About last night …


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.



  1. HabsPooch says:

    I’m wondering if anyone has watched Brady Vail play live and can add in a few thoughts on his play? It seems like he’s having a great year and will be playing next year in Hamilton. Scouts have him pegged as a future two way player but say his offence might need a bit of work to make it to the NHL.

  2. jrshabs1 says:

    I wonder how our cousins in Quebec will vote this time, seems likes there’s a pretty big push to leave the Dominion. What will happen to my beloved Habs? Surely the new country of Quebec will not want the word Canadien associated with it’s only pro hockey team. I can’t cheer for anybody else, so I guess my NHL fan days will be over. On a personal note..if Quebec seperates I will never enter Quebec again, I will not spend $ 1.00 on anything Quebec. I think I’ll get my resume dusted off because I assume there will be quite a few Government jobs becoming available. I hope Quebec stays..but if they decide to leave, don’t let the door hit them on the way out.

    MOAR BIGGAR!!!!!

    • habstrinifan says:

      This is just an ordinary vote to see who gets to be the ‘governement’ and fleece the people like all govts do.

    • slapshot777 says:

      The province of Quebec if they’re are smart will not vote to leave Canada. If they did all that is available to Canada becomes tabu for the people of Quebec. What will their seniors do when they lose their old age security, what will the people of Quebec do when MCP is not available to them. What will they do when any subsidization will not be given to them. When they lose their jobs who will give them EI. The Quebec government better have a boat load of cash to pay for all this extra that they are currently receiving from the Canadian government.

      They current have an electrical deal that they signed to get hydro from Newfoundland all while under Confederation. If they chose to leave I would assume that the contract then can be ruled void and then they would lose the money that they get for selling electricity to the states. If not then they would have to ante up more cash to have to pay for it since they went on their own.

      Quebec would be the big losers all way round. I don’t think that the people from their are that tuned out to think that they would still be able to keep all this and separate too.

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

    • Ian Cobb says:

      We are heading for this countries 1st civil war, with 4 provinces on the east and 5 on the west! No separation without a fight!!

  3. Cape Breton says:

    Seems very secretive with Pricey, first it was supposed to be two games on the shelf, turns out to be 6 and the team has been sucking eggs. Also, Habs pick up another goalie at the trade deadline who, by the way, is awful and he proved it with Oilers and Kings earlier this season. So now we’re stuck with 3 minor league goalies and absolutely in deep trouble.

  4. HabsPooch says:

    I’m wondering if anyone has watched Brady Vail play live and can add in a few thoughts on his play? It seems like he’s having a great year and will be playing next year in Hamilton. Scouts have him pegged as a future two way player but say his offence might need a bit of work to make it to the NHL.

  5. Habcouver says:

    Heart-felt condolences to Matt Stajan and his wife for the loss of their newborn son.


    We Are (Not) All Canucks.
    Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

  6. Cape Breton says:

    Is Pricey done for the season?

  7. Cape Breton says:

    Send Budaj to the Beer Leagues!!!!!!

  8. habs_54321 says:

    Pacioretty DD Cole
    Vanek Briere Gallagher
    Galchenyuk Plekanec Gionta
    Prust White Weise

    Oh wait nevermind!

  9. GL says:

    Don’t care what MT does with the lines myself I wouldn’t waste Vanek and these would be my 3-scoring lines for the remainder of 2014 till training camp barring injuries:

    Vanek — Desharnais — Gallagher
    Pacioretty — Plekanec — Gionta
    Eller/Bourque — Galchenyuk — Bournival/Briere

  10. Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

    Furlough the Viking to Valhalla already. He does NOT belong in the NHL. Just watch him play for chrissakes. He does NOT know what to do without the puck. No hockey sense. You can’t teach that. There just doesn’t seem to be anything instinctual about his game. Too much thinking going on in that kid’s head.

  11. 24 Cups says:

    I’m watching the PGA right now and I wonder why I can hear the club head hitting the ball even before the club is anywhere close to the ball.

  12. jols says:

    Drewiski is terrible at the AHL level.

    • Chuck Kept Calm and Carey'd On says:

      Give him a break. He’s just come back from a major injury and surgery.

    • Habilis says:

      Guy hasn’t played real hockey in a while. Might just need some time. I feel for him. It’s gotta suck being a fringe NHLer and getting hurt like that. Basically ended any chance he had at staying up.

      In any case, he won’t be coming back to Montreal. I’m sure that Beaulieu and even Pateryn would get the call before him.

  13. Chuck Kept Calm and Carey'd On says:

    This is a disturbing stat: the Bulldogs are the 3rd-lowest scoring team in the AHL. That doesn’t bode well for the future of their NHL team that can’t score goals, either.

    • Mark C says:

      Why? How many top prospects or players who project to score in the NHL are currently playing for the Bulldogs. 2, 3 maybe?

      • habstrinifan says:

        I think you are kinda proving his point in the way you frame your response.

        Lets look at what you said … how many players are projected scorers in the NHL??

        Well, quite possibly, less than are on AHL teams ranked position x-3 to x-n in scoring. And thus since Bulldogs are our farm team and we are deficient in scoring prowess…. then he’s right… it doesnt bode well.

        So dont shoot the messenger!

        • Mark C says:

          The point is almost all of Montreal’s best scoring prospects are not in Hamilton. Therefore there shouldn’t much concern that the bulldogs lack scoring.

      • boing007 says:

        Bulldogs have lots of defense prospects and the rest of the team is made up of career AHLers.

        Richard R

  14. GL says:

    This is why Vanek is gonna get thrown under the Bus in Montreal by the Fans:

    Vanek Desharnais, 37-PTS Gallagher, 36-PTS
    Vanek Plekanec, 35-PTS Gionta, 31-PTS

    With The New York Islanders:
    Vanek Tavares, 66-PTS Okposo, 62-PTS
    My point is look at the talent level compared with the 4-players mentioned above.

    Vanek wasn’t going to re-sign with the Islanders so MB brought him in to satisfy the Fans that he did something good at the deadline. I feel sorry for Vanek having no one the calibre of Tavares & Okposo to play beside in Montreal and he is gonna take the heat because he now is suppose to be our sniper.

    Unless he gets a bag of money and his wife agrees with it. He will never sign in Montreal …. Wife and money will be the key factors:

    • joeybarrie says:

      Okposo isn’t a high caliber player. He has 4 points in his last 9 games without Tavares.
      He is a 40 point player playing without one of the best players in the league on his line.
      While Tavares is one of the best, we have some very good talent here. MaxPac, Galchenyuk, Pleks, Briere, Subban, Markov, Price…
      The Habs are getting better, and if the money is right, he will stay. As long as his next 16 games are good. If the team plays well, and the fans don’t tear him apart.
      Why do players not like signing in Montreal???? Cause the fans and Media jump all over them if they don’t score in every game.
      Fans are the best and worst part of the Canadiens…

    • fastfreddy says:

      Sadly agree

      CH = Les Glorieux!!!

    • fastfreddy says:

      Sadly agree.

      CH = Les Glorieux!!!

  15. JohninTruro says:

    Nik Ehlers (Halifax Moosehead rookie tearing up the Q league) was at Crosby’s old rink in Halifax (Cole Harbour) this afternoon watching some young kids play. I walked past him and noticed he was happily signing stuff for kids smart enough to know who he was (Moose hat didn’t hurt). Cool to see a potential high draft pick and superstar in the making up close this morning. After the game I took my nephew to, he went into the opposing team’s (Cole Harbour Wings) dressing room to give them some credit after the game. Nice for a guy from Denmark to do that in the community.

  16. JohninTruro says:

    Beaulieu looks/acts like he is too good for the AHL and it shows watching him. I don’t enjoy seeing this in a player. He needs to dominate that league, and show some maturity and professionalism for the Habs to take him seriously.

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      Inquiring minds want to know just how he is acting this way. Could you describe the actions?

      • JohninTruro says:

        Just watching him today he appears to be playing at half speed and not giving 100%. Ever see someone doing something and you can tell their heart isn’t it? This is exactly what I see from him in the AHL. I think he was great up with the Habs, and I hope he is there next year. I was a big advocate of both he and Tinordi spending this whole year in the AHL, and they largely have which is great.
        I hope the “heart isn’t in it” image explains what I mean.

  17. durocher says:

    A crappy 1 for 18 PP is enough reason to bring up Beaulieu. Play 7 D, and insert Weise

  18. Kooch7800 says:

    Emelin needs to take a seat for a bit. Put Beaulieu with him for a bit and see if it gets better. Emelin looked better at the Olympics but has not looked better since his return
    He is actually hurting the team out with his play

    • Bob_Sacamano says:

      The only chance when it comes to Emelin: Put him on the left and give him easier minutes. Anything else doesn´t help. Sitting him and then putting him out on the right again was some typical Therrien bs.


      could be the solution. I know Gorges is a LD as well but he´s played a lot of games on the right with Markov and Gill and he never really looked as bad there as Emelin. Emelin when on the left is a much better passer than people think, so this would give us at least one player on each pair that can move the puck.

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        Markov and Subban should ALWAYS play together.. It’s been a nobrainer for every team I. The history of the NHL with two star D-Man.

        ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

    • POPS says:

      Vanek – Briere – Bourque
      Pacioretty – Desharnais – Prust
      Galchenyuk – Eller – Gallagher
      Moen – Plekanec – Gionta

      Tinordi – Subban
      Beaulieu – Markov
      Emelin – Gorges
      Murray – Weaver

      Teams have no fear of the Habs ability to produce offence. Therefore, every team is extremely aggressive on the forecheck. No secret, it works! The lines above would spread out the offence, and if Vanek and Briere click like they once did in Buffalo the Habs could become a true playoff threat with four lines that could hurt you. Reuniting the EGG line is a must! Right now, there is absolutely zero respect for our transition, other than the Desharnais line.

  19. boonie says:

    @CJ — re your post below:

    You and I are often on the same page.

    I don’t have a problem with Markov. I just don’t want to be on the wrong side of a Kaberle deal. Kabs was younger, had more points, and wasn’t playing on two surgical repaired knees and he went from playing to traded for a first to a new deal to out of the league in about 1 year.

    Hab management be warned. The chance to deal him to a contender willing to pay a premium for a rental just passed.

    Instead of trading players for the future, we traded future (Collberg and a likely second) for now. The Vanek trade has to be looked at in that context. In some ways, he cost us a first and the prospect Markov could have fetched. Plus middling prospects and middle-round picks for players like Moen and Bourque.

    • CJ says:

      Hi Boonie. Thank you for sharing. I respect all opinions, both those who agree and those who do not. On the subject of Markov, I’ve been very outspoken. Anyone who frequents this forum knows what I wanted the team to do. I acknowledge the upside (first goal against the Ducks, plus the shoot out winner), but also see the downside, especially in three years. Markov will turn 36 in December. Yes, Lindstrom played, effectively, until 41, but at this same age nick had 80 points in 80 games, won the Norris and the cup.

      It’s early to pass judgement on the Vanek deal. We should have a better idea within the next two weeks. On first blush, I don’t mind the move, but am concerned with the expectations that are now red hot. We have a number of holes, and unless we get healthy and draw a favourable match up, could end up with a first round exit – assuming we make it at all.

      Thank you again for sharing. Cheers, CJ

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        Take a look at draft picks 20-50 from Wikipedia (because it has all stars highlighet in yellow) and tell me the value of draft picks outside the top 20…. Very little. You can give the odd example, but I can give 20 flops for every flyer.

        ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

        • boonie says:

          The draft is a crap shoot. Player development is an amorphous talent. But it’s like playing roulette. A team is a lot better off having more picks than less. The law of numbers work in your favor. You’ll to find a Luc Robitaille in late round or have a chance to make a couple of safe picks (players sure to play with limited upside) and then swing for the fences.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            That’s why I keep Markov. If he provides two years of similar performance as this season it would take 10-20 second rounders to get that production (using the laws of averages).

            Is a team about to pay 20 2nd rounders,for Markov?

            ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

          • boonie says:

            IF Markov continues at this level for 2 more years.

            Alternatively, if you find a guy in the draft, you own his rights at much lower prices for several years. And, we’d have him at a younger point in his development – so our team might a contender as he matures.

      • boonie says:

        I don’t dislike the Vanek deal. Even if he doesn’t produce or we don’t make the playoffs or we don’t win a round, the deal offered insights about MB.

        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.

        Look, 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.

    • Phil C says:

      If you noticed at this trade deadline, it was a buyers market, so I don’t think you would have received a 1st and a prospect for Markov. The rumor before the deadline was that the Habs would have considered an offer like that so you have to assume that no such offer was made.

      The only first rounders to change hands at the deadline were for St. Louis and Miller. Calgary didn’t even move Cammalleri at all as nothing substantial was offered. I don’t think moving Markov was in the cards this time around.

      • boonie says:

        Totally agree. It was a buyer’s market. Markov may not have moved for a first and a prospect. If that’s the case, we gave a second and a prospect instead of getting a second and a prospect.

        On a related topic – the top scoring wingers, Vanek and Moulson got a second and plus a prospect-ish. Cammy was just below. Let’s say that’s a lower second and a lesser prospect.

        Burke should have made that move. He’s not going to get that at the draft. He didn’t want Cammi when he was a UFA last go around and wanted to come home to Toronto.

        • Phil C says:

          I’m also surprised Burke didn’t move him to the highest bidder. They have a real talent deficit in Calgary though so maybe he’s really trying to sign him.

  20. PeterD says:

    For a brief moment late in the 3rd last night I saw some hope when Vanek was on with DD and Max…Vanek suddenly looked engaged and had active feet…
    I also some excitement from Gally, Chuckie and Eller would put back together as the Kid line…
    With any luck MT will understand that Vanek needs to play with a playmaking Centre not a primarily defensive minded Centre. ..and the the youth and energy and exuberance of the Kid line will reenergize the flagging offense on this team.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Agreed. The team has nothing to lose by doing this. Briere can play LW with Pleks and Gionta. The only downside is that both Briere and Vanek would have to play their wrong position but they can get over it. This formation gives two good lines for the PP while Pleks and Gionta can focus on the PK.

      Bourque, Moen, Prust, White and Weise can fight it out for the 4th line. Lots of flexibly and completion for that unit.

  21. CHicoHab says:

    Tinordi at -1 playing 13 games. Looks are deceiving.

  22. Sean Bonjovi says:

    Three Questions…

    Preamble to question #1: It looks to me like Jarred Tinordi has been making an awful lot of bad decisions and getting burned on a lot of plays

    Question #1: If Nathan Beaulieu was playing that kind of defensive hockey wouldn’t everyone from Michel Therrien right down to nunacanadien be ripping him both in public and in private?

    Question #2: Has Nuna chimed in on the Vanek trade? What did he have to say?

    Question #3: Isn’t a trip to the Stanley Cup Final at least in the realm of possibility? I’m not saying it’s likely, but the Habs would have to get into the 2 v. 3 series in the Atlantic division and beat Tampa, or Toronto, or Detroit, then beat the Bruins, then the Penguins. That’s a tall order, but the way we’ve played the Pens and Bruins we must have at least, like a 10% chance don’t we? : )

    • CJ says:

      Is this a case of perception vs reality?

      Regarding Tinordi, he has made a number of mistakes. I think that’s a fair point and I agree. That said (here’s the perception vs reality), he is minus 1 for the season, over 13 games. Compare his plus minus to any other defenceman on the team over the same time period. Emelin, Gorges, Murray and Markov all have worse numbers. I understand +/- is but one statistic. However, if we agree that he is not getting burned in the form of goals against, then we must consider the value he adds. He carries the puck, he hits, he fights (effectively) and he is one of the few defenders in this organization who can play with PK, which doesn’t appear as easy as one might think. IMO, if we are interesting in shining a spotlight on our defence, the glare should be focused on Emelin.

      Just my two cents….

      I would bring up Beaulieu to play with Markov. Tinordi PK, Murray Emelin. Clearly Markov and Emelin does not work. The last good game I recall them playing together was against Chicago.

  23. CHicoHab says:

    Emelin is -8, Chucky is -9, Eller is -11, and the worst is Murray at -14.
    All these four play regularly. Eller benched a game recently. Chucky was hurt. Murray can hit but hitting doesn’t prevent goals. Emelin needs go to Hamilton finish the year. Bealieu and Tinordi need to stay up. As for replacing Chucky and Eller the list is bursting at the seems.

  24. scrotchland says:

    ladies and gentlemen those were your true montreal canadians that you saw last night.
    You are 100% right mr.Timo…No compete, no heart, no coach, no gm.
    if this ‘team’ squeaks in to the playoffs.,they will not get out of the first round.
    the days of the rocket, la fleur and morence is just a fading memory

  25. Timo says:

    Is Weise not playing because of his facial injury or because Therrien in his infinite wisdom thinks that Moen White and Briere line is a good 4th line? Because last time Habs’ 4th line did anything in the game is when Weise was on it.

    • CJ says:

      I’m hoping it’s due to his injury, but I really doubt it. I agree, the best fourth line we’ve had all season included Weise, with White and Bournival.

    • Habilis says:

      No idea. But yeah, we’re unbeaten when Weise plays. Weirdest stat ever.

      Personally though, I’d rather see him playing than Moen at this point. Weise has been solid in every game. Moen is just… Moen.

      • Bmon44 says:

        Montreal is not quite undefeated with Weise in the lineup, he was in the lineup when they lost to the Kings. But the record with him is 6-1-1, which is VERY good, and he was definitely a factor in all those games. The habs’ main problem in phoenix and san jose was they were chasing the puck in their own zone too much, this is where Murray becomes a liability: he didn’t have the mobility to pick up Nieto last night on the 3rd goal. Not suggesting he sit every game, but when gorges is back they should take turns sitting him and Weaver because they have issues getting the puck due to lack of mobility. I would also like beaulieu back because even though he still needs to fine-tune his positioning (which was still pretty good before the olympics), his mobility is a huge asset.

    • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

      come on dude, Briere is a prototypical 4th liner if there ever was one! 😉

  26. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Vanek – Plekanec – Galchenyuk


      I agree my firend suggesting the same, chucky gets more ice time, you can swing geo on the checking line, and let plekenec play defence with 2 of our most talented offensive studs

    • Slackman says:

      no. You can’t split Plekanec and Gionta. Or at least I highly doubt Therrien will

      “When the going get’s weird, the weird turn pro”


    why did we trade danny kristo? he was developing really well. I dont get why we traded him for a smaller guy. just cause hes the son of a former nhler… im not sure why they made that trade, anyone have some more info, i think I heard kristo had off ice issues, but I never heard anything.

    • UKRAINIANhab says:


    • CJ says:

      Perfect timing. Thomas just scored.

    • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

      good question, stupid trade given we’re already a team of midgets

    • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

      Chelios had off-ice issues too

    • Mark C says:

      Has Danny Kristo actually done anything to make us miss him?


        ever hear of ryan mcdonough? kristo was drfated higer has more skill and is putting up better numbers, alose hes bigger, the only thing is thomas is a bit younger. I just thought it was a weird trade, cant understand it.

        • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

          This is just a guess but I bet as an American he wasn’t thrilled with playing in Canada (or at least preferred the US)

        • Mark C says:

          Ever heard of Jozef Balej?

          Thomas was drafted higher than Kristo. Do you really think a few inches in height matter that much? Given the age difference, Kristo’s slightly better numbers aren’t that impressive.

          I liked Kristo so I didn’t like that deal. But can’t understand why the trade is such a big deal.

    • CJ says:

      Kristo, following the WJC, was a can’t miss prospect. At 23, soon to be 24, you start to wonder. Thomas is 21, soon to be 22. IMO, we are splitting hairs, as neither prospect is likely to set the nhl ablaze. Kristo is not a big man, nor does he play a big game, so the difference in size is a wash. Both players have games built on speed and skill. I’ve often regarded 25 as the cutoff for transitioning from the AHL to the NHL. There are a a few exceptions, but if Kristo doesn’t make it next year, then I wouldn’t hold your breath. If anything, the move has bought Montreal two more years with Thomas.

      IMO, I’m not sure why some regard this as such a bad deal. If anything, it was a lateral move. Truth is, many people, myself included, likely recall watching Kristo at the WJC, or as a senior at North Dakota and figured he was the next great thing. Having a big year in the NCAA at 23 is a long way from making the nhl. Sorry to be so candid, but that’s the truth.

      • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

        Kristo has slightly better stats this season in the AHL than Thomas. At a minimum, the trade was a bit of a head-scratcher given we’re a very small team

        • CJ says:

          His point per game average is slightly better. Keep in mind Thomas had a significant injury. Let’s see how this turns out in 2-3 years. I don’t think it’s the disaster that people make it out to be. As I said when I engaged in this sane conversation two months ago, of Kristo is so much better, why has he not been graduated to the Rangers, if only for a game? Given the number of injuries they had up front, that’s the head scratcher.

          • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

            Could be the position he plays relative to existing Rangers roster depth. Could it be that Kristo is too physically frail/light or weak defensively for the NHL? I don’t think the trade was awful, just didn’t see the point of making it.

  28. johnnylarue says:

    Vanek has 21 goals in 62 games this season–the bulk of those playing on a line with one of the top 5 forwards in the world.

    Patches has 30 in 57 games playing with David Desharnais.

    This isn’t a knock against Vanek–just an attempt to provide a bit of objectivity with regards to what we can realistically expect from him in 2014.

    No question he still rates as a great player, but I’m coming to realize his ‘sphere’ at this point in time is much closer to that of a Michael Ryder (with playmaking ability) than a Steven Stamkos.

  29. Timo says:

    Let me guess, today is a travel day and tomorrow is a day off? Did Therrien say they were tired?

  30. Moen-Plekanec-Gionta


    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Best I’ve seen yet.. Eller on the 4th is ideal.. Moen played with the big boys under Randy Cunn..

      ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~


        eller might be on the bench the way hes playing even white is briinging more then eller, eller has the tools, but hes not producing whatsoever,

        • CJ says:

          I agree. IMO, Eller shouldn’t bump White. Eller either needs to make it as our third line centre, or second line winger. Putting him on the fourth line at this stage of his career who be the equivalent of forcing a square peg into a round hole.

    • johnnylarue says:

      If the coach is okay with Vanek getting ~15 minutes a game, I agree this is the way to go.

      The only problem is that you wind up giving 1st line minutes to a purely defensive line because Therrien, god love him, *always* matches Pleky to the other team’s best line… But considering how little scoring Pleky and Gio generate anyway, regardless of who’s on LW, it’s probably time to call a spade a spade and relegate that pair to a full-time shut-down role.

    • HUDSONHAB says:

      I kinda like this lineup. Could have used it 2games ago, except White instead of Prust.


  31. BobbySmithWasClutch says:

    Just curious. Who believes (even a little bit) that Habs are now in some way cursed by the old Forum ghosts?

  32. GL says:

    This one is for MT: (Practice Session)

    1st line: Pacioretty Plekanec Gionta

    2nd line: Vanek DD Gallagher (Digger) just what Vanek needs

    3rd line: Galchenyuk Briere Eller

    Problem solved for two scoring lines:

  33. anotherhab says:

    Everyone is wondering what’s the chance of us winning the cup this year! I’m wondering what the chance of us making the playoffs??

  34. Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

    People, listen up a sec…all this navel-gazing over who should play with whom means squat without Price. He’s 75% of the ream. As he goes so goes the Habs. Vanek is NOT our Butch Goring brought in at the last minute to push us over the top. If he’s a difference maker at all, I’ll be mildly surprised because there’s there’s so much wrong with this team that he can’t fix, most of it on defense. Which is why Price means so much to the team. He basically IS our defense. Pray he’s back to stay on Wednesday. The season depends on it.

  35. Moen-Plekanec-Gionta

  36. HUDSONHAB says:

    The Habs have an opportunity with Vanek to get the offence 5 on 5 going in the right direction. If MT doesn’t get line combos figured out it is on him. He didn’t have to wait until the SJ game was lost to try new lines. He had the whole west coast trip to experiment simply because to all in the know, this was not going to be pretty. So why not take the bull by the horns and see what they could come up with. Now Vanek has had two games stuck with Gionta and we are still wondering who he may mesh with. We all knew it wasn’t Gionta!!!


  37. B says:

    The Dogs vs Monsters game is on Sportsnet360 now.

    –Go Habs Go!–

  38. If we want the slightest hope of convincing Vanek to sign in Montreal this summer, we’ve got to make him feel at home. And that means making sure he has fun — lining him up with a creative, intelligent playmaking centreman who can help him and the team succeed. DD is paired up with Max, and Plekanec needs a line that can flip between offensive and defensive responsibilities as needed, so that centre is Daniel Briere.

    Briere has been in the coach’s doghouse all year, despite some real flashes of brilliance in limited minutes. If he’s not good enough for the three top lines, don’t play him. But if we’re on the hook for another $4M year, it makes sense to give him at least as many chances as Eller and Bourque to succeed. Sure he floats sometimes, but he’s hardly alone in that respect — I just don’t get the hate for him.

    Devils coach Jacques Lemaire on the Daneyko-Kaminski feud – “Daneyko got mad when Kaminski said he was going to knock his teeth out. Dano has only two teeth left, so you can’t say that to Dano.”

  39. billylove says:

    59% think THIS roster can WIN the Cup THIS year! I want whatever it is they’re using.

    • B says:

      The question is “CAN they win the cup” and not “WILL they win the cup”. I think it’s possible that this team could win the cup. Stuff happens. I would not, however, put any money down on a bet that the will win the cup.

      –Go Habs Go!–

      • CJ says:

        Exactly my thought B.

      • Agreed! Today’s so-so team has at least as much chance of winning the Cup as our ’93 so-so team did.

        Devils coach Jacques Lemaire on the Daneyko-Kaminski feud – “Daneyko got mad when Kaminski said he was going to knock his teeth out. Dano has only two teeth left, so you can’t say that to Dano.”

        • NightRyder says:

          Not even close. That “so-so” team had the best goalie in history, in-their-prime Vincent Damphousse, Kirk Muller and Brian Bellows up front and Mathieu Schneider and Eric Desjardins on the back end. The only real contributor over the age of 30 was Carbonneau; Keane and Skrudland are better than any grinder we have today; LeClair and Odelein would have very good careers. Even then, all the chips had to line up perfectly with a zillion straight overtime wins, a stick measurement, etc.
          That team was MUCH better than this oddly constructed crew with its shitty coach.

          • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

            Patrick Roy won that Cup for us. There was also not nearly the same number of teams (mostly in the West) better than us as now

          • Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

            Bang on. I would only add that they also had a better coach in Jacques Demers, not so much in the X-O’s department but as a motivator. Guys loved playing for him by all accounts.

          • boing007 says:

            The 93 team had more depth than this team. By a long shot:

            Richard R

          • CJ says:

            That link goes to show how much hockey has changed in 20 years. Roy’s GAA is well over 3.00 and his save percentage is well below .900. Those numbers would have you in the ECHL now.

            Look at the scoring. My goodness…. Night and day.

            Sorry to be so nostalgic, but I’d love to see the game played the way we saw it played in 92-93 so much more then what we watch today. Further, there were not as many teams, which is also a reason for the significant change.

        • BobbySmithWasClutch says:


    • GL says:

      with the right line combinations It’s a possibility but with the line combinatons MT is using right now. Not a chance. They have talent but not utilized properly ….

    • jimmy shaker says:

      They can definitely come out of the east, but would be lucky to win a game or two vs any of the ridiculously stacked magnificent 6 out of the west!

      shaker out!

    • crane says:

      guess who scored for rangers,five years later still talking Gomez deal on TV sickening .

    • New says:

      That is always an issue. The Habs are on paper about 11th in the East, where NJ and Ottawa are right now. What is astounding is that this team has been able to run most of the season within the top five of the East instead.

      Folks get enthusiastic over this. They forget to give the guys credit for working so hard, so long, to get where they are with about 16 games to go. The forget also that other teams are making their push now. They forget that an overtime or shootout win over the East is only a single point while a regulation loss is two gone or that while you run out to play the West the East on East teams are dividing 3 points between them.

      It is really disappointing that no matter what the Habs do now they will be considered to have failed when in fact they overachieved all season.

    • boing007 says:

      That could get expensive with all the differing tastes.

      Richard R

  40. habstrinifan says:

    TV companies are taking steps that you cant catch shows ‘online’ without a cable/satellite subscription. Get ready.

    “Cord-cutters who’ve gotten used to watching Hockey Night in Canada streaming on the CBC site for free will be out of luck next season,” writes Terry Dawes at tech news site Cantech Letter. That’s thanks to the $5.2-billion deal between Rogers and the NHL, which gives CBC the right to broadcast HNIC for a few more years, but all the rights and revenues from that and other NHL broadcasts will belong to Rogers.”

  41. boonie says:

    There seems to be some unwritten role bandied about HIO that Plecs must with Gionta. Thankfully that ends this year.

    Gionta is a warrior. He won Cups and Captained this franchise. But he’s done. Plecs is NOT done. MT is wasting one asset in his prime by forcing him to play a less than ideal role with players beyond his prime.

    Smarty – this is for you. MT’s conservatism (that’s me being polite) costs us a productive Plecs and development time for Chucky.

    • CJ says:

      I agree. Gionta is at the end of the line. This offseason we ought to buy him a Robert Bateman original, help with closing costs selling the house and send him on his way. If he is back next season, as anything other then a guest, it will be a major mistake.

      Not to slam home a point, but I’d love to see what others do that convinces folks that Markov has another three years of good hockey remaining. Don’t get me wrong, he still has flashes of brilliance (most recently, first goal vs Anaheim), but overall, he play is very spotty. In his defence, Emelin is terrible right now, so he is getting very little support. They need to be separated, ASAP. Sorry to be so candid. Just calling them as I see them.

      • boonie says:

        You and I are often on the same page.

        I don’t have a problem with Markov. I just don’t want to be on the wrong side of a Kaberle deal. Kabs was younger, had more points, and wasn’t playing on two surgical repaired knees and he went from playing to traded for a first to a new deal to out of the league in about 1 year.

        Hab management be warned. The chance to deal him to a contender willing to pay a premium for a rental just passed.

        Instead of trading players for the future, we traded future (Collberg and a likely second) for now. The Vanek trade has to be looked at in that context. In some ways, he cost us a first and the prospect Markov could have fetched. Plus middling prospects and middle-round picks for players like Moen and Bourque.

  42. rljmartin says:

    Tough road trip. What struck me the most about last night’s game was how much the Habs were out-skated. Sharks just did not stop, all 5 players skating relentlessly in puck pursuit. Did not have to win puck battles, just got there first all night. Hope it was fatigue.

    Too bad Eller got kicked out, on one shift EGG line looked like they had some spark and jump. Gally just does miracles it seems for anyone he plays with.

    • CJ says:

      Agreed on all points. I give the coaching staff a little credit for making the change. In the limited time they were together, Vanek DD Max looked decent and the EGG line looked good.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      I admit, I had to chuckle when Eller got the boot.

      “EGG line!!! Hooray! ……. Oh dang, there goes Eller.”

    • Strummer says:

      San Jose is currently 3rd overall in the League, playing in the tough western conference.
      Trying to compare them to the Habs whether it be puck pursuit (not sure what else they would be persuing) or their skating is ignoring the fact the Sharks are of a superior talent pool than our heroes.

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

  43. habs-hampton says:

    Where is it written that we need 2 d-men on the point on the PP. Lots of teams use a forward (Chicago uses Sharp)? Sure there’s a risk if there’s an odd-man rush the other way, but Gorges or Tinordi on the 2nd unit is a waste of time. Our PP iss middle of the pack and dropping, and since we are so bad 5-on-5 we need it to work.

  44. boonie says:

    At the Olympics, Plecs plays with Jagr on a scoring line and captains the team. Maybe we should try him in an offensive role here. Play him with Vanek + _______ Send Gionta to the Eller line with ______. The DD, Pac Gallagher thing is working. Insert whatever leftovers you like on line four.

  45. GL says:

    sorry missed a couple of words there but it wouldn’t let me edit the comment:

  46. GL says:

    If MT don’t want to split Plekanec and Gionta up why doesn’t he make a 3rd line of:

    Briere Plekanec Gionta

    A second line of:

    Vanek Galchenyuk Eller

    To me that looks like the first two lines would be the scoring lines. The Plekanec line a shut down line that can chip in now and with some goals and a solid 4th line of:

    Prust/Moen White Weise/Parros.

    Now tell me what’s wrong with those lines. I think it’s about as good as it gets and it gives Galchenyuk and Eller a chance to play along a sniper ….

    • HabsPooch says:

      Pacioretty DD Gallagher
      Vanek Eller Briere
      Galchenyuk Plekanec Gionta
      Moen White Weisse

      The first line is already set. The second line gives Eller a true scorer to play with and speed on the other side. Third line shares defensive responsibility with some offence and the fourth line can hold their own. JMO.

      • GL says:

        Talent like Galchenyuk on a 3rd line waste of talent and one reason why the Habs don’t have a playoff position secured yet and may become a wildcard team …. Vanek, Galchenyuk Eller … Briere with his two Buddys.

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          Having Eller in top 6 is wasting a spot on a bottom 6 plugger. I really like Eller, but not as,a top 6 fwd.

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

        • HabsPooch says:

          Who has secured a playoff spot? Habs are sitting in third place in the East. Not bad… I agree Galchenyuk is being wasted on the third line but if his true position is centre then he should have been penciled in at that position from the beginning of the season. As it stands now, IMO, it is too late for him to start playing a position that entails extra responsibilities so close to the playoffs. I will admit that Eller is over-rated and his hockey IQ is questionable but if we really want to see what we have in Eller, putting him out there with a 40 goal scorer will let us really know what his upside is. He does have the advantage playing centre this year over Chucky…and he did say earlier this season, it is quite the transition.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            I consider Vanek a 30 goal scorer (been 6-7 years since 40) but i respect your point.. It’d be nice to see what he can do with talented wingers..

            ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Eller does not deserve that chance.. He’s a bottom 6 player.

      ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • HabsPooch says:

        If he wouldn’t produce with a 40 goal scorer at his side then the verdict would be in. Otherwise you can always flip Pleks and Eller on the second and third lines.

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          I like the way Eller has been utilized.. If he’s as good as,his HIO supporters suggest we will have him at a mega bargain when he is signed!! Cap management 😉

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  47. Ozmodiar says:

    gotta keep vanek on the left, and away from gionta. for example:

    vanek – pleks – briere
    max – dd – gally
    chucky – eller – gio
    moen/bourni – white – prust/weise

    perhaps briere / chucky can be switched. chucky has experience at RW.

    • Slackman says:

      Plekanex and Gionta = Ernie and Bert. They will not get split up

      “When the going get’s weird, the weird turn pro”

    • I’d tinker a touch, but I like your lines. I might try something like:


      Gotta say, I don’t get why Briere continues to rot on the 4th line with White and Moen. Send him a few message for a few games, fine. But what is his role on that line exactly? If he can’t be trusted defensively, and if he isn’t going to score any goals with those linemates, then why is he even dressed? Or a better question: why not put him on an offensive line so he can do the one thing he was brought in to do?

      Devils coach Jacques Lemaire on the Daneyko-Kaminski feud – “Daneyko got mad when Kaminski said he was going to knock his teeth out. Dano has only two teeth left, so you can’t say that to Dano.”

  48. Strummer says:

    Serenity Now!
    In the last several days Habs played 2 of the top 3 in the NHL- San Jose and Anaheim and were 1-1 in those 2 games, while on a gruelling road trip to the West coast.
    Some rest, a few practices and we’ll see what they’re made the rest of the sched.

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

  49. FormalWare says:

    In order for a team to play as a team, everyone has to know his role and assignment in each general situation. The effectiveness of the DD line in the offensive zone, for example, can be attributed in large part to the players knowing simply and precisely what to focus on. DD: “Get the puck to Max”. Max: “Find space – then expect a pass from DD.” Gally: “Forecheck, dig the puck out, get it to a Hab – then go to the front of the net.”

    When a player is unclear on his role/assignment in a certain situation, he looks to the coaching staff for guidance. If this lack of clarity is common to a number of players and situations, to remedy this becomes Job One in practice and film study.

    The Habs now have an opportunity to focus on the difficulties of a number of players in knowing precisely where they should place their focus in a number of situations. If their coaching staff does a decent job, watch for improved play against the Bruins from a number of players – notably: Vanek, Weaver, Tinordi, Eller, Bourque, Emelin.


    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

    • crane says:

      Lines until season is done

      Vanek Gally Gally
      Patches Eller D.D. (Bork)
      Bournival Plek. Gionta (Moen)
      Wiese Bierre Prust (White)
      Parros almost never

      Tinordi P.K.
      Markov Beaulieu
      Emelin Pateryn (Murray)
      Geoges,Weaver almost never

      • Slackman says:

        Briere is wasted on the 4th line. Put him with Plex and Gionta, Bournival in Brackets, Moen down to 4th line with White Centering it. Interesting lines

        “When the going get’s weird, the weird turn pro”

    • Totally agree.

      If your job description is unclear, you can’t be expected to excel at it. I share your hope that the coaching staff will take the time afforded by this break and make sure every player knows what his job is for the rest of the season.

      Devils coach Jacques Lemaire on the Daneyko-Kaminski feud – “Daneyko got mad when Kaminski said he was going to knock his teeth out. Dano has only two teeth left, so you can’t say that to Dano.”

  50. Slackman says:

    Anyone comparing Vanek to Gomez or similarly saying that Vanek is a bust is a complete and total moron. Or he is a complete and total genius who can assess and correctly identify a player as a bust after only 2 games (no practices) with a new team. I wish I had this kind of foresight and expertise. Unfortunately I only watch hockey. I have no prior experience managing a professional hockey team. I’m at a disadvantage!!

    “When the going get’s weird, the weird turn pro”

  51. SmartDog says:

    My concern about Therrien (and the team) isn’t that we won’t win games. It’s how we win them and what that means for a) player/resource development and b) the playoffs.

    Therrien has shown he can win a lot of games with this team. But he hasn’t shown he can win games when it really counts. Or that he uses young or offensive players well. When I saw him put Vanek with our shut-down veteran line, all I could think is ‘how many games will it take him to realize that’s wrong’.

    I’m not discouraged about the outcome of the road trip. The Western trip is tough and we’re missing important pieces. I’m concerned about whether Therrien will waste the opportunity Vanek offers. I just hope not.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  52. byebyegomez says:

    Crane, I like your line combinations. Galchenyuk should be given a more prominent role. They have protected him enough. Let him play and do his stuff with some skilled players.

    • Captain aHab says:

      Seriously, are other teams also still juggling all their line combos this late in the year? I realize the trade pickups change things but I would hope that Therrien would stick with some lines for at least the last 15 games going into the playoffs to develop some chemistry.

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

      • HabsPooch says:

        The Leafs have pretty much kept their lineup intact.

      • CJ says:

        As I’ve noted before, I think the NHL has shifted away from lines (three man units) and gone to pairs. In this respect, we aren’t making significant changes. I’d keep the following;

        Pleks Gio
        DD Max
        White Weise

        I would add Chucky Vanek. The time has come to adjust. I applaud the coaching staff for continuing to try Eller. I’m a huge fan, but even I see that it’s simply not working. Time to move Chucky to centre with Vanek on his LW. Just my two cents….

        • Ozmodiar says:

          White – Weise??

          Weise is a healthy scratch and Prust isn’t even back yet. Can’t “keep” what isn’t happening now.

          Also, White is often slotted in @ RW.

          • CJ says:

            Before the Olympic break, White and Weise combined to form 2/3 of the most successful fourth line we iced this season. Am I the only one who saw that? They, along with Bournival, were forcing the issue, creating offence from the cycle and creating issues by forcing the play with their speed and physical forecheck. IMO, I’d consider Bournival to play with Pleks and Gio. That trio enjoyed a great deal of success during our longest winning streak of the season. Prust fits on the fourth line and compliments the skills and abilities of White and Weise.

          • HabsPooch says:

            White primarily plays centre. His one good asset is winning faceoffs.

          • CJ says:

            Agreed. White has been a very good fourth line centre.

          • Ozmodiar says:

            Sure, White plays C, mostly. Yet, he’s played a lot of RW as well, so far from a core piece @ C, especially with a guy who is currently a healthy scratch.

            The White / Weise combo has played a handful of game together, so very premature to consider them in this group.

          • CJ says:

            Fair points. I respect your feedback. It was a small sample size, but again, has there been a better fourth line combination this season? IMO, White Weise and Bournival were the best this season. White and Weise have known each other since they were 10. I don’t know why we would tinker with that chemistry. To be quite honest, the fact that Weise sits while Bourque and Eller play is disgusting. Keep in mind, this is coming from one of Eller’s biggest supporters.

        • HabsPooch says:

          I would try Eller with Vanek and see if that doen’t kickstart him. I think its too late this season to get Galchenyuk to learn the centre position and pairing him Vanek might be a defensive disaster. I was all for having Galchenyuk play centre from the start of the season and live with his mistakes. Like I’ve said previously, there’s other centres out there younger than Galchenyuk who are learning on the job…

          • CJ says:

            Good post. The only thing I’d add is how do we really know what Chucky can do, offensively and defensively? If memory serves, he got to start ONE game at centre, on the road, in St. Louis. With 16 games remaining, there is still time. If his skill and ability is as high as I believe it is, I think he surprises us all. Right now, IMO, we are suffocating our best young player (Chucky) and have tied a boat anchor to Vanek by deploying him with Gio and Pleks. Sorry to be so candid, but I don’t get the hesitancy to try.

            It’s like we just bought a new Ferrari, but don’t want to try shifting it into fourth gear. Take a chance. Great things could happen. If not, are we really and worse of?

        • boonie says:

          Gotta agree with you here. Eller has been given a shot. He’s not an offensive player this year. Maybe later in his career. But — for whatever reason — not now.

          As others noted the Avs and Flames are playing rookies at center; and those players are just fine. Chucky has one more year under his belt and comparable talent.

          Give it a shot. You can protect him a bit by giving him responsible wingers – say, Gionta. That leaves Plecs with Vanek + _____ whomever. DD with Gallagher and Pacs is our only consistent threat. Leave them together. Take your pick of all our other interchangeable parts and have at it.

          • HabsPooch says:

            So then what happens with Eller if the other four centres hold their positions? Either he plays left wing or sits. Moving forward, we have five centremen with four slots open. A decision will have to be made what to do next year.

        • GL says:

          The perfect Right winger for Vanek is Gallagher. He’s a digger and Vanek would fill the net who you would choose for a center for him pick one. DD, Pleks, Galchenchuk, Eller.

          • HabsPooch says:

            The best option would be Desharnais but he’s got Pacioretty to feed. If Galchenyuk was given a chance to learn his real position then he would be the ideal pick.

  53. jimmy shaker says:

    It doesn’t matter anyways. Nobody from the east is going to touch the west. Kings, sharks, ducks, hawks, blues, avalanche. But the boys still can make it to the finals if they just get in and don’t have to face taranna. Please Price, come back wednesday vs the cubs and please MT never play bourque again.




    Shaker out

  54. CJ says:

    The teeter totter of emotion continues to sway violently. Enjoy the beautiful day folks and let this past game slide. There are a number of things we can get upset about. No denying it. At our worst, we are small, slow, make poor decisions, are forced to play more then 70% of the game in our end, can’t get consistent goaltending, turnover the puck, have no punch on the PP and can’t score 5 on 5. I get it. I agree with it. As much as I don’t like it, I watch it.

    It’s small consolation, but Tinordi is developing before our very eyes. We are a much better team with Gorges, Prust, Bournival and Price over Weaver, Moen, Bourque and Budaj. I’d add Beaulieu over Emelin, because, frankly, it can’t be any worse. Lastly, I would reconstruct the lines.

    There is a ray of sunshine parting through these dark clouds. IMO, it might not be the worst thing in the world to slide into the playoffs as the first wild card and meet the Bruins in the first round. Shift the focus and push the pressure onto someone else. Sure, we could be a Stanley Cup finalist. It’s possible, albeit VERY unlikely. Again, steady as she goes. Let’s get in first, get healthy and see what happens. If history has a way of repeating itself, and it usually does, Vanek takes time to get going. Give him a couple weeks 5-7 games).

    Hang in there folks. Lastly, if you have made it through this post, consider taking another minute or two to hold Tim Bozon in your heart. This young man needs our positive vibes. I’m giving him all the energy I have. Although his condition is critical, I’m not giving up. Never!

    Best wishes, CJ

  55. Habanero78 says:

    The thing is I really like the chemistry the Habs had against LA and they were actually decent against Anaheim… Never seen them play so tough. Of course they have to get Vanek in the game and that will take a bit of time. I believe in the playoffs we got crushed by ottawa because we did not have two sandpaper lines, tried to play three scoring lines and that just doesn’t work in the playoffs…. I think the right formula is closer to the team that played Anaheim and LA.

    Oh and Budaj was just brutal. What was that first goal in San Jose!? The goalies in my beer league don’t even play that bush league.

  56. Price07 says:

    Budaj is a great treammate but everyone understands why he’s an NHL backup now right? This is for those ridiculous people last year who said Price was a backup and Budaj is the better goalie. When you play once in a while is one thing, when you play regularly is another…

  57. grizzles says:

    Beaulieu needs to be on this team. Murray and Emelin need to take a seat. Throw in a league average defenseman and a league average coach and this team would be so much better. Emelin’s contract is a joke.

    • CJ says:

      To be fair, Emelin is making $2 million this season. As crazy as it sounds, his pay is fairly commiserate with his play.

      Next season, when the new contract kicks in (4 years, $4.1 per season) expectations will rise exponentially. Plain and simple, he needs to be much, much better. I’m giving him a pass this year, but if this continues next season we will have a hot mess that won’t be easily corrected or undone (traded).

      • HabsPooch says:

        It would be nice to see him play his correct side…that blunder he made along the half boards on the fourth goal wouldn’t have happened if he was right handed..

        • CJ says:

          Good post. I agree. He needs to be on his correct side. Going forward (next season), he and Pateryn could make a good pair. Honestly, I think he and Markov are not natural together. Given Gorges’ injury, I’d go with;

          Tinordi PK
          Beaulieu Markov
          Emelin Murray

          I’d use a healthy Gorges to replace either Emelin or Murray.

          We need another puck mover and second wave PP, both of which Beaulieu addresses.

          • HabsPooch says:

            We both agreed last week (with Markov potentially being traded) that having a right handed physical defenseman would have been a perfect solution. A Kevin Bieksa for example. However, it looks like Markov will probably be signed so that top four probably works the best. I agree with Emelin and Markov not working out together. I read that they were never paired for Russia at the Olympics.

          • CJ says:

            Good point. No, they were not together at the Olympics. That in itself should tell us everything we need to know.

            Yes, the Bieksa suggestion was very, very good. It’s why I argued if we were going to add one player, it had to be a defenceman. Now that we have gone down this road, we need to course correct. As noted, the defence pairings above are IMO, the best solution. I’d replace Emelin with Gorges when he returns. Gorges and Murray have been very good on the PK and have developed chemistry as a result.

  58. Paz says:

    If I was the NHL I would make it clear that Quebec City will never get an NHL franchise if Quebec separates from Canada.

    And I love the Montreal mayor’s idea of separating Montreal from Quebec if Quebec separates from Canada.

    Can you imagine the Habs playing in a separate Quebec?

    People who want to separate should know that there are advantages in not doing so.

    • Mike D says:

      “And I love the Montreal mayor’s idea of separating Montreal from Quebec if Quebec separates from Canada.”

      Had no idea the mayor had said that, but if true, that’s a fantastic idea!

      – Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

    • JUST ME says:

      Ya right ! Let`s get rid of those damn frenchies while your are at it ? I know that this is a sport blog but i just want to say that if we , i am french, were to use the same kind of language or inuendos that you use, it would not be long before united nations were called to the rescue of the poor anglos in Québec. But as much as this is a bilingual country, let me just try to be served in french in any other province…Just think both ways. As much as it seems difficult or almost impossible for you to learn another language, we have no choice…

      • Paz says:

        I’m fluent in 3 languages, including French.

        If Quebec separates, Montreal will follow.

      • habstrinifan says:

        Not getting involved in the mayor’s statement or the sovereignty bit. But as far as being served in French in other provinces:

        New Brunswick… only legislatively bilingual province.

        Ontario… French language service must be made available.

        etc etc.

        While the French fluency of their inhabitants compare badly to Quebecers fluency in English. the other provinces have come a long ways in providing services in French.

      • boing007 says:

        Yoo Hoo! The Mayor of Montreal is French. It’s not Don Cherry.

        Richard R

    • Cal says:

      Just had to kick up the sh*t, right? What’s it going to accomplish on a hockey blog? Think the NHL will kick the Habs out if the S word ever happens?

  59. DipsyDoodler says:

    At the risk of sounding deluded…

    We skated with the Sharks for the first half of the game.

    I’m not saying we are in their league – we aren’t. But with Price in goal it would have been a different game.

    Put Budaj in nets for any team, even St.Louis, and see what happens.

    And I agree with whoever it was said that Plekanec needs to be used as an offensive centre, but it might be like the Monty Python lion-tamer sketch.

    Moving. Forward.

  60. Maritime Ronn says:

    This Western road trip panic might be out of proportion.

    What’s the bigger picture say since the return from the Olympic break?

    7 games played.
    2 at Home, 5 on the Road. ( A very, very tough road)

    To start, 3 games in 4 nights – Detroit, @ Pitt, Toronto.
    A 1 day break consumed by travel to the West coast.
    Then the West swing with 4 games in 6 nights.

    – Now let’s say Habs fans knew that Carey would not play a single minute of all those 7 games.
    – Let’s also say that the Habs were going to have 24 goals scored against for an average of 3.43 goals against per game.

    It would be interesting to know, with those ‘givens’ mentioned above, how many would have happily accepted a 3-3-1 record?

  61. fastfreddy says:

    Moen, Bourque, Briere, Desharnais, Gionta, Murray, Boullion, should all be replaced for next season, maybe throw in Markov, on second thought, throw in Markov, too old.

    CH = Les Glorieux!!!

    • The_Truth says:

      I wouldn’t put DD in that group. He has been the teams best forward with Max for 3 months. DD, Max, Pleks and the 2 kids are all this team has had at forward.

    • HabsPooch says:

      If you put DD in that group you might as well throw in Eller too. The results are there for DD…

      • fastfreddy says:

        You really think DD is a top line centre?

        CH = Les Glorieux!!!

        • HabsPooch says:

          Not at all but he’s helped Pacioretty with his 30 goals. I don’t think Bozak is a top centre either but he’s helped Kessel and JVR form a dangerous line. In a perfect world I would have had Plekanec, Galchenyuk and Eller as the top three centres from the start of the season and live with the ups and downs of Galchenyuk learning his position. Too late now..he’s wasted on the wing. MacKinnon and Monohan sure don’t mind playing centre for their young age…

    • JUST ME says:

      Desharnais the only player on that team that makes his linemates better and you want to get rid of him ? At least say that you want to because he is french cause there is no other explanation for somemone to trade him.

      • fastfreddy says:

        Not at all,the fact that he is french is not the case, it’s the fact that he isn’t that good. I love the good french players, not the crappy ones.

        CH = Les Glorieux!!!

      • boing007 says:

        Not at all. ÐD is loses too many faceoffs, gets knocked off the puck too easily, is a defensive liability and isn’t too swift on his skates.

        Richard R

  62. GL says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong But this doesn’t make sense. MT said Plekanec and Gionta is his shut down line can’t be anymore if you’re gonna put Vanek with them. so question is why would they bring a scorer in and put him on a shut down line don’t make sense.

    Mt is not doing to bad of a job with the HABS and I’m quite sure he’s forgotten more about hockey than I know but sometimes common sense has to come into play. Myself this is how I see it with VANEK.

    MT keep Pacioretty, Desharnais, Gallagher line intact
    Make your 2nd line Vanek, Plekanec, Galchenyuk let plekanec be the scorer he use to be along side of Vanek
    make a Shut down line of Eller and Gionta Give them Weise, Bourque, Or Prust whom ever you chose and I think this will solve the problem with Vanek and he’ll put some points on the board for you. To put him on a shut down line, it was a waste of a trade and you definitely won’t get him to sign in Montreal unless you pay big dollars.

    Our best forward talent after the 1st line is Plekanec and Galchenyuk give them to Vanek!!

    • The_Truth says:

      I agree with your lines.

    • grizzles says:

      your lines are interesting but i questioned everything you said after MT isn’t doing a bad job with the Habs. He deserves to be fired with the way he was ruined this hockey team. The player usage is criminal.

      • The_Truth says:

        I disagree about MT. His player usage hasn’t been horrible. The team is actually overacheiving somewhat to be where they are.

        • grizzles says:

          exactly, they are over achieving despite MT’s decisions. Douglas Murray is an atrocious hockey player and is given every chance to succeed. Emelin has been horrible (though playing his off-side) and played over 22 minutes last night, thats terrible usage. Both deserved to be benched weeks ago. He is destroying Eller’s confidence and punishing him yet he gives Bourque every chance to succeed. Just a few examples

          • HabsPooch says:

            The fact that Bourque is even playing makes my blood boil! What did Weisse do to deserve sitting out?

          • The_Truth says:

            Murray is good in his role. I agree Emelin has been pretty awful, but who do you want to take over some of these minutes? Weaver? Bullion? Tinordi? It’s not like the Habs have a lot of options with Gorges injured.

            MT destroying Eller’s confidence is nonsense. Eller is responsible for Eller’s play, which have been just terrible, at both ends of the ice, no matter who he has played with. I think Eller has been given more than enough leeway and opportunity. At one point MT can only do so much.

  63. JUST ME says:

    As much as i thought that our western stint at the begining of the season was a great thing for team spirit i am not as happy at the end of this trip. Of course the real picture is always the same one from the lessons we never keep. Never too high…. We had a major moral and expectations boost this week and we went maybe a bit too high..It`s O.K. i guess.
    Yesterday we got out….everything!
    Against the Coyotes we fell into their trap and played the same crappy type of hockey as they do and when we want to play that way we seem unbeatable…

    Happy that we are back east cause we have a lot of work to do and 3 new players on the roster brings a lot of new blood but also changes things and we have to adjust.One month left.

  64. homerbowen says:

    Disappointing western road swing. Quite frankly the team sucked, too much party, too much fun, too much time off, poor excuse for a coach. I will eat those words if the Laffs suffer the same fate on their western swing now underway. Let’s see who wants it more!!

  65. mjames says:

    Last night was another indication of just close or better yet how far we are from being a true cup contender.

    The Habs are not as bad as they looked but they are no cup contender.

    Can someone please tell me why Moen gets pass or why he is not waived . He has three goals in the past 103 games. He is just another example of why this team is not a contender.


    • The_Truth says:

      Moen is completely useless, I agree. Especially at his contract. He isn’t even an NHL calibre player anymore.

      He should be waived after the season, just to get him off the books.

    • HabsPooch says:

      Moen is the least of our worries..if anything he played a decent game and had two goods scoring chances which is a bonus for his position. The real question should be why is Bourque in that lineup and playing on the power play?? …just disgusting coaching decisions!

    • jlgib1019 says:

      He’s 2 years in on a 4 yr contract . Bourque has 2 yrs left. Prust has 2 yrs left,and unfortunately he’s damaged goods.Gorges has 3 yrs left. Emelin has 3-4 yrs left.Another yr for Briere We need some upgrades,and some players to sit, but these contracts won’t allow it.MB has to be very careful if he’s resigning Markov and/or Gio


  66. habstrinifan says:

    @ HabinBurlington:

    Molson is happy. Peladeau is going into politics. Eschewing the hockey business.

  67. habstrinifan says:

    Boss Boss I see da____________.

    Tasteless? OK ! I take it back. But it was this friend who just busted it out on the laneway. I had to laugh even as I scolded him.

  68. fastfreddy says:

    Say what you will, but this team is not playoff ready, what we saw on this western road trip is what’s going to happen to them in the playoffs, quick exit. It all starts with coaching……..we don’t have a good one.

    CH = Les Glorieux!!!

  69. JF says:

    Unfortunately we have until Wednesday to rehash the brutal road trip and throw Marc Bergevin to the wolves for the vanishing Vanek trade. Plenty of time for hysteria and over-reaction.

    • twilighthours says:

      I don’t know about you, but I feel well prepared to predict the next 20 years of Hab-dom after only two games.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Jane – Well said. I made an attempt at humour earlier in the day but it might be best to now lay low until Wednesday.

      Truth be told, things will remain rocky until Price returns. Our playoff hopes are basically on his shoulders.

  70. deggy24 says:

    Our identity should be speed. Weisse and bournival sb in every night nathan b sb be in every nite murray sb 7th d tiny and subby, pateryn and markov, emmy and Beaulieu

    Habs Win!

  71. ooder says:

    Watching about the law suit between Moore and bertuzzi and the canucks. Can’t believe it took so long. Bertuzzi belongs in jail and as does anyone who egged him on.

    • habstrinifan says:

      I read something about it being settled in last two days.. the amt seemed small.

    • mr_jmac says:

      If Bertuzzi belongs in jail we might as well throw half of the players that were playing in the league in 2004 in jail along with him (I’m exagerating.) Bertuzzi is no different than them … the results were just worse.

      People are being results orientated when it comes to Bertuzzi. Moore just happened to get seriously injured and end his career. There are plenty of players who intentionally tried to injure their opponents but the results were different.

  72. Davey93 says:

    If vanek can only play on the left side then he’ll have to stay on the plecs line for now. Briere should replace gionta on that line.

    • habstrinifan says:

      What about Vanek being LW on a line with Eller and Briere. Imagine going into the playoffs with a ‘primarily’ offensive lines of Pacs/DD/Gallagher and Eller/Briere/Vanek.. and offensive-defensive lines of Pleks/Gionta/Bournival

      You can then put Galchenyuk/Prust/White/Weise/Parros et al throughout the lineup as the occasion warrants.

  73. Timo says:

    Will I be the first one to say that Vanek’s trade was a bust? Probably not but he couldn’t have looked less interested out there. If he is another player that needs other players to get him going he will never pan out in a short period that he spends with Mtl.

    People are talking about practice but forget that the practice is run by Michael Therrien. What good can this possibly do?

    After all the moves and bruhaha of the trade deadline, the fact remains that Habs have a crappy GM that failed to improve this team from a disastrous showing in last years playoffs and a clueless bafoon coach who… well, just doesn’t have a clue in any aspect of the game.

    • boing007 says:

      Nice to see you back and swingin’ for the fences.

      Richard R

    • AH says:

      Timo, Vanek’s mannerism’s and “vibe” he’s given off in his interviews so far remind me of Ryder when he came here, I remember watching 24ch thinking “man he doesn’t look all that thrilled to be back in Mtl”.
      We all know how that ended, Habs pounded in the 1st round and Ryder and his minimal offense gone.

    • grizzles says:

      you are spot on about the coach and GM. But i still think Vanek needs to be given a little more time. 2 games is hardly an adequate sample size to judge him on. Especially with the line juggling

  74. HabinBurlington says:

    Does the announcement of Peladeau running for election representing the PQ a surprise to anyone?


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