Devils OT win pushes Panthers to limit; Bruins-Caps decide Game 7 tonight

Martin Brodeur

New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur looks for a teammate up ice Tuesday during Game 6 vs. Florida.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

Travis Zajac scored 5:39 into overtime Tuesday night, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers and sending their Eastern quarterfinal to a seventh and deciding game.

Tonight, for all the marbles in their series, the Boston Bruins are home to the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their set.

250 Comments

  1. habstrinifan says:

    Re the Eller debate.. I would sooner consider Eller part of the future of this team than Plekanec. WOW! I think I have made two posts which should get me some ‘whad da ya know’ responses. So I think I’ll keep quiet till the Boston beatdown is in the books.

  2. Lafleurguy says:

    Is Mike Smith halfway to a Halakian playoff feat?
    Is Luongo as good a goalie as Halak?
    Did anyone expect Jonathan Quick, who was drafted in the 3rd round when Carey went 5th overall, 2005, to precede Carey as a Vezina finalist?
    Could the Habs have pulled a survival feat like Washington and Florida have so far when the first string goalie is injured?

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  3. pmaraw says:

    PK is up against Claude ‘the greatest hockey player in the world’ Giroux right now, help PK and NHL 13 by putting the habs logo on the cover!!! http://covervote.nhl.com/:b=chrome/#/ballot

  4. pmaraw says:

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^

  5. HabinBurlington says:

    @Habstrinifan, Regarding Ovechkin. I don’t dislike Ovie at all and think he is a great player. But something is weird or wrong down in Washington. I agree with you, that he is probably the kind of player that would flourish in Montreal, but as you say the way in which to acquire him would pretty much render this conversation useless.

    But I think Washington mishandled Ovie dating back a few years, where they essentially handed him the team and made him untouchable. They gave him carte blanche and now suddenly his former coach and new coach both decided they would treat him with work gloves instead of kid gloves.

    If indeed Washington craps the bed tonight and loses, if Washington does panic, some team in the NHL is going to reap the benefits and perhaps find a way to pry Ovie loose.

    • shiram says:

      Ovie’s points are trending downwards, and that’s annoying when you consider he has the highest cap hit in the nhl. I would be very wary of trading hot assets for him.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Agree Shiram, BUT, if there was a way to steal him, look out. He is still one of the most talented players in the league, size, strength, speed, skill. He has everything, and i don’t like him, but he has all that.

        Something is rotten in Denmark, I mean Washington.

      • jmsheehy19 says:

        I would love to have Ovie, but not if it means giving up Patches, Subban, Price, or our 1st this year.

        And since I can’t imagine a package NOT including those pieces, I think it’s a moot point.

    • habstrinifan says:

      “some team in the NHL is going to reap the benefits and perhaps find a way to pry Ovie loos”… I couldnt find the right words to express that sentiment in my post. You did. And I really mean reap the benefits. Ovie is too good and still too young and just plain to damn big and into this game of hoockey not to reclaim some of his glory… if he has indeed lost

      **** edit **** OK I am gonna say it. And then run for cover. If OVIE is indeed ‘available’ and if one P McGuire is indeed GM.. then I think the chances of Ovie in Mtl increases. They have a mutual liking I think.

  6. Max says:

    Lundqvist,Quick and Rinne for the vezina. 3 of the best in the game.Exceptional goaltending can do a lot for a team.

    • naweed235 says:

      yes… tell that to the Habs

    • christophor says:

      An exceptional team can do a lot for a goaltender.

      That being said, Quick gives far more to his team than he gains. Lundqvist as well, though less so. I think Rinne is somewhat the product of the system, though still brilliant.

      Outside of these three, Thomas is excellent but without his D-corps clearing all those ridiculous rebounds, he’d be far less so. Fleury! Goodness, there’s someone I’ve always thought is overrated and being dragged to greatness (and the Stanley Cup) by Crosby, Malkin, and others. There’s no better example than Fleury of people’s crazy goalie-fever. He’s finally getting exposed.

      A great example of how goalie-crazy people get is Scott Cullen’s recent tweet. He argues that Luongo in Toronto this last year would have guaranteed them a playoff birth. His reasoning is nothing more than plopping Luongo’s Vancouver-numbers into Toronto. I shouldn’t need to explain how crazy this is. He doesn’t even mention as a sidenote that Luongo’s numbers might have been (drastically) different playing behind a Toronto team. Craziness. And he’s being paid for that.

      This will piss people off, but I give far more credit to the St. Louis system than to their goaltenders. Of course, that doesn’t mean they suck, since a bad goalie can break a good system. They still have to be good enough for it to work and I think Halak especially can often be a little more than good.

  7. ont fan says:

    So most of the skill teams are gone. If Boston and NY win, all the skill teams will be gone.

  8. Bripro says:

    I’m still on the fence regarding Eller.
    The kid is very convoluted in his play. Hot and cold.
    They paired his line against no 1 or 2 lines most of the year, so the jury’s still out.
    Yes he did score 16 goals, but 4 of those were in one game.
    He was still taking stupid penalties at the end of the season, so I would think that his biggest problem might be maturity.
    Either that, or it’s that tight helmet of his that keeps producing a nasty red band across his forehead. Perhaps that is causing concussion-like symptoms.
    Seriously I think he’s still at least a year away from breaking out, if at all.

    • shiram says:

      I don’t see why it’s an issue that he scored 4 of his goals in one game.
      Should we discredit hat tricks, or 2 goals in a game too?

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Had Eller been wearing a turtle neck the night of the 4 goals, no one would say a discouraging word.

        • shiram says:

          He should start by a fitting helmet, but the turtle neck would help too.

          • Bripro says:

            The issue for me isn’t the one game, but rather the (so far) low productivity he has shown, especially given his cost to us in the trade that brought him here.
            I’m hoping he develops more consistency and a more physical side, without the brain cramps.
            With maturity, it should come.

          • shiram says:

            PK has a ton of penalties, and no one faults him for it, and I would say he takes some bone-headed one just like Eller. Both are young and can definately improve that department of their game.
            I agree he has not shown much offencively, but he scored about the same # of goals as our 2 better centers, that’s got to count for something.
            I think the case with Eller, as with Plekanec is to get better and more stable wingers. And being patient with a young guy.
            I don’t see a 30 goal scorer in Eller, but he could definately be a 20g/40a guy, if given the linemates and ice time for it.

          • Bripro says:

            Totally agree.
            I would however present defence for PK.
            He too does some very brain-dead manoeuvres, and cost us a few games at the beginning of the year, but in terms of talent, the trade-off has (so far) been much more fruitful with PK than with Eller.

          • shiram says:

            I’ll agree that PK has more upside, and he grew into his role alot quicker, but I think Eller can be a great piece for the Habs moving forward.

      • commandant says:

        We should not count any of the nights in which he scored goals, and only count the nights he didn’t.

        Eller is a 0 goal scorer… What a bust.

        /end sarcasm

        Go Habs Go!
        Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
        http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Hey I called you out on Ian’s party, you may have missed it, but we had a vote and you are bringing all the Real Beer! That is what happens when you leave your computer to go fix your plumbing.

      Cheers Bri.

      • Bripro says:

        Wow….that’s…..great…..Gerry….yeah!
        This time, it wasn’t plumbing. It was a customer’s equipment.
        Free replacement part….that I have to make (pay for).
        And my external hard drive crapped out on me this morning,
        although temporarily, thank God. Otherwise, there goes a year’s records.
        I’m now doing a back up of my back up, with another new external drive, which I just went and purchased.
        So this is turning out to be a pretty expensive afternoon, beers and all.
        I’m told Wildcat is real beer, right?

  9. HardHabits says:

    Has anybody seen this yet? It’s pretty funny.

  10. jon514 says:

    So, as armchair GMs, is Tinordi NHL ready?

    • Stev.R says:

      Nope, needs at least one year in the AHL. Probably two.

      • jon514 says:

        He seems like he can def take the physical punishment of the NHL. Is it just the speed of the game he needs to acclimate to?

        • Stev.R says:

          He needs to fill out a bit more. He could probably use another 20 lbs of muscle. He is a good skater but needs to get better to be able to handle NHL calibre players. He also needs to continue to get better with and without the puck (although he is better now than he was last year). All in all, he is just a raw player. He’s got talent and potential but he just needs to get a little better at everything. Plus, Timmins and MTL want their prospects to play a lot in the AHL to learn how to play their roles so that when they step into the NHL they can contribute.

      • ont fan says:

        I have seen Tinordi a couple of time in the Kitchener series,he skates better than I thot but he is playing with teenagers. He will have to step it up when he plays against men 5 to 10 years older and smarter. Hamilton looks like where he should go.

        • jon514 says:

          Seems to be the consensus, and I don;t want to rush his development. But I think we could sure use a defensive tower of power on our blue line.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Most believe he needs some time in Hamilton. He’ll get a good look at camp I’m sure.

      ———————————–

    • mark_ID says:

      I havn’t really seen Tinordi play at all this year, except a little bit at the World Juniors…..but Tinordi would have to have a huge pre-season, even then, probably will go staight to Hamilton.

      BTW, I thought Tinordi looked terrible in last years pre-season. Hopefully he looks a lot better this year.

      “Step off George”

    • habstrinifan says:

      Maybe for a very limited 10 max mins of stay at home conservative but big body type defensive role … should be especially coached to do this in pre-season and given the max 9 game NHL tryout if he shows any signs of adapting. Who knows? Habs, in my opinion, needs TWO defensemen of that type and if Tinordi fills one spot then we can easily go out get one more and still keep money for the real expensive need… a stellar points producer.

  11. HabinBurlington says:

    This article is a few months old, but provides some information regarding how low the revenues for both Florida teams in the NHL really are.

    http://tampabay.sbnation.com/tampa-bay-lightning/2012/1/3/2679454/nhl-leaked-finances-lightning-panthers-revenue-streams

    • Habsolutely says:

      all that article says is that the two Florida teams are amongst the lowest in gate revenue? Ummm, doesn’t everyone know that? The article also say’s:

      ” Florida sports teams (non-football edition) are never going to be among the league leaders in revenue, as there are so many other sports teams locally to compete with. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the teams are unsustainable or unhealthy; the Lightning have a strong local fanbase that has been re-energized by their playoff run and the Tampa Bay Times Forum renovations, and even the Panthers are seeing better attendance now that they’re actually a competitive team.”

      • gK_HabsFan says:

        There was an issue last year with the Miami Heat. Even with their 3 superstars, they weren’t selling out every game, or that fans were late to games or leaving early…

      • HabinBurlington says:

        James I respect your passion to the local clubs, but come on. Everyone knows this is a gate driven league. TV Contracts do not cover the costs, if they are the lowest gate receipts in the league, they can’t afford to be above the salary cap floor. There is no way that the Panthers come close to the Original 6 or other Cdn clubs when it comes to merchandise sales, plus they aren’t gouging their patrons with 11dollar beers.

        I am not anti FLorida, I just don’t think the business model makes alot of sense for hockey in south Florida if you are an owner looking to make money. you may survive as an owner as the write-offs may help your other business, but the franchise itself is not going to make money.

        • Habsolutely says:

          lol. When the previous owners were having difficulties it was widely known and reported here in South Florida. I’ve seen no such reports about the new ownership being in trouble. As I said I just read an article where the owner was quoted as saying they are the healthiest they’ve ever been. As I said, the group that owns the Panthers also owns the Bank Atlantic Center, and they make a lot of revenue off of concerts and events. And I hate to say this but you are 100% wrong on the beer gouging. They charge insane prices for their booze here. That’s one of the ways they make their money. Of course the Panthers don’t come close to original six clubs, that is a given. Do you think Molson only makes money from the gate revenue? Are you trying to tell me he doesn’t make revenue from concerts and owning their own concert promoting company? Revenue for a franchise owner comes from more than just ticket sales. I have no passion for the local clubs, I’m dealing with the facts, you are letting your passion against sunbelt teams mislead you into falsehoods and misconceptions.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I have to run James, but would love to continue the dialogue another day, enjoy conversing with you bud!

            CHeers.

          • Habsolutely says:

            anytime my friend. I think I need to get you down here for a game, my treat. It’s certainly a complex situation concerning these sunbelt teams.

    • GrimJim says:

      FYI, by my estimates Atl/WPG should vault from last on that list to 8th this year.

  12. gK_HabsFan says:

    I think next year will be a telling year in L. Eller’s developement. If he can somehow get PP ice time and pot in 40 ish points, it demonstrates that he has the offensive tools to be a number 2 center in the NHL.

    Remember last year, he suffered a shoulder injury in the PO and wasn’t fully healed to play until game #2 or #3 this year.

    He needs to work on gaining more upper body mass this summer, and being fully committed to getting bigger and stronger.

    He also has the tendancy to take useles penalties, which is more of a mental thing IMO.

    The potential is there, he needs to put it all together! You just don’t score 4 goals in a game if you are plug, you must have some sort of offensive ability

    • ThatOldChestnut says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Eller, but Georges Laraque once had a hat trick. You never know.

    • habsfan0 says:

      I agree with your post wholeheartedly. Guy Lafleur didn’t show much of anything until his 3rd or 4th year.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        hehe, I like the comparison to Guy much better than the comparison above to BGL. (No I am not saying I think Eller is the next Lafleur)

        • shiram says:

          I think the best comparison was to say he is a bigger kind of Plekanec.

        • habsfan0 says:

          Gerald, I believe when everything is said and done, acquiring Eller will prove to be one of Gauthier’s best moves. (and I’m a Halak fan).

        • ThatOldChestnut says:

          Just for the record, I agree! I love Eller and did not mean to imply he’s in the same category as BGL, just that one game doesn’t mean much. Here’s hoping for a great season for him. And here’s hoping for a proper coach to help him along!

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      I think Lars will have a big year next year. This past season he had 16 goals, or a 128% increase from the year previous…lol yes I know, 4 of those goals came in one game. At the end of the day however, he still finished the season with 16 goals – not bad for a guy in his second season.

      If you think back on the year and remember his first games back with the team (after his surgery last summer), even without training camp he was easily the best player on the team (during those first couple games back). He has shown flashes of brilliance (much the way I remember Price in his first couple seasons). To be great he’s going to have to sustain a high level of play (which he has shown on occasion) over the course of an 82 game season.

      With the disappointment of the season, I believe he’s going to be more motivated than ever. He’ll be entering his third full season and he’s now watched a guy smaller than he walk onto the team and become the teams first line center. He’ll be 23 in May and will hopefully add more muscle to his frame over the summer. After his campaign with Denmark in the Worlds this spring hopefully Lars will have the confidence and motivation to compete with DD as one of the teams young up and coming centremen.

      Again, he has shown flashes of brilliance, he has great hands and controls the puck really well. With some added PP time next year I have no doubt Lars will hit 20+ goals. With some stable linemates he can hopefully rack up more assists than 12 next year.

      • gK_HabsFan says:

        The issue is, If you slot him as the 3rd line center next season, who are his linemates? Moen? Darche? LL?

        I know he’s still developing, but the team is doing nothing to help with develop to his potential.

        For a couple of games during the season he got PP time, he scored 3 goals or so. Then all of a sudden he was taken off…. mde no sense!

    • Cal says:

      Eller’s lack of vision when it comes to offense is apparent to everyone save certain Habs fans. His numbers don’t lie: Eller is, at best, a 3rd line shut down center. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

      • shiram says:

        At his age, don’t you think he can still devellop into a scoring player? With better wingers and PP time, his number would have been better this year, the fact is he was playing tough minutes at ES and PK mostly.

        I think it’s too soon to pigeon-hole him into any role.

        • Cal says:

          No. Watch footage of him in the offensive zone while he carries the puck. His head is down and he’s trying to shoot. Rarely passes or even sees his linemates.
          Skates around the perimeter with the puck, hardly ever cutting to the middle. As an offensive player, Eller is a good shutdown guy.

      • gK_HabsFan says:

        Thats being short sighted at best… There is a little something called development path/ learning curve which most players go through. They arent going to peforming at their potential right off the bat.

        Also, IMO, Eller’s vision ranks up there with the best on the team. ps. you eed vision to be a shut-down center as well. You have to be able to read plays and see whats materializing before you. For the most part of his first year, he played with tom pyatt… remember him? This year he was working well with Moen and kostitsyn, then moen got injured and AK got traded.

        Give Eller Patches and Cole and assure you he puts up numbers quivalent to DD…

        • Cal says:

          I’m not short-sighted. I am telling you what I’ve seen from Eller for 2 seasons. He can’t and won’t light it up. He’s not that kind of player. His past junior seasons do not demonstrate an ability to score or get a lot of points.

    • habstrinifan says:

      You were doing fine unti.. ” You just don’t score 4 goals in a game if you are plug, you must have some sort of offensive ability.”

      While I agree that Eller is not a plug… that four goal game can happen to anyone really.

      • gK_HabsFan says:

        I stated afterwards that it wa a bit of an over exageration… But you get what i mean… you must have some sort of offnsive abilities to score 4 goals in a game.

        4 goals in a game happens rarely, and to accomplish that is something

  13. HFX-HabFan says:

    Some interesting discussions surrounding Luongo. I for one don’t think that Vancouver should expect much in return; the market for goalies, even star goalies, has always been low and trades involving goaltenders bring back lower return than trades involving forwards or D. The last two trades involving “star” goalies were both involving Florida- when they dealt Luongo to VAN for Bertuzzi, and when they acquired Vokoun from the Preds for a first and second round pick.

    I think all VAN can really expect is a draft pick or two, or a higher pick coupled with a bad contract to eat. There is no way that Luongo will land a Rick Nash-suggested type of package or like a Hossa or Kovalchuk deadline deal-haul.

    I also doubt the Laughs will go after Luongo; Burke seems stubbornly set on making Reimer into Dan Cloutier 2.0.

    • Stev.R says:

      Most often the reason for goalies being traded for very little is because there is never really a high demand for a goalie. There are 30 NHL teams and I would say 20 are happy with their goalie. That leaves only ten teams and I bet half of them either have a goalie coming up, or salary issues, or something that prevents them from going after a goalie in trades. It’s not like forwards where there may be really on a couple dozen elite forwards, and every team wants more than one.

    • gK_HabsFan says:

      The isue is, f Reimer flops again next year, it all comes down to Burke… How many years has it been since Burke has been the GM of the leafs? They still haven’t made the PO in his tenure. He has to do everything he can to get LU, otherwise the pressure is on him…

      • HabinBurlington says:

        He has to bring a goalie in, I can see him making a play for Vokoun or Harding in Minnesota also.

        • gK_HabsFan says:

          Exactly…

          IMO it comes down to Harding and Luongo. Vokoun is aging and didn’t exactly have a good season this year

        • HFX-HabFan says:

          Based on what the putz has said so far, it sounds like he’s pretty committed to keeping Reimer as the number one man (sound familiar? Cloutier, anyone?). I could see the Laughs acquiring a 1A-type like a Harding, but they won’t pursue a proven number one guy if Burke stays his course.

    • habstrinifan says:

      They definitely wont be getting major returns but I think the object for them would be simply to get rid of his contract and hand the top job to Cory Schneider.

  14. alfieturcotte says:

    There is a world of difference between solid and hall of fame talent. What AK46 brought to the Canadiens was a solid scoring threat, strong on his skates, can play 1-3 top lines, and scores 20-25/year. I would call that solid, not inconsistent. Hey if half our top draft picks end up at this level, I would be happy.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Didn’t intend to insult your description was refering more to the folks here who like to exaggerate former Habs players when playing for other teams. Can’t find fault in your argument that PG had a tendency to limit the market of his assets. Probably second biggest reason he’s now unemployed. Thanks for letting me clear my intent. Cheers.

      ———————————–

  15. commandant says:

    If ever there was a night for Ovechkin to show up with one of his monster games, lets hope tonight is the night.

    Go Caps Go!

    Go Habs Go!
    Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
    http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Absolutely, this is quite a defining game for the current Caps franchise. If they lose out again in first round changes must occur don’t they? Can they change coaches again? Ovie is not happy with the limited ice time Hunter has been playing him.

      Will be good game to watch.

      • habstrinifan says:

        I posted some time during the season that it may be a small-Luongo scenario developing in Washington… where both parties are leaning towards a parting. If the playoffs end tonight for WSH then it may be accelerated. And I sincerely believe that Ovie loves the ides of playing in Mtl although how he gets here is hard to figure out.

    • D Mex says:

      Appears to me WSH is running out of options with this guy :
      They gave him the C, fired the coach that upset him for sitting his butt on the bench a couple of times and now, lo and behold, it’s happening again with a different coach.
      The guy can play – no doubt about that. But if tonight’s game isn’t a do-or-die for him, it’s on the margins. Like my pappy always said, the other guy can’t be wrong all the time and, sooner or later, folks begin to drill down with the questions.
      WSH management would obviously know this and, if changes are a consideration, they would want to move before his routine limits the return too much.
      He has another of those contracts that make GMs think long and hard.

      ALWAYS Habs –
      D Mex

      • commandant says:

        Ovechkin has 27 goals and 55 pts in 43 career playoff games (in the regular season that would be over 50 goals and almost 110 pts over 82 games).

        He takes a lot of heat for the Capitals playoff failures, but I’m not sure its all deserved.

        If he was Canadian would we the media treat him the same and tell the same stories about him not getting it done? Or would the narrative be the great leader who needs more help, like Jarome Iginla’s has been.

        Go Habs Go!
        Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
        http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

        • D Mex says:

          Ovechkin’s not alone in WSH – there’s talent on their roster.
          I don’t care where he’s from : he comes with a big contract attached and, at some, point, he has to produce more than individual stats. I think Steve Stamkos would agree …

          ALWAYS Habs –
          D Mex

          • commandant says:

            I just think there is only so much one player can do.

            This is a team sport after all.

            The failures in Washington should be placed in the right spot. Mike Green has always sucked in the playoffs. Dennis Wideman is not near the same player in this series as he’s been in the regular season. Holtby’s goaltending this year is better than they’ve ever had in previous seasons.

            I just find it tough to blame a guy who is doing all he can.

            As for being benched, it only happened late in the third period of a game that the Caps were up by 1 goal and protecting a lead. Ovy’s never been the best defender and as such I see that decision as more strategic coaching, than “benching” but maybe its just me. I think it would be far more interesting if Ovy was benched in a tie game, or with the Capitals losing by 1 goal.

            Go Habs Go!
            Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
            http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I see the point you are trying to make, but end of day he is the team, per se. And that team has failed miserably in the playoffs. Also, he is being benched again by his coach in critical times of games. On virtually every team in the NHL the teams best players play the most critical minutes (Phil Kessel excluded LOL), so why is the 2nd coach for Washington not playing Ovie in those instances, and don’t we all think he is an elite enough player that he should be? He has incredible, speed, skill and strength. That combination should see him on the ice as much as possible, the fact he isn’t leads to the questions. I don’t think any of us are foolish enough to blame that on him being russian, it is just the fact that we are witnissing this.

        • HFX-HabFan says:

          Iginla has never had talent like Backstrom and Semin to work with.

        • habstrinifan says:

          I agree. I think Ovhkin is maligned. Think he would be great in Mt. Imagine adding Ovechkin, losing Gomez, and not losing any of Subban, Price,Max Pac, Cole, and yes DD.

          I think if you add Ovechkin then our forwards corps improves like 50% and it gives you freedom to add one big ‘plugger’ cheaply.

  16. FanCritic says:

    Ref Vancouver – it’s not just luongo in vancouver – there’s two forwards whom never shows up come playoff time – great all year no show in the playoffs – when you’re best don’t show up in the playoffs you won’t be around long.

  17. mark_ID says:

    Sorry if it has been posted already, but looks like Kristo will be spending one more year in College…..so no Hamilton next year.

    Too bad. Hopefully this isn’t a reflection of his interest in playing for the Habs.

    http://www.fightingsioux.com//ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=13500&ATCLID=205419091
    http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/339136.html

    “Step off George”

  18. HabinBurlington says:

    Have heard a few different times from different sources that Ownership in Florida may be having some financial issues.

    If indeed New Jersey can get by them, this could present some problems in Florida. The payroll increased dramatically there this past offseason and while the 1st round of playoff revenue has helped them, I am not sure it is enough to offset the increase in payroll from other years. Plus it was my understanding that team was not profitable even with a lower payroll like the past few seasons.

    Perhaps, Dale Tallon being available is not a pipedream. And perhaps Tallon would know how to make Gomez look good in a Florida uniform with his caphit being higher than his salary next season.

    Oh dare to dream……

    • habsfan0 says:

      When does Tallon’s contract expire?

    • Habshire says:

      New Jersey also has financial troubles: http://www.devils101.com/2012/01/29/nhl-advancing-money-to-new-jersey-devils/

      This series is a battle for much needed playoff revenue.

      • Exit716 says:

        Devils aren’t eligible for revenue sharing based on the size of the NYC market. Neither is LA. However, if there is a bonus for Geoff Molson, long runs by Florida, Nashville and Phoenix lessen the burden of contributing to revenue sharing.

    • Habsolutely says:

      Do you have any links to these sources? I recently read an article in the Miami Herald where the owner stated that the Panthers are the healthiest they’ve ever been. And yes, that is a dream, no GM who wants to remain a GM in the NHL is gonna get Gomez. Maybe, just maybe, sombody would take a chance on him if we bring him up on waivers and they can get him at half his salary, but that is still a huge maybe.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Heard it on the radio hear in Toronto, Bob McCown was mentioning and Damien Cox of the Toronto Star was also discussing it. I don’t behold this to be the gospel truth, but they were pretty outspoken about it.

        THey are also interviewed Talllon and chided him about brushing up on his french skills, to which Tallon mentioned don’t stir the pot.

        Thanks to Ont. Fan here who pointed this out yesterday, I then went to Sportsnet.ca to listen to the interview.

        http://www.fan590.com/ondemand/media.jsp?content=20120424_183233_4516

        THis is the interview, the comments about Florida’s financial situation were throughout the entire 3 hour show.

        • Habsolutely says:

          I’m not gonna listen to anything Damien Cox say’s. Do these guys have anything to back this up? Because as I see written here, most Canadians have a bit of a warped perception of the two Florida teams. For example. The ownership group that owns the Panthers also owns the Bank Atlantic Center. That means that they make big money off of concerts and other events. So you see the Panthers are just a piece of their revenue stream. So, I’d like a concrete article or something that quotes the owners as saying they are in trouble, otherwise, I don’t buy it. I would have heard about it here in South Florida.

  19. HardHabits says:

    In 1976 when the Habs beat the Flyers 4-0 I bemoaned the fact that Flyers didn’t put up a better fight and win at least one game. Believe me. I will find something. :-)

  20. habsfan0 says:

    The draft in Pittsburgh is now less than 2 months away.

    Any best guesses as to when the Habs will announce their GM decision,who will then need some time,presumably,to interview HC candidates.

  21. HabinBurlington says:

    If indeed Lidstrom decides to retire, it appears all but done that Brad Stuart is also leaving the RedWings at seasons end.

    They are really going to have to make a strong push to get Suter from Nashville, or else that team will have some big holes on the blueline next year.

    Detroits run as perennial contender may indeed be finally running out. Many people have posted here how the drafting of the RedWings has been overrated.

    The proof may soon be upon us, will be interesting how quickly the media in Detroit may turn on Babcock, Holland etc… if indeed the team does struggle.

    Also, Holmstrom may retire, Bertuzzi has to be near the end of his career. Lots of What Ifs in Detroit these days.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120424/SPORTS0103/204240445

    • Bripro says:

      That’s pretty much bang on how I feel too Gerry.
      I would find it disappointing that their fans turn on them, given the last 20 years of excellence.
      They’ve been THE NHL franchise of that period.

    • The Dude says:

      Sounds to me that the Wings could use Gomez….

    • HFX-HabFan says:

      I think they have to be considered the frontrunners for Suter, and they could conceivably land Parise too. I don’t know that they’ll surge back to the top of the Central but you have to think they’re still a playoff team with all that high-end talent.

  22. HabinBurlington says:

    Here is a good article detailing Jim Nill and the decision to discontinue discussions with Montreal. His wife is currently battling cancer. Best wishes to his wife.
    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120424/SPORTS0103/204240459/1361/Wings–Jim-Nill-decides-to-put-GM-aspirations-on-backburner

  23. veryhabby says:

    Smiler2729…..
    Dream on- there will always be something to complain about, or people’s who’s job is to make sure others complain! LOL. Look at Ottawa, man are fans ticked off at their coach for how he used his players in game 6. Something about not being able to make in game changes (LOL sounds like what so many complained about MArtin!). We look at them and think, WOW what a coach they got there! While their fans are saying he is no good.

    Always something to complain about….like the fact I have a head ache today, can I do home now?

  24. boing007 says:

    The NHL could have shortened the end of the first round by several days.

    Richard R
    Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  25. alfieturcotte says:

    I am not at all surprised — AK46 is a solid player — strong, 20-25 goal scorer. What the fool PG should have done was shop him around more effectively. Surprised me that Gaustad is worthy of a 1st round. We instead will get a 2nd rounder, and if we get lucky, he will turn into a 20-25 solid winger like the one we gave up. It was a dumb trade — AK46 expressed a desire to stay in Mtl. I have significantly more confidence in AK46 than Bourque.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Not a lot to disagree with here except I’d label AK as inconsistent as opposed to your solid. Since he’s now playing for another club, as most other former Hab players his play will be described as hall of fame material.
      ———————————–

  26. habfan53 says:

    RE :the GM
    I just read that Jim Nill had a couple of meetings with the Habs and he has now withdrawn from the “race”.
    To bad. One quote puzzles me though he said ” my goal is to become a GM” what is Montreal offering him then

    http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Montreal/2012/04/24/19673931.html

    Like the DODGERS “Wait till next year”

  27. Bripro says:

    So right about now, there’s a lot of corporate hockey soul searching going on.
    In our fair city, whether the GM has or has not been selected, we will not be privileged to that information. So there’s no use rushing into this. Let’s hope theirs is a wise choice.
    In Vancouver, Detroit and Chicago especially….
    With Lidstrom questioning whether he still has the passion, and the foot soldiers getting older, I foresee a partial restructuring happening.
    Luongo looks like he’s on his way out, probably back to Florida.
    And Chicago are back to their pre-cup goaltending nightmare, even though Crawford is our home-town boy and a great kid. He’s still not quite there yet.
    In N.J., if by some miracle Brodeur should find the hall-of-fame form of his younger days, they might achieve a second round depth, but I don’t see them going beyond. If they don’t Parise will test the UFA waters come July. And what a great pickup he would be for us.
    And hopefully tonight, the Bs will be doing some soul-searching of their own.
    That is of course if Hunter can learn how to coach more effectively, and use his star player more.
    Draft day can’t come soon enough.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Florida doesn’t need a goalie. They have one of the best young prospects in the entire league (Markstrom) who will move up to the big club next year.

      Of course Tampa is a totally different story. I wonder what Mike Smith is doing these days?

  28. Ian Cobb says:

    Here we go!!! Hab fans!
    Big press announcement coming at 2pm today.

    Oh I can’t wait until 2, Il’l tell ya now! We are hosting a Bar-B-Q and pool, back yard HIO get together again this summer for all HIO members. Stay tuned for details.

  29. smiler2729 says:

    Just imagine if the Habs hire the right GM and he, in turn, hires the right coach…
    And then, for the most part, he makes all the right moves and sets the team on a Red Wing-like path to perennial playoff contender status…

    What the hell would any of us have to bitch about here??? It would be a lot like if this HIO platform had been around during the 1970s.

    But noooo, we can’t be that way, y’know full of praise and goodwill toward one another and all that sh*t… oh man, just think, HIO would go out of business if it weren’t for us bitches!!
    _______________________________________
    Calling it like it is:
    Jack Edwards is a clam.
    The Bruins and their fans are gutless weasel pukes.

    • shiram says:

      They are bitching in Vancouver, with a team that finished 4 times in a row with over 100 points.

      • smiler2729 says:

        That’s cuz they’re Vancouver and they’ve NEVER won, we have 24 of these sweet silver babies under our belt, THAT is something nobody can take away from us.

        _______________________________________
        Calling it like it is:
        Jack Edwards is a clam.
        The Bruins and their fans are gutless weasel pukes.

        • shiram says:

          You are more positive than me, I feel unless a Cup is won byt the Habs, bitching will continue, no matter the standings, wins or whatever.

          • smiler2729 says:

            It depends on your age and if you can remember Montreal Cups, I’ve seen ‘em all since 1971. I’d be in a Vancouver frame of mind if I were born in the ’90s.

            _______________________________________
            Calling it like it is:
            Jack Edwards is a clam.
            The Bruins and their fans are gutless weasel pukes.

    • arcosenate says:

      We’ll always have halak vs. price.

  30. Xsteve50 says:

    Is it just me or is the GM search starting to drag on too long? I believed Molson had someone in mind when he made his moves. I hope they make a decission VERY soon, I want whoever it is to be deeply Emulsed into playoff hockey, major junior hockey, world championship hockey, and any other hockey that is still being played. I want him out whispering in the ears of other GMs, listening to his staff about conversations with team trainers (they are the ones that actually KNOW the players). What ever is taking so long, get the job done. May the best man win.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      It’s not just you, it’s our society.

    • Cal says:

      GM probably will not be announced until the playoffs have been completed.

      • Xsteve50 says:

        Correct me if I am wrong, but the playoffs could go until early June. Is that not a tad late to make a decission?

        • Cal says:

          Depends who the Habs are hiring. If that person belongs to the Cup winner or runner up, then we wait. When will not matter all that much because the scouts are still scouting the prospects as all the minor league playoffs are continuing.
          The Habs are appearing to be looking at as many possible candidates that are out there, excepting a certain follicley- challenged tv analyst who has been invited to play golf in Hilton Head.

        • habstrinifan says:

          Think the decision will be announced before 2nd round or during.
          Just my educated guess. I wont go into all my reasoning but I am not just throwing out a guess. I could be completely wrong however.

      • Ozmodiar says:

        Or shortly after the Panthers’ playoff exit. ;)

    • Clay says:

      It’s smart to wait until the playoffs are over to make sure the candidate pool is as large as possible…no need for making decisions in haste. I’d rather have the best candidate available.

      __________________________
      ☞ “Wow, that’s a nice lookin’ pair of Crocs!” Said no one ever.☜

    • mrhabby says:

      lots of people think a decision has already been made and the HABS are waiting for the season to end or at least the 1st/2nd rounds are over.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      This guy doesn’t whisper, but he would get right in the other GM’s faces.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGVSIkEi3mM

      I’m concerned if we get a GM who whispers he/she may wear a puffy shirt.

    • third generation haber says:

      Hiring the wrong guy (Gauthier/ Houle/ Burke) could set us back for 10-15 years. I just hope they hire the right guy, no matter how long it takes. A guy with at least assistant GM experience at the NHL level, and a great judge of talent, like Bergevin in Chicago!

      This decision will impact our team enormously for at least the next 10 years!

      j.p. murray

    • commandant says:

      The GM search is taking long because many other NHL teams will not even let you talk to their assistant GMs and player personnel guys, etc.. until they have been eliminated from the playoffs.

      Same with Junior clubs.

      Plus we probably want to wait and see what happens with other GMs in the league and who is fired.

      This is a big hire and we need patience. Plus whoever it is going to be, is working in a hockey circle right now and is scouting, talking to that staff, part of the ongoing hockey world.

      Its an absolute must that they hire the right guy here, and if that takes til the end of may, so be it.

      The new guy will still have a month to prep for July 1st.

      Go Habs Go!
      Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
      http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

  31. Ian Cobb says:

    I have never thought that Luongo was any more than just a good goal tender. Sure no Hall of Famer here.!

    • New says:

      That’s the thing though Ian. The media hype on some of these guys is incredible. Day in, day out, all you heard from Florida was Luongo this or that. Usually coupled with “If only he had a good team in front of him.” After awhile it is stuck in your head. You have heard so long that he is great that you think “Well, it’s an off night, because everybody knows he’s great.”

      The Luongo to Montreal campaign was almost as bad as the Theodore, Huet, and Halak campaigns. Teams win. Individuals get awards.

      • Ian Cobb says:

        A lot of people forget about it being a team game. Just look at Nashville, L.A. and Phoenix . No super stars there, just great team play, with a solid coach.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      THanks for the link Ian. Hope you are doing well.

    • Xsteve50 says:

      reads more like a minor league hockey manual

    • habsguy says:

      I always wanted AK to do better, too bad he played with kovy the master of showing up once every 7 or 8 games !!!…I really think he hurt AK and SK !!!

    • smiler2729 says:

      AK46’s biggest problem in Montreal was expectations. Being a high draft pick and the progress of the draftees before and after him that year put even more pressure on him.

      He couldn’t succeed here and for the most part he doesn’t have the emotional makeup to be the kind of leading scorer we wanted him to be. He’s a support guy not THE guy.

      He’s better off in the shadows of the hockey world in Nashville where he can just be a cog in the machine and no one expects anything more.

      _______________________________________
      Calling it like it is:
      Jack Edwards is a clam.
      The Bruins and their fans are gutless weasel pukes.

      • habsguy says:

        I don’t think we wanted or expected anything other than an effort!

        • third generation haber says:

          u took the words out of my mouth. His lack of effort and intensity, his enigmatic consistency was madening to me b/c of his obvious talent. Reminds me of Benoit Pouliot in that respect.

          Why hab fans jump all over Darche for working his tail off and contributing far more than his limited talent level should allow him to despite his 4th line minutes is beyond me.

          j.p. murray

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      I infer from the article that AK knows his role depending on which line he is playing. I am not sure that was ever the case here.

  32. alfieturcotte says:

    I can’t imagine a GM being so dim that they would trade for Luongo despite the brutal contract, his age, and playoff performance history. Then again, who would think that a GM would actually have gone out to trade for Kaberle…..how many other PG are there in the NHL?

    I think Vancouver is stuck with the salary, unless they agree to pick up a large contract in return.

    • Lizardking89 says:

      Burkie will he’s a brutally bad GM.

    • The Cat says:

      He could do well elsewhere, you never know. Mike Smith is proof of that. Just cause a players sucks somewhere doesnt mean he’ll suck elsewhere too. Erik Cole wasnt too hot in Edmonton etc…Luongo has earned -albeit not solidly- the benefit of the doubt.

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

  33. mrhabby says:

    so much chatter about Roberto to TO.

    Given the hate between Burke and Gillis..you can bet on a few things. Burke/Nonis will say nothing about it publically.

    If Roberto does end up in leafland you can bet that TO will want to send a crap contract back..like komi’s.

    i still think Tampa is the place given Rolie will be retired.

  34. HabFanSince72 says:

    Luongo’s contract is hefty, but it is not THAT hefty. His cap hit is a decent $5.3M.

    At 33, he is signed for ten more years but the last 4 are for small amounts meaning he could either retire or be bought out. You’re really getting him for 6 years, and he’s a big guy who tends to stay healthy.

    A team like the Maple Leafs could take on the contract without blinking.

    Also despite all the criticism he remains an excellent goalie, with a 91.9 save % this season.

    The question is will he continue to play well for the next 4-5 years?


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Agree HF72, McKenzie made same point yesterday. I don’t think Luongo intends on playing past 39 or 40. The contract was written for that exact reason.

      Interestingly the biggest road block in Burke acquiring Luongo may be that then BUrke has a contract in his hands that is completely against. He has trumpeted so often his despisement of such contracts, will he once again put his personal agenda and ego ahead of making his team better?

    • Cal says:

      Luongo’s been over-rated for years. When the chips are down, he’s performed like a Nervous Nelly.
      He is proof why goalies should never receive more than a 5 year contract. Never. Not even God’s gift to the Habs (sense the sarcasm?) Price.

      • Clay says:

        There were a lot of chips own in the Olympics though, and Luongo came through.
        With that said, I still don’t want him on my team though. But I could see a team taking him.

        __________________________
        ☞ “Wow, that’s a nice lookin’ pair of Crocs!” Said no one ever.☜

    • gK_HabsFan says:

      I agree completely. If the Leafs are no pursuing Luongo there is something wrong. People are saying Florida or Tampa may push to acquire him, however, I don’t think those teams have the financial leverage to take on such a committment.

      To acquire Lu, it’s gonna take Kadri + Gardiner + … IMO

      • mrhabby says:

        i can’t see kadri/gardiner going the other way.

        Gillis will have to take a bad contract back to make it work..after all part of the issue is Vancouver/TO trying to free up cap space.

        • gK_HabsFan says:

          I dont see that happening. Lu is one of the best Regular season goaltender in the league. He may not be as good in the PO, but take a look at Vancouver’s D… They have no actual Puck moving D… I don’t watch too many Canucks games but aside from edler, how was horrible in the PO, they have no one who can play at both sides of the ice consistently. You need that in the NHL.

          Lu has value IMO. He demands R. Nash level demand. A top prospect + Nhler + Picks.

          If you take a look at his contract, he’s not going to pay past the age of 40, where he’s making $1 and $2 million.

          • mrhabby says:

            Lu has value for sure. iam just not so sure its of the Nash level but i guess were going to see . That being said, if Gillis gets a top prospect, nhler and picks good for him.

            ps…see Globe and Mail article on LU today…interesting read.

          • gK_HabsFan says:

            In all honesty, The biggst quetion mark surrounding Lu is his PO performances. Part of that has to do with Vancouver as a team a well. This yer, Kesler, Higgins, Booth were all invisible. And the sedin twins only played well when one of them came back from injury… He’s not the reason they were eliminated

            What kind of value does Nash have? In my opinion, he’s unproven… How many times has he made the PO in his career. He’s a good player, but he doesn’t make the players around him better.

            If nash = Top propect + NHLer + picks… Luongo has close to or similar value

    • Phil C says:

      I think retire is the more likely option because a buyout would be cheap in cash but expensive in cap space. If his last 4 years were bought out, it would only cost a total of $4.6M, but the buyout cap hit would be as follows:

      Roberto Luongo buyout from CapGeek.com
      2018-19: $2,534,667
      2019-20: $4,298,667
      2020-21: $4,916,667
      2021-22: $4,916,667
      2022-23: $583,333
      2023-24: $583,333
      2024-25: $583,333
      2025-26: $583,333

  35. Ton says:

    Anyone can the feeling that Jim Nill from Detroit was Habs firsts choice…….interesting if that is the case…..I may be wrong but he is not bilinqual?? If not then there is some flexibility on that issue.

    • TomNickle says:

      I posted yesterday that based on his comments to mlive I was under the impression the job was his if he wanted it.

      Two interviews and continuing interest until a personal health issue in his family derailed the candidacy is a strong indication to me that he was at the very least the front runner.

    • Stev.R says:

      The article said that there was two interviews and both sides had interest. I think Montreal is interested in everyone they call, and I hope they are talking to the candidates more than twice. I bet he was a strong candidate, but maybe not their top choice.

    • habstrinifan says:

      I agree that it was a good sign the habs search was so wide… but there was also a post which said Jim Nill is fluent in french and english. Just a one line post by whom I dont recall now.

  36. Stormin says:

    From my dungeon

    1) From the Reykjavik Grapevine- Street Hockey banned in Iceland
    2) From The Ottawa Sun-Mr Gauthier you make good cookies
    3) From Toronto Sun-In the year 2000 in an effort to save money CBC to use a Bob Cole Soundboard for play by play
    4) From Montreal Gazette-Two Montreal Police detectives suspended for using Greenfield Park native Garry Galley Pinwheels for interrogation purposes.
    5) From the Boston Globe. Tim Thomas says he feels helpless trying to stop Semin on wraparound
    Bonus) From Maple Ridge Times- Larry Walker and Cam Neely thank firefighters for rescue when the pair of local stars get stuck on a cliff

  37. HabinBurlington says:

    Not sure how I stumbled onto this, but here is another perspective on NHL teams. There is almost reason to like the Bruins, and despite the LA Kings crowning achievement, still appears to me that the Habs are the team to cheer for.

    http://network.yardbarker.com/all_sports/article_external/the_lovely_ladies_of_the_nhluh_yump/10580719?home_bb_image_10580719

  38. 24 Cups says:

    Can this guy play LW? Sounds like he would be a perfect fit for Pleks and Gionta on the 2nd line.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nba/story/?id=394142

    All we are saying, is give peace a chance.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkZC7sqImaM

    • HabinBurlington says:

      If I recall correctly he also went in the stands a number of years back and took on all comers. He would be great to bring to Boston, and just let him loose.

      • Chuck says:

        Can he skate? Does it even matter?

        ___________________________________________________
        Being a Hab fan is like buying real estate: only over the long-haul will you appreciate the true value of your investment.

  39. 24 Cups says:

    All the buzz down here in laff land is centred around Luongo and a possible trade that would bring him to Toronto.

    I figure there might be 5 or 6 teams that would show some interest: Chicago, Columbus, New Jersey, Tampa, Toronto and maybe San Jose. Chicago and San Jose may have cap issues so that would push them out of the running. Mason is a bust in Columbus, while Reimer is still unproven in Toronto. Brodeur and Roloson are ready to retire. Regardless, I can’t see this as being a blockbuster deal. Vancouver is going to have to bite the bullet on any deal just to get from under Luongo’s burdensome contract. I doubt any team will be throwing in a top pairing Dman such as Ryan McDonagh.

    Speaking of goalies, tonight’s game will be quite the contrast as the experienced veteran goes up against the untested rookie in game seven. Everyone on this site hates the Bruins with most of the animosity going toward Chara and Lucic. For me, the biggest dick on the Bruins has to be Thomas. He was the best player in the league last season but I just can’t get past his political views. Or his lack of timing when it comes to sharing them with an unsuspecting public.

    If there ever was a game for Ovechkin to step up and shine then tonight’s has to be it. It’s time for him to prove that he’s still one of the best five players in the league.

    • Maksimir says:

      I see Tampa & Toronto being the front runners.. but I have a feeling only Burke is dumb enough to take on a salary that big for a goalie who might be in decline. That said I still really like Luongo and he is still one of the best – but he has shown a tendency to crap the bed in the big games.

      I agree with Ovie – this game will show if he has the ability to rise up to the level of other elite players who are able to lead their team in the post season. Hope he doesn’t crap the bed tonight too.

      I still hate Looch, Marchand, Chara and few other Brooins more than Thomas.

      • 24 Cups says:

        Maksimir – Do you sell diapers for a living:-)

        I forgot about Marchand, he’s such a lowlife weasel.

        The other factor in the Luongo discussion would be a possible amnesty buyout in the new CBA.

        Speaking of Tampa, would Yzerman have the courage to dump Vinny if there is a one time buyout option? What about Bryzgalov, if to use your expression, he craps the bed in this year’s playoffs?

  40. HabinBurlington says:

    Perhaps someone from this site can purchase this $100 book on how to be a GM and send a copy to Geoff Molson, or read it and then share the book with the rest of us wanna be GM’s.
    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Alan-Bass/Learning-How-to-Be-an-NHL-General-Manager/167/44069

    • 24 Cups says:

      I heard about the book when it first came out as it had great reviews. However, sticker shock stopped me from purchasing it.

      It might be a great idea to auction one off at next year’s Hab Summit. Maybe a mandatory $10 entry fee which would go into a draw for the book. 60 participants would mean we would have a profit of $500. Not bad at all!

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I wonder if its out in Kindle addition. I’ll have to check when I get home.
      BTW – saw your temporary post. I think I would have been the first poster but I was delayed looking for my tie which I had already tied around my neck. I’m losing it my friend.

      ———————————–

    • JohnBellyful says:

      The Canadiens had better snap up this book in a hurry and then choose a GM. The players aren’t happy.

      MONTREAL – The vacant GM position is creating a hole in the lives of the Montreal Canadiens.
      “I haven’t slept well in weeks,” said diminutive captain Brian Gionta. “The longer there’s a void at the top, the stress of not knowing who will lead us will only get bigger. I’m at loose ends.”
      Other players surveyed expressed similar feelings of anxiety.
      “I don’t know who to turn to,” said an unshaven Erik Cole, who remained curled in a foetal position on the couch with the blinds drawn during a telephone interview. “I know a lot of people were glad to see Mr. Gauthier let go but he was responsible for my being here and giving me a chance to rebuild my career. I miss him. I hope they find a replacement soon. I’m at wit’s end.”
      Josh Gorges said a general manager is more than a GM, “he’s a BFF. People on the outside used to complain about Mr. Gauthier being a vague-an but he was a straight-shooter with me. I knew where I stood with him. Anytime I was off with an injury, he’d text me every other week and ask when I was coming back. That personal touch means a lot. I wish this speculation over his replacement would end.”
      Tomas Plekanec “cried like a little girl when Mr. Gauthier was fired.”
      The veteran centre who came under fire for his diminished production this season said his play was affected by the continuing criticism of Gauthier’s leadership.
      “He was like the remote, distant, aloof father I never had,” he said. “When you see a beloathed figure like that being constantly hammered in the press, it hurts.”
      Plekanec acknowledged Habs owner Geoff Molson had the right to send the GM packing but he disagreed with the decision to cut short Gauthier’s tenure with the club.
      “I don’t think the means justifies the end,” he said with a sob.
      “I have a wife but it’s just not the same as having a general manager, she thinks she’s the commissioner,” said one player who asked to remain “anomaninous, ominous, antihippopotamus – just leave my name out of it.”
      Max Pacioretty said not having a general manager is “like running into a stanchion all over again – only 10 times worse.”
      Travis Moen said the managerial void has him wondering if he should re-sign with the team.
      “I need to know the team is going to hire a guy who can lift us into 14th place,” he said. “Otherwise, why bother coming back.”
      Contacted on his cellphone, the garrulous PK Subban refused to hang up. A condensed version of his reaction will appear tomorrow.
      Lars Eller answered in Dane-speak but his body language said “I’m experiencing great angst.”
      Carey Price said he’s “better than Halak.”


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