About last night …

For the first time in a month, your Montreal Canadiens have cobbled together consecutive wins.
So happy days are here again, right?
There was another blown two-goal lead and another third period meltdown.

And if the Islanders had anything resembling NHL-quality goaltending Tuesday night …

But they didn’t.

And the ineptitude of Al Montoya (great name for a bounty hunter or relief pitcher) resulted in unlikely goals by fourth-line pluggers Mathieu Darche and Petteri Nokelainen, who – in the latest example of why democracy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be – was voted the game’s First Star.

But what the heck, guys like Darche and Nokelainen give it everything they’ve got, game in and game out. They’re entitled to some props – although I’d prefer fourth-liners with some sand.

Like Travis Moen, who sustained a mysterious injury that no one in the pressbox noticed. He was gone after four shifts in the first period, and Moen joins Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez on a complete line of injured Canadiens.

Question for discussion: Would you play the aforementioned walking wounded if they were healthy?

And would Gionta-Gomez-Moen be your third line?

Or fourth?

It’s been that kind of wacky season, with Gomez an ongoing migraine and the captain underachieving. The game against the Islanders saw solid contributions from the players who have been getting it done lately:

• The David Desharnais line, featuring Erik Cole, who popped his team-leading 11th goal. Cole had six shots on goal, six hits … even a blocked shot. Crashing scarily into the goal post on one of his patented rushes did not deter Cole from making another rink-long dash and power move to the net on his very next shift.

What a stud this guy is! Possibly the Canadiens’ best-ever UFA signing.

• Speaking of horses, Andrei Kostitsyn played another great physical game and scored his ninth, on a play initiated by Tomas Kaberle.

The newly-acquired defenceman followed up his strong debut in New Jersey with another game in which Kaberle quarterbacked the power-play and made it function smoothly, looking as menacing as it has this season.

Driving home listening to the Team 990, I heard the guys ragging on the Kaberle deal because of his contract, which has another two seasons at $4.25 million. The radio guys were fretting, with reason, over how this expenditure will affect the Canadiens ability to re-sign Josh Gorges, who will want Kaberle money, and/or  (it may come to a choice, because they both could be UFSs July 1) AK46, who is on his way to 20-plus goals.

Pierre Gauthier pulled the trigger on the deal because he saw his team crippled by power-play inefficiency and in danger of dropping too far out of the playoff chase. Two games do not a season make, but the Canadiens are undefeated with Kaberle in bleu-blanc-rouge.

And they’re 1-1 with Chris Campoli.  Playing for the first time since the season opener, Campoli did what he’s good at: he moved the puck efficiently, skated well and was a force in the offensive zone.

Campoli was on with Kaberle for the D-zone chaos that led to the goal that erased the Canadiens’ 3-1 lead. But his gifts illustrated a point former NHL defenceman Bobby Dollas made in a recent discussion when he told me the Canadiens mobile Dmen may as well join the rush  on a consistent basis because it’s not like they’re going to accomplish anything by hanging back, since they never hit anyone.

Emelin, who should be part of the Canadiens’ blue line future, is not going to develop on a diet of pressbox hot dogs. The roster against the Islanders suggests the Russian newcomer has slipped down to seventh on the depth chart; with Yannick Weber – who played four minutes of even-strength – slipping down to eighth.

If  (I’ve decided to drop “when”) Andrei Markov returns , there will be nine defencemen on the roster and Gauthier certainly will make a move.

For what?

How about a third-period specialist?

The Islanders had a 15-8 shot advantage over the last 20 minutes.

That kind of one-way flow has happened to often this season, and it’s cost the Canadiens games.

But not this one, the result of which left the Canadiens in ninth-place – a mere two points out of sixth.

You’d like to see the team take an early lead and just stomp someone.

Maybe that will happen Thursday night, against the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers.

• The Canadiens have not lost in regulation time in December.

• By reaching 33 points through 31 games, they are finally a .500 hockey team.

• Josh Gorges had five hits and four blocked shots.

• David Desharnais was 1-3 on faceoffs after the first period. He finished 9-8.


  1. Badwich says:

    Boone gives Camshaft a pass tonight but not the boys on L’antichambre. If they had their way Camshaft and Mumbles would be walking to their next game.

    A 5 on 3 and you put out a guy who hasn’t scored a power play goal this year? Mumbles must be thinking elementary roulette. Ya, I’ll keep playing red. Camshaft is so worried about not scoring he shoots regardless of his chances. It’s about TEAM my man!

    And Mumbles? Mumbles has to go. He blamed the young guys for the loss but it was the seniors who were -2.

    Leblanc plays +-4 minutes. The ovation was as much about a message to Molson as it was for a first goal. This according to Les Boys.

    Can you fire a coach this close to Xmas?????


  2. keepthefaith says:

    HH. You are to hard on yourself. All your tanking talk for the last 3 years has finally got to you. It’s rotting your mind. You can’t sleep. You only draw pictures of tanks when you doodle. Take a deep breath, realize that as a fan, who really gives a shit what happens?There are way more important things in life than if the Habs win the Cup again. Wayyyy more. Maybe just maybe you’ll be able to enjoy a game again someday.

  3. Forum Dog says:

    Not sure if I imagined this or not, but I remember seeing a stretch of play after the Isles scored the tying goal where they were really taking it to Montreal and hemming them in their own end. I remember Price freezing the puck and looking pretty annoyed, and then, despite the fact that it wasn’t a commercial break, skate toward the bench. There was no camera view of what he was doing there, but in my own head I though he might be giving the bench a blast for their timid and sloppy play. Right afterward Montreal’s play picked up and they put the pressure back on the Isles, resulting in the Nokelienen goal. Like I said, not sure if it played out that way, but if it did it is good to see someone take charge. A team needs someone to wake it up, and when the coach and/or the Captain isn’t capable of doing it (whatever the reason), its good to know that our top young player is willing to take on the role.

  4. Thomas says:

    Does anyone know where we were this time last year?

    • Mike Boone says:

      First in the Northeast, fourth in the Eastern Conference at 18-10-2

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger
      Gazette City columnist

      • Habsrule1 says:

        Wow so just 5 points difference, really. I know 5 points is huge with the parity these days, but with the strat we had, people were worried it may be much worse.
        I still think this team will finish in the top 5 or 6 in the conference.

        Go Habs Go!!

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

  5. SmartDog says:

    When Kaberle was signed I wrote a post saying how pissed off I was. The next day I wrote a post saying that after seeing him work the PP so smoothly and with some thought, even though I hate think the risk in his 3 year contract (another veteran with questions about his play we don’t need), I can imagine this trade might POSSIBLY work out well.

    In that post I said one reason it might work out is that signing Kaberle might force them to eat Gomez’s contract. Of course someone accused me of working Gomez into every conversation. I’ve cut down on my Gomez bashing – it helps that he’s not playing! – but anyway, it wasn’t frivolous.

    As it stands we have only about 19 million free on cap space after signing JUST TEN guys. And ALL these guys need to be resigned or replaced:
    1. Subban
    2. Price
    3. Eller
    4. Gorges
    5. AK
    6. Moen
    7. Darche
    8. White
    9. Blunden
    10. Gill
    11. Campoli

    So let’s just take the first 4 (obvious we hope) signings:
    1. Subban – 4 million?
    2. Price – 5.5 million?
    3. Eller – 2.5 million?
    4. Gorges – 3.5 million?
    Total: 15.5 million

    And those I think are fairly conservative numbers…. but regardless, bump them up or down by a mil, this is close.

    So we’re left with 3.5 million to sign SEVEN players. And that’s before resigning AK46 and Moen – good contributors to the team. To resign AK alone would eat up ALL the cap space. Craziness. The fact is that the POSITIVE of the Habs now is that they have a strong core of good young players in Price, Subban, Patches, Gorges, Emelin, DD, and a couple of excellent veterans in Pleks and Cole… we have a lot of expensive baggage and we’ll need to move a big chunk of salary to ice a strong team next year.

    If we DO move that salary… wow, we could have a REALLY strong team.
    If we DON’T move that salary or (because we have to move something) if we move that salary by giving up or not resigning good guys like Gorges and AK… we’re gonna fill important positions with plunkers and the team will be worse.

    — So… the two most obvious players whose salaries to eat are GOMEZ (7,350 mil) and MARKOV (5,75 mil).
    — The most likely players to MOVE (veterans with inflated salaries) are GIONTA (5 mil) CAMI (6 mil), or KABERLE (4,25 mil)

    And we HAVE to move at least ONE of these just to ice a team. Move/remove TWO and you have real options for a strong team.

    So who do you whack?

    PS: And tell me again that Gomez’s salary didn’t come up or at least wasn’t one option in the background as Molson and PG discussed taking on Kaberle’s salary.
    PPS: I did this in a bit of a hurry. Apologies if my numbers aren’t perfect, but I think they are accurate… please correct me if not.
    PPPS: FINAL PS… for all you guys who are on here just to dump on people for sticking their necks out… I mean this post to be optimistic. I’m excited about the core of this team, but in my mind the core is not the one Gainey brought in 3 years ago. That experiment failed. But he might be credited with seeding this new team with Price, Subi, Eller, etc. But we need to prune back the old brush to let that young team thrive.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

      +1! Future seems bright, but bringing in Kaberle as a band aid for this year is cutting of our nose to spite our face. He needs to work out long term. If he out performs his salary Amazing! If he performs to his salary he is trade bait. If he bombs it’s just another contract keeping the roster fair to middling.

      They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

      • SmartDog says:

        Thanks. Yeah the frustrating thing about Kaberle is that it’s another big salary for a slowing veteran. Over a third of our cap space taken up by feisty but overpaid Gionta, under-performing Gomez, an injured Markov, and a possibly work-ethic challenge Kaberle is not a pretty picture.

        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

          And too many posters on here, even posters I respect, seem really caught up in the new car scent on this guy.

          I cheered wins when the Canadiens stank late ’90s, early 2000’s, and I yelled at the tv then too, so I’m here thick and thin. I just worry we’re looking and acting more and more like the team in Toronto used to look than I want too. Although to be fair, we haven’t had to sell the future yet to hang on to the playoffs.

          They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

        • habsnation says:

          Completely agree with you on the Kaberle move. He’s an upgrade offensively but the salary become the issue. I am optimistic given the crop of young talent coming up within this team, but I am terrified that our management doesn’t have the brains or the balls to deal one or two of these overpaid veterans and turn the keys over to the kids.

    • pottymonster says:

      people give way too much love to gorges. at 3.5 i’d much rather have AK.

    • Natrous says:

      Really solid post, well done. I felt the same way about the Kaberle signing, but given that he’s not a total train wreck out there like he was in Boston, it’s been easier to handle two games in. Perhaps this does force the team to turf Gomez in the minors, despite Mr. Molson saying that he was against the idea.

      Not to be a stickler, but Emelin is an RFA, and despite the minimum required salary bump, he may be looking for a bit more than that and threaten to go home if he doesn’t get it, especially if he steals Diaz’s job and cracks the top 6 among defencemen.

      I think Cammalleri holds the most trade value (besides Pleks, and I don’t think the team would ever deal Pleks…I hope), and given his 40-goal projection vs his actual outcome, perhaps he would welcome a change of scenery as well. Gionta hasn’t been bad, but I don’t think he’s got the trade value to make it worth while.

      Personally, I want to keep AK46 and think it should be a priority right behind Price, Subban, Gorges and Eller in that order. He can be inconsistent by times, but the skill and hits that he brings to a team that doesn’t hit much is hard to replace, and theoretically he’ll be entering the prime of his career in the next three years.

    • RetroMikey says:

      We tank, plain and simple…get rid of the overated high salary players like Cammy, Gionta, Pleks, Kaberle, Markov, with some youth like Weber, Palushaj, etc…in return draft picks and young high end prospects.
      Then, perhaps we can bring this club back to respectability and have a shot in the future for a Cup.
      With the roster we have now, we aren’t going anywhere.

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

    • veryhabby says:

      smartdog…I think you are forgetting something important and that is how MTL management deal with RFAs. There is ZERO ZIPPO NADA reason for MTL to sign PK to a long term deal. BG use to give out 1 yr deals to them, and PG last year went the 2 yr route with PAc, Web, DD. So why in the world do you think he will do differently with PK and Eller this year? Neither of them will get close to what you have stated.

      Pac signed a 2 yr mid Mill…I expect the same for PK and Eller. In fact Eller’s cap hit, due to bonus, was $1.3M…so even if habs give him half million raise, his cap hit will be identical to this year.

      I say PK at $1.75 and Eller at $1.5 cap hit, both 2 yr deals. then they will still be RFAs in 2 yrs and Kab/Mark/Gomez/Gionta/Cammy salaries will be coming off. Then you sign these guys to longer term higher cap hits.

    • idle says:

      Why should P.K get 4 Mil so soon? Eller may not need 2.5 already either…

  6. BeachHabFan says:

    Hard to believe that even after the horrendous start and mountains of injuries, the habs are still in playoff picture. Every game is a challenge though. just finished watching on the pvr and i gotta say the 3rd period freeze-up is killin me. Still, there were a lot of positives (in the game; in the comments, that’s another story…)
    – we keep complaining about lack of secondary scoring, but when noki and darche and gill score we complain that our top guys aren’t scoring *sigh*
    – loved seeing the guys mob gill after his goal; like carey’s celebration after stopping parise on saturday, it’s good to see some passion out there
    – bounce on gill’s goal was the bounce of the season so far (skate deflection off wiz v CBJ now #2); if that’s an icing, look out
    – eller eller eller – the guy has a lot to work with, i’m just glad JM isn’t benching him after penalties as much
    – AK needs to keep hitting people. the more he hits the more he scores
    – KACA wasn’t too bad but we need emelin v Flyers so we can, um, check somebody
    – who draws in for Moen? Blunden called up? Emelin on the wing?
    – i feel that when cammy actually snaps one in they’re gonna come in bunches; the guy has hit the post about seven times so far, lost a bunch to broken sticks, etc. Maybe one will deflect off his ass and get him into gear
    – last note – pk! buddy, slow down a bit. was interesting to watch kaberle and even campoli take their time with the puck in o-zone while pk looks like a coiled spring about to snap. maybe KaCa will have a positive effect on his play with the puck and he can teach them how to get out of the defensive zone…

  7. CF says:

    When all our D are healthy, why not trade Campoli to TB for Dominic Moore?
    First of all, Emelin has to play. He just has to. Our D are the most one dimensional group in the league without him. Nobody hits, nobody.
    And Moore can center a fourth line with Moen and White when he’s healthy.
    Oh, and one more thing. Everyone on here should start a petition to re-sign AK before the end of the season.
    We just can’t lose this guy. Next to Cole, he’s the best forward we have. Size, speed, shot.
    If we lose him, I’ll be sick.

  8. Hab-Q says:

    You can dump on the JM system for protecting 3rd period leads, but I saw 2 goals scored on us in the 3rd as a result of of soft play in front of the net by Diaz and Camploi.

    Campoli even admitted post-game that he hesitated.

    “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out”

    ~Rodney Dangerfield

  9. Thomas Le Fan says:

    We should consider trading Cammalleri for some size and grit. We have talent and every game he’s proving that we could probably do without him. Although we could use some scoring, it doesn’t look like it’s going to come from him. Some size and grit might just free up some other scoring. Just a thought.

    Go Habs!

  10. HabinBurlington says:

    I have been a person who perhaps underestimated DD. I don’t believe I ever bashed him, but have in the past questioned some of the undying love he gets from notable writers (ahem, Cough, Boone).

    I will give props to my little buddy, While not as tall as Gilligan I think he has become our teams little buddy. This kid for all the shortcomings he may have, size, speed, strength does have HockeySense, great vision leading to good passing. I still have concerns primarily because when healthy we have too many players on the roster who are supposed to be similar. Unfortunately when healthy his clones have not shown it recently. But for now, I do appreciate DD and how he works with EC and MP.

    Erik Cole is a warrior, and for those who believe we paid too much and gave too much term maybe we did. But I presently have zero concerns with this guy. The heart he plays with every shift has to be inspirational to others on the team. If we get a dropoff in year 3 or 4 of his contract we can deal with then. For now, I enjoy watching this warrior wear our colours. What was Carolina doing not keeping him, they give Kaberle 3 years, but won’t give Cole 4, that is a major mistake by Rutherford I believe.

    Anyways, good win, no matter how ugly, we needed the 2 points we got em.

    • neumann103 says:

      Gerald, put me down for a seat in the same boat.

      I don’t think I have ever bashed Desharnais, but I have suggested he benefits from favourable assignments and better linemates than say Lars Eller. I still believe that Lars Eller is a better hockey player, his limitations are more easily addressed by experience, and will be a bigger contributor long term.

      I am not one of the resident size queens and am frankly delighted when a vertically challenged player achieves promise. For the first time in years I don’t have Martin St Louis in either of my hockey pools and I feel at a loss not obsessing over the little guy who keeps on delivering.

      What continues to impress is the quick read and instant reaction to make the fancy pass through a lane that is in the process of opening to get the puck to a teammate in scoring position. But Eller has the much superior puck possession skills and the better long term reads, both demonstrated on the Nokaleinen goal last night. I am wowed by Desharnais’s gifts in seizing these openings as they appear, but even more by Eller’s ability to see a play develop, maintain puck possession and find the outlet. And the Eller wrist shot is a thing of beauty. Hard and really quick release. They have to start finding the back of the net soon.

      Desharnais obviously has a great rapport with MaxPac and I don’t blame Martin for keeping them together and – with Desharnais’s defensive issues – not putting them out against the opposing teams more dangerous lines. I think that Eller and AK46 have a similar synergy, but when injuries happen or the defensive assignment calls for it Eller starts getting 4th line wingers assigned to him.

      On Erik Cole. He is one of the Habs that I don’t worry about where to play him. Put him on with Plekanec, Eller, Desharnais and he will produce. I am firmly in the “I told you so” camp on COle. His signing was the best available player to fill the specific need the Habs had. I had the exact same reaction as a few years back when FA departures left a big hole on the blueline and on July 1 at noon said “Sign Roman Hamrlik for a little bit too much money for a slightly too long term.” Yes you can argue that the Habs went a little over ideal on Cole, but that is what it took.

      My hope is that Kaberle is similar story. More worried on the term than the dollars on that one.

      “Et le but!”

  11. Another day….another trolless day. Good Bless Us Everyone.

    When Moen, Gionta, and Gomez come back things will be looking bright again.

    Keep them away from Kaberle’s pairing. Gomez (when healthy) is able to carry the puck end to end almost every shift. Where is fails is not his fault. He seems to always get to the point of no return because there are no wingers to support his position.

    If the Canadiens can ever answer that with goals, then the Habs will have a great second half.

    I don’t have an answer. I look at each and every player, and none of them seem to be able to keep up, or get the the correct position for him.

    Price was solid last night. But the Islanders read his chapter. They tried time and again to get him to lateral right only to pull the puck out and in. You could easily see it on two goals.

    Carey will have to watch that pattern (his goalie coach will). Not as many one timers on him because the Isle knew he could get over there.

    And as always here are a couple quotes from Friday.

    It’s the late 90′s all over again.

    Kaberle is Gomez Lite.

    Yes, IMO Spacek is better than Kaberle. Plus he was off the books next year.

    No. As of today I am a Leafs fan.

    I think I am going to join you in cheering for St. Louis. Anybody but these losers. The Fan

    Freakin Classic.

    “What, no Coors on Tap? I’ll take two beers and one big glass”

    “My socks have more hockey experience than you”

    Shane Oliver
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    Ph- 204 724 8418

    • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

      I like the 4 points since Kaberle rode into town, but I still worry that he won’t have the legs to do what we need him to do for the $ and length of the contract. I worry he will (I acknowledge there are other contracts that ham string the front office, but Spacek’s money was going to be found money at seasons end) cost us one of Gorges or Kostitsyn, and possibly the wiggle room to keep Price or Subban convinced that the club is committed to them.

      Does that make me a troll?

      For the first time since the late ’80s-early ’90s it seems we have enough young players to build around that are legit NHLers. I really want to be able to keep building around them, not adding over priced spare parts to patch a April one and done together year in and year out.

      They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

      • G-Man says:

        Management will review the performances of all the players at season’s end. They will decide what to do about them then. Why worry? We’re not part of the management team.
        Kaberle is a good acquisition right now. If he gets near 55 points, is he a problem?
        The team needs vets and youth. Building around only the young players means 3 more seasons of up and down performances throughout the lineup. Getting Cole was a move to improve immediately. I think the Habs want to go for it this season, but the constant injuries and early losses have made it seem like the team is weaker than it is.

        • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

          I’ll give you the point on the team probably seeming weaker than it really is. As well I have been fairly satisfied with PG’s moves, and I was thinking they might be close this year then the standings would indicate.

          A lot can happen in the next 3.5 months, so we shall see. If Kaberle turns out to be just the first piece of the puzzle that;s great, but I’m not seeing it for this year, and I’m really not seeing it over the length of the contract.

          They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

  12. SmartDog says:

    This is a frustrating read. But it’s accurate. The Habs are like an old house that constantly needs repair. Just when one thing’s working, something else breaks and you need to spend money saved for something else to fix that. Guys we should re-sign and NEED to sign may not be signed unless they can ship out D-men who SHOULD be playing are now sitting in the box.

    And hey – wasn’t this our 1st line at some point:
    “Moen joins Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez on a complete line of injured Canadiens”

    Get rid of two of those three guys and our cap problems are all solved. There’s still a role for Moen though.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • I’m pretty sure management knows there will be a problem in the future (but that’s the future)

      When things go bad, you just can’t start destroying house and start over.

      The Canadiens have always showed signs that they are a good team, and that injuries are playing a problem.

      People are asking for heads to roll. The Canadiens aren’t the Kings or the Blues. They sucked game after game, after game. But like I said the Canadiens weren’t/aren’t like that.

      Until the team is healthy and playing, little moves like Kaberle coming in….Campolli coming back…..then White……then eventually Markov, then Management will assess, plan, and execute.

      You do not APE while looking at a half built house.

      When the organization blew up the Habs in 2009, they actually got results for two straight years. All that without their best defenseman, and then last year almost knocking off the Bruins. Imagine Pacioretty, and Markov in the lineup. I wonder what would have happened?

      So the Habs are looking a bit rough off right now. We’ll see where this goes. Parity in the NHL will get you in the playoffs.

      Shane Oliver
      Brandon, MB,Canada
      R7B 2R7
      Ph- 204 724 8418

      • SmartDog says:

        I didn’t say tear it down. I was just saying where we are. And I WISH we could move Gomez and Gionta (or swap Gionta for Camalleri in that sentence… but Cami’s such a playoff guy and he just had a kid so we can guess why he’s in a rut). We have too many “top 6” forwards.. or at least “top 6” salaries. We’ve played most of the year without Gomez, and Gionta is looking like he’s not the player he has been. Cole and Patches are leading the way with AK, DD, Pleks all playing big offensive roles. Imagine having that cash to resign Price, Subi, Gorges, AND pick up a hard hitting depth guy who can pot a few goals. Now yer talkin.

        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      But when it comes to houses it is location, location, location. Hey we still have a house on the nicest street in the neighbourhood. Our house when repaired is still one of the top houses around, we live on Boardwalk, we just need to make sure we don’t have a shoemaker of a contractor. Perhaps we need Mike Holmes (Holmes on Homes…)

  13. Thomas Le Fan says:

    We’ve had some ugly losses. I’lll gladly take some ugly wins. Cole’s goal was a beauty. Desharnais impresses more and more. AKos needs to continue to go hard to the net every time and not get frustrated when the puck doesn’t go in. Go Habs!

  14. boonie says:

    We need to stop looking for losses in wins and wins in losses. As Lombardi said, for teams with expectations “it’s about RESULTS.” As Bill Parcells preaches “you are what your record says you are.”

    I’m not happy Molson, management or the Kaberle trade, but we are not ready to throw in the towel on the season to start a meaningful rebuild, so we may as well get on board and enjoy wins.


  15. 24 Cups says:

    Here’s another questionable hit by a player who has a previous rap sheet.


    • Ian Cobb says:

      That crap is what is killing our sport STEVE. 15 games me thinks!

      • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

        Grain of salt Ian, our sport more closely resembles what I play on Sunday mornings, or what we watch at the Olympics. Sad really, but the best hockey players in the world are now involved in a millionaires club reality show with multiple media outlets playing along.

        That said, I still watch 65-80 Canadiens game, plus playoffs and finals.

        They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

  16. BCG says:

    My bad. Too much frustration w/Cammy + too much Creemore = Annoyed post. 🙂

  17. Marcusman says:

    I couldn’t tell last night, but who wore the “C” for us.

  18. Ian Cobb says:

    Couple of quick notes.

    Kostitsin does not get enough ice and respect from his coach for being our best sniper this year. JM does not even use him for penalty shots.

    Protecting the lead without a forecheck is the best way to lose the lead Mr. Martin.

    We played up to the level of our competition again and no more!
    We are coming out ahead, but we are very fragile.!

    Crosby’s career is done. Very sad that Bettman continues to not understand that fighting, shoulder and elbow armor are killing more than brain cells. It is killing our game. All minor hockey across this country, is down 25%. Mothers are signing their kids up in other sports. Soccer is up 30%.

    • The Cat says:

      Thats 4 concussions for Crosby (2 in Juniors), its not that far fetched that he may be done.

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

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Look everyone! Tony has nothing intelligent to say!

    • Habfan10912 says:

      First, thank you for sharing your opinion with us. Always interested in what you have to say.
      Second, we ate fragile and some of this may be the system
      But I think its about veterans stepping up. The Habs highest salaried players, Cammy, Gionta, Gomez are not producing. It appears Gomez is never going to be a productive player and maybe Gionta has played while injured bit Cammy looks awful. We need 2 of them to produce.

    • Le Jadester says:

      RE: AK 46 Agreed !

      Habs, OLE !

  19. matraque says:

    Once again, an awesome display from DD last night. I really don’t get why people have beef against him.

    He has more impact than most of the player on this team.

    Canadien en 5!
    Never go Full Retard

  20. Habsrule1 says:

    Nice to get the win…still work to do in our own end especially. Let’s not forget that the 2 guys who made the mistakes are still very young. With a bit of experience, this is a 4-1 or 4-2 game. The Habs goals were very nice, except Montoya should have stopped Darche.

    I love Emelin and hate to see him sit, but that’s the way it will be from time to time. I think he will be an absolute beast for the Habs next year.

    Go Habs Go!!

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

    • The Cat says:

      I noticed the Isles were often first on the puck in the habs zone. I dont think this means Montreal is slow, I think it means the habs positioning is primary and if they go for the puck, they better not get caught out of position and incur JMs wrath.

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

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      If it’s a rotational thing, that’s fine. Many are afraid that it’s not, that this is the way JM sees it.

  21. AceMagnum says:

    Oh Christ, even Boone can’t spell “too” now.

  22. Chrisadiens says:

    Does anyone know how the penalty free buyout worked after the last lockout? Can u buyout multiple contracts? Do you pay the whole contract? No cap penalty right?

    Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

  23. hardhabits1967 says:

    Another blown 2 goal lead by your Habs….nothing new there. Lucky to win the game once again thanks to an awful Islanders team. Coach Martin’s system (or lack of) almost cost you another one.
    In better news my Maple Leafs (16-11-3) rest up for Friday’s tilt against Buffalo.
    My man James Reimer leads all goalies in the All Star voting….
    Phil Kessel is tied for 2nd in the league for goal scoring.
    I will keep you updated every few days…

    My Leafs will win a Stanley Cup way before the Habs do.

    • Habsrule1 says:

      At the end of the day, all that matters is the win. Your laffs are playing over their head and the roof will cave in…mark my words. James Reimer is a decent goalie but will never be as good as Price.

      No need for the updates. We will update you with a blue team elimination watch in February.

      Go Habs Go!!

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

    • awesomerino says:

      Your Leafs, in their “best season since the lockout,” are all of two points up on the Habs, in the midst of their “complete hockey abortion.” We’re all so impressed.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        Well said! I love how laffs fans are planning the parade cause this is their best start in years and they are a whole 2 points up on a Habs team that has been dissapointing for most of the season.

        The switch is coming. Habs will be ahead within a couple weeks.

        Go Habs Go!!

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

    • baruch says:

      proud of leading in bogus asg voting? what a joke! 41st in GAA, 53rd in save% yeah he’s a star all right.

    • DorvalTony says:

      The Leaves will never win again. Ever.

      “The fish is rotten from the head.”

    • kakey says:

      Be careful of what you wish for. Price, Thomas and Dipietro all had sub-par 2nd half season after their appearances in the All Star Game.

    • G-Man says:

      Go to http://www.loserssince1967.com, why don’t ya?
      Don’t need to see your drivel here.

  24. TomNickle says:

    Don’t look now but Ray Feraro has gone on TSN and praised two of the three Habs prospects at the WJHC camp.

    In Gallagher’s last scrimmage he was praised highly by Feraro, and after last night’s CIS scrimmage he was very high on Nathan Beaulieu.

    Put your helmets on folks, the sky is falling.

  25. DrA says:

    I think we need to stop worrying about signings for next year, the collective agreement expires in September (9 months) so all bets are off. Live in the now.
    When is Whyte scheduled to return? has he started skating?

    • geo_habsgo says:

      I’ve been thinking the same thing! Plus the way I see it now we have plenty of options come the Summer when it comes to choosing the right personnel. I think Gauthier will get the right deals worked out.

      • CharlieHodgeFan says:

        We shouldn’t forget that White is a minor leaguer who has barely hooked on in the NHL. Yeah, he plays a physical game, but he could easily be unable to play one at the NHL level. I wish him the best of luck because he seems a nice guy, and what fans seem to dream of him being is something the team needs. When he returns, he will just be an AHLer trying to make the step up to the NHL. No more, no less.

    • CanadienBoy says:

      Okay but why not offer extensions now to guys like AK and Georges

  26. geo_habsgo says:

    How is the Nokelainen first star not warranted? He got the game winning goal. He won us the game. He deserved it. I don’t know of any other player on the team last night who deserved more credit.

  27. adamkennelly says:

    didn’t get to watch the game but almost crapped my pants when I realized that Emelin was scratched….seriously WTF is JM thinking. goes from big productive minutes to press box….clearly the only physical player team has in a physical sport…I really can’t freakin stand the coaching and management of this team. Emelin actually made opponents at least a little (or a lot) concerned about coming into our zone….what a joke…only reason the team won from what I can gather is that the Islanders and their goalie are terrible….lets all cheer for that.

    • DrunkenKeith says:

      Well, I’d like to see Emelin in, too, but not the end of the world if a rookie is scratched for a game. I think the big issue is the stockpile of left-handeded shots. If you watched Emelin in New Jersey, you’d see that he looked uncomfortable on the other side of the ice. Might just be something that he has to work on.

    • JUST ME says:

      Get used to it cause if all the injured come back there are going to be many moves like that. The physical type of game that Emelin brings was not needed against the Isles.
      Been so long since the Habs had a complete roster that people forget about having two extra players every game. Decisions have to be made,it`s no punishment either.

  28. The Cat says:

    Most of the teams have had about 25% or 33% go into OT this year…’artificially enhanced parity’.

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

  29. rhino514 says:

    I think Kaberle is helping the team so far. The team needed to do something fast with the PP and they got the best offer that was out there. Having said that, if they get a decent offer for him at the trade deadlinne, and assuming Markov is healthy, I would let him go and get rid of the contract. Otherwise, at season´s end.
    I used to laugh at Timo´s MAB posts but for the first time ever, I really wish we had someone with that shot threat. A quarterback and a shot threat, rather than two quarterbacks, would yield an even better PP.
    I´m not sure how much MAB signed for but I don´t think it was that much; we have affforded keeping him as the twevlth forward and PP man. I guess they thought Weber could fill that role. Maybe less of a cannon but perhaps more dependable defensively? The thing is, Weber is costing the team while he develops, and that could take years; It isn´t like he will ever develop into a star; He COULD eventually develop into a decent part-time role player. He doesn´t have the size to ever be a fulltime Dman IMO. Better to go with a known quantity in such cases.

    On another note, I don´t think anyone thought about the ramifications the Kaberle deal would have on Yemelin. I´m a fan of the kid. But how does he get to play for the rest of the season (assuming Kaberle stays)? Putting a kid who was just starting to get confident on his off-side, with all the challenges he is facing, including communication on and off ice, doesn´t make sense.
    Some have suggested Gorges can play either side , anyone know if this is true? Has he played on different sides for the team?

    • petefleet says:

      I would tend to disagree on your analogy of the Emelin situation. I would put money on him playing against the more physical teams, ie. Philly. JM will probably try to rotate Diaz, Emelin and Weber where he sees is the best fit against the opponents they are facing.

      Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

      ***Habs Forever***

  30. baruch says:

    The tsn guys called it last night. After Cole’s goal we went into a 1-2-2 and stopped forechecking until the score was tied. Who told them to do that I wonder? There is no mystery to why we lose leads… unfortunately the third period specialist we need might have been Kirk Muller.

    • Jim Edson says:

      It happens far to often at the exact same point in games for it to be anything less than “institutional” not random.

      They showed in slow mo exactly what JM denies is happening!

      What a joke! What a liar JM is!

      What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

      In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

      They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

      ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

  31. downeast hab says:

    Same old, same old. another nail biter. Excellent group of players,the talent is there. But,the right leadership, meaning the coaching, is not there. It should be,late in the game the coach should instill the aggressive play to the other teams end, but he plays defensive to a dangerous game. This is not good coaching, and I wish for xmas is a coaching change. Merry Christmas to all the players and a lump of coal to Mr. Martiiin.

    • The Cat says:

      I could see JM doing that (protecting a lead) in a 2-1 game against Thomas, Lundqvist, Miller etc but Montoya wasnt sharp last night, so yeah I get your point I dont know why one would choose to sit on a lead like that against a D and a goalie not having a good game, but they won anyways.

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

  32. Jon Dean says:

    Personally, I urge all to boycott HIO until Pat Hickey issues a full, sincere apology for his column blaming Fleury.

    Against Instigator Rule, New Sticks, and Enlarged Goalie Equipment, Boston Bruins

    • Da Hema says:

      I don’t recall reading anywhere in Pat Hickey’s article that he “blamed” Fleury for anything. If your intention is to rally posters, misleading them isn’t going to help your credibility. I initially questioned Hickey’s judgment in publishing his article, but after some time and reflection on its contents, I believe Hickey does raise some questions about Fleury’s hockey relationship with Graham James. In my opinion, this in no way whatsoever mitigates what James did to other boys — he is a predator and deserves to spend the bulk of his miserable life in jail — but Hickey’s job as a journalist is to raise challenging — indeed uncomfortable — questions.

    • Marc10 says:

      Hickey’s entitled to his opinion.

      I completely understand why Fleury would act the way he did. He was a victim of sick, depraved man and Theo’s actions (to this day) could understandably be coloured by that experience.

      I also see where Hickey is coming from and although he lays it one a bit thick to my liking (which could be interpreted as blaming the victim), I don’t have a problem with his column. He’s expressing his viewpoint in a straight forward manner.

      There’s no need for outrage or censorship. It’s not like we’re footing the bill for his weekly rant on Coach’s Corner. Now that would be an abomination!

    • G-Man says:

      Read the article again.

    • The Cat says:

      Come on give Hickey a break, the man’s car has over 350 000 miles ^_^

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

    • Jim Edson says:

      Why only Hickey?

      Why not Stu Cowan? The managing editor and the publishers!

      You think Hickey just writes and publishes anything he wants there is a management chain vetting all of it!

      How naive!

      What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

      In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

      They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

      ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

  33. Malreg says:

    Don’t look now, but the Canadiens are now tied for 7th place, and are just 2 points behind the mighty Maple Leafs.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Technically, we’re in 9th place, one point out of a playoff spot. Using the win column as the tie-breaker, we’re three points behind the laffs.

      Our problem in the standings is we haven’t won that many games. Way too many loser points on our tally sheet.

      • JF says:

        Steve – Shootout wins don’t count when determining playoff seeding, so we’re actually only one win behind the Leafs.

        • 24 Cups says:

          Jane – I miss the old days when a tie was a tie and you just moved on to the next game.

          I read somewhere that the league is closing in on it’s 1000th shootout attept or goal. I guess it’s here to stay.

          • JF says:

            Steve – I hate the shootout too. I wish they’d return to the old system – 2 points for a win, 1 for a tie, 0 for a loss. It is nonsensical that when a game goes to OT, it suddenly becomes worth 3 points, and even more so when one of those points is earned through an individual skills competition. The shootout is an exciting spectacle but a travesty of hockey.

          • athanor says:

            It’s a point for a tie in regulation. What is wrong with the current system — which I don’t think is likely to go away — could be cured simply by making a regulation win worth 3 points.

            Why don’t you guys start a campaign for that?

  34. SUMO says:

    BOONE: How about some love for Lars Eller? He showed some creativity and confidence with the puck tonight and made a nice pass to set up Nokelainen’s winner. Now he has to start burying his chances or else go the way of Chris Higgins.

  35. Richrebellion says:

    Anyone realize that Kaberle was traded for a 1st round pick and a top prospect a year ago, if he continues to play as well as he has so far he will easily be worth a 1st in the offseason no? So if Gauthier must decide between Kaberle and Gorges which may be the case he could easily trade Kaberle in the offseason for a prospect or a draft pick. So you take Spacek and trade him for Kaberle who greatly improves your pp while he plays here and then turn him into a good prospect! To me I don`t see the downside on this trade, the worst thing that can happen is he falls apart and even then there are plenty of options to hide his contract!

  36. HabsfanoftheHabs says:

    I for one am glad Harold Gill III ended up with a stick in his hand instead of a football. Who knows maybe he could have been an average QB in the NFL rather than a player more valued to these Canadiens than he gets credit for.

    Skillsy gets a ton of shit from ‘fans’ for his ability to hit, skate fast and shoot a puck. Hockey fundamentals right? I maintain he doesn’t get enough credit for the things he does well. Aren’t leadership skills just as important as say shooting skills? This guy blocks shots, gets in the way of opposing players, is a top PK specialist and has helped makes guys around him better his whole career. Its difficult to hear criticism of Gill’s performance that suggests he should not have a place in the lineup, or the NHL for that matter.

    Complaining about his speed or skating skills is a bit foolish isn’t it? Would it not be strange to complain of Kostitsyn’s communication and leadership skills? What about Plekanec’s checking ability or Moen’s stickhandling? These are no more a part of these players skills sets than Gill’s ability to take a wrist shot. Although you do wonder if he’s ever worked on shooting? I mean come on! Anyways…
    It’s obvious you need to be good at a lot of things hockey to play in the NHL, but you don’t have to be good at everything. Guys like Crosby and Lidstrom for example have nearly every skill but, like many other players Hal doesn’t nearly have them all, but enough to be a very effective player.

    Look – anyone who’s played over 1000 games in his career has proven his value. Other than a year in Pit he’s played a healthy number of games each season in this league. He scores every year. Ha, Yeah, I know that’s not saying much… He’s well respected, has a Cup, played for great franchises and quietly worked his way through a very solid career. He is one of my favorite Habs and I will be sad the day he is no longer on this team.

    Here’s to you Hal. Merci

    • RJB says:

      Preach it! Hal Gill has become one of my favourite players on this team. Takes a lot of criticism but we would be a lot worse without him.

      “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
      – Bilbo Baggins

    • OneTimer says:

      Attaboy. Very nice post, O recursive one.

    • Marc10 says:

      Yes. Hal’s been great and a fine acquisition by ol’ Bob.

      On a 5-3, there’s no one I’d rather have on the ice (with the possible exception of #31…)


  37. Habsolutely says:

    Feel good story for me? Desharnais. This kid has played his posterior off, and yet in some circles still gets no respect. Just check out some of the obligatory habs blogs and see the stats nerds ragging on DD. Some even proclaiming that Gomez out plays him and deserves more icetime than him. Disgusting.

    • Marc10 says:

      Damn straight. The kid has exceeded expectations and proved his detractors wrong at every level… and he bleeds Bleu, Blanc, Rouge…

      Weak on faceoffs… He works at it and gets better.
      Easily bumped off the puck. He works at that too…
      Too slow! Not anymore…

      Does he get the love? Hell no. He’s too small!

      I’ll tell you who’s too small this year. The Captain, Cams, Gomer, Weber and Diaz (on some nights)… They’re too fricken small! Not DD. He shows up, battles and delivers.

      In the not too distant future, there will only be two undersized players on this club and their names are going to be David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher. They’re going to make us proud.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      100% he produces and that is what matters. People who say gomez is better defensively should look at his plus minus……

      I would like to support gomez but unfortunately the time has come to seriously send him to the bulldogs. He is not worth a roster spot

  38. DYCSoccer17 says:

    Habs have 9 of 12 points in December. At this pace, they will have 110 points by the end of the season. No sweat!

  39. FormalWare says:

    Larry seems doomed to shoot either wide or into the pads. Hmmmpf!

    It’s not “growing pains,” as JM would have us believe: it’s “try, try again.” When Larry starts to click–watch out!

    If Eller were pronounced “Ell-ay”, Larry would be #2 with a bullet!

  40. Un Canadien errant says:

    As the game started, I decided to pay attention to the defensive play of P.K. Subban, as I had read a few reports recently about how he had concentrated on this aspect of his game and Jacques Martin had praised him accordingly. Sure enough, right away I saw a couple of instances where his mobility and anticipation allowed him to snuff out an incipient threat before it had a chance to develop. I was of a mind to begin composing a congratulations/apology open letter to P.K., having been critical of his tendency to try to do too much and to do the complicated, dangerous play instead of the simple one since the start of the season. As if to reassure me that I wasn’t off-base and that my observation skills were still sharp, P.K. made a pass/clearing attempt in his zone through the middle of the ice instead of off the boards, and sure enough Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau easily intercepted it and fed the puck to Matt Moulson for an easy goal.

    Another of my whipping boys, Andrei Kostitsyn made me jump off the couch because of a beautiful goal he scored, one that wasn’t just a sniper’s goal or lucky, but rather one that he created by playing hard and smart. He accepted a pass in the neutral zone and then did many little things he often forgets to do. First, he skated hard into the opposing zone, instead of coasting or being hesitant. When challenged by a defender at the blueline, he pushed the puck ahead, and this is where it gets really interesting, he kept skating hard and outmuscled his coverer. He then reached the puck at the same time as another Islander, won a brief puck battle by lifting his stick up and stealing the puck, and then went hard at the net, shooting after a couple of strides. These are the kind of goals we envision Andrei scoring all the time, and why we accuse him of being asleep or lazy or not caring when he disappears during a game or ten. Maybe being exposed to the rampaging Erik Cole, who every game plays like he wants the puck and knows the way to the net, is having a positive effect on le Frère Andrei. The rest of the game, Andrei was hungry and energetic, and fought for the puck and created scoring chances. Good on him, and good for us.

    Speaking of whipping boys (not mine but possibly yours), both Mathieu Darche and Petteri Nokelainen scored, ending personal droughts and chipping in the secondary scoring we need with the Plekanec line not clicking right now. A good aspect was that they were confidence-building goals, on strong slapshots rather than lucky deflections, and hopefully these guys will have a weight lifted off their shoulders and a spring in their step for the next few games.

    We have two players who were injured early in the season and are starting to attract attention for their lack of contribution on the scoresheet. Mike Cammalleri tweaked a knee and missed a couple of games, but has come back and has not met expectations since. I think we need to be patient with him, he’s playing hurt and it’s affecting his speed, his strength in the corners and his mobility to get in position to get his shot off. Same goes for Max Pacioretty, who hurt his right wrist and has been carried a little bit by Erik Cole and David Desharnais. While he’s not being the dominant player we got glimpses of last season and we hoped for, he’s being a warrior, knowing there isn’t anyone else available to allow him to take a few games off. Now with Brian Gionta and even maybe Travis Moen missing time, we have to applaud Mike and Max for soldiering on, instead of grumbling.

    Erik Cole continues being a one-man wrecking crew, skating hard and battling for the puck, he’s an inspiration and everything we hoped for. His rushes where he sweeps around the opposing left defencemen are bound to draw attention from future opponents who will back away to protect their net, and give more room to the other Canadiens.

    Hal Gill sealed the win, finally, when he lobbed the puck out of the zone, intending just to clear his zone but almost causing an icing. Instead, it dribbled into the Islander goal, and he sheepishly accepted the congratulations and good-natured ribbing of his teammates. I thought I even saw a bit of a facewash by P.K. A good ending, but Mr. Gill according to Marc Denis played an even greater role in the second intermission, when he button-hooked Mr. Subban and took him aside for a heart-to-heart as they left the ice. Mr. Denis respected the confidentiality of the chat, but broadly implied that Mr. Gill brought his former protégé to account for his mistakes in the game. While Mr. Gill is slow as honey from the fridge, his presence and leadership are hard to sacrifice, and while he may not be talentwise properly in the top 6 of the defencemen on the roster when everyone is healthy again, he will be hard to keep off the ice. I’ve been advocating that he should be given occasional games off to rest, but I can see how Mr. Martin would be leery to willingly forego his services.

    Overall, a salutary win for the Glorieux, but nothing to crow about, the ‘weak’ Islanders having pushed us right to the end. Let’s hope the Good Guys can play up to the Flyers on Thursday, who will be without Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux, and therefore more susceptible to surrender another important two points to the Canadiens.

  41. BCG says:

    C’mon Boone – you’ve been consistenly complaining about most of the team. How about some deserved hate for Cammy? Maybe some media criticism will get this guy going?

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