About last night …

CelebrateDet

This was unprecedented.
For the first time in his young career, P.K. Subban – who has never met a camera, microphone or notebook he didn’t like – declined to meet the media after the Canadiens’ wild 5-4 win in Detroit.
There would have been much to discuss.
P.K. was on the ice for seven goals – including all four scored by Detroit.

After a brilliant first period in which he rang up his 41st and 42nd assists of the season on goals by Tomas Plekanec, P.K. suffered a few lapses in concentration over the final 40 minutes of the game.

There was, of course, a huge mitigating factor pointed out by several learned members of the HIO Commentariat: P.K. is paired with Francis Bouillon, who would not be a Top Four – and maybe not a Top Six – defenceman on any other team headed for the playoffs … which your Montreal Canadiens are, after raising their point total to 91 with that wacky win in Detroit.

Subban had an off-night. It happens – and it does not alter the indisputable fact that P,.K. Subban is the most talented defenceman on the Montreal Canadiens.

On this particular night, he and Frankie Boo were overshadowed by Andrei Markov – brilliant, practically flawless – and Alexei Emelin.

That will happen. Let’s hope Markov and his Russian partner, who did not play in that first-round loss to Ottawa last spring, continue their excellence into the postseason.

I’m betting that P.K. broke his vow of silence on the Canadiens’ flight to Florida. It should be a raucous ride because the team, despite nervous moments at the Joe, is on  a roll: four wins in a row and seven of their last eight, starting with that crazy comeback against Ottawa at the Bell Centre.

We can wring our hands about defensive errors in a game that should have been done and dusted when the Canadiens made it 3-1 and then 5-3. But there was a lot to like in their game – notably the continued fine play by all four lines.

Michel Therrien finally has some stability among his forward corps. I love the newly-minted fourth line – Lars Eller playing within himself, Ryan White crashing and banging, Michäel Bournival using his speed on the forecheck.

Therrien has the luxury of rolling four lines, which – if the trend continues – will have the Canadiens rested and in rhythm heading into the playoffs.

What’s good for the coach, however, is a challenge for his general manager. Marc Bergevin has some important dossiers to deal with, including:

Thomas Vanek. A goal and two assists. Six shots on goal and, significantly, three hits – including the one that blasted the not-easily-blastable Niklas Kronwall off the puck, which Vanek fed to David Desharnais for the Canadiens’ third goal.

This guy is a stud. Vanek is 30 years old and will be looking for a contract in the range of $50 million for seven seasons. His wife is from Minnesota, that’s where Vanek played his college hockey, and you have to think the Wild have an inside track on signing him.

But I repeat: This guy is a stud. With Max Pacioretty and DD, vanek is giving the Canadiens the best Number One line they’ve had in a while. And after Buffalo and the Islanders, Vanek is on a team that’s fun to play for.

Brian Gionta. If he’d sign for two years at a reasonable number, I’d bring the Captain back. Gionta never takes a night off, and his work ethic is an inspiration to young players.

He’s part of a penalty-kill rotation that is one of the Canadiens’ strengths. And Gionta has settled into playing quality third-line minutes with fellow veterans Daniel Brière and Rene Bourque.

The only downside to re-signing Gionta, if it doesn’t break the bank?

It means the Canadiens’ C won’t be sewn on the sweater of the player who deserves it: Tomas Plekanec.

I know they didn’t do it for Saku Koivu. But here’s a radical suggestion to fuel a few Friday tavern arguments:

If Tomas Plekanec plays his whole career in Montreal, his number 14 should be raised to the rafters.

His two goals in Detroit lifted Pleks to the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career. And this has been accomplished with a long list of linemates that ranges from the sublime (Alex Kovalev) to the ridiculous (Travis Moen).

Like Gionta, Plekanec gives the Canadiens 100 per cent every time he steps on the ice. And he steps on it first at every team practice, providing  the kids with a shining example of what it means to be a professional hockey player.

I hope Pleks’s current linemates, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, are paying attention. They may not play with Plekanec forever, but the youngsters will be better for the experience.

On to the sunshine state.

603 Comments

  1. WVHabsfan says:

    Habs/Red Wings replay in NHL network now for those who missed it last night.

  2. WVHabsfan says:

    Ohhhh. Gotcha! My fault! Have a good one my fellow bald Habs fan!!!

  3. WVHabsfan says:

    I can see your point on a hockey site. We will agree to disagree about God but we can agree that we love the Habs. Go Habs go!!!

  4. WVHabsfan says:

    @ Old Bald Bird. Respectfully, if you don’t believe in God why do you care one way or another? Some of us believe some don’t. Why the sarcasm?

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      Respectfully also. Do you suppose that some of us find such statements, on a hockey site, offensive? Statement like that one are so inane that I find it difficult to help myself.

      • tanzereyes says:

        I know I should stay out of this, but …

        I believe they are praying for someone who was very sick, I even said a prayer for him and I am (probably) agnostic. I just truly believe that there are better things to complain about than over someone praying for another person to get well.

        Besides “Old Bald Bird” I can almost bet you have never complained when your partner has said “Oh God” during intimate occasions !

  5. twilighthours says:

    Guys, guys, guys. New thread.

  6. CHasman says:

    Just three short weeks ago we were heading into the weekend 3 points behind the Leafs and during the game in Ottawa were being bashed and written off by the idiots on HNIC. Well, we all know what happened against the Sens and after we won the next day we were a point ahead of Toronto and now they are a full 11 points behind us. Leafland is in turmoil and the Canadiens are coming on. I love it! Now we need to get back to solid hockey and win in Florida.

  7. jimmy shaker says:

    Was at the Joe last night for the game and was worried for a bit when the wings came back to tie it in the third……But then I remembered that crazy stat that came out some time last week, (think it was the cubs game) that the habs were something like 30W-0L-4OT when leading after 2 periods. I then assured myself that they got this, and sure enough, not soon after, Vanek to DD to Patch with the linesman missing the ever so tight offside, snap shot off of Kronwall past Howard. I laughed to myself and said that is my favourite stat…..that stat never lies.

    Shaker out!

  8. WVHabsfan says:

    Congrats to Tomas and Lucy!!!!!!!

  9. Maritime Ronn says:

    @ Bripro from way down below re Vanek-Minnesota…

    Bri – Minnesota has proven they will spend money.
    As for next year, they have a lot of Cap Space.
    They have 16 guys signed including their core group and about $23M to spend to Cap.

    Of course if Vanek gets super greedy then things can change, yet why would he?
    After this year, he will have already earned about $52M pre tax dollars, and is basically guaranteed at least another $50M from anywhere he chooses….so maybe it becomes personal (aka-wife/family)

    The other thing in Minnesota’s favor is that the Vanek family just built their family home in Minny.
    Vanek comes from there as does his wife and they have 4 children.
    He played his hockey at U of Minnesota.

    Minnesota will also have a very competitive team and is a good US hockey market…and there are other distractions such as NFL-NBA-MLB-NCAA

    The Wild were VERY unlucky concerning their goaltender health issues this year as both the #1-2 missed many games.
    Their #3-4 goalies had to start 23 games and counting so far this year.

    • Chris says:

      The Wild spent money because they were trying to show an increasingly frustrated fan base that the team was serious about improving the on-ice product. But their ownership group has also been bleeding money: they reported a $30 M loss last season.

      I could see the Wild being a little gun-shy (i.e. not spending to the salary cap) to recoup some of those losses after the cash-call went out to the minority owners last year. The playoffs this season will certainly help, but you have to think the ownership group is disappointed in the team’s performance given how much they upped their spending. They really don’t want to run into St. Louis in the first round…that could easily end up as a series sweep.

  10. WVHabsfan says:

    @D Man. Yes, we can get 100points I believe

  11. Chris says:

    Regarding the Expos:

    Montreal was a baseball town, no doubt. But using the 1980′s attendances as a reference point is somewhat misleading because the sport has lost so many fans.

    In the early 1990′s, the Skydome was routinely packed with 45-50,000 fans. Schools would book trips a year in advance to go see a Jays game.

    The Jays enjoyed a significant uptick in attendance last season due to the (ultimately misplaced) hype around that team, and they still only averaged 31,000.

    We know that Montreal fans will not support a penny-pinching baseball team that can’t contend. We’ve already seen that scenario play itself out time and again. Is there an ownership group in Quebec that could stomach footing a $80-100 million payroll to field a competitive team? Remember, the Montreal Canadiens operate in an advertising vacuum right now, so they can rake in the money. The Expos would have to compete with the ever-present Habs (even in the off-season, the Habs dominate the sporting arena in Montreal) for money, and would have to fight the Montreal Impact and Alouettes for fans.

    I’m far more interested in sitting in the sun watching MLS games than watching MLB games, personally. I’ve been to one baseball game since the demise of the Expos, and it was without a doubt the most boring sporting event I have attended. No energy and too slow.

    I just don’t see Montreal as a baseball town anymore. It was once, but MLB killed it. Some fans would return, but many of us have since found other sports to fill our lazy summer days. I highly recommend attending an MLS game…great fun. If Montreal makes the Champion’s League, those games would be even more fun. I went to a number of Champion’s League games in Toronto and it is often fun to run into the expats from Central America out to cheer their favourite club teams.

    One of my favourite sporting event memories was seeing a bunch of rowdy TFC fans taunting a group of Mexican fans cheering Santos Laguna. When the Toronto fans went to get beer during the half-time break, the entire section of Mexican fans moved down to the rowdy fans’ section and sat there for the second half. The Toronto guys didn’t make a peep, they were so scared. It was awesome. (The Mexican fans were absolutely great people…we were sitting in their section initially, and they were really fun to chat with!)

  12. D Man says:

    7 games left. Can we hit 100 pts?

    You can’t be both a Habs and a Leafs fan

  13. ffenliv says:

    I’ve been doing some reading the last 24 hours about hockey’s ‘advanced stats’, and have come to a conclusion:

    The reason there’s such a vocal anti-advanced stats crowd is that the stats are impenetrable to people who don’t study them closely, or have considerable understanding of stats in general.

    It’s not that they aren’t valid. I’m sure many of them have great uses. It’s that to the average person – myself included – the discussions are over my head. Unlike, say, baseball, which has been using an ever-growing stable of stats to measure player and team performance for a century, it’s relatively new in hockey.

    If the stat nerds could find better ways to communicate to the rest of us, their case would be easier to make.

    • Cal says:

      The stats takers in hockey (the off-ice officials) all have their own ideas about shots, missed shots, and attempted shots, rendering the whole thing invalid. There is no standard. I’ve watched a period where the Habs had a whole 4 shots on net and the official tally was 8. They can’t even get that right.

      • ffenliv says:

        While I’ll grant that there’s some difference in stat-keeping from rink to rink (the official ‘hit’ stat, I believe now abandoned, being a prime example), it’s not so bad, I think, as to render it meaningless.

        Plus, a lot of the more prominent advanced stats don’t rely on that. Guys at the rink have a lot less variation in shot attempt accuracy than just shots. Shot attempts are a lot more obvious. So are the people on the ice when goals are scored (since we’ve been keeping that forever, just not using it as well).

        Personally, I think refusing to acknowledge the value of more stats in player and team evaluation is short-sighted. It’s like baseball’s insane addiction to having an umpire call balls and strikes. Strike zones vary like mad. They’d be better served with an automated system subject to human oversight when needed. But they don’t, because it’s traditional.

        Apparently, the only stats hockey can use are shots on goal (which everyone still uses anyway), +/-, which needs mountains of context to be useful, and goals/assists, because it’s traditional.

        Advanced stats will mature with time. People have to not dismiss them so quickly.

        • Cal says:

          There are only a few stats that I put any stock in. Goals for and goals against. Watching a player tells you a lot more about him/her than any bunch of numbers.
          Hockey isn’t baseball or football, where all of the “important numbers” can be collated and massaged until they shine. Hockey isn’t so static and is improperly judged by the officials, so, yes, those numbers are meaningless.

          • ffenliv says:

            So you’re not even willing to concede you might be wrong? It’s simply that they’re meaningless.

            Yes, baseball, and to a lesser extent football, are not hockey. Baseball is basically all pre-configured situations from a standstill, and football, with more hockey-like fluidity during the play, stops frequently as well. I’m aware of this.

            But does that all mean we shouldn’t even try?

            The only thing you’re willing to talk about is goals for and against? You won’t consider anything else? What about a players point totals? Or a player’s ToI? You probably can’t get an accurate count of a player’s ice-time without looking at the number. I think you’re more into using stats than you realize, you just don’t consider them ‘stats’.

            Also, yes, I think, hockey numbers can be collated and massaged, it’s just nearly impossible to do it on the fly, during a game.

    • twilighthours says:

      I have no doubt that you could easily understand all these “advanced” “stats” (Both words in quotes for a reason)

      The two biggest issues with this type of analysis:

      1) Rarely is context given. “Murray has a -12.7 Fenwick/60min! That’s horrible!” Unless you’ve done the number crunching yourself, you have no idea how horrible or even not-that-bad the number is. Sometimes it’s provided as a ranking “Murray is 4th last in the league!” OK, what’s the spread from 4th last to 200th last? How much would Murray have to move to improve 100 spots?

      2) The people who cite these things are, in general, insufferable and humourless. It’s not fair to paint with such broad brushstrokes, but yet…. I did.

      Otherwise, “advanced” “stat” away.

      • ffenliv says:

        I’ll agree with you on the general insufferability. I should clarify as well; I think hockey would benefit from more of this type of analysis. More stats. More numbers. It’s not going to hurt anyone.

        And yes, context is always key. However, people cite stats now without context, +/- being the worst offender. I don’t believe that should ward us all off from using more stats. Giving up isn’t the key. Education is (now I sound insufferable, dammit).

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

    According to TSN, Dan Ellis will be in net tomorrow night in Florida. Luongo injured from being run last night.

  15. Un Canadien errant says:

    I posted my game recap, but it didn’t ‘take’. You can find it by following the link below.

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2014/03/game-75-canadiens-5-red-wings-4.html

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

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Your mention of 6’9″ Point Guard out of Michigan St. who later starred with the Lakers is the cause of your post not making it through I think Normand.

  16. crane says:

    Pateryn should of been playing a few games,one of three main defence goes down we are so screwed. Murray,Boullion,Weaver,Georges

  17. Caesar says:

    @CM below,

    Subban McDonaugh
    Markov Emelin
    Tinordi Gorges
    Murray Bealieu

    • Luke says:

      With McD in the fold, we may not have been in position to or actually required the drafting of Beaulieu or Tinordi.

      You know how it goes, Travel back in time and step on a butterfly and blammo the Nazi’s win the Second World War.

      Stupid time paradoxes.

    • Strummer says:

      I didn’t see the comment but your defensive lineup seems a little cap-heavy.
      ____________________________________________________
      “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

  18. jimmy shaker says:

    C’mon Georgie, I hope you pot one and win a bout only if it’s warranted! You violent gentleman you!

    Shaker out!

  19. kalevine says:

    I don’t mean to throw sand in the fire but I recall that last year at this time (or maybe a bit earlier), everyone was talking about whether Habs should re-sign Ryder. By the end of the first round, nobody was talking about it. In the end, it will be about playoff performance. We have seen too many years of underachievement from supposed big guns, resulting in 1st round fadeouts when we should have made the second round and second round fadeouts when we should have made the 3rd round. I know though, it’s fun to speculate anyway :)

    • Maksimir says:

      You are right.. kind of… except Ryder is not as good a player as Vanek who has the prospect of a better return on investment.

    • jacquesthemonkey says:

      Ryder is a streaky sniper. Vanek offers alot more than that.

    • kalevine says:

      agreed that he offers more of a complete package, but it’s in the playoffs that his meddle(sp?) will be tested. He was only in the playoffs 4 times with the Sabres, stats don’t look great although the year they went far he put up 10 points in 16 games and a +2, not that bad, depending what sort of games they were

  20. Maksimir says:

    Apparently Plekanec has a new baby in the house:

    Francois Gagnon ‏@GagnonFrancois 10m
    Ne soyez pas inquiets pour plekanec. Il n’est pas blessé. La famille accueille un nouveau membre dans la discrétion. Rien de plus.

  21. Lafleurguy says:

    You can say bwoar and Burly picked up Bad Habits from that RC school in their youths.

  22. rhino514 says:

    As much as I love the team THIS year (even before the Vanek trade) next season we may have a tough time duplicating this year´s record. We´ll have to fill TWO vacancies on RW. Maybe Gio will be back but his twenty goal days are probably over.
    They have to do everything possible to sign one of the decent RWs out there this off-season. We don´t have a real good prospect who is close to being ready at this position.
    Tinordi and Beaulieu will also both have to make marked progression next year, since Markov will be a year older, Bouillon will be gone, Murray and Weaver if either stays may not have much left in the tank either.

  23. B says:

    If Plekanec doesn’t make it back for Saturday’s game, do they slot in Parros (and bump up Eller?) or fly a Bulldog in from Texas to Florida?

    –Go Habs Go!–

    • 24 Cups says:

      Eller back on the EGG line makes perfect sense. Parros can have another tribute night playing on the 4th line with Bournival and White. Gallagher and Gionta can always do some extra spot duty on the 4th line if Parros struggles.

      The team has to be careful with call-ups, especially for a stop gap measure (hopefully) against a bottom feeder team.

      • RetroMikey says:

        I disagree, Eller should sit and the team have a solid 4th line in Weise-White-Moen.

        3 guys who have speed, grit and character.

        Eller has been a disaster this season or should I say a major disappointment.

        I don’t see how St. Louis drafted Larry in the first round, but they were smart in the deal for Halak. We lost in the deal.

        Eller’s year was supposed to shine this year. The club gave him plenty of ample time to develop with the team the past couple of seasons as well.

        A big disappointment.
        “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

        • JF says:

          We’re talking about tomorrow night’s game. Weise is out for two weeks. Eller played well last night and seems more comfortable on the fourth line for now. He’s not hesitating or trying to do too much or chasing the play.

          • RetroMikey says:

            I’m talking about when the playoffs start.
            I would sit Eller come playoff time.

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

        • ont fan says:

          Iike there was a lot of choices after Eller.

      • B says:

        They have 7 games left, would it really hurt to use a call up now? Also, do they still need to worry about the number of call ups? I have read recently that the “four call up rule” is a thing of the past. Is this true or is it (or something similar) still in effect?

        –Go Habs Go!–

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Not beyond the realm of possibility to see 7 dmen and 11 forwards also.

        • B says:

          Why don’t they let Subban center Pacioretty and Vanek? It’s not fair that Desharnais always gets to play with the top guys while Subban gets stiffed with Bouillon!!

          –Go Habs Go!–

  24. habsfan0 says:

    I suspect Saturday’s game vs the Panthers will be another trap game for the Habs as they will probably be looking past Florida to their meeting with Tampa Bay which looks like a lock for a 1st round matchup.

  25. GrimJim says:

    Bozon being discharged today. Met with the media himself
    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=447618

    • Chuck Kept Calm and Carey'd On says:

      That’s the best news of the day.

    • B says:

      Awesome news and an amazing progression for the kid. He still has months of rehab ahead, but great that his life is no longer in the balance.

      –Go Habs Go!–

    • Great news!

      Defense wins championships

      “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” St. Thomas Aquinas

    • kalevine says:

      I’m so glad!

    • RetroMikey says:

      God is great!
      When you have faith in the Lord, no weapons formed shall prosper against you!
      God was with Bozon and he is healed!
      “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

      • careysubban3176 says:

        AMEN! Glad to see there is at least one person in Canada who is not afraid of being politically correct and speak about the good lord and jesus christ

        Stop blaming the goaltender! He can only do so much.

      • Buzz Lightbeer says:

        I would give a bigger shout out to the doctors and medical staff and the loving support of his family.

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        By your reckoning, I suppose that God give Bozon the disease in the first place. Just for his own glory. Eh?

        • RetroMikey says:

          According to the Holy Bible, everyone is healed as Jesus died for our sins upon the cross.
          Switch over to the other side and believe!
          Then you will see how truly God works!
          Worked for me when the doctors said I had to have surgery for my knees due to the banging they took during my college days playing hockey.
          I gave my life to the Lord and did not have to hear what the doctors told me what THEY wanted to do to my knees.
          Now many years later, I still play hockey,, soccer, swim, volleyball, with no pain or discomfort.
          You gotta believe! God heals everyone.

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

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Balderdash. Where was God when he got infected in the first place? Not “with Bozon”?

  26. krob1000 says:

    Re below …all the PK and Vanek talk…I think people are underestimating the significance of time value of money as well as that 8th year with someone like Vanek. Same with the 8th year for Subban.
    7years at 7.5 for Vanek =52.5 million
    8 years at 6.5 million=52 million
    Montreal can afford to front load a contract liekmany markets probably cannot. You add that in and the money is the same and if Vanek likes Montreal then money is no longer really a factor. Team benefits by lower cap hit and ability to have some felxibility in latter years.I don’t doubt he goes to UFA..but Montreal can make an 8 year offer that is on par witht he big offers he will get.

    Re Subban…..the only wrinkle in the SUbban tlks is the bridge deal. Habs tried to take a stand….I for one was foolish enough to think it would lay the groundwork for some control of player salary and bridge deals…then as is normally the case the lockout was for nothing and teams threw the bank at players in bridge situations. How PK perceives that is the only real question….I think PK has the marketability tomake money elsewhere and I don’t think should be a slam dunk for 8 million a year. HE is another on ewhere the amx deal makes more sense than people think. That 8th year is a guarantee, it is stability and it puts total contract value on par with others. It is not as big of an advatage becuase PK would still be in a key money earning year…however, if PK is going to remain witht eh club for 8 years I am sure he would like to be as competitive as possible. IF he gets an extra 1.5 per year or wahtever that figure is it means you do not have a Weaver and a Weise or something like that in the lineup. I am sure he is seeing the value of that. MAxPAc is signed below value. I know money talks in most cases but I honestly do not understand why 8 years at 6.5 would not be enough for him as well. As I said it is comparable to 7.5 over 7 years…PK does have holes in his game but mroe than any of that…the team has the foundation in place to be ultra competitive for years. Saving 3 million per season on Vanek and Subban would be very big in ensuring a deep team…which we can see right now is paying dividends. It is not unfathonmable to assume that Montreal could be outside looking in at the playoffs right now if not for the depth.

    • ont fan says:

      Kypreos says the Leafs had a better deal at the last minute for Vanek, couldn’t fit the money in.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        So Kypreos is saying that “if” they could fit the money in, they would have had a better deal. Doesn’t sound like they had any deal in place at all, impossible to start talking about that deal if they didn’t have capspace. He is certainly cutting edge…..

        • Strummer says:

          Sounds like Isles wouldn’t retain any momey or cap on Vanek.
          He didn’t say a deal was in place.

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

          • HabinBurlington says:

            But that is integral in making the deal occur, to say Toronto had a better deal isn’t accurate, to be a deal all parameters of making a deal must be met.

            This was the genious of MB having the capspace available to take in the contract of Vanek.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Rob – I can’t see Subban taking 6.5M over 8 years.

      Vanek played only two years before he hit the 7.1M mark, which has been his average salary for seven years now. I can’t see him taking anything less than 8M a season.

  27. Timo says:

    Day off today?

  28. HabinBurlington says:

    Today’s pro sports teams require Mega Rich Owners, especially in the sport of baseball where the money is absolutely whacked!

    Miguel Cabrera just signed for $292 Million dollars……

    THe city can provide all they want, without Daddy Warbucks owning the team and willing to spend big and take some losses, no chance in the high stakes game of baseball.

    Not even to mention smart mgmt, look at the disaster that is the BlueJays, rich rich ownership, zero success. Not since Labatts and a genius GM named Gillick.

  29. Ian Cobb says:

    Ronn.
    PK’s D partner in junior was Geoff Killing!

    Wonder where he is today?? He could sure play well with him!!

    • Chris says:

      Was it? I don’t remember Killing all that much. Weird that Bennett would have used Killing (a right-handed shot) with Subban. Didn’t he attend Babcock’s coaching schools? :)

      Looking through that 2007-08 team (Killing’s last year with the team), man did the Bulls have a strange defence corps. All of Subban, Killing, Pelech, Lalonde and Pageau were right handed. Can’t remember ever seeing that before!

      I do remember Beleskey and Subban would often be used as the pointmen on the power play when they went to the Memorial Cup.

  30. Lafleurguy says:

    …..and Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett is happier these days. Vanek must have had some doubters on the Island, and in the Queen City, not exactly hockey bastions. No doubters now, annnnnnnd, very jealous Leafers.

  31. CHicoHab says:

    Gallagher needs practice his 2 on 1′s passes. I think he needs extend his stick length by 1″ or slow down by 2 seconds.

  32. CH Marshall says:

    I’m all happy for the Cube, but I think the game’s moved past him now. Can you imagine TJ Oshie bearing down on Frankie’s wing? Not to lament any further, but how awesome would a pairing of Subban-Mcdonaugh have been?

  33. HabinBurlington says:

    While the Russian National Team didn’t have a great Olympics, how much did that tournament help with Emelins confidence? The fact he was able to represent his country as one of their 6 best dmen, a country with a rich tradition of hockey skill.

    He and Markov may indeed have been wanting to ensure they were healthy for the Olympics (were they playing not to get hurt prior to Olympics?), lets face it, it was a massive opportunity for the Russian players. With the Olympic experience over, and with perhaps a bad taste in both Markov and Emelin’s mouth as to how it ended, they are both playing some great hockey together now.

    May have been the best result possible for Habs fans, left Emelin and Markov hungry for success.

  34. CHicoHab says:

    I have a feeling Tuesdays game versus Lightning could get a little nasty in both teams showing who is going to be boss for playoffs. Then again it could be a snore fest.

  35. Maritime Ronn says:

    Regarding the Vanek talk and what he is worth.

    Here is the list of the top salaries for forwards next season (you can flip it to Cap Hits)

    http://www.capgeek.com/leaders/?season=2014&type=SALARY&position=F&limit=50

    One thing to also notice is what year the deal was signed because the Cap would have been lower – and in some cases, much lower.
    This year coming, the Cap Ceiling will be the highest ever at around $70M.

    EX: If just last summer Alex Semin signed a 5 year/$35M contract with Carolina, what is Vanek’s worth on the UFA market?
    $8M? $8.5M? More?
    Semin has 22 goals and 42 points so far this year.
    Last year his pro-rated goals to an 82 game season would have been 22.

    With the Cap moving from $64M to $70M next year, there are a lot of crazy contract things on the horizon.

    • mdp2011 says:

      I would have no problem giving Vanek 8.5mil for 5 years, but that won’t get it done. He will probably be looking for the max term of 8 years from the Habs or 7 years from other teams. It is the last 3 years of the 8 yr deal I would be worried about.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        To be honest, I don’t believe Montreal has a chance….

        Then, consider spending money SMARTLY:
        Briere($4M) + Bourque ($3.33M) = $7.33M is not money wisely spent

        The last 3 years would be a long way off – summer 2019 and he would be 35.
        What would be the Cap at that time?
        Would he have any trade value now that teams can retain up to 50%.
        There is always an out with a Buyout if everything goes south

        • BriPro says:

          Ron, you know I’m usually in your corner, but I’m not in agreement on a few points there.
          For one, even if his heart is set on Minnesota, it doesn’t mean that they either want, or can afford him, given the large (bust) contracts they’ve anchored themselves with.
          Also, I don’t consider Bourque’s contract that bad, given that it was a gamble, hind-sight is 20/20 and with his previous few years of 25+ goals, I don’t think we can lay this one on anyone but Bourque. And if he keeps playing like he has since his 5-game benching, who knows.
          As for Briere, yes that was too much money, but I’m sure MB felt that given his roots, Briere would pull it off in a Habs jersey. And he might….come playoff time.
          I think they’ll try to sign Vanek first, and if they do, and succed in reeling in PK as well, you can say goodbye to Gio.
          Bouillon, Parros, Murray and (possibly) Weaver are just about done.
          The cap will be in the $70MM range, and their hit, as it stands will be $46MM.
          So there’s room, and if Vanek enjoys his time here, as he seems to be, who knows?
          Stranger things have happened.

          • ont fan says:

            Have to agree. Unless we make a trade, free agents are tough to get. Who knows if Minny can afford Vanek. The other guys you speak of, its a gamble. Getting Vanek for a couple of months at least gives him a taste of a real hockey market. It also gives management a taste of a great top 6 player and what a difference it can make.

        • Habfan17 says:

          If he agreed to sign for 8 years, perhaps he would take a little less. The only problem I see is when other players come up for new contracts. Patches for one may not be happy. I for one, hopes they resign Vanek!

          Bergevin could dump, I mean trade some salaries to make room. Bourque, maybe even Briere. Parros will probably be allowed to walk as will Weaver. Then it comes down to Gionta and Markov. What will it take to keep them if Bergevin wants to. It may mean moving out Gorges.

          Habfan17

  36. Timo says:

    According to Renaud Lavoie Booby Lou won’t face the Habs. Clemmensen is in.

  37. 24 Cups says:

    Looking ahead to UFA goal scoring wingers for 2014.

    Top of the class:
    Vanek – mega deal
    Stastny – mega deal, maybe stays in Colorado
    Moulson – talk of going to LA
    Hemsky – more of a passer, injury prone

    Thanks, but no thanks:
    Heatley – attitude issues galore
    Gaborik – too injury prone
    Callahan – injury prone, not a scorer, overinflated price
    Alfredsson – can’t see him leaving Detroit
    Cammalleri – been there, done that

    Short term candidates:
    Iginla – will take a three year, +35 deal to get it done
    Michalek – injury prone
    Jokinen, Jussi – averages a goal every five games
    Setoguchi – runs hot and cold
    Vrbata – good skill level, soft, might click with Pleks
    Jagr – strictly one year stop gap measure

    Prospect candidates (in terms of goal scoring)
    Immediate – none really.
    Undersized – Andrighetto, Hudon, Lehkonen, Reway
    Good size – de la Rose

    • twilighthours says:

      That’s a good summary. I’d already looked thru that list, and it’s grim.

      If we can’t keep Vanek, the only other options I’d like are Moulson or Setoguchi (I’d take a flyer on him).

      • Chris says:

        I’d take a flyer on Michalek. I think he is a fantastic player that has simply gotten caught up in whatever malaise infected the Senators this season.

        He’s usually good for ~25 goals per season. Vanek would be my first choice, as I was pulling for the Habs to try to sign him before they traded for him, so I’m not changing my tune now. But Michalek could be a very good Plan B.

        • twilighthours says:

          He’s looked real good at times. My fear is the wear and tear. Has he had 1 or 2 ACL reconstructions?

          • Chris says:

            Sorry…was teaching.

            Looks like one major reconstruction and at least one arthroscopic surgery. He underwent a blood serum injection program last summer to avoid reconstruction after his knee injury last season.

            Seems like the knees are chronically bad, so any deal for Michalek would necessarily have to be a shorter-term than he might be willing to sign.

      • 24 Cups says:

        Setoguchi has a scoring ratio of a goal for every 3.6 games played. He is 27 years old. Vrbata has the same ratio but is 32 years old.

        Michalek has a scoring ratio of a goal for every 3.4 games played. He is 29 years old.

        I figure all three guys will land five year deals in the 5M range.

    • aroma says:

      Best bet to me looks like Jagr. Forget his age; he has 60 pts. so far this year with the Devils. And he supposedly wants to play here. And a one year contract…hopefully he won’t be overlooked again this year.

    • Habfan17 says:

      Statsny is a centre, not a winger. I am hoping that Vanek has a change of heart and that the Wild can’t sign him to the coin he wants or are not interested with the players they already have under contract.

      Habfan17

      • 24 Cups says:

        Stastny can also play wing which is an issue in Colorado. Same goes for O’Reilly. They are both blocked out by MacKinnon and Duchene in terms of the future. I guess the big question is will Stastny want to go somewhere as the #1 guy at centre.

        Minnesota gets to drop Heatley’s 7.5M this summer. Vanek for Heatley is a pretty good trade.

  38. Timo says:

    So Parros centering the second line for Pleks?

  39. Mattyleg says:

    Anyone who says that Montreal isn’t a baseball town obviously mis-remembers the ’80s, and only remembers the bad times, dominated by:

    1) A closed-roof stadium in Montreal in the summer. Who wants to sit inside during the 2.5 months of nice weather we are doled out every year?

    b) Ownership who wanted to move the team for selfish reasons.

    Bring it back, get an open stadium, deal with the unavoidable double-headers, and give Montrealers something to do in the summer that doesn’t involve breathing in kilograms of CO2 and powdered rubber.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Starlight says:

      And 1$ bleachers.

    • BriPro says:

      Had Bud Selig and his cronies listened to Claude Brochu, and had the P.Q. gov’t not dismissed him, we would have had the downtown stadium and we would not be talking about Billions $ but rather Hundreds of MM $.

      For one, I’m not willing to fork over more tax money for a baseball team when we can’t get decent medical, infrastructure or educational services.

      Get the gov’t to reinstate the school tax credit that they’ve dropped form 20-25% to 8%, and then maybe….. BIG maybe.

    • mdp2011 says:

      Hear Hear!!!!

    • DadidolizedDougHarvey says:

      With you on that one. If you give Montrealers a place to have a good time, instead of sitting in a mausoleum, they will turn out, I think.

    • RockinRey says:

      I was an Expos fan but lets face it they had major issues with consistent attendance. It was always an underlying problem. People romanticize the Expos.
      In Globe article today:
      David McGimpsey, a Montreal-based poet, university lecturer and serious baseball nut
      I think Montreal has a martyr’s sense of nostalgia,” McGimpsey said.
      He goes on to say
      Montreal is a town that loves faded glories, winners and “happenings” – at various times, the Expos have represented all three.

      I think he sums it up nicely. Even in the 80′s the instability of the ownership group contributed to it but who is to say a downtown stadium with a perennial loser plays will in Montrea?!

      I know there is a rich history regarding baseball in Montreal but lets face it..major league baseball never really saw consistent support either by someone stepping up to own it or fan support for long long periods.

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

      • Starlight says:

        Reality is when your winning people go. When your losing people don’t. Location doesn’t matter. But the dream is dead.

      • Mattyleg says:

        Let’s face it, you are ignoring the reason behind the patchy support, which was the closed stadium.

        Let’s be honest with ourselves, Montrealers love sitting in the sun, and what better place to do that than at a baseball game?

        Let’s call a spade a spade, and admit to ourselves that any professional sports franchise that is a perennial loser will struggle to generate interest. Who’s to say that the Expos will be losers if they come back?

        Let’s face it, people like to be negative.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Luke says:

      It’d be chilly in that Open Stadium this opening weekend…

      A better dome, perhaps, but not an open stadium.

    • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

      A lot of former Expos fans (and families) from the 80′s have moved away from Montreal.

    • twilighthours says:

      The argument always devolves into “not a cent from the taxpayers!” (see Cal).

      But having a pro sports franchise brings many other harder-to-quantify benefits. (Intanglibles!) These sorts of things are what makes cities good places to live.

      I personally wouldn’t go to a CFL game if Halifax got a team, but I definitely support bringing one here, and I support spending tax dollars on a stadium to help do so.

      • Mattyleg says:

        It generates huge income for the local economy, which normally-invested tax dollars would fail to do.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Detroit will have all its problems behind them once they get that new Hockey arena….. I can see it now, with the beatiful backlight provided by burning cars.

        • Cal says:

          I find that argument to be full of it. The “local” economy that benefits is hotel owners, parking lot owners and restaurants. Why don’t those guys pool their money and bring a franchise to Montreal then?

          • Mattyleg says:

            Aw, Cal… do we have to go through Economics 101?

            Increased traffic (pedestrian, car, etc) in the area around the park would push rents waaay up, which would generate huge income for the city.

            You think the rent on the corner of Atwater and St. Catherine is as expensive as it was in the early 90s?

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • Cal says:

            @Matty- Economics 101- the one with “increased traffic and higher taxes” is a bogus argument. If that “we’re collecting more taxes” argument would work, why is the city in a deeper hole than ever fiscally?

          • Mattyleg says:

            Because it’s not generating the kind of economic growth that an investment like a baseball team would.

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • Cal says:

        Spending money on “amusements” when the whole province is a mess financially and the infrastructure is in ruins is, to be blunt, bleeping childish.
        I do not support subsidizing the rich, especially when it comes to toys.

        • twilighthours says:

          Make a list of all the things that make your community great.

          Then tick off the ones that are government subsidized.

          • Cal says:

            I live in Ville St-Pierre. Ain’t nothing there that makes the community “great”.
            Besides, why should government subsidize our personal interests? Why should we all have to pay for opera houses and concert halls if no one goes?
            The quality of life for a community depends upon the basics and not the frills, and that’s something most Montreal politicians fail to grasp. Neverending festivals while the roads collapse and highways fall apart.

        • Mattyleg says:

          …so what you’re saying is that you’d like to see the government misspend that money in a different way.

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Captain aHab says:

      Oh yeah, put a championship team on the field and people will show up but do you really want government to spend a billion dollars on this and then have the Expos be a middling team for a few years? If that happens, the crowds won’t be there and the franchise won’t last…simple as that. I very much doubt that we would fill a very large stadium sufficiently to warrant having a professional team.

      How about getting a lower tier team and see if that works first?

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

  40. ffenliv says:

    I see a lot of talk about contracts today for Subban and Vanek. One thing that has caught the league by surprise is the diminishing Canadian Dollar vs its American counterpart. This causes revenues, since the league is all run in USD, to fall by a fairly noticeable amount, since the Canadian clubs generate a large percentage of the league’s income.

    So, the cap won’t be going up as much as expected, if it goes up at all.

    A year ago. I’d have said Subban was for sure going to get 8, and the Habs wouldn’t dicker over it. Now, though? Not so sure.

  41. DipsyDoodler says:

    “But the dumb dumb media who never played the game, coached the game wouldn’t understand. Really, how could they?”

    Don Cherry coached for like 10 minutes in the 70s. He was in Boston for five years and got humiliated in the playoffs by the Habs every year. Then he went to Colorado where he was rapidly fired as an embarrassment to the game.

    Never coached again after that.

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      With ya. Detracts from your point, but Cherry was later owner/coach of the expansion Mississauga Ice Dogs. Coached them to last place for more than one season. With the consequent no. 1 pick, picked some kid named Spezza.

      • ffenliv says:

        He also, if memory serves, refused to use any of his team’s import slots, citing his belief that the C in CHL means only North Americans should play.

  42. HabsPooch says:

    Best Habs team to never win the Cup? I would appreciate some thoughts. I would go with the ’89 Habs. These were the lines on that team and it’s hard to not say they wouldn’t be the best team now..

    Naslund Smith Lemieux
    Corson Skrudland Richer
    Gainey Carbonneau Courtnall
    McPhee Walter Keane
    Gilchrist

    Robinson Chelios
    Svoboda Ludwig
    Green Desjardins
    Dufresne

    Roy
    Hayward

    They finished second overall two points behind the Flames with a 53-18-9 record and 115 points.

  43. ClutchNGrab says:

    There is no bias against PK. He was the worst defenceman on the ice last night. What? Kronwall? Well…hum… let me think… he plays the game the right way most nights, therefore it doesn’t count. And we only look at habs players here.

  44. arcosenate says:

    Anyone going to see the Montreal Blue Jays tonight? I thought about it but have never been able to cheer for the Jays since the Expos left.

    Just not the same.

  45. Timo says:

    Oh please do tell me about that internet search thingy, Burlington.

  46. munch17 says:

    @Jon514

    You initiated some interesting discussion earlier about David Desharnais.
    I have not been a big fan – not because I don’t admire or respect him – rather because of the limitations he has.
    He performs well with top wingers , favorable ice time, and first power play duties. And for what he delivers he carries a good cap hit.
    However even now when he is most productive he does not produce ( or is he paid to produce) as a dominant center.
    The only top 3 draft pick we have had in the last number of years could be that number one stud center – and perhaps be dominant.
    The Habs are stuck – if they give Chucky a chance – ( see Colorado – McKinnon) DD would have to play with less dominant players – and it is not a certainty that he can do that.
    He does not kill penalties, is not a shut down guy – so the Habs are basically stuck with him as a decent but not dominant first line center.
    I think this is clearest on the PP – it has not been productive for months – DD really doesn’t carry or retrieve the puck effectively.
    Once we have possession he can deal some pretty nifty passes.
    But I would love to see Chucky on the number one PP unit.

    • RockinRey says:

      His compete level in recent games has been much better than it was earlier in the year. He is actually making some contact with other players…fighting for pucks….looks engaged. His playmaking recently has been exceptional.

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

    • jon514 says:

      Hey Munch. I’m not sure I agree with you. In his rookie season he had mixed 3rd and 4th line duties and put up .5pts per game (22pts in 43 games).

      He gets a lot of knocks because he’s taking Eller’s spot, but for what it’s worth he put up much better offensive numbers than Eller in a 3rd line position.

      • munch17 says:

        Even then he was given a lot more chances to succeed offensively – 8/22 points were on PP.
        Unlike Eller he can’t play a shut down role or kill penalties.
        I just wish they would give Chucky the same chance and see how he would do.

  47. RockinRey says:

    It goes without saying PK had a tough night last night but you can’t help but like the fact he wants to be a difference maker.

    We have all talked about he has to learn to pick his spots and the defensive zone coverage last night for all of the lines last night was pretty attrocious at times. I found it t was an entertaining game with lots of goals not like many of the ‘dogs’ we have watched this year.

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

  48. habsr4ever says:

    PK had an off night. So did Price. And holy smokes does Frankie Boo every blow. He was aweful. We are all over PK but come on here Bouillon was horrible. Gorges can’t get back soon enough. Murray didn’t play because the Wings can skate. Against FLA I hope Bouillon sits. Keep playing Tinordi even though he had some WEAK shifts out there. But he is developing and needs to play. Vanek doesn’t know what the word back check means. I hope we sign him but sheesh $7 – $7.5 PER year? I hope we can sign him for 6 years MAX at that rate. NO more. PK is going to get $54 M over 8 years. Vanek is going to Minnesota in all liklihood as we all know but hopefully we have a good playoff run and he changes his mind. Its his choice he has earned the right to WHERE he wants to go. The chemistry in the O zone these guys are finding is special and hopefully that helps him stay. Markov probably just earned at 3 year contract last night at $5 M per. He isn’t as fast as he once was but man he can still play D and QB a PP. He’ll get at LEAST this on the open market and knows it. I cringe at 3 years for Marky but we’ll have to buck up people. Bournival can take over a top six role next season and at the very least top NINE (bye bye Bourque). We don’t need Gionta or Moen or Bourque or Bouillon or Murray next season. Trade/don’t sign any of these guys. Keep Prust Weise and White as our 4th line. Prust will NEVER play a full season again – his shoulder is DONE. We also need to re-sign Weaver. If gionta will take under $3 M then MAYBE but we don’t need him any more. Let’s get BIGGER. Split in FLA/TB and I am happy.

  49. HabinBurlington says:

    Cool story involving the Manager the Jays should have hired when they had the chance.

    http://deadspin.com/terry-francona-goes-to-the-mound-to-tell-pitcher-he-mad-1553593889

  50. D Man says:

    Pleks not on the trip to Florida? Family reasons?

    You can’t be both a Habs and a Leafs fan

  51. HabinBurlington says:

    Former Heavyweight Champ Riddick Bowe wants to punch Carlyle between the eyes and wants Phaneuf cut from the Leafs.

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/leafs/2014/03/27/riddick_bowe_vows_to_come_out_swinging_if_leafs_lose_to_philly.html

    Didn’t know he was such an astute hockey fan!

  52. habs001 says:

    Not to be negative but the first round will be huge for the Habs…if they lose in the first round and dont sign Vanek or get another impact forward there would be very little positive to look forward to the 2014/2015 season forwards wise…

  53. RockinRey says:

    Excellent ALN post Boone but Pleks Jersey to the rafters? Dont think so. Is this where we are now ? Recognizing perrennial 20 goal scorers? Sorry but the rafters are for a generational player. Someone who accumulates harwdare.

    That being said Pleky is an integral part of the team and really has never gotten his due.

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

  54. bwoar says:

    I mentioned T-Tomas Tatar yesterday, and man, he didn’t disappoint. You just plain can’t give the kid opportunities, he’s a classic case of the guy who buries what you give him (and seems to be around the puck waiting for that to happen a lot.) It’s almost automatic. The Wings sure know how to pick ‘em.

    Glad we had the firepower, and a lucky call, to gut that one out. A healthy Detroit team would be quite a handful.

    PK needs Josh Gorges back, as we’ve got the two Russians working well together. It’s a travesty that a #5 like Gorges is gonna play with our ‘best’ defensemen, but less of a travesty than playing with our #8 guy. That PK Subban can’t elevate his right now partners isn’t a big deal, but one hopes that maturity comes sooner for him as it would be great to put a big guy like Tiny out there. PK’s a great talent but he isn’t yet a ‘veteran’. It’ll be very, very interesting how MB plays his next contract. Giving the kid 7.5M now would be almost as bad as resigning Gionta for 5M, but PK can play good D and score 45-50 points a year if he decides to – and that’s worth Price money or better. Tough call I’m glad I don’t need to make.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      PK can take the team to Arbitration ( the team can also take him to Arbitration) and he would easily win a +$7M award from the independent arbitration judge.

      The danger of that game would be bye-bye PK summer 2016 UFA.

      • bwoar says:

        I don’t know how the arbitration process would find comparables, but my own research puts only Keith, Suter and Weber in that stratosphere. Maybe Doughty. Subban is simply not on their level, and may never be. I’m not sold on your assertion that 7M+ is automatic. Pietrangelo is also better than Subban. Karlsson is a better comparable, but tilted yet more to offense and worse on defense. I think Oliver Ekman-Larsson may be the closest comparable.

      • Just a Habs Fan says:

        Ronn…what do you think of PK’s play recently….although he has had an occasional good spurt here and there in my mind he has played quite poorly over all. Last night was an eye opener for me…I’ve never seen him play this poorly before. I know you won’t bore with a reply of blaming MT. I don’t think he is helping his contract position out at all.

        Some things I have noticed about PK over the past year especially :

        He gives up the puck quite often beca

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          I believe teams are learning his tendencies.
          There may also be a 60 minute concentration issue along with some decision making problems.

          The young man has been through a lot this year from the Olympics to contract speculation to some coach battles
          The 48 game Norris win was not a good thing, as that brought huge expectations that Subban may not have been ready for.

    • frontenac1 says:

      The kid looked good Bwoar. His name though. Reminds me of raw meat or fish sauce.

  55. Alex says:

    I think our next three games are all very winnable, and the game vs. Tampa will not only be a good test and preview for the playoffs but will also be a big game in deciding home ice advantage in the first round. I think we have a good shot at finishing ahead of Tampa Bay in the standings.

  56. JF says:

    For the first time in a long while, the Habs have a real first line, a line that can control the play, distribute the puck in a way that mystifies their opponent, and create scoring chances out of almost nothing. I had no idea that Vanek was so good, so much more than a goal-scorer. He’s also very strong on the puck and he’s a sublime passer. He said yesterday that his line-mates are making him a better player, and that he hoped he’d also improve them. I think that is actually happening. I don’t see Pacioretty floating so much; he seems more physically engaged. The chemistry that line is creating is a sight to behold, and they all look like they’re having a great time out there.

    Last night’s fourth line didn’t score, but I thought they played an excellent game. Driven by the speed of Michael Bournival, they exerted pressure and created some chances. It was a very savvy move by Therrien to put Lars Eller on that line. For now, it’s the best place for him. There’s less pressure, he looks a lot more comfortable, he’s no longer chasing the play and taking penalties, and he’s keeping his game simple.

    Speakng of chasing the play, Emelin was doing that for at least the first two months after his return. It seems now that he’s caught up and is showing strong signs of recapturing his pre-injury form. Considering how sorely we missed him in last year’s playoffs, this is great news for the Habs. And it’s fortunate it’s happening now with Gorges’s injury and the somewhat hit-or-miss character of our defensive coverage. I’m hoping Gorges will be back for the last couple of games of the regular season so he’ll have a chance to get back in game-shape and regain his rhythm and timing. Bouillon is good for a few games here and there, but he should not be counted on for full-time duty game after game.

    • frontenac1 says:

      The mojo was missing in Emmys game this year. It returned with that hit on Lucy this week. Tu-74 is back with Mojo amigos.

      • Lafleurguy says:

        Hiya JF and anti-port Front. JF puts out nice posts, eh Front? I think it was actually the 4-1 loss at the Bell a couple of weeks earlier, when Chara jr. (Lucic) repeated pounded the stuffing out of Emelin that may have turned Yemmy’s season around. 74 has been much more physical since.

      • bwoar says:

        You’re right Frontenac, that hit on Lucic was a statement of accounts payable.

        Glad to see the old Emelin out there again, 4M is just fine for what he brings. Notice how on the PP his shots don’t miss and are rarely blocked.

  57. krob1000 says:

    Here isthe dilemma in Montreal….what does PK sign for? IF you want to make an offer to Vanek(and they should but it will not be the highest available ofer)…then what precedent do they set?
    I think if the Habs want to maintain some sort of control they insist noone makes more than PRice. They offer both PK and Vanek max 8 year deals at 6.5 per year…to compensate they front load the deals like mad. If they pulled that off…it would ensure some serious runs over the next few years and they would recoup their money. With the front loading they could potentially move them if need be later on if things did not work out as the cap hit would be high relative to the salary.

    52 million each….8 years each. I know this would be less than either player could get on open market…but both would be marketing dreams for years.

    • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

      You want to give Vanek (who is 30) an 8 year contract? I suppose it may be the only way to keep him.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Vanek already has 7/$50-$53M in his Minnesota pocket

      • krob1000 says:

        No I do not…but at 6.5 per…I would. The CBA would be there for the last year as well and that usually means complaince buyout. By frontloading…you could also possibly get out later on as teh caphit may be attraactice for low salary to team loking for a pp guy. Montreal doesn;t get guys like this in town often and maybe Vanek is not interested…but by front loading the deal and knowing he would have a good team, a little Montreal magic,etc…you have to wonder. I think using the Price rationale is fair as well….not sure it is great for the team to have PK and Vanek making more than Price. Only way as I see it to try and make it work is go 8 years on both at Price money…..I think it is fair and while I would be afraid of those latter years as you are ….he could always be bought out and if Montreal did as well as they should with those two at that cap hit (which would allow them to continue to have quality depth) then it would pay off handsomely and any buyout later on could be justified.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      You cannot impose the “no one makes more than Price” as that contract was signed before the 2012-13 season when the Cap was lower.
      Then Max’s contract…
      It’s about supply and demand

      As for PK, one way or the other he will get at least + $7.5M by either Arbitration or Habs long term – and if it is Habs long term, that number is + $8M/year counting on Cap increases moving forward

    • Starlight says:

      I believe 7 is max for Vanek.
      8 for PK.
      DO it!!!

    • Mike Boone says:

      P.K. won’t sign for a nickel less than 7.5. And it may be closer to 8.

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger

    • 24 Cups says:

      Rob – Vanek is just coming off a seven year deal at 7.14M a season so he’s probably looking at 8M a season for 8 years in terms of a new Hab deal. Vanek is all about the money so Montreal must up their offer to the max.

      As for Subban, there’s no guarantee that he’ll take a long term deal. He could sign a short term deal and then see where the cap is going. Regardless, I can’t see Montreal signing him for anything less than 8M even though his performance level has slipped a bit this year.

    • bwoar says:

      I hate to shell out too much for PK unless and until he can demonstrate a progression between the ears; we may just have to live with a supremely talented high-risk/high-reward player and it’s a big contact you’re talking about. Not unjustified, but very risky.

      Vanek: 7+ is automatic. The Wild will almost surely offer him every cent Heatley is making now, maybe more. Whether they give him an 8 year deal is up in the air though. They have some pretty large long terms on their cap, and may not want to lose cap flexibility that space represents over a long period.

      Me, I’d be going for it. The best options on the coming UFA market are gonna be Vanek and Moulson, followed by Stasny, who’s a centre. So what the heck, offer the guy 7.5 for 8 years are see what happens. We’ve got a young team. They need to be surroudned by high-skill vets, and I’d rather have Vanek than Moulson on the whole.

      I think it’s imperative for Montreal to pick up, one way or another, a similar presence for the top-6 next year.

      • JF says:

        The Wild can’t give Vanek an 8-year deal. We’re the only team that can do that – as per the new CBA.

        • bwoar says:

          Absolutely, my question is whether they have the appetite to offer 7.5-8M for even 6 years, given the high stakes games they’ve already played with Parise, Pomminville, Koivu (6.75M !!) AND Suter. Can they really give a 5th player a massive contract? They’ll be sorely imbalancing the team’s salary structure towards forwards. They have an average to mediocre D (with really only Dumba in the pipe) and uncertain goaltending. Vanek at 8M for even 6 years is going all- all- all- in on a team that doesn’t look close to contending to me.

  58. Say Ash says:

    For any of you wondering if baseball will ever return to Montreal, feel free to review Miguel Cabrera’s new contract.

  59. AA - #25 says:

    enjoy the wins cause there’s losses to follow and this site once again will be calling for MT’s and MB’s heads along with some players.
    Good win last night against a Detroit team that’s equally as good. another very good team effort. I’m not concerned about PK’s mistakes, he’s still one of the best defensemen in the league like the others they all make mistakes. I don’t blame him for not wanting to talk to the media. They just wanted to talk about the little mistakes in his game last night not the contributions he made. Good on you PK.

    • habsfan0 says:

      +100.
      Even Robert Gordon Orr committed the occasional faux pas.

    • Starlight says:

      Even though we are winning they should still can MT.
      It’s his fault that PK is lapsing defensively.
      His reluctance to use him on the PK is sending the message that you are an offensive defenceman. :)

    • Mike Boone says:

      Oh, those pesky media. Always so damn negative.
      Win or lose, they should just congregate at his stall with bouquets of roses and maybe a box of chocolates.
      Then after the presenting the gifts they can ask “P.K., just how great were you tonight?”

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger

      • bwoar says:

        It’s pretty blatent ’round here, you can’t offer honest criticism about PK without a chorus of “you’re not even a fan!!”

        You’re doing Dog’s work Boone, keep it up!

  60. Timo says:

    Bouillon doesn’t have to learn because no matter what he does he still plays.

  61. Timo says:

    Has Vanek ever played in playoffs. I can’t recall when was the lad time buffalo made it in the post season.

  62. jon514 says:

    To those who have stood behind DD the entire time, through thick and thin, especially MT… I’ll admit it. I was wrong. DD will be even better next year and at 3.5 cap hit he’s an absolute steal!

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Vanek was absolutely robbed by Howard at the goalmouth otherwise he would have had a 4-pt. night, and Davey a 3-pt.

    • Forum Dog says:

      DD has really played well recently, but a lot of his success derives from who he plays with. Pacioretty was/is the driving force on that line, with Vanek now a top-notch co-pilot. I’m not trying to diminish DD’s role in their success, cause it is real (he is an extremely creative player), but just as he was not as bad as he looked at the start of the season, neither is he as good as he looks now. If he loses one or both of those wingers, his contributions will be muted.

    • BobbySmithWasClutch says:

      I think you’re probably right but he had such a bad start to this season and was not good last season so you may be jumping the gun a little bit on him. Let’s see what he does in the playoffs. Plus we probably won’t sign Vanek so let’s see what DD does next season.

  63. Forum Dog says:

    Firewagon hockey last night. Fun to watch, unless you are a coach.

    Plekanec was pretty awesome. Its been a while since I’ve seen him so involved. Playing with Galchenyuk and Gallagher must be like a breath of fresh air for him. Young guys with speed AND skills? Been a while since he had those types of wingers.

    Props to the P-D-V line. They are getting hard to handle. As Boone notes, Vanek is lethal, and can beat you in so many ways. He has brought a lot to that line, especially now that he is comfortable. Teams can no longer neutralize it by containing Pacioretty. DD never had it so good, and his playmaking compliments those bigger snipers very, very well.

    Bourque-Briere-Gionta looked pretty good as well, as does the 4th line, which I think has the ability to pot a few goals of its own once they develop a little more chemistry.

    Bottom line is that they are finally settling in to some lines that make sense and work. Not sure how much their 5-on-5 scoring has increased, but since Vanek has joined Pacioretty and Desharnais, MTL has scored 28 goals in 8 games (3.5/per).

    Some defensive mistakes last night, especially by PK (the failure to go off the wall to Eller and the lob up the middle were both perplexing), but if Gorges comes back healthy and motivated, and they can tighten up a bit on the back end, they will be a dangerous post-season opponent. And that is looking like pretty much a lock now. All those points to close out March will help them rest guys up during the final 5 games or so.

    Good stuff!

  64. DominicanHab says:

    As per TSN, Plekanec did not travel with the team to Florida due to family reasons

  65. CF says:

    I actually forgot what it was like to have a true number one line.
    A line that can score on any shift, and make opponents look bad.
    Picking up Vanek was huge, and I mean huge.
    What it has done is solidify the third line by allowing Gionta to play against opponents he can handle. The guy is a third line player now, nothing against him, because he’s an excellent third line player.
    The last time the Habs made a trade that had this much affect on the entire line-up was picking up Dominic Moore, he solidified the third line centre position and we all saw what happened that year in the playoffs. I know, I know, Halak had a lot to do with it, but we rolled four lines, Moore scored the game seven winner.
    Vanek has had this result, and with the help of added depth on the fourth line. Lets be honest, you lose two of your three guys from the fourth line who had been playing remarkably well over a stretch, and given the team some actual muscle and energy for the first time this year, and as a coach you can insert two new players, with different identities and still have a positive impact.
    That’s where Bergevin has done his best work.
    Picking up Wiese was brilliant.
    If we can’t sign Vanek, and I seriously hope we can, we need a Vanek type clone for the top line.
    But lets just enjoy it now, DD must be pinching himself when he looks to one side and sees Patches, the other side has Vanek. Two big guys who have rockets for shots, can skate, and in Vaneks case can pass as well as anyone.
    It’s fun watching again.

    • JF says:

      Great post. The ripple effect of Vanek is huge. The lines are stabilized, with everyone playing where he can be most effective rather than a line higher.

      I really doubt Vanek will sign here, but at least his presence shows us exactly what we’ve been missing. It’ll be up to Bergevin to find it.

  66. Captain aHab says:

    Ooooooooooooooooooo…baseball in Montreal. People will get all excited and nothing will happen as Montreal isn’t much of a baseball town. A little like that new CFL franchise in Ottawa will likely be folding in a couple of years. Not sure why they keep trying to revive it.

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

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Montreal is a baseball town alright. I think we led the NL in attendance during the Andre Dawson, Gary Carter era.

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

    • Cal says:

      Halifax would be a good spot for the CFL (if there’s an adequate stadium). The only way Montreal gets MLB back is for a hyper rich owner come to town and build a ball park at his own expense.
      Personally, I would shoot any idiot politician that wants us to pay for a rich kids’ sandbox. Especially when you consider the state of Montreal’s infrastructure. (There isn’t one street on the whole bleeping island that isn’t a pot-holed pit of doom)
      I was very glad the Molson family built the Habs home on their own dime. If tickets cost more; so what? At least I’m not paying for it for thirty years through my taxes.

  67. Lafleurguy says:

    Have to continue gushing about Vanek’s contributions, and the emergence of a bonafide number one line, the first since Cole was an impact player. Vanek is the first Habs “power forward” to out-compete a solid defenceman one-on-one as he did against Kronwall in setting up Desharnais, since Cole was doing it. Vanek’s excellent vision and passing unwraps Davey’s sniping ability. Desharnais’ set-up abilities and shoot-out prowess have always been revered. The team’s offense benefits from him being a sniping threat. Pacioretty is an excellent passer, but he had to focus on positioning himself to snipe, until Vanek came aboard. Now, Max is multi-dimensional, great snipe on the off-side goal, and many excellent passes. I’ve never seen Max skate better, and I forget what injury he had earlier this year, hamstring?, but he is powerful on his skates right now.

  68. Max says:

    Weird and wild game last night.Hopefully,we don’t get too many of those from here on in.

    Vanek is really changing the dynamics of the team in a good way.Such a refreshing change to have an offensively gifted player playing for the good guys for a change.These types of players rarely come to Montreal and it’ll be a difficult to keep him here, but lets enjoy the rest of this seaosn with him at least.

    Price needs to be a lot better if the habs are going to go deep in the playofs.Several minor league goals scored on him last night.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      I was thinking the same thing about Vanek (not Price).

    • Chuck Kept Calm and Carey'd On says:

      “Several minor league goals”

      Would you care to point out which ones?

    • Captain aHab says:

      I’d like for the Habs to be able to keep Vanek even if I think that is unlikely. The guy has a great impact on his and other lines. Folks who can’t see that need to open their eyes a tad more.

      Also note that even when he doesn’t seem to move his feet much, he’s still moving quite well…remember Kovalev? He was the same. And he is tough to move off the puck. As Kronwall found out, he is also able to move you off the puck.

      The reality folks is that we have no one even remotely close to what he brings in the minors….sign him if we can.

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

  69. Maritime Ronn says:

    Tip of the hat to the Red Wings coaching and management for even being in the playoff hunt.

    No Datsyuk for 34 games this year.
    No Zetterberg for 28 games and counting
    No Fransen for 27 games.
    No Top 4 Dman Jonathan Ericsson for 27 games.

    Then they continue to draft Euro gems.
    24 year old Nyquist Drafted 4th Round-121st overall
    This year. GP: 48. Goals 25. Points 43.

    Tatar drafted 60th overall
    Jurco drafted 35th overall.

  70. Lafrich says:

    About the offside goal: I used to take screenshots, 2-3 per game, in which an offside call was really not offside thus depriving a team of a good scoring chance, and vice versa as per last night. Happens all the time, but the refs usually blow down the close ones, so a goal is rarely scored on plays like that. In other words, there are a considerable amount of plays that are not actually offside that are called offside, but rarely are actual offside plays missed. Last night was an aberration that was of benefit to the Habs. It goes both ways. As I recall there was a play that was one of the big ones that changed the course of the playoffs last year when a wrong side face-off resulted in a kicked in goal. C’est la vie.

  71. jeffhabfan says:

    Another big win from the habs Last night I want 2nd in the division and home ice in the playoffs. Was not big on the wild 3rd but loved another win from the boys.Looking at our stats today we have 21 home wins and 21 road wins which is great balance.GO HABS GO.

  72. BobbySmithWasClutch says:

    Unless he wins a Cup with Habs and maintains at least a 50 points a season average for 4-5 more seasons, there is no way Plekanec jersey should be retired and raised to the rafters. He’s a good and valuable two-way player but seems to disappear somewhat in the playoffs. Carbo and Koivu’s jerseys aren’t retired (is Guy Lapointe’s?) and Plekanec is not in Gainey’s class of player.

    • HabsPooch says:

      Best Habs team to never win the Cup? I would appreciate some thoughts. I would go with the ’89 Habs. These were the lines on that team and it’s hard to not say they wouldn’t be the best team now..

      Naslund Smith Lemieux
      Corson Skrudland Richer
      Gainey Carbonneau Courtnall
      McPhee Walter Keane
      Gilchrist

      Robinson Chelios
      Svoboda Ludwig
      Green Desjardins
      Dufresne

      Roy
      Hayward

      They finished second overall two points behind the Flames with a 53-18-9 record and 115 points.


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