About this afternoon …

CapsWin
Are you ready for some football?
Hey, Canadiens fans need something to take their minds off hockey.
And the Super Bowl will provide many hours of hype-fuelled escapism.

Before the Giants and Patriots take to the field, there’s the small matter of another afternoon game at the Bell Centre.

Winnipeg is in town, and the Jets desperately need a win.

The home team? Not so much.

Super Bowl Sunday finds your Montreal Canadiens dead last in the Eastern Conference. Carolina’s win over Los Angeles Saturday night nudged the Hurricanes a point ahead of the Canadiens.

But a win over the Jets would allow the Canadiens to vault over Carolina and proudly lay claim to 14th place.

The Bell Centre will not be a fun place on Sunday afternoon. Feb. 5 marks the first anniversary of Scott Gomez’s last goal. There’s an Internet campaign enlisting fans to mark the occasion by singing “Happy birthday, Scott” at 11:11 of the first, second and third periods.

Of course, Gomez can put the kibosh on the prank by scoring during the first 11 minutes against Winnipeg.

Yeah, that’s about as likely to happen as Tom Brady and Eli Manning combining for 10 interceptions Sunday evening.

Gomez was cheered every time he touched the puck against Washington. It was impossible to tell whether fans were yelling as a gesture of support or sarcasm.

My money’s on the latter.

The reaction to Tomas Kaberle was less ambiguous. Toward the end of the latest loss, fans booed every touch by the defenceman.

The fans who didn’t boo on Saturday afternoon are saving their vocal cords. There are 13 more regular-season games at the Bell Centre.

Shall we rehash the Saturday game?

Do we really have to?

Against the mighty defensive fortress that is the Washington Capitals, the Canadiens have been shutout twice this season – both times in their own barn.

Going back to 2010-’11, the Canadiens haven’t beaten a Washington goaltender since March 15, when Andrei Kostitsyn scored on Braden Holtby in a 4-2 loss at the Bell Centre.

Washington’s shutout streak against the Canadiens stands at 216 minutes, 32 seconds. They can add to it at home on the 24th.

That’s three days before the trade deadline, a/k/a Crazy Pierre’s Clearance Sale.

The aforementioned AK46 had five shots on goal against Washington. He might be one of the more attractive players Gauthier puts on offer.

Hal Gill, who might help a playoff team’s penalty-kill, played less than six even-strength minutes against the Caps.

He is, in the parlance of young people, so outta here.

Roman Hamrlik played 18:40, blocked three shots and was plus-2. He was part of an impenetrable Caps defence that blocked 27 shots and ensured that Tomas Vokoun had a clear view of anything that got through.

Four players faced the media in losing room: Josh Gorges, who is almost always available; Peter Budaj, who was soft on the first (and winning) goal but stopped a penalty shot; David Desharnais, who battled, set up his linemates and won 8 of 15 faceoffs; and Chris Campoli, another veteran who could be on the move before Feb. 27.

Gorges talked about too many Canadiens feeling the pressure and over-thinking games, rather than just playing hockey.

The Canadiens should take a cue from their fans, the more realistic of  whom have started thinking about other things.

Like the draft, next season … and football.

133 Comments

  1. boing007 says:

    Lay off Little Big Man (Brian Gionta). He has True Grit. Unlike Gomez and Cammaleri.

    Richard R

  2. boing007 says:

    Many of you complain about the cost of tickets, beer, hot dogs and merchandise at the Bell Centre, then you come back and suggest exorbitant salary hikes for underachieving athletes. What’s up with that?

    Richard R

  3. boing007 says:

    Carey Price ($5.750m)? Approximately 17 wins and 30 some losses. Please. Be serious. Drop the first number for sure.

    Richard R

  4. Rosieman says:

    Do you think maybe it’s time for a vision and leadership? And fire the scouts – their draft record in the first round is a joke. Chipchura, Fischer, etc etc I see people protecting Timmins – really? If the scouts are good – then how can our first call up be Palshaj and Enqvist – you’re kidding right? We will be bad for many years

    And the pro scout for the Gomez deal was Mr. Gauthier.

    Complete house clean NOW

  5. We are now third last in the league!!! WOOO!
    One more win by Anaheim and the 2nd overall pick is ours heck yeaaah!

  6. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I’m a sensualous …I’m a Guy that maybe thinks too often with My mick, rather than My head (the one on My shoulders I mean) …not only when it comes to women, My home, the places I choose to vacation, or whatever My chosen environment
    …I like romance, passion, excitement, sex-appeal and living on the edge
    …now, before I get too carried away (because I’m gettin’ to the issue of WHAT’s needed in a ‘new direction’ for Our Habs, and more specifically WHAT ??? I prefer to see in place of Mr. mr. Pierre Gauthier and Randy Cunneyworth (even though I feel He, Randy, in the near future will soon be a respected coach in the NHL with another team) …I’m talkin’ about WHAT ??? I want to happen to My Montreal Canadiens …not My proclivities when it comes to babes :)
    …I want My Canadiens to be kick-ass, off the wall SEXY agin’ …I want Guys put in place in Our management to make that loud mop-haired Irish ego of the Weeds to look like a wallflower in comparison
    …I want Our Team built to be the fastest, brass-balled sick-skilled collection of hockey stars possible …I want Our Players personnas to be combinations Rudolf Nureyev and Georges St. Pierre, with a soupcon of Al Capone in Their DNAs
    …I want a management that are not lettuce and soy freaks and squeak when They talk …I want over-the-top cigar smokin steak eaters that will elbow and cajol Their peers for utmost respect in this League …I want Our Players to be inspired by the balls of Our Management, not embarrassed
    …I want an Owner (Hellooooo Geoffrey !!!) that will lay-down a clear philosophy of His expections for the ‘product’ (offensive skill, speed , strength and creativity that will memorably ENTERTAIN all those long-suffering ticket-buying Fans of the Montreal Canadiens, His ‘Customers’) on the ice, as well mandate the make-up of the personnel mix (a minimum ‘core’ of 6 Quebec-born Players at ALL times) of Our Team
    …I DO NOT want another boring, predictable pedantic Coach or General Manager …I’m in the mood for Larry Robinson to be brought back to WHERE He belongs, as an assistant Coach …I’m in the mood for PATRICK ROY to come in like a typhoon and put Our Team back on the map in the NHL …whether those headlines will be in newspapers across North America as Stanley Cup Champions or in the police blotter, …I just want this Gawd-damned but beloved Team to have a PULSE once again !!!
    …as far as GM ? …I am One of Those long put-off by the outsized personna of Pierre McGuire …but was just listening to McGuire being quizzed on TSN, and I must say listening to His hockey opinions objectively I was quite impressed,especially where it was asked of Him if He was making the choice today of whom to build a Team around …there were 3 choices, one I can’t recall, but the other 2 were Ovechkin or Teemu Selanne …I was very impressed when McGuire emphatically proclaimed ‘Selanne !!!’
    …I don’t know about You other arm-chair Owners of the Montreal Canadiens , but IF I was Geoffrey, …ANYONE that is smart enough as a GM to choose a real substantive superstar like a Selanne over a shooting, uncultured ‘star’ like an Ovechkin, has My vote !
    …wouldn’t THAT be a gas, eh ? …Roy AND McGuire !
    …BRING IT ON !!!

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  7. harrow15 says:

    I wish there was a betting line for Gomez to score a goal in every upcoming MTL game, id gladly lay down 10 bucks each time because the odds would be 1:1000.

    Heads up, P.K.’s hip is coming.

  8. HabFanSince72 says:

    I wonder if the guy organizing the Gomez birthday thing has scored in the last year.

    Some fans (including many of you) seem to take it personally when the team loses.

    I’d love to understand the psychology of that.


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

  9. OK I don’t mean to brag (yes I do) but that lil bitch Allan Walsh’s kid lost tonight and there isn’t one post from the Montr
    eal Halakian Atom AA Canadiens….aka losersonice.

    Cheer for Jaro is a cheer for defeat

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
    Custom Sports Figures
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

  10. HardHabits says:

    Edmonton beats Detroit in the shoot-out and leap-frogs Montreal. Habs currently 3rd last. Habs have a real shot at 2nd worst over-all.

    I think back to all the times I have heard that the Habs don’t Tank™, that the fans wont stand for it. Guess what. Fans want that high draft pick. Fans embrace the suck.

    Back to Edmonton. Wow. What a dynamic and speedy young team loaded with talent. They’ll be a power house soon.

    • Rob D says:

      Watching Detroit pass the puck makes you realize what you are missing watching the Habs. Completed passes…underrated!

      The Oilers will run this league in 2-3 years. One more lottery pick and look out. Loaded with speed, talent and flair in equal measure.

      I’m all for the rebuild to come but we are need better management first. Why PG is still callling ANY shots with the Habs is a big, fat mystery. AT least they can get rid of the coach without too much worry, IMO. He’s a nice guy and may be a fine coach in the long run but this team has gotten worse after JM’s firing,,not better. The PP is just awe inspriring because it’s so perfectly inept.

      PK is playing great lately..the physical part of his game is really the dimension that gets me most excitied..he must be watching Emelin..two keepers on D right there..plus Price…Max, Cole, DD, Like Louis Leblanc’s compete level and desire..Eller really showed me he belongs this year..It’s not all bad..we just need direction from the top and a committment to youth. If we are HALF as exciting to watch as those Oilers, we’ll all be happy to watch them grow.

    • Rad says:

      If there is one player I could pick to start an NHL team with, it would be Taylor Hall. The kid already is a force in this league, but in another year or so, as he gets stronger and learns a few more things about the NHL game, he is going to be unstoppable. Hall has breakaway speed, plays with reckless abandon, is fiercely competitive and utterly fearless. He is humble and already a leader on the team at age 20. I expect him to be wearing a letter on his jersey by next season.

      Then, you add Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to that team, who, at 18, was 7th in NHL scoring before he went down with a freak injury in early January, and you have the 2 most exciting young players in the game today. The Oilers are indeed going to be a powerhouse for a long time to come.

  11. gK_HabsFan says:

    Whaddya think?

    FORWARDS
    Erik Cole ($4.500m) / David Desharnais ($0.850m) / Max Pacioretty ($1.625m)
    Louis Leblanc ($1.170m) / Lars Eller ($1.500m) / Zach Parise ($7.000m)
    Rene Bourque ($3.333m) / Tomas Plekanec ($5.000m) / Brian Gionta ($5.000m)
    Mike Blunden ($0.615m) / Ryan White ($0.625m) / Mathieu Darche ($0.700m)

    DEFENSEMEN
    Andrei Markov ($5.750m) / Barett Jackman ($4.500m)
    P.K. Subban ($3.250m) / Alexei Emelin ($1.250m)
    Josh Gorges ($3.900m) / Tomas Kaberle ($4.250m)
    Raphael Diaz ($0.900m)

    GOALTENDERS
    Peter Budaj ($1.150m) / Carey Price ($5.750m)

    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $66,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $62,618,333; BONUSES: $300,000
    CAP SPACE (21-man roster): $3,381,667

  12. LatheDog says:

    On Friday the Canadiens had a session with a sports psychologist named David Scott…..then they lost 3-0 to the Capitals on home ice. I wonder what was said at the session.

  13. jedimyrmidon says:

    It’s not surprising at this point how bad the team is faltering. This negativity is clearly weighing on them. I hope the team isn’t blown up. I’m under the clear impression that the main problem with the team is its D.

    The Gorges-Subban pairing is clearly not the problem. They are in fact good by all accounts. Diaz is learning pretty well, and so is Emelin. I would re-sign both. The problem is finding them good partners. Gill is clearly downhill and is a liability to play with. Campoli, Weber (who has regressed this year) and Kaberle aren’t very good in their own zone, which is not good because that results in the Habs being unable to get the puck back out.

    The bright side in the Habs losing so consistently in a very wacky season is that they are well on their way to getting a very good pick. Hopefully they manage to get a future #1 centre or any elite-potential forward for that matter. I also hope that if they don’t make the top 2 or 3 in terms of pick, that the team before them is in desperate need of a D man so that the highly coveted forwards get picked later.

  14. habs17 says:

    Why is every1 mad this is great, i would rather lose out and get the first pick overall then win a few and finish 11th 10th 12th keep loosing baby lets get the first pick and hopefully finally have a real superstar Other then gomez
    I support Scott Gomez

    • Lizardking89 says:

      I don’t think people are mad as much as they are disgusted with management and ownership right now. If “The Goat” goes out on trade deadline and screws the team up even more THEN you’ll see people really mad.

  15. C-Sword says:

    Forget Price, forget Halak, it’s all about Pekka Rinne.

  16. Un Canadien errant says:

    For those of you who are certain Andrei Markov’s career is over, and those of you who expect he will return to form once his knee is rehabbed fully:

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Published: February 4, 2012

    “In a great day for Canadian skiing in Chamonix, France, Jan Hudec recorded a surprising victory in a World Cup downhill race Saturday, and his teammate Erik Guay finished third in piercing cold over an icy slope.

    Hudec, whose career has been blighted by knee injuries and operations, won for the first time in more than four years. He thumped his chest when he realized his wait had ended.”

    and

    “…he tore ligaments in his right knee and needed several operations. His body was so bashed up that he had full reconstructive surgery on his knee four times, three times on his right and once on his left. What’s more, he had two further knee operations and also had severe back problems.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/sports/skiing/vonn-beats-the-cold-and-the-clock-in-downhill-for-50th-career-win.html

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

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  17. SmartDog says:

    If Bob Gainey has any brains… and at this point I am wondering… he tells Molson to get rid of PG NOW before Gauthier creates an even worse mess making the Gainey-Gauthier era stretch on so long it becomes worse than the crappy era that came before it.

    The fact that PG is still here makes me want to switch teams. Go Hamilton Bulldogs!! Man I HATE Gauthier. Ever since the Kaberle trade I can’t help but think the guy is out to screw the team. It’s CRAZY he is still there. He takes such stupid gambles and he shows no skill to fix the messes he makes. Some guys can gamble because they have the slickness to clean up a mistake. PG doesn’t. If I were a Hab, I’d be playing lacklustre hockey too. Why try to win for this idiot GM when the season is over anyway.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • matt jordan says:

      +1… nailed it

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I hate the Kaberle trade as much as anyone (http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/2011/12/tomas-effin-kaberle.html) but Mr. Gauthier’s motives were not impure. He explained that he picked up Mr. Kaberle to provide help to the team, that he had to do something, since he couldn’t take how discouraged the boys looked coming back to the bench after another impotent power play.

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

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …I think You put Your finger on part of the problem as far as Our Teams maybe subliminal loss of motivation Intelligent Mutt …whether You meant it this way, or not …but, the perceived classlessness of Mr. mr.’s firings of JM (of Whom, finding a new coach to replace JM was long overdue) & PP, and the between period trade of Cammy (which I think was a good trade) …plus, the language issue, leaving Cunneyworth hanging like a human pinata …left a lot of Players feeling ‘WTF’ ?, and if not saying it out loud like Spacek, telling Their intimate ones I gotta get out of this bucked-up town
      …Geoff M., the Organization, Our Fans and Media, have a LOT of fence-mending to do as far as remaking Montreal a hockey destination of choice
      …and, it ain’t gonna be easy

      Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
      http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  18. Michael says:

    I’m not sure there’s any sum of cash that can assuage the humiliation of this planned ‘Happy Birthday’ thing. I hope it doesn’t happen. Occasionally we should remind ourselves that supporting a hockey team with a proud history doesn’t give us the right to treat a person so badly. It’s amazing we’ve never driven a player to suicide. There is more to life than hockey or money. I’m sure at least one person will now say something like, “He can dry his tears with $1,000 bills,” in complete disregard of the universal truth that money can’t buy happiness, but all I know is that Scott Gomez is a human being and doesn’t deserve the callous malignancy we Habs fans so cavalierly lavish on underperforming players. If the ineptitude of a beloved hockey team can make an otherwise good person sink to such a level, perhaps a visit to the local mental health clinic is more appropriate than one to the Bell Centre.

    • Da Hema says:

      The $7.5 million Gomez will be paid this year can buy excellent mental health services should he require it. If Gomez cannot handle the pressures of playing professional hockey, he can always quit and take a nice peaceful job cleaning buildings in the evenings. I am not trying to be a smartass, but I was not moved in the least by your comments. In fact, I’ll bet Gomez laughs about the fans with his fishing buddies during the summers on his yacht.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        I’ll take the serenade and jeers for 10% of that. Plus benefits.

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

        http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

      • Michael says:

        Oh, he can buy excellent mental health services should he require them? Well, that makes it totally okay then.

        It’s not so much the pressures of playing professional hockey as much as it is the pressures of playing professional hockey in Montreal. We should consider that while memories of past championships fade and we watch players that couldn’t cut it here thrive in less demanding markets.

        And yeah, I’ll bet he laughs at the fans on his yacht, because that’s why he got into professional sports. To scam fans with psychological perversity rivalled only by comic book super-villains. That you began that sentence with the words “in fact” is astounding.

        • Da Hema says:

          Who are these players who couldn’t “cut it” in Montreal but are now thriving in “less demanding markets?”

          • Michael says:

            Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder, Guillaume Latendresse, Ryan O’Byrne, Mikhail Grabovski and, oh yeah, some guy named Patrick Roy (apparently 2 Conn Smythe trophies weren’t enough for Habs fans to resist humiliating him in a meaningless regular season game, prompting his swift departure that led to 2 more Cups for him and 0 for us) come to mind. It works the other way too. Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta sure did score a lot of goals before coming here. Travis Moen was a physically dominant shut-down forward in Anaheim. I’m not the only one who has noticed this, I’m pretty sure Boone has warned us of the dangers of trading PK Subban for this very reason.

          • Lizardking89 says:

            Check and mate lol. Forgot to add Max Lapierre, SK, and a number of others.

          • Michael says:

            Thanks, Lizardking. I was tempted initially to reply, “You’re just pretending to not have noticed that for the sake of argument, right?”

          • Da Hema says:

            Your list is dubious. What is your evidence these players are “thriving” because they are in “less demanding markets?” Ribeiro’s career was built on the back of Brendan Morrow. Ryder is still considered a problem player. Latendresse and O’Byrne are mediocrities. Grabovski’s problem was with the coaches and management, not the fans. Roy really is the one meaningful example, but even that mess could have been smoothed over had a real general manager been in charge of the team at the time. At any rate, Roy was upset with Tremblay, not really the fans as such. Sorry, but your list proves nothing at all.

      • habs17 says:

        yes when me and gomez fish in alaska he always laughs at how ppl boo an all-star l gomez dont let the haters get to u

        P.S: all is good gomez we can star fishing earlier this year whoooooooo see you soon buddy

        I support Scott Gomez

    • matt jordan says:

      A few years ago, Brett Hull retired after a few games, realizing that he was no longer a NHL quality player and that he was embarrassing himself playing in the best league in the world.

      If Gomez is truly embarrassed, he should retire. If he’s under duress and stress from not being able to cut it, he should quit.

      Canadiens fans in Montreal are paying way to much to watch a lame product, thanks to ridiculous salaries like Gomez’s. Over $250 to watch one game of the worst team in the eastern conference? Wow. No way does the average Canadiens fan deserve to fund Gomez salary.

      I feel bad for Gomez too and I hope he can continue his career scoring 13 goals for the Alaska Aces in the ECHL.

      • Da Hema says:

        That would be ideal, wouldn’t it?

      • Michael says:

        That’s true that we pay too much for this product. The solution is not to pay that sum and go humiliate a person. If you think it costs too much to go to the game, there’s a very simple and humane solution. Don’t go to the games.

        Sometimes people need to be fired. Fact of life. But by no means do these people need to be relentlessly scorned by thousands of people.

        • matt jordan says:

          Yes Canadiens fans suck sometimes.

          Booing Carey Price in the playoffs a few years ago comes to mind.

          But my patience ran out for Gomez the day he was acquired, and i’m tired of watching him. He’s lazy, soft, and is everything that is wrong with the Montreal Canadiens.

          BOO him into retirement Habs fans! We can do it!

          • Michael says:

            Well at least you gave him a shot.

            The only thing we can do to correct some personnel mistakes is hit the team where it hurts: its wallet. As long as the team sells out games, the powers that be probably couldn’t care less about the deafening boos.

            Don’t go to the games. Don’t tune in on television. That is proactive. Submitting your hard-earned cash to get frustrated and humiliate individual players is cruel, masochistic and counter-productive.

  19. habsfan0 says:

    I think the Habs will make a big play to land Sam Gagner.

    He’s diminutive..which fits their modus operandi.

    He has a French sounding last name..which fits their modus operandi.

  20. Hate82 says:

    I’ve never seen so many Dreamers.

  21. HardHabits says:

    Ahem. I told you so.

  22. 123456 says:

    just got back safely to western NY after my (supposedly) exciting trip to montreal. what a crap game. noone on the habs looked good. DD line some moments but that was it. i do think the habs didnt get any breaks and deserved 1 or 2 more PPs (not that they would help). dissappointed in budda’s throwing the stick.

    i do not usually b!tch about the habs but they showed no heart today.

  23. RC-51 says:

    If PG isn’t going to be around next year he shouldnt be the one to rebuild this disaster!! WHY OH WHY MR. MOLSON IS HE STILL THE GM??

    • boonie says:

      He is going to be here next year… Sigh. There was no reason molson let PG add multiyear deals for 30 year olds like kaberle and bourque unless he plans to let him stick around.

      • ProHabs says:

        SAY IT AIN’T SO BOONIE. THAT WILL BE THE LAST STRAW. I can just picture Gauthier, with the first overall selection, drafting some small, soft defenceman from the University of Wisconsin.

  24. ProHabs says:

    Somewhere, out there, Jacques Martin is sitting on his couch with a great big Ronald McDonald smile on his facie doing the Doctor Evil laugh.

    Somewhere, out there, Scott Gomez is giggling as he drinks a $2000 bottle of wine sitting in his $5million dollar condo.

  25. JohnBellyful says:

    For sale: Bandwagon. Used intermittently. Needs new shocks.

  26. JayK-47 says:

    Alright, it’s sell time so we better sell well. We can sell today and take any good offer available, or wait until the trade deadline when competing sellers will be offering similar or better assets. First things first, who’s up for sale AND can get a return?

    Kostitsyn. Moen. Nokelainen.

    Gill. Kaberle. Campoli.

    6 players. That’s it. They’re gone. With White and Markov back from injury and LL called up, the Habs will have TWO holes to fill at RW for next season. So those 6, SHOULD be able to bring, in return, a 3rd and 4th line RW plus a draft pick or 4.

    Next, players who won’t be able to be traded.

    Gomez. Darche.

    Scott will have to go ‘somewhere’. To a cap bottom team or to Hamilton go he must. If Molson wants those playoff profits, #11 has to go away. But it’ll happen during the off season. Bless Matty Darche’s heart, but he shouldn’t be re-signed. He’s an intelligent McGill grad with a bank account full of pro hockey money, he’ll be ok.

    Who else should be moved?

    Pleks. Diaz. Weber.

    I like them. All 3 of them. But the positions they occupy need to be upgraded (1st line C, 5th and 6th D-man). If any of them can be moved with the first group to pick up a serious upgrade in center or defense, PG should do it.

    So here’s the team after Sellpocalypse (I gave some raises where raises were due)

    CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

    FORWARDS
    Rene Bourque ($3.333m) / Tomas Plekanec ($5.000m) / Erik Cole ($4.500m)
    Max Pacioretty ($1.625m) / David Desharnais ($0.850m) / Brian Gionta ($5.000m)
    Louis Leblanc ($1.170m) / Lars Eller ($1.270m) /
    Mike Blunden ($0.615m) / Ryan White ($0.625m)

    DEFENSEMEN
    Andrei Markov ($5.750m) / Alexei Emelin ($1.500m)
    P.K. Subban ($2.875m) / Josh Gorges ($3.900m)
    Raphael Diaz ($0.900m) / Yannick Weber ($0.850m)

    GOALTENDERS
    Peter Budaj ($1.150m) / Carey Price ($5.750m)

    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $46,664,166; BONUSES: $300,000
    CAP SPACE (18-man roster): $17,635,834

    That’s $17.6 million in cap space to fill 2 RW positions. Or, if Pleks, and the Swiss Misters can be moved that’s $24 million that can come back to hit the cap ceiling. That’s what I see anyways. I just hope PG doesn’t make 8 piddling trades. 2 homers is all we need.

    • mike3131 says:

      I’d say if the Max-DD-Cole line can be our clear-cut 2nd line and if PK-Gorges can be our clear-cut 2nd pairing, we will be a top-4 team in the East. That means looking for a top or experienced d-man (Suter, Jackman, Sarich or upgrade over Y. Weber thru trade) and a top forward (Parise, 1st round pick, upgrade for Pleks thru trade).

      • JayK-47 says:

        I’d like for PG to chase Parise with all that cap space except that the Habs already have Bourque and Patches at LW. Gionta and Cole are good RWs too and the group should all avg around 27 goals next year if they stay healthy. The most pressing need is at center and I wouldn’t rule (EDIT: any center) out (cept DD to center the 2 1/2 men line) to be moved for a true upgrade.

        I <3 your D picks.

        • mike3131 says:

          Bourque can play RW.

          • JayK-47 says:

            In that CASE, I’d offer Parise $8.5 millions of dollars! (not my money, haha!)

            And yeah, Jackman and Sarich are UFAs. Pick ‘em up too.

            All the team would be missing is one huge, truculent mofo for the 4th line.

            And there you go, your 2012-2013 Montreal Canadiens.

            (Edit: Seriously, I’d pass on Parise and chase a center. Go for needs first, wants second.)

    • ProHabs says:

      That lineup is awful, just awful.

      • JayK-47 says:

        Any 18 man roster with $17 million in unused payroll is gonna stink. That’s just the jumping off point for next season if PG can sell assets and sink toxic barrels of contracts. Or did you just “tldr”?

        • ProHabs says:

          No, I read it man. But there are other teams with cash to spend as well and I think we are dreaming when we say we might add Parise and Suter to our lineup next year. LL will not let Parise go anywhere. Plus if a FA like Suter has the choice to go to New York, Boston, CHicago, Detroit, Philly or Montreal, MOntreal is probably last on his list.

          • JayK-47 says:

            Parise is a grown man and a UFA. LL may have made his bed with the Kovalchuk contract.

            Suter isn’t the only D-man to target.

            And yeah, it’s all a pipe dream, but a fun one, non?

  27. mike3131 says:

    Man I can’t even use the Super Bowl as relief of this painful hockey season! As a Cowboy fan, I hate the Giants for knocking us out of the playoffs, and as a Habs fan, I will NEVER cheer for a team out of Boston. Especially Tom Lady and the Pats. I’m just going to refrain from watching it. 2011-12 has just been the worst calendar sports year for me!

  28. sprague cleghorn says:

    Nevermind the Happy Birthday for the Hapless Birthday Boy, the chant for tomorrow is Go Gauthier Go —

    As was said to Neville Chamberlain in 1940: You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

    ‘ow could we forget dat?

  29. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Sam Gagner with 3 points in the first. 2g 1 a. Let’s trade the team for him

  30. AndyF says:

    It will be important to make the imminent trades (for picks and youth) as soon as possible for two reasons:
    1) So the team gets worse this year and has a better pick, and,
    2) So that the trade value for this year is maximised.

    http://andyfroncioni.com

  31. Ozmodiar says:

    With a playoff spot out of reach, at least we’re effective at doing something – losing.

    I think we have a decent core and can turn this lemon into lemonade pretty quickly.

    Spit-ballin’:

    - Draft Grigorenko or Galchenyuk
    - Use Pleks as the centerpiece in a trade to get a winger of similar value. Something along the lines of Radulov or Bobby Ryan. Other pieces might be involved to make it work. If not, get picks/prospects and give LL a shot.
    - sign AK (2 yrs) and Moen
    - Overpay for a 4th line center in case the draft pick needs a year to develop, in which case they’d have to fill in on the 3rd line while Enqv handles 4th line duties. Say, Gaustad or Stoll.

    2012:
    *AK — [Grigs|Gally] — [Radulov|Ryan]
    Max — DD — Cole
    Bourque — Eller — *Gionta
    Moen — [Stoll|Gaustad] — White

    * replaced by Leblanc and Gallagher in 2 years

    Not quite sure what to do with the ‘D’, since so much rides on the “riddle wrapped up in a knee brace inside an enigma”. I guess i’d pencil Markov in on the 3rd pairing and find a physical partner for Kabs…that is, if he can’t be traded.

    JG/PK
    Kabs/??
    Markov/Emelin
    Diaz

    Not likely it goes down this way, but we’ve got some assets and a good draft pick coming.

    Chin up, folks!

    • boonie says:

      Why would AK take a two year deal? He can reasonably expect $3.5 to $4.5 for three years as a free agent. He could fetch a first and prospect from an aggressive team at the deadline, a la Penner. Make the deal and move on.

      If we don’t get a top three pick, move our 4-7 pick, with the first acquired for AK and get a difference maker from the top of a good draft.

      • Ozmodiar says:

        AK takes the 2 year deal b/c he wants to stay in Mtl. We give him the money (3.5-4), but not the term.

        You say he can reasonably expect 3 years elsewhere, so this isn’t much of a stretch. No more of a stretch than to say he could fetch a 1st + prospect.

        Anyway, the point wasn’t to predict what will happen, rather to point out that things can turn around pretty quickly.

        • boonie says:

          This is not a quick fix situation. For all the “we were one goal away from beating Boston” folks, we added Cole and suck more. The core of this team is done. Time to move on.

          A high pick would help greatly. But that’s just one piece.

  32. blu3chip says:

    Well, might as well aim for the 1st overall pick now.

  33. Laramy87 says:

    So carolina win, we are now dead last in the east.

    Fail for nail
    Blow for grigorenko

  34. boonie says:

    Gainey’s core is finished. Gionta on the shelf. Cammi gone. Gomez worthless. Gill and Moen moved at the deadline. Spacek moved for the rapidly aging, signed for a couple of more seasons Kaberle.

    He frittered away the old club for nothing. No picks. No prospects. No deadline deals. No trades of rights for pending UFAs. Nothing.

    Really, nothing to show for his tenure here other than a first place finish with a now dismantled club and fired coach and a miracle run to highlight The last decade.

    Folks, it’s time to move on. Time to pass the torch to the next generation and forget this forgettable bunch. Some pieces are in place. No need to rehash our youth and prospects. Nurture them. Build around them. Prep them for their (and our) eventual success four to five years down the road.

    But, please Mr. Molson rid the organization of its pervasive detritus starting with M. Gauthier.

    • montreal ace says:

      Cammi did net Bourque, Holland a prospect, and a 2nd, I think we made out ok on Cammi

    • shakey says:

      i have to agree that Gainey’s experiment is long over and worthless. but PG has made good moves in dealing with that terrible hand:
      - keeping price over halak and getting eller
      - signing cole
      - getting rid of cammalleri

      markov was obviously a mistake, but i think there was something wrong with the info he must have been getting on that situation. and the coach firings were bad, but i suspect his hand was forced.

      so i think overall he’s done ok. we have a core of young players. unfortunately, this draft year will not provide anyone who can step in instantly and make a difference, like in the past few years. but this team will be bad for a few years…pretty sad when that’s the good news…

      • boonie says:

        Sorry, PG has had two years to make his mark. We’re last in the east. That’s on him.

        Halak over price… He could have kept both and given us the best tandem in the league. Eller has excellent potential but is only starting to contribute.

        If cammi was a selfish cancer (which really emerged after his loser comments, check google) PG could have moved cammi when his value soared after the playoffs for a better return. For that matter, he could have moved any other pieces that “didn’t battle for the tough goals” or recognize that this isn’t the core to build around, saved second round picks used on Moore and Wiz and built for a sooner future.

        Cole is full value and then some.

        Ultimately, we’re finding that PG’s three decades of below average results are not an abiration, he sucks.

  35. G-Man says:

    A heartfelt congrats to all the *fans* jeering their chosen team. Yet another who feel they can waste the team’s money by demoting high-paid players with no replacements, excepting those on the vague horizon where rookies led their NHL teams in all scoring because they did so against 18 and 19 year-olds. Yet another for those who post 1000 word diatribes against the team they *support.* Party on, fairweathers.

    • boonie says:

      Hoping on an unknown future is better than this. Unless our future turns out to be the 72 Caps, we’ve got nowhere to go but up. True fans want the best for their team, they don’t just have to happily accept garbage.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Yeah it’ll be really difficult to replace Nomez.

      Another cup of Kool-Aid?

    • JohnBellyful says:

      Does poking fun at the foibles of the fellows who wear the holy flannel make me a fair weather fan? Frankly, I’m flummoxed and more than little affronted.
      And to think I was going to cheer for the Giants tomorrow.
      (I still am but with diminished brio and just a smidgin of gusto.)

    • HardHabits says:

      Always on the wrong side of the argument eh G-Man. I don’t mind keeping Gomez for the rest of his tenure and keeping all the prospects in Hamilton until his sorry ass is retired. It will just mean a few more lottery picks.

  36. kempie says:

    Soooooo,

    Whaduyou guys talking bout?

  37. H.Upmann says:

    I can’t wait for the ‘Happy Bday Gomez’ tomorrow!!

  38. Bradzerker says:

    This team has come out too flat and too emotionless too many times. It is blatantly obvious there is a serious lack of leadership in the room and the organization. Teams with solid leadership just do not accept this type of performance time after time.

    Randy Cunneyworth was hung out to dry by Gauthier and players are not playing hard for him. Many veterans on the team realize they could be dealt, RC knows by now that he isn’t coming back and surely PG knows his fate is sealed with each dismal loss. There is no accountability and it is becoming more evident with each passing game.

    It’s embarassing.

  39. AceMagnum says:

    Is HIO waiting for Gomez to score a goal before there’s another puckcast? It’s not like there’s a shortage of topics to chew on since November 8th.

  40. Sportfan says:

    I really want a new GM and I am not the only I hate the fact that it is him that will be making the trade deadline decisions and Ive even got this worse feeling that he wont even go out and get prospects and picks :S i hope I’m wrong but i really don’t trust Gauthier

  41. Dulljerk says:

    At this time, everyone one this team is expendable. Everyone. The team requires a new General Manager who understands chemistry and work ethic. I don’t even think he has had to play the game, he just has to understand it. Sam Pollock never played, but he understood the game and the ingredients needed to win. Trade them all, no one on this team is indispensable. Also, and this should go over well, no one on this team is a future Hall of Famer.
    “Is the little dog going to yap, or is he going to bite?”

  42. Un Canadien errant says:

    What a way to waste a Saturday in Whistler. The sun is shining, there’s snow on the mountain, it’s warm, people are tanning and skiing (http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-86_metric_e.html). Meanwhile I’m indoors watching the Canadiens trudging onward in their Bataan Death March to April ignominy.

    When the Canadiens stumbled out of the gate early on, I thought I was prescient as I had predicted that they would battle to get into the playoffs. I was wrong on both counts. They’re not in the playoff race, and they’re not battling. The supremely motivated crew that fought tooth and nail for Jaroslav Halak and under Jacques Martin is now unrecognizable. It’s hard to believe that Brian Gionta’s injury and the loss of some pieces from that team has transformed them to such a degree.

    The players seem to be resigned to their fate, and so am I. Again, the loss didn’t sting, I was more interested in the fact that Alexander Semin got me a goal and an assist for my HIO Memorial league fantasy team (http://games.espn.go.com/fhl/boxscorefull?leagueId=1471&teamId=7&scoringPeriodId=122&seasonId=2012&view=scoringperiod&version=full), and that we’re incrementally improving our draft position and status as a seller for the trade deadline.

    Randy Cunneyworth, when asked during the post-game press conference if he imagined being in this position when he was offered the job by Pierre Gauthier, kind of shrugged and stated that every team has to go through this. It seems that he is also playing out the string, since I fully expected him to say that he was convinced the team was going to make the playoffs when he took over, and that there’s still a chance.

    Lots of talk about Andrei Kostitsyn on RDS, how he should get more icetime, and certainly should be on the power play ahead of Scott Gomez. Even though he disappears for games on end, and I have been critical of his lack of passion and effort, I agree that he should get more minutes. With Mr. Gionta, Moen and White absent, and since we have to call up Aaron Palushaj to be our 11th forward, there’s no excuse or reason not to, let’s work Andrei like a draft horse, maybe he’ll pot a few and we can increase his trade value.

    P.K. Subban had a good game, during which he worked hard, skated well, battled, didn’t take a penalty, showed creativity and effort on offence, and kept his mouth in neutral. While this isn’t the magic P.K. that we cheered late last season, and nowhere near the future Norris Trophy candidate some project him to be, it’s a breath of fresh air that he won’t be on TSN’s highlight reel for the wrong reasons today.

    Did I hear a smattering of boos for Roman Hamrlik when he handled the puck? If so, these are completely misdirected, as he served the team honourably during his stay here, and wanted to stay after his contract expired, but this off-season couldn’t convince Mr. Gauthier to offer him a two year contract. It was time for Roman to go, I’m glad that we’re playing the youngsters instead of he and Jaro Spacek, but he should receive nothing but respect and affection from Montreal fans.

    Which brings us to the putrid Tomas Kaberle. I’ve kept my peace since he’s been here, at least after bemoaning the trade in a lengthy post. I figure complaining about the ex-Leaf and ex-Bruin was crying over spilled milk, but his presence in the lineup is creating a positive feedback loop of apathy. I can’t stand to see him, red-cheeked and emotionless on the bench, and I detest him even more on the ice. After his end-of-game gaffe against the Devils, when he iced the puck while we had an extra attacker on the ice, he was almost caught again doing so twice today, once on the power play, and only the leniency of the refs prevented the whistle. He was impotent on offence and while ‘quarterbacking’ the power play, and was awful on defence. He finished -2, and will make all the lowlight reels with his poor play that led to the Alex Semin penalty shot.

    Pierre Gauthier explained the trade at the time as an attempt to help the team, and that he felt he needed to when seeing the players returning to the bench despondent at their lack of success on the power play. This may have been a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation, he would have been pilloried for not making a move, but in my book if there’s one thing he needs to answer for it’s this trade. The loss of cap space and flexibility and the grafting of another small, soft puck-moving defenceman to a team already replete with them is a whopper of a bad decision.

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

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  43. ZimHabwe says:

    Cole??? You mean Cole – the best player we’ve had this year? Please find me one follower of this site that agrees with that ludicrous idea and I’ll tell you, you’re both ingesting something that is possibly not legal.

  44. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Nathan McKinnon is the one I wish is available in this draft too
    …well, if We enjoy the results of this summer’s draft We can always tank again next season :)
    …after awhile it becomes hard habit-forming :)

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  45. nickster13 says:

    Please no… I dont wanna be another Edmonton, they are pathetic

  46. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I’m just looking after the best interests of Hard Habits longterm career as a Habs commentator

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

  47. nickster13 says:

    haha i dont know about that, young talent doesnt mean anything if you cant bring it all together… They still have serious gaping holes in net, on defence, and some decent veteran leadership. Plus a couple guys like Gagner(minus the last 2 aberrations), Paajarvi, Omark, etc, look like they’ve been rushed to the show.

  48. nickster13 says:

    theres a lot of variables in there! You make assumptions that their core will only continue to improve and that their management is shrewd enough to put all the pieces together. So far, I haven’t seen much! A few blue chip prospects means nothing yet. I will give them credit once they actually look like they’ve turned the corner…

  49. ZimHabwe says:

    From a sample of over 4000 HIO followers, there is an overwhelming 88% who believe this is the year we should position ourselves for a good draft pick, which is statistically a consensus. So I actually do agree with you. However, you can’t build a team with all youngsters and hope to groom them to Stanley cup status. This is why Edmonton has to be very careful in their building process. Veteran presence is very important. Good veteran presence at that (See Detroit). Cole would serve that position VERY well. Assuming he reaches his plateau after this – by the time things go downhill his contract would be up and then we can part ways. But while he is our best player it would absolutely not make sense. As for Pleks, I am willing to part ways, though reluctantly because I genuinely believe this is just a bad season (albeit still being one of the highest point scorers on our team).


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