Game 44: Flat Canadiens outclassed by Rangers

Links updated Sunday 6:40 a.m. 

New York Rangers’ Petr Prucha beats Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet up under the crossbar for the home team’s third of four goals.
Mike Stobe, NHLI via Getty Images

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The Canadiens came into Saturday’s Madison Square Garden game against the New York Rangers having won five of their last seven, impressive 5-2 victors over the Boston Bruins on Thursday to begin a four-game road trip. Their Big Apple hosts, meanwhile, had lost five straight.

All of which goes to show that any National Hockey League team can beat another on any given night. Especially when one forgets to take off its skateguards.

The Canadiens’ league-leading power play went a dismal 1-for-8, getting nothing on two lengthy 5-on-3s, and a fired-up Rangers squad took full advantage of its opportunities to hand a 4-1 loss to a visitor that was outshot 41-19 and showed little interest in putting up a fight.

Montreal’s terribly flat first period set the tone for the game, being outshot 13-6 and going 0-for-2 on the power play, only two of Montreal’s shots coming at even strength.

An Andrei Markov giveaway helped get the Rangers on the scoreboard early. Chris Drury and Marcel Hossa charged back to the Canadiens end to combine on a fine give-and-go passing play and a great Drury deke of Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet converted the rush at 3:17.

The Habs appeared to be in pause 10 minutes later when Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr was allowed to stickhandle unmolested to Huet’s side, four Canadiens impressed enough to stand around and watch. Martin Straka wound up taking a pass and whipped it home to give New York a 2-0 advantage.

Montreal’s woes continued early in the second period, coming up empty on a minute-long 5-on-3 power play, before Petr Prucha put the Rangers up 3-0 on a left-alone-at-the-goalmouth score that hit the white frame high inside the crossbar behind Huet. The play required video review after it was first waved off, but it was a goal beyond a doubt.

The Rangers continued to play with fire, giving the Canadiens another 5-on-3 for 1:41 midway through the second. But that yielded nothing for the Habs, leaving them 0-for-6 on the power play.

On a delayed penalty call to Montreal, the Rangers made it 4-0, Nigel Dawes beating Huet on a very stoppable shot to the short side at 19:38. New York held a 15-8 in shots in the second period; eight of Montreal’s 14 shots had come with the made advantage.

Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau decided to sit Huet for the third period and replaced his veteran with backup Jaroslav Halak, who’d been called up last Tuesday afternoon from the Hamilton Bulldogs in the move sending Carey Price back to the Habs’ AHL affiliate.

Halak stopped all 13 shots fired his way in the final period.

The Canadiens finally solved Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist 7:10 into the third period on the power play, Markov feeding Andrei Kostitsyn from the blueline to the faceoff circle, Kostitsyn then perfectly feeding his brother, Sergei, parked at the edge of the crease, for his third goal of the season.

The Habs were scheduled to have Sunday off – though that might be subject to change given the team’s effort at MSG – before practising on Monday for Tuesday’s game in Long Island vs. the Islanders. The road trip wraps up Thursday in Atlanta before next Saturday’s home date against Pittsburgh.


  1. T-roy West says:

    Amen to that Ian!!!

  2. T-roy West says:

    I disagree with everyone who says that we won’t when this year or that we are one to two years away from winning. I realize that people are being realistic but I also know that if you make the playoffs than anything can happen. The playoffs are taylor made for upsets. Just ask the Edmonton Oilers a couple of years ago. They were lucky just to make the playoffs and ended up going all the way to the finals.

  3. 24 Cups says:

    ccs – I too agree with your plan. We don’t need to break the bank on a 4th defenseman, somebody that is middle of the road will do fine for now. However, I do think that as a group (of online fans) we do tend to over rate the players that we would offer in trades. We keep trying to trade used Civics for a new high end Acura RL.

    The Original 24 Cups

  4. Chuck says:

    If he walks at the end of the year, you don’t get nothing for him… you gain cap room, which is probably the most important thing that you can have nowadays.

    “A Vezina banner must hang from the rafters!”

  5. Sulemaan says:

    Anytime Dave. Although I thought Dandy was pissed off too at first at someone. You make a good point. The coaching staff is pretty young too in terms of experience. Just like the players, they will improve with time as well.

  6. Chuck says:

    If your ultimate goal is cap room, then you’re better off just letting them walk at the end of the year, a la Souray… which was a GREAT move by Gainey. Sometimes addition by subtraction is the best way to go.

    “A Vezina banner must hang from the rafters!”

  7. 24 Cups says:

    The other team in the East that we have to get past is New Jersey. They, along with Brodeur, seem to have our number on a consistent basis.

    The Original 24 Cups

  8. Chuck says:

    The laffs problem is that while they’re in a position where the need to sink the ship and lay a keel for a new one, they don’t have the people in place to properly overhaul the team. It’s one thing for the fans to say, “Trade Sundin and everybody for draft picks!”, but if the same regime that couldn’t draft properly and put the team in this situation in the first place is also given the responsibility of rebuilding, chances are they’d screw that up, too.

    It all just makes me all the more glad that Gainey’s our guy. When he was hired, he took stock of not just the team, but the entire organization; figured out what was working and what wasn’t, and developed a long-term growth plan to get everything back on track. That takes a lot of patience, dedication, and attention to detail; something that the laffs braintrust has lacked for a long, long time.

    It must eat them up inside knowing that while Gainey was available they ended up giving the job to someone with absolutely no GM experience. Oh, what could have been…

    “A Vezina banner must hang from the rafters!”

  9. hhl says:

    changing subjects again.reflecting back on price being sent down to hamilton.i think its a brilliant move by gainey n co.instead of him starting the year in hamilton, he starts in mtl.learns about the city, gets an apartment, a girlfriend n experiences life in the nhl for 5 months.gos back to hamilton with instructions and lots of
    he has alot waiting for him in mtl.what happens to huet by end of feb depends on how price will do in ham.i have confidence price will be ready.dont be surprised if huet stay till the end of this year.but price could excell in the playoffs.thanks to huet.

  10. Ian G Cobb says:

    1, 2, 3, year contracts for everyone here, and in Hamilton 2 way contracts for deserving students. They all want to be here and we want them all. Keep spreading the cap around to the players who deserve it and have the others work hard to get a larger slice.

    These players are starting to understand what a loyal first class management team we are now. They know now where this franchise is headed, and they are all going to be a part of it.

    We don’t need any big name super stars taking a huge slice here. We are a good TEAM now, soon to be great. Management and players on the same page and loyal to each other will share in the glory soon.

    Montreal Canadians fans have not been on this ride in a couple of generations, some of them don’t even recognise what is now taking place.

    So hang on to your sticks ! Were in for a ride with the personel we now have.

  11. Chuck says:

    And especially for what you percieve to be your castoffs. You have to give in order to receive. Also, trades are not initiated by the desire to remove players that you deem as surplus; they’re initiated by the desire for a player that you want on your team to fill a certain need. What you then end up sending the other way is then a matter for discussion. If they’ll take your garbage in return, fine… otherwise I wouldn’t bet on it.

    “A Vezina banner must hang from the rafters!”

  12. Ed says:

    The +/- stats are available on right back to 2000-01. Just go to their site and use “Individual Stats Reports”, put in the season you want, put Montreal in for the team, use Summary for the Stats View, and press enter.

  13. Habster101 says:

    -From what I can see…this team is full of depth right now, I can’t see any trades happening. Why would we want to mess with this chemistry they have going right now?…I can see maybe another tough forward or defenceman but who would you want to trade for?

    -Brisebois would be nice but you couldn’t get a bag of pucks for him…

    -Maybe Smolinski with a late round draft pick?
    other than that, everyone else I would say is locked in…

    and for all of you who think Ryder is going…Keep dreaming, Ryder will never get traded.

    this team is one to two years from winning a cup, maybe both…there will be another dynasty coming, and it may only be a 2 year dynasty in todays modern era, and Montreal has always been the team to lead and set examples for the rest of the NHL…

    -The only team in the east that is in our way is Ottawa…I cant wait to play them so we can see where the team stands…

    But the only problem I see with Ottawa maybe is their depth chart isn’t as deep as ours…when they get injured they will be in trouble…time will tell…

    anyways……tonight they have to beat the Rangers at the MSG, take a good lead and not let them back in it, like they did last time….

  14. hhl says:

    just a thought,say a coach would put 2 centers on a line,3 to five seconds before faceoff,both centers would switch positions.only once in a while. woulden that create enough of a distraction to maybe win a few extra faceoffs?

  15. Ed says:

    Teacher, I see you got no response from RetroMikey. He thinks we can trade those guys for a big, gifted offensive centreman. Those are guys that he is not high on, but still he thinks some team would be willing to trade us a star for them. It’s too bad for us that the GM’s are more knowledgeable (common sense) than some fans are. Dream on RetoMikey. Those guys might be traded, but no way is there a big, gifted offensive centreman coming this way in return. Those kind of star players are not a dime a dozen, and teams don’t just trade them away.

  16. Chuck says:

    True, but I guess as far as the OTPF is concerned, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.


    “A Vezina banner must hang from the rafters!”

  17. Chuck says:

    Do the laffs have a team song? Perhaps that’s what they should have been playing. 🙂

    As the old joke goes, “What do the laffs and the Titanic have in common? They both look good until they hit the ice.”

    “A Vezina banner must hang from the rafters!”

  18. hhl says:

    must be true then.after all, we all aknowledge the fact that the t.o media
    (led by your honourable Mr.Don Cherry)is allways right.would they stir the leafs fans wrong? front page of the toronto sun, theres the leafs,then at the outer bottom corner of the page,you will find news on the rest of the world.or you can simply rip the corner out and focus on what really matters most.

  19. TradeRyder says:

    While trades are fun, I’m not sure we don’t have everything on this team right now – or in the pipeline. To me, we should lock down our top guys and top prospects. Period.

    What we do with the players who are either 4th line guys, or not fitting in,
    doesn’t matter much to me. I would trade them for picks and prospects to build the next wave. Depth in real talent is the currency of the new NHL. We need to develop as many good prospects as we can that we can keep or grow to swap for help in a future play-off run.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  20. TradeRyder says:

    Yes, and sign Komisaurus, and Higgins to long-term deals. Lock down Plekanic and A. Kostitsyn too for as long as you can.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  21. hhl says:

    as well as respectability and a good excuse for all that arrogance displayed by fans and media.though i know a few leafs fans out here in the west,n they aint sayin much.ignorance is bliss.i think leaf pride is starting to slip.they should hire tiger williams as coach.

  22. TradeRyder says:

    Here’s one for you Ian: Hope makes a good breakfast – but a bad supper.

    A question for you Ian. How many years do you think we should give Michael Ryder to either:
    A) Learn to score 30-goals without being a defensive liability OR
    B) Learn to score 20-goals while being a strong defensive player.

    Your loyalty is good in principle, but loyalty can also blind you to the facts.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  23. TradeRyder says:

    Interesting. At 24, not strong on goals or plus-minus so it would be hard to give up a spot on one of our top 3 lines for him though. And personally, I think that Plekanic in time will be one of the top stars of this team… so even though we need size, I am not sure trying to find a 2nd line center is the right approach.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  24. Yeats says:

    Watching the leafs play, you have to ask yourself if any of them are worth picking up for the “right” price? Do you really want to bring a guy into your room, if your team is performing well, who has so clearly thrown in the towel on his current squad?

  25. nightmare_49 says:

    I like your game plan for the next six months.

  26. TradeRyder says:

    True enough. Team chemistry, player development, both require some experience – and some guesswork. If a player isn’t working here and succeeds elsewhere… that’s just the way it goes.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  27. TradeRyder says:

    I agree with you. Ryder, unfortunately, is still well into the minus-side of our winning team. Ho hum.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  28. Moey says:

    And to no one’s surprise, laff fans are intellectually inferior to rats.

  29. ccs says:

    I will be really surprised if we dont make a deal at the deadline. We need to package some players that were mentioned for sure if for no other reason than to make room for the young guns comming up. I would like to see another BIG smart tough defenceman come our way. And then concentrate on getting that BIG center in the off season. If we get stronger on D we will do some damage come April. I feel 2 more points tonight. GO HABS GO….

  30. 24 Cups says:

    Yeats – I agree about Maurice. He’s an innovative coach who seems well suited to the new NHL. He has shown a lot of class considering all the heat that there is in Toronto right now. Same goes for Ferguson. Whether it’s Maurice, Carbo, or any other coach, there’s only so much that they can do. Ultimately, it all comes down to the players on the ice.

    The Original 24 Cups

  31. 24 Cups says:

    Good one Ian! I’ve never heard that one before. I feel I’m one of the positive guys on this site but I was just stating what I thught was realistic. Right from September, I thought that it was inevitable that Ryder would go elsewhere at the end of the year. It’s just part of the free agency world we live in these days. Other teams will be in the same position with other players.

    The Original 24 Cups

  32. Yeats says:

    I watch the movies “Titanic” and “A Night to Remember” whenever they are on the tube for the same reason I enjoy watching leafs games: The surprise ending!

  33. Moey says:

    Off topic Chuck but that song is Hollywood myth. The actual song that the band played as the Titanic went down was “Autumn”. I was on a cruise and there was a Titanic expert doing lectures and presentations.

  34. RetroMikey says:

    TradeRyder, I’m no GM but Bob can surely dispose some of these players to a team that is contending or for a playoff spot down the stretch like St. Louis or Chicago or in the rebuilding stage. But if I were Bob, I would look into a centreman in San Jose by the name of Marcel Goc, he has speed to burn and has creative offensive instincts. Not playing much for the Sharks but he would fit in our system perfectly!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  35. Habs-Kat says:

    Sometimes third or fourth line players that are thrust into more important roles in Montreal are made to look better than they actually are. Perfect example, Jan Bulis.

  36. Yeats says:

    They are in worse shape than the Habs were when Houle left as GM. It was thought at that time it would take MTL five years to return to respectability. (It actually has taken longer and we can all debate as to whether we are there yet.) I’d say that, even if it is done right, you’re looking at the mid 2010’s. The problem is that the majority shareholder is being rewarded handsomely by the stock market even though the leafs blow. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Funds could care less about winning a Cup as long as MLSE posts returns exceeding 20%. I think what they fail to recognized is how much additional dough they could generate if they actually had a real contender on the ice.

  37. The Teacher says:

    plus-minus doesn’t mean everything. He gave the puck up and rushed off the ice so he wouldn’t get a minus 😉

  38. TradeRyder says:

    I remember him playing… he tried to do too much. I guess he was learning – like some of our young guys.

    I can’t find plus-minus stats that go back past last year – can you?

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  39. Chuck says:

    It was time for the laffs to clean house (including a trade of Sundin) two years ago. Unfortunately for them, management always seems to have a “centre of the universe” mentality where they believe that they’re only that one player away from the taste of silver polish on their lips.

    “A Vezina banner must hang from the rafters!”

  40. Ian G Cobb says:

    Your both just like nails, you can only drive one way !

  41. Ian G Cobb says:

    It is not goals for that is our problem ! We have plenty !

    Its goals against that we must do better, Ryder is asked to preform a slightly different roll and its taking time. The W is the most important, not the amount of goals one player scores. I’ll take a 20 goal scorer every time if he can defend properly his responsibly on the ice.

  42. The Teacher says:

    Did you ever watch Ribs play?
    he was A DISASTER DEFENSIVELY. I watched him, and hated him on the ice, he always gave up the puck…ALWAYS!

  43. Yeats says:

    Just read Shoalts’ latest article “Clean the House” in The Globe and Mail. It took him a little over half the season to come to this conclusion. He must have been one scary dude in chemistry class.

    Comment of the Week (on his article): “I am a Sens fan, but I am really tired of Toronto not being able to compete. It drains everything out of water cooler discussions.”

  44. TradeRyder says:

    I agree RM. Any guesses on where we might ship a few guys? Who needs some that kind of bulk-up besides Toronto? (Bulk up in 2nd, 3rd, 4th line guys I mean)… could be Tampa. But they don’t have the salary. LA?

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  45. TradeRyder says:

    No, he’s an offensive disaster. More to the point, Ribeiro I believe had one year where his plus-minus dipped (correct me if I’m wrong, I didn’t look it up) but is currently almost leading his team (2nd at +10). Ryder’s record of the past few years is consistently in the minus-to-deep-minus range.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  46. Chuck says:

    Great analogy, Yeats! And strike up the band and have them play “Nearer My God To Thee” while you’re at it!

    “A Vezina banner must hang from the rafters!”

  47. The Teacher says:

    Uhh yeah, ribeiro WAS a defensive disaster. Which is why I hated him.

    Ryder is no longer a defensive disaster.

  48. The Teacher says:

    Hey mikey,

    Who do you think Ryder, Dandy, Booly and a draft pick could net us?

    I don’t think much, but you seem to think it could work.

  49. RetroMikey says:

    Steve Begin is going to find it very hard to crack the lineup. Send him in the package of 3 I mentioned and you will see that some team will be interested in these guys. Honestly, Michael Ryder will not be coming back next year if we still keep him for this season.

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  50. TradeRyder says:

    I think you nailed it. That is exactly how it will go down.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  51. TradeRyder says:

    I agree those are the choices. But you have to look at the risk, not just the possible gain… and our depth says that losing him just opens up a spot for someone else who may very well score as many goals.

    People keep comparing to Ribiero. The difference is that Riberio was an acknowledged gifted player with attitude problems. He also didn’t go into a deep slump like Ryder has. And he wasn’t said to be a defensive disaster (or whatever harsh term Gainey used) the year before. In short – there are more question marks over Ryder. Whether he goes on to become a hall-of-famer, no one could say, but to me, as a gamble, it’s less likely that we’ll regret letting him go.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  52. TradeRyder says:

    Hey Soulman – thanks for the clarification on Dandy’s stare at the bench. It’s great to hear stuff like that. Muller was a great player and seems to be becoming a great coach. As much as we talk about young players and how they need time to make mistakes and develop, we don’t often have that understanding of our coaches. I for one think that our coaching staff is among the best in the league. Not that they don’t make mistakes, but they have a strong philosophy, they are honest, clear hockey men who know what ti takes to win… and if they need some time to add some finesse to their communication, it’s a small price to pay to have these guys on board our team, fighting – just like they did on the ice – for a place in the hockey sunshine in June.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  53. 24 Cups says:

    TR – Ryder has to go at the trade deadline – it’s just like Rivet last year. It will be a wise business decision if nothing else. There are a variety of ways he can be replaced next year and you won’t even notice the difference. This team is going in a different direction and Ryder’s not going to be part of it. The only reason he would stay would be if there is absolutely no offers for him that are worth considering. If that happens, then he plays out the year and the playoffs and hopefully makes a contribution. We would then lose him in July for nothing but that’s the way it goes sometimes in the new NHL.

    The Original 24 Cups

  54. PattyBoy31 says:

    Our options are trade him for less than he’s worth and he may or may not bounce back, or re-sign him and he may or may not bounce back. If he bounces back on another team we’ll feel sorry for ourselves (Ribeiro vs Niinima).

    Its kindof interesting to see which of the 4 scenerios will unfold..

  55. 24 Cups says:

    Habsguy – It wouldn’t surprise me if the kid stood on his head but it still smacks of desperation. Toskala is signed for the next two years at 4 mil a year and Raycroft has another year left at 2 mil. I would have left Pogge with the Marlies for the entire year (and not expose him to the negativity) and then buyout Raycroft and go with Toskola/Pogge for 2008-09. In fairness to the goalies, the Lousy Leafs spent about $16 a year on 3 defensemen (long term) and they are not getting the bang for their buck (granted McCabe is hurt). Assuming we sign Komi for around $5 mil a year, that would mean the money is about the same for each team’s top three defensemen. As I’ve stated before, who would you rather have – Kaberle/Kabina/McCabe or Markov/Hamrlik/Komi. Then there’s Raycroft for Rask. Man, that could really come back to haunt the Lousy Leafs. But hey, who cares?!!!

    The Original 24 Cups

  56. TradeRyder says:

    Sorry Ian. I used to think it was a good idea to Trade Ryder. Now it is essential.

    Here’s why: at this point, keeping him has become a huge and dangerous gamble to a team that can’t afford distractions. If another player slumps a little down the stretch or next year, it would be one thing. If Ryder stays – or even comes back next year – and continues slumping, it will be not just a waste of a larger-than-average salary, but also a huge distraction for the team.

    I’m not slagging Ryder – he may go on to score 30 goals again next year for all I know – no-one knows. But whether you agree or disagree with me on his fit with this team, you must be able to see that the Montreal Canadiens cannot risk the possibility of keeping him, and having him score only a handful of goals in the first half of 2008-2009. For a growing team with such depth, that is just getting its momentum, that would be a disaster and a distraction that we don’t want to gamble on.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  57. RetroMikey says:

    As I have said all along, I would still like to see a trade for a big gifted offensive centreman we still need to fill the void. Let’s still consider trading Boullion, Dandeneault, Ryder and a draft pick. I am still confused with Dandeneault and Ryder, they are hot one game and cold the next. Mark my word, they will be back to their old ways which will make Guy’s blood boil. Being from Hamilton, these 3 guys can be replaced with young guns who are capable of doing the jobs. February 26 trade deadline is looming and we should consider making a trade and I am sure Bob and Guy are thinking about this as well. I smell a trade happening. By the way, Brisebois will not get you 20 minutes of ice time as he had done with our team in the past but he is going to help us down the stretch along with Smolinski, guaranteed! Good luck tonite boys, play hard and hustle, every shift and ye shall be rewarded!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  58. Yeats says:

    I have always respected and liked Paul Maurice as a coach. He is a class act and should never have been let go by Carolina. I don’t think it is so much that he has lost the room as the players have completely lost the ice. Dead animals show more fight than the leafs of late. They may never have had pride in the jersey that guys like Keon, Ellis, Horton and Bower had, but come on. I would expect to see at least one article in The Globe and Mail discussing an unnamed leaf who had lost his “poop” at practice and throttled a teammate by now. At least don your tuxes and go down like men for God’s sake!

  59. Ian G Cobb says:

    Toronto has known for a long time that they are known as the center of the hockey world ! They know this because they are told by all the Toronto media year after year that this is so. The rest of the hockey world knows how crapy, bias, aragant, unprofesional and self centered the Toronto media is.

  60. HKisses says:

    Well i somewhat agree with you Ian, i just dont think the way the team is goin ,and the style of play doesn’t rly suit him….thats just me maybe.. But on the other hand i have nothing against Ryder i find him a very skilled player , he just has some poor judgement sometimes with his plays..(eg. passes the puck when he has a good shot and look at the net) but other then that he his one hell of a hard worker …but we’ll see what happens..

  61. Yeats says:

    You can only truely hate a worthy opponent. (You can respect them at the same time, but that apparent inconsistancy is for another discusssion.) Personally, I only have disdain for the leafs. And, their fans are poster people for random drug testing. Not only have they not won a Cup since ’67, but they have also failed to even get to a final. Once the NHL expanded from the Original Six, the leafs have merely become “The Myth in Blue.” The returns generated for shareholders of MLSE rival those of hedge funds, but in a salary cap era money alone not longer talks. You actually have to have competant hockey people minding the store. While I rag on the team with the best of them when things are not going the Habs’ way, my more sober moments make me wish I had Ian Cobb’s patience. The more I see of this team lately, the more I think there could be some well-deserved surprises for us coming down the pike shortly. Our offensively challenged squad has caught fire and the team has required merely adequate goaltending to get points. If our kickers get in a groove come the spring, watch out! Alas, I digress. Yes, Charlotte, the leafs truely suck.

  62. Ian G Cobb says:

    We will resign Ryder with the greatest of pieasure and he will be a hab for a very long time. People have ups and downs in life and if you don’t quit on yourself your team and fans will pick you back up. That is the difference between single person sport and team sport. You go to war together, and you win and loose together. I will always be on my TEAM.

  63. doug says:

    I’ve always hated the Bruins more than the Leafs (and actually look forward to the Bruins becoming relevant in Boston again). . . it’s interesting how things are different North of the Border, all driven by general disdain for the city because of its “national” status and overrepresentation in all walks of life based on it being the financial center (not money making center, that’s out west with oil prices so high!) and high population. The reality is that last year when they knocked us out of the playoffs and then didn’t make it themselves was the most compelling success at the other team’s expense in 30 years. It’s not been so much of a hockey driven rivalry as a side story when neither team was going anywhere.

    Things are different now. Leafs fans will surely hate us with more passion, but that will be borne out of jealousy and imbalance – a return to the team’s respective positionings from the 80’s and early 90’s when we were relevant and they were not. I can enjoy reading about their demise but – in all honesty – they are quickly becoming irrelevant and beneath us. I wished that on the Bruins and now there’s no passion in Boston, where I live. That won’t happen in Toronto, where we will likely be increasingly ahead of them in the standings in years to come if not in our face-to-face games where it becomes there Stanley Cup and our next game. What a disaster they are turning into. . . it’s beneath us to mention them as rivals. Maybe this year they’ll revive, but their days of true relevancy are numbered in Montreal (where we hated each other for lack of a real purpose) and they have been irrelevant in terms of being anything talking about for years in the U.S. because they haven’t contended.

  64. HKisses says:

    Agreed with “Habsguy”, this team is showing lotz of character and my hats off to Gainey and Carbo….Carbo has experience now…..he’s been in a downfall situation and he’s experienced the ups….so i don seee him havign any problems in the future…As logn as the team shows up and Carbo is coaching ,then we will have a hell of alot of games to watch on the edge of our seats…. I rather sign the team as is…maybe let go of Ryder in the off season, i do also think his time with MTL is somewhat done….and maybe find a repalcement of his postion…can’t be that hard in the offseason…anyoen else agree?

  65. Sulemaan says:

    Welcome to the team HKisses.

  66. habsguy says:

    hey 24 cups, hello from Sutton…I was ummm ( having a debate) LOL.. with my leafs fan friends a while back, they said how sad it was that the habs were going to ruin Price by bringing him up too early and that the leaf brains wouldn’t make the same mistake with Pogge…I can’t wait to see them !!!!!!

  67. habsguy says:

    I was excited when they signed Smolinski, and said WHO when they signed Kotso…I don’t think Smolinski has shown much, but I love Kotso….But I do agree that Chipchura could have done the job…Maybe even better !!!….I love the direction this team is headed..A+ to Carbo and Gainey !!!

  68. 24 Cups says:

    I live in a small town that is just outside of Toronto. Let me tell you the heat is on big time in terms of the Lousy Leafs. The tv/print/radio media are all abuzz with speculation. Toskala is out again with a groin injury and Raycroft is basically toast as a goalie right now. Rumour has it that the Leafs might go with Pogge, the kid who won the gold medal for the Canadian juniors. He’s a good prospect but it’s asking a lot to try and win your first game against San Jose in their own rink. Not to mention this will be the Leafs’ third game in four nights. The Leafs aren’t out of the playoff picture by any means (not with 37 games to go) but they’re getting hammered in the games they lose and some people are wondering if coach Maurice has lost the room. If so, then it’s over for sure.

    The Original 24 Cups

  69. habsguy says:

    Ian …maybe all the compulsive complainers are still lying in bed thinking of (new) ways to bash the team.

  70. HKisses says:

    New memeber here….I must say im really enjoyign watching habs games now….They r playign with alot of passion and they want to win….and its been a while since we’ve seen habs palyign with such excitement…i agree with other posts it is a good time to be a Habs fan…As for tonight Habs need to stay focused this is a highly skilled team and if they play like they did against boston and keep away from taking penalties they will be succesfull tonight ….. We r in for a fun game tonight….GO HABS GOO…… SUCKS TO BE A LAFFS FAN …haha i luv it:)

  71. 24 Cups says:

    As far as tonight’s game goes I feel there is a good chance we can take two points. The Rangers are back on their heels and there is a chance that Straka (concussion) and Avery (hand) may not play tonight. Lundqvist is in a slump (2-5-2, 3.81) and he’s a big part of that team. Jagr had a very slow start this year and then caught on fire. I always feel the secret to him is never prod him with a needle – let him go ahead if he wants to be in a funk and skate aimlessly through the game. Let sleeping dogs lie. I’m looking for Sergei K and Lats to bounce back tonight. They were no great shakes on Thursday night.

    The Original 24 Cups

  72. doug says:

    Agreed. It hasn’t been this good since 1993, and that’s just because we won a somewhat fluky cup. This is the team and franchise I’ve been dying to see for 15 years. . . Good things come to those who wait! Cup or no cup, hockey will be fun again for a long time to come. Man did I miss this pride.

  73. Shiloh says:

    If there’s about 40 games left in the season, we know we’ll have another dry spell. So what? We’re moving forward with young talent. We’re miles ahead of teams that need to begin from scratch (Toronto). And we have some exciting young players to watch along with Kovalev playing like a maestro. It’s a great time to be a Habs fan.

  74. Ian G Cobb says:

    There is only 2 areas that need to be addressed more firmly.

    The first has to be the whole teams responsibility, not just goaltenders and that is goals against has to improve big time. Atributing to this poor stat include, faceoffs and we are still taking to many lazey reaching type penelties. That tells me are feet are not moving quick enough in our own end. We are a little to defensive and we have to force the play for them to turn it over. Also iceings have to be controlled better, especialy with our faceoff record.

    We are young and improving each game and the vets see this and it energises them. you can see it in there play.


  75. mrstewart61 says:

    I’m wondering if Halak will get the start against the Isles on Tuesday?

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