Canadiens reach halfway mark

Diaz
When the Bell Centre siren sounds to end their Saturday night game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, your Montreal Canadiens will have played 41 games.
They are halfway toward …
Well, we’ll see.
Raphael Diaz has been one of the team’s pleasant surprises.

Some reasons for optimism

The push for the playoffs

Dave Stubbs on Raphael Diaz

Gionta returns as Emelin felled

Red Fisher on Tortorella’s outburst

Stu Hackel on the Barch suspension

Marc-Antoine Godin on the struggling Pacioretty

Stu Cowan on the great Bernie Parent

Whither Campoli?

Ken Dryden: Ban fighting, keep the fight

NHLPA blocks realignment

Stan Bowman is shopping

Sidney Crosby’s lost year

157 Comments

  1. Only 45% of us think the Habs can still make the playoffs…

    Since when did 10 game winning streaks become so hard to come by.

    http://www.puckbandits.com

  2. Mark C says:

    What a bunch of goons in Boston.

  3. HabinBurlington says:

    Having Gio added to the lineup will be a boost to the boys, he hustles every shift and will be a big contributor to getting RC’s philosophy across to all the lines. I suspect/hope he is being lined up with Plex and Cammy for that reason, to show them what kind of hustle is required.

    While Blunden may not have the talent or resume to be an NHL regular he is demonstrating excellent hustle and strong forecheck. The more players we have like this on every line the better off we will be.

    I am going to miss the game tonight, as I take my nephew to the Sabres/Jets game tonight. Got 5th row right behind/beside the penalty box. Haha I should have lots of entertainment, wish Big Buff was playing for the Jets though.
    Go Habs Go, go jets go!

  4. HabFab says:

    Shawinigan is pulling out all the stops to go after the Memorial Cup. They just acquired Gormley to go with Hab prospects Ellis and Bournival.

  5. who cares any more says:

    “… make a lost season and high draft position preferable to an eighth-place squeak-in and hasty early-round exit …” Say What??!!

    The thing for me, and I suspect, for most traditional Habs fans, is that we are talking about the Montreal Canadiens here. If this team has sunk to such depths as to make such an idea even palatable, there’s definitiely a lot more wrong with the universe than merely being in thirteenth place.

    definition of insanity: keep doing same thing expecting a different result

  6. bellcentre hotdog says:

    Guy Lafleur this morning:

    “I felt sorry for Randy because he shouldn’t have to deal with the language … You know there’s enough pressure winning games … The language shouldn’t be part of it and his main goal is to win and to try to make the playoffs. The bottom line is that.”

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Love Lafleur, can’t disagree with anything in that statement, except, why does he use the past tense, “I felt sorry” I guess it is that apparant that RC has 0% chance to maintain his role as head coach beyond this season.

  7. montreal ace says:

    I wonder if playing in the Bell Center has affected Max and his game, as I know it would mine. His injury was not that long ago, so I think he might be playing with more caution. I know that after some close calls in my life, it was only later that I realized that I was lucky. I know they changed the angle of the stanchions, but even so I would being paying a lot of attention to them.

    • habs001 says:

      While 23 maxpac is still a very inexperienced nhl player..he has only played 160 nhl games…his upside may take another 2-3 years

    • Chrisadiens says:

      I think his suspension has hindered him. He was playing great before that.

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

      • likehoy says:

        he said it’s not the suspension but that he’s tired

        - If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I saw one shift last game where it looked like he a Jet player lined up for a big hit, and it seemed like he considered it for a minute then changed mind.

        While I am glad he didn’t take a penalty on play, I have to think he and many other players are unsure what hit is okay anymore.

  8. habs001 says:

    To have any type of playoff chance the following must happen in the second half…..the pp has to improve asap..plecks has to score more than 5 goals 5/5 and not be minus 9…camm has to score a lot more…same with gion…price has to be better and we need a few teams to collapse….most of the other players will maintain their first half performance stats with pk and eller being wild cards in that they could dramatically improve their second half stats…this team may not be a cup contender but to be in the position they are now is a joke…this team was very poorly prepared during the off season…

  9. db says:

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/jasper_development/?rc=fb&pv=9

    Guys, I love the Habs… and I love Jasper National Park. Can you all please take a moment to sign this petition (no registration required) to show Harper that he can’t privatize our National Parks (especially to American companies!!!).

    “Privatizing Jasper National Park will set a dangerous precedent to construct other thrill-based projects in World Heritage Sites across Canada. This goes entirely against what Canadians – and visitors – have said they expect of Canadian wild and magnificent national park. Listen to the Canadian public and your community and stop this development now.”

  10. Mattyleg says:

    Afternoon all,
    Jumping right in:
    1) I like Diaz, and am happy that he’s getting good minutes and is developing well with the team.
    b) Red Fisher is right about “Torts”. That guy is a clown. I noticed some people saying that it’s right for the coach to call out the refs. I got sumpin’ to say about that, which ties in with something else people have been talking about on here:

    Talking to the media is NOT the only talking that players and coaches do. When Gionta talks to the media, he is not saying the same things that he would say to his teammates in the dressing-room. I’m fairly sure that he doesn’t sit in the dressing room and say, “Okay guys, we’ve got to start focusing on the little things; we obviously didn’t give 100% for 3 periods out there, and it’s up to us to take the responsibility and focus on keeping our game simple and doing the little things that will win the game.”

    Therefore, making ANY kind of judgement on what kind of leader Gionta is, based on what he says to the media is a mistake.

    Same goes for “Tortsy”. He is more than welcome, no doubt, to pick up his phone and call NHLHQ and complain his little heart out about refereeing, which would make things happen within the NHL, along the lines that are there for those sorts of issues. Calling the NHL out in front of the media is as bad as players calling each other out in front of the media. It’s cheap.

    iii) Those Nationalist protesters are stupid. Worst of all, it’s probably about a dozen crackpots with half-baked (at a push) ideas, but they’ve got the media in a tither, so they’ll get lots of attention. Freakin’ idiots. I’ve half a mind (at a push) to go there and point out all the holes in their ‘arguments’.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Boomer says:

      I respect torts cause what you see is what you get, what he says to the media he’s saying in the locker room, with a few more cuss words in the locker room lol. He’s a no BS guy and calls it how he sees it. I like that. Sometimes you watch interviews and you know players have been coached by the vets or are sugar coating things. Not to say thats bad but every now and then (actually everytime) i wonder what they’re really thinking. Not with Torts.

      As for the people protesting Do it! go destroy them with logic.

      Boom baby!

  11. SmartDog says:

    BRETHEREN:

    After a lot of debate can we agree that it’s obvious that:

    1. Unless there is an earth-shattering change in the next few weeks, the Habs MUST be sellers at the deadline.
    2. AK and Moen, while perhaps really valuable to the team MUST be signed by the deadline or traded for value because to not do one or the other is a waste.
    3. Some other players (Gionta, Weber, Kaberle) should be traded if the offer is good.
    4. To NOT build this team up for the future at the trade deadline is a sham.
    5. It’s unlikely PG will do the right thing here and we’ll all be shaking our heads the next day at another opportunity missed.

    SD
    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • PureGuava says:

      Keep AK – he’s young, and has chemistry with a certain young Dane….20 goals a season is hard to replace.

      Gomer, Cammy, Gionta….see ya

      I would even listen to offers on Max Pac and PK – i’m not saying move them, but if the right player is available in return…

      “Of course I’m crazy, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.”
      - Robert Anton Wilson

    • punkster says:

      Agree? Obvious?

      Them there’s fightin’ words on HI/O.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

      • SmartDog says:

        Yeah, I was dreamin’ in technicolor I guess.

        And the people who DO agree won’t comment. The people who thing I’ve gone insane, even on just one point – those are the ones who’ll jump in.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • habsfanforever7631 says:

      I think we should be sellers in the trade dedline only if we’re more than 10 points out.

    • likehoy says:

      we’ll see what PG decides is the “right thing” to do at the deadline.

      I’m not even sure I know what the right thing is to do.

      - If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

  12. Ian Cobb says:

    After the PK and Pleks dust up some people wanted to know more about PK’s character. So I put this up for them as to how PK got along with team mates, coaching staff and fans when he played here for the Belleville Bulls for 5 years.

    PK was a hit here right of the hop. As a 16 year old he was first noticed here for his fantastic speed as a rookie. He took a lot of hard knocks his first and second year, but he started to learn how to hit back and defend himself. He was not a fighter per say, but if you took liberties with him or his team mates, you generally ended up feeling pain sometime during the game. He was a hit with everyone who came into contact with him in the community. His infectious smile and his pure enjoyment as how he played the game made him a natural leader of men. He always spoke his mind and backed it up with action and respect. He marches to the beat of his own drum and a high standard of character. He matured early in life but still has a young mans exuberance for life.

    • SmartDog says:

      Thanks for this Ian. I think we can all feel the truth of this, which is reassuring. But what do you make of his having more than average conflict in practices, of some pretty clumsy play of late, etc. Just a frustrated competitor taking too much on? A guy used to being a leader on a team where he hasn’t matured into his role? Or something else?

      ————————————-
      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Habfan4lfe says:

      Who cares trade him. He’s dead in the playoffs and he plays like he’s still 16. He doesn’t play like he’s worth 5mil either. Up against grittier taller players he might as well just be the water boy.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Please post this every day for a while, Ian, some people just don’t get it.

      If we trade PK I will be so angry I can’t even fathom what my brain cells would do. He has passion and talent. Does he need to be groomed and matured? Of course. But he has a great future and it had better be for us.

    • TomNickle says:

      Ian, I noticed that you omitted a telling piece of information. Like how Subban wasn’t partying all night, every weekend like some of his teammates from that Bulls squad. Some of them being current NHL players.

  13. LafleurFan says:

    More jokes please! Tied for “Best of 2012:” In-your-face Weber trade to Boston, and Weber-I’m-Channeling-Tonya Harding!

    “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Danno says:

      Randy Cunneyworth – Holding one finger up in the air- after the Habs beat the Jets: “Je suis tres content pour Lars Eller”

      That was one of the best

      ________________________________________

      “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  14. ZepFan2 says:

    @Habsfan0

    “QaH maH tlhej maj Suv vaD maj tlhIngan loDnI’pu’ [rights]”

    That means: “Help us with our fight for our Klingon brothers rights.”

    ———————————————————————-
    Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

  15. CF says:

    The two best things PG could do before the end of the season-
    sign AK and Moen.
    Two guys who cannot be replaced for similar money after July 1st.
    I love Pleks, and he’s our best penalty killer, but how about this trade: Pleks for Vermette?
    With his NTC, Pleks would probably not go for it.
    Same age, similar contracts, both centers, both offensive. Vermette has a little more size.

    • Habsbill24 says:

      What makes you think they can be signed for similar money now with free agency around the corner? I am sure both will be looking for raises next year and with the Kaberle, Gomez, Gionta, Pleks, Cole, Cammy and Gorges contracts plus the need to sign PK and Carey, not much money left for Moen and AK.

    • ProHabs says:

      Terrible trade for the Habs. What would be the point of that trade, it sounds like a trade just to make a trade. Vermette is not nearly as good as Pleks.

  16. Ian Cobb says:

    SEASON HALF WAY MARK

    Mr. Boone! Was your first half, Full or Empty?
    My first half seemed empty. But we are more together now! So I am back to normal. The glass is now half full and I feel great! By the looks of the poll on this side bar, more glasses half empty than half full right now.
    A dream that you dream alone, is just a dream.
    A dream that you dream together is reality.
    Go Hab’s Go !
    Mr. John Lennon

  17. HabFanSince72 says:

    Fehr on one side. Bettman on the other.

    I dare anyone to come up with one thing that was improved after being taken over by lawyers.

  18. deuce6 says:

    Arpon Basu @ArponBasu
    Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn are missing from #Habs skate
    __________________

    Just an update..Hope they don’t have the flu or some crap….

    ——————

    Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

  19. AndyF says:

    Hats off to Pacioretty for his honesty. The kid really offers good insight into what being an NHL hockey player is like.

    His straight talk about preferring to play in the AHL 2 years ago, about David Desharnais’s skills as a centre, and about the league’s ridiculous hypocritical position on hits to the head have provided us with a terrific glimpse into the player’s world.

    The NHL threw Pacioretty under the bus last year, implicitly blaming him for almost getting killed by Chara. This year, Shanahan’s total hypocrisy concerning hits ot the head have left the kid struggling.

    I have no doubt that Max will bounce back, though. He’s a real winner and deserves a small amount of leeway for perhaps losing his touch this year.

    http://andyfroncioni.com

  20. SmartDog says:

    I love this title: “Canadiens Reach Halfway Mark.”

    Like it was climbing Everest or something and in doubt they’d even get that far. LOL

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • likehoy says:

      the question is if we’ve reached the point of no return yet?

      are we still fighting? or are we quitting?

      I guess we haven’t reached that point yet

      - If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

      • habsfanforever7631 says:

        Were still not out of it yet, we’re still fighting!

      • LA Loyalist says:

        We are done. And if other teams collapse and we make the playoffs, we will be for the slaughter and lose out on a decent draft pick.

        But that doesn’t mean the rest of the season is not important. It is critical, the team needs to be rode hard to see what the heck we have and what style of play suits what we have and what coach will suit the players we have and propose to get.

        That’s on the GM, whomever that might be, and his ass should be in Hamilton and any other place our scouts recommend.

        L’Anne du Tanque ™

        Tanquery gin, with lime juice, half rocks. The Official Morning After Drink of The Montreal Canadiens ™

        • vegas says:

          if by some miracle we were to make the playoffs we would have to be playing at a .700 clip which would probably be the best record in the NHL. Not sure to many teams would want to face us at that point

  21. aj says:

    I’m interested to know later on this evening how the events will unfold before, during, and after the game w/ the Lightning. If the Habs win tonight, those french language douchebags who are going to rally outside the Bell Centre will be wasting their time out in the cold doing nothing but rant like kids, haha!!

    • Psycho29 says:

      They had one of the organizers in studio on LCN this morning…
      Again he said “I don’t follow hockey, but…..”

      If the Canadiens were smart they would give out small Montreal Canadiens’ flags to all the fans tonight.

      • SmartDog says:

        Good idea but BIG Montreal Canadiens flags!

        But really it’s better to just ignore this stupidity. Pull the cape back and let the bull wear itself out.

        What would be awesome is to have some anglo who’s popular in Quebec come and sing the national anthem! Bryan Adams maybe. Or Jon Bon Jovi! That would be smart.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

      • aj says:

        Yeah, and those idiots right now who are gawking in front of Quebec like the ‘impératif français’ would be embarrassed to waive those CH flags. Or maybe, they might enjoy the game watching RC and les boys win another game drinking Molson beer.

        • LA Loyalist says:

          The “Imperatif Francais” guys should be forced to conjugate an future imperfect verb – if they can’t they should agree to go home.

          My money is on that they are too stupid to do it correctly.

  22. ajk025 says:

    What does everybody think about Pacioretty? I am not talking about right now because he clearly has been not playing well and is in a rut which he will bounce back from. I am talking more long term within this organization. I am asking because I love his game, but I literally go back and forth each day on whether or not he will be a GREAT player someday (dont forget he only just turned 23). Just wanted to get peoples opinions.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      He is a big body who’s not afraid to battle in corners plus he can skate. At worst he is a solid 3 rd liner. At best, a top 6 power forward. He is what we need. Wish he was a center.

    • likehoy says:

      don’t think he’d be more than a 60pts player.. a 25g 35a player tops… right now in comparison of pacioretty and cole.. I don’t think pacioretty will ever be as good as cole.. cause cole’s game is based on his deceptive speed while pacioretty has nothing outstanding in his game.

      Pacioretty has to be a player that pays the price and goes to the slot and crashes the net a la hartnell or holmstrom or smyth to be successful in the league but I’m not sure he has the character to do that consistently

      - If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

      • Mark C says:

        You really don’t think he’s going to a more productive player than he already is? He’s currently on pace for a 24 goal and 57 point season. Took Cole to his 26-year-old season to reach those numbers, Max is doing it at 23 on a low scoring team.

        • likehoy says:

          I’m skeptical at best.. Pacioretty has yet to impress me. he doesn’t have high end scoring talent, his shot isn’t that great.. and his speed is good for his size, but not elite.

          don’t get me wrong, he’s a top 6 player, a good first liner, but he’s not going to be a game breaker

          - If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

    • aj says:

      As I said before in my previous comments regarding Pacioretty, he should not be complaining about his fatigue and frustration in front of the media because they will use it as a tool to basically put him down. He should understand that the dressing room is NOT the place for him to vent his concerns when press are inside. The people that he should only address his concerns are with the players and staff. Its his 1st season as an NHL’er and things are really tough. He should not be also complaining about it too. In other words, suck it up or don’t play hockey!

    • LA Loyalist says:

      I have great hopes for him. Remember that a big body takes longer to mature in terms of hand-eye coordination, etc. He won’t be “mature” physically until 25 so I hope we keep him and develop him well.

  23. SmartDog says:

    Re. my 5 Questions from yesterday… about key players, I’m closest to what Marc10 says… also pretty much agree with Habstrinifan, HabsfaninLA.

    The general vibe is sell some guys and rebuild on the young pieces. We have some good ones but guys like Gionta (“OK but that’s not good enough”) and Moen (great this year but two very mediocre-bad years just before) are of more value to other teams this spring than to us in the long run.

    The Habs have a REAL chance to rebuild without too much surgery with a core of Gorges, Price, Eller, Pleks, DD, Patches, Cole, Subban… and a few good kids coming up the pipe. They need to catch the wave that’s coming.

    Marc10, the one place I disagree… is AK. When he and Pleks broke in they were my favorite two players instantly. I still love Pleks, have had my ups and downs with AK but I think when this guy is on a winning team, he’ll be a key part of it. One of Eller’s 4 goals was 85% AK, 15% Eller, and a brilliant display on AK’s part. Not many guys on our team can do what he did (sadly), he’s a little tank with very quick hands…. even if he’s only at his best half the time, that’s worth what he gets, and if the coach could make that 75% of the time, he’d be a top scorer on this team.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • JF says:

      Completely agree about Kostitsyn, but I think you under-value Moen. He’s scoring more this year, but I don’t think the last two years have been mediocre. He’s gritty and hard-working, and only looks mediocre when misused (and not always then). I think both Moen and Kostitsyn should be re-signed; neither is expensive, and neither would be easy to replace.

      • SmartDog says:

        I admit you may be right about Moen, it’s a tough one to call.

        But I think that:
        - Moen was a HUGE playoff performer for the Ducks, and could have real value to another team now.
        - He’s having a great year, and (big surprise) it’s a contract year. He scored 6 and 8 goals in the last two years, and looked more like “stone hands Moen”… and there’s nothing saying he won’t go back to THAT Moen next year.
        - This idea of him being poorly used… I cant’ see it. If anything he’s been given more opportunity than anyone on the team to play with good players.

        So I’m sticking to my guns on this, I think he’s worth more in a trade and less if keeping him than people think. But I admit I don’t feel as certain as I usually do on calls like this.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • JF says:

          Expecting him to be a sniper, as has often been the case, especially last year, is misusing him. He’s more the kind of player who can dig the puck off the boards and create space for his linemates, as we saw last game. But I admit he’s scored some very pretty goals, also some important ones, none more so than the winning goal in Game 5 against the Capitals two years ago. (He also scored the Cup-winning goal for Anaheim.) Kostitsyn has a lot of game-winning goals as well.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I am guilty of being one who tends to overreact and after a couple bad loses, want the team blown up. But you and others are right that we do have many pieces in place and a retooling is what’s really needed. AK or not is a difficult question. It might come down to term and money. I don’t think he’s a 5 million a year player. Maybe someone else does. If that’s the case, I am not sure he come back. Great points in your post though. Have a good weekend smartdog.

    • neumann103 says:

      SD, well then I think you actually agree more with my response, and I had the same instant man crush on Pleks and AK46 years ago. I added AK46 into the Travis Moen question. Both guys who should be approached now to see if they want to come back. If so and dollars are reasonable, sign them. If they are just going to leave in July then try to move them to a team looking for depth or secondary scoring for a playoff run.

      1. KABERLE.
      GOOD for this season. Iffy for the future, although I believe that taking on Kaberle for the next two years signalled that Gomez would not be counting against the cap after this season.

      2. PK.
      ROUGH PATCH. Let PK be PK. But I would be content if he just hit the net more.

      3. PLEKS.
      GIVE HIM A BREAK. x1000. He had a less than stellar December. Other than that he has been the Habs best player for the last 4 or 5 seasons.

      4. MOEN.
      Negotiate now. If he wants to stay, sign him. If he doesn’t trade him at the deadline if there is some return (prospects or picks).
      Ditto for AK46.
      Would love to keep both guys but it comes down to whether they want to be here, and if not, getting something before they hit UFA.

      5. GIONTA.
      “OK” AND IS OK ENOUGH? For now. But if someone wanted him for a playoff run and offered prospects, trade him, thank him for his service and give the C to Gorges.

      “Et le but!”

      • SmartDog says:

        You’re right, I agree with you. I’m a little tougher on the GIO question. I wasn’t on board with him becoming Captain because a) I don’t see him as a complete leader and b) I figured if his production dipped we’d be stuck with a lame duck small forward. Everyone knows we have Gorges waiting to take over the spot. I say the future is now. Gio could help another team with a playoff run and bring back something of real value in a trade.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

      • JF says:

        Good post. About Kaberle: I can see him being traded if Markov comes back and plays at somewhere close to the level he was at before the surgery – something we won’t know until he’s played a couple of months. If Markov works out, Kaberle can be traded in the off-season or halfway through next season. If Markov is done (which wouldn’t surprise me at all), Kaberle will probably be valuable to us.

    • Marc10 says:

      Hey SD! Always refreshing to agree with someone on HIO!

      With regards to AK, my feeling is he’ll want to test the waters no matter what. We can put that theory to the test and make him a solid offer. But you have to remember… it’s his contract year and we’re in the highest taxed territory short of Scandinavia.

      Is he a power forward with Top 6 attributes. Yep.
      Does he have good chemistry with the Great Dane? You bet.
      Does he have a killer shot? Yes.
      Is he strong on the puck? Yes.
      Can he skate like the wind? Yes.
      Do we need someone like that? You bet!
      Are those types of players hard to find? Undoubtedly

      Sadly… I think he’ll go (and so we might as well get top value for him…)

      • SmartDog says:

        The first line of your post made me LOL. “refreshing” is a good choice of words!

        The rest… woah… too much reality for a Saturday morning. I hope you’re wrong but you’re probably right. Someone needs to remind him that no other city has the quality of peelers we have here. Ya never know though, maybe he’s bonded with the team more than we think? Or maybe he wants to go play with SK.

        But the one thing we can say is they NEED to negotiate NOW. Because if a deal’s not coming they need to trade this guy for assets.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • Marc10 says:

          I would hope for his sake he doesn’t follow baby bro.

          From what I’ve been hearing, he’s been much more sociable since SK left town. Apparently he’s hanging with Yemmy these days and is seemingly as happy as he’s ever been.

          Agree the Habs need to either negotiate now with the UFAs they want to keep and sign em… or they ship em for maximum return. The fact that we’re nowhere near a contender right now makes that strategy not only the right call, but a fairly easy one.

          In any event, I hope we smash TB tonight and sink their season along with ours. Misery loves company and Stevie Y deserves a massive arse kicking for gutting our organisation.

          • SmartDog says:

            Good on ya!

            Would be great to see a big Habs win and some momentum!

            ————————————-
            Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  24. HabsFanInTampa says:

    I need to disagree on Red’s article. There wasn’t 100% clear proof that the Ranger defenceman clutched the puck or merely guided it towards underneath his body. The penalty shot was called immediately without any referee discussion. I may be bias, due to the fact I detest all Philly professional teams and their clASSless fans. How great would it have been to have Torts as the head coach of the Canadiens when he was available? This guy won a Calder Cup with the Rochester Amerks, a Stanley Cup with the Lightning and is headed in the right direction coaching the Rangers. If you can handle the media frenzy in New York, you can handle the french media in Montreal, I think.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Torts would have had fun with Montreal’s media, wouldn’t he? Lots of folks in NY were off his bandwagon but are now back on. In NY its all about winning. U can be the biggest creep (Rex Ryan) but if your winning they love you.

    • Psycho29 says:

      I detest the Flyers also, but I thought it was a good call. The NHL Rule book says:
      “No defending player, except the goalkeeper, will be permitted to fall on the puck, hold the puck, pick up the puck, or gather the puck into the body or hands when the puck is within the goal crease. For infringement of this rule, play shall immediately be stopped and a penalty shot shall be ordered against the offending team.”
      I think the same thing happened to Josh Gorges this season….

      There were other infractions before that which I thought they missed……maybe their whistles froze!

      I agree…..Torts is a great coach, I get the feeling his players respect him a lot.

    • SmartDog says:

      Hey Tampa,

      The lightning play the Caps, Jets, Panthers, and Kinds, in a stretch in late Jan-early Feb. I may be down there with two kids. What will 3 tickets cost me for one of these games? Is there a way to get a good deal? I hear southern markets have deals all the time…. any idea?

      Thanks!

      ————————————-
      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

      • HabsFanInTampa says:

        Depending how close you want to sit from the action. If the Jets and Panthers games are on a weekday. You could sit right up to the glass at the corner (great line of sight, by the way. I sat there for the pens game) for about $55 each by the many ticket agents outside the Forum. Ticket scalping is legal in Florida, so it’s a buyer’s market.

      • HabsFanInTampa says:

        SmartDog: Drop me an Email when you’re in town. I’d like to meet a fellow HI/Oer.

        • SmartDog says:

          Thanks for the info Ralph, I will do!

          Tried to contact you through your profile here but that function seems to be gone. But will post to you here when I know my plans.

          ————————————-
          Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  25. Old Bald Bird says:

    The Dryden essay is a very good read. It differentiates between the fighting spirit of Canadian hockey and actual fighting.

    The conclusion:”The debate about head shots and fighting is not a debate about Canada, Canadian hockey or the Canadian spirit. It’s about giving up the fighting; keeping the fight. “

  26. Bob_Sacamano says:

    Very bad article by Fisher. The refs desperately tried to get the Classic game into OT. Everyone who isn´t completely deluded could see that and Tortorella has to keep his mouth shut? Ridiculous, I´m happy he didn´t. This league has serious problems and a head coach being honest isn´t one of them.

  27. 21272andme says:

    the bowman link basically says he and all other teams are looking for depth at D and second line centers in the trade market.

    funny, we have too many depth D and a logjam for second line centers. sounds like we’re the ideal trading partner for every team.

    too bad we all know our GM will miss any good opportunity.

    * http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/06/stan-bowmans-trade-wishlist-isnt-very-unique/

    • 24 Cups says:

      I’m not sure about the logjam at centre. We have three centres competing for two spots. No team is taking Gomez right now (especially Chicago) and I can’t see us moving Eller or DD.

      I don’t think the team should move a Dman until the Markov situation clears up. If can play full time, then the team might move Campoli or Weber. I think the allegiance to Gill is too strong to see him go, although that might change if we totally fall out of the playoff picture.

      • aj says:

        the question here is, will the Markov situation clear up? I share your optimism like the rest of the other Habs fans here. But then, if we are going to look at the practical side of this, Markov has bought to much time to heal his knee injury to the point that he got inflammation and swelling during practice sessions.

        Granted, if he’s tradable, so be it. If not, buy him out if I were Gauthier.

      • 21272andme says:

        gomez, dd, eller, pleks and leblanc. we also have bournival in the system who is a C. that’s a logjam.

      • Bobcat Bob says:

        Bobcat Bob
        Very interesting analysis of our situation, 24 — I couldn’t agree more. Hold onto our players — I feel a really good 2nd half of the season coming.

  28. HabinBurlington says:

    Well I suppose we now know Iginla won’t go to Pittsburgh given Eklund is endorsing such a trade.

  29. ” Again assuming a W Saturday night, the Canadiens would need 53 points in their last 41 games to make the playoffs. They would have to play at about a .650 clip, winning twice as often as they lose.”
    -Boone

    I just wanted to point out that this calculation is very simplistic, if you assume the OT losses continue at the same pace (meaning the Habs get 7 of those points in the second half as they did in the first) that means they would have to go 23-11-7 to get the 53 points, which is only a .560 winning percentage.

    That seems a lot more doable doesn’t it?

    http://www.puckbandits.com

    • The Cat says:

      Another way to look at it which teams might crap out. Winnipeg, a not so good road team, is a likely candidate after a december filled with home games. Ottawa, though resilient, are an injury away from freefall as well.

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      53 points in 41 games? To put that into perspective:

      The West leading Canucks have 53 points in 41 games. The Blackhawks, who are cup contenders, have 52 in 41.

      That’s right. In order to make the playoffs we need our second half of the season to be better than the first half of every team in the West.

      Or to put it another way: the only teams that are playing at that level right now are NYR, Boston, Philly, Vancouver. That’s it.

      So to make the playoffs we will have to be one of the best teams in the league for the second half of the season.

      I say we call up Mr Stan Bowman and ask him what he needs.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Does no one remember New Jersey from just LAST SEASON? They ran the freaking table in the 2nd half and couldn’t make the playoffs.

      If you think Habs can play BETTER than NJ did last winter and spring, well, I don’t know what to say to that.

      Now can we do better with the JM yoke off? Yes, I think so, but that still doesn’t mean we have the right mix of horses yet.

      Another reason why loser points distort performance and create the impression that teams suck less than they actually do — which I guess is the point.

  30. 24 Cups says:

    Looks like the possibility of another strike just increased as the NHLPA plays the realignment card. Fehr now has another card to play once the league tries to plug some of the loopholes in the present agreement.

    The new realignment plan was based on georgraphy so any travel concerns are strictly red herrings. The unbalanced divisions are an issue but they also allow for easier relocation and expansion options which means this framework could last for years. The playoff format hasn’t been finalized so there was still some room for discussion on that issue. If I’m Bettman, I would quickly come back with the notion of reducing rosters to 20 players. That’s an automatic 60-70 NHL jobs out the window.

    I’m not saying I want a lockout but if there is one, it will prove to be very beneficial to the Habs. Their fan base won’t dwindle. It’s as stable as any in the league right now. The huge advantage for Montreal would be that a year long lockout would eat up a year on all the toxic contracts the team is carrying. Players such as Gionta, Cammy, Gomez and Kaberle would all be going into the final year of their contracts. This would coincide with the fact that the talent gap that now exists between Hamilton and our prospect list would be lessened. Players such as Gallagher, Leblanc, Tinordi, Kristo and Beaulieu would be that much closer to making the Habs. I realize it’s a selfish way to look at things, but it’s still a possible benefit of another lockout.

    Montreal isn’t the only team in the East that is floundering this season. The Sabres lost to Carolina last night as they continue to struggle. The owner spent a lot of money this summer on long term deals that have the team right up against the cap. The notion being that anything could happen once the team made the playoffs. Especially seeing that they have a stellar goalie who could prove to be the difference in any playoff round. Kinda sounds familiar.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Agree 24, Fehr is using this realignment as negotiating tool. In watching the reports of it, I am always amazed how everytime Daly or Bettman respond they come across as arrogant tools. My level of mistrust towards Bettman and company has risen so much that I now almost cheer on Fehr as he prepares the NHLPA for battle with him.

    • G-Man says:

      C’mon Steve. There’s only 1 bad contract and we all know it’s Gomez. Cammy and Gio are having bad seasons, but there is time for them to make up for a poor start. Kaberle has 8 points (mostly on the power play) and is -1. Of those 4 young players, if 1 makes it as a regular that will be good. If 2, then it’s a home run.
      On the topic of a work stoppage; if the players strike or are locked out, they are morons. The average career for a NHL player is 4 to 5 seasons. Losing 20 to 25% of your projected career earnings is nothing short of foolish. For me as a fan, it lessens my regard for all players and owners when they decide that they can’t work things out. Fehr will want them to strike; he gets paid regardless.

      • 24 Cups says:

        You’re right about Gionta (I’ll take that one back) but I’m kind of disappointed the way things have gone with Cammy. I get that he’s great in the playoffs but he needs to do more on a consistent basis during the regular season seeing that we usually only qualify during the final week fo the schedule. No need to discuss Gomez.

        My feelings about Kaberle are well known. If we can flip him at the deadline, then it’s a smart deal. If he stays two more years it could get ugly. He’s only here because of the Markov and Campoli injuries plus the fact that Subban’s development is stalled.

        • LA Loyalist says:

          Kaberle has been a pleasant surprise, but you are right, two years from now it could be ugly.

          That said, Kaberle is really symbolic proof that PG mis-managed the Markov recovery. He should have found a way to sign Wiz, as I advised at the time, then if Markov was healthy and playing well, flip Wiz to a contender. If Markov was not back, we were covered (not to say that Wiz is as good as Markov). While we can theoretically flip Kaberle, the return will be minimal unless someone is very desperate.

          • Mark C says:

            If you think Kaberle’s contract could be bad in 2 years, why the hell do you think Wiz’ $5M+ long-term deal could be flipped at the deadline or anytime? Think many teams want Wiz and his contract now?

            Theoretically, Montreal could flip Kaberle for a very nice return if he continues to play at his Toronto level. You did see what a Cup winning GM paid for Kaberle less than a year ago, right?

      • jayvanni says:

        ” The average career for a NHL player is 4 to 5 seasons. Losing 20 to 25% of your projected career earnings is nothing short of foolish”

        Sorry man but that statement is way off. Even if your numbers are correct its extremely apparent in this case that the average (mean) is a poor choice as a measure of central tendency. Your statistics are obviously skewed by (outliers) all of the fringe players who come in and out of the league and never really crack it. One does not have to even collect or analyze any data to know in general that the typical career for a bonofide NHLer usually spans anywhere from 10-20 seasons (with an extreme minimum being 7-8). So my point is that only the bottom 10-20% of the union, made up of fringe players would stand to lose 20-25% of their career earnings by going on strike for 1 year but it could even be argued that they in fact would not lose any earnings as they would just be losing 1 year of proving how they dont belong in the NHL. In general that 4-5 year career you are referring to is usually made up of a guy bouncing around to a few teams trying to prove himself until it is known around the league that his current talent level is not good enough and there is no longer any promise for improvement. At that point other players will more unknown potential are given a shot.

        • LA Loyalist says:

          You are missing a major point – if there is a year off then an entire year of draft picks won’t advance, and in two years there will be a double load of young ‘uns looking for jobs. Will the number of retirees double? Probably not, though perhaps guys like Saku and Teemu might hang it up if there is no hockey next year.

          Admittedly this is only one point in the debate, but just another illustration of why a lockout or strike are terrible ideas for everyone.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      24 – that doesn’t make any sense.

      Even without a lockout all of those things still happen: those contracts would be a year closer to ending, the youngsters would be a year older. Whether 2012-13 has hockey or not the clock still ticks at the same rate.

      The only difference is that we wouldn’t have to spend the year watching a bad Hab team. We’d spend it reading and bettering ourselves maybe.

      Admittedly a lockout hurts the teams that are doing very well right now. Like the Bruins.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Damien Cox has a very thorough article outlining these issues in The Star today.

      I personally think Fehr is wrong to make realignment a test issue. Given how difficult it is to get the owners to agree on anything… this does not bode well at all for next season.

      And as much as I loathe Gary Bettman, there is not much brainpower on the NHLPA side to root for.

      There is a very dark cloud on the horizon, lads.

  31. G-Man says:

    The same day Henderson’s jersey is outside the Bell Centre, celebrating one of Canada’s historic sporting victories, a group of small-minded turds will be there to spoil things. I do believe the Habs coach should be able to speak some French (this is Quebec and do as Romans do and all that), but to stage this “protest” is going too far. I hope it’s a gang of two or three and that they are ignored completely.

  32. price365 says:

    we’ll see if the police is as tough as they say they are in montreal should things go wrong.

  33. HabFab says:

    Boone, you need to check your links as several are askew.

  34. Clay says:

    Unlike Red, I applaud anyone calling out the officials. There needs to be transparancy and accountability. I still remember the Alex Burrows / Stephane Auger incident.

    Quoting Burrows:
    “It was personal. It started in warmup, before the anthem,” Burrows said of Auger’s penalty calling. “(Auger) came over to me and he said I made him look bad in Nashville on the (Jerred) Smithson hit and he said he was going to get me back tonight.”

    Burrows was referring to an incident back in December when the Preds’ Smithson hit Burrows and was given a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct. On Monday night, Burrows said Auger was getting back at him.

    “When Smithson hit me from sideways and he (Auger) said, ‘I saw the replay, you had your head up, you weren’t really hurt and you made me look bad so I’m going to get you back tonight,’ and he did, and he cost us two points.”

    As I recall, nothing was ever done in the way of discipline to the ref in this instance – or any instance. It’s nice to see someone speak out.

    __________________________
    ☞ “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work. Yvan was proof of that.” – Jean Beliveau. ☜

    • G-Man says:

      You got it right. The competency of the referees varies too much for a professional league. The rot, in this case, begins at the top, with Gooins daddy Soupman. Last season, the finals were handed to the refs that called the least amount of penalties. And folks wonder why the Sedins were allowed to be attacked after every whistle. I applaud any and all coaches that get fined while trying to protect their players and the integrity of the game, too.

  35. habsfan0 says:

    After reading the way snow removal contracts are issued in Montreal, perhaps Habs management should take a page out of that book to ensure that Les Glorieux make the playoffs. lol

  36. The Zoo says:

    Just a heads up; The Stan Bowman article links to the Barch read.

  37. The Cat says:

    Theres that planned ‘pro french’ manifestation tonight also.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • Clay says:

      All the more reason not to watch this game…if this team had any balls they’d speak out against this – from the captain to the coach to the GM to the owner.

      __________________________
      ☞ “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work. Yvan was proof of that.” – Jean Beliveau. ☜

    • habsfan0 says:

      I’ve heard a rumour that in response to this protest, a group of approximately 500 people dressed as Lt. Worf will be picketing outside the Bell Centre tonight as well, decrying the fact that absolutely NO Klingon is represented on the Habs at present, a situation which,if not resolved ASAP, could potentially lead to intergalactic warfare, something which I’m sure nobody wants.

      • Clay says:

        Damn. Nice reporting there.

        __________________________
        ☞ “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work. Yvan was proof of that.” – Jean Beliveau. ☜

  38. Habfan10912 says:

    Gotta admit that I have been less then complimentary concerning Gio on ocassion. You’ve even called me out on it on occasion, although I like to think of it as lovingly. One thing I know, we need his offensive production in the lineup. If we are going to make a run to the playoffs, Gio needs to be on the ice and productive. Enjoy your weekend Habs.

  39. remi_10069 says:

    NTC clauses get waived all the time by guys who want out. Gionta isn’t going anywhere but I think moving Plek is a good possibility. He’s a great 2 way player but just doesn’t seem to be fitting in here. It’s prolly the goatie and turtleneck. Trade him to a goatie, turtleneck wearing team like anaheim for someone who doesn’t have a goatie or wear a turtleneck.

    pipes

  40. Habfan10912 says:

    Someone tweeted that Cammy seldom participates in game day optionals. That would have to be a huge trade though don’t you think?

  41. LA Loyalist says:

    We have a Czech hockey coach down here in the Kings development system who also wears a turtleneck all the time.

    Not sure what that means, but it seems to be there thing.

  42. SmartDog says:

    I agree with Fehr.

    Hockey is a tough schedule and a tougher game to play than other sports, both in terms of actual play and in terms of preparation. The league doesn’t give a rat’s behind about that – or about the health and welfare of the players (as we’ve seen by how long they’ve been avoiding and now bumbling the concussion situation).

    The players have an 82-game regular schedule – HUGE – and want to play the teams nearest them. They’re not baseball players who put out for a total of 15 minutes a game. Or basketball players who always play indoors, and it takes them 2 minutes to put their gear on.

    The league wants revenues so they line up things to maximize that as they see it and don’t care about the amount of “extra” travel they burden the players with.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  43. LA Loyalist says:

    NTC aside (and they get waived often enough) your comment “it is unlikely the team would want to trade him considering all the goals he has scored for us” makes no sense.

    In a hockey trade, you have to offer value (unless you’re Glenn Sather).

    Shall we trade guys who have NOT scored goals?

    Why NOT trade Gionta? We have a younger, cheaper, talented Smurf ™ coming on to replace him. I have nothing against small guys, our last 100 pt guy was a Smurf ™. BUT I have a huge problem with an entire team of small, soft guys. The bad news is not that Gionta has an NTC (what fool handed that out?) but that he’s not good enough any more for anyone to give up much for him. He’s a depth 2nd liner on any good team.

    And don’t say he scores X % of our goals. We were scoring so few goals it’s not a statistically valid argument.

    Too small, too soft, too expensive — AND an NTC.

    Just freaking lovely.

    No wonder we have fallen into a black hole.

  44. SmartDog says:

    I knew including Gionta in that post might lose some people. Aside from the NTC (which he could waive, or not) it’s that he would be of real value, but is of less value to the Habs (IMO) than Plekanec, or some of the other guys in his price range. Not everyone will agree… but the other point is that the Habs Cap space is TERRIBLE. Some tough decisions need to be made soon.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  45. TomNickle says:

    Some people seem to think that to rebuild you have to, or should, get rid of every veteran on the roster. In reality, the following veterans would be shopped at the deadline under normal circumstances.

    1. Hal Gill(playoff teams wanting a Cup winner, leader and excellent defensive defenseman would give up a 3rd or 4th round pick)

    2. Chris Campoli(same idea, except the leadership and this would be for a Powerplay quarterback, probably nets a 3rd round pick)

    3. Andrei Kostitsyn(similar circumstances as the Kings and Oilers in the Penner deal, the return if a bidding war ensued could be huge, however being a potential ufa, I’d say the max return is a 1st round pick or former 1st round pick prospect).

    4. Travis Moen(physical defensive forward with the ability to drop the gloves but probably wouldn’t fetch higher than a 4th round pick)

    Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri or Plekanec won’t be moved unless it’s a hockey trade. Not a buyer and seller deal. The reality is that with Gomez not playing, he won’t be traded this season, a buyout in the summer is highly likely. Plekanec, Gionta and Cammalleri will only be moved under rebuilding circumstances in the summer, not at the deadline. And Gionta is highly unlikely to be traded under any circumstances.

  46. Propwash says:

    Gionta is also the team captain. It’s a rare occasion that captains are traded.

    _____________________________
    Don’t let the wultures getcha.

  47. HabFab says:

    Not in Montreal, name our last Captain to retire here.

  48. SmartDog says:

    Moen would fetch more. He’s having a strong year and was stellar in the Ducks cup run. 7 goals (3 of them game winners), in 21 games and played a strong agitator role as well.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  49. Mark C says:

    I agree, in a league where Brad Winchester is traded for a 3rd that has to be the starting point for Moen. His worth should be a 2nd or a 3rd/4th plus a C/B level prospect.


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