About last night …


You can make an arguable case that Brian Gionta scored the most important goal of your Montreal Canadiens season.
The proof will be in the postseason pudding.
Imagine the scenario if the Captain had not put that nifty penalty-shot move on Cam Talbot in Overtime.
What if the Canadiens had lost against a team resting its number-one goaltender, its top two defencemen and its prize late-season acquisition.
The New York Rangers who outshot the home team 41-27 and held the Canadiens scoreless through 62:04 accomplished this without Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi or Martin St. Louis.
What if this depleted Rangers lineup had won … which they would have had Carey Price not been brilliant yet again?

The Canadiens would be starting the playoffs on a three-game losing streaks.
The players would be demoralized.
The fans would be plumbing the depths of despond.

And the Tampa Bay Lightning would be licking their chops (does Lightning have chops?) at the prospect of facing an opponent reeling into the first round.

Instead, the Lightning go into Washington on Sunday needing a win to secure second place in the Atlantic Division and home ice against the Canadiens. A loss in OT or a Shootout won’t be enough. It would leave the Lightning and Canadiens tied at 100 points, with the CH holding the tie-breaker because they have more wins in regulation or overtime.

So yeah, Gionta scored a HUGE goal.

A dramatic goal.

And an entirely appropriate goal, because a pre-game ceremony honoured Gionta as the Canadiens’ unsung hero of the 2013-’14 season.

Gionta scored 18 goals this season. That’s the fewest he’s ever had in a full injury-free season.

Gionta’s contract is up this year. He is probably playing his last season in Montreal.

Was he worth $5 million this season. Probably not.

But Gionta has showed up in every one of the 303 regular-season and 28-playoff games he’s played for the Canadiens. He has an impeccable work ethic and leads by example.

Moreover, Gionta’s contract is not the most egregious on a roster that includes Daniel Brière ($4 million) and Rene Bourque ($3.3 million).

Brière and Bourque were Gionta’s linemates against the Rangers. On a night when few of the home team’s forwards distinguished themselves, the line was not the team’s worst. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Michel Therrien keep them together for at least the beginning of the first game of the playoffs.

We know the David Desharnais-Max Pacioretty-Thomas Vanek line will be intact. There might have been some cases of overpassing as DD and Vanek tried to feed Max for his 40th goal, but the unit is far and away the most dangerous line at Therrien’s disposal.

While Gionta was getting the Jacques Beauchamp Trophy and Carey Price was presented with the Molson Cup for his superlative season –the shutout was his sixth, and Price’s GAA of 2.32 was the best of any goaltender who faced more than 1,800 shots this season – there should have been recognition of the Canadiens centre who played with the most wingers this season.

Give the silver revolving-door to Tomas Plekanec. Is there anyone Pleks hasn’t centred this season? With Brendan Gallagher on his right, Plekanec had Michäel Bournival and Dale Weise on his left wing at various times against the Rangers.

They were, unsurprisingly, kept off the scoresheet.

Finding linemates for Plekanec is not Therrien’s greatest challenge heading into the playoffs. Of greater concern is the Canadiens’ power play.

An 0-for-3 against the Rangers ran the PP’s futility record to 0/23 over eight games. Because the Canadiens are something less than an even-strength juggernaut (23rd in the league), the Canadiens have to score on the power play. And PP potency has to act as a deterrent against teams taking liberties with the Canadiens’ smurf-laden lineup … especially in the postseason.

It’s not a coincidence that the power play has struggled since P.K. Subban stopped scoring. After scoring 11 goals  in 42 games en route to winning the Norris Trophy, P.K.  had 10 in 82 games this season.

His last goal was March 3 in Los Angeles, two days after his last power play goal, against Toronto at the Bell Centre. Opposing penalty-kill units focus on P.K. and Andrei Markov at the points, and the Canadiens have to figure out a way to either open the shooting lanes or create some pressure down low.

They’ll have a few days to work on the PP – and on defensive zone coverage that was woeful against the Islanders and Rangers.

But I’ll warp this up on a positive note:

The Canadiens reached the 100 oint mark for the first time since the 2007-’08 season, when they had 104.

The Canadiens are among eight teams with triple-digit point totals this season.

Tampa Bay, with 99 points, can join the group.

Let’s hope not.


  1. CHicoHab says:

    Just for a test. On the Pp would be fun to see Vanek at right point. And Markov left forward. Just a test.

    • on2ndthought says:

      Vanek can do wonders with a puck in his feet. Just get him in front and throw the puck there (if a lane is not open). Eventually teams will have to collapse their box, and PK and Markov can go back to blasting them in.

      “a cannonading drive”

  2. 24 Cups says:

    They still might win the draft lottery but poor Edmonton doesn’t even know how to tank properly. They won their last game of the season which pushed them down to 3rd spot, just behind Florida who lost their last contest. That basically puts Edmonton out of the Ekblad sweepstakes.

    Toronto at least made good on their year end collapse by grabbing 8th spot in the draft. Ottawa forfeits 10th spot to Anaheim. The Islanders are 4th which probably means they will roll the dice next year on losing McDavid or Eichel. Right now, before the playoffs change the standings, Montreal is seeded 22nd in the draft.

    24.2 Cups

  3. HabinBurlington says:

    Watching the Reimer interviews after the game, pretty obvious he is not a Leaf next season. I don’t think he will be a star NHL goalie, but could have been an ideal 1b goalie for the Leafs. Interesting how the Leafs have treated their goalies in recent years. The Monster in Detroit appears to have the talent afterall, Scrivens has looked pretty good in Edmonton and L.A. earlier, that guy Rask in Boston has been decent.

  4. ABHabsfan says:

    M-A Jimenez will slip on the green jacket in 8 hrs from now! I hear he has requested a double-breasted version. The Most Interesting Golfer in the World!

    “man, I love winnin’; you know, it’s like better than losin’?”-
    Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh

  5. AliHaba says:

    Just checking the Habs’ season stats and a couple of things jumped out right away. First was that PK’s +/- has gone from a solid plus all the way to -4. I’m hoping that a steady diet of Gorges as his mate will straighten that out. Secondly was Nathan Beaulieu’s +6 in only 17 games. That says a lot to me. Could we be seeing some of him in the play-offs?

    • HabsPooch says:

      Unfortunately the Beaulieu experiment has probably come to an end this season. Therien is fixated on having his veteran defenseman carry this team into the playoffs. Even Tinordi might not play that much depending on match ups. Well have to wait until next year when there should be an opening or two for Beaulieu to play full time. Funny that Beaulieu has been nothing but a plus player in the nhl the past two years but seems to struggle in the Ahl.

      • CJ says:

        The team will live and die with Frankie and Murray. Only chance we see Tinordi or Beaulieu is injuries, or out of desperation if we get behind in the series because of poor defensive play.

      • AliHaba says:

        Yeah, I’ve been noticing that myself. Is it that he’s that much better than most in the AHL and doesn’t put out 100%.

        • HabsPooch says:

          I think he plays well when he’s surrounded by talent. He was excellent with Saint John and has been good with the Habs. The Bulldogs this year have been another story.

    • JUST ME says:

      Both kids are just not ready for prime time because…they are kids ! I do not know what is so hard to understand after seeing their game and knowing that a d-man is at the top of his trade around 25- 26 years old.
      I really do like both for different reasons and see them long term with the habs but if we burn them and let them lose their confidence then it will be our own and only fault. I mean sometimes by reading HIO even P.K. is not convincing evryone and this guy has it all in him soooo let`s just be patient and not burn talents .

  6. HabFab says:

    Bookies have the Bruins at 3-1 and the Habs at 22-1 to win the Cup.
    Sound like we have them right where we want them!

  7. Timo says:

    I support Michael Therrien.

  8. AliHaba says:

    Mike Blunden sent back to Hamilton so obviously one of the sidelined players is going to be ready for Game#1. That would likely be Eller. Hoping Prust will be ready too.

  9. Timo says:

    This team is ready for the playoffs.

  10. HabinBurlington says:

    How fortunate are the Penguins to end up with Columbus who won’t have Nathan Horton as he just underwent abdominal surgery. Seems to me the flightless birds dodged quite a feather with the Wings heading to Boston.

  11. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Sunday at the Masters. Just finished my first round of golf this morning! Lets go Bjorn! Enjoy your Sunday everyone! Subban is Great! Sign Gio!

  12. Habfun says:

    I hope they sign Gionta, not the salary he get’s now but 2.5 to 3 mil./year and he could play 3rd line minutes. I think he is a good captain and shows it in his play! re signing Vanek would be a bonus but I’m not surethat will happen.
    Subban is a must but I don’t think he is worth 7mil. (which I’m sure he will get)
    I think Murry would be ok to keep (for 1mil or less) he can sure clear the net and can hold the puck on the boards to kill time!
    also sign Wiese and especially Weaver, they both play with jam. let the Cube, Parros walk, maybe even White (although I like him). Bring in a new enforcer like Carkner who can also play a little! basically, we have a good team but will need adjustments.
    Also, I have noticed many negative comments on here. This is bad carma! Think good thoughts boys and girls and count little Hab players instead of sheep! This will ensure a good nights rest!
    Now let’s get this party started!! Go Habs Go!!!!

    It’s all about the CH

    • CJ says:

      Carkner won’t play here. I grew up with Matt. Not many people know this, but the Habs drafted him. In any event, let’s just say that there’s no chance.

      Carkner is not a UFA, but if we are looking for a tough defenceman who is younger and better, Derek Engellend from the Penguins could be our man. He makes just above the league minimum. Further, Engellend is a UFA.

      • HabFab says:

        Never understood his not being signed nor the big center (name escapes me), who was playing for Toronto a couple of seasons back, the last I remember… not like we didn’t need the big bodies.

      • frontenac1 says:

        Hey CJ! I’d take a look at Rosehill. He has played 32 games this year, had 11fights and lost only 1. He has beaten Gazdic,Thornton,Barch. He has scored 2 goals for the Flyers and is earning $675k. He is only 28yrs and could be a good stop gap until our kids are ready.

      • B says:

        No offense CJ, but Carkner is a pylon. He’s big and tough alright, but i don’t think you can’t hide a limited role tough guy in your starting 6 D like you can on up front on the 4th line. He’s not even an good PK guy like Murray. While I’d welcome his kind of toughness, I wouldn’t want him among my regular D corps.

        –Go Habs Go!–

  13. HabinBurlington says:

    Ha, tried to link a story of OchoCinco being given a tryout by the Als, but can’t due to his birth name in the link.

  14. Lafleurguy says:

    Red Wings only one of the Sweet Sixteen of April Madness to have a negative goal differential. -11. Habs +11. Bruins +85. St. Louis +60.
    Tampa Bay?……+24.

  15. AliHaba says:

    Really surprised at the pessimism on this site today. So many more reasons to be optimistic not the least of which is that our Gold Medal goalie looks to be at the top of his game…well rested and confident. We’ll have a relatively healthy line-up going in. Unfortunately we’ll be missing Galchenyuk but shit happens. A hopefully healthy Prust will make up for a lot of that loss. And I see signs that the PP is going to break out. Just too much firepower there for it not to.

    • HabsPooch says:

      The firepower is definitely there…it’s just the positioning and decision making that has to sharpen up. Just trying to set up a play has been a chore. With the speed that pk has he should be gaining the zone and backing of the defenseman and then start setting up shop. We seem to be conteny just dumping the puck and losing the battles along the boards or trying for stretch passes that hope to go tape to tape. It ain’t working. Earlier this season the complaint was that they were e trying to set up pk for his one timer all the time. Even that has disappeared. Plenty of options to choose from with vanek now on the team but yet it has been a dismal failure so far…

  16. Fansincebirth says:

    Leading up to, and including the Chicago game, we were a completely different team than what we have witnessed over the last few games. One has to wonder if the foot was taken off the pedal, players were told to go out but to avoid injury, go through the motions etc. one of the biggest indicators for me has been the play of Gallagher. He is lacking the same intensity, not driving to the net, not being the shit disturber he normally is. I’m hoping that it is a team resting and just mailing it in before the playoffs, having secured a spot. Home ice is nice for a lot of teams but not a necessity for some. We have a pretty good record on the road so I’m not concerned if we have to open in Tampa.

    I’m going to console myself and say that MT had them playing with the playoffs in mind and not to try to go balls to the wall over the last few games.

    • toneez says:

      Question .. What Gallagher on what team are you talking about ? because Brendan Gallagher # 11 on the Montreal Canadiens has been busting his ass lately as usual , matter of fact I’ve seen him leave the bench the past couple of games to walk off a stinger or hit hat he got because of his usual style of play , I don’t believe that Brendan Gallagher knows any other way to play but all out , never even takes a shift off … so glad he’s a Hab as I am sure that 29 other teams sure would not mind having him …

      All Habs all the Time

  17. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    Can Crisp play for the Habs during the playoffs ?

  18. AliHaba says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Habs’ Stanley Cup wins in ’86 and ’93 were both by teams that weren’t even in the conversation as contenders. They rode a hot goalie and a couple of snipers all the way to the holy grail.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      No. 6 seed in ’93. No. 4 or 5 this year. Pricey survived the best shot Raphael Diaz has ever made at the Bell Centre.

    • Forum Dog says:

      This is true. It’ll be tough to win 16 of the next 25 games, but they have a dangerous mix of speed, skill and goaltending. They also have some good grit if guys like Prust and Moen can make a go of it. They could do some damage if Price continues to play like a champ.

    • twilighthours says:

      You might not want to say it again. The 1993 Habs were first overall at the end of January. Were it not for a late season swoon, they would have been ranked higher and considered the team to knock off Pittsburg.

  19. HabinBurlington says:

    Congrats Boone! Huge win for your Reds!

  20. If there was ever a player who needed to do something this special it’s Gionta. The man showed his age this season I was truly disappointed that the Habs didn’t trade him in in March. Management is in love with GIO and that’s not good hockey management, but wow what a great goal on a night that was yawning at best. Mind you I was watching NASCAR, so maybe between channels the game was better. I heard the master was the Leader. Carey Carey Carey

    TB sucks, no one likes defensive hockey, they can bite me! 😆

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    Custom Sports Figures
    Congrats Carey Price and PK Subban, Montreal’s Gold Medal Members!

    • AliHaba says:

      Howdy neighbour, when are you heading to the Island? I have to disagree with you on Gionta. He contributes in a lot of little ways and they would not have gotten fair value for him in a trade. He will have to take a huge pay cut to return next year though.

  21. Phil C says:

    In my opinion, the problem on the PP is Desharnais. By not being a threat to shoot, he is too easy to play against. His ability to pass is great on the rush and on broken plays, but on a PP it becomes a liability because he is passing up great opportunities to score and the defenders can cheat for the pass because they don’t have to defend the shot. It’s like when a QB becomes more effective when he has a good runningback. When then linebackers have to move up to defend the run, it creates more room for the receivers.

    Case in point was last night the Habs were moving it around nicely, Markov on the left point recognized a seam open up to DD on the right half-boards. As the pass was on it’s way I was thinking this is an automatic goal as there is no way Talbot gets across. To my shock and dismay, instead of one timing it into the net, DD one touches the puck back to Subban with a defender in the shootiing lane so the play was dead. DD didn’t even think about shooting, yet alone recognize the gaping net to his right. Drives me nuts. If that was Briere it would have been a goal more often than not. If he is not going to shoot, let him rest for the PP and use Briere. It is a good way to extract some value out of Briere at this stage of his career.

    This is part of the reason why I think Therrien has a bit of an offensive blindspot. If someone makes even the smallest defensive error, he is all over them. But fundamentally bad offensive hockey is tolerated all the time.

  22. Not wanting to burst anyones bubble, but Matty, I don’t think 85% of HIO was wrong. The facts are in for the regular season. We did very well at 100 points, but… here it is, there are glaring weaknesses that will come out very quickly in the second season that have been part of the complaints all season long.

    1) MT – Still line juggling. Use of rookies. Still letting our smurfs get knocked around (‘cept for Murray) and he isn’t a very good in game strategist like he will have to be in the playoffs.
    2) Our PP is dead, despite comments below about how it is whole new season. It isn’t as they are the same players, with the same system. It is a shortened fight for your life season and our ability to come from behind (Only recently with Ottawa for example) shows some improved character, but I’m sick of the character comments since without skill, forechecking, shooting at the friggin’ net, defensive coverage and a few other essentials, character is only good for clearing out the tears after another disappointing loss.
    3) Lack of secondary scoring – part of the line juggling issue and Gally is doing it all alone, like a few of the clips I watched last night. Poor kid, where is HIS support? Love that fire-plug, but Pleks someone, has to work with him. The rest has been turned over to many times to make it over-aerated.
    4) Soft on the boards – How many times did we lose puck battles, fail to clear a puck or just try to dump it out or get hemmed in. Hated seeing us in those delayed penalty situations where the other team controlled the puck for over a minute without us even touching the puck (Isles and Detroit).
    5) Rely on Price – Hey look, Price had a very good year and NOT a Vezina year for all you Pricers out there. However, if they just let everyone have a great look at him, he WILL let in some pucks. The D have to do their job and if we as the highest shot blocking club keep that up, we won’t have ANY offense because we’ll be the walking wounded lying on the ice instead of using our bodies and sticks to disrupt the play of the opposition and transition quickly into the offensive zone.
    6) PK – WTF? What’s going on isn’t a good sign for the playoffs. We need his scoring since he is the second highest on the team and has been in an extended funk.
    7) Aged and limited skill defensemen with big hearts. Frankie, Murray, Weaver has tailed off which gives me pause. So we have Markov, who has for me, been surprisingly stable and confident with a chip that I like, but we’ve all seen how quickly he can be turned into a pylon, just like Emelin in the the Isles game. Gorges is zero offense and while bringing some stability, I have always cringed at his contract. He’s a top six, not a top two, no body, not physical, plays the stick and often loses speed battles. I can’t stop thinking about how stupid the Ghost and Gainey were to lose McDonagh. Truly pathetic and I also look at Timmins on this, so he’s no saint either.

    Anyways, I can talk forever on the weaknesses. The point is, they still exist often glaringly in a game after the end of the regular season. The fact that we lost 3/4 to Tampa during that schedule, doesn’t just disappear during the Playoffs, so some soul searching, work and surprises need to be concocted in the next four days, or the Habs will have a tough time disposing of Tampa, which I hope won’t happen, but my head says differently.

    I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

    • boing007 says:

      How about Weise and Bournival with Gallagher?

      Richard R

    • Mattyleg says:

      I’mm going to go back and read your post when I have some time OSH, as I have to work (gag) today.

      One little note I’ll make is that every team has glaring weaknesses that are exposed by teams who know how to expose them.
      As airtight as we think teams like Boston or Anaheim or Chicago are, a little visit to their fan boards will expose their glaring weaknesses to you.

      We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to play within our strengths and be aware of our weaknesses.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

  23. Forum Dog says:

    Ryan Malone out on a bit of bender last night…..


    Tampa can probably find a way to rally around this, but Malone has been a bit of a thorn in the Habs’ side in the past. If he has to miss part (or all) of the 1st round, it could play to the Habs’ advantage.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Malone has another year left on his contract at 4.5M. His alcohol and drug issues would be classified as an illness which is somewhat the same as being on the injury list. In light of that fact, I wonder if Tampa could still buyout his contract between now and Oct 1st? I somehow doubt it.

  24. HowieFlinker says:

    The Canadians did not score in regulation in the last 2 games. The Islanders were testing 11 rookies. The Rangers rested 5 important starters. Tampa Bay would win 4-1 or 4-2 if that pattern would continue. The Canadians need 4-5 new forwards. This year was a step ahead for Marc Bergevin. Next year the team will (hopefully) add 3 young defensemen (and use them). If Vanek returns to Minnesota Matt Moulson will be free because Minnesota cannot afford both. Additionally we can hope that a junior or draft choice fills 1 of the necessary 4-5 forwards. That would include a left winger for Galchenyuk and Gallagher. More progess next year whether the Canadians win the first round (alone) or not.
    Howard Flinker

    • AliHaba says:

      Away with your pessimism.

    • Psycho29 says:

      It’s CanadiEns, not CanadiAns.

    • Mattyleg says:

      Let’s forget about our 100-point season.
      That’s in the past.
      Nobody cares about that anymore.
      The truth is that we suck and we’re going to finish last for the next 20 years.

      I’m totally with you, Howie. We’re brutal.

      Scotland, I’m sorry that I didn’t heed your Seventh-Day-Adventist-style warnings all season about how awful we truly are.

      Woe is me and the error of my ways…

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

  25. AliHaba says:

    Any hearsay about who of our “walking wounded” will be in uniform for Game #1. You’d have to think that Eller will be ready and Prust has been practicing with the team. What about Moen?

    • I don’t understand why anyone would want Moen back. Sure he seems committed, but he is useless in scoring, fighting and using the body. I am always confused when people say they want him back. He does nothing for the team at all, can’t score (hands of Moen is the comment). Play Weise!

      I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

  26. joeybarrie says:

    I always thought starting on the road was better in the playoffs. Winning the first or second game then coming home for 2 seems me a better way than the pressure of winning the first two home games.
    either way its semantics as there is fundamentally only an advantage if you go to game 7.
    Either way for the first time this season I am rooting for the caps today.
    Go caps Go.

  27. HabFab says:

    Does anybody have the latest numbers out of Vegas on how the teams do in the SC play-offs?

  28. 24 Cups says:

    Anybody in red numbers can win the Masters today (what a great leaderboard), but Jordan Spieth might just be golf’s next Sidney Crosby. This 20 year old is one cool customer.

  29. AliHaba says:

    Michel Therrien is an absolute genius.

  30. 24 Cups says:

    There seems to be lots of Red Wing hype these days but I’m not buying it. For me, the discussion begins and ends with Rask and Howard.


    Detroit has the worst defensive record of any of the 16 playoff teams. Boston has the best. As well, Boston’s GD is +85 while Detroit’s is -11. Detroit is the only playoff team with a negative GD. I realize these are only stats but they do carry some weight come playoff time. Rask is elite, Howard is good but not great.

    I think it’s safe to say that the Habs will meet Boston in two weeks.

  31. Mattyleg says:

    “Wow, you know, as someone who wrote off this team at the beginning of the season, and then repeatedly throughout, while questioning every single thing the coach did (and using every insulting name in the book to describe him), and belittling each and every player, I have to say that I am pleasantly impressed with the fact that we finished this season with 100 points.

    “I’ll admit that I might have been somewhat wrong in my assessment of this team on a regular basis, but I’d like to point out that being this wrong so consistently will have absolutely no bearing on the high opinion I have of my hockey knowledge, nor will it temper my assessment of this team throughout their playoff run (as short as it will certainly be – we are not contenders, as I’ve said all season).


    85% Of The Vocal Contingent of HI/O.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • JUST ME says:

      I think that you comments were made in a positive and opened way wich is more than we can say about you know who. We can criticize an athlete but must recognize when it`s a personnal dislike and not bug others with our obsession. That being said. we tend to judge individuals but are not going as far as judging that same player in a group of players. Take for instance the captain. Does not score 35 goals a year anymore but…

    • Cal says:

      Ah, Matty. I’ve been guilty of underestimating this edition of the Habs just about all season. The unexpected Austrian Acquisiton, the Weaver fabrication and the depth move for Weise has changed the complexion of the team. Things are looking a lot more positive these days. Only Colorado finished the last 10 games with a better record IN THE ENTIRE LEAGUE.
      Okay, I better stop before I ramble too much.

    • 5wings says:

      All in all HABS had a very good season..100 pts how many people would have signed off on that in September, they have suprised a few..I really like their never quit or rollover attitude this year..

      If we get all 4 lines rolling we will be very tough to beat against Tampa..Should be fun starting Wednesday..

      GO HABS GO!!

  32. jeffhabfan says:

    That was a great win Last night by the Habs.100 PTS Is a nice tidy number now we need to win the 1st round this year.GO HABS GO.

  33. 24 Cups says:

    It’s difficult this morning to not wonder about Brian Gionta and his possible future with the team. No one can criticize his attitude or role as captain. This guy isn’t a drag on his team the way Ovechkin is in Washington. In fact, Gionta is a bit of a throwback to the old style captain that used to play in the NHL. He’s a real leader, not just the best player on the team who puts up a lot of points.

    The reality of the situation in Montreal is that there will be a gaping hole at RW if both Vanek and Gionta move on this summer. Gionta’s goal production may have dropped but there’s no one in Hamilton who can match his 18 goals, even when playing in the AHL. Leblanc is lost is the wilderness while Thomas and Andrighetto are undersized forwards who couldn’t even tie up Gionta’s skates. Any other prospects are all at least two years away.

    Gionta’s new contract situation will be different from the one he faced five years ago. He is an UFA so he’s going to cost more than most fans are willing to pay. However, he’ll be getting a +35 contract. Probably for three years. He’ll also have to accept that he will be slotted in on a 2nd or 3rd line without PP time. The dollar value will be set by the market. Just keep in mind that lesser lights such as Bourque and Briere make more than 3M a season for doing a lot less than Gionta.

    I can easily se Gionta coming back to Montréal. The real problem just might be the status of Vanek. The Habs can’t wait until July 1st to see where all the Vanek dominos fall. Minnesota aside, Vanek has stated that he wants to wait until July 1st to fully explore free agency. He may not even sign on that date. In light of that fact, MB must tread lightly or risk being totally shutout of the free agent market. Even though Gionta loves Montréal and his role as Hab captain, he must also realize there is probably 10-12M sitting on the table and at his age he might just have to take the first offer that comes along. Even if that offer isn’t from the Habs.

    • JUST ME says:

      I trust Bergevin and his team to make the right decision. Remember before trade deadline as we saw him gone, Markov,Bouillon , Moen, Bourque,Briere, and who else ? He finally decided not to let go anyone except for Diaz (how awkward !) . Obviously he made the good choice but i doubt that he will have the financial capacity to bring back everyone next season. Other than for financial reason now it remains to be decided what are the needs of the Habs. Defensively i think that Gionta brings something the Habs cannot do without but i am no G.M….

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Interesting that player agent Steve Bartlett negotiates for both Gionta and Vanek.
      Hope the Habs have good relations with him.

      I think the Habs will know well in advance where they stand with both – especially Vanek.

      The new CBA allows for Group III UFAs to start talking with teams 5 days before July 1st, and ‘subtle’ conversations between agent-GM may give some knowledge as to interest in a player beforehand.

      • 24 Cups says:

        It’s a good rule as I always felt that ‘subtle’ conversations were part of the free agent mix in the past. At least now it’s in the open.

        First things first – is the team going to re-sign Markov?

        Next up – pencil in a Subban salary guesstimate whether it be by way of a contract or arbitration.

        Make Vanek an eight year deal based on front loaded bonus money. Set a declaration date as part of the offer.

        Once Vanek answers, then make a decision on Gionta or another UFA right winger if Vanek declines. If he agrees, then look at which player salaries will be cut to make room for Vanek and Subban.

        Make a decision on whether it’s going to by Murray or Weaver.

        Make a decision on whether the team will retain Briere. Then decide on White’s future.

        Sign another thug to replace Parros.

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          I wonder if they’ll be chasing any of these UFAs?
          That could change the logical process you present


          • 24 Cups says:

            I really believe Montréal has to sign another sniper who is a winger.

            There are basically three levels of UFAs who fit that role. If Montreal strikes out on Vanek, then they will have to work their way down the list. The team can’t afford to make another mistake like they did last year with MacArthur. Speaking of Ottawa, Michalek wouldn’t be a bad Plan C.

            24.2 Cups

  34. Fansincebirth says:

    So…..do we want to start in Montreal where the crowd is 100% Habs fans or in Tampa where they are only 75% Habs fans?

  35. Cal says:

    The questions we will see answered very soon are these:
    Are the Habs deep enough at all positions to make a serious run?
    Are they tough enough to take all the dirty shit the refs are blind to and persevere WITHOUT retaliating?
    Will they instigate physicality or react to it?
    Is Price finally ready, a mere 9 years after he was drafted?
    Is Subban ready to play without trying to do too much all at once?
    Will Prust, Weise and White give TBay fits?
    Can Pleks contain Stamkos?
    Can the DPV line produce under the brightest lights?
    Will Brière, Bourque and Gionta step up and provide that desperately needed secondary scoring?
    Can Eller rise to the occasion?
    Finally, will MT & Co.’s game plan work?

    So many questions. My answer to all these is YES.
    It’s bonus hockey time, and time to get into the spirit of it!

  36. Cape Breton says:

    Interesting remark from HNIC’s Ron MacLean last nite prior to start of game:” Lot of talk about no Canadian teams (in playoffs) but when we think about it,of the 16 teams in the playoffs which equals 320 players, 206 of them are Canadian.”


  37. adamkennelly says:

    how bout the Rags gooning it up in a meaningless game for them. fun. good thing we had Murray and Tinordi watching from the press box.

    If White does’t feel the need to handle stuff like that anymore – I’m not sure what he thinks he’s doing playing.

    • Mattyleg says:

      His injured hand might have something to do with it.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • adamkennelly says:

        injured hand? if his hand is too hurt to scrap when needed – he shouldn’t really be playing…my point is – White has been a shell of his former self – too scared of taking penalties to play with aggression and what – 4 scraps this year? He used to be s hit disturber – and he’s of less use to the team without that quality.

  38. Haberoooo13 says:

    Re the Powerplay
    How much time were the guys on the #1 unit looking for Patch? He has become a leader on this team and the guys wanted it for him.

    Now that the season is over, I’m confident that the #1 unit will produce (if given opportunities by the “playoff refereeing”.)

    Perhaps I’m too positive, but I am seeing this as part of the team spirit the guys have this year.

    Lafleur coming out rather gingerly…

  39. Psycho29 says:

    For those who missed it, touching HNIC feature on Dominic Moore and the passing of his wife Katie:


  40. Psycho29 says:

    For those who missed it, very touching HNIC feature on Dominic Moore and the passing of his wife Katie:


  41. jmac21 says:

    I’m guessing if TB wins today Mikey will have the boys on the plane early so he can get some more sun. As for the pp he can’t fix it because he has no clue how to fix it. DD line on for the first 1:45 – 1:50 then go with anyone else. The guy has no clue and this team will only go as far as Price and the players will carry them because Mikey couldn’t out coach a Tim Bits coach

    • Psycho29 says:

      Haha….good one. 100 points…..

    • Psycho29 says:

      Hahaha…. good one…..

      100 points.

    • Black Horse says:

      Therrien and his crew will have the Habs ready on Wed. night. They PP will be back in old form. It has to be & they all know it.

      Time to flip the switch. Just like in the movie “Over the top” with Stallone. He turns his cap backwards and he is a machine. He flips his hand over his opponents & goes over the top!

      Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
      I Believe in this Team!

    • Mattyleg says:

      Yep, Therrien has proved how bad he is by getting his team to finish with 100 pts.

      This is very similar to trolling, you know.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

  42. 24 Cups says:

    “Everybody knows where the GM-coach relationship is strong, functioning and purposeful,” Craig Button said. “It doesn’t always mean that the GM gets his way or the coach gets his way. It’s about them working in unison, in lock step. Once the perception’s there that they’re not on the same page, it permeates the organization.”

    This quote is Craig Button talking about the situation in Washington with George McPhee and Adam Oates. Button is basically saying that McPhee and Oates don’t see eye to eye and that one or even both have to probably walk the plank later this month.

    I only post this quote so Hab fans can apply it to the situation in Montreal with MT and MB. Are both these guys on the same page in terms of all the issues that relate to the team? It certainly would appear so. As long as that holds true then Therrien’s job is safe.

  43. Black Horse says:

    We will ROCK THEM …

    Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
    I Believe in this Team!

  44. JF says:

    Not long ago we were saying the Habs could go far in the post-season, they could compete with any team in the East, they could win the Conference…. Now we’re dwelling on turnovers, defensive errors, the futility of the powerplay, the lack of scoring. Yet only a few days ago, we played a superb game in Chicago.

    I think a lot of what has ailed the team in the last few days is a lack of concentration. They’ve clinched their spot, they know their opponent. They were clearly motivated to play the Blackhawks, the defending Cup champions, and just as clearly not at all motivated to play the basement-dwelling Islanders. I think there was also a certain lack of motivation last night, despite what all the players say about wanting home ice. If truth were told, they’re likely as divided on that issue as the fans are. Many of them were here in 2010 and 2011, when we did far better on the road than at home. There is less pressure on the road; winning one of the first two games would be a confidence-builder coming home, whereas losing the first game on home ice could seriously dent their confidence.

    Apart from lack of motivation, there was perhaps also during the last couple of games a fear of injury; and for the top line, there was the desire to see Max score his fortieth goal. These distractions are now gone. The focus will be entirely on doing whatever it takes to win. The players will no doubt have today off before getting down to their final fine-tuning, which should take care of a lot of the defensive lapses.

    Unfortunately, more than fine-tuning is needed for the powerplay, although I thought we had a few good sequences last night. A lot of it is confidence. Any team that goes 0-for-23 through eight games are going to be doubting themselves, over-thinking, and over-passing. Every game, I pray that we just get one to get things rolling. Without the powerplay, we’re going to have an extremely tough time scoring on Tampa. We have enough offensive weapons that the powerplay should be a lot better than pathetic.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      We can throw all those season stats in a big pile and burn them.
      New season.
      A quick PP goal can change everything.

      Anyhow, the playoffs always expose weaknesses.
      There is no place to hide.

    • CJ says:

      We played 58 solid minutes in Chicago. If we want to take that next step we need to be ready to play 60. Sounds trivial I know, but the little things are what separates good and great teams. We need to finish. We need to finish our offensive chances and we need to finish off other teams when we have a lead late in the game.

  45. Ian Cobb says:

    Last year, we were swept 4 straight by Ottawa.
    This year, Tampa is a better team than Ottawa was last year.
    And so are we!

    For us to beat Tampa, here are a few areas of our game that have to be much better.
    Losing Face Off’s in our zone, & stop icing the puck,! Power Play is pathetic, there is no excuse for such a poor performance with the man advantage, also we have to many lazy and careless penalties in the offensive zone.

    Over all we have more depth and a faster team than Tampa, if we use it, and roll 4 lines. We have the best Goal Tender and Penalty Kill in the league. But we need to use our speed and score off the rush if we are going any distance in the play offs this year.

    If things come together, we could go right to the finals this year!!

  46. on2ndthought says:

    C’mon Caps. I have tickets for the Habs 4th home game of the first round!!! Will Malone play (as he is innocent until proven guilty???). Will he get a VIP sentence (volunteer at the golf course)?

    “a cannonading drive”

    • jimmy shaker says:

      He’s been scratched a lot by cooper the last couple months, so I don’t think he will be a huge factor for the the bolts going forward. He’s probably played his last for tampa and won’t see the ice in the playoffs anyways.

      Shaker out!

    • Black Horse says:

      It won’t go that far bud. Montreal in 6.

      Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
      I Believe in this Team!

  47. habsfan0 says:

    Will RDS be televising the Tampa Washington game today?

  48. Black Horse says:

    A double ceremony last night & the Habs won. That is a great sign moving on boys & gals …

    Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
    I Believe in this Team!

  49. CJ says:

    Good morning folks!

    The Good:

    The win. You can’t fake your way to 100 points. For long stretches of the game last night we were the second best team on the ice, but more times than not this season, we have been full value earning the points. No smoke and mirrors here, unlike Toronto and their 10 shoot out wins, and 10 occasions in which they were outshot by at least a 2-1 margin yet won the game. Montreal was the better team more often than not, and it’s reflected in the standings.

    Although it’s a team game, our success starts in goal. Price was fantastic last night, adding an explanation point to what’s been a great season. Price, more than any other player, will determine our success going forward. I have every confidence he will shine, provided the team allows him to see pucks and limits second chance opportunities.

    Gionta scored a beauty on the penalty shot. Good for him. Fitting way to go out, in what I believe to be his last regular season game as a Montreal Canadien. Bournival and Galley both had very good games and were constantly in motion.

    Lastly, I’ll always try and be fair in my judgements. To this end, good for Frankie to step up on Dorsett. Frankie never takes a shift off and gives us everything he has. He’s not the player he once was and very likely would be outside the top 7 on any other playoff team in the league, but him stepping up last night is symbolic of the character the organization speaks about.

    The Bad:

    White and Weise had good games, and I know they are not paid to fight, but I would have liked to have seen a better physical response to Dorsett and Carcillo. I simply hate the fact that players can come into Montreal and carry on without being addressed. I know not everyone likes fighting, but while it’s in the game we need someone who can play, while also taking care of business. I really hope that Connor Crisp, Jack Nevins or Dalton Thrower can be that guy, but these prospects are still 1-3 years away.

    Gorges looked very rusty. This is to be expected having missed a number of games, but the playoffs are an unforgiving match and he will be exposed if he doesn’t step up his game quickly. There are likely only two practices before the playoffs starts and he needs to get his timing back. Weaver, who has been good for the team struggled last night. He’s had three poor games dating back to Chicago. He needs to be better.

    The Ugly:

    Our PP. It’s not the deterrent it once was. In fact, it now serves to provide our opponent with a boost following a kill. 0/22 and counting. The power play futility could be overcome with secondary scoring (see the Bruins against us en route to their cup win), but secondary scoring has also left the building. IMO, the Chucky injury is significant as it keeps Bourque in the lineup and once again forces guys into roles in which they are unlikely to succeed. If you have the DD line, than 11-14-27, followed by 81-48-21, and 49-53-22 you have balance. Now, with Chucky gone, there is a chance Bourque remains in the lineup. IMO, if healthy, Prust should bump Bourque. I guess this is my way of saying Bourque is one for the ugly pile. I just don’t like his compete level. As I said yesterday, Ryan Malone is one of the few players in the league we might be able to acquire for Bourque. Despite his recent troubles, I’d make the trade tomorrow. There is long term cap relief and at least the prospect of having a player who has an edge. In this regard, Bourque is a circle. No edge whatsoever. Every other player on this team is trying, except 17. Not good enough.

    Lastly, I watched the replay several times and still can’t figure out what PK was doing when he faked going after Dorsett. I hate that. Sadly, it validates what a lot of folks around the league say, PK’s flash and dash, but lacks character. Maybe it’s just optics, but it wasn’t good. Struggling is one thing, but faking that you are going to do something, than quickly race by is not the image you want to portray. To those who whispered that Frankie called off PK, I don’t buy what you’re selling. I’ve been in a number of hockey fights. No, I’m not that guy – living in the past, or passing myself off as an expert, but I’ve played the game competitively, and I can tell you when you’re about to engage an opponent and you are mad, there isn’t anything in the world that calls you off. Especially not a player 30 ft away who’s 38 and 5’8″. If that’s the reason, it’s a terrible, weak excuse.

    In closing, because I don’t care to end on that note, I want to thank everyone for allowing me to share on this forum. It’s a great community and I look forward to engaging the commentariat in dialogue going forward. I joined while off on parental leave, after having been a reader for five plus years. If there are others out there debating taking the plunge, go for it.

    Now, off to hit some golf balls at golftown before settling in for the Masters. Have a great day everyone! Cheers, CJ

    • Black Horse says:

      I have every confidence he will shine as well. But they have to score.

      One goal a game will not win many in the playoffs. The Habs can’t expect Carey Price to stop shot after shot after shot to keep them in the game long enough to score a late goal or in OT. That is just unbearable pressure on Price.

      They are thinking too much on the PP passing the puck around & around with no one in position to take a shot. Therrien needs to spend the next 3 days practicing the PP flat out!

      The power play that once put fear in the opposition is no more, for them it is just killing off the clock. The Habs so desperately need that power back!

      Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
      I Believe in this Team!

      • CJ says:

        I agree. Good post. Their inability to get any secondary scoring, in addition to the PP futility greatly concern me.

        • Black Horse says:

          We all seen this team beat the best. It is all mental. They need to want it & do what ever it takes to do it!

          Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
          I Believe in this Team!

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      hi CJ

      The pretend flyby is the kind of stuff that can separate a room.
      I’d bet there were a few ‘glances’ in that direction in the room after the game.

      • CJ says:

        I agree completely. I don’t get it, and I’m sure that’s not lost on the others. Look, I’m not asking asking PK to fight the guy toe to toe, but flash back to the last Leafs Habs game in Toronto. DD went right at Phaneuf. Didn’t back down at all. You don’t think guys took note of that?

        Not sure if anyone remembers the play I’m talking about, but it’s stuck with me. It’s called being a teammate and having character.

    • Phil C says:

      The PK incident looked bad. I think PK was going to engage him, but not fight him. Dorsett got the gloves off early, so PK either had to drop them as well or do a fly by. He chose the latter. I agree the optics are bad, but PK is the last guy who should be fighting Dorsett in a meaningless game, so I can forgive PK for that.

      What I don’t like is when he gives guys cheap shots and then turtles. He cross-checked Dorsett in the back of the head twice in a scrum, then when Dorsett got up to respond, PK turtled. I don’t mind players who are not fighters, it represents the majority of players in the NHL. But if you are never going to back it up, you should avoid dishing out cheap shots.

      • CJ says:

        Hi Phil. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Three cross checks to the back of Dorsett, then turtle. Not cool. Gorges then jumps in, followed by everyone else to scrum it up. I didn’t like that play either.

        That’s PK though. That play happens every game, going back to the first game of the season during the sequence when Parros got hurt. PK was baiting Orr, than Parros jumps in.

        I’m frustrated because the kid has all the tools in the world. I like the agitator role, but he needs to back it up every once in a while to keep guys honest. Even Max Lappy backed it up now and again.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      CJ, You always write a good post but, Tis to much for me to read this morning.
      Just kidding!

    • laGrandeTerreur says:

      Let’s just face it, if PK played for any other team, we’d hate him. He is an obnoxious player, and often a weasel out on the ice in these situations. This is not a rare thing.

    • Mondou6 says:

      Morning CJ!

      Good post…

      RE 100 points: I look back on the season, and have no idea how we got 100. Maybe I’m over-critical, but I do not remember seeing a lot of games this year where we were clearly the better team. And our Goal Differential is +11 on the year. Tampa’s is +24. The Rangers are +25, and they have less points than us. So I tend to think that our Points are a bit inflated for how we actually played.

      RE Carcillo: I want a physical response to goons, but White or Weise aren’t those who should be doing it. We desperately need an angry young heavyweight goon to protect our players. Given what we’ve seen against Boston and Ottawa, our entire team plays better when they know we have an enforcer. Otherwise we end up with middleweights like Prust or Weise having to fight heavyweight goons. Or Lucic going after Emelin, knowing he can’t fight. Notice people are calling out Chara for taking on Neil so Lucic wouldn’t have to. That’s what we need. It’s depressing watching one of our players giving away 50 lbs getting pounded by another team’s goon, as if it’s some sort of moral victory. I’d rather have a guy who can pound on Neil, Chara, and Carcillo.

      RE PK: I consider some of his antics designed to goad the other team into penalties. There are a lot of players like that in the league. I can’t say I applaud it, I don’t know what to make of it. I like PK a lot, and I honestly think he’s not being handled well here. Not that a team has to bend over backwards to accommodate one player, but when you have a great talent, it’s in everyone’s interest to allow him to shine. We sign Vanek, put him on the top line, put him on the PP, do everything possible to get him goals. We have PK, and want him to be a safety first stay at home D, and bench him every time he makes a mistake. I don’t get it.

      To end on a happy note…Price has been amazing this year. I wasn’t a big fan after his play last year, but wow, he was consistently fantastic this year. I can’t even believe the difference. Last season, it seemed like every game he let in one questionable goal, and this year, just the opposite. I can’t even remember one bad game, even when he was peppered.

      Looking forward to the playoffs, I think it’s going to be wild…

      • CJ says:

        Great post! I agree with your points.

        The optimist in me says we will be successful in the postseason because we have not come close to reaching our potential yet. Aside from Price, nearly every other player is capable of more. If they can bring their A game, we could beat anyone in the East.

        The pessimist says that goaltending has masked a lot of issues and that we are playing with fire. Not quite as bad as Toronto, but certainly smoke and mirrors. Further, although it’s a new season starting Wednesday, you can’t flip a switch. The fundamental issues are still surfacing after 82 games and that’s concerning. We are a one line team until someone steps up and proves otherwise.

        So, what do I think? I think Tampa is a dangerous first round opponent. If we approach this series with anything short of focus and preparation and fail to execute the game plan we will lose. If we play like we are capable of playing, we will win. It’s all on those 23 guys now. Who wants it more?

        • HabsPooch says:

          I think goaltending has masked our defensive issues. I can’t count how many times Markov and Emelin have been saved playing pylons at times. I really, really hate the fact that Emelin always plays on his wrong side. I counted four times last night when he struggled back handing the puck off the half wall and clearing the zone. These are little details that can’t be dismissed. It’s too late now but I’ve always wanted Emelin playing with pk. They had a few shifts against the Isles but not enough to make it a fixed pairing.

          • CJ says:

            I agree Pooch. I recall saying a couple weeks back that Markov owed Price a steak dinner. No player has been bailed out more than the General. Emelin is a close second. They played a great game in Boston, but have been largely invisible. The bruin game aside, I have to go all the way back to the Chicago game in January to recall their last good game together. Yet, we continue to play them together. IMO, if we are locked into these players, I’d go with PK Markov, Emelin Weaver, Murray Gorges.

    • New says:

      🙂 Myths often cloud our vision of players. Then a time comes when an opponent or circumstances strip it all away. Then we find out about character. Most of the guys in the League can play hockey. But the really good ones, the Crosby’s and that sort, get better when they face adversity. And they see red sometimes 🙂

    • frontenac1 says:

      Watched that fight this morning as I missed it last night and couldn’t believe it either CJ. PK throws a suicide pass up the middle and then pretends to sort out Dorsett? Disappointing.Good on the Cube for dispensing the justice. Saludos!

      • CJ says:

        Agreed Front. That three second sequence was worse than any mistake that PK has made this year. He’s struggling, but the effort is there. This particular incident is of far greater concern because it speaks to the young man’s character. Struggling is struggling. Everyone goes through slumps, even prolonged ones like PK is mired in now. I can live with that.

        However, that fake, followed by the drive by, is not cool whatsoever.

  50. kalevine says:

    Can anyone tell me why Chara has to go save Lucic? Ridiculous!

    • Cal says:

      Hinterland who’s who:The Luchicken is a shy creature unable to fight its own battles. It relies upon gigantic apes for protection.


    • Maritime Ronn says:

      It’ called sticking up for a team mate against a player that can’t play.
      Lucic can take care of himself. Go see his fights especially against Gazdik
      It’s much better than a fake flyby-pretend tough guy when a teammate gets suckered…

      • Black Horse says:

        Lucy is a dirty peace of Monkey Crap who only pics who he wants to fight! A Chicken he is.

        Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
        I Believe in this Team!

      • Haberoooo13 says:

        Yes he can fight which makes some of his dirtiness more questionable.

        Lafleur coming out rather gingerly…

      • Cal says:

        Like what the Luchicken was doing to Emelin last game after that clean hit? Not a chicken, when he attacks players from behind? Not a chicken, when he runs away from Laraque?

      • nova scotia vees says:

        This confirms my suspicions that you and a few others have a hate on for P.K. Of all the things to criticize in that game you pick that?? I was glad he didn’t fight him. I want him on the ice. Boullion is a fighter..PK is not. I HATE fighting in hockey..a remnant from the league’s inglorious past. You want goons..then cheer for The Flyers. They are a disgrace to pro sport.

    • Black Horse says:

      Cause Lucy is little Bi-atch?

      Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
      I Believe in this Team!

  51. Cal says:

    Get yer beards on ’cause it’s Playoff Time again! 😀

  52. Phil C says:

    Boston only had a losing record against 3 teams in the entire league; Montreal, Islanders, and Detroit. In fact they were 1-3 against Detroit this year, so I’m thinking this is not a good match up for the Bruins at all.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Detroit is a very solid team.
      They were the only team to take the Hawks to 7 games last year and actually had a 3-2 games lead in the series before losing Game 7 in OT.

      The Bruins are very vulnerable on D.
      If you thought Carey bailed out the Habs often, Rask did at least the same for the Bruins.
      A .930 SP and 2.04 GAA tells the story.
      If Rask is anywhere close to average, the Wings win…and of course be ready for the intimidation and after the whistle BS tactics to slow the game down.

    • kalevine says:

      this may be another case of needing to stop the Bruins before they gain their playoff swagger. If they can get thru Detroit, I think it’s clear sailing to the finals, where hopefully they draw a much more resolved opponent than Vancouver was 3 years ago. Detroit must stop them

    • CJ says:

      It’s nice to hope for the best, but I’d expect the worst. I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston pops Detroit’s playoff bubble in 5 games. I can’t see Boston losing the series, so I actually want them to roll past the wings and enter the second round not having faced any adversity. This way, and not to out the cart ahead of the horse, but if Montreal can take a game on the road, they might sting the B’s. If we stole home ice at home we would have them thinking.

      Tampa scares me, Boston not so much. Of course I’d love to see the Habs and Wings in the second round, I just don’t see Detroit beating the B’s four times in seven games.

    • Black Horse says:

      I don’t want the Broons to get knocked off in the first round. I want Montreal to knock them off!

      Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
      I Believe in this Team!

  53. HabinBurlington says:

    So evidently, Larry Brooks had a pretty good rapport with Marty Brodeur.


    • Phil C says:

      Seems like Brooks has been bursting at the seems to tell that story, waiting only a few hours after the end of Brodeur’s career in New Jersey.

      Edit: I see New Jersey is playing today, so he couldn’t even wait until the end of his career. I’m sure Brodeur will love answering questions about that today.

  54. HabinBurlington says:

    Morning Folks, perhaps the Presidents Trophy won by the Bruins is good news, I mean it has been a long time since the top Reg. Season team has won the Cup right?

    While it would be nice if the Habs were playing better hockey going into the playoffs, our teams best player is certainly playing very well heading into them.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      Montreal will kick it into gear on Wednesday. I think they started to fall off a little since they clinched. Can’t wait till game 1. This will be a tight series but I have a good feeling about it

    • Maritime Ronn says:


      In the 8 seasons since the 2004 lockout, 4 Presidents Trophy winners have been knocked out in the 1st Round, and only 2 have won the Cup.
      The Hawks last year and Detroit back in 2008.

  55. gmur says:

    Ottawa won the world championship of Ontario, 1-0 against Toronto!

    Quite the accomplishment.

  56. Psycho29 says:

    Good Morning Y’all!
    Well all in all not a bad season. How many fans and “fans” would have predicted a 100 point season back on October 1st? I know I didn’t.
    Hopefully Ovie gets a few today vs Tampa!! GO CAPS GO!!!!!

    Just looking at the summaries last night….Pylon Phaneuf, TOI: 21 minutes, Hits=0. There’s a captain for ya. Only 6 more seasons at 7-million per!!

  57. jrs10069 says:

    Tampa is in bad shape heading into the playoffs. Bishop hurt and Malone in the can…

    Poor bastard is screwed.


  58. Habsrule1 says:

    Wow Boone…..can you be any more overly dramatic? The game was important, but would have meant very little had we lost. The team has been playing not to get injured since they clinched….perhaps not the best strategy, but pretty easy to see. Add to that the fact that the #1 line was ridiculously trying to get Pacioretty his 40th goal. Win or lose last night, we’ll be seeing a different team in the playoffs. It would be cool to start at home, but I also like the thought of splitting the first 2 and coming home to the Bell Centre crowd with the chance to go up 3-1.

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Totally agree…and somhow I’m wondering if the 1st part ALN was written with tongue in cheek.
      Last night was nothing more than an upbeat practice for the Habs and wasn’t crucial for anything.
      Home Ice advantage? Right, we all saw what that meant last year…Habs lost 2 of the 3 games played at the Bell Centre.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        I agree Gio will get signed quickly if Montreal doesn’t lock him up.
        I still think Briere we overpaid on. I said that the day he was signed and he had 16 goals the last full season and 6 goals
        34 games in the shortened season. I don’t expect him to flip some magical switch and all of a sudden be great in the playoffs.

        I would not be shocked if they kept Gio and moved Briere out. I would be OK with that

        Sorry Ron this was supposed to be below.

        • Loop_Garoo says:

          I would not have minded the Briere contract at all as a one year deal to bring him in as a stop-gap till we find better, its the second year that gets me. Hopefully he has a great playoffs and puts in some consistency. The fact is, he has had some great games for us this year, and some where he was invisible.

    • Mike Boone says:

      A dramatic ALN?
      Hey, shoot me.

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger

  59. rhino514 says:

    Regarding Gio, Boone says it´s probably his last season.
    With one of proviso; If the habs can somehow sign Vanek (objectively speaking, a longshot) , or someone close in terms of talent (and I don´t see anyone out there available, at least not with a similar consistency)

    Gio has kind of won me over, finishing strong, as I was hoping and suspecting he would. If he has a good playoffs, which is 90% of what matters, really, I seriously consider bringing him back on a two year contract.
    I know he gets criticized on here for not being a vocal leader, but he is a leader by example nonetheless, and that would be sorely missed.
    Even if they sign a good RW, which will not be easy, they don´t have anyone clealry better for the third RW spot. Also you have to figure his offensive stats suffered this year because he played shutdown for most of the season on a team that was completely commited to defence. The proof is his erstwhile linemate Plekanec, who we know can get anywhere between 50 and sixty points, and who also had a soft offensive year, as did most on the team. If Gio were to consider taking a decent sized pay reduction, I´d take a gamble and bring him back, barring, and even in conjuction with, more grandiose signings.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      The demand for Gionta’s services will be bigger than most believe, and Gionta won’t be begging the Habs for a deal.
      Every team in the Eastern Conference that did not make the playoffs could use his leadership.
      I count at least 5 teams in the West also such as Colorado, Edmonton, Calgary….

      And who knows, maybe an up and coming Sabres team would love to have both Gionta and Ryan Callahan ( both Rochester natives) to show the youngsters how to be Pros both on and off the ice.

      With the new CBA, players are now allowed to dicuss with other teams for 5 days prior to July 1st, thus Gionta will have an exact idea of his term and worth in the open market.
      Don’t be surprised if that is 3 years/$12-$14M.

      Think of it this way.
      If last summer Briere won a supposed competitive 2 year $8M contract with a Cap Ceiling that was about $6-$7M less than the coming year, what could Gionta fetch this summer?

  60. rhino514 says:

    Doesn´t the player have to be in control of the puck, or have a totally clear chance on goal, for a penalty shot to be called? The puck had skidded away from Gio and I´m not sure he would have even had a half decent chance on the goalie as it was skidding towards the boards.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      NHL Rule 57.3 – When a player, in the neutral or attacking zone, in control of the puck (or who could have obtained possession and control of the puck) and having no other opponent to pass than the goalkeeper, is tripped or otherwise fouled from behind, thus preventing a reasonable scoring opportunity, a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending side.”


      This link to the rule then goes on to explain all the specifics.

      • rhino514 says:

        thanks for the rule, I would guess, though the puck was skidding away and to the left, it could be interpreted as “reasonable”, though that is of course subjective.

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          Things really changed from the older days when a player needed a clear breakaway and total possession and needed to be clearly tripped….and even then, it was a rare call.
          From here, the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

  61. rhino514 says:

    for those who have been following the teams out there, if we were in the old playoff format, we´d be playing the Rangers with home ice advantage, or the Flyers if the Caps were to beat the Lightning tonight.
    As it is we will be the road team against the Lightning, or the home team if the Caps win.
    I´m thinking, because of the injury to Bishop, we are probably favoured by the change, though I have this paranoid fear that one of their young guns, both of whom have been playing well, will pull a Steve Penney.
    The flyers would definietly be tough for us.
    The rangers? Haven´t followed them enough, but they seem to be playing real well of late and took us to overtime without a few of their regulars. On the other hand, didn´t they have Dominic Moore and Pouliot on the power play?

    Another question; with the tentative play which follows an MCL, should it be assumed that Galchenyuk would be a non-factor even if he came back during the second round, and would the team even be better off letting one of the numerous decent pluggers we have stick around longer in his place?

  62. Say Ash says:

    Boone, is that the first time the Habs’ season has ended on a penalty shot?

  63. Congrats to Team Canada says:

    Did I hear right Montreals series starts Wednesday regardless of where its played?

  64. NightRyder says:

    Now, I like Ryan Smyth, but it’s like Gretzky, Messier and Paul Coffey retired on the same night.

  65. Un Canadien errant says:

    A feelgood win for les Glorieux, with Brian Gionta scoring on a penalty shot in overtime to beat the Rangers 1-0. Lots of smiles and happy faces in the New Forum, amongst fans and players, very nice.

    We have to worry though whether this just wallpapers some fundamental issues with our team as we enter the playoffs. We had a streak recently in which we won 10 out of 12 games, we were counter-Leafing, as it were, but since the win against the Panthers, things have been more difficult. In six games, we have three wins, including one against dispirited Ottawa and tonight’s unconvincing affair. We lost in overtime against the Blackhawks, which is forgivable, but also against the AHL squad iced by the Islanders, and against our rivals the Lightning.

    All in all, it’s not as bleak as it looked last season going into the playoffs. We’re healthier, and more importantly, Carey Price looks as good as he ever has. But there are important areas of concern. The powerplay has died. Team defence has suffered also, surrendering way too many shots, certainly compared to earlier this season. P.K. Subban looks confused out there, and compensates by trying harder, and making more mistakes. Our #1 line has stopped gushing goals.

    We saw some boneheaded play out of Ranger Derek Dorsett, who stuck a knee out when beaten on a play, twice in one game. This is the type of player that needs to be removed from the NHL. He only has a job because of his knuckles, and has to scramble to keep up with the play. His reaction, his response to his lack of hockey talent, could have led to a serious injury tonight. Hey Gary Bettman, get these goons out of your league, if you really care about player safety!

    Francis Bouillon, who has become a whipping boy for the intolerant on HIO, showed his mettle by taking on Mr. Dorsett to make him account for his cheap, dangerous knee on David Desharnais. The tale of the tape might have showed that this would be mismatch, but Francis got in some good shots and had Mr. Dorsett in trouble the whole fight. Maybe it was his sheepishness at being such a bonehead that got in his way.

    P.K. Subban was subjected to a thorough dissection on l’Antichambre, for his scattered play, but also for his response to Derek Dorsett’s initial knee on David Desharnais. P.K. charged at Derek Dorsett and swerved by, but didn’t engage. I think everyone is unanimous, if P.K. wants to be a tough guy, a Chris Chelios or a Lyle Odelein, that’s fine. Be tough. If he’s not going to be tough though, he shouldn’t act tough. He shouldn’t accost Derek Dorsett if he’s not going to stand up to him.

    The game ended on a spectacular note, with the Canadiens captain being awarded his penalty shot for being tripped while on a clear breakaway chance. He deked out and put the puck in on the backhand on Cam Talbot, who was subbing in for Henrik Lundqvist tonight to give the latter a rest before the playoffs.

    So a 100 point season, a very good result for our boys. I have to tip my hat, I had them pegged for an 80-90 point year, and to be in a dogfight to even make the playoffs. So more than mission accomplished for the Habs, but then again not really, all this can be completed obscured by a poor showing in the playoffs. So rest up boys, practice hard, and let’s start strong on Wednesday night.

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


    • Timo says:

      I agree on Subban.. he looks plain awkward out there. Therrien has ruined the best player Habs had since Roy. I hope he rots in hell.

      • JUST ME says:

        Since you are opening the door…I hope you follow the same path…sooner than later AH.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        Ya, i really hate that coach who got us to 3rd-4th in the conference when almost everyone picked us for 9th-12th.

        What an A-hole he is. Surprised he wasn’t fired long ago.

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

      • Loop_Garoo says:

        I think it was the fans, not the coach. The fans go crazy and cheer with every end to end rush, we cheer the flashy things, but not the simple good solid hockey plays. PK got into bad habits when he started playing for the cheers and trophy’s

  66. Timo says:

    I like the idea of Rangers-Flyers series. Could be lots of fireworks.

  67. Timo says:

    Wow, they sucked… that game wasn’t a lot better than game against Islanders. Let’s start with Therrien…

    After 82 games this team still doesn’t have a second line that can provide scoring. 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines are time fillers at best.

    How many times did Rangers have the goon line on the ice at the same time as DD line? Therrien does realize that if any of these guys get injured he can kiss any kind of hopes HE has for the post season goodbye.

    White does remember that you can hit in this league, right? Otherwise, WTF is he doing on this team? Absolutely useless tonight.

    Bourque needs another trip to the press box. Looks like the only time he does something is right after being a healthy scratch.

    Also, I don’t know WTF they work on during the practice but Habs routinely give up 40 shots on net and their power play still sucks donkey balls.

    This team is going into the playoffs with one line and a prayer that Carey Price plays like he did all season. That is it. God help them.

  68. Prop says:

    Classy farewell for Smyth by the Oilers and even by the Canucks who all went out and shook his hand.


  69. Say Ash says:

    Vintage Poulliot tonight eh? All that was missing was tripping over the blue line.

  70. Adidess says:

    Go Team CHanada!

    Do you guys think I could make money off this slogan for the playoffs, by copyrighting it? Or my brain just stole it from somewhere I don’t remember!? 🙂

  71. Un Canadien errant says:

    Notes on tonight’s Bulldogs game against the Rochester Americans:

    Connor Crisp “best player on the ice for the Bulldogs” according to the radio broadcast team.

    Brady Vail didn’t play, apparently injured, Morgan Ellis a healthy scratch, among others.

    Darren Dietz still has an injured hamstring, out for the season.

    Jack Nevins first point as pro, picked up in a goalmouth scramble that Nattinen cashed in.

    Gabriel Dumont scores on a 2-on-1 with Justin Courtnall, he uses the latter as a decoy and shoots, beats the Americans’ goalie, ties it up at 3-3. Louis Leblanc picks up on assist.

    Mr. Dumont went up against Don Cherry wet dream subject Mike Zygomanis, trying to get him to atone for spearing Sven Andrighetto. The 6 foot 200 pounder refused Gabriel’s invitation to fight. The Bulldog, uh, bulldog picked up a double minor in the deal.

    I think Gabriel Dumont can play the role of a cost-effective Brian Gionta next season. Half the point production, all the effort and determination, more toughness, at 10% of the cost.

    Nathan Beaulieu playing on a pair with Davis Drewiske. Both are lefties, yet they seem to be a pairing that the Bulldogs plays regularly. Nathan has the puck on his stick a lot, draws a tripping penalty midway through the third.

    “Crisp and Sorkin have been eye-openers tonight Derek (Wills)!”

    Nick Sorkin had a good late shift in the third with Sven Andrighetto and Christian Thomas, wheeling around the opposition zone with the puck, dekeing out defenders and taking the puck to the net for a close call.

    Game goes to overtime. Good end-to-end action, good chances to end the game on both sides.


    Sven Andrighetto shoots, glove save. Americans score, nice deke.

    Gabriel Dumont races in, brakes, saved five-hole. Joel Armia scores.

    Patrick Holland dekes, saved by Andrei Makarov. Americans score again, no need for the next two round of shootout.

    Americans win 4-3. Apparently they scored a couple of flukey goals after the Bulldogs had opened the score, and went out to a 3-1 lead.

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


    • Adidess says:

      I hope Gabriel Dumont is able to play the role you describe.

      I really like Gionta, he’s a warrior, but an aging one. So I am not sure about the dynamics of bringing him back. He’s your Captain, so you have to make a respectful offer (around $5 mil) and probably give him a minimum of two years. And even if he agrees to re-sign for cheap and play a 3rd-line role, how does that influence his place in the locker room as a Captain, with another pair of high-priced, younger players added/returning to the roster next year (Vanek or replacement, Subban).

      I’d be in favor of keeping Gionta if his contract ran beyond this year. To re-up him for two years seems unnecessary. Unless he proves exceptionally effective in the playoffs and helps take us all the way, in which case letting him walk would seem like a betrayal.

      I also don’t see Gionta as particularly difficult to replace as a Captain, btw. Unless Markov is not resigned, we have enough veteran presence to keep the ship steady, with him, Pleks, Price, Patches, ra-ra Gorges etc. all already playing big roles.

      Go Team CHanada!

  72. prep says:

    4th I’m the best

  73. Adidess says:

    Not first… to say it, but home ice or not, bring on the playoffs!

    Who knows, we might catch ‘lightning in a bottle’ this year -)

    • The Jackal says:

      Oh yeah!

      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

    • Vito says:

      I really wish we will have home ice … mostly because I have a pair of tickets for the 1st home game))

      Canada IS hockey!
      -Mike Weir

      • Adidess says:

        My friend, a season ticket holder, expects to attend the first home game as well and what day/dates don’t really matter.

        Is this a function of having to attend on Easter weekend for you? Bc your ticket is valid either way.

        Go Team CHanada!

        • Vito says:

          No particular reason, I just think it would be great if it is the FIRST game. I was lucky enough to score tickets through the Canadiens.com online waiting room.

          Canada IS hockey!
          -Mike Weir

          • Adidess says:

            Ha, I see.

            Well, I’m rooting for home ice too for the excitement of that first game at the Bell Centre. But I also feel we shouldn’t be too concerned if Tampa wins tomorrow. There is a good chance that the first two games will end in a split, no matter where this series starts.

            Go Team CHanada!

  74. Vito says:

    First … in the playoffs!!

    Canada IS hockey!
    -Mike Weir

    • Vito says:

      Now, having a bit more time to write a proper post… I believe the lack of scoring, be it 5 on 5 or on the PP, in the last 3 games is mostly due to the whole team trying to set up Pacioretty for his 40th. Obviously no one told them to do that and neither of them will admit it, but I think that was on everyone’s mind and was a huge detriment. A good example of this was on a PP tonight, when one of NYR had no stick, but PK still elected to pass the puck instead of shooting it.
      I will even go as far as saying that I firmly believe that the CH will be firing on all cylinders starting from game 1 of the playoffs!!

      Canada IS hockey!
      -Mike Weir

    • Adidess says:

      First and only Canadian team in the playoffs. Go Team CHanada (TD)!

      • Vito says:

        I would not mind having more Canadian teams in the playoffs (Except Toronto)… I am really tired of USA winning the Stanley Cup

        Canada IS hockey!
        -Mike Weir

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