About this weekend …

TokarskiBuff

Hands up, everyone who thought your Montreal Canadiens would collect four points this weekend?
OK, you’re visionaries. Go buy some lottery tickets.
Now a show of hands: Who would have been happy with three points?
Or two?
Final question for the faithful: At the 16-minute mark of the third period Saturday night, how many of you thought this team would miss the playoffs?

And they still might.

The Canadiens have a killer schedule this week. The patrick Roy Show rolls into the Bell Centre Tuesday night, followed by the surging Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Then the Canadiens hit the road for games in Toronto on Saturday and Boston on Monday the 24th.

Bolstered by the miraculous Overtime win over Ottawa and that ho-hum conquest of hapless Buffalo, the Canadiens finds themselves back in second place in the Atlantic Division. They are seven points clear of the cut-off for Eastern Conference postseason play.

They’re not home and dry just yet. Another three-game losing streak – which is what the Canadiens rode into this weekend – and it’s tight-collar time again.

But the team is looking a lot better than it did in the seconds preceding Lars Eller’s goal at 16:38 of the third period Saturday night.

In reaping four points that boosted them past Tampa Bay and Toronto, the Canadiens displayed guts, character, never-quit attitude – and some semblance of a lineup that might carry the team into mid-April.

Let’s begin with the MVP of the weekend.

MIA since Sochi, P.K. Subban showed up when he was needed most.

The Canadiens stud defenceman played an astonishing 55:31 seconds in the space of 26 hours. P.K. assisted on the three goals that erased Ottawa’s lead on Saturday night. After seven shots on goal against the Senators, P.K. had only one in Buffalo – along with two penalties – but he controlled the play on every one of his 26 shifts against the Sabres.

I was skeptical of pairing P.K. with Francis Bouillon, and they were on for a couple of Ottawa goals. Unless Michel Therrien plans to use Frankie Boo in the 13 remaining regular-season games – including three sets of back-to-backs – we’ll likely see Subban with yet another partner.

Not a problem. The reigning Norris Trophy winner is in a zone, and P.K. can play with anyone.

OK, maybe not Douglas Murray.

David Desharnais was another standout: The goal – with .3 of a second left, off a genius pass by P.K. – that sent the game into OT, plus an assist against Ottawa. An assist on Dale Weise’s goal in Buffalo.

DD is in a zone, and he can play with anyone.

OK, maybe not Rene Bourque. But DD and Max Pacioretty might be the best linemates for Thomas Vanek, who had six shots on goal in his Buffalo homecoming.

Brendan Gallagher scored his 17th of the season against the Sabres and continued to energize new linemates Daniel Brière and Tomas Plekanec. The Canadiens also got a decent performance out of the other new line THerrien threw together against Ottawa: Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Brian Gionta.

Defensive forward duty on the third line is a comedown for the Canadiens’ captain. But at this stage of his career, that would seem to be Gionta’s future with the Canadiens, through this season and beyond if they bring him back.

Galchenyuk played 14:48 against Ottawa, 13:24 in Buffalo. I still think the Canadiens are bringing him along too slowly, and we’ll get to see a different developmental approach when Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche visit. But the Canadiens have a plan for the kid, and they’re sticking to it … at least until the next time Therrien juggles his lines.

That won’t happen if the Canadiens can string some wins together. They got off to a good start, but it was a near-death experience against Ottawa and Buffalo has been dead since October.

Even though the Sabres’ offence was Drew Stafford and 11 guys you’ve never heard of  – oops, I forgot Matt D’Agostini – surprise starter Dustin Tokarski had to be sharp. And he was, making 29 saves to ring up his first NHL shutout.

With Carey Price, Tokarski, Peter Budaj, Devan Dubnyk in Hamilton and Zach Fucale in the Q, the Canadiens have an over-abundance of quality goaltenders – none of whom can help their power play, which went 0-for-Buffalo.

P.K. will fix that.

 

 

 

423 Comments

  1. Phil C says:

    Things I like recently:
    – Splitting up Pleks and Gionta. It seems to have energized both their games
    – Finding a new line for Gallagher to spark
    – Really good pineapple
    – Inserting Dale “can’t lose with” Weise back on the fourth line
    – Rum and coke (why did I stop drinking it)
    – Emelin moving his feet and cracking some skulls
    – PK running free like a thoroughbred with a burr in his saddle
    – Tinordi getting more and more experience

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Can’t argue with any of that, unless you’re putting the pineapple on pizza.

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

    • CJ says:

      Good morning Phil. Great post. I agree with your points, especially regarding Pleks and Gionta. Both looked MUCH better without the other this weekend.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Very fine list.
      I also like:
      – other goalies holding the fort while the No 1 recuperates
      – Vanek drawing attention, even when he’s not scoring
      – good options for the composition of the 4th line (but would like to see White playing)
      – saving Murray for the likes of Leafs and Bruins, not wasting him on John Scott (DID I see or just imagine DD facewash him last night?)
      – the possible taking root of seedling confidence following two modest but important wins
      – Tinordi (Ah, you said it!)
      – ANY signs of return to old form in Eller, Emelin
      – (sorry to be negative): not wasting a gamble on No. 17

  2. The Jackal says:

    @JF – great post.

  3. jeffhabfan says:

    Another big win Last night from the Habs we just have to keep winning the last few weeks to get a playoff spot. GO HABS GO.

  4. chanchilla says:

    was at the game last night, pretty boring after the first, best part was 10000 fans ole-ing buffalo out of their own building as we were walking out!

  5. Cardiac says:

    A lot of my Ottawa friends are still pissing and moaning and whining about Saturday’s game. How short are their memories… Anyone remember the poor officiating from game 4 of last year’s playoffs where Mika Zibanejad kicked the puck in and Kyle Turris interfering with Price? What about Gyrba almost decapitating Eller?

    I say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
    – Jerry Maguire

  6. shiram says:

    4 points is great.
    Now if the team could find 4 lines that work, 3 pairings that work and keep with them for a while, that would be just sweet!

    I’m glad to see Gio getting assigned to Eller’s line, with his declining production, but steady game I’m sure he can be a positive there, and as captain you have to figure he should show some leadership and try to spark Eller.
    I think he needed a veteran, a guy to hang on to, and Gio’s got the pedigree to do it.

    And in the same change, Pleks gets a energeizer in Gallagher, hopefully helping that line score, while maintaining great 2 way play.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      That swap must be among the least expected and yet possibly among the most potentially beneficial. It improves two lines. Hopefully the experimental stage ends quickly and satisfactorily, and the lines can really gel between now and the playoffs.

      Re pairings: it will be good to get Gorges back.

  7. Luke says:

    I have to disagree with some of the sentiment regarding last night’s win. Beating Buffalo wasn’t a given.
    They are a trap-game. (Cue Admiral Akbar).

    They are the team that you can too easily look past. They’ve beated San Jose, Tampa and Boston ‘recently’ (like, just before the Olympics).

    A win is a win. In the NHL any team can beat any team. Yes, he habs should be expected to win it, but they still have to play it.

  8. Sportfan says:

    I think the Habs started OLE OLE like the team itself, remember the old Jumbo tron? they used to put up go habs go to get the crowd going and they also played OLE OLE, so if there is anyone to blame its the team itself haha they pumped those tires.

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    • dr. schmutzdeker says:

      Totally “on board” with the go habs go rally cry…but the ole ole ole oleee, ole, ole b.s. shouild be verboten…It’s brought nuthin’ but grief, and seems to rally, pump up the other team while deflating the home team. (this aint Euro-peeein soccer)

  9. HabinBurlington says:

    Interesting, when the Jackets and Stars play their makeup game they will play 60 minutes, but the Jackets get to start the game with the 1-0 lead they held when the game was postponed.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/24487773/stars-blue-jackets-game-reshceduled-for-april-9-jackets-start-up-1-0

  10. DipsyDoodler says:

    On the weekend our resident gobshite asked if any coach other than Cunneyworth had ever been criticized on l’antichambre. The answer is yes. First, every coach has been criticized on that show- nature of the game. Second, l’AC is a debate show, so pretty much every argument and counter-argument has been taken up by some panelists at times.

    Of course, by “criticize” I mean disagreeing with his decisions, not calling him a moron as said gobshite does with tedious regularity.

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

  11. sims says:

    Need fantasy advice:

    Do you start Price or Keumper this week. Habs have 3 games w no -back-to-backs while the Wild have 5! games including 2 back-to-backs.

    Will price be given any nights off? Is he 100%? Any chance they reward tokarski with another start?

  12. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Re. singing Ole.

    It’s always important to maintain perspective: some day Habs fans might prefer to sing this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjMOJU26EsU

  13. JF says:

    Not many on this board defend Michel Therrien. The most frequent criticisms of him are that he can’t make in-game adjustments, that he relies too heavily on his veterans, that he plays guys in the wrong position or on the wrong side, and that he is stalling the development of our young players. He is said to have completely messed up Eller, destroyed Subban’s confidence by benching him in Philly and by reining in his theatrics, and held back Galchenyuk’s ascension to the number one centre spot. He is also said to favour Desharnais and Bouillon over others because of the language factor.

    I think most of this is a lot of BS. Like any coach, Therrien ices the lineup he thinks can win. He rides hunches, he rewards effort, he occasionally benches a player for lack of effort or discipline, for an egregious turnover, or for repeated errors. He sometimes makes questionable decisions – but also makes a few inspired ones – and he makes mistakes. Of what coach anywhere is all of this not true?

    Therrien is getting results. His record with the Habs is good, very good when you consider the talent at his disposition. The team doesn’t score much; our lack of opportunism is so glaring that I doubt this would change much even if we played a more wide-open style – at any rate not enough to make up for the greater number of defensive lapses that would occur.

    Because the defence, let’s face it, is a bit of a patchwork. It seems to be hit or miss whether it’s effective from one game to the next. Some nights there are gaping holes so that the goaltender has to face a lot of wide-open looks, others it’s pretty tight. I thought we were terrible defensively on Saturday, not bad last night.

    As for our young players, P.K. seems to have rediscovered his mojo, missing since his Olympic selection. He’s less hesitant, he’s playing with more of an edge but also with more discipline, and he’s making better decisions. He’s less spectacular but more effective. I had been observing for some time that his most spectacular moments usually achieve nothing. So if Therrien has, as some think, been reining him in, maybe he needed that.

    Lars Eller is still in something of a funk, although he’s beginning to look better. I think Therrien is showing great patience with him, for example in not benching him on Saturday when he was -4 but instead giving him a chance to redeem himself, which he certainly did with the goal that cued the comeback. This mark of confidence should be good for Eller.

    Alex Galcheyuk is being brought along slowly, some think too slowly, and of course we’ll see the contrast on Tuesday night. But I doubt Galchenyuk is as talented as MacKinnon. He also missed significant time this season, as well as missing almost an entire year of Junior. And he continues to struggle defensively. He’ll get his chance at centre, but I don’t think his development is being hampered meanwhile.

    What else? Oh yes, DD, who is no longer a hot topic here. I’ve said several times recently that he is clearly our most offensively creative centre and that his contract is fully justified. After his horrendous start, he just keeps putting up the points. He gets ice-time because he earns it, not because of language. Ditto Bouillon, who can be good if not over-used.

    I think a lot of the bias against Therrien is because of what happened in his first stint as coach of the Habs, perhaps also because his manner and appearance are somewhat rough and he’s not particularly eloquent in either language. But I find that when he talks, he generally says something, Obviously he has to be careful in front of the media, but, unlike JM, he does more than spout cliches.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      The other thing Therrien is doing is not letting the pressure get to him or the team. Most sports coaches get blamed after losses. The Habs coach gets criticized after wins sometimes. Now the fan base is not as crazy on average as H I/O, but its pretty demanding.

      Lose two games in a row, even if you’ve just gone 7-3, and the fans are asking for your head.

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Way to put it out there, JF. Huge amount to chew on.
      The healthy return of Gorges is going to be important.
      What’s happened with DD needs to provide us all with a lesson!
      Excellent point about Therrien and Eller on Saturday night. Tangentially, someone else pointed out how tragically impassive Eller was after scoring. It spoke volumes. Remember him this time last year?
      Hopefully PK will reveal/confess all in his biography after he retires. But I suspect you’re right.
      As for the Galchenyuk debate, I look forward to seeing replies from the likes of CJ et al. I’m out of my depth.
      Great post — Happy ST P’s, JF.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I was fine with Eller’s reaction, the game was only 4-2, no time to be whooping it up after a goal, to me it showed poise and composure. Given how bad a slump he was in, to me it was great restraint.

        Eller just doesn’t have that Hockey creativity which DD has, they play complete different types of game and both are helpful to the Habs.

        Galchenyuk is coming along, Patty Roy has the good fortune of a really talented young team who were coming off a horrid season. Pressure free hockey with loads of talent, perfect combination for all involved.

        Next season in Colorado expectations will be higher, but still far less pressure and attention than what MT faces on even a day off.

        Fair points from JF, even if I still don’t trust MT, hard to argue with the results.

        His seperating of Gio and Plex to me speaks volumes of a willingness to make changes despite the catcalls made otherwise.

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      Great post/read JF.

    • hansolo says:

      What a thoughtful and sensible post. I must confess I also bought into bashing MT. But you have made excellent points, especially about his being rough around the edges. One shouldn’t look down on someone because he or she speaks a certain way – and I must say I did. I also happen to like fancystats; by those measures the Habs aren’t doing so well. But you’ve pointed out it’s a results-oriented business and, so far, MT is getting results.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Jane – Therrien presently has an overall record of 66/39/12 in his second go-round with Montreal. That’s 3rd best in the Eastern Conference for the past two years.

    • CJ says:

      Good morning JF. Very nice read. Fair and balanced. Thank you for sharing.

      I’d like to jump in with the following;

      I agree that Therien is playing hunches, going with the configuration of players who he believes provides the best chance to win. He is paid to deliver results, and he has to trust his instincts. I might not always agree with his decisions, but I would do the same thing if I was in his position.

      My only concern is that both MB and MT seem to be unwilling, at times, to let go of their allegiances with established (veteran) players. I understand that Therien has a relationship with Bouillion that extends nearly 20 years. Like a pair of comfortable jeans that hang in my closet, they are the go to thing when I am heading out. Something that is trusted and can be relied upon. My concern is that this trust has clouded their vision regarding some of our players. Bouillion was awarded with a first star on Saturday night. That was very fitting and doesn’t stick like a thorn in my paw by any means, however it was not warranted. My fear is that this recognition has solidified the belief that Frankie can play 20+ minutes a night. I don’t have the benefit of being able to share a live review of his play, but based on what I am seeing on the television, he is a liability, even with PK as his safety net. I would say the same thing about Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver, especially when all three are in the lineup together.

      If this is about winning right now, which, when you make the move for Vanek does suggest that you are sending a message to your players, fans and opponents that you are moving ahead, than it is imperative that we ice the best possible lineup. As much as I loved the wins this weekend (and, living in Ottawa I can’t overstate this point), we are not going to acheieve the same success against better opponents with Weaver, Murray and Bouillion on the point. Reinserting Tinordi (on his correct side) was the first of three moves that needs to take place. I would continue to play Tinordi on the left with PK. We need to split up Markov and Emelin. I would propose adding Beaulieu to the lineup to play with the General. Our 5/6 pair would be Emelin (on the left) with either 55/43/6. When Gorges is healthy, he takes the spot of 55/43/6.

      Regarding Chucky being better or equal to MacKinnon, I don’t think that he is, but do we really know? Is Tavares better than Crosby? No, probably not, but they are both terrific players. I simply can’t believe that we would spend a third overall pick on a player and not at least try him out at his natural position. Second crude analogy of the post, but it seems like we saved to buy a Corvette convertible, but once in our possession we fail to take it out of third gear, or enjoy it with the top down. Chucky has started ONE game at centre, in St. Louis. If we are making assumptions from that one game, Price would be in the ECHL and a number of our players would be looking for work outside of hockey. Earlier I drew the comparison to Tavares at the Olympics. Tavares was playing on the fourth line, at wing. This is not a natural position and, by extension, did not allow him to contribute the way he is capable of contributing. The problem team Canada faced is the same problem Montreal faces – who do you displace? DD seems to have earned his position. Once again we are left to return to the conclusion that Therien has an attachment with Pleks. IMO, Pleks today is not the same player he was 2 years ago. He is still one of my favorites, but at some point we need to come to the realization that if we want to win in the playoffs, we need to go in a different direction. DD and Chucky, with Pleks in a shutdown role as your third option give us a new element that would potentially create match up challenges. We are so worried about defending, yet we fail to recognize our advantage (our offensive skill) – let’s make the other team defend. When we were clicking during the first period on Saturday night, it was like we were coming in waves. Ottawa had no answer and was forced to play on their heals. This is the style of play that best aligns to the resources (players) we have. Skate and force the opposition into making mistakes. We did the same thing during the first period against the Bruins.

      I invite everyone’s feedback. Cheers, JC

    • Cal says:

      He still drives me crazy by players not being where they’re supposed to be. Bourque has had the most success on right wing. MT plays him on the left. Vanek has had the most success as a left winger. MT plays him on the right.
      I know that on D that the favoured side is not possible- more lefty D than righties on the roster.
      Only the 4th line should be a typical “dump and chase” line on this team with these players, but all 4 lines play that way. Against a team with decent D, the Habs’ forwards will have all sorts of trouble.

      Other than that, his record is pretty good, last season’s playoffs excepted. We will see how well the team does when the games are for all the marbles. I am hoping for three rounds of playoff hockey, especially from Price.

  14. arcosenate says:

    Really, really enjoying the whining in Ottawa today, the excuses are flying fast and furious. In fact Denis Potvin said the Habs have always been the beneficiaries of sympathetic officiating.

    It’s great, the comeback which broke the back of the Senators’ playoff hopes has nothing to do with the Sens being a crap team whose true stench is revealed everytime their goalie doesn’t play all-world hockey.

    Ah, it feels good to beat those losers like that.

  15. Ian Cobb says:

    I still think PK should play up front and D on the power play!!

  16. dabouz says:

    Best thing about this weekend: Getting to see my Sens fan friend leave my place .4 seconds after the soups goal

    db out.

  17. Sportfan says:

    Anyone going to the baseball games in the BIG O in a few weeks?

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  18. HabinBurlington says:

    How much cash do we think Roy is pinning on the dressing room board for tomorrow nights game? I’m guessing it will be a big wad to who scores the winner!

  19. CranbrookEd says:

    PK’s new website: http://www.pksubban.com/

    CranbrookEd
    Mr. Beliveau: “Pure Pak mais oui”! . . .

  20. Psycho29 says:

    @ Dunboyne Mike
    Happy St.Patty’s day Mike.
    Wore my old green cardigan to work today. It’s a beaut!

    And Happy St. Pats to everyone, Top of the mornin to ya!

  21. frontenac1 says:

    Erin Go Braugh everyone!

  22. Thomas Le Fan says:

    So now if you expect your team to win, you should be able to pick lottery winners? There’s a leap. Thought maybe if there were only two numbers to pick, I might have a chance at that. Heh.
    The Avs and the surprisingly good Blue Jackets present a tougher test, however. Hoping Price is good to go and hoping the genius Therrien can out-coach my second favourite team led by that rookie bum, what’s his name. Go Habs.

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

  23. habstrinifan says:

    Whoa there!

    Easy with the glad-handing!

    Was a great weekend.

    But we played an Ottawa team in difficulty and had to rescue our season with one of those miracles of sport.

    And the Buffalo game was a given.

    And the PP still is woeful…. absolutely woeful.

    FIX the PP!

    Edit: One can use the sports bromide ” the bounces will start going his way; his luck will change” to describe Vanek’s lack of scoring success … and it would be a very valid approach. But NOT with the PP. The PP schemes employed by the team now is simply bad.

  24. Kooch7800 says:

    So what is the presser with Patrick Roy about at the Bell Centre?

    “Lets Go Canada”

  25. Old Bald Bird says:

    Irony is the whining that Habs fans do about whiny Sens fans.

  26. Sportfan says:

    Has Ottawas owner started a new test to find out what effected the refs calls, some kind of forensics test again?

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  27. Sportfan says:

    Happy Richard Riot everyone, I mean St Patricks day!

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  28. habstrinifan says:

    Boone.. I’m only half way thru your ALN and felt obliged to let you know its hugely entertaining.

    Now where was I?

  29. Hobie Hansen says:

    Oh the whining in the office here in Ottawa this morning is priceless! They’re going on and on about how Lehner had the puck covered and the referees were either paid off or just plain stupid.

    I’m just letting them know that I thought the officiating was on par with the playoffs last year when the Sens beat the Habs.
    When I was upset last year I was called a sore loser or a cry a baby. There were clearly no instances where the Sens kicked the puck in the net, the refs issued very tight icing calls or Price having the puck covered without a whistle?

  30. Commandant says:

    Lots of Prospect stuff today. Some Interviews with Potential 2014 First Rounders this weekend

    Brendan Perlini, Niagara
    http://lastwordonsports.com/2014/03/15/five-minutes-brendan-perlini-niagara-ice-dogs/

    Roland McKeown and Spencer Watson, Kingston
    http://lastwordonsports.com/2014/03/17/five-minutes-roland-mckeown-spencer-watson-progress/

    and
    The College Free Agent Class of 2014, Final Part.
    http://lastwordonsports.com/2014/03/16/college-free-agents-class-2014-part-4/

    Go Habs Go!

  31. habsfan0 says:

    Looking forward to the games this week,particularly the one on Saturday here in Toronto vs the Laffs.
    A potential 1st round matchup,perhaps?
    After 35 years,it’s high time the Forever Rivals met in the postseason.

  32. Sportfan says:

    I can only imagine the media circus that will join Patrick Roy today

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  33. twilighthours says:

    Dunboyne,

    My Tampa guy is a family member, but I don’t really pry. I don’t want to put him in an awkward spot. He did tip me off to the Lecavalier buyout, though!

    As far as Marty, I don’t have much. Here’s the direct quote: “The team’s been really disappointed in him ever since he became Captain.”

    I was a huge fan, too. Not so much now.

  34. Laramy87 says:

    I am still not sold on the Bruins. Yah they are a hot team and moved to first in conference and like 4 points from top in the league, but in a 7 game series i think they are very beatable. Yes they beat the habs last week, but i dont feel like the habs played poorly that game, goaltending let us down. The 1st and 3rd are no goals if Price was in net, 2nd and 4th very poor d coverage. Anyways thats not the point. They are kind of steaking at the wrong point. Still 14 games remains for them, a loss and things could change for them….

    Maybe its just me, but i think Habs can beat them in a 7 game series. They are big but not typically a fast team.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Anybody can be beaten in the playoffs, yet the Bruins are pretty solid.
      They also have great familiarity and know what it takes in the playoffs.

      The Leafs came very close to the winning recipe last year.
      What they did was continually dump the puck into Chara’s corner forcing him to skate and pivot. They also had their bigger forwards use the body on him.
      Had it not been for the cowardly play of Phaneuf in the last games, the Leafs would have won

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        The whole Toronto-Phaneuf thing is Through The Looking Glass stuff. I just don’t get it.

        As for beating the Bruins by targeting Chara, I totally agree (and usually sing that song before each of our games against them).

        But Laramy, the Bruins got to the 2013 finals after slumping at around this stage last year (including both Chara and Lucic looking done and uninterested). To me they look ominously good right now, especially considering the impact of their newer players. I think they are the real deal and the team to beat in the East.

        I DO believe we could do it — playing only A-games. (And if we don’t, a Boston-St Louis final would make for good consolation).

        Cheers

  35. Hstands4Hockey says:

    My ramblings from the game at First Niagara Centre last night:

    a) An insane Habs crowd (>50%) also resulted in an insane border wait time (>50 minutes).

    b) Sabres are pretty much an AHL team, and it felt like an AHL game almost every time PK wasn’t on the ice. Lots of (ex) Bulldogs in the game.

    c) I will continue to plead with all Habs fans to stop singing that stupid Ole song. It has nothing to do with the hockey, French culture or the Habs. Just makes us all look like idiots.

    d) Habs are not a small team. Even with Parros, Murray and White in the press box they were pushing around a very tough Buffalo lineup. Fan reaction to the Emelin hit was spectacular.

    e) Best game I’ve seen Vanek play so far, he seems to be getting comfortable and settling in a bit now. DD and patches were almost trying too hard to set him up and they all had huge smiles on their faces the whole game (This is not insignificant). Goals will come soon.

    f) They’ve got these chewy pretzels…..$5!?….get outta here!

    ——————————————————————–
    Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
    @Hstands4Hockey

  36. habsonly says:

    Great weekend for the habs, the wins were needed and hopefully the team continues to to build momentum from these victories.
    Even though Vanek hasn’t scored yet he has played well and gives his linemates a little more room on the ice. Also the addition of vanek has finally given the coach the option to break up DD, Patch and Gallagher. Gallagher seems to be infectious with whoever he plays with.
    Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!!!
    I’ll be listening to the Pogues, Dropkick Murphys (Rose Tatto), Floggy Molly, the Chieftains, Damien Dempsey and much more!!!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Nice play-list, habsonly. Happy St P’s to you.

      If I’m not mistaken, you are preaching patience as regards Vanek, also pointing out that he has value even before he starts scoring.

      Patience? HIO?!

      • habsonly says:

        Thank you DM.
        Yes patience (have a little “patience” song by Damien Dempsey).
        I think Vanek is helping the team he just hasn’t scored yet, that will come and when it does the flood gates will open.
        Optimistic and patient!

    • twilighthours says:

      Damien Rice on the box here. What ever happened to that guy?

  37. DipsyDoodler says:

    The four categories of journalists:

    https://twitter.com/micahcohen/status/441607788696178688/photo/1

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

  38. CJ says:

    Good morning folks!

    Sitting in the office this morning, I suddenly have a craving for ribs and buds. Damn you Casey’s and your not so subleminal messaging at the top of this page. I digress….

    Yes, I thought four points were a certainty this weekend, if only because there really wasn’t an option. With less than four minutes remaining on Saturday night, I was pretty much prepared to mail it in. That win very well might have turned this around.

    I was glad that the team beat Buffalo on Sunday night, but really, should we be surprised? There are some workers within the group, but the Sabres are woefully short on talent right now. Their fourth line is particularily painful to watch. In any event, it was a chance to pad some stats, but to the Sabres credit, or perhaps more telling, to the Canadiens struggles, we couldn’t bury more than two of our chances.

    Can you win without a PP? Yes. LA has proven so during the regular season, while the Bruins won a Stanley Cup with very little success with the man advantage. The bigger question however is can you win without scoring on the PP and consistently while 5×5? The answer is surely no. Clearly we need to get things rolling offensively. Everyone knows it. That said, it is not my greatest concern.

    Defensively we have PK and than we have everyone else. I thought Markov and Emelin looked better last night, but again, we were playing a team who has a payroll roughly a third of ours. Tinordi had a good game while playing his natural side and Weaver and Bouillion were competent. If we are willing to push our luck and why not, today afterall is St. Patrick’s Day, we MIGHT be able to get away with one of either Weaver, Bouillion or Murray in the lineup until Gorges returns. We CAN NOT however get away with two or more at once. This is a recipe for disaster.

    The reluctance to play Beaulieu is confusing. Folks have pointed to the salary cap. It is razor thin and we are about $2,000 short, however if we place Gorges on the IR, we would receive the salary relief that would allow Beaulieu to come up. People have also noted that Beaulieu has an attitude problem and may or may not get along with the management team. IMO, this is nothing more than speculation. That said, assuming for a second that it is true, he would be but one of a number of athletes (many of whom were great) who didn’t get along with the organization hieracy. Babe Ruth and Colnel Rupert. Mickey Mantle and Casey Stengel (sorry, yes I am a Yankees fan), Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin…..

    We can NOT afford to ice anything less than our best lineup. We need to win 2/3 games this week and won’t be doing so with Frankie, Weaver and Murray in the lineup at the same time. We dodged a major bullet on Saturday night. So much as I love Frankie, a warrior, the first star selection only seems to validate the coaches’ decision to dress him. Anyone who watched the game could tell you that for 63 minutes he was below average. Good on him for scoring an opportunistic goal, but IMO, he should not have even been on the ice with Weaver at that junction of the game.

    I guess this is a long way of saying I am looking forward to seeing what changes, if any, occur at practice today. I am hopeful that there are adjustments in preparation for a tough four game stretch (Av’s, Jackets, Leafs, Bruins).

    Have a great day everyone! Cheers, CJ

    • WAR72 says:

      Nice post.
      I am also a huge yankees fan…even when the expos were around i always enjoyed the yanks along with their rich and interesting history.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Great post.
      Feel exactly the same about Bouillon.
      About Beaulieu — don’t we have to make allowances for whatever various X factors we don’t know about? If it’s true that he improves our chances of winning, and management knows it, then there must be some important reason — invisible to us — why he’s still in Hamilton.

      (What a boring post!)

      wjc is confident that NB will be back up for the playoffs. I don’t know if that’s just a hunch or what. He hasn’t replied to my request for further details….

      wjc?

  39. Maritime Ronn says:

    As of this moment, the pace for 8th place is 90-91 points, and 92 points looks like a lock.

    That would mean the Habs would need 11 points in their next 13 games.
    A record of 4-6-3 or 5-7-1would be enough.

  40. I like Tokarski, mostly because I love my goalies, and that he was a member of one of my favourite tournaments of the season but I still don’t see Budja moving over him. But if it happens this summer that would be fine by me.

    I’m still excited to have Vanek, he’s a proven scorer so when it happens with Montreal…oh my.

    I kinda wanna draft more defensemen this summer…..like three more, and improve offense by UFA.

    I watched two episodes of 24CH, one episode Therrien was ripping PK when PK was trying to get help, and I watched the mid season windup.

    My boy made the rep soccer team, that means we travel all summer long, so no North American tours this year and no Mets game with my favourite New Yorkers. That’s a big bummer.

    Speaking f big bummers, Jim and I are losing ours :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Custom Sports Figures
    Congrats Carey Price and PK Subban, Montreal’s Gold Medal Members!

    • Habfan10912 says:

      No trip? Manitoba needs a Major League Team and Chris and I could visit you! :)

      Great news on the boy though.

      I know you love your goalies. Do you think Boods may be in trouble next season? A great teammate and seemingly nice guy with a very attractive wife (added for Timo), but could Tokoski fill that spot?

    • wjc says:

      Sholi2000, rep team that is exciting, you will be busy.

      A couple of points, 24ch is a reality thing. They take 8 hours of footage and condense it into 24 minutes or so.

      They take the most entertaining 24 minutes, controversial, entertaining and turn it into a low budget show.

      So what you see is not a complete picture. Smart players know the camera’s are rolling and put their best foot forward.

      Stressed out coaches, probably pissed at the invasion, will sometimes lash out and it comes across as mean etc.

      So it is show biz…imagine someone following you around as your kid goes through the pressure of a rep team and only shows your most vulnerable moments, with expert editing etc.

      The good coaches that I ever met, hardly ever were in the running for a popularity contest and if they were they weren’t worth a damn.

      I personally never watch this stuff because it does not give a true picture of the reality of the situation.

      wjc

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Do/did you work in media, wjc?
        This is exactly how so-called “reality” tv operates, and I wish your post had been laminated and pinned to the HIO margin at the start of the season! Progs like 24CH look so real but are in fact utterly unreal.

      • I hate reality tv but I don’t compare 24CH to reality tv, it’s not survivor or Big Brother.

        As for Therrien my disapproval of him goes way back plus his time in Pittsburgh, I mean trying to mold Crosby into a defensive player was just funny.

        Shane Oliver
        Twitter @Sholi2000
        http://www.Sholi2000.com
        Custom Sports Figures
        Congrats Carey Price and PK Subban, Montreal’s Gold Medal Members!

    • 24 Cups says:

      I was one of the people asking for Tokarski to get the start. It was more of a hunch than anything else.

      Budaj is still the main backup. He slumped the past few weeks just like any other player does. It just gets more amplified because he’s a goalie. It’s no big deal when a Dman or a forward sits for a game or two but it is when it’s a goalie.

      There are four weeks left in the NHL schedule. The Habs only have one more set of back-to-back games (Boston/Buffalo). If Price can stay healthy, that means just two more starts for a back-up. I’ll leave it to Therrien to decide who that is.

      Next fall, the two goalies can come to camp and fight for the number two spot. That’s assuming Tokarski wants to return. Budaj has one year left on his contract at 1.4M while Tokarski will probably re-sign for around 700,000 grand. Budaj has been loyal and a perfect fit with Carey Price. He’s also a good foot soldier. I still think he’ll get the nod next October.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Ronn, how much do players notice when they are called out by us passionate fans?

      But I agree with your post and believe I remain on the let’s-not-tar-and-feather-Therrien-just-yet side of the fence.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Ireland
        You’re going to have to trust me on this one…
        They know…and they know all too well.
        Even before the advent of social media, they all claimed they didn’t read newspapers, watch tv, or listen to radio, yet curiously, they always knew what was going on….

  41. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Huge 4 point weekend pretty much assured the Habs a playoff spot. All that counts now is that they make the playoffs HEALTHY. I could care less where they finish.

  42. 24 Cups says:

    Here are this week’s games in hand adjusted standings.

    Divisional:
    Montreal = 81
    Tampa = 81
    Toronto = 80
    Detroit = 75

    Wildcard:
    Montreal = 81
    Philadelphia = 79
    Columbus = 79
    New York = 76
    Detroit = 75
    Washington = 74

    Vegas Odds for the Habs:
    Making the playoffs = 94.7% (increase of 4.7%)
    Second in division = 26%
    Third in division = 43%
    7th place wildcard = 19%
    8th place wildcard = 7%

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      The wild card spots of 7-8 are not as compressed as that as 2 of the 3 teams Philly, Columbus, and the Rangers ( you could include Washington) will have automatic 2nd-3rd place byes on their Division

      • 24 Cups says:

        For sure. I just include them because at this point it’s so tight that we have no idea how things will shake down for the two spots behind Pittsburgh. In essence, Montreal has a five point lead on 9th place with 13 games to go.

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          Hi cups

          I believe the habs are 7 points up on 9th place Washington and 8 points up against 10th place Detroit that has 2 games in hand

          • 24 Cups says:

            Brain cramp. I forgot to include the Rangers as the 8th seed. In that case, Montreal has a six point lead over Detroit for the final playoff spot based on games played adjusted standings. I also believe that the Habs have two games left against the Red Wings.

            When it’s all said and done, Montreal’s best hope is to finish 2nd or 3rd in their division (which is a three way dead heat right now). Alas, Tampa has the easiest schedule during the final 13 games of the season.

          • Maritime Ronn says:

            You’re always a good read, Cups

  43. wjc says:

    Learning from history,

    As you already know Montreal Canadiens were a smallish, fast team in the early sixties, that got roughed up when Chicago and Toronto decided the strategy would work….usually playoffs.

    This void was filled when the Canadiens employed the likes of Ferguson, Harper, and Harris.

    Now these guys were not great skaters, they stood out when their fleet footed team mates decided to turn on the jets. They looked out of place to be honest, especially Harper and Ferguson.

    However, the lessen was, the Canadiens stopped being pushed around. It just stopped and if you were not looking you would not have noticed. Like the base in a rock band, you notice it if it stops, the music is not as full.

    Ferguson took it on himself or was told his responsibility if he wished t skate with these guys was to not allow anything to even start.

    Beliveau rewarded Ferguson with some 20 goal season and if anyone took even a side ways glace towards Beliveau there was Ferguson roaring in like a deranged mountain lion to kill that person. He took it that personal. Harper could never really fight well, he could never skate well, his shot was a bit of a joke, but he never saw trouble that he was not in there to add his fists to.

    Other teams realize that playing that style will not work anymore so they have to stick to hockey.

    Nilan would fit that mold as a guy who knew why he was there and when he was traded they found out what he had meant to the players. Safety to play their game.

    wjc

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      I would prefer for our morally bankrupt league to take cheapshots and dirty play out of the game. But until it does (and I’m not holding my breath), every team is going to need a Ferguson/Nilan for when the schedule sends you up against the Marchands, Torres’, and Cookes.

      In Montreal, I think we took Parros too late in his career/concussion quota. For his own sake, and his family’s, I hope he takes his brain off the ice and uses it to make a good — and safe — living somewhere else.

      Which means we need another one…

  44. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    Therrien fails the brother-in-law test. I would not want to have to hang around with the man.

    Judging from the personal attacks etc here, that is part of the problem for some of the fan base. That and honest worry about how he handles young players.

    Then again, the same critiques levelled against MT were often levelled against Jacques Martin. And way back before both regimes, we were horrified when talented young players turned into drunks and cokeheads, and the organization’s inability to guide its prospects through the young adult minefield was a big topic.

    So there seems to be a lid on the party-related casualty list.

    We had the barren Kovalev years, with our talented trick pony scoring nowhere near as many goals as a self-disciplined player would have. PK Subban seems to be paying for Kovalev – generals always fight the last war. However, for a while there (especially during the Cunneyworth collapse), I was afraid we were grooming a Kovalev on defence. So I step back, watch and think maybe they have something – I love the Subban we have now in comparison to what we saw then, and I can’t comment on how much guidance was needed to get him here.

    I think there’s a degree of being careful what you wish for going on.

    The team is doing better on ice than it probably should on paper, so even if I don’t like the coach as a personality, the results are interesting.

    • wjc says:

      Charley, you hit a home run, finally someone sees the big picture.

      You add millions of dollars to the equation and adulation and you realize someone has to neutralize this with a bit of tough love.

      Someday Subban will realize this, when he is looking at a younger guy and trying to reason with him.

      wjc

    • Mike Boone says:

      Good analysis, man. A nice read on a Monday morning.

      Mike Boone
      Hockey Inside/Out blogger

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      “Brother-in-law test”! New to me! Excellent.

      Nice thinking outside the box, Charlie. The way we criticise things here, we are the blind men holding different parts of the elephant and insisting that it is a tree, a snake, etc.

  45. stevieray says:

    I must admit that before the big comeback on Saturday nite …I emailed my son BC and told him the Habs were folding like a cheap tent . Man was I wrong Partner !…This team continues to ” get it done ” …somehow . I have been a MT basher for a spell …and still not a fan of his juggling act …however the team continues to surprise . Second place ( for now ) when before these 2 games we were barely wildcard is quite a turn in events .
    Now about PK …was that a slick move last nite he made towards the end of the third ..or what .
    So as we approach the end of the season all I can say is that this team is entertaining but can also be frustrating to watch !…guess that’s why I watch …to the end
    Have a good day all ….wind chill -20 in NS today ..the damn groundhog LIED :)

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Hi Jim

      Preety soon they’ll be asking what’s wrong with Marty St. Louis.

      7 games played, zero goals, 2 assists, Minus 1, playing 19:30/game and 1st Unit PP, and only 19 shots on goal in those 7 games.
      A good thing it’s not Montreal
      :-)

      • Habfan10912 says:

        It’s hard to score in this league today. Even the goal scorers have a rough time of it. A return to the “cold puck” era?

        The league, in reacting to the injuries from the post work stoppage 1, allowed the clutching and grabbing to return, resulting in a slowed down game.

        Many nights we see games such as last nights we’re it’s just hard to watch. I think the league had a sense that this might lead to lower scoring and issued the smaller pad rule to hopefully compensate.

        It is what it is but take away those injuries we were seeing with the post shutdown league, and I liked that game a lot better, eh?

        BTW – Mornin’ Ronn!

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          Jim
          For the most part, the recipe looks like this.

          If you coach a non-elite team, you coach ‘not to lose’.
          If you coach an elite team and get a lead, you protect that lead

      • wjc says:

        He misses Stamkos, sometimes the old saying is true.

        ‘YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE…….UNTIL YOU LOSE IT.

        wjc

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          Marty played extremely well without Stamkos

          • Habfan10912 says:

            Could it be the pressure of playing in NY? Big difference between Tampa and NY, eh?

          • twilighthours says:

            Jim, I’ll tell ya this:

            my one legit NHL source, in Tampa, says that since the Marty trade it’s like a black cloud has been lifted over the room there. Marty was poisoning the air and had to go.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Hi Twi.
            Is that solid?
            Important for me to know: a huge MSL fan.
            Does your source blame MSL? Or was it more like a broken marriage marriage, two sides to it, irreconcilable differences.
            Be gentle!

          • Maritime Ronn says:

            Ireland

            twi’s info is good….

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Damn.
            The atlantic telegraph nails it.
            Now I’m guilt-wracked that the great Jarome never got his Cup. It was clearly partially my fault….

  46. Habfan10912 says:

    Good morning all! Another good ALN. While we seem to continue the debate on Therrien, its hard to look at this teams record and effort on a nightly basis and not give some credit, even grudgingly.

    My biggest critism of MT was noted in todays ALN. Boone says, “Galchenyuk played 14:48 against Ottawa, 13:24 in Buffalo. I still think the Canadiens are bringing him along too slowly, and we’ll get to see a different developmental approach when Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche visit.”

    I’ve felt that for several weeks now. We have a another star on this team not named Price or PK. I think the team should be playing him like a star.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      One of our (genuinely) learned posters asserted yesterday that Galchenyuk is not yet physically strong enough to play centre. Maybe he was referring only to taking the No.1 spot, but I think he said that Gal would be eaten alive.

      I don’t know. Would that be reason enough to keep a slow pace with his development?

      On the one side we could argue that more ice time = more confidence = more scoring.

      On the other side, we could say that more ice time if he’s not ready = confidence undermined, less scoring, retarded development.

      Glad I’m not coach!

      • CJ says:

        Good morning Mike!

        It isn’t the best analogy, but I equate it to the Canadian Olympic roster. Tavares, who I regard as one of the best five players in the world today, played wing on the fourth line and rendered ineffective. For him to have been successful, he needed to be our first or second line centre. Chucky is the same way. He makes plays and passes that nobody on our team can make. He is just beginning to scratch the surface.

        He has been given ONE game at centre, on the road, in St. Louis. IMO, it has been a major missed opportunity.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Hey CJ.
          Helpful analogy, but can you define “ineffective”? Perhaps Tavares didn’t score, but it looked to me like he was everywhere, a bolt of energy on the puck every time, causing problems for every D.
          Everyone I was watching with (that was the week I was in Toronto and includes Hib and Lafleurguy) was lamenting the wonderful Tavares being stuck with the Isles….

          • CJ says:

            I watch a great deal of Isles games because I love watching Tavares play. To see him at the Olympics was to see but a glimpse of what this young man can do. Perhaps ineffective was strong, however there was a noticeable difference in his play. I attribute this to the role and responsibility he was assigned. It is not easy trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

            The challenge for Team Canada is the same challenge the Canadiens face. Who do you displace? I don’t think that there is any doubt that team Canada recognized that Tavares is among the best in the world, but it’s hard to bump either Crosby or Toews. Same in Montreal. Difficult to bump Pleks and DD. Personally, I would keep DD as a 1A and move Chucky to the 1B. Pleks could shine in a checking capacity.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Sounds good to me. I wonder why they don’t do it?

            Could it be to do with how Pleks might respond? Or is it exclusively to do with their reckoning of Gal’s readiness?

          • CJ says:

            Hi Mike. IMO, likely a bit of column A and column B.

            I firmly believe that this offseason, Bergevin puts his stamp on the team. I don’t believe that it is a stretch to suggest that no fewer than 6 roster players will be replaced (Bourque, Gionta, Parros, Murray, Bouillion, Weaver). Of course, there is also the currious case of General Markov. Intertesting times ahead…..

    • CJ says:

      Good morning Jim!

      I’m on the same page with respect to Chucky. We need to give him a bigger role. The situation reminds me of the Canadian Olympic team. The guys who had the toughest time were those who were played in roles outside of their comfort (Tavares on the fourth line wing). Chucky needs to be a first or second line centre. Based on their play right now, I would have DD as a 1A, Chucky as your 1B and Pleks as the 3 in a checking role.

      Just my two cents…

  47. Gotta disagree with UCE below on his assessment of MT’s doing a good job with this team. If he was doing a good job, we wouldn’t be scratching for a wild card spot. We would be getting more up front production from some skilled players like Eller, Pleks, Gally, Prust (yes, he is skilled and can play, but not, it seems under whatever system MT has engineered to suck the life out of our players).

    I’ve written before on the various talking heads view that a good ciach might win 4 more games and a bad coach may lose 4. That’s malarky. What a good or great coach does is get the most out of his players. Build a great chemistry and nurture the strengths of everyone. MT has done none of that, instead imposing his view on players, rotating them in and out of lines, having players on their un-natural sides (look at Vanek… rather than letting him play on his natural side he’s whispering in his ear on the bench to stick with it). He has hurt Eller, Gally (still under 15 min. a night) and is instead playing the done and fried vets who score meagerly.

    Sorry UCE, I can’t admit that he’s done a good job. Maybe a fair job, but the damage he is doing will cost us more in the long term and what up with JJ on the power play? What was once a feared PP is now a joke and if we can’t score with the extra man, we’re 29th in the league with 5 on 5. That doesn’t bode well.

    Oh and good morning to you all and a happy St. Patrick’s as well! The pubs on 1st ave. in New York will be open late tonight!

    I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

    • wjc says:

      Baloney! Coaches are as good as their talent. If you have ever coached you will realize this, very few exceptions.

      Example Casey Stangel won many championships with the New York Yankees (look it up) the New York Mets finished last under him for all his time there. Same coach different team.

      Irvin left Montreal and went to Chicago and they finished last.

      wjc

      • I respectfully baloney you back WJC. Just look at Vignault and I won’t start slinging examples back and forth because there are plenty on both sides of this discussion.

        I mentioned three things; a coaches ability to bring the best out of ALL of his players, get them working as a unit by building chemistry and nurture the strengths of each player. He has done none of that and to suggest that the Canadiens are doing better with him is to ignore the malaise of the East. Not a division replete with contenders save for Boston and Pittsburgh. How do you think the desperate line change-ups of MT will fair against the surging Flyers? Not well I’m suggesting.
        You might think he is handling Chucky, Eller, even Max well, but even the latter goes for long stretches doing zero. That isn’t making the most of your talent. It’s like baking a cake, if you know how to mix the ingredients and then at what temperature and how long, you have a delicious result. Even if you have all the ingredients and don’t know how to put them together or cook them, it can get real ugly.
        We aren’t ugly, but we aren’t that tasty either.

        I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      The Mike Babcock coached Detroit Red Wings are on the outside looking in, and 3 points OUT of a playoff position…

  48. Maritime Ronn says:

    When the Olympic break rolled around, the Habs were in 3rd place in the Division with a 7 point cushion on the 9th place team.

    Coming back from the Olympics with an injured Price, then a mini west coast losing streak along with a chorus of “Fire Therrien ” and “Therrien Sucks” and “Therrien is clueless” where do the Habs find themselves today.

    Try 2nd in the Division – one spot better than the pre-Olympics, and the same 7 point cushion from 9th place

    The Habs also have the 9th best record in the entire NHL – 1 point behind Los Angeles

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Good perspective Ron, while many of us are frustrated by various shortcomings with our squad we are still in a decent position. If Vanek can find his way to make some twine music with the puck, this team could indeed be a much better group 5 on 5.

      Still worry about our defence but the team is fighting hard.

      A big week ahead no doubt.

      Enjoy your day bud.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Hi burli

        I believe the passion and desire for excellence from the Habs fan base is part of what makes them over achieve.
        Contrary to other markets, a Hab cannot cheat on a shift, let alone a game without getting called out.
        No doubt that type of pressure can destroy some guys, but it may be best in the longer run once the PROPER talent and character are assembled.
        Playoffs are all about pressure.

  49. RetroMikey says:

    So do we blame Therrien , the coach of the Habs for sitting out Budaj against Buffalo?
    So do we praise him then?
    The W was a gimme to play against a Sabres team who will fit in nicely in the next year or two with high draft picks and prospects.
    We haven’t won anything yet, a 2-0 still tells you that this team is struggling offensively even with Vanek being acquired.
    Blame the players not the coach I say!
    Anybody want Julien back? Vigneault?
    Too late when the organization and fans didn’t want them.
    I like Therrien and so much he can so with these players he has on his current roster.
    Hopefully that will change when we get bigger and better players with grit in the off season and say see ya to Markov, Gionta , Plekanec, Briere, to name a few.
    I’m disappointed with this club. With the so called talent, we have, we should not be at the bottom finding for a playoff spot.
    Same old same old same old with this club.
    We’ve seen this season after season.
    Eke by into the playoffs and hope we can win a round or two and start marketing the team next winner.
    BIG IS BETTER!

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      There are no gimmee games in the NHL.

      Buffalo has beaten both Boston and San Jose TWICE this year, and last night’s goalie Enroth had 2 of those wins – 1each against San Jose and Boston.
      Buffalo has also beat Los Angeles this year.

    • Loop_Garoo says:

      I’m with Ronn, they may have the worst record in the NHL, but its a still a team made up of many solid players, and some skilled youth that is capable of beating any one on a given night. There is no such thing as a bad 2-0 win, or a bad shutout. I feel good for Tokarski to, he did stop 29 nhl shots for his first shutout.

    • wjc says:

      They are not at the bottom fighting for a playoff spot, they are actually in a great spot and only really have to play 500 the rest of the way.

      The points system makes it look more scarey then it really is. Keeps the fans passion up. The Canadiens are a lock for the playoffs unless they completely fall apart.

      I am looking at 2 wins out of 3, with a chance of 3 out of 3 this week. Just me, always annoyingly positive, but this is what I see, maybe the worst case would 3 out of 6 points which puts them at 84 points, but that is the worst outcome.

      Roy will bring in the Avalanche, the Canadiens will conquer them and then wait for Columbus, just Toronto left, if they win all 3 they will have 87 points. The teams below them will have to be perfect to stay on pace.

      wjc

      • Just a Habs Fan says:

        You sound like you know what you are talking about….we’ll see. i somehow don’t feel comfortable with the projection of the Habs having a playoff spot locked up….that kind of puts your whole post at risk of being poorly thought out…..I still think the Habs are going tohave to fight hard to keep a spot. Now saying that I hope you are right.

        • wjc says:

          Just a habs fan. Maybe the problem is people ‘over think’ this thing.

          Look at it this way, if they cannot handle it this week and lose them all, they should not be in the post season anyways.

          If they are that pathetic, then if they lose, then keep going down.

          However, the way the NHL point system is set up, when you are down a bit it is hard to make up the points….check out Detriot, they are having a hard time getting anywhere, because being perfect is just not likely.

          When was the last time Detriot was behind at this stage of the season….why is that, is it Babcock…not likely….they just have less talent and they have had injury issues…….that is how close it is in a parady league.

          wjc

  50. SC-24 says:

    someone mentioned the Habs Offence was a misconception, I don’t think so. Out of the top 8-teams in the Eastern Conference they are the lowest scoring team and after played 69-Games we have two forwards with 20+ goals and one of these we brought in at trade deadline. Scoring is one of our main weakness. More scoring and we could probably be in 1st place in the East. Scoring along with toughness will make us or break us if we make the playoffs!!!!

    • wjc says:

      Some on here say the weakest part of the Canadiens is their defense. Lets just agree to that.

      Now lets say Therien agrees with that so he tells the forwards they have play more defensive to have team success.

      Now lets say the players buy into that for the most part.

      Goals scored will be less, goals against will be less, hence you are in a good position to make the playoffs.

      It all evens out, Pittsburgh hired Martin…..Why? Well perhaps they realize that all offense and little defense does not work even if you have two superstars.

      So it is a balancing act you pick your poison and if it works it was the players…..great! If it fails you kick the coach in the ‘CROTCH’…..What are ya gonna do, Life is sometimes unfair, but, at least the cheque didn’t bounce.

      A coach survives in Montreal he can coach anywhere!

      wjc

    • Luke says:

      Hey, I’ll take two 20 goal scorers after 69 games.

      I’m still reeling from the Era of 0 20-goal socrers after 82 games.

  51. SC-24 says:

    Anyone know how Guy Boucher is doing in Switzerland?

  52. Dunboyne Mike says:

    To all my friends and fellow-posters, and to the peerless HIO/Gazette team,

    Very best wishes for St Patrick’s Day to everyone, coming to you all the way from Ireland.

    Little parade in Dunboyne village yesterday, big one in Dublin today. And there will be silliness and fun galore, as there will be in many places around the world.

    Whether you have to work today or not, I hope something of the day gets to you and those around you. And if you have even half an ounce of Irish blood in you, I hope it’s tingling!

    There is of, course, a special connection between the Habs and Paddy’s Day, in the form of the Richard Riot in 1955. Here’s a link to a long, excellent article on EOTP by Robert L (formerly of this site?), with various video clips from the day and up to the Rocket’s farewell:

    http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2010/3/17/1377048/the-rocket-richard-riot-55-years

    Very much worth a look. And if you have time, of course, you can never see the Roy Dupuis movie “The Rocket” too many times.

    Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!

    Dunboyne Mike

    • twilighthours says:

      I’m wearing green. And I’ll definitely be having a Kilkenny tonight.

      Cheers!

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Hey Ireland Mike

      Enjoy yourself today.
      The Rocket movie was great – the far reaching and never ending political ramifications…perhap less so.

    • Cal says:

      Happy St. Paddy’s, Mike. Party on!

    • piper says:

      Enjoy the shenanigans Dunny Boy, I know I will.
      Slange var.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Since you’ve joined HIO you’ve become my favorite answer to the question, “What do you like about the Irish?

      I attended a parade yesterday in a near by town. Now mind you I’ve marched in my share of parades (and hated every minute of it) but it does give an opportunity for the public to enjoy a day outside and especially to show appreciation for the REAL hero’s of our day, the firefighters, police officers, and members of our military, many of whom with Irish roots.

      We should all be so lucky to have a heritage with the stewardship, love, and giving of the Irish people. Today we’re all a little Irish.
      CHeers and blessings to all of you my dear friend.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Cheers, Jim. Blushing across the water.

        Yes, I was at exactly that kind of parade in the village of Dunboyne yesterday, and was reminded of what a great thing community is — never safe from the influence of badness, no, and we know well how we humans can as easily choose evil over goodness — but when we work at it, when we grab hold of the kind of good will and generosity that something like a festival parade and the honoring — as you so rightly say — of those who make a model commitment to the community can engender, that’s when we find the way forward.

        Sláinte!

  53. HabsNG says:

    Did you refer to Devan Dubnuk as a quality goaltender? Wtf

  54. rhino514 says:

    Once again, there is a misconception that the habs are a weak offensive team and a strong defensive team. This myth should now be put to rest with the fact Vanek has made no change to this stat. The team even has trouble scoring against Buffalo.
    Coaching staff and management have consciously chosen to have the team play a tight, stifling brand of hockey this season and the result is almost every player´s offensive stats are down.
    I suspect there is a belief that only this type of hockey can lead to success in the playoffs, and that last year´s exit was due to the team´s inability to play tight hockey, not injuries.
    I would counter that it was the latter.
    The habs are actually a stacked offensive team playing a system which does not use their players optimally. Their weakness is on D; Price and the system hide this fact.
    I´m glad Murray is finally out of the lineup. I like the guy, and it´s handy to have him draw in once in a while, but Bouillon, Tinordi, and Beaulieu are all much more mobile and smaller liabilities than the hulking Swede, toughness be damned.
    The habs have one world class defenseman, and maybe one other decent defensive defenseman in Gorges; Yemmy is not himself this year and Markov is no defensive stalwart.
    They need one more Dman to assert himself in the top six, and the ideal candidate is Tinordi.
    I prefer the pairing of Bouillon and Tinordi to Murray and Beaulieu at this point. Failing that, Beaulieu and Bouillon. But I find it disquieting that Beaulieu is not up with the club after clearly showing that he could play with the big boys. If there is indeed a character issue in play, this does not bode well for the Canadiens, as he is currently the top prospect in the system.
    Tinordi potentially fills the immediate need on the team more aptly than Beaulieu, so it´s a big plus for the team if this kid finds his game.
    He seemed to play a good a game last night; then again, it was the sabres.

    • twilighthours says:

      I like your posts

    • wjc says:

      When you play back to back with more coming Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday against good competition you have to try and keep everyone fresh. So you will see some coming in and out of the lineup.

      This is just utilizing your depth.

      Murray has been okay in my books along with Boulion. Beauleau will be back before the playoffs start as well. This is the lineup for the rest of the way probably with guys in Hamilton ready at a moments notice.

      If Price remains iffy they will have to go with Budaj and Toranski. Wait and see I guess.

      wjc

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Agree, and you’re brave about Murray. I think Rhino’s right: just use Murray for those games where he can do a little policing. One Q: how are you so confident about Beaulieu coming back up?

        • wjc says:

          Murray is a fine penalty killer and a physical presence, something the Canadiens lack.

          You have to fill all the weaknesses, he does fine in my books and I like the way he plays, as long as he stays within his limitations. Sometimes he tries to over extend himself if things are going well and gets into a little trouble.

          Accept it he is a big part of the team and some of the good things go unnoticed like, keeping the opposition away from taking advantage of some players with physical limitations. All players have limitations unless they are superstars.

          I honestly think players modifiy their behavior when certain players are present, and exploit a weakness if they feel it is safe to do so.

          Ottawa did not exert their physical dominance Saturday night, because Montreal had some push back in the lineup. They went after Eller and Prust went after there non fighter. Moen neutralized their other tough guy and all was well. Prust will never score 30, but so what! he has other strengths.

          I feel quite good when Murray is taking a regular shift, skating and puck handling and point shots are not his game. He is a defensive, physical regular defenseman who will get his nose dirty. He lives off his reputation and rarely has to have a go with anyone foolish enough to provoke him.

          wjc

          • piper says:

            Great post. I agree that if Murray keeps it simple and plays within his limitations he is a needed part of this team. I like to see both Murray and Tinordi in the lineup keeping it simple.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Good post about Murray, wjc, and it’s the same view I take.
            I said “brave” because of the substantial conversation about Murray here yesterday, with excellent points and fine posters on both sides.

            If I paraphrase you, I get: sometimes looks bad and costs scores doing things he’s not built for, but is very good value — and almost unique on D — for what he brings as regards physical presence.

          • Arrow77 says:

            My major issue with Murray, an issue many people have, is that he doesn’t play like the slow skater that he is. There is a place for a slow, physical defenseman in the line-up but he can’t be caught deep in the offensive zone as often as he is. He has no offensive skills to speak off and his big hits are meant to be done in the defensive zone where he can get back into the play in time.

            The blown coverage, the turnovers,… He’s an NHL defenseman so stuff like that have to happen but he has to learn to keep it simple. Otherwise, he will always be a player that’s more useful after the whistle than before.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Is it just the system (whatever that is) or is it the inability to bury glorious scoring chances all year long?
      How many times did Borque hit goalposts – or Gionta and Plex shoot wide with open nets? How many breakaways have resulted in no goals? Moen should have 10 goals with the chances he has had, yet he only has 1 goal.

      Once that begins, the grip on the stick tightens, as do the ‘behinds’…

      As for Tinordi, he looked very good last night…because he was playing on his natural left side.
      He will probably remain there with the righty Weaver, and if he can continue his NHL learning curve of cutting down errors and being caught out of position, we may see him paired with Subban in 5-10 games.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Agree, both with you and with Rhino. Great view up here on the fence!
        Hope it’s a beautiful morning in NS, Ronn.

      • rhino514 says:

        Forgot about Weaver playing the right side, good point. If Tiny can play as well as he did last night, I am all for pairing him with Weaver.
        But knowing Therrien, he will scratch Weaver upon Gorge´s return and have either Tiny or Beaulieu playing on the wrong side. No wonder they lose confidence the more games they play.

  55. Maritime Ronn says:

    Good morning

    Great 2 points to what was considered a dangerous game even if Buffalo is the worst team in the NHL.

    An emotional letdown after Saturday night was a possibility, and Buffalo does have a way of beating top NHL teams.
    Already this year, the Sabres have beaten Boston and San Jose with Ryan Miller in nets, and again beat Boston and San Jose with Enroth in nets.

    With the exception of the knee on knee, Subban is starting to look like the Norris Subban of last year…and even smarter with better awareness
    He is starting to move the puck quicker to the forwards, and only makes rushes when the opportunity presents itself.
    It’s also good to see that the circling backwards and losing 2 zones is not part of his package lately.

    Tokarski was solid and will challenge Budaj for the back up position next year.
    This is a young 24 year old that is a proven winner at every level he has played pre NHL.
    Memorial Cup winner and MVP, World Junior Gold, and AHL Calder Cup.

    Habs management will have to decide who they can trust more in the event that Price is injured long term again.
    While Budaj does well in a pure backup role, he has been disappointing when asked to play when the pressure is on.
    Look no further than Game 5 against Ottawa last year, or his .879 SP when called upon to replace Price in the several games recently.
    Tokarski will be an RFA, and will probably cost slightly more than 50% of what Budaj will cost next year.

    • wjc says:

      Take a bow Therien and coaching staff. Good decisions.

      Imagine them getting praise.

      Time to put last year where it belongs …….in the past, along with the weather, and investment losses. Put it in the history books and be spooked no more.

      wjc

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Starting Tokarski was the cold, unemotional, and right decision.
        Habs could not afford a spirit sapping ‘softie’ goal(s)that could have robbed them of a precious point.

        Here’s not saying Budaj is finished, yet better to work on regaining his confidence with Waite in practice….

        • wjc says:

          The Budaj thing and weak goals is exaggerated. They have many games coming in short order and Price is iffy.

          Budaj will get the call next if Price is not 100%, so you play if safe.

          Budaj had some bad breaks, did you see the Montreal goals on Ottawa and Buffalo….wow, there would be mass suicides if they were scored against Montreal……so called softies happen all the time in the NHL, some are just not noticing because the focus is always on Montreal.

          wjc

  56. Un Canadien errant says:

    Not a game that will be remembered, as opposed to the NHL-record comeback win against the Senators, but two points is two points, and we’ll take them, on a night that the Leafs lost to the Capitals and tightened up the standings even more. The Canadiens went up against the depleted roster of the Sabres, scored two scrambly semi-lucky goals, and won 2-0.

    Dale Weise scored his first goal as a Canadien, a few minutes after being set up in the high slot on a pass by Travis Moen and missing the net. I commented to myself at the time that good old Dale hasn’t changed from his Vancouver days, he’s always buzzing around the net, bringing the fans out of their seats, but still failing to finish. So maybe I’ll just keep quiet about him for the time being, and good on him for playing hard again tonight and being dangerous, and finally potting one.

    Lars is still struggling though. In the first period, he snagged a puck in the corner, started to stickhandle toward the slot, then kept going toward the blue line while checked by Drew Stafford, bobbled the puck, and lost the footrace back into his zone chasing the puck, giving the latter a scoring chance on Dustin Tokarski. Lars needs to understand that when he’s stickhandling and he finds open space, it’s most often because he’s being allowed to go there, the defenders are plugging up the middle and steering him to the periphery. Much like a defensive tackle making good progress upfield against an offensive guard, he needs to stop and ask himself whether he’s willingly going exactly where his coverage wants him to go.

    I imagined the Canadiens coaching staff sitting Lars down in the video room, showing him this error, along with a few others where he tries to stickhandle his way over the blue line and into the offensive zone, and then showing him some strong, safe plays, of putting the puck in deep and then using his size and speed to retrieve it. And lots of video of Brendan Gallagher taking the puck from the corner and making a beeline to the net, defencemen be damned.

    As some have pointed out, maybe it’s not a bad thing overall that Lars regressed a bit this year, he may come cheaper when it’s time to negotiate his new deal. It would be hard for him and his agent to make a case for a Tyler Bozak or Sam Gagner-type deal.

    As mentioned, Dustin Tokarski got the nod from Coach Therrien, which was a bit of a surprise, everyone expecting Peter Budaj to start the game. Various reasons were discussed on RDS to explain the decision, but again it was a gutsy call, one which was rewarded with a shutout win.

    Michel Therrien has many detractors, especially on English social media. He’s not warm and fuzzy, he’s inelegant in his speaking style, has some mannerisms that grate, but we’re forced to admit that he’s doing a good job overall. Coaching is at base a results-based occupation. As much as some complain that his system doesn’t work, he can’t make coaching adjustments, he doesn’t motivate his troops and have them ready to play, among other grievances, we’re still forced to recognize that he took a last-place team two seasons ago to second place in the Conference, and this season has again battled to remain at the top of the standings, with a thin roster, little offence and lately the loss of his franchise goalie. Whereas we remember Scotty Bowman, Jacques Demers and Pat Burns, and look longingly towards Colorado and fiery, inspiring Patrick Roy, we have to give Michel Therrien his due. He’s doing a good job with a team that most didn’t give much of a chance to succeed at the start of the season.

    Two steps forward, one step back for P.K., in that tonight he played a lot of minutes, but the lowlight was the knee-on-knee collision with Matt D’Agostini. P.K. knew he was beat and stuck out his knee, he could have caused a serious injury, possibly even on himself. The NHL has to crack down on these plays, there is no justification for knee-on-knees, no matter how many talking heads explain that they’re a reflex, a reaction, that the player didn’t intend to injure his opponents, etc. If the League automatically suspended players who did this, the ‘reflex’ would disappear, much like the 15-yard penalty for horse-collar tackles in the NFL has eliminated injuries that used to be caused by them. Horse collars are now much milder in nature, accidental, and players release their hold when they realize they’re going to be called for it, same as with facemask penalties.

    Again, knee-on-knees occur when players are facing each other, and the checker realizes he’ll whiff on his check and sticks out his leg. It’s not accidental, it’s voluntary, it’s realizing you’re going to be beat, and thinking that the consequences to a knee-on-knee are mild compared to the wrath of your coach. Stiff automatic suspensions would change everybody’s mind about this.

    Good thing I’m not a gambling man, because before the game I would have bet money that Thomas Vanek would score at least one goal in Buffalo. It didn’t happen, but he got off what seemed like ten shots on net, and seems to be developing a rapport with David and Max. So the dam bursts on Tuesday against the Avalanche. I’d bet.

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • twilighthours says:

      I didn’t see pk’s knee or foot move. Looks like he just held his stance.

      • Paz says:

        Absolutely he just held his stance. Like in basketball, PK had position.

        When the Sabre moved to get around him, it was the Sabre who initiated contact.

        What was Subban supposed to do? Step aside?

    • wjc says:

      Lady luck smilled on Montreal on the weekend, rolled snake eyes.

      Put all the chips on even, said hit me in blackjack.

      Improbable comeback on Saturday night where lady luck smiled and said “why not”.

      Too flucky goals on Sunday. Weise trying to find the puck, never really did, good for him anyways. And Gallagher goal going off of defenseman…..thank you LADY LUCK. Boring game from then on, had to change the channel, was putting me to sleep, went and watched the aquarium channel.

      wjc

  57. howiemorenz7 says:

    Gutsy, hat’s off to them, the ref-assisted win on Saturday made up for some of the opposite results they endured earlier this year. Sunday night would have been a tragedy had they lost to that collection.

    This week would be a good one for Vanek to emerge from his coma. And I know something about comas.

    Maroons Suck. #7 foreva.

  58. jimmy shaker says:

    Oh and based off the bracket on the nhl.com website “if the playoffs started today” I’ve got the habs coming out of the east beating taranna, the cubs, and columbus, then taking on the blues for the cup. Of course they win in 4 since Price will be on fire and the blues will be gassed coming out of the war that is going to happen in the western conference.

    Shaker out!

  59. jimmy shaker says:

    What a crazy playoff bracket……didn’t know it was set up the way they have it. Will be very interesting. I know anything can happen, but it looking more and more that the potential match up will be the leafs. And I hate it!

    Shaker out!

    • wjc says:

      Why do you hate it, when the Canadiens beat them you can brag for the next 20 years. Every regular season loss and you can say, “but we beat you in the playoffs”. Playing Leafs win or lose would be a highlight, either to cry about or gloat about, no middle ground.

      wjc

  60. Un Canadien errant says:

    In a game which accented some broad organizational patterns, practices and trends, the Hamilton Bulldogs played hard but came up short, losing 4-1 against the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs’ AHL farm team.

    There were so many similarities between the baby Canadiens and the parent team. They dominated in the shots department, sending 34 shots against the Marlies keeper, and allowing just 24. The ‘Dogs also looked slick on the powerplay, controlling the puck and passing it around with ease in the offensive zone, but couldn’t finish. The Hamilton forwards looked small and skillful, skating circles around the defenders, but got mugged a few times and were at a disadvantage due to the sight-impaired referees.

    Meanwhile the Marlies are a carbon copy of their parent club. They have lots of big burly defencemen and, ahem, ‘players’, who can’t really skate but are really ‘tough’, whatever that means. Korbinian Holzer, an overhyped dud in the grand Leafs tradition of Luke Schenn, Mike Kostka and Carlo Colaiacovo, sure covered himself in glory going after Sven Andrighetto, who’s half a foot shorter and a rookie to the league.

    Jerry D’Amigo did a lot of jawing, at one point messing with Gabriel Dumont, a player who’s listed as 30 pounds lighter than he is. Gabriel didn’t think twice, and made a clear show of inviting his adversary to a dance, but D’Amigo meekly returned to the safety of his bench, although he did keep chin-wagging, and had this real snide expression on his face, so he had that going for him. Later, during an extended scrum, the Marlie was on the ice and was kind of shamed into backing up his previous tough talk, and finally received his beating at the hands of Gabriel that he’d been angling for. Daddy D’Amigo must be proud.

    It was good to see Morgan Ellis in uniform, actually playing, he’s often been hurt or a healthy scratch when I catch a Hamilton game on TV, and this afternoon he made a few nice plays with the puck, and defended well generally. He didn’t take to the AHL as quickly as we might have liked after his strong Memorial Cup season, but the reports lately have been encouraging, let’s hope he keeps developing.

    The other defencemen I had an eye on were obviously Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn. While they were obviously the stronger of the Bulldog defenceman, they didn’t look dominant or like they didn’t belong in the AHL. While we pine for these guys to flip a switch and suddenly be ready to take a regular shift on the Canadiens blue line, we should remember how we all swore a couple of seasons ago that we would give the kids time to develop in the minors, we wouldn’t rush them to the bigs before they’re ready we said. We’d let them marinate and grow the skills and confidence at a lower level until they were ready, at which point only they would progress to a bigger challenge. Well this is where we need to keep our promise, despite the presence of Mike Weaver on our blue line currently.

    Also, Davis Drewiske played a lot of minutes, and it’s hard to make an assessment of his game since he’s basically in his own version of training camp, and he’s not flashy like Nathan, the camera doesn’t follow him around, but he did seem sure-handed and dependable, which we’d expect for a player who spent a few seasons in the NHL, albeit as a #7 d-man.

    Louis Leblanc skated well and played hard, but given his pedigree and his level of experience, we’d expect him to be the leader of this team, to be head and shoulder above the competition at this stage. Instead, he was generally outplayed by Sven Andrighetto, who was quick, agile and dangerous with the puck, and Gabriel Dumont, who is showing signs that he’s mastering the AHL, being the most dangerous Bulldog forward despite being projected as a checking third or fourth-line player in the NHL, if he makes it.

    It will be interesting to see what the Canadiens brass does with Louis in the summer, his entry level contract is up, and he will be eligible for waivers. My guess is that they’ll sign him to another two-way deal, and let him work on his strength in the offseason and his game in Hamilton next season. If he’s swiped by another team on waivers coming out of camp next September, so be it.

    Finally, a word about the Sportsnet broadcast team of R.J. Broadhead and Sam Consentino. They generally do good work, they’ve grown on me since I’ve started watching the games they cover, but Mr. Broadhead made the unfortunate error of calling Drew Schiestel “Shystel”, to sound as ‘shyster’. The Hamilton blueliner was clear when he signed his contract that his name is pronounced so as to rhyme with ‘pistol’, it was in the press release by the team. Yet Mr. Broadhead didn’t get the memo.

    I understand these two cover the AHL and the CHL for Sportsnet, that’s a heck of a lot of teams so they’re busy and can’t know everything, but it’s also emblematic of a practice by some play-by-play teams to make the best effort they can of pronouncing an unfamiliar name, instead of going to the source, of finding out what the name actually is, and allowing the player that small courtesy. So many foreign players names are anglicized for convenience, Mario Lemieux became ‘Le-mioo’, and David Desharnais becomes ‘Day-har-nay’.

    René Lecavalier, the impeccable broadcaster who worked “La Soirée du Hockey” for decades, was rigourous with his pronunciation, he’d go right to the player and ask how his name was properly pronounced, and explain this to his viewers. So that Mats Naslund was called on Radio-Canada ‘Ness-loond’, as he should be, while Bob Cole was unshakable in his errant ‘Naz-luhnd’.

    Pierre Houde continues this tradition to this day, of respecting the pronunciation of players’ names, and I wish more play-by-play teams did their homework and followed suit.

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • FormalWare says:

      UCE, you and I share a peeve at mispronunciations of athletes’ names. I agree, courtesy requires pronouncing someone’s name as he would prefer – as jarring as that might be to the speaker or audience. I still have a hard time pronouncing/hearing Brett Favre’s surname to rhyme with “carve”!

      Thanks, as always, for the generous helping of your eloquent thoughts.

      WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

  61. Frank2468 says:

    Well that was nice for the kid Tokarski to get his first NHL shutout. But looking at him in net looks a little weird comparing to the height of most NHL goalies today. I know he’s 5 foot 10 but most are over 6 feet in today’s NHL. I was kind of waiting for Robinson to come out and ask where is the other half of your goalie alla Darren Pang. Stéphane Waite is going to have work with this kid a little to get him to stand taller in net. Cause once players figure him out it will be top cheese all the time and it could get ugly. Even Halak who’s 5 foot 11 looks bigger in net, it’s just an observation I wish the kid all the success in the world. And I only mentioned Halak cause I just happen to remember his height off the top my head.

  62. Buzz Lightbeer says:

    Tokarski vs Lieuwen. The battle of the “who the eff are those guys”?

  63. Timo says:

    Wow… Habs win 2 in a row and this place goes dead.

  64. Timo says:

    He kind of disappeared in the second half of the game (not a bad thing) but I thought for a period and a half Weaver played a pretty good game and was generous with some stick work and elbows. Rattles a couple of Sabres pretty good.

    • Buzz Lightbeer says:

      I noticed that too. Little bugger has a nasty side.
      Frankie Cube had a good game as well.

      • Timo says:

        Bouillon may work for another game against speedy Avs… but when Habs play Columbus Therrien better put him back in the press box and bring Murray back. Same goes without saying against the leafs.

        • Buzz Lightbeer says:

          I would assume that’s what’s going to happen. Murray has been logging a lot of minutes lately and it can’t be easy hauling that big body around. Needs some rest which i imagine would be 5gallon buckets of beer and vats of spaghetti.
          I saw a Sabre bounce of Tinordi tonight,it’d nice to see some size and nastiness on our blueline. It’s been a long time.

  65. Timo says:

    Let’s all be honest… even though it was Buffalo Sabres Habs still could have effed it up. They are that capable. But they didn’t, so credit where credit is due. With an exception of a couple of cockups on D Habs played a near perfect road game against the team that is in the bottom of the league. They got the 2 points and did pretty comfortable doing that.

    Tuesday night is going to be a whole different story but for now Habs got the points they needed and didn’t get injured.

    So pretty successful weekend if you ask me.

    That all being said – they better play at least .500 hockey the rest of the way if they want to make playoffs.

  66. Sportfan says:

    Vanek not scoring right away reminds me of when we first got Kovalev and how he had a hard time after the deadline, he had three points, but then in the playoffs he had ten points and then he resigned and had some good years!

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

    • Timo says:

      Vanek looked frustrated… caught him slamming his stick on the ice a couple of times after him missed the net. But man… he is NOT skating. He floats and like Kovalev relies too much on his stick handling. I know it worked for him in the past but still…

    • Habilis says:

      I have believed from the start that the key to re-signing Vanek lies in a decent playoff run. The entire city is just a better place to be when the Habs are winning playoff rounds, it’s really an amazing transformation. If he gets to be a part of that, and especially if he lights it up while doing so, this city will woo him just like she did Kovalev. Then he’s ours for good.

      The above dream scenario has the added bonus of validating MB’s moves and erasing any doubt in all of our minds as to whether Vanek is worth 8 years at big money.

  67. TDotHabfan says:

    Hey, does anyone understand the new playoff system? If the playoffs started tonight we’d be playing Toronto in the first round I think. Is that right?

    If so, that sucks. I don’t like that match-up for us.

  68. Plekasuares says:

    Ya like we have not heard of Tyler ennis? Pffftttt

  69. TDotHabfan says:

    As soon as they got Vanek, I said he should be with DD and Pacioretty. It has the potential to be a lot better than the DD-Pacioretty-Cole line from a few years ago (which was great).

  70. prep says:

    Third is. The one with a hairy chest!

  71. Sportfan says:

    Second Happy St Patricks day tomorrow/day all!

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  72. At’s ma boy Scotland! What’s better than a little pragmatism to start the day anyways?

    I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

  73. Maritime Ronn says:

    The Division the Habs play in has 4 of the Top 5 teams in the Conference

  74. Dunboyne Mike says:

    You are entirely correct, Scotland, and what transpires in the 2014 playoffs is likely to bear you out.

    The funny thing is, though, that in 2010 both the Caps and Pens were Cup contenders.

    There simply is no certainty (and if there was, we wouldn’t need to watch!)

    Happy St Pat’s to all fellow Celts!

  75. Hstands4Hockey says:

    While I don’t expect Vanek to resign in Montreal, I do feel there is a reasonable chance he resigns. Not buying all the 100% to Minnesota crap even if it’s a strong possibility.

    ——————————————————————–
    Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
    @Hstands4Hockey


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