


    If that’s the game plan, then we can’t be making any Hail Mary trades at the deadline for the next two years.  That would be counter-productive to the prime directive of making a run for it in 2013-14. 

    The most I can see is bringing in a depth Dman for a guy like Carle or Maxwell.

    The OB trade is lamentable.  You just knew that the original top six would never go through the season injury free.  The team went about building up a bit of depth to only trade some of it away.

  55. Displaced says:

    Agreed.  We’re not close enough to go for it.  But then why trade picks or prospects for players who can help us now?  Moore and Wiz are two UFAs that cost second round picks.  Tanguay cost us a first.  Lang a second.  Those players didn’t get us close to a Cup and we don’t have them any more.  In some ways, I’d be willing to overpay (a little) to pick up a FA without giving up organizational depth or its future.

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

  56. Jonnyboy says:

    I have to disagree with the safe moves. Does anyone think our team is one or two players away from the cup? Lets say they are available and PG trades whatever it costs to dallas for Richards and what ever it costs to Ottawa for Phillps are we really going to contend? I personally don’t think so. I don’t think we’re ready to make that jump. Maybe next year with Markov and Georges back and we add a couple pieces we might be able to take that leap. We just aren’t close enough yet to take the risk.

  57. thebonscott says:


  58. thebonscott says:

    pHILLIPS will be expensive and then we have no room for anyone else to be picked up, so…….. i don’t  know, Paul Mara is owed about 300k on his contract

  59. avatar_58 says:

    If he were a little bigger I’d suggest dumping Gomez and putting him on the 2nd line.

  60. smiler2729 says:

    Hey I added him to my keeper fantasy team as soon as he got called up, he’s a good 3rd line center. Gotta love Daredevil (DD).

  61. matraque says:

    I’m happy that so far, Desharnais is playing like he belongs in this league.  Too bad very few praises him.


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

  62. Natrous says:

    The same Paul Mara who played for us last year? Really? I’d sooner go for Philips, and I’m not big on Philips.

  63. thebonscott says:

    a quick cheap fix might be Paul Mara, has anaheim now has 9 defensemen. At least he was rugged.

  64. thebonscott says:

    I love the David clarkson idea, I dare to dream

  65. 24 Cups says:

    Jane – We lost on home ice to the worst team in the NHL who were using a fourth-string goalie.  Enough said.

    The guest post by “Displaced” is a mighty fine read.  It’s an accurate assessment of where our team is at and how G&G run the entire operation. It’s a well thought out post that doesn’t point fingers or call-out individual players.  I don’t fault the two of them, but you also have to be cautious with your praise.  The four expensive, long-term contracts ( a new one for Markov would make it five) mean we are ‘all in’ for the next few years.  I’ve come to accept that fact.  Two or three years from now will be the time to truly evaluate the UFA re-build.  We’ll either be a Stanley Cup participant, or finally ready for a true tear-down after twenty years of being adrift.

  66. bigdave says:

    Hands of cement Lapierre good at shootouts?

    Maybe once.


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

  67. JF says:

    I was actually glad to escape with a point last night, since it looked right from the start like a game that could get away from us.  Passes were off the mark, we got beaten off the puck, and we had trouble clearing our zone. Pacioretty, Pouliot, and Desharnais all had good games, and Plekanec was his usual self, but the rest struggled. Our older defencemen really can’t handle big minutes on back-to-back nights, and it’s becoming clear that, for all our problems scoring, defence is our area of greatest vulnerability. And without solid defence, and of course great goaltending, we won’t win too many close games.  We’re sitting comfortably at the moment, but I can see just making the playoffs being a sgtruggle unless we get some help.

    We’d better hope not too many more games go to shoot-outs, since we seem to have no one who can score regularly.  Gionta has scored once this season and Pouliot once, but I think that’s it.  I’d like to see JM try different skaters; he mostly goes with the same group, and Plekanec, for example, never scores.  Last season we discovered unexpectedly that Lapierre was good at shootouts; perhaps there’s someone on the roster who has a hidden talent for it.  Subban?  Wisniewski?  Both have good shots.

  68. Displaced says:

    Thanks for the correction.  But damn, that’s a bummer.

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

  69. Mike Boone says:

    You’re right: 1997-’98 Finals, Wilson coaching Caps.

  70. Chuck Chuck Goose says:

    I think Wilson made it to the Finals with the Caps in the late ’90s (albeit they didn’t win a game), so I guess that sadly puts JM first on the list of most wins without a trip to the big show….

  71. Captain aHab says:

    I’m sorry but if Gauthier sacrifices promising youth for a short term fix that may only get us to the playoffs and not much further, I’m going to be mighty PO. He can’t be that stupid. I hope. The price that was paid for Mike Fischer scares the crap out of me though.

    If he can unload AKoz for a decent return that would be great but I won’t hold my breath as other GMs are likely not on drugs. Maybe we could throw in Gomez to sweeten the pot? ;-D

    I want the Habs to continue with the youth movement personally, even if it means missing the playoffs for a couple of years.

    A couple of things I’d like to see tried:

    1) Move Eller back to C and Gomez on the wing and see what happens. I think they’re screwing up Eller right now.

    2) When Cammi comes back, put him with Desharnais and see what happens. Gomez is bringing the suck right now and he needs to be put where he can hurt us the least. He was great in last year’s playoffs but at $7M, I’m expecting him to show up a bit more than that. And I don’t buy the “give him better wingers” view as the wingers he was bringing down always seem to play better with Pleks or Desharnais. Furthermore, the argument that he plays well defensively has been put to the test over the last few games and the result wasn’t great.

    3) If Gill is injured for a bit, I’d like to see what Carle can do. He played pretty well during camp I thought.

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