Budaj shines in fantasy debut

Budaj

Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Thursday night’s game between the Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.

PAT HICKEY

The Gazette

EDMONTON – It took 10 games for Canadiens backup goaltender Peter Budaj to make his first appearance of the season and the veteran from Slovakia made the most of the opportunity.

Budaj stopped all 29 shots he faced as the Canadiens blanked the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 Thursday night at Rexall Place. His performance included a spectacular glove save on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins early in the third period when Montreal was clinging to a 1-0 lead.

“I understand what my role is and I have to take advantage when I get a chance to play,” Budaj said. “Carey (Price) has been playing well and the team has been winning, but it was good to play and it was even better to come away with a win and a shutout.”

Defenceman P.K. Subban provided the Canadiens with a 1-0 lead at 14:53 of the first period when he joined the rush with Tomas Plekanec and found the five-hole against Oilers’ goalie Devan Dubnyk.

“My first thought was to give the puck back to Pleky, but their D-man seemed to be waiting for that so I decided to shoot,” Subban said. “I kept the shot low so that Pleky would have a chance at the rebound.”

Subban also collected an assist on Lars Eller’s  insurance goal, although it was Louis Leblanc who did the heavy lifting on the play. Leblanc won a battle with highly touted rookie defenceman Justin Schultz behind the net and managed to find Eller in front.

The game was surprisingly tame. Edmonton took only one penalty, while the Canadiens took three, and one of them was for having too many men on the ice. This has been a concern over the past two seasons when Montreal has led the NHL in bench minors, but this marked the first time this season the Canadiens failed at arithmetic.

The one disappointing note to the game was the departure of defenceman Raphael  Diaz in the second period with back spasms.

“We don’t  think it’s serious, but you never know with backs,” coach Michel Therrien said.

The win gave the Canadiens an 8-2 record and first place in the Eastern Conference. The final stop on their Western Canada swing will be Saturday when they face the Vancouver Canucks, who currently lead the Western Conference with a 9-2 record.   

phickey@montrealgazette.com

46 Comments

  1. HammerHab says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….if you want to keep doing the fantasy threads thats cool….but the comments should be closed. Keep the comments open on threads with actual news.

    ———————————–

    It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

  2. AceMagnum says:

    Budaj Movie!!

    —————————-

    THE KINGS ARE KINGS!! 2012

  3. dhenry1234 says:

    Does anybody have any hope that we’ll see any hockey at all this season?

    To be honest, I have absolutely 0 hope left, and would be extremely surprised to see any NHL. I really feel that a full season lockout is inevitable.

  4. dhenry1234 says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; This is Sad.

  5. wildwilly says:

    These fantasy games are a bit if a farce. It seems the Canadiens win all the time and everyone is playing well. What’s next? Will Pat write himself into the story and become the much-needed 2nd line winger?

    I feel like one of those Torontonians who keep telling themselves this is the year they win the cup.

    Can we stop these articles and concentrate on our prospects and the Bulldogs? If I want to watch a fantasy hockey game I’ll rent a movie.

  6. JF says:

    David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail thinks the Winter Classic will not be cancelled until15 November:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/despite-nhl-lockout-winter-classic-not-dead-yet/article4843978/

    • mark-ID says:

      Bob Mackenzie tweeted that there are reports that the Classic will not be cancelled today…..but he believes that it still will. We shall see who is right.

      “I think I may have found a way for us to get Griffey and Bonds, and we really won’t have to give up much” -Costanza

  7. 123456 says:

    I just tried to find some bulldog statisitcs – let me clue you guys in.. DO NOT look at the AHL top scorers and dig your way through looking for a Bulldog.

    OK serious now, the site below has been linked here before and it’s worth posting it again. A great way to find players, prospects, friends etc from league all over the world.
    http://www.eliteprospects.com/league_central.php

    (PS: Go Amerks)

  8. shiram says:

    @DarrenDreger
    NHL has internal mtngs today and will talk with PA (phone). Players are hopeful of face to face negotiations this wknd or early next week.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      Meh….wake me up when the deal is done. The fact the NHL won’t negotiate speaks volumes. I have little to no hope there will be hockey this season

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

      • Luke says:

        Neither side will negotiate.

        Both refuse to discuss the other sides offer. Both will only meet if their offer is the only one being discussed.

        Childish. a bunch of “Billion-dollar Babies”

        (That’s as close as I can get to the superb parody songs… an oh-so subtle Alice Cooper suggestion).

  9. Luke says:

    If the season is cancelled and no agreement made during the summer, is the draft still held as scheduled or is the draft cancelled?

    I can’t recall if the “Crosby draft” was delayed or effected in any way by the lockout.

    • commandant says:

      It will be delayed until there is a CBA.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

      • Luke says:

        Ok, so the draft is dependant on the CBA being in place.
        So two draft years could be combined into one draft. Did that happen with the Crosby draft?

        It would explain the strength of the draft… an extra year to choose form and and extra year to evaluate the older players.

        • bleedhabs81 says:

          Nope, your math is off.

          The 2004 CBA expired after the draft, and the new CBA was signed following one year of lost games. Hence the 2005 draft was only for that one year. NO draft was skipped.

          It was just an insanely deep draft.

          What you might be thinking of is OVI and Malkin where drafted in 2004 but couldn’t play in the NHL that year. Then Sid was drafted in 2005 and they all started in the league in 2005… so it was two years of high calibre draft picks that started in the league together (instead of being spaced out by a year).

        • commandant says:

          No, the draft was only 1 month late. it was held in July.

          The same number of players were involved.

          If two seasons were lost, we’d have to figure things out in the new CBA…. two drafts or one? How many rounds? etc…

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
          http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • Cal says:

      Any viable sports and concert venue does not require public funding. Especially near Toronto.
      The developers offering to pay only half the cost over a 20 year period is just typical of the Corporate Welfare Approach to business. Idiots all.

  10. mark-ID says:

    Happy Winter Classic cancellation day everyone!!

    “I think I may have found a way for us to get Griffey and Bonds, and we really won’t have to give up much” -Costanza

  11. commandant says:

    Today a look at Team USA for the World Juniors (with 2 Habs prospects)

    http://lastwordonsports.com/2012/11/02/early-look-team-usa-world-juniors/

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

  12. JayK-47 says:

    I nominate ProHab to liveblog these fantasy games.

  13. jols101 says:

    I like Budaj as a back up. His teammates say he is always positive in the room, he is only 30 years old, his cap hit is a reasonable 1.15 million and he is capable of playing well when called upon.

    Heaven forbid Price ever gets injured though, while I think Budaj is a good back up I wouldn’t want to see him as the number 1 for a long period of time.

    After this season I would like to see the Habs re sign him for another 2 or 3 years hopefully for a little less then he is making right now…

  14. HabsPEI31 says:

    Mr. Hickey,

    Many thanks for the fantasy articles. Any chance you could post a column of stats every 10 games or so? I know it’s all fantasy, but seeing as it’s the closest any of us are getting to NHL hockey…

    Teams stats, plus Top 5 or Top 10 in the usual categories would be great. Price with a 7-1 record…weeeeeee!

    “Only a goalie can appreciate what a goalie goes through.” – Jacques Plante

  15. Couldn’t Desjardins become the backup? is he good enough?
    Telio
    The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site: http://teliopost.com/
    @teliopost

    • HabinBurlington says:

      He wasn’t good enough last year to be the backup in Tampa who had goaltending issues. It appears he will be a lifer in the AHL with the odd cup of coffee in the NHL. I don’t think he would a backup solution for an NHL club, particularly in an environment like Montreal. But perhaps once he returns from injury he can show the promise many believed he had when he came out of the Quebec Major Junior league.

    • commandant says:

      No, Desjardins is not good enough to be an NHL backup.

      This is a guy in his late 20s who has had his opportunity with 3 different organizations now. Has gotten in some NHL games, and no one sees him as a backup. He’s a journeyman, plain and simple.

      Budaj is a better goalie.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

  16. 24 Cups says:

    Budaj is one of those guys who might be out of work if the lockout goes an entire season.

    On the other hand, the Habs have no goalie prospects in the system so Budaj might well grab another contract. He’ll have to take a paycut but what choice will he have.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Steve, I think in the next draft we will see Timmins use a pick on a goalie. Perhaps this upcoming draft having 3 2nd round picks, this may be the year to do that. I have no idea what kind of crop of goalies is available this upcoming season. I suspect Commandant and the others will be able to inform us of this as the year progresses.

      You are right about Budaj, surprised he hasn’t gone over to the Czech league yet, instead he is play Nintendo hockey with Hickey it appears.

      • 24 Cups says:

        There are going to be some major job losses around the league, whether it be through attrition or the double cohort.

        Hab fans shouldn’t rush out to buy a Boullion, Noke, White or Weber jersey. Same goes for Gomez or Bourque if there is a one time buyout clause (which still might happen).

        It’s now official – the golf season is over in Ontario. BTW Gerald, Golf Town has it’s annual demo sale tomorrow.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I am fortunate enough to be heading to Myrtle Beach tomorrow morning for a week, my last hurrah for the year of golf. Hopefully will catch some deals down there, looking to replace my wedges.

          CHeers Steve!

          • ont fan says:

            Just returned from Myrtle Beach before the storm hit. It was perfect. Come on, there is still time for a few games in Southern Ont. before Dec. What kind of golfers are you guys?

      • savethepuck says:

        The HaBS are 8-2 right now, I am afraid they will be losing those 2nd round picks at the trade deadline when they are buyers, making a push for a long Stanley Cup run.

        “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
        Carey Price

  17. HabinBurlington says:

    Hmmm could this be the start of goalie controversy Price vs Budaj?


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