About last night …

There’s not much to add to Quick Hits, and I really should start my Christmas shopping.

The win was sweet because a loss would have been so dreadfully sour.

The players, their familes and a good many fans would be “celebrating” an unhappy Christmas tomorrow.

The team would be in eighth place, four points ahead of ninth-place Carolina, with the Hurricanes holding two games in hand.

The Boxing Day visit to Long Island would be a must-win for a team that had lost four in a row, the season’s longest futility streak.

But it won’t happen.

Oh, it would still be good to beat the Islanders. The Eastern Conference race is tight and probably will stay that way.

But the Canadiens can revel in a solid 60-minute effort and enjoy some well-earned time off before climbing on a plane Saturday afternoon.

•  •  •

A Christmas treat for fans of old-time wrestling … including my man David Stubbs:

Props to my great and good friend GG11, who posted this Andrei the Giant and Pepper Gomez classic to her Women on the Ledge web site.


The team’s top two centres, Tomas Plekanec and Scott Gomez, were very good in Carolina.

Andrei Kostitsyn, fresh from a night in the pressbox, played his best game in weeks and scored his first goal of December.

Max Pacioretty has become a fixture on the Gomez line – a fast, physical player who opens ice for his smaller linemates and goes to the net on a consistent basis.

On L’Antichambre last night, Gaston Therrien beat the drums for calling up David Desharnais. Moreover, Therrien insisted  Desharnais should be centring one of the top two lines.

Dude, please.

Plekanec and Gomez are doing fine. Super Smurf won’t steal their jobs.

Would Desharnais be an upgrade on Lars Eller?

Eller played 7:55 last night and has been averaging 10:26. But I still love the kid’s size/skill/speed package, and I think bringing him along slowly is the right approach.

That said, if Benoit Pouliot draws back in, I’d like to see him reunited with Eller and Mathieu Darche.

But who sits?

Tom Pyatt, a Jacques Martin favourite, played 1:41 on the PK last night. Maxim Lapierre skated and had a couple hits. Darche is the poster boy – man, actually – for the kind of lunch-bucket hockey Martin wants his team to play. Travis Moen can’t put the puck in the ocean, but he works hard and is the only Canadien who knows how to fight. Jeff Halpern is a faceoff and PK specialist who can work with gifted linemates (remember the glories of PhD?)

Martin may stick with a winning lineup against the Islanders – which would mean a fifth healthy scratch for P.K. Subban.

Yannick Weber played almost 20 minutes last night, and I think I was nervous for 18 of them.

The kid has an NHL point shot – and God knows, the Canadiens need one of those – but I don’t like his D. He’s small, easily muscled and prone to error: Not a good combination.

Alexandre Picard was better, but the Canadiens have issues on defence. Josh Gorges is playing hurt (although my man was better last night than he was in Dallas), and wear and tear is piling up on the Old Czechs.

Carey Price had been displaying signs of fatigue. He was being beaten by shots that he stopped earlier in the season.

But with the game on the line, Price was superb in the third period last night. He made 10 saves, including game-savers on Eric Staal, Chad LaRose and Erik Cole.

I think Price should enjoy the Boxing Day game from a nice seat on the end of the bench.

The Canadiens finish the month with a visit to Washington and a back-to-back in sunny Florida. They’ll need primo Price to pick up some points this week.

Happy and safe Christmas Eve to everyone … even you, Chris Lee.





  1. redgorf says:


    I wonder what JM would have done with a maveric like the flower he problebly bench him too. JM will never come a winner he has a monopoly on how to install no confidence in oneself. The players that leave find a way to get it back.

  2. solomio says:

    Like I suggested the other day…bring up Desharnais and put him back together top with Maxpac.They’re great together. Give Desharnais say 15 games to see if he can make the grade or not.

    If not at least he is being show cased and believe me there are teams that would jump at the chance of having this guy.

  3. aroma54 says:

    or, it’s time Martin was quite a bit more creative and started thinking a little outside the box:

    It’s a long, intense season. Does it makes sense to play four exhaused d’men, one of whom may be injured and three well into their 30s, night after night while playing with the heads of two promising young dmen?  And it’s about time to brace himself against the French-language press and let Picard sit.  I think the Habs can survive playing Subban and Weber on the same night – they’re young, it’s still early in the season, they’ll get better the more they play.

    Lacking offence?  How about a third line that some nights will provide it:  Eller and Pouliot had chemistry – play them both together again.  Right now the third and fourth lines kind of look like graveyards for goals.

  4. Dintrox says:

    Lucic is almost as dirty a dirt bag as Pat Kaleta.

  5. The Cat says:

    This is where hockey fails. On any given 1 minute span, a ref has one thing he could call maybe 2, theres a hook an interference somewhere going on…Only the ref decides when its called. He’ll call it if he sees a team has the momentum and he’ll usually favour the home team (theres stats clearly showing the home teams with a clear PP attempts edge). Theyre orchestrating a spectacle more than they are judging an actual competition. Its a bit of a joke IMO

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  6. punkster says:

    Who should be embarrassed? What did you expect when you throw out such a ridiculous statement like “the root of the Habs problems lies with the coach” as your basis for opinion that OB is in any way a loss to this team. Then go on to predict “as fact” the future of any young player the Habs may trade in yet another opinion.

    Well hey, not everyone shares your opinion. No need to whine about it when someone disagrees.



  7. Klondike Habs Fan says:

    Anyone find Brunet’s assesment, and subsequent argument about the hit on Spacek, really just plain weird?

  8. CHsam says:

    If we lost last night, it’d make the stench of strangers’ vomit in my apartment FAR worse than it is already.

    Gotta say we got lucky that Spacek faceplanting into the pillar gave us such a nice 5 minute PP……

    RE: JM benching kids.. hey, I’m all for rookies having fun and all, but boy, every game counts, and every mistake is costly. I love Subban, but I do feel like he cost us those games in Edmonton and Colorado.

  9. mjames says:

    You embarrass yourself by your juvenile response.

    I acknowledge that results are early but it appears that O’Bryne may not be half as bad as we all thought, including Martin. The guy makes a few bonehead plays and you label him as a loser forever. Brilliant way of judging talent. Using your methodology we should send Gorges packing based on that last game against Dallas. That was the worst display of defensive play that I have seen in years. Yea yea we all know Gorges is hurting but if he is hurting that bad he should sit . Oh I forgot the genius running this team feels that an injured Gorges is better than an healthy Weber or Subban.     


  10. olematelot says:

    Gotta agree, I never know when they’re going to call that, so inconsistant

  11. NoTinFoilCups says:

    You’re right on the money. It should be called more consistently.

  12. Habnofear says:

    Mike,you can make the same argument on every N.H.L.er …ie: Spatch and Hammer.O’Bryne was bigger ,younger,cheaper,yet experienced ,stronger and his game is still in development…..And  yes Martin has made a bad call on this matter because if Spatch gets injured the question is can Subban HANDLE THE WORK LOAD? So far the ans is no……

  13. Habnofear says:

    If your going to post something Spats, at least keep it original…..Actually, great minds think alike:)

  14. Richrebellion says:

    I think the habs need another top 4 d man badly, Hamrlik has been very solid all season long but as of late is showing signs of fatigue. Last night both goals were almost directly his fault, one a turnover in his own zone the other was beat easily by Erik Cole which should never happen to a top d man. Then I was watching highlights on tsn and he made another turnover in the 3rd which forced Price to come up with a big save and then completely forgot about Staal on a 2 on 2 which led to another solid Price save. 4 brutual mistakes in 1 game just not acceptable. And does this mean that Hammer sits next game? I mean Subban has a bad game hes in the press box, what is martin trying to say that if you’re young you sit after a mistake but if your older then you’re allowed to make mistakes. Someone please explain the logic…

  15. ArmyFan says:

    I used to think that the delay of game/puck over the glass penalty was the dumbest penalty in the NHL, but I have a new “favourite” – the interference call when a defenceman gives a forward a shove after he dumps the puck.  This has to be the most inconsistently called penalty in the league right now.

    Example – I think it was early in the 3rd period last night. Carolina forward moving up the right side on Hamrlik (?), dumps the puck in, Hamrlik gives him a shove as the forward tries to get around him, and gets a 2-minute intereference call.

    Yet in the 2nd period (again, don’t remember the exact players or details), Carolina gets away with doing the very same thing against (I think) Plekanec.

    I’m not beating the “referees are biased” drum – I’ve simply seen a lot of inconsistency on this call this year.  I personally think interference is interference, and the call should be made in 100% of these cases.  But either way, set a standard and stick with it so that players can adjust accordingly.

    Anyone else notice this?

  16. oshawahabsfan says:

    Spacek and Hamrlik made me much more nervous than Weber and Picard last night. Give them a rest for the Islanders game, I mean come on, it’s the Islanders. Give the young D a chance to take over for a game. Not to mention how much better the powerplay would be with both Subban and PK in the lineup, an excellent point shot option for both units

  17. Captain aHab says:

    I was one of Gomez’ biggest detractors early on but he’s caught fire since Max Pax came up. To insinuate that Desharnais should play instead of him is ridiculous. But I would be intrigued to see him C the third line just so the Habs get a better feel for what they have in him.

  18. oshawahabsfan says:

    I was about to mention how his actions last night prove how much of a coward he is, as if we didn’t know that already. First he tries to be third man in on a fight after he got knocked on his arse. Then he punches a guy who isn’t looking at him and is being held by a linesman. He’s as yellow as that jersey he wears, what a disgrace. And to think he was invited to the Olympic team camp, what were they thinking!?

  19. Hockey Socks says:

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    I’m not Christian, but it’s hard not to be swept up in Christmas spirit. Besides, I’ve come to see it as as much of a cultural tradition as a religious one.

  20. RGM says:

    Milan Lucic has a disciplinary hearing scheduled for Boxing Day for his cheapshots against Freddie Meyer while Meyer was being held by the refs and/or Lucic’s teammates. Boy, Jack Edwards won’t like that eh?

    Go Habs Go!

  21. mcmikel says:

    Joyeaux Noel!


    Pouliot’s best game since his late October streak.  Trade him for anything!!!

  22. SeriousFan09 says:

    Desharnais is not in the NHL for the reason Gionta makes it in, an extra gear of skating that lets him race by anyone and the ability to make a quick decision while moving at that speed.


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

  23. sidhu says:

    The Habs won, the Caps didn’t.  I think it sends a harmful message when one celebrates after a loss, particularly to a rival like the Pens.  In any case, for the Caps, their partying is not limited to the holiday season or right before a break — they go out all the time.  They make Sergei Kostitsyn look like a Buddhist monk.

  24. thebigguy says:

    You know you’re talking crazy when Mr. Boone needs to come out and correct you.

  25. Propwash says:

    Wishing everyone on HIO a merry Christmas!

    And for those politically correct individuals…

    Happy commercialized nondenominational solstice holiday!



    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  26. TommyB says:

    The lack of maturity that I speak of is in the way he handled that mic that was shoved in front of his face.

  27. WestHab says:

    I’m sure many NHLers were out last night as it was the last night of games before the break. I have no dbout some of our heros were out last night.

    – Who will be at the Heritage Classic?

  28. sidhu says:

    Boone, I agree with you — start Auld, give Carey some rest before Washington.

    Incidentally, Ovy and Green spotted partying until a club closed last night after losing to the Pens.  Crosby has the commitment, the Caps don’t.  It’s a simple as that.


  29. The Cat says:

    Yeah but a few have done it, too many to brush this off as immaturity.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  30. Propwash says:

    OB is essentially the best of a bad defensive issue in Colorado. Of course he is going to get lots of ice time.

    A coach cannot make decisions for the player when the player is actually playing.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  31. joeybarrie says:

    Eller will be like Latendresse. He will be decent in his first few years as he figures out the NHL game and how he comes along with it. Then after some good experience he wil start to produce what is expected of him. NO BETTER PLACE TO LEARN THAN IN THE BEST LEAGUE IMO. He has to understand the way it works, be patient and have confidence. Difference is, so far, his attitude will be to make it work no matter what.

    I don’t understand why everyone thinks Desharnais can be productive in the NHL. He is small. Players like Gio are few and far between. A guy who can dominate in the AHL needs to have a few more things to keep it up in the NHL. I don’ think Desharnais is that guy. At 25 if he was going to be in the NHL he would be.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  32. The Cat says:

    Im not disagreeing but Id like to see the kids with the kids, you know like a ‘kid’ line: Eller, Pacioretty, Pyatt, PK and Weber. I bet wed be surprised, theyd be all loosy goosy.


    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  33. The Cat says:

     That applies to Markov too, right? 🙂


    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  34. JF says:

    I guess I wasn’t clear.  When I said the errors didn’t end up costing us, I meant defensive errors in general – both from our tired and injured vets and from the rookies.  Spacek and Hamrlik made errors on the two Carolina goals, but Weber was also at fault on the first.  And, yes, Gorges was brutal against Dallas.  My point is our defence is just not good enough without Markov, and it’ll probably get worse as the season goes on and older players get worn down.  

    But I disagree about Martin.  Some of his decisions are questionable, but overall he’s doing a good job.  Eller’s coming along pretty well, Pacioretty looks good, and Weber has not done badly.  I guess you’re referring to Subban.  He is spectacular and has a ton of talent, but he has cost us a few goals and at least a couple of games.  People talk as though it’s a tragic error to bench him, but rookies get benched or sent down if they make too many errors.  I don’t see what the big deal is, and I don’t see how JM is at fault.

  35. Chuck says:

    At the very least, that would make for an interesting experiment.

    Centre Hice: Top-10 worst Hab nicknames

  36. Mike Boone says:

    The Ryan O’Byrne own-goal, the Delay of Game penalties at the worst possible times, the mistakes … all Jacques Martin’s fault, right?

  37. SPATS says:

    O’byrne played afraid here. Afraid to make a mistake because it would lead to the end of the bench or worse, 20 games upstairs. The leash was too short and it was only a twist of fate (with AV injuries) that he got his chance. Knowing he had a longer leash because of injuries, he stepped up and played fearless. A good lucky break for a good guy who’s only downside here was his irish name and a coach who would throw him in jail for jaywalking


  38. TommyB says:

    The Montreal coaching staff(s), plural because O’Byrne was around before Martin, and Ryan O’Byrne are both just as responsible for his lack of success in Montreal.  It’s a two-way street.  And it is fine for Rhino to make that statement now, but perhaps the trade was the slap that he needed to bring him out of dreamland and into reality.  Nothing wrong with him praising his new coaching staff, but there is also no need for him to crap on the ones he has left behind.  Does little to display maturity, IMO.  Good luck, Rhino.  Hopefully you can still crow after the new-team honeymoon is over.

  39. SPATS says:

    With the current scheme and system, what harm would it be to try PK up front? Lord knows we need the size and his gonzo chippy physical play would be a menace in the crease. Not to mention that he’s dropping the gloves and throwing haymakers. He has more upside than Moen, Lappy or Pyatt. Not to mention that his decision making would not be as critical and his speed and questionable D would be more of an asset in coming back to “help” rather than coming back when it’s too late… We would also have him for the point on the PP… and what if one of our D go down? He’s there ready to step in. Keep him to 3rd or 4th line minutes and PP and you get more reward and less risk. Wake up JM! I was your biggest supporter up until you revealed your insanity by taking the same action and expecting a different result. Time to try something else before you hang yourself. We’re the ones filling the Bell center. Let us see who we paid to watch! Anybuddy else out there agree?


  40. mjames says:

    I suppose you can rationalize anything. Every player that leaves and goes on to a good solid career we rationalize. The fact is we were unable to tap into that talent. That i my opinion is the coaches job. Why Martin gets pass on this is beyond me. Maybe you can tell me what players have responded well to Martin. – Pyatt, Moen ??  


  41. TheMostCupsPeriod says:

    Mr. Boone,


    Wishing you and your family, and all HIO’ers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    Peace on Earth and Go Habs Go!

  42. Shiloh says:

    I think Eller is a diamond in the rough – and agree with a poster yesterday (and Boone) that, if he puts on 15-20 more pounds he may blossom into a first-line centre. He is special. However, I don’t know if 7-10 minutes a game is going to bring him along. Maybe he needs a month or two in Hamilton to dominate, if he can. But that’s a huge maybe, because he’s very good right now. I love Tom Pyatt – a local boy from a great family – but I can’t argue that he is a true 4th-liner. Maybe Desharnais has earned a trip to the bigs.

    We need a defenseman – and soon.

  43. mjames says:

    Last night the errors did not come from the so called young guys. You can thank the vets (Hamrlik) for the Canes two goals. Against Dallas Gorges was the disaster. You sound like Martin. I do not disagree that we need help on the defense but other teams have no problem working in their younger guys. Our coach has proven that he is clueless when  it comes to player development and player utilization.


  44. Topham says:

    Your comment only makes sense if you ignore the fact that many players are actually responding well to this coach.

    Not all coaches are perfect for every type of player, and maybe that was the case with O’B. I think he was an acceptable loss, especially with the good (doubly good if you like the French media hounds to have someone to interview) return in Michel Bournival.

    Lions in Winter: http://www.lionsinwinter.ca

  45. New says:

    I like Subban. I have to wonder though. In his last seven games I think the team won once. In Weber’s last seven they won 5 times, though I’m not sure he played D in all of them.

    Both of them make rookie mistakes.  It might be that the Martin way of playing relies on players not making mistakes so the team can win a slight majority (4 of 7) of their games. So when one gets a bit flustered it may be better to replace them with a player more relaxed, until they calm down. Just a thought.

     Glad Spacek got his glove down there last night. There ws potential to get hurt if he had not.

  46. mjames says:


    The quote sums up the Habs’ s.
    “I came in here and the coaching staff gave me a whole bunch of confidence,” O’Byrne told Dater. “It’s a good bunch of guys … a good coaching staff. I’m having that fun again that I was kind of missing in Montreal.”

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Notebook/4022054/story.html#ixzz192VninHo

    The root of the Habs problems lies with the coach. Bring in a coach who motivates his players and we move up in the league. we have some very good players but they have no effective leadership. I feel sorry for Subban , Eller, Weber , AK46, Pouliot and Pac. They are wasted here. I suppose they can take heart in the faact that when we get rid of them they will go on to stellar careers.



  47. likehoy says:

    you know what’s the worst measuring stick…the WJHC
    TSN puts so much emphasis over it but Tom Pyatt played on Team Canada…

    – Gomez is holding down the suck button

  48. The Cat says:

    I guess Eller will be the next one in the pressbox after that clearing attempt went over the glass.


    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  49. JF says:

    Overall a very solid effort with many fewer defensive lapses than we’ve been seeing lately.  Gomez, who has been very good since returning, had a great game, as did Plekanec and Kostitsyn.  Price did not look good on either of the Carolina goals, but he was certainly the difference in the third period.  He may be a bit mentally tired, but I’m not sure about sitting him against the Islanders.  That’s a game we really need to win, since all three games next week will be tough.  The Caps are playing much better, Tampa has a ton of fire power, and the Panthers always give us a hard time.  The last time we faced a team near the bottom of the standings, Auld got the start and was clearly rusty.  If he gives up a couple of soft goals early, it will be a blown opportunity to grab some relatively easy points.  On the other hand, if Price starts and gets the win but is tired the rest of the week… a tough decision for JM.

    We desperately need some help on defence.  Our older guys are showing signs of fatigue, Gorges is playing hurt, and Picard, Weber, and Subban are all prone to error.  Last night the errors ended up not costing us, thanks to a 5-minute powerplay which I think we were lucky to get, but on most nights they will.  We need someone with more experience than our young guys, someone with size who can contribute solid minutes.  If he also has a good point shot, so much the better.  That’s probably asking too much….

    It’s great for the team (and us fans) to be able to relax over Christmas without being haunted by catastrophic visions of an imminent 9th place.  We’ve widened the gap and gained points on Atlanta, Washington, and the Rangers.  We should be OK if we don’t hit another skid.  So a merry Christmas and a happy holiday to all HIO staff, posters, and readers!

  50. BeachHabFan says:

    well thank goodness for that win and god bless us everyone.

    mery christmas and happy new year to you, mr boone, and all you HIO posters

    as a little gift i give you the overbaked homerism of the New England Sports Network as they describe the brrooons-thrashers brawl last night. cheap burlish boston is back, we better add some knuckles to our wish list for the new year. 


    Have a safe and happy holiday!

  51. Natrous says:

    What is the deal with people who think Desharnais is the solution to Montreal’s problems?? “Look at his stats in the AHL – he’s tearing it up!!” …

    Look at Corey Locke, Marin St Pierre, Darren Haydar, Jason Krog, etc. – all are undersized forwards who average more than a point per game at the AHL level. What have they done when called up to the NHL?

    Just because a player can score at will in the AHL means little or nothing if they don’t have more to their skill set besides quick hands. Desharnais has speed, but that’s about it; he gets muscled off the puck in a heartbeat and his 2-way/defensive skills aren’t even close to what JM is looking for.

    Let’s put this one to bed for once already.

  52. Rugger says:

    Knuckles would most likely have cost us the game last night as they would have wiped out the 5 minute major by attacking Cole.  I would rather win games than fights.

  53. redgorf says:


    there he goes again with is yoyo plan! how can a young player learn anything with line changes and up and down from ch to bull dogs they are spending more time traveling than playing.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.