About last night …

And with a bit more than 24 hours to recover – the Thursday game starts at 9:30 p.m. Montreal time – the Canadiens weill have to figure out how to play a 60-minute hockey game or they will go 0-for-Alberta.

And they may have to rebound without Josh Gorges. The veteran defenceman played one shift in the third period at the Saddledome. Gorges has some kind of knack, which means we could see Nathan Beaulieu on the CH blueline in Edmonton.

With all due respect to the 2011 first-round draft choice (Beaulieu was picked 17th overall), this is not a good situation. He would joining a defence corps that took its lumps in Calgary.

Andrei Markov played 27:23 against the Flames. How much will he have left one night later in Edmonton?

Raphael Diaz played almost 20 minutes and did not take a single shot toward Flames’ goaltender Joey MacDonald. If Diaz isn’t shooting, what the heck does he bring to the Canadiens’ lineup? Rugged physicality?

Aged Francis Bouillon had to play 21:34. Hey, we love Frankie and he’s a gamer. But against young, fast and aggressive forwards, such as the ones we saw in Calgary and more of the same in Edmonton, Bouillon just can’t keep up.

Jarred Tinordi looked bad on the second Calgary goal. But he’s a rookie, and there should have been more effective communication with Gorges on the play.

That leaves the reigning Norris Trophy winner, who spent the end of the game in the penalty box watching his teammates desperately scramble for a tying goal.

P.K. Subban is carrying the team from the back end. He’s capable, but I thought Subban was trying too hard against Calgary.

At least P.K. showed up for the game. That’s more than can be said for Rene Bourque. After two solid, hard-working efforts against the Leafs and Flyers, Bourque disappeared against his old team … and his MIA performance reduced the effectiveness of linemates Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.

Michel Therrien dropped Bourque to the fourth line for a shift or two in the third period. The coach also flipped Brendan Gallagher and Daniel Brière in an effort to get the Lars Eller and David Desharnais lines going.

DD went 7-1 on faceoffs and about 1-77 in puck battles. He had more even-strength ice time than either Plekanec or Eller.

The ever-improving Great Dane was 8-4 on draws. And Eller continued his streak of scoring in every game the Canadiens have played this season. He’s on pace for 109 goals.

Alex Galchenyuk had five shots on goal – some from ridiculous angles. Max Pacioretty had four.

But until the late-game flurry, MacDonald was rarely troubled by white jerseys blocking his sight lines or crashing his crease. Wee Gallagher seems to be the only Canadiens forward who rushes in where too many of his teammates fear to tread. The physicality Bourque brought against Toronto and Philly was missed in Calgary. There are nights when you wish the Canadiens still had Erik Cole.

Ryan White had ZERO hits in the game … unless you want to count the check he laid on Travis Moen to create the turnover that led to Calgary’s first goal.

Brandon Prust played 10 largely ineffective minutes. I suspect Prust is hurt, because we’re not seeing the player who was a revelation last season.

It’s early, but we aren’t seeing the team that won its division and finished second in the Eastern Conference last season.

On L’Antichambre, Guy Carbonneau suggested the Canadiens were able to surprise teams during the truncated 2013 season. That isn’t happening this fall, and the Canadiens have been back on their heels early in the games against Toronto and Calgary.

Carey Price had no chance on the first two Flames’ goals, both of which were tap-ins to open sides of the net. He might have done better on Curtis Glencross’s power-play tip from close in.

Will Peter Budaj get the call to salvage some Alberta points on Thursday night?

Habs losing streak in Calgary extends to seven, by Dave Stubbs

MacDonald makes 33 saves for Flames in victory, montrealgazette.com

Rally comes up short, Canadiens.com

Rookie Monahan scores again for Flames, Calgary Herald

Young Flames finally hold a lead, Calgary Herald

Parros almost symptom free, by Dave Stubbs

Habs vs. Flames photo gallery, canadiens.com



  1. --Habs-- says:

    You have 2 problems with DD! 1) He’s french 2) He’s french 3) He’s french…………..Opps I guess i said 2 problems…………….and everyone’s hanging on to the big lucky year especially the french media coverage and fans! And I’m not saying this in a disrespectful way! The french population and media are starving for a french top 6 player and he just doesn’t exist. When he putted 60 points 2 years ago, VOILA here’s our french superstar a la Martin St Louis. But there’s only one problem! DD ain’t St Louis!

    Go HABS Go

  2. RockinRey says:

    DD will never get going!!! Time to turn the page.

    Another thing I am sick of is hearing about how Patches is a beast in the gym and the best shape of his life. It does not translate to a dominant power forward he thinks he is.

    Where the hell is Pleks this season?

  3. frontenac1 says:

    Off to the Saloon. Yesterday is done. Habs win tonight amigos. Saludos!

  4. Bill says:

    An awful lot of posters really seem to believe that Diaz is our worst defenceman.

    Just watching the games objectively – full disclosure, I have no vested interest in Diaz – I would say he’s been better than Gorges, Tinordi, and Bouillon. And even Bouillon hasn’t been bad really.

    Tinordi is struggling because he’s a rookie. As for Gorges, I don’t even know.

    • SmartDog says:

      I agree. I don’t get the Diaz hate. He’s been decent, his puck movement is good, seems to be in the right place a lot. Not tough sure, but neither is Gorges really lately. And what else is Gorges?

      Can you smell what the dog is sniffin?

    • Cal says:

      Pressure Diaz a little (while he’s in his own zone) and he coughs up the puck a lot.
      Gorges is continuing his downhill slide.
      Boullion isn’t as bad as Diaz, but he’s on his last legs. What’s Diaz’s excuse?

      Call up Pateryn and play him and Beaulieu (not as a pairing). May as well look to the future because this D as a whole ain’t that good.

  5. habinkam says:

    Afternoon gents I wrote this “blog” for hockeybuzz.com during the summer. Feel what I predicted has happened and would like to get it out to habs fan as the article wasnt published. Please let me know what you think critizism is welcome 🙂

    Size or Skill…. Or Coaching?

    The great debate with the present day Montreal Canadiens has always been the lack of size throughout the line-up. Although it’s agreeable that the Habs defence is well below NHL average (seen below) the glaring holes do not come from a backend that not only will increase in overall size with the influx of talented young men coming up, but will continue to depend on the speed and skill to witch the Canadiens have become known.
    Gorges 6’1 Subban 6’
    Markov 6’ Emelin 6’2
    Murray 6’3 Diaz5’11
    Bouillon 5’8 Drewiske 6’2 Tinordi 6’6
    In fact even as It sits, few could argue there are solid building blocks to a very physical, reliable puck moving top six. It comes down to recognizing the potential and in some cases limitations of players. Markov is a glaring example of this, having multiple surgeries missing extensive time and overall age has left Andrei visibly weaker in his skating mobility. My point being Markov still has the hands of a young man and one of the best hockey brains that organization has seen in years, play him as a 5-6 defenseman mentoring young players such as Bealieau, Nygren, even Tinordi. Monitor his minutes like you would any prospect but turn him lose for a couple minutes on the power play where his lack of mobility won’t be exposed. This is a man who made multiple defense partners very rich(Mike, and Mark) to name a few. As for players like Gorges and Diaz who have been exceptional for the Habs, they have their place and will move on when prospects or better opportunities present themselves. It’s a process of improvement.
    Looking deeper into a line-up that will lack it’s #74 wrecking ball until late November, Montreal defence may struggle clearing pucks and screening forwards but considering the game plan employed by the coaching staff it’s irrelevant.
    Edit: This was written the night before Montreal signed hulking veteran defenseman Douglas Murray. Obviously once Emelin returns the overall balance of size and skill on the back-end makes it a well-rounded unit, provided players play up to their potential, etc. Also I feel this gives the organization great flexibility, depth, and gives the young first rounders Tinordi and Beaulieu another year to excel at the AHL level before making the jump.
    Mr. Therrien utilizes the skills the back end does posses, that is speed, skill, quick transition, and hockey I.Q. The Habs rarely would let teams set up in the defensive zone resulting in minimal exposure of the defense. Later in the season though teams caught on and Montreal began struggling to keep pucks out of the end.
    There is one example of how good coaching can overcome the, for lack of a better term, shortcomings of any team. This is where I believe the success of the Montreal Canadiens lies this year: the ability to distribute and properly manage the ice time, and line combinations in general. Coaching is what will take a highly skilled team deeper into the playoffs. That mentality instilled from management that physical stature does not dictate success in the NHL.
    Looking at a forward group that bolsters 3 skaters under 5’9’’ (not to mention a very generally listed Brierre at 5’10) it’s hard not to classify les habitants as “undersized” but is that really the case?
    Pacioretty Pleckanec Briere
    Bourque Eller Gionta
    Prust Galchenyuk Gallagher
    Moen White Parros
    Note: Blunden, and Dumont are great bottom 6 replacements, not to mention low cap hit.
    Montreal has a good sized, well balance, and deep range of forwards who bring very different assets to the table on any given night. Up and down the left side and not forgetting the Habs new moustached man they are above average in stature. A mix of skill, speed and size on the left side with exceptional playmaking up the middle of the now two “big centers” they have craved for years, and the ever reliable turtlenecked wonder leaves the top 6 very deep in every aspect of team needs. This small forward group may be a tad undersized on the RW, but none can argue the influx of heart and work ethic on that side. All three of the top RWs are interchangeable depending on need or who is hot at any given time. A bonus for the coaching staff making nightly choices that much easier. I feel Montreal has the ability to compete night in and night out no longer with the small stigma behind them.
    Obviously there is a glaring omission in the way I arranged the lines, as it sits though I feel the team is in fact stronger without Deharnais. Now that is not knock on him as a very capable NHLer and only my personal opinion. I’ll explain; I believe that Montreal now has too many centers. As they did with Eller, they would like to teach Chucky the two way game, what better way than centering a 3rd line with Prust. Where does David D. fit in this line-up? Trading a center not only frees up ice time but cap space as well. Prust is not a 4th liner he wants, can and needs to contribute in many ways for himself and the team to be successful. I just don’t see how any coach can give a struggling center ice time over the other deserving players… Another example of where strong coaching will come into play above all else.
    Coaches aren’t hired to be fired they are given a blank canvas told to paint a masterpiece worthy of the Louvre. Let’s not kid ourselves some coaches don’t always get the good brushes, or are missing some blues and yellows, never enough to make excuses though. One of the biggest issues in coaching is having the guts to paint outside the lines, neglect salary, popularity, and management pressure. Just playing who earns it, night in and night out managing ice time as needed. Making the hard calls when no one else will. Whatever the tough call may be line up wise coaches are trusted to do the right thing night in and night out. Size is never the reason, the Blackhawks proved that this summer once again, big or small, undersized, overrated, too old too young. The only size that really matters is the amount of impact the man hired to bring the masterpiece to life has on the game.

    David Lesage

  6. Maritime Ronn says:

    @ Timo

    re ” …why Habs players, all 5 of them, constantly collapse in their own zone leaving points open.”

    Perhaps PK Torts style philosophies…I guess.
    ( and maybe you meant 4 of them, unless you were counting Carey, although some may also agree with that ” Collapse” Theory)

    From here, I would like to see the aggressive approach with BOTH talent and goal scoring threat vs the passive fire away-‘let’s block some shots’ approach.

    The other aspect is whom to put on the ice, as D zone faceoffs, especially in the 1st minute+ are critical.

    Ryan White is so underrated in the Faceoff Win category, yet some combo of him, Plex, Eller, Galchenyuk would be ideal.

    Could see Plex-White as Unit 1 ( because Plex always gets kicked out of the FO circle…) then a turbo duo of Eller/Galchenyuk as Unit 2 to put the fear of god in the opposition.

    EX for…. Why White?
    The Leafs use Jay McLement almost exclusively on the PK as he wins face offs – this year 59%, and last year 51% against the NHL’s best.
    Leafs PK was 2nd best in the NHL last year, and is 3rd best so far this year…and zone control is key.

    Yet, we should defer to Coach MT and JJD, so far using Plex-Moen-Prust-Gionta as the top 4 PK forwards and Tinordi-Markov-Gorges-Diaz as the Dmen.
    Perhaps ranking tied for 15-16-17 as the Habs are now, is a goal… much better than the 23rd the Habs finished last year.

  7. UnkleGary says:

    Subban was playing over his head, made him too emotional and caused bad decisions. But at least he played. I’ll take a player who’s gives it 110 percent and makes mistakes over lazy uninspired hockey. If he would have scored on the open net slapper he whiffed, HIO would look really different today.

    I thought Bork played a real good first two games, but was awful last night. I’ve heard from old players that it tough to play against your old team, makes sense. Hope he has a great game tonight, he should be rested.

    Price made some huge saves. Like his play so far, hope Buddha has a good one tonight.

    Patches looks frustrated, big time. Need to get him off that line.

    If Beaulieu is up with the big club, let him play and live with his mistakes. Or send him down, but he needs to play hockey. He’s a blue chip prospect, and he can’t be worse than Diaz at this point.

    DD and Diaz are one dimensional, they need to be putting up points. If not, they don’t deserve a spot. It’s still so early in the season, Diaz can be a great #6 pp specialist, but I don’t really see where DD fits in the future of this team, Chucky, Eller and Pleks seems good to me down the middle.

    First two games our 4th line played very well, last night they didn’t look good. I think a 4 th line is very important, it provides energy, tires the other team out and have a physical presence.


  8. SmartDog says:

    1. Someone should have put Wideman on his ass in the 2nd period. He was jumping guys, wrestling them, hitting them. No response… White, Moen, Prust, WTF?
    2. Briere is the revelation that many of us expected. It’s really astounding how invisible a guy can be. I mean, he plays smaller than Deharnais out there.
    3. I LIKE that PK called out the team/coach whatever about a lauckluster practice. PK walks the walk, he’s allowed to talk the talk. He’s one of few so far on this team.
    4. Price always seems so SURPRISED when goals go in early. You’d think he’d be used to it by now. Wonder when he’s gonna steal a game. He’s gonna steal one right?
    5. So Eller had his ice time cut… I guess a goal a game doesn’t cut it anymore. Or was it an over-confident coach, thinking he’d get his weak players going? Whatever. Different day, back to the same stupid sh$t. The politics of this place piss me off… it’s sad to see them oozing into the Habs. Unless you think it’s great that we ice the best French team that we can every night.

    Can you smell what the dog is sniffin?

    • twilighthours says:

      It made me happy that you put a “?” after a “WTF”

      Then it made me sad that you’re on Price. No softies allowed yet this year and a ton of highlight saves. He’s been full value so far.

      • SmartDog says:

        You’re right, Price was hung out to dry. The D was a mess. But I don’t agree that he’s been “full value”. There was a good bit of TSN tape that showed two of the goals this year where he slid into position to make the first save and then kept sliding until the net was 100% wide open.

        Can you smell what the dog is sniffin?

    • Cal says:

      1. Wideman was on against everyone but those three.
      2. DD and Brière- The Habs Invisible Men.
      3. He didn’t call out the coach. He said that they were playing like they practiced. (He was indirect, but got the point across) Didn’t you like that they didn’t even skate this morning? Idiots.
      4. Let’s face it. Price isn’t that good, but especially with this horrid D in front of him.
      5. Eller should be in the 18 to 20 minute range, especially when HIM line isn’t working worth a poo.

      • SmartDog says:

        1. Wow. You were watching more closely than me!
        3. Yah, I think it was good. He was frustrated with the overall focus of the team…. and just saying it wasn’t there. Of course we know whose responsibility that is.

        Can you smell what the dog is sniffin?

  9. knob says:

    When all our forwards are healthy, I would love (I know it will never happen) to see this:


    PP1: Briere-Galchenyuk-MaxPac-Subban-Plekanec (LD)
    PP2:Gallagher-Eller-Bourque-Gionta (RD)-Markov

    • UnkleGary says:

      Maybe swap Gally and Briere? I think Gally and Chucky have good chemistry, I’d love to see them grow together in the CH


    • SmartDog says:

      I like it EXCEPT that it would effectively put MaxPac on our 3rd line. Briere is really not a top 6 forward anymore (even if his salary and the Habs media folks say so) and Galchenyuk is not ready to be a top line center.

      Can you smell what the dog is sniffin?

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