Brière returns to Habs lineup against Sens; Diaz a healthy scratch

Daniel Brière, who was a healthy scratch for the last two games, will be back in the lineup when the Canadiens face the Ottawa Senators Saturday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690). Defenceman Raphael Diaz will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season against the Senators with Alexei Emelin returning to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game in Dallas.

“For sure I am happy to be back in the lineup,” Brière told reporters in Brossard after Saturday’s morning skate. “That’s what we train for. Whether you’re 18 or 36, it’s never easy to be scratched, and it’s always a great feeling to be on the ice.”

Brière will play centre on a line with Travis Moen and Michael Bournival.

“I always feel more at ease playing centre, but that’s secondary,” Brière said. “I’m just happy to be back in the lineup.”

Ryan White, who suffered an upper-body injury during Thursday’s game in Dallas, and George Parros, who is recovering from a concussion, didn’t take part in the morning skate.

Before the start of Saturday’s game, Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec will receive the Molson Cup for December based on the three-star selections. Plekanec, who posted 4-2-6 totals in 14 games in December, earned one first-star selection, three second-star selections and two third-star selections to finish ahead of Carey Price and David Desharnais in the Molson Cup standings.

The Canadiens will hold their annual “Open Practice” Sunday at the Bell Centre and then the Florida Panthers will visit the Bell Centre on Monday night (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at Saturday’s morning skate:

Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta
Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher
Galchenyuk-Eller-Prust
Moen-Briere-Bournival

Bouillon-Subban
Emelin- Markov
Murray- Gorges
Diaz

(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)

Habs vs. Senators preview, NHL.com

Game Day Report, Canadiens.com

Gameday Preview, Ottawa Citizen

Plekanec earns Molson Cup honour for December, Canadiens.com

Habs make the grade after first half of season, by Pat Hickey

Galchenyuk disappointed he’s not going to Sochi, by Pat Hickey

Hickey on Hockey Notebook, by Pat Hickey

Dick Irvin gets warm welcome to Order of Canada, by Brenda Branswell

Tony McKegney remembers a pimply-face Gretzky at world juniors, by Stu Cowan

Tickets for 2015 world juniors nearly sold out, montrealgazette.com

Bantam hockey player lucky to be alive after severing jugular vein, by Brenda Branswell

 

 

479 Comments

  1. Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

    Emelin with Markov…wish it was with Subban so that he can play the left side where he seems more comfortable. I know he played well with Markov earlier (including last year) but he’s been so awful lately, why not give him every advantage to succeed?

  2. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …the January 31st Bulldogs’game in Abbotsford includes a Hall Of Fame promotion with one the Habs Hall of Famers attending for autograph and photo ops

    …sounds like another good opportunity to take My Boy whom I have diligently endeavored to brain-wash to be a Habs Fan and meet another Hero from My yoot

  3. ABHabsfan says:

    Having watched the Jrs this year, it seemed a big part of why Canada usually has success was missing: passion. There was no leadership on this team, no one who was willing to go through walls to get a goal or even a scoring chance. Lots of talent but where was the Jordan Eberle or Subban or Downie or Ryan Smyth or Marchant (I feel dirty adding him but he was very effective when he played for Canada). Canada’s current C Laughton was invisible the whole tournament and couldn’t even keep his shift in today’s game. Not very surprising really as I have heard from reliable sources that he is not exactly team oriented.
    It is not always talent and coaching that gets us through to the medals in these international tournaments, lots of countries have talent and coaching nowadays. It’s the passion and shear will to get the puck in the net that always carried Canada in years past. It has been conspicuously absent the last few years. I wouldn’t put it as harshly as Timo did about an hour ago, but he is not far from the mark

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

  4. PeterD says:

    Comment about Habs prosects at WJC.

    De La Rose…can’t wait to see this kid with Habs…big body (could use a few more pounds…but at 18…hes getting there)…plats full ice and has skills.
    Collberg…speedy but limited offense…seems he is not blossoming as a real offensive talent…but we need to see him in the AHL for a season before being too harsh on him.
    Reway…ya he’s small, but he is very slick and talented offensively…will need to add a lot of muscle to make it as a pro.
    Lekhonin (sp)…looks good and need a few more pounds…but has great hands and playmaking skills.
    Hudon…this guy is a heart and soul player but I am very concerned about his seemingly chronic back issues…he needs to get tbat straightened out his career could be over before it starts…but I love the kids heart.
    Fucale…calm, cool and kooky…classic goalie personality…skilled and great under pressure…I think he’s going to be the next great habs goalie.

    Tough break for the Canadian team…they’re kids and did their best…but hockey is a great game where just about any team can win any night.
    The finals should be good…Russia v Canada and Finland v Sweden.
    Fearless prediction…Sweden Gold…they are the best team in this years tournament.
    Canada Bronze…too good to not take the Russian…but it will be a goaltending war…best goalie will win this for their team.

  5. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …for fellow Habnutz here on the Wong Coast

    …learned today that the Hamilton Bulldogs will be returning to Abbotsford BC January 31st to play the Heat

    …will be another opportunity to watch up close Our Hamilton prospects

    …Bulldogs are also playing in Abbotsford tonight …following Their 2-1 victory last night over the Baertchi led Heat

  6. twilighthours says:

    And a new thread…

  7. twilighthours says:

    I wish I hadn’t read thru the comments. The amount of vitriol directed at 17,18,19 year olds is truly repugnant.

      • twilighthours says:

        I actually couldn’t believe I was reading it, which is something, considering how bad HIO can get sometimes.

        • D Mex says:

          Chucking crap is what more than half of the ‘ HI/O Family ‘ is here to do. It’s how ” Family members ‘ demonstrate the length and breadth of their vast hockey knowledge or, in at least one case, it’s the result of wearing size S underwear on a size XL head.

          You’re not really surprised by this, are you ?

          ALWAYS Habs –
          D Mex

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        My apologies to you both if you felt I was contributing to that. My beef is not at all with the players but with the NHL which I believe is already corrupting those kids before they even arrive. My heart goes out to the kids.

    • New says:

      Twi there are people who live to spit. When two or more spit they perceive validation and they get louder. It doesn’t mean the majority of people feel like that, although when the few go on and on you would sometimes think so.

      The kids are fine, but sometimes other kids can be fine as well, or having played four games there know the boards.

  8. slyCH says:

    I know most of you don’t want to hear this but I hope the rain being poured on our heads here in the Keys don’t make it to you or this will be a blizzard of monumental proportion.

  9. frontenac1 says:

    Did somebody mention eariler that Prust is out again? So, No Prust,Parros vs the Sens? What about Whitey? Jeeze, Crankshaft and Moen might be busy tonight.

  10. jols101 says:

    Ottawa is finally coming out of the deep freeze. Tomorrow is only going to be -4. That will feel like summer after what we went through the last week.

    • CJ says:

      Canal tomorrow with the boys! Can’t wait for beaver tails and Elgin st diner for breakfast.

      • jols101 says:

        Haven’t hit the canal in years. I think i over did it in years past and lost interest. Elgin St. Diner, now there is an institution. Great, greasy poutine after a night out of drinking on Elgin back in the day. Great breakfast too.

        • CJ says:

          Used to live by ESD and Bulldog pub in first year. Lots of memories and late nights!

          • jols101 says:

            Me too. I think I’m much older then you but back in my younger days me and my buddies rented a house right off Elgin. Really close to ESD. Forget the street but in the summer there was a park with tennis courts, basketball courts and a kids pool as soon as we left our front door. Good times.

          • CJ says:

            I know the area you are talking about. A good buddy of mine, a criminal defence lawyer, lives in the area you have described.

        • twilighthours says:

          The best part about that poutine? Mushroom gravy, vegetarian friendly.

          I love the Elgin.

  11. JF says:

    Counting the playoffs, the Habs have lost the last four games to the Senators. Only one of those games (the one the refs stole from us) has even been close.

    • CJ says:

      Close no, but on the scoreboard only. If you break many of those periods down Montreal controlled the play but couldn’t bury their chances. I was at the first game this season in Ottawa. Montreal was all over the Sens, scored to go up 1-0, then surrendered 4 goals on 20 shots. The sens play a rope a dope game and score in transition. They are very frustrating to watch. Montreal needs to score early and then grind these guys into the ground. In the playoffs last year, the sens were the better team over 20 minutes perhaps twice, maybe three times over 15 periods of regulation time. That said, the scoreboard is the only thing that matters and they humiliated us there.

    • twilighthours says:

      Ottawa is due for a drubbing. I hope it happens tonight.

  12. WVHabsfan says:

    Andi is what I was trying to say

  13. Tomi says:

    I can’t believe 70% of you have rated the Habs’ season an A or B. What games have you been watching?
    This team is a terrible bunch of soft smurfs. Weak defense led by the Swiss Miss Diaz, Rah Rah Gorges, and Frankie “cold soup” Bouillon.
    Michael Therrien is a brain dead coach and I live for the day when he and Bergevin are gone.

  14. WVHabsfan says:

    Thanks Front. ANSI is very very easy on the eyes

  15. smiler2729 says:

    Gaborik to Montreal lol, I love Eklund…

    _______________________________________
    Jack Edwards is a clam.
    Gary Bettman is a bobblehead.
    The “CH” in CHOKE stands for Toronto Maple Leafs.

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Frustrating way for WJC to end for both Canada and USA, hopefully the Olympics produce different results. Time to relax with some golf from Hawaii and mix in some football.

  17. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …just beginning on TSN …Team Canada Pacific vs USA at U17 hockey challenge

    …I love watching Our young guns playing international hockey … win or lose

    …though, of course, ‘win’ is better than ‘lose’ :)

  18. Danno says:

    It was a tough loss at the IIHF in Sweden…

    Canadian Kids Fall to Fins

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  19. frontenac1 says:

    Heads up amigos! Andi Petrillo in a skin suit speed skating on CBC!!

  20. frontenac1 says:

    So in Euro Hockey it’s 2min if you fight with your gloves on but if you fight like a man, bare knuckles,you get tossed?

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      In Euro hockey, if you’re European and you run over a linesman, you get a 2min penalty. If you’re not European and say a bad thing to a ref, you’re thrown out.

      In Euro hockey, if you’re European and jump a player at the end of the game after leaving the penalty box, you get a 2 min penalty. If you’re not European and you hit a guy hard you get a 2 min penalty plus 10 min misconduct.

      Give me a break…

  21. slyCH says:

    How’s De La Rose and Collberg doing in the tourney? Are they big contributors? Guess I’m rooting for the Swedes.

    • CJ says:

      Personally, and this my humble opinion, I would rank our prospects at the WJC as follows;
      dLR
      Reway
      Fucale
      Lekhenen
      collberg
      Hudon

      • slyCH says:

        THX for the input. Nice to see the big body high on your list. Reway might be welcomed after a few smurfs get moved and or retire.

        • CJ says:

          It’s a numbers game. If one of Thomas, collberg, Hudon, reway, Sven make it that would be great. If two or more make it to the NHL that would be amazing. It’s a big next step. Look at Corey Locke. All the above will need to elevate their play to make the big leagues. That said, I cheering for each and hope they all turn out. History (statistically speaking) unfortunately suggests otherwise.

          • slyCH says:

            Ya, it’s all a game of Russian roulette. It’s nice to have the good prospects filling up the pipe-line.

          • habs_54321 says:

            we need a better ahl system prospects are not developing there as they should

          • CJ says:

            Our AHL team is showing steady progress. They just beat one of the best teams in the league last night and are undefeated in their last five games. It was been a long road, but it’s very difficult with such a young roster. There are at least five guys on the current roster with a real chance at playing in the NHL (100 games or more).

  22. Danno says:

    I read my tea leaves and they told me Daniel Brière will have a big night tonight.

    Book it!

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  23. habcertain says:

    Can it just be that others countries are just focusing on developing kids in hockey, and supporting it with dollars, versus the NHL/suits etc are ruining it in Canada. Hockey Canada is not the NHL, lot of ridiculous whining.

    • JUST ME says:

      You are onto something. I do not think that canadian hockey is losing it but international teams are gaining on us as it should be when you work hard on your internal structure of your hockey federation.

      We have seen many teams like the Swiss that have been competing more and more and others like Finland ,Sweden,Slovakia that we take for granted as pretenders.

      Meanwhile in the NHL we have all those guys from other countries that are main assets, the KHL is gaining on reputation so we should not be surprised of their results nor should we be ashamed of ours.
      I just do not think that we will see many massacres as we used to see and that now competition will be fierce.

      In fact, i find that those taking for granted that Canada should win are as naive and blind as Habs fans that think that it should be easy to win as we did in the good old days.

    • The Jackal says:

      NHL ruining hockey? That’s a myth.
      All the southern and non-traditional market teams people complain about have helped to grow the game.
      There are many American kids now playing hockey in places like California and southern states. The game is growing slowly in the US and it is partly thanks to hockey in new markets.
      Eventually, this will increase the talent pool of prospects and of NHL players and will lead to a growth of skill in the sport and in viewership.

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Ok, this won’t work unless you’ve seen and can remember the SECOND Back to the Future movie.

        Remember when Marty travels back from the weird-looking future to 1985, only to discover that he is in a parallel 1985 caused by Biff’s outrageous gambling profits rooted in his all-telling future sports almanac?

        Any expanding talent pool in the US or Canada will naturally flow into the NHL where it will be subject to the same compromises and corruptions I’ve already described.

        Likewise, it makes no difference — imho, habcertain — that Hockey Canada is a distinct entity from the NHL. The ultimate goal of the players it works with is the NHL, so that no matter how talented and gifted and determined they are, they will be customised into what the league believes will sell, rather than into the best players they can be.

        • The Jackal says:

          I don’t know Mike, I don’t think players and the NHL are in some conspiracy to just sell the game and compromise it. I think the reason why dirty play, etc., are hard to stomp out is because that stuff is part of the culture of the sport. It’s an intense, physical game, and until very recently the kind of stuff we complain about was allowed in the game. It will be some time before the culture changes. Also, the majority of fans still see the sport in that light, and they like it that way. The slowness of change is due to not only to the league’s pace but to the fans’ preferences.

          I think the game will be changing and so will the culture, I don’t think it’s being held back by some pecuniary concerns but rather the idea of what hockey is and how it should be played remains very concrete even after the lockout changes. Nonetheless we still see more skill and speed displayed, but naturally there is an grinding element and physicality involved – when the chips are down, coaches opt to close up the play and not give up any ice. I don’t think we can say the NHL is complicit in how coaches decide to strategize or that the NHL is trying to sell a particular kind of hockey.

          ______________________
          Hockey sine stercore tauri.

        • habcertain says:

          So you think it is Hockey Canada’s mission to develop the type of players that the NHL wants? Every team at the WJC that Canada has produced, would be classed as a skilled player, I’m must be missing your point.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            If you’re missing my point, it’s because I haven’t articulated it very well. Cheers
            (Going to follow DDO’s advice now!)

        • Adidess says:

          I agree with this assessment. I think that there is a specific skillset that allows players to excel at the NHL game where the ice surface is smaller. It is more about quick movements and decisions and physical punishments than it is about puck skills. Being able to do fancy stuff with the puck on your stick is not as big an asset in the NHL where you barely have the time and space to control the puck before you pass it. You’re expected to have your fundamentals down in terms of puckhandling when joining the NHL, but the emphasis is increasingly on getting the puck out in space.

          That said, guys like Crosby have the perfect mix of skills, decision making and physical awareness for the NHL game, but I get why skilled players from Europe can not always cut it over here. The physical part and tight checking in space are such a major component of the North-American game.

  24. Strummer says:

    Sometimes a team of prima dona’s doesn’t equal the sum of its parts,
    especially when they haven’t yet matured.
    ______________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

  25. montreal ace says:

    I would like to know, why so many players from other countries , play in Canada if the hockey is so bad.

  26. Strummer says:

    Finland and Sweden in WJC final.
    How is it Norway never became as formidable in hockey as the other 2 Scandinavian countries?

    ______________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

    • CJ says:

      Skiing got in the way.

    • CH Marshall says:

      Good question. Maybe population density plays into it? Or proximity to Russia? I’ve visited Norway a few years ago, and they definately have a small hockey culture going. But I’d say they’re more into skiing and soccer. Who knows, hockey will probably grow there over the next few years.

    • moroccanhabfan says:

      Norway has half the same population as Finland (5m) which is half the population of Sweden, so I don’t think its because of that. But perhaps Geography plays a role. Finland and Sweden are mostly flat and have thousands of lakes that freeze up in the winter, whereas Norway is mostly mountainous, which is why, as CJ said, Skiing got in the way of hockey.

      With Subbie, Chucky & Larsy… The Future is Bright !

  27. CJ says:

    Lots of water cooler talk here in ottawa about the fight inside the senators dressing room last Friday night following a 5-0 loss to the Bruins. The story goes that Neil and Spezza were central figures. Oddly Spezza hasn’t played since, and the Sens have won three in a row….I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but sometimes where there’s smoke there’s fire.

    • jols101 says:

      Great story. I love hearing things like this.

      • CJ says:

        I’ve got a few buddies who work the security detail on a PT basis. They often have the best stories. My roommate in first year, his father was the head of league (NHL) security for the Sens. Like I said, great stories. No such thing as six degrees of separation in Ottawa. More like two, three degrees tops.

  28. WhatUp says:

    as one bug eyed fat walrus would say ….#61 is a healthy scratch

  29. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Fucale has zero to be ashamed of …Finland overwhelmed Canada’s D

    …and, I will be surprised if Canada, this year, have the overall team speed to handle Russia tomorrow

    • CH Marshall says:

      Oh yeah. If Finland’s pressure gave us trouble, I’m sure Russia will come out with full speed on us. I would think at a tourney like this, loading up on speed and skill should be the way to go.

    • CJ says:

      I thought he acquitted himself very well. Playing as an 18 year old behind a shaky defence, he rose to the occasion. Hopefully he gets another crack next season.

  30. habcertain says:

    Mike, the NHL has less skill then before, really. I guess you didn’t watch hockey in the 70s and 80s, there is no evidence to back that statement.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Ok, let me shift a little.

      I would like to suggest that skill is no longer the premium quality. If it were, the NHL would do more to protect the skilled and deter the dirty and/or under-skilled. However, the NHL sees a high value in the dirty and/or under-skilled, illustrated in its response to the Crosby/posterboy concussions, the Chara hit on Pacioretty, the Bruins winning the Cup with help from head-office.

      When the Flyers won their two Cups in the early 70s, it seemed like a revolution. Not because there had never been violence before — of course there always had been — but because they won with skill in nets and, what, one line and spares, and the rest was a foreshadow of the thuggery to come. While the NHL was still scratching its chin and wondering was this perhaps the future of their product, Montreal stepped in, matched the Flyers for ruggedness while destroying them with skill. This postponed the slide.

      You’re half-right about watching, habcertain: I was watching in the 70s, but not the 80s when I was in a tv-less, internet-less foreign wilderness. But my understanding is that skill featured front-and-centre in the Oiler dynasty.

      I’d also agree about evidence: it’s complex and hazardous to compare different eras.

      My real point is that junior players, however much skill they may have, are being groomed for a compromised version of hockey that suits the NHL, rather than being developed into the best hockey players they can possibly be. If other countries are doing the latter, we’re going to lose more and more junior tournaments.

      • frontenac1 says:

        There was no Instigator Rule back then also Mike.

      • habcertain says:

        I’m sorry MIke, I just don’t buy we are grooming kids to play goon hockey vs skilled hockey, and don’t see any evidence that the NHL supports it. The NHL has given out more suspensions and fines than ever before in their history. There is no doubt that the spotlight on concussions has made it appear that occurrences are up, but in the old days no one, especially the players themselves, would divulge they were even hurt because they wanted to play, now they and the league know better and have taken steps to address. The reality of today’s players, and the game, is they are bigger, stronger, faster, then in previous eras. The Bruins have had recent success because they have been able to field a team that is skilled and tough, that is and always has been hockey, and I for one am not interested in seeing a game that does not have a physical component, it wouldn’t be NHL hockey, which by the way, is the piece the Habs have been missing since the glory days.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          To go back to your initial objection about evidence: I don’t have any, so you’re right. I only have convictions based on what I see.

          I’m afraid I’m so far gone on this that I have only negative views of the steps you mention. Game-time concussion protocols are very welcome and have probably (we won’t know for years if ever) already saved certain players from the horrors of post-concussion brain disorders in middle-age. How I can be negative about that is the belief that the league only acted out of fear of litigation, not genuine concern for player safety.

          Actually, I’m pretty sure there are many here who will agree with me about suspensions: however many there are or however much they increase, to me it’s just window-dressing and a risible attempt to create the belief that the league cares for its players. If it didn’t care about Crosby, it won’t care about any of them.

          For me it’s not as simple as goon vs skill. It’s a matter of skill being dumbed down by the league’s attachment not to physical play — that truly IS part and parcel of the game — but of dirty play. Yes, the Bruins were strong in all departments when they won their Cup. But they couldn’t have done it had they been short-handed as frequently as they ought to have been during those playoffs.

          Don’t take me for a croquet-player (with apologies to posters who are)! I love the physicality of the game, and I know well that it’s a piece Montreal has been missing as you rightly say. It’s just that I believe the physical game of hockey needs to be held in a more trustworthy pair of hands than the NHL represents.

  31. durocher says:

    “Swagger” and “arrogance” — looks like Sutter got his coaching tips from Kadri

  32. montreal ace says:

    When young Canadians play for Canada, and come up empty, I cheer harder for them. These young players don’t deserve to be put down, right after a game they lose.

  33. Dulljerk says:

    WJC. It’s just a game and they are just kids. They will be all better people for having experienced the tournament.

    No eternal reward will forgive us for wasting the dawn.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Yours is both the correct and classy way to view today’s result. Sadly our world is shared by people lacking your judgement and class.

      One only needs to review some of the post here for evidence.

    • The Jackal says:

      Yes they should not be put down or shamed, but people are not wrong to criticize their performance and to call a spade a spade – they played poorly today.

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  34. The Jackal says:

    Sigh…
    That was a very disappointing game, but it’s true that other countries are getting better at hockey.
    Like Dunboyne Mike said below, Hockey Canada is stuck in a conservative mentality that forgoes rethinking key aspects of our game and development/selection because of our past dominance.
    We still have the most talent, the most skill, and the better players, but this alone is not enough to win. Other countries are getting really good at developing their own players and we are reluctant to change.

    Hockey Canada is not yet in crisis but if the Old Boys Club has its way any longer, then crisis may befall Canadian hockey.

    ______________________
    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  35. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Posters are making judgements on Canadian hockey based upon one game in a short tournament that does not feature the best players, is played overseas and has biased/poor officiating. Give me a break…

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      DDO, is it one game or is it a trend?

      • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

        The word “trend” is used in statistics. Statistical analyses depend on variables. It is hard to make a judgement with the variables I mentioned above. Statistical analyses are also dependent on sample size. It is hard to make a judgement on a short tournament which is prepared for in a short time.

        For me the best indication of judgement of play is the NHL entry draft. In the past 5 years, 50% of the players drafted in the first two rounds are Canadian. Just because other countries have improved doesn’t mean Canada sucks. People need to relax…

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Well spotted, DDO. I was using the word “trend” loosely, not technically. AND, I probably need to relax.

          Which I’ll do later! Right now I’m venting about the league I despise so much. Even your point about the draft fits in with my view — we have so much amazing talent, but the NHL draft puts it on a conveyor belt that dumps it in a profit machine where the talent is stifled. This is because the league doesn’t even believe in its own product. It wants to import the kind of ratings-boosting culture of MMA.

      • The Jackal says:

        Just replying to your post below.
        I agree that we should reconsider how we develop our players, but I don’t think it’s because of the NHL business model. I think it’s more of Canada’s hockey culture – the hard-nosed, gritty, physical game that we expect our players to play with intensity and passion.

        That’s all well and good, but players today are more skilled, talented, faster, and better skaters. They are more suited to a different approach to the game, and I think Hockey Canada is still stuck with the old school mentality.

        I think the NHL is slowly moving towards a more open and skill-oriented game, but hockey will always have a lot of grinding and physicality, no matter how skilled the players are. I think the ice surfaces in the NHL will have to be expanded, and once that happens, the game will change dramatically in terms of the use of skill. But grinding and grit will continue to be a key factor nonetheless.

        ______________________
        Hockey sine stercore tauri.

        • JF says:

          I agree with what you say about the type of hockey that is promoted in Canada. But what makes you think the NHL is moving away from this kind of grinding, physical hockey? If anything, the reverse is happening. The kind of games the Habs have been losing lately has become the norm in the NHL – close-checking, grinding games with few scoring opportunities and much of the play consisting of battling for the puck along the boards and in the corners.

          Everything about the NHL, from the small ice surface to the way the rules are called to the ridiculous dogma of “finishing your check” tends to reinforce this type of hockey at the expense of speed and skill.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Jackal, God knows I love hard-nosed grit and grind. Skill has to triumph over it in order to succeed. But think of the idiotic playoff culture where refs — at the league’s command — “put away their whistles”. It puts the squeeze on skill. In such an arena, can our DD EVER be a success? AS lng as the NHL considers that kind of hockey more profitable, I don’t see them moving towards a greater emphasis on skill and open play.

  36. 1010 says:

    GO FINLAND GO!

  37. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …not at all dumping on Our Canadian kids …only that other countries also know how to play hockey

    …Speed-wise, skill-wise and physically we were outplayed

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      I wouldn’t blame the players either.

      IMO, the problem is the system which currently provides most of them with potential access to the NHL. That system is selecting and grooming them increasingly for the entertainment industry rather than for professional sport. The distinction is small but huge.

  38. slyCH says:

    The level of intensity and concentration was not there. In a tournament like this it’s unforgiving. You rest after making the top of the podium. Oh well, next year.

  39. Timo says:

    So… Habs to top it off tonight?

  40. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Jols,

    You probably know better than I do.

    But if we’re in a five-year slump, are people really just spewing crap about Canadian hockey being in trouble? Or could it be that our proud and deep-rooted sense of international superiority has been trumped by genuine development programmes in other countries? Has the ice surface been balanced?

    The NHL is Mecca/El Dorado for aspiring professional hockey players. The NHL increasingly, sometimes subtly, sometimes not, inhibits the skill game in favour of the barbaric game, in the misguided interests of viewership/advertising/profits. Consequently the NHL is already less skilled than it used to be, and the skill trawl will produce less and less talent as post-Cherry Canadian parents steer their boys towards other sports where risk to life, limb and brain is not an accepted part of the culture.

    Meanwhile other countries — including the US — appear to have stolen a march on us while we continue to sit smugly congratulating ourselves on how no one can touch us in hockey. It’s like we’re all in parallel elevators, with us going down and everyone including Slovakia going up.

    • Timo says:

      What I would like to know is how Irish and Mexican hockey development programs doing.

    • jols101 says:

      Well, I guess that is up to the individual. I still see Canada producing the best young talent in the world and I don’t see not winning the gold for 4 or 5 years a huge deal. Other countries have always been good at hockey. The only country making noticeable strides is the USA. If they can grow the game at the grass roots level like Canada does, look out, they will be unstoppable. They have a talent pool of 300 million. If they ever embrace the game and more of their youth play hockey instead of baseball, basketball or football, well we will be in trouble.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        I agree with you (and Jackal above) that we still probably have the best talent and the deepest commitment to the game, like rugby in New Zealand.

        What’s alarming is how that talent is processed en route to keeping suits and shareholders happy in the NHL. The league has hijacked our game.

        • jols101 says:

          Rugby in New Zealand is an apt comparison to what hockey means to Canada for sure.
          I also think of Germany and how great they are at soccer and yet continue, for decades now, to never really improve in hockey. It’s not that they aren’t capable, it is because their country’s passion lies in soccer and hockey is mostly an after thought. Canada’s passion will always be hockey. However, beyond that, even though we got schooled by the Finns today there is no doubt in my mind that Connor McDavid and Johnathan Drouin will be the best hockey players out of all of the players that played in the game today. Canada’s youth system produces high-end talent all the time and there is nothing to worry about.

  41. BJ says:

    A disappointing finish, they gave it what they had today. But we realy need to upgrade our passing and stick handling skills. Other than the Drouin-Mantha combo we did not have much of an offensive upside. Good hockey nonetheless, its been a fun two weeks of mostly energetic hockey. Here’s hoping the Habs and Sens can give us a Dallas type game.

  42. JF says:

    Somehow, despite recent results, Hockey Canada at all levels continues to think that Canadian hockey teams are the best. This is partly the result of our string of Gold medals in this tournament, partly because of how important hockey is in Canada. We over-value our own teams and fail to give sufficient credit to other teams and other hockey programs, both in Europe and in the U.S.

    Meanwhile, Canadian hockey is certainly being overtaken by the Americans, and some of the European countries are right there too. You can see this in the growing number of Americans and others who are chosen near the top of the draft. I’m particularly impressed by the number of young Americans coming from non-traditional hockey markets who are having success in the NHL. The Canadian women’s team has also fallen behind the Americans, as recent games between the two teams have demonstrated.

    The Canadian Juniors played a bad game today. They were chasing the play and on the defensive right from the get-go. They were not intense and aggressive enough and took a string of horrendous penalties in the second period. Passes were soft or off the mark, they had trouble penetrating the offensive zone, they didn’t put enough pressure on the Finnish defence or goaltender, and they failed to profit from their numerous powerplays. The Finns were full value for the win – aggressive, good defensively, well-structured.

  43. Tomi says:

    Arrogance has killed Canadian hockey. Trying too hard to be like the Americans. Have to rethink the “Hockey is our game” mentality.

  44. Forum Dog says:

    Glad to see Diaz sit for this one. It should be a much more physical game tonight, and it will be nice to have bigger, more aggressive bodies back there against a big fore-checking team.

    Also good that Briere gets a chance to draw in at centre. He needs to go out there and play 12 minutes of smart, hard skating hockey and build from there.

    They can beat this Ottawa team if they stick to their game, skate the full ice, and don’t get intimidated physically.


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