Game 63: Canadiens blanked on Gainey Night

Updated 10:40 pm with audio

Canadiens goalie Carey Price and defenceman Josh Gorges team up to stop Columbus forward Rick Nash.
Christinne Muschi, Reuters

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Canadiens legend Bob Gainey laced up his skates, pulled on a bleu-blanc-rouge jersey and turned a solo lap of Bell Centre ice tonight before a moving ceremony to retire the No. 23 he wore during an illustrious, Hall of Fame career.

Sadly, Gainey left the ice surface a half-hour before his team’s game began against Columbus and he didn’t return.

The ceremony honouring the Canadiens’ current general manager clearly was the night’s highlight, eclipsing the effort of the Habs in a 3-0 loss to the visiting Blue Jackets.

It was Montreal’s second consecutive defeat following a four-game winning streak.

By midway through the third period, disgrunted fans in the cheap(er) seats were hollering that they wanted Marian Hossa, the coveted sniper from Atlanta rumoured ad nauseum to be bound for the Canadiens before Tuesday’s NHL trading deadline. They’ll get him that night, if only because the Thrashers will then be in town to close out Montreal’s four-game homestand.

The Blue Jackets got on the scoreboard at 6:24, with Canadiens’ Tom Kostopoulos and Columbus’ Jared Boll serving fighting majors. Rick Nash, having slipped in behind defenceman Mike Komisarek, converted a sharp cross-ice pass from Mike Peca to beat Habs goalie Carey Price with his 33rd of the season.

Andrew Murray then made it 2-0 at 10:01 on a very stoppable shot, beating Price with an unscreened wrist shot from 20 feet.

The Canadiens enjoyed an 11-6 edge in first-period shots, but Blue Jackets goalie Pascale Leclaire was equal to anything thrown his way.

With a commanding lead in shots, 20-9 through 11:17 of the second period, the Canadiens went on a 5-on-3 for 1:10, but still couldn’t crack Leclaire. But then, they had just one shot through that 70 seconds.

Montreal outshot Columbus 12-8 in the second for a 40-minute 23-14 edge.

Columbus added their third when Manny Malhotra stripped Maxim Lapierre of the puck inside the Montreal blue line and went in to deke Price at 16:42.

At least a few of this city’s linguistically motivated fans wanted a mulligan on their cheers for head coach Guy Carbonneau, who enjoyed a rousing ovation when introduced during the Gainey ceremony.

Carbonneau didn’t dress forward Guillaume Latendresse, the third time he’s been a healthy scratch this season; forward Mathieu Dandenault, his seventh; and defenceman Patrice Brisebois, his 19th and fifth game in a row.


  1. linp says:

    I like what Boone said: “limit your intake of salt, suger and Glenn Healy”, “Are you Dumber Than Mike Milbury?”

  2. mjames says:

    I agree with you if that is what Hickey meant. He may have meant that fans should not worry because Higgins is not on the list to be traded. The list appearing in Hickey’s article had all our defense prospects. I would be careful. Also regarding these trades I am dead set against rentals. Gainey must have some assurance that Houssa would sign an extension. I really would not want to see Sundin here as he will only run back to TO after the year . In the case of Tanguay he does not want to play here, plus he brings nothing . He is a play maker . We have that in Koivu.


  3. nightmare_49 says:

    How the teams are doing in the year 2008. Plus a few more interesting stats.

  4. JF says:

    Hossa turned down $7 million from Atlanta. He would want a lot more – I heard between $8 and $9 million – to play here because of taxes and everything.

  5. JF says:

    I agree that it’s far too soon to give up on Chris Higgins. But Bob Gainey, while he didn’t say anything direct in his press conference yesterday, did imply that he wouldn’t give up any core players in a trade. He’s looking for someone, but only if that someone can be acquired at a price that he doesn’t find too high. He mentioned our depth in prospects and younger players in Hamilton and elsewhere. I think he realized he gave up too soon on Ribeiro. Besides, can you see him agreeing to pay Hossa between 8 and 9 million, which is what he would demand to play in Montreal? That would be just about twice what the highest-paid player on the team earns now.

  6. G-Man says:

    You got it. Injuries can pile up on a team, especially after a long Calder Cup run like last spring, so insurance is a good thing.


  7. G-Man says:

    Pat Hickey mentioned in his article this morning the following: “Fans shouldn’t fret over losing Christopher Higgins.” He’s got to be kidding, right? Almost everyone agrees he’s not having a great year. He still has 19G + 18A for 37 points and is +3. We all have great expectations for him, but he does look snake bit this season. Trading him away as he reaches his prime would be too high a price to pay for the likes of the Invisible Hossa, the WAY overpaid Brad Richards, and too soft Tanguay. Trading him to Laffland for Sundin would be equally stupid.
    Chris Higgins can be the impact player we’re waiting for so let’s be patient with him.
    It’s going to be great to watch #23 rise up tonight.


  8. Blitzen says:

    So it’s basically the buffer for Hamilton?
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  9. G-Man says:

    It’s more an affiliation with the team for players who need extra time in the minors. Hamilton is crowded right now, that’s why the move for Olivier Latendresse to Cincinnati. By Tuesday, Hamilton will probably not be so crowded. (With luck, neither will Montreal.)


  10. linp says:

    With Strait and Ryder playing so effectively the past few games, Montreal may want to keep Ryder for the playoff. Name change please!

  11. linp says:

    You are very good with numbers. I am still hoping that we can get one day players like Ovechkin or Lecavalier in Montreal uniform. That would be exciting.

  12. Blitzen says:

    OK…totally unrelated question:

    If the ECHL is sooooooooo inferior to other leagues that players there have almost no shot at the NHL, why do NHL teams still support teams in that league? I admit that I don’t know much about ECHL caliber leagues. The Cyclones are doing real well but, really, what’s the point for the Habs? I guess salaries there must be real low so the investment may be worth it just in case another Ryder comes along?
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  13. TradeRyder says:

    I’d hate to see us trade for Richards. The only impact he’s sure to have is on our cap space. Theodore also had one good year, but I don’t want him either.

    Hossa would be a smart trade – a dangerous winger with 30 or more goals every NHL year since 2001-2002, he had 43 last year and in a soft year for his team is on pace for 35.
    On Tuesday I will change my name. Any Suggestions?
    – SitSlowinski?
    – 4thRoundorBust?

  14. TradeRyder says:

    Yeah and Theodore is a Vezina winner. You want him back?

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

  15. TradeRyder says:

    So who are we giving up in this trade? Smolinski and Breezer?
    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  16. cautiousoptimist says:

    Incidentally, tell me you don’t like this picture:

    Higgins – Koivu – Hossa
    Andrei K – Plekanec – Kovalev
    Latendresse – Grabovski – Sergei K
    Begin – Chipchura – Lapierre

    Markov – Komi
    Hamrlik – O’Byrne
    Bouillon – Gorges


    With $6.25M for free agents and other goodies!

  17. cautiousoptimist says:

    If we do ever want to have a marquee Hossa-like player in Montreal, we’re going to have to be prepared to pay the going rate. The folks on here who lust after Lecavalier, Jokinen et al have to face that same fact. So far, Gainey’s approach has been to put together a team of good and very good players across the board, rather than one fantastic line and a bunch of filler that he picked out of the bargain bin. I think his approach is a good one.

    But we have $4M in cap space, and Ryder’s $3M won’t be here next year. That’s Hossa’s $7M right there.

    Plus, Smolinski’s $2M isn’t coming back either, and neither is Brisebois’s $700k. I can’t imagine that Dandy ($1.8) will stick around either – he’s making way too much to sit in the press box. And we won’t be paying for the buyouts and waivers for Salmalainen, Garth Murray, and Cullimore – that’s another $1M right there. So that leaves $5.5M in raises for Streit, Lapierre, Gorges, O’Byrne, Halak, and – the only expensive one – Andrei. Subtract maybe $2M for calling up Grabovski, Chipchura and Halak, and we’re still sitting pretty at $3.5M

    As well, Huet may use his UFA status to head to a team where he’ll be the #1 guy he deserves to be. If he does, his $2.75M go with him, giving us $6.25M in space – after signing Hossa. With a team as good as ours, that’s a wet dream for most GMs.

    We’re in great cap shape here, with an owner who’s willing to spend some cash. Why not go after a big name?

  18. NightRyder says:

    When did he become good defensively? -55 career. We cannot throw the salary structure out of whack for a second-line centre. He’d be making twice as much as our captain (Koivu) and best player (Kovalev). I’d rather have Tanguay for $3M less.

  19. nightmare_49 says:

    Kj – You forgot Ryder and Streit.

  20. PGHABS says:

    i like the idea of gratton as well

  21. NightRyder says:

    Just say no to Richards. He’s only averaged a point per game once in his career. Not close to being worth $8M.

  22. nightmare_49 says:

    Huet is a UFA who probably wants a big long term contract and Tampa needs a goalie. I like Huet , much more than you , but i hate to pay him big bucks to be a part time goalie and this way we get something for him in an impact player and a possible big shutdown center and a goalie with NHL experience if things don’t work out for the young guys.

  23. ViveKovalev says:

    Bedtime thinker..? I can’t even get to sleep thinking about how horrible that trade would be.

  24. wild flower says:

    Crew on Sportsnet commented on how difficult the Habs would be to stop with another scoring line: Higgins Koivu Hossa. They were making the point that Hossahe is a good guy with no chemistry issues to worry about and that past poor playoff performance was not likely an indicator of the future. Also from TSN:

    The Ottawa Senators won’t know until Monday how seriously Chris Neil’s right knee is injured, but it doesn’t sound good. Coach John Paddock said Friday that an evaluation of the injury can’t be made until the swelling goes down. Neil was not at the rink on Friday.
    Daniel Alfredsson was not on the ice on Friday, he got a day off to rest.
    Paddock has not named his starting goaltender for Saturday’s game with the Penguins. He said he will tell the goalies his decision on Friday night.
    There is talk the Sens’ top line is being split up but it is not clear what the new line combinations will be.

  25. nightmare_49 says:

    It’s about the same salary as Hossa and if you get Hossa you’ll want to sign him and that would probably cost you more than Richards whose under contract for 3 more years at the same rate. Kovy’s salary reflects the many bad years he’s had and he knows it. No matter what impact player we get the salary will be more than Kovy’s salary. Tampa Bay wants to sign Dan Boyle and he wants big bucks and a long contract and in a year Vinnie will be getting bigger bucks also so the Lightning have to free up some money and not many teams will be in the bidding for Richard’s long contract but we can handle it. Say we sign Huet for next year , his new salary with Dandy’s salary won’t be far away from Richards. Conn Smythe Trophy winner and a Stanley Cup ring and is versatile , Hossa doesn’t have that on his CV.

  26. wild flower says:

    from TSN:

    Carey Price will start Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Steve Begin (groin) will be a game time decision.

  27. jimbo says:

    last chance to prove your worth before the deadline.Should be a good game

  28. Habifax says:

    Sorry can’t agree on Mats. Just doesn’t make the grade for me.

  29. Habifax says:

    It would be fitting that Georges Vezina is up there. They didn’t retire Plante’s until 1995 so maybe there is still hope for Georges.

  30. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Mats Naslund…

  31. Xtrahabsfan says:

    In the last game against the Pens,I just caught the fight with Lapierre ,kid can fight eh!thought so!

  32. Chuck says:

    I’d vote for Patrick Roy, but as for the current crop of players, I think that only Saku could even be close to being considerd a contender… if he wins a Cup. Give Price a few years. 😉

    One name that I’ve always wanted to see up there is Georges Vezina. The greatest goaltender of his era, he played in every game from 1910-1926. Even with the NHL trophy named after him, he still slips people’s minds and I can’t believe that he’s been overlooked this long. Even thumbing through the Canadien’s press guide, you rarely see mention of him due to the fact that the team records listed only date back to the formation of the NHL back in 1917. The original #1, he deserves to share a place of honour next to Jacques Plante.

    By the way, I also find it hard to believe that the Habs virtually ignore the statistical history of the team from 1909-1916 in their own media guide and on their own website. I understand that those stats are probably supplied buy the NHL head office and are cut/pasted into those publications (and the website template is probably only formatted to go back to 1917 anyway) but especially considering next years’ centennial you’d thing that they make the extra effort to represent the full history of the team.

    (rant off)

    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  33. Y says:

    LMAO Holmqvist an upgrade over Huet?

    Find a new source for your weed

  34. Wencz says:

    Richards is a Conn Smythe winner, I think that’s something important to consider. Remember how deadly he was that year. I think a change of scenery might be able to revitalize him, and there is no question that he comes to work every night. I don’t think that his contract should scare anyone (it’s probably in the area of what the others would command). He brings more than just points to the table.

  35. Rastaman says:

    If Carbo could get a cup as a coach, he may have a shot.

  36. Habifax says:

    hahahah good one. Maybe we should have a hall of shame for some of the worst players.

  37. Habifax says:

    Yeah you could be right but the lack of team success will hurt him.

  38. gmd says:

    I think Saku’s number could be retired without winning the Conn. In 711 regular season games he has 580 points. 43 playoff games with 36 points. Has been with the team since 1995-96, Captain since 1999, and has done much for the Montreal community.

  39. dicktracy says:

    ya i think roy is a for sure…. but they will make him wait till he is so old he won’t remember his own name

  40. Habifax says:

    Wouldn’t want to see Richards brought in with that Salary. What would Kovy do
    with Richards making so much more than him. I worry about that.

  41. Habifax says:

    Good point players will not be with the team as long with free agency.

    Sakiu would have to win a Conn Symthe to be considered, I think.

    I looked at the 86 and 93 teams and I only see Roy who I would say is a for sure, if they can see past the way he left.

  42. mbplekfan says:

    wtf are you smoking?

    please dont post stupid pipe dreams.

  43. dicktracy says:

    i don’t know…how many of the guys that have their sweaters up there do think would have been obvious hall of famers after their first-second seasons…maybe we will have a better guess after the playoffs…can we keep anyone around long enuf with the way the nhl is now. if saku won the conne smythe?

  44. nightmare_49 says:

    Bedtime thinker – Cristobal Huet (G) , Mathieu Dandenault (D/W) , Mikhail Grabovski (C) and the rights to Alexander Perezhogin (W) to Tampa Bay for Brad Richards (C/W) Chris Gratton (C/W) and Johan Holmqvist (G).

  45. Samantha says:

    I don’t think it’s conditioning he needs, more like a good old fashioned ass kicking. He’s an average player at best who never paid his dues. Send him down and keep him there

  46. Proudones says:

    He needs a couple of years there. I doubt you could call that a conditioning stint.

  47. HABZ 24 says:

    send latandresse down to the farm for a conditioning confidence stint, hes been doing bugger all last 12 games or smolinski insted.

  48. nightmare_49 says:

    That makes sense and i didn’t know they mentioned a defenceman. I hate to lose Streit but Richards plays the point on PP and then all we have to get is a cheap big veteran “D” man as insurance , better than your buddy , sounds great. There’s also the rights to Emelin. Bob will work it out.

  49. Shiloh says:

    I would take them in this order – Sundin, Hossa, Jokinen, Tanguay. Tanguay could be a real sleeper though.

  50. Girth says:

    There is no accounting for what some people will say…

    Hey … I suppose the Gazette is in violation as well.

    I want my Gazette in french!


  51. showey47 says:

    A) jokinen, still under contract at just over 5 million and the big goal scoring center we lack. The asking price will be steep.

    B) hossa, a scoring winger with size and plays a very good 2 way game. Can play powerplay and penalty kill. Will easily give us a lethal second line

    C) Richards, Can play center, wing and point on the powerplay so versitility makes him an attractive asset. Former conn smyth winner and still only 27 years old. His salary at 7.8 million may seem like alot but will be less than the 2 mentioned above when ufa status comes calling to them.

    D) Tanguay, Reports say he won’t waive his ntc to play here but can be traded for then shipped off somewhere else. So essentially this guy can be the key for us to land either A or B

    E) Sundin, actually i don’t even want him because he won’t resign and it would be stupid for us to help restock a teams farm system for a player would play for us for a couple of months. He obviously has the size we need and can dominate a game, but where will his heart be in the playoffs? With us or with the blue and white.

  52. nightmare_49 says:

    Exactly but Tampa still needs a #1 goalie and that may be a stumbling block but maybe Bob could use (player to be named later) as Huet is sure to be pursued by Tampa if he’s a UFA. I just heard on CBC Radio (hockey rumours) that Tampa are not interested in signing Chris Gratton UFA.

  53. showey47 says:

    Would you offer huet,streit,dandenalt and maybe a prospect/draftpick for richards and gratton? Huet and streit are ufa’s but tampa would have negotiating rights till july 1st. Tampa also stated they wanted defencmen so they are essentially getting 2 who also play forward.

  54. Shiloh says:

    Yeah – waaay less expensive to get but how many years left at 8 million a year? Richards is too expensive against the cap. If he’s all we can get then take a pass on him. Maybe next year there will be somebody around worth that kind of money – a real impact player that will put us over the top.

    Jokinen and Sundin are far less expensive as is Tanguay. I’d rather have any one of those three – even Sundin as a rental – than commit that kind of money to Richards.

  55. Shiloh says:

    Agreed – we aren’t doing him any good by playing him 8 or 9 minutes on the 4th line and his play doesn’t deserve any more than that. Give the kid a chance to develop his game and make room for someone like Grabovski.

  56. TradeRyder says:

    Play Youppi instead! Anyone but Slowinski
    On Tuesday I will change my name. Any Suggestions?
    – SitSlowinski?
    – 4thRoundorBust?

  57. TradeRyder says:

    Why do I have the feeling he won’t get sent down? While Grabovski lights it up and Chipchura “works on his game” (which didn’t need it).

    Sometimes it sucks to be in Montreal – where language politics get into everything.

    On Tuesday I will change my name. Any Suggestions?
    – SitSlowinski?
    – 4thRoundorBust?

  58. planet habs says:

    I think Jokinen is going to SJ. why? because they’re offering Marleau and Carle, just what Florida will need to replace their center. And don’t be surprised if Sundin is NOT traded. As far as the habs are concerned, a player like Gratton would help. he’s a big strong center, who can win faceoffs and score some goals. I also think, that unless Tanguay waives his no trade contract, we’re not getting him. Besides, he already said he didn’t want to play in Montreal! Brad Richards for Huet and Ryder? maybe.

  59. Samantha says:

    I think this is the goalie we need this year:

    Trade huet for this guy! (I’m a big Huey fan so I’m just kidding)

  60. 24 Cups says:

    CO – Next year isn’t the (cap) problem for Montreal – it’s the year after when we hit the financial wall. Any moves we make now (or during the summer) have to be based on a three year budget, not a one year cap hit.

    The Original 24 Cups

  61. 24 Cups says:

    I realize that the home team usually doesn’t play well after a long pre-game celebration but surely the Habs’ players will pull out all the stops to win this game for Bob Gainey. Failure to do so tonight is totally unacceptable.

    Columbus has been playing better lately and we all know they are desperate to make the playoffs. But still. This is their 5th road game in a row, we are on home ice, and we are well rested after playing a half hearted game against Pittsburgh. I’m sure Columbus will come out flying but our speed should wear them down as the game goes on and they eventually start to tire. Komi can redeem himself by handing out some early big hits on Nash and Zherdev so they lose their starch early in the game. Make Adam Foote skate and handle the puck as much as possible – he must be starting to breakdown by now. A win tonight means we have a 9 point cushion on the 8th playoff spot.

    The Original 24 Cups

  62. G-Man says:

    Guaranteed. Think of him as the Dino Ciccarelli, Martin St. Louis type. He’s not tall, but he’s built like a fire hydrant, and yes, he is faster on his skates than his younger brother. Might be exactly the kind of push that Gui needs, sort of like what AK46 started doing after SK74 arrived in town.


  63. Blitzen says:

    Then why did we get him for Urquart…i.e. for free?
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  64. G-Man says:

    He’s like Begin. He’ll go through the wall for the CH. It’s in his blood. One of my colleagues at work coached him for 2 seasons in midget and knows his character. We MAY see him in September at the big camp.


  65. G-Man says:

    I am French Canadian and these boobs give us all the name of “ignorant racist.” They ought to be ashamed of themselves, bringing their stupid “issue” into the pro sports arena. The fact they even had a show based on the premise shows exactly the kind of s**t disturbing ass****s that are running the local media in Montreal. ‘Nuff said.


  66. TradeRyder says:

    Question for y’all: If Bob was to make a trade, who would you prefer to land:

    a. Sundin
    b. Hossa
    c. Tanguay
    d. Jokinen

    My vote goes to Hossa.

    On Tuesday I will change my name. Any Suggestions?
    – SitSlowinski?
    – 4thRoundorBust?

  67. showey47 says:

    Reading all the talk about the pro’s and con’s about going after Richards from tampa. His numbers have dropped and his plus minus is bad not to mention his salary. But he also doesn’t play on the first line with vinny and marty anymore, prospal plays there. Richards now plays second line center on a team with no second line type wingers, brutal defence and no goaltending. I think Richards playing wing with a good center like koivu and whoever else maybe higgins or ryder would be a very good line. Given the choice i would rather have hossa though, but he would be a good alternative.

    Also a conn smythe winner, you don’t win that by accident and still 27 years old. On a good team his best years could be ahead of him.

  68. nightmare_49 says:

    The Blue Jackets have had some fine defensive games this season and have shut down many good teams as told by the number of shutouts they have posted so i expect a close checking game. Good move to dump it into Foote’s corner as he has slowed down quiet a bit and when he gets frustrated he takes bad penalties but their trying to sign him for a couple of more seasons and they haven’t even talked to Hainey’s agent yet as they are both UFAs.

  69. Blitzen says:

    I’m French Canadian too and that show sucked. The best line came at the very end from Dion: “When Koivu scored the winning goal in last Tuesday’s historic comeback, I don’t think too many fans at the Bell were thinking how mad they were that he couldn’t speak French”. Priceless.
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  70. Blitzen says:

    I’d rather have Hossa but there’s no doubt that Richards would be waaaaaaaaaaay less expensive. They’re just trying to get rid of him right now.
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  71. Blitzen says:

    Well that’ll be nice if it happens.
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  72. Habifax says:

    If he plays like he did as the Conn Smythe winner then yes. But that is a big if…

  73. Habifax says:

    Hail to Bob Gainey. If he was 25 years younger he would be perfect for this team as a player. Pure Class in the tradition of number 4.

    Thanks Bob, it has been a pleasure to watch you and your great team mates do what you did. Tomorrow your sweater takes it’s rightful place for eternity.

  74. Habifax says:

    Who among the current team has a chance to have their sweater raised to the rafters of Bell Center? I’m not sure if anyone is worthy or capable.

    So much to achieve to be compared to the greats up there already.

    Also who is left that you think should be up there. Patrick Roy comes to mind
    as a for sure but who else?

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