About last night …

gallyNiemi

Your Montreal Canadiens will have to wait until next season to put the puck behind Antti Niemi.
Unless, of course, they meet the goaltender and his San Jose teammates in the Stanley Cup final.

OK, that wasn’t even funny.
Hard to laugh after a road trip like that.

As we turn the clocks ahead, is there any point in looking back at what transpired in San Jose?

Or in Phoenix?

Or Los Angeles?

Suffice it to say the Canadiens haven’t won a game with Thomas Vanek in their lineup.

Or with Dale Weise out of it.

The schedule has been brutal: seven games in six cities over the span of 11 nights – including transcontinental air travel.

But credit a tired team with some resiliency. After Peter Budaj gave up that ludicrous shorty to Tommy Wingels less than three minutes into the game Saturday night, they regained their composure and outshot the Sharks 9-7 in the first period.

But when Wingels’ second chased Budaj 1:54 into the second period, the chances of a rally began to fade. And when Lars Eller’s turnover resulted in Matt Nieto beating Dustin Tokarski … well, we might as well have turned our clocks ahead to the final buzzer.

As was the case when he beat the Canadiens 2-0 at the Bell Centre in October, Niemi was rarely tested. Over their two meetings with the Sharks this season, the Canadiens were outscored 6-0 and outshot 68-49.

The Canadiens’ power play was 1-for-18 on the road trip, the only goal coming during a 5-on-3 advantage during a 5-2 loss in Phoenix. The power play was so inept in San Jose that Therrien began one man-advantage with a forward line of Daniel Brière, Alex Galchenyuk and … wait for it … Rene Bourque.

Nothing clicked. And a sputtering power play is a mortal weakness for a team that struggles to score at even strength.

The acquisition of Thomas Vanek was supposed to help. It still might – once Michel Therrien finds linemates for a sniper who played with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo on Long Island.

With all due respect to the Canadiens’ best 200-foot player and the team’s gritty captain, Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta are not Tavares and Okposo.

With the game in San Jose out of reach in the third period, Therrien moved  Vanek onto a line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. The coach also reunited the EGG line, using Brendan Gallagher with Lars Eller and Galchenyuk.

When the Canadiens traded for Vanek, some of the more excitable fans suggested the acquisition made the team a Cup contender.

The general manager was more circumspect. Marc Bergevin’s line was Vanek would help the Canadiens in what remains a very tight race for Eastern Conference playoff spots.

While the Canadiens remain second in the Atlantic Division – a point ahead of the Leafs, who have a game in hand – and six points clear of the cutoff for playoff spots, postseason hockey is not a sure thing in Montreal.  The team has completed the toughest part of the schedule – in terms of travel, quality of competition and frequency of games – but challenges remain.

Starting with Boston at the Bell Centre Wednesday night.

Let’s hope Carey Price is ready to face the Bruins – and that he gets better protection than the defence corps gave Budaj and Tokarski.

The Canadiens were a mess in their own end all through the road trip. They lost puck battles, blew coverages, yielded too many high-percentage scoring chances from the slot.

P.K. Subban hasn’t been himself since before Sochi. Alexei Emelin looks dazed and confused. Josh Gorges is injured. Jarred Tinordi is raw. Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver are spare parts.

RDS analyst Marc Denis said the Canadiens’ defence lacks mobility. He thinks Nathan Beaulieu should be brought up from Hamilton, if only to bolster the second wave of the power play.

Vanek prefers playing left wing. But he’s a righthanded shot, and using him with DD and Pacioretty might be the best way to get the proven sniper untracked in bleu-blanc-rouge.

Or play Vanek with Brière.

There are a few days – minus one hour – for the Canadiens to get their poop in a group.

 

553 Comments

  1. Plekasuares says:

    Briere is not the answer. Why would you put Vanek with Briere? Maybe 10 years ago.

  2. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Okay. Okay. Vanek’s a bum and Minnesota’s welcome to him. :D

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

  3. AH says:

    So if DD, as per Max, is the ” best center” he’ s ever played with, isn’t it a no brainer who Vanek should play with? It’s DD isn’t it? Then Vanek will fill the net for us and it’s on to the promised land right? Lol!

    Problem is coddled DD and Perimeter Max will die on the vine once they lose Gally.

  4. joeybarrie says:

    PK has been crappy since Sochi. 7-8 million??? I dont know.
    Josh Gorges is injured.
    Carey Price is injured.
    Vanek is brand new, on his 3rd team of the season and joins us after we started on a Western road trip (which shockingly enough to believe, we rarely do well on).
    Markov, Emelin, Pleks, Budaj and MaxPac all lost 9 hours after playing across the globe for two weeks, then a week later head out west for a road trip where they lost another 3 hours.

    We are still 6-3-1 in our last 10.

    Lets see how Toronto does in their 3 games in the West.

    Regroup and settle the special teams.
    Get some consistency in what has become an incredibly inconsistent last month. And lets see where we land.

    In the end all that matters is this team can beat anyone in the East, with the likely scenario should we make it, play against Pens or Bruins in the Conf Finals.

    Its going to be a rollercoaster end of the season, cause LIKE ALWAYS, the East is tight, and anything can happen.
    I’m optimistic, and hope we have our slump NOW, and now later and see what this team can do.

    That all being said, we need Price to be on his game. PK to be on his game. We need our key players to be producing and playing well in order to compete.
    So we just have to hope that happens. But then again, when we win 3 in a row, we talk about the Cup, when we lose 3 in a row we talk about firing everyone. Try to think long run, we are THIRD in our Conference. Dont assume Toronto, Tampa and Detroit will win every game in hand they have and in one quick move we will be in 9th…..
    If we continue to play EXACTLY how we are playing, we should end up with around 96 points. 3rd or 4th.
    We are fine. We are NOT firing on all cylinders. If we can get there, what do you think is likely to happen????????

  5. habsfan0 says:

    The Bruins,who the Habs are playing next,are playing extremely well.
    The Habs..not so much.
    I believe the Habs have beaten the Bruins something like 5 straight times,which would seem to indicate law of averages was on Boston’s side.
    Great.
    Could get ugly Wednesday,Price or no Price.

  6. 24 Cups says:

    What’s really wrong with the Habs? Is it Therrien, Murray or poor possession stats? All of those things might be an issue but not to any great degree.

    The real reason this team isn’t playing well is that certain players have not been meetings even the most basic expectations. Think back to Oct 1st. Did any of us anticipate that Eller, Emelin, Gorges, Subban and Bourque would be this bad? Their ineptitude also impacts the other players they are associated with in terms of linemates and pairings. And possession numbers.

    Now another problem has arisen. The heart of the team is down for the count. No one knows when he’ll be back. That gives other teams an advantage even before the Habs step on the ice.

    Here’s a look at the Hab schedule for the rest of the month. The Habs will need to play .500 hockey (93 points) for the rest of the year in order to at least finish 8th. Unfortunately, Montreal has now played more games than any other team in the eastern playoff hunt. If Montreal wants to avert facing Pittsburgh and Boston in the first two rounds, they must finish 3rd in their division.

    March – Week 2 > Boston, Ottawa and Buffalo with back to back games on the weekend.

    March – Week 3 > Colorado, Columbus and Toronto.

    March – Week 4 > Boston, Buffalo, Detroit and Florida with a very weird Monday/Tuesday back to back scenario.

    That’s ten games in total. The Habs can’t afford to lose to any of the bottom feeders and must also grab two games from a true contender. That would give them 12 out of 20 points for the three weeks.

    • habsfan0 says:

      What’s wrong with the Habs?
      To put it simply,are you convinced this organization places winning as its main priority, making everything else secondary, which is as it should be with a professional sports organization?
      If you are honest with your response,then you will have an answer to your question.

      • jlgib1019 says:

        As long as Habs make the playoffs,the seats fill and the merchandise and concessions sell. It’s a goldmine business. PR is the first priority

        jr

  7. Mike D says:

    Just as a change of topic……did anyone else notice Max was wearing an ‘A’ last night?

    Not really a crucial matter, but wondering why it wasn’t Pleks.

    - Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

  8. habstrinifan says:

    Don’t look now but St.Louis has a goalie… a real one!

    • boonie says:

      I don’t want to relive the Halak/Price debate, but Halak provided the most exciting and memorable Hab-moments for me in the past decade or so.

      Even if he turns in Steve Penney – and, he hasn’t – he deserves better than that.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        That month was the defining moment of Halak’s career. When he looks back after retirement that will be the highlight for him.

        He went on to play well with Blues, put up good numbers, but he was also playing behind one of the best teams in the league and the difficulty of shots he faced night in and out were in his favor. If he went to the Panthers or Jets instead he’d probably be a backup somewhere now.

        • boonie says:

          Fair enough. Penney ended with a dismal Jets team too.

          I doubt Halak would have led us to another improbable playoff run. I just like to enjoy our best post-season success and have fond memories of Halak stopping everything and Cammi’s down on one knee one-timers.

          It’s easier for my aging brain to recall that than the early 90s.

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            I agree it was fun to watch. Cammalleri was amazing that spring. I would love it if we experienced the same or better this year!

          • boonie says:

            @Hobie, I’d prefer to enter the playoffs expecting to win rather than being happily surprised.

      • jlgib1019 says:

        The only goalie to win a playoff series over the last 6 yrs for us and people still hate on him.

        jr

  9. Hobie Hansen says:

    Breathe people. The road trip was not as bad as people are making it out out be.

    First off, no Carey Price. If Price were in net maybe we win the 2-1 game against the Kings or at least get into OT? I can guarantee you Price wouldn’t have let that brutal 1st goal Peter Budaj let in last night.

    The loss against Phoenix was the second game in two nights on a long road trip. And we did manage to beat the best team in the NHL in Anaheim.

    Finally, Thomas Vanek hasn’t had one practice with the team yet. I’m quite confident that after a couple practices tomorrow and Tuesday we’ll see a very good game by the Habs on Wednesday.

    Oh, good on Jarred Tinordi for landing a few blows to the head of Raffi Torres after the hit on Lars Eller last night. If the NHL allows guys like Torres to make a living in the NHL I hope fighting is never removed.

    • GGtheHab says:

      thanks Hobie, we are the few optimists here. The team is still 6-3-1 over the last ten. We will have to endure more doom and gloom until Thursday..if heaven forbid we lose at home to the broons then we will have till sat… I predict a 4-2 win over Boston will have the seats filling up on the bandwagon in a hurry.

    • stevieray says:

      Practice ….we talkin’ about practice man ..Allan Iverson

      Hemsley …4 points for Ottawa yesterday without a team practise..Looks like Ottawa has found someone to play with Spezza.

      Vanek needs some creativeity around him ..not Pleks & the human give away machine Gionta

    • 24 Cups says:

      HH – I thought Tinordi looked good and I’m starting to believe he can play regular minutes next year. I just feel the team can’t expect both Tinordi and Beaulieu to play on their off side. MB has to make adjustments in the off-season.

      It’s only two games in but Weaver doesn’t look too hot out there. We’ll see.

  10. Paz says:

    If, and it’s a big if, Eller can be given the defensive responsibilities as a shut down center, then and only then, would it make sense for Vanek to be played with Plekanec.

    You do not put a player like Vanek on your number 1 defensive, shut down line.

    But then Therrien is a top notch coach, right?

    So of course he knows this already.

  11. 24 Cups says:

    The best way to sum up last night’s game is to say that San Jose was Team Canada and Montréal was Austria. I trust there isn’t a qualification round at the end of the NHL playoffs. Speaking of Austria, is there any word yet when Tomas Vanek will arrive from Long Island? Does anyone know what number he will wear or which line he might play on?

  12. L Elle says:

    Whoever came up with Ernie and Bert to describe Gio and Pleks, is a genius. Hilarious!

    What to say after this road trip that hasn’t been said?
    *&%#@$ ;)

  13. habs001 says:

    I am not sure why so many posters are all upset..Have you posters been watching a different team all year?..The reality is the Habs have looked the same in the majority of the games win or lose…Their goal is to make the playoffs…It will make very little difference who their first round playoff opponent will be..as all games will be a struggle and i bet will not look that much different than their regular season games ..Just as easily as the team can lose in the first round they can win but not because they will be the better team…

    • Mondou6 says:

      +1

      The amazing thing is that our Goal Differential for the year is current “Even”. By definition, we should be about a .500 team.

      It’s an interesting exercise to try to describe what style of team we are…Grinders? Um, no. Speed and skill? I don’t see much evidence of that. Defense first, and counterpunch? Meh, no.

      We’re more like 5 random guys who dump and chase, and hope Price stands on his head long enough to get a lucky goal.

    • third generation haber says:

      Good points, that’s why I hope we finish 8th and manage a decent draft spot this year.

      j.p. murray

  14. ths says:

    Time to put Chucky at centre with Vanek on whatever freakin wing he wants and whatever freakin winger Chucky and Vanek want on the other side.
    This will unlock Vanek and the best defence is offence so boring defence responsibilities solved for MT

    Ooh Aah Habs on the war path

  15. boonie says:

    Unless they’re Gretzky or Lemieux, scorers can go a few games without scoring. In his first 6 games as an Isle – playing largely with Tavares – Vanek had 1G and 2A. Two of those points came in one game. Vanek zeroed out in 4 of his first games. His Isle tenure ended 17-27-44 in 49 games.

    A two-game sample size does NOT negate the 271 goals and 270 assists Vanek produced in his 645 non-Hab games. He IS a legit scorer.

    I advocated trading assets at the deadline. I wish we still he had. Even if this move doesn’t vault us to the final, MB deserves props for recognizing that he could add a key piece for very, VERY little cost. MB showed he’s awake enough to realize and act on something 28 other GMs didn’t. He was astute enough to add an expensive asset within our cap. He had the guts to make the biggest move at the deadline.

    Vanek is a consistent 30 goal man. Let’s say he pushes every winger down the depth chart and moves a 3 goal guy to the stands. We add 27 goals, or about 1 goal every three games.

    We’ve played 66 games. That’s 22 3-game segments. In those segments, we outscored opponents 10 times. One was segment was neutral and opponents outscored us in 11 segments. Of those 11, we were outscored by just one goal, FIVE times.

    Without wasting time on the probability that each goal would have been a winner or been scored in a game that we would have lost by exactly one goal, Vanek’s one extra goal per segment could reasonably add 5 points to our point tally.

    That turns 77 points into 82. Yes, 82 is still a little behind eastern leaders Pittsburgh (88) and Boston (87). But it’s 6 points up on Toronto and a full 8 removed from first wildcard seed, Tampa.

    Vanek =what we need. Moves don’t always work out. The value and stats say this move was a no-brainer.

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Perhaps the lesson this week is that those two guys from B.C. are important to help the team win.

  17. 4m3y2j says:

    In his press conference post Vanek Therrien expressed his excitement for the acquisition and stated he had a plan in place and needed to speak w/Vanek about it.by now we know what that plan was .Clearly it did not work and no amont of time is going to change that.Vanek was on a line w/ Tavares,we need to put him on with offensively gifted talent ot otherwise it is a complete waste.I bring this up because it goes to the ongoing concern that has been expressed all season,That being Therriens’ very questionable decisions not only in the treatment of players but also the arranging of lines.Eller is completely messed up because of this s$#$le and probably does need a trip to the therapist.Therrien is all about the muckers and grinders and has almost zero understanding of pure offensive talent/skill.We could ice team canada under this guy and he would find a way to f%4k it up.There is a lot of talent on this team but it is not being utilized to it’s potential and it NEVER will be under this guy behind the bench.So frustrating being a lifelong habs fan…
    john slattery

  18. Sportfan says:

    Maybe MT tries this forward lines DD-Patch-Gally, Chucky-Briere-Vanek, Plek-Gionta-Eller/Bourque amd White-Prust-Weise with Moen and Parros coming in here and there

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
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  19. mr_jmac says:

    I wonder what the team thinks about MT’s decision to pull Budaj? If there is any friction I can’t imagine this helped.

    From all accounts all of the players think the world of Budaj.

  20. 2mins4lookinsooogood says:

    “Don’t worry, be 94 percent happy”

    I can’t pretend that I can convince the perpetually fretful among HIO but the first order of business is to make the playoffs. Right now, we are in the low to mid 90′s by percentage

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Atlantic/Montreal.html

    Of the teams that could pass us and leave the Habs us out of the dance, you can forget about the Ottawa goon show, the swiss cheese capitals, the Christmas tree uniformed team from NJ and tomacco roadsters in Raleigh.

    The only team with a chance to get past us is Columbus and they have a game against us and a 4 in 6 coming up.

    Want more “proof” ?

    Look at the last 10 for most of the teams ahead and below. See how many are 6-3-1 … yep, despite the highs and lows pre and post Olympics, nothing has changed and there are less than 20 games for all the pursuers.

    The last push is here, there are a few line combos to sort out, and a mental re-charge to set up for the playoffs. Ignore the celebrated wet blanket trolls (you post to irk and have little insight or value, you are a troll, regardless of how beloved you are) and focus your entertainment choices on the positive.

    “Don’t crush that dwarf Alex Henry, hand me the pliers”

  21. HabinBurlington says:

    Price when he returns will restore World order in HabsWorld.

  22. boing007 says:

    No Price, Bournival, Weise, Beaulieu and Gorges. White, PK, Emelin have lost their mojo. Eller, Bourque are a train wreck. A depleted team. Not looking good.

    Richard R

  23. jimmy shaker says:

    Now that they got that out of the way……taranna starts this undaunting western road trip vs the kings, sharks and ducks then the capitals (JARO) wings and finish with the boys. They probably finish 0-6 or maybe get a consolation point. So that is a good thing for the boys. On to their problems……Bourque should never see the ice again. Give Eller another break so he can go and talk to his sports therapist. Get weezy in there and bournival as well. Give frankie a shot for weaver and get bealieau up for emelin for a couple of games.

    Shaker out!

  24. habstrinifan says:

    I like some of the coinages this morning. Will have to borrow them.
    They are pregnant with meaning.

    Let’s start with Boone’s “ludicruous shorty”. I mean come on MAN” Let’s forget about political correctness eh.. Have you ever seen an ‘un-ludicruous shorty’… in any context?

    Then HabinBurlington’s “Massive Hour”. Thanks for making me feel very wasteful pal.

    And there’s Mondou6′s “optimist sunshiner”. Talk about being a rosy fellow eh? Can an ‘optimistic sunshiner’ be a good moonshiner? Probably!

    Who came up with “Vanishing Vanek”? my recollection has vanished.

    Dunboyne Mike’s “Execute with public transport”. Gallows humour with no gallows.
    You must be familiar with our careless OC TRANSPO chauffeurs here in Ottawa Mike.

    And I close with Lizard Ranger’s “injection of TV into the lineup”. I wannna see Therrien’s line permutations with TV in the lineup.

    This post is meant to offend NONE. I loved the stuff I read.. that’s all. Thanks for the Sunday fun.

    • Mondou6 says:

      Don’t forget the Hobbit posts, that was my favorite…

    • Habspark says:

      Err… Carey Price’s best year, Desharnais back from the dead setting Pacioretty up for his most goals in a season, liking Gallagher and Bournival in the NHL… Yeah, what a disaster!! An AHL man between the nets and we lose to the Sharks after 6 games on the furthest and toughest stretch of the road in eleven days… Gotta say in all – I’m not that fussed!!

  25. SmartDog says:

    A Wee Quiz:
    1. Can you name ONE player who is dramatically better under Therrien?
    2. Now name as many players as you can who have somehow gotten worse over the last 2 years.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • jlgib1019 says:

      1.None
      2. Eller obviously,but Emelin,PK,Galch and Gally haven’t gotten any better,and Bournival got stiffed also

      jr

      • SmartDog says:

        Exactly my point. Therrien has them playing a defensive system that works. But in terms of developing young players – that’s bullcrap. He’s a smoldering fire full of cliches who favors veterans. There’s nothing positive about his treatment of young players and a lot of negative. If our season so far is to anyone’s real credit it’s to the new goalie coach – and Price. If Price wasn’t playing lights-out this year we’re a 500 team. Which is probably where we belong in all honesty.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      Oh come on, don’t you know that PK’s Norris was completely due to MT’s development program? :roll:

      • SmartDog says:

        It’s amazing how much he transformed PK in about 35 games. Unbelievable. Literally! Unless your initials are MT. And then of course you need to explain why PK is a little less amazing this year. (And not as good as he was the year before Therrien arrived.)

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Habspark says:

      Came out on the wrong thread! Err… Carey Price’s best year, Desharnais back from the dead setting Pacioretty up for his most goals in a season, liking Gallagher and Bournival in the NHL… Yeah, what a disaster!! An AHL man between the nets and we lose to the Sharks after 6 games on the furthest and toughest stretch of the road in eleven days… Gotta say in all – I’m not that fussed!!

      • SmartDog says:

        Price is a credit to the goalie coach – not to Therrien.
        Desharnais is the ONE guy you might cite, but this year isn’t as good as the year he played with Patches and Cole under Martin. So you can’t say he’s better. And of course Therrien dismantled a working line to get Desharnais going – for reasons of bias not everyone agrees on. And Gallagher and Bournival worked their way onto the team from Hamilton. Neither is better than when they arrived and in fact Bournival’s production has slowed during his time with the big club.
        This isn’t about losing in San Jose. This is about playing boring defensive hockey, favoring veterans, squeaking out wins thanks to good goal tending and NOT improving young players. Is Eller better? Obviously not. Is Galchenyuk better as people thought he would be – nope. Bourque certainly isn’t better. Is Subban better? Nope. It’s just not there. This idea that he develops players is completely untrue.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • Un Canadien errant says:

          SmartDog, you’re kind of moving the goalposts here. You asked for one player who is playing better under Therrien. Carey Price is suggested, but then you qualify that that’s to the credit of Stéphane Waite. We can play that magic trick with any player.

          “Oh, Defenceman X is only doing better due to Jean-Jacques Daigneault’s coaching.”

          Or:

          “Forward Y has been working his moves with Gerard Gallant, not Michel Therrien.”

          And so on, we can throw in the Hamilton coaches in our qualifiers, or the video assistants, veteran teammates…

          You were trying to make a general point, fine, but it’s going to be impossible to make an absolute airtight statement with the parameters you’ve set up. The team went for almost last to almost first in one season, and is again near the top of the standings in the East. You’ll be hard-pressed to demonstrate that none of the players on the team have improved under Michel Therrien’s tutelage.

    • Sportfan says:

      DD even if he plays so-so on most nights he benefits from MT, which in part means Patches benefits, but the fact MT doesn’t have the balls to try different units and move Gally around shows that he’s not very good.

      Eller and Bourque with a smidgen of Moen

      Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
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      • SmartDog says:

        DD benefits from favoritism in time on ice and line-mates. We can disagree about WHY he’s favored, but that he is favored is just a fact. And he’s not better now than he was under Martin. He has NOT improved.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • habstrinifan says:

      Trick question!

    • boonie says:

      Let’s see, PK won the Norris under MT. Eller had his most (only) productive season. Price is playing the best hockey of his career right now. The Czech’s anointed Plecs their captain based on his performance since the last Olympics. Gallagher is outperforming his AHL pace at the NHL level. Chuky is getting 14 minutes per game and you can see his talent as 20 year-old. Patches could be the first guy we drafted since 1984 to score 40 goals in a Hab uniform.

      The guys who got worse are on the downsides of their careers. Like Gionta and Bourque.

      PS – I think hiring MT has a mistake and hope he’s gone soon.

      You need to ask the right question.

  26. third generation haber says:

    California teams are 50-19-11 at home this year against eastern conference teams.

    I’m wondering if not being a hockey hot-bed allows GM’s to simply make smart (long-term) moves without the pressure of having to “win now” all the time.

    j.p. murray

  27. Maritime Ronn says:

    It looks like Coach Therrien has a real tough puzzle on his hands.

    So many factors to consider
    Vanek:
    – Sniper, vocal about his preference to play the left side.
    – He is used to playing (expects) 19-20 minutes and 1st Unit PP. So far he has played an average of 16:44 for the Habs (17:54 last night)

    See the problem?
    He will not be happy with 3rd line minutes or 2nd Unit PP.

    Where does he fit?
    – Max and 51 are inseparable at this stage, and anyone can see that Gallagher makes that line work by drawing so much attention to his never ending energy game – creating time and space for Max and 51.
    They also want their Big Top 6 minutes and 1st Unit PP.

    – Plex and Gionta?
    These 2 are usually put out against the other team’s best to shut them down.
    It’s more about Defence than Offence.
    Those 2 are also used to playing Big, Top 6 minutes.
    Would coaching staff dare try and change their roll to more offence?

    Plex has some nice stats, yet closer scrutiny of his 17 goals show that 3 were scored short handed. 3 on the PP, and 1 into an empty net.
    Not much happening in Even Strength.
    As for assists this year, Plex is ranked 131st for all NHL forwards in that category…. not exactly the perfect center, or perfect situation for a Sniper to be in…

    Not to forget when putting the line combos together – or moving people out of the Top 6, there is also a pecking order and chemistry in the dressing room to be concerned about.

    Here’s hoping all the line juggling to come – a bunch of guys moving down to less important rolls and minutes, doesn’t mess up what appeared to be a team with good chemistry.

    • 2mins4lookinsooogood says:

      Ronn, I think Vanek should be with DD and Max and play the right side … the missing piece should really be the better mobility out of the defence to join the play Timmonen style …

      “Don’t crush that dwarf Alex Henry, hand me the pliers”

    • boing007 says:

      Maybe MT thinks that TV is a rookie.

      Richard R

  28. piper says:

    Vanek- Galchenyuk- Gallagher would be worth a try

  29. third generation haber says:

    According to the poll question, 42% of us (us, not leaf fans) think that we could win the cup this year (meaning this season)…………. the Stanley Cup……….

    42% of us think we could not only beat true cup contenders in a game, but 4 times out of 7……… during the playoffs,………. when hitting intensifies and refs let it all go……

    …….. I think I need a drink
    j.p. murray

  30. Sportfan says:

    Lol Dave Hodge said the moto for next seasons NHL teams that tank is lose honor get Conner.

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
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  31. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Positives from last night, Budaj is only a backup & our coaching staff still sucks.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      What it would take to get your avatar as the Liveblog photo next Wednesday?

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        I would strenuously object to that. That cartoon is a complete misappropriation and defilement of Calvin.

        Calvin was perpetually getting in trouble, but he was never intentionally evil or deceitful. His misadventures were due to him being a dreamer, and getting carried away by his imagination. The image in question shows him micturating on something willingly, with intent and malice, and looking over his shoulder to avert getting caught. Calvin would never do that.

        That avatar is as wrong as, say, oh, maybe using P.K.’s picture to represent a spew of ceaselessly negative and ill-informed posts.

  32. Ian Cobb says:

    TIMO– is not a troll or a wet blanket. He is Mike Boone’s inspiration!
    I am waiting for the day that Timo stops drinking long enough to get on a plane and come to our Summit!!
    Montreal will never be the same!

  33. I have seen the light___Goal! says:

    Perhaps putting your best players in a position to succeed would be beneficial to the team. Instead we get players not playing in positions that they are not comfortable with. Why the fuc* is PK not played more I will never know. Of course I fell a sleep during that crapfest last night so can’t really comment.
    On the other hand somethings fishy about this team and coach. Just don’t no what it is. Perhaps it is the coach and his system. We shall see. Hope springs eternal.

  34. jlgib1019 says:

    Prust,Parros and Weise in for the next 3 games vs Bost,Ott,Tor. Who sits?

    jr

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Agreed. Parros and at least one other need to suit up, just because those three teams have a record of resorting to nastiness, often with league-sanctioned impunity.

      Who sits is way more complicated, and I hope he doesn’t decide until the whole picture clears up a bit, Wednesday morning latest.

      • jlgib1019 says:

        3 out of White,Eller,Bourque and Moen. Bourque should be the first no-brainer,but he was rewarded with PP time in the 3rd.Those teams have not only behaved but we’ve been successful this season with a tough lineup against them
        jr

  35. adamkennelly says:

    appears Tinordi is the only Habs player who did anything positive last night.

    have we tried Vanek w/ Eller and Galchenyuk?

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      It’s a relief, even exciting, to see Tinordi developing before our eyes. Dmen take longer, big men take longer, etc etc. But we’re so impatient here, it’s good to see him increasingly ready to shoulder big responsibilities.

      However, a question: on the second goal, DD was (supposedly) crease-clearing and Tinordi was in the slot.

      What’s wrong with that picture?

      (And I ask with a sincere interest in the analysis of those who know the game better than I).

      • jlgib1019 says:

        Tinordi has turned into a fave of mine.Just what this team needs.Imagine PK and him as top pair for next 5-10 yrs? I’d bring Beaulieu up as the 6th as he did fine with Murray. I don’t see a plan for Pateryn as he never got a callup even though we need a RH dman

        jr

    • jimmy shaker says:

      When did the 10 minute misconduct come into effect? Don’t remember seeing that. The 2 and a five yes but the 10min as well. That sucked. I like him up here even with his mistakes……his time has come to stick I think!

      Shaker out!

    • boing007 says:

      MT should have started grooming Galchenyuk at centre in the preseason.

      Richard R

  36. Phil C says:

    Should we really be surprised by this outcome? The sharks are probably a better team to start, then the Habs are missing their best player in Price. They are also trying to work two players into the lineup that haven’t even had one practice yet. This has also disrupted the other lines so 3 out of the 4 lines have not played much together. Top it off with missing one of their top four defensemen on a team that I thought was missing a top four guy even when everyone is healthy, and I’m not surprised with the outcome. The only real disappointment for me was that the PP has been really bad for no good reason. This team needs it’s PP clicking to be successful so that concerns me.

    Order of business for Habs:

    - Figure out the defence. It’s in shambles right now. All their depth is in the bottom pairing. I think they may have to give Beaulieu another look. But the defense really worries me and Weaver has not looked great with Murray. He could really benefit from a practice so it’s too early to dismiss him.
    - Sort out the PP. I’ve don’t have high hopes because MT still insists on using DD even though he has never been great.
    - Get healthy and shed the deadweight. Bourque, Moen, and Eller need to sit in favour off Bournival, Weise, and Prust.
    - Find a line for Vanek. I just see zero chemistry with Plekanec for some reason. Not a lot of time left, but they need to figure it out. I’m glad Therrien tried a few different combos, that’s good coaching.

  37. DipsyDoodler says:

    Someone called Timo a troll.

    He isn’t.

    What he is is a vandal. He vandalizes this site.

    He’s like those graffiti bombers who just go around defacing other people’s graffiti.

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

  38. Cal says:

    Habs need to regroup after that trip. The day off today with Monday and Tuesday to practice will give some time for Vanek to adjust.
    DD looked gassed all night, along with Patches. Pleks and Gionta with Vanek needs time. We have to face some facts, though. Eller just hasn’t shown much this road trip, along with Bourque and Brière.

    The team with a sieve-like Budaj in nets lost as soon as that first one was put in. Terrible goal. Worst goal scored on a Habs goalie that I’ve seen in a long time. He has it, then stands up with the puck lying on the ice between his legs. Brutal. The air went out of the half-full balloon right there. Aside from that game against LA, Budaj sucked.

    If Price’s injury goes longer than another week, it will be a very tough road to hoe for the Habs.

  39. SmartDog says:

    Ian, you mention below “imagine putting Vanek with Plekanec and Gionta as he gets off the plane”.
    That’s exactly what I think is so ridiculous. With no chance to practice, why not put him with young creative players who are likely to be looking for him and to find a way to put the puck on his stick. Instead Therrien sticks him with veterans who have been playing the same way so long, they forget how to play any other way.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • jlgib1019 says:

      It just shows where we’d be without Price.Phoenix game was there for the taking. SJ too good for us no matter who was in nets,but that goal killed us.

      jr

    • New says:

      I think Montreal’s success has come from working players into their system slowly. You come up, get sheltered minutes, get the feel of how it goes.

      Vanek with Briere and <= 10 minutes would have been the way to go until he got his feet under him. The worst that happens is you introduce him slowly to the system. The best – another DD/Pac combo.

      You also avoid sending the message "You played exactly the way the coaches wanted…but you aren't good enough so we brought in a rental to do your job." Instead you let the guy watch a fourth or third line guy getting better and he sends himself a message.

  40. jlgib1019 says:

    Why is Bourque still in the lineup. Because of his “performance” in last years playoffs? And White has been totally neutered. One of the least physical players on the team. I didnt get the praise heaped on him before olympics.He’s one of the softer players on the habs

    jr

  41. Puckdoc says:

    Pac- DD – Gally, Vanek -Briere -Chuck, Eller -Pleks -Gio, Prust -White-Weise. On Defence reunite Markov and Subban. Play them 25 minutes and try to get 4 other D to handle 35.

  42. HabinBurlington says:

    Morning everyone, to all those having to endure a cold long winter, we just picked up a massive hour to get closer to spring/summer, therefore today must be a good day!

  43. Puckdoc says:

    Everybody criticizing Vanek needs to pipe down. This is why we never draw big names here. 2 games, no practices, wrong linemates and were already calling him vanishing? SMH, does anybody remember how Kovalev looked when we first got him? Skilled players are harder to fit into a lineup especially when the coach insists on playing without skill and tries to make everyone play the same dump and waste style.

  44. SmartDog says:

    What pisses me off about Therrien – one of the things – is that he gambles in Anaheim and it works! Why not? The team is tired on a long road trip, you’re playing the best team in the league, why not try something.
    Then he goes into the next game – the one we should win and we lose. Then the next game AGAIN instead of making some gambles, using the game to shake things up he does what he did in Phoenix. I’m thinking of starting Budaj again, when he was not good in Phoenix and I’m thinking of putting Vanek with Pleks and Gio. Pleks and Gio are our shut-down veterans. Why they hell not put Vanek with Patches and DD (as I suggested initially, and Boone says he might above) or put him with Eller and Galchenyuk and try and get THOSE guys going with a sniper that they can feed.
    Therrien will juggle like his feet are on fire when it comes to getting some French player going. But give him the opportunity to step out of the box for any other reason – forget it. Veterans are not where the power is on this team. If we stand a chance in the playoffs he’ll wake up to that. Otherwise it will be 2013 playoffs 2.0. If he can’t get the young guys – and Vanek – putting in goals, we’re dead in the water. Gionta’s weak drives to the net, and Plekanec’s smart break-away passes are not what Vanek needs. He needs the energy and quickness of our younger guys. He needs guys who have energy and can draw the defense to them. We have those guys… it just doesn’t look like it in Therrien’s buttoned-down, defense-first lineup.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Ian Cobb says:

      SMART DOG nose his poop this morning!!!

    • habstrinifan says:

      “Otherwise it will be 2013 playoffs 2.0. If he can’t get the young guys – and Vanek – putting in goals, we’re dead in the water.”

      EXACTLY!exactly! As I posted some time ago, if we go into the playoffs without Eller/Galchenyuk/Bournival and now Vanek at the peak of their confidence offensively and without Briere well inserted into a definite line and position (not 4th line pawn)… I am not optimistic.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Good rant, SD.
      All the poop is sweet-smelling except about language being a factor in MT’s line-juggling. I just don’t buy it.

      But as for putting the new scoring guy with the two shut-down guys…

      How cool would it be if we upped out gpg by 1-1.5 in the remains of the season?

  45. DipsyDoodler says:

    Does anyone else think that, as good as Plekanec is on the penalty kill, he shouldn’t be used in that situation? If he spends all his time (as in the 1st period) on the PK, then he won’t be able to help Vanek produce.

    Prust, Moen, White and Eller are going to have to do the bulk of the penalty killing.

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

    • SmartDog says:

      Leave Pleks on the PK. He’s vital to it. Put Vanek with guys with a drive for the net. If Therrien hasn’t smacked it out of them.

      ————————————-
      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Maybe it’s worth an experiment? He is the king of PK, but maybe some of the serfs could get it done, thus sparing Pleks for what the team lacks most: scoring.

  46. jeffhabfan says:

    Well a bad road trip ends ugly minus Carey Price. It does not look like Vanek can play with Pleky and Gio so have to find a solution by the Wed Night Game.

  47. nickster13 says:

    It’s apparent we still have a few holes to plug. A few guys need to be upgraded to something better if we are to compete. I’m looking at Briere, Bourque and Moen all need someone with similar skillsets but frankly, better. The rest would fall into place.
    On D, really disappointed we didn’t pick up anyone of value, namely a guy like Nick Schultz or Andrew McDonald, who would have been younger and better upgrades, and were going for cheap. Our defence is a makeshift defence that I hope gets purged in the summer.
    Vanek is not enough at this stage, still a few upgrades away to make some real noise. The only thing to our advantage is a weak eastern conference with very inconsistent teams behind us.
    But of course, I will watch and hope the aforementioned guys play over their heads down the stretch.

    “I don’t wanna see Maurice tonight, I want the Rocket!”

  48. howiemorenz7 says:

    So far, Aurèle Émile Joliat would have helped the Habs more than Thomas Vanishing Vanek. Maybe there’s a reason why nobody was willing to pay more than a 3-goal scorer from Sweden and a 2nd rounder for him. Garth Snow is looking more like Darth Snow Job right about now.

    It’s taken Therrien – who’s no Cecil Hart – this long since Chucky’s return to reunite the EGG line. Why? Eller hasn’t produced a thing in months, and this was the only line on which he seemed fully confident.

    And of COURSE Beaulieu should be up, he, JT, PK, 74, that’s the future, mugs, find the right pairings and stick with them for the next 5 years. 79′s as good as gone, 26 is a 5th Dman, and then it’s pick your poison.

    Watching MT and MB run this outfit makes an old centreman spin in his grave sometimes …

    Maroons Suck.

  49. GGtheHab says:

    I am not shocked or surprised, the road trip went as I expected, well I thought the two points may come in Phx not Ana…but we head home to lick our wounds still in a playoff spot. A few days to regroup and a huge game Wed. I would expect the team to come out with an inspired effort..I have a feeling we may not see Price…I would like to see Prust, Bournie and weise in.

    • habstrinifan says:

      That is the word I was looking for. “Inspired play”.

      I know you dislike demoralizing ‘attacks’ on the team/coaches. But you use the word that indicates a ‘together and dynamic team’. Inspired effort/play.

      I haven’t seen that from anyone for a long long time. From anyone!

  50. Ian Cobb says:

    The new NHL. Parity and the cap hockey!
    The 3 most important parts of today’s NHL hockey is 1st coaching, 2nd goal tending and 3rd special teams!

    Coaching- game plan, putting the correct chemistry together, practice, consistency and discipline. Coaches have to coach, not hope!

    Goal tending- The difference is night and day.!

    Special teams- have to be special and well oiled. Our P.Kill is there only!

    Give away’s, turn overs, icings and poor passing puts the puck onto the other teams stick all night long.

    We have some great talent that needs to be put into a position to win on a consistent basis. Time is getting very short!

    • habstrinifan says:

      Ian I thought of you during the game. You and I shared an optimistic conversation about the team. Any revision of your thinking? I just dont know anymore.

      • Ian Cobb says:

        Coaching is our biggest problem here!
        Imagine putting Vanic with Plekanic and Gionta as he gets off the plane. Does not know our system or the players. This is not putting players in a position to succeed. They all work hard spinning their wheels. And much more coaching inconsistencies. If we get the team playing for each other, and playing on the same line for a few games in a row to develop some chemistry which should be there by now, we will make some noise in the play offs.
        This constant changing around has destroyed Eller, PK, and other players game.

  51. Sportfan says:

    I’m not to worried about Vanek just yet I think he’ll score soon enough, he just needs a few more practices with this team. We need Price back and we need a coach that stops playing Moen over guys like Weise.

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  52. Mondou6 says:

    Since the consensus is that we still aren’t an elite team, I don’t understand the logic of the Vanek trade. Why give up 2 prospects for a 20 game rental? Is the answer, “It’s only two prospects, so who cares?”

    I think you could replace Vanek with Crosby, and we still wouldn’t be Cup favorites. A GM should think big picture, and there’s no way you can say Vanek has anything to do with big picture thinking.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Does it make sense if the objective is only as publicly stated, ie. to make the playoffs and contend there?

      That objective would make sense to me at this stage in the MB/MT era. In the whole organic melange of players, business, fans and media, the overall impact of missing the playoffs is bad, of making them is good. Even if we don’t see the Cup on Rue St Catherine this time.

      • Mondou6 says:

        I wish the franchise would aim higher than a first round playoff loss. After we got destroyed by Ottawa in the first round, I didn’t really have that warm fuzzy feeling that a playoff appearance supposedly provides.

        I had a better feeling the year we didn’t make the playoffs, and ended up with Galchenyuk. Not that Collberg or our 2nd rounder are going to turn into Chucky, but it’s the mindset of being a perennial playoff bubble team that really irritates me.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          What if we thought of last year as the bottom, and this year as a few steps along the upward curve? Didn’t Chicago’s Cup journey go like that?

          (btw, was a huge Mondou fan).

          • Mondou6 says:

            I hope you’re right!

            The way I see the Blackhawks is they got Toews and Kane with the #1 and #3 picks in drafts. If they had been a playoff bubble team the year prior, they don’t get either one, and they win nothing.

            I see Chucky as evidence that we were rewarded for biting the bullet one year, and now it feels like we’re back to the same ol’ eternal scramble for the last playoff spot.

            But maybe I’m overly pessimistic, who knows. :)

  53. murfdog says:

    Now with that road trip over we will see what this team is. Price has been the MVP on that team since the year began, and when your best player is out of the line up your not going to play as well. Lets face it the habs have had a hard time scorin this year but price was there to bale them out on a lot of tight games. I think Vanek will slowly get in the groove but lets face it he isn’t going to jump in the lineup and get scoring right away. Lars hasn’t been his normal self to me he is over thinking in stead of reacting chucky has been doing alright but on plays where he should dump the puck in and chase he wants to dangle on the blue and lose it. Bork has to relize he is a big body and start using it, only if gally had that size, he would be the most wanted player in the league. Habs do have a good team but its starting with price in net, but when you have PK and Max doing all the scoring its hard to win games. My thought is on Wednesday vanek will score or add a few points. MT has to stop changing the lines three times a game and stick it out, chemistry takes a few games. GOHABSGO

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Good point about the Habs not scoring this year.

      The Habs now rank 23rd in the NHL for even strength 5X5 hockey.

      In 5X5 even strength situations, the Habs have scored only 99 goals ranking them 28th in the NHL.
      In the same situation of 5X5, the Habs have given up 111 goals.

      In summary, the Habs have given up 12 more goals than scored in Even Strength.

  54. habstrinifan says:

    I had a discussion with CJ (I hope he recalls it) some weeks back. P.K is playing to be out of here.

    He isnt doing it maliciously. And I AM NOT ENGAGING in the argument whether P.K is right or is handled right or is a disaster as a team person.

    All I am know that ever since his chat with the GM (called from practice no less) P.K’s game looks unfocused, minimal, and personally unchallenging. He does not challenge himself on the ice anymore.

    His words at his latest interviews with Nilan/Hickey reveal the same. He states as matter of factly as possible and as resignedly as possible.. that he cannot affect his relationship with Therrien (read his his standing on the team) .. and all he is prepared to do is go out and try and do what they want him to do. Check the interviews.

    How many times do you see a GM call a player from practice for a chat. You may come back and say this is not that unusual and that MB is a hands on GM. I ask you if being called in for a chat by MB is not ‘out of the norm.. then wouldnt Briere have been a candidate. After all he was MB’s big signing until now.

    P.K is playing his days out here… for good or for bad. Right or Wrong; Proper or NOT.

    • Mondou6 says:

      I have a feeling that PK is going to leave unless MB (1) offers him as much as any other team, and (2) publicly gushes over much he wants PK.

      I agree that PK seems over being treated like a rookie who should be happy with whatever he is given. His holdout was a window into what his contract negotiations are going to be like.

      And I don’t blame him, business is business, he’s going to get the contract that’s he’s worth, one way or the other.

    • Phil C says:

      “that he cannot affect his relationship with Therrien (read his his standing on the team) .. and all he is prepared to do is go out and try and do what they want him to do. Check the interviews.”

      I wouldn’t read too much into that. That’s just sports psychology 101 to focus on what you can control. The biggest problem with PK is that he gets most of his points on the PP and teams have really adjusted to how the play the Habs by taking away the pointshot as much as possible. The Habs have not been able to adjust enough.

      • habstrinifan says:

        Maybe he does because he is warned away from ‘dash’ five on five. Heck I shouldnt have responded cause I dont have a clue. Al I know is just when it seemed we had a non goalie player who could rais eus out our seats.. he has gone downhill… and real FAST.

        And the team isnt better because he is more constrained.

    • CJ says:

      Good morning. I do recall the conversation. PK’s play has shifted from worrisome to concerning. There has been no improvement. As discussed, and perhaps it’s strictly coincidental, but the timing points back to the night in Philly.

      We are only going to go so far as our bet players take us. PK and Price need to steer the ship…..

    • habstrinifan says:

      WOW! Brooks is kicking arse as usual. Certainly no ‘boys club’ writer.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Morning Jim

      Brooks nails it.

      …and remember the NHL Constitution

      ” The NHL is an Unincorporated Association Not For Profit”
      ” It consists of 30 member clubs”

      Big Boys-Big Business-Only 30 of them…and THEY make the rules and change them when they wish…and Gary takes the heat for the Big Boys as he does so well with his very thick Queens born, now Manhattan skin.

  55. CrankFSU says:

    Galchenyuk, Briere, Vanek.

    Vanek played with Briere albeit a while ago and Chucky is the Habs best passer.

    Crank

  56. jrs10069 says:

    I was hoping that the Torres hit somehow woke Eller up from whatever stupor he’s been in for the past 3 months but unfortunately as demonstrated during his next shift, it may have jarred him further into “I don’t give a shit” land.

    If I were on the habs i think i would have to beat the crap out of him in the locker room…then tell Rene, only reason he avoided the beating is that Eller is actually playing softer than him but he’s next. WTF is wrong with these guys? Perhaps a visit to a shrink needs to be arranged.

    jrs10069

  57. CJ says:

    Good morning folks. The sun is up and the weather is gorgeous in Ottawa. Hopefully spring is around the corner. Speaking of around the corner, the NHL playoffs are just over a month away. Given our current record, we should be participants, provided we can play .500 hockey over our remaining 16 games.

    Firstly, for those who did not watch Bergevin’s interview following the trade deadline, he hoped the moves he made could help the team make the playoffs. Our expectations, as fans, have risen, but the franchise’s goal remains singular – find a dancing partner in the post season. You can’t move to second base without touching first. One step at a time…..

    The emotional pendulum swings back and forth. Nothing about the wins against the Pens and Leafs, or the trades that followed should have suggested we are heading to the Stanley Cup finals. Nor should losses to the best teams in hockey, during a compressed schedule, on the road, without our best player suggest we are rubbish. Take this in stride. We need a day off, we need a few practices and we need Price (you can determine the order of priority).

    For those who stayed up, especially those on the east coast, I applaud you. We watched as poorly an officiated game as I’ve seen all season. Budaj let in a stinker, but the team showed some resolve in the first 20. The loss of Tinordi exposed Emelin to more minutes then he can possibly handle. His next stride should be either taken on the third pairing with Murray, on his correct side, or into the press box. Tinordi and PK look decent. I can’t imagine it being easy to play with PK, who is simply not the same defencemen we saw during the first 25 games of the season. Their are flashes of brilliance, but overall the mistakes seem to counter, equally, the greatness. I would be disappointed and frankly surprised if Beaulieu is not at practice on Monday. Pair him with the General, who could use a fresh tank of gas.

    The EGG line and DD Max and Vanek…..too little tool late, but hopefully that is continued at practice Monday. Not that I require validation, but I’ve said all along, we need to put our best new player, with our best players to maximize his potential.

    In closing, it’s great to see the frequent posts regarding Tim Bozon. Let’s keep the support and best wishes rolling friends. He is a part of our extended family and needs our positive energy. Lend a thought, say a prayer or place him in your heart, if only for a few brief minutes.

    Best wishes everyone, CJ

  58. JF says:

    Not much point wringing our hands over this brutal road trip. We’re simply not on the same level as teams like L.A and San Jose. Let’s just put the whole thing behind us and focus on integrating our new players into the team dynamic and getting ready for the Bruins on Wednesday. The schedule gets a bit easier and we’re still in a good position. And other teams have their problems as well. In Tampa, I don’t think Bishop has been quite as lights-out lately as he was earlier in the season. The Leafs have headed out to California to face the same gruelling test we’ve just emerged from. If Price is ready to go, things should improve.

    But I’m wondering if the Habs intend to make Devan Dubnyk their backup next season. When Budaj plays once every ten days or two weeks, he can almost always give a good performance; when he’s playing every night, there are bound to be some bad games. Also, his contract is up this year. Dubnyk is big and still relatively young, and he went through a baptism of fire with a very bad Oilers team. Some solid work with Stephane Waite might turn him into an excellent backup.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Budaj is signed through next season 2014-15, at $1.4M, so the Habs would have to trade him.
      His rolll is not what he is doing now – he excels as a backup and the expectation in that roll is slightly over .500.
      It also appears he and Carey get along very well.

      Dubnyk is a UFA this summer after earning $3.5M.
      He’s only 27 years old, so you’d have to figure he may want to go to a place where he would get a true shot at the # 1 position.
      The Islanders may be a preferable landing spot for him.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Hi Maritimes.
        Agree with all except on your definition of the back-up’s role. Budaj’s job isn’t merely to spell Price on occasion, it’s to fill in when Price can’t go, as now. I still believe Budaj is good in that role — the ask was just too big on this trip. Budaj did not lose those games. Indeed, could Price have won them?

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          hi Ireland

          The pressures and expectations of a back up are much different.
          If you notice the starts he gets, they are usually on the road and/or game 2 in 2 nights.
          Low expectations and low pressure where 1 point is great and 2 are a huge bonus.
          He may just not be able to handle the very tough mental and physical aspects of a starter – even if they are short term.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Agreed, he may not be able.
            I just don’t wish to speculate on his ceiling on the basis of this road trip. Especially when we have Waite in camp.

      • boing007 says:

        Trade him to Minny for Moulson.

        Richard R

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Good morning, JF.

      I can’t remember if you were in the choir or not, but I was definitely singing the chorus “Budaj is the ideal back-up”. I haven’t stopped yet. Please don’t write him off, last night’s softie notwithstanding. We mustn’t keep comparing him to Olympic gold-medal keeper. It’s very early for Dubnyk’s grass to look greener! Waite notwithstanding.

      • JF says:

        I haven’t given up on Budaj, but he has been very beatable since taking over from Price. I was under the impression his contract ended this summer and was just speculating, but MR corrected me above. He is indeed signed until the summer of 2015, so I wonder what role the organization envisages for Dubnyk.

  59. Dunboyne Mike says:

    There is a stirring, fist-pumping machismo in the words, “No excuses”.

    “YAH! NO excuses, baby. No EXCUSES!” We feel the testosterone and adrenalin rise in our veins as we manfully grit our teeth and bear down. “HUH! Do it or don’t do it! No excuses!”

    Yawn. Wow. How much did you say you can bench?

    I am happy to invite a public doubting of my masculinity by asserting that excuses played a huge role in this road trip, above all the schedule: 7 games, 6 cities, 11 nights. Throw on top of that the transcontinental travel and time-zone changes and the very real psychological impact of trade deadline.

    Am I saying we would have swept all before us with a more forgiving schedule? Of course not. But we are a middle-of-the-pack team, still sorting itself out in the early years of a new regime, genuinely aspiring to make the playoffs, but with issues sufficient to keep us out of the leader-group. Over this trip we knocked on the doors of that leader-group but couldn’t bring our A-game because of the schedule. It’s a valid excuse.

    Maybe we wouldn’t have beaten anyone else. But we could have made a game of it in each case. In fact, it looked to me like we made a game of it last night, and that lost chances and Niemi in good form prevented us from keeping up with the scoring that our troubled defense gave up. Had we not been exhausted we might well have beaten Phoenix. LA was a one-goal game. We beat the Ducks.

    So stop moaning. There’s no shame in the albeit ugly record of this trip. We are not yet elite. We’re not ready to rumble into town and strike fear into hearts of the home team, regardless of conference. What we can do is contend and fight, find ways to win, recoup some momentum, solve the puzzles.

    But while we’re trying to do all that, there’s no way we can produce miracles in the face of the added disadvantage of a road schedule like that one.

    Welcome home, boys. Keep fighting.

    • habstrinifan says:

      It may be an unwelcomed observation but ‘excuses’ are ‘de jour’ fare in MT’s conferences.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        True, although can I suggest that what a coach says to the media and what fans discuss among themselves — as here — are two entirely different jurisdictions?

        Maybe MT looks weak citing excuses. Or maybe his excuses are better than calling out individuals. Or than saying nothing, the way the players are trained to do. I don’t know. I guess my bottom line is that I feel absolutely no inclination to dump on the team after scheduling like that, which in turn makes me a little surprised at anyone who is.

        • habstrinifan says:

          Hope I didnt come across as dumping. I am disappointed because I thought Vanek’s addition makes this team look complete on paper anyways. And there are major injuries of course.

          But my dissatisfaction comes from this unexplainable feeling that the team does not have a sense of spirit and togetherness which then feeds a kick-arse competitive mentality. I just dont see that developed or developing…. and we are 16 games or so away from the end of the regular season.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            No, absolutely no dumping-accusation there, Trini. But it does exist elsewhere among fans.

            The spirit thing. It can so very easily look like that, ie that spirit is missing. But I often wonder is that just us projecting an over-simple explanation upon a situation that in reality is unbelievably complex?

            Whenever we say things like “they didn’t want to win”, “they mailed it in”, “they didn’t turn up”, I stop myself. They may be professionals, but they also like clicking and winning better than they like losing. Individual players may have issues from time to time (and I am FORCING your theory about PK from my mind, too awful to contemplate), but as a unit, a club indeed, they all know that winning makes them feel better than does losing.

            Wednesday’s game will tell much, won’t it?

    • Mike Boone says:

      Well said, man.

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger

    • CJ says:

      Good morning Mike. We are 3-3-1 since the Olympic break without our best player, while facing the toughest ten game stretch of the season. We face Boston, Toronto and Ottawa over our next three games. If we can finish 4-4-2 over this 10 game stretch, I will be impressed. I said that should be our goal and nothing has changed. The schedule gets easier and we will have a chance to get back on track. So long as Price is out, we are going to be playing at a significant disadvantage. You can’t win in this league with poor/average goaltending. I saw this going back to the Penguins game when I suggested pulling Budaj after the first period.

      Our back up man is just that, a back up….

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Agree entirely, CJ. We will have a much more valuable and accurate picture of the team after these three games.

        And anyone declaring now that there’s no way we make the playoffs should avoid this site until October!

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I hate it when you make sense! :)
      Great post and top of the mornin’ to ya my friend.

    • Cal says:

      Seeing as most are focusing on the negative this AM (led by headmaster Boone), it’s good to read a logical post.
      Cheers, Dunboyne!

  60. JUST ME says:

    A humbling experience to say the least… Actually in all fairness it is not about the Habs but should be all bout the Sharks as it was last night.

    Overpowering, tight forechecking, winning the battles of the boards. fast transition game…what else do they do perfectly ?

  61. RockinRey says:

    Middling if not unspectacular team. I was hoping they would clean house at the deadline. Just goes to show how a wide open Eastern conference and watered down product in the league overall can lead management to believe acquiring a bona fide scorer will lead them to the promised land. This team needs more than one player…..

    I feel very fortunate to have missed the last two games. Sounds like I did not miss much.

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

  62. Cape Breton says:

    Send Budaj to the Beer Leagues!!!!!

  63. Habfan10912 says:

    Good morning friends. Normally my first post would mention how our team misses Price, or how Rene Bourque seems disinterested, or Emelin needs to be better. But this morning my first hockey thought was concerning Tim Bozon and his family.

    Hockey takes a back seat this morning as all my positive thoughts and prayers are devoted to this young man and his family.

  64. mount royal says:

    Apparently Bozon has put into an artificial coma.

  65. Captain aHab says:

    I want Therrien to leave the EGG line together and leave Vanek with DD and Pax. Then put Brière with Pleks and Gionta (if Bournival recovers, try working him in on that 3rd line) and create a 4th line. Then leave them together for more than 2 shifts. Yes, even if they don’t immediately work out.

    And for the love of god, please tell me that these rumours the Habs are considering re-signing Gionta are false.

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

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      All sounds good, Captain.
      Without consulting any stats, can I suggest that we got our best from Pleks and Gionta in the limited time that they had Bournival with them?

      And absolutely: consolidate the lines for a few weeks — not shifts — so the chemistry can develop.

      • Captain aHab says:

        Agree but they’ll want to play Brière above the 4th line. My hope is that next year, Brière takes Gionta’s spot.

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

      • habstrinifan says:

        One hundred percent agree with you Dunboyne Mike.

        The line of Pleks/Gionta/Bournival was stunningly energetic and improved the offensive impact of both Pleks and Gionta while ensuring a defensive awareness in the ‘rookie’.

        I did no see much of last night’s game (headache) but it seems the DD line was broken up? Breaking that line up this late in the season is risky I think.

        Put Vanek with Eller an Briere and tell them to get their stuff going.

        And absolutely: consolidate the lines for a few weeks — not shifts — so the chemistry can develop…. did someone say that if not you let me be the first to put it out there!

        • Captain aHab says:

          I agree that it’s risky to break up the one line that is working but you won’t get far with one line working so I think the risk is worth it. And honestly, I want to see if DD and Pax can get their shit together without Gally. These two have been mollycoddled at the expense of the EGG line so I want to see if they’ll sulk. I think Vanek is dangerous enough that he’ll get some attention and that will free up DD.

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

    • Bash says:

      Those are the right combos although there is no shut down line unless you slot someone in Briere’s spot as dictated by the opponent or situation.

      “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Vanek-51-Max….
      The dilemma.
      Vanek is on record saying he doesn’t like playing the right side, and I don’t see Max going to the right side so Vanek can play on the left.

  66. doug19 says:

    I wonder if Rene Borque realizes he is one step away from a beer league? Wave him to the
    ECHL?

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Would be a heck of a beer league
      Beer league guys don’t earn $4M in salary this year, and are guaranteed to collect a salary of $2.5M/year for the next 2 years.
      ECHL/AHL…he still collects the full money.
      If he can’t be traded, and the Habs would ever decide to buy him out, the Habs would still have to pay him $833,333/year for the next 4 years.

  67. BobbySmithWasClutch says:

    Anyone out there think we won’t make the playoffs?

  68. RetroMikey says:

    Habs a Cup contender with the Vanek trade!?
    Lol!
    Tsk tsk tsk
    Will will Habs’ fans ever learn this team is not even a Eastern Conference contender?
    Bergy is the Bobby of the past with this club.
    BIG IS BETTER!

    • mount royal says:

      I don`t think that MG ever said that this trade would make the Habs a contender this year. Many others said that tho, including journalists and many on this site. Has it made the a better team? Yes, but so far only on paper.

    • habstrinifan says:

      I gotta admit I have been saying/thinking they will do better in playoffs with Vanek. But….

  69. twilighthours says:

    Glad I missed this one!

  70. Un Canadien errant says:

    I’m on the record as wanting Larry Robinson to be hired as the defencemen’s coach last time around, but it’s inaccurate to say that he wanted to come here and management didn’t.

    A Gazette reporter contacted him shortly after Jean-Jacques Daigneault was hired to get to the bottom of this. When asked why he didn’t get the job or even interview for the job, he responded with this shaggy dog story about his cellphone not being charged or missing texts, and his house being flooded and promising to call the next day but then something else happened, another team was contacting him, …

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/07/08/larry-robinson-named-sharks-assistant-coach/

    While the picture is muddled as to what exactly transpired, if Larry had wanted the job, something could have been arranged, despite all the other complications. The Canadiens did inquire about his services, his interest in joining the team, and it appears the response was lukewarm at best.

    It seemed to me that Larry is still not over some of the past slights, real or perceived, he suffered while a Canadien, and that he’s not quite comfortable working for the team still.

    So let’s not keep repeating this HIO meme that Larry Robinson wanted to coach here but was rebuffed, it’s untrue, and saying in over and over won’t make it so.

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

      He’s probably very happy avoiding the bad weather, high taxes and outrageous pressure and scrutiny coaching in Montreal.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      It’s almost hard to believe, yet Larry Robinson has had nothing to do with Montreal or les Canadiens for the past 25 years.
      He obviously has great playing memories, but 25 years – or 23 years when the position was discussed, is a very long time ago.

      No doubt the Habs considered him a candidate (to what degree, we’ll never know..), yet going back to California wasn’t as if he was moving to unknown pastures – polo reference included

      He played for the Kings from 1989-1992…did a few years stint in New Jersey, then went back to coach LA from 1995-99…then back to NJ.

      In the article below, he also claims great familiarity with the Sharks management, yet also points out how his daughter and grandchildren are down the road in LA, and the importance that is for his wife.

      Family, familiarity with the hockey people, the ‘real’ opportunity to hoist the Cup again in the short term, some nice surroundings and climate, less complicated/complex living, much more anonymity…..sounds like a great gig for a soon to be 63 year old.

      http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2013/11/former_devils_coach_larry_robinson_loves_san_jose_but_says_time_in_new_jersey_was_special.html

    • JF says:

      I posted something similar yesterday. If Robinson had really wanted the job with the Habs, an interview could have been arranged. There’s no evidence at all that he was more than mildly interested. The probability is that, quite apart from any feeling of being subbed by the Habs in the past, he simply preferred to go to San Jose, where he has family and where there is a great deal less pressure.

    • habstrinifan says:

      UCE, I followed the story then very closely and admit that it is very very confusing as to why Bergevin and Robinson could not effectively ‘communicate’. I mean this is 2013 and it’s not like yo are talking to an UNKNOWN about a open ended proposition.

      I didnt look at your link so I do not know if it includes the part of the story which makes the outcome distasteful. While Bergevin and Robinson were ‘crossing their wires’, Michel Therrien single-handedly CALLED JJ and offered him the position after 1 phone call.

      That coming after MB had hired the AHL coach and said at a press conference… and I paraphrase… that the AHL coach’s hire was totally his decision sounding as if he had done so against counter arguments..(again I am paraphrasing but I followed that press conference closely and was ‘amazed’ at the tone of his words on this issue.). I found the haste and autonomous way Therrien hired JJ telling and certainly left MB no options.

      Just my take.

  71. Un Canadien errant says:

    Oyoyoyoyoye! as Benoit Brunet might say. That was a solid spanking the Sharks administered to the Canadiens.

    One thing about the Sharks, when they take over the puck, it gets going the other way in a hurry. Guys like Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, they act like they want the puck, and know where they want to go and what they want to do with it. Just that mindset, that hunger, would serve guys on our side, guys like Lars Eller and René Bourque, who don’t always seem clear on what’s going to happen next.

    It’s hard to find a culprit for the loss, aside from the obvious gaffe on the first goal by Peter Budaj, it was a team loss. Looking at our lineup, some aspects don’t inspire confidence. The fact that only one line is clicking, while the Plekanec line is testing the waters and Lars’ line is rudderless, makes our squad much less formidable than it seemed to be early in the season.

    On defence also, with an Alexei Emelin still rounding back into form after ACL surgery, and a third pairing of Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver, we seemed to have taken a step back. A couple years ago, I thought at least one of Raphaël Diaz or Yannick Weber would become a useful puck mover, and that Alexei would be a pillar on a second or third pairing. And just over the horizon were Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu, young princes who’d ace the AHL exam and quickly graduate to the NHL, seamlessly. We were going to have a solid defence corps, for years, no doubt.

    Instead, I’m reminded of the motley crew from back then, when Jaroslav Spacek and Tomas Kaberle would take shifts, and we relied on long-in-the-tooth vets Roman Hamrlik and Hall Gill, and had to call up Frédéric St-Denis. We have some work to do on our ‘D’, and it’s not just a matter of waiting for Josh Gorges to heal. Mike Weaver is a capable #7, but that’s it, asking for any more is clearly outside his range.

    Jarred Tinordi came to the defence of Lars Eller, who was body-checked hard into the boards, somewhat from behind, by recidivist cheap-shot artist Raffi Torres. Jarred jumped him immediately, and Mr. Torres dropped his gloves and seemed as if he’d be a willing combatant, until he realized he was in over his head and allowed himself to fall on his butt, so as to end the bout.

    Trouble is, Jarred was awarded an instigator penalty, which is fine according to the rules as they are written, he did accost Raffi Torres and goaded him into a fight. Except these incidents, when a teammate ‘avenges’ a hit on another, are routinely accepted as fair play by indulgent refs. Anyway, Jarred received a 17 minute timeout, and all of a sudden, we received generous helpings of the Douglas Murray-Mike Weaver pairing.

    The latter looked relatively inept on one sequence, in which he missed a pass from Max at the offensive blue line and had to retreat to the defensive zone to retrieve the puck. Which was fair enough, the pass from Max was at least imprecise, and could be ascribed to the lack of familiarity between two new teammates. Where it really went south was when Mr. Weaver, skating the puck out of his zone, tried to make a stretch pass which ended right on the tape of a Shark, and the Canadiens spent a furious 45 seconds in their zone trying to defend. Mr. Weaver was spinning like a top in front of the net, flailing this way and that, flopping down a couple of times to try to block a shot and end the onslaught.

    I’m sure he’s a gamer, and after all the travel he’s just as tired as all the other players are, so there’s that to consider, but on this sequence at least, he was noticeable, and for all the wrong reasons. A steady-eddie type defenceman would have smoothly made a smart, easy play and we would never have known that danger was afoot.

    Speaking of easy plays, let’s discuss the first goal allowed by Peter Budaj. On that long shot from Logan Couture, I had the time to think about the debate on these types of Hail Marys. On the one hand, I thought, as the old saying goes, it’s never a bad play to put the puck on the net, since you never know what can happen. Plus, the Sharks were short-handed, so it allowed Logan Couture to hang back and defend the next attack. On the other hand, the problem with this type of dump-in is that now the goalie has full control of the puck and can launch the attack again. Also, old coaches exhort their players to not give a cold goalie an easy shot from far away, since it gets them into the game, gets them into a groove.

    So really, there was no way to know if the shot from Mr. Couture on net was a good decision. Until the loose puck flubbed by Peter Budaj was tapped into the net by a streaking Tommy Wingels. That was a pretty good indicator.

    Cross our fingers, Carey Price is ready to go on Wednesday. As well as Brandon Prust, and Michaël Bournival. Our fourth line isn’t useful right now, as constituted, and Michel Therrien limited their ice time, being forced to overuse Tomas Plekanec among others. Ryan White and Travis Moen were used sparingly. If we can get back to a fourth line that flies around and caused havoc and which the coaches trust, it’ll even out the load, and maybe inject some energy into the forwards. Which we’ll need in the next game against the Bruins on Wednesday.

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • lizard ranger says:

      Hopefully with Price back and a few days back home everyone will settle down and start playing hockey again . It was a poor team dynamic tonight, I thought with so many players on the roster and the injection of TV into the lineup, the guys would be fired up and fighting for their spots . I’m not sure how many seats are in the press box … but i’m sure we could fill’em all .
      Nice game summary UCE .

  72. lizard ranger says:

    turd thurd third

  73. Bozo McBozo says:

    Yanker, danker, doo!!!

  74. vlhorowitz says:

    First!

    I was at the game. Size matters.

    Unless your name is R. Bourque.

  75. Cal says:

    2 games with a new team and he’s already under the bus. Hobbits are so unforgiving these days.

  76. crane says:

    Lines until season is done

    Vanek Gally Gally
    Patches Eller D.D. (Bork)
    Bournival Plek. Gionta (Moen)
    Wiese Bierre Prust (White)
    Parros

  77. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Indeed, far, far too early to execute Vanek with public transport. BUT, the metaphor is wonderful!

    “ProudFEET!”

  78. jlgib1019 says:

    Can’t throw Vanek under bus,but he has been very invisible. Remember the people who blamed every loss on Parros ,citing the teams record when he came back from 1st concussion while we were in Col. and Minn ? What’s the difference now ?

    jr

  79. Dunboyne Mike says:

    It’s Vanek’s turn!
    Rite of passage!
    I’m preparing a long post at present in which I argue that, because Vanek will no doubt be reading HIO from now on, we should desist from dumping on him as soon as we possibly can – don’t want to undermine his confidence. Instead, it might have less of an impact on the team’s success if we start dumping on Dubnyk. Plus he’s really tall.
    We lose Wednesday, look out Dubnyk.

  80. jlgib1019 says:

    Weise escaped it,but don’t discount Weaver,especially with that 43 on his back

    jr

  81. Sportfan says:

    So after this summer he is gone forever?

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

  82. boonie says:

    I didn’t see it. But if it helps prevent bring Gomez back, I’ll watch it today.

  83. habstrinifan says:

    Daylight Savings Ouch!

  84. chemic says:

    that guy boucher who just misses the playoffs with the reign champ in swizerland, something that never happend before in the league (no reign champ in the layoffs) or at this club ever (missing the playoffs).

    boucher sucks, plain and simple

  85. boing007 says:

    We are already paying for TV ads whether we watch TV or not. Just more corporate greed.

    Richard R


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