Canadiens Notebook: Andrew Shaw and Paul Byron both skate before Capitals’ Sunday practice


While the Canadiens had the day off Sunday, the Washington Capitals held a noon-hour practice in Brossard before their matchup Monday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., SNE, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

There was some good news for Canadiens fans before the Capitals practised, when Andrew Shaw and Paul Byron both skated for more than 20 minutes. Both Canadiens players have been sidelined with injuries. Shaw has missed 11 games since suffering a concussion against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 12, while Byron missed his first game Saturday with an upper-body injury that appeared to be a concussion suffered Jan. 4 against the Dallas Stars. 

The Canadiens are coming off an impressive 5-3 win over the Maple Leafs Saturday night in Toronto while the Capitals were beating the Senators 1-0 in Ottawa.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz was asked after Sunday’s practice if it was held to keep his players from enjoying a late Saturday night in downtown Montreal after arriving from Ottawa.

“No,” Trotz said with a big smile. “We’re a veteran team. I started here a couple of years ago and we had pretty well no children on our team. Now I think we’re the proud parents of about 30 kids that are now part of our family room. We’re a pretty (big) family group now.”

The Canadiens will hold their morning skate at 11 a.m. Monday in Brossard.

Capitals have avoided injury bug up to now

Heading into Saturday’s game in Ottawa, the Capitals were the only team in the NHL without a single player on the injured list. However, T.J. Oshie suffered an upper-body injury after being checked by the Senators’ Dion Phaneuf and Tom Wilson suffered a lower-body injury after being hit with a shot Saturday night.

Trotz said after Sunday’s practice he wasn’t certain what the status of either player would be for Monday’s game.

The Canadiens were missing seven injured regulars in their lineup Saturday night in Toronto, while the Capitals have lost only nine man-games total this season due to injury.

“Montreal’s done a really great job of that with all their injuries,” Trotz said. “They’ve had guys step up in that resilient, all-in mode.

“When we have guys go down, that’s where you find out who’s able,” the Capitals coach added. “Every player that I know wants more ice time. And when they get the opportunity to get more ice time it really determines what they do with it. And if they can take a hold of it, you really can change a coach’s or an organizational mindset on a player if he gets an opportunity and does really well with it.”

Trotz said the Capitals — like all NHL teams — try to manage the players’ rest and workload to avoid injuries, but added the fact his team is bigger than most in terms of average size helps.

“In a game that’s gruelling and at times physical, it’s fast, you’re going to run into each other,” the coach said. “And I think sometimes when you’re able to take a little bigger shot (it helps) sometimes because you’re bigger physically.

“Sometimes it’s just luck, plain and simple,” Trotz added. “There’s some injuries that are going to happen, it doesn’t matter what you do, what equipment you have on. And some guys are more durable than others. We just try to have a real good balance with our players and we’ve been fortunate that way.”

Trotz happy for Canadiens’ Radulov

Trotz was Alexander Radulov’s first coach in the NHL with the Nashville Predators and it was him who suspended the Russian forward after he missed curfew — along with former Canadien Andrei Kostitsyn — the night before a playoff game in 2012.

Radulov would spend the next four seasons playing in the KHL before signing a one-year deal with the Canadiens as a free agent last summer. Trotz also coached Canadiens defenceman Shea Weber when he was with the Predators. 

“Obviously, I have a relationship with Shea and Rad,” Trotz said. “(Radulov) came down and tracked me down after the Montreal game (in Washington this season). We had a couple of laughs. He’s a terrific player. We spent a lot of time together.

“He’s in a really good place right now … I love where he is,” Trotz added. “He’s got a family and he’s a lot more mature than he was when we started out together. He’s a terrific player and you guys get to see him on a nightly basis.”

Trotz was part of Team Canada’s management team for the World Cup of Hockey, along with Marc Bergevin, and told the Canadiens GM this summer he had made a couple of good moves by getting Weber in exchange for P.K. Subban and signing Radulov.

“I said: ‘I’ll tell you what,'” Trotz recalled about his conversation with Bergevin. “‘You made some really good moves.’ Everybody was sort of wait and see and they’re wondering and they’re questioning. But I said they’re terrific moves and you’re seeing the benefits of those two players. They’re terrific guys and great players.”

 (Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

• Lars Eller excited about return to Montreal with Capitals, by Stu Cowan

• Capitals at Canadiens: Five things to know, by Pat Hickey

• Therrien has earned respect as Habs coach, by Jack Todd


  1. fastfreddy says:

    Re Eller, I liked Eller, thought he was decent. Hoped he could have taken the #2 C spot but it did not work out for him. It always seemed his game lacked something, either a wrong pass somewhere, not enough moves or one too many moves. He always looked like he was missing something. Thought he was best suited as a defensive C.

    CH = Les Glorieux!!!

  2. on2ndthought says:

    newer thread

    Free Front.

  3. homerbowen says:

    Was looking forward to listening to Hockey Central AM590 (Toronto) at noon today to hear be said about the Habs/laffs game Saturday night. Had the laffs won they would be all over it tripping over each other to express their glee. Well as we all know the Habs won and had these homer clowns not mentioned it briefly, over in less than 1 min you would not know the game took place. Living in the Toronto area is great, listening to the laff fans even better. Most laff fans almost guaranteed a victory before the game but pubs were quiet at the end. I love it! Go Hab Go. Suck laffs Suck.

  4. Cal says:

    Speaking of goal scoring, has anyone else noticed how many more goals are going in on the blocker side between the arm and torso?
    Tighter jerseys that the goalies are wearing make all the difference, as that spot is no longer acting like an extra puck trapper.

  5. Ferg says:

    I do not think running a goalie should be part of the game, but after Price got run again by the Leafs on Saturday night, someone should have taken a piece out of Andersson. Don’t go after the guy who ran Price. He is a just a blunt instrument. Even better, go after Marner or Matthews. Live by the sword…

    Nothing will change as long as everything is left up to the officials and the league disciplinarians.

  6. savethepuck says:

    So with Byron in the lineup, I assume we don’t see Farnham tonight.

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

  7. on2ndthought says:

    Re: Jack Todd’s article on Therrien:
    I love seeing the whiteboards coaches write on. It’s always a jumbled mess of scribbles; it reminds me of my diagrams in class.

    Free Front.

  8. 25soonenough says:

    Looks like Carr is the odd man out with Byron’s return.

    –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

    • cbhabsfan says:

      Unfortunate. He’s playing well.

      What has Andrighetto, for instance, done to keep his place ahead of Carr?

      • 25soonenough says:

        not sure. He looked faster the last game though. Maybe it’s a line balancing thing.

        –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

      • veryhabby says:

        neither of Carr or Ghetto have outplayed each other.

        I am beyond disappointed with both, maybe more with Carr cause of how well he played before his injury last year. Carr has had a lot more games to prove himself and he hasn’t.

        Ghetto/Plek/Lehk line played well…you noticed them for the right reasons. Carr maybe is skating well…but I can’t recall the last time he had a scoring chance or helped to create a scoring chance

        • cbhabsfan says:

          Who am I to believe, Habby, you or my lying eyes?

          That’s what we are all here for, though, to throw our opinions at the wall and see which one sticks!

        • Loop_G says:

          I never really expected that much from Ghetto other than what he has done. I am glad he’s there in the AHL and is fine as a 2 or 3 game call-up but I doubt he’ll be long term NHL starting player unless it’s in Vegas the next couple years. Carr I thought would be better, starting on the 3rd line and adding some grit/goals. He has been a bit disappointing.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Carr looked like a Matador waving his red cape at Marner on the goal Saturday night. Perhaps that play is stuck in the craw of the coach. I didn’t think Carr was overly impressive Sat. night.

        • 25soonenough says:

          Carr is not great defensively and if Ghetto plays with Pleks that helps him look better defensively at least.

          –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

        • cbhabsfan says:

          But not underly neither. I didn’t think he played bady overall.

          One play is a pretty small sample size. Except in Michel Therrien’s eyes, obviously. And it was superstar-in-waihing Mitch Marner doing the flim-flamming, so there’s that to consider as well.

          My real beef, though, is that Bobby Farnham stays in and Carr is out.

      • 25soonenough says:

        The way I see it McCarron and Sherbak are 1 and 2 as far as who stays up. The rest are all interchangeable.

        –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

  9. HabinBurlington says:

    Prior to this season, Bruce Boudreau Coached 681 reg. season games for Washington and Anaheim. 409 Wins, 192 Losses, 80 OTLosses
    His crime appeared to be no Cup appearances and making it to round 3 only once.
    But those impressive reg. season numbers got him fired twice.

    Prior to this season, MT coached 294 games with the Habs, 163 Wins, 102 Losses, 29OTlosses.
    MT has missed playoffs once, to go with a Round 3, Round 2 and Round 1 loss.

    I think another 1st or 2nd round loss this year could easily be viewed as unaccetable.

    At some point good reg. season results without significant playoff results become indefensible.

    • Paz says:

      I think if the Habs are eliminated in the first round with a healthy Price in nets, we will see a coaching change.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        An ugly 2nd round loss could do the same. At some point the team has to go to the next level in the playoffs.

        • Paz says:

          I think any one of Vigneault, Trotz, or Cooper will school Therrien. Those three are at a different level.
          They are top 10 in the league.
          It’s all my opinion, of course.

          Price is the X factor. He has not finished any of the last 4 seasons in nets.

          • Cal says:

            So, out of curiosity, what do you think is Cooper’s problem this season?
            I expected better from them, but it’s looking like a step back year for them.

  10. StanleyHab says:

    Habs just announced that Byron back tonight…

    • cbhabsfan says:

      What a relief. If he was out for an extended period of time, I’d be worred that he’d lose whaetver it is thats making him a scoring line forward on a team that so desperately needs them.

      I don’t expect the offensive production to last the rest of the season let alone the resty of his career, but hey, ya never know…

  11. Ozmodiar says:

    I noticed this comment while scanning the page.

    My point is that if the Canadiens had had a decent replacement-quality goalie to send out there when Carey got hurt, an Al Montoya or Jacob Markstrom, the Canadiens’ decline wouldn’t have been so precipitous.

    Guess who has a higher SV% this season than both Montoya and Marsktrom?? 🙂

    Comments blaming last season’s collapse on goaltending usually exaggerate the ineffectiveness of the goaltending (.880 % !), and ignore how the play of the skaters can affect the SV% stat. There were many plays last season when the goalie was hung out to dry.

    Sure, they missed Price, but the whole team played poorly during the collapse.

    • twilighthours says:

      Ooh ooh, pick me!

      Is it…. Condon?

      • Ozmodiar says:

        You got it!

        I would have accepted *Scrivens* as well, even though he plays in Minsk. (His career SV% is pretty much on par with Markstrom and Montoya.)

    • Paz says:

      At first, when Price went down, the team played well. Then, when Bergevin put on his HIO tank helmet in January, and didn’t do anything to help the team, I saw Pacioretty, Plekanec, and Markov pack it in. Those three literally played like total crap for about 2 full months, and the team dropped like a stone into the cellar.

      I agree with your post.

      I think Condon has proven that he can play very good hockey at the NHL level if he gets some decent support.

      • Ozmodiar says:

        Yeah, it seemed to go downhill when he broke up Max – Pleks – Gally. That was one of the best lines in the league up to that point.

      • D Mex says:

        I don’t care much for the term ” serviceable ” to describe players – strikes me as somewhat demeaning, so in using it here to describe Mike Condon that is certainly not my intent.
        By all accounts, he is a quality individual and a solid teammate so yes, it’s good to see him having success this season.

        It didn’t help that the guy didn’t get much help from his D-corps last season. 3-pointers, blown tires, brand promotion and waving to the crowd are all good to a point, but only to a point.

        ALWAYS Habs –
        D Mex

        Support Therrien – vote Desharnais :
        See the Therrien – Desharnais duet here :
        Therrien / Lacroix / Pacioretty : All Desharnais All the Time !

    • Slack says:

      Just because Condon is having a good season this year does not erase the atrocious season he had last year.

      Goaltending was the number one reason for last year’s poor results. There were long stretches where this team outpossessed, outshot, outchanced, and outplayed the other team, only to have Mike Condon or Ben Scrivens let in a few terrible goals that your average Markstrom or Montoya would have saved.

      There is no exaggeration. The goaltending situation in Montreal was very, very bad. It is far and away the number one reason we did so poorly.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Agree Oz, one of the issues this team appeared to have was that Price being the team leader was also lost when hurt. The addition of Weber as a leader in the room seems significant.

      But that team simply Crapped the Bed Full last year after Price went down, in every aspect of crapping a bed.

    • cbhabsfan says:

      Condon wasn’t the problem, as I’ve said on here time and time again.

      The problem was that management actually expected someone with Mike Condon’s extremely limited experience to fill the skates of the greatest goaltender in the world, on a team that relies on great goaltending for its points more than any other team in the league.

      Anyone who thought that was going to turn out well was either dreaming or doesn’t know much about hockey.

  12. Un Canadien errant says:

    Over the years at HIO, we’ve had discussions on the role of the NHL Players’ Association, specifically on whether it should cut ties with players who are violent, whether players who injure other players should lose their right to representation. I usually reply that a union has a legal duty to represent its members, even the unsavoury ones. The player has to have the support of his union and the opportunity to grieve his case, go to arbitration, etc.

    Here is an example, with the NFLPA, of a player who argues he did not receive due process, and that the PA didn’t back him to the fullest extent allowed under their CBA.

    ¡Viva Frontenac siempre y para siempre!

    • Popsrink says:

      UCE- after watching numerous players lead with their helmets in yesterdays NFL games it has become apparent the players aren’t smart enough, or are terrified of losing their jobs, to care about their brethren. It has to be mandated in the rules and stringently applied to affect player safety.
      Question- is it a penalty to lead with the helmet when tackling or only if you target the head?

      who loves ya baby!

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Mike Pereira, former NFL head of officiating and now Fox’s analyst on all rules matters, said yesterday that it is an offence to lead with, or tackle, with the crown of the helmet, with the top. That is regardless of whether you’re hitting someone else in the helmet, or as we saw yesterday in Jordy Nelson’s case, in the ribs or anywhere else. You can’t spear an opponent, use your head/helmet as a weapon, as a battering ram.

        This is different than leading with your facemask, as it were. For years this has been taught as proper tackling technique, you look at an opponent’s numbers or hips and drive through with your facemask, wrap around with your arms, and bring him down.

        This is safer for the recipient of the tackle, and the tackler. If you go in with your head up, your head can’t flex down into your chest, which is how catastrophic cervical spine injuries occur, your head flexing forward, whereas if it extends back it’s relatively safe. So head up look into the ballcarrier and wrap him up is a win-win, safer for both parties.

        I think the next frontier is to hit GM’s and team owners in the wallet when players misbehave, instead of, as now, just focusing on the players as the recipient of discipline. If the Bengals continue to employ Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones as they run rampant on the field, buffoon owner Mike Brown should be fined for each incident, lose cap space, lose draft picks, on a graduated scale.

        All of a sudden, these menaces to society would be cut from rosters. Jerry Jones would squawk and cry blue murder, and insist his coaches bring his drug abusers under control, or remove them from the roster, before their lost 2nd-rounder becomes a 1st rounder for the next offence. The Buffalo Bills wouldn’t be so keen to give Richie Incognito a seventeeth chance.

        Bench-clearing brawls were endemic in the 70s and 80s, until the NHL got serious about putting a stop to it, and started suspending and fining the head coach when a player left the bench to start/join a fight. Magically, overnight, they were a thing of the past, not some organic process that belonged in the game and was impossible to stop, because, how are you going to hold back Nick Fotiu if he wants to fight? Now, coaches exercised their control, and players knew not to get their coaches suspended, for fear of losing their job.

    • The Big E says:

      At first blush, that seems a reasonable position and I agree with you.

      But then I think more, and perhaps the NHLPA is in a different situation than the average union. The difference is that the NHL players are engaged in an industry where they are actively trying to hurt each other as they try to beat the other teams. How can the NHLPA properly represent both Donald Brashear and Marty McSorley? Max and Zdeno?

      The NHLPA came out of a very valid desire by the players for adequate compensation, and when it comes to providing a counterbalance to the NHL owners on the financial issues it makes sense … but when it comes to player safety they have a harder time of it: let’s say a quarter of their members have an NHL career at all because of their “grit” style of play and “love taps” and “letting the other guy know he’s there” stuff … and another quarter of your membership are at risk of being concussed out of their careers because of that sort of stuff … well, you could say it’s a “hard balancing act” but I’d call it a conflict of interest.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Here’s an example: a union can advocate for a workplace free of sexism and discrimination, for equitable hiring and promotion practices regardless of race or gender, etc.

        That same union also has to duly represent a foreman who is terminated for sexual harassment. They have to ensure that he is provided all the resources and recourses he is entitled to as a member under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and employment law.

        In your specific example, they have to make sure that Marty McSorley isn’t railroaded just because of the high-profile nature of the case, that he’s not made a sacrificial lamb. They’ll make sure that if the suspension is unduly harsh compared to precedent, or what is prescribed by the rules, or if he doesn’t get due process, that he can grieve, arbitrate, etc.

        At the same time, they can enter a dialogue with the employer to create a workplace that is free of violence and intimidation, help enact or adapt rules, etc., so that another Donald Brashear case doesn’t recur.

  13. Ian Cobb says:

    Lars was never going to be a 1st or 2nd line center. He is a great two way and 3rd line player and Therrien wanted him to be a 2nd liner, so he was moved. Washington is using him better that Therrian did. So I’m happy for him.

    • Paz says:

      I take Eller on my team for sure. There’s a reason Bergevin signed him longer term. I mean not the 6 ridiculous years he gave Shaw, but he still gave Eller a nice extension. Was it 3 or 4 years? I’m not sure.

      Eller had some good playoff moments as well.

      I can see him having a much better second half, climbing to the 12-15 goals he should score, then helping the Capitals in the playoffs.

    • Cal says:

      Eller was never a 2nd line center on the Habs. He was never given the opportunity.

    • cbhabsfan says:

      In the modern NHL, I don’t see Eller as any more than an adequate 3rd line centre.

      As well as he plays in his own end, he sure doesn’t seem to have much imagination in the offensive zone, though he can cycle all, day and then some.

  14. HabinBurlington says:

    If tonights game goes to shootout Habs catch a bit of a break.

    Аrpon Basu
    T.J. Oshie is out for Caps tonight

    There was questions regarding Tom Wilson possibly not playing, but Basu reporting Wilson states he is in tonight.

  15. Paz says:

    With Therrien, what you see, is what you get.

    He’s not intelligent. He’s not well spoken. He’s not an elite NHL coach.

    Give any coach Price for 4/5 games, I think 30 teams make the playoffs.

    Radulov! He has been the catalyst. He is Bergevin’s greatest acquisition, and one of the league’s most dangerous offensive players.

    • Loop_G says:

      He is clearly above avg in intelligence, and I think that fact goes without saying. You cannot succeed as a coach in any level from Junior up without being smart. He is not well spoken in English that’s for sure, but is better in French. As far as an “elite” NHL coach I am not sure what you mean. Every coach that makes it to the NHL is an elite coach. MT is not Babcock or Bowman, but he has won 400 games, has been Nominated for the Jack Adams, and is at worst one of the NHL’s top 15 active coaches.

      • Paz says:

        He is not well spoken in French. I think his French is just as bad as his English.

        There are 30 coaches in the NHL.

        I think Therrien is in the bottom 10.

        • Loop_G says:

          The difference though is that you are guessing, and the supporting argument that you are using is that you don’t like him which is fine, but it hardly constitutes an argument. MT has done an exceptional job this year, and he did a good job two years ago. Last year was a write off for everyone and he was part of but by no means all of the issue.

      • joeybarrie says:

        Whats always funny to me is when fans think they know better without the benefit of any actual information or understanding. The coverage on TSN must be unbelievable to make someone think they actually have a clue about someone else’s capabilities in a situation they know very little about.
        Even funnier to me is that for some reason, the top people in hockey know less and make stupid decisions about a coach.
        MT, MB, Molson, Craig Patrick (the assistant coach in ‘Miracle”), Ray Shero, Andre Savard, Serge Savard, Mario Lemieux, etc, etc… All clueless and fairly not at all knowledgeable about professional hockey….


    • fastfreddy says:

      Agree 100% with you Paz.

      CH = Les Glorieux!!!

    • Slack says:

      He’s not intelligent lol.

      He’s an NHL coach, but a really stupid one.

      Man, you never fail to make me chuckle

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Not sure exactly what this means but Renaud Lavoie tweets that Shaw and Byron are back with teammates.

    Renaud Lavoie
    Paul Byron back with the @CanadiensMTL at practice #tvasports

    Renaud Lavoie ‏@renlavoietva 42m42 minutes ago
    Andrew Shaw is back with his teammates too. #tvasports

    • Ghosts of the Forum says:

      Byron is taking a full practice. Likely he plays tonight.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Yes it appears that way, went to HEOTP and indeed he is practising with 2nd powerplay unit.

        Thanks Ghost.


      • HabinBurlington says:

        John Lu speculating the same:

        John LuVerified account
        #Habs Carr, Terry, Redmond, Shaw and Galchenyuk are still on the ice after morning skate. Indications are that Byron should play tonight.

      • Loop_G says:

        That’s great! He really is one of MB’s great moves. Hopefully he can keep this up play up for the next few years – great value for us and would be nice to see him get a great payday somewhere along the way

  17. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    McCarron practicing on the first PP and Scherbak on the 2nd…this is not the MT I know…

    • HabinBurlington says:

      With Galchenyuk not practising on the 1st or 2nd wave makes me think he is not playing tonight, same for Markov.

      Nice opportunity for Beaulieu as he gets to play 1st wave. This should help as he can skate puck into zone.

      • Ghosts of the Forum says:

        I think (hope) McCarron will stick on the second PP when Chucky is back. A few of the last PP goals have involved that big frame in front of the net.

        But yes, definitely an interim solution on the 1st PP until #27 has returned.

        Byron is practicing on the second, so guessing he is in tonight.

  18. cbhabsfan says:

    ESPN has an Morning Roundtable today that asks the interesting question: “What do you think of players being challenged by a big but clean hit?”

    For the most part, all five hockey writers were uncomfortable with a “code” that required an immediate response when a teammate is laid out by a hit that’s within the rules, with one writer (Scott Burnside) saying he doesn’t think he’ll ever fully understand “The Code”, and another (Cory Pronman) expressing puzzlement about a player acting within the rules in delivering a big hit, and then being forced to act outside the rules by defending himself in a fight.

    I don’t often agree with ESPN when it takes a stance on some of the NHL’s more controversial topics, and I don’t agree with them this time.

    While these “clean” hits may fall within the rules, most NHL hockey players correctly perceive them to be predatory, because they are not intended to forcefully separate the opponent from the puck, but to rather to deliver as big a hit as is humanly possible to a defenceless and unsuspecting opponent.

    Under these circumstances, it’s little wonder that the guy on the receiving end of these open-ice hits is often injured on the play, sometimes through a blow to the head that, legal or otherwise.

    If the league is going to continue to allow its players to be on the receiving end of these dangerous hits, then I think it’s going to have to accept the fact that the players’ teammates will react immediately to such hits, whatever the consequences.

    As fans, we can tsk tsk all we want about how “clean” the hit was and how over the top the reaction was, but the players know better than us.

    Make no mistake about it. Many of these hits, legal or not, are fully intended to inflict maximum pain on an unsuspecting opponent, whether it was his fault he was unsuspecting or not. Any concerns on the part of the guy doing the hitting about inflicting an injury are entirely secondary.

    The players have become too big and fast and are so well protected by theiir suits iof armour that someday and NHL hocky player is going to killed by an open-ice hit that he never saw coming.

    But we’ll all feel just a little bit better about the situation when we watch the replay as see that the head wasn’t targeted. Deliberately.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      I think about 50% of hits aren’t designed to win back the puck, but to intimidate. This is entirely legitimate.

      Still, for me the main issue is how do we minimize brain injuries.


      • cbhabsfan says:

        I guess for me the problem is with whatver percentage of the intimidation hits come with a complete disregard fior the health and safety of the opponent.

        Big money in the game these days. Respect for the opponent? For too many players in this league, it just doesn’t exist.

        The sad fact is that there are too mnay players in the NHL who really couldn’t care less if their actions end an opponent’s career, so long as they don’t have to answer for it.

  19. DipsyDoodler says:

    Another aspect of the H I/O critiques of Michel Therrien is that they don’t even give him credit for actually coaching.

    When rookie X is preferred to journeyman vet Y as an injury replacement, it’s because “Y is in the doghouse”.

    Conversely, when a vet is preferred over a rookie, the rookie is in the doghouse, or “Therrien just likes his vets.”

    It’s never assumed that the coaching staff deliberate, assess, evaluate, and come up with what they think is the best short or long-term solution. No, it’s just emotion and irrationality that guides Michel Therrien.

    Most egregious of all is the oft-repeated opinion that he played Desharnais over Eller because of ethnicity. Not because of two limited players, one was perhaps a better option on the powerplay and the other on the penalty kill. No, again it was all emotion. No thinking.


    • Loop_G says:

      It is always interesting to see how those things play out in the long run. Many members here were outraged over the treatment (from coaches and GM’s) of people like Danny Kristo, Tinordi, etc etc…. It turns out that the experts end up being right almost every time.

      MT’s job is not to develop players, that is the job of the player, assistants, AHL coaches, consultants etc. Any coach is going is going to play the player who he has the most confidence in, that he believes gives the coach/team the best shot to win. Coaches don’t jeopardize their careers by making petty decisions. Any coach that did would be fired and end up back in Jr B if they were lucky.

    • Phil C says:

      An equally egregious error on HIO is the defense of Therrien using simply the team record as evidence. In otherwords, using a team result to measure an individual performance. You would never defend a player that way, why is it different for a coach?

      Conversely I have not seen many convincing arguments in support of Therrien, arguments that include the performance of duties that fall within a coach’s job description. It’s mostly record good, coach good. Record bad, coach bad.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Further to your point Phil, Bruce Boudreau has one of the best records in the entire NHL over the past 10 seasons including Washington/Anaheim where in both cases he was fired.

        Playoff success was the problem or lack thereof.

        Let’s see how this years Habs do in the playoffs, I would think expectations are greater than 1 or 2 rounds.

      • twilighthours says:

        It is tiresome when such blanket statements are made. Dipsy – and everyone on HIO – should just take umbrage with the specific poster and comment that is so “egregious.”

        It’s lame to lump everyone onto the same pile.

  20. fastfreddy says:

    Sorry BC (Because of the Cats), I can’t agree with you re. MT being a good coach. I do agree that he isn’t well liked, isn’t very articulate, and also not in the “good looking” group. I feel that many coaches with this team would achieve the same results. Rather, more acknowledgement should be given to MB for assembling this team for MT to coach, and I’m still not 100% sold on MB. I know that coaching is an important part for a team to be successful,however, a coach needs decent players that can play and win. Case 1, When Scotty Bowman left the Habs for Buffalo, he was a very good coach with a very good team = Stanley Cups. Not in Buffalo. Case 2, Jimmy Johnson in Dallas Cowboys. Again very good coach and very good team= Super Bowls. Not when he went to MIami Dolphins.
    My point is, “it’s not because of MT’s great coaching abilities, but rather the players that MB assembled” that is giving us success.

    CH = Les Glorieux!!!

    • Loop_G says:

      A coach can never be more than the sum of the parts, at least not in hockey. The team is succeeding better than most expected, the team is working hard for MT, and they come prepared to play every game. Yes, there are probably 10 or 15 other coaches in the NHL right now that could do the same, but no coach out there at any level would have this team in a higher position, or working harder than this team is now.

      • fastfreddy says:

        The team has Radulov and Weber, and a healthy Price, something they did not have last year. This is why they are successful thus far.

        CH = Les Glorieux!!!

        • Loop_G says:

          That is a big part of it no question about it, but it is not by any means evidence that MT is a bad coach. I am not really a big MT fan, but most of the criticism and venom he faces on here is completely baseless.

  21. veryhabby says:

    A few Monday morning thoughts after reading some posts below:

    #1. Ok fine, if you are a fan who blasts MT then one must admit that if the team is doing well this year, he should get some credit. But the fact is the team did horrible last year and he was unable to coach them. Well actually he coached them to a history making worse fail ever. So I will not say he is a great coach or doing a great job without saying he is a bad coach who did a horrible job last year. If he gets the glory for this year, he must get the blame for last year. So how can he be both horrible and good? I just don’t know. Is it really him, or is it all the players. They are the ones who sucked last year and with some changes and a fresh start and a healthy Price they don’t suck this year. Then that would mean that MT is useless when it comes to his importance to the success or failure of the team.

    #2. I hate Kadri. He is a puke face who looks to injure ppl and has been suspended for his dangerous plays. Babs trying to make him into a selke center….ahahahahaha no selke winner has ever been suspended like him. Komorov is just a pest. You hate them, but that’s because they are doing their job well.

    • Loop_G says:

      He isn’t getting all the glory this year, and last year was a different team in a different situation. Yes, he made mistakes this year, but that situation spiraled out of control quickly. He is not the best coach in the league but he is doing a good job, and he wasn’t the worst coach in the league last year.

      • Loop_G says:

        I do share your feelings about Kadri. He is slimy.

      • veryhabby says:

        “last year was a different team”….so then success is based on the team/players and not the coaches?

        We have 3 new players of impact this year, so it’s not that different of a team. So either whoever coaches this team should get no praise or blame cause it’s all up to the players…or up to Price being healthy.

        Or our coach can coach when the team responds well, but when the players are slumping this coach is unable to coach well. He can not coach a slumping team? He can only coach a team when the players are doing well?

        I am not trying to NOT give MT any credit. But I am 100% at a loss as to how this guy was so horrible last year and this year isn’t.

    • Popsrink says:

      I agree on Kadri. He is just a weasel looking to catch someone in a vulnerable position yet loses his mind when he is targeted. A guy I play hockey with calls him the ” suicide bomber”. Not very PC but funny as hell. Hey, everything is funny or nothing is funny.

      who loves ya baby!

  22. Lafleurguy says:

    Pungently, poignantly, what’s a little odor between friends?
    By the way, I, like Boonie, really like your posts JF.

  23. arcosenate says:

    As far as the unfairness of the draft it seems to me it would make it much more even if the league did a snake draft like us dumb asses in the fantasy leagues. At least that way when the second round starts the order is reversed and the top pick every round doesn’t automatically go to the worst teams. Imagine how valuable a second round pick would be to teams like MTL and WAS with this type of system.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I highly recommend participating in fantasy leagues to impart some humility when it comes to the draft. You always come away crowing at some of your legerdemain, getting that defenceman or tight end in the 10th round who’ll be better than most fifth-rounders, but as the season progresses and you review your choices, you realize your ‘mistakes’. Some of them are your fault, but a lot are caused by injuries or bad luck. You begin to understand that as much homework as you do, as much as you prepare, there is an element of luck, an element of the unpredictable. And you cut Trevor Timmins some slack as a result.

  24. rice says:

    Anyone have any insight into how Lernout is progressing. Always thought he was an interesting off the board draft selection that could find a job in the bigs.

    • Bash says:

      I have seen him four games on the Rock. He did not impress me. He is not a great skater and doesn’t intimidate anyone. Having said that he makes a short safe pass (or dump) out of the zone.

      “Damn it Jim I’m not a doctor; I’m a hockey expert.”

  25. savethepuck says:

    Can’t believe I just read not to protect Gally in the expansion draft. Maybe it’s just one fans opinion, but that’s crazy. So the guy is in a slump, all players go through this during their careers. the kid is only 24 years old and he’s had a few frustrating months production wise. The fickle ” what have yo done for me lately” attitude of some of the fan base of this hockey team is unreal sometimes.
    Thank God that hockey minds in charge of this team in the summer of 2010 were smart and kept the far better goaltender instead of keeping the goaltender that played better for a few months. Imagine if the decision of who to keep then was decided by a fan vote? It may have been close but we very possibly may have lost Carey.

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

    • Bergevin's Foxhole says:

      Are you referring to the same “smart” management that okay-ed a Price for Lecavalier deal?

    • on2ndthought says:

      OK, to be fair to the crazy guy who made the suggestion (that’s me) it was done with the idea of protecting 4 defencemen. I also prioritized Danault (and Radulov, who isn’t even signed yet) over Gally. This isn’t because Danault is ‘better’ than Gallagher (measurably, he’s not); but because he fills a more important position on the team going forward.

      IF Radulov is signed, and assuming Scherbak is ready next year; Gally could end up as our third line RW, which is one of the most effective spots for Shaw.

      Also, players like Andrighetto, Hudon, Carr and perhaps Reway could occupy the same kind of role Gally fills. They will not be equal to Gally, but the drop off may be less considering it may be a third line position.

      This isn’t simply because Gally has struggled this year, and is injured yet again, but those are considerations; considerations McPhee would have to take into account when he is planning his draft. Hopefully Gally will be 100% recoverd and popping goals at a 30 per season rate. That will change the dynamic.

      I’m as glad as you are that I’m not making the decisions, but if I was; this would be a scenario I would have to seriously consider.

      Free Front.

  26. Un Canadien errant says:

    1) Bobby Farnham is an embarrassment to our team. I had my mini-meltdown when he was signed this summer, I hadn’t reacted that harshly to a player acquisition since Tomas Kaberle became a Canadien. I’d kept my peace since then, since he was in the minors, where be belongs if at all, but now that he’s a Canadien, I bask in shame. He sullies our uniform, degrades the great history of our team. We’re the good guys, the other teams have the Patrick Kaletas and the Sean Averys.

    2) Leo Komarov is an embarrassment to the league. In his first turn in a Leafs uniform, some Toronto-boosting blowhard marvelled that if hockey was played without a puck, his game wouldn’t change one bit. And he meant it as a compliment.

    I can’t stand the guy. He reminds me of the third-rate Russian mafia goon you see in the movies, the one that Steven Seagal offs early, midway through the film. He’s the tone-setter, but not the star of the assassinations, that’ll be Gary Oldman in the final scene in the aircraft carrier engine room. The Leo Komarov clone, he’ll be dispatched with an orchestra conductor’s baton in a thirty second scene, to show that Die Hard means business. His dead eyes and shallow character will never be missed.

    On Saturday night, for some reason, both he and Alex Radulov were served coincidental minors after a pre-faceoff altercation. Yet the incident was entirely caused by Leo Komarov, when he came in to his position on the faceoff hashmarks with speed and barrelled past those into Alex with an energetic pitchfork. Alex was literally minding his own business, and Mr. Komarov treated the centre line like a Romulan treats the neutral zone.

    The refs did their ineffectual show of peacemaking, gave their spiel that the players better stop it or they’ll get warned again. As if the incident hadn’t entirely been caused by the Leaf, as if he shouldn’t immediately have been given a penalty for roughing or delay of game. They let it fester, they let it escalate, until they decided to resort to the last refuge of the incompetent, the coincidental minors.

    The NHL enables no-talent anti-hockey practitioners like Leo Komarov, who aren’t on the ice to score goals and entertain fans, but to stymie the efforts of Alex Radulov and Henrik Zetterberg, to the applause of the hopelessly compromised Nick Kypreos.

    ¡Viva Frontenac siempre y para siempre!

    • twilighthours says:

      I feel like this post is comment-bait.

      Because surely you know that Komarov has a decent track record for goal scoring. Hardly “no-talent.”

    • mrhabby says:

      Your right Farnham is a complete loser.

    • savethepuck says:

      I agree about Farnham, I’m not a fan at all of that type of hockey player. Running around looking for trouble and just trying to cause $#it. His first game with the Habs I thought, “what is this guy doing?” The second game he was ejected but he was basically sticking up for a teammate, so I didn’t have a problem with that tho.

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

      • adamkennelly says:

        Farnham is of no use at all really – I don’t mind the Habs having a player who stirs the pot as opposed to us constantly being the ones reacting but I’d like that player to tone it down and be able to react.

        That move in TO – he was trying to start shit and he succeeded and Mac had to deal with some of it as he was getting his ass handed to him but some rookie.

    • Popsrink says:

      UCE- I love the line ” last refuge of the incompetent”. I instantly was reminded of a Pittsburgh vs Washington series in the nineties when Lemieux was literally being mugged from the puck drop to the siren. He retaliated and was immediately penalized and ejected for ” instigating” by Dan Maraouelli. Only in the NHL.

      who loves ya baby!

  27. rhino514 says:

    I would prohibit players falling to the ice. That and calling all penalties would be enough to make the game very exciting again. The biggest problem today is that it´s too easy to make a wall in front of the net, the net isn´t very big and five players plus a goalie are. So if guys can´t slide or fall to the ice this would help alot. Dmen couldn´t slide to the ice either on two on ones. Another thing could be to make the net just a tiny bit bigger. Change will come one day, everyone can see it´s just too difficult to score.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Completely agree. The slide on the ice, which some announcers will sometimes note was perfectly timed, is actually a Komarov-level play, an action that requires no talent. You or your grandmother could lie on the ice and block shots or prevent passes.

      Those kinds of zero-skill plays that detract from the show and nullify the efforts of Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin to entertain us, should be the plays that General Managers focus on in their blasted Winter Meetings, not the perfidious hand pass or the micrometre offsides adjudicated by Hi-Def slow mo reviews that take forever.

    • Thomas Le Fan says:

      Agree with the first part, mostly disagree with the second. The rule should be, like snooker, one skate on the ice at all times when shot blocking. As for calling all penalties? Do mean not just on our team? Anyway, surely you’d agree that at some point there is some judgment involved in calling a penalty and even with four officials on the ice, they can’t see everything. Plus the game is played at full speed not in slow motion replay mode with several angles.

      Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain

  28. montreal ace says:

    If the season ended today, TBL would be in the top 10 for a draft pick. How is that fair to Hab fans, when a team that is loaded with talent, gets rewarded for their ineptness.

  29. BC (Because of the Cats) says:

    Great piece by Jack Todd. I’ve defended Therrien ever since he was hired, and Todd’s article expresses my thoughts exactly. Therrien may not be very articulate, very likable, or very good-looking, but he can coach. He has always gotten far more out of this team than the sum of its parts. He’s doing it again. And his players play for him.

    “We gotta lotta dep.”

    • Phil C says:

      You are entitled to your opinion like everyone else. And you may be right about Therrien. But he hasn’t always gotten more out of the team than the sum of its parts. For years, the advanced stats suggested that the team relied heavily on Price. Price’s injury confirmed that, with the Habs owning the worst record in the league after December when Price was gone. Now that Price is back, Therrien is a genius again.

      I do think the Habs are playing much better with the puck this year, which you have to think is a result of Muller’s influence, although I will give credit to Therrien for allowing it to happen, (assuming he has a choice). This has always been my biggest criticism of Therrien hockey. As long as there is an assistant around like Muller, I can live with Therrien. It may even be a good collaboration.

      • twilighthours says:

        My view: Therrien’s/The Habs’ forecheck is simply brilliant this year. The team is so tenacious. MB/MT deserve a ton of credit for that. The forecheck is the biggest reason for Montreal’ success this year. I still see the same issues defensively and with the breakout. But on the whole, Therrien definitely deserves credit for his part in the team’s performance.

        How he survived to still coach the team in 16-17 will always be a mystery to me, though.

        Finally, using Jack Todd as support… Todd has argued from every position under the sun. He’s just a windsock.

        • BC (Because of the Cats) says:

          I’m not “using Jack Todd as support” — he just expresses my thoughts very pungently. I’ve always thought Therrien was a good coach. He’s gotten good results out of a lineup that has had since he became coach perhaps less offensive talent than most other teams in the League.

          As for the argument that the team relies heavily on Price, of course they do. Every team relies heavily on their best player. But I think it was less Price’s absence last year than a failure of leadership that caused the team to fall apart. I don’t exonerate Therrien from some of the blame here, but a lot has to fall on the players. The leadership group was not strong enough and was perhaps divided. Credit Bergevin and his team for taking strong measures over the summer to correct this. And credit Therrien and the players for learning from last season’s disaster.

          “We gotta lotta dep.”

        • on2ndthought says:

          I think Muller should get some of the credit for how well the forwards are
          executing Therrien’s schemes. Much better back pursuit of the puck, and opening seams for outlet passes in the neutral zone.
          Free Front.

        • toneez says:

          I agree wholeheartedly , people are entitled to like him or think that he’s a good coach , however not one of them has an answer of where he’d be coaching if not for Bergy , he hadn’t had a job for 4 years so if you choose to like him that’s your right , just tell me why if he’s such a well regarded coach he didn’t have a job for 4 years, and if he’s such a good coach why did the Habs nosedive last year, and don’t give me the leadership baloney, the coach is supposed to be the leader…. but a real leader accepts responsibility and is able to improvise when needed neither of which are in the realm of MT’s capabilities , so until my question can be answered and until he actually WINS something my opinion is that he’s the worse coach ever behind an NHL bench and they will NEVER win a thing with him there and that’s a fact …

          All Habs all the Time

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        To say that the Canadiens rely heavily on Carey Price is the kind of accusation that can be levelled at Jack del Rio’s Raiders. He relies much too greatly on Derek Carr. When he has to win a game with a quarterback with the worst stats for a starter in the NFL this season, he’s clueless and can’t adapt.

        Similarly, when the Canadiens went from Carey Price to the ‘Condon-Tokarski .880 Show’, we saw that Michel Therrien had no answers. Sad!

        • Phil C says:

          I don’t follow the Raiders, so I can’t comment on your reference. How about the fact thatbthe Habs were not scoring enough and giving up too many shots for years under Therrien?

          I don’t want to get baited into bashing the guy, but wins and losses are a team result, not a coach’s result so you have to look deeper. Regardless, no coach is perfect, and the new coaching team seems to be working, so good enough for me.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            My point is that if the Canadiens had had a decent replacement-quality goalie to send out there when Carey got hurt, an Al Montoya or Jacob Markstrom, the Canadiens’ decline wouldn’t have been so precipitous.

            I always feel that the statement that the Canadiens were exposed without Carey is simplistic. It’s the loss of Carey coupled with the inability of Condon-Tokarski-Scrivens to provide replacement-level goaltending that was the issue.

            This is what happened this weekend in the NFL playoffs, they went from a Pro Bowl-quality quarterback to a rookie who’d never played a game, and completed two passes all game. Coach Jack del Rio couldn’t adjust to that, to his great shame.

          • twilighthours says:

            The argument against Therrien goes back farther than last year, Normand.

          • Phil C says:

            They shouldn’t have been the worst team in the league without Price. Worse than teams losing on purpose like Toronto, worse than rebuilding teams like Calgary and Buffalo with equally bad goaltending. Of course the players share a big part of the blame, but so did the line up decisions, the system, the blaming of star players in public, that was on the coaching. It amazes me that anyone would think coaching was not part of the problem last year. Even Bergevin thought so by bringing in Muller.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            @ Phil C: I think it’s more accurate to say that Marc Bergevin didn’t think coaching was a problem last season. I mean, he said as much, plainly, at the season-ending presser. He said “It’s on me”, and then proceeded to do a major reno, changed the players, the leadership group, unloaded players who maybe didn’t march in lockstep with the rest. And he got a veteran backup goalie with a track record in that role.

            Sure, he hired Kirk Muller, but again, this is in keeping with his building a strong org with lots of support, lots of good hockey minds. And, Michel Therrien was quite clear that he wasn’t saddled with Kirk Muller, that he was a big reason why he was hired, that he was fully on board with bringing him aboard.

          • Phil C says:

            Actions > words

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            Oh, I understand Phil. When the coach or GM or captain or stalwart like Gally says something positive or supportive, HIO says it’s the script, they’re quoting the party line, they’re lying to protect themselves. It’s meaningless pablum.

            But when a malcontent or player who’s earned no slack or credibility like René Bourque or Jiri Sekac points fingers or complains, that’s HIO gospel.

            Makes sense.

          • Phil C says:

            Not what I said at all. The GM’s words vs GM’s actions.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            Phil, I get it, we hate Michel Therrien and Marc Bergevin, so whenever they say something, we’ll discount what they say.

            And we’ll analyze their actions through the lens of our disdain, and instead of seeing Marc Bergevin’s actions supporting what he said at the presser (leaves coaching staff in place, trades pieces that maybe didn’t go with the flow, obtains more leadership and character that won’t ‘allow’ another slide), we’ll nitpick at the edges to insist he’s contradicting himself.

            But when Devante Smith-Pelly expresses confusion at his role in Montréal, that they didn’t communicate with him much, but that he’s happy to play heavy in front of the boards and in front of the net in NJ, that’s taken at absolute face value. There’s no spin there.

        • toneez says:

          UCE … just so you know there’s a big difference in football and hockey so comparing any part of either to one another is like comparing Apples and Oranges …

          All Habs all the Time

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            If we’re proscribed of making comparisons, discussion here will grind to a halt. I think goaltending and quarterbacking performance are crucial to teams’ successes in their respective discipline, and use that comparison often. I think it’s apt.

          • toneez says:

            UCE … Ok I will agree that they are 2 very important positions , but one is the last line of defense and the other is the main weapon on offense, which is why I mentioned the comparison of Apples & Oranges , both very important positions , I just don’t believe that we can use them in that way to support either of our statements , but they are both crucial to a teams success just not in the same way , therefore are very difficult to compare …

            All Habs all the Time

      • Dust says:

        I believe the habs had good advanced stats last year

    • Loop_G says:

      Was listening to Toronto Sports radio the other day, Nick Kypreos said about Therrien that his players “would skate through a wall for him”, and I think they are showing that this season.

    • Cal says:

      How was he last season?

  30. Duker says:

    I saw the Laine hit for the first time and my two cents : I saw zero intent. McCabe looked like he was bracing himself and it was bad luck. The blame goes to Schieffle for the “Diazish ” suicide pass. Whether a factor or not,the equipment/pads are just too hard

  31. DipsyDoodler says:

    Shinazawa’s fixes for the NHL are mostly pointless (bring back the red line) or unenforceable (NBA style preventing defenders from staying in the paint too long). But one idea that makes sense is to call every penalty. Every hold and slash. The players would stop doing it and it would open up the game again.

    The 3 on 3 overtime is an admission that the game is boring at 5 on 5.


    • 123456 says:

      I’ll be the first to admit I disliked the 3 on 3 OT from the time it was first talked about (and implemented at lower level). But it’s very entertaining and a way better way to determine an outcome than a shootout.

      Regards to changes in the game – I never understood why all new rinks were not built to larger dimensions. Maybe not up to Olympic size but bigger.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      1) One idea I’ve ruminated on is whether there should be a zone outside the crease that is kind of like the key in basketball, where an offensive player can’t be in for more than three seconds or so. This would do away with the Tim Kerr prototype, the guy who just stands there and screens the goalie, but also with the crosschecking and slashing that commentators always rave about, how what should normally be a profusion of penalties earned by a defenceman and a winger is described as a netfront ‘battle’.

      Combine that with shrinking goalie equipment, or enlarging the net, especially in the top corners, and the game stops being an ugly maul two metres out from the net. And we finally stop hearing about ‘dirty areas’ in hockey, glowingly.

      2) These would totally transform the game, calling every penalty. Puck battles along the board, the only way the Roman Polak survives those is because he’s allowed to crosscheck and punch Artturi Lehkonen up to a certain (variable) threshold. If he could only use a bodycheck, with his shoulder, to pin an opponent, if he had to show the agility and mobility to get himself into position to apply that bodycheck, instead of having this two-metre halo around him wherein he’s allowed to push, prod and punish with the shaft of his stick, he’d be out of a job, out of the league immediately.

      And puck battles wouldn’t be these protracted tedious affairs where talent and the rulebook go to die, they wouldn’t last minutes on end. And the puck wouldn’t be trapped along the boards for so long, it would be out in space, giving us more action.

      • DipsyDoodler says:

        Not sure how enlarging The net and shrinking the goalie equipment makes the game more entertaining. All it means is that a greater fraction of shots end up as goals.


        • Un Canadien errant says:

          I’m not certain either, just batting around the idea, but there was a stat recently that showed that a goalie with unobstructed view of the puck has a .990 save percentage, and that plummets to the high .800s when he has two or more players obstructing his view. Teams, coaches know that, so hockey has devolved into a messy scrum in front of the net, crashing the crease, getting into the goalie’s kitchen, etc.

          I think hockey has reached a point in its evolution where it has to react. Ben Bishop with his giant couch cushions blocks out most of the net in a way that Rogatien Vachon never did. Rogie’s gear was more modestly proportioned, since it was heavy and bulky. Space age materials give tall people who aren’t necessarily athletes too much of a leg up.

          It’s as if baseball still had the pitcher’s mound 50 feet from home plate, because that’s the way it’s always been. And every game finished in a 1-0 score. When defence began to dominate in baseball, they progressively moved the plate back to the current 60’6″.

          It might be time to make the nets bigger, to react to the current situation where players a foot taller than before still guard a 4’X6′ cage. I understand that goalies are leery of facing 100 mph slapshots with reduced equipment, but some accommodation can probably be reached there.

          And now, it’s not just that there will be more goals scored, but that there will be more entertaining goals scored. Instead of pucks being pushed in the net from two feet out in a scrum festival of lawlessness, now maybe the game reverts to a passing game where you try to find an open Brett Hull or Mike Bossy open off the side of the net for a top shelf snipe. Or, crazy thought, maybe a forward streaking up the wing with the puck can unleash a Lafleurian slapshot and have a chance that it can find open net, instead of pachyderm Bishop.

  32. roberge12 says:

    I was among those who felt THE TRADE was wrong and we should have kept PK. Without getting into the skill level and point production of the two, I am here to say that SW changes the chemistry of the whole team…A true silent leader (Mark Messierish) who commands respect from the opposition as well as from the players for the team. Gallagher was the only one for a couple of years that had that kind of commitment, now everyone does.
    There are at least half a dozen factors coming together to form, dare I say a perfect storm.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Good points, but using Mark Messier as the archetypal strong silent leader may be missing the target. Mark Messier could woof with the best of them, loved the media, made his famous guarantee, etc.

      Universally beloved or respected strong silent leaders are usually compared to Joe Sakic and/or Steve Yzerman, no?

  33. twocents says:

    Boy, Shaw looks an awful lot like a young Bobby Smith in that picture

  34. Habies says:

    We are 4th in the NHL in goals scored, 5th in goals against, and 1st in man games lost… and we’re playing pretty entertaining (and damn competitive) hockey.

    So, shuss up yer b*tchin’, everyone.

  35. rhino514 says:

    MB has totally put his stamp on the team.
    Radulov, Lehkonen, Danault, Byron…4 top nine guys (I think at least 3 of the 4 will remain legitimate top nine players), acquired for eseentially NOTHING. That´s 4 spots in the top 9 filled over the course of about 6 months, just outstanding. Then you have the player moves: Weber for subban and, indirectly, Shaw for Eller (since the space was freed up to acquire shaw and we essentially just switched 2nd round picks. As of now those 2 moves are positives for us.
    What challenge does the hard-working GM have left? Without a doubt it must be how will he manage to not lose one of Beaulieu or Emelin in the expamsion draft. Beaulieu has played himself back to being the favourite to be kept, having the the edge because of his age and ceiling.
    Emelin, however, has the intangibles going for him. He´s part of the Russian core which attracts other Russians to Mtl, he´s married with a new-born, happy with his Russian crew…he certainly doesn´t want to uproot his family to Vegas. It´s so interesting for me to see how this plays out.

    • on2ndthought says:

      Not disagreeing, but Lehkonen was a second round draft pick (a good one, in retrospect).

      Expansion Protection: Price, Weber, Petry, Beaulieu, Emelin, Galchenyuk, Pacioretty, Radulov (get him signed), Danault. That’s it.

      You lose one of Shaw, Gally, Byron, Plek, Markov, or Pateryn. My instincts tell me Gally or Pateryn.

      OR you protect 7 forwards and 3 D; thereby losing Emelin (who I’ve argued would be a crowd fave in LV with his monster hits, and excellent trade deadline bait for prospects).

      Free Front.

      • twocents says:

        Isn’t it true that we can’t lose Markov to expansion since he is UFA?

        • on2ndthought says:

          If LV signs him in the 3 or 4 day window prior to the expansion draft, then we lose him (and only him).

          Free Front.

          • 123456 says:

            Outside of losing Pleks – that’would be the second best loss. I have always been a big fan of both Pleks and Markov but I prefer the others over them.

      • piper says:

        No way you don’t protect Gallagher. He’d be gone for sure. Big loss.

        • on2ndthought says:

          Gallagher, Emelin, or Beaulieu?

          Either that, or you don’t resign Radulov until after the draft; but if LV signs him; we lose him (only him). I think Radulov does more for our RW depth than Gally.

          Free Front.

      • twilighthours says:

        Are you suggesting that the habs not protect Gallagher? That’s crazy talk

        • on2ndthought says:

          Right now, I’d take Radulov and Danault ahead of him. IF we are protecting 4 D (rhino’s premise) then we only protect 4 forwards. Pretty sure Galchenyuk, Pacioretty are written in stone. Radulov and Danault are ahead of Gally in my mind (which may well be crazy).

          Our organizational depth at LD is thin: Markov ageing, Emelin a year and half under contract, Beaulieu upcoming RFA.

          Tough decisions for MB.

          Free Front.

        • twilighthours says:

          You’re losing it.

      • Loop_G says:

        Markov wants to stay here. Although it is technically no allowed MB could sign him after the expansion draft, he isn’t going anywhere else and we then don’t need to protect him.

        • Un Canadien errant says:

          The Sharks are in the same boat with Joe Thornton. He’s apparently seeking a three-year deal, has no interest in playing anywhere else, and can sign whenever he damn well pleases. The guy has been playing in the league for two decades.

          Gary Bettman can rattle sabres as much as he wants, but I think the players and NHLPA can very cogently argue that a veteran like Jumbo Joe or Andrei has earned his independence, it’s his decision with who he signs and when, and that if he doesn’t want to go to Las Vegas, if he’s truly a UFA, there’s nothing Gary can do for his new pet franchise.

  36. Lafleurguy says:

    Eller didn’t need any advice and responded in his usual, refreshing manner.

    “For me, I wouldn’t say it was an issue in any way,” he said. “It’s not something that bothered me. But sometimes it’s nice to be without it, for sure. Everything is not as black and white as it’s made out to be in this city, I think. I’d say it’s a little more chill where I am now.”

    Then he flashed a big smile.”

    (response to question about excessiveness of media and fan scrutiny as a Hab in Montreal)

  37. The_Truth says:

    I am a DD fan, and won’t hide that fact. He is small and weak, which limits him, and has no shot. Well, a pretty good slapper for a guy who is 5’6.5″, but has beautiful vision as a puck distributer. 2nd only to Markov on the team, in my opinion. Radulov might beat him though.

    Overall, I am anxious to have him back and think he can help this team over some others currently on the roster.

  38. PONCH says:

    For the sake of transparency let me be clear right up front. I’m a Pollyana. Not a Nellie bone in my body. I love my Habs and will fight to the death with them (well not to the death but you get the picture) For discussion purposes only and I’d really like your opinion for whomever wants to weigh in, what does Andreghetto bring to the table. I’ve watched him over the last couple of seasons in exhibition and in regular season play. It’s not his fault he has the stature he was born with but my oh my he takes up a spot that I don’t see has any benefit to our team. I’m not ragging on him just seeking opinions. Could MB be shopping him?
    Thanks to anyone who cares to weigh in.

    To be a Hockey Fan is to be a Habs Fan

    • fastfreddy says:

      Yes Ponch, I also feel Andrighetto’s time is up with the Habs.

      CH = Les Glorieux!!!

    • D Mex says:

      For a time, I hoped Andrighetto might turn into a reasonable facsimile of what Cournoyer had been for this club but, realistically, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
      He plays with more determination and courage than #51 but, without an inflated contract and his coach’s undying devotion, that falls well short of a ringing endorsement. If he gets to waivers with MTL again, my guess is it’ll be for the purpose of unconditional release.

      ALWAYS Habs –
      D Mex

      Support Therrien – vote Desharnais :
      See the Therrien – Desharnais duet here :
      Therrien / Lacroix / Pacioretty : All Desharnais All the Time !

    • The_Truth says:

      From what I have seen, I don’t see Andro being a regular in this league and doesn’t have a future on the Habs. He does put up points in the AHL, but DD would rip that league up, so doesn’t mean that much. Euro bound sooner, rather than later.

    • on2ndthought says:

      Andrighetto will be a solid second line RW/C. He’ll benefit getting off a team with so many similar players. MB drafted a bunch of small speed skill guys, signed Gally long term, and picked Byron up on waivers. We should only have 3 or 4 on the team at a time.

      Free Front.

    • twilighthours says:

      Ghetto would be in my top 12, for sure. He’s got incredible skill – it may never translate into NHL scoring but it certainly has already turned him into an effective 3 zone player. He’s not a banger and a crasher but he’s very responsible with the puck and conscientious with his coverage. If you want a speedy, aggressive, and reliable 4th line, then he’s the perfect fit. If he shot right, he’d already have Flynn’s job.

      Ghetto’s a keeper.

  39. careysubban3176 says:

    With the 1st half of the season almost over and with all the injuries that have occurred and with Price just being average the past month or so the Habs are still winning games and actual look good doing so. With that being said I truly think something special is happening with this team and I believe this is finally the year they go all the way! You heard it here first folks. Once Price starts to heat up and we get Glachenyuk and a fresh Markov back then have Gally back before the playoffs start the Habs are going to be hard to eliminate and they’ll match up against any team they play.

    Stop blaming the goaltender! He can only do so much.

  40. ProHabs says:

    Is it confirmed Galchenyuk is playing tomorrow.

  41. durocher says:

    Awesome quotes from Trotz.

    Great article, Stu!

  42. fastfreddy says:

    Like Habs 4Life in TO said, MB is not going to make a trade, especially with the return of the vets soon. He does not want to give up assets and picks if he can avoid the deals. He’ll most likely stay the course. Now if something profitable comes his way, he deals, but I don’t see MB pulling off something major. We’ll see by the deadline………..

    CH = Les Glorieux!!!

  43. Bergevin's Foxhole says:

    Lars Eller tribute tomorrow night?

  44. Arnou Ruelle says:

    Darnit! I was hoping that the teams that should win today will beat their opponents. But I didn’t turn out that way. Boston lost to Carolina, 3-4. The Oilers were beaten by those Senaturds team, 3-5. The Blue Jackets won against Philly, 2-1. Our Habs face Washington tomorrow. So I like to see more changes to happen before playoffs starts (I don’t mean player changes, but standings).

  45. Mr. Biter says:

    With the new improved Max scoring like old perhaps Mr. Weber has helped in the room taking over some of the “Captain’s” duties. Watching one game this week when Weber and about 5 Habs on the bench were watching the play down the ice and he sits down says something and everyone else sits down. I think he’s a player everyone in the room respects and listens to. No disrespect to Max but his suddenly finding his game may be partially due to silent help from “Dad”.

    Mr. Biter
    No Guts No Glory

  46. Old Bald Bird says:

    Doesn’t MB want to build a team that can compete year after year?

    So, when people are willing to trade Juulsen and Sergachev, both even, I think you’re dreaming, especially since MB likes to build from the back out.

    Past trading and patching and losing draft choices has taken quite some time to overcome, and it’s just beginning to happen. I don’t think either we or MB want to go down that path again.

    With Chucky (oh how I hate that nickname) coming back, Danault doing surprisingly well, and Big Mac on the rise, I don’t see a great need to go all out on a centre. Sure, it would be nice to add a stud piece, but you have to give up so much, and besides that, we added a stud piece in Rads already this year. I think MB will more or less stay the course.

    Although I wouldn’t be surprised if he does do something, I don’t think it’s going to be something that parts with too much in the way of future pieces.

    Of course, I have been known to be wrong.

    BTW, I didn’t mentioned Pleks, but if Dandy can play 2nd line, I think Pleks will be fine on 3rd — for this year anyway.

    • Habs4LifeInTO says:

      Maybe MB uses one or both of the seconds he got for Eller? Those picks might be used to acquire a useful player. MB might have to throw in a redundant prospect or two as well (ie a player type they have more than one of….small and skilled for example). I agree with you that with a completely healthy roster and the freedom to take the best from the Ice Caps roster, MB is just as likely to stay the course and keep his prospects too unless he is handed an offer he can’t refuse.

      24 cups and counting….

      • Mr. Biter says:

        Best batch of prospects and NHL outcasts we’ve had in the AHL for a long time. Can come up and fill in for injured players without missing a beat. These players want to be in the NHL and some of the Vets could see their time with the Habs come to the end with the play of the call ups.

        Mr. Biter
        No Guts No Glory

    • CharlieHodgeFan says:

      I’m starting to think Bergevin has a solid longterm plan. Last year’s fade took guts. To stay the course and let them lose when Price was hurt either took a steady hand and a cold, analytical mind, or real stupidity. It looks to be the former, whatever we thought last season.
      Right now, Bergevin is far ahead of Shanahan. And Shanahan’s pretty good at what he does. That is one heck of a planner we have in the front office. I know we could all do better than him, but Jeez Louise, he’s good. He faked me out but good last season.
      He is weak on magic though. He can’t conjure up centers. yet.

    • Arnou Ruelle says:

      Every GM wants to win their respective team year after year.

      I get the point that Bergevin may not need to get a 2nd line centre. But evidently, the supposed 2nd line centre that should be producing offensively, has stopped putting points to help the team.

      That’s the reason why Pleks’ name is now on the trade block.

    • vegas says:

      i don’t think he will give in ro temptation, Probably a smaller mover such as Hanzal, and then maybe go after Shipachev in the summer

  47. B says:

    I recall reading that Eller hasn’t tried to contact his old Canadiens team mates. Is there a story there or is it nothing?

    –Go Habs Go!–

  48. BrownHabFan says:

    With the Big Mac and danuelt are playing it’s making DD look pretty useless on this roster…Galchenyuk should be back either tomorrow or some time soon making pleks look pretty expendable right now.. .it’s sad to see how bad statistically of a season he’s having so far…his 2 way style of play and ability to play defense is a big part of his play but I’m sure if we package pleks, with juulsen and or unfortunately sergachev I’m sure we can hopefully pick up someone to help this playoff run

  49. on2ndthought says:

    Hey, Stu. Nice read. BTW the link to the Jack Todd article loops back to this page.

    Free Front.

  50. habs001 says:

    There must be a code that teams follow in a s/o …Players like Weber could come in in a s/o and wind up with everything they have a few feet from the goalie and that would be very dangerous..i have only seen full slapshot in a s/o a few times…

    • NoTinFoilCups says:

      hmm that’s an interesting observation. Why isn’t it done? After all it wouldn’t be any different than winding up with a big slapper during the game itself, right? I recall it being done during in game breakaways. I imagine Weber coasting in, pushing the puck a little ahead then burst in with the big windup just like they do during the skills competition. Yikes!!

      • Mr. Biter says:

        Who was the Yahoo who posted yesterday that Weber’s “Slap Shot’ was down to 63MPH and what the big deal was about him? Idiot, it was a wrist shot at 63MPH scoring on the Nashville Game. Do you know the difference between a wrist shot and a Slap Shot?

        Mr. Biter
        No Guts No Glory

  51. Timo says:

    What about Davey D? Where is his update?

    • Habitoban says:

      How refreshing to have quotes from Trotz and Eller! These guys consistently offer honest, bromide-free comments. I was an Eller fan. I thought that he would be a great 3rd line centre for us. Never understood the claims that he was soft. He didn’t fight (which for some translates into tough), but boy was he hard on the puck, and I suspect that players he encountered on the boards didn’t consider him soft in the least.

  52. Ingy27 says:

    I am still pumped they beat those leafs Saturday and won my $100 bet with my leaf buddy!

  53. govenah says:

    Hey wait – a second!

    Habba Dabba Do!

  54. Captain aHab says:

    Will the Habs organization be showing a pre-game Lars Eller video tribute?

    Drop da puck already!

  55. Rockhabsfan says:


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