Cole is happy to be a Hab

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The Canadiens’ prize off-season acquisition says all the right things during his first encounter with Montreal media.

“It’s the one building where you don’t want to close the dressing-room door before the game; you want to feel that energy,” Cole said of the Bell Centre.

Memo to Mathieu Carle: You’re not number 72 anymore.

Pat Hickey’s story and Pierre Obendrauf’s video

Arpon Basu on Cole

• This is fun: Which teams are most difficult to support? Canadiens rank 16th

Tough rehab for Pronger

And one of our HIO posters, TheKarl, is Swedish and was kind enough to translate an interview with Andreas Engqvist:

Engqvist played 3 NHL games during his debut year in North America. But, tucking in his beak and going home already? That is not part of the plan

“No, because in some way…. one doesn’t want to regret anything and I am under contract for one more year. Also, I got a taste of the NHL last year so I must simply return and keep fighting for a spot” says Engqvist [to the blogg].

He played 71 games with the farm team Hamilton Bulldogs and 3 with NHL Montreal. And, he found life in the farm system better than he expected.

“It’s been really good! Everything was different but I was definitively positively surprised. One hears alot about the AHL here in Sweden and it was not as bad as I thought, [Swedish saying, meaning really that it was quite good] far from as bad as some people said.

*How did yout think it was going to be then?*
“Well, you hear that its kinda OK, up and down, and I guess it sort of was… the two ‘fives’ [lines] definitely play a high quality game. What differs from Sweden is that in Sweden you generally have a few young talents in the 3rd and 4th lines whereas in the AHL the players are a little tougher, more ‘fighters’ in those lines.

*If I remember correctly you were often in the first line?*
“Yes and no, I started on the 3rd line, then they brought a guy up permanently to Montreal [I'm guessing Pac] and another was moved off the team [Avtsin??] so I guess after half the season I was more on the 1st or 2nd line. We were mostly [I guess he's referring to his linemates Wyman and who? Russel?] on the 2nd line but sometimes on the first if they wanted to match us up against a specific ‘five’ on the other team.”

*What role have you played?*
“I feel I can play two roles and I’ve been more defensively minded this season than I was my last season with Djurgarden but I like the defensive role as well, furthermore you play the role you’re told to play. Here [Hamilton], they wanted me to be more defensive and then its up to you to play that role.”

*You got 25 points during the season and 9 points in 20 games during the playoffs, that’s not really alot is it?*
“No, it happens with the role I was given. But despite that, I should have probably scored more points.”

**Getting into the team was easier however:*
It was a chill gang with alot of players my age, good guys. There were also no other Swedes so it was easy to quickly become a part of the gang. When there aren’t any other Swedes around then you have to make more of an effort to get to know the others in order to feel like you are bigger part of the team.

**How was it playing on the smaller surface**
It is a little different but you don’t really think about it when you play, you just give as much as you can. After a while you notice a few things that are different. The biggest difference is the amount of games, sometimes you play 4 games in 5 days and that is something you’re not used to.

**What was the hardest thing about that?**
You feel it after a while, especially at the end. I think we had 10 games the last 16 days and then the playoffs started. You’re body felt it for sure

**So you toughened up I guess?**
No, haha but you get used to it. You watch how others prepare and what routines they have.

– However, some Swedish is never wrong. Especially not during Christmas. Andreas’ girlfriend was there the entire season and around christmas his close family visited.

“Vi stopped at IKEA and bought some julmust [Swedish Christmas soda...] other Swedish treats….”

-In total Andreas played 3 NHL games, 2 in January and one in Marh. His debut came January 21 against Ottawa and the next day his first home game at the Bell Centre. –

“the first game was awesome and we won 7-1 so it wasn’t exactly a boring game to play in haha. To play the next day at the Bell Centre was incredible. It was powerful, I think the arena takes 23,000 people and its like been sold out the last 7 years. This is no surprise thought since Montreal is Hockey’s Mecca.

**Best Experience**
First game of course. Partly because it was the first and partly because we won so big. And then of course taking the ice at the Bell Centre. Your hairs stand up when you step out but when the puck later drops you focus on the game.

**Opinions on playing mostly in the AHL??**
Well, one knows that for some it takes time to get into the NHL. There aren’t that many from Sweden that come straight over and play. Some do this and some do it get in the ‘other way’. Some might say that I only played three games but I’m sure many could consider just that an incredible bonus just to play at all. You can’t really know how close you are until they call you up. That at least means you’re doing something right.

**What were you’re expectations about the NHL before you left?88
“I didn’t really know what to expect since they have many Centers in Montreal. There are also many good players fighting to make the team so you never know. Some left this summer and some new may arrive. I have one more year on my contract so I will return and do whatever I can to make the team.”

In Djurgarden, Andreas sometimes sang [Djurgarden winning song] in the shower when they won. “I’ve tried to keep up to date with my old team but its almost impossible. Mostly I try to catch the highlights. Also, Kyle [Klubbertranz who also played with DIF in 09-10] kept asking me how they were doing so I guess we kept reasonably up to date.”

**Did you know that Kyle is going back to DIF?**
No, we talked a bit but I didn’t know it was official until DIF announced it. But he likes Djurgarden and really enjoyed playing there so if he decided to return to Sweden it would only be DIF, Stockholm, the team and the fans.

**You then? what are you’re plans if you don’t make the team next year?**
I will finish my contract and then we’ll see. But if I return to Sweden then there is only 1 team I will play for. But I am ready to fight both in Montreal and Hamilton to make the Canadiens. That is the mindset you have to have. Then you just have to take it year by year and see what happens.

**What do you need to improve to grab a spot?**
EVERYTHING, I have to get better at everything

**When you were up in the NHL, how far away did you feel from that spot?**
It was more about how close I felt. You start to feel things working and every step brings you closer. It felt the same way the first time I played a game in the Elite League [Sweden] and the national squad. You just feel like you can.

283 Comments

  1. Neutral says:

    PG is all about defence. he thinks that’s all you need to win, maybe he should have a chat with vancouvers GM. I believe they had the best defence in the league, how did they make out, no cup. I know that wasn’t the only reason they didn’t win but it was one. you need players that can produce up front also. we have a good team right now, not quite good enough up front to win a cup. cole is gonna improve the team but we still need one or two forwards that can put the puck in the net and we’d be all set…

    • christophor says:

      If PG puts my Habs in game 7, at home, in the SCF, I’ll be both happy and confident.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Vancouver were the top scoring team in the league last year.

    • bwoar says:

      Wow. Just wow. How many people are going to keep repeating this nonsense about Vancouver’s D? For 3 years I’ve been saying it’s a mediocre squad, and they keep on proving me right.

      When Ohlund was their #1 after Jovo left, they still had a decent group. But by the time Sami Salo became their #1, Bieksa #2, Edler #3, Erhoff #4…. please. That team had very average blueliners. 2 areas Mike Gillis can’t handle correctly: defense and goaltending. Vancouver needed a true #1 and they went and grabbed Hamhuis and Ballard (Ballard for Grabner, genius there!)

      You can’t build a D with no real #1 if you also have to rely on Rome, O’Brien and rookies for your 5-6 spots. As soon as Hamhuis went down (a good #2 or great #3 guy) everyone had to play more and more minutes. Edler’s defensive game is still only average, Bieksa can hit but otherwise he can be liable; this is not the way to build a Cup-winning defense.

      Not to say PG has it right (yet) but with Markov we’ve got a true #1 and Subban is already good enough to play a good to decent #2. That’s a major advantage. Gauthier is right to make D and goaltending the focus of the team since that is our biggest strength.

    • Mark C says:

      Vancouver had the best offense in the league, how did they make out, no Cup.

      • habs001 says:

        we had one of the worst offenses in the league ..how did we make out?

      • Everlasting1 says:

        They made the finals, regardless.

        ——————————————————————-
        “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

        “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  2. Roy_s_WINK says:

    All of our recent defensive trades/signings…
    makes me think that we are putting added pressure on Gorges behind the scenes, showing that we are ready to move forward without him.

    (I sincerely hope we lock him up for a few years!!!)

  3. christophor says:

    In all the hoopla, no one’s noticed that St. Denis has been re-signed for a year.

    For shame.

  4. JohnBellyful says:

    Barring injury, our young stars suffering a sophomore jinx, our veterans not bouncing back from subpar years, Price returning to earth, inept officiating, corrupt league officials, PJ Stock not panning out as assistant coach, Martin not realizing hockey is played at both ends, Gauthier changing his mind at the last minute on Gomez trade to Florida for future considerations (fourth and fifth round picks if he scores 10 goals, second and third round picks if he’s a two-points-a-week man), or we somehow end up with a shortage of D-men, the Canadiens are solid Stanley Cup contenders, IMHIO.

  5. HabinBurlington says:

    Okay, did a little googling on Mock Drafts for the 2006 Draft year. Good news is, all the drafts did have Mitera going in first round. (don’t ask how many only had Fischer as a wild card)

    However, TSN’s mock draft had Montreal pegged to take ……. drum roll…… Mark Mitera. Ahhh everything is now right again, our long lost boy is back.
    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=7065&hubname

  6. HabinBurlington says:

    Okay, now that PG has finished the big trade he has been working on perhaps time to contact that defenceman, whats his name Gorges and see if he wants to sign a contract with the team or go to arbitration!

  7. HardHabits says:

    I like how TomNickle didn’t dare respond to Chris.

  8. Habs trade Mathieu Carle to the Ducks for Mark Mitera!

  9. HardHabits says:

    This constant shuffling of the deck chairs is getting boring. Can we just pull up closer to get a better view of that iceberg already?

  10. EnglishHab says:

    Julmust tastes awful

  11. mike3131 says:

    We just got Mark Mitera from the Ducks. Big, physical, up and coming defensive d-man. According to his THN player bio (http://forecaster.thehockeynews.com/hockeynews/hockey/player.cgi?5733), he’s not a great puck handler and needs to adjust to the pace of the NHL. Ryan O’byrne II?

  12. Mats Naslund says:

    Caps are over the CAP by a little under $900,000. Now begins the game of who would you offer for?

    Clearly there will be interest for Semin. Maybe they want another of our aging Czechs?

    Jason Chimera is on a $1.8M deal that expires next year in time for the Carey and PK show.. shore up the bottom six with a rugged guy who can skate?

    • spos080808 says:

      There is a misconception regarding the Caps cap right now…It includes Tom Poti’s $2.8 million. From what I have read, he will be going on LTIR, which gives the Caps the relief they need right there.

    • db says:

      Caps GM was on TSN stating that Poti and Chimera are both going to be considered LTI by the time the season starts. That’s what allowed them to grab Vokoun (scary, they have a real goalie now). He even suggested that Poti’s career could unfortunately be over.

  13. 24 Cups says:

    Mark Mitera’s Hockey Future profile which is a year out of date. I have also listed his Face-off profile page.

    Carle wasn’t going to make the Habs this year and would have to pass through waivers. So at least we got something in return. Mitera appears to be a big, stay-at-home defensive Dman (6’3″/210). He sits around 12th on Anaheim’s depth chart for defenders but with Diaz and Nash in Hamilton, Carle would probably never get the call as an offensive Dman. At least with Mitera, we have a guy who can crack open a few melons. If nothing else, it allows us to carry the Carle asset forward for another year. All things considered, I think it’s a good deal.

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/mark_mitera

    http://forecaster.canada.com/faceoff/hockey/player.cgi?5733

    • shiram says:

      PG is replacing the cupboard of the Dogs with bigger players.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I am starting to think no other team in the NHL has more players with Michigan ties than we do! May be about time we all learn Hail to the Victors! Great song when surrounded by 112,000 of your closest friends throwing marshmellows at the opposition! Aaaahhh nothing quite like sitting in the student section of a Michigan Football game in early September. Oh the sights are great, etc, etc…..

    • db says:

      And if he can make the big club in the next few years we’ll need someone like him to backup PK, Weber and Markov. I hope he’s mean/gritty.

      Haha At least Carle gets to keep his # 72

  14. misterbation says:

    Hello Everyone,
    My name is Mister bation, long time reader and I just joined.
    Maybe it is the jetlag or the fact that baseball is the only thing on TV these days, but I cant find how to put up a display picture. Can someone please tell me how to do so?>
    Thanks and I hope you all have a good weekend (except the hab haters)

    There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Mark
      I forgot the name of the link you use to do that MS!
      But someone on hear will surely put it up for you. You may consider in changing your handle name MS. Family show and all.

    • longbow says:

      With a user name like that maybe you should skip the avatar ! TMI !

      “Wanting is often more pleasurable than having.It is not logical but it is often true.” – Spock

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Yah, not sure I want to see that avatar. Wonder if he knows the avatar has to be G rated.

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Not only that, but why would a compulsive masturbator spend any time on the Internet?

        • mister-bation says:

          alright sigmund freuds of HIO, Its quite obvious that you folks need something productive to do.
          As its quite obvious to some, I am a compulsive masturbator but you know betweeen every so often i find time for work, hobbies, and ever so rarely bright ideas etc…
          I would like to start up a hockey pool for the new season restricted only to HIO members.
          Can you please provide some feedback if this is something that intests you? want to put a small wager at the beginning or do it just for bragging rights etc…? any ideas and thoughts are welcome.
          I will get back to bating now, im behind schedule

          There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

  15. Ian Cobb says:

    Now that we have our roster in place, do we know who is going to be coaching them yet.? Martin is the head coach, sure! but like who is going to do the coaching now that Muller, Jarvis, and Melonson have gone.?

  16. longbow says:

    Carle to Anaheim for Mark Mitera

    “Wanting is often more pleasurable than having.It is not logical but it is often true.” – Spock

  17. TorontoHabsFan says:

    I guess the writing was on the wall:

    A day after losing his number to Erik Cole, Mathieu Carle gets traded to Anaheim for something called “Mark Mitera”.

  18. GrimJim says:

    Apologies if this has been posted before but here’s a breakdown of the players who most and least miss the net with their shots.
    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=371723

    • DearyLeary says:

      What the hell, why is 20 shots (in a season) the threshold for who makes the list and doesnt? That can’t be close to the average/median.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Okay haven’t looked at list yet, but tell me that former Leaf great sniper Jason Blake is near the top of this list. Okay gonna look now.

      Edit: How did Jason Blake not make list of forwards missing the net. He must of changed his game in Anaheim.

  19. adamkennelly says:

    tons of tough guys have moved this off season (Goddard, Eager, Kenopka, Rupp, Janssen, Hordichuk, etc) In every instance the team acquiring the player was less in need of them than the Habs so – does that mean that all of the GM’s and coaches are wrong, ignorant or is the real issue that players like this are still necessary in the NHL in 2011. Obviously we would all prefer to get a player (or players) who can also skate every shift – but if we acknowledge that these types are rare – can the Habs not afford to have a guy like this on their payroll – even if he is in the press box 50% of the time? Look up and down our line up and ask yourselves if there is really no one who could come out for this guy to step in against certain teams….

    • Chris says:

      Montreal, whether we all agree with it or not, have modeled their gameplan around that of Detroit. Detroit has not used a goon for many, many years now, relying on speed, positioning and teamwork to wear down their opposition.

      A tough guy playing 5-7 minutes on the 4th line is not going to magically make Tomas Plekanec or Scott Gomez or Mike Cammalleri or Brian Gionta tougher, nor will he give them extra space. That is the great fallacy of those that push for fighters in today’s NHL. If the guy is not good enough to be on the ice at the same time as a star player, they are not terribly useful.

      • bwoar says:

        Darren McCarty was their last enforcer, not all *that* long ago.

        • Thurston says:

          McCarty still had some skill, though.

        • Kooch7800 says:

          I seem to remember Bertuzzi being on the team quite recently as well. They also have a heck of hitting Defensemen Kronwall, A massive power forward in the Mule. They also have Holmstrom who is not afraid to stand in front of the net. The Biggest reaasons they win are P Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Lidstrom are all unbelievable hockey players.

          The Red Wings are fast, skilled and have some decent size. We are getting there but we are not there yet

      • krob1000 says:

        “If the guy is not good enough to be on the ice at the same time as a star player, they are not terribly useful”

        That is why I think we need a tough dman…..we aren’t going to find a tough guy who can play any higehr tahn third line minutes and when we did with Moen it wasn;t really much use at all.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Detroit had a lot more size in their forwards last year than our team. We have added forward size this year, but modelling after is one thing, having the same horses is another.

        • Chris says:

          I think you tied into my point…if Montreal struggles, it is because we simply don’t have the offence because our top guys are simply not as good as the top guys of the teams beating us out.

          Montreal didn’t lost to Boston this year because of team toughness, they lost because they couldn’t score when they needed to.

          We didn’t lose to Philadelphia because of fights…we lost because we couldn’t score on Brian Boucher.

          We didn’t lose to Boston the year before that because they were bigger and badder, we lost because they were bigger and better.

      • hansolo says:

        There’s always Todd Bertuzzi…

  20. hansolo says:

    Sorry if this has been posted before but with all the yearning for a “power forward” expressed on the forum, I thought there would be interest in this piece from Coppernblue:

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/7/12/2271064/power-forwards-on-the-rise-or-a-statistical-blip

    Besides giving props to Erik Cole, and confirming (lest there was any doubt) that Ovie is a beast, I thought the final conclusion (that the prototypical “power forward” was almost a myth) was provocative. Simply put, power forwards usually have unsustainably high shooting percentages and goal production will vary considerably from year to year. Cole was actually quite consistent.

    Sooo: as much as I (and you) would like MaxPac and Cole to score at least 30 goals each, neither may have that kind of season. That doesn’t mean:

    a) they’re having bad years
    b) Cole “can’t score outside of Carolina”
    c) Max isn’t the same after his injury
    d) PG was stupid to sign Cole
    e) It’s all JM’s fault

    A bit of perspective always helps me.

    • Chris says:

      It is amazing how much Gudbranson’s star has tarnished in just one year. But he still has great potential at the NHL level: he’s big, he’s mobile and he’s got skill. I suspect some of the immaturity issues last season were not much more than him pouting about not making the big show last year.

      Larsson is going to be a real treat to watch. I’m a little sad that he landed in New Jersey, but perhaps he can form a good core with Kovalchuk, Parise and Zajac.

  21. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Drats.

    (via twitter)
    TimSassone
    #Blackhawks have announced a new three-year contract for Michael Frolik.

    • thehabsfan29 says:

      bad news for habs. he would have fit well on our 3rd line
      do u think moen for campoli is a good deal?

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        I don’t know what to make of Campoli – he has (I thought) a reputation as an offensive defenceman. But his stats have been pretty pedestrian for a while now…he’s never topped the 34 points he got in his rookie season in 2005.

        I can see why he didn’t put the numbers up in Chicago – he was behind a lot of quality defencemen (Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Hjalmarsson). But there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have done better in Ottawa (where he only had 18 pts in his lone full season there).

        Anybody know what’s up with Campoli?

  22. krob1000 says:

    The reason Cole went with 72 if it hasn’t already been on here somewhere….

    Erik Cole knew he would need to change his number when he signed with the Montreal Canadiens.

    The No. 26 he wore with the Carolina Hurricanes already was taken by defenceman Josh Gorges, who wasn’t about to part with it. So the veteran forward, who signed with the Habs on July 1, settled for 72, a number he last wore with the Gananoque Islanders junior B team during the 1995-96 season.

    “Most people wouldn’t know this because it doesn’t show up on my stats page, but I played one season in junior B in Ontario,” the native of Oswego, N.Y. said on the Canadiens website. “My number there was 72 that year so I decided to go back to that.

    “I asked Brian Gionta how nice a watch it would cost me to get Josh to give up his number, actually. He never got back to me about that, so I took it as a no. I figured 26 wasn’t an option.”

    The only other player in Canadiens history to wear No. 72 was Mathieu Carle.

    • 24 Cups says:

      “The only other player in Canadiens history to wear No. 72 was Mathieu Carle.”

      Which officially means he is now history with the Habs!

      • krob1000 says:

        Never picked that up…lol…sucks to be Carle ..hope he doesn’t read the Whig Standard….or HIO as I’ve heard the organization doesn’t communicate the greatest with its young guns lol.

        You following the Open? I’ve actaully been paying more attention to the VIking Classic lol…..Matt Mcquillan our Kingston kid is playing there ths week and since Tiger’s departure I need a storyline to watch or follow Golf it seems. Anyways…Mcquillan was in 93 rd but so far through 8 is -4 and in 40th…nothing amazing but definitely impressive for a Kingston kid who was bartending and had given up on golf. He finished 3rd at the John Deere last week.Ktown now has an NFler and a PGA er in the last couple of years and we also have a kid working out with the Celtics….pretty crazy actually for Kingston.

      • krob1000 says:

        guess you were right…Carle just traded to Anaheim

  23. 24 Cups says:

    Let’s be honest here, the only bit of real Hab news since we lost to the Bruins has been the signing of Erik Cole. The rest is just filler.

    With that in mind, let’s turn our thoughts to golf. Tom Watson, who is 61, scored an ace today at the British Open and is in postion to make the cut. This after almost winning it in a playoff a few years ago. What a marvel.

    http://www.pga.com/openchampionship/2011/scoring/index.cfm

    • shiram says:

      Markov’s signing had importance.
      Not like it was not expected, but you know, people were fretting.

      And golf, well, just no.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

      • 24 Cups says:

        Markov’s signing would only have been important if by chance he went to another team (as you stated). The compromise that was reached was probably there right from the time he was injured.

        Gorges will be the same (although he’s a RFA).

        • shiram says:

          Yea.. How about the draft, getting Beaulieu later on the round than he was expected to go. That’s some news.

          If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

          • 24 Cups says:

            Good point. I think we would have been quite happy to land either Beaulieu or McNeill which we were able to do.

            It kind of reminds me of Leblanc and Kreider a few years ago. Both were available which was great news for us.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I hope Peter Budaj doesn’t read your comment, he will be very disheartened.

  24. 24 Cups says:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=371773

    I only posted this because of the comments that follow the charts. Good for a chuckle.

    • GenerationYHabs says:

      I just really find it amusing how were always calling people out for being to criticle about the habs and complaining about how they can’t do anything right. Then you look at a leafs fans and they’re the exact opposit, I can’t even remeber ever seeing one bash the state of the team or their management even once.

    • arya13 says:

      Please, no one send this list to Gomez! Then he’ll pretty much know which 3 teams to put on his list for his NTC.

      MaxPac will raise 2 Stanley Cups in his career to show Chara that his is worth nothing.

  25. BJ says:

    Here is what we need for our injury woes. Its called “Substance P”. Its as nuts as it gets. Move over Chara…..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a86cQobU-n4

  26. BJ says:

    Here is what we need for our injury woes. Its called “Substance P”. Its as nuts as it gets. Move over Chara…..

  27. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Anyone else like me, where this memory is getting you through the long summer months with no hockey?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj8fzzq2YAY&feature=related

    This Subban one-timer is the stuff of legend – can you imagine a Power Play with Markov and Subban on the points, Cammalleri on the half board and Cole in front of the net?

    I think our Power Play should continue to remain amongst the best in the league!

    • Malreg says:

      I think about that pretty often! My dad and my little brother were are my place watching the game with me, and I’ll never forget jumping up and throwing my brother into the air above my head.

      Definitely one of my favorite Canadiens moments from the last several years.

      Too bad it didn’t end well :(

    • avatar_58 says:

      Yeah I pretty much screamed to the point where I’m positive had my neighbours been home they’d have had me evicted….lol

    • Willy says:

      The best part is Pernell’s reaction after. I love that other teams fans hate this kid, just means he’s that good!

  28. Chris says:

    Please file me under the “!??!???” category when it comes to signing Todd White (36 years old, coming off a season where he played only 18 games, was waived 3 times without any takers and ended up in the AHL), John Madden (38 years old, all but done as a player) or Ryan Johnson (35 years old, 34 games played last year).

    I would be all kinds of disappointed if Gauthier looks at guys like this. These guys are all in the death-spiral phase of their careers, have little-to-nothing left in their gas tanks and provide absolutely no upside potential.

    The team should have plenty of leadership in the form of Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, Gill, Gorges, Markov, etc. We don’t need veteran centres for the 4th line for the leadership, and that is pretty much the only valuable commodity those guys possess.

    These guys have name-appeal, and not much else. I see very little upgrade in somebody like that over a guy like Engqvist or even Gabriel Dumont.

    If we’re talking the fourth line, Dumont was a former defensive player of the year in the QMJHL, has speed to burn and now has a year of professional experience under his belt, and size isn’t really an issue on the 4th line if he’s playing with Moen and White. And besides…at 5’9″, he’s bigger than Todd Marchant or Kris Draper, and those guys both had decent NHL careers as checking line centers.

    All this talk of 4th line centers is predicated around a need that only exists for the first couple of months while Eller recovers. After that, center seems somewhat set with Plekanec, Gomez, Eller and Desharnais.

    • mike3131 says:

      Desharnais better not play 4th line C.

      • Chris says:

        It’s going to be him or Eller, to be honest.

        I think Desharnais could easily pass Eller on the depth chart, but he might be better suited to a 4th line role playing 10 minutes a night and some PP duty.

        I think Eller is the better player defensively, and that carries a lot of weight with Jacques Martin. The third line is more likely to get caught playing against the other team’s top guns on the road, and I think Eller is a bit safer bet than Desharnais.

        Eller is also still growing into his body (he only just turned 22 in late May) and I think the Habs have high expectations for him, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Desharnais pushed down the depth chart (or moved to wing) in favour of Eller’s development.

        • mike3131 says:

          I will be very disappointed if DD plays on the 4th line. I like the idea of him playing on Eller’s wing with AK.

        • TorontoHabsFan says:

          Based on nothing whatsoever other than a hunch, I suspect that Montreal doesn’t see Desharnais as a Centre in the longterm – that he’ll be moved over to the wing (and will rove up and down the lineup based on injuries or poor play by others).

          He appears to have the “shut up and play” mentality that Martin seems to really value (cf. Darche)

        • G-Man says:

          Eller is the 3rd line center, with AK46 on his wing and, maybe like last season, Moen or Darche.
          Engqvist will be given every opportunity to win the 4th line center job.
          Anyways, still a lot of time between now and the start of the season.

    • HardHabits says:

      Talk about shooting down a trial balloon.

    • Curtoph says:

      Yeah, people just like to throw out names because they want to stir the pot, the reason they haven’t been signed by PG is because we don’t need them. If we needed a 4th line center so badly, we would have/will pick one up.

    • Sakus Evil Twin says:

      The sunshee-ine has fried your brains, all of you… save Chris who didn’t broach the subject.

      DD will absolutely, unequivocally and without doubt be the 4th line center once Eller is healthy… and if/when Gomez starts crapping the bed again, it’ll be Eller who moves up the lines.

      I think that wee Des is a quality competitor with energy to burn, but that’s exactly why he’ll be successful on that line.

      To suggest that he has more to offer on the higher offensive lines than Eller is… well… offensive.

      Madness.

      No answers, just opinions. Bite me. Och.

      • bwoar says:

        DD was most certainly more NHL ready than Eller at the start of lest year, and a better offensive player by a good mile. Some of that gap may have been closed since then, but I wouldn’t bet on Eller being JM’s 3rd centre just yet. Desharnais is more experienced and looked much more comfortable on the ice than Eller did a lot of the time.

        I’m hoping Eller comes back having taken a big step forward, but I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss DD, he had some key NHL experience last year too.

  29. mike3131 says:

    When putting a contender together, theses are the roles of each position and the points per player (per 82 games) they are responsible for (IMO):

    Note:
    SNP = Sniper, PLY = playmaker, PWF = power forward, 2WF = 2 way forward, GRN = grinder, DFF = defensive forward OFD = Offensive D-man, DFD = defensive D, 2WD = 2-way D

    Forwards:

    1st line:
    SNP/PWF – PLY/PWF – SNP/PWF
    55/70+ pts – 70+ pts – 55/70+ pts (opposite LW… 55+ pts if RW gets 70+)

    2nd line:
    SNP/PWF – PLY/2WF – SNP/PWF
    45/50+ pts – 55+ pts – 45/50+ pts (opposite LW)

    3rd line:
    PWF – 2WF/PWF – PWF
    30/40+ pts – 40+ pts – 30/40+ pts (opposite LW)

    4th line:
    GRN – PHYSICAL DFF – GRN
    10 + pts – 15/20+ pts & FO%>52 – 10+ pts

    So basically:
    – 2 scoring centres
    – 2 2-way/defensive centres (PK guys)
    – 6 scoring wingers (at least 3 PWFs)
    – 2 pluggers (1 tough guy?)

    Defense:

    OFD/2WD – OFD/2WD (opposite LD)
    DFD/2WD – DFD/2WD (opposite LD)
    DFD/OFD – DFD/OFD (opposite LD)

    *All Dees in top 4 MUST be capable defensively

    So basically:
    – 2-3 2WD
    – 1-2 OFD (1 if there are 3 2WD)
    – 2 DFD

  30. habsguy says:

    Is anyone getting behind PK on the TSN poll ?

    • TomNickle says:

      PK will never beat out Doughty because he’s black. Sorry, it won’t happen. And that is the reason.

      • G-Man says:

        Sadly, it seems so. Nothing against Doughty, but PK will be our superstar.

        • TomNickle says:

          PK will be miles ahead of Doughty within two years. Doughty isn’t even the best defenseman on his team let alone one of the best in the league.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            You think Jack Johnson is better than Doughty? We each have our opinions, but I would take Drew over Jack in a heartbeat.

          • TomNickle says:

            Yes I would take Jack Johnson ahead of Drew Doughty.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Oh come on Tom, Doughty’s three years younger than Johnson and is already ahead of him. You don’t have a starring role with Team Canada at the Olympics if you’re not one of the best when you’re 20 freakin’ years old.

            PK may very well match Doughty, but it will be a very stiff competition between the two of them over the next decade +.

            – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Let the rest of the league and fans continue to stick their effed up heads in the sand while we watch one of the most exciting Dmen in the last 15-20 years develop before our very eyes.

          No doubt Doughty has size skill and all that stuff. But to me P.K. has that extra something. He is special, Lets hope he continues to develop as he has been. Been a long time since we had a positional player develop like this in our system!

          • Ali says:

            personality wise and in terms of getting your moneys worth entertainment-wise, PK wins hands down!

            Oh Captain my Captain…

          • Chris says:

            I got to watch Drew Doughty play here in Guelph for years. Like Subban, he’s an absolutely electrifying talent: he loves his spin-o-ramas, he’s a tremendous skater who will take chances and he’s an absolutely fantastic person on and off the ice. Throw in a starring role on an Olympic gold-medal winning team and a Norris Trophy at 20 years old and you’ve got a kid who is probably under-recognized solely because he is trapped in a non-hockey market on the West Coast, where many fans simply don’t get to watch as many of his games.

      • Chris says:

        Well, I watched quite a bit of Doughty and Subban in the OHL. Doughty was HANDS DOWN better.

        I’ve watched both guys in the NHL. Doughty has been better.

        Maybe Subban will be better than Doughty someday…but I wouldn’t bet on it.

        Subban has been very protected by a very defensive system. Doughty does not have that same luxury in Los Angeles. Both guys have excellent goalies backing them up, but the supporting cast in Montreal is simply better than that in L.A.

        Swap the two guys around and I think Habs fans would be scoffing at the idea that Doughty was even being mentioned in the same sentence as Subban.

      • Chris says:

        And by the way, being black did not stop Tiger Woods from becoming far and away the most popular golfer in a very white, very traditional sport.

        Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, etc. have not been held back by their skin colour in terms of marketing deals or fan popularity.

        Jarome Iginla is one of the most beloved and popular players in the NHL, so his skin colour doesn’t seem to have impeded his ability.

        I’m sorry, but the race argument seems to be a bit of a red herring. It is entirely possible that the majority of people don’t share your evaluations of Doughty and Subban. That doesn’t make them racist.

        • SmartDog says:

          I agree that PK being black isn’t much of an issue for this very trivial TSN contest. But I do believe he’s been prejudiced against (cough – Cherry – cough, cough – Richards).

          The examples you give are good ones, but in basketball, the good white players are the anomalies. And hockey is much more of a redneck game than golf. Just sayin.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          The NHL is also the most bigoted professional league in North America Chris. Iginla is the good soldier and gives all the cliche one-liners as a player and he’s never been one to raise controversy, no one can critique him realistically because of who he is without essentially being called a racist because there is not one reason in the world to dislike him as a player and as a star in the league. I think most people hate Subban because of his talent level. I think some people do not like Subban because he’s a Hab but considering the racist garbage I have read since the 2010 playoffs I can’t categorically deny that there aren’t people who don’t like him because he’s black.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

          • SmartDog says:

            I did some research on racism in grad school. Funny thing, that most people of colour will strongly agree that their group (minority) is subject to discrimination. But when you ask them if they are prejudiced against a very large number says “no, not really”. There’s a split there and probably part of it is that the healthier people learn to rise above it, not look for it, and just face life as it comes rather than focus on any negativity that may come their way. Which is smart. But it’s also why guys like Iginla say they don’t see any real issue. I’m sure it’s been there for him. Though also – my personal guess is that because Subban is more black than Iginla, and also more out-spoken – he’s gonna get targeted more by a-holes who don’t like him and talk or act in a stupid way towards him.

      • Favorite Son says:

        What a stupid thing to say! You can’t just assume that that is the reason. Doughty has more experience at this point and is more “popular” due to him being on team Canada, for one thing.

    • Habs_4_ever says:

      I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think he will ever get the respect he deserves from anyone other than Habs fans.

    • Ali says:

      as amazing as PK is right now, Doughty is by far the better defenseman. the guy played at the olympics and outplayed guys Keith and Pronger. As much as I love PK, he is an offensive dynamo with defensive deficiencies. Doughty has a much better and well rounded game and is a stalwart.

      Oh Captain my Captain…

  31. HabinBurlington says:

    To answer the Ryan Johnson questions, guy on my beerleague ball team is his first cousin. As of a week ago Habs had not called him. Chicago, Vancouver were talking to him. I have asked him for an update. He is a real solid player, good veteran guy.

    His older brother had a similar career in NHL as well.

    Tom you are correct he would be a nice pickup for PG.

  32. HardHabits says:

    The Habs are not in desperate need of a 4th line centre.

    What the Habs really need is a #1 centre.

    • TomNickle says:

      That’s the truest comment you could make about this team. The Habs could really take a long hard look at Dave Bolland. He’s almost been a third line centreman exclusively and has put up great numbers for a guy in that role while having Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews as his competition. Not unrealistic that he couldn’t unseat them in their roles on that team.

      He could be a diamond in the rough and in a worst case scenario would be a more than adequate replacement for Gomez.

      • J_P says:

        Gonna have to disagree with you there about Bolland. He has the luxury of avoiding the other teams best checkers specifically because he plays on the third. I’d love to have Bolland, but he wouldn’t fill the need for a number one center IMO. I can definitely agree that he’s an upgrade on Gomez, but that doesn’t really say much lol

      • Sakus Evil Twin says:

        I’m a (pool) fan of Bolland too, but I think he’s committed to Chicago for the long term, no?

        No answers, just opinions. Bite me. Och.

    • SmartDog says:

      Based on last year you could equally say what the Habs need is a 2nd line center. Pleks would be a GREAT 2nd line center sure, but he’s still a good 1st line center in this league. It’s Gomez that needs replacing.

  33. SeriousFan09 says:

    George McPhee in Washington extended Karl Alzner with a 2-year, 2.57 million $ deal.

    McPhee continues to be the shrewdest GM in the off-season but the best move he can make is still the one he hasn’t done in firing Boudreau. Yes I know I bang this drum a bit but four straight seasons of playoff underachievement culminating in one of the most talented offensive squads in the league being swept in a playoff series against TBL’s 2nd-tier D group is hardly one to hang your hat on.

    I

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • TomNickle says:

      He’s making up for giving away a first rounder for Brouwer.

    • JD_ says:

      Agreed. The two most preposterous and inexplicable tenures in the league continue to be head coach Boudry in Washington and GM Murray-y in Ottawa.

      In both cases, you have owners who are known to be loyal to a fault and could argue that, in fact, they have been loyal to a fault.

      • J_P says:

        couldn’t agree with you more. I almost fell off my chair when I read about Murray’s three year extension.

      • TomNickle says:

        In fairness to Bryan Murray and the Senators, he did build a Stanley Cup Winner in Anaheim. However, with Spezza, Gonchar, Karlsson, Kovalev and Brian Lee it could be argued that he assembled the laziest team in the last twenty years.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Brian Burke owes a huge thanks to Bryan Murray. Burke’s greatest validation is his cup victory in Anaheim. Granted we all know Burke tweaked that roster, and Pronger Niedermeyer are huge Tweaks. But getting Scott was more product of Rob being there and the team being good.

      • ooder says:

        glen sather… ny rangers?
        ——————
        The 2010-11 Stanley Cup was not won, but given

        • HabinBurlington says:

          very good point ooder. The man has been dining out on the 80’s oilers for a long time now.

        • JD_ says:

          Yeah, he could easily be added to the list given bad things do come in threes.

          Sather’s biggest shortcomin’ is he consistently overpays. I appreciate a decent two-bedroom pad in Manhattan might set you back $6,000/month, but nevertheless. For all the money he throws at it, his team just seems to middle along.

          When I look at Murray, I see a guy whose biggest shortcomin’ is he consistently overterms. And he seems to be a lousy judge of character and chemistry. Havin’ built the Sens into a Stanley Cup finalist – perhaps ironically losin’ to the other one he built – he has proceeded to dismantle it via one bad decision after another.

          His UFA braincramp a couple of seasons ago should have been his undoin’, let alone his Reggie Houle moment with the spoiled blowhard that is Dany Heatley.

          On a positive note, it is hot and sunny outside and I’m about to hit the local Costco for a heap o’ NY strips, bakin’ taters, and some Caesar action. Throw in some margaritas and a few hours floatin’ around aimlessly and in semi-conscious fashion in the pool and, baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

  34. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Gulp….here goes:

    Last summer I brazenly bet Smart Dog that Tampa Bay would end up with a worse record than Montreal. We agreed to bet on it. I was certain this would be the safest bet I’ve ever made.

    Turns out I was wrong….and Smart Dog was right.

    (oooh that burns!)

    :D

    • avatar_58 says:

      Who cares, they lost to the same team the habs did. Had they met boston in the first round it would have been bruins/habs in the 2nd or 3rd round

    • SmartDog says:

      YES! Thank you!

      But a LOT of ppl on here said Boucher hadn’t proved anything and Tampa would struggle. Boucher is the real deal. Yeah, yeah, Stamkos blah blah… it takes a good coach to make a team with holes work, and he did it. Boucher knows how to get the most out of his players… like the players we ship out.

      • TomNickle says:

        They gave up more goals than they scored. Maybe the Scotty Bowman comparisons can be put on hold.

        He got the most out of Lecavalier?

        • Ali says:

          gimme a break, they had Mike Smith and Dan Ellis as their goalies till January. After that with a 42 year old they were one of the best teams down the stretch, overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Pens and pushed aside the Caps and took the Bruins to seven games just like we did, all with a horrendous defense. It remains to be seen how they will replace the depth they lost up front with Gagne et all and how much the new stamkos contract will handcuff given they already have vinny and marty on the books. But Yzerman has done a remarkable job, and Boucher as well. Give credit where it’s due.

          edit: oh and Vinny only had 19pts in 18 playoff games. Weren’t we all told all year long to wait for the playoffs to see the “real” Scott Gomez?

          Oh Captain my Captain…

          • TomNickle says:

            Now tell me what Boucher’s abilities as a coach has to do with Scott Gomez. They beat a Penguins team that didn’t have Crosby or Malkin, a banged up Jordan Staal and James Neal and a total sieve in Fleury. The Penguins were fish food by the time the Lightning got them. Again, they gave up more goals than they scored. Defense is the easiest thing for a coach to teach. Yzerman acquired Roloson and Brewer. Good moves in the short term, but hardly moves that will benefit the team for the next three years. And when you give up more goals than you score, you’re destined to lose.

          • Ali says:

            directly to your point about him getting the best out of vinny, he may have underperformed in the regular season, but he got the best out of him in the playoffs.

            Tampa gave up 85 goals in the 35 games Roloson played for them, that comes up to 200 goals against over a full season, not the 240 when they had sieves in Smith and Ellis playing for them. (see Ellis stats in the playoffs for Anaheim on a team with a much better defense vs what Boucher had in Tampa).

            Edit: also they scored 247 vs 240 against, how is that more goals against than for?

            Defense is the easiest thing to teach? Maybe Boucher should come to you for tips. I had no idea getting a team to play a cohesive defensive system was “easier” than getting players to use their instincts and skill to score goals.

            Oh Captain my Captain…

      • G-Man says:

        Let’s watch this year. Will Stamkos continue his playoff slump? Will Roloson play a mile over his head at 42?
        Stevie Y and Boucher will not have it so easy this upcoming season.

        • TomNickle says:

          No kidding. Factor in the pending contract extension for Hedman and will see what Boucher has in his bag of tricks when Yzerman doesn’t have the cap room to give him excellent complimentary players. They are destined to be a two line team unless Yzerman can pull a coup.

  35. nunacanadien says:

    I wonder what our total offensive output will be with the recent signings. I know towards the end of the playoffs, really too bad we did not go further, it was obvious the habs are lacking in offensive output.

    When the answer to this is signing Erik Cole with 26 goals and 26 assists in his best year, really his average would be around 22 goals a year perhaps, equaling Gomez’s best output.

    I wonder if we have answered what hockey analyst and hockey wives know and have known even with Gainey, is that the habs need size to answer back to the pathetic offense. It was pathetic before Gainey, it improved a bit under Gainey but then slumped, and remains in that slump under Gauthier.

  36. Kooch7800 says:

    Cole had over 100 hits more last year than anyone on our team

    • TomNickle says:

      Ryan White might have had something to say about that with a full season in the NHL.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        We will see this season. White’s only thing holding him back will be time on the ice. JM loves his vets.

        My point is that at least PG addressed the issue with a bit of physical play and the guy can put up points as well. We needed a top 6 player and Cole is a good fit.

  37. TomNickle says:

    The fourth line centre issue is just a product of a slow news summer with regard to the Habs. Andreas Engqvist may very well end up getting the call to play with the Habs at the beginning of the season. But it’s much more likely that Pierre Gauthier signs a player to fill that role. Ben Maxwell didn’t last long in that role after three AHL seasons, so I find it difficult to believe that Engqvist will be trusted with the role after less time.

    Ryan Johnson, John Madden and Todd White are all very good players who can fill the role. Madden and White may not be as good in the faceoff circle as Halpern, but they make up for it with physical play and offense respectively. Ryan Johnson is just too good of a fit for this team to ignore. He’s a shot blocking machine, rarely loses faceoffs and would immediately be our best penalty killer.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      He’s the guy that Cherry loves right? I remember him playing very well for Vancouver a few seasons back.

      Madden would also seem to be a great addition – he has the added bonus of being a former Devil (and we know how much we love former Devils!)

      • TomNickle says:

        Ryan Johnson admiration isn’t really exclusive to Don Cherry, but yeah Cherry loves him. Only because he sacrifices for the team at the drop of a hat.

        I like Madden because of his experience in big games in addition to his smart play. He rarely loses puck battles and seems to come up with big plays when they`re needed.

        I`m just tired of seeing such a big deal made of the fourth line centre position. Martin doesn`t play these guys for more than 10 minutes per game anyway. And the role itself is not difficult to fill. Dustin Boyd could have played it last season.

        • TorontoHabsFan says:

          Did a little poking around – I’m mildly amazed that Johnson’s 35. He’s not a name that I seem to remember hearing for the last 10 years. I seem to remember reading an article about how players like Johnson don’t really fit into the Corsi Scale (not that I fully understand Corsi anyhow!).

          I didn’t see too many Chicago games last season, I wonder if Madden still has the quickness that I remember in New Jersey. If so, his speed would help him fit into Montreal’s roster more than most.

          • TomNickle says:

            I don’t feel that his speed will be a big issue to be honest. He’s going to be with a combination that includes Moen, Darche or White.

            These guys aren’t the fastest players to begin with. That lines role is to get offensive zone faceoffs, that’s it.

          • TorontoHabsFan says:

            Good point – I guess I was thinking about Pyatt’s speed and how that made him more useful than he would’ve been otherwise.

          • TomNickle says:

            Letting Pyatt go was a mistake in my opinion. It isn’t every day that you find a guy with that kind of speed. In every league he’s played he’s needed time to adjust before finding his offensive game. And at every stop he’s become good offensively. I don’t usually make a big deal out of guys being let go. But I fear Pyatt’s removal will really haunt us in a year or two.

          • TorontoHabsFan says:

            I liked Pyatt too, but it seems to that with the development of White and Desharnais it came down to either him or Darche.

            I’m okay with keeping Darche – he really does seem to bring all those intangibles that teams like to talk about.

            In the right situation, Pyatt has the potential to really flourish into a good 3rd liner – here’s hoping he gets that chance (although I don’t suspect that chance will happen in Tampa. A team like Phoenix might have been a better fit)

        • habs_r_us says:

          ryan johnson would be a good fit with the habs 100% better than konopka as johnson can actually play hockey and be usefull to the team

    • christophor says:

      Maxwell wasn’t a big guy who excelled defensively.

      Edit: and you’re right that the role doesn’t really matter. Except it does matter if they can find someone to take PK minutes from Plek. I don’t see that happening with Enq. Talbot was perfect.

      • TomNickle says:

        Engqvist doesn`t use his size, isn`t fast or quick and has three games of NHL experience where he looked good defensively but was incredibly slow to react to the play while he was on the ice.

        He has a ton of work to do if he is going to be the replacement heading into the season.

        • christophor says:

          Ya but my point was that he actually has a defensive game. Your comparison based on AHL experience wasn’t good; too many other discrepancies between the two. Also, being big has its advantages even if you don’t assert yourself. He would be pushed around FAR less than a Maxwell.

          • TomNickle says:

            I understand your point but I don’t necessarily agree with it. In Maxwell’s final two seasons there was a large improvement in speed and quickness and he was actually beginning to dictate physical play instead of being on the receiving end of it.

            Engqvist is slightly above average defensively by AHL standards and while he may be improving, more time in Hamilton would serve him better because he doesn’t have anything in his game that you could consider elite that would allow him to compensate in the NHL. For example, if Subban weren’t faster than the speed of sound he would still be in Hamilton because his mistakes would be more costly without his ability to cover for them with his skill.

          • christophor says:

            I agree that the Engqvist option shouldn’t be the first option for PG but I also think you’re underselling his defensive game. He was by far the best defensive forward on one of the best teams in the AHL. He also has an offensive game that’s better than his dictated role allowed him to show, though it’ll never blow anyone out of the water. He showed a bit of it in the playoffs when he played more minutes.

            Also, he has decent experience in Sweden and at the national level that someone like Maxwell didn’t have before his AHL experience. I think he’s ready but not ideal, and probably not in the long term plans. If he doesn’t play a good amount of time in Montreal this year, I see him going back to Sweden and then we’ll all just be having the same conversation about Naatinen (who probably has a better long term shot)

    • HardHabits says:

      All lefties. Habs need a r-handed centre.

      Of the 3 players the only one I like is Johnson, forget the other two. Acquiring either Madden or T. White would be worse than lateral moves, and IMO they’d only weaken the Habs.

      Engqvist is still a much better option.

      Your test results. D minus.

      • TomNickle says:

        Thanks for the red ink but you get an F because we have a right handed centreman on the roster who will be playing wing but can still take faceoffs.

        And if you’re looking for a good right handed centreman who can take faceoffs, Blunden is a better option than Engqvist.

        • HardHabits says:

          Give it a break. The novice is trying to give the master a grade. You’re lucky I didn’t fail you because your suggestions are worse than mediocre. Only Johnson is moderately interesting. The other two are awful suggestions.

          Ryan White was 40.6% last season after taking only 32 faceoffs.

          Blunden is listed as a R-Winger and with CBJ in 2009-2010 was 32.2% in the FO circle. Blunden could be a good energy 4th liner player but NOT a centre.

          • TomNickle says:

            These guys can’t play the centre position because YOU say so? Okay got it.

            John Madden has three rings, is good defensively and fits with what this team looks for. Todd White not so much, and Johnson is a perfect fit.

            Your hockey bible telling you that the Habs NEED a right handed centreman is garbage. Having a guy who is a right handed centreman is a luxury, not a necessity. Gauthier isn’t going to sacrifice talent, ability, knowledge and experience for the sake of having a right handed player. And neither will any GM worth their salt in the NHL.

            So maybe you can back off of the authoritative and elitist opinion for a minute and consider how silly your argument is. This team didn’t perform below expectation because of the handedness of their centremen, they performed below standard because they weren’t capable of winning puck battles on faceoffs that saw loose pucks squeeze away from the dot. Cole, Pacioretty, White, Darche, Moen and Eller help in that area.

  38. Psycho29 says:

    The nerve of Erik Cole taking number 72.
    Mathieu Carle will always be the Habs’ real number 72 in my mind!!!

    :-)

    Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

  39. 24 Cups says:

    Crosby is back on the ice. For the love of the game, let’s hope he makes a full recovery.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=371771

  40. 24 Cups says:

    Alzner signs with Washington for two years. Only question now is who gets dumped to make room.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=371778

    http://www.capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=30

  41. TorontoHabsFan says:

    A quick straw-poll:

    1) How many people here were happy with the role that Halpern played for Montreal last season?

    2) How many people were clamouring for Halpern to be signed leading up to the Free Agency period? Or even two weeks later?

    3) How many people felt that Montreal was severely hampered and struggled when Halpern went down with injury last season?

    • habs03 says:

      Halpern was amazing for us, the reason he was missed when he was hurt was because he was the only one taking face offs who was a right hand shot. I think P.G. will address this issue, and find a right hand shot that is good on face offs.

    • SmartDog says:

      Yeah, I’m with you there. The funny thing is that signing Halpern seemed like a very smart move on the part of PG. He won face-offs, freed Pleks from playing every defensive shift possible, and chipped in a bit offensively. So then PG lets him go.

      But I think this can only mean one thing: that the Habs have so much depth at center and want to promote from within. That by itself is a good thing. But give the guys some Faceoff lessons for pete’s sake!

      • TomNickle says:

        That’s quite a pessimistic opinion. You saying John Madden isn’t as responsible or good defensively as Halpern? Todd White? Ryan Johnson?

        They could all be upgrades on Halpern.

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        You seem to be missing my point.

        I feel like Halpern did indeed help us out last season, but was on nobody’s radar last July 1st, and when he went down with injury we didn’t really suffer all that much – in fact it seemed to open a spot for players like White and Desharnais.

        All of which is to say, that I’m almost positive that there will be another veteran signing that none of us foresaw yet will be praising come November :D

        p.s. I’m pretty sure I owe you money – TB ended the season with more points than Montreal.

        • shiram says:

          Pretty much agree with you on this.
          The Habs organization has alot of ressources to find good players, and I believe they can replace Halpern.

          If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

        • SmartDog says:

          Yes you do!

          I think we bet a sweater but I’m not 100% sure and that seems kinda steep. I’ll settle for a t-shirt or a beer even… but you’re in TO. Whaddya think?

          “It bothers me…there are old coaches in the league today that don’t know how to deal with these young personalities.” – Mike Peca on JM handling of PKS

          • TorontoHabsFan says:

            Hmm….Sweaters/Beers doesn’t really seem like the kind of bet I’d make. Not being a big risk-taker I’m pretty certain it was for some marginal amount of money (but most importantly bragging rights!)

            I want to say $10 or $20? If you do email banking I can send it on over to you today…

          • TorontoHabsFan says:

            Dang – it looks like I did try to bookmark the page with our bet, but the changeover from Habs to Hockey I/O seems to have deleted it. Now I get an Error 404 message.

          • SmartDog says:

            I thought it was a sweater. :) But it mighta been a cupa Tims for all I can say for sure. And bragging rights is really what it’s about. Just say “SmartDog, you wuz right about Boucher!” (or similar) and let’s call it even!

  42. SmartDog says:

    Question: Do the Habs ever announce player signings on the week-ends? Or on Sundays?

  43. DearyLeary says:

    Anyone else catch TSN’s forward depth chart last night? Made me laugh.

    Cammalleri – Plekanec – Gionta
    Cole – Gomez – Kostitsyn
    Moen – Desharnais – Pacioretty
    Darche – Eller – White

    Has anyone, even the trolls, suggested this kind of lineup for next season? McClennan is a goofball.

  44. HabinBurlington says:

    So to those in the “Don’t sign Konopka Camp” Here are the unadjusted Corsi numbers for this past season. Apparantly Konopka not such a good player afterall. Surprising to see Koivu in this bottom 20.

    Corsi rating in 2010/11:

    2010/11 Worst 20 Raw Corsi Ratings Rank Player Team Corsi

    1 Greg Zanon Min -429

    2 Cam Fowler Ana -381

    3 Zenon Konopka NYI -318

    4 Eric Nystrom Min -300

    5 Todd Marchant Ana -288

    6 Brandon McMillan Ana -276

    7 Luca Sbisa Ana -270

    7 Saku Koivu Ana -270

    9 Paul Mara Mon -257

    10 John Madden Min -256

    11 Joffrey Lupul Tor -245

    11 Matt Martin NYI -245

    13 Brent Sopel Mon -239

    14 Andreas Lilja Ana -235

    15 Ryan Jones Edm -234

    16 Keith Aulie Tor -233

    17 Theo Peckham Edm -225

    18 Matt Cullen Min -224

    19 Kevin Klein Nas -219

    20 Tim Brent Tor -216

    http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/psh/comments/worst_20_raw_corsi_ratings1/

    • DearyLeary says:

      Interesting numbers. I’m still trying to figure out what the corsi scale actually wants to say.

      I just want to point out that those horrible numbers for Konopka come with extremely limited ice time. How he managed is some kind of anti-miracle.

    • HardHabits says:

      Is there any wonder why Sopel and Mara are still on the market?

      Seeing Koivu on that list does surprises me a bit. I guess taking offensive zone penalties factors heavily into Corsi statistics.

    • Mr. Biter says:

      I don’t care if he leads this stupid list. He knows his job is to protect the skill players and judgeing from his PIM’s he does a really good job doing it.

      Mr. Biter

      • shiram says:

        I guess he can protect the skills players on the fourth line he centers, and the D-men.
        It’s not like he would be on the same line, and able to “protect” say a Cammy/Gio etc…

        If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • Mats Naslund says:

      Lets first clarify what exactly CORSI numbers mean:

      CORSI number is the number of shots directed towards the net while the player is on the ice. The number can be broken down into whose net the shots are directed towards (their own net (-) and their opponent’s net (+)) similar to the plus minus statistic. The hope of course is that the Corsi plus minus would correlate well with the regular plus minus, but because the numbers will be 16x larger than plus minus numbers they’ll be about 4x more accurate than the plus minus numbers.

      The obvious problem with CORSI numbers is that you’re FAR more likely to be a bad CORSI player if you played a defensive role on a defensive team. Think Jaroslav Halak’s Montreal Canadiens – playing INCREDIBLE defense and giving up 50+ shots per game while getting 15-20 themselves yet winning 2-1.

      Islanders much? No surprise that the list is comprised of Ducks, Isles, Leafs, Wild with two of our scratch defense men thrown in. Not saying Konopka is awesome or anything.. but he played mainly in defensive and shorthanded situations. Clearly you’re not going to get shots of your own when your job is to get control of the puck and to rifle it into the other teams end as soon as possible to get a change.

      CORSI numbers do help to provide SOME context to how a player plays – but they are VERY heavily dependent on the role a certain player fills, and what team he plays for. Ryan Kesler led the league last season in CORSI – shock of all shocks – as he played an overwhelmingly offensive role on a team that controlled the puck in their opponent’s zone, racking up gratuitous positive shot totals.

      • DearyLeary says:

        Which is why I’m still trying to figure out what they exactly want to say.

        A fluid game like hockey (or soccer) is difficult to quantify statistically, but we still have that desire to look at a set of numbers and judge a player according to their stats. Corsi’s interesting for a number of reasons, but it still has a ways to go to define its role and how we interpret it.

        • Mats Naslund says:

          Exactly. CORSI numbers could just as easily be used to show how much certain players were counted on in defensive situations in comparison to otherwise statistically similar players. For example – take a player with the same point total as Tomas Plekanec, and compare CORSI numbers. You may see Tomas as a “worse” player in terms of the CORSI number at face value – but you COULD also extrapolate that Tomas was forced to play a much more defensive role than the other player and is thus MORE valuable to his team. The key factor being that Hockey is a game in which shots are IMPORTANT, yet unreliable as an indicator of success in terms of wins/losses. We know this very well as fans of the Habs. Personally I’d rather pad the WIN stat than the CORSI.

  45. DC-Hab says:

    Thats true but this looks like the year we can actually do it with having a good amount of cap space. Next year we have to sort out Price and Subban. I know we will be rid of Spacek but those two will more than cover that loss. Also A.Kost will up in the air. It really depends on this season for him. I dont know but it seems like this is the year we can afford to spend that second round pick on upgrading the team come deadline. This all depends how we are doing in the standings though. I’m not saying throw it away if were in 6th-9th. But if were up at the top of the pack and PG can pull the trigger on someone, I’ll be more than happy.

  46. Thomas Le Fan says:

    The fact that Cole can’t have Gorges’ number because it’s not available is good news, isn’t it?
    Cole better get used to answering these kind of questions and many more, if he’s going to play in Montreal.
    Engqvist sounds like a good kid.

  47. JohnBellyful says:

    As some of you might know I interviewed for the job of assistant coach of the Montreal Canadians today.
    Meet the newest member of the Habs coaching staff.
    Okay, it’s not official yet but, trust me, I’ve got the inside track.
    The interview only lasted five minutes but that’s how the Canadians operate. Their hiring policy is pretty clear: When you know you got your man why waste everyone’s time with a long interview. Keep it short. That’s their motto.
    What nailed it for me? Well, the interviewer – I think it was Jacques Martin; he’s the one who combs his hair straight back, right? – started asking a few simple questions that I aced when all of a sudden he starts talking in tongues. I’ve read about such things but this was the first time I had ever seen it happen in person.
    I’d tried to stay calm and kept a blank look so I wouldn’t alarm him, hoping the ‘experience’ he was having would go away on its own. Maybe it was a test, to see how I’d react.
    But he started raising his voice when I wouldn’t answer and the nonsense he was spouting got worse and worse. It sounded awful but I got to say he did sound fluent in gibberish.
    When it became obvious he wasn’t going to come out of this ‘spell’ on his own, I figured I had to act fast before his condition worsened so I slapped him. That did the trick. The stuff that came out of his mouth next I had no trouble understanding.
    I didn’t mind he didn’t thank me.
    I didn’t mind he called security.
    I didn’t mind because the cellphone pics I took of him turning blue in the face and foaming at the mouth turned out pretty good. I never knew a crazed person’s eyes could bug out so far. But what really made the pics was his hair fanning out from both sides of his head like two huge bat wings.
    I showed him the pics as a matter of courtesy and then left before security arrived.
    He probably thinks the photos will show up on YouTube. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m like that guy who gave Jeter the ball the Yankee star knocked out of the park for his 3,000th hit. I’ll print off the digital pics and give them to him as soon as possible.
    Right now, though, I can’t leave the house. I’m expecting a call about a job offer.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Rich very rich indeed. Thanks for the update John, who knew JM was an early riser to have an interview that early in day. All the best, should be a formality before you get official job offer.

      • JohnBellyful says:

        Well, he did seem kinda surprised when I showed up at 7 a.m. I took another look at my e-mail from the team and apparently the appointment was at 9 a.m. Interesting note: When I walked into his office, I could see he had the HIO web page opened on his laptop, which he quickly closed.
        Hey, Jacques, if you’re readin’ this, call soon. I usually have a nap just before noon.

  48. PrimeTime says:

    Looking forward to the addition of Cole. He brings experience and solid leadership of which you can’t have to few. He adds good character to a soild mix of players. I like how PG is building this team for long term success. I think his vision is coming together and he will add to the group as needed and replace those that fall short of their role and expectation. It’s great he doesn’t feel the need to attract attention to himself to sell that vision or explain his decisions. He knows that “winning” is all that will accepted by the fans. He won’t pander to the media or the fans and sticks to what he feels is right. The next number of years are going to be fun to be a Habs supporter…..Thanks PG!

  49. Chorske says:

    Oh dear. Mr Cole comes across as a witsy bitsy bitchy in that Basu piece. Scuse us for asking obvious questions, Mr Snarky McSnarkypants.

    Perhaps he is going to have to make some major off-ice adjustments as well?

    • GenerationYHabs says:

      If you actualy listen to the audio version of the interview that was posted yesterday, you can see that most of his comments are taken a bit out of context.

      He seems like a real genuine person and has a great team mentality.

    • DearyLeary says:

      In Coles defense, it was a stupid question. I’ve been saying it all along, it won’t be how Cole reacts to his teammates, it’ll be how he reacts to JM’s system that will define him as a Canadien.

      • Chorske says:

        It wasn’t a stupid question. It was perhaps an obvious one, one Cole has answered before and should have been prepared to answer again.

        • GenerationYHabs says:

          In the article Arpon Basu makes it sound as if cole was answering the question with a tone of hostility, but he wasn’t in the least. From listening to the audio all I gathered was that he was a pretty good natured guy.

          • G-Man says:

            Arpon isn’t a real journalist- he’s a blogger with access thanks to CTV.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I am in the stupid question camp on this one. His play has been quite consistent through his career. Really less concerned with a partial season in Edmonton vs. his career numbers in Carolina, especially given last seasons 82 games played and good stats.

        • DearyLeary says:

          No, it was a stupid question, anyone who’s done any amount of research should be able to ask a more insightful question than “Hey, think you can play anywhere other than Carolina?” (which is what the question boils down to).

          Why not ask what the limiting factors were in his production in Edmonton? Why not ask whether he learned anything from his experience in Edmonton? Why not ask where he thinks he’ll slot into the lineup, and how he’ll help the team?

          There’s a plethora of questions that relate to his sub-par production in Edmonton that don’t directly call out his character. It was a stupid question, and Arpon said as much after he did his research (something he should have done anyway).

          Cole isn’t being in as a 1A type scorer (the role an abysmal Edmonton team was looking to fill). He filling out a need that Montreal has lacked, in a power forward who can retrieve dump ins, be fast & physical, and put the puck in the net when the opportunity presents itself.

          His skill set is a good fit, but the real question is whether he will fit in with Martin’s system, as his best production comes from being able to pressure defencemen with his speed to force turnovers (at our blue line, or behind their goal line). Will Martin allow Cole to pressure as much as he did in Carolina is the real question, but that’s not up to Cole, so why don’t we ask JM?

  50. DC-Hab says:

    I’d be thrilled with that contract. With that and White signing for 650,000 we would still have a bunch of cap space. I say start Engqvist on the 4th. Don’t sign some veteran center and save the cap space. Come trade deadline grab a fairly good rental and see what happens.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Just don’t want us to use our 2nd rd pick for the rental. Next years draft appears to be pretty good. Would be nice to have 2 of our own picks for the first 2 rounds. Been awhile.

  51. avatar_58 says:

    Of course he’s happy, and we’re happy to have him.

    On another note I started another NHL11 season – Gomez scored the first goal of the season on a breakway, Ak46 had a hattrick and cole managed a goal and an assist.

    Poor Leafs…

  52. HabinBurlington says:

    Also, glad to hear TSN snagged Pierre Lebrun from CBC. This will be an improvement over the departed Pierre MacGuire. That is a good Pierre swap for TSN.

  53. HalifaxHabs says:

    On another note, the crystal ball told me today is the day for Josh to sign

    3 yrs/8 Million(2.67 per)

  54. HabinBurlington says:

    A few thoughts on the links provided.

    How is it possible that the Ottawa Senators are an easier team to follow than the Montreal Canadiens. Yes the Sens made a Cup final, but since then, they have been spiralling downhill while the Habs have been improving. Oh well.

    Arpon, while I appreciate his honesty in the article, perhaps knowing you were going to interview Erik Cole it may have been helpful to have done that slight bit of research on Cole in Edmonton before interviewing him. Sounds like both your questions to him have him enjoying your writing style immensely (Sarcasm duely noted).

    I think Cole is going to be an excellent addition to this team. Hopefully he blends in well from the start, but media and fans will need to have some patience as he learns “The System”. Also, hopefully the first minor injury he sustains won’t cause a complete meltdown asking if we signed up damaged goods.

    Barring a trade from PG, seems to appear JM is going to be giving Enqvist a shot at earning that 4th line Center job in training camp. In light of Eller probably missing start of season, and Enqvist taking on that defensive role in Hamilton, seems a natural fit for him to have a crack at that spot in the lineup. Hope he has success this year. In that interview you almost get the impression, if it doesn’t work out this year, he may want to go back home and play for the club team he enjoyed earlier time with.

  55. TorontoHabsFan says:

    I think he’s going to make a very nice addition to our top 6. He brings pretty much everything we need, and appears to be mature enough to buy into the whole team concept that Montreal has embraced these last two seasons.

    He also seems like the kind of player who doesn’t fall off the face of the earth if the points are coming – that he’ll continue to play a crucial role for the team during the inevitable dry spells.

    I would be extremely happy with a 25g 30a season out of Cole.

  56. 24 Cups says:

    Brain Boyle signed for 3yrs/5.1M while Adam McQuaid received a 3yrs/4.7M contract from the Bruins.

  57. DC-Hab says:

    I’m so excited to see Cole play with this team. The more I read about him the more I like him. Even if he doesn’t produce right away he’s going to be a high energy player on the ice right from the start. You’re not going to find many games where he disappears. If he can play his game by hitting and going to the net the offence will come, for him and his line.

  58. G-Man says:

    Great article on a player with the attitude to make it. Let’s all hope Engqvist makes it and quiets the shouting for an “experienced” 4th line center.

  59. DC-Hab says:

    Definitely a good read. I wouldn’t mind seeing him start with the team this year. I feel we have a good deep and balanced team right now. Give the last spot to him and give him a bit of slack – he should pan out.

  60. Shiloh says:

    Really interesting to read the interview with Enqvist – makes you want the guy to succeed.
    Arrived in Edmonton last evening – here for a family wedding. I thought that I’d seen mosquitos in Nortwestern Ontario! They are unreal here – the kid who sold me a coffee this morning (it’s 5 am here) says he wears bug spray indoors. Some of them are so big they have an in-flight movie on board.


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