About last night …


Encouraged by the success of its Brendan Gallagher promotion, McDonald’s is introducing the Joonas Nättinen Trio:
One French fry, a glass of water and a bus ticket to Hamilton.
Hey, you’ve been a great audience.
We’re here till the playoffs start.
Try the veal.

Well, I guess Saturday night’s game taught Rene Bourque a lesson.

Coaches always talk about the importance of internal competition.

From his seat in the Air Canada pressbox, Bourque got to watch Nättinen play two first-period shifts. During his 1:45 of ice time, the Bulldogs call-up lost two faceoffs and spent the rest of the game on the bench.

The Finnish kid must have envied George Parros, who got to play four shifts and had 3 minutes of ToI.

And Bourque is thinking: “This is the kind of depth we have in the organization? Get the KY ready. I’ll be corking the Corgi until my contract runs out in 2016.”

What a difference a week makes, eh?

Last Saturday, Bourque played 13:31, had two shots and four hits as he and his teammates beat the Stanley Cup champions in the Game of the Season at the Bell Centre.

Three days later, the Canadiens were terrible in a loss to New Jersey. Then they stole two points in Ottawa before losing in Toronto, with Bourque and Nättinen looking on.

Carey Price has given up eight goals in two games … and if it weren’t for him, the Senators and Leafs would have scored 15.

Which is what the Penguins and Red Wings might total in the week ahead.

In his postgame remarks, Michel Therrien said “individual errors” cost the Canadiens the game at the ACC; and that was certainly true on the winning goal.

The puck hopped over Andrei Markov’s stick, which can happen – but maybe not in a 3-3 game.

Then as Tyler Bozak wheeled past Markov and toward the Canadiens’ net, Alexei Emelin took a quick look toward the middle of the ice and surmised that Max Pacioretty would be staying with James Van Riemsdyk.


Emelin was soft on Bozak’s diagonal pass, Pacioretty let JVR skate to the open side of the net and Bingo! That was the ballgame.

Therrien praised a “good effort” in which his team battled back from 1-0 and 3-1 deficits.

Anyone care to join the coach in a round of glasses half-full?

From where I’m sitting, the Canadiens have played mostly crap hockey since the siren sounded on the Chicago game. And the suckitude is not a recent phenomenon.

From Nov. 10 to Dec. 7, the Canadiens took points in 13 of 14 games. Their only loss in regulation was a 1-0 squeaker against the Rangers at the Bell Centre.

Since then, they’ve been a mediocre hockey team that’s managed only one pair of consecutive wins, in Nashville and Tampa Bay on either side of Christmas Day.

Fearless prediction: If the Canadiens continue to play this way, their season will end on April 12, when the Rangers visit the Bell Centre for Game 82.

The same problems persist in game after game.

The Canadiens can’t score at even strength.

Defence is an adventure and clearing their zone is a challenge unless P.K. Subban is on the ice.

When the opponents are cruising unimpeded through the neutral zone, gaps between the Canadiens’ forwards and defencemen are too large.

Back pressure is non-existent.

There is only one consistently dangerous forward line: David Desharnais centring Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher.

For the rest, the coach keeps trying different combinations with little success.

McDonald’s would introduce a Michel Therrien Trio, but they don’t know whether it should include one burger, two burgers, a chicken filet, chicken fingers, fries, a salad or soup.

The coach has some decisions to make with his defence corps.

P.K. Subban played over 30 minutes against the Leafs. Markov’s ToI was 27:50.

Therrien had to play them half to death because Emelin struggled, again, and Josh Gorges – for all his hollering on 24CH – is not a Top Four defenceman on a good hockey team.

I liked what I saw of Nathan Beaulieu. Great wheels, accurate shot. A few screw-ups, but that’ll happen with a young defenceman.

Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn are – in contrast to poor Nättinen and the other Bulldogs forwards – bona-fide NHL prospects. Maybe the future should be now.

Because unless something changes soon, we could see the launch of a Habs Fan Trio:

A beer, a shot and an antidepressant.

•  •  •

Nathan Beaulieu and Joonas Nättinen were sent back to Hamilton after the game.









  1. Mr. Biter says:

    Though the loss was depressing I did like the fact the all the Habs goals were scored by players standing in front of the leafs goalie, not at the side. Drawback on at least 3 of the leafs goals someone was not watching their man and MT was right about individual mistakes.

    Mr. Biter
    No Guts No Glory

  2. showey47 says:

    MT talks about individual errors. The first one was by MB for hiring MT. MT is a walking list of individual errors. Improper distribution of minutes at both even strength and special teams and putting players in wrong positions and continuing to do it even though it fails over and over again. This team does have some issues but most of them are from decisions are made behind the bench.

  3. WVHabsfan says:

    He was a 2nd round pick so Timmons must have saw something good in him

  4. WVHabsfan says:

    I haven’t read much today but I think MT screwed over Nattinen. He took what was a dream day of his first nhl game and ruined it by nailing him to the bench. Give the kid at least 5 minutes or so to show what he can do

  5. Johnny9 says:

    THANK YOU MR BOONE for pointing out how useless Gorges is and that his bs hollering on 24ch is not leadership but gibberish no one listens to and pumps up nobody!

  6. PureGuava says:

    I see a lot of comments about the Briere signing. While I agree there are plenty of bad things about it, last night, and much of the past week, Briere has been one of the better forwards.

    • Timo says:

      Wow, what does that say about the rest of the Habs’ forwards then.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Believe it or not Briere is a good player. The problem is that he clearly does not fit on this team…a team that was already too small. He and DD are basically the same player. The signing would only have made sense if the Habs dealt DD and used Briere until Chucky was ready to take over.

      When you see Briere holding the flame and in commercials, you know why he was signed. I can’t 100% criticize Molson because he paid 600 million for the team and needs to make money. However, don’t tell us that you’re number one goal is to win the Cup…

      • showey47 says:

        Briere is a good fit on the pleky line. They statistically have been the best line 5 on 5 per minutes played the team has had all year. MT finally woke up late in the 2nd and put briere back on the wing with pleky and they responded with scoring a goal. If MT had left Briere with pleky and eller as a center from the beginning of the game we probably win.

  7. Timo says:

    Here is an idiotic comment on TSN from clearly a leafs or a sens fan

    lions roar
    14 mins ago

    No problem with any of the choices….my problem lies with Brent Seabrook sitting at home while Subban and Hamhuis go to Sochi. When is the NHL going to get tired of throwing a bone to the Habs fans???

  8. Timo says:

    Crosby named Team Canada captain.

  9. Eddie says:

    Saw John Leclair mentioned below in the context of a bad Habs trade.

    Leclair was a 20-25 goal scorer, and nothing more, except for the 5 years he played next to Lindros from 1995-2000.

    Lindros was to Leclair was Crosby is now to Kunitz. A lot. A ton.

    Eric Lindros was a phenomenal player during those years, amongst the best in the world.

    So we should keep this in mind when we mention Leclair. There was no one on the Habs who could match what Lindros brought to Leclairs game, and in Montreal Leclair would have scored 20-25 goals per season.

  10. Lafleurguy says:

    Falling hands should not pass the torch to other falling hands.
    (late submission to the “falling hands” game on the previous page)
    “Bends but won’t break”

  11. Strummer says:

    Buffalo may deal Ryan Miller shortly if they can’t sign him.

    St. Louis may be a destination.

    Interesting that Halak may bet “Miller-ed” in St Louis after being “Priced” in Monteal.

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

  12. jrshabs1 says:

    Im no fan of M.T., but the guy can only coach,(marginally) the players that he has available to him. Was the rookie, whom I never heard of before the best forward option in the Habs system? Where is the depth on D that this franchise is supposed to have? Why would M.B. spend 8 mill. over 2 years on another teams compliance buyout? Was Briere the best free agent available to the Habs over the summer? Would Brendan Morrow not have been a better option than Briere? The only improvements M.B. has made to this team have been in the front office, the talent on the ice has regressed since M.B. has taken over. I’m not sure this edition of the Habs makes the playoffs.

    MOAR BIGGAR!!!!!

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      The Briere signing was brutal, no question. I look at the Bruins getting Iginla for one year at a better salary and just want to puke. I’m not saying Iginla wanted to come to Montreal but imagine Iginla and Pacioretty on the wings on the same line?

      Bergevin’s saving grace so far is that he hasn’t traded away any drafts picks or prospects for a band aid fix.

      It sucks it doesn’t work both ways, being good now without sacrificing anything and being amazing later. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to sit tight, possibly for another 2-3 years until all the Smurfs (except Gallagher) are worked out of the system and replaced with equally or more talented players who are 6″ taller and 30-40 lbs heavier.

      • Eddie says:

        On July 10th it was reported through Guy Carbonneau that Brendan Morrows agent had contacted the Habs and was interested in playing here.

        He has experience. He has grit. He is a tough guy to play against. He has 17 points in 40 games playing in a limited role for the Blues.

        He signed for 1 year and 1.5 million per.

  13. rhino514 says:

    The whole thing about playing down the possibility of an acquisition at the deadline is smoke and mirrors. The team has plenty of cap space, and I think we can finally say with certainty that the team´s uber defensive style is making the offence look worse than it is, and hiding the defence´s weaknesses. When the team opens up as in the last couple of games, the team´s defensive lacunae become obvious.
    Unless Beaulieu or Tinordi show fast adaptation real soon, they are going to go after a reliable D. Emelin seemed to be making some progress, but it looks like he won´t be himself this season. The third pairing is very weak. I think some kind of move will be made, they would be foolish not to. It better cokme pretty soon, too.
    Having said that, I actually like the team´s offence (if given free reign to skate, we have basially the same corps which was fourth in the league last year) and the golatending. If they can fix their defensive shortcoming with a good personnel move I still think it´s a good team.

    • Loonie says:

      The team offensively has one big difference(no pun intended).

      Replace Ryder/Cole with Briere.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Like the post, rhino, but are we not lacking in finish on offense? And also in net presence?

      Rest of the assessment looks good to me.

      • rhino514 says:

        It´s true, we replaced Cole/Ryder with Briere. But Cole last year didn´t contribute much and Ryder is Ryder. We also have Bournival who could surprise if he regains his confidence. The thing is, getting the right type of winger the team needs who would really make a difference is just too costly, barring a fleece job by MB.
        Getting a good Dman to fill in for this year and maybe next is doable, and it would work wonders to hide the team´s shortcomings, especially if he is right.handed.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      I find it hard to believe or plain upsetting that Beaulieu, Tinordi or Pateryn isn’t a better option than either Bouillon or Diaz?

      If the Habs were only able to make one move before the deadline I would unhappily accept what we’ve got up front because the defence is just terrible. I’d hope Bergevin can acquire a real steady defenseman with a bunch of size to bump Diaz or Bouillon out of the lineup for the playoffs. If they make the playoffs!

      • rhino514 says:

        They will probably be better than Diaz after 60-80 games and better than Murray after 40-60 games, depending how fast they develop. In those first 40-80 games they are going to make tons of mistakes, they are really green. Clearly management won´t allow for that. I guess they feel they will sloooowly get better staying in Hamilton.
        I think (unlike many here) bouillon is ok as the sixth Dman in what is probably his last year, especially if he gets some rest now and then, and he´s probably a decent mentor to one of the kids, better than Diaz or Murray in this regard as well.

    • Forum Dog says:

      I agree that there is a move to be made. They have several D-men that, closer to the trade deadline, other teams might see as depth insurance. I’m talking about Bouillion, Murray and Diaz. No-one is gonna take them as an upgrade at a regular position, but teams with a legitimate and established roster might pay them to just serve as emergency back-ups with experience. You won’t get much back though other than mid-late round picks.

      If they want to actually add a stronger piece, they are gonna have to part with a roster player under contract and a prospect. Personally I think they need to swap out a forward or two (hard to move), find a legitimate RH D many to play the top four (hard to find), and deal one or two of their extra d-for low picks.

      Of the names leaked as available players, Tlusty and Erat are interesting. They would be welcome additions to the top-six and are capable of playing on special teams as well. If the cost were not much more than one of Bourque/Moen/Prust and a pick, I’d like to see that type of move.

  14. Lafleurguy says:

    Some hack(er) is messin’ wit ma a Count.

  15. ohhhhhhhhhh91 says:

    I think emelin forgot how to play defence. He’s been god awful latey.

    • Thomas Le Fan says:

      It takes some players a long time to recover from such an injury and play like they did before it. I think that’s the problem here. Playing tentatively.

      Hockey isn’t everything … it’s the only thing … except for beer and guitars!

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