About last night …

ColeBuffalo
“Where’s Chara?” Paul Gaustad is alleged to have asked Max Pacioretty after an empty-net goal put the game out of the reach.
It was a classless remark by a player who was nowhere to be found when Milan Lucic tried to kill Buffalo’s franchise goaltender.
And Gaustad isn’t much of a chirper, either.
A more relevant – and cutting – question to Max-Pac would have been:
“Where were your teammates?”

But not “Where are your linemates?”

David Desharnais and the sublime Erik Cole were where they always are – working their butts off shift after shift, in concert with Pacioretty, to make life very difficult for opposing goaltenders and defencemen.

But where was Tomas Plekanec, who had the grand total of one shot on goal and did nothing to create space or scoring chances for his wingers?

The Canadiens were playing their 50th game of the season. As you may have heard, the team is in desperate straits. The odds of making the playoffs were long even before the loss to the Sabres dropped the Canadiens into 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

This is when the warriors step up – and the wimps fade.

Plekanec used to elevate the play of his linemates. Not any more.

You could make the argument that Rene Bourque and Scott Gomez don’t complement Plekanec’s skills to the same degree as Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn – to name just three of the players who have passed through revolving doors on either side of Pleks over the last few seasons.

But the player who began the season as the Canadiens’ Number 1 centre – and yes, that is a bit of a joke and speaks to the team’s problems at that pivotal (no pun) position – is disappearing just when the team needs all hands on deck.

Plekanec has been held off the scoresheet in 26 games this season. In January, he had two goals and two assists. His best moments have been breakaways on the penalty-kill. And an ostensibly adept defensive hockey player is minus-12 on the season – worst among the team’s forwards.

Jacques Martin’s go-to centre in a variety of situations – including that quixotic attempt to use him at the point on the power-play – Plekanec is sinking like a stone on Randy Cunneyworth’s depth chart.

Desharnais is playing better than Plekanec. So is Lars Eller, most of the time.

Barring injury, DD and Eller will be even better next season.

Plekanec? On nights such as this, it’s difficult to see much upside.

Every loss increases the likelihood that the Canadiens will be sellers on Feb. 27.

Should Plekanec be added to the Available list?

Perhaps so. His checking and shorthanded talents would make Pleks attractive to a team looking to make a deep playoff run.

Travis Moen, who was missed against a Buffalo team that threw its weight around, fits that category as well: Solid defensive role player.

There I go dusting off For Sale items in the front window.

The season isn’t over yet, right?

Well, the Canadiens are mathematically alive and will remain so into March. But the team that was outhustled and lost all those puck battles to the desperate Sabres looked an awful lot like an also-ran that should start planning for 2012-’13.

If we climb into the time machine and fast-forward to September, there will be reasons to feel good about the Canadiens:

• Carey Price was brilliant against the Sabres, stopping 37 of 39 shots and preventing the game from becoming a total rout.

Through two periods of a game they had to win, the Canadiens were outshot 30-15 in their own barn. That it was 1-1 after that barrage is a tribute to Price’s excellence. He’s the cornerstone of this team’s future.

• Has an athlete in any sport responded a free-agent contract with as much energy and determination as Erik Cole? This guy earns every nickel of $4.5 million; too bad Cole isn’t more of an inspiration to underachieving and overpaid Canadiens.

• Alexei Emelin had five hits, played 1:18 on the PK and looks better with each game he plays on his natural right side. With Josh Gorges, P.K. Subban, Raphael Diaz and – inshallah, but I’m not betting my house on it – Andrei Markov, Emelin will be part of a solid Gill-free/Campoliless defence corps next season.

Back back to the grim present.

The Canadiens play in New Jersey Thursday night.

The Devils are battling the Leafs, Jets and Panthers for playoff spots.

Maybe the Canadiens will win and the fans will get juiced again, as they did in the immediate aftermath of that ridiculous stomping of the Red Wings.

But for long stretches on Tuesday night, as Buffalo dominated puck possession and zipped around the Canadiens’ zone, setting up a succession of uncontested blasts from the points, the Bell Centre was a very quiet place.

That’s often been the case this season.

Montreal fans have seen a lot of great hockey over the decades.

We’ve seen little of it lately, and the many nights of monotonous mediocrity have drained energy from the building.

Maybe if Detroit played here more often …

Yeah, right.

90 Comments

  1. WindsorHab-10 says:

    InshaAllah Boone?
    I love it. I’m a muslim & just loved your choice of words. Thinking about converting?

  2. DorvalTony says:

    You could see the need for a heavyweight last night. Somebody to rearrange Gaustad’s face. He came ready to make trouble and we let him. A 240 pounder who was 6’4 or 6’5″ would have made his dentist happy.

    http://ourhistory.canadiens.com/player/John-Ferguson

  3. danimal72 says:

    To all of you who think Molson is going to do anything for this franchise…
    Why would someone who makes millions by selling mediocre beer unchanged for generations, would change anything on this hockey team that still makes millions with a mediocre product. This is his business model!! He is in this for the money people!
    As for Pleks, who is seriously surprised that he has dissappeared in Jan-Feb. Talk about consistency!

  4. Strummer says:

    Put Pleks with Max and Cole and and you would see a 180 degree turn.

    Game after game he gets saddled with the line juggling experiments.

    Sure he’s -12 but for the ice time he logs and the performance of the team as a whole that number is not relevant. Look at Eric Cole.

    I still think Pleks is comparable to Datsyuk, as has been stated in seasons past. The only differences are Datsyuk has Franzen and Bertuzzi as wingers and Mike Babcock in charge of the bench-
    and that’s where the comparison ends.

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

    • DorvalTony says:

      That’s right, he’s had to carry some pretty awful linemates. And too much PK time doesn’t help his offensive numbers. BUT: he has a track record of playing “like a little girl” (his words) when the heat is on, particularly in the playoffs. Time for another big body with heart.

      http://ourhistory.canadiens.com/player/John-Ferguson

    • MasterHab says:

      You are higher than a kite if you think that Plekanec compares in any way to Datsyuk. Datsyuk is, despite his fame, a very under-rated player. He is for my money one of the top 5 players in the league. Pleks is nowhere near that good. I never saw Pleks, nursing an injury, almost singel-handedly control a game the way Datsyuk did against the Sharks in the playoffs last spring. He’s getting a little on the old side now, but he is still a special player. There isn’t anyone on the Habs roster who even comes close to being the type of impact player he is. Comparing any current Hab to Datsyuk makes you sound like a delusional Leafs fan.

      We need to stop kidding ourselves. Buffalo is a mediocre team that skated circles around us last night. Forget about the Detroit game; the Red Wings were on cruise control. If they could have been bothered to give a damn they would have annihilated the Habs but they had nothing to play for because they’ve already secured a playoff berth.

      The Habs, with a few notable exceptions are a random collection of mediocrities. Paying Plekanec $5 million a year doesn’t change that; all it does is make him an expensive mediocrity. We cannot expect to improve unless or until we face these facts. In the end, they are what their record says they are.

      We must stop trying to sort the pepper from the rat turds here. This team sucks. Period, full stop.

      • 44har48 says:

        Holy #$%& I could not have said this better!

        I almost fell out of my chair when Strummer did that comparison…not even close. Plekanecs is nothing more than a 3rd line shut down center and a good team player. The arguments about juggling useless linemates are valid, but this dude aside from playing with Jagr, is overrated.

  5. Chris says:

    Just looking through the top 30 scorers this morning. Let’s see where they were drafted:

    Malkin – 2nd
    Giroux – 22nd
    Stamkos – 1st
    Tavares – 1st
    Hossa – 12th
    Datsyuk 171st
    H. Sedin – 3rd
    D. Sedin – 2nd
    Lupul – 7th
    Toews – 3rd
    Kessel – 5th
    Spezza – 2nd
    Neal – 33rd
    Karlsson – 15th
    Elias – 54th
    Pominville – 55th
    Moulson – 263rd
    Eberle – 22nd
    Selanne – 10th
    St. Louis – undrafted
    Parenteau – 264th
    Hartnell – 6th
    Eriksson – 33rd
    Kopitar – 11th
    Seguin – 2nd
    Versteeg – 134th
    Whitney – 23rd
    Bergeron – 43rd
    Benn – 129th
    Backstrom – 4th overall

    Funny, I think, that only 10 of the league’s top 30 scorers this season were drafted as top-5 picks. Now the argument could be made that #1 pick Tavares is dragging Parenteau and Moulson along with his greatness, much the same way that Mario Lemieux made a host of Penguins forwards (Rob Brown, anyone?) look good in the late 1980’s. But then you could argue that Stamkos might not be producing at the same level were it not for the presence of St. Louis and Lecavalier (another #1 pick) on the team.

    But given that the list goes back as far as the 1990 draft (Teemu Selanne), you would think that given how much of a lock top-5 picks are to make you better, the entire list should be dominated by them. After all, there are only 30 spots on the list, and there have been over 100 top-5 draft picks since 1990.

    Also interesting at how many of those guys were salvage and reclamation projects. St. Louis was an undrafted free agent signed by Calgary that was signed by Tampa Bay after Calgary released him. Parenteau and Moulson could have been had by anybody. Lupul was out for a year with injury and many people laughed at Burke for acquiring him. Pominville has frequently been rumoured to be on the trade block in recent years. Versteeg was a UFA that sputtered a bit in Toronto and Philadelphia.

    A number of the guys on the list were available in their particular draft when Montreal picked.

    Just some food for thought.

    • HFX-HabFan says:

      I’m pretty sure Selanne was drafted in 1988.

    • 21272andme says:

      i think this displays the exact opposite of what you’re trying to demonstrate:

      if one third (10/30) of the top30 scorers of from the top5 draft picks, it shows how much more dominate that group is.

      going back to 1988* (selanne), you have 110 potential guys — 10 of them are on the list (9.1%). whereas, you have 5,839 potential guys in the other group — 20 of them are on the list (0.35%).

      so basically, you have an exponentially higher chance of having a top scorer in the nhl if you draft top5 (duh). that’s a pretty strong lock and quite telling.

      *math obviously not completely representative since you should remove goalies and probably defence too since they aren’t expected to be top scorers. also going back to 1988 for selanne really dilutes the pool. many of the top5 guys since then who no longer play were top30 scorers in the nhl year after year.

      • Chris says:

        You have used the entire draft to get it down to 0.35%. I think going beyond the 2nd round, most people would agree it is a crap shoot. The number would improve signifcantly from 0.35% if we looked at picks from the rest of the first round and the second round.

        Of course the top-5 has a higher chance of getting you a good player. I’m not disputing that. I simply dispute the notion that the teams with those picks are most likely to contend. That idea has certainly not been borne out by history. Some do (Chicago, Pittsburgh), but usually only after a prolonged period of misery.

  6. petefleet says:

    Mr Boone,

    Are you seriously blaming the loss of last night’s game on Pleks? Really? That poor guy gets the short end of the stick night in night out and still out performs most guys on the team. January was bad, I’ll grant you, but how good could it be with Gomez at your side trying to play centre when his assignment is on the wing? Over and over last night Gomer was out of position, playing Plek’s position. What a mess. Blame RC for that debacle. And while your at it, give him s**t for that pathetic PP. That was the game changer last night. That sucked the life right out of the game for the Habs. They should decline the PP against Jersey and play 5 on 5 instead. Price kept them in it and the DD line was buzzing all night but couldn’t finish. Pleks is not the scapegoat for that game last night.

    ******************************************

    Nothing would be written at all if a man waited until he could write it so well that no one could find fault with it.

    ***Habs Forever***

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      Boone was a little tough on him, but I have to agree, he has not looked dangerous lately (usually, even if he has bad wingers, he looks like he might do something by himself).

      Still the best number #2 C in the league IMO.

    • jon514 says:

      It’s funny cause in the game I watched, Plek had won 14 of 22 faceoffs. DD was 9 for 21 and Eller was 2 for 8. So basically Plek is this team’s number 1 faceoff man. We also killed 100% of our penalties. Guess who was on the ice for those?

      “Let’s be clear on the facts…”

      • petefleet says:

        Amen

        ******************************************

        Nothing would be written at all if a man waited until he could write it so well that no one could find fault with it.

        ***Habs Forever***

  7. remi_10069 says:

    Boone must be getting his material from my posts. I have been highlighting Pleks s*&^ness for months. He was right after cammi on the “midgets that have to go chart” and often driven by his turtleneck and goatie ahead of him. Time to say “goodbye”, he hasn’t made a nice play all year.

    Next week’s column should be on how crap Weber and Diaz are and the fact that no team with them both playing on D can win anything. Fwds give up when they have no confidence in their backend.

    pipes

    • petefleet says:

      I don’t think you’ve seen alot of games this year or maybe you have but not the ones Pleks has played in.
      Wber and Diaz together as a pair…no. Paired with a big strong stay at home D, they would shine. Diaz more than Weber.

      ******************************************

      Nothing would be written at all if a man waited until he could write it so well that no one could find fault with it.

      ***Habs Forever***

      • remi_10069 says:

        I have seen plenty and only notice him screwing things up or looking soft. Getting 3/4 breakaways is great but try burying a few. He’s not going to help the Habs make the playoffs, too soft and too turtlenecky and goatieeee. If you pair me with the right D, I’ll shine. Diaz is better than Weber but they both suck.

        pipes

  8. J.T. says:

    I see the wolves of discontent are sharpening their fangs on Tomas Plekanec today. It doesn’t take much for fans to forget everything a player has done for the organization in the last five years, apparently.

    All the “Plekanec’s finished” gang who are willing to throw him to a contender for picks or prospects should think for a minute. Why would a contender want a guy like that for what the Habs would consider a good return? Maybe it’s because he’s a team player who’s willing to sacrifice stats for the good of the team. Or because he’s a superior defensive centreman with good offensive instincts, the kind of guy who can help a good team win a Cup.

    Is it his fault he’s playing on a team with the defensive capability of a mesh condom? No, it isn’t. Plekanec’s biggest problem is mental. He seems to take the losing personally and loses confidence on offence. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t contribute otherwise, and it doesn’t mean he won’t bounce back. He’s far from lazy and still has the same skills that had people like Mike Boone swooning “Pleks is SO good” a scant few months ago.

    The Canadiens can certainly clear up spare parts for picks at the deadline if they want to pare down to the core of the rebuild. However, dumping everyone who’s not lighting it up during one of the worst seasons the team has experienced is venturing into long-term doldrums territory. If things keep going the way they have been, the team will be in line to pick a potential franchise player without making any moves at all. Adding a guy like Grigorenko to the current core would change the composition of the team and give a whole new look to guys like Plekanec, who would make a helluva second-or-third line centreman.

    We’ve seen a good sample of what Plekanec can provide over the years, whereas not so much of Eller or Desharnais. Who’s to say one or both of those guys won’t have setbacks next year? Perfect consistency is difficult to find in any player, and dumping those who’ve proven effective in the past because they’re having a down period shows a distinct lack of patience or foresight. That kind of thinking and reactive dealing is what makes teams continual basement dwellers.

    The wolves might want a taste of Plekanec’s flesh today, but they’ll be howling at the moon soon enough if Gauthier dumps him for a couple of picks.

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

    • Chris says:

      Plekanec is a very good player who has shown that he can produce in the toughest hockey market in the world.

      There is no player on the team that is indespensible…I would trade any of them if the right deal came along. But in Plekanec’s case, that deal needs to be for a true, established elite center; Getzlaf, Datsyuk, Crosby, Malkin, Sedin, etc.

      The reality is, we’re not getting any of those guys for any combination of picks, prospects and Plekanec, so the team should keep Plekanec.

      Plekanec deserves some blame for this season. He is the #1 center on the team, he is the most tenured player on the team with Markov injured and he is one of the most highly paid players. The team was counting on him this season and it simply hasn’t worked for him the way it has the past two seasons.

      That being said, Plekanec has shown a remarkable ability to bounce back from a bad season before, and I suspect he will do so again.

      But Montreal has eaten its young before. People here were braying for the flesh of Higgins, Komisarek, Koivu, Kovalev, Ryder, Ribeiro, Theodore, Huet, etc. More recently, it was Cammalleri, Latendresse and Lapierre. When they get that flesh, they sometimes like the taste but often don’t.

      Now it seems that it is the turn of Kostitsyn, Plekanec and Markov. The players change, but the idiocy remains.

      • mjames says:

        Amen to your post. That is is why it is imperative that Molson move to install a quality GM with a plan to improve this team through good drafting, selective trades and judicious FA signings. Enough of the PG “knee jerk” reactionary strategy. Also I would spend my money on developing a first class scouting department. The new GM picks those players that he can build and selectivey moves the others. There is no pioint in moving players like Pleks if there is no plan. Frankly I would keep Pleks for the same reasons other teams want him – sound multi role player.
        You can say what you wish but Burke is gradually building the Leafs. He has passed PG.

        mjames

    • RiverviewCanadien says:

      Thank you for that post, exactly how I feel about the best player the Habs have had for the past few years.

      People complain about everything he does when he is in a slump, like he is the main problem. I don’t buy it for a minute.

      You cannot dump Plekanec for picks…not right now when the team has NO idea what Eller, Desharnais, etc will be like next season.

  9. smiler2729 says:

    Why is Gaustad classless? He says the Habs chirped first “where’s Lucic?” It’s just hockey trash talk, nothing out of the ordinary, are we that sensitive, Boone, that we can’t handle it??

    Listening to a Sabres media guy yesterday, they said it was pretty clear Gaustad had earned his way out of Buffalo with his inaction vs. Lucic after the plowing of his goalie.

    ___________________________________
    Jack Edwards is a clam, Bruins are pukes.

  10. The Habs were out played last night. Simply as that. What an awful game last night and there was no heart at all. A few just don’t cut it. Habs got push around with ease and could not answer the bell when called upon. Its time to make a few moves to better the team for next season. Habs needs some sand paper type of guys up front. This team right now is a lame duck with no enforcers. Its time to add a few with GRIT, skill and be able to skate to make a big difference in the game today. Its time to look at UFA’s that fits this category like a Travis Moen type. HEART.

    Its time to get rid of injury prone players first and foremost. Gomez is done after this season or not before. Place him on waivers and send his candy *ss to Hamilton and maybe he can score a goal in AHL?

    The D needs to be overhauled in a big way. Gill, Kaberle, Weber and Campoli should not return next season. If Andre Markov cannot return then trouble is on the horizon. Bring up Jarret Tinordi and let him get some experience. Food for thought?

  11. 44har48 says:

    Thank you very much Mike. I could’nt agree with you more and have felt this way for a while now. All I will say, becuase I don’t have much to say that is constructive at this point, is that Plekanecs is nothing more than a third line shut down center – Radek Bonk. The contract is fine, but please stop thinking this guy will ever be anything more. Some nights he actually plays a complete game and I consider that overachieving for him.

    • smiler2729 says:

      Buddy, I’ve been saying that for years and maybe reality is starting to sink in, Plekanec is an overpaid Radek Bonk (good one!)

      Now if I can only get people to realize Andrei Marksoft isn’t Bobby Orr…

      ___________________________________
      Jack Edwards is a clam, Bruins are pukes.

  12. RetroMikey says:

    The teams from the dark days of 1997-2001 were marginally better than the team we have now.

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

  13. pierre lapuck says:

    Oy Vey. Keep Price, Subban, Eller, Emelin, one of the Swissers, Cole even DD & Pax, and everybody else is in the for sale window. I might not watch a comlete game again this year after last night’s gutless performance.

  14. HardHabits says:

    Keep Timmins and dump the rest. PG, BG and JM have to go. If JM becomes GM this team is screwed for years to come.

    Reality is finally settling in on this sorry franchise. Guess what? Making the play-offs is not enough and the quest to just make them has finally brought about the inevitable result; suckitude. Rampant and deep rooted.

    If the team was being sold as a rebuild team, a young team, a team learning the ropes, all this would not just be tolerated but would be welcome. Instead the team is marketed as a contender. Welcome to reality. Population: Nobody in Habs Management.

    Things would not be so bad if these idiots wouldn’t already be conspiring to make the safe and mediocre changes necessary to just eke into the play-offs next season.

    Look forward to more of the same. This bad season is just a blip. Habs will soon go back to being play-off cannon fodder soon enough, thus placating the fan base, ensuring further income in seat and merchandise sales, and having every one at HIO singing the Habs fan motto, once you make the play-offs anything can happen.

    • Chris says:

      As opposed to having every one at HIO sing the HH motto, once you get a top-5 draft pick you will become an instant Stanley Cup contender?

      The sad thing is that both viewpoints have merit, even if the intractable on both sides refuse to see it.

    • G-Man says:

      Once you don’t make the playoffs, nothing happens excepting a long summer on HIO. It appears you’d rather have zero chance for 3 or 4 years and suddenly the Habs will contend. Thankfully, you don’t run the team.

  15. dano58 says:

    Did anyone notice “COLE” last nite? I don’t mean his spectacular play but the fact he was the only player to stand at attention after the anthems were over until all the military people left the ice surface. The guy really gets it and he is not french speaking but no ones seems to care about that with him. He gives you everything every shift. Too bad the team does not play follow the leader very well. What an example for anyone who plays the game with his effort on a losing team nite in and nite out. Also just for grins and giggles. You can stick a fork in us we are done like dinner so sell, sell, sell but keep the core and get draft pics not necessarily players. We need to rebuild like Sam Pollock did years ago and steal good pics for rental players not lousy contracts anymore. And speaking of trades IF Goat is not to be that guy Mr. Molson then get a new guy in now so he can mold HIS team not try to pick up the pieces. I am not the person to say blow it up but please fix some of it as we deserve better than this.

  16. nickster13 says:

    I would be prepared to go with just DD and Eller as our centers going into the future. And Pax and Cole, Bourque and Gionta as the wingers. That works for me. Thats the scoring lines. Set. Unload Gomez and Pleks and pick up some youngsters. Id bet a team like Vancouver, Detroit or Chicago would pay a premium for Pleks.As for Gomez, if he doesnt shape up, burying him works, as its a win-win.
    Then work from there.

  17. smiler2729 says:

    Gomez & Plekanec for Jeff Carter

    ___________________________________
    Jack Edwards is a clam, Bruins are pukes.

    • The Cat says:

      I dont think the habs have a centreman that could interest teams in the west. Theyre too small and not enough skill to atone for the size. Theres like 1 big club in the east (Boston), but theres like 5 in the west. To get something decent, you have to give up something decent as well.

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

    • nickster13 says:

      Lets go.
      Pleks and Kaberle for Huselius and Wizniewski. Doooo it!

  18. RetroMikey says:

    Instead of worrying what Gaustad was saying, we should worry about what to do with this club now and for the future.
    Start trading PG! And yes that includes Pleks, Cole, etc…everyone that can make our team better with draft picks and prospects!
    This team of ours is pathetic!
    Behind those Maple Laffs in the standings! Ma please!
    Tank I say! Tank!

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

    • The Cat says:

      And Gaustad says he was just answering back to Max. Max shouldnt do that stuff and just be a no nonsense power forward like Cole. This is where the habs should get Sean Avery. The habs have no attitude, no personality etc

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

  19. Old Bald Bird says:

    We were a one line team last night.

    I believe that the Habs suffer from a JM hangover. It is so ingrained in them to play passively that they can’t help but revert.

    Both DD and Eller are better than Pleks right now.

    The problem with keeping SG11 on the roster is that dumb coaches insist on playing him too much. I fervently hope that he goes in the off season before yet another coach is tempted to overplay him.

    Wishing for a new coach for the rest of the season is silly. We need to begin next year with a clean slate.

    I am not a technical guy at all but I liked the colour guy on CTV last night. Bobby Dollas??

    • RGM says:

      Sadly it’s been a one-line team for most of the season. I’ve got Cole & Pacioretty in my fantasy pool and they’re the only Habs forwards I would even consider trying to grab this year.

      ———————–
      GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is probably not our year!
      “Scott Gomez, a potential Hall of Fame player, has two Stanley Cup rings and a Calder Trophy that says ‘I’m a player whom any authentic NHL coach will rely on to fix a game problem.’” – VancouverHab

      Chat with me on Twitter @TheRealRGM81

  20. JF says:

    I gave up on the game halfway through the second period. We were being outworked all over the ice, and I was disinclined to watch another 30 minutes of such a half-hearted effort. Not that I expected anything better; the team nearly always follows up a great game with an absolute stinker. Instead I watched the end of the Leafs-Penguins game. Now that’s how you you claw your way back into a game you deserve to lose. We rarely see the kind of intensity and desperation from our team that the Penguins showed last night. Of course it helps to have Evgeni Malkin on your team, probably the best player in the League right now (leaving aside Crosby). He did to the Leafs exactly what he did to us a couple of weeks ago – scored a late goal to tie the game, then scored the shootout winner. What I wouldn’t give for a player like that. Hopefully we’re a few months from drafting one…

    • Chris says:

      The only player like Malkin is perhaps Yakupov and Grigorenko. The Habs would need to finish in the bottom 3 to have any hope of either guy (they are going 1-2) and hope that the lottery gods favour them. Even then, Yakupov and Grigorenko, as good as they are, are more likely to be Stamkos type players, not Malkin-esque. Nothing wrong with a Stamkos, but players like Malkin or Crosby don’t come along very often at all.

  21. realplumpcherry says:

    The Habs have no chance in hell of landing both getzlaf and Shea weber. There isn’t enough depth on this team to make such moves happen at the trade deadline. What would be smart would be to land a big forward like getzlaf or parise b4 the deadline then wait until the off season to sign either weber or suter from Nashville. In any case there’s a lot of unwanted fat to burn off between now and then. Kaberle’s contract is a black hole just like Gomez’s contract. Getting rid of these two players alone would free up around 10 million in cap space. Either move these players at the deadline or put them on waivers

  22. John Q Public says:

    When will we have enough bodies to field a competitive team?
    Still waiting Gauthier?
    Big winger or a big center. Get er Done!

    • Chris says:

      Big wingers? The Habs are already pretty big up front…Pacioretty, Cole, Kostitsyn, Eller, and Bourque are all big men. And importantly, they are all big men who can skate.

      Waht they’re lacking is a superstar player. Unfortunately, that is true of 20-25 other teams as well, so in the absence of such you have to build by committee.

  23. smiler2729 says:

    Boone, how dare you mention Plekanec’s name in a bad light, I get crucified here whenever I do…

    Pleks disappears like he always does when the going gets tough (see any playoffs).

    ___________________________________
    Jack Edwards is a clam, Bruins are pukes.

  24. Bogie Man says:

    I love reading all the banter on this site and the comments regarding this team are most times very well thought out and articulate. I wish I could say the same thing about the management of our favorite team.

    I would like to see Gomez placed on waivers like they did with Sheldon Surray in Edmonton. No one will pick him up of course but eventually his salary will be buried in the AHL. Once this occurs and before the deadline we should then go for 4-5 million a year forward that can contribute consitently such as Zach Parise or a Getzlaf.

    At deadline we should then go after Shea Weber and throw as much of Gill, Gionta, Pleks, Moen, and Campoli as is needed to land him. The intention would be for him lead this team next year along with Gorges.

    Although I like Randy C, unfortunately he will need to move on and the sooner the better for the team overall. I would love to see Larry Robinson behind the bench along with Patrick Roy and before the year end. This would be awesome tandom. PG of course needs to leave the organization and would like to see this before the trade deadline as to make room for another GM that will make some intelligent decisions such as the ones I have mentioned above as to allow us to salvage something out the year.

    • RGM says:

      I like your third paragraph. Having seen those two dominate during their developmental years in Kelowna, it’s been a long-running dream of mine to see them reunited in Montreal.

      ———————–
      GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is probably not our year!
      “Scott Gomez, a potential Hall of Fame player, has two Stanley Cup rings and a Calder Trophy that says ‘I’m a player whom any authentic NHL coach will rely on to fix a game problem.’” – VancouverHab

      Chat with me on Twitter @TheRealRGM81

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      Why would you waive Gomez now????

      There is no reason. We have all kinds of salary to use (with Markov LTIR and Gionta LTIR and Cammy gone) but no reason to use it. It is not like we are going to get a player making 7 million for our “playoff push” .

      Best thing to is to let him play out the rest of the season here. Maybe he does something that makes him attractive to the minimum cap teams.

      AND give your head a shake! Why would you go after an expensive UFA. They might not even sign here when the season is over (i.e Parise). Worst armchair GM…. ok, maybe not the worst… but you definitely didn’t do your homework :)

  25. Bim says:

    Are we sure we can’t out lose the mighty Jackets for the #1 pick? Oh come on…lets try. What is there to lose? My advice to Carey Price when the Habs come calling with a contract next season…run away screaming!!! Maybe they can rectify that situation by trading him ahead of time for another dozen Scott Gomez’s.

  26. HabFanSince72 says:

    The Stages of of an H I/O’ers Grief (with apologies to Helen Kubler-Ross):

    Denial: “If we make the playoffs it’ll mean we’re the hottest team in the league at that point.”

    Anger: “Fire Gauthier. Don’t Drink Molson’s, Damn the French Media!”

    Bargaining: “Maybe we should trade Weber and Kostitsyn for Rick Nash. What do you think? Think they’ll go for it?”

    Depression: “Now I know what it feels like to be a Leafs fan.”

    Acceptance: “I missed the game. What happened? Took the wife to see that Thatcher biopic. You know – that Meryl Streep is a great actress.”

    and, not included in the original paradigm, Stage 6:

    Resurrection: “Ya-Ku-Pov Ya-Ku-Pov”


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      LOL. I just diagnosed myself with multiple personality disorder. I think I’ve been all of those this season. I think I now am in the resurrection camp. : )

    • Chris says:

      The Denial quote isn’t a good example. That would be true.

      Denial would be “WHEN we make the playoffs, we would be the hottest team in the league.”

      The quote you used was in response to the nonsensical argument that the Habs might “sneak into the back door of the playoffs only to get blown away in the first round” argument that keeps coming up of late.

    • calgaryhabfan says:

      Did you see the play of Yakupov at the world juniors? I think the last thing the Habs need is an arrogant on again/off again player that doesn’t show up 100% of the time.

  27. The Cat says:

    If Cole ever gets injured…it aint gonna be pretty.

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

  28. Habs_4_ever says:

    SELL!!! SELL!!! SELL!!!

    ————————
    “Can we lose the parade float?…..Thank you!”

  29. ludwig44 says:

    Sell! Sell! Sell! – It’s over Nellie……..

  30. harrow15 says:

    Now I know what it feels like to be a Maple Leafs fan for the last x amount of years.

  31. RobertAlanFord says:

    Price was at the top of his game. I’m beginning to feel like Plekanec has caught the Cammalleri bug though. Symptoms: Hands of stone and feet not moving as fast as they can. In my opinion Gomez was the best player on that line.

    Just sayin’……..

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Not sayin much Robert. I sure hope I’ll be able to day soon that Gomez has played his last game as a Hab. He didn’t show up for the 2nd period along with several of his teammates. Agree about Pleks. I am hoping that he’s got some sort if injury. Nothing in his history leads me to think he’s a dog.

  32. G-Man says:

    The Sabres own the Habs this season, but half the team showing up after a long layoff displays a lack of commitment to winning. Cole should not be the Habs best player EVERY night. Where are the others who should step up?

    • Habfan10912 says:

      G-man, that’s the thing that bothers me most. Team doesn’t work hard outside a few. AK is being AK. Pleks has been awful ( hope its a nagging injury), Gill is terrible, and Gomez only played 1 period last night and reverted to his familiar float and passes to no one style. Thank god for Centre Ice. At least I can watch some real hockey for the rest of the season. This rebuild needs to start soon.

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        I really didn’t see it that way. I only saw the last two periods but I thought we outchanced them. The problem isn’t lack of effort it’s lack of skill. We have 5 forwards who are just not good at all, and a 6th, Eller, who is still learning.

        Gill is 37 and not exactly an ex all-star. Three of the other Ds are rookies.

        And that’s how you end up losing game after game.


        Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  33. Marc10 says:

    Time for a bag skate.

    It won’t make a difference, but guys like Pleks need the exercise after taking the season off.

    • RobertAlanFord says:

      Honestly, I’m losing my patience with Plekanec. He’s gripping his stick way too tight and one stride behind where he’s supposed to be. It seems like he’s not reading the play anymore (which is a hard thing to do in MTL nowadays), and couldn’t care too much about it. You see a lot more drive and determination out of other players on the team who are making less. Cole, DD, Patches, Eller and even ……. wow I’m gonna say it…..Gomez recently.

      Just sayin’……..

  34. Flobomb12 says:

    Just say the Habs could pull off a trade something like this Pleks, AK and Weber etc for Getzlaf. Next season

    Bourque-Getzlaf-Gionta
    Cole-DD-PAX
    LL-Eller-Gallager
    Blunden-White-Moen

    Gomez is bought out, sent to minors, traded, whatever needs to be done to stop MTL from being the laughing stock of the league for still playing him. Either way, a real nice lineup there with a nice mix of size and skill, youth and experience. Has a true number one center with the roster space to let our good young players like DD, Pax, Eller, LL and gallager get offensive minutes. Just think, one trade somewhere along the lines of what I mentioned and removing Gomez and there it is.. not all that far fetched

  35. Un Canadien errant says:

    I haven’t seen the Sabres-Canadiens game, just the final score on the giant screen at the Canucks rink. I was there to catch the Canucks against the Blackhawks, ready for another battle in the dirty little war these two teams have waged against each other for a couple seasons now. I was ready for an intense, emotional game, lots of hitting, a couple of fights, lots of bad blood, and endless skating, up and down the ice. We got none of that.

    It seems like both teams were still on their All-Star break. The majority were still thinking of the beach they had just left, and those who were in Ottawa for the All-Star game continued in the the same vein, with no hitting or real effort. Both teams kept trying long stretch passes for breakaways or odd-man rush, and they missed with such regularity that the audience started to groan near the end when a forward would bobble another pass, or miss entirely and an icing infraction would result. Aside from the lack of flow, there was no emotion. Two minor penalties were called for the entire game, instead of the fight-filled grudge match the crowd was slavering for.

    The overtime goal by Daniel Sedin, from a magic assist by Henrik, allowed us to go home somewhat happy, but there were precious few highlights. A breakaway goal by Cody Hodgson. A nice passing play in the first that ended up on Ryan Kesler’s stick and which he buried, which at the time augured well for the home team. A flub of the puck behind the net by Cory Schneider, which forced him to dive back in front of the net and make a desperation save. The crowd was correspondingly quiet, we could hear the guys talking on the ice. A girl from Holland was with us to take in her first ever hockey game, and she remarked how silent it was in the arena, and she compared it to some soccer games she has attended, telling us it was night and day.

    Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were dangerous and creative with the puck, manufacturing goals and chances when none should have existed, although they too seemed to be skating at half-speed for most of the game.

    Overall, a boring game which made me seriously question the reasonableness of shelling out $125.00 for a ‘premium’ game. I understand pro sports team owners who fear that one’s man cave with giant HD screen is more attractive than bothering to go to the game, once you factor in traffic, parking, loud drunk patrons, etc.

    ———————————
    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  36. biffbaddy says:

    That’s it I’ve had it. 3 games I’ve been to this year and 3 games they have sucked. Someone needs to tell PK to sit still during the anthems. NO PK YOU ARE NOT COOL moving your feet around dong your little stupid moves and you are only 22 or something sorry you will not get stiff standing for 2 minutes. If anyone saw the game, watch Gorges when PK does anything, he can’t stand him. Who on the team has the slap in the face these people need. Gomez? funny, we cheered him whenever he touched the puck… didn’t help

  37. SlovakHab says:

    Would Anaheim go for Plekanec + Kostitsyn for Getzlaf?

    Getzlaf’s stats this season are worse than Plekanec’s. Moreover, over the last 3 seasons, Getzlaf has only 19 points more than Plekanec. I guess if we added AK, the deal is not that bad for Anaheim…

  38. The Dude says:

    The long term contract was meant to award proven winners who were indispensable to the team …Hello Gainey and Gauthier..gamble much? Paul Gaustad did us a BIG FAVOR tonight as he pointed out our Habs are BALL-LESS! Where the hell was the team ,the solidarity,the push back? Man o man all I seen was estrogen on the ice and on the scoreboard . Get rid of Gauthier and all the long term contracts …it’s all GARBAGE and none of them cept Cole”who should be Captain!”are worth a pinch and rebuild this debacle and embarrassment!

  39. Aaron13 says:

    At this pace (optimistically) MTL will end up with 77 points. I don’t recall seeing a more pathetic team and management in the 50 years I’ve been following my team. I feel sorry for Price.

  40. PeterD says:

    With Pleks signed for the next 4 years after this season at $5M per, I am wondering what we would get in a trade for him at this years deadline…maybe a First pick in the 2012 draft and a prospect?
    I would say OK to that trade as I think Eller will fill Pleks role as our defensive centre next season…he will kill penalties and contribute regularly on the offense and he is a bigger player than Plecs.

    The way Moen and AK46 have been playing of late I would not mind keeping them beyond this season, but Pierre had better sign them before the deadline or he should move them for picks and or prospects.

    I would like to see our team come into training camp next season with at least two openings for forwards and one opening for a Defenseman.

    I think we need to keep the following and move the rest from this years team;

    DD-MaxPac-Cole
    Eller-AK46-Blunden
    Moen-Gionta-Bourque
    New wingers and a Centre acquired via trade plus room for LL and Gallagher. LL and Gallagher are the only Forward prospects I think could make this team out of camp next season.

    PK-Gorges
    Emelin-Diaz
    Two new D-men as I don,t expect Markov back next year either…if he’s does recover and can play to his old level then we only need add one new d-man from trades. I don’t see any of our Defence prospects as ready for the big time next year without some AHL time.

    Look, if this team is going to suck and wobble into the end of the season they might as well begin cutting our losses by moving some players that would be attractive to other competetive teams so we can acquire some young prospects and high draft picks back…I think Pleks fits that bill.

    Gomez? Well he has simply let his time in Montreal pss him by and it is now time to face the truth…he is not worth the cap hit to keep him on the roster…he needs to be moves before next season. I think the recent Gomez is showing around the league that he can still play and create with his speed so he may be moveable to a low cap team on his reduced salary that kicks in next season. But in Montreal it is getting to be cruel and unusual punishment to send him on the ice…the Bell faithful do not show him any love at all…so Pierre, be kid and move the guy out.

  41. Seps says:

    I love the statistic from a couple weeks ago where Price let in 11 goals in a 5 game stretch and the team went 1-4, truth is we can’t score and tonight ended my rare show of optimism I had over the allstar break. That game was a must win, we just simply got outplayed… In our home builiding… In a must-win game… Against a divisional opponent… Aw forget it, the only players who looked like they knew it tonight were Price, Gorges, and the Cole line.

  42. HotHabs says:

    Didn’t watch the game. Instead enjoyed a fantastic night at live dinner theatre. And, from what I gather, I got a much better show than the HabNots provided.

    I realize there remains a rather slim possibility of making the post-season, but the truth is this team needs to sell off a few (former) assets, like Pleks, Gill, Gomez, and Kostitsyn… maybe even Gionta.

    Cole has been a revelation. Max-Pac is developing nicely. DD is an asset that works every shift. Eller is a bright spot with more wattage to come. Even Moen, of whom I have never been a big fan, has impressed many.

    I don’t expect a cup next year, but it couldn’t get any worse than this season. More optimistically, I really think they will be in the top 6 in the East by spring of 2013.

    For this season, I have 2 desires: 1) the Leafs miss the playoffs, and 2) Boston gets bumped early

    • SlovakHab says:

      Think twice:
      Gomez is not tradeable until the offseason – if then.
      Nobody will trade for Gionta whose season is over.

      I do have the same wishes as you though. Leafs finish nicely on the 9th spot and draft a much worse player than Habs. Bruins exit in the 1st round and never win a Cup again.

  43. H.Upmann says:

    Don’t worry boys and gals… We may not make the dance this year… But we’re gonna win next year

  44. davecessna says:

    Worst hockey team in the NHL atm.

    “From failing hands we throw the torch… to failing hands.”

  45. Mila says:

    I just saw a fat lady singing today…

  46. Natrous says:

    Next HockeyInsideOut poll should be:

    Who do you think will end the season with more goals?

    a) Hal Gill
    b) Scott Gomez

  47. Chris says:

    Just like there is a little more substance to the Habs fan’s motto “once you make the playoffs, anthing can happen”.

    You are correct that the team must improve its professional scouting, drafting, and player development.

    McDonagh for Gomez was a stupid trade. Kaberler for Spacek wasn’t particularly stupid…it was an attempt to wake up a moribound power player early in the season. It didn’t work. If Gauthier did not make a trade in November to wake up a power play that has clearly killed the team, he should have been fired right then and there.

    I would also love to see more Rivet for a 1st and prospect moves, but the reality is that there aren’t many players on the team that could draw that kind of return. Rivet was a 33 year old coming off a 34 point season, a great total for a physical defensive defender who was widely perceived as a leader.

    On the current team, Hal Gill is basically a stiff that might net a 3rd-5th round pick in a trade (possibly even lower…Kovalev went for a 7th round pick last year).

    Moen might get you a 2nd…he had a nice start, but has been held off the scoresheet in 18 of the last 22 games. Over that stretch, he has posted a -9 rating, not a stellar total for a guy seen as a defensive forward.

    Kostitsyn is the best hope to land a 1st and a prospect, but he’s also the hardest guy to replace. As maddening as he is, he is a big forward with speed that can chip in 20 goals. Still, if they could get a 1st and a prospect for him, I might consider that.

    The rest of the available players? Not much use discussing them.


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