About last night …

WhiteBuff

Thank you, Ted Nolan.
The coach of the visiting Buffalo Sabres did your Montreal Canadiens – and hockey in general – an immense favour Saturday night.
Nolan decided not to dress John Scott for the game at the Bell Centre.
With Buffalo’s 6’8″, 260-lb behemoth safely confined to the pressbox, Michel Therrien saw no reason to dress George Parros.
Instead, Ryan White drew in to the lineup.
And the fourth line – White centring Brandon Prust and Travis Moen – was the Canadiens’ best.

Prust has a goal an assist, two hits and was plus-2 and the game’s First Star.

Moen had two assists and three hits. He was plus-2 and the Third Star.

White had an assist and three hits. He was plus-1 and might have been plus-2 had he not completed a second-period shift and given way to Tomas Plekanec, who converted Prust’s pass into the Canadiens’ second goal.

The fourth liners each played 12 minutes and change at even-strength – more 5-on-5 ice time than either Daniel Brière (6:29) or Lars Eller (8:41).

After an opening period that had nine shots on goal and might have been the worst 20 minutes of “hockey” Bell Centre fans have endured this season, Michel Therrien sent a message to his dozy team. The coach started the second period with his fourth line, and they took all of 19 seconds to produce Prust’s goal and goose the game into something resembling a sports event.

Not that the latter 40 minutes merited inclusion in any DVD boxed set … unless they’re going to compete with Don Cherry’s latest Rock ‘Em/Sock ‘Em with a Snooze ‘Em/Lose ‘Em collection.

The objective of a visiting team is to take the home crowd out of the game – especially when the home crowd is 21,273 hockey connoisseurs who have paid major $$$ for their tickets and expect to be entertained.

Clogging the passing lanes, dominating possession for extended periods in the Canadiens’ end, the Sabres saw to it that entertainment was MIA for most of the evening.

The Sabres outhit the Canadiens 46-26. That barrage of bodychecking exceeded the 38-20 hit marging run up by Ottawa on Nov. 7 – a game the Senators won 4-1.

Buffalo also outshot the Canadiens 25-19. The only other time the Canadiens have been held to fewer than 20 shots this season was when the Devils visited last Monday. The Canadiens managed a mere 17 on Cory Schneider … and won 3-2.

Like the win over the Devils, the conquest of the Sabres was not pretty. But a win is a win, and the two points moved the Canadiens into a tie with Pittsburgh at 41.

Boston is just behind at 40 after beating the Penguins in a game marred by Shawn Thornton’s mugging of Brooks Orpik, barbaric even by NHL standards:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuVq-TZ7AJM

Thornton deserves and will get a lengthy suspension. His loss will punch a hole in what’s generally considered the NHL’s best fourth line: Thornton, Gregory Campbell and daniel Paille.

On this saturday night at least, the Canadiens had a Bruins-quality contribution from their fourth line. White, Prust and Moen can all skate, hit and drop ‘em if necessarily – but not necessarily drop ‘em.

I’m sure we’ll see the unit intact when L.A. visits on Tuesday – the Kings’ first Bell Centre appearance since Nov. 24, 2010.

We also are likely to see more of Alex Galchenyuk with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. The revolving door at LW on the line continues. Max Pacioretty, Travis Moen, Brandon Prust, Daniel Brière and Rene Bourque all have seen service with the captain and the team’s best all-around forward.

Plekanec was picked as Second Star of the Buffalo game. In addition to scoring his 11th goal, tying him with Pacioretty for the team lead, Pleks added an assist on Galchenyuk’s goal and played 21 minutes of his customary cerebral and near-error-free hockey.

He’s not flashy. But man, Plekanec is a good hockey player.

Therrien trusts the 31-year-old veteran in all situations, and Plekanec’s latest task might be to bring out the best in Galchenyuk, who had strugled – along with Eller – since Brendan Gallagher was moved off their line.

Therrien tweaks his trios (I love alliteration), and the Canadiens keep winning.

The fourth-line pluggers were the latest in a cavalcade of heroes who led the Canadiens through a very challenging part of their schedule. The constants have been the goaltending of Carey Price and Peter Budaj and the play of the seven-man defence corps.

The most recent sequence was likened to a playoff series – seven games in 11 nights. The Canadiens took 13 of a possible 14 points.

It’s too bad New Jersey and Buffalo weren’t eliminated.

 •  •  •

Credit Shawn Thornton for facing the music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9re_6HqbWko

 

 

 

654 Comments

  1. ffenliv says:

    31 games down, 51 to go, and the team is 19-9-3.

    I don’t think anyone here will argue seriously that a pace of 19 points from a possible 20 is a sustainable pace. But, with that run going, we’re all pretty high on ‘OMG WE CAN DO ANYTHING!!’

    So, with that in mind, how do people see the remaining 51 games shaking out?

    I think best case scenario is they’re good for 28-18-5, leaving an overall record of 47-27-8, or 102pts. I don’t imagine that pace would see them first in the conference, but it might be good for the division … maybe.

    Edit: Amusingly, if they could sustain the pace set during this run, they’d finish the year with more than 130 points. Probably good enough for 1st …

  2. B says:

    Of the 766 skaters who have played in the NHL this season, none have more goals than Ovechkin’s 22. On the other hand, there are only 22 of 766 who have a worse +/- than his -10. Ouch!

    –Go Habs Go!–

  3. Bill says:

    VHab deserves the respect of having his argument rebutted, instead of just being insulted.

    I would do it, but I’m watching True Lies. I’ll get to it though.

  4. DipsyDoodler says:

    Is it possible to habitually refer to Don Cherry by his nickname “Grapes” and not be a twat?

  5. B says:

    Tarnasty scores his team leading 8th of the season, 2-0 Dogs in the 2nd.

    –Go Habs Go!–

    • frontenac1 says:

      When Marc signed him I said, “who is this guy?” then I checked some of his scraps from the KHL and it became clear. The guy will defend his linemates right away like Prust does. Not the best fighter but tough as nails. Plus he has Skills. Great signing by Marc Imo.

  6. donmarco says:

    This is cold, really cold in fact, but our two closest rivals in beating the cr*p out of each other last night hurt each of them more than the actual results of the game. Orpik out. Thornton will be suspended for a significant amount of time, and it’s conceivable that Neal could face a hearing. Hope Orpik gets well soon, but Karma’s a b*tch, eh Boston?

  7. New says:

    The Thornton/Orpik type incidents can only be stopped one way. Suspend the coach for an equal amount of time you would the player. Until the NHL starts doing that it will continue. Everyone is wasting their time talking about it.

    • frontenac1 says:

      Or just let Mother Nature(Karma) take its course. She will win everytime. If you are drinking fine single malt make sure you temper it with a real beer such as Guinness or Kilkenny and a fine Cohiba. It is all about balance amigos.

  8. Buzz Lightbeer says:

    As i get older my stance on injuries and compassion is definitely a lot higher than it was when i was in my 20′s. I can even say i felt a twinge of pity when Boychuck was laying on the ice struggling for a breath of air,more so for his family watching. But to see Marchand get a knee to the head was so satisfying,it was almost sociopathic. The only thing better would be if it was a soccer punt and that POS never played a game in his life again. What pisses me off is i never once heard the mention in the media of how many times in his career he has tried to injure another player. I’m not really a believer in karma but i understand it can be a b!t@h.

  9. Bill says:

    Montreal ace: Safari? Click on the website address in your navigation bar to highlight it. Press command + c. Then go into the HIO comment box and press command + v. Voila!

  10. VancouverHab says:

    Revisiting.

    PJ Stock was animated, but his remarks were the result of much previous thought on the matter. (Interesting juxtaposition: the Thornton incident animated Stock where it made Don Cherry pensive and sad.)

    I have no especial attachment to PJ Stock (where I entirely adore Grapes), but his position is an entirely defensible one. It can be summarised into two parts, thus:

    1.] The knee to the head by Chris Neal to a defenseless opponent was an outrage: a heinous play that discredits Neal not only as an honourable NHL player but also as a man. In this specific regard, Neal is as despicable as Todd Bertuzzi (that is, a moral outcast.)

    2.] The violent actions by Thornton on Orpik were entirely condemnatory. However, the facts are that (a.) pulling players down in scrums is commonplace in the NHL, and (b.) the type and force of punches that Thornton gave to Orpik are also commonplace in non-fight (scrum-type) situations in the NHL.

    Point [1.] is obvious, sound , and is entirely to Stock’s credit.

    Of point [2.], note that everybody–EVERYBODY–has already and immediately condemned Thornton’s attack on Orpik. Stock condemned them. Cherry condemned them. Thornton himself condemned them. Ron MacLean condemned them.

    Nobody, that means NOBODY, is defending them.

    Additionally, of Point [2.], Stock made the point that had Opik fought Thornton when challenged, the subsequent events would not have occurred. This point is, you know, like, CORRECT. Stock is stating the truth: like it or lump it, he gets to state the facts and the truth without receiving empty abuse in return.

    And further on this latter point, Stock gave a clear explanation: to wit, that fault (in this latter point specifically) lies with the present rules & guidelines in the NHL; which, by having an ill-considered “instigator” rule (a perfect case, by the bye, of the almighty Law of Unintended Consequences in action), has brought about a situation where the NHL is like non-fighting leagues, wherein dirty and cheap sneaky violence replaces the open and honest man-to-man fights that used to obtain in more sensible NHL rules (“more sensible” in this one regard, that is.)

    Stock wants to get Neal-type cretiny out of the NHL: his argument is that current rules and regulations not only accommodate but even promote it.

    All of this, please note, obtains irrespective of one’s views on fighting in hockey.

    So, Stock was entirely reasonable, though animated. So direct remarks against the substance of his delivery, not the man delivering them.

    • frontenac1 says:

      You lost me amigo,after you said kneeing The Rat in noggin was wrong. How else do you deal with vermin?

    • D Mex says:

      Stock is a nimrod, nice try, tho …

      ALWAYS Habs -
      D Mex

    • Phil C says:

      “Additionally, of Point [2.], Stock made the point that had Opik fought Thornton when challenged, the subsequent events would not have occurred. This point is, you know, like, CORRECT. Stock is stating the truth: like it or lump it, he gets to state the facts and the truth without receiving empty abuse in return.”

      While the statement is true, it is irrelevant to whether or not Thornton’s actions were justified. The coach could have benched Orpik. Orpik could have turtled or ran away. Or he could have pre-emptively sucker punched Thornton. All these things would have changed the outcome. They are also irrelevant to the issue at hand. Stock could have been ranting about how Orpik should have just stayed in bed this morning, it would have been just as relevant as what he said.

      As for the instigator rule preventing open and honest man-to-man fights, Stock is, you know, like, wrong. Without the instigator rule, this event would have played out EXACTLY the same way. Orpik would have declined Thornton’s request to fight, so Thornton would have grabbed him anyway, which is what happened even with the instigator rule. In other words, the instigator rule had no bearing on the outcome. It suggests that Stock does not understand what the instigator rule is for.

      • VancouverHab says:

        Good point, but the result in that even would have been turtling and thus a relatively safe outcome. The pull-down-from-behind-the elbow-to-the-head-the-punches-to-a-prone-opponent would not have happened.

        And that is the material point.

  11. slapshot777 says:

    It will be interesting to see how many games the League hands out to Thornton. These past few years the Bruins have been getting away with all kinds of crap and the excuse was ” It was a hockey play” Well guess what they can’t use that excuse for this one. The Bruins are always crying to the league about embellishment.

    Pretty hard to call that an embellishment. I like to see the League drop at least 20 games to Thornton. Not because he is a Bruin either but because the players are getting more and more irresponsible with their actions and no one respects each other anymore.

    I can’t understand how a group of players will stand united and work together to make a better environment for the players together with the NHLPA. They will put the onus on the owners and then go out and play the game and do this sh!t. After the game then come out and say “sorry” and ” I felt sick the rest of the game” That is putting up a front to hopefully show Shanahan that he has shown remorse for his actions in hope of a leaner suspension.

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

    • Max_a_million says:

      You would think a lot. You can’t start punching guys laying on the ice in the head. It was a little Bertuzzi-esque N’est-ce pas?

    • frontenac1 says:

      So is Thornton in tonight against the Leafs or not? It would be nice to see him and Orr beat the piss out of each other. And maybe The Rat and Kadri the Punk knee each other in head.

  12. Strummer says:

    According to Bruce Garrioch ( I know, I know, Bruce Garrioch yada yada…)
    ” Montreal GM Marc Bergevin has been looking for size down the middle.”

    If so that leaves DD as the odd (size-wise) man out ?

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

  13. Mavid says:

    Its wonderful to be at the top of the standings rather than at the bottom..really people stop your bitching..a win is a win..on to the Kings!! and hopefully #6 in a row

    Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

  14. Lafleurguy says:

    Last night`s win reveals the progress M. Bergevin has made in building depth into the team. Brandon Prust was an offensive catalyst, and vital to the win. We`re not saddled with a patch work fourth line like last year`s parade of Blundens and Dumonts and fortuitous waiver pick-up Jeff Halpern. This year`s fourth-liners, Prust, Bournival, and the real T-Mo are used with strategic purpose either for late defensive coverage, or body-guard duties, or just to provide some offensive spark (Bournival). Of course, the adequate goal-scoring would be insufficient if not for Waite-assisted top-notch goal-tending. Completely gone is Price-bashing, partly due to the fact the most leaky goals have been scored on Budaj. Good work, M. Bergevin, M. Therrien.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Max_a_million says:

      Except most everybody on the team comes from the Ghost’s time.
      Murray and Boullion are nice but they are 6-7 rotating d
      Parros is helpful and plays a little, Prust yes, Briere meh (I like him, but he’s not that impactful. Everyone else the Ghost brought in.

      Bournival … what a trade!

  15. Reflektor says:

    The puck is in your court Mr. Shanahan. May you not be influenced by Campbell, Bettman and/or Jacobs.

  16. IdleNoMore says:

    Drop 5 teams from the NHL and you solve the goon issue.

    “He was chewing Juicy Fruit gum, I didn’t know whether to shake his hand or kiss him”

  17. montreal ace says:

    The Dogs and Monsters game is on feed2all Watch, don’t know how to post links or I would.

  18. montreal ace says:

    I am not sure, if the CBC panel said PK”s camp was looking for 8.7 million dollars a year last night, thats a lot of moolah.

  19. frontenac1 says:

    Thornton,Thornton,blah,blah. He’s an Ahole who should get tossed for the season. Marchand? Next time give a harder shot to the coconut! Saludos!

  20. Habilis says:

    In other, non-assault NHL news, Jaro Halak was pulled last night after just 7:29. He allowed 3 goals on 8 shots.

    Fearless prediction: Budaj will be the starting goalie for Slovakia by the end of the Olympic tourney. And that scares me a little.

    Halak has been shaky at best, Budaj has been a rock when called on. So much so that given a Canada-Slovakia game in the medal round, I’d be way more nervous if we were facing Budaj as opposed to Halak.

    • Chris says:

      Ken Hitchcock, who knows a thing or two about hockey, has had no trouble starting Halak in 22 of the Blues’ 28 games this season, and Halak has played reasonably well (2.24 GAA, 0.910 SV%) despite playing for a team where the goalies see dangerously few shots.

      Budaj very well may take over Slovakia’s starter position, but it is Halak’s to lose. Being the #1 goalie for top-tier Stanley Cup contending team is a pretty tough thing to ignore.

    • montreal ace says:

      Hablis you might might be making a good prediction there, it would be crazy Price going against Budaj.

      • Bill says:

        I’m dreaming of a Price/Halak match-up for Gold, myself! WHat entertainment value.

        Of course, a Canada/Russia game with Subban and Price vs Markov and Emelin would also be interesting.

        Full Breezer 4 Life

    • wjc says:

      Halak plays a lot more games so he has a lot more chances to fail.

      wjc

      • Habilis says:

        That’s one view. You could also say that Halak has had more opportunities to succeed, and those all came behind a team allowing the third fewest shots per game in the NHL.

  21. Bill says:

    MRonn: In 2011 the Bruins were the Eastern champs. In the Stanley Cup final the team they played – Vancouver – were the Western champs. As for LA, they were a number 8 seed, but if you recall they had a dreadful start, and were then the best team in the NHL after the new year.

    Both examples are my point exactly.

    It’s true that the Leafs can buy him out in years 6 and 7, but the the problem for the Leafs is that he already sucks in year 1!

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Boston was the 3rd seed in the Easter conference. They were not the best team during the season

      • Bill says:

        Sorry, I meant division champs, not conference champs.

        I am sure you noticed I said “among the best” not THE best, but decided to amend my language for me to help your points, ha :) Anyway, I said, among the best. And the Bruins WERE among the best teams that year.

        They had 103 points and led their division. They were only four points out of the conference lead.

        Then there’s the Blackhawks, whom you did not mention. I guess I’ll have to do a more in-depth study to persuade you if you really don’t believe that the top-teir teams in the regular season are usually the Cup contenders. I’ll post it later!

        Full Breezer 4 Life

      • Chris says:

        Boston had the #5 offence, the #2 defence, the #1 5-on-5 record, and were #5 in faceoffs. Their 103 points ranked 3rd in the East, but was only 4 points behind the Washington Capitals for 2nd in the NHL. Basically, that was a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in everybody’s eyes, with the only big shortcoming going into the playoffs being their absolutely anemic power play.

    • wjc says:

      40 games does not a year make.

      wjc

      • Bill says:

        Point is, I would be comfortable calling the LA Kings one of the top teams in the NHL going into the playoffs that year. A lot of analysts picked them as contenders based on their unbelievable hot-streak going into the post-season.

        Full Breezer 4 Life

  22. Bill says:

    Andy: the problem is, you cannot equate events in a professional sports league with events on the street. The law is pretty clear on this. They consistently refuse to look into all but the most egregious sporting attacks.

    Your average body check, tackle, fastball to the head, boxing jab, or MMA choke-hold would all be defined as assault in the “real world”. Which is precisely why the authorities consistently defer to the governing body of the sport league to deal with them: special circumstances.

    In really unusual circumstances – like the planned attacks on Moore and Brashear – you see the cops grudgingly open a file and quickly close it.

    But they don’t do it for everything that would technically be illegal in a sports game, and I don’t think any of is would really want them to. If they did, you can forget about body checking and tackling, and completely say goodbye to any martial art sport.

    If the police followed the logic of you and Dunboyne Mike, Prust, Parros, Subban, Moen, White, and Murray would all have been charged with assault already this season.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      No Bill. Nothing those Habs have done this season can be considered within the same classification as Chara’s assault on Pacioretty.

      Consider it from this angle. That night, many posters’ immediate reaction here to what they saw was that Pacioretty must be dead.

      Suppose that had been the outcome. Not unreasonable. The law would have held Chara accountable. The only thing that saved Chara from a career-ending spell behind bars was Pacioretty’s good fortune not to have died. However, this doesn’t lessen the extraordinary violence and malicious intent of the assault itself, and for that I would have welcomed criminal prosecution.

      For every single reckless or malicious or dangerous play? Obviously not, or else all those Habs — and their counterparts around the league — might be missing games while doing time.

      I suppose what I object to is legal immunity just because it’s sport. The law should be the law and implemented equally across society, even if it means occasional interventions into professional sport.

      • Bill says:

        Well, the Chara case is very gray area. I don’t think it could have been pre-meditated the way the attacks on Moore and Brashear were. But when you watch the replay you clearly see Chara shove Pacioretty into the stanchion with his arm: you can see the follow-through and everything. At the same time, it happens very fast. I still say in this case there is not quite what you would need to consider legal action, unlike with Moore and Brashear, where, by the way, I AGREE with you.

        Again – and you didn’t address this – if you don’t support legal immunity for sport, are you willing to ban body-checking, vicious tackles, boxing, and MMA? Are you willing to support the idea that when Prust “dummies” Cam Janssen, he should have charges brought?

        Full Breezer 4 Life

      • wjc says:

        Disagree. Patriocetty was hit, with a body check, that is allowed. If he had been disabled or killed, it would have been an NHL problem. No jury would convict him for a hockey play.

        His only misfortune was Chara being so big and the boards being so close and Patriocetty between the two. You think you can prove deliberate intent in a game that condones/encourages body checking.

        I think you let the logo cloud your view of reality. The NHL operates within the boundries of the NHL and unless someone attacks another player with a stick or bangs his head on the ice/boards numerous times in an attempt to injure or maim, the NHL polices itself.

        If this were not the case the NHL would have to close down or restructure itself into a none body hitting league. The league is on solid ground with suspensions, referees and insurance coverage.

        To state otherwise is just not intune with reality. If someone dies in a wrestling show or the UFC has a death, they are covered because the players sign off to the dangers and are covered with insurance.

        wjc

        • punkster says:

          I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here. I’m going to assume you have not watched the Chara on Max hit recently or did not actually watch it closely the first time.

          The puck was long gone from Max and down the ice when Chara hit him.

          It’s not cool to make up shit like you’re doing to try and make your point and you should expect to be called out when you do. Unfortunately that renders the rest of your post BS.

          Edit…see Chris’ comment below for a list of actual examples.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jimZ1tSdPY0

          Still SUBBANGIN’ BABY…
          but…
          ELLER IS STELLAR!!!

          • wjc says:

            I see players getting hit all the time when the puck has left them. I just assmumed it was a 2 second rule or something. I get it, the Bruins are the bad guys and the Canadiens the good guys.

            When you are homer, you are a homer for life.

            wjc

      • Chris says:

        Unfortunately, this is not true Mike.

        For example: Don Sanderson of the Whitby Dunlops, died after hitting his head on the ice during a fight in a minor league game a few years ago. No charges were filed against the other player despite the fact that his actions led to the death of another person.

        As Bill said, sports leagues enjoy a certain amount of legal immunity because of the nature of the sport. Players willingly engage in what is known as a dangerous activity, and physical contact and fighting are both permitted, either explicitly or tacitly, and thus officials only go after the most egregious offences.

        Since 1969, here is the list of NHL players arrested for on-ice infractions:

        1969: Wayne Maki and Ted Green engaged in a stick-swinging brawl during a pre-season game in Ottawa that resulted in skull and brain damage for Green. Both men were arrested by Ottawa police, but both were acquitted.

        1975: Dan Malone was charged by Toronto police with assault causing bodily harm for attacking Brian Glennie from behind. He did community service work in exchange for a no-contest plea.

        1976: Joe Watson, Mel Bridgman, Don Saleski and Bob Kelly were all charged by Toronto police with assault after various incidents in the Leafs-Flyers playoff series that spring. Bridgman was acquitted, while the other players were all convicted, largely because their incidents involved off-ice personnel (Kelly injured an usherette’s eye when he threw his glove, while Saleski and Kelly hit policemen with their sticks during the melee).

        1977: Tiger Williams was charged by Toronto police with assault for hitting Dennis Owchar with his stick, but was acquitted.

        1982: Jimmy Mann was charged by Winnipeg police after leaving the bench and sucker punching Paul Gardner, breaking Gardner’s jaw in two places. He was fined $500 and given a suspended sentence.

        1988: Dino Ciccarelli was charged with assault by Toronto police for hitting Luke Richardson with his stick. He was convicted, and spent one day in jail and was fined $1,000.

        2000: Marty McSorely was charged by Vancouver police with assault with a weapon after hitting Donald Brashear in the head with his stick. He was convicted and given an 18-month suspended sentence.

        2004: Todd Bertuzzi was charged with assault causing bodily harm following his sucker-punch of Steve Moore. He plead guilty and was given a conditional discharge.

        That is 44 years of the most heinously violent acts in the NHL, and the grand total of jail time was one night for Dino Ciccarelli, and that was largely exacerbated by the fact that Ciccarelli was on probation from an indecent exposure charge from the year before when he was caught outside his house in Minneapolis without pants on. They were watching him because an earlier complaint had come in.

        Other than Ontario police and courts, the legal authorities have almost without fail avoided intervening in hockey affairs. If we managed to get through the ultra-violent 1970′s with few to no charges laid, I don’t think it is suddenly going to start now.

    • montreal ace says:

      Bill I think that if a guy pulled what Thornton did at the local rink, he would be facing charges. I am just going with common sense here, as assault and battery have nothing to do with the game of hockey, that I have played and watched. I have nothing against two men fighting, but watching a guy get knocked out while on the ice going too far.

      • Bill says:

        If a guy did that at the local rink, he’d face charges for sure.

        Thing is, at the local rink, a LOT of things that happen in an NHL game would result in charges. The law does not view the NHL and the local rink the same way, and I don’t think any of us would really want it to.

        If what happens in a boxing ring or an octagon happened on a street corner, the book would get thrown at the participants. So what? Definite apples and oranges you’re throwing out here.

        I’m the last guy to defend fighting in the NHL, much less what Thornton did – he should get a hefty suspension/fine – but taking it to the courts is an overreaction.

        Full Breezer 4 Life

      • wjc says:

        Local hockey rink…..NHL to different things. One is entertainment and the players earn millions to put on a show. Things get out of hand at times but this is a multi-billion dollar industry like it or not.

        Players sign off knowing the dangers. Most players play safe and some get criticized for it. Perimeter players anyone. Things happen when body checking is allowed, pressures to win, not get sent down, make a new contract. You play for your bread and it changes the dynamic. Would you turn down a chance to race a car, or play ice hockey or be a regular joe, putting a bolt on a nut.

        Most come out and live their lives in quiet obscurity and if they invest wisely travel the world. Save the tears, players can quit anytime they want. If they felt threatened…..they don’t, they are the few that survive the journey to the big time and the rewards that they come by.

        wjc

        • punkster says:

          Again, maybe you don’t get it.

          “Players sign off knowing the dangers”. That’s entirely your own myopic view, fed by the big media you so often blame, and the oh so excusable almighty dollar card you love to play.

          Again, I call BS on that notion. If the players really understood the consequences, not just what the league informs them, what the PA tells them…if they really understood the long term medical, physical, mental and familial consequences…do you truly believe they would continue to accept the results?

          Wake up to the new reality.

          Still SUBBANGIN’ BABY…
          but…
          ELLER IS STELLAR!!!

  23. Hobie Hansen says:

    Brooks Orpik can be a very frustrating player to play against. He’s got the Alex Emelin gene and has a knack for hitting people hard and usually clean. He’s flattened a number of Habs and takes advantage of our smaller forwards and usually play us really tough.

    What Shawn Thornton did is totally unacceptable. I understand Thornton was upset about his teammate being injured by Orpik but if he doesn’t want to fight that’s just the way it is! Thornton is capable of throwing big body checks, his only option to get back at Orpik should have been to hit him with a hard body check and continue to ask him to drop the gloves.

    I think Thornton deserves 20-25 games.

  24. Dunboyne Mike says:

    I hate that my enjoyment of the Habs’ incredible run at the moment has been diluted today by my preoccupation with what happened in the Boston-Pittsburgh game and the cynicism of the NHL.

    I’ve offered a couple of rants over the course of the day, but the conversation has been impressively elevated on this page in long posts by ffenliv, Big Ted, Morenz7, and Cranbrook.

    Strongly recommended. Great posts, guys.

  25. Bill says:

    MRonn: I don’t buy the idea that “everything changes” in the post-season. Usually it’s the teams who are among the best in the regular season who win the Cup.

    Anyway, Clarkson has 5 goals in 44 playoff games. That’s a serious drop-off from his regular season production (99 goals in 446 games … not great) and doesn’t make me think of him as a serious post-season asset.

    Yeah, he’s gritty, he’s a grinder … you don’t lock those guys up for seven years, five million per!

    • Mike D says:

      You do if you’re stupid!

      - Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

      • D Mex says:

        He wasn’t overly ” gritty ” at the Bell last weekend.
        Did you catch Prust’s comment to him about Murray on 24CH ?
        It was Priceless !

        ALWAYS Habs -
        D Mex

        • Mike D says:

          Hahaha – sure did!

          “You don’t want to go with Dougy, do ya? You don’t want it with Dougy!”

          LOVED IT!!!!!

          That, and his comment to Neidereitter in the last episode: “What the F**k are you doing? You wanna get f’n dummied?!”

          I love Prusty!

          - Honestly yours
          Twitter: @de_benny

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Bill

      The leafs don’t care about year 6 or 7. If it does not work out they have the financial wherewithal to buy him out then.
      when Boston won the Cup, were they the best regular season team? What about LA?

    • wjc says:

      To be fair you will have to wait until he plays 450 games with the Leafs to compare. Everything is not linear in life. NHL pay structure is nuts, come to think of it, same for all sports. Fans dig into their wallets, especially in Toronto and Montreal and pay the profits, some of which go to the players.

      The billion dollar leafs, are prepared to pay this small pittance and lets wait and see how it works out.

      To you/me a million dollars is big money, to the Leafs etc. it is a fart in the wind.

      wjc

  26. D Mex says:

    @ dragonwind2000

    You’re correct, of course, that it’s ridiculous Orpik should have to ” man up ” for a clean or, at worst, borderline hit. However, this kind of thinking strikes a blow to the heart of Bruins hockey and, by extension, Gary Buttman.

    You know, the ” big bad ” BS – we maul your women, your children, but make a real-life hockey play that we don’t like and, well, you just gotta’ pay … cuz it’s how we roll.

    Except at the Bell last Thursday, with Parros and Murray in the lineup, and following a borderline hit on Boychuk (with MaxPac taking 2 minutes to boot) , when there was nary a peep from the goon squad. Interesting, huh ? …

    Now note the fearless blog-leader extending cudos to Thornton for … on second thought, just consider the source, and laugh.

    ALWAYS Habs -
    D Mex

    • montreal ace says:

      Mike gives Thornton credit for facing the music, he is not condoning the act.

      • D Mex says:

        I’m aware, and couldn’t give a horse’s patoot.
        He’s a necessary presence here – nothing more, and one whose opinions add little in the way of value or usefulness IMO.

        One of those comments was about Alexei Kovalev, and it fit squarely in the definition of yellow journalism, which includes generous doses of tough talk when you don’t have to face up to the guy you just pi–ed all over.
        In a sometimes overturned world, he’s a worou from where I sit here in Priest Farm …

        ALWAYS Habs -
        D Mex

    • wjc says:

      Consider the source and laugh….good advice….ha ha ha haha. Hockey fans never disappoint.

      wjc

  27. FormalWare says:

    Nice piece by Kerry Fraser on how things got out of control, Pens@Bruins, last night. As someone who didn’t see the game, I found Fraser’s recap of the escalation points (points at which the “temperature” might have been de-escalated) quite useful in forming a picture, in context, of what happened.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=438513


    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

  28. Mike D says:

    Lots of agreement out there – albeit speculation – that Gionta won’t be returning next year. A reasonable assumption considering his likely salary, our cap situation, and his declining offensive production.

    Assuming he isn’t brought back, should Habs keep him for the rest of the year and lose him for nothing in the summer? OR, trade him before the deadline and get a good return for a player who would be attractive to teams looking to bolster their playoff roster?

    - Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I suppose depends how much you can get for him.

      • Mike D says:

        Considering what some teams have gotten for lower-quality players than Gio, a 1st round pick or a very good prospect would be the expected return.

        Keep in mind that the type of team who would rent Gio would be one that anticipates (rightly or wrongly) that their pick would be in the 25th-30th range.

        - Honestly yours
        Twitter: @de_benny

        • D Mex says:

          Still, a Top-30 pick and something else that can be packaged up with (an)other asset(s) at the draft table. Something you have to look at, for sure.

          ALWAYS Habs -
          D Mex

        • The_Truth says:

          I don’t think anyone would give up a 1st rounder for Gio. He is not an impact player, but a complimentary piece. Maybe a 2nd.

          In that case I would keep him for the Habs run. He is more valuable for us than a 2nd rounder or 2nd tier prospect.

          • IdleNoMore says:

            Gio won’t be going anywhere until after this season

            “He was chewing Juicy Fruit gum, I didn’t know whether to shake his hand or kiss him”

    • JF says:

      I don’t think trading your captain at the deadline if you’re a serious contender is a good idea. I actually wouldn’t mind extending Gionta for a year or two, depending on the options. Despite his declining production, he’s still excellent defensively and he would be a great role model.

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      To me, it’s simple. If we are contenders, we won’t be trading useful players, even if they are not in next years plans.

    • wjc says:

      In other words, get rid of a useful player going into playoffs. Or trade him off so someone else will lose him for nothing.

      Complicated world….give up on the playoffs. Keep him and role for a couple of rounds and profits for ‘the Molsons’. Not your profits.

      Only let him go if you have someone as good to take his place.
      He is your capatain, don’t forget, what is the message you send to the other players/fans….pack her in boys, not serious this year.

      wjc

  29. Bill says:

    Habsfan0: I don’t think he’s played the embellishment card yet. But he did say that what happened to Orpik was no different than what happened to Eriksson … which for me was an eye-widener, mouth-opener, triple-head-shaker.

    Julien is so comfortable being a lying, self-righteous jerk. He should’ve been one of those lawyers who advertise on TV.

    • D Mex says:

      I think he’s perfect as coach of the Bruins : self-righteous, promotes goonery, not overly articulate – or bright …
      Straight from the Cherry mould.

      ALWAYS Habs -
      D Mex

  30. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Happy days! It was the Alexis Nihon Plaza branch for me.

    “Is that PLASTIC?” says my little brother to a sad old creep who flashed us.

    And yeah, forgot they sold pets. My Dad refused to recognise the word ‘Mart”, always said “Oh I’ll pick one up at Miracle Market”, impervious to subsequent verbal abuse by his offspring.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      MAAAAW!

      Did this one EVER end up in the wrong place!

      I am now re-posting it where it belongs, but leaving this one here just to keep people alert and pour encourager les autres.

      [that flasher thing actually happened]

  31. Garbo says:

    Any news reports about criminal charges for Thornton? I would be surprised if it isn’t at least investigated. No different than Bertuzzi except for the outcome which is immaterial to a criminal charge.

    The fact that he first attempted to challenge Orpik within the rules of hockey makes this even worse in my opinion. Thornton then decided to take measures clearly outside the normal conduct of the game and with an obvious intent to injure.

    He should be charged.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Except game was in Boston, local police there will probably give Thornton a medal of honour for the play.

    • Bill says:

      It’s such a tricky area.

      I supported criminal charges against McSorley and Bertuzzi. Such obviously premeditated attacks intended to cause serious damage.

      I didn’t support them in the case of Pacioretty/Chara, because while Chara is a lying scumbag, it was real heat-of-the-moment stuff that happened so fast … it wasn’t a hockey play, but it was close enough for me to rule out assault charges.

      I don’t support them in this case either. Again, Thornton let his rage get the best of him and pulled a major scummy move, but it was heat of the moment. Honestly, guys sucker-punch each other in the NHL all the time. It’s just below McSorley and Bertuzzi. It’s 15-20 games. Don’t think it calls for police intervention.

      If he’d seriously damaged Orpik’s neck, and the guy couldn’t play again, however, this is a slam-dunk multi-million dollar lawsuit.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • Andy and the habs says:

        In a normal society, someone who lets his emotions gets the best of him usually pays after, after they beat up someone so they can feel better.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Ah Bill!
        I kept reading, expecting a killer argument sufficient to reverse my own view that Chara was guilty of crime. Not this time, though. I think Andy’s point trumps yours pretty well. I really and truly welcomed the Sureté investigation but never believed it was more than box-ticking/window-dressing.

    • habsfan0 says:

      Has Julien accused Orpik of embellishing as yet?

  32. Stevie.Ray says:

    Last night I learned that I have been calling Shaun Thornton, Scott Thornton for years.

  33. Maritime Ronn says:

    NFL Detroit @ Philly
    Huge snowstorm. hilarious

  34. HabinBurlington says:

    Holy White Out, Detroit vs Philly game is a complete snowstorm!

  35. Seps says:

    There’s been lots of talk on here about “tough” stretches of the schedule, but after watching last night against the nhl’s worst, is there really a game you can win without showing up? It’s not like that was break night against Buffalo last night. The true tough stretches are high amount of games in short amount of time like we just went through. But in terms of quality of teams, we were in tough against a New Jersey squad who aren’t high in the standings to say the least.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      hi seps

      There is some thinking out there that it is more difficult to play against a crappy team than a good team.
      It’s hard to prepare because a coach has trouble identifying top lines. Players have some trouble because there is no rhyme or reason to the opposition system.
      Everything gets out of synch.

  36. Caesar says:

    On the last 24ch Prust looks at Clarkson (I think) and says you don’t want to go with Dougy do you?

    Clarkson skates away…..

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Wow! Like nuclear arms — defense based on deterrence.

    • Bill says:

      Maybe he should go with Dougie. Because I am having a hard time figuring out what Clarkson’s five million dollar function is.

      Clarkson and Clowe had “horrible signing” written all over them: a lot of guys here wanted them on the Habs. You know who you are.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • Stevie.Ray says:

        I think it’s safe to say though that nobody on here wanted them for that price.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I would have been ecstatic if we had signed Clarkson, however, that contract is beyond ridiculous. Also have to admit, I thought Clarkson would have been more effective. Perhaps we are seeing just how important his linemates in New Jersey were to his success.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Clarkson was brought in for playoff hockey when everything changes. He is not expected to score 40 goals during the season. He is expected to be a big grit presence in the post season.

        Right or wrong, we’ll see yet way too early to judge

  37. Arnou Ruelle says:

    From the way Galchenyuk is playing right now, I think our CH won the lottery during the draft last year (he’s suppose to be the 1st pick, not the 3rd pick). Edmonton can’t even utilize Yakupov wisely, so he’s now asking to get out of that place.

    Gallagher is also playing good hockey. Both Gally and Chucky will have their entry levels done by 2016, I assume they will get the same type of deals to sign here like Pacioretty and DD got.

    As for upgrades, Bergevin will wait probably in postseason to make moves. Gionta is not coming back, Boullion might not get a new offer sheet. So the probable trade might be Bourque. I have a feeling Murray might stay here, maybe Parros too. I don’t think contract issues will happen with Subban and Eller. What is going to be an issue is Markov’s extension.

    What do you guys think, should Markov come back?

    I know its too early to talk but after the past 23 games, it looks like the best defensive pairing in the NHL will ask more money to stay here.

  38. Psycho29 says:

    For those of you who missed Andi Petrillo on HNIC last night..
    Picture *ahem* is below:

    Andi Petrillo ‏@andipHNIC
    Thx to 2006 Olympic silver medalist Amanda Overland & T.O. Speed Skating Club for making me look like a pro!

    https://twitter.com/andipHNIC/status/405862537503068160/photo/1

  39. FormalWare says:

    How completely – and ironically – inconclusive are the results of the current poll. One-quarter of us say Yes, one-quarter, No – and the rest of us are on the fence!


    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

  40. HabinBurlington says:

    Lost in the news out of Boston is that Chris Kelly suffered a broken ankle from a slash by Dupuis. Chris Kelly is a big part of the depth on that Bruin team, very responsible player for them.

  41. DipsyDoodler says:

    Some people ask why was Orpiks taken out on a stretcher with a neck brace.

    The reason is with someone who is unconscious or not fully conscious it isn’t possible to determine whether there was a cervical spine injury. His head was snapped back twice, the second time while he was perhaps stunned and unable to brace himself.

    It’s a reasonable protocol to stabilize the spine in a case like this.

    If you move the patient with an unstable spine fracture it could cause displacement of the vertebrae and severe damage to the spinal cord.

    The second reason is for drama. You guys are right about that.

  42. Bill says:

    Nine straight games with two goals or less allowed by Price … geez.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  43. Hobie Hansen says:

    My goodness, this team can do no wrong right now!

    Being a big Prust fan, even I was getting on him a bit yesterday to ease up on the fights and concentrate on putting the puck in the net.

    What does he do? He goes and scores a nice one and sets up Plekanec with a beaut pass!

  44. Captain aHab says:

    So Habs are playing real well right now…real well. They were playing real well last year as well until the wheels fell off. So my question is are we really one injury away to Emelin from falling flat or are we better? Early season would seem to point to a potential weakness. I think if MB trades, it’ll be for a steady and solid d-man. Not a world beater…just steady. Might be a pure rental.

    The other question is are we tough enough to sustain “playoff hockey” where the refs put the whistles away? I have my doubts there….The Devils were pretty much allowed to hook and grab and the Habs had trouble. Our game is speed and if teams are allowed to hook and grab, we’ll be in trouble. We’ve also scored a fair bit on the PP and you know that those are going to be far fewer when the playoffs begin. So I would think MB might also look for someone who can help the 5 on 5 play. Does that mean getting MOAR BIGGER again? Who knows.

    I guess my point is that a lot of people ask why MB would look for a trade now and the answer might be “because he saw that same movie last year and the ending wasn’t great.”

    I guess it depends on whether he sees his team as a real contender. We’ll find out soon.

    —————-
    Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Lots of hockey to play before that March trade deadline.
      Also being healthy gives the Habs NHL depth and not AHL depth. Huge difference.

      MB will make a hockey trade, but won’t mortgage the future on a Hail Mary rental.

      • Captain aHab says:

        If Emelin goes down who replaces him? We have Murray now but he isn’t Emelin’s equal. Seems Tinordi and Beaulieu aren’t ready either. Pateryn? No idea.

        If there’s a trade, I doubt MB will wait until the deadline as the prices go through the roof then.

        —————-
        Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          The same can be said for the top teams.
          If Keith or Seabrook go down. If Doughty goes down. If Chara goes down.
          A lot comes down to luck and health.

      • ont fan says:

        Good goaltending and confidence goes a long way. Winning the close games and not giving up more than a couple of goals must make them believers. Other teams would have to play a little differently knowing defensively they are for real. Especially in the playoffs.

  45. DipsyDoodler says:

    PJ Stock’s argument is that “Thornton would not have done what he did if Orpiks had manned up and fought him when challenged.”

    This argument is both illogical and subtly antisocial. It’s like Tory politics. No wonder it appeals to VancouverHab.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Agree with your comments until you chose to make it Political.

    • Andy and the habs says:

      I think he makes those brain dead comments when it’s time to change his bladder leakage underwear.

    • Orpik shouldn’t have to man up and fight just because he made a clean check. It might have been borderline interference, but not dirty or to the head. Thornton’s the one who has to “man up.” He’ll have some games in the press box to think on that, and maybe he will. Maybe.

      Defense wins championships

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Respected gentlemen! I disagree with you all (if, that is, I am reading you correctly — never a given!).

      For all the microscopic regard I have for PJ Stock, his Thornton statement is almost certainly true, however unpalatable: had Orpik accepted Thornton’s original invitation to dance, the later incident would not have occurred.

      Personally, I don’t think he should have danced either, nor do I think he deserved an assault. I think punishment should be handled by the league (some day before I shuffle off) and not left to the players.

      With that display, Thornton revealed pretty conclusively that he is lacking the requisite self-control to be classified as a professional. He therefore does not belong in the league.

  46. frontenac1 says:

    What the heck is going on with the recent guests on AC ? First it was Eric Belanger with his Riddler suit from Batman,then last night DD shows up wearing Leprechaun pants and gauche socks! At least Gally pulled off the Brash and Impertinent look.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      I saw those socks. Though I was watching something from the 1960s.

    • Bripro says:

      That’s too funny Front!
      I was also trying to draw a comparison.
      I had Belanger’s suit equating to Latka Gravas’.
      And DD looked like his mother shopped at Miracle Mart, and forgot about their return policy, before they went bankrupt.
      I think the socks are strategic. They make you look down, giving the impression that he’s taller than he actually is.
      I know this from personal experience.
      I own some wallpaper socks as well.

      • Captain aHab says:

        Remember that typical chemical smell at Miracle Mart? Was it the floor cleaner they were using?

        —————-
        Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

      • frontenac1 says:

        Miracle Mart on Jean Baptiste! Man, I loved that place. My mom would give me 75cents to go to the lunch counter while she was shopping. I could get a hot dog, fries and a coke! Then I would go over to the pet dept. And cause a ruckus with the animals. Good times amigo!

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Happy days! It was the Alexis Nihon Plaza branch for me.

          “Is that PLASTIC?” says my little brother to a sad old creep who flashed us.

          And yeah, forgot they sold pets. My Dad refused to recognise the word ‘Mart”, always said “Oh I’ll pick one up at Miracle Market”, impervious to subsequent verbal abuse by his offspring.

  47. YoNiko says:

    This is a great start for our habs and im sure no one would have been opposed to being offered this position at the beginning of the season with our goalie showing this much dominance as well.

    Two quick things.

    1- there is too much detail when analyzing the play of PK by media etc regarding the olympics. I watched 3 games this week other then our habs games. Ottawa Tampa, Anaheim St Louis and LA Anaheim

    I must say.. in yesterdays game… Boumeester and Pietrangelo looked absolutely horrible. And im not wearing my habs glasses to say that. They were -2 and -3 respectively.. and pietrangelo in particular made 3 horrendous turnovers… 1 leading directly to a goal. I caant see how he is ahead of PK in all honesty… Pk is superior in physical and offensive attributes and has that speed/ x factor that pietrangelo simpy cant have. I imagine the reason he is so high on the depth chart is because theyd like to have a def pairing that platy together etc. a la seabrook keith in 2010

    Karlson was average against tampa but i honestly think he is one dimensional and offers nothing but great offensive brains.

    Doughty looked ok against anaheim but nothing that would make me take him ahead of PK. Other then having already played in the olympics.

    my other point is about two habs players in particular. Two that havent gotten some slack from HIO posters and media alike.

    Firsst Daniel Birere. I really think some of us are really hard on him. Ok hes not big and tough etc. But based solely on the chances hes been givien. He is actually producing way more then most players on the team. Lets compare him quite easily with another simlar player

    DD. They are tied in points. However, there are a few things that lie about that stat.. and unfortunately not in DD favor. Briere plays an average of 3 minutes less per game including 1:44 minutes less per game on the PP. DD hals also playes 8 games more then DB. so if u take into account that DD has played approximately 150 minutes more TOI the Briere, including much more PP time as well as playing with better quality teamates, we should really cut him some slack. DB I mean. DB is also a proven playoff performer whereas DD has dissappeared in the two playoff series he played.

    The other player I keep hearing about is Chucky. how he has struggled since being taken away from Gally etc.in retro, he has actually outproduced galy in spite of playing way fewer minutes and less ‘quality’ ice time. as well as less overall ice time. hes now third in points on the team and has been for a while and is playing with a few different wingers every game and not having that stability over the last 15 days or so. He has 4 goals in the last 7 games including 2 game winners and is often playing less then 11 minutes in that stretch.

    Things have to be taken in stride and we have this tendancy to judge a player shift by shift rather then give them some time to showcase some attributes.

    i.e. Crankshaft. At the beginning of the season peeps were ready to crucify him. Now he is one of our more stable defenders

    also the habs are 36-9-6 with Emelin in the lineup since last year.

    Crazy stat.

    • Chris says:

      It has always amazed me a little how much we tend to overhype Gallagher. He’s been a great addition to the team the past 80 games, but he’s also streaky as hell.

      He’s currently sitting on 1 goal and 3 assists in his past 12 games. Gallagher is struggling just as much as Eller (2 goals and 3 assists in past 12 games), and Galchenyuk has hardly been struggling offensively (5 goals and 1 assist in past 12 games).

      This edition of the Habs has been hard for opposing coaches to figure out, as the scoring load has been carried by different lines for different periods of time. Other than a short blip, the good news is that at least one line has been going reasonably well at any given time, combining with strong goaltending to help the team avert a losing streak.

      • frontenac1 says:

        Gally makes the players on his line better.And he dresses with style and understated flair.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Not sure it is possible to over hype a player who constantly goes to the hardest places on the ice despite being undersized. To me this courage and spirit he plays with cannot be over hyped.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Don’t forget what doesn’t show up on the stats sheet.
        Gallagher has a dangerous north south game that attracts attention from the opposition -sometimes 2 players.

        When that happens, that gives huge time and space to Davey and Max. That has been evident since Gallagher has played on that line.
        Take him away from that line, but a Briere there, then watch the time and space completely vanish.

        • Bripro says:

          Absolutely Ron, which begs the question…
          If Gally can take the Punishment and still come out with the puck, what’s stopping Briere?
          I realize his game has been getting better (his tape-to-tape pass to Gio the other night was sweet), but if he’s going to earn enough respect from MT to play more minutes, he has to play a more aggressive style over 200 feet.

          • Maritime Ronn says:

            Bri
            Perhaps his best days are behind him.
            Maybe the concussions and the +$60M he has earned in his career has some bearing

          • HardHabits says:

            Gallagher is a gym rat, has a dad who is a strength and conditioning coach so he started from square one focusing on physical conditioning, which combines to make for a player who might be smaller that his opponents but is pound for pound stronger than most and is built like a lean, mean fighting machine. Gallagher is extremely athletic, agile and skilled. Briere is nowhere near as conditioned. Briere however has experience and natural skill, and we saw some of his excellent hockey sense with a few nifty passes he’s made, notably the one to Gionta against New Jersey that went through a few legs and sticks and landed squarely on the tape. Kudos to Gionta for being at the right place at the right time and being able to hammer it home.

            The Habs are getting that balance between having enough gritty players with size and gritty players with speed and skill.

        • YoNiko says:

          I wasnt downplaying Gally’s effect on the team and that line.. but rather analyzing Chucky’s overall play

      • Mavid says:

        I don’t understand how anyone can criticize Gallagher..they guy has so much heart..and is as tough as nails..his energy knows no bounds..stats would never tell the true story of this incredible young man..one of my favorites by a mile.. and then there is that million dollar smile..

        Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

        • Chris says:

          I can criticize any player in the league if they’re not producing. Heck, I criticize Crosby all the time, and there is nobody like him in the league right now.

          Gallagher gets a lot of credit for his production even when it isn’t actually there. The hot player on that line right now is Pacioretty…he’s sniping goals from all over the place.

          I am not at all concerned that Gallagher is slumping…he will break out of it. I just thought it was a bit amusing over the past 2-3 weeks when Gallagher’s name suddenly started being dropped as a possible dark-horse for the Olympic team. Come on…he’s a good player, but he’s not even close to that level because of his one-dimensional play.

          What irks me with Gallagher is that he (through no part of his own) has somehow been identified as the key player on the Galchenyuk-Eller line, and that they struggle whenever he is taken away. Both Galchenyuk and Eller played their most productive hockey of the season after Gallagher had been taken off their line last season, and they are doing okay right now as well.

          • twilighthours says:

            Is that an irk with Gallagher or with his supporters?

          • Chris says:

            Supporters. I like Gallagher a ton, even if I would want to clobber him on the ice. :)

            By the way, I did miss your joke the other day. When I re-read it, I laughed pretty hard. That WAS well played, and I’m an idiot for missing it!

  48. habsfan0 says:

    With over 1/3 of the season in the books,it’s safe to say that the changes made to increase scoring have not had their desired effect. I’m referring to the changes made to the depth of the nets and the alterations made to goaltenders’ equipment.
    While minor,the changes I’d like to see made to the game are as follows:
    Eliminate the trapezoid behind the goal.
    Reinstall players’ benches on opposite sides of the ice.
    Allow 1 coach’s challenge per game,whether it’s on a call or non-call by the officials.
    Have home team return to wearing white while visitors wear dark coloured jerseys. I imagine season ticket holders must be getting awfully bored always seeing visitors wear white rather than the different colours of their dark unis. I don’t understand why this rule was changed,unless their was some study which proved a team wearing dark colours had a psychological advantage to a team in white which is why GMs preferred the home team to wear dark sweaters.
    Bring back wooden hockey sticks.

  49. Ian Cobb says:

    Until they take fighting or any hit to the head out of this game, I will continue to put up this post about concussion!!!

    After concussion, severe depression and it can kill.!

    What is a concussion?, as comprehended and explained by myself.

    I have been involved as a lay person with research pertaining to neurology at a major medical university. I have picked up a lot of information working first with veterinarian pathologists when I was doing research on my fox and mink ranch with calcium.
    I have been involved a few years ago with the neurology research dept. from a major medical university. Only as the handler of my research birds and animals involved in the study. As well as offering some of my former findings from my own animal autopsy’s on my ranch.

    So I do not profess to be an expert on the subject pertaining to concussion, but I will try to explain, the best that I can, what happens to the brain cells that have been concussed inside the skull. And why one must stay completely resting after a concussion.

    The very soft brain cells, when violently thrown against the skull, are damaged and the neuron releases a potassium chemical out of the brain cell. Leaving a void. Calcium that is already present around the outside of the cells, seeps into the cells replacing the potassium.
    This calcium is what gives the chemical imbalance to the brain and is what causes the damage. Until all of this calcium leaves the brain cells completely, and it can take a long time, depending on how much calcium was taken on each cell. The patient is left extremely vulnerable to instant death upon a second bump, or at least permanent brain damage as the calcium solidifies upon second impact. Even a hard coughing spell or light exercise can cause severe pain and damage. Complete rest is needed.

    These damaged cells have to be cleared completely of this calcium before one can resume activity to avoid the calcium from solidifying, causing more serious consequences including death.

    This is very acute in young people under the age of 24 as the brain is still growing and developing.
    Please, coaches and parents know this, every severe contact to the head can cause some cells to expel potassium and take on calcium. A second, even slight bump, with the cells still containing calcium, can be even more deadly.
    Ian Cobb

    • The Dude says:

      Ian,better stop shot blocking or get rid of the frozen volcanized rubber puck too.

    • Just a Habs Fan says:

      Probably better use copy and paste Ian or stop watching the games altogether. Perhaps if you allowed accidental hits maybe hockey could survive but to make a statement all hits that make there way to the head is a bit much. There are accidental hits sometimes….what the hell is next Ian hockey with no checking at all…no lifting the puck maybe…I rather see passionate hockey not a bunch of Daniel Briere types floating around the rink trying to stay out of everyone’s way……what entertainment does Daniel Briere offer fans…..oh yes he is reportedlty good in the playoffs. You know when someone makes the same statement too often it gets kind of like a NJ hockey game….just too predictably borring to tune in. Just saying Ian with respect. I don’t mean this post to be insutling Ian becasue I believe you are honest and honourable guy but come on we all know what a concussion is and so do the players that play the game.

  50. theox_8 says:

    Obviously I hate the maple leafs but after their collapse in the third last night I hate them even more . All they had to do was cover a 2 goal lead then I would be up 4000 on proline lol . Last time I ever pick them for something !

  51. habsfan0 says:

    With Boston here in town to play Toronto,tonight is one of those rare occasions where I’ll be cheering for the Laffs.

    I might have to wash out my mouth with soap,though.

  52. Bill says:

    Rey: He signed an offer sheet with the Flames as an RFA last year. Colorado matched it: rule says they can’t trade him for a calendar year after matching the offer.

    He might be able to play top six but his salary is insane. 6.5 million just to qualify him?? No thanks. That’s the salary of a bona fide top-line player. Not a 20 goal, 50 point guy.

    • RockinRey says:

      Interesting point Bill re: O’Reilly. What about a top center like DD ? Gio ? Bourque? These are all perceived top end guys but are just not producing commensurate to their salaries…. This guy is 22 and if the scouts think he has upside…..he might be worth a look!

      It is worth noting Gallagher is making 600k and change and along with Eller and Chucky were the de facto first line and carried the team for the first 6 weeks. There are arguments to be made that numerous players on the CH are worth more to them than they would be to any other team. Again- Gio,Bourque, Briere and DD. You could even say Moen .

      Even Pleky ( whom i like and think has really picked up his game of late) is not a bona fide first line center as we all know. And his productivity is in decline. Take the these guys over the whole season and these guys listed above are really not top 6 guys.

      ————————————————–

      You are entitled to your opinion even if you are wrong.

      • Clay says:

        Re: Pleks – he s on pace to match his best season ever in terms of goals and points. I’m not sure why you think that his productivity is in decline.

        __________________________
        ☞ “The deepest sin of the human mind is to believe things without evidence” ~ Aldous Huxley ☜

        • RockinRey says:

          On pace yes but it has been in decline. We’ll see if he can keep it up. He has been streaky in the past and I must admit during recent games that he has been very noticeable. I just think that he will never be truly appreciated until he leads them in playoffs head to head vs number 1 guys.

          ——————————————————————————————————
          You are entitled to your opinion even if you are wrong.

          • Humungosaur says:

            I for one have appreciated Plekanec here for many years. I hope I can appreciate him for many years to come, wearing the CH.

  53. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Scrivens is looking pretty good. So where’s the talk of the Leafs trading the wrong goalie?

    There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk but … there is fighting in hockey.

    • ffenliv says:

      Trades are such a roll of the dice, eh? I’m all in for the Habs trying to acquire some more talent, but then you see a situation like this.

      Although, the Kings are, I think, a lot better than the Leafs in general, but you can’t deny Scrivens’ good play.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Reimer is younger, and has more experience in regular season and now playoff games. Also, Kings would have opted for the the lower cap hit.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Bill says:

      How quickly they forget “Scrivezina”!

      Full Breezer 4 Life

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Proof that L.A.’s defence and team play is strong enough to make most goalies look real good.

      Toronto’s goaltending is not their weakness, and no one in T.O. is suggesting the wrong goalie was traded.

      • Chris says:

        I’m not sure if I agree that it is just L.A.’s defence making the goalies look real good or also the fact that Bill Ranford and Kim Dillabaugh deserve acclaim for the development of goaltenders.

        If we’re going to take away a bit of credit from Quick and Scrivens because both of their numbers look good, we should probably be fair and point out that Price (1.95 GAA and 0.938 SV%) and Budaj (1.80 GAA and 0.934 SV%) feature almost identical numbers as well. Maybe Montreal’s defence corps deserves more respect than it gets? :)

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I am not taking away any credit from Quick being a great goalie, but I watched a great deal of Scrivens hockey with both the Leafs and Marlies, and he isn’t a premiere goalie, but presently looks like one. That is my only point.

  54. Bill says:

    Giroux has already turned his season around. Leads Flyers in scoring. He’s not for sale but I would give them whatever they wanted minus Chucky, Subban, or Price. Would they take Gallagher and Tinordi? Probably not.

    • ffenliv says:

      Forget Giroux! We should shift our sights further along in the same state? Is that Crosby fellow available?

      Maybe give them Leblanc and a 5th. Seems fair. :)

      [/sarcasm]

    • Chris says:

      Agreed. 0 goals and 7 assists in his first 15 games (to go with -11 rating) vs. 5 goals and 13 points in his past 14 games (to go with a +4 rating).

      The Flyers dug a deep hole because of their shoddy defence, but I still won’t be surprised if they can turn it on and make a run at a playoff berth. The Flyers are 7 points behind the Leafs with a game in hand for the final wild-card spot. Their disastrous start (1-7-0) is going to be an impediment for the rest of the season, but their clip since then (12-7-2) would see them finish with about 91 points at the end of the season, which will leave them in the mix.

      I don’t see them gutting the roster until they are sure they are out of it. And I don’t think they part with any of Giroux, Simmonds, Voracek, Schenn or Couturier.

    • Clay says:

      I would put Gallagher on the do not trade list as well. That kid has some serious intangible qualities that every team needs. He seems to inspire others tp play better. I think he is a big part of why this team is playing so well right now.

      __________________________
      ☞ “The deepest sin of the human mind is to believe things without evidence” ~ Aldous Huxley ☜

  55. Stevie.Ray says:

    I’m not racist, but I like giving Galchenyuk some time with Pleks and Gio. Give him some less sheltered defensive minutes. He’s got to learn sometime

  56. durocher says:

    Give Neal 6 games
    Give Thornton 20 games — what Thornton did is close to what McSorely did to Brashear. Plus Orpik was concussed and taken off on a stretcher.
    Yes, Orpik did not fight. But the solution is not to jump him and punch him while he is down. The solution is to hit the Pens’ players hard, just like Orpik hit Eriksson hard. Eye for an eye, not punching a defenseless player until he’s concussed.

    • Bill says:

      Zac Rinaldo. 29 games, 1 point, 81 PIM. -6.

      Why does he have a job in the NHL that doesn’t involve showing people to their seats??

      On second thought, he clearly shouldn’t be working with the public.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • JM says:

        Bill – Like I said earlier. When you bring in players with very little or no skill like Zac Rinaldo who will probably at best get 8-9 points a year what he’s doing is what you get. The owners must like paying out money for little return. Wish I had a job like that. come playoffs they mostly sit. What a way to make big money.

  57. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Is it time to ask, “Who are these guys and what have they done with my Montréal Canadiens?” ;)

    There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk but … there is fighting in hockey.

  58. ffenliv says:

    My (overly-long) take on the nonsense between Boston and Pittsburgh last night:

    Thornton will benefit from having no previous suspensions. If he had a history, I could see them giving him the rest of the season. However, in the absence of a record, I think he’ll get 15 games.

    The Neal hit knee-to-the-head was, in my eyes, a lot worse. Thornton at least had the stones after the game to own up to the mistake (not that I think that should have any effect on the length of his suspension). Neal so obviously did that on purpose, and tried to act like nothing had happened.

    As well, all of these things have to be considered together. Does Thornton lose his mind if Neal isn’t a douche? It doesn’t excuse anything. In fact, the opposite is true. This exposes the ugly side of hockey where men are expected to sort problems out with violence: either fighting, or with more violent actions, such as those witnessed last night. The NHL *has* to get this nonsense out of the game.

    As fans, most of us have always accepted the escalating nonsense that occurs in a game that has taken a turn for the chippy, or outright aggression. Fans of both teams will claim the other guys started it, or that we weren’t just going to stand there and take it. We blame the refs for inconsistent calls, or the league for its inconsistent stance on suspensions.

    I think it’s pretty clear that players don’t fear fights. Take Orpik last night. He was sure he could avoid fighting by, you know, not fighting. The thought of getting into a fight isn’t deterring anything from anyone.

    That leaves exactly one option, and one we know they care about: financial punishement. The league and th eplayers have fought two battles in the last decade over money. Neither wants to surrender any.

    The league, and this probably can’t happen until another CBA is negotiated, has to take a hard line on fines and suspensions. There are always going to be boneheads who lose control. No punishment will stop their brains-off instinct. But I think for a lot of players, coaches, and owners, a *big* fine will get what we want. Players don’t want to lose money, neither do coaches, and certainly not the owners.

    The NFL recently fined a coach $100,000 for interfering with a play. You can bet he’ll be keeping his feet on the sidelines from now on. This sort of punishment has to come to the NHL. If the league could slap Thornton and Neal with $250,000 fines and 40 game suspensions, you can be they wouldn’t be doing that again.

    Hockey is a physical game, but it doesn’t have to be a violent one. The current approach to discipline and fines isn’t doing any good at all. Change is needed.

    • Thomas Le Fan says:

      “Hockey is a physical game, but it doesn’t have to be a violent one.”

      There is a level of controlled violence in all contact sports. We like it that way. In competition, lines will always be crossed. The only way to change that is to remove the contact. No thanks.

      There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk but … there is fighting in hockey.

      • ffenliv says:

        I think we’re saying the same thing, with different meanings applied to ‘violence’.

        I like a good, big, inside-the-rules hit. There can be that level of ‘violence’. I was referring to slew-footing, sucker-punching, and deliberate knees to the head as violence.

        I know that will never be eliminated completely, but I think a tougher reaction that really hurts the players will take a lot of it out. Players not prone to acting stupidly when their brains switch off will think twice about being assholes.

        Edit: So yes, I agree that ‘lines will always be crossed.’ I also believe that we can work to reduce how often that happens. The game doesn’t need fighting. Players *clearly* don’t fear it. The game needs to punish players in a way that they will seek to avoid. I think the same applies to other nonsense actions, as seen last night.

  59. habsfan999 says:

    Re: Orpik

    As my aunt would say, Orpik got his bell rung.

    Writing this as an ex-boxer who took a few on the chin and was dizzy for the following few years I am no way trying to diminish the severity of a concussion. Nor am I coming to the defence of Thornton.

    But! But, strapping somone to a spinal board because he just got his bell rung, surrounding him by a team of medical staff, wheeling him off the ice on a gurney is just a sensational circus. This type of reaction to such an injury is uncalled for and makes things look far worse than they are. It scares fans, and belittles players. I’m sure Thornton can deliver a punch but he is no SUV traveling at 100 kph.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      You make good sense but the advent of traumatology demands these protocols. In that famous past film clip, Mike Modano was probably more damaged by the paramedics tipping the stretcher over than by his on ice injury.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Thomas Le Fan says:

      Some precautions are indeed ridiculous. Welcome to the modern age where tag is outlawed on school playgrounds.

      There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk but … there is fighting in hockey.

  60. The Juice says:

    The following makes no sense: “White might have been plus-2 had he not given way to Tomas Plekanec, who converted Prust’s pass into the Canadiens’ second goal.” If White had not replaced Plex, Plex would not have scored that goal and White would not be plus 2 either way…

    Habs looked tired, but a win is a win, and 2 days rest should revitalize the vets before the LA game.

    __________________________________________________________________________

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

    • JM says:

      habsfanO – it will be all about how far MB wants this team to go in the playoffs. I really think we’ll make the playoffs but we don’t have enough skilled tough Guys to go far.

  61. habsfan0 says:

    League meetings start tomorrow where trade talk will heat up among GMs.

    I wonder how involved MB will be,given the team’s success recently?

    However, to roughly paraphrase Bergevin: “You’re always looking to make your team better.”

    • The Juice says:

      Lots of criticism around Giroux recently, now there is a player the Habs should try to onboard!

      __________________________________________________________________________

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

  62. HardHabits says:

    It’s nice to see that the Habs can actually put together a robust and grinding 4th line. One that can crash and bang, drop the gloves and most importantly score goals.

    No more 7th defencemen or players like Palushaj who do not fit that role.

    After all the games the Habs played recently it is only fitting that the 4th line stepped it up for the win.

  63. HammerHab says:

    Looking at the Habs schedule up to the Olympic break there’s no reason for me to think they can’t maintain top spot at least in the division. It’s the schedule right after the break that will be tough, especially considering the amount of Olympians on the roster….

    Detroit
    @Pittsburgh
    Toronto
    @LA
    @Anahiem
    @Phoenix
    @SJ
    Boston

    This is the 8 game stretch where we will truly see what kind of team this is. Almost feels like a playoff atmosphere….our star players just get back from the Olympics to play the some of top East teams, ending with the Laffs who despite their ineptitude tend to give us fits, then fly out west to play some of the top west teams and come back east to play the Booins. This 8 game set will show you how much of a playoff team we have in the Bleu Blanc et Rouge.

    ———————————–

    It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

  64. DipsyDoodler says:

    So 4 straight games where we get outshot and in parts seriously out-possessed, but manage to win the game anyway.

    Is this a case of a good team finding ways to win, or the coyote off the cliff effect and we’re about to go downwards in an uncontrollable spin?

    • ffenliv says:

      Well, if we glance to Toronto, we could well be headed for a fall. However, the Habs have not been getting outshot my the massive margins the Leafs have managed.

      That said, we’ve all been making fun of Toronto for winning only when the goalies play well. Hope we don’t fall into that!

  65. HabinBurlington says:

    Tied for first place in the Eastern Conference and tied for 5th best record in the entire League. Pretty impressive!

  66. Sportfan says:

    I know you guys have been talking about it already, but what did you guys think of the Neal knee to Marchands head and Thornton proving he has no place in the NHL. If it wasn’t his intention then why do the punch in the first place!

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  67. Maritime Ronn says:

    How good is Tomas Plekanec playing?

    There have been several around HIO that suggested trading Plex, yet if that happened in the next 2-3 years, it would be a step backwards for the Habs.
    All Cup winning teams always have a great mix of experienced vets, youth, and role players.

    A little Plex tire pumping.

    He leads all Habs forwards in points with 22.
    His 11 goals so far puts him on pace for 29 which would equal his best season ever going back to 07/08.
    Keep Galchenyuk on that line, and Plex will have 30+.
    7 of those goals have been even strength – 3 PP – 1 short handed.

    Plex is Plus + 11 best for all Habs forwards – all of this is accomplished playing against the opposition’s best for the most part.
    Plex also leads all Habs forwards in the exhausting PK time of the usual 1st unit.

    You just can’t replace all of that.

    • Chris says:

      I think you will find very few Montreal Canadiens fans that don’t appreciate what Tomas Plekanec is.

      But let’s also face the obvious. He is not the #1 centre for a Stanley Cup winning team. We hope that Galchenyuk will develop into that guy, but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Plekanec will not.

      Plekanec is now entering the period where he has, over his career, ramped up his production before slumping down the stretch. Here is his career goals per game and points per game averages for each month:

      October: 0.25 GPG, 0.70 PPG
      November: 0.22 GPG, 0.66 PPG
      December: 0.20 GPG, 0.67 PPG
      January: 0.36 GPG, 0.74 PPG
      February: 0.36 GPG, 0.76 PPG
      March: 0.29 GPG, 0.61 PPG
      April: 0.15 GPG, 0.39 PPG
      Playoffs: 0.19 GPG, 0.64 PPG

      Pretty much every season since 2007-08, Habs fans start pumping Plekanec’s tires as an underrated centre that can do everything and deserves to be compared to the best two-way players in the game. And every year, like clockwork, he disappoints when he is forced into covering the true elite centres, sacrificing his offence to shut down the other teams top players. His combined +22 over the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2012-13 seasons where the Habs made the playoffs is offset by a -16 ranking in those same playoff years. I’m hoping that the improved depth and the fact that Montreal has 3 scoring lines means that Plekanec won’t be played into the ground before the stretch drive this season, but we’ll have to see how it pans out.

      I don’t think you trade Plekanec this season. But I will be a bit surprised if he is still here in 3 years as Eller and Galchenyuk are hoped to grow into the top-2 centre spots and one of Eller or Plekanec are simply too good to be happy as a third-line centre.

      If Plekanec were happy to be a top shut-down centre in the NHL, then sure…keep him. But I don’t see a guy who is a top-6 forward on his national team and throughout his NHL career being willing to accept a lower rung on the ladder.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Hi chris

        Here’s agreeing the Plex is not a #1 C on a Cup winning team as the same goes for Desharnais not being a Top 6 C come tough playoff hockey.

        Plex’s run with the Habs could be another 2-3 years and that will all depend on the real opportunities and play of both Eller and Galchunyuk.
        They are truly the 2 that will determine how long Plex sticks around.
        In the mean time, no one can presently take his spot and everything he brings to the team including intangibles.

    • Stevie.Ray says:

      I proposed trading Pleks for Kane not because I don’t appreciate him, but because that what it would take to make that trade

      • RockinRey says:

        I think Pleky would be a fine 2nd or 3rd line guy . That top guy has to produce like Pleky did in 07-08 and 09-10 at a minimum.

        The problem with trading Pleky for Kane is you really dont know what you have down the middle. DD …is just not a long term solution.

        Chucky does not look out of place but you can argue he would have been better served playing in Hamilton last year and to start this year, playing lots of minutes.

        Eller has tapered off somewhat after a torrid start. He needs to help carry the load, and he has not been producing at the rate the CH need. This guy needs to register on the score sheet a little more.

        When is the next time we see a Habs player in the top 25 in scoring?

        ——————————————————————————————————
        You are entitled to your opinion even if you are wrong.

        • Stevie.Ray says:

          Yes. I understand Pleks is very important to our team, especially at center. I probably wouldn’t make the trade unless I was sure Eller and Galchenyuk could pick up the slack, which I am not. But I still think that that is what it would take to get Kane.

          And Gally couldn’t play Hamilton last year. He was too young. Still too young for that matter

          • RockinRey says:

            Is that the age restriction? I didnt realize his average ice time was as high as it was.

            ——————————————————————————————————
            You are entitled to your opinion even if you are wrong.

    • JM says:

      Myself Ronn I would keep bringing in pieces till we can win a cup. A team is not gonna win a cup with all young inexperience Players. Like you said. Gotta be a mixture until you get the right mixture that’s how you’ll win a cup.

    • The Gumper says:

      Absolutely agree, all excellent points!

  68. Bill H says:

    The Thornton assault once again raises some serious questions.

    Passionate and well reasoned argument by the flower in favour of goons patrolling the ice to protect skilled players:

    “Today they are dropping nightly so you tell me how suspensions can or are making a difference. You tell me why what worked for years cannot work today?”

    1.) The suspensions dished out by the league are usually a joke. Make suspensions more consistent and more severe if you want to reduce concussions and other injuries.
    2.) Equipment today is rock hard and leads serious head injuries. Change equipment to reduce injuries.
    3.) Players today are bigger and faster than they were back in the days of Gretzky. Marty McSorely cannot protect Gretzky in today’s game, irrespective of the instigator rule.

    The NHLPA is as much to blame for the injuries as the NHL. The PA needs to educate its own membership.

  69. HabinBurlington says:

    So on this Sunday morning when many of us are concerned about the game of hockey and the ridiculous actions on ice which are becoming almost commonplace, does Bettman even care?

    I suspect he is just re-reading the details of his contract and what bonuses he will get for negotiating that huge TV deal. This is the problem with Bettman as a commissioner, he needs to step up and recognize his league is almost out of control with behaviour like this.

    I’m not holding my breath that the arrogant weasel will even discuss it.

  70. Big Ted says:

    I actually do believe Thornton regrets the injury he caused in retrospect. I don’t think for a second he cared about Orpik’s well-being at the time and in fact meant to hurt him at that moment. His actions were clearly intentional. He not only knocked him unconscious, he continued to hit him even after he was out cold. Without a doubt, I have more respect for Thornton apologizing after the fact than I do for a heinous criminal like Chara pretending that he didn’t do anything and that he didn’t even know who he hit. That makes Chara just about the lowest scum on the earth and I have no respect for such a disgrace of a human being. I can at least respect the statement Thornton made after and accept that he recognizes he was in the wrong. That being said, it does not absolve him of what he did. In the courts of justice, a murderer is not let off just because he apologizes. Thornton needs to be disciplined for his actions, and a suspension for the remainder of the season and playoffs is to me the only thing that makes sense.

    If you look at the list of the awful injury-inflicting cheapshots over the past few decades, it’s pretty easy to see a pattern. McSorley on Brashear was a Bruin on a Canuck; Chara on Pacioretty was a Bruin on a Hab; Thornton on Orpik is now a Bruin on a Penguin. There’s a definite theme, whereby 3 of the 5 worst hockey plays over that time can be traced back to the Bruins. I’m not talking here about guys playing reckless hockey or players crossing the line with a hit. These were all incidents where a Bruins player was seeking out and deliberately attempting to injure an opposition player. All 3 incidents were in my mind not part of the game of hockey but rather criminal in nature. There is no excuse for the NHL allowing such gestures to stand. Thornton should be heavily punished for such an act, and in truth, the league should look long and hard at the hockey culture in Boston that’s allowed this to go on because it’s certainly not normal that with 30 teams in the league, 60% of the worst cases come down to just one squad. After the Thornton incident, you could see Claude Julien not looking remorseful or concerned but actually swearing at the Penguins bench as if they deserved it or had brought it on themselves. That’s a coach who despite his skill, has no degree of sportsmanship nor an ounce of integrity. If I were the commissioner, I would have a good mind to suspend Julien for a handful of games as well for failing to control his goon. The league has allowed Boston to run rampant with cheap shots and dives and attempts to injure for too long, and it’s not only ruining the game of hockey, it’s putting players lives at stake.

    • Morenz7 says:

      You forgot Johnny Boychuk on Mason Raymond and Ference on Jeff Halpern.

      Personally, I wonder if anyone around the Boston organization—Julien, Chiarelli, Jacobs or even silly Jack Edwards—has paused to consider how they got here and where they’re headed. This is the kind of game they wanted. But in the last few games, they’ve lost two important players to scary hits, both of which the Bruins must concede were “hockey plays” as they themselves define such a thing. I’m talking about Boychuk and Loui Eriksson. They’ve lost a useful fourth-liner to suspension, and I assume Marchand will be feeling the after-effects of a filthy hit to the head (James Neal should get extra time off if he continues to lie about his intentions).

      The claim, articulated not long ago by Thornton himself, that fighting acts as a deterrent to this kind of thing is beyond risible. There is no code, only an escalating spiral of violence. Fighting can be a cause or an outcome, but for Boston the mode of retribution has never mattered. To them, it’s not how perceived scores are settled; it’s merely that they get settled through violence, and that the Bruins always have the upper hand in the intimidation arms race. In this twisted world view, Pacioretty’s nudge on Chara after an OT goal justifies Chara’s maiming attempt. Daniel Sedin standing his ground in the slot justifies a series of rabbit punches to the face. Subban’s agitation and ability justifies an attempted knee-capping by Boychuk.

      It was bound to catch up to them sooner or later. But they won’t get the message. They didn’t learn from the concussions inflicted on Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron. They won’t learn from this.

      I just hope it’s the beginning of their long decline.

  71. CranbrookEd says:

    In my world:

    Orpik’s hit, hockey play or not, resulted in contact with the head so should have resulted in a penalty followed by suspension . . . there have been other similar situations, such as Max’s hit and subsequent suspension.

    Neal’s “hit/knee” resulted in contact with the head so should result in a suspension . . . IF I were to play the numbers game, I would say 5 games. He made no (obvious) attempt to avoid hitting the head.

    Thorton’s “actions” were no-where, no-how, close to being a “hockey play” and need (not should!) to result in a lengthy suspension. As has been mentioned, there is no way to even try to start to explain his actions. Again, IF I were to play the numbers game, I would start with 15 games OR ELSE this type of “action” will be repeated in a league where it is increasingly obvious that many players (some with marginal talent but others with some semblance of actual talent) have no respect for other players and their physical well-being.

    The “culture” of acceptable violence and vigilantism that exists in (North American?) hockey needs to be weeded out and eliminated. Let’s not pretend, this starts in minor hockey where enrollment continues to drop not only because of the monetary costs, but also because of the violence. From my days in minor hockey (player, coach, referee) which started over 40 years ago, the drop-off in kids playing as they grow older has always been there. While there are numerous reasons and ways to explain that drop-off, I believe that the most prevalent reason is the fear of getting hurt. Not getting hurt as the result of a “hockey play” but rather getting hurt because someone will board/cross-check/slash/spear/sucker-punch them . . . it is one thing to limp into school the next day after blocking a shot or losing an edge and sliding into the boards or any one of many other potential scenarios that are part of playing the game . . . it is another entirely different scenario when you limp into school the next day after an act of violence after someone has hurt you “just because” it is an acceptable part of what is supposed to be a game. There is a risk of getting injured even when the game is played without the “extra” violence that is present.

    It could be said that this is bigger than just what we see in hockey as this lack of respect is prevalent throughout our society. That however is not a reason for trying/wanting to eliminate or diminish it from the game of hockey. As “modern” humans, there is a very very thin (emotional) line between us and the barbarians found within all of our not that distant ancestors.

    Oh yes . . . and the Habs managed to win another . . . may in continue!

    CranbrookEd
    Mr. Beliveau: “Pure Pak mais oui”! . . .

  72. habs001 says:

    Someone asked last night why the Habs are not considered cup contenders…I think they are…But when i envision them winning the cup, this is how i see it happening this year based on the team so far… They will need great goaltending,no injuries and a lot of breaks…they will be dominated in their zone a lot of the time and they will need breaks where the opposition misses changes,hits posts and the blocking of shots attempts dont result in weird goals…They will have to maintain their pk and pp stats and score timely goals…All teams will need some of the above…but for the Habs to be more dominant in the playoffs they do need a few upgrades…The two games vs Jersey easily could have gone the other way…The league is very close…even as bad as the Leafs d has been they are only 6 points behind the Habs with a game in hand…

  73. 4loorplay says:

    JMHO..a rule should be put into place that states when crap like what thorton did last night be handled like this….1) thorton gets suspended for remainder of season with no pay. 2) team gets fined 1 million dollars. You will see how fast this will all stop.

    Nirvana is earned…

    • Bigdawg says:

      Agreed – A huge suspension and fine is required. If not we will see this nonsense again way too soon.

      Unfortunately, I fear this will be business as usual and the NHL will come out with a ruling that panders to all sides resulting in NO REAL MESSAGE sent to the teams and players.

      The justification will be: “They are grown men, they know what they did wrong, they won’t do it again”. Meanwhile we let them play like animals, like somehow Hockey needs to be as animalistic as possible to be good. Yay gladiators – kill each other for sport! What a crock!


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