Bourque on line with Brière, Bournival at practice; Leblanc called up from Hamilton

The Canadiens practised Monday morning in Brossard and all hands were on deck.

Raphael Diaz (flu) and Douglas Murray (lower body), who both missed Saturday’s game in Toronto, were back on the ice. Alex Galchenyuk, who has missed five games after suffering a broken hand against the Florida Panthers on Jan. 6, skated on the second sheet of ice in Brossard with strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard. Davis Drewiske, who hasn’t played all season after undergoing shoulder surgery, also skated before the regular practice.

And Rene Bourque, who was a healthy scratch Saturday night in Toronto, practised on a line with Daniel Brière at centre and Michael Bournival.

Late Monday afternoon, the Canadiens announced they have called up Louis Leblanc from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. In 36 games this season with the Bulldogs, Leblanc has nine goals and 11 assists. Montreal’s first-round draft pick in 2009 (18th overall) played five games with the Canadiens earlier in the season, going pointless.

“It’s been a tough year,” Bourque, who has six goals and one assist in 36 games and is minus-4, told reporters after practice. “I’ve been good some games, some games I haven’t. I had a feeling (the benching) might be coming soon and it just happened to fall on Saturday.”

Bourque added that coach Michel Therrien didn’t have to say anything to him about being a healthy scratch.

“Obvously, I know what it’s about,” Bourque said. “So I have to pick up my play and get better.

I think I just have to be a little bit more aggressive … play with the puck more, be more confident with it … challenge the defencemen one on one,” said Bourque, adding his poor performance has nothing to do with any injury. “It’s a lot of things. Hopefully it’s a wakeup call and I get back to playing my game and helping produce a little bit.”

Goaltender Carey Price started  breaking in a new pair of pads at practice that he will wear for Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics. Price has two assists this season, one more than Bourque.

Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at practice:

Eller-Plekanec-Gionta
Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher
Bournival-Brière-Bourque
Moen-Prust-Parros

Markov-Subban
Emelin-Diaz
Bouillon-Gorges
Murray-Beaulieu

The Canadiens play their next game Wednesday night in Pittsburgh against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins (7 p.m., TSN, RDS, TSN Radio 690). The Habs then travel to Detroit to face the Red Wings Friday night and will play host to the Washington Capitals Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

(Photo by John Kenney/The Gazette)

Bourque, Habs looking for some chemistry, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Canadiens recall Leblanc from Bulldogs, hamiltonbulldogs.com

Financial cost of injuries to NHL teams studied, by Pat Hickey

How did a jersey tug become an insult? by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Hockey Canada’s problems start at grassroots level, by The Gazette’s Jack Todd

Carey Price breaks in new Olympic pads (video), Canadiens.com

Price’s new pads red, white and black, Canadiens.com

Team Canada believes in coach Babcock, NHL.com

Tribute to Penguins coach Bylsma sensible, classy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

994 Comments

  1. Sportfan says:

    Good for Eugenie

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

  2. 25Stanleycups says:

    She did not just say that! The Beebs? UGH

  3. jols101 says:

    There it is. Way to go Genie. Canada is proud of you.

  4. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    C’mon Eugenie!!!!

  5. adadi says:

    One game for the match. Hard to believe she’s only 19.

    • FormalWare says:

      Ivanovic’s return game is truly top-notch. Genie got her A first serve in and still had to work hard for that game point.


      WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

  6. FormalWare says:

    Oooh! Genie! Up a break in the third!


    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

  7. adadi says:

    Genie to games away from final.

  8. adadi says:

    I’m guessing if it had been Julien instead of Torts he would have gotten a pat on the back and been used in a league video about how to motivate your team.

  9. habsfan0 says:

    4-1 Laffs over Phoenix.
    They’re just 2 points behind the Habs now.
    Ugh.

    • CJ says:

      Habs have two games in hand. They need to make them count.

      • adadi says:

        Habs not making playoffs unless MT is fired now. Get used to the idea.

      • scotland says:

        rangers and loafs two back of habs. flyers 3 back. wings, jackets,caps 7, sens 8.

        says here rangers, loafs, flyers will finish last 10 weeks of season way stronger than habs whos wheels are already falling off. and caps,sens will close in and likely pass habs.

        habs are living off the streak where they got points in 13 of 14 games. wont come close to repeating anything close to that down the stretch.

        worst case scenario….they miss the play offs. best case scenario…they make it and are one and done.

        next year………….expect much of the same thing. but it would be hard pressed for price to keep this stellar play at this high a level for back to back season. what a waste of a great goaltending season.

        • Habitant in Surrey says:

          …Carey keeping Us from a high first-round draft choice

          …trade Him ?

        • CJ says:

          Looking at the records over the past 10 games (in an attempt to use meaningful, timely data) what leads you to the conclusion that either Detroit or Washington passes us in the standings? Although I also disagree with other names on the list, I respectfully acknowledge the reasoning, if only because it’s based on records, which is a metric we can define, that there is data to support Toronto, Philly and New York passing us.

          I reiterate, we are not the only team in the east struggling right now. Let’s at least be somewhat objective.

    • The Jackal says:

      Someone pointed that out below too.
      Honestly, it’s not a big deal. They are 2 behind us now? Well they also gained ground on TB. Look at this way, we’re 1 behind TB. Not only that, but even if the Leafs did gain some ground tonight, they have 4 teams breathing down their back. Our two points and games in hand make a big difference.

      Lastly, we’re a much better team than the Leafs. They have lots of scoring talent but they are never dominant. To paraphrase Burke, dominant is not in their vocabulary. Habs have had some rough games but we have flashes of dominance. The roster is a work in progress but it can play very well. The Leafs, on the other hand, are also rebuilding but they are constantly outplayed and out-possessed, when they win it usually comes with an asterisk.

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

      • jols101 says:

        To say we are a “much better team than the Leafs” is only accurate to those who wear the thickest habs colored glasses.

        • The Jackal says:

          That’s far from the truth. Perhaps your statement is true to those who wear the cynical glasses. ;)

          When you look at how both teams have performed, not only in the post-lockout era but also in their rebuilds, the Habs have drafted better and performed better. Some people here look at the Leafs and wish they had JvR and Kessel – I do too. But the mistake is looking at their talent and saying they are better or almost as good as the Habs. The Habs are a better TEAM, they outscore the Leafs in basically every performance category. A couple of weeks ago, the Leafs were out of playoff spot and now they are in the thick of it. We’re not “safely” in 4th but neither is TB safe in third and neither are the B’s safe in first.

          ______________________
          Hockey sine stercore tauri.

    • habs001 says:

      They are in Denver tues…Florida 5 Pitts 1 in Pitts…bad news as they will probably be flying vs the Habs

  10. jols101 says:

    Ya. Genie wins the 2nd set. Great match. Both sets 7-5. Going to be a great 3rd.

  11. chanchilla says:

    I think if Bourque were given the opportunities that Briere has been given this year his play would be a lot better. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been piss poor, but he really hasn’t had the opportunities that Briere has had, and for no real reason other than that the Briere signing has to be justified.

    • adadi says:

      Briere has been played mostly on the third and fourth lines and on the wing instead of center. Hardly a recipe for success.

    • Mark C says:

      What opportunities are you talking about? Rene gets two more minutes a game, and PP times is almost dead even. Offensive zone starts are even.

    • scotland says:

      they have both been given loads of chances. brierre and bourque both have been given time riding shot gun with therrien pets plekanic and gionta. (powerplay as well as benchings) nobody is holding them back. they stink. and habs are stuck with them. they will both be on the club next year unless bought out. as will rah rah ch24 star in the locker room josh gorges. emeilin is locked up as is baby dd.

      price and subban take a rock bottom feeder of a team tol battle for 8th. huge feat for the two olympians. dont see how anyone in the organization what we see now by next season. get used to what you see now from this small, thinly talented, poorly coached hockey club with a rookie gm.

    • chanchilla says:

      Briere gets all that PP time, he got chances to play with pleks and gio, a lot. Bourque hasn’t really been given the same opportunities.

  12. CH Marshall says:

    Mad respect for Torts.

  13. Chuck says:

    It’s nice to see Carey’s Team Canada-themed equipment… but the question is: will the powers that be give him a chance to wear it in action?

  14. chanchilla says:

    Anyone else think that maybe if we didnt change the lines 30 times in 60 minutes our forwards might have a little more consistency?

  15. FormalWare says:

    Go, Genie!


    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

  16. Subban in Sochi says:

    Louis LeBlanc: On pace for 20 goals-in the AHL…if he plays the entire season there. If his last name was “Smith” he’d be in no danger of leaving the Hamilton metro area this season.

    Leblanc’s playing style is Michael Bournival Lite. And LL will get tethered to the Habs’ 4th line where we will never see the “full array” of his offensive talents-which seem to be minimal nowadays as he’s tightened up defensively.

    Small centre or out-of-”natural”-position small winger. Yeah, we “need” that type of player to advance in the Playoffs…

    Let’s see if he sticks with the Habs until his birthday…in 6 days.

    “Cannonading drive!!”

  17. Chuck says:

    Price has more assists than Bourque. That’s rich.

  18. Marc10 says:

    Good second set for Genie. Making things interesting…

  19. Plekasuares says:

    Toronto has a very very dislikeable team though this year just like the booins. It’s preety close, but in Ontario so many leave blowers so I have to say Toronto is the rival for me. At the Game at ACC many would really see how dirty and utter assholes the leafs are this year with constant goonism. Kadri, Phaneuf, rymsdick, Orr Are the worst imo.

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …Weeds is the one team I cringe when We lose to …no other team comes close, including the Beans

      …give it another year and the rest of Habs Fans will be feeling the same

      …it’s an ‘age thing’ …younger Habs Fans that did not experience the 50s and 60s and the disdain that was in every Montrealers’ DNA for Hogtown (hockey team and city)

    • The Jackal says:

      I hate losing to the Leafs because I live in TO, that is the main reason. I can’t stand the TO-media fellating the Leafs 24/7, and it’s even more annoying that national outlets give the Leafs so much attention – that’s what I can’t stand and is thus the root of my dislike for them.

      But other than that, the Leafs are just another mediocre team. When it’s Habs vs. Bruins there is this feeling of respectful animosity, like both fans recognize the meaning of the game, they remember the rivalry and it’s also just a great example of hockey. When we play the Leafs, it’s more like an annoyance – “Oh great, if we lose then the stupid media circus is gonna be loving it.”

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

      • Habitant in Surrey says:

        …take with a grain of salt what I say about the city of TO …I’m sure with 3/4s of Montreal moving there it has become more civilized than back in the day :)

        …I still enjoy having fun with it, though :)

    • scotland says:

      yea and what turns my stomach is the habs cant do phack all about it. my leaf buddies laughed out loud at me sat night as struggling NAZIM KADRI OWNED THE HABS.

  20. adadi says:

    I wonder hoe Patches and Larry would get along on a line. DD should really be the 3rd line center.

  21. Habilis says:

    Leafs are gonna be 2 pts back of us in about an hour. That is a terrible hockey team, about to catch us.

    But it’s OK. Michel thought we played well last game so there’s nothing to worry about.

  22. jols101 says:

    Genie’s serve is letting her down. If she figures it out she can make a comeback.

    • 25Stanleycups says:

      Bouchard is a great young player. Being 19 has to be awesome with being able to live in the moment. No fear.

      However Ivanovic almost did the impossible in taking Serena out. Bouchard will be hard pressed getting to a third set.

    • Marc10 says:

      There’s not much in it. She’s a smart player. Was hitting to Ivanovic’s backhand at the sunny end of the court… Clever!

      I think she can squeeze it out if she take’s Ivanovic deep into a third set. Genie has nerves of steel. Really something for a 19-yearold!

  23. Plekasuares says:

    I would trade Leblanc before he continues to lower his value. We have a bunch of other prospects coming up through the system.

  24. JUST ME says:

    Still trying to see what`s written between the lines in Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz letter to the fans published today .
    Kiss of death for Lowe or McTavish maybe ?

    I fail to see what is the point in coming out begining of january waving the white flag, giving up (although…) and basically saying, it ain`t happening folks !

    It probably is also an aknowledgement of failiure with the scouting and drafting process of this rebuilding. Not sure that it`s the way to go and bring fans in the stands. They have the stuff to build something good if only they could strike a few deals with interrested parties… Such a negative message does not add any value to your stock…

    I agree with him that 4 years in the process is not an out of the ordinary period of time to do so but when each year you get 1st choice overall and you do not see any progress then i think something needs to change within the hockey personnel.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Perhaps tied to the fact Edmonton taxpayers are going to help build him a new building soon? I don’t recall how that deal was finally agreed upon, but do remember Katz threatening to pick up his ball and playing elsewhere. He doesn’t have a great record for doing smart P.R. As it relates to his ownership of the Oilers.

      • HabFan in Edmonton says:

        I think the fact that taxpayers are helping to foot the bill for the new arena has something to do with it. The worst thing they can do right now is panic although fans are sick and tired of waiting. This is year 1 for Mactavish and he won’t give up the future although I would love to see the Habs land a Taylor Hall, Eberle or the #1 pick (Eckblad) in a desperation move but it won’t happen.

        • JUST ME says:

          Well yeah i guess having to pay for the stadium does give you the right to see results.
          The thing is that they seem to be out of options. Like with the Yakupov case. He does not do the job in the NHL ? Send him in the farm team then. No one to teach him down there ? Then you have another problem. Try things …

          I too would be willing to discuss for Eberle and consider a few options that i would not normally do…

          • HabFan in Edmonton says:

            They should have at least let Yakupov play another year in junior rather than just giving him a spot. Guys learn a lot playing in the AHL, you either learn to play defense or you keep riding the buses.

      • 25Stanleycups says:

        Wondered if after the loss to Toronto on Saturday if you still thought losing to Boston is worse than that.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I still think Boston is our arch rival and will always place more satisfaction/dissatisfaction in those games.

          • habcertain says:

            agreed

          • habcertain says:

            it was extremely gratifying hold off Bruins teams, in the 70s, that probably should have won a few more Cups with pretty strong line up.

          • 25Stanleycups says:

            What defines an arch rival in your mind? Is Toronto not one also.

          • JUST ME says:

            Toronto is a joke. There is an artificial rivalry with the two canadian cities of course but Toronto`s team is a joke and has been for 47 years. Although some may doubt it , at least the habs have been more often then not fighting in the playoffs with the damn Bruins…
            That is a real rivalry cause we hate them more and more as the season progresses …

          • HabinBurlington says:

            A rival, a team who we have battled in playoffs. The nordiques were that also. To me the Toronto rivalry was before my time, 1960′s. presently the only rivalry with is geographic and being original 6. Yes I consider Leafs a rival, but they haven’t ripped our hearts out in the playoffs for a long time. Heck we last played them in the 70′s.

            Perhaps because I grew up in Wpg I don’t have this natural born distaste of Leafs as they were nothing thru the 80′s I remember them in the 70′s but didn’t have a disdain. I had that for the Flyers and Bruins all along. And it took no time for me to feel that way with Nordiques.

            I don’t cheer for the Leafs, but remain far more spiteful to Boston and Philly.

  25. jols101 says:

    What happened? They were showing the match on TSN and now they are talking about it like it hasn’t started.

  26. Odie24 says:

    Hallelujah, Leblanc’s here to save the day! I mean come on, he’s tearing up the AHL with a staggering 9 goals in 36 games! Not to mention his brute physicality that will be on display playing minimal minutes on the fourth line. *yawn*

  27. 25Stanleycups says:

    What would you rather have 72 points in 109 games in Cammalleri, or 28 points in 101 games in Bourque since that day.

    Im guessing most people here will still say Bourque, because of Patrick Holland.

    And honestly would Fucale had been chosen with that pick, or maybe they would of passed on Jacob de la Rose from Sweden instead.

  28. CJ says:

    Leafs on the way to five in a row. They are up and down this year like a yo yo.

    I don’t think the Panthers are doing us any favours if they hold on to beat the Pens. I don’t think Crosby and company need any further motivation on Wednesday night.

  29. Habitant in Surrey says:

    Headscratcher No. 6, 098, 765

    Rene Bourque: “It’s been a tough year,” Bourque, who has six goals and one assist in 36 games and is minus-4, told reporters after practice. “I’ve been good some games, some games I haven’t. I had a feeling (the benching) might be coming soon and it just happened to fall on Saturday.”

    …”I had ‘a feeling’ (the benching) might be coming…”

    …ok Rene, if You KNEW (the benching) might be coming, why ??? in the Flying F World did You not do something about it BEFORE being benched ???

    …I don’t know, maybe if He doesn’t care, I shouldn’t either :(

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Definite Head Scratcher.

    • slyCH says:

      I’ve had many feelings before that I was dreading, feelings I knew were not to my advantage, feelings that I forced my way to the inevitable conclusion of dread. Feelings mean nothing, and yet, they came to fruition.

      C’est la vie. Boone.

    • Bripro says:

      “…I don’t know, maybe if He doesn’t care….”
      You nailed it, Chris.

      But there’s no “if” in there.

    • habcertain says:

      I don’t think it is from lack of trying, it is easy to look at a player’s style and draw conclusions about effort, I tend to remember that the knock on the Big M was also lack of effort.

      • scotland says:

        it spreads on a team. catain of the team just get handed pp, pk, reg shift, 4 on 4, ot, last minute of every game, first minute of every shift………………..EVEN THOUGH HE MAILS 90% OF HIS SHIFTS IN. when that happens you will have a few others that cash in on the who cares attitude train. bourque is a great candidate.

        bad leadership , bad coaching.

        dd got 1 assist in 21 games and bourque saw that meany squat. brierre skates on the perimeters only. makes no bones about it. its allowed on this team. excuses galore.

        bad leadership. bad coaching.

        best leader on team subban gets ripped by coach very ten games.

        horrible coaching.

        nothing knew. dont know one hockey fan that was not surprised it was announced that michelle therrien is coming back to coaching to take over the habs. NOBODY thought it was a good move.

        no surprise that the team appears to be not only weak, but disfunctional.

    • Phil C says:

      I’d be more concerned if he said “Wow! Didn’t see that coming, WTF!?”

    • habstrinifan says:

      Several odd sounding statements from team members in past few days. Gionta’s “average team”; Bourque’s “I’ve been good.. sometimes I haven’t”; Ellers comments which I cant find now but which also contained a certain laissez faire outlook… as if the players are resigned to a ‘spinning of their wheels’.

  30. jols101 says:

    Bouchard vs Ivanovic starting now on TSN.

    Not sure if anyone is into women’s tennis but Bouchard being a Montreal native, I think there might be some interest.

    Even if you don’t like tennis, both ladies are easy on the eyes.

  31. frontenac1 says:

    Great! Fla 2 Pens 0 after 2. That should put them in a good mood for the Habs on Wed.

  32. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …David Thomson …the 20th richest humanoid on Mother Earth

    …can We wrap Our plebeian heads around that for a second ?

    …THE 20TH RICHEST MAN ALIVE

    …well, at least, in this Galaxy

    …and he is the owner of the Winnipeg Jets

    …We hear about skanky sheik dictators fortunately born over a sea of oil and Russian mobster oligarchs sucking the last ruble out of their countrymen buying up sports teams from China to Europe

    …and little frost-bitten Winnipeg has an owner richer than them all

    • CJ says:

      His father used to buy $200 suits in a little Italian shop in Toronto where my uncle would go. Kenneth Thompson built the empire, his long hair son gets to enjoy life to the fullest. Good for him.

      • CJ says:

        Sorry, please excuse the auto correct. Thomson, not Thompson.

        • Habitant in Surrey says:

          …I had to correct My original spelling of Thomson as well CJ

          …his grandfather and Father did build the fortune, but David made the decision to merge Reuters, so got to give him a little due

          …on the surface the GM Chevaldaeoff should have no problem asking for the budget to expand management, scouting and covering the ceiling for the salary cap

          • CJ says:

            True, money won’t be an issue. To David’s credit, he surrounded himself with a strong board and leadership team. I didn’t mean to piss on the guy. I actually hope Winnipeg continues to improve. Their success will be good for Canadian hockey. Cheers, CJ

  33. frontenac1 says:

    Henrik Sedin”s “iron man” streak ends at 679 games. There are a ton of jokes in this one amigos, way too easy though.

    • D Mex says:

      Bruised ribs –

      ALWAYS Habs -
      D Mex

    • slyCH says:

      He did score a bunch of goals without real protection.

      Lafleur, roadrunner, Shutt, Nashlund, Henry Richard, and so on would have been a wash had there been no Robinson, Nyland, and I tire to think how so forth I need to mention. It’s a great tradition of enforcers this club began, now we need to get management to draft accordingly. Then we’ll be on track again…I guess?

  34. commandant says:

    Matt Stajan gets 4 years @ 3.125 million per year.

    If he’s worth that contract…. DD is underpaid.

    Go Habs Go!
    Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • Bripro says:

      The concern I have with that one is, how much will they have to pay Eller?

    • CJ says:

      Agreed. As the cap continues to grow, DD’s contract will become more attractive, provided he continues to produce 45-50 points.

      • D Mex says:

        Could be, but no amount of time can make sense of what they are paying a guy who would have been in tough to sign ANYwhere else.

        ALWAYS Habs -
        D Mex

        • CJ says:

          Time no, but raised cap ceiling will. The NHL recognizes the value of these outdoor games. Now that they have a taste of the cash cow which is the Canadian hockey markets, look for either Toronto, Montreal, or to a lesser extent the others to be involved annually.

          To lend perspective, the $20 million gross profit from the Leafs Red Wings game alone can shift the salary cap needle.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      DD underpaid? He is a one dimensional player (terrible defensively). An only 50 pt player who plays with the best forwards with 1st line PP duty (a PP with PK and Markov BTW). Sorry, he is paid enough.

      BTW if MB offered DD to a team, I don’t think they would think “Yeah, this guy’s salary is a bargain”.

  35. Buzz Lightbeer says:

    Too bad Torts didn’t try to take someones head off on the ice. Wouldn’t have gotten such a stiff suspension.

  36. Psycho29 says:

    Habs vs Thrashers from Dec. 2, 2008 on ESPN Classic…

    Higgins, Koivu, Tanguay, Brisebois, Dandenault, Lang, Kovalev, D’Agostini to name a few

    And Laraque was just ‘discussing’ politics with one of the Thrashers.

  37. JohninTruro says:

    Here is a nice article on Fucale, just racking up the W’s..

    http://www.theqmjhl.ca/article/will-fucale-beat-the-record-tomorrow/157735

    • CJ says:

      Only surrendered more then 1 goal on a single occasion since December 1 in QMJHL league play.

    • 25Stanleycups says:

      Once Price loses yet another playoff series…cause it is inevitable. Hopefully the tards at the top of this heap of a so called organization dont rear Fucale the same way they did with Carey. And then reward him by trading the goalie that stopped both Washington and Pittsburgh in 2010, and give him 50 million dollars for 6 years.

      Morons.

      • Grimmly says:

        St. Louis is shopping Halak, they dont even want him, give it up

      • habcertain says:

        how passé is that rant, I think the ship has sailed on you for this one, McDonaugh is still a good one though

        • 25Stanleycups says:

          You’re right that the ship has sailed in some aspects. But Price is still the focus. No matter what happens going forward if the team wins the credit will always be on Price. And if the team loses the focus will be on everything else. Coaching, defense, scoring, and special teams. Not him.

          I wish under advance stats they showed block shots. Montreal has to be one of the best in the league, I think this is often overlooked to why Price’s numbers through the first half of the season are improved since last season.

  38. boing007 says:

    The Three Bs. Hope they do a lot of buzzing in Pittsburgh.

    Richard R

  39. frontenac1 says:

    Torts went to the Principals office and got the Biffs. 15 of them. Took it like a man. Atta boy Torts!

  40. FormalWare says:

    Larry is a centre. Can we get back to playing him at that position, please, M. Therrien?


    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

  41. Bripro says:

    The Emelin / Diaz combination is back together.
    Is that the first time this year.
    If you recall, last year, after returning from the Swiss League, and prior to Emelin going down, they were a brutally efficient D.
    Granted, Diaz isn’t a beast, but very smart with the puck.
    And he always stayed behind until the opportunity presented itself for him to rack up points.
    And we all know what a tank Emelin was.
    I don’t think he’s as smart a Dman as Diaz, but far more intimidating.
    And he finally started to play his game against Chicago, then took a few games off.
    His timing was off. His speed was off. His retreats and giveaways were brutal.
    I’m hoping that having the two back together will recreate the chemistry they shared last year.
    It could certainly be worse.

  42. twilighthours says:

    Coffee is some kind of drug.

    I only drink decaf. Today, someone handed me a starbucks that I thought was decaf. Nope, it was the real deal. And it has messed me up. Shaking, starving, sweating, defecating.

    I’m going to bed to sleep this off.

  43. Ian Cobb says:

    I would think that this will be Leblanc’s last kick at the can!

  44. Alvin says:

    Don’t know what you guys see in Leblanc. I just do not see an NHL caliber player. And I think he has never showed it.
    What do I know?

  45. Pierre Maguire says:

    I just had dinner with Gary and Colin…

    Tortorella gets 15 days (6 games); Hartley $25,000 fine

    ——————————————————————
    Me loves everything Scotty and Mario.

  46. Ian Cobb says:

    I am going to Mtl. on Sat. 25th to deliver a check on behalf of our HIO family. To the Children’s Foundation at the Bell Center.

    My oldest son and I are attending the game and we are headed over to Hurley’s (2nd floor) after the game. Some of our HIO members have said they are going as well. Hope to see all of you and have a cool one.

    • twilighthours says:

      Nice!

    • slapshot777 says:

      I will be there for the Feb 2nd and 4th games against Winnipeg and Calgary, would have been nice to meet you Ian.

      To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

    • mrhabby says:

      Enjoy a single malt or a pint or two Ian..will look for u in the crowd.

    • Propwash says:

      I’ll try and make it for a couple of wobblypops with you guys too!

      ____________________
      DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

    • Bripro says:

      Ian, Jim and Chris are also coming in for Saturday night’s game.
      I believe we’re having lunch, with Elle.
      I would like Jim to finally meet my wife (the Tonka truck finder).
      If I’m able to swing it, you’re more than welcome to join us.

      • Chrisadiens says:

        Have you checked your mail lately Bri?

        Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

        • Bripro says:

          Hey Chris.

          I just did, as a matter of fact. Your dad had mentioned that you guys are coming in. I’m not available on friday night. But Lisa and I would love to have you guys over for lunch on saturday, if you can swing it.
          I’ve emailed your dad. You guys let me know. And make sure you drag Elle along.

          • Chrisadiens says:

            Sounds great bud.

            I meant your actually mail though. Not email. You should be receiving something soon. :)

            Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Oh come on I thought times had changed, Drag Elle along? :)

            Sounds like you folks are going to have a fun weekend.

          • Chrisadiens says:

            We’ll miss you there for sure Burly.

            Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

          • Bripro says:

            Hey Gerry.

            Why don’t you take the drive in? I was ready to come to your neck of the woods, remember? (OK blame my wife for the no-show …. her and her friend can’t make up their minds)

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Timing just doesn’t work right now, about to have some busy days at work. Would be great weekend though. Your gonna have to help Chris out so he doesn’t have to buy overpriced beer downtown again though.

          • Bripro says:

            I have a fridge full of Guinness and Sleeman dark.
            There’s wine galore (although he’d have to clear that with my wife).
            I brought back some fine rum from Bermuda.
            And I have a 12-year old single malt.
            I think he’ll get all the help he needs.

            Can you tell? I’m not on meds anymore.

      • Ian Cobb says:

        Gee! I might even be able to enjoy talking with you guys this time around. At the Summit I am always having to do something!

  47. Cortez says:

    Can’t wait to see Bourque, Brière and Bournival in action together. The New Killer B’s. Coach Killer B’s would seem more accurate.

  48. Lafleurguy says:

    Would the Leafs relinquish JVR for Luke Schenn? A sucker-trade available to Bergevin is Emelin for a top six.

    “Bends but won’t break”

    • mrhabby says:

      With an already weak back end…i think not.

      • Lafleurguy says:

        Like others, think Pateryn would would be an upgrade. Keep Beaulieu. Tinordi is two years away.

        “Bends but won’t break”

        • punkster says:

          People are far too hard on Emmy…give him time…and his proper position.

          Still SUBBANGIN’ BABY…
          but…
          ELLER IS STELLAR!!!

          • slyCH says:

            They took massive dumps on Markov last year, after the same procedure Emelin went through the year before. They will elevate him as they do Maky now, a year later. Get your knee ripped out and restructured and see how long it takes to recover. Emelin will be back to the high graces and memories will fade, as they always do. Just like graciousness.

        • jols101 says:

          Ridiculous to think Tinordi is 2 years away. He would be better then Bouillon or Murray today.
          Since drafted he has played 2 full years in the OHL and a year and a half in the AHL. He’s ready. If not this year sometime next year for sure.

          • Lafleurguy says:

            Not impactful at the AHL level. Skates better than Pateryn but there’s more production from Pateryn.

            “Bends but won’t break”

          • jols101 says:

            Huge load of crap. He is there best defensive, stay at home dman. If you are waiting for him to get points you can wait a lifetime. That’s not his game.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I am planning to go to the Dogs game this Friday, I look forward to watching both Tinordi and Pateryn. I think the biggest thing holding Tinordi back is that he is still filling into a very large frame. He plays a positional stay at home defensive game. As he gets stronger he will be able to lean on players with much success. No doubt he improves with each year, but the style of game he plays will be much better suited for him when he can move the big bodied NHL forwards.

            Pateryn is probably a bit more physically mature already and just needs seasoning at the Pro level. Hopefully both can surprise and be ready next season. I just don’t think it will be good for Tinordi to be rushed and get physically dominated per se.

          • slyCH says:

            Tinordi’s game needs seasoning, most D-men need it. I like the guy but it makes sense. He looked good when here but flaws were apparent. So. Next season will be the tell all. Along with Pateryn.

    • habcertain says:

      in a heartbeat, no way some team would give up a JVR type for Emelin.

  49. Lafleurguy says:

    Bobby Ryan and James van Riemsdyk are top six forwards.
    Your serve Marc Bergevin.

    “Bends but won’t break”

  50. punkster says:

    I hope Louis took advantage of the discount you can get for booking and buying your return Megabus ticket to Hamilton in advance.

    Still SUBBANGIN’ BABY…
    but…
    ELLER IS STELLAR!!!

  51. Subban in Sochi says:

    I’m holding out hope that Denis Coderre will say negative things about Rene Bourque, Michael Bournival & Brandon Prust…and they’ll start playing & producing like DD.

    Having said that, I note that all 3 of these players got adequate playing time in a great team win vs. Chicago 9 short days ago. Unfortunately with the Habs’ current lineup we’re only going to see effort & performance at that high level on an infrequent basis. The team as it is configured now is not geared towards reliably repeating that effort.

    Let’s hope that today’s practice D pairings are predictive for Wednesday and that Markov & Subban are partnered again. Someone should compare the Habs’ record when those 2 are playing as a unit vs. when they aren’t. Eye opening I would imagine.

    The Habs are on pace for a 99 point season. Scarily, that very credible showing includes giving 5-6 games each to the Couche-Tard Cup o’ Coffee Club: Mike Blunden (6 games), Patrick Holland (5), and Louis LeBlanc (5). We’ll mercifully leave out the 105 seconds played by a Finnish Flash to be named later.

    Conversely, it’s time to “fish or cut bait” with d-men Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Pateryn. If the Habs aspire to win in the FUTURE these guys have to play in the National NOW. Speaking of cutting bait, if Murray & Bouillon are with the club in April we can expect another prompt & embarrassing playoff exit. Their terrible plus/minus stats accurately point to their surplus of age & lack of speed.

    As for weak plus/minus stats, I adore Alexi Emelin but his “numbers” are starting to look like he’s a disabled T-34 Russian tank trying to defend the siege of Stalingrad. I don’t see how playing in the Olympics helps him or the Canadiens.

    I expect the Canadiens will play well at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, summoning a Blackhawks-like effort. But for the last 32 games I hope they bite the bullet and let the young defensemen play. And leave the young forwards in Hamilton. The forwards need playing time…and lots of it. Not coffee.

    “Cannonading drive!!”

    • habcertain says:

      I agree, Markov was a much better performer with PK, I know people don’t want to put all the good eggs in one basket, but it seemed to be working all around.

    • habstrinifan says:

      I love this post. I also like how you provide, maybe inintentionally, a hint of the difficulty Therrien deals with.

      “. Unfortunately with the Habs’ current lineup we’re only going to see effort & performance at that high level on an infrequent basis. The team as it is configured now is not geared towards reliably repeating that effort.”

      This is the reasoning I will accept to defend Therrien. But he has to make better decisions in dealing with this burden in my humble opinion…. and less impetuously petulant ones.

  52. Steven says:

    I’m sure a lot of you will get a good laugh out of this(especially Timo), but I can’t wait to see Drewiske back out on the ice.

    He might not be spectacular, but he’s reliable. At this point, he’s an indisputable upgrade on Diaz defensively and Bouillon altogether. Although he might not be as defensively aware as Murray(which is actually debatable, to be honest. I always assumed he knew what he was doing back there but I haven’t paid especial attention to him this season), he has more speed, so he won’t get caught flatfooted on plays where Murray leaves the team out to dry.

    As no more than a 6th D-man, I think Drewiske will make the team better. If we don’t end up doing the suddenly popular “bring up the 3 Hamilton D-men” thing, I hope we at least do this.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Found it interesting that he has been battling this same shoulder injury for a few years. I think he has decent abilities and size to be a decent bottom pairing Dman. I am hopeful with his shoulder injuries behind him, he can perhaps be a little more physical than we saw in his appearances last season.

      I too am hopeful he could be an upgrade on Diaz/Frankie/Murray.

    • Timo says:

      You’re right… I did get a good laugh out of this… through eyes full of tears. (I cry easily)

    • slyCH says:

      The sad thing is the size this guy carries and doesn’t use. How can you not. Anyone of us would, at our restricted height, (mine is 5,10) would make the most of it and plow everything in sight on the ice. Especially across our blue line. Yet the guy plays like he is traipsing across a blue meadow of blue sh@t of blueness. If that makes any sense.

    • habstrinifan says:

      I want to agree with you but unless you are including an LA sample there is too little HABS sample to base your optimism on. I have been wondering the same as you but cant bring myself to ‘hope it’ enough to post it.

      • Steven says:

        It’s mostly wishful thinking, in all honesty. My seeing of him in LA is minimal. It was mostly when he played with us, where I thought he was pretty good, albeit not physical.

  53. HabinBurlington says:

    Matt Stajan gets an extension.

    Elliotte Friedman @FriedgeHNIC
    Stajan extension will be four years, $12.5M…AAV is $3.125M

    If he gets that, Eller must get the same or more. Granted I believe Eller is RFA, but I just don’t see Stajan as better player.

  54. russ2445 says:

    I smell a trade coming. Don’t be surprised if the Hab fans WILL NOT like it.

    Russell Fielding

  55. Lafleurguy says:

    The teams M. Bergevins should be honing in on to make a trade are the ones with cap problems. Otherwise, pre-playoffs (and Olympics this year), there is zero chance that a playoff-bound team would relinquish a top six forward.
    Also, upon seeing that the Habs top four in D in their last >100 point year (2008) were Markov/Komisarek/Hamrlik/Streit, getting a D who is better than Emelin and Gorges would be an upgrade.
    Insert Subban’s name for Komisarek, and there’s no way the current 3/4 are as good as Hamrlik/Streit.
    “Bends but won’t break”

  56. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Just realized…they put Emelin on his natural left side…FINALLY!!!

  57. habs001 says:

    While the Hamilton 3 have not played that much in the NHL i believe they would not be any worse than Cube,Diaz and Murray in the short term and the 3 playing now would help in the long term..

  58. SlovakHab says:

    Very glad to see Louis called up.

    Would it hurt to try him on a line with scoring potential?

    On Eller’s wing… Or Pacioretty – DD – Leblanc, with Gallagher on Eller’s RW?

    So many options. Too bad our coach will do something like this: Leblanc – Prust – Parros.

  59. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Louis, finally

    …hope He makes the most of the opportunity …OR, to be more succinct, that He is allowed by Therrien to make the most of the opportunity

    …My poor ol’ head is a wee bit befuddled over Bergevin’s maneuverings as of late

  60. habs001 says:

    I believe the Habs will make the playoffs and that is what management wants..they pretty well know that the present rosters only hope in the playoffs is to win like they did vs Ottawa in the last game or like their playoff series vs Washington…This team will not beat the majority of their playoff opponents simply because they are the better team..Habs playoff hope…great goaltending,PP and PK success and many of the great chances the other team has does not go in not just because of great goaltending but lots of luck also…

  61. Sportfan says:

    @DDO A lot of Oilers fans want Lowe gone, they have been crying for his firing for a while now.

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

  62. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    If the Habs are so desperate for a power forward on the top line that they have to play Eller (a center) there, maybe they will have to one day ship out Eller to get that top-six power forward? It is obvious Pleks and DD are going nowhere.

  63. Sportfan says:

    I’m blown away by how over blown the fighting between Calgary and Vancouver has gotten. It happens, its happened before it’ll happen again. People see to have forgotten history and the 8-0′s when it happened, the 70′s 60′s 50′s etc! What really grinds my gears is all these baseball people bad mouthing the game when they have their own dumb issues.
    OH and TSN asks Sam Mitchell what he thinks of it… its not basketball its hockey, no other sports personalities (outside of hockey) should say anything especially since baseball and basketball have some of the dumbest freaking brawls!

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

    • habstrinifan says:

      I dont know about your other arguments but basketball has absolutely better policed any in-game brawling and handed down strict penalties… moreso than the NHL.

    • mrhabby says:

      That is true however the NHL is trying to grow the sport in the states…football, baseball and basketball are enshrined in America. It is hypocritical..they all have issues.

  64. HABZ24 says:

    Nice to see pk,marky back together..habs getting smaller..new smurf line : briere,leblanc,gionta..bullion

    GO HABS GO

  65. HabinBurlington says:

    I can’t help but think Bettman is sitting in his office happy with all the press coverage his league is getting.

  66. habs001 says:

    I wonder how many of the Habs D could make the the top teams in the league?..

  67. slyCH says:

    Am I the only one to have trouble linking to Gazette and TO papers articles from my HIO APP? They keep loading to no avail. WTF? I don’t get it. If an article title really intrigues me I switch to my Gazette APP and… No problem. Why? Is it because I’m in the states? It’s infuriating. Why post a link if I can’t reach it from the APP of my favorite team?

    • habstrinifan says:

      The link completes for me but then tells me no more freebies.

      • slyCH says:

        From your phone? That’s my beef. And I live in the states. But on my home computer I get the same message you mention. Point is, why post a link if not viewable, especially from the HIO phone APP, when I can make the effort and switch to the Gazette app and read said article with no problem if I chose to do so. It’s absolutely perplexing. But articles from the TO papers give me grief? I haven’t tried from the home computer, and won’t bother, but why would that link give me a fit?

        Makes no sense.

  68. HabFab says:

    Derek Wills – Leblanc’s stats more impressive considering he rarely plays on the power play…17 of his 20 points are even strength.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      An infusion of young talent could be what this team needs. I hope this is the beginning of a long successful career for Leblanc.

    • habstrinifan says:

      Trust Derek Wills.. he is very objective in his assessment of the AHL talent. Only a week ago he went thru a list of 5 or 6 players in a very detailed and fair appraisal.

      If Derek Wills tells me that I should be pumped to see Louis LeBlanc I am going to be pumped… which I am. Man the HABS need some honest to goodness serious happenings, which also bring new energy.

  69. HabinBurlington says:

    I’m guessing Brooksy will be all over the Torterella story in New York today?

  70. Habfan10912 says:

    OK, I’m very confused once again.

    First, the club plays a couple games short a forward forcing Therrien to field a 7 dman lineup.

    Next, Habs call up Natinnen and he plays 2 shifts. Sent down after the game. An enjoyable day in Toronto.

    Now, Habs call up Louie L. Now I’m scratching my head. If Louie L wasn’t good enough to play Saturday but Natinnen was, what the heck has changed in 48 hours? Did Natinnen leave the top of the toothpaste tube off? Pee on the toilet seat? Called a coach a name?

    Lot’s of talk about the coach on here recently. Some of it fair criticism some not so fair. Maybe we’re giving our GM too much of a pass? Couldn’t this last week be described as some boggling?

    I’m searching for a logical explanation. Anyone?

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I will choose to see the glass half full. They wanted to give Joonas a thank you for playing well in the AHL for the Dogs, and now we get to see Leblanc whom I hope gets to play in a real game for the Habs.

      But easy to be cynical, i totally understand.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        That’s the only explanation I can come up with as well but for cripes sake that still makes Therrien’s troops short of manpower. This stuff keeps up I’m going to become a MT fan. :)
        Move over Matty!

      • habstrinifan says:

        “But easy to be cynical, i totally understand.”

        How is your ending and thus the message in your reply not cynicism of the worst nature.

        Montreal is in the midst of an inconsistent streak of play, they are playing a hated rival on Country wideTelevision on a day which is celebrating Hockey. There are several injured/sick absentees. They are playing a team which may be pushing us for a playoff spot and which had wone 3 in a row. etc etc…

        And what do we do. We call up a total and arguably unmerited replacement rookie and insert him in the lineup… for 2 minutes??? To say thank you.

        And this is the glass half-full. This is the conduct of affairs which tells Rene Bourque to get his arse moving. This is the great Montreal Canadiens franchise rising to the challenge of that torch ceremony.

        Shame Shame Shame.

        Your argument. Your cynicism. And if your narrative is right, their sense of pride and responsibility to their fans who stood up in a foreign arena and fought the good fight against those damned Leafs.

        I dont know the workings of the system/regulations which prompted Nattinen’s callup under those circumsatnces and now Louis Leblanc’s 48 hourse after.

        I hope it was for a better and more professionally sound management reason than to give young Mr. Nattinen a thank you gesture.

        Absolute unworthy of your standing here on HIO a post like this. I know you are opposed to all the Therrien questioning but espousing foolishness under the guise of cynicism shows poorly… although it may endear you to some.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Yikes okay, well I will run to the corner and face it as soon as I finish this post.

          I don’t know what happens behind closed doors just as you don’t. I don’t think it is at all far fetched that the Habs felt they were going to go with predominantly 3 lines in that game. They knew that they had 3 days off following the game before Pittsburgh. Every game in the schedule has the exact same point value, I had no idea this past Saturdays game had more point value (you need to explain that rule change to me).

          So what happened? They brought up a rookie, he played a couple shifts, iindeed that fourth line wasn’t succeeding (probably more related to Parros than Joonas) and they reverted back to a 3 line game.

          I am no big MT supporter, I simply support the team and try see things in a positive light. It is hard recently as I don’t agree with the decisions, but I am smart enough to realize that people running NHL teams know more about it than I ever will.

          • habcertain says:

            it clearly depicts a mis-connect between coach and GM. MT had no intention of playing the kid as evident in 2 min. of playing time, as for the thank you gift, I’m sure he would have preferred a free dinner at one of the wineries in Niagara, as opposed to the bus ride to the ACC.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            The pay cheque he got for that one game is much larger than the one he gets in Hamilton. I don’t know, I think it was still a thrill for him to get the callup, perhaps I am naive about what a callup would mean to a player for his first ever NHL game.

          • habcertain says:

            you could be right.

        • CH Marshall says:

          Relax, anyone can post anything they want.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      The only thing I can suggest is it was reported that the team has been battling the flu and minor injuries. That’s the reason for all the call ups.

      Why they’ve chosen a couple different players, who knows?

  71. DipsyDoodler says:

    “If I was the GM I’d play the rookies.

    “Unfortunately I’m not the GM but one of the legion who call for the coach to be fired after every losing streak, which makes him reluctant to play the rookies.”

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Are Bourque and Briere a better option then Bournival?
      Do you really think playing Nathan B would yield less results then the club has got from Frankie B, Murray or Diaz?

      “The coach should always play the players who have earned ice time and give his team the best chance to win. Its called a reward based process.”

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        I guess it all boils downs to the fact the Murray, Diaz and Bouillon have NHL contracts until the end of the season. There’s some loyalty to Bouillon as well. He’s been a dedicated soldier for many years and they’re attempting to let him finish his career with dignity.

        Do we the fans agree or care about his years of service or a players contract, not usually. I’m guessing management does though.

        I’m guessing Murray won’t be resigned and Bouillon will retire after the season. The big question is if the Habs will resign Diaz?

        I’ll be sick to my stomach if I read that the Habs have reached an agreement with Diaz over the next six or eight months. Kinda like when the signed Desharnais and Briere.

        • Habfan10912 says:

          I’m really disappointed in Diaz, Hobie, I really thought that once Emelin returned and Diaz moved down the depth chart some he’d thrive. Hasn’t happened.

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            Unfortunately Diaz isn’t getting much help. If you put Diaz on a team like St. Louis and he was surrounded by big and talented forwards and defence partners it would be a different situation.

            In Montreal, the defence is under constant pressure and it’s like handing a live grenade back there. Nobody is slowing down the opposition.

            I’ve seen Diaz pickup the puck, look over at Murray, realize that’s not an option and then either get run over by the forward or cough up the puck. I’ve also seen Murray dish it off to Diaz several times while a forward is zeroing in on him with the same result.

            The only defenseman on our team that is stable and confident in our end with the puck is Subban. The rest are either small or terrible handling the puck under pressure or both. Markov is slowing down and Emelin isn’t comfortable yet.

            So since the contract of Diaz expires at the end of the season, and Gorges isn’t going anywhere, we have to rid ourselves of him and sign or bring up a big, strong and steady defenseman. Not resign him and continue on with the same problem.

          • Habfan10912 says:

            At Hobie – Great analysis.

      • DipsyDoodler says:

        Just trying to explain why the long view is a difficult one to take when one is Habs coach.

  72. habcertain says:

    nice to see they called up LeBlanc so we can have his 1:45 of ice time.

  73. Sportfan says:

    Katz open letter to Oilers fans “Sorry we Suck” http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=441705

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

    • slyCH says:

      When I first saw the article I started reading the letter and lost interest after the first paragraph. I had visions of Molson doing the same and cringed myself from the outcome. Pathetic. Thankfully we are not in the same boat. But sometimes I feel we are…

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      The guy basically absolves Lowe from all hockey responsibility and dumps it all on McTavish…what a joke. What is Lowe there for then??? No wonder Oilers fans are pissed…


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