About last night …

Shall we indulge in a bit of not-so-irrational exuberance?

Before the season began, I figured it would be prudent to hold off on judgement until 20 games had been played.

But let’s make the call after 16:

Your Montreal Canadiens are a pretty good hockey team.

With a struggling power play and negligible contributions from Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez, the team is 10-5-1.

Late last night, HardHabits posted something he’d found on TSN’s Comments board:

I’m a Sens fan. Montreal is very clearly buying in to what Jacques Martin is selling. He did this for years in Ottawa and now he’s doing it in Montreal. His defensive system is by far one of the best in the NHL. Montreal is playing 100% like a team every single game. No individuals over there. How else could they overcome such a brutally slow start from both Gomez and Gionta. (source: http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=340769)

“The one thing that always killed Martin when he coached the Sens,” HardHabits added, “was he never had the goaltending needed to go all the way. Guess what?”

Guess what, indeed!

Carey Price was excellent again in Boston. He hasn’t had a bad start this season.

Only Cam Ward (who’s at the Bell Centre tomorrow night) and Jonas Hiller have faced more shots. Price has stopped 92.3 per cent of them.

He has the second-best GAA in the Eastern Conference (thanks, Andrew Berkshire). Price’s positioning and lateral displacement are flawless. He is seeing everything, stopping everything … and five skaters are helping it happen.

Carey Price gives the Canadiens a chance to win in every game.

And Martin’s system has made them air-tight and competitive.

Only one team in the entire NHL has held opponents to three regulation-time goals or fewer in every game this season: your Jacques Martin-coached Montreal Canadiens.

They haven’t been blown out. There have been tense shifts; but with rare exceptions, the Canadiens haven’t gone through extended stretches where they’ve been suffered three-zone dominance.

Philippe Boucher, who has become an excellent addition to the Antichambre crew, made an interestion point last night. The retired NHLer surveyed the Canadiens recent history, dating back to the playoffs:

• Elimination of the Capitals

• Elimination of the Penguins

• Loss to the Flyers

• Hot start to the 2010-’11 season

Maybe, Boucher suggested, something good is taking shape here.

After the Sabres and Islanders of October, we figured to learn a lot about the Canadiens this week.

Well, they’re 2-0 against Vancouver and Boston.

OK, a bit of perspective: Boston was without Marc Savard, David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk and Marco Sturm. The Bruins were playing their second of a back-to-back after a long, fight-filled game in Pittsburgh.

But still …

Yes, you knew the Bruins would be gassed for the third period. But credit Jacques Martin with rolling four lines and playing high-tempo to make sure Boston would have nothing left for a late surge,

Next week brings three home games: the dastardly Flyers, Welcome Back, Sergei and the never-struggling-against-Montreal Leafs. 

In our heart of hearts, most rational Canadiens fans saw the team in a season-long scaratch-and-claw to make the playoffs.

Which could still happen.

But we’re seeing a fundamentally sound hockey team with key elements in place: goaltending, team D, three solid defence pairings (I’m REALLY liking Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges), third- and fourth-line strength, excellent PK.

Assuming the power play comes around (and it popped two last night) and Cammalleri, Gionta and Gomez play to the form that has characterized their careers, the Canadiens are going to win more hockey games than they lose.

Credit the much-maligned coach.

And maybe we should think about crediting the general manager.

Pierre Gauthier signed Jeff Halpern. He gave Mathieu Darche the first one-way contract of his career. 

Gauthier unloaded SK74. And while he may have got nothing in return, it was addition by subtraction in terms of team spirit and the play of AK46.

He signed Tomas Plekanec long-term and chose Carey Price over a playoff deity.

The latest move, sending Ryan O’Byrne west, frees up more cap space. The Canadiens have a shade over $1.5 million in discretionary money, giving Gauthier the flexibility to make a move if it looks like the wheels are wobbling and the Canadiens need a personnel shake-up.

But that’s down the road a piece.

It’s early, but the bandwagon is rolling.

•  •  •

Topic for discussion, sugggested by Michel Bergeron last night:

With the exception of Drew Doughty, is there a better young defenceman than P.K. Subban in the NHL?





  1. Beaco says:

    6 Stars after noting he listed “Keith” and “Richards” one after the others. Points for the Stones-love!

  2. Thomas says:

    Ya, thats right…what a character

  3. Arrow77 says:

    Hey, I am on the good side! I’m just not exuberant. Beating bad teams or good teams playing poorly doesn’t mean we can beat good teams most nights, but it doesn’t mean we can’t beat them either; we’ve just never really been tested so far. Maybe Plekanec and whoever is playing on his line can provide the offense for the whole year and maybe Price will never have a bad game again but I still think we have a lot of room to improve.

  4. Philly-Poo says:

    Unfortunately, the amount of BAD to HORRIBLE drafts the Habs have made, most notably in the first and second rounds, over the last 15-20 years by far eclipses anything GOOD they’ve drafted.  Call me Captain Hindsight, but, the Habs could have done much better, especially in the first couple rounds.  Yes Markov and Pleks were both amazing drafts, but, they were both drafted rather late, and have been gems on the team since…

  5. SeriousFan09 says:

    Subban went up to Gainey and said he would not regret selecting him in the draft.


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

  6. B says:

    “notice how Spacek takes a bad penalty every single game”

    ?? Spacek has 6 penalties in 16 games.

    Perhaps they score when he is in the box because they miss him on the PK 🙂

  7. habs001 says:

    and on team canada

  8. Thomas says:

    Ya, this Subban kid is special…I remember hearing on draft day how much everyone liked him, a real personality plus!!  Didn’t he go up to Gainey at the time an say “you just picked a great player!” or something like that?

    Gotta love it, even on draft day…Keep that train a’rollin

  9. andrewberkshire says:

    From what I’ve seen of Bobrovsky, he’s been marginal at best, and really benefits from the best defensive corps in the NHL.

  10. Thomas says:

    I think he ment in the league, not just our Habs

  11. 24 Cups says:

    I meant in terms of the NHL.  Doughty, Myers, Ekman-Larsson, Carlson etc.

  12. avatar_58 says:

    Technically ALL drafted players, regardless of whether they play for the team, could be seen as “wins”. I mean the habs drafted Vokoun and he’s a good goalie. It’s no the scouts fault management didn’t see it. Technically those players should be considered “good” draft choices.

    I mean if Halak turns around and wins the stanley then the habs have excellent guys drafting their players, it’s just a problem upstairs and behind the bench preventing them from doing it HERE.

  13. dhenry1234 says:

    Just imagine how great of a player PK will be in a few years. Don’t forget that he’s still developing. We’re just starting to see his potential. This guy needs to be a hab long until he retires.

  14. SUMO says:

    Thanks. I remembered he was considered a high risk/high reward pick but the raw talent is undeniable. Decision making may hv been questionable in junior but the skating ability is what i cannot get over. How could it be so over-looked? At 20-21 hes able to lead the rush and get back. Are NHL scouts placing too high a premium for big defensemen over fast, skilled ones?

    I’m pretty certain no one would trade Komi or Luke Shenn straight up for PK.

    Agreed, credit to Boucher for developing this prospect and for Subban for working on the deficiencies in his game. We got a gem.

  15. 24 Cups says:

    He basically won the Cup for Tampa.

    It’s too nice a day to be inside.  Time to enjoy one more day of great weather.

  16. habitual says:

    After Picard, who are these great young Dmen?

  17. SeriousFan09 says:

    KHabibulin’s battle with back injuries has affected him more than anything, I still say if he hadn’t had back troubles in the 2009 playoff run, CHI gets past DET and makes the Finals. He was that good.


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

  18. SeriousFan09 says:

    Bobrovsky and Neuvirth are both big stories for their teams, but I think Calder voters are not in the mood to vote in another goaltender because it seems to be a curse, looking at what’s gone on with Raycrofty and Steve Mason since they won it. Still could win, but I’m hoping Bobrovsky doesn’t keep this up because the idea of the Flyers finally having the goaltending to win the Cup… I don’t think I can take seeing the Bullies lift it.


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

  19. DearyLeary says:

    Don’t forget rule #1 about Russian goalies: If your name isn’t Tretiak, you will invariably fail in the long run.

  20. Tobiass says:

    Um, you do realize that in the past 2 games, him and Hamer have shut down the top lines they have been paired against? I’m willing to let a penalty or two slide if they can keep shutting down lines….

  21. Morenz7 says:

    Well, my man, you’ve restored my faith in numbers—if not certain hockey web sites. Huzza!

  22. 24 Cups says:

    Robert – Not to mention Sergei Bobrovsky, who is really the hot-shot so far this year. Raise yoour hands if you thought he would be off to such a great start. Hell, raise your hand if you even knew who he was before the Flyers signed him!    

    Bobrovsky (9-2-1/2.09/.931)   vs Price (9-5-1/2.19/.923)


  23. DearyLeary says:

    You ask a good question, I’ll give the answer as to why PK wasn’t a first round selection.

    In Junior hockey PK was a wild horse, he would go off every chance he got because as far as raw talent goes, he was head and shoulders above most of the kids he was playing against.  He led his team in points during the playoffs, which is rare in the OHL with a lot of star power in their forwards.

    However talented PK was, it was raw, unbridled, and dangerous.  He was out of position frequently, and GMs in the NHL wondered if it was possible to reign him in at all.  He was physical, and undisciplined, and took a fair bit of penalties at bad times (his career LOW in the OHL was 79 minutes, topping out at 100, and had 97 in his last year).  Taking him in the second round was probably where he belonged at the time.

    What nobody took into account, was that Montreal had Boucher as a coach for the Bulldogs at the time.  PK, as incredible as it seems, honed not only his incredible natural talents, but the way he approached the game.  His breakout passes (and I might take some flak for saying this) are already as good as Markov’s.  He uses space when it’s afforded to him, but he doesn’t overstretch his considerable means.  He gets back when he makes a mistake, and often does so without taking a penalty.  He’s shown physicality, but also restraint.

    Last night PK scored his first regular season goal with the Canadiens.  It was a matter of actually getting the puck through, and if he can continue to find shooting lanes, he’ll be a bonafide star in this league.  He shoots, and he shoots hard and heavy.  Even if the initial shot doesn’t go in, there will be a rebound, and rebounds in situations where you outnumber your opponent (PP) eventually turn into goals. 

    TLDR: PK is supremely talented, benefited from top notch coaching to learn the NHL game in the AHL before he set foot in a Canadiens uniform, and has the potential to be what Habs fans wanted out of Souray, Streit, and MAB: a shot we can rely on, not only on the PP, but in our own end, breaking the puck out, and as a gamebreaking talent that Montreal has lacked for over a decade.

  24. SeriousFan09 says:

    Subban always takes a bit of time to get running at each new level he plays at, contrast his 1st OHL season with his 2nd. He wasn’t that big in his first two months of the AHL for scoring, than became one of the most dominant defencemen in it. I think he can beat Skinner if his O numbers rise up from now on and dominates as a defencemen, playing great as a defencemen always gets a lot of Calder recognition.


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

  25. 24 Cups says:

    I didn’t forget, it’s just that those two guys took some time to develop.  They grew on people gradually.  Subban seems to just be bursting through like a comet.  Saku?  I wonder what might have been if he hadn’t hit the injury/health wall.

    EDIT: Looks like you beat me to it, Rob!

  26. krob1000 says:

    Both of those guys took a long time to devlop and were long shots …Pk, like Saku is already at a level those guys didn’t achieve until their mid 20’s….only Saku that I can remember was anything close to his type of hype.

  27. MathMan says:

    I’m not offended, but I’m afraid you are very mistaken. There isn’t a set of power rankings out there that’s actually done by a serious “number cruncher”, not in the media at least — well, except Sagarin in the USA Today, who has a good algorithm based on goal differential and strength of schedule but doesn’t focus on the “how” the games are won. Otherwise, power rankings in the media are either the results of a journalist’s personal and often superficial impressions (CNN, ESPN, etc.), a statistical hodge-podge of statistics, many of which are irrelevant (TSN), or simple standings projections (Fox — and you’ll see the Habs high up there).

    So yes, I agree: these rankings are silly, if not bogus. 😀

    Serious number crunchers would notice the Habs’ positive shot differential, their puck possession game, how they’re outchancing their opponents and say, “this looks like a pretty good team”. They would have said last year’s team was lucky — you wouldn’t have seen much love for them then. This year’s team is, so far, a completely different animal. The ECF finish gave the impression last year’s Habs were good when they were not, and in a way it’s a shame because it’s really masking how huge a turnaround it’s been for the club.

    As for sports journalists, well, a number of them judge teams they don’t follow by reputation rather than research. And the Habs were scrambly last year during their much-publicized playoff run, so it’s not like there was zero cause, even if this year they’ve been anything but.

    But to be frank, some of the media rankings have been giving the Habs some top-10 love. At some point, winning 2/3rds of your game registers with people.

  28. Fant-HAB-ulous says:

    You forget the Habs other Draft Wins: Plekanec and Markov top that list.



  29. Morenz7 says:

    You are that guy. Wear it with pride!

  30. MathMan says:

    If PK plays on the Habs’ first PP unit as the shooter and the unit gets untracked, I think it’s PK’s award to lose.

    I don’t know if that actually makes him a better rookie, but being Markov’s shooter means he’ll get lots of points and that’ll get him Calder votes. He already has the prerequisite hype.

  31. 24 Cups says:

    Welcome to Subban Inside/Out!  Orr, Park and Doughty?  LOL.

    PK sure looks good and is one of a half dozen great young Dmen who are now getting ready to take over the old guard.  After so many draft duds, it’s great to see the Habs finally hit a homerun.  As Krob stated, he’s the best young Hab to come along since Saku.

    Carolina’s Jeff Skinner has to be the early leader for top rookie honours.  He’s playing on the wing (shades of Cammy) and appears to be the steal of the 2010 draft.  Although they play totally different positions, it should be an interesting night to watch Subban go up against this hot shot kid.

  32. gregg says:

    Your original post was great, as usual, but these incoherent ramblings of yours are the absolute best on this entire site.

  33. Morenz7 says:

    I wonder, now, if they will get some respect.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to reading next week’s so-called “power rankings,” which will no doubt seed the Canadiens in the middle of the pack—again—with the obligatory dismissal of Montreal’s lofty position in the standings. The team’s record is a smoke-and-mirrors phenomenon, we will be assured. There will be a pro forma jab at the modest production of the team’s top forwards, and a prediction that the joyride will soon end.

    No offence to you number crunchers (steady Mathman!), but these rankings are silly, if not bogus. They can’t figure in what we witnessed Tuesday and last night: team effort, sacrifice, the capacity to get the other team off its game. No wonder the media covering opposing teams remain in state of denial about Montreal. The Vancouver Sun brushed off Tuesday’s loss by the Canucks, as “a small, scrambly game against a small, scrambly team.” Really? Because I only saw one team scrambling for most of that night. It wasn’t the club in blue, white and red. To my eyes, the CH identified their mission that evening, and executed it perfectly.

    Put that in your g.d. “power rankings,” TSN.

  34. Timo says:

    Damn, and I already sold my parade tickets. Oh well, I am sure Boone will hook me up… cause you know, him and me are like that.

  35. andrewberkshire says:

    You obviously weren’t watching the games, both the Canucks and Bruins played excellent games, the Habs were just better.

  36. SUMO says:

    20-20 is hindsight but Mike can you or anyone at the Gazette, please ask Trevor Timmons how PK lasted until the 2nd Rd of 2007? I remember it was a wide-open year with no real consensus among the scouts. Subban plays a little free style gambling game but his speed both forward and backwards skating are way off the charts. Here are all the 1st round D that were drafted ahead of him.


    #4 LA Kings – Thomas Hickey

    #5 Capitals – Karl Alzner (Maguire’s wet dream)

    #10 Panthers – Keaton Ellerby

    #12 Habs – Ryan McDonagh

    #14 Avs – Kevin Shattenkirk

    #15 Oilers – Alex Plante

    #18 Blues – Ian Cole

    #23 Preds – Jonthan Blum

    #27 Wings – Brendan Smith

    #28 Sharks – Nick Petricki

    #30 Coyotes – Nick Ross


    Is he the steal of the 2007 draft? (Sorry just want to join the Subban lovefest)


  37. avatar_58 says:

    Subban, when the game is going well, starts to show his dominance and confidence. Ntoice how when the habs are up all the sudden he’s able to control the puck with STUNNING power and timing. I hope he keeps it up, don’t let mistakes sway you buddy. Easily going to be the best hab in a few years.

  38. christophurrr says:

    great quotation. so accurate.

  39. notbigbird says:

    A five star post!

  40. CBrady12 says:

    Well thats a shame…it’s so much more fun to be exuberant and enjoy the success than it is to be skeptical and nip pick…come over to the good side!…were havin a great time!!

  41. MathMan says:

    “Your Montreal Canadiens are a pretty good hockey team.”

    That’s what all the indicators point to: the Habs are legitimately good. They’re an outshooting, outchancing team that dominates posession and are backstopped by a solid goalie. 10-5-1 is probably above their real play level, but I could see them being a 100-point club.

    I’m extremely impressed. I threw Martin under the bus last season because of the team’s putrid 5-on-5 game, but now I have to tip my hat to him. A lot. The Habs look a lot like the team I envisioned them being last year. I’ve never hesitated to criticize the man and call for his firing, but credit where credit is due: this year, Martin is doing an exceptional job on all aspects.

    Even the weird issue of Price having worse statistics than last year despite ostensibly playing better has been fixed by his scintillating performance the last two games.

    These are not last year’s Canadiens. That team masked its badness with goaltending and special teams. This year’s club is a pretty strong even-strength club… with good special teams and great goaltending. Good things just might end up happening.

  42. thorandresson says:

    Definitely agreed on Halpern, what a great aquisition.


    I found that the 4th line was a big mismatch, I think that’ll be the key for the habs is the 3rd and 4th line mismatches.

  43. tony d says:

    Great points Mike. A few weeks ago many of us were concerned about the team’s effort, even when we did manage to scratch out a W. One poster (can’t remember who) suggested that we all relax because if the team could do well just firing on one cylinder, imagine what would happen when the slumpers get going. I think we’re starting to see the machine getting up to speed, and I like it a lot. Halpern has been such a shot in the arm, loving that aquisition. PK is a thrill to watch and I love that element of danger, never knowing what he’s going to do. Habsville is looking good. On a side note, further down the 401, the Leafs are looking for woodpeckers.

  44. JD_ says:

    This is why Newsy Lalonde shouldn’t be playing and coaching when it’s clear that Vezina isn’t what the last year was when GK is saying that $2 for a beer just goes to show you why it’s the same as when it happened. Told you so.

  45. Mike Boone says:

    Yes. Probably at 11:30

  46. punkster says:

    What would you expect with Gauthier and Gainey in charge and the game
    has passed them by when Martin was hired to lead a team of smurfs and
    Gomez salary is not scoring before beer was only $2.00?

    Just sayin’.

  47. JD_ says:

    Yeah, great book if you’re a hockey fan and one that gets a reread every decade or so.

    The relationship between the goaltender and the rest of the team is ultimately symbiotic. To the extent the skaters are not worried nor distracted by the possibility of always questionable goaltendin’, and the goalie senses he’s gettin’ the support he needs, there’s somewhat of an intertwinin’.

    There’ll be a few bad ones before the season ends. It’s inevitable. Just ask his former teammate.

    But, on the whole, this smacks of somethin’ good.

  48. krob1000 says:

    NHL Rookie of the Year or not who cares… rookie of the last 15 years for the Habs…the last guy that offered this much hope so early in his career was Saku.

  49. Number31 says:

    I like what Price confessed last night (TSN quote) to having a peak at the standings and knowing the Bruins were 2 points back with a few games in hand eventhough it’s only November. They didn’t want them to catch up. That is getting the rivalry and that is wanting nothing more than to be the best.

    The “tired” thing never seemed to affect the Bruins much before though. I remember a back-to-back game they had where their plane delayed in Buffalo and they were up til 4am waiting. They came home and blasted a listless, rested Habs team for 7 goals or something. After the game, Saku said they weren’t prepared and I found that a big shame, not to mention a disappointment.

    But all day yesterday I heard how the Habs were going to get destroyed, how they’re too small and don’t have anyone to counter the big, bad, Bruins who just destroyed a struggling Pittsburgh team (serious defense check needed in Pens land). I was confused by this because didn’t the Habs just shutout the big, tough Canucks?

    And no crap from the Bruins either. They actually PLAYED hockey with us instead of gooning it up. It made for a great game, with their slow D getting exposed a few times and on all 3 goals (including the powerplay ones, they were caught watching).

    EMP Line! Eller-Moen-Pyatt! Eller passed his latest test on the PK. I don’t think he really knows who Chara is either. That was awesome.

    Halpern is this year’s Unsung Hero recipient.

  50. TommyB says:

    PK Subban…Our notorious Summit organizer likes to compare him to a combination of Orr/Park.  I don’t know.  I see him as a combination of a lot of defensive stars from days gone by.  I see some Robinson in his game.  I see some Savard in his game.  The way he turns while protecting the puck at the same time, keeping it to himself long enough to either make a smart pass or a shot on goal.  He doesn’t seem to cough it up, at least not often.  His ability to hightail it back and get into position once the puck has been turned over or transitioned.  Add in a sprinkling of being able to hold the blue line when the Habs are in the O-zone, and a heck of a shot from that point….you have one very talented and passionate young hockey player.  He may be rookie of the year, he may not.  But no one can deny that he is something this team has been missing for a long time.  Cheers, PK.  Nice to have you on board.

  51. Arrow77 says:

    I’m not gonna be exuberant just yet; yes, we beat two good teams but neither of them played a very good game. The Canucks were at the end of a very long winning streak and the Bruins were understandably a little flat after such an emotional win a night before. It’s too early to tell if the power play, Gomez and Gionta are back on track and we’re gonna need them to be if we’re gonna be successful.

    Still, there’s a lot to like about this team: Subban is as good as we hoped, the penalty kill has been superb and what can I say about Carey Price that hasn’t been said? I always believed he could be good but starting 15 of the first 16 games without playing a bad one? That’s much better than I hoped. 

  52. drivefor25_13 says:

    I’m in Montreal for the game on Saturday, does anyone know if they are in Brossard at all today for a practice? 

  53. krob1000 says:

    We could always take Chara’s salary off their hands if they would really like us too…you know as a favour to them.  Gauthier shold call and offer to do that…I’d love to hear that call.

  54. krob1000 says:

    Re Subban and Doughty….PK has the potential to be right there….he is impressing me more every game…..his puck possession is incredible, he is stronger than Doughty and when PK decides noone is getting the puck from him it is a sight to behold.  He can hold a puck along the boards against two guys, he uses his arm and slaloms arond guys like they aren’t there…in tight space…..his speed is unreal and I never appreaciated how smart of a decision maker he was with the puck.  I used to think he was risky and took chances…he does sometimes and he is learning what works but many of those chances he takes are chances that may appear absurd to us but that is because we don’t share his sense for the game and his ability to understand his own skillset and what he can or can’t do.  It is an experience thing for Pk and the fans as we need to start understanding that conventional wisdom goes out the door sometimes with him as he can do things that …well….I am 33 and I am not old enough to have seen a Habs dman do what he can as far as recovery and pure athleticism.  He really is phenomenal.  He has Paul Coffey speed with Ray Bourque defense….to go with a Sidney Crosby attitude…what more can you ask for?

    I will be the first to admit I was not as impressed with him at the WJC’s as others …but boy was I wrong…this kid has every tool in the book to make him a superstar…..from physical to mental.  IF Subban were in an offensive system like Washingtotn he’d have 15 -20 pints…but he doesn’t care…he is a team guy and he wants to win….he is another of a long list of Canadian players that appear to have been ultra inspired by the Gretzky’s, the Yzerman’s, the Sakic’s, the Messier’s, the Niedermayer’s, the Bourque’s, etc…..the guys who were superstars but always remained humble and cared about their teams before themselves…….Toews, Crosby, Getzlaf, Keith, Richards, etc…..I can’t help but credit our fantastic Junior Hockey program as well…where guys get opportunity to play internationally and at camps with their peers where they are not the prima donnas they are just another brick in the wall.  The fact that GRetzky, Yaerman, Mess have all been involved in our international success and these kids have been emulating their work ethic and attitudes bodes extremely well for Canadian Hockey down the road…and PK bodes well for Canadien hockey too.

  55. Number31 says:

    I’d say the other Carlson from the Caps. Also learned from the playoffs last season like PK did. I heard they removed the Young Guns game from the ASG but if they still had that I could see PK lining up with Carlson to show off some fancy moves for our entertainment.

  56. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    Goose bumps reading that eh?  Liking how he is playing, and seems to be playing within himself, like he has another gear if he needs it. 


    I really think most of his growing pains came from how quickly everything came to him.  He was dynamite, then got hurt, sat, and looked back on how far he had come so quickly: WJHC, Calder Cup, starter for greatest hockey franchise, all in about 2 years.  Now he’s focused on moving forward with his career again, and look out when he really hits his prime.

    And to be fair and honest, it doesn’t hurt to have the team playing cohesively in front of him quite often.

  57. Chuck says:

    While it’s true that the Bruins were understaffed last night, as was pointed out on TSN between periods last night they’re going to have make some big decisions regarding their salary cap once players return from the IL.

    It won’t be as simple as welcoming back Marc Savard, David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk and Marco Sturm. A lot of payroll will have to come off the books in order to fit those players under the cap.

    I see trades, and quite possibly a contract buried in the AHL in their future.

    Centre Hice: NHL to allow ads on jerseys

  58. howtathor says:

    Subban was exceptional last night. I can remember several instances where he commandeered the puck in the Bruins zone and pretty well had his way with the Bruins D. It’s nice to see him being creative again. I was worried there for a few games he seemed to have lost his mojo. Maybe it’s the security of knowing his partner will be there to cover for him because Gill is the antithesis of creativity. With Markov Gorges, Spacek Hamerlik we have three solid D pairs. It’s unfotunate for Picard but he’s a good insurance policy in case of injury. Picard’s time will come with Hamr and Gill probably not returning next year. Markov looked a bit gassed near the end when he allowed the Bruins to negate an icing call but his legs will come. It’s only November and he’s played a half dozen games. 

    This is an exciting team to watch. I can’t explain what happened a week ago against the Sens and the Jackets. We have to try for more consistency especially at home. Maybe those b2b games are tough especially in the case of last Sat against the Sens. This is a team that has to go all out to win as evidenced last night and against the Canucks and anything short of that is a liability. Looking forward to an excellent goaltending duel on Saturday. Anyone who eschews Hurricane tickets in November will miss out on a dandy!

  59. SPATS says:

    Sorry I went negative in my last post after the Sens game. I had switched to hard stuff instead of my usual girlie coolers. Anyhow, Mr Boone (Greenspan?) Nice post. I think we just saw the turning point of the season. They “bring it” to the big games (now if they could stop sleepwalking against the Panthers…) We are no longer pretenders. We are contenders. (for many years) Nous sommes Canadiens!


  60. JD_ says:

    I hate to be that guy on this sunniest of mornin’s, but beer at the Bell Centre is still $9.72 a pop.

    Want to whip out this ol’ chestnut cuz it never gets old, was written by a guy who’s authority on the subject is of the highest order, and, mostly, because it gets inside Price’s head:

    “Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself. Not a puck, not an opponent, not a quirk of size or style. Him. The stress and anxiety he feels when he plays, the fear of failing, the fear of being embarrassed, the fear of being physically hurt, all the symptoms of his position, in constant ebb and flow, but never disappearing. The successful goalie understands these neuroses, accepts them, and puts them under control. The unsuccessful goalie is distracted by them, his mind in knots, his body quickly following.” – Ken Dryden, The Game

    It’s hard to watch Carey play and not think he’s found a way to move beyond the acceptance stage. And he’s managed to do it in Montreal, of all places.

    He’s a keeper.


  61. SeriousFan09 says:

    Let’s not get crazy, Myers was a beast last season for Buffalo and earned that Calder after no AHL experience. He’s having the traditional 2nd-year slump but he’s bringing a lot of what Chara brings to the table but he moves much quicker, course he’s stuck in Buffalo but he’ll make their blue line respectable while he’s there.

    PK and Myers will be part of a young core of Ds regularly competing for the Norris.


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

  62. SeriousFan09 says:

    Karlsson lacks Subban’s defensive play. Myers is in the Sophomore slump, but he’ll be a great one for the future, he’s Chara with skating.


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

  63. Dintrox says:

    Cool article from SI. PK Subban a calder trophy candidate?


    December 4, 2009 – Elmer Lach’s jersey took its rightful place with the Rocket’s in the rafters.

  64. Harani says:

    They are defense-first and PP-only type of D whereas P.K.’s offensive capabilities are off the charts, not to mention his sound play defensively. Don’t mistake me, those two are good but not as good as P.K. IMHO.

    “It must be love!”

  65. Ian Cobb says:

    It was play off hockey last night for sure, but we should not be surprised. JM style of coaching is what wins play off championships. Hardhabbits is correct, you must have the players that can carry it out.

    Team play, defensive responsibilities first, by all 6 players on the ice, and the speed to cause the opposition to make errors, will win out every time.

    I was not sold on JM when he arrived. I thought he was brought in to replace Bob upstairs after his 5 years was up. That is how much time he said he would give to the job. What a wonderful job Bob has done for this franchise.

    After what I saw of Jacques M’s performance in the play offs last year, I knew that I would never criticize Jacques Martin again.

    This process of building a long term winning franchise, from the grass roots up has been nothing but amazing. Each building block has been very well thought out and put in place. Following the building process has been as much fun to watch as the product on the ice itself.

    We are not sitting on top of the barrel yet, but we have two solid hands holding onto the rim now.

    We have a very good TEAM now boys and girls, it won’t be much longer before we have a true winner again. Enjoy the process of getting there, it is half the fun of winning it all.

  66. wmarcello says:

    Concerning Price and Halak, I can’t say I’m too surprised by Carey. I defended him online and in person a lot last year and am very glad to see him (and more importantly the team in front of him) doing well. Going into this season I wishfully predicted to my friends that Halak would cool off a bit and Carey would improve to the point of the two being pretty even this year. If anything, I’m more surprised that Halak has been able to maintain his elite level of play from last year. It’s still early, but the more the goaltending becomes a non-issue, the happier I get.

  67. sholi2000.com says:

    Night after night, I have a sore neck from shaking it so much, but then the pain goes away after the final second of the game. 

    I too listen to the CI and CJAD combo, it’s the only way to listen to out boys.

    Great read today Mr Boone, I should have got up from my chair and said hi last Saturday night, but I was just having too much fun to move. 🙂

    Summit Pics

    They Call Me Shane

  68. Dintrox says:

    As far as young D men go. Karlsson from Ottawa is pretty good as is Myers from Buffalo.

    December 4, 2009 – Elmer Lach’s jersey took its rightful place with the Rocket’s in the rafters.

  69. JF says:

    I’m more impressed every game by Carey Price.  I was in favour of the Halak trade, but I knew it was something of a gamble.  There was a very real possibility Price would not be able to handle the pressure of playing in Montreal and we would be forced to trade him, only to see him shine elsewhere.  I thought he would be all right this year but that it would be a bit of a struggle at first.  I’m happy to be wrong.  Whether it’s his changed attitude and increased maturity, his harder work, or the security of knowing that he’s the starter and won’t be benched for long periods if he doesn’t win, Price is growing stronger and more confident from game to game.  I think where I notice the most difference is in scrambles around our net.  He used to have trouble following the puck, but now he’s seeing everything and his reflexes seem quicker.  Last year his calmness used to seem at times indifferent or lackadaisical, but now it is becoming a real strength.

    Things are looking good.  Our early successes were not smoke and mirrors or the result of facing weak teams. We’ve faced two contenders in back-to-back games and limited them to one goal.  There are signs the powerplay is getting on track, Markov is getting into game-shape, and Gionta is rediscovering his scoring touch. I thought Gomez was excellent last night, as were Cammalleri and Kostitsyn.

    I like what I’m seeing from Lars Eller and, unlike many on this site, I have no problem with how JM is using him.  Yes, he gets benched when he makes mistakes, but he is rewarded with more minutes when he plays well, and last night he looked very confident.  He also has a very good attitude, is aware of what he needs to improve, and understands that he has to earn his ice-time.

    I love the PhD line.  Halpern was an excellent addition and has great chemistry with Darche, who earns his spot every night with hard work and grittiness.  Pouliot (along with AK46) is probably the most improved player from last year.  He’s much more physical, with no more floating around on the periphery, and he’s creating chances.  He really deserves a spot on the second line, but at this point it might be a mistake to disrupt the PhD line.

  70. JVF says:

    Magnifique! This teams skates like the wind and most importantly, plays S-M-A-R-T. Anybody notice how cleanly we now exit our zone and how there’s almost always 5 players around the puck? Very impressive. As soon as our offensive guys unwind a little and stop squeezing their sticks — and that time will come soon — we’re going to be very solid indeed. And if the power play gets untracked also, well…

  71. mcmikel says:

    Wonderful column. Through Center Ice and the CJAD audio feed, this season has been emotional, must-see drama for a die-hard living in suburban New Orleans. . I readily question the constant line shuffling, I scream at one defensive pairing, I plead for the powerplay to kick in, and I am befuddled by G-Love. I didn’t step back to look at the over all success, but opted to live and die game-by-game. Martin has done a great job. The Habs are off the blazing start and are more than holding their own (making it better is the slide of the Leafs).  Last night’s game and today’s column has pulled the season success into focus. Yes, it would be great to win more at home, but I seriously never saw this team playing this well. I hope continues!  Go Habs Go


  72. Bash says:

    What??? No one out to murder Martin? Plaster Price? Grate Gomez? Spank Spatch? Hang Hammer? Gas Gauthier?”

    What on earth will we write /read here today?

    I’m sure a few creative fans will find a way to put some kind of negative spin on things.

    Really there were no surprises last night! And that in itself is a revelation.

    The one thing that struck me  was Eller’s ability to protect the puck. It seems we may have that big center after all.


    If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

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