About last night …

The best way to savor that win is to consider the impact of a loss:


The Canadiens would have been bumped off their lofty perch into the second tier of the Eastern Conference playoff pool.

They’d have been riding a four-game losing streak into a tough travel swing: Colorado on Sunday, then Dallas and Carolina (on Dec. 23, the day when Ws are rare for this franchise).

But they beat the Bruins. The Canadiens are perfect against the Bs this season and have hung Ls on Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas.

Big and bad?

Not the Boston team we saw last night. The Canadiens outhit them 25-22, and 13 guys in red jerseys got licks in.

None was bigger than P.K. rendering Brad Marchand woozy. The most encouraging physical presence, however, was Max Pacioretty.

This is our Christmas gift: the 2007 first-round draft choice looks very much like he’s finally ready.

And the Canadiens head west with what seems to be a solid Top Six.

Mike Cammalleri is so happy to be back with Tomas Plekanec he’s scoring and fighting. (The penalty shot and scrap with David Krejci were both career firsts.)

Andrei Kostitsyn is similarly energized. AK46 did not make the scoresheet last night, but he three shots, a couple hits and looked interested.

Pleks was, as usual, Pleks: five SoG, almost five minutes on the PK, shift after shift in which his breakout speed terrified opposing defencemen and inhibited their offensive sorties.

Speed is the most noticeable difference between the Northeast rivals. The Canadiens have burners on all four lines, and the Bruins lookplodding by comparison. And if the Bs can’t exert their physical game, it’s tough for them to beat this team … although they came close enough to create a nervous third period.

Back to Max-Pac:

Brian Gionta laughed when I asked him if Pacioretty’s game was improved by getting American linemates. But I think there’s something to it. Apart from brining a big body that complement the skill sets of Gionta and Scott Gomez, Pacioretty is a Connecticut Yankee Doodle Dandy whom an Alaskan and upstate New Yorker are going to take under their wings.

Gionta and Gomez are great team guys who came up in a Devils organization that’s good at nurturing talent. I think they’re going to take care of their homeboy, and Pacioretty – whom the Canadiens preferred to David Perron (with the San Jose first-round pick they’d obtained, along with Josh Gorges, for Craig Rivet – is finally going to blossom.

I like this team’s nucleus of young talent. P.K. is the most exciting rookie in living memory, Lars Eller has immense potential and Carey Price is, if not the NHL’s best goaltender then certainly part of the discussion.

Benny, AK46, Pleks, Cammalleri, Gorges and Lapierre … the under-30 cupboard is no longer bare.

The loss of Andrei Markov has hurt. As I said on the late-night Puckcast, the team might consider a move to bolster the D.

Roman Hamrlik and, espeially, Jaro Spacek were excellent against the Bruins. But their ToI, about 24 minutes, makes me nervous looking ahead to the stretch run.

P.K. played 14 minutes last night, but his flamboyance made it seem like more. Subban played 25 in the game before he was banished, and maybe he can work his way back up to that level with more solid work in his own end.

Alexandre Picard shares the team lead, with Jeff Halpern, at plus-10 on the season. I’ve liked Picard’s smart, conservative style; but being a nervous sort, I’m not convinced a guy playing for his fifth NHL team is going to hold up at crunch time.

My esteemed colleague, Patrick V. Hickey, can’t see Pierre Gauthier making a move before the February trade deadline.

He’s probably right (Hick is, almost all the time). And there’s no urgency, not with a first-place team.

That rosy perspective could change during the road trip.

Ryan O’Byrne and Mike Ribeiro await.

But for now, Montreal stores will be abuzz with frantic Christmas shopping, as opposed to gloomy musings on what ails the hockey club.


  1. habsruleworld says:

    Michaël Bournival, 2 goals and 1 assist tonight, could be a great player for HABS down the road

    was really hoping he would make the juniors.  Go Louie go

  2. 1010 says:

    Good post habsruleworld. I’ve been chirping about the powerplay vrs. penalties situation for awhile now. It doesn’t make sense. 

    Must be the laffs superior skill in all facets of the game that has created this situation. The league loves Burke and it shows. I compared Bettman to Vince Mc Mann the other night and got deleted for some reason.

    During the last five games the only time our habs came out on top in this department was, yeah, five games ago against the sens.


     GO HABS…

  3. habsruleworld says:

    Some stats on NHL penalty minute allocation by referees:

    Toronto 31 gp, +66 mins on
    powerplay. Vancouver 29 gp, +13 mins on powerplay. Calgary 31 gp, +12
    mins on powerplay. Edmonton 32 gp, +8 mins on powerplay. Montreal 32 gp,
    -43 mins on powerplay. Ottawa 34 gp, -59 on powerplay, penalty shots are counted,
    10 min misconducts are excluded since there is no advantage

    Is corruption alive and breeding? Why is it maple laughs get to play at their regular time zone time instead of playing at Pacific time?

    Why do laughs lead league in 5 – 3 ‘s?

    Is it because the laughs are such a powerful and great team that they force other teams to take alot of penalties, because the laffs overwhelm the opposition teams into taking penalties?

    things that make you go  Hmmm

    and on top of that, Canadian taxpayers pay so that CBC can regularly have a platform tocontinue with divisive and biased and cheap shot attacks on the Montreal canadiens hockey team, and their fans

    for those that want to try and make a change and let those responsible know about your dis-pleasure, here is the mail to the head honcho at CBC, responsible.



  4. Number31 says:

    Dustin Penner is English for “big lazy dude who doesn’t like pressure”. Guillaume Latendresse redux.

    Habs should just look around for something to add on defense if they’re really looking for something…

  5. Habnofear says:

    Agree 100%

  6. showey47 says:

    I can’t see the devils moving zajac. I think he is the only center they have younger than 32. The devils will go into dumping mode soon enough which will mean guys like  arnott, langenbrunner and both of zubrus and rolston if they can find someone to take on their contracts.

  7. nova scotia vees says:

    I didn’t get to read the blog until just now.  Great stuff!  I have been totally p.o’d over the CBC coverage for years now.  I pay to get RDS, but unfortunately, can’t understand French, so often turn back to the dumb asses on CBC…  Millbury and Stock had me throwing socks at the T.V. (It’s a 50 inch, Plasma, so don’t want to break it) !  The Don and Ron show is just atrocious….and technically they have done nothing to advance their coverage. 

    As for  TSN.  Why does Chris Cuthbert have to scream.  Same with Gord Miller.  And Pierre McGuire is sooo annoying.  Listen to NFL and NBA network broadcasters and they don’t try to artifically add excitement by screaming on every play.  It’s time for Bruce Rainnie to get a promotion.  He is a great broadcaster and I notice when he does the AHL games….no screaming.
    Danny Gallivan didn’t SCREAM….and he was the best ever.


  8. showey47 says:

    Sounds like a potential william hung song. Sub-bangs,Sub-bangs.

  9. HardHabits says:

    I agree on what you say about bringing along the team’s youth.

    Darche was a career minor leaguer at one point. Just sayin’. Schultz is looking like 2 years away or maybe more like he’s destined to be another career minor leaguer.

  10. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    Pacioretty finally looks good, and may bring a lot if he can keep that up. I’m with punkster – let’s all take a deep breath and let the oxygen fill our brains… we aren’t as desperate as we were a year or two ago. There’s plenty of time to bring a talented young player, be it Pacioretty or Subban, along. It takes time, and it takes framing. The Habs finally have both again.


    Henry is a career minor leaguer, and Schultz a work in progress. Maybe next year for Schultz. maybe.

  11. andrewberkshire says:

    We got a big offensive centerman from the Halak trade. And since when is Zajac offensive OR physical for his size. He barely hits and he’s very soft. His offensive numbers are from leeching off Parise. He’s not very good.

  12. punkster says:

    Let’s give MaxPac a few more games before annointing him shall we? Say 10 games total. Remember, he has done this crash, bang, score stuff in past callups then disappeared. Subban at 25 minutes? Maybe once he settles down a bit. Under 20 is good for now. As for the rest, some of the Dogs will get their chances but it’ll be one at a time and only on a temprary basis to give them a tryout. These guys are not yet ready for the bigs. Soon, but not yet.


  13. twocents says:

    Clever, eh?

  14. likehoy says:

    I see what you did there, combining depth and deep in the same sentence.

    – Gomez is holding down the suck button

  15. twocents says:

    You need depth for the top two lines in case of injury and Langenbrunner would fit the bill nicely. A veteran player who can contribute in both roles.

    You need depth at every position for a deep run.

  16. ricardamundo says:

    Thanks brother. I’ve reached the ‘tipping point.’

    And signing on as “Dick Duff” tells me a lot about you. Dick Duff was one of my favourites. Came to the Habs after being part of the hated Leafs but became a Habs stalwart. A great, underestimated hockey player. Well, not really, he’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Number 8. Wow, the memories come flooding back. Wasn’t he on a line with Beliveau and Ferguson at one point? The team is pretty good right now but we could use a Dick Duff type player right now. Grit, tenacity, scoring ability.

  17. ricardamundo says:

    Thanks to all and sundry for your support. And yes, succinct it ain’t but believe me, I really reined myself in on this. I have been stewing about CBC’s coverage for a while and with last night’s farce they finally pushed me over the edge. I could have gone on for pages but this is me being brief. As they say, “Don’t get him started.”

    By the way Timo, I am on the board often but don’t comment that frequently. I always enjoy your contributions … and about that avatar … it speaks volumes. Good on ya.

  18. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    everyone wakes up now that PAX has arrived and re-energized the team, well we’ve seen that story already, no surpise at all, PAX was a tough crashing, shooting, owning the corners powerforward for the Habs last year…. now we just need SUBBAN back to 25mins/game and HENRY called up for duty on D, Shultz and White etc…

    but i digress….

    1:The N.A.G.S. (North American Grit Speed) Youth Movement will bring us respect. 2: The NHL-REF-SYNDICATE will do everything in its power to deny us the cup. 3. ..call up WHITE/SHULTZ/PAX now.

  19. Max_a_million says:


    Subban is a stud though, he would thrive in any situation regardless of coaching. 

    Yes I think some player development may have been sacrficed for W’s.  Hamilton should be about player development. 

  20. CHsam says:

    I’m glad you brought this up.

    I’m very fascinated by Guy Boucher and I think we’ll all be monitoring how he does in TB.. that being said, after my initial rapture with his success and style of play in the AHL, I began to wonder if what he was doing down on the farm was in sync with the stuff that Martin was preaching..

    I can’t remember who said it, but a player was quoted as saying Guy’s style is definately “Win at all costs”… so it’s unsurprising that Subban did so well last year in the A considering Guy’s 1-3-1(or whatever) formation favours a rushing defenseman.


  21. nick says:

    Totally agree. Eller and Halpern are doing great work. This at the same time allows MTL to develop some younger players.

    I get the notion many here feel MTL is going to get some top player , forward or D simply because they have some cap space. The big oversight here seems to be that MTL is going to have to pay for it either with prospects, or picks. Not too many teams taking bags of used pucks for 4-5-6 million dollar players these days.

  22. likehoy says:

    if we can land dustin penner….

    – Gomez is holding down the suck button

  23. Timo says:

    succinctly? There is a page and a half of text.


    Damn, you’re fine!

  24. Max_a_million says:


    You want to trade for a guy, and put him on the fourth line.  Not a good use of assets I think.  We have Pyatt in the press box, and White in Hamilton for 4th line duty.  They actually do it well, and we don’t have to give up anything for them.

  25. Max_a_million says:

    The guys on CKAC went absolutely bonkers as well!

  26. sidhu says:

    If we trade for Langenbrunner, which some think we will, what do you think the cost would be?  I think we should get Colin White in a deal, too — he’s a solid defensive D, has won the Cup, and played in the Q.

    Here’s what our lineup may look like:

    Max Power-Gomez-Gio

  27. Max_a_million says:

    You know Randy Cunneyworth deserves a Big Fat Raise.

    I liked Guy Boucher as much as the next guy, and hated to see him leave.

    But this season when we call up AHL guys they are coming ready to play on both ends.

    Webber has been great this season (finally).

    Pacioretty looks so much better than I ever thought he would.  He was a force out there with great speed, great shooting, great passing, and a great sense of purpose.  We look like an entirely new team.  Not only do we have Patches now, but he makes Gomez look great, and helps Gionta.  Three for the price of one! 

    I could care less how many games Hamilton wins, and am super impressed at how well these call ups are playing.  Better to be teaching players how to play to their best potential …

    The future looks bright. 

  28. SeriousFan09 says:


    The Canadiens have defeated Boston on their home ice in 7 of their last 11 meetings at TD Banknorth since 07-08 as well, but thanks for playing.


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

  29. Captain aHab says:

    So all a sorry-assed team like ours needs to compete against a powerhouse is home-ice advantage? I like how you cherrypick the Cammy call but forget all the others the refs let go against the Habs.


  30. Max_a_million says:


    We have added players and size.  Did you notice the last two games against the big bad teams we were Not pushed around, and we slammed their goalies with vulcanized rubber. 


    PK, Patches, Eller …


    No reason to give up assets at this point.

  31. RetroMikey says:

    We played at home, which is an advantage to any team, last line up change, the fans on your side, etc.

    If we played in Boston, different story and Cammallerri would not be awarded that penalty shot.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  32. Morenz7 says:

    This is a superb rant, and might I add that none other than Scott Moore, the former honcho at HNIC, has voted with his feet by heading over to Rogers. He joins CEO Keith Pelley, a former TSN whiz kid. I think CBC is soon to be the odd man out in the hockey sweepstakes.


  33. Captain aHab says:

    But how did we manage to win a game with our sorry lineup against a powerhouse like the Bs (and the refs I might add)?

  34. shootdapuck says:

    When the potential Rogers purchase of the LAFFS the CBC had already stated that they could not compete wiith Rogers in a bidding war for the HNIC rights when the present contract runs out in 2013.

    So there is light at the end of the tunnel in a couple of years it is distinctly possible that Bob Cole, Cherry, Maclean and the rest of the HNIC circus will be on the outside looking in and reminising about the “good old days” at HNIC.


    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

  35. SeriousFan09 says:

    Teams aren’t going to deal away their defence right now while the vast majority of the NHL is still fighting it out over playoff spots, no one wants to dilute their strength, especially for quality blueliners like the kind MTL needs to add on.

    Montreal’s Top 2 Cs are fine and Eller/Halpern are doing solid work on the bottom 6.


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

  36. Captain aHab says:

    What if Rogers puts down more money than CBC? Or about Rogers lining up with TSN to weed out the CBC? All they have to do is get them out for one year or two and the CBC will never come back to hockey. French CBC lost hockey to others so there is hope on the English side.

  37. shootdapuck says:

    Well and succinctly put.



    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

  38. Propwash says:

    I was watching the game alone, and literally yelled out “Holy ….!”


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  39. dickduff says:

    Ricardamundo… Great letter to the powers that be at CBC. I also lament the direction that CBC has gone regarding our national sport.. They  are Toronto centric and will not change. Why not watch all the games on RDS. As you say, commentary is much better, balanced and no Leafs bias and no Don Cherry…..and the real Hockey Night in Canada theme music.

  40. RetroMikey says:

    I’m here and baaack! You spoke too soon.

    Great  big W for the team, we really needed it. 

    Now comes the crucial 7 game road trip.

    Still we need a big DMan and offensive big CMan (Travis Zajac, yeah!), toute de suite.

    IF we do not pull some trades, we are going to pay the price come playoff time folks.

    We are playing old goats Gill, Spacek, and Hamrlik way too much and I hate to see them run out of gas come playoff time.  Will they have the mojo in the playoffs?  I say no after playing way too much ice time in the regular season. 

    I know same old crap but Gauthier would be stupid to wait until February to pull the trigger.

    I would do it now before other teams start the same trend in February as well.

    I know I would be very disappointed if Gauthier does not make any trade(s).

    If he expects to go into the playoffs with basically the same nucleus of players from last season and reach the Eastern final, he is totally mistaken.

    So get on the phone Pierre and start talking and make the deal the earlier the better.

    Perhaps RetroMikey will not be a Scrooge on this site no more.


    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  41. Gindan69 says:

    They still will get the saturday Laffs spectaculars because the CBC games are a league negotiated contract. The teams can’t opt out of HNIC. I would prefer an exclusive deal by with TSN for the habs so at least we only have to put up with one inssuferable hab hating buffoon in mcguire rather then the whole slew we get at CBC, but that’s never happening, too much $$$ involved between HNIC and the NHL. Anyhow, i dont watch CBC. I watch RDS where despite being homers, they are still objective, and they still call it straight. If the habs suck, they say so. They also don’t spend there time bashing the opposition. A far cry from CBC.

  42. Captain aHab says:


  43. Captain aHab says:

    If Rogers Media ends up acquiring the Laffs, I wonder what will happen to the CBC’s coverage?

  44. Captain aHab says:

    RetroMikey nowhere to be seen after a win……I’m shocked!

    Love the AMEX line name suggestion below.

  45. nick says:

    I’m not really sure how you came to your conclusion…

    Looking at the numbers, they appear to be on the same pace as they were last season, if not slightly better.

  46. ricardamundo says:

    I enjoyed the game last night but could not believe the inance and inappropriate comments during the intermission from Milbury and Stock. What a joke. I don’t believe that letter-writing does much good but I think the folks at CBC think they’ve got it right and that most Canadians like their coverage. So, I did write a note because if we don’t complain, those idiots interpret it to mean we agree with them. Here’s my letter that was sent to David Masse this morning via e-mail:

    <<I normally don’t bother writing about television broadcasts but for some time now I have become increasingly disenchanted with the Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.

    For years Don Cherry has been a meal-ticket for HNIC but he is such a bombastic idiot that its about time you began to ease him out. I’d fire him tomorrow but I understand the economics of the situation so that isn’t about to happen. Ron McLean used to be OK but over time has become a smirking, punning and spineless Cherry patsy. Their dog and pony show has had its day. Their segment is past its best before date. They are an embarrassment to the game, the CBC and Canadians. Cherry’s insertion of himself into Toronto city politics and the recent federal by-election should have been the last straw but you’ve done nothing to rein this buffoon in.

    Last night’s broadcast of the Canadiens/Bruins game saw you reach a new all-time low for mindless commentary from people singularly unqualified to be given such a platform: Mike Milbury and P J Stock. What an appalling display they put on during the first intermission. Their clearly biased opinions were characterized by insults and calls for thuggery. And McLean just sits there like the ineffectual patsy that he has become, never once challenging those two neanderthals.

    CBC’s coverage also has gone downhill with ongoing audio problems, poor edits and cuts when coming back to the action and the increasingly senile play-by-play of Bob Cole. He misses plays, misidentifies players and has generally lost whatever skills he had in the broadcast booth. You’ve had a chance to dump him for a few years now and don’t do so. What are you waiting for … him to keel over in the booth?

    While you have been dithering with the format and maintaining your faltering broadcast others have caught up to you and now surpassed you in all respects: camera coverage, play-by-play, colour commentary and so on. TSN broadcasts are now far superior to what you have to offer and I deliberately subscribe to TSN and RDS so I generally don’t have to watch your crappy broadcast. The only good thing you’ve got going for you is Elliotte Friedman.

    When are you going to get with it and dispense with the lousy coverage and commentary you have been foisting on the Canadian public? When are you going to modernize and bring HNIC into sync with what most Canadians think about the game? (And by modernize, I don’t mean hockey in 3D … you were kidding right?) You put this garbage on the air (McLean, Cherry, Milbury and Stock) and I pay for it with my tax dollars. Then I have to pay extra to get decent coverage from cable networks. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

     Do you have a plan or are you going to ride this tired old horse right into the ground?


    A very disappointed hockey fan and CBC supporter (in most things)

  47. bigdave says:

    The “cockroach and pansies” comment were incidental to the encouraging if not demanding more on ice violence.

    Kids watch HNIC and dote on every word which is uttered by so called “experts” and you can be sure that some kid will in the near future remember the BS which was spewing forth from not only Milbury but Stock as well.

    The CBC/HNIC is funded by tax dollars and surely there is a Canadian substitute for Milbury who brings what credibility to the table? He was a journeyman/thug as a player, he was a loser as a coach and no doubt one of the most futile GM’s in recent history. Why do the CBC have to import useless mugs for national broadcasts of our national sport!  



    “The Allo Police Media – a collection of bitter ex-coaches, players and wannabees whose collective lack of success accounts for their present positions in Sports’ equivalent of a Jerry Springer Show”

  48. forskis says:

    I think that the whole “you have to fight after a clean hit” event is one of the dumbest things of the 21st century NHL…PK’s hit was clean and thumbs down to Campbell for wasting everyone’s time trying to pick a fight.  Pouliot got destroyed by Thornton on a great clean hit and everyone kept on playing…no silly shenanigans…so props to Thornton for a great hit, to Pouliot for continuing his shift and to the Habs for not trying to start a fight over something clean.

    As for the cockroach comments…we should let it go…it is just another word for “pest”…public broadcaster or not, if the comments were about the Leafs we would be laughing and saying the pundits were right…one man’s opinions do not matter, especially if they are a pundit.  I do find it odd that Milbury would criticize the not fighting part since he hates the post-clean hit fights as much as anyone else does.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  49. Kappy says:

    I love coming on here after a win.  Yesterday, I avoided this place like the plague!

    What a game last night.  I didn’t sit down for the last 10 minutes of the game.  That hit by Soob’s was fantastic, it really set the tone.  Marchant got SOOB-EED!  The new lines are great, very balanced.  Hopefully this new found chemistry last longer then a couple of games.

    What’s with the sched?  We don’t play again until SUNDAY…. WTF??  No Saturday night games for 3 weeks??  However we do play the next 3 Sundays.

  50. twocents says:

    I agree, Markov meshed really well with them.

  51. Shiloh says:

    I have a small theory about the effect of the absence of Markov. I think Pleks/Cammalleri/AK are hurt the most by the lack of breakout passes. Gomer often brings out the puck himself, and the other lines are more defensive. When Markov was stretching out the rink, Pleks/AK/CAmmy were so dangerous.

  52. solomio says:

    Mike..re: “….Jaro Spacek were excellent against the Bruins….”

    You weren’t paying attention. Jaro was mainly attrocious all night long.

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