Game 21: Canadiens breeze 4-1 over Isles

Canadiens’ Steve Bégin is congratulated by linemate Mathieu Dandenault after having scored his second goal of tonight’s game.
Ray Stubblebine, Reuters

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Lineups | Preview | Hickey Game Story | Game Summary | Event Summary | Boxscore | Boone’s Blog

Maybe the change of scenery helped the Canadiens.

After a seemingly interminable stretch of seeing the same uniforms, the Habs found Uniondale, N.Y., to their liking tonight, beating the New York Islanders 4-1 on the strength of a two-goal performance by – wait for it – Steve Bégin.

The Canadiens improved their record to 12-6-3, while the Islanders dropped to 11-7-0.

Habs goalie Cristobal Huet, who made 44 saves, lost his bid for a shutout with 3:50 left in the game when he was beaten by Mike Comrie.

The ice was still wet at 56 seconds when the Canadiens got on the board, Bégin fed from behind the net by Mathieu Dandenault, who had done some good work to come up with the puck.

Bryan Smolinski earned the second assist on the goal, Bégin firing one from the faceoff circle to the right of Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro for his second goal of the season.

The Habs held a 13-12 edge in first-period shots.

Playing in his hometown, before 66 family members and friends at the Nassau Coliseum, Christopher Higgins scored his first road goal of the season and eighth of the year at 6:14 of the second on a fine individual effort, sweeping in across DiPietro’s crease and stuffing the puck over the Isles goalie. You want happy? Check out Higgins here.

Higgins had been sent away with a beautiful pass from the Canadiens end into the offensive side of centre by defenceman Roman Hamrlik, who played a game-high 25:20 and finished the night at +2, and scored with a Habs power play expired by one second.

Bégin quickly potted his second of the night just over two minutes later, bobbling on the stickhandle – he joked on RDS after the period that it was a fake – then scooping up the puck and whipping a wrister past DiIPietro, who was totally surprised by the shot.

Tomas Plekanec then made it 4-0 at 13:22, winning a power-play draw back to the point to Patrice Brisebois, then taking a perfect, lightning-quick cross-ice pass from Alex Kovalev, who’d been fed by Brisebois, to bury it past an increasingly porous DiPietro for his sixth of the season.

The Canadiens outshot their hosts 16-13 in the second for a 29-25 edge after 40 minutes.

It was an eventful night for defenceman Mike Komisarek, a Long Islander like Higgins. Komisarek was a physical presence all night long; he also had a spirited fight with Isles’ Brendan Witt midway through the second period, then drew a four-minute minor late in the period for high-sticking.

The Canadiens play the Sabres in back-to-back games this weekend: Friday in Buffalo and Saturday back at the Bell Centre.


A few pre-game statistics:


  1. StillattheMapes says:

    Nightmare. I love this comment. Spot on.

    Actually I think you are very close, but the PM ended up de facto calling it (karma) roles and responsibilities for DMs as accounting officers in the FeDAA. Real karma is obviously what we used to call (way back when) the things we either said aloud or murmured while convincing others (in my case females) to discard their clothes as we cast I-Ching sticks by candlelight to otherwise convince others (the same females)to discard their clothes for various purposes. It was always a circular argument (or discussion) anyways, sometimes successful, sometimes redundant, sometimes just not on.

    Meanwhile, the PM does not have any karma at all. None. Nor do most of his Ministers, though some are less cold or careering than others. It is just a game of course (always has been), but these days I wish they would not play so much monopoly with our (my) money.

    The PM could not have possibly invented karma (duh, oh really, but tell this to his communications people) or any of its context (would he could wish upon a star), though some c’s would debate that…. out of… regard and expediency. Most people do not confuse karma with charm, and in this case, there is no confusion. Karma-less and charm-less. And very difficult.

    Just a side-bar.

    Meanwhile, Carey Price has karma, and charm may come (he has already decided upon his very “calm” schtick), though I don’t care about that so much. Only that he wins. JT said it awhile ago and I agreed with him then in a silly runny discourse aided by adult beverages, which is why I am commenting here. It is just a feel. Price’s habs just play better than Huet’s Habs, and I mean no disrespect to Christobel whatsover, who is a very good goaltender. It is always about timing and about players, sometimes talent.

    It is just about, well, karma.

    No I cannot define this word… but I think in this context that Carey’s teammates feel pretty good in front of him. This is generally a good feeling in hockey, especially as a former defenceman. When you win at all levels, generally you keep winning up. It’s a reason to believe…..

  2. Chorske says:

    Roy left Montreal with his two middle fingers in the air. The guy is a huge competitor, but so was Mario Tremblay, and look what HIS coaching got us. That was an era when management made the mistake of thinking that heart and passion won you hockey games. It helps, but talent and focus and discipline win championships. I feel way more secure with Bob Gainey in charge, with his almost Vulcan-like calm, than with Houle/Tremblay and their constant state of emotional upheaval. I think Roy has a lot of growing up to do before he could ever coach at the NHL level. This is a guy who tore a door off its hinges during a fight with his wife, for chrissakes. We need THAT kind of passion like a hole in the head.

    Remember the old joke, when someone told Patrick Roy: there’s no “i” in “team”, and he replied, yeah, but there is one in “equipe”? 😉

  3. Sulemaan says:

    That comment made me laugh out loud n_49.

  4. cautiousoptimist says:

    And shot lightning out of his nether-regions.

  5. krob1000 says:

    Yikes…..not the Genetic Chemistry thing again.
    We better trade Koivu I guess as we have no other Finns…or I guess we could trade for two….or is any where in Scandinavia o.k. as far as your genetic chemistry theory. Wait ……… we could call up Lahti and then we only need one.

    I’m not sure exactly what has been proven but I think it is probably best unsaid.

  6. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    It would be folly for Carb to mess with the chemistry of our #1 line: Kovy/Pleks/Kostisyn at this point…

    Previously I wrote of the Genetic Chemistry of this combination and have been proven correct.

    I think the question is Ryder/Koivu/?????…bulldog kostisyn?

    Regardless, after tonight we’ll be able to make a more educated decision on the capabilities of Higgins….where he is going.

  7. coutNY says:

    AS stated earlier with a KOVY/KOIVU/RYDER line up who do you move to Left wing? With both being a right handed shot, why hinder Kovy who is our top scorer or put Ryder into a position who is already finding difficulties in his natural position?

    See earlier post (11/21/2007 – 15:30) for couple more reasons why Carbo might not to go that route…

  8. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    On Higgins and Ryder….

    I’m glad to read that the “HIGGINS ENIGMA” has finally brewed to the surface… a point that the professor has brought out in the past. (actually the split second I observed the 2007 play of Higgins)

    HIGGINS should be demoted….even if its for a few shifts like Ryder was.

    His erratic stickhandling is detrimental to the precision needed on the top 2 lines. His speed and forecheck are excellent attributes for the 3rd or 4th line, but his lack of finesse passing or finishing is why he needs to be sent down…(to the 3rd or 4th)

    Now if he was finesse passing and finishing then he is ABSOLUTELY #1 MATERIAL….the argument is not that he has 7 goals, but he should have about 17 goals at this point….his 2 on 0 with Koivu the other night was a nightmare for a professional 1st liner.

    Ryder is finally finding a medium between his new found stickhandling abilities (he is stickhandling more than he ever has in the first two years on the team) and regaining his sniper ability..He is a TRIGGER MAN who will work well with Koivu or Kovalev who are master passers.

    Only Higs can improve on Higs…and I’d bet tonight is when it happens. Higs will be playing in front of 30-40 family members.


  9. coutNY says:

    Not sure why Carbo is holding off with a Koivu/Kovalev/Ryder senario but here are 3 reason I came up with why I think he has: First, Carbo is too worried of defensively reliability. All are coming off a horrid season of negative +/- in a system designed to combat such things from happening. Second, Switching Ryder to the left side being right handed shot would seem to me, only to further disadvange him and asking Kovalev to switch would be ridiculus given his start and chemisrty with his current line. Last, I don’t think Kiovu generally likes playing with Kovalev or vice-versa. Maybe its because of there similarities in quaterbacking the offensive play. They seem to work well together PP together, but very few times have we seen them play regular shifts together.

    If one looks at for last years slumping Sens, it was a move putting their top 3 offensive machines together that turned their season around. If we were to fall into a prolonged slump and the candidates were receptive, I would try Higgins/Koivu/Kovalev and Kosti/Pleks/Ryder, get the creative control line 1 and the speedy transition game with line 2…? Like I said I don’t think Kovy & Koivu play nice together, so I don,t see it happening.

  10. nightmare_49 says:

    Karma was invented by Stephen Harper to rate his cabinet ministers.

  11. nightmare_49 says:

    A lot of logic in your posting and now we’ll have many posts fitting your logic into their agenda.

  12. nightmare_49 says:

    I have to agree with you about Higgy and his head down as many times when carrying the puck there are men open but he can’t notice them and ends up making one to many moves or shoots. He’ll have to work on that and Ryder is getting it away a little faster and is about half way there. Timing and confidence.

  13. krob1000 says:

    I read everything on here. Yes, I understand your point and I love these debates as long as they stay level headed(which they almost all do which is a big reason I love this site). There is ABSOLUTELY no doubt that Price is destined to be the number one but I don’t think there is any predetermined timeline. If he develops way ahead of schedule than perhaps he gets his shot sooner than later but he will not be pushed in any manner. As for the one game who would I choose…..right now it would still be Huet. As for if I could have only one goaltender forever it would be Price as he definitely has more potential and is younger. He is already an above average goaltender based on what I have seen and he has only played a handful of games.

    He has the positioning and size of Giguere but with better reflexes and instincts. He is just young and goaltending and confidence are synonymous. Look at Theodore…..league MVP to Racicot. He didn’t stop being a good goalie ….he stopped believing he was a good goalie. When pucks are being fired 90+ miles an hour from 30 feet you don’t have time to think……thinking is bad and I do believe Price has the mental makeup of a winner and the calm demeanour will help him but there is no need to rush him.

    Chipchura was always billed as a defensive minded center with offensive ability to match. Every game he seems to grow more comfortable and proves that he is equally as intelligent offensively (can’t underestimate the value of confidence…not just in sport but in life). IQ is IQ. I don’t think he is ever going to be a top scorer but I can see him developing into a Mike Richards type player who can do everything a little better than average. If I had to guess I would say that in two or three years Chipchura will be a 20+ goal , 40 assist guy with a plus 10 or higher while playing a shut down role. He will be a lot like Carbo was in his prime. I also think Guy will turn him into a top faceoff man at some point as well as it will be very important given the role he will have. Best case scenario if he ever increases his speed and conditioning he could turn out like a Rod Brind’Amour (of the last few years…two way everything man).

  14. Mr.Hazard says:


    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  15. J.T. says:

    And scored the winner himself.

  16. Ferguson-22 says:

    Habs will have their hands full tonight for sure. I also agree with CoutNY – Habs need to shoot more with traffic in front of their net. Good luck boys…

  17. T-roy West says:

    Sorry, that should read ” around the net that Chipchura has “. Just a thought but imagine a team made up of guys like Mike Fisher.

  18. krob1000 says:

    Based on the “larger role” comment before regarding Kostopolous I am assuming the Chipchura line will be getting more time than the Smolinski line. Only time will tell but I think that line might just work. I think those three all play about the same speed and Latendresse has a great shot and Chipchura may help him get it off a few times , especially if Kostopolous does the majority of the grinding. Lats is not Ryder or Higgins as I mentioned above but he is definitely an offensively minded player so I think I like this.

  19. T-roy West says:

    P.S. What the bleep is this karma thing again?

  20. T-roy West says:


    Of course Huet is our “starting goaltender”, that’s obvious. Carb’s makes those decisions (or does he?). Huet reads newspapers and he might even read blog’s but he definately doesn’t walk around with his head in the sand. He know’s his day’s are numbered. So if a goaltenders day’s are numbered like alot of people suggest then is he really your number one? I also think it affects his play (i.e., he is a little shakey especially on long shots, price no problem, rebounds Price no problem, puck handling Price no problem. I’m under the suspicion that management is putting the gears in order so that Price is the #1 sooner than later. If Huet day’s are numbered this year and management know’s it then is he the number one goaltender or just the #1 starter by default. If you krob1000 had to choose one goaltender with the game on the line or you could only have one goaltender then who would you pick? About Roy behind the bench it’s because of the passion and youthful energy he would provide and how he would defend his players with a passion. They would go to war for him and that’s what we need but alas mybe that’s just a silly fantasy! Not! I’ll leave the Price vs Huet #1 scenerio alone for now but I think you know what I am getting at. Good debate and I respect your opinion. Just wondering if you read my comments yesterday when you and pleks were debating with fuhgawz. Also what do you think about the moves and soft hands around the need that Chipchura has – very eye opening indeed.

  21. krob1000 says:

    They always seem to dump the puck into Ryders corner when I believe anyone would agree that Higgins is better at puck retrieval. I agree and I think Kovalev does have vision and he is great along the boards. I cavn’t help wonder though if the people who earlier suggested Kovalev/Ryder/Kovalev may be onto something. Kovy and Higgins both battle well along the boards and Plekanec is in my estimation our teams glue guy (he can do anything well). He had good chemistry with Higgins and Kostitsyn last year so I don’t know why he wouldn’t now. As for Kovalev on the first line…..I think he would work wonderful with Ryder and Koivu.

    This WILL NOT HAPPEN unless the team slumps though as there is no need at this stage to tinker but I thing Carbo knows he has an ace up his sleeve if we hit a wall offensively. Don’t forget also our cap space …every day that passes a free agent’s salary cap cost decreases to us.

  22. krob1000 says:

    The Ian Cobb may be onto something.

    I think the Ryder and Higgins do have difficulty playing together as their styles somewhat clash. I think we are bettter served though if they remain together and Higgins lifts his head a little more. I think if not for the great success of Pleks and Kovy you may already be seeing Higgins with Plekanec and Kostitsyn and Kovalev with Ryder and Koivu. at some point we just may but for now I think Koivu’s line just has to learn to mesh and adapt to each other. After all, the first few games they were producing an incredible amount of chances.

    If only we had one more scorer we could have three lines with serious coring punch. Chipchura may develop enough offensive ability (it appears he is really close) to play set up man to an offensive winger on one side of him. I know his primary role is defence and that this thought will sound out there but IF we had one more scorer (free agent so as not to lose one) for our top line I bet Higgins and Chipchura would make one heck of a two way line.

    Anyways this is all crazy talk for now as we are doing well. It is interesting to note because if the Koivu line goes through a prolonged slump (and if we are losing and producing no offense)we just may see Chipchura getting either Ryder ot Higgins and a lot more ice time.

  23. cautiousoptimist says:

    Seriously. If Huet beats Anaheim in the Cup final in seven games this year, people here will be insisting that Price would have won it in six.

  24. coutNY says:

    The Koivu comment was not intended to belittle his effort or any of the 3 as of late for that matter. Constructive critism is what I would call it. I think Koivu has been trying too hard at times and a few forced passes have resulted. One can tell this is all in an effort to jump start his line. Last game he had a few turnovers, which looked to me, like he wasn’t fully confident in the guy he was passing to or may have been having second thoughts because they weren’t on the same page. I think he gets frustrated when Higgins or Ryder don’t display the same patience and as a result sometimes they seem out of sync.

    As for Higgins, I love to see a masterful puck control display along the boards but he needs to finish it with quick cross-ice pass to an awaitng 1-timer to Ryder or centered to Kiovu for the chip in, which will open up opportunities for himself with unpredicability of whether he’ll shoot or pass.

    Kovalev is famous for his ability to control the puck on the boards, and it is a very good attribute to posess, but they need to work on finding an open man after drawing the attention to themselves. In Hockey they call it Vision. This is the difference in a good offensive player verses a great.

  25. cautiousoptimist says:

    I think you’re a bit hard on Smolinski there – he’s not in Montreal to rack up goals, he’s there to be a Radek Bonk, and he’s every bit as good at shutting down opposing forwards as Bonk was.

    And I think the idea behind not booing players is that if they’re not playing well when they’ve got fan support, having their own fans turn on them isn’t likely to boost their morale. Aside from which, it’s a pretty crappy thing to do… Does the quality of your work increase when your boss tells you you’re garbage, or do you look to work elsewhere?

  26. The Ian Cobb says:

    Ryder & Higgins, Can not play on the same line, i’ve said this before and an example of what i said was a great game by Ryder only after Higgins went down in the first period 2 games ago. There is only 1 puck on the ice, and Higgins has it most of the time, that is great, but Ryder needs to carry the puck deep to be efective, Higgins plays a differnt style, he is on the puck like a shot and is a strong forechecker, three way passing plays is not Higgins game. I would like to move Higgins down a line or two where his style may be more productive. Now you turn Koivu and Ryder and WHO? loose for better play makeing.

  27. krob1000 says:


    I think you are on the right track there in the quality vs quantity department. I think there has been so much emphasis placed on shots on net and it has perhaps got us pulling the trigger in situations where we have a little more time (easy for us to say from afar). The bad angle shots are not always a bad thing but they shouldn’t be a first option all of the time. IF a rebound is surrendered they are grea and a shot on net is never really a bad thing.

    There have been times though where it would be nice if the puck carrier showed a little more patience (again easy for us to say) but I think Carbo has tried to get them back to the basics (shooting) again after a string of l ow shots/chances performances last week and the week before. It has worked and guys have been shooting the puck and he is probably going to give guys a little more slack as they (Ryder too) have remembered it seems that you need to shoot to score.

    The Higgins head down thing does bother me at times but his positives far outwiegh his lone downfall as far as I can see. I think Ryder has been great as of late and was for the first several ganmes. I think he got frustrated after being unable to finish despite several chances and got away from being himself and definitely did need to be reminded of his forte (mission accomplished). Koivu I cannot fault for anything and don’t quite understand what you are saying. He is best when he holds on to the puck as his patience is probable his biggest offensive asset. If Koivu had a great shot he would score a ton but he scores 90 percent of his goals from inside 20 feet and that is fine because he is good at being Koivu.

    The Senators also have an ultra intelligent team and they are very adept at amking and taking those hard passes even in tight. Colorado uses this same approach in the offensive end and relies on streaking players getting of good shots in close. There is a downfall to this that is probably not in Carbo’s playbook as it can result in odd-man rushes the other way. Oh yeah they also have Heatley, Alfreddson and Spezza (3 of the top ten or fifteen players in the league).

  28. joe-hab-nuno says:

    I like our goaltenting situation, one of the areas i don’t have aproblem except until the point when Carbo said we don’t have a no.1 now. That’s when those high goals started to happen(talking about the last cpl 4 goal games). Could be one of the reason’s Huet seems a bit off.

  29. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Smolinski for 2 mil is high price to pay. Mike Johnson signed with the blues for about 800k did the same job as Smolinski if not better, also liked his effort last year. I don’t hate Smolinski, i just think we could of gotten better.

    Not bashing Lats or Grabs, but i think Kots jr and D’Agos would have a bigger impact.

  30. HabsGO says:

    It should be a good game against this well coached team from other division. Hope the boys from long island will have a good game and better luck, get some points, Mike and Chris. We need someone to be at the slot to block Goalie’s view more in order to score. Our defense should get back to normal, play a better positioned game.

  31. 24 Cups says:

    Well said krob1000. For now, the best players are in the right place at the right time. Just like in parliament, there may be a ‘cabinet’ shuffle down the road once everyone’s strengths and weaknesses become more apparent.

  32. T-roy West says:

    I agree east_coast_hab_fan. Enough with the Ryder bashing, I think he knows he has to be better. Higgin’s, love the guy (In a none sexual way) should talk less and score more when he gets his chances and stop calling out his defencemen in front of the media when they have a bad game. And for the love of pete people step outside the box. If you had your choice between having Price or Huet for a goaltender, who would it be? Price that’s who! Price doesn’t have to play more games than Huet to be the #1 in my humble opinion, he just is. I’m not knocking Huet because Huet is a good goaltender but I think even Huet know’s who the true #1 is even if it is not on paper! It has been said that so many ahl playoff games are worth so many nhl games so it’s safe to say he has more experience than 6 nhl games. When you hear the comparisons between Price and Roy the biggest one is the confidence factor. He makes his team confident because he is. When the defencemen looked back and saw Patrick the were inspired. Last weeks barn burner with Boston was no fluke! They put up the seven goals because they knew he could keep them in the game and they felt they could go on the offensive. They want to win for him, it doesn’t matter how or why, what matter’s is they do. He is young – just like them. All we would need is Roy behind the bench and you would see the youthful energy fly, after all Patrick was the ” True Captain ” of the Canadiens in the locker room. What do you guys ( and girls ) think of that scenerio. Please let me know!

    P.S. A special hello to all habs fans out west, yee friggin ha!

    T-roy West :)

  33. krob1000 says:

    Completely disagree with Price being the true no. 1 stuff. The Roy behind the bench scenario could very well happen some time down the road. I believe Carbo will be the man for a few years or more and Roy may in fact enter the organization on a management or scouting level first but I definitely think at some point Roy is going to be a member of the organization again. Roy is always going to be remembered as a Hab and it was one bonehead (a likely candidate for a “where are they now” feature that ruined everything). Roy is a winner and in my opinion is more of a leader than even Mark Messier. He is passionate, successful and intelligent. Like Carbonneau last year though he needs to learn when to turn on and off the emotions as a coach/manager but he is getting great experience right now as a coach/g.m.

    Roy will be behind an NHL bench someday and I know I would like it to be ours. I am just guessing obviously as we all do on here but I would figure he would want to stay as close to home as possible.

  34. coutNY says:

    When watching the Sens game OTT offense almost looked predictable… Like it had a formula. Spread the D by going to a corner than try a pass to a trailing Net crasher hoping to catch Huet out of Position. This is the formula that has been key to alot of our PP success. It helped that Alfee seemed to have magical powers to come up with the puck time after time and the puck seemed like it was glued to his stick until he released it.

    We’re getting away from good set-up plays and focusing on taking straight on shots. Its Quality vs. Quantity issue. Whether its Higgins holding the puck with his head down, Ryder taking his time to try to set the puck on a tee or find the perfect comfortable positioning, or Koivu holding the puck trying to make a perfect pass and healing the puck because of second thoughts; we need to get back to the basics of getting the goalie out of position or imparing his vision.

  35. 24 Cups says:

    Further to all the discussion about goaltending. As a Leaf hater, you just have to love the fact that the young goaltender (Rask) the Lousy Leafs traded to get Raycroft defeated the goaltender (Toskala) the Leafs traded for in order to improve on Raycroft. And it only cost them their first round pick (as well as their second) last year which could have been Cherepanov! Not to mention that these two guys will collectively eat up over $6 mil in cap space next year for the Leafs. As stated before, Huet/Price are the least of our worries. Of course then there’s McCabe and Kabina ……..

  36. Thumper says:

    Nice arena, good organ and I feel a good win coming on. I think many are being too harsh on the Habs, including the guys on the podcast today. Ottawa are the best team around right now and they certainly did not destroy us, in fact Kovy could have scored 2 in the last 10 mins and everyone might have been praising a glorious display, but hey I’m liking the team we have this year.

  37. krob1000 says:

    Smoinski has been a bit of a no show as of late but he is not here to make headlines. His best games are the ones where you hardly notice him. I agree he has made some uncharacteristic bonehead plays but more often than not his value is in his “playing high as a third man” and cutting off passsing lanes. I don’t think he has really lived up to his past performances or expectations but I don’t think he has hurt us in any way. I’m still taking the wait and see approach with him. Let’s also remember that it is he that ends up with different wingers every game whenever an experiment is tried on the top two lines. Once we settle in and the lines somewhat iron themselves out at that point I think we will be able to make a more accurate assessment.

    As for the Hamilton thing…..we have avoided the injury bug thus far (knocking on wood) but once it hits a couple of players will get their chance. Noone right now is looking at a real risk of being demoted (sorry to say Latenderesse and Grabovski bashers) and unless the team goes into a major funk and these guys really stink it up injuries are the only possible reason a Bulldog will be called up. Personally, I think Kostitsyn looked pretty good in camp but I don’t think he could make an immediate impact unless playing on the pp or with one of the top two lines (not going to happen).

  38. Blitzen says:

    I agree about the Sens. The only way they lose right now is if they beat themselves as they did against the Laffs. Not worried about those losses but we need to stock up on Ws against teams like the Isles. I would really like to see Higgy finally break out.

  39. Scotty90 says:

    Habs are doing extremely well, more so than many, and I mean many, people thought they would do. We lost 3 games to Ottawa… so what. They are the best team in the NHL. They have experienced players who have been playing together for a while. Can they get any better? maybe a little, its hard to be better than they already are. The Habs, a few experienced guys, a lot of new faces, generally speaking have not been playing together as a team for very long. Can they gat any better….. I think they will be getting a lot better. With each and every game they are getting stronger. Look out Sens we are coming!

    Habs over Isles tonight….3-1

  40. Blitzen says:

    To those who say the Habs have trouble protecting a lead, I would suggest that it’s exactly because they are trying to protect it that they fail. They should just keep applying pressure on the opponents instead of falling back into a shell. I don’t think they have the personel to play in a shell.

  41. Blitzen says:

    The guy whose value I fail to see is Smolinski. I haven’t seen him make defensive or offensive gems but I have seen him make a few boneheaded plays. I would rather they give a chance to one of the Hamilton boys than keep playing him.

  42. joe-hab-nuno says:

    I’d like to mention that has much as i like the habs record right now i don’t really think it reflects the team we have. From all the wins they have they probably have 3 maybe 4 convincing wins. I still hate it or I am not comfortable with their 1 or 2 goal leads in the going into the third. It’s been twenty games now and i think we have to start to address the little problems we have.

    Imo Latender has to be sent down and learn how to play like a power forward. If it wasn’t for his background and the media here, he wouldn’t even been with the habs this year and last. They say it takes a while for a power forward to develop, why the hell are they trying to do this with this guy here (even though i think he played his best game 2 nights ago). If he played like that for 80% of the games i wouldn’t be annoyed with this guy(forgot to mention without triping on the red line that is suppose to be under the ice surface).

    Grabs is too small and get pushed and bounced around all the time. Like someone commented on, you could be small and learn how to stay up. I also think he should be sent down as he hasn’t impressed me too much except for his spead.

    Should have brought up the 2 guys who where the most impressive in the preseason, I’m talking about D’agos and kots jr. Imo Smolinski has been tottally useless in this team.

    In defence, Gorges has done as many mistakes as Breezer if not less. And while they make Breezer paly most games they let this younger guy sit and rot and not make him learn from his mistakes. But still not jumping so much on bReezer since he’s not making 4 mil, which was the cause for the boo birds. Hate the people who say we shouldn’t boo players, but please if your make those mils and doing not to show for it you’ll get my boo.

    Or once they figure out which d-man is least qualified now bring up another big body (stick Obyrne here) on the line up.

  43. Habs_008 says:

    Yeah Re, go habs! Kostso For Prime Minister!

  44. HNS says:

    Hopefully it will be a great holiday homecoming for Higgins and Komi. Habs need to play their game with a major tweak defensively. DiPietro is a very solid goalie(not worth the contract he signed), so this game should be a low scoring slugfest. GO HABS GO!!!

  45. JF says:

    These statistics, especially their win percent when leading and trailing, show the Islanders as a tougher team than the Canadiens. We have trouble protecting a one-goal lead, and when we’re down by more than a goal we can’t come back. Keys tonight will be pressuring their defense and getting lots of traffic in front of the net. We have to score the first goal, hopefully the first two goals. And we can’t let them get behind our defense and skate freely in and out of the slot. We have to play a really tight defensive game. It’ll be tough and probably a nail-biter.

  46. J.T. says:

    It’s too bad that there isn’t an if/then correlation in hockey. If the Habs can beat the Bruins, and the Bruins can beat the leafs, then the Habs can beat the leafs. Or, in this case, if the Flyers beat the Isles and the Habs beat the Flyers, then the Habs can beat the Isles. But, in these days of parity (in the echelon below the Sens at least,) it’s any team’s game on any given night.

    The Habs have the tools to beat the Isles, even though New York is hot and Montreal isn’t really. Whether they choose to use those tools well is the question. For one thing, their defence has to be much more awake than it was against Ottawa, because the Isles aren’t going to give them many offensive opportunities and every goal will be as hard-won and valuable as a gold nugget. So, discipline and goaltending will be the order of the day.

    A win here will be a great test of the team’s determination and nerves of steel…as they’ll probably be trying to hold a one-goal lead in the last minute once again.

  47. Chuck says:

    It’s a shame that the logic of algebra doesn’t apply to the hockey season. :)

    “Vote Saku for All-Star… or little Timmy gets it!!!”

  48. Cable Guy says:

    This is a huge game for us. CAn we rebound after that lousy effort against Ottawa? Can all 4 lines contribute? Can we play better defensivly? Can Huet make the big saves?

  49. Geoff F says:

    JT you are exactly right. I made the same comment about how we beat the Bruins and can’t beat the leafs in a previous post. It’s insane but it is the reality.

    Hopefully we can come up big tonight because i haven’t been impressed with our play as of late. Lots of comments from Higgins about how we didn’t play well. Same old same old and i am worried that they are starting to have the same breakdown they had last year. I think they are much tougher mentally but i guess we’ll see how they play tonight.

    I’m a big fan of Nolan i think he is a great coach and really knows how to get a team to work hard and work as a team so i think they are going to be a tough opponent tonight. Hopefully the Habs can come out strong and make things happen.

    Good luck tonight boys…GO HABS GO!

  50. Sask Habs Fan says:

    Lets just hope we have some defensive zone coverage tonight. And maybe, just maybe we can hustle and get to a puck along the boards/in the corner first in our own zone. I’m sick of watching us get out worked. And watching guys stroll to the front of the net untouched and unchallenged then receiving a pass right on the tape. Sure we collapse to the net well. But then just stand around not taking a body or anticipating the play. Which as teams keep showing us leads to goals.

    Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.

  51. krob1000 says:

    You know what I have noticed is that when opposing players have tough angles in tight we have played some key situations like they are two on ones in space (undecide about whether to take the shooter or the pass). In thight it is a no-brainer…you take the pass and rely on your gaolie to take the angle. Normally you want to force a pass(allows another chance for error) but not in tight from poor angles. It has only happened a couple of times but it looks really sloppy when that close pass clicks and we are standing watching. I mentioned before that the Spezza pass to Neil was fluky as it was a terrible pass that our defenseman rightfully tried to intercept but instead he knocked the puck down to Neil (I beleive it was Hamrlik)….just dumb luck that one.

  52. cautiousoptimist says:

    There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live. Also, his tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

  53. krob1000 says:

    I know this is unfortunately not possible but if you take away the three losses to the Senators there really hasn’t been a breakdown. Yes, Buffalo was tough and as far as I can tell is the only really bad loss we have suffered all season. We bounced right back. I don’t consider this a bounce back game as we are not expected to beat the Sens yet. We get Buffalo twice this weeekend and those will definitely be interesting given what happened last weekend. Tonight is a good matchup as both teams rely on a total team effort and strong gaoltending to win. I agree that tonight should be a close game either way. To be honest if we come out of there with a point the night will have been a success. If we were in Montreal I’d give the edge to us but the Islanders are not pushovers anymore and that Comrie/Guerin/Fedotenko line gives them a whole new look.

    I don’t expect our confidence to be down or have heads hanging as the guys all know that the Senators are the best team in the NHL. I believe that continously losing to the Sens at this stage is actually a good thing as it proves to the guys that complacency will not elevate them to the next level. Just when we think things are going great we seem to get a dose of reality a la Sens. I believe they are beatable but we have to be firing on all cylinders and shut down their big guns.

    The Islanders are gritty and defensive minded and play a lot like the Devils of old. They rely on neutral zone turnovers to create chances. I think our guys are actually fairly resilient to this type of approach as they seem to be very intelligent and have no quams about dumping and chasing when necessary. My biggest concern will be our defenseman annd their long lead passes being picked off. We have a very mobile and great puck moving defence but if they are not careful these Islanders (any team ever coached by Ted Nolan) will pick off a couple passes and get decent chances.

    Carbo is no idiot and the coaching staff willl have everyone prepared as best as possible and tonight will be a battle. I never thught faceoffs were all that important as an elite faceoff man may win 58 perrcent of his draws but given the severity of our problems with them the importance is being magnified.

    The Islanders are 6-2 in November and have not lost a game in which they surrender less than three goals. In both of their losses they were scored on three times and lost. Comrie is their top offensive player and we definitely have an edge on offense. If we can get even one of our top lines clicking tonight and have some success on the powerplay it can be done but these guys are for real. They are a lot like us in that they rely on depth and hustle and good puck movement from their defense. I hope we can solve Dipietro early and rattle him because he is the heart and soul of these guys.

    Score three and I beleive we win……score less and hope for the tie…..based on the Islanders recent history anyway.

  54. Ed says:

    From reading the Preview, this should be a tough game tonight as the Islanders have played in 7 straight 1 goal games, and have 8 wins in the 11 one goal games they have played in this year. They have 6 wins in their last 8 games. DiPietro has stopped 44 of the last 45 shots he has faced. The Islanders have dominated the Canadiens on Long Island since January 1998, winning 12, losing 4 and tying 1. The only good point is that DiPietro has 4W and 5L lifetime against the HABS. However, 3 of his wins are on Long Island.

    As Pat Hickey points out in today’s Gazette, the Canadiens are still having problems 5 on 5.

    He singles out Higgins and Koivu as being off to strong starts, but Ryder has been struggling. We all know about Ryder’s problems, and Higgins and Koivu have played much better than him. However, there is still concern there as Koivu is plus 2, but Higgins is minus 1, while the struggling Ryder is actually plus 1. This problem will quickly disappear if Higgins starts cashing in on some of his many shots, and I think he will.

    GO HABS GO !

  55. coutNY says:

    Thats because anyone who watches a game can see that Higgins has been offering more than Ryder. You can not put a number on heart, Grit, or determination.

    But lets look at one statistic that stands out ~ Production Numbers (G/SOG). Only one forward has weaker numbers than Ryder, Steve Begin; The rest team being D-man and Goalies. Yet, he is 2nd in SOG. Ryder is not know for his assists or his +/- play… He is known as a goal scorer that is not scoring. This is why he stands out.

    Ryder = 3 Goals
    Higgins = 7 Goals

    I don’t hate Ryder by any means, but until lately he’s been all but invisible severily lacking confidence.

  56. Ed says:

    I don’t know if you were referring to my comments, but Ryder is my favourite player, and I have defended him many times in Mike Boone’s blog. I was in effect pointing out his +1, when Pat Hickey says he has struggled. Higgins, who Hickey says is off to a strong start, is -1, and would actually be -2 except for the empty net goal he scored. Ryder was not on the ice because Carbonneau would never use him in that situation. Also, Higgins and Koivu have played approximately 30 minutes more than Ryder in even strength situations, so people should not be saying that Ryder has been dragging down their play.

    I think that Ryder’s problems this year are partly due to the emergence of Higgins as a puck carrier. He is carrying the puck a lot more, and prefers to shoot rather than pass. I did not see the game when Ryder had 13 shots, but one of the regular posters on HIO pointed out that Ryder’s play improved when Higgins went off with the injury. I think that Ryder might benefit more if Carbonneau had left him on the line with Smolinski and Begin.

  57. mar-lin says:

    this game is going to come down to who scores first from the looks of it. I’m looking forward to the game but i’m already sitting on the edge of my seat.

    strong start…crush’m early!!


    go habs go

  58. G-Man says:

    Solid victory… except when your captain is run where the hell is everbody? Whoever was on the ice doesn’t stick up for his teammate. The “I’m not that kind of player” attitude is a sore spot and probably why this team won’t go too far. On a winning team, everybody sticks up for each other and takes care of business. It’s called being a team.


  59. ClaytonM says:

    Why is everyone talking like it was a cheap shot hit on Koivu? It was perfectly clean, no elbows, not a head shot, Koivu just got knocked on his butt. Big deal, he got right back up, didn’t miss a shift. The presence of an enforcer didn’t keep his brother Mikko from getting a two-hander from the Canucks, did it? Komisarek had a little scuffle and was arguably the winner. Simon didn’t jump Markov or anything. Are people under the false impression our team can’t take a hit? Or do you want the Hansen brothers on the next shift when we do?

  60. Chuck says:

    Pleae name me one player of the type you describe that’s available, and how we would go about aquiring him. You can’t just wave a magic wand and make it happen.

    “Vote Saku for All-Star… or little Timmy gets it!!!”

  61. HAB-PROFESSOR says:


    HIGGINS has almost risen to his dominante level of before the ankle injury…I believe he is knocking on the door of elitism again…and I knew tonight would be the theatre for him to find his form. (home town)

    also along the homefront KOMI made his presence felt. A role much needed, standing up to giants crashing Huet, accepting challenges from the top 3 in the league toughguy SIMON.

    The Habs put on a clinical chess match tonight, outmatching the Isles in speed and possesion, and most importantly burying their chances (enough of them)


    p.s. still don’t like the disrespect being paid to KOIVU
    it may come back to haunt us….

  62. TradeRyder says:

    Agreed. Koivu deserves better.

    … and a better/faster/more skilled line-mate than Ryder!

    Hope makes a good breakfast, but a bad supper! Trade Ryder!

  63. nightmare_49 says:

    Referee Kerry Fraser has met his match. Tom Kowal has got to be even cockier than Kerry but has a lot to learn.

  64. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    In the same way that there is an unwritten LAW about crashing a goalie…GUESS WHAT, SAME LAW FOR THE CAPTAIN.

    You do not take BLATANT runs at your captain…that is the HEAD, HEART and inspirational leader of the team…THE GENERAL of the ARMY etc etc…

    IF HE goes DOWN…YOU LOSE, remember CAROLINA who stole a cup because of taking Koivus eye out…


    thanks NHL office in Toronto.

    never forget….

  65. nightmare_49 says:

    The Islanders are on the puck all the time just like Ottawa played Monday night and the Habs used the touch pass too perfection to thwart their pursuit. Hats off to the team and the coaching staff for picking that up, Awesome.

  66. 24 Cups says:

    The word is out around the league – the Habs can be pushed around and regardless of your personal viewpoint on the issue it is becoming abundantly clear that we need to trade for an enforcer. More on that at a later time.

  67. RH says:

    The Boone blog room was too full so I came here instead.

    This game was scary to say the least. I guess Long Island is where the third rate players go when they can’t find a job somewhere else. This Islanders team makes the Flyers look like boy scouts. Even the referees seemed intimidated by them because they sure missed a couple of HUGE penalties. How about meathead Andy Sutton punching Kovalev and not getting called for it. They were fighting for the puck along the boards for f*** sakes. Or how about the stick caught in Pleks visor? Did no one see that? How about dirty piece of Sh*t Mike Sillinger with the slash across the back of Pleks knees? No call! These guys were gooning it up and clearly going after Komisarek.

    I thought the league was trying to get rid of this crappy hockey? Ted Nolan clearly does not have skilled players so he loads his team up with goons, goons and more goons led by Chris ‘sorry for trying to decapitate you with my stick’ Simon and anchored on the D-line by cheap shot piece of crap Andy Sutton. The sky is going to fall soon for these guys.

    Having vented all of that out of my system, I must admit that the Habs started to look a bit intimidated towards the end of the second and through out the third. I hate to say it but, maybe Gainey needs to go out and get an enforcer.

  68. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Agreed RH.


    a Laroque type?…superior Heavy wieght fighter

    or a Chris Neil Type?….can still produce pts

    we can easily pick one up, we have the cap space and the roster space, we had Murray sitting there, I’d rather have a Nilan/Hunter/Kordic/Brashear type upstairs to be called when needed.

  69. Sulemaan says:

    People are taking runs at Koivu and nothing happens. We really need a tough guy who can skate/score (thinking of John Ferguson) and keep opponents honest. I agree with Hab-Professor, a Laraque type of player would be a good addition.

  70. Mr.Hazard says:

    I hope Huet silenced all you “15th best in the conference” people for a while…

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  71. nightmare_49 says:

    Chuck – Your right about it hard to find these guys and the magic wane bit but their were many enforcers that were put on waivers and we never even thought of grabing one for Hamilton or whatever. Our whole farm system doesn’t really have one. The words out and their taking extra shots at our better players and it’s only the begining or the end of the 1st Quarter if you like.

  72. T-roy West says:

    If your a defenceman who isn’t a points producer and if you cannot contain players in your end of the ice and you end up taken penalties because you can’t defend because your to damn small then you have to go. I’m talking about Boullion and we have people to take his place. He is nothing special. If he was a 20 or 30 goal scorer mybe I would reconsider but for now he is a waste of space and his big heart just isn’t enough. I say this because I want montreal to be the best but not with him in the line up.

  73. Habby67 says:

    So I see their 5 on 5 stats have improved. A great game tonite for sure. I realized one thing tonite. I discovered that the reason their power play is doing so well is because they are drawing so many penalties with their speed on 5 on 5 play. So in other words, maybe their 5 on 5 play isnt that bad after all……

  74. nightmare_49 says:

    Chips & Tommy K. let me introduce you to your permanent linemate Gui Gui Gui only kidding knowing Carbo’s tendancy to change but Lats is so much more involved and at ease and helping the team and i hope as he grows with this line and learns the ropes and fundamentals then he can fulfill his dreams and move up. His ice time will increase when this line is on it’s game and the results are there. They support each other well and back up each other and a lot of the credit has to go to Chips (Fred) as his knowledge of the game really impresses me. This is one 4th line that i’m not at all nervous about when they are out there. They Rock.

  75. T-roy West says:

    I get a -2 score for telling the truth. Boullion couldn’t do his job and he takes penalties against larger players because he cannot contain them. I’m sure alot of people would like to put O’bryne,Gorges,Valentenko,Carle,Biron or other defenceman in our systems ahead of him if they had the chance. It’s constructive talk not just bashing someone for something to do. All I think is that if you have better people for the job then why not play them. Great effort by the habs tonight and here’s to two more wins on the weekend!

  76. Bouleau noir says:

    This team was on a mission, they had a game plan and the execution of it was a perfect match,… road games often enhance team’s focus….. the CH are a great team on the road,… they have the best road record bar none in the East ( maybe even in the whole league )…. imagine that !

    Some teams get intimidated when playing abroad, our team obviously doesn’t and tonight was a perfect exemple when considering the excellence of our game and the bullies we we were playing against….. when Witt brought Komi in a fight Plekanec responded with a beautifully executed tic-tac-to (Bris-Kovy-Plek) and sealed the evening with a 4 goal lead to our team,… thats the CH I love watching.

    Regardless of our assurance IF an excellent fitgher ever becomes availlable down the road Gainey will go for it… he wouldn’t just go and get whatever tought….. this might take time but it will happen eventually.

    I saw Ivanans Raiti at the Bell 2 years ago when he had his face dismolished after being suckered punch by big Chara,… to bad it had to happens this way…. this guy was TRULY huge and skatted quite well.

  77. nightmare_49 says:

    You better pack a big lunch as their ‘s a lot of posters on this site that love the Cube.

  78. T-roy West says:

    Totally agree with you nightmare – Chipchura is very impressive (more than we really know but will soon find out)

  79. ClaytonM says:

    I agree that Bouillon’s not in the team’s long term plans, considering who’s in the farm system. You forgot Yemelin and McDonaugh btw. But he’s a solid 6th man for now. The problem with him is he’s not getting his hate on enough. For him to be effective he needs to deliver more punishment against wingers coming down his side. Plus he’s playing with Streit, who seems a bit off this year. Your partner determines how well you play, which is why there’s not much Breezer Bashing this year, Hamrlik’s a great partner for him.

    Markov, Komisarek, Hamrlik, O’Byrne, McDonaugh, Valentenko, Yemelin.

    Most teams would put any of these guys as a 1st line defenceman. We’ll have 7. That’s the definition of an embarrassment of riches. If someone rags on you about your comments just keep this in mind.

  80. nightmare_49 says:

    The Cube is doing his thing and so far he’s been pretty solid and if there is a change on “D” it will probably be Streit that’s had a few shakey games this month but then again he’s also a great two way forward and a valued member of the top PP in the league, that felt good to type that.

  81. nightmare_49 says:

    I think your right about Gainey finally looking for an equalizer before some of our skilled players get hurt. Some of those birds wouldn’t have had the balls to do any bullying if we had one and had to face the consequences next shift.

  82. nightmare_49 says:

    I knew you would love him cuz he’s from out west, Alberta to be exact. Prestone Manning country.

  83. Raking Leafs says:

    Excellent points, Clayton, but Gainey may still think he needs the Rottweiler in the yard. Even the threat of retribution can be a deterrent.

    Todd Fedoruk is on reentry waivers until noon Thursday. Half price policeman if the Habs are interested.

    “All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity.” Gordie Howe

  84. Chorske says:

    Hmm, the Islanders were way off their game tonight. It’s not like them to cough up a gift less than a minute in. I am thrilled the Habs won, and it’s great to see Begin on the scoreboard, that man is a workhorse and it’s nice to see him rewarded. But the truth is we faced the Mr.Hyde version of the Islanders tonight. They weren’t pretty.

    I don’t think we need an enforcer. The Habs may have let a few things go tonight because they were so in control of the game. But they’ve shown they can mix it up when necessary (Boston, Philly). I’d just like to see the friggin refs call more of the elbows and high sticks our guys are getting. But bring in an enforcer, and who do you sit? What line do you change?

  85. ColRouléBleu says:

    well it’s a nice and welcome break. it seems to me that so far in the season we were up against teams (specially goalies) that found their A game against us. i’m glad the habs jumped on the occasion.

  86. ColRouléBleu says:

    i agree, those hits were clean, i dont have a problem with those. what was less clean though was gilligan island troups mistaking pleks for a piñata all evening long and the zebras just standing there, waiting for the candy to fall.

  87. RH says:

    Preston Manning? You mean former leader of the, now defunct, Reeeeeeeeefffffffoooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmm party?

    I don’t think the Habs were ready to face a dirty team like those scumbags on Long Island last night and it’s too bad they didn’t get the shutout. Just a gut feeling but, I think I’m glad the refs didn’t call more penalties on those untalented, unskilled losers led by a suspect coach. I think the Islanders would have gone bonkers and really taken liberties with cheapshots at our guys and things would have gotten out of hand. Had that happened and someone, or some players got hurt, I’m not too optimistic about the Habs having the depth to replace those injured players, at this point. Besides, like a few have already stated, who would Gainey run out to sign and, who would sit at game time?
    Although I don’t miss Souray, he was a tough son-of-a-bitch who stood up for his teammates, and, captain. I don’t think the Habs should go out and get an all-out brawler like a Laraque. They already have a couple of guys with questionable skating skills. Speaking of fighting, from what I understand, there are more than a few ‘enforcers’ who are taking boxing lessons and learning the ‘art’ of fighting and how to gain the upperhand on there opponents. THAT IS DISTURBING!!!! I wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing that the enforcer on my team could go toe to toe with professional boxers and could permanently injure someone with one punch. This is hockey after all, not the Ultimate…Fighting League.

  88. RH says:

    By the way, the big hit on Koivu was clean. I’m pretty sure though, that Koivu got hit from behind in the third. I thought I caught it on the top of my screen but no replay was ever shown, unless I missed it. Anyone else think they saw that hit?

  89. The Ian Cobb says:

    I saw it RH and i was waiting for a replay but they went to comercial. When they came back i thought for sure we would be on the PP. It was in the left hand corner of the rink, and on the screen for a tiny fraction of a second. But the Refs ref the score at 4 to zip.

  90. cautiousoptimist says:

    Seriously – he may not be tall, but the man is built like a dishwasher. Have you ever tried to hit a dishwasher?

  91. JF says:

    Dave Stubbs

    The problem I mentioned the other day disappeared temporarily but now it’s back. The space for writing a comment is superimposed on some of the comments. I have Windows XP and the server I use is Firefox. Thanks.

  92. HabsInsideOut says:

    Hi folks,

    I’m on the road, and don’t have access to the browser version that’s been having the problems, but I’ve made a change to what I think might have been the source of the problem.

    Email me at info at if the problem persists.


  93. cautiousoptimist says:

    Nobody’s bashing anyone, but I just don’t think Gorges is an upgrade over Bouillon, who’s really pretty solid defensively. I think just about any team out there would be delighted to have him in their third pairing.

  94. Dave Stubbs says:

    I’ll pass your note along to our techs. Thanks for letting me know.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette


  95. cautiousoptimist says:

    Fedoruk got punched so hard by Colton Orr in a fight that he broke the titanium plate in his face. If intimidation is what you’re going for, Orr’s the guy. But is that really what we’re going for?

  96. HAB-PROFESSOR says:


    KOMI is a heavy weight in terms of strength/height and weight, but he is not a fighter. Kostop is a middle weight and can fight. Bouilion is a light middle weight and can fight. (by the way, DO NOT QUESTION BOUILION…remember what he did to TUCKER our hated enemy….Cube plays with heart and will not backdown EVER.) and thats it as far as personal capable of dropping the gloves. and that my friends is PATHETIC.

    how many on Ottawa can drop the gloves?

    we need this problem rectified FAST.

    Elbows to Kovalevs head, Crosschecks to Koivus face and spearing to his eye, crashing into our goalies and digging at their hands after the whistle, legit fighters breaking code and attacking our rising stars (kostysn) and the hundreds of little comments and stick jabs that go on during a game that intimidate and make our players think about their hides as opposed to playing a free wheeling game which is our style.

    we cannot rely on the REFs for justice any more than you can rely on the police or the legal system to protect you and your family….if that was the case then you’d sleep with your doors unlocked.

    we need to take care of our own business…. ASK CARB or GAINEY IF THEY EVER PLAYED WITHOUT AN ENFORCER…WHATS THEIR PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!

  97. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    What Kovalev did to Tucker will go down in history as one of the greatest plays in HAB hockey.

    Whats wrong with this picture is that the mighty Kovalev with the talent to deke out players in a matchbox has to stoop to such low levels…

  98. CH1909-2009 says:

    Turn off your CAPS, it’s the web version of shouting, and it’s obnoxious. Also your point stinks, Higgins may have only two more points, but 8 goals versus 3 is really an underperformance when Ryder is supposed to be a pure sniper. That said I don’t want him traded and I think he will get 30, he always seems to find a way!


  99. habfan53 says:

    Just a few observations

    -Great game by Huet I like the way he comes back after a
    questionable game.
    -I’m a little concerned about the play of Streit the last
    couple of games a defensive lapse here a bad pass there.
    -I’m glad Clayton brought it up Koivu had his head down
    looking for the puck in his feet there was no run
    no chasing.
    -The refs gave us some calls to that one where Markov
    FELL behind the net and they get called for tripping.
    -I don’t know if we have a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th line. We
    have 4 lines that Carbo rotates,there is little time
    difference so to speak.

  100. Ed says:

    JF and Dave Stubbs

    I also have Windows XP and use Firefox, but I don’t have any problem with the space for writing comments.

  101. A. Berke says:

    East Coast:

    You don’t need to use ALL CAPS! to express your point. Your newfie pride and emotions shouldn’t cloud your vision and common sense re Ryder.

    Higgins has 8 goals vs 3 of Ryder. Btw, Ryder is paid 3 mil per year to score. With three goals to his name so far, he is on par for about 12 goals this year. This fact alone is a sobering fact regarding Ryder and we can’t go with our emotions all the time to post.

    Yes Ryder is a good player but he’s not a great one and furthermore the goals he scored in past years do not help the team this year. People who criticize Ryder have a valid point. So you coming down with this kind of attitude and calling Gainey “stupid” is totally uncalled for.

    Ali B.

  102. tareq514 says:

    Absolutely disagree. that might be the word around the league, but the fact of the matter is that everyone who has tried to push the Habs around has gotten themselves into penalty trouble and lost (ex/ Boston).

    And the Habs have held their own in standing up for one another on many occasions. I wouldn’t want to be pushed into throwing on an enforcer who will take a dumb penalty to even the score on the ‘toughness scoreboard’ and allow the other team to even the score on the real scoreboard that counts at the end of the night.

    Fact is, if the other teams want to get physical, we can step it up in that department. If they wanna get goonish, well have fun sitting in the in penalty box while our #1 PP goes to work making you pay for it.

    That being said, a Maxim Lapierre would more than fill the need for us to have our own guy who might take an extra wack to Crosby’s arm should Laraque go after Koivu, Kovy, etc… But in terms of a brute enforcer who can only fight…no thanks, not in the new NHL.

  103. Chorske says:

    Man, I always enjoy your posts. But in this instance I disagree. Having one or two brawlin’ guys on the team who play less than 5 minutes a game is so old-school Don Cherryish. I much prefer what we have: a speedy team that plays at a general toughness level that allows it to withstand the league toughs (see Philly) without sinking to their level. It’s ironic: you want the habs top stop playing their game so they can start playing their game.

    And since when are the Habs free-wheeling? We play a tight defensive game, because (for now) we generally can’t match the powerhouses. We play smart, we play disciplined, we win. I really don’t see where ‘pathetic’ comes into play. It’s always the same: we play a finesse team (and win) and people complain about our lack of finesse; we play bruisers (and win) and people complain about our lack of enforcers. To hear you guys, you’d think we were at the bottom of the league.

    Koivu can take it, he’s survived worse things than big bodychecks. Kovalev is huge and he can defend himself (see Tucker, Darcy). As for digging at goalies, the point is not why other teams do it to us, it’s why aren’t we doing it to them?

  104. ClaytonM says:

    Let me guess, you’re a new-found Habs fan because Ryder is from NFLD?

    I want Ryder traded, but above that, I want him scoring. He seems to have woken up since the 3rd line game and is shooting more. Now he needs to work on getting into scoring positions when he gets the pass from his higher skilled linemates. Maybe he should watch Heatley videos.

    I hear Newfoundland doesn’t have an NHL team because they forgot the recipe for ice. Is that true?

  105. t1tan5 says:

    Higgins is definitely a 1st line player on this team, at least. He’s the guy who plays on the board in order for the playmaker [koivu] to setup the sniper [Ryder]. It works perfectly when executed. Now we gotta work the execution part 😀

  106. t1tan5 says:

    p.s. Nassau Coliseum is a real DUMP.

  107. linp says:

    Between Higgins and Ryder, I would choose Higgins. He has room to improve. As many have pointed out, he needs to keep his head high from time to time when he controls the puck. He needs to pass more. I have also mentioned earlier that he needs a shooting lesson from Kovy. Higgins strength is that he can fight hard for the puck and protect the puck. He likes to cut in front of the net. One on one he is much stronger than Ryder. Ryder is making 3 mil. With that money, we can easier get a pretty good player.

    Observation of tonight’s game:
    This game will stop all the talk on Huet
    Higgins is clearly superior to Ryder
    Our team is getting back its identity (play solid defense first with good goalie)
    At times, Smolinski looks slow moving his leg
    When is the last time Ryder score on his back hand? He keeps trying though.
    The 4th goal from Plekanec is what I try to advertise (It is easier to tip in in front of the net than shooting from a bad angle)

  108. Fab K says:

    anyone know what the sopcast link is?

    this one doesn’t work:

  109. Naila Jinnah says:

    OMG I just saw the photo tab!
    Excellent addition to the site… Thanks guys!

  110. Dave Stubbs says:

    Photos from every game are posted on the site. Click on each for the caption. Better to have them all in a single place than scattered around game reports, don’t you think?

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette


  111. Naila Jinnah says:

    I absolutely agree! It’s much easier to refresh one page than all the game-related stories too 😉

  112. 24 Cups says:

    So many positives tonight.
    – Huet played great
    – Habs take an early lead and dictate the game from that point on
    – team did well on faceoffs, scored some even strength goals
    – instead of sitting on an early lead they put down the hammer(lik) with 3 straight goals in the 2nd
    – best of all, they defeat a team in their own conference that they will surely be fighting with for a playoff spot come late March
    – what a great night to be a Habs fan!!!

  113. TradeRyder says:

    Gotta love those 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines! Now if only we could get a third top player for the first line…

    Ten seconds before the Islanders goal I was saying to a friend how the Canadiens always seem to let in a soft goal or two near the end. Viola! Not Huet’s fault – who was brilliant – but the defense just relaxed a little early.

    Huet by the way – still one of the TOP FIVE goalies in the league… calm, consistent, great position, quick reflexes. He’s so textbook the only reason he has bad games is the team in front of him forgets there’s a net back there to protect.

    Hope makes a good breakfast, but a bad supper! Trade Ryder!

  114. nightmare_49 says:

    Ryder was drafted in the 8th round in 1998 by the Habs.

  115. TradeRyder says:

    Good point.

    As much as you can see the Habs emerging as a playoff contender sure as tulips come up in the spring, they lack that ONE offensive powerhouse who can break another teams spirit…

    Ottawa has THREE OF THOSE GUYS!: Alfie, Heatly, Spezza. As great as many of our players are… why the heck can’t we get ONE??

    Comes to Play EVERY Game: Koivu, Huet, Higgins, Kostits, Chips…?

  116. Sulemaan says:

    I understand we need to have bigger players but I think we can’t just focus on skill or just focus on size. There needs to be a mix.

    My fear with just having a focus on size and brute strength leads to problems. Look at first round Montreal draft picks between 1989-1995 like Lindsay Vallis (89), Turner Stevenson (90), Brent Bilodeau (91), David Wilkie (92), Brad Brown (94), Terry Ryan (95), Matt Higgins (96). We got Koivu (93) in that period but the rest of the players were horrible. And Koivu might be 6’2″ tall on a step ladder with skates on but he has the heart of a lion.

    I’m convinced that those poor drafts did as much to destroy the team as the poor trades by Rejean Houle (Patrick Roy to Colorado, Turgeon to St. Louis, etc.) and ‘coaching’ by Mario Tremblay afterwards.

    If we can get a good power forward that would certainly help. I used to think Guillaume Latendresse could be that player but I guess we will have to wait and see. Frankly, we just need one John Ferguson type of player and we are set. The problem is that players like that don’t grow on tress but I suspect Trevor Timmins and scouting staff are looking for one.

  117. nightmare_49 says:

    Chorske – When you go to your stats go to the one’s that have…*(denotes he plays hard for his size). **(denotes he is soft for his size). Enjoy your meal and Holiday.

  118. gumper says:

    I’m planning on being at the game tomorrow in Buffalo. (That is, if I can make it across the border what with Black Friday and all. Bad planning on my part.) Fearless prediction…Michael Ryder breaks out with a multi-goal game.

  119. Chorske says:

    Wah wah, every five games this bitching about the habs being too small comes up. We’re no smaller than the other teams in the league. This is yet another myth about the Habs that somehow keeps getting spread.

    I’ve got some eggplant parmesan in the oven that needs checking, or I’d go look up some stats and get all math-y on your asses to prove my point. But hey- EGGPLANT PARMESAN. Plus, I think I just heard my girl open a bottle of wine. Talk to yawl later.

  120. A. Berke says:

    Hi Chorske,

    I guess you’re from the northern states? way down in the south it is “y’all”

    PS: Just out of curiosity, do you soak the eggplants in salt water for a couple hours before cooking? It’ll take the all bitterness out. FYI.

    Ali B.

  121. T-roy West says:


    What is your point about the comment that you knew I would like Chipchura because he’s from Alberta. I wouldn’t care were the guy was from. When the question was asked who was the biggest surprise this year most people on this site gave the thumbs up to Chipchura not just because of his defense but also because of his offensive instincts. So please keep your comments to the topic and not from where a person is from because that isn’t very mature. As far as Boullion goes I am not attacking his heart it is just that he took that penalty last night because he couldn’t contain him and had no choice but to grab a hold of him. That is the truth, argue if you must!

  122. nightmare_49 says:

    T-roy WEST – Sorry if i hurt your feelings and i didn’t know you were that touchy abd kibitzing is not your bag.

  123. T-roy West says:

    What does “touchy abd kibitzing is not your bag” mean?

  124. ClaytonM says:

    I read somewhere on HIO that teams were going to start pushing us around after we were intimidated by the flyers and bruins. That’s one of the more ignorant statements I’ve read here for one simple reason – WE WON THOSE GAMES. Due to the league’s highest PP%, I doubt teams will start instigating fights with our players. They know they’ll pay for it on the scoreboard.

    I’d be ashamed if the Habs started turtling instead of standing up for themselves. I’d be a laffs fan if I thought a wade belak would impact the game in our favour.

  125. habsguy says:

    nightmare 49….I bet the people from Thurso Quebec are thrilled that Guy is from their home town, people here in northern Ont name streets, parks and arenas after players who made the NHL from their hometown. As far as kibitzing, I thought this site was suppoesed to be fun, a little kibitzing between Habfans, I didn’t think we were supposed to “keep your comments to the topic”..

  126. MEL FRIEND says:

    if the habs do not make the playoffs again who do you think should shoulder the blame bob gainey for his lack of makeing a big trade or guy carbonneau for his coaching style or should both of them be too blame.

  127. Da Hema says:

    I am not in agreement that the Islanders played dirty last night. I was concerned about Chara’s hit on Kovalev, but I doubt an enforcer would have prevented that. The way to deal with Chara is to remember that his nuts, wrists, and ankles are as vulnerable as anyone else’s. I think the Habs are exponentially tougher as a team than they were five years ago, and as some others pointed out above they played well against Boston and Philadelphia who tried to use the extreme hitting game. I wish Gainey had drafted some fighters to develop when he first became the GM, but organisational and drafting priorities evidently were elsewhere. As usual, the basic question is where to get an enforcer.
    “Play every game as if it is your last one.”
    –Guy Lafleur
    “All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity.”
    –Gordie Howe

  128. cautiousoptimist says:

    A draft pick is probably best spent on someone with offensive or defensive skills, while enforcers can be picked up as free agents or acquired in a trade for not a whole lot – I just don’t know why we haven’t done that.

    By the way, Fedoruk just got picked up on re-entry waivers by Minnesota. Ohlund’s slash proved that we’re not the only team that has a problem with Koivus getting pushed around, and the Wild seem to be doing something about it…

    Is there a site that lists all current free agents?

  129. Mr.Hazard says:

    Yeats you were *30 minutes or so ahead of Habs I/O. Not bad. It seems all the greats are slowly passing on… Sad…

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  130. Mr.Hazard says:

    And another thing about the website: am I the only one who can only see the top quarter of the featured game-review picture for the first couple hours? It’s happened three times now (the picture doesnt load even when I open the article). It’s possible it’s just my computer tho…

    Anyway. Revenge on Friday.

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  131. Yeats says:

    I only get the top portion as well. Nice tape job on that stick!

  132. Yeats says:

    You are absolutely right! A point is a point. Ryder has also been busting his backside out there and playing a much more physical game. It’s not like he’s been a passenger. He’ll come around and find the net. And, when he does everyone will be back in his corner. I understand that last year is history, but in the biggest game of the season, he came through with a hat trick. Heck, the way the team is performing right now, we have the luxury of waiting. I do think they have to split him and Higgins up. There is only one puck on the ice.

  133. Scotty90 says:

    There is something to be said for muscle! (I didn’t read this in a history book… I was around back then… and few others on this were also fortunate enough to have been around.

    Habs of 75-76-77, remember them? Did they do well? Absolutely.
    Could they be pushed around? You could try.

    Their motto was probably…. score a —-load and take no —- from anybody!

    Robinson: heavy weight
    Bouchard: heavy weight
    Savard (i saw him a couple of times and he could handle himself…really well)
    Tremblay: could mix it up pretty well.. never backed away.
    Lapointe: Handled himself really well. never backed away.
    Risebrough: disturber..never backed away.
    Chartraw: middle weight
    Lambert: could mix it up pretty well – middle weight

    Its no wonder, that Lafleur, Shutt, Lemaire and Cournoyer could put up those points… not having to worry about somebody’s goon! Dryden, I am sure also felt secure.

  134. yukonhab says:

    Great game Habs…Higgins is the man…really enjoyed the game and the way we responed to all the hype that this was going to be a boring , lifeless, goaless game…leave it to Beg’in to geter done…Huet looked alot like Price in the net tonight, however still some big juicy rebounds were to be had… look forward to Buffalo….

    Glad to be a HAB……..GO HABS GO!!!

  135. Scotty90 says:

    Sorry to go on, but I forgot to mention that Bob Gainey was there as well. He worked magic out there playing his style of game that he is known for, but I wonder if he’d have been as successful without the ‘protection’ factor!

    Food for thought!

  136. The Teacher says:

    Agreed, I’d MUCH rather have this year’s version of Ryder than last year’s. his defensive play has improved considerably, and now is starting to get shots off and no doubt the goals will come. I am starting to lean to breaking Higgins and Ryder up now, as they both seem to want the puck on their stick going through the neutral zone.

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