Another week begins

The Senators at the Bell Centre tomorrow, then the Canadiens play a tough back-to-back on the road: Detroit and Toronto.

• Red Fisher on Andrei Markov’s future

Dave Stubbs on P.K.

• Believe in jinxes? Jack Todd has decided Carey Price is OK

The Flower goes out in style

• Pierre Ladouceur’s weekly Canadiens report card

And video scout Jarred Friedman found this Tomas Plekanec highlight video

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64 Comments

  1. JF says:

    That’s certainly one way of looking at it; conference games, and especially division games, are the most important.  But I think Martin will see the Detroit game as a measuring stick since Detroit, based on their record, are the best team in the league right now.  If you’re trying to match up to the best, you use your number 1 goaltender.

  2. db says:

    Anybody that bashes anyone should look in the mirror.  At least Todd did that.. kinda.  Unfortunately, this is not a lesson everyone is learning.  If you don’t have anything nice to say, STFU.  Opinions are fine, but bashing people to try to get yours across is stupid.  Regardless who it is. 

     

    I still call Pleks the “Mekanec”… Because it doesn’t matter what wingers you put with him, he gets the parts working together.  Or something like that… I’m sure it was more clever a couple of years ago.

  3. badangel says:

    Price is enjoying the sweetest revenge on all of those “savant” sportswriters (who are mostly bitter never-made-it-to-pro athletes) – as much as I am enjoying sweet revenge on all those habs fans friends of mine who “disowned” the team when they traded Halak.

     

    I have one question regarding Todd. WHY in a educated fan based hockey market like Montreal does the Gazette pay this buffoon to write hockey related articles when he is FREE LANCER. Jack Todd would be better off writing for a Phoenix newspaper about hockey – he is clearly a know-it-all and just likes to stir the pot for the sake of it.

    I think it would be fabulous if Todd’s articles were no longer in the Gazette and Red Fisher retired and the Gazette hired some new blood and talented journalists to report on hockey.

     

    <go habs> :))

  4. Rice Miller says:

    As someone pointed out in an earlier comment, Roy’s first 4 years were nothing to write home about, if you are trying to use it as proof, of the complete failure of Carey Price’s first 4 years in Montreal. I would also like to add that during his rookie year, Ken Dryden, found himself playing beside some of the greatest players in the history of the game, including H.Richard, Y Cournoyer, both Mahovlichs, J LeMaire, G. LaFluer, J.C. Tremblay, S Savard, J LaPierriere and G LaPointe. Not too hard to rack up good numbers when you’ve got that kind of fire power and skill in front of you.

    That Todd would even make a comparison between the three goalies after his phoney apology, is proof enough to show  that the guy has no clue what he’s talking about when it comes to our game. Is there not some kind of fact checking going on at the Gazette, or does Todd just write whatever he deems to be the truth in his little world? The guy is a joke.

    Why don’t you stick to writing about petunia’s, Jackie Boy.

  5. shiram says:

    Well at least the guy is publicly humbling himself in saying so.

  6. SeriousFan09 says:

    No, he’s one of the Habs trio of Czech players with Hamrlik and Spacek rounding the group out. The Canadiens have not had a Slovakian skater since 2004 with Joself Balej, the two previous Slovaks were Zednick and Marcel Hossa, St. Louis Blues netminder Halak *Dodges thrown beer bottles for saying his name* was the team’s lone Slovakian.

     

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  7. Julie H says:

    Really hoping to hear some good news regarding AC soon.

    “I know you’re wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the fear that your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by?”

  8. Gormdog says:

    I’m still waiting for a similar apologetic speech from a couple of my real life buddies who were even harsher than Todd was. They now claim the success is all JM based with a strong team D in front of Pricey. The best they will concede is that “Price is playing well but we’ll see how he handles it when the going gets tough”.

     

    Pretty much just reserving judgement until the kid (INEVITABLY) has a few bad games in a row.

     

    THis whole Price bashing is particularly funny because of the MASSIVE criticisms thrown at Price, essentially hundreds of posters (foolishly, wrongly, incorrectly, and generally misinformed) now can barely show their faces here because of the hate lavished on Gainey/Price.

     

    So for all you Price haters out there, I almost feel bad for you. You have nothing left to say. Not one peep. Either come back begging, tail between your legs, or go find yourself another team.

     

    Because when you said Carey  would never amount to anything – well – sometimes there should be more of a price to pay for being wrong.

     

    You guys were cruel and heartless. And you get rewarded with a team that sits second in the East. Wheres the justice?!?

  9. Jordio-oh says:

    a beerfridge, hahaha. great.

  10. Mattyleg says:

    Old Man Billy calling it quits!

    That’s sad, actually, I liked the guy. Great grit, great heart.

    In a league with fewer teams, he’d still be in there.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  11. Mattyleg says:

    AAAAAHAHAHAHHAHAAAA….

    I LOVE watching Jack Todd running along behind the bandwagon, trying to jump back on again.

    “Hey (puff-puff) guys! Guys! Can you (wheeze) can you lemme up? (pant-pant) Here, gimme…gimme a hand… (wheeze-wheeze) Is there still room?”

    “I dunno, Jack, we’ve been pretty comfortable on here for a while.”

    “I think (splutter) I think I see some space over there… (puff-puff)”

    “Oh, no, we’re getting a beer-fridge put in there. Sorry.”

    “C’mon…guyyyys…. pleeeeease? (choke-cough)”

    “Okay, you can hold onto this rope if your feet get tired.”

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  12. Mattyleg says:

    JB,

    Jack Todd is NOT a seasoned sportswriter. He’s the hackiest of hacks.

    So this comes as no surprise at all to me.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  13. punkster says:

    Hey Steve, let’s try a contrary opinion or theory here for a minute, just to see if it holds water. Give Auld the Detroit game. As you mention it always seems like Toronto plays us tough so why not have our number 1 in nets for that plus the other 3 conference games. Second, Detroit is the first of the back-to-backs and out of conference so of slightly lower urgency. I’m also going to suggest that given JMs penchant for surprises (PK sitting 2 games, Weber getting big minutes, Gomez dropped to 4th/promoted to checking line, whatever ;) that he could actually do just that.

    I know, I know…crazy talk, right?

  14. RGM says:

    This will be a day long remembered. And relished and savoured. It’s nice to see people have to eat crow.

    Go Habs Go!

  15. joeybarrie says:

    After all the nonsense of last season I find it incredible that the same people who bashed Price and praised Halak for doing EXACTLY what Price is currently doing can come back and change their tune…

    “Calling him the best in the league right now is rushing it. Am I glad
    he’s playing well? 100%. Did they trade the wrong goalie? Jury is still
    out on that one.”

    So based on ONLY ONE season people (YOU) had already decided that Halak was a superior goalie and possibly the best in the league. Price was soft, and blah blah blah.

    Now that Price is putting up BETTER numbers than Halak did last season, and Halak is putting up worse numbers than Price did last season. SOMEHOW………… The jury is still out.

    People rushed their decision then, and now your condeming people for doing EXACTLY what you did????????

    And the fact that we did all this for 1 million LESS in cap space…

    Honestly ANYONE who doesn’t realize how AWESOME Price is, clearly doesnt grasp a good understanding of sports and is a lousy judge of talent. But hey people were wrong then and ALOT are still wrong about certain things. Why should it change.

    By the way. I have seen Price play for a FULL season. I know you will have ups and downs and I know it will get less inconsistent with experience. ALSO, they made the correct trade from DAY ONE. Some of us knew this already.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  16. G-Man says:

    “So based on ONLY ONE season people (YOU) had already decided that Halak was a superior goalie and possibly the best in the league. Price was soft, and blah blah blah.”

     

    No. Based on Halak every season improving as a pro with no setback seasons. See, Price 2008/09, Price 2009/10.

    I still think this team would have been better in 2005 to get what the Habs have needed at center since Bobby Smith left- Kopitar. Then, it would be Kopitar #1, Pleks #2 and possibly still Koivu #3.

    But the Habs picked a goalie.

  17. joshua94k says:

    That’s right it was not easy coaching Lafleur. He was a gifted player who was always ahead of the game. He played with instinct and speed. Scotty Bowman had eleborate practice drills and Lafleur would usually mess it up. He could never bother with set drills. But whenever it was a tight game, Bowman would send Lafleur out for a key goal and his record showed how he delivered. He often double shifted. In Game 7 of the series against Boston in 1979, Lafleur played about 16 minutes in the 3rd period alone, getting two assists and the tying goal in that period.

    On another note:

    Let’s all pray for Anthony Calvillo, who is undergoing surgery for his thyroid. He is a class act and a true Montreal legend.

    “It’s too much for one guy to shoulder. For us, we’re going to do it as a group. It’s about sharing that responsibility win or lose.” – Mike Cammalleri

  18. joeybarrie says:

    At the very least Jack Todd can admit that he was wrong. Its funny to me though. This guy is supposed to be a seasoned sports reporter. For a guy who can say someone reminded him of Ken Dryden you would think he has learned over time not to open his big fat mouth about someone so young. Of course he could have said his opinion about any particular players current playing, but we have seen so many players bloom late, and make comebacks that you would have enough common sense to know that it is possible for a 22 year old to improve his game. ESPECIALLY MENTALLY. Do you remember some of the thing you though when you were 22????

    I really don’t understand how Todd is successful. But hopefully he learned something. I mean I AM NOT A SPORTSWRITER, BUT I KNEW ENOUGH NOT TO WRITE OFF A 22 YEAR OLD GOALTENDER. Especially when IMO he did not play all that bad, just not as good as the other guy. Even I understood that there are learning lessons, and to me better off learning them in the NHL than any other inferior league.

    Now on to Gomez…

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  19. JF says:

    I also feel a bit sorry for these guys.  But in a way it comes down to knowing when it’s time to hang up the skates.  I guess the ideal is to go out on a high, like being a big part of helping your team have a great year. But for many (like Chris Chelios), their passion for the game drives them to hang around longer than they should.

    Not related, but another player I felt really sorry for was Mathieu Dandenault, who retired early essentially because of the salary cap, although he was still a good player and could have helped many teams.

  20. Chorske says:

    Or even Sundin! I mean, I HAVE to rag on the guy because, well, you know, we ALL know, but still, it’s pathetic that a career like his just kind of fizzeled, and that his return was SUCH a flop.

    Seriously, a VAN reporter said: he was flopping around on the ice like a walrus. Not a good way to be remembered.

  21. Chorske says:

    Auld should get the start vs Toronto.

    I am actually quite happy with the way MArtin is managing his players’ ice time. Young buck PK was logging team highs before he got scratched (which won’t last into this week, I’m thinking). And Weber comes in and immediately starts playing 17 minutes? Seems about right to me.

    I think the coaches that give their players weeks off tend to not be on teams that tend to squeak into the playoffs on the last weekend of the season, which seems to be our recent trend. Maybe Detroit or Pittsburgh can do it. I don’t think we have typically had the playoff-spot security that would allow us to pull it off. That said, come March, if we’re still top two or three in the east (insha’Allah!), I think it would bea great idea.

  22. Oddball says:

    Oh my, a back-pedalling Todd. Sorry Jack, but frankly, your apology means jack-$#it to me.

    By the way Jack, maybe you should check your facts better, Patrick Roy won 79 games during his first 4 seasons, Carey Price won 76 games. Not really that much of a difference, eh Jack?

     Why don’t you do us all a favour and just report on the leafs. You would probably have a easier time selling the unsubstantiated crap you like to spout, to people who have been breast-fed bullS#it for over 40 years and don’t really know the difference.

     

    ..always with the negative waves, Moriarty, always with the negative waves..

  23. 24 Cups says:

    Agreed, Jane.  Playing Auld against Toronto is the most logical choice as well as our best chance to have him grab us two points.  I realize we always play life and death against Toronto, but they have the weakest offence of all the teams we will be facing in the next two weeks.

    Time to go outside and shovel snow.  First time this year. 

  24. secretdragonfly says:

    Thanks Steve – somehow missed that one.

  25. 24 Cups says:

    Spot on.  Paging Chris Chelios!

  26. Chorske says:

    Sweet Jesus and Mary. I am relieved. Not to take anything from Guerin and an awesome hockey career– but he just isn’t a good fit for the skill set of this team.

    As an aside, am I the only one feeling kind of sorry for these great players whose careers seem to end with a whimper, on the sidelines of UFAdom, with no one willing to sign them? So the player ends up hanging around hoping someone will sign them, instead of exiting as an active player, with a measure of dignity and control of the situation?

  27. 24 Cups says:

    Great news, Jane.  Bill Guerin was the last guy this team needed.  Too old and too slow.

    By the end of January, certain teams will start to realize that the dream is over for them in terms of the 2011 season.  That’s when they will start thinking about moving out older players and UFAs.  We will also have a better idea about what our true needs are in terms of a playoff run.

  28. Rudy says:

    Isn’t Plekanec Slovakian?

    “Start the season with a clean equipment bag and a freah bucket of febreze!”-CharlieHodgeFan

  29. secretdragonfly says:

    Source, please?

  30. 24 Cups says:

    Tuesday – Ottawa

    Friday – Detroit

    Saturday – Toronto

    Wednesday – Philadelphia

    Thursday – Boston

    This is our schedule for the next two weeks before the team goes away on their seven game holiday season road trip. Looking at those five games, I wonder which start might go to Auld (if any). The game that we just have to win, must win at all costs, is the tilt with Boston. It’s a four pointer in our quest to capture our division, which is our ultimate goal this season.

    Do we start Auld against Toronto with the notion that we still might be able to grab two points against a bottom-feeder? That would give Carey Price four days off before he goes back-to-back on the Wednesday and Thursday. Or do we rest Price on the Wednesday against Philadelphia so he has four days off before playing Boston?

    I think a realistic goal here would be to take seven of ten points during the next two weeks. I’d be happy with that as long as two of those points comes against Boston.

    I was one of the first posters to suggest rotating our D throughout the season to rest the three older players and give guys like Picard and Weber some ice time. I had worked out a well balanced plan for the rest of the month but it’s basically a waste of time seeing that Martin will go with the experienced players. Even when we have three sets of back-to-back games. After all, who knows more about coaching, Martin or 24 Cups:-)

    It’s a concern, seeing that both Hamrlik and Spacek were worn out last year after having to pick up the slack from the Markov injury. They’re a year older now so it won’t be getting any better. After all, the whole point of this is to be in great shape for another deep playoff run.  Another alternate is to give these three guys separate mid-winter breaks where they don’t play for a week.  In fact, they don’t even travel with the team.  It’s a strategy that’s been employed in the past by other coaches as they prepared for the playoffs.  A point to ponder.

  31. punkster says:

    No arguing with that logic. I guess the only question would be does Martin think they’re ready for that test yet?

  32. PrimeTime says:

    Markov will need to accept. 1yr deal to show where he is at. If another team wants to gamble with a bigger offer so be it.

    PK with body guards? Was Richards in the building? :) In the long term it will be better for Pk’s career to have this time to reflect. He’ll be back and the Habs will be better for it.

    The problem with Todd is he is too over the top much like many here. No wonder he so well liked by those that have left here or the few that stayed and made similar admissions of error. I wonder if we will see a repeat with the Gomez talk this year?? Me thinks so!

  33. G-Man says:

    Before committing to this “Price is so awesome” bandwagon, I await a full season, including playoffs, of consistent play. Price is off to a great start, but that’s all it is; a start.

    Calling him the best in the league right now is rushing it. Am I glad he’s playing well? 100%. Did they trade the wrong goalie? Jury is still out on that one. (Liking what Eller has shown, though)

  34. Julie H says:

    I know most of us didn’t tune in to the Sens vs Sharks game last week, but I’m sure most of you heard the “welcome” that Danny Heatley received. Did anyone find it amusing that he got the same welcome when he showed up at the Bell Centre this weekend?

    “I know you’re wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the fear that your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by?”

  35. matrags says:

    Nice video on Plecs. Got to thinking after watching it and remembering Lafleur, if we will ever see the likes of a Lafleur again,. A bona fide superstar that can lift you out of your seat wearing  the Canadiens colors. I checked the scoring leaders this am and nary one Hab in the top twenty. I read the article on Subban,and was struck that perhaps our most exciting prospect in yrs is benched because his exuberance cannnot be tolerated in a game that now requires strict adherence to comforty.Lafleur did not conform , he could not be coached , the game , bowed to him , and he raised it up and took it to that special place that reminded us of how great a game it can be.Taking risks , doing things out of the norm that confounded us , raised goose bumps on our arms and back and had us yelling in reverent chorous ,GUY GUY GUY…..

  36. JF says:

    Steve, I agree with you about the need to rest our older Dmen.  As you point out, they were worn out by playoff time last year; this year would be worse because they won’t have the 2-week Olympic break.  With both Weber and Picard playing well, JM certainly has the option to give those guys regular breaks or possibly, as you suggest, a week off each.  That might in fact be the best idea; they could get completely away from hockey, have a real rest, then come back reinvigorated for the final stretch and the playoff run.

    As for the goaltending, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Auld against Toronto, but I expect Price to play both the Philly and Boston games.  With several days off before those games, he should be able to handle both. Also, a very long break before the crucial game against Boston might find him not quite sharp enough.

  37. JF says:

    Suggestions that we sign Bill Guerin can cease; he has announced his retirement.

  38. SeriousFan09 says:

    &&&&&&& another negative hack hops on the bandwagon.

    Until he finds something to gripe about that is.

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  39. avatar_58 says:

    lol Todd – I was wrong but since I liked him originally I guess I was right all along. So good or bad – he’s right.

  40. Ian Cobb says:

    (I put this up yesterday)

    Here is this weeks report on where we place in this 30 team league and compare to last week.

    The 1st most important statistic is goals against, for it measures the total team play.

    The second of course is total team points in the standings. So here goes.

     

    Goals Against–53.   We are in   2nd place.   Last week we were in   2nd place.

    Total Points—-36.   We are in   4th place.    Last week we were in   4th place.

    Goals For——-71.   We are in 15th place.    Last week we were in  19th place.

     

    The
    total point stat is very solid this year, particularly in the era of 3
    point games as seen last night with Boston and Toronto.

    I did not
    mind Toronto beating Boston, as Boston is closer to us in the
    standings. But what bothers me is that Boston still gets a point for
    losing.

    So it is very difficult to gain much separation between teams in the standings with 3 point games in play now.

    But our record of winning in regulation time, preventing the opposition from acquiring a point is very good so far this year.

  41. JF says:

    They have no choice.  If they lose, it’s because Detroit is better, or at least plays better in that game.  No pinning the loss on the backup goaltender.

  42. kempie says:

    “Todd is an accomplished and talented sportswriter and novelist. The Gazette is lucky to have him”. 

    Bwaaahaaaaa dude! Ohh stop it man you’re killin me. Stop. Please stop. 

  43. kempie says:

    So I understand that Jackass Todd has admitted the error of his judgements. Meh. I read his lead paragraph then felt like I was gonna puke in my mouth so I stopped. Nice of him to step up and admit it though, and if I gave a damn about what a jackwagon fool like Todd thinks, I might have read more. But I don’t. Next issue…

  44. Shiloh says:

    Right on, db. Bashing also applies to those who insult writers – sometimes their own colleagues.

  45. Shiloh says:

    Uh – the job is writing, not cheerleading. Todd is an accomplished and talented sportswriter and novelist. The Gazette is lucky to have him. Fisher is a legend. Reporters cover what they see and hear. Price played very poorly the past couple of years – and is playing super this year. I think Todd described what he was seeing and I saw much the same thing.

    So – do we pick up somebody now or at the trade deadline with the room from Markov’s cap hit? Does PK play next game? He can’t sit forever…

  46. alestar says:

    I’ll reserve my opinion on the Todd article until after Price has an “off” game, but its a start.

    On the other hand, I have to say that the Plek’s compilation video has arguably the worst soundtrack I have ever heard…

     

    XXIV…and counting

  47. larisalapointe says:

    Well I guess sometimes hell does freeze over. lol. Kudos to Jack Todd. Not worried about jinxes. Remember the ‘stache worries? haha

  48. sholi2000.com says:

    My favourite is “lets wait until we see how they play in November”

    “At best this is a 500 team”

    and finally

    “he’ll never be a winner in Montreal”

    They Call Me Shane

  49. shootdapuck says:

    Warm and fuzzy Toad????

    Watch out for warts if you handle anything he writes.

     

     

    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3″

  50. CanadienBoy says:

    PK with a body guard amazing, i guess the hab are learning to take better care of they young players. Sergie could have use one .

  51. JF says:

    I don’t usually read Jack Todd, but today I did, and it was worth it.  His piece is a very handsome admission that he was wrong right along the line about Carey Price – wrong in thinking the Habs made a mistake in trading Halak, wrong in thinking Price did not have the mental or emotional makeup to succeed, wrong in thinking he would be unable to withstand the pressure of playing in Montreal, wrong in thinking he was lazy and too fond of high living.  Good on Jack Todd; it takes guts to make such an admission.

  52. Julie H says:

    Jack Todd is probably only conforming to the majority opinion because if he keeps harping about how price is going to fail, people will start writing in to try and have him fired.

    Two wins in a row, let’s keep it up!

    “I know you’re wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the fear that your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by?”

  53. G-Man says:

    Watched yesterday’s Lafleur swan song. I must say I haven’t laughed at a hockey game in years, so it was a delight.

    Hope Sevigny wasn’t hurt on that play with Goulet.

    Almost 16K at the centre to see a player last on the ice 21 years ago shows how, as fans, we mythologize our great ones.

  54. Ian Cobb says:

    Markov is in tough now, and a very sad situation for everyone.

    The best that Gauthier could offer our number 1 defence man, will be a one year contract for next year.

    If this is not acceptable to him, Gauthier will have no alternative but to make a trade before the Feb. trade deadline. Tough decisions that have to be made in this business.

  55. Chips says:

    They could give him the choice of a single year at the same salary or taking a multi year at a cut rate (let’s say $3M a year), but I’d wait and see what the prognosis is a couple of months after the surgery, before anything happens. A cheap multi -year contract might prove to be a good gamble to take. Just feel so bad for the guy :(

     

     

     

     

    25 in 2011

  56. sholi2000.com says:

    OH MY I read his entire article!

    Back on the Price BUS….ALL ABOARD

    All I know is when Cammi starts playing like the Cammi from the playoffs, this Montreal team will be unstoppable!

    We are one more player away from a verified true red, white and blue hockey stomping machine.  Who is that player??? When is he coming?

     

    They Call Me Shane

  57. Ian Cobb says:

    We will be making a deal before the trade deadline Shane. Not sure how it will play out!

  58. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Richards when he hit’s UFA status, if he wants to sign with us that is.  He has been quoted as saying his only expectation is he wants to be on a team with solid ownership.  Well we have that Brad, not to mention we are definately emerging as a strong playoff contender.

  59. 24 Cups says:

    Let’s say Richards gets 7M, which is less than he’s making now.  We have no cap space to sign him.  Even if Markov doesn’t return, we would still need to spend some of his cap money (along with Hamrlik’s ) to sign two more Dmen.  We also have to bank some major coin for the following year when Price and Subban come due.

    I think any other UFA forward signings would have to come in around the 3-4M range.

  60. SeriousFan09 says:

    Did I miss the salary cap being repealed?

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  61. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    When he hit’s UFA, won’t we have a couple contracts off the books and some room to sign him?

  62. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    I dont see any reason why Weber and PK cant replace Markov and Hammr.  the we have plenty to sign Richards.

  63. Julie H says:

    I had originally posted a not nice comment about Jack Todd. I take it back.

    Let’s not forget that the guys who run this site are colleagues of Jack Todd. Although none of them are defending him, we should still be respectful.

    “I know you’re wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the fear that your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by?”


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