About this evening …


This is true as we enter the Olympic break.
And it will be true until at least 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 26:
Your Montreal Canadiens are undefeated in the Dale Weise Era.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Google it) is a logical fallacy. But the facts are indisputable.

This is what has happened since Weise was obtained in the trade that sent Raphael Diaz to Vancouver:

• In his Canadiens debut on a line with Ryan White and Michäel Bournival, Weise played 12:45 and had three shots on goal and three hits in a 2-0 win against Calgary.

• In a 5-2 skunking of his old team, Weise assisted on White’s first goal of the season.

• And in the last game before the break, With seven defencemen dressed and Max Pacioretty lost to injury after six shifts in the first period, Weise played 14:02 and had two hits, two takeways and two blocked shots while playing with a variety of linemates.

Will the Canadiens go 26-0 with Dale Weise in the lineup?

Of course not.

But let’s celebrate the pro scouting department getting something right.

Nathan Beaulieu’s impressive showing in his latest call-up rendered Diaz expendable. In return, Marc Bergevin got a young, physical winger who has good size and can skate.

Weise has combined with White (whom he knew from Manitoba minor hockey) and Bournival to form an unspectacular-but-solid fourth line. Michel Therrien can use them for double-digit minutes , which creates a ripple effect through the forward lines.

White is  also deployed on the penalty-kill and defensive-zone faceoffs.  He lost a D-zone draw in Carolina, but the second-period sequence ended up with White scoring the game-winning goal – the first time in his NHL career he has scored in consecutive games. He also assisted on Brian Gionta’s empty-netter.

The absence of Bournival, who was concussed early in the Vancouver game Thursday night, and the injury to Pacioretty forced Therrien into some creative line-juggling. The coach got got good performances from the wingers who bounced around – particularly Rene Bourque, who has been playing some of his best hockey as a Canadiens since trade rumours about him circulated two weeks ago.

Bourque took Pacioretty’s spot on a line with Brendan Gallagher and David Desharnais. He drew a nifty assist on the first of two goals DD scored against Carolina.

Desharnais had one point in the first 18 games he played this season. Since then – and after being a healthy scratch for a couple games – DD has 31 points in 38 games.

He has his detractors. Their critiques can be summarized as the the opinion that a small, undrafted centre cannot lead an NHL team to the promised land.

Perhaps not. That will be Alex Galchenyuk’s job.

But with the promised land just faintly visible on the distant horizon, David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec are the best centres on the team. And with White solifying his role on the fourth line, I’m starting to wonder whether Lars Eller will be part of the Canadiens future.

I like Eller. He has nice size and has learned how to to use it.

But this Dane is taking a long time to be anything near great. And you wonder about Eller’s hockey IQ.

Desharnais and White scored scored within 1:25 late in a second period dominated by the Hurricanes. Carolina outshot the Canadiens 14-8; but after his turnover opened the door to Drayson Bowman’s goal early in the period, Carey Price did what he does a lot lately: He stopped everything.

Price has allowed seven goals in his last six starts. He’s stopped 167 of the 174 shots he’s faced in that span, a save percentage of .960.

Sochi, here he comes … along with his friend P.K. Subban.

Price is a cinch to start at least some games for Canada.

Subban? We’ll see.

P.K. has not been P.K. lately. The hot-doggery has become a bit cloying, and he’s making mistakes on the back end.

The Canadiens will need Subban at his best when the NHL schedule resumes.

Detroit visits the Bell Centre Feb. 26, and the Canadiens – with eight players back from Olympic duty – visit Pittsburgh the following night.

Nine of 15 games in March are on the road – including a tough western trip to L.A., Anaheim, Phoenix and San Jose. The month also includes three back-to-backs.

But let’s postpone the fretting for a couple weeks and enjoy what the Canadiens have accomplished. They’ve taken 11 of a possible 14 points since their season bottomed out in that gruesome 5-0 loss to Washington; and hands up everyone who thought this team would be in third-place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points at the Olympic break.

Go Canada Go!







  1. Eddie says:

    By connecting our best scorer with a diminutive centerman we are simply setting up the team to be shut down in the playoffs.

    Playoff hockey runs against the small player. The refs do not make the calls. The small player is overwhelmed by the physical play.

    So I have no problem with Desharnais. Love the man’s courage. And I see his talent.

    But the center who will be lining up next to Pacioretty come playoff time must be someone big enough to play those tough playoff minutes.

    Is that not obvious to everyone?

    • Phil C says:

      How did LA lose so badly to Chicago then? In particular, Chicago’s D were not big. By your theory, LA’s forecheck should have smashed them, but they didn’t.

      If small players are overwhelmed in the playoffs, how is Briere a PPG player? And Giroux? and St Louis? Three of the only six active PPG playoff players are undersized. Cammalleri was the highest scorer in the playoff in 2010. #2 was Briere. I could go on and on. If you are a good puck moving team, a size disadvantage can be largely nullified.

      • frontenac1 says:

        I thought Danny Boy played a good game last night. Hewas hustling,involved and back checking. Maybe he will deliver in the playofffs.

      • dr. gesundheit says:

        I feel as if this conversation represents déjà vu (all over again and again). Yes, small players can be very effective during the playoffs so long as the supporting vast is built in such a way as to make it happen. Calamari ( in 2010 ) was a part of an aberration with Halak and Gill combining to stop 70 to 80 shots a game…how sustainable is that? St. Louis was not part of a team made up of 25 per cent smurfs . Chicago was and is a balanced team (not as large as LA but) with a good mix of large and not so large along with mucho skill.

    • JUST ME says:

      Those guys like D.D. and St-Louis always had to deal with doubt. Yes i dare to compare cause it is true. All through their careers they had to deal with the lack of size and prove to everyone that they were wrong. That`s O.K. it means that they will always have a motivation.
      What is unfair though is that even if they score and produce they do not get the same treatment as others do.It `s not whether he has good linemates or has a bad season it`s that he will NEVER EVER EVER make it.

      I bet that if he was the only small player on the team he would not get the same treatment and would also go as far as saying that if he was not french he would probably get a different treatment on HIO.

      I cannot prove you wrong on what you are saying but D.D. is not the problem on that team . At least half the team should be traded before him .

    • Maritime Ronn says:


      Here’s seeing both sides of the argument, yet the playoffs will tell all.

      51’s playoff performances to date are this:
      GP: 10. Goals: 0. Assists: 2.

      Most recently last year vs. Ottawa:
      GP: 5. Goals: 0. Assists: 1
      – 2nd most Total minutes player for all Habs forwards playing 17:14/game.
      – Tied for 3rd most PP minutes for all Habs forwards
      – Habs PP had 19 opportunities and scored 3 goals.
      – 51’s single assist was not on the PP.

      • Phil C says:

        Eller GP 8 G 0 A 2 P 2. Both are pretty small sample sizes for playoff performance. The Habs as a team had trouble scoring against Ottawa, not sure we can attribute it all to size.

        No argument about the PP, I’ve never liked DD on the PP. His regular season stats are not great either, nor is he a dominant faceoff guy.

        • Eddie says:

          Phil, Desharnais is an average NHL center with no size. He is a 3.5 million dollar player who is an average skater.

          You are comparing him to Briere, StLouis, and Giroux, who have been amongst the best offensive players of the last decade and more??

          There is simply no comparison to those players.

          It’s apples and oranges.

          • Phil C says:

            Agree there is no comparison. My only point is that small players can produce in the playoffs. I don’t see why DD would by any different.

            It would be nice to have 12 Eric Lindros type players up front who are big and fast with nice hands, but that is not possible with the cap. The Habs have to figure out how to win with the roster they have as all their oppoenents also have limitations.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Ryan Getzlaf?

    • NoTinFoilCups says:

      It’s obvious to most here I think. I certainly hope it’s obvious to MB!

  2. Mike D says:

    I see some good chatter on the subject of trading Moen so I’ll offer a few points:

    1) He has a modified NTC. I don’t know the specific details but it obviously places some restrictions on moving him if that’s what the club is wanting to do.

    2) If I’m MB, I’m not trading him for less than a 1st round pick (or equivalent). Some may say that is too high an asking price and I’m inclined to agree in theory, but similarly/less talented players have fetched that at recent trade deadlines (see Gaustad, Paul).

    3) Big Trav is a key part of our team’s excellent PK. Yes, we acquired Weise and he’s been good but I’m not sure he’s as good as Moen at killing penalties (hasn’t really had the chance to prove it yet either). We have other good PKers too, but again, Moen is probably the best after Pleky on this squad.

    4) At 1.85mil, he’s not exactly a burden on our cap. A “cheaper” replacement would save us what, maybe 850K? That’s 1% of next year’s cap….basically pennies.

    5) Size. We’re still a small team and Travis is one of our biggest players. Size isn’t everything, but it’s still a helpful and valuable trait.

    I’m neither for or against trading big Mo. I would pull the trigger for the right return for sure, but just wanted to share some thoughts on the matter since it’s somewhat of a hot topic today.

    – Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      hi Mike

      1) Moen has a partial NTC. No details but that usually means he has named 14-16 where the Habs would need his approval to traded to

      3) Moen has the 2nd most PK minutes behind Plex, yet several others have shown they could take over that role such as Prust-Eller-White-Max-Gionta.

      3) The bigger question is roster space.
      With a full healthy Habs and no one on IR-LTIR, the Habs are 2 skaters over the maximum of 21 + 2 goalies.
      Someone has to go.

      • Mike D says:

        Hi Ronn,

        Hope things are well with you, bud.

        Regarding your 2nd point, I see only Prust and Gio are players who’s PK skills are essentially equal to Moen’s. White is coming along and may be there with more time. Max plays some PK as the team is obviously trying to develop that skill in him, but he’s not nearly as effective defensively. Eller has a fair amount of PK experience and has been pretty decent, but he’s super streaky in his overall play.

        I think a team needs at least 5-6 forwards capable of playing well on the PK. You have to consider a buffer if one of them is injured, and to account for 4 and 5 minute penalties when they happen. Especially in our case where our best PKer (Pleky) is also one of our best offensive threats and needs to conserve some energy for that role as well.

        Regarding your last point, I agree we need some roster room, but that could largely be solved by sending Bournival down. I’m not really in favour of that and I think the kid deserves to stay, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing either.

        – Honestly yours
        Twitter: @de_benny

    • Sportfan says:

      After this season that NTC clause is done he was only given one that was in effect for last season and this.

      Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

  3. Sportfan says:

    So do you send down Beaulieu to play a few games with the dogs?

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

    • Timo says:

      No. I send Franky Boo to play with the Dogs, or in the swiss league or anywhere that is not the Montreal Canadiens NHL team.

      • Mike D says:

        Frankie the Bull will be staying with the Habs the rest of the year. He may not play much but no way they disrespect a warrior for the last 20ish games of his NHL career when he hurts nothing staying with the big club.

        – Honestly yours
        Twitter: @de_benny

        • frontenac1 says:

          The Cube is done. Too bad, I’ve always liked the guy.

          • Mike D says:

            He is done, Front. Competely agree.
            That said, he was a longtime Hab and I don’t see the club trading him (would there even be any takers?) or sending him down when they know he wants to be a Hab. It’s just a respect thing, plus MT likes him. Like I said, he doesn’t really hurt anything sitting in the pressbox, and if he were called into action, you know he would give everything he has.

            – Honestly yours
            Twitter: @de_benny

    • JUST ME says:

      I would. We have seen what he can offer and i think that we have a place for him in MTL but let`s not forget that he needs to play and play often and he is just a kid.
      I am very happy to see that he brings the same qualities to his game that he used to have in the Q . A real asset and already at his young age he belongs in the top 4 D.

    • Mike D says:

      Yes you absolutely do that….and tell him he’ll be recalled to Montreal after the break.

      – Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

    • CJ says:

      Yes. Of course he gets sent down.

    • Ron says:

      He’s already been sent down for the OLY break as per twitter accounts

    • Mattyleg says:

      Too much chance of him getting injured.
      He doesn’t need any more conditioning, imo.
      He’s staying up; leave him up.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

  4. Thomas Le Fan says:

    I’m happy for wee Davey. I won’t pretend, even though I wasn’t part of the ‘OH NOES Desharnais must go’ bunch, that I wasn’t having huge doubts about his place on this team going forward but Martin St. Louis light is not a bad thing. Besides, you kinda have to like the guy, don’t you?

    Go Carey! Go P.K.! Go Canada!

    Hockey isn’t everything … it’s the only thing … except for beer and guitars!

  5. Grimmly says:

    I just watched the game again, go go 60 in 60, and think PK has been told since his meeting with MB to focus more on his D game, which seems to have him second guessing every play. He is not as bad as people think latly, hes doing much more simple plays, which i dont agree they should be telling him to do. With Eller, he seems lost, not bad, just lost with his revolving door of wingers. One more point, the ice was pathetic last night, that puck bounced more then the ball in a basketball game

    • Timo says:

      I am wondering whether with DD experiment seem complete Michael Therrien could focus his attention on getting Eller going. I mean, it’s not a bad idea to have a big physical center play well, especially in playoffs.

      One thing Eller has going for him is that there won’t be Diaz to nearly kill him with a suicide pass this year.

  6. Timo says:

    Sorry, I know it’s been asked many times already but when is men’s team canada first hockey game? Wed?

  7. Forum Dog says:

    Good way to go into the break. Back to 6 points up on 8th – a major leg up as they head into the final quarter. Here’s hoping all their Olympians stay healthy and come back motivated to close out the regular season.

    Bummer about the Pacioretty injury. Looked like hip or rib, so hopefully just bruising and not anything structural.

    Props to DD. He actually shot the puck and managed to pot a couple. He is still soft and ineffective without the puck, but there is no denying his skill. Nice feeds on both by Bourque and Gallagher. Bourque has been impressive recently and it is good to see him playing well and enjoying himself.

    Whitey has been great. Good teams get contributions from their 4th line, and he and Weise have been contributing lots the last couple of games. Not sure if he spent a tonne of time skating while his shoulder was healing up, but he has looked fleeter-of-foot since he got back. If your 4th line is playing 12-14 minutes and chipping in on offense, things are going well.

    I’m with Boone on Eller. I have been boosting this guy all year, but right now he is making some poor decisions with and without the puck. And its been like that for a few weeks. His confidence may be shot, and he may not be getting the opportunities his skills need to develop, but the bottom line is that you have to play smart and effective no matter where you line up. At the moment he is playing like a decent third line centre who is big and can win some draws, but it will be up to him to prove he has more than that. When a guy is 23-24 and learning you assume he has upside. When a guy is 25-26, you start to wonder if he’ll ever realize it.

    Looking forward to some Olympic hockey, but will also be interested to see how MB spends the next 3 weeks. He will have basically a week to adjust his roster once they return from Sochi, and I imagine he’ll be on the horn a bit. I could see them maintaining the status quo and viewing any playoff time they get as a bonus, but part of me thinks they are only a couple of pieces away from being able to make some real noise this year.

  8. CJ says:

    Taking a closer look at the standings this morning, our record, home and away jumps off the page. On the road, our record matches favourably with any other team in the east, including the Penguins and Bruins. Where these teams really find separation is at home. The team needs to make the Bell Centre a more difficult test for the opposition. Coaching needs to find favourable match ups and exploit our opposition.

    Our tough, upcoming road stretch may adjust these findings, however there is something to be said for owning a strong record at home. If we aspire to be an elite team, we need to be better on home ice.

    One of the reasons why I think we struggle on home ice is that almost every player interviewed, from the world over, mention that they get up to play the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Nobody is getting up to play in Carolina, Phoenix, etc. Sure, you get the odd no show like the Wild earlier this season, but for the most part we get the opposition’s best. We need to match this intensity and defend our home ice.

    Hoping we become more dominant on home ice going forward.

  9. Mattyleg says:

    I was mentioning yesterday about Eller.
    Since he started with us, he’s been slow in making decisions, and often got caught in possession. I had hoped that that would improve as he matured and got used to the NHL, but it seems that that part of his play has plateaued.

    His physical game has developed nicely, and he’s a hard worker, but soooo many giveaways, and blind passes.

    As Boone says, you’d have to think that he’s the extra piece here.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Hope you don’t mind that I don’t think that way.

    • Uwey says:

      I call BS on this one. Quit drinking the Kool-Aide. You do not build a contender by dumping Eller & keeping Desharnias!!! What is the difference between the two??? Well, let’s start with consistency. DD has had the privilege of playing center with the same winger for over 80% of the time over the past three seasons. Eller has played every position on the team on every line during that same period. Eller when centering, when playing center between the two kids, was indeed the Habs best center, but the coaching tore that line apart to use the undersized Gallagher to help the undersize Desharnias get his head out of his butt. Thus Gallagher, is taking a huge beating, while Desharnias reaps the rewards. Did Gallagher take a beat on the Egg line??? Yes, but he had two linemates who carried much more of the load than Pacioretty & Desharnias do on their line. IMO, both Gallagher’s & Eller’s games are suffering to give Desharnias mnore than enough ample opportunity to add to his stat sheet. Eller bangs & crashes along the boards, fights & digs for pucks with less than adequate line mates, while Desharnias is pushed & shoved off of the pucks more often than not with the Habs top two forwards. Can you even begin to imagine Desharnias replacing Eller on the PK??? Holy jumpin’, get a grip gang!!!

      • habsfan0 says:

        Why would MT favour DD this way?
        One can only guess.

      • Mattyleg says:

        I think you might be confusing my post as being a comparison of two centres. Read it again, and notice that it’s not.

        Please take your anti-DD rant elsewhere, to a thread that is discussing him. I was talking about Eller. You mention that he plays a good physical game. So did I, if you’ll notice.

        And why in God’s name would DD replace Eller on the PK? What kind of mind-altering beverage are you drinking?

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Forum Dog says:

      He’s shown plenty of flashes, but the lack of PP time and quality wingers has affected his offensive development. He is a good 3rd line centre with the ability to be more, but he may not get the opportunity with the Habs. One of DD or Plekanec would have to move to open up a spot, and even if that were to happen, Galchenyuk will likely be transitioning to centre in the next year or so.

      If they do keep and sign him, something around $2M would be reasonable for a 3rd line pivot, and he could play that role well. The RFA status gives Montreal leverage for at least 1 more year, so there is a bit more time for things to play out.

  10. crane says:

    Get Moulson,Stewart, bring up Pateryn

    trade Gionta,Moen,Bierre

    cup could be ours,best goalie,good pk,doesn’t get any better than this.

  11. JUST ME says:

    Thankfully the wise Weise move…looks to be fruitful cause i am not sure that there will be any significant trade done by the MTL management. Not if we trust the HIO comments.

    Trade Markov? Trade Eller? Trade Bourque ? Trade all of them ? For every one of them there are good reasons not to but also a feeling of uncertainty that needs to be adressed.
    Do you think that the Weise trade is enough ?
    Do you think that another trade of that caliber would make the Habs a contender in your book ?
    Do you think the management feels the time has come to make a bold move or they need more time ?

    I think that the price to pay for a good UFA will be way too expensive as it always is and if we want to be in that market then we have to be ready to pay the price also quality wise. I maintain that a package deal could be interesting for a few teams in need of a total rebuilding process ,do not feel like it would be wise to go for the rental market this season but must turn the page and move on with some veterans.

  12. Phil C says:

    For those who want this team to be bigger, you could almost hear the disappointment in their posts as a result of DD having a good night without Pacioretty. The fact that he has been on a pace for over 60 points since breaking his slump and that his winger is scoring at a pace only exceeded by Ovechkin only deepens their despair. This angst is caused by “the opinion that a small, undrafted centre cannot lead an NHL team to the promised land”, as Boone pointed out. I would say this has become far more than an opinion, it has almost become dogma. Those who were agnostic on the issue became full converts when Boston and then LA won the Cup and were ready to sacrifrice DD to the MOAR BIGGER gods.

    So for all of you wringing yours hands today about DD’s success instead of basking in glory of a great performance, what I really want to know is: Are you sure? I mean are you really sure you can’t win with a guy like DD? Is he really a problem going forward, worthy of all the negative ink he gets? Consider the following:

    – four of the last six Stanley Cup teams have been won by average sized teams. Not only did Chicago win, they completely man-handled LA, the biggest team in the league, taking them to the woodshed in 5 games. If the game changes in the playoffs, how does this happen?
    – The Habs made it to the ECF two years ago with a small team and may have gone farther if Markov stayed healthy. Halak was a factor for sure, but they also got healthy at the right time so they were able to compete with the bigger teams.
    – 2011 team was also small and was missing Markov, yet took the big, bad Bruins to 7 games and probably should have won. The Bruins later said it was their toughest series.
    – A recent article from the Boston Media after the last Habs game pointed out how Montreal would be a bad playoff matchup for the Bruins because their speed and transition game exposes the Bruins’ weaknesses.

    Given the above, are you really sure size is that important? My personal opinion is that it comes down to having a complete team with no passengers, who play a strong team game, with speed and skill being more important than size. The Habs have plenty of size in their bottom six. Emelin and Murray give them some intimidation on the back end. If the Habs are not a contender, I would suggest the reason maybe something other than size.

    • Cal says:

      After Murray, Emelin and PK, the D is average sized. Gio has to go to make room for a younger faster and bigger player. Pleks with Weise and Brière is not a good idea. Putting Bourque back on right wing (where he belongs)with them is.
      What MB does will depend on the upcoming road trip after the Olympics.
      Average size wins Cups? Sure, if you have talent like Toews, Kane, Keith. A supporting cast like Hossa, Sharp and Bickell, and Seabrook.
      The Habs lack that great forward talent, excepting Patches, who is having a great year.

      • Phil C says:

        The Habs are built more like the Bruins than Chicago talent wise. Chicago look great in their top 6, then the talent gets thin. Both Montreal and Boston do not have an elite 1st line, but their third lines can be better than many team’s 2nd line, not to mention a pretty good 4th line. Chicago had Handzus as their 2nd line centre, a waivers pickup from the trash heap of the league, so they were lucky Toews stayed healthy. If Boston can win with a balanced attack, so can Montreal.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Good points. I would say however that it’s true you probably can’t go all the way with Desharnais as your #1 centre.

      But why are people calling him our “#1 centre”? He gets third most ice time behind Plex and Eller.

      #1 centres in this league make $8-10M/yr not $3.5M . If DD gets called our #1 centre it is because of his play, not because the team anointed him #1.

      Now I know some cranky old men believe he gets “sheltered minutes” so Mr Molson can sell beer to the natives, but I’d say he gets offensive opportunities and power play time because he’s our most creative playmaker.

      But for sure, if and when Galchenyuk emerges, he would be that #1 centre.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I think the inference is that our number one scoring threat line usually contains our number one center and wingers….

        I don’t think Gionta/Briere qualify as that. I think Max and Gallagher do, and the guy playing center on that line is DD.

        Therefore, in my opinion, DD is presently being used as our #1 center.

      • Phil C says:

        Good point about the ice time, I never noticed that before. He is a pretty good number 3 then! No question someone has to make room for Galchenyuk, but not this year.

    • JUST ME says:

      I for one am not concerned with the size issue and would rather have D.D. than most of those interchangeable players in the league wich totals more than 90 % of them. Problem is how many small players do you have on a team. It is a fact that some small players get bumped out of the way when fighting for the puck and that they are just no match when the game gets more physical.

      There is a huge difference between what we would like the game to be and what it actually is. Of course we do not mind to have small players but the game as promoted by the NHL does not make it easy to rely on pure skills..Furthermore the long and tight schedule also is very demanding for any player of any size.

      I will not trade Gallagher and D.D. cause i can count on them to give me 100 % every game and play big but am not sure about Briere and Gionta however talented they are or should be…

      Basically i agree with you but one must not either ignore what has happened in the previous years and how other teams are built ,like it or not. One single injury at a crucial time and the whole team changes and the outlook suddenly gets bleeker. I suggest that depth in the organization is probably more important that size to manage with the schedule. The best of them can have injuries and go on wining as if nothing had happened. That is why there is still a lot of work to be done in the farm team also.

      • Phil C says:

        I agree 100% that depth matters. Most top teams can handle a few injuries and keep going. You also need some luck with injuries. LA made it through the entire playoffs with the same 6 defensemen which is unreal. You may be right about the lack of depth with the Habs. Let’s hope some help is coming.

    • Mattyleg says:

      I agree with this completely.

      I don’t buy the common saw that ‘the playoffs are a different game’. The only thing that’s different about them is that teams tighten up defensively, but this is only a further development in the gradual tightening that goes on towards the season’s end. It’s not something that happens overnight.

      And there is no evidence whatsoever that a team cannot win with a small #1 centreman. These claims are usually ‘supported’ by the fact that no team has done it (arguably). This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just means that it hasn’t been done yet.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Hey Matty.
        New/Second-time Dad that you are, watch out for babies and bath-water in the throwing out thereof! You must surely agree that there are at least some ways in which “the playoffs are a different game”? For instance, it can hardly be questioned that it is reffed differently or that the players play with an enhanced, intensified mind-set. Moreover, as Montreal fans know well, the 1-8 seedings can quickly become meaningless because of injuries, because of teams piquing at the right moment or slumping just when it counts most, or simply running out of luck, thus turning a whole season’s accumulated wisdom on its head.

        If you accept any or all of these distinctions between regular season and playoffs, would you not then also accept that DD has yet to prove himself in the latter?

        (Did you see that Ireland DESTROYED the two-time reigning Six Nations champions, Wales, yesterday, 26-3?! The Irish D has allowed only 9 points and NO TRIES in two games! To Twickenham and England in two weeks, Feb 22: what a weekend it could be!)

      • Phil C says:

        How about this year for a first time…

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Really well argued, Phil.

      The spectrum of my feelings on DD go as low as exasperation (never hate on) over MT’s insistence on privileging him on the PP throughout his slump, all the way up to positive hope and even some excitement that he eventually emerge as the great Franco hope that the Club so wants (although I object to their means of engineering it), and be a player in the same mold as the Pocket Rocket or Martin StL.

      So I’m more in his corner than not. However, if we take even his recent ‘A’ games and transfer them to the playoffs, I would be fearful that he would be destroyed by ruthless and playoff-psyched Dmen, and that the HRichard and MSL comparisons would stop abruptly.

      If we make the playoffs this season, I will be very happy to give him his shot. Well, nervously happy. If he has a good-to-great playoffs I would find it hard to push for a trade.

      (But that doesn’t mean I’m saying trade Eller!)

      • Phil C says:

        DD had no trouble surviving the playoffs. It was the Habs bigger players that were injured last year. If anything, small players have spent the entire career learning how to avoid be destroyed by monsters.

        DD may have to be the guy who gets moved and keep Eller as you suggest, I don’t have a problem with that going forward. Something has to give eventually to make room for Galchenyuk. Maybe he should be tried on the wing like MSL before he is dumped.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          You’re right, of course, that he survived, in which he was in good company because it eventually looked like surviving was all we were good for. What would be interesting to see, should we make the playoffs this year, is how much DD can contribute, beyond surviving. (The stats MRonn posts above are tantamount to declaring that DD has not yet proven himself in postseason play).

    • CJ says:

      I would like a bigger team, however hold no reservation in complimenting DD’s success. 1 point in his first 18, now 31 in his last 38 is to be acknowledged. He is bringing it offensively. I can live with his defensive zone breakdowns. He is a plus 3, so he’s nowhere near Spezza territory.

      Boston has enjoyed success with both Krug and Marchand in the lineup. You can win with smaller players. Montreal had pocket and the roadrunner years ago. It worked because in both instances the big players on the squads played big. Some of our big guys (Bourque, Moen and Patches) don’t play big. This is the reason that White and Weise have been such a revelation. They are playing with size and speed. All of a sudden, we have opened room for our smaller players.

      We are going to be graduating prospects who are small. To make room we need to get rid of Gionta, Briere and Bouilion. Based on his play this season, his first in professional hockey, I’d like to see Sven Andrighetto take Gionta’s spot going forward.

      To give these guys the time and space they require, we need to provide a complimentary number of bigger players, who also possess skill and speed. The team composition has many moving parts. Our last draft was a perfect example. We grabbed guys with size (DLR, McCarron, Crisp), but also grabbed Reway, Andrighetto and Arturi.

      Just my two cents….

      • Phil C says:

        I agree 100% that you need balance. A championship team must be able to adapt to many different styles of play. The Bournival-White-Weise line has given this team a huge lift in the last few games. It will be interesting to see what MB does with his extra forwards at the deadline.

  13. Cal says:

    Habs record at the break may dictate a “do nothing” trade deadline like last season. If the next road trip sees them slide, then players like Moen, Gionta, and Pleks may be on the move for prospects and picks.
    Many thinking Eller could be moving, too, but his cap hit is low and he’s playing into his bridge contract for about a $2.5mil to $3 mill hit for 3 years. That’s cheap for a big center.
    Expect nothing much coming back (unless they are picks), though, as MB said last year that prices the sellers are charging are too high.

    • ABHabsfan says:

      I think Moen goes regardless. White, Weiss, Prust and Bournival are all doing the same job and doing it better. To Ana for a 2 or 3, likely a 3rd

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

  14. Maritime Ronn says:

    Carey Price has been phenomenal this year!

    He is now 5th in the NHL for wins playing on an inferior or close to equal team when the 4 above him are considered: Fleury Pitt-Niemi SJ-Bishop Tampa-Varlamov Colorado

    Save Percentage: .925 – 7th best in the NHL for starting goalies and without a doubt, has faced more quality scoring chances than any above him.

    Put in perspective, Price has been bombarded this year and has faced the 2nd most shots of any NHL goaler at 1459 – that is more than an average of 30 shots per game – many of high quality.

    The Habs have given up the 9th most ave. shots per game, even though they easily lead the NHL in blocked shots with 1113.
    Only 1 other team has more than 951 blocked shots and that is Calgary at 1012.
    Half of the NHL teams have less than 819 blocked shots.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I really hope we get to see him carry the load for Canada!

    • Cal says:

      Price has held up his side of the bargain. Now if only the team would stop collapsing so much to give all those quality shots from the slot. The D strategy in their zone sucks rocks. Only Price’s stellar play has stopped it from being embarrassing.
      JJ has got to go. It’s tough to win when you spend the night blocking shots instead of proper back pressure and not giving up the blue line like it’s an invitation.

  15. crane says:

    trade deadline

    prices too high
    have faith in these guys

    the end

  16. HabFab says:

    The Bulldogs should be bigger and more talented next season with at least 8 newcomers;

    Mac Bennett – 6-0 – 195 – D
    Tim Bozon – 6-1 – 195 – LW
    Sebastion Collberg – 5-11 – 180 – RW
    Connor Crisp – 6-3 – 225 – C/W
    Charles Hudon – 5-10 – 175 – W
    Jack Nevins – 6-2 – 200 – W
    Dalton Thrower – 6-0 – 205 – D
    Brady Vail – 6-0 – 195 – C

  17. rhino514 says:

    Regarding Bourque, the only forwards with both talent and size who become available tend to have some issues; that is why they become available.
    I have never detected the “bad attitude” Glenn Healy scathed him with in Bourque. I just think Bourque has some trouble coming back from injuries, and he´s not quite a top six guy. He plays a dirty game and some seasons, like this season, bounces don´t go in for him. He has has hit tons of posts this year and also had a few disallowed goals which should not have been. Also, Eller has been lost for quite a while now and hence not a great feeder for Borky.
    So no problem at all with Bourque, in fact he´s the kind of rugged winger I like having around for the playoffs.
    I actually thought that trade would turn out to be disastrous; EOTP in one of their frequent obtuse comparisons pointed out the point differential between The Squid and BorkBorkBork.
    But Cammalleri is minus 21, has proven that his injuries are not just bad luck, but that he is in fact an injury waiting to happen, and the habs won almost 3 million in the deal (plus, I believe, Fucale?)
    Funny how all the talk about Cammy for captain quickly died down about 30 games ago.

  18. HabFab says:

    So NHL play resumes February 26th and Trade Deadline is 7 days later on March 5th. Coupled with that Habs wounded (Chucky, Drew, Moen and Bourny) should be all healthy and ready to play. Plus hopefully no injuries amongst the Olympic contingent will leave us player heavy. Trades or demotions or both… should be interesting.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Whatever trades or demotions are made by club, I am sure they will be greeted with complete support from the commentariat.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      You have that right.
      If all are healthy and no one is on IR-LTIR, the Habs will be 2 skaters over the maximum 23 player roster (21 players + 2 goalies.

      Perhaps Moen’s days are numbered ( $1.85M Cap Hit and 2 more years of that) with the recent addition of Weise – a $750K Cap Hit and pending RFA that will not cost more that $1M.

      Any way you look at it, the Habs are in excellent Cap shape and as of this moment, have the ability to add annual Cap Hit(s) of close to $8M at trade deadline.
      Only 11 other teams have more, and most are either out of the playoffs or cannot be considered legitimate Cup contenders

  19. Habfan10912 says:

    Very well may have exaggerated my fondness for Gallagher in my last post and might be doing the opposite with this post concerning PK.

    What the heck is wrong? Clearly his play of late isn’t the same as we’ve become use to. Some theories?

    – PK hasn’t been the same since the 10 minute – 3rd period benching (hissy fit) from Therrien against the Flyers. I’m not sure I buy into this one although as a Therrien non supporter I’d love to put the blame here. Surely PK has had to overcome all sorts of unfair treatment in his life and has developed the skills to overcome it. Not buying.

    – Does PK have some sort of a nagging injury? I’m not buying this one either. He’s still playing 20+ minutes a night and at times exhibits the same speed we’ve been accustomed to. Not buying.

    – The selection onto the Canadian Olympic Team. I noticed a decrease in performance of Emelin and Markov at that time. Could PK be subconsciously trying to avoid an injury which happened to Patches last night? I halfway accused our two Russians of that but what about PK? Not buying this either. It doesn’t appear to be an effort issue to me.

    – Having to play with a different defensive partner many minutes of games. I think I might want to buy this one. Josh Gorge is a rah rah guy but has many shortcomings on the ice. We’ve also seen PK play with Murray, Frankie B, along with Markov and Nathan B. Perhaps PK is over thinking and hesitating just a bit because he lacks that familiarity and maybe even confidence with his d partner? I think I like this excuse the best.

    Of course it could be something going on in his personal life. A sick relative. A breakup with a girlfriend. Or what the heck do I know. It’s probably what the heck do I know.

    Here’s hoping the experience of the Olympics will see the return of the real PK. The team is so much more fun to watch with the real PK, eh?

    • matrags says:

      Subbans funk must be laid right where it belongs, at management and the coaches feet.I have never seen a player do so much and receive so little by way of positive feedback fr a team. Low balled in negotiations for a new contract , benched, humilated, hhe looks like a killer wale in a captive pool ,fin bent ,his spirite lite turned down to a very low glow….I think it was Bowman who said of Lafleur II dont coach him , you cant you just let him go …..

      • Habfan10912 says:

        I hear you and believe me I’d love to put the blame there but don’t ya think PK has had to overcome a crap pile of stuff in his young life? I could be wrong but I just don’t see PK buckling under for this.

    • Cal says:

      Hi Jim. It looks to me like PK is taking waaaay too much time to move the puck. If he wants to join the rush, he should stop slowing it down to the point where there’s 4 players at their blue line waiting for him (not to mention the forwards all stalled there, too).
      He’s got to do quick give and gos. He has to stop holding onto the puck for too long. It doesn’t work all that often these days, what with back-checking schemes being what they are.
      He is in a funk, but he can work his way out of it, too. No worries for PK. He’s the Habs stud on D.

  20. Maritime Ronn says:

    Good Morning

    Mr Boone writes:
    “P.K. has not been P.K. lately. The hot-doggery has become a bit cloying, and he’s making mistakes on the back end.”
    First off, P.K. is an incredible, physical talent.
    Of that, there is no doubt, yet the big question remains, “What’s going on with P.K.?”

    His play since the “Philadelphia Incident” has been…subpar at best.
    In the 15 games since the 10 minute coach imposed benching (not 1-3-or 5 games), P.K. has 1 goal/5 assists and is Minus – 8.
    That is far from Norris consideration, and perhaps Habs fans expectations are too lofty for the current (48 game) Norris Trophy winner.

    P.K. is also playing incredibly ‘nervous’ and appears to have lost some confidence.
    The puck is hopping off his stick in the D zone creating several opposition goal scoring chances- he holds on to the puck way too long – he is losing zones spinning and going backwards, and yes, as Mr. Boone states, ” The hot-doggery has become a bit cloying..”

    So the questions:
    – Is something up in PK’s personal life effecting his on ice play? These guys are actual human beings and are not immune.
    – Is something up in the dressing room?

    – Have the multiple pressures finally affected him – those being the negative lead up to being named on Team Canada, the benching in Philadelphia, the ongoing contract talks especially considering what transpired with Letang and others?

    – And then is P.K. actually coachable, or does he just go about doing his own thing either consciously or subconsciously?

    If he is, then the coaching staff should replay the Habs 3rd goal for him…over and over and over again.

    On that play, Beaulieu beautifully skates from his own goal line to the Habs blue line – quickly passes off to a streaking Gallagher – Beaulieu continues to support the play creating a 4 on 3, yet does not go deep or get out of position – Gallagher passes to a wide open 51 – goal.

    Here’s hoping the Olympic break and being around solid star players – and perhaps learning more about both the physical and mental aspects of the game, can turn the situation around.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I’d like to say great minds but there is only one at play here. And it ain’t mine.

      Morning Ronn!

    • Phil C says:

      You are exactly right on the 3rd goal, how Beaulieu played it is how PK should be playing it. Instead he tends to hold a bit to long or carry it in himself causinv his forwards to stop. On a separate rush, Beaulieu got off a nice shot once he gained the zone. This is another thing I wish PK would do on the rush. With his speed, he often gets the D backing up so if they give him the top of the circle he should be blasting it more often instead of skating to the corner where the puck dies.

      I have no explanation for his defensive play other than sometimes trying to do too much instead of just making the simple play.

      All of this is not new about PK. This is is exactly the type of stuff that got him benched two years ago. It was when he simplified his game that he started finding success. Trying to do too much seems to be the issue.

    • jimmy shaker says:

      I like the old adage for PK…….Less is more. Easy pass in the D-zone. Stay on your feet when your in the D-zone defending, and let the puck do the work not yourself. Seems like he’s been trying to hit a home run every play out there instead of the nice easy base hit. I’m sure babcock and co and playing with some other great players will get those bad habits cured in no time.

      Shaker out!

  21. boing007 says:

    Are the 7 Habs flying to Sochhi sharing the same plane?

    Richard R

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Thought I heard eastern conference Olympians flying together today 930 am out of Jersey, and western conference players catching plane out of Atlanta this morning.

    • HabFab says:

      There are 4 Charters leaving NYC and Atlanta today with all the NHL players, staff, etc. You would think they would be on the same plane.

  22. RJ says:

    The EGG line was super. They wanted to get DD going so they broke up our best line. Now Eller has seriously regressed. Why is anyone surprised.

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  23. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Thoughtful (as usual) and detailed analysis from UCE.

    White and Bourque. I am a 100% White believer now, recalling how I initially loved his energy, his speed on the forecheck, his effort on the PK. I then remember experiencing doubts when those far more expert than I began accumulating unpleasant-looking stats and bad penalties and calling for a trade. They were probably right, I conceded. My full conversion arrived one game when he returned from a long stretch in the dog-house. I think it was two seasons ago. An opposing player attempted to goad him into a fight with a few cross-checks etc, a fight that White turned down, not by skating away with a scowl, but by laughing in the other guy’s face. “Go on!” he seemed to be saying. “Take your best shot and give your team 2 minutes short-handed, you jackass!” You cannot have a successful team without a few Ryan Whites, and our one is particularly good in that role. He is gold.

    So my view of White knits well with UCE’s. Likewise with Bourque, although my view remains one of hope rather than conversion. I would prefer to believe nearly anything other than that a player picks and chooses the nights he’s going to play with effort. So I would love to believe that Bourque’s issues are mental ones and that good coaching can help him get past them. Unlike with White, however, I will have to wait to be converted.

    I also like UCE’s lines, especially returning Bournival to Gionta and Pleks. Something was definitely clicking there. And if playing Bourque with DD and Patches is the vote of confidence he needs in order to maximise his potential, then please let’s do it. And reunite the EGG. There are three lines to conjure with, plus a 4th line that in time could rival Boston’s.

    (Can’t enter into the trade/keep Eller debate, except to say — from a position of relative ignorance — Keep).

    • CJ says:

      Good morning Mike. Great insight. White has earned the trust of the coaching staff, completely removing himself from the mistakes that occurred last season. Therien has spoken openly about Whitey being a real leader and Stubbs says he is a favorite in the room.

      To the coaching staff’s credit, he has been getting a regular shift and reducing the workload on the rest of the team. Right now we have the luxury of rolling four lines. Dare I say that we have entered Bruins territory? Having an effective fourth line that can skate, play clean physical hockey, while creating offence from an effective cycle game was so overdue. It’s like we are a different team.

      I am looking forward to testing this new unit against better competition following the Olympic break. It’s only been three games, but our fourth line over that span is as good or better then any in the conference.

    • rhino514 says:

      White is definitely the best news we´ve had recently. Before he was a bit of a liability out there. Now we have a physical centre who can also complement our talented wingers. We have a solid fourth line going forward.
      Previous to that, we had a marked improvement from Emelin, Beaulieu, and Murray (though I still hold that Bouillon and Diaz are much better Dmen than Murray). Previous to that things looked bleak for the club.
      Doing well in the playoffs has much to do with timing and health.
      The team has solved 2 of 3 inconistencies which were hurting the team.
      The third inconsistency to solve is Eller. We all bemoan the lack of 5 on 5 offence this year. Eller playing to his capability would give us three threateneing lines and pretty much do away with that weakness.
      If they can get him back on track we can be firing on all cylinders and be a force come playoff time.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      G’morning Ireland

      Re Ryan White.
      It’s amazing what scoring a goal or 2 can do for confidence.
      Before his 2 goals in the past 2 games (and 1 during last year’s playoffs), White had only scored 3 goals in 112 regular season games spanning 4 seasons.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Good morning Ronn.

        I would like MikeB to put down a hat-eating wager on his reckless assertion that the Habs can’t go 26-0 in the Weise era! Add to that a scoring streak for Ryan White (remember when Hal Gill potted goals in consecutive games?!). I’ll bring the mustard and other condiments if the other Mike provides the hat. It’s too late for him to catch Patches, but if he scores in each of the 26 Weise wins he will certainly overtake a few other guys!

        (Too much coffee here, too many exams to correct).

  24. boing007 says:

    Better wingers for Plex, bigger centre for BG and DB.

    Richard R

  25. boonie says:

    I made the mistake of having other things to do this morning and didn’t get to ALN until 7.30am. By then, 83 posts, containing a number of interesting conversations had come and gone.

    I dutifully scrolled down. I even read most (including UCE’s detailed offerings). Sadly, the time to join those discussions or be heard is gone.

    HIO is of-the-moment. Discussions happen in real time. Threads get stale after a few minutes. A new page or a new story kills active dialogue. I’ll let young, tech HIOers think about a technology that can (re-)insert lively recent legacy conversations <—- business idea, complete with a snappy description.

    For now, I'll summarize thusly to save you scrolling time and categories the new threads here for easy follow up…

    (A) The ever-erudite M Boone used the term Post hoc ergo propter hoc. HIOs took that as a cue to trot out their vocab chops. LafleurGuy offered encomiums; UCE proffered the underappreciated truism. Erudite is the best I can contribute. I failed grade 9 english.

    (B) DD's performance last night, reignites the Eller/DD discussion; Pacioretty's injury gives people new fodder for does DD rely on Max or vice-versa… Hmmm…

    (C) A discussion of relative value factoring: size, age, production and draft position natural follows. Note to people born after the 80s, we HAD Serge, Larry and Guy. We didn't say, hey why should we keep three future All Stars/HOFers when teams like the Cleveland Barons go without. LA and STL notwithstanding, we kept 'em ALL for the majority of their stellar careers.

    (D) Timo pointed out the error of dressing 10 forwards — cause, you know, you're best goal scorer could get injured in the first. Connecting this to another post, had we called up LL from Hamilton (who didn't register a point in the Bulldogs five goal night), then yep, Timo is right. The extra body would have helped.

    (E) Does beating doormats on hot streaks (like Carolina) or on cold streaks (like Vancouver) really mean we're good or simply better than doormats?

    (F) Oddly, very little on Max.

    (G) Line combos galore. To me, Habworld is in its right orbit when people have nothing more to complain about than which largely interchangeable forward goes with another; or the challenges of playing three left handed players on the same line. A college basketball aficionado and good friend of mine who ran a TV sports network noted that the Michigan Wolverines played FIVE lefties at the same time and made it to the NCAA Final Four two years in a row. As a guy who watched everything and noted nuances, his takeaway was playing talented people together is more important that which hand is dominant.

    Now — I’ll leave you with

    (H) do we have talent?

  26. CJ says:

    Good morning.

    Although I was not in favor of dressing 7 D, the plan worked out and the boys took two points. I just don’t think Bouilion is a solution going forward. Hopefully, following the Olympic break, we have a healthy group and we no longer need to dress an unbalanced lineup.

    Two weeks ago we couldn’t buy a break, a bounce or a win. Now, things seem to be coming up Canadiens. Lots of hard work and a tried and true resolve have improved our chances of winning. I am very much looking forward to seeing how we match up against some very good teams post Olympic break, on the road and within a compressed schedule.

    Lastly, a tip of the hat to the coaching staff. They have taken a lot of heat, but at the end of the day, this is a results based business. After 59 games it’s becoming increasingly difficult to suggest that the team is not at least meeting expectations. Sure, there have been head scratchers along the way, but overall we have taken a step forward this season.

    Looking forward to watching the golf from Pebble Beach this afternoon. It’s not hockey, but it’s the next best thing. Have a great day everyone! Cheers, CJ

  27. Habfan10912 says:

    Good morning friends! Two seasons ago we had a young player come into training camp. He was not only the teams best young player at camp but in my opinion he was THE best player at camp.

    At the time, the teams coach pooh poohed the youngsters play and the player was never given a legitimate chance to stick with the team. Now some have argued he wasn’t ready. All I know is he sure looked ready to me.

    Fast forward 2 seasons (actually a season and a half or really 2 half seasons) and this young player may be the teams best forward. Check that. He IS the teams best forward.

    Often we’ve heard that certain players have a knack for making those around them better. It appears that this is the case with this young player. Put him with Patches and DD and they get going. Move Bourque on his line and BINGO, Bourque looks great.

    We have a special player. He’s everything you want in a hockey player. His name? Gallagher.

  28. HabFab says:

    Magnus Nygren just tweeted he was on his way to Toronto. Is he returning to the Bulldogs?

    Magnus Nygren – Next; Toronto #fbkse

  29. kalevine says:

    Weird about Eller. He looks good when he has the puck, but then just gives it up so easily. He also seems to have lost his physical edge a bit

  30. HabFab says:

    Dave Stubbs – Plan ahead: #Habs next scheduled practice is Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 2 pm in Brossard

    The rest of the boys get to relax for 10 days.

  31. jeffhabfan says:

    Great win for the boys as we look good right now at the break.GO HABS GO. GO CANADA GO.

  32. scavanau says:

    Seems that Desharnais has shaken his “funk” but it landed on Eller.

  33. rhino514 says:

    Many agree with me, don´t trade eller, but the reality is there are four centres for three spots. And Eller is by far the one who is producing the least now.
    It´s the lesser of two evils, but I actually hope they play Galchenyuk at centre one more year (though at the point you are stunting his progression as a centreman, because the kid is ready). And that only delays the problem one more year.
    The only other move possible is a trade, and DD, Galchenyuk, and Plekanec are simply not tradeable, for various reasons.

  34. rhino514 says:

    Last game showed that Desharnais is not as dependant on Pacioretty as most have us have long believed. What actually made the first goal possible was Gallagher going to the net.
    To help both of our young centres I see two possibilities:


    Pacioretty Desharnais Bourque
    Galcehnyuk Eller Gallagher


    Galchenyuk Desharnais Gallagher
    Pacioretty Eller Bourque

  35. HabFab says:

    Crisp had the best night of the prospects with a goal and 2 assists. Bozon had 2 assists and won a fight apparently.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Props/encomiums, HabFab. Pateryn and Ellis, couple of plus players on a roster of mostly minuses. Andrei has a couple of good years left, so it would be intriguing if Pateryn were brought up, and Markov could give him some Komisarek-style tutelage.

      “Bends but won’t break”

  36. HabFab says:

    Bulldogs hang tough and win on Tinordi’s goal in O/T;

  37. Lafleurguy says:

    Just to point out to those who are critical of Putin, lots of support for those sentiments. Meanwhile, Russia provided us Andrei and Alexei on the current roster, and Oleg Petrov, Vlady Malakhov, Dainus Zubrus, Pavel Valentenko, and Alex Perezhogin in the past. Not to mention Anna Kournikova.

    “Bends but won’t break”

  38. GL says:

    these would be the lines I would try after the Olympics.

    Pacioretty Desharnais Bourque
    Briere Plekanec Gionta
    Galchenyuk Eller Gallagher
    Prust White Weise

    Give Eller Gallagher and Galchenyuk if he’s back to see if they can get him going than there would be no excuses of not having good wingers!! Make sure Bournival is 100% when he returns no rush with Prust and moen waiting in the wings.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Hi gl

      If all stay healthy, and with a major key being Bourque continuing his present play, those lines look great for many reasons.
      That setup would cause several headaches for opposing coaches trying to match lines and maybe more important matching Top 4 D.
      One of those Top 3 lines will be facing a 3rd pairing D.

      It may also bring back fond memories for Eller and get him going again.

      If Bounival comes back soon, Moen and his $1.8M Cap Hit may be the odd man out with the addition of a quicker, younger, and much cheaper Weise ($750 M Cap Hit)

  39. rhino514 says:

    All of the GM´s moves up to now player-wise have been fringe moves. But 2 young men are on a colllision course which cannot be avoided much longer.
    Clearly the biggest question on the habs is the Galchenyuk-Eller situation. It is the move that the GM´s legacy will be judged by IMO. It is also something by which the coach should be judged by.
    The solution for this year as we know has been to keep Chucky on the wing and to support Desharnais at the cost of Eller, who has lost confidence with each passing game.
    I will reiterate, a good coach should be able to get both young men going, as both are talented.
    With Eller´s season going the way it has, there is a real danger he will be moved and that will turn out to be the solution.
    That move would be a mistake, unless we were to get a top-end winger who can score, with size.
    It is easy to to see Eller as the loser in this trio scenario now. But it is also easy to forget that through the last third of last season, he was our most dominant centre; probably our most dominant forward on the entire team behind Pacioretty.
    Though the habs are not a high scoring team, I do believe there is enough depth on the wings to provide good isolation for both young men. If Eller continues to struggle and is moved without a great return, to me it signifies a failure on the part of the organization.
    I´m not saying it is an easy situation. At the most Chucky can ride out another season on the wing, and even that is unlikely. But the situation should be rendered as difficult as possible, not easier, by having Eller play as well as he is capable of playing. Having an easy out because the kid has been lost in the shuffle to me is a failure. Not getting him going can also mean a first round exit instead of a third round exit in this year´s playoffs, as with his size Eller can truly provide a third threat from the centre spot which would be exceedingly difficult for other tems to counter. This is the situation we should have going nto the playoffs, but as of now, with 23 games to go, we have a black hole at one centre spot.
    MB, MT the legacy of Eller is yours. start now.

    • Marc10 says:

      Eller is fine. Even when he’s not scoring, he’s not really putting his team in a bind. I don’t know that management would be looking to move him. He’s a good kid, with a good attitude, who works hard. I think he’s still very much valued by management. There’s no reason to panic.

      It’s a shame he can’t play wing, so that Chucky could benefit from time at center with solid two way winger. That would solve a lot of problems. Failing that, you re-unite the EGG line and move Bourque up to play with DD as UCE suggests. That should give you some decent balance and might re-ignite our Larry. At least that could work for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. Next year… Well that’s another story as Chucky continues on his merry way to develop as a top line center.

  40. zephyr says:

    ugh. u don’t trade eller ever. we have 4 big guys who can score on this team: max, chuck, eller & bourque. sometimes they go thru dry spells. mb is constantly saying that it’s impossible to trade for guys like that so why would we want to give them up? if anyone is going to go, it’ll be gio & briere. those 4 guys should be on our top 2 lines.
    finally some recognition for dd who has really been outstanding after his early slump. plus he’s young. both his goals were beauties last nite and he made a couple of spectacular backchecks as well.
    hope max is ok.

    • rhino514 says:

      To complicate things, DD is french Canadian.
      In another market, a GM with a big pair could actually trade Desharnais and get a decent return, recognizing that the team cannot afford to get rid of size, talent, youth, and good attitude, which is what Eller has. He would recognize that DD´s numbers are buoyed by the support he has gotten and Eller´s numbers are not at all representative of his true talent.
      But in Montreal the possibility of trading DD is very unlikely. Another reason why in the end the wrong decision can be made.
      Don´t get me wrong, I like Desharnais. But developping Eller (and we were almost there, after last year) has a greater payoff to the team than Desharnais. Especially come playoff time.

      • Marc10 says:

        You’d have to believe Eller is a better point producer than DD. That’s your gamble. Give him Max and PP time and see what happens. If you’re wrong and Max’s production goes South, then you’ve just created a huge problem.

        Or you could treat Lars like a man and ask him to take DD’s job the old fashion way. If he’s got it in him, he does it. Pleky and DD earned their spots. Gally earned his. Lars can too.

        Don’t ask the coaches to give it to you. Take it.

        • zephyr says:

          plus dd is our best playmaker. chuck is our 2nd best right now but u can sense he’s gonna be great. eller has a combo of size & speed that is difficult for other teams to handle. he’s a keeper for sure. we’ll see how things develop. mb says u need guys to get u to the playoffs & guys who win in the playoffs. we’re going to be very happy we have bourque & eller come playoff time. murray too. white has looked really good since he came back playing with weise. I think gio & briere are our remaining weak points up front.

  41. NoTinFoilCups says:

    Leo Komarov looking to get back to the NHL next season.


    Not sure what sort of coin he’ll get as a UFA but man I’d love to see this guy on a line with White and Wiese. Or alternate him with Bournival on the third line.

  42. D Mex says:

    It’s a team game, but :
    Habs 3-0 with Weise / Canucks 0-3 (and sliding) with Diaz.
    Just sayin’ … 😉

    ALWAYS Habs –
    D Mex

  43. Un Canadien errant says:

    “Y’en aura pas d’facile” — Claude Ruel.

    Loosely translated, the above quote from the former Canadiens coach and player development sensei meant No game or win will be easy. It was trotted out by journalists and broadcasters regularly, a truism/pearl of wisdom used to frame the discussion when the Canadiens would lose a game to the Scouts or the Golden Seals, or to congratulate the team when they jumped on a weaker opponent early and beat them decisively, earning a precious two points that was there for the taking.

    The latter usage can be deployed tonight. While the ‘Canes have been on a hot streak, they’re not a league power, and with the Canadiens scratching and clawing to pile up points to keep a high seeding in the playoff race, and with a post-Olympic break homestretch looming with a slate of difficult games, every point counts. The Canadiens did their job tonight, working hard, cashing in on opportunities rather than cursing bad bounces, and scrambling to make up for the absence of a few regulars among the forwards.

    David Desharnais had another strong game, against an opponent that didn’t use thug tactics against the Canadiens but rather concentrated on hockey. David used the open ice to his advantage, darting here and there for a loose puck or a savant pass. He tallied two goals, which is good for him because at times he seems to have lost confidence in his shot. It’s accurate and he has a quick release, so when he pulls the trigger he can fool the goalie, but it’s understood that it’s not a powerful shot, so he has learned to not trust that he’ll beat a goalie cleanly with it, like P.K. or Ovie can.

    David also showed good rapport with René Bourque, who seems to be less and less torpid these last few games. Some accuse him of being useless and/or lazy, but again I’ll disagree. His whole career, the ‘problem’ with René Bourque has not been that he dogs it, necessarily, it’s more a of a problem between the ears. He lacks confidence, he goes into a funk, and gets frustrated and it spins out of control. René is the quintessential example of the player who doesn’t need a kick in the pants but a pat on the back. And being asked to replace the injured Max Pacioretty on the nominal first line seemed to spark something in him. I’ll say again, with this game as further evidence of my reasoning, that René Bourque should play with David and Max, and be the recipient of David’s passes, and see if he can cash in a few and gain in confidence and get on a roll.

    Another player I’ve spent time defending in the past but who had caused me to doubt whether our patience would be rewarded is Ryan White. Based on the scouting reports and coach’s recommendation coming out of Junior with the Calgary Hitmen, I thought that Ryan could become a third or fourth-line regular, a tough ornery hard-worker who coaches can count on to give everything he has, be responsible, and provide a spark with a few hits. He clearly wasn’t merely a scrapper. I worried though when two years ago he had his bromance with Brad Staubitz and seemed to want nothing more than to get into fights, take on all comers.

    Rather, with a few injuries behind him and a couple of scrapes with his head coach over incidents where he lacked discipline, he now seems to be coming into his own, with a growing maturity, and he is demonstrating very effective play with new sidekick Dale Weise. As the only right-handed centre on the team, he’s been delegated to take the faceoff in key defensive situations.

    One instance was notable. Late in the second, Coach Therrien sent Ryan in for a draw to the right of Carey Price, but not before giving him what seemed to be detailed instructions. Ryan was raptly attentive, then skated into his zone and conferred with his teammates to let them know what play was on and what their roles were.

    This was refreshing for many reasons. First, it showed a coach in clear command of his team, and not a coach who “has lost the room” and is being tuned out. Ryan wasn’t yawning or scanning the stands for puck bunnies or gazing up at the Jumbotron, he listened to what the coach had to say. This exchange also serves to nullify the argument that Coach Therrien only plays his veterans and favourites, and is too hard on the young players and ‘ruins them’. Instead, the coach was tough on his player when he gaffed, but now was rewarding him for his strong effective play by giving him increased responsibility. Finally, the little confab that Ryan had with his teammates showed the command that a centreman is expected to have, the leadership he needs to display. Maybe Ryan is taking himself more seriously than before, and is starting to believe that he should be more than just a face-puncher, and that belief is causing him to play with more focus and discipline, and that belief can be contagious.

    I also wonder if the (and stop me if I’ve riffed on this before) acquisition of George Parros and Douglas Murray and Brandon Prust, along with the larger share of physical play being taken on by Travis Moen, has relieved some of the (self-imposed?) pressure on Ryan to be the enforcer of the team, the ‘energy guy’, the catalyst only. Ryan seemed to act like a year-old Great Dane puppy, kind of big and imposing, but still gangly and uncoordinated and goofy and prone to chewing his master’s Reeboks or peeing on the rug. We’re seeing a more restrained deportment from Ryan, like he’s starting to think he belongs and needs to take on a bigger share of the load.

    Carey Price put the last touches to his pre-Olympic tuneup, with only a brain cramp on a zone clear leading to a goal against. Aside from that, he put fires out all night, stopping pucks and stopping the play when the Canadiens were being overwhelmed, allowing the faceoffs to reset the defence. He made a few spectacular saves, got saved by his posts a couple of times, and generally kept the Hurricanes from making a game of it. Despite the choppy waters in January when opponents were wide-open on cross-crease passes and his GAA ballooned, he’s had a terrific season and seems at the height of his powers.

    Let’s hope that P.K. gains confidence and gets back into a rhythm during the Olympic break. Again, P.K. needs to make the simple play more often, not to try to win games all by himself, or to make up for a giveaway with an end-to-end rush attempt that ends in another giveaway. His play seemed to go south when he was announced as a member of Team Canada, maybe the anticipation was killing him, let’s hope he gets it out of his system and he comes back re-focused and ready to resume his strong play from last season.

    Finally, apparently Max Pacioretty was not hurt badly when he crashed into the Carolina goal post, it’s being described as a back contusion. So just a bruise. Phew!

    … you know, because there’s no way hundreds of overcompetitive stars with massive egos would ever cheat to gain an edge with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.–Bill Simmons


    • J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

      While I enjoy your post-game analysis, I whole-heartedly disagree with you about Bourque. He has shown, time and time again in his career, that he is not a consistently hard-working player. Sure, threaten him with a trade, and he suddenly shows drive. But once that fades, so too will he. Just watch. I guarantee you, if Bergevin can find any interest in him from another team, he’s gone.

      And putting him on a line with DD and Patches gives you 3 left-handers on one line. Not wise.

      I remember Dec. 31, 1975

      • Dave Jones says:

        Wouldn’t hurt to have Bourque pot a few before pulling the trigger on a deal. Maybe three lefties can make that happen. I’m open to trying it. Bourque is no Erik Cole circa 2012, but he is big, fast, and has in the past shown he can score. And we know Gallagher turns a struggling line into an effective one in a hurry; Eller could use the help.

      • boing007 says:

        DD Max and Cole were all lefthanders.

        Richard R

    • Dave Jones says:

      That was a great read! I’m not sure about a Max-DD-Bourque line, but I’m open to giving it a try. I really appreciate your point about Bourque being the sort of player who needs encouragement. This strikes me as exactly right, and exactly the sort of thing that’s overlooked in assessing coaching and team leadership. We always sort of assume that leadership is rough and loud (and I think this is common across fields). I suspect in hockey it’s mostly true, but Bourque seems to be a clear exception to this, and I would love to see his coach demonstrate some belief in him and give him a shot with the team’s best players. This move would also free up Gallagher to rejoin Galchenyuk and Eller, which would do wonders for Eller. Maybe there is a trade to make, but if not, I would be happy seeing Bournival join Plekenec and Gionta to complete a two way line, and let Weise and White have Prust or Moen (all four of which can be juggled up the lineup depending on the situation). Or maybe Bourque fades again and this is all moot, but the team needs to find a way to get four complete lines together.

    • D Mex says:

      I once had the opportunity to watch a game at the old Forum seated directly beside the Habs bench when Claude Ruel was at the helm.

      Definitely another era, this was back when there was a single row of seats at the glass, and the same walking area directly behind your seat extended to where the Habs coach paced back & forth.

      One thing I will always remember is how Ruel rode Bobby Rousseau’s ass all night long :
      – skate Bobby, skate !
      – help Bobby, help !
      – work Bobby, work !
      Rousseau had an excellent game, and Ruel must have felt he was with him every step of the way 😉

      ALWAYS Habs –
      D Mex

    • JUST ME says:

      Really don`t know either about René Bourque. I like what we have seen in the last games. He is the power forward we wanted him to be but i think that we have had a sufficient sample of his work to conclude that this demonstration is not what we can expect every day. Of course i understand that not every game players are at the top of their game but i see guys like Gallagher,Prust and even Whitey these days giving their heart out and have no doubt that if they could they would play like that every game. Not so sure about Bourque. He has the abilities,the size,the speed but the main thing, the will is not always there.

      Seeing that we do not have everything needed to be a real contender i think that when we see a weakness we must try to change things . Although i agree that we must try many things before making such a bold move as trading a guy, i think that with Bourque we know that sometimes down the road he will disappear in the crowd…

    • twilighthours says:

      I agree with you on Bork. He’s a useful player with a reasonable cap hit. People forget that he was our best forward in last year’s playoff loss. People also bemoan Therrien’s lack of support and poor usage of Eller, are are concerned about Emelin playing his wrong side, but I rarely read such an argument made for Bork.

    • CH Marshall says:

      Good stuff

  44. formerly known as the hc says:

    I have always liked White’s grit, toughness and drive. Hopefully he can clean some parts of his game up and stick in the NHL.

  45. Habitoba says:

    Didn’t Eller get benched earlier this season and came back to go on a little scoring spree…?

  46. HabinBurlington says:

    Nice win for the boys!

    I see Boone has stirred the pot perfectly,,now entrenched on the DD for Conn Smythe bandwagon and Eller be traded bandwagon. I am sure HI/O will respond.

    I don’t doubt DD is talented, I just also think Eller is worthy of a permanent shift on a line with uber talented wingers for 3 seasons also before being judged.

    Go Habs and Go Canada Go!

  47. byebyegomez says:

    Eller is a decent player and was producing with Gallagher and Galchenyuk. But the higher ups wanted Patches and DD leading the team so they broke up that line when they were hot to get the guys going who they wanted to be hot.

  48. Habilis says:

    Looked at the standings tonight and two things became clear to me.

    First, it truly is playoffs or bust for us now. Forget the “trade Markov” talk, because it ain’t happening. We can’t go into the playoffs without him.

    Second, there are only 5 teams (Isles, Panthers, Sabres, Flames, Oilers) in full on sell mode. The remaining 25 are still in playoff contention. That, my friends, is a seller’s market.

    The trade deadline (March 5) comes up fast after the Olympic break. Not much will change between now and then.

    The price for the big fish is going to be astronomical. Guys like Vanek, Moulson and even Cammaleri are going to net huge returns.

    I don’t think we’re one of those players away from being a great team. I doubt MB does either. I don’t expect anything significant before the deadline. This, plus Chucky, is the team.

    Could be a lot worse, IMO. This team, when healthy, can play with anyone in the East. That’s mostly due to Price, but it’s still true. We could do some damage.

    • scarboro_habitant says:

      markov is a UFA and probably wants a multi year deal. youre ok with that? he will get exposed in the playoffs and obviously is near the end of his career. hes still got some value and can fetch a decent return in a trade. habs will be lucky to make it past the first round if they make the playoffs at all.

  49. Timo says:

    FFS, laffs don’t lose anymore?

  50. Timo says:

    It’s a good thing Michael Therrien in all his wisdom decided to dress 7 dmen tonight… nothing like playing a game with 10 forwards. What a door knob.

    Btw, I hope Bourque soaks in every moment playing with the best center there is. It won’t last long but he should seize the opportunity to pad his stats.

    Wasn’t too impressed with Eller again tonight. I think he needs some of Michael Therrien’s Personal Development Program. The dude looks lost.

    Love the 4th line and Weise was/is definitely the missing piece.

    This victory, however, is again on Carey. He is a stud and hopefully this year’s playoffs he can continue to play like he is playing now.

    Any update on Pacioretty’s status?

    PS. Nevermind re Paciorrety… he’s fine. Ooh, Andy Petrillo.

  51. sprague cleghorn says:

    So… before the start of the season, if anyone had offered you 70 points, third in the division (if only on a tie-breaker), one point out of second and 7 points clear of ninth at the Olympic break, would you have taken it?

    ‘Til it cranks up again, enjoy the Olympics, good luck Carey and PK.

    And since KGB vet Putin felt free to unearth the hammer and sickle at the opening ceremonies, let’s remember the old chant — Da da, Canada, nyet, nyet, Soviet.

    It’s just too bad the Olympic team isn’t wearing the ’72 Team Canada uniform.

    Go Canada Go!

    … ‘ow could we forget that?

  52. doug19 says:

    What has happened to Louis Leblanc? The Bulldogs finally win a game scoring 5 and Louis still not a point. He should be lighting it up down there! Tinordi got the game winner, I look forward to seeing him with the Habs next year.

    • third generation haber says:

      LL has never been an offensive force at any level. He plays a 2way game and is used mostly as a third liner for the dogs. When he played with us 2 years ago, and his call-up this year, he looked good. I wish we would give him a full-time job next season. I think he needs to add 20 pounds of muscle though. It would also increase the Quebecois content on the team.

      j.p. murray

  53. third generation haber says:

    How can anyone possibly hate on DD??? He had a great game and he’s working hard.

    Because no team wins a cup with this guy as their first line center and that’s what the Habs play for.

    Unless he becomes the next Martin St. Louis (not even close), he needs to be our third line/ two-way/ depth center flanked by some hard-nosed wingers that won’t let anyone mess with the little guy.

    I’m a detractor, but good on DD to show-up even after Pacioretty got injured.

    j.p. murray

  54. third generation haber says:

    A TSN commentator accidentally called the name Rene LeBourque during the higlights.

    Let’s hope LeBourque continues to catch fire!

    j.p. murray

  55. Propwash says:

    Some are harping on Eller’s production as of late. I see it as the time off will help him because the coaches can now focus on him more intently and try to address what’s been going on with him. I’m confident he’ll hit his stride, and as the old saying goes, “patience is a virtue”


  56. mattyboom says:

    In regards to Eller, I don’t see why MT doesn’t do what he did to get DD going. put gallagher with him and see what happens. DD and Bourque had something going today. Maybe bourque dd and patches can be something to look forward to. and gally can get eller going again.

  57. Feraco says:

    Teams would line up for Eller…a 1st and a prospect would be the starting convos and that prospect would have to be 6’1 +.

    He can play on any line, has size, speed, wins face offs and makes the players around him better. Jordan Stall esc and I wouldn’t want Jordan Stall at his salary and contract. Eller will be fine mark my words!

    • Dave Jones says:

      And, big picture, Eller’s struggles are going to make him a cheap resign. This can work in the team’s favour. The only reason you move Eller is if you decide DD is the better player in years to come, and if you decide Galchenyuk is ready now, or very soon, to take on big minutes at centre. Those are big leaps. I say be patient with Eller. Too much upside, and it’s not like he’s hurting you at third line, or with the cap.

  58. monmick says:

    Habs having doubts about Eller. Blues having doubts about Halak. Kind of ironic, considering…

    • third generation haber says:

      I think Eller would be producing more if he were given the ice-time and opportunities that DD is getting. Eller can be shifted to the wing and doesn’t need to be sheltered, so I believe he pays the price for DD’s contract.

      It was a longtime ago, but with Eller at center the egg line was clicking. It was largely dismantled because DD, despite his pp time and sheltering, couldn’t produce.

      j.p. murray

    • J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

      The Blues have no doubts about Halak. He is their starting netminder, and is top 10 in the league.

      I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  59. Sportfan says:

    I know people hate hearing this, but what would Eller fetch?

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

  60. Sportfan says:

    All jokes aside when it comes to Chara it was kind of cool of the Bruins to let Chara go carry the flag even though the Bruins still had a couple of games left.

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

  61. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Nice win tonight. Good luck team Canada & happy Olympic break everyone.

  62. WhatUp says:

    let’s all hold our collective breath that Markov doesn’t get hurt in the next 3 weeks, I’m also hoping he and Lars Eller get traded before the deadline – the 2 of them should get us something fine…and go Canada

    • third generation haber says:

      one rumor stated that we demanded Kyle Clifford, Tanner Pearson (good prospect), and a 1st round pick from L.A.

      Clifford would be perfect for the Habs. I’d like to see us ice a bottom 6, not just a bottom 3.

      j.p. murray

  63. CJ says:

    Great recap Mr. Boone. Have a great night everyone! Cheers, CJ

  64. aHabGrowsInBrooklyn says:

    Seventh or thereabouts.

    Two AHL questions: instead of “Baby Sens”, shouldn’t the Binghampton team be called the MPs or the Commons?

    Since Charlotte is pronounced “shar-lot”, shouldn’t Checkers be pronounced “shek-urz”?

  65. Sportfan says:

    Canucks weren’t using Weise properly !

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

  66. Alan says:

    Price and Subban..The next dynasty????

  67. ProHabs says:

    I am also starting to have my doubts about Eller. I always thougth he was one of the guys to move forward with, to be a part of the core group of guys to take us to the promised land. I have always had high hopes for the guy but he seems to not have the hockey sense. I think he still has high trade value due to his age and size. I hate to say it but maybe it is time to see what a return for him would be.

  68. ths says:

    PK Golden Goal.
    You read it here FIRST!

    Subby Dubby Do

    Ooh Aah Habs on the golf course

  69. GL says:

    They are doing great Lets hope they continue after the break!!

  70. Habcouver says:

    Waiting patiently for #25

  71. Sportfan says:

    FIRST 😀 GO CANADA GO! Edit: Gold

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

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