About last night …

GallyPitts

What a difference a week makes!
On Saturday, Nov. 16, your Montreal Canadiens suffered the ignominy of a home-ice shutout at the hands of the New York Rangers.
In the aftermath of a game that was embarrassing AND boring, dark thoughts roiled the sleep of more than a few Canadiens fans:
• Was Michel Therrien past his best-before date?
• Who would go in the trade deadline sell-off? Tomas Plekanec? Andrei Markov? Max Pacioretty?
• Would the next step of the eternal rebuild be a lottery draft pick?

That was then.

This is now: Three games against elite NHL teams, three wins for the Canadiens.

O ye of little faith!

OK, let’s be honest: O me of little faith!

Was the coach’s job in jeopardy?

Maybe yes, maybe no. But Therrien reacted to the shutout loss like a coach who knew action was urgently needed.

The Canadiens took the ice against Minnesota with three new forward lines. Therrien took the bold step of breaking up the only trio that had been consistently competent since the season began.

The coach moved Brendan Gallagher away from Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk and put him on the wing with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. The rest is three games of delightful histiory.

Desharnais – consigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs by Montreal mayor Denis Coderre – has regained his confidence and is flashing the skill that won an undersigned, undrafted player a four-year, $14 million contract.Pacioretty is on fire. He scored a natural at trick against the Wild and added two more in Saturday night’s conquest of Pittsburgh.

The value of Gallagher was illustrated late in the game. With the dangerous Penguins trailing by a goal, Gallagher skated onto the puck behind the Pittsburgh net and played keep-away – against hulking defenceman – for a good 15-20 seconds.

It doesn’t show up on the scoresheet, but Gallagher’s inspired lead-protection drew roars of approval from the Bell Centre cognescenti. I have all the respect in the world for NHL amateur scouts, but someone has to explain to me how 146 players were selected ahead of Brendan Gallagher in the 2010 draft.

So if the Jack Adams Trophy were awarded in the third week of November, Michel Therrien would be in the discussion. Beyond shaking up his lines, Therrien has been making great in-game adjustments. The latest examples:

• Using the Markov-P.K. Subban defence pairing to counter Sidney Crosby after realizing, in the first period, that Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin weren’t up to the task.

• Having Travis Moen take Daniel Brière’s spot with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta – the line used to counter Crosby’s – once the Canadiens had taken the lead.

• Limiting the minutes of Michaël Bournival, who was playing hurt after blocking a shot in Washington, and then using Bournival for a couple shifts on the DD line when Pacioretty left the bench during the second period after being hit by Brooks Orpik’s clearing attempt.

• Loosening the leash on Subban, who led both teams with 25:20 of ice time, including 37 seconds on the penalty kill.

It is much too early in the season to say the Canadiens have been playing for their coach’s job. But every player on the game rosters has worked hard and played smart disciplined  hockey in the three wins.

Whatever Therrien is selling – when the 24CH cameras are not around – his players are buying. The bus rolled all week long, and there were no passengers.

And now that I’ve nominated Therrien for the 24-game Adams, how about Plekanec for the Selke? Pleks demolished Crosby in the faceoff circle, kept him off his game most of he night and, along with master needler Subban – and even Peter Budaj – subjected the superstar to a torrent of chirping that doubtless included many words of one syllable.

Bob Gainey used to talk about the importance of making the “correct” play. It’s not necessarily some magic that will bring the fans out of their seats. The correct play is the one that results from a precise triangulation of time, space and game situation.

Tomas Plekanec makes the correct play almost all the time.

No, he won’t win the Selke or any other individual honour. And Plekanec falls short of most experts’ conception of a Number 1 centre.

But man, the guy is an intelligent hockey player. Plekanec makes his linemates better – and he’s had a revolving-door succession of them – and he very rarely hurts the team.

Will he still be around as Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Pacioretty, Subban et al mature and propel the Canadiens into Cup contention?

I kinda hope so.

Maybe Therrien, too.

•  •  •

I purposely left Carey Price off that list of  promising young Canadiens. The goaltender has arrived, and Price has been so consistent this season one tends to take his excellence for granted.

Those stops on Pascal Dupuis?

Spectacular … but that’s what Price has delivered every night this season.

 

 

 

 

356 Comments

  1. Propwash says:

    Habs need to trade everyone for players who can will the puck into the net.

    ____________________
    DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  2. DipsyDoodler says:

    Oh my Ireland!

  3. JF says:

    I confess to having been among the number who thought the Habs would likely get no points this week or at best a couple of loser points. So I’m absolutely over the moon with the six points and the way the team has been playing. We look like last year’s team. Remember halfway through last season Boone was asking whether the Habs were for real? Turns out they weren’t quite, but I’m beginning to think they are this year.

    Not quite Cup contenders yet, but not as far away as we thought during the last few weeks. We’ve got the goaltending, our “soft” defence is getting the job done insofar as we’ve given up more than two goals a game only a few times this year and have not yet been blown out, and we’re starting to get production from all four lines. We still need a bit more size, particularly up front.

    The difference between now and last week is that we’re healthy for the first time. Emelin’s return has been a huge factor. There’s simply no one else on the roster who brings his combination of size, puck-moving ability, and physicality. Then there’s Pacioretty, who was either absent or invisible until a few games ago. But Pacioretty always takes a while to get back on his game after returning from injury, and his resurgence, and that of Desharnais, is also due to Therrien’s decision, which I think was brilliant, to put Gallagher on that line.

    Tomas Plekanec had an excellent game last night and IMO should have been the first star. I started to write “outstanding,” then I realized that the reason Plekanec gets so little credit is that he rarely does stand out. He does everything well, but a lot of what he does is away from the cameras, and if it does’t translate into points, it gets dismissed. His performance against Crosby recalled similar efforts against the Caps’ and Pens’ stars in our playoff run three years ago. I’m hoping that Plekanec and Markov both play their entire careers as Habs.

    As for the coach, he’s doing OK. He’s made mistakes, and he’ll make others, but he’s got the team playing a gritty, up-tempo game, and he’s getting results. There were unwelcome shades of JM dump-and-chase hockey in the last few weeks, but perhaps those was a result of the injury situation. In any case, I don’t think Therrien is on a short leash. Bergevin has said repeatedly that he’s building the team through drafting and development, and that it’s going to take time. He’s not going to fire the coach every time the team hits a slump. Also, if you look at recent Cup winners, one of the ingredients of their success is stability. The Habs have been a carousel of coaching and GM changes over the past few years; it’s time to let the guys running the ship do their jobs. Bergevin will not make a coaching change unless he becomes convinced that Therrien is not the man to lead the team to the Cup; and even then, he won’t do it until he has a replacement in his sights, someone he can be sure of getting.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      I wouldn’t give us much hope in the playoffs over the likes of Chicago, LA, San Jose or even Colorado. But we can absolutely win the East. I think we can beat Boston, Detroit, Rangers etc … in the playoffs (don’t worry Ottawa won’t be there).

      • Phil C says:

        They would only have to play a West team in the final, a team that will have to run the gauntlet of St. Louis, LA, San Jose, etc. In other words, whoever comes out of the West is probably going to be a little beat up. Boston would have had a tougher time against Vancouver in 2011 if Kesler had not blown out his hip.

    • wjc says:

      Why do you call them ‘loser’ points. When ties were the norm they were 1 point for a tie. Now when you end a game tied at regulation time you call them loser points.

      Should you not get something for tying a game. So they settle it with a short overtime or a shootout, it still beats ending in a tie.

      No other sport ends games in a tie, football, baseball, basketball. The reason they have to go to a shootout is it could go a couple of periods and with todays travel and schedules that would not work.

      wjc

  4. Price07 says:

    I know Plekanec and Markov are good and everything but I don’t think this team will be a cup contender while those two are still good enough, so why not trade one (if not both). They both have good value, especially Plekanec who is signed for the next few years. I dunno, I’m just thinking towards the future. I think the habs are missing at least one scoring winger going forward.

    Hey and who was it here that told me they would take Leblanc over Kreider? Pfff, not only is Kreider better he’s 6’3 225, at the very least he becomes a good 3rd liner, can’t say the same for Leblanc.

  5. HardHabits says:

    The Habs have certainly looked good the past 3 games. I like the line combos but I have to agree with those who have suggested swapping Bournival for Prust. Prust would bring great energy to the 4th line and I think Bournival would make a great addition to Galchenyuk and Eller as a variation of a newly formed kid line. Bournival has good play making and goal scoring skills that would compliment Eller’s line and Prust has the type of tenacity, speed and ruggedness that would make his addition to playing with White and Moen a real robust crash and bang 4th line.

    In other news, the Tank™ is in the shop getting tuned up in preparation for the 2024-25 season.

  6. Habfan10912 says:

    For those of us in the US who wish to root alongside JB and Front, the Grey Cup can be viewed in NBCSN (Versus) at 6:00 pm.

    • JohnBellyful says:

      Jim, even though the odds are overwhelmingly tilted in the Roughriders’ favour, seeing as the game is being played in Saskatchewan I expect the home team to come out flat.

  7. After last night, the Habs all-time scoring list looks like this..

    32. Andrei Markov 708 GP 93-320-413

    33. Serge Savard 917 GP 100-312-412

    34. Tomas Plekanec 622 GP 163-248-411

    ___________________________________________

    Exploring the Habs history at Le Tir, et Le But! Follow me on Twitter

    • Strummer says:

      And the Stanley Cup rings looks like this:

      Serge Savard 10

      Andrei Markov 0

      Tomas Plekanec 0

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

      • The Juice says:

        Good point Strum, the Habs need to waive those 2 bums ASAP.

        __________________________________________________________________________

        “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

  8. scavanau says:

    Am I being too critical or did Emelin look terribly rusty? He is key to us going forward.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      It probably takes a good month or so to get comfortable after being out that long.

    • billylove says:

      I see the same. Times when he sure does look “rusty.”

    • Phil C says:

      Everything I’ve read about that injury suggests that although recovery can occur in 6 months, it can be up to two years to get back to 100% strength. This fits with Markov who looked slow last year, but looks back to form this year.

      And that’s not even counting the time needed to get his timing back. Everyone else has been playing hockey for almost three months, he’s played for a week.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I hate to disagree with you fine gentleman but I think he’s played well. There were several outstanding plays he made last night and he saved a goal late in the second by deflecting a pass from a Pen player who had a wide open net. Perhaps I am viewing him with rose colored glasses.

  9. PrimeTime says:

    A lot of “but…but….but’s….” out there from the crow eaters. Fans and the media’s knowledge of hockey is a small fraction of the professionals who earn a living from their expertise.

    º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

  10. HabFab says:

    Garrioch claiming the Hawks looked at Bourque before getting Versteeg and that Bergevin wants to do something “big”;
    http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/23/phillys-captain-claude-giroux-set-for-sochi-olympics

  11. Ozmodiar says:

    A few big games in a row from Pleks, Gio, Moen, Markov and Max.

    I think the vets had heard quite enough about the kids leading the charge!!
    ;)

  12. HabFab says:

    Derek Wills –

    .@BulldogsAHL goaltender @DustinTokarski now 2nd in @TheAHL in both goals against average (1.91) and save percentage (.935).

  13. frontenac1 says:

    Go East! Go Ti-Cats!

  14. HabFab says:

    Dave Stubbs –

    Column in the works on #Habs Plekanec driving #Pens Crosby nuts and Pacioretty almost losing one. Habs sweep a challenging week :)

    Pleky’s mom is in town for a week visiting from CZE. Must have enjoyed her son’s game last night, watching on TV while babysitting #Habs

  15. Ian Cobb says:

    There has been a ton of negativity said about our smaller forwards over the years. How they cannot get the job done against the more rugged neanderthal teams in this league.

    Well I have to tell ya!, I have always loved the smaller, faster players. Going back to H. Richard, Cournoyer, LaFleur, Jarvis and many more.

    Last night was another example of how their speed and tenacity show up the vulnerabilities of the bigger opposition players of the league.

    Hard work, a sharp hockey mind, great wheels, with a large heart, is the main quality needed to win in the NHL. The smaller player is so much more creative and entertaining, for me at least!

    • habs001 says:

      The problem is the playoffs…The punishment that the league allows and maybe calling only 2-3 penalties a game will cause major problems over a long strech like the playoffs for smaller players…The muggings and brutality that is allowed is unbelievable…

    • monmick says:

      Lafleur a smaller player? He was 6′ and above the average for his time…

      ~~~> Mathematically eliminated…

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Lafleur was 6′ tall and one of the best players to every play in the NHL. Richard and the Roadrunner were exceptional talents that were also surrounded by some of the greatest teams in NHL history. Definitely different situations than today’s version of the Habs.

    • JM says:

      small players are great for most games in the regular season. come playoff time goonery comes into play and the speed and skill is eliminated.
      If they allowed the game to be played the way it’s suppose to be played with Speed, Skill, and finesse We have the best team in the league …

    • kairos66 says:

      Interesting how you are comparing players from different eras. But I must disagree with you because today’s player is fast and skilled and bigger. A team can afford one or two small players but not the majority of the team at key positions.

      Come playoff time size does matter. I was watching a bit of the Boston game against St-Louis and there was all kinds of obstructions that we’re not called and that is in the regular season! What small forwards can do during the regular season goes out the window in the post season.

      Kairos66

  16. habs001 says:

    Gorges battles and gives it all..same with the Cube …but they are involved in a lot of battles in their zone because of their limitations..I believe it is time to move the Cube to coaching and work one of the 3 Bulldogs d into his position…

  17. Hobie Hansen says:

    I think what we’re seeing is a healthy team folks. Every season, especially down the stretch and into the playoffs, we’re missing key players. I seem to remember the Habs being among the league leaders in man games lost year after year. And when the playoffs start we’re missing 2, 3 or even 4 important players, with a couple others guys playing hurt.

    I said before the season, I think we’re still on the small side but I can live with our group of forwards. The main thing is staying healthy. I just pray that when the calendar hits April we’re not missing Emelin or Markov or Pacioretty. I hope we’re as close to 100% healthy as possible

    • … and how is it that Gally stays healthy while getting in the mix every night. It’s amazing. Same as that super pest Marchand who never seems to get hurt. Is it because they play so low and don’t get those big hits, or are they always moving and watching?

      Will hate to seem him hurt, he’s such a positive upbeat young guy!

      I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

  18. Rosieman says:

    The timing isn’t so suspicious – their record w Emelin last yr was great. Did he play in the Ranger game? Oh right

    He’s a huge diff – underrated puck mover and talent – and our one hitter back there.

    Would like to see Bournival w Eller for one game – he’s extremely smart and could prob play offside wing. Hate seeing him w limited or 4th line mins.

  19. habs001 says:

    Last year was not a regular season as teams played only 48 games and East vs West did not happen in the regular season..This season will also not be regular…The Olympics will shut the league down for 3 weeks…What will the effect of this be on teams?…The Habs have maybe 8+ players who will go to the Olympics and the majority of them ( hopefully not al)l will be very disappointed at the end of the tournament…Some teams that the Habs will be battling in the standings like the Leafs may only have one player go..The dynamics of what will happen with teams after the olympic break is unknown…

  20. A three game winning streak with two nail-biters does not a cup team make people. Some good signs;

    Emelin – Needs to stay healthy. No coincidence we fell apart last year when he got hurt.
    Price – Playing quiet, measured, well, but for all you price bots, both goals by Neal were scored while he was on his pads. Stand up G-dammit it!
    Max – Streaky player who has come alive
    Pleks – Underrated and always excellent. Love him.
    Gally – What a find. Makes anyone playing with him look good
    PK – Let him skate more. Elite as elite comes and will make mistakes
    Markov – Has been playing as well as can be expected. Smart.
    Eller – Improving, but also streaky. He’s still a project, but dangerous
    Chucky – Also will take some time but has the gifts
    Budaj – Props to Budaj who has been a very solid back-up
    Bournival – Coming up nicely. Needs a little more time.
    Prust – he heart of a lion. Love his work ethic and fire. Needs to be healthy.

    That’s less than half the team people! Did anyone comment on how Neal skated in a la Lafleuresque skill level, picking apart everyone and scoring? That’s what we need and don’t have!

    Negatives:

    DD – C’mon, he gets his first goal this year and everyone gives him a pass? Two assists with Max and he’s back to 30 goal form? Not. Yes, it’s a feel good story, but he isn’t part of a cup team.
    Bourque – Meh… if he comes back healthy and plays on fire like he did last year, great, otherwise, unreliable and inconsistent. Too bad, need his size.
    White – He wants a job, but doesn’t have the hockey DNA.
    Moen<b. – Really? He doesn't fight, doesn't score and isn't a playmaker.
    Bull<b. – Out
    Drewiske – Lucky he’s getting paid to nurse his wounds
    Gorges – I never could understand the love for this shot blocker and that is all he does really well. He has no shot, he doesn’t use his body, he doesn’t calm play and should absolutely not be a “C”
    Diaz – He is still part of the Swiss cheese that wasn’t traded. His performance last year was an aberration, unfortunately. Would have been nice if it was real.
    Gionta – Our captain. Not negative, not positive as a whole. A cup team needs a positive, especially for a captain. Not Gally.
    Briere – Can he score? Yes. Should he be in the line-up? No. Not Gally
    Parros – Great guy, will sit most games and come in only to protect our surfs. I believe the fighters are needed but limited in their use.
    Murray – Same as Parros, but more dangerous for as as he’s a slow moving d man.

    So gentlemen and lady, a cup team can’t have half of it’s roster as serviceable or plug-ins and our depth is limited on offense big time, despite having some depth in defense in Hamilton. We have some ways to go to be a true contender and need to win against the lesser teams which seems to be a big problem we always have and oh, playing 60 minutes too.

    Am I wrong? I don’t think so, but I do hate the ups and downs. I prefer the first 35 or so games of last year to this reality ’cause they are pretty much a .500 club. While I won’t be as optimistic as Et Le But, I will continue to be hopeful, but not irrationally exuberant which is what many HIO’ers demand in order to be considered a fan.

    Do you think we can put away Toronto or even Ottawa? A real contender wouldn’t have an issue on most nights. We seem to have a problem as depressing as that is.

    Up next Buffalo.

    I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

    • habs-hampton says:

      Sighh.. without responding to your trolling remarks, I just want to say a couple of things.
      - No team in the league has 20 guys going to Sochi. They’re not all superstars, but each guy brings an element that makes a TEAM. White does everything he is asked, and does it well, but no, he won’t win th w Art Ross or Selke anytime soon.
      - You, me or anyone else outside the room can say Gorges is or isn’t Captain material, but I do know that the guys have a lot of respect for him.
      - and although Neal scored a couple, I don’t recall him skating through the team and scoring. One was a one-timer, and the other a tap-in.

      • That is sooooo typical. Anyone who has anything negative, or in this case just a discussion topic is called a “Troll” when it is in fact you and those like you who make this forum troll-lie. Being irrationally exuberant about a team and hen relating your comments to something I didn’t even discuss like Sochi, which I don’t give a damn about, shows just how off topic you are.

        Leave your trolling remarks in your mind. If you want to engage in a discussion about what can make uor team better, what weaknesses and strengths we have, then great. Otherwise, your just wasting your breath and showing me and others that you aren’t reading what’s written and just looking for a rise out of someone. Geez…. can’t you just read the comment without getting all defensive?!

        I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

      • Actually, Habs-hampton, if you look at the Gazette reel of Neals goal, he just skates right in all by himself from his own D-zone. I guess I just pine for the days of Lafleur doing the same thing and Eller when he was on fire against the Jets in his 4 goal game. Sigh…

        Oh and pardon my initial response. You got me PI’d with your Trolling comment. The rest of your comment was related to my post, ‘kept for Sochi, which to me will be more concern about potential injuries then glory.

        I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

      • Garbo says:

        How is that trolling – he has a well thought out analysis that you disagree with. So anyone who doesn’t share you POV is a troll? You are ridiculous.

    • Phil C says:

      You need to look at the other rosters in the East. They are also full of holes.

      Toronto and Ottawa? Baaaaaaaaahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! Haaaahahahahahahahhahaha! AHahahahahaha. Haha. Ha.

      Okay I’m good now, thanks for the laugh though.

      • Anytime Phil… My point though, is if TO and Ottawa have so many holes then why do we have so much difficulty dispensing with them? Despite injuries?

        I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

        • Phil C says:

          I just can’t pass an opportunity to mock the Leafs and Sens. ;-)

          In all seriousness, the Habs had a depleted roster in the game against the Sens. The Sens have been giving up a tonne of shots this season, their defense is slow and having trouble playing the puck possession game Mclean wants. Unless something changes, I don’t think it is their year.

          The Leafs played well against the Habs in the opener, but they have also been giving up a lot of shots and they are really gonna miss Boland who is out indefinitely. Holland will help, but they look weak in the middle IMO. The Habs are certainly able to compete with them in a 7 game series, which is all you can ask in the salary cap era.

          This is what I mean by every team has issues. It is very tough to build a dominant team with the cap.

          • I understand Phil. I just hate how we start playing the goon game to compensate for the filth that TO hands out and that takes us off of our game.

            I also can’t seem to get the disastrous first series against Ottawa out of my head this past spring. That was embarrassing frankly. I’m hoping we can pick these dams apart with Parros, Emelin and maybe even Murray in the line-up. That would be a sigh of relief!

            I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

          • Phil C says:

            Just Emelin would have made a big difference last spring. Or Eller getting his head up a half second earlier. Tough the recover from losing a top four defenseman and one of your best centres. You need some luck health-wise to go deep, the Habs got into injury trouble at the worst possible time last year. I can’t imagine the Hawks winning last year if they had lost Bolland and Seabrook to injury.

    • belle_moustache says:

      “both goals by Neal were scored while he was on his pads. Stand up G-dammit it!”

      Come on Oldschool, you don’t know much about goaltending if you blaming Price for being down on his pads for Neal’s goals. The first shot was a great one-timer from pretty close, and moving laterally to stop that, modern goaltending 101 dictates you’ll go down to block the bottom part of the net.

      And the second one, come on man, great play by Malkin, the pass to Neal was perfect. Neal got the puck a few feet in front of the net, leaving Price little time to react. I tell you, there’s not a single goalie in the league who would have been left standing on that play.

      • Belle, I was a goalie in my youth. I got three broken noses from pucks to the flimsy mask in my day. I blocked shots with my body face, you name it. I loved the net, but my knees gave out, torn ACL, MCL’s you name it. Otherwise, I’d still be playing today.

        I always have to say anything about how someone else would have handled a goal, s I won’t say “not a single goalie in the league”. What I am looking at is Prices body language. His instantaneous decision to drop because he is predicting in his head what will follow-up next. That is what Waite is working on with him. Price is best when he stands up. Remember the last 10 games last year? He was flipping around like a fish and getting taken for granted by the other teams.

        It is true that I give little room for mistakes, because in this league, there is very little room. Luck also comes into play and Neal is one of the elite players in an elite league. That being said, when a goalie challenges a player, it doesn’t give him any room (dropping down doesn’t necessarily take away the bottom of the net, you have a stick that takes away a good third if used right) and forces a commitment and that’s when the goalie makes his commitment. It’s a game of very precise chicken and if a goalie waits it our, he’ll always have that split second to move one extremity to make that save. When a goalie is on his knees, he has to make at least one more movement to compensate and that takes his advantage away… ‘buff said… and that isn’t goaltending 101 by the way. Staying square is 101.

        I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

    • Garbo says:

      Well thought out, but I totally disagree.

      White has been excellent lately and doing absolutely everything you could ask of a 4th liner, and killing penalties to boot! (and well I might add).

      Same for Moen.

      I think Briere has been good and is getting better. He has 4 points in his last 6 games. This is especially good considering he’s largely been relegated to 3rd or 4th line minutes.

      Diaz is fine. I still don’t understand why he gets so much flack. Shaky at times when pressured in the corners, otherwise a great play maker, controls the point very well and has a great shot. NOt every d-man can have both physicality and playmaking ability (a la PK).

      Also, in your list of “bad” players (for lack of a better term) you are including 3 that are not even in the line up on most nights in order to pad your analysis (Parros, Murray, Drewiske).

      Which leaves four players who can be described as average (DD, Gionta, Bourque, and Gorges).

      Hardly half the team as you suggest.

      So to answer your question. Yes, I believe you are wrong. Will they win the cup? Maybe, but likely no. But that can be said about most teams in contention. Name one team with less 4 so-so or average players in the line up.

  21. jeffhabfan says:

    Wow another strong game from the boys Last night what a week for the Habs they are winning and scoring some goals. Keep it up boys.GO HABS GO.

  22. JUST ME says:

    You guys are funny and/or naive. You are all happy this morning and celebrating as real habs fans should and are wondering why some had doubts about Therrien`s ability to lead that team to victories.
    The answer is in the timo and you know it. He comes here everyday spilling his usual hatred towards a guy he did not like before he was hired. But timo is funny or whatever… I just think that he spreads negativity and that it catches on…

    Very happy about those 6 points but as the coach said after the game, the guys have been playing well for a while and even though it did not result in wins, you could see that it was not because of a lack of effort.

    I actually think that those are the results of the injured coming back in the lineup. That way you do not have to play Parros, Murray, Bouillon, White, Briere, D.D every single game. It does make all the difference when you can choose to dress a Parros against certain teams (cough,cough) and sit him against faster ones.

    Our captain really shines these days,good to see him back at full strenght getting in the thick of the battles .
    Price also is excellent .Not that i was worried but he deserves to be in the limelight after all the…he took. I just think that having a new coach helped him to reach a new plateau and work on details the other coach did not see as important. I would not give too much importance to Waite being there cause the goaler`s job is so mental that most of the credit goes to Price. After all, when things were tough, we did not blame the coach for it !

    Good to see a bit of positive attitudes on HIO. Keep it up please .

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I’ll be the first to give Kudos to Timo but the hiring of MT was not a highly thought of move when he was hired. But perhaps unlike our friend Timo, once he was hired most of us root for his success.

      I like the positive post as well. CHeers.

  23. Habfan10912 says:

    Good morning all. Suddenly the weak defensive corps is now seemingly a strength. Emelin and Markov were monsters last night and PK is well, PK. Now MT looks like a great coach, eh?

    One other thought, I dislike Crosby. I’ve never seen a player get all the benefits of calls and still whine.

    • JF says:

      Agree about Crosby. He’s also a player who lets frustration get to him. And when that happens, it costs his team – as we saw in Game 7 of our series against them, also a couple of years later in that wild series with Philly.

  24. Cal says:

    On another (sour) note, what the hell is going on with Eller?
    He’s getting knocked down an awful lot and doesn’t look comfortable on his skates, lately.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Morning Cal. He’s a lot like Pleks in that respect. He’ll seem to suffer offensively but he does the other things well when he’s not putting pucks on the board. He doesn’t ever seem to hurt us when he’s out there. He’s a good solid two way player.

    • JohnBellyful says:

      Cal, I’ve liked Eller since day one but he has always seemed to fall down a lot for a player his size, 6’2″. Unlike Pouliot, it’s because he’s involved physically fighting for the puck. Must have a high centre of gravity. Perhaps the Canadiens in future should look for big centres with low centres of gravity. Knee-high?
      Good weekend so far. The Habbies win and tonight it’s the Tabbies’ turn. The cold shouldn’t bother them, they’re the Siberian Tiger-Cats.

  25. Ian Cobb says:

    Wow! now that was fun to watch last night! Scarey but fun, as most of our games are late into the 3rd.
    We are learning what it takes to win in regulation and not give up a point in the standings for a tie, which is so stupid, me thinks.

    Rolling 4, full court press energy lines, is fun to watch. And our place in the league standings reflect our play.

    Here is where we place in the 30 team league this week.

    Total points——-28. For 13th place. Last week 22 for 17th.

    Goals for———–64. For 17th place. Last week 52 for 22nd.

    Goals against—–51. For 3rd place. Last week 45 for 6th.

    Goals differential+13. For 9th place. Last week +7 for 13th.

    This week in the 30 team league, we are positioned at 10.5 place.
    Last week we were positioned at 14.5 place.

    Ian

  26. HabFab says:

    Even Budda was giving it to the kid last night;
    http://i.minus.com/ibuu9jwJOUkODB.gif

  27. DipsyDoodler says:

    For those who want the coach fired look at Vancouver. Think they upgraded?

  28. I don’t know why people want to get into a pisssing match over Therrien. My comments mean nothing now that the Habs appear to be not shutting er down.

    Heading to practice now, so lucky to be able to still play and coach the game at 42.

    Have a great day fans…go Als!

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Custom Sports Figures
    Summit Member 1.29.31.33

  29. Cal says:

    Habs are 3 and 0 since the return of the Emelinator. Coincidence? I think not. His presence balances the D. and that’s a very good thing when the #4 is softie Diaz or struggling Gorges.
    DD is productive when MaxPac is scoring. Otherwise, he’s not doing too much out there- last night he happened to be on the ice when MaxPac scored, but had no assists and 1 shot on goal in 16 minutes of ice time. (Yep, I’m making lemons from lemon-ade.)
    It’s been a very good week and this coming week looks like a “sure” 2 points against Buffalo, but the rest is going to be iffy.

    So, is it the TiCats year or will frozen Saskatchewan do them in?

  30. DipsyDoodler says:

    Meanwhile in the West the four Canadian teams have settled nicely.

    In a mud on the bottom of a lake sense.

  31. HabinBurlington says:

    I wonder if the team record with Emelin in the lineup versus the record without him in the lineup is starting to emulate that of Markov’s record in similar scenarios? I am in no way saying Emelin is as good as Markov (still a premiere dman) but the evidence is starting to add up that he is indeed imperative to our teams success.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      He gets that puck out of the zone well. And this is still training camp for him.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Yup, bodes well for us defence moving forward. Add in the fact that MT has the option to platoon Frankie B. and the Crankshaft, and suddenly our defence becomes dare I say, an area of strength for us.

        Our balance as a team now is very impressive. Your comments to the injuries are so very true.

    • Phil C says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Its not that Emelin is the greatest defensemen, but he is a key cog in the wheel that when its missing, the team’s performance suffers, as they have difficulty replacing him with their current personnel. Big, physical and mobile is a rare combination.

  32. frankcasting says:

    Three cheers for the ironically-named shrimp Gionta – looking at him as a defensive player first has changed my view of his value to the Habs, he still can’t hit a friggin’ open barn door from 20′, but his work – especially against OV – was great this week.

    Loving the Habs since 1965

  33. adamkennelly says:

    lets all remember that Bourque was in the mix when this all got started – stroke of luck that he is injured and can’t play?

    also – where’s the love for Emelin coming back? difference maker methinks.

  34. munch17 says:

    DD is once again playing with our two best wingers. He had zero to do with maxpac’s two goals , lost his puck battles , and left the ice on the second goal- when CBC points it out it must be bad. Eller getting less ice time again and Prust really not able to convert with two skilled wingers.
    I hope Bourque will replace Prust on that line and that Briere will replace DD.
    Of course I realize this is wishful thinking.
    But I might well say this when things are going well.
    The team can always improve.
    And putting Murray in for Franky wouldn’t hurt either.

    • The Juice says:

      Prust does not play C.

      __________________________________________________________________________

      “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

  35. Phil C says:

    Top shelf goaltending – Check
    Mobile defense – Check
    3 balanced scoring lines -Check
    4th line of real NHLers with grit -Check
    Some depth on the farm – Check

    Based on the above checklist, the Habs may in fact be a contender in the East this season. The only thing they are missing is elite offensive talent, the type of player who can break open a game or get that tying goal late in a game. However, instead of one or two game breakers, the Habs have three lines that can do damage, so they are more in the model of the Bruins than the Hawks or Penguins. I think you can still win with that, obviously the Bruins did, especially with the elite offensive talent on the blueline in Subban and Markov.

    Yes, they will have to stay healthy, however if you look at the last three Cup winners, a fortuitous run of good health was a key ingredient of their success.

    The only teams I thought made the Habs look bad were the Sharks with their combination of size, speed, and team play, and Tampa with their sublime puck movement. Every other team, they were as good as or better than. I would like to see another game against Tampa or San Jose with the current lineup, it may be a different story.

  36. 24 Cups says:

    Montreal’s three wins this week certainly makes an impact on the playoff picture.

    In terms of the conference 7th and 8th seeds, Montréal (28) presently is in a dog fight with Detroit (27) but also has a comfortable lead over Jersey (23), Philly and Ottawa (22) and Carolina (21). However, the six points now means that Montreal has re-entered the race to finish in the top three of their division. This would mean that they would not have to face Pittsburgh or Boston in the first round. For discussion sake, I’ll concede first place to the Bruins. Florida and Buffalo are already out of the playoff picture. I also believe that Tampa will continue to slide without the services of Steven Stamkos, the 2nd best player in the league. That leaves Toronto, Detroit, Ottawa and Montreal to battle it out for 2nd and 3rd place. Toronto still has issues with puck possession and shots on goal. Detroit is struggling defensively while Ottawa is probably presently playing below their true achievement level. It’s certainly shaping up to be a very interesting year.

  37. HabinBurlington says:

    Larry Brooks discussing the ridiculous new playoff structure.

    http://nypost.com/2013/11/23/nhls-playoff-structure-is-ridiculous/

    • The Juice says:

      I prefer the adjective: Ludicrous

      What amazes me is the lack of attention being given to the disparity. Brooksie is probably right when he says it will intensify as the playoffs draw near.

      __________________________________________________________________________

      “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

  38. HabinBurlington says:

    Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Gotta love the smell of a 3game winning streak in the morning!

  39. 24 Cups says:

    It seems to be a foregone conclusion on HI/O that Brian Gionta will not be back next year. Personally, I’d love to see him sign a two year deal. That would allow him to stay on as captain while patrolling the 2nd or 3rd line right wing. This is still a very young team and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a guy like Gionta kicking around.

    Gorges for captain? Please, let’s stay real.

    Pleks? Only if management sees him staying for his entire career.

    MaxPac? I think we need more time to evaluate his candidacy.

    Brendan Gallagher? Surely not now but two years from now could be a totally different situation. If he’s going to be the choice then I’d even give Gionta three years and let him slowly work his way down the depth chart. This kid is quickly becoming my favourite Hab. He’s the biggest breath of fresh air this team has had in the last 20 years.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I like Gionta, but I just am not sure given the contracts required for Markov, PK, Eller etc… there will be room for our Captain.

      • If there is a movable player it’s him for sure.

        Shane Oliver
        Twitter @Sholi2000
        http://www.Sholi2000.com
        Custom Sports Figures
        Summit Member 1.29.31.33

        • 24 Cups says:

          If you trade your captain at the deadline you’ll go absolutely nowhere in the playoffs. The team will implode on the spot.

          If you wait and dump him in July as a free agent then I only ask one question -who is going to take his place on the roster?

          • I said nothing about moving our captain at the deadline.

            Shane Oliver
            Twitter @Sholi2000
            http://www.Sholi2000.com
            Custom Sports Figures
            Summit Member 1.29.31.33

          • HabinBurlington says:

            You are correct Steve, but perhaps the question is more of a longterm view. While moving Gionta at the deadline hurts the team this year, the move would be one with the thought of 1 or 2 or 3 years down the road in trying to become an elite team, as opposed to just a team which can compete with the better teams of the East.

    • Cal says:

      I think it’s more a case of “no room at the Salary Cap Inn.”
      Gionta will be replaced and it could be a Dumont or Leblanc that does it. Big salary goes to players that can deliver on the score sheet and Gionta has 10 points in 23 games. (Pleks has 15pts in 24 games)
      He is 34 and the laws of diminishing returns is kicking in. His body simply can’t sustain the pounding, especially when he’s asked to play against the NHL’s best every night.
      This is his last season here, and if the team isn’t contending come trade deadline time when his pro-rated salary won’t be too much of an issue, I expect him to be moved for a pick.

      http://calshabsongparodies.weebly.com

      • 24 Cups says:

        Cal – I haven’t really looked at the cap picture for next year so I have no idea if that’s going to be an issue.

        Dumont will never be a Hab regular and I’m not sure that Leblanc can ever score Gionta’s average 20 gaols a season. I can’t see any other player who’s ready to do that so it means you either lose the given production or sign an UFA for two years.

        This may not be realistic but I was hoping that Gionta might come back for around 3.5M a season. He could then play 2nd or 3rd line minutes or take on a Carbo/Keane like role whereby he was a hardworking role model who also killed penalties while leading the secondary players.

        The recent Hab history of crapping on team captains still bothers me. I think it’s part and parcel of the past failed 20 years.

        • JF says:

          Steve – like many others, I had been assuming this would be Gionta’s last year, but you’re making me rethink that. He would be a great role model, he’s excellent defensively, there’s no one i the system who’s ready to replace him, and, as you point out, there’s the captaincy question. My choice for the next captain would be P.K., but I’m not sure he’s quite ready yet, which would mean some kind of interim captain if Gionta left.

  40. slimjim111 says:

    Therrien losing his job? Are you people serious…?

    Its not like the team is sub .500 and nothing is working. Habs have the 2nd best GA in the east and are scoring… Anyone with a little common sense will know that MB is in it for the long run and rash decisions wont be made, especially after 20 some odd games.

    Patience people.

    • 24 Cups says:

      All the talk of firing Therrien the past few weeks shows just how fickle some blog posters can be. These “fans” are similar to the men on the Titanic who pushed women and children aside in order to get into the lifeboats.

      • DipsyDoodler says:

        You’re more charitable than I am. I compared them to a thousand Justin Biebers.

        I think what turned it around aside from the obvious return of injured players (remember our 4th line of Holland, Blunden and White?) is related to what Max said last week (we’re playing too much on our heels). He wasn’t criticizing the team or the coach but stating what the team needed to do better.

        With 4 good lines were playing with more drive.

        Still need tweaking on D. Hopefully Beaulieu and Tinordi are learning fast.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I was momentarily startled and thought you were saying our defence needed twerking! Must have been your Justin Bieber reference that put me in such a dark place!

    • Got nothing to do with patience. The Habs were horrible to the point where either one, coach is fired or two, players are moved.

      In the first 16 days they lost 6 games where not for one second they appeared to be trying. It was horrible.

      First thing I said to myself is they are trying to get him fired. That’s not patience that’s history. Been going on since the game was invented.

      It’s ok to lose when you work hard, but they shut er down.

      His job was saved this week.

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      http://www.Sholi2000.com
      Custom Sports Figures
      Summit Member 1.29.31.33

  41. The Juice says:

    Good morning!

    In my opinion the biggest improvement year over year for these Habs is their ability to continue to forecheck deep into the 3rd period while protecting a lead. It has been over a decade since I have seen the team not automatically “turtle” as they try to close out a win. Well done boys.

    __________________________________________________________________________

    “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

  42. 24 Cups says:

    “The correct play is the one that results from a precise triangulation of time, space and game situation.”

    Wow, the headmaster is certainly on top of his game today!

  43. jrs10069 says:

    1 word….

    Emelin

    jrs10069

  44. @silverfox

    All the ingredients were there for Therrien to lose his job. History doesn’t lie. When the team stops performing and starts playing uninspired hockey like they were, it’s not the team that gets the ax. I believe his job was saved this week and Therrien knows it.

    Slumps happen, but the Habs at the time looked like they didn’t want to play for him, and the coach is always the first to go….unless your name is Cole or Cammalleri. :lol:

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Custom Sports Figures
    Summit Member 1.29.31.33

    • Marc10 says:

      I disagree. MB would know that the Montreal coaching scene has been a circus in past years. I seriously doubt he’d bounce MT at the first hurdle. Panic doesn’t seem part of his vocabulary. I think this is simply wishful thinking on your part.

      The coaches aren’t going anywhere any time soon. They’d have to lose the room and even then, I would bet one significant player would go before that thought is entertained. And from what you see of MB and MT in their public statements it would seem they’re reading from the same script and share the same ‘tough love, no nonsense, hate to lose philosophy’. They’re going to give this a red hot go before they go to Plan B.

      I’d also surmise that like most of us looking at this team, they both know this is not a contender unless Mr Waite turns Carey into The second coming of Roy. So no coach is going to get thrown under the bus over a scoring slump… Not unless the entire team leadership group turns on them… Which isn’t happening.

      Looks like a pretty united bunch to me and they’ll be together a while longer.

      • “The coaches aren’t going anywhere any time soon. They’d have to lose the room and even then,”

        The way the Habs were playing it looked like he lost the room. His job was saved this past week.

        Shane Oliver
        Twitter @Sholi2000
        http://www.Sholi2000.com
        Custom Sports Figures
        Summit Member 1.29.31.33

        • Marc10 says:

          That’s just crazy. I wish we had a DeLorean so I could have taken that action.

          No scoring doesn’t mean not trying on purpose. No always anyway and most definitely not this lot. Sorry. I don’t buy it and other than that Ranger game where in spite of sucking they could have easily won, there haven’t been too many egregious mistakes that would suggest guys want out or want the coach gone.

          MT goes and Galant takes over. Same same.

  45. Old Bald Bird says:

    The Habs never quit skating during their recent funk, but they have been playing with greater intensity recently — much more aggressively with more forechecking and less collapsing on D. I think they like this style better, and it suits them.

    Pleks hasn’t been my favourite player, but he plays a great two-way game. He’s just not a #1 centre, but no one on the team is. Right now, three fairly balanced lines are doing the job well.

    Whether MT is a genius or not is highly debatable as Pak’s explosion has been paramount. But when the team is playing well and defeating the “good” teams, he sure deserves his share of credit.

    DD is here to stay, and despite his faults, he has a certain offensive ability that no other centre possesses. I think he works better (recently) offensively with the Paks/Gally combo than any other centre.

    Perhaps, last nights game should convince the world that PK is an excellent defender. Naw, the world would have been watching the Leafs.

    • Marc10 says:

      Another great result. I thought the team played superbly considering both Sid and Gino were dialled in. Three in a row against that kind of firepower is impressive. I never thought they could pull it off. 2 out of 3 would have been huge considering their offensive struggles and the lack of secondary scoring. How people can slag off the coaches after that display is a bit rich… but trolls and haters are shameless.

      Saw lots of fight in Gio tonight. That Orpik hit was nasty. Thought subbing in Moen for Old Man Briere was inspired. Danny did a few good things and big Trav did well in relief.

      Pleky had extra starch in his turtleneck last night. That display against a Whiny Sid was exemplary. What a competitor. I think a lot of fans have been waiting to see a bit of bark and bite from our man from Kladno. I hope at the deadline, if we’re in with a chance, MB rewards him by getting him a world class winger. I think he might have one in mind…

      • Lafleurguy says:

        Mornin’/Evenin’ M10. Fair insight to give props to the coach. Surprise the team could pull off this win streak against three tought opponents. Dunboyne would have no difficulty in persuading you to cheer for the Green Team against the All Blacks, I think. Cheers.

        “May you live in interesting times.”

        • Marc10 says:

          No problem at all. I still think France won the last World Cup and that the South African ref let NZ cheat to their hearts content so he could walk out of that stadium alive (and fair enough…)

          That said, in spite of being pure evil, the All Blacks are always the standard. Insane class and determination.

  46. Cape Breton says:

    Did anybody out there from the Maritimes get screwed out of watching Habs on CBC last nite? The game was on my TV for a little while and then amazingly the network switched over to the Toronto game. I’m still scratching my head on this one.

    • HabFab says:

      It’s those damn Laff fans in CBC Toronto…. may the fleas of a thousand camels infest their loins…

    • goalie29 says:

      my satellite listing had the english game as tor/caps…i watched the first period on rds…switched over to watch coachs corner…and low and behold…habs/pens! about halfway through the thirs…the listing changed to show waht i was watching….completely weird

      Wink! – Patrick Roy

    • Cape Breton says:

      Perhaps Laff fans in Cape Breton threatened to burn down the local CBC building, forcing the ‘powers that be’ to cave in.

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      TG for time-shifting on Bell.

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        Err … not time-shifting but choices on CBC channels across the land.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Good morning, OBB.

          I suddenly see the light! Noticing your correction post here, and recalling another from last night (Your/You’re — had me laughing, and thanks for kind words), I realise that more posts is better for business. Therefore, it makes sense to disable the Edit feature and force us all to correct our boo-boos with even more posts.

          BTW, it’s the sabbath, so here’s a biblical reference I use for introduce Grade 7s to locating chapter and verse , but which also clearly makes special reference to your good self:

          2 Kings 2:23.24

          • Old Bald Bird says:

            Ah yes: the verse that should give certain theists pause.

            What with my bad typing and propensity not to think thru my words properly, I surely need the Edit feature.

            Enjoy the rest of your day. With cold plus a high wind chill factor here in the capital region, I think I be cocooning.

        • Cape Breton says:

          Don’t have it. Just three CBC,s available on my Bell Alliant Fibre Op: West, Toronto and Halifax.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Brian Spencer was drafted in the fifth Round, 55th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1969 NHL Entry Draft. On December 12, 1970, when Spencer was called up to play with the Leafs in what would be his first NHL game on television, he telephoned his father Roy in British Columbia to tell him to watch the game that night on Hockey Night in Canada. Spencer was to be interviewed between periods of the game. However, a game featuring the Vancouver Canucks versus the California Golden Seals was aired instead. Infuriated, Roy Spencer drove 135 kilometres (84 mi) to Prince George, where the closest CBC Television station, CKPG-TV, is located. When he arrived, he ordered station staff, at gunpoint, to broadcast the Maple Leafs game instead. The station complied, but as Roy Spencer left the station, he was confronted by the RCMP. After a brief stand-off Roy Spencer was shot and killed.[2][3]

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Coozeman says:

      @Cape Breton, we got screwed out of it on CBC as well in Newfoundland, but thankfully I have RDS so I get every Hab’s Game.

      On a different note, I agree with “savethepuck”, MT looks like a genuis for putting Gally With Patches and DD but the Eller/Chucky line has gone into deep freeze due in large part to the down grade in skill and finish from Prust… Love Prust but I have seen countless opportunities/potential opportunities wasted for that line because of Prust’s lack of skill… Prust has to be moved off that line and replaced by Borque when healthy or DB in the short term until Borque returns.

      Will the real Carey Price please stand up?! Boy, has he ever stood up, props to Stephan Waite and MB for getting Waite. For, Price looks like the Superstar we saw glimpses of and hoped would show up consistently every night!

      • Lafleurguy says:

        Agree. About half of Carey’s nine wins could have been losses, and ditto Peter B. The record could have been in the crapper and we would be suffering posts about tanking. The so-and-so sucks posts would be about the same, however.

        “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Switch to Bell, you will never miss a game.

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      http://www.Sholi2000.com
      Custom Sports Figures
      Summit Member 1.29.31.33

  47. Dunboyne Mike says:

    As this week’s incredible success sinks in, some posters here might want to think about watching a rugby international (9am EDT).

    It’s Ireland vs the mighty New Zealand All Blacks. The Irish rugby team is incredible: from a combined (North and South) population of just 6 million, whose pool of elite athletes is sub-divided between soccer and gaelic sports (hurling and gaelic football), Ireland somehow maintains a rugby team that consistently ranks between 7 and 3 in the world.

    But Ireland has never in the history of rugby defeated the All Blacks. There is no real reason to think that they will smash that infamous record today — NZ are once again world champions and are to rugby what Canada is to hockey. But there will be an incredible will and intensity, the whole underdog thing, and the ever-present possibility that today will be the day.

    I know some of you already enjoy rugby and will be tempted. But this could well be a good one for rugby virgins also.

    Cheers

  48. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Holy Moses, Vancouver Hab! You must be a vampire! Catch some zeds, man!

    Don’t know if you saw my spouts yesterday about the nature of fandom (fanhood?), but I hope you’ll allow me to put you in my petrie dish. I love your passion, your exasperation, your emphatic rightness, in all of which I also indulge. However, what I think separates you and me is that I generally filter mine before I post, because my philosophy of fan allegiance includes a built-in allowance for central figures such as the coach being privy to more information and a wider view of the big picture. Your challenge to Boone this morning really reads as though you make no such allowances (implying omniscience on your part!).

    Now, what set me off yesterday was a poster suggesting that speculating on our next captain is “pure folly”, whereas I believe that projecting and speculating is a quintessential part of fandom, and that without it professional sport would die. It’s not folly, it’s part of the fun. But surely all our speculation needs to acknowledge, somewhere, that a person like Therrien knows more than we do?

    (I see someone else has engaged you on some of your points, and alas I’ve no time to read them as I AM SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING damn you! Did you pull back a little? Speaking of which, I love ProHabs brief post about Patches! Post of the morning so far!)

    Cheers
    (If you decide to stay out of your coffin and forego sleep altogether today, I hope you will cheer on Ireland vs the All Blacks, 6am in Van)

  49. Maritime Ronn says:

    Mr. Boone asks:
    “… I have all the respect in the world for NHL amateur scouts, but someone has to explain to me how 146 players were selected ahead of Brendan Gallagher in the 2010 draft.”
    ——————

    Perhaps a few reasons.

    If you back to Gallagher’s Vancouver Giants roster, he was all of 5’7″ and 170 pounds…. and some said that was with skates on and weights taped around the ankles.

    Many teams shy away from drafting the very small forward as they don’t know how that would translate into NHL hockey, yet much more importantly, NHL Playoff hockey where the referees put whistles away and more often than not, the big men take over.

    Over and above that and before turning pro, there was still 2 more years to play tough Western Junior hockey.
    Could the small forward survive that?

    And let’s not forget, even the Habs waited on drafting Gallagher in the 5th Round/147th, and once it gets to that point in the Draft, it’s really a shot in the dark
    .
    Of course Gallagher wasn’t going to be a 1st Rounder as the Habs picked Tinordi in the 22nd spot, yet the Habs also picked Marc MacMillan at 113th and then Morgan Ellis at 117th way before Gallagher at 147th. (No 2nd or 3rd pick that year)
    Simply put, the Habs lucked out.

    • Cape Breton says:

      Hey Maritime Ronn,

      Was watching Habs/Pens last nite on CBC up here in Cape Breton when early in 1st the feed switched to the Tor/Wash game. Habs/Pens telecast never came back. Do you know if that happened only in my part of the world or all over the Maritimes?

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Hi CB
        Luckily by the heritage of my mom, I learned French and therefore always plug into RDS to watch the games.
        When the Habs play, I never check CBC so unfortunately I cannot answer your question

      • savethepuck says:

        I am down here in Saint John N.B. I have a Rogers HD package and I know that the National CBC telecast which usually shows the Leafs, showed the Habs Pens game, and I didn’t have any disruptions in the telecast I was watching. They switched to the Leafs Caps after the Habs Pens were done.

        “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
        Carey Price

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        That sucks, CB. Good old CBC, always knowing what’s best for its viewers!

        You need to have a back-up plan which involves slumming it with a P2P feed like some of us abroad do. I use http://www.firstrow.eu. Ads are annoying when you’re linking in — endurable but also avoidable if you use AdBlock.

        Cheers

    • savethepuck says:

      I like to think that the Habs didn’t luck out, but instead Trevor Timmins was at the table after round 1 yelling “we need to pick this kid”. Something people don’t take into consideration when evaluating draft picks, is that Gally has a May birthday. To me, that means that in his draft year, he has played 1 less year of hockey than the majority of his draft class. I would also think that a man of your obvious hockey knowledge would know or agree that no scout has a crystal ball and can’t predict how a prospect is going to develop.
      When I saw him at the WJHC, I got very excited about him, and also his Habs training camp before that.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Save

        However it came about, what a great find so far.
        BG is also getting smarter and picking his spots to go to the net instead of taking abuse when a play isn’t there to be made.

  50. HabFab says:

    Quiet night for the amateur prospects with only Bozon scoring 2 assists in the WHL.

  51. HabFab says:

    Bulldogs also getting some injuries, but with Montreal fairly healthy has not impacted them;

    Sven Andrighetto (lower-body injury – day-to-day, happened November 15)
    Darren Dietz (wrist injury – day-to-day, happened October 20)
    Stefan Fournier (lower-body injury – day-to-day, happened November 15)
    Patrick Holland (lower-body injury – day-to-day, happened November 8)

  52. HabFab says:

    Bulldogs win 4th straight and move into 1st place in their Division;
    http://hamiltonbulldogs.com/pressbox/news/?article_id=530

  53. silverfox says:

    So I guess all of us who thought it premature to throw Therrien under the team bus five days ago can gloat a little now. Of course you juggle lines when struggling offensively. What else is a coach to do when you guns aren’t firing. A lot of this griping about Therrien and I said it five days ago is being driven by the way he has been portrayed on 24CH. The Habs weren’t going to win many games until they had a healthy Max Pac, Prust and Emelin. Now they have beaten three top teams in the league and he finally has restored some confidence for DD through the short term demotion and revival.

    • savethepuck says:

      It is good to see that you are starting to come around to join us glass half full guys that have been thinking the Habs are a good team all along. I knew that Max had to only get back into game shape after being out for a long stretch, I knew or more appropriately hoped DD had to return to his previous success. I think MT is the right guy for this group of Habs.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

      • VancouverHab says:

        Well, if you watched Desharnais tonight and saw anything good, then please tell me the period and time & I’ll look it up.

        I saw him watch Gallagher rag the puck around three big defenders for half a minute before dishing to him free behind the net, only for Desharnais to wimp out of an oncoming check and let the opponet take the puck and waster the Gallager work.

        I saw him lose EVERY puck battle he did engage in and avoid every other opportunity. On pure hockey he’s a weak as the present-day Briere is and with 75% less hockey talent.

        We have Gionta and Gallagher to show that hard work pays off for the team. You can’t seriously say that Desharnais plays ANYTHING like either of them. And since his playmaking has almost disappeared, why is he here?

        • savethepuck says:

          I honestly need you to point out to me where I stressed in my reply that I was supporting DD.
          I truly hope that he starts producing, but I definitely didn’t say that he played a good game.

          “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
          Carey Price

          • Alvin says:

            STP….right here where you are pumping your own tires and Deharnais’…..

            ‘I knew or more appropriately hoped DD had to return to his previous success “

  54. Maritime Ronn says:

    Dear GM Bergevin

    It’ time to get Markov under contract.
    What more do you need to see?

    Markov is now ranked 13th for both points by a Dman and ToI ( 25:07) for ALL NHL Dmen.
    His Plus + 10 is ranked 9th for all dmen.

    As each game goes by, his worth increases.
    If 35 year old Marc Streit was able to secure a 4 year/$21M contract last summer, allowing Markov to go the UFA route would easily fetch the same and most probably more.

    Not quite sure if 3 years/$15M would do it, yet what are the repercussions of not extending him or trading him?

    Trading to a contender in the West would bring back some combo of draft choices/prospects that may or may not work out somewhere down the road.

    Then, how are his elite minutes replaced for the next 2 years?
    Who exactly on the team now, or in Hamilton, can step up and play 25 minutes a game that includes top Even Strength minutes – top PP minutes, and 1st or 2nd PK minutes?

    The answer is simple.
    No one.
    Just get it done, GM Bergevin!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Good morning, MRonn! (You still blushing, the morning after?!)

      Good letter — I wonder which avatar here is MB’s. OF COURSE he has one, gets all his best ideas here! Also great post on Pleks — I’m sure I’m not the only one of the 1000s here who are still learning how to optimise our viewing of hockey games, and it’s always good to draw attention to what someone like Pleks is doing at the back of the stage while PK, Gally et al are in the spotlight at the front. If Sid truly is the world’s best player, then Pleks’ achievement in shutting him down last night is simply outstanding.

      And see below: “I’m a good listener.” Beautiful! Actions speak louder than words, baby!

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Absolutely still after those very kind words..
        :-)
        That line by Plex was an all time classic!
        Kind of like the whiny crying child whose parents just ignore until it stops…or they just take away the rattle.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Do we know (from 24CH, for instance) what PK says when he chirps to the likes of Sid? It looked non-stop! I can guess, but I’d love to know. Can we assume it’s stuff he wouldn’t say in front of his grandmother?

    • savethepuck says:

      You mentioned the other day that it has been reported Marky was looking for 3 years 15 to 16.5 Million. Do you have any links or news regarding that?? That equates to between 5 and 5.5 Million a year by my math. My question is that Marky signed a contract with the Habs in 2007 ( I think) for 5.75 Million and then, while injured, signed a 3 year extension for the same 5.75 Million over 3 years. He is playing now IMO like a guy that deserves at least what he is making now. I understand that he will be on a +35 contract, but I think I also remember him saying ( or maybe it was just reported that he said) just get a deal done in Montreal for as much as you can. Regarding CAP issues, I am not that worried about it because I fully expect it to drastically increase over the next few years.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Save

        There was some stuff out there yet I get my info elsewhere…
        Markov also dumped his agent and there may be a surprise as to who will negotiate his next contract :-)
        Look at Ovie. His parents were directly involved in his last contract and he did quite well (13years/$124M)
        That’s ends up being a lot of dollars as those guys are usually paid at 5% give or take a point one way or the other.

        Agree with you about the Cap…that is unless the whole economy doesn’t go down the toilet. Then again, NHL hockey would be the last thing on the mind of most.
        As for the CAN D, most NHL clubs play the multi trillion dollar currency derivative game and protect themselves against huge fluctuations.

  55. Maritime Ronn says:

    Not bad-not bad at all!
    Who could have believed the Habs would earn a perfect 6 points during the week playing 3 teams with a combined record of 40-21-5 before the Habs played them.

    Hopefully the Plekanec doubters can see his overall worth of not only a guy that puts up points, yet also plays the toughest minutes including playing against the other team’s elite lines.

    While many laud the great offensive and defensive abilities of a guy like Patrice Bergeron, perhaps surprisingly they may forget that Plekanec has almost identical offensive numbers….yet has never consistently played with the quality of line mates Bergeron has been fortunate to play with over the years

  56. Habitant in Surrey says:

    Plekanec said Crosby trash-talked all game long.

    “He was talking all the time,” said Plekanec. “I didn’t say anything. I was just listening. I’m a good listener.”

    :)
    _________________________________________________________
    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

    Campaign to Retire Toe Blake’s Number 6 !!!

    …and, last, but not least: …have a peaceful Sunday with Your family

  57. VancouverHab says:

    I have respect for Mr. Boone, and I appreciate his positivity, but his list of “Jack Adams”-like in-game adjustments by Michel Therrien is actually an indictment of the coach.

    Most of the changes were result of catastrophic coaching idiocy in the first place:

    1 .] “Using the Markov-P.K. Subban defence pairing to counter Sidney Crosby after realizing, in the first period, that Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin weren’t up to the task.”

    !!!!!! How about use your elite defense pairing against the league’s best player from the start!

    • “Having Travis Moen take Daniel Brière’s spot with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta…to counter Crosby’s”

    !!!!! Put Briere on a checking line against Sidney Crosby? Hahahahahaha!! And put a proven defensive specialist on in his place? Wow–genius.

    • “Loosening the leash on Subban, who led both teams with 25:20 of ice time, including 37 seconds on the penalty kill.”

    Who, in their right mind, would have ever tightened the leash on the NHL’s best defenseman in the first place? Why, nobody in their right mind. Certainly no NHL coach who had priorities other than definitely suspicious reasons for treating his best player …suspectly.

    • Da Hema says:

      Hey VH! Long time no see. I agree with your critical comments about Therrien. During the past few games the players played with more enthusiasm and therefore better than they did in the preceding losing streak. But let’s face it — Price continues to keep this team in games, and is usually the key factor in its victories. Great goalies can make even the most dim-witted and incompetent coaches look good.

      • VancouverHab says:

        O great water-horse: thank heavens for the sound sensible ones like you around here.

        Spot on that our goalkeeping has been bailing out the person you so accurately describe as “the most dim-witted and incompetent [of] coaches.”

        Don Cherry said today that Paul Coffey will be an NHL coach one day, and so I dream the impossible dream ;–)

        • savethepuck says:

          Saying or complaining that the team only won or was in a position to win because Price played so well, IMO is the same as someone saying that Pittsburgh only won because Crosby scored those 3 goals after being outplayed badly or Washington only won because Ovy scored that many goals when the team was outplayed badly. The thing is, nobody ever says that. Carey is a member of the Habs like any other teammate, and he was a top 5 pick to boot. As a top 5 pick, he should be single handidly winning games for the Habs.

          “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
          Carey Price

    • savethepuck says:

      I think something you missed is that the PK Markov pairing were probably used early in offensive situations instead of shut down situations. I think there are not enough minutes in a game for a defensive pairing to be used in both situations. MT knows what he’s doing, I have faith in him.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

      • VancouverHab says:

        Your faith is to be commended, stp, and I will add in light of your faithfulness that it is indeed to Therrien’s credit that he corrected his own blunders.

        I appreciate you explaining Therrien’s logic for me: that’s a help. But that said, surely he’s to blame for expecting Gorges and Emelin (and excellent second pair though they are) to be able to shut down that line, no?

        Therrien’s correction suggests that he did indeed screw up that call, is that not right?

        • savethepuck says:

          Going into a game, I would assume that a coach with last change of a team using a winning attitude formula would try to use his best offensive pairing of DMen to try to win a hockey game instead of being afraid of losing the game and using them to shut down the offensive opposition. I have no problem at all with MT starting the game with Gorges and Emelin trying to shut down the Pens when Sid is on the ice but then changing it later to PK and Marky seemed like a smart coaching decision to me.
          “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
          Carey Price

          • VancouverHab says:

            Well, I still say that Therrien has some issue with Subban which goes beyond hockey. Subban (as rad says below) is a total stud at this age and can handle way more intense use. I think this is one thing that Torts gets right–he’ll play the Sedns till they drop — they’re pro atheltes in peak condition. I like Vigneault as a coach but his sheltered use of the Sedins got him exactly nowhere.

            I’m still waiting for someone to give an explanation of Therrien’s “I’m going to make Subban a better person.” For me, that is the key here: Therrien has (for a reason of which I can only speculate) a personal antipathy to Subban’s character, for a reason that has nothing to do with hockey.

            Someone said yesterday that it’s not talked about because it’s a non-issue. That’s wrong. It is self-evidently one of the most shocking remarks an pro coach has ever made about a major team-member who is not a Denis Rodman-type nutcase.

            And even for Rodman types, it just is not in a coach’s remit to make a player a “better person”–that is a totally lunatic and unprecedented attitude. Heck, in the case in hand, Subban is almost certainly already a “better person” than Therrien.

            And if you do indeed support Therrien, you need to consider why the Habs coach was silent post-game about Subban sticking up immediately for Markov by fighting after Markov was given a bad hit.

            Every normal coach praises those moments to the skies straight away to the media–especially from their elite superstars, which is what Subban is–because that attitude is the rare and necessary quiddity for championships (have you ever seen a Sedin fight for a teammate? No you haven’t, and no you won’t; and that says it all.)

            Anyway, my respects for your good insights & positivity.

        • Rad says:

          Hi VH. Though you make some good points about Therrien’s shortcomings, I think you’re splitting hairs on the Gorges/Emelin and Markov/Subban vs. Crosby issue. As I see it, the point is that Therrien got it right in time to win the game, i.e. “in-game adjustment.” I do not see it as an egregious coaching error to try Gorges/Emelin initially, to determine whether or not that tandem could handle the defensive assignment, thereby allowing Markov/Subban to focus more on offense, as stp suggests.

          On the last part of your post though (“Who, in their right mind, would have ever tightened the leash on the NHL’s best defenseman in the first place? Why, nobody in their right mind. Certainly no NHL coach who had priorities other than definitely suspicious reasons for treating his best player …suspectly.”) — I have to agree with you 100%. Therrien’s limiting Subban’s minutes this year is definitely suspect, especially when you consider what a horse Subban is. P.K. is in such great physical condition he could handle even up to 30 minutes a game, as do other elite NHL defensemen (Suter, Bouwmeester, etc.) After one quarter of the season, I still do not understand Therrien’s under-utilization of his best defenseman.

          • savethepuck says:

            Thanks for agreeing with me in part, but I am also sure that MT is handling PK’s minutes very well also. The conspiracy theory re MT “hating” or “misusing PK” are extremely exaggerated here.

            “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
            Carey Price

          • VancouverHab says:

            Hello rad: good to chat.
            Well, thanks for that explanation about matching Crosby with Gorges-Emelin. You and stp (and Mr Boone) have certainly better understanding than me about hockey in this regard, and you can consider me corrected.

            Next, if the two of you can find the explanation for Therrien’s attitude toward Subban (and there must be an explanation, the treatment is so weird) then please post it here.

            Great Habs week though!

  58. savethepuck says:

    I see Timo is back, I haven’t seen you in a while. I posted something especially for you just after the game ended ( I think 2 threads ago). It basically said that in case you were wondering, Plex shadowed the best player in the world tonight holding him to 0 points and also scored a goal. I see that in an earlier comment that you were actually giving Plecky some props, so good for you.

    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

    • The_Truth says:

      I think we can see now, for better or worse, Pleks is the team’s best center. I don’t even find it that close.

      • savethepuck says:

        No argument from me regarding the importance of Plex to the Habs. I think he’s fantastic and regardless of offensive #’s( although they are impressive throughout his career), I think his ability to shut down some of the best players in the world and his pealty killing skills need to obviously be taken into account when discussing his importance or value to the team.

        “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
        Carey Price

  59. WinterLions says:

    Therrien’s recent line juggling has obviously worked wonders so far, but I wonder how much of a positive impact DD’s shootout goal in Columbus has had on the team. Yes, they came home the next night and lost 1-0 to NYR, but there seemed to be a bit of a ‘coming together as a team’ when DD scored.

    “Lafleur, coming out rather gingerly on the right side…”

    • FunkyCrabChairNF says:

      I think you’re right on that one, and I’d say there is definitely SOME impact. Tension and frustration are contagious, and we know that both DD and Pacioretty were struggling. The fact that their friends might make it worse. The it gets politicized by the fat mayor… They were possibly headed one of those absurd meltdown seasons.

  60. FormalWare says:

    Mr. Boone has a flair for the dramatic. Jack Adams, indeed! Still, his contention that Coach Therrien suddenly found redeeming brilliance needs to be addressed.

    Even a blind squirrel finds a nut, now and then. Even a stopped clock is accurate, briefly, twice a day.

    Even the line of Desharnais, Pacioretty, ??? can be energized by the likes of Brendan Gallagher.

    But if Gally’s presence was immediately felt on the DD Patchagher line – his absence was equally felt on the Line Formerly Known As EGG.

    Is the coach’s bag of tricks MT? Or will we soon see a new-Bourn’ Identity for the Ellchenyuk line?

    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

    • Habspark says:

      We’ve won three tough games in a row with the lines MT mixed up and threw out there.. No doubt management will be knocking at your door to address this issue..

    • savethepuck says:

      I replied earlier to someone thinking Bournival should be with Chucky and Eller. Basically what has to be realized is that both Bournival have only played LW and center while I have no evidence of Eller playing anything other than center or RW. I think there is no chance of Eller being moved from the center position and there is less chance of MT playing one of the 2 kids on his off wing. Although I love Prusty, I don’t think he has the necessary skills to play with those 2. I think that when Bourque is healthy, either him or possibly Briere will be with Eller and Chucky. That puts Prust on the 4th line giving us one of the best 4th lines in the NHL that can easily play more than 10 minutes of hockey with easily even or plus minutes.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

  61. Habilis says:

    I’ll be the first to say that I hope this is the beginning of something special. I have been more than harsh towards MT, but he has the team firing on all cylinders, can’t ask for more than that.

    Washington (second half of the game anyhow) was a slight blip IMO, but for the players, not the coaches. Minny and tonight were just great performances by everybody.

    This team, with Price playing like this, is a pretty darn good hockey team. I have just never believed that MT is the man who can get the most out of this roster. He’s obviously doing that right now though.

    I’m not on the MT bandwagon yet but I’m glad to be wrong for now and I hope this continues.

  62. Timo says:

    Phew, nail biter again. Habs need to learn not to let teams back in the game.

    Plekanec was clearly getting to Crosby… maybe that;s why they pay him 5 mil. But either way, This was a good game by Habs. Still not enjoying how easy it is to get into the Habs zone and still don’t see Plekanec-Gionta-Briere being a playoffs trio, but at least for tonight I will enjoy it.

    I also truly hope that team Canada braniacs aren’t considering Fluery.

  63. savethepuck says:

    Now that les Boys are healthy and starting to gel, I’m really liking how they are playing. Seems like it took MaxP a few games after his layoff to get in a groove, but I’m loving what I’m seeing from him this week. I’d be shocked if he is not 1 of the NHL 3 stars of the week having 5 goals in 3 games.

    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

  64. ProHabs says:

    Those people suggesting trading MaxPac for Evander Kane earlier this week are eating crow now. Oh ya, that was me. Oops

  65. Prairienewf says:

    What an enjoyable read! What a great game! What a great week!

    Still lots of work to be done but Boone right, Therrien has now begun coaching very effectively as game situation dictates. Very refreshing to see him engaged and active there in that regard. So good to see everyone buying in and contributing. As Boone said, no passengers on bus this week. But buffalo? Fast becoming habs new Achilles heel. Lets see how well we prep for a basement squad that’s had habs number quite a bit the last few years….Lets see!

  66. Harditya says:

    Gallagher is a real special kid. What an effort. Kid has more balls than all of the pests combined in the NHL.

  67. Garbo says:

    Someone mentioned during the game blog… Pleks for captain.

    I agree, don’t think there’s a better candidate to take over when Gionta leaves.

  68. matt jordan says:

    Anyone still think Pacioretti should be a healthy scratch?

    WAHAHAHAHAHA

  69. adadi says:

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, WAAAAAAAAAAAAA, WAAAAAAAA…Hey somebody please change Crosby’s diapers.

  70. habsfan0 says:

    3 wins against elite teams.
    And now a game against a doormat,Buffalo.
    Why do I sense a letdown?

    • Habspark says:

      Seriously? Not a positive word about tonight’s win, just predicting a loss in the next game – that’s all you can say??? I feel sorry for our team ‘supported’ like this. I missed the game and was looking forward to at least one intelligent comment. As it is, all I can think is that thank goodness the team aren’t as gloomy in their outlook as certain no doubt professed ‘supporters’…

  71. durocher says:

    Second. Life remains incomplete

  72. FormalWare says:

    Exacta!


    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)


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