Game-day skate

Some pre-game reading:

“Auditions” continue for G&G linemate

• Pat Hickey on Carey Price’s workload

• EOTP piece on Jeff Halpern

• Steven Hindle’s Canadiens report card

• From La Presse, Ryan O’Byrne keeps his chin up

• François Gagnon on who sits when Markov returns

• Sean Gordon on old pals Subban and Tavares

• Jonathan Bernier of ruefrontenac on precious October points

Guy Carbonneau’s RDS column

• Canadiens slide to 15th in SI Power Rankings

• Michael Farber on the Kovy II mess

Kovy I scores! Twice!!

Blown call boost Leafs. Colton Orr takes out the goaltender



  1. mike g says:

    Sounds like you’re onto something, nice post…

    Problem is you can’t take it away from them. They’ve got it now, and won’t let it go. The only way we get it back is if we stop going to and watching the games, and that won’t happen. But if we were to do it, the league and it’s franchises will fold, and we’ll have to create another league after.

    So, the lawyers own this game for the rest of time.


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  2. TomNickle says:

    Get the game out of Bettman’s hands and put it into Paul Kelly’s.

    And you’re absolutely right.  The shame is, the NHL has a great marketing department.  Their television ads are the best of any major sport.  

    You see the problem is that the owners or board of governors as Bettman likes to call them are cut from the same mold that he is.  Eugene Melnyk(tell me he isn’t getting something on the side for taking that franchise out of bankruptcy), Tom Golisano(same exact deal), how about giving a franchise to a convicted criminal(Minnesota).

    The NHL needs somebody who is business savvy and is a longtime member of the game.

  3. habitual says:

    You’ll take your Dad’s cousin’s word for it?  Really?  Is you Dad’s cousin working professionally in hockey?  No?  So he just has an opinion like everyone else here.

    If O’Byrne can’t play in the NHL, why hasn’t Montreal sent him down?  Because he would be claimed by another NHL team. Why hasn’t that happened?  Because he obviously has the talent to not give up on him, except at the rate he is being played that may well be the inadvertent effect?


  4. krob1000 says:

    didn;t know he hwas hurt…I know the cap issues are why Ryan White isn’t withthe club right now….but by years end it is very possible that neither Tom Pyatt or mathieu Darche has a spot and 2 of Palushaj, WHote and Maxwell or even Pacioretty are with the club….very, very possible.

  5. scott9002ca says:

    Should the NHL take away the win? is that the only fair thing to do in this case? (then explain why not taking away the win would be fair).

    The ref is probably already fined (maybe even suspended but you wouldn’t even hear of it for the above reasons) so that base is covered. but that doesn’t give back a win.

    and what i meant was that if the canadiens were the beneficery of a bad call, or the rangers were the recipient of a bad call, then the canadiens didn’t deserve to be ranked 8th and shouldn’t have made the playoffs (i’m not saying this is the case, but there’s a good chance that someone got screwed over by a bad call) live with it, us here in montreal have made more of a stink of it than probably all of florida.

  6. SmartDog says:

    I agree with you.  Spacek should at least sit a game so he wakes up to how bad he’s playing.

    But don’t say the “B” word.  “B” does not exist and his methods are not important in the minds of most people at HIO.

    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  7. mike g says:

    And then we wonder why the NFL is the creme of the creme….

    It’s really sad that the NHL is a joke league run by a bunch of joke people.


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  8. HabFanSince72 says:

    Not related to the above, but I wonder if anyone  agrees with me.

    History teaches us that when institutions or corporations built on passion and talent are taken over by lawyers and accountants it’s the beginning of the end (e.g. the American automobile industry, Hollywood movies). When the lawyers take over you have focus groups, you have mediocrity, you have  excel-sheet reading, bottom-line counting little men, you have no space for individuality.

    This is what has happened to the NHL. It’s run by lawyers who don’t care about the sport. They care about marketing. They care about squeezing cash out of municipalities (extortion is the correct term). They care about winning fights. But the beauty of the game? They’d be just as happy working for Monsanto or Philip Morris.

    How do we take our national game back from a bunch of squalid little American lawyers is the big question.



  9. TomNickle says:

    I believe Palushaj is hurt.

    Money has to be shipped out for a long term call up.

  10. Jbird says:

    Unbeilevable that counted.  Insane.

  11. mike g says:

    I have a feeling it’s gonna be a revolving door…

    Instead of taking advantage of this weak d-group that the Isles will dress, and use it in favor of Pouliot regaining some momentum, Darche will probably start the game on that line.

    Then, the 2nd shift JM will put whichever winger will pick up the waterbottle with their left hand.

    The 3rd Gomez-Gionta shift, JM will throw in whichever guy is respectful by spitting on the floor of the bench area, and not on the ice.

    The 4th shift, JM will put back Pouliot for a 29 second shift.

    Then back to Darche, because it will be 17 minutes he’s sitting on the bench. And it will continue like that all night until the line scores a goal.


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  12. TomNickle says:

    A linseman in that situation can tell the referees that the goaltender was interfered with and then can disallow the goal due to the interference and take the faceoff to the neutral zone.

    A linseman can only call a bench minor, double minor, major or match penalty.

  13. SmartDog says:

    Benny has been better this year.  He seems more solid.  That plus scoring 12 goals in 20 games or whatever it was when he cam over make him the most likely candidate by FAR for the 2nd line.  He’s got DEMONSTRATED NHL GOAL-SCORING SKILLS AND he’s got the same number of points at G and G while playing half the minutes. I’m hoping that JM is playing head games with him to get him angry and fired up.  Either that or JM is missing the boat on this one.

    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  14. TomNickle says:

    That crew has a knock against them come playoff time Mike.  

    Does it really matter though.  Kelly Sutherland was atrocious for us in the playoffs last season after getting three of our first six games against the Capitals.  

    The league has no interest in fairness or no idea how an official can get emotionally attached to a series and that’s clearly demonstrated in them putting one official into half of a series’ games.

    Sutherland had dealt with Gomez bitching for three games instead of one game.  Gomez ends up with a ten minute misconduct because Sutherland is getting sick of him.  That’s just one instance where an officials’ dislike for a player comes to a head and a player’s dislike for an official does too.

    They don’t care, we have no control, the Habs do have control but choose not to do anything about it.

    Perhaps if Geoff Molson bitched and chewed like MLSE and more specifically Brian Burke, these things wouldn’t happen.

  15. blu3chip says:

    Push the goalie away so pucks will go into the net more easily, I have never thought of that! What an ingenious solution.

    Note to self: Remember to bribe the refs first or else they will call it goalie interference.

  16. says:

    lol, I know People!

    They Call Me Shane

  17. ZepFan2 says:

    Brian Gionta looks at that video and just shakes his head.

    I guess it all depends who’s in nets. Brodeur gets a light dusting and it’s a penalty.

    Clemmenson? Who the F is that and who cares??


    “Analyst: And I will say things you already know, five seconds after you yell them at your television.”

  18. FB says:

    Linesman have no power to over turn a goal based on Goalie Interference.  1 of the 2 refs should have seen that though.  I agree with with you.  Disciplinary action should be taken on the 2 refs.

    On another note if I were the Florida coach I would have been tossed and I would have made sure I got tossed. 

  19. mike g says:

    Check my reply below, lol…

    Did you just read my mind?

    Cuz I just wrote that I’m having one of those mornings and I’m kinda on the edge.


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  20. TomNickle says:

    Colton Orr isn’t exactly a star.  Star treatment doesn’t really apply here.

  21. mike g says:

    Are they really held accountable, Tom?..

    Do you really think the NHL will tell that 4-man crew that worked last night’s game to stay home for 3 or 4 days, because they made a huge mistake?

    I highly doubt it.


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  22. flanman says:

    i am sure if Martin F. was in net that goal would have not counted (see
    gionta vs martin F last week) but scott clemmesen doesn’t get star

    How what Gionta did was a penalty and orr’s wasn’t is garbage.

  23. Timo says:

    So here is what I don’t get. JM seems to be showing and incredible amount of patience (I call it something else but whatever) keeping GG together. Why not extend that to the wingers that keep to be added and dropped from that line? Why not give Pouliot a shot on this line for 5-7 games? As much bashing as I administered in his (Pouliot) directino last season, I think he has been decent this year so far. Yes, he is not scoring much but he is working hard, plays physical and is one of the very few montreal forwards that seems to be finishing his checks.


  24. krob1000 says:

    I think Palushaj is fast enough and so too is Ryan White…they are both right handed shots though but  if they can play their off wing? either of them too is as talented as Maxwell…as fast (actually both are faster) and both have talent enough I believe to play there.  White would be more sandpaper…but Palushaj I believe would score some goals and find the soft spots that guys like Pyatt, Moen and Darche don’t…Palushaj has that mentality…..Maxwell could be better than current options not names Pouliot or Eller too though….plenty of options…just not many with the big club.

  25. SmartDog says:

    If your back-up can’t win a game now and then he should never have been signed.  So sure, trade for a back-up if Auld is that useless.  But Price WILL need a break and the team DOES need a back-up.  And if Price gets injured, what then?  (And BTW, the more he plays, the more likely he’ll get injured.) 

    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  26. says:

    Oh my Mike, I’m hardly _____ in anyone’s cereal. 

    Three days off before the Tb game.

    Two light nights vs Buffalo (W, 23 shots, all outside), Sens (W, 19 shots).

    Then four straight days off.  Devils come in with 19 shots and a W.

    Day off then receives a shutout on 19 saves.

    Wins against the Yotes, had to work a little to get the win.

    Do you really have to come here on a positive gameday and piss into everyone’s Cheerio’s?

    I don’t know what to say to that, I guess you’re having  a bad morning??


    They Call Me Shane

  27. TomNickle says:

    Tonight we play an opponent who is weak defensively so I’m guessing instead of putting Pouliot or Eller with Gomez and Gionta Jacques goes with Darche.

    Any takers?

  28. mike g says:

    Workload, fine..

    But I thaught he meant in terms of opponents.

    Sorry, my mistake. Been having a rough morning, lol..

    Me Scuzi, Shiloh.


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  29. StevieRay says:

    pic my man ..your 1/2 right ….a combined 13 million salary

    2 star forwards …now that’s a stretch

  30. TomNickle says:

    They are held accountable, just not to the public.  And I agree that there needs to be some accountability to the fans and teams around the league.

    Gary Bettman has a radio show.  He could use it to his advantage and bring in Colin Campbell for discussion on weekly or monthly supplementary discipline and he could bring in whoever the heck the head of officials is now for clarification on calls that are made or not made around the league on a weekly or monthly basis too.

    That would give the NHL a certain amount of respect when it comes to these matters.

    But you have to remember that this is the same league who did nothing to Stephane Auger publicly after telling a player that he was going to get him and following that up by taking two points away from the Canucks.


  31. Storm Man says:

    I’m not sure if the Pope is a hockey fan. The NHL grades the refs over the season so when the playoffs come around the refs with the best grades work come playoff time.

  32. mike g says:

    You’re seriosuly waiting for OB to devellop properly?….

    Look at the areas of his game you mentionned he is apparently supposed to help us in: Size, reach and toughness.

    Well, those are all aspects of the game that you can’t develop. You’re born with them.

    And, OB was not born tough. He’s very lanky, very weak for his size, and not the toughest/badass d-man you’ll meet. He’s soft, and isn’t quick enough mentally to play in the NHL. It’s simply one step ahead of him.

    My dad’s cousin played with OB when they attended university. That’s when OB got drafted by us, playing in the NCAA. And I asked my cousin why the heck the Habs wasted a draft pick on a soft d-man. And here’s what he answered me:

    ” The Habs didn’t make a mistake. At the time, OB was our best d-man, and he was a man playing against teenagers. He was dominating games and a solid defenseman. He was 6 foot 3 while everyone else was lucky to be 6 feet tall. But, that was his peak and nobody could have known that. He just hasn’t been able to adjust to the NHL speed, and the clock is ticking. I really don’t see him progressing, there just doesn’t seem to be a slight indication of it.”

    I’ll take his word.



    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  33. TomNickle says:

    Problem with sitting Spacek is that you can’t send him to the minors.  So if he’s in the pressbox, that’s $4 million sitting in a suit instead of on the ice.

    Spacek has repeatedly requested politely not to be put on the right hand side of the ice.

    Further to all of this.  It took Jacques Martin three months to bench Hamrlik last season and he was going even worse than Spacek has been through eight games.

    Picard will very likely be the guy to go upstairs, it might not be fair, but it’s very likely to happen.

  34. Jordio-oh says:

    easy in terms of workload. I agree with him.

  35. mike g says:

    I don’t care if it was the Pope…

    Referees should have to face consequences if they make complete obvious mistakes. It’s enough with this “carte blanche” that they have.

    It’s a joke when you can constantly make mistakes on the job and never be penalized for it. And like I said, it’s not like we should suspend them when they miss a hooking or slashing call, it happens. But on a play like last night, where not 2 but 4 referees can call that, it goes uncalled.

    That makes the NHL look like a Mickey Mouse league.

    Immagine if tonight the refs decide to give the Islanders 7 borderline powerplays, and the Habs get none. I understand it can happen if the Isles are very disciplined and we play like crap. But immagine if the 7 Isles powerplays are all borderline calls, and the Habs don’t get one PP all game long, yet 2 Habs players get high-sticked in the face during the game and are cut. Nothing will happen to the refs, they’ll just fly to another city and take their circus to another game without facing any suspensions. It’s a joke, Tom…

    So no matter who the refs were, they should be suspended. We shouldn’t continue to give immortality to those who in the end, hold the fate of the game in their hands.

    It has to stop…


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  36. habitual says:

    Francois Gagnon has it right:

    * Pouliot is the only winger not on Pleks line that has the offensive talent to play with Gomez and Gionta (except Eller);

    * If anyone is to be sat on D right now it should be Spatch.  I know he is a vet, but he is an aging vet.  We have for the first time in a long time depth at D and the opportunities to develop need to go to O’Byrne and to Picard. 

    Some of  you have been dismissive of O’Byrne.  Developed properly he will give us the benefits of size and reach (note how that works for Gill), and toughness when we need it.

    Let me put it another way:  How much opportunity will the organization give Tinordi, drafted because of his size?

    Another question:  Do you think Guy Boucher would be handling O’Byrne differently than Martin …?

  37. wmarcello says:

    The Versteeg call was actually the wrong one. There are 2 slightly different rules for high sticking the puck. If you’re tipping the puck and it immediately goes in, the rule is that the contact can’t be above the crossbar. However, if you’re just hitting a puck out of the air (which Versteeg did – it didn’t immediately go in), the contact can’t be above his shoulders (which it wasn’t). So that goal should have counted. That’s a tough call in a fast-paced game though. That Orr missed call was as bad as I’ve ever seen.

  38. TomNickle says:

    It was Stephen Walkolm who stood beside that interference.  The former head of officials.

  39. TomNickle says:

    Desharnais isn’t nearly fast enough for the NHL.

    If there’s a candidate in Hamilton who deserves a chance right now it’s Ben Maxwell.

  40. mike g says:

    Price has had a really easy 2 weeks, really?……

    Do you really have to come here on a positive gameday and piss into everyone’s Cheerio’s?


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  41. mike g says:

    Dear Gary Bettman,

                                 I’d like to post a message to you regarding the blown goaltender interference call during the Pathers-Leafs game last night.

    Sh*t happens, I know. Sometimes people make mistakes and set up businesses in places where they won’t succeed, for example. But, that’s not the case here.

    What my complaint and concern is about regards the disciplinary action towards referees. They are human, like you, and can/will make mistakes, like you. But what occured last night during the game mentionned above is a farce. A 100% blown call, and there’s no justifying it. Now I’m not complaining about the result of the game. It’s in the books, the teams have moved on and it’s settled. What I’m trying to say though is that whichever referees were working during last nights game, well they should all be suspended.

    The same way we throw out players and suspend them when they make big mistakes, referees should be sudject to this too. Now I’m not talking about a missed call on a borderline hooking call behind the play or anything. I’m talking about obvious blunders like we saw last night. First of all, the infraction happened where the puck was, so all referee eyes should have been looking in that area of play. Second of all, there are 4 guys with stripes that could have called that goal back, unlike the hooking penalty I mentionned above; the linesmen can’t call that one.

    So what I’m trying to say is get rid of this stuff. That was one of the most obvious non-calls in all of hockey, and those who missed it should be penalized. It’s all about accountability, and the NHL should show that even though NHL referees shouldn’t be pointed at for every mistake, the extreme obvious ones like last night should incur a suspension. Not only would it make the referees even sharper, but it would set an admireable standard for integrity in the NHL.

    Take this into consideration, please.

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  42. avatar_58 says:

    So trade for a backup then, because I’m telling you right NOW that Auld can’t make those saves. So sit Price – we lose.

  43. HabFanSince72 says:

    1. Benny is soft and distracted, and falls constantly.

    2. Can’t get a top 6 in a trade. How about Wee David Desharnais?

    3. Yes. They are struggling. Gill’s C was unfair on the other hand. Why do they think our PK is number one in the league?

    4. Right now Pleks is much better than Gomer.

    5. The team we have is the team we’re going to have.

  44. Jordio-oh says:

    I feel like Lapierre likes to carry the puck a little too much to play with Gomez and Gionta.

  45. Kamal Panesar says:

    Agreed.  Price is only 23 and this is only 9 games into the season.  There is no fatigue factor going on right now.

    The only potentially legitimate reason to start Auld is because you don’t want him to get TOO rusty sitting on the sidelines.  The idea is that he should play every once in a while, regardless of how well Price is playing, so that he stays sharp.

    While I understand that logic, Price is on fire right now and, unless he tells the coaches that he is tired or they have some reason to believe he needs a rest, I would keep playing him.

    He’s in a groove right now…why not keep him there?

    Follow Kamal on, Facebook and Twitter

  46. says:

    Considering Price has had a really easy two weeks, I’d play him until 2 November vs the Bluejackets.


    They Call Me Shane

  47. SmartDog says:

    I disagree entirely.

    Price should sit on a regular (if protracted) basis.  Any goalie needs to be rested now and then, and given the chance to think the game while watching it – especially young ones.  I think it’s not smart to go to the well too many times and have a bad feeling Price may show us this tonight.


    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  48. TomNickle says:

    That specific referee was critiquing officials and deciding who moved on to officiate in the playoffs less than two seasons ago.  Stephen Walkolm.

  49. TomNickle says:

    Price’s best work has come when he’s been thrown in for 20 game stretches.  So I’m not going to disagree.

    If Auld is in against the Isles, I’m not panicking.


  50. avatar_58 says:

    What in the samhill is all this auld talk I keep seeing in articles and whatnot? Until Price falls over from fatigue I see no reason why he sits. I’m telling you RIGHT NOW without his handful of game saving desperation saves we won’t win. Without that couple of “How the hell did he stop that??” type of saves – the game is over.

    Saves which Auld CANNOT and WILL NOT make. Ergo if Auld is in, we lose. Case closed. So put Auld in only as a last ditch effort thank you very much. I do not want to give up 2 points just “cuz” it’s the norm to give your tender a break. I hate to break it to you guys but the habs can’t get by with a serviceable backup. Unless the guy is able to leap across the crease in an instant we’ll lose. Halak and Price both could and therefore it was not a worry. Auld? Haha…right. Don’t make me laugh.

  51. TomNickle says:

    1. Benny’s the guy.  Jacques has his way with young players and I’m sure we’ll see a bunch of Jacques hates the kids posts, but Benny’s gotten much better since getting traded here. 

    2. If not Benny, Larry Eller.

    3. Fair marks for Gomez and Gionta, they have to be better, and they know it.

    4. I believe it should be easier to play with Gomez and Gionta because they focus so much on each other.   Their other linemate should be able to simplify their respective game.  Cammy opens up Pleks and Andrei quite a bit.  They’ve been great so far though.

    5. If nobody can click with Gomez and Gionta after twenty games and Gomez is still crapping the bed, he goes down to the second line and I put Pouliot with Eller and Gionta.  Let Gomez centre Lapierre and Moen.

  52. habs03 says:

    Laps was tired last year with Pleck and Cammy, Laps with Gomez and Gio won’t work cuz both Gio and Laps are RW. I think the solution is either stick with Pouliot, or give Boyd a try.

  53. avatar_58 says:

    If the 2nd line doesn’t start scoring it means a SINGLE injury will kill this team. If AK, Plek or Cammy goes down…..

  54. SmartDog says:


    1. People here have repeatedly suggested that Benny belongs on the 2nd line. he is also clearly our most skilled “depth” forward, and now the experts (and Benny himself) are asking why he isn’t on this line?  Why REALLY is he not on the 2nd line? Will Martin come around?

    2. If NOT Benny, who should be there?  Or do we need someone from outside?

    3. The Habs report card gave both Gionta and Gomez a C-.  Is that fair?

    4. Is it harder for a player to play with Gomez and Gionta than with Plekanec and Kostitsyn?  Why or why not?

    5. If you are JM or PG and the line is still struggling at 20 games, what is the most drastic course of action you would seriously pursue?



    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  55. Maksimir says:

    Agreed on the Leafs position… hopefully they are in the 9th-8th spot so Boston doesn’t get another blue chip player.

  56. habaddict_andy says:

    Spacek over Subban is stretching it I’d say.  He would be fired by the fans.


    Scott Gomez to Montreal Media “You’re a pain in the neck, but you’re our pain in the neck.”

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