Audio: Habs sign Cole, Budaj; Hamrlik, Halpern join Caps, Pouliot to Bruins, Auld to Senators


New Canadiens forward Erik Cole, signed for four years and $18 million this afternoon.
Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

• Carolina Hurricanes forward Erik Cole brings his grit and durability – 26G, 26A in 82 games last season – to Montreal for four years and $18 million in the Canadiens’ major unrestricted free agent signing today.

AUDIO: Erik Cole conference call | Habs GM Pierre Gauthier

Video of Erik Cole taping his stick. One more thing you now know about him:

• Peter Budaj is in, Alex Auld is out: Budaj is signed to a two-year, $2.3-million contract to back up Habs starting goaltender Carey Price. Auld, meanwhile, returns to the Ottawa Senators for the same $1 million he earned in Montreal last season.

• Roman Hamrlik: 2 years, $7 million to Washington, and possibly a partner for Mike Green; Jeff Halpern: one year $825,000 to Washington.

Benoit Pouliot in a Bruins jersey, for $1.1 million. Who’d have thought that?

• Jaromir Jagr, who many believed would be wearing a Canadiens jersey next season, signs for a year with Philadelphia. Says here that’s just as well.

• James Wisniewski signed six years and $33 million with Columbus – stunning money. The Blue Jackets had exclusive negotiating rights with the defenceman, a mid-season acquisition by the Habs, until 12 noon ET today, and Wiz agreed to terms an hour before that. This gives Montreal a fifth-round draft pick in next June’s entry draft.

AUDIO: James Wisniewski conference call

I had a one-on-one interview with Erik Cole five springs ago, the Hurricanes in town for the playoffs, Cole sidelined with a fractured neck. (A few interesting parallels with Max Pacioretty five years later.) We sat in the stands at the Bell Centre as the Canes took part in their morning skate. Our talk yielded this story:

Young gun on mend
Erik Cole can only watch and envy Hurricanes teammates
as they play Habs in playoff series while he recovers
from broken neck suffered eight weeks ago

Published Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Gazette

On Monday, doctors in Raleigh, N.C., will remove the cervical thoracic brace from around the broken neck of Erik Cole.

And then the Carolina Hurricanes left winger will hold a special ceremony for the plastic-and-steel support that’s been clamped to him almost every minute since early March.

“I’m going to run over it a few times with my Cadillac,” Cole said yesterday. “And then I’m going to drive at least a few miles down the highway, dragging it behind the car.”

He vows there won’t be even a single bolt left to sell on eBay.

It was eight weeks ago today that Cole was crushed head-first into the boards by Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik. The check produced a compound fracture of Cole’s C5 vertebra, a hit from behind that doctors say came within fractions of an inch of paralyzing one of the NHL’s top young stars.

Monday, Cole will shed the hard brace and be fitted for two weeks with a less rigid collar, “just to remind me that I broke my neck,” he said, “so I don’t snap my head from side to side.”

Yesterday, the 27-year-old from Oswego, N.Y., stood at the boards during the Hurricanes’ morning skate at the Bell Centre, remembering what it was like to be on the other side of the glass.

He’s eager to get back on skates, of course, though there’s no firm timetable for that. Cole was having the best season of his four-year NHL career when he was injured; he had 30 goals, eight of them game-winners, and 29 assists in 60 games.

He is healing well, since the frightening idea of surgery was floated six weeks ago, and Cole’s presence in the dressing room has been an inspiration for his teammates.

“It’s going to be pretty emotional stepping back on the ice with the guys, whenever that will be,” he said.

But sooner will come the joy of again scooping up his children – daughter Bella, 4, and son Landon, 21 months – and of being less reliant on his wife, Emily.

“In the last eight weeks, I’ve put my children to bed maybe five times, and putting my little guy to bed is great, because his personality is really starting to come out,” Cole said. “It’s not easy when he’s trying to climb up your leg and his mother has to say: ‘Let Daddy rest.’ ”

This might be the only way the Canadiens could have kept Cole off the scoresheet. He was poison in three regular-season games against Montreal this year, scoring five goals on only six shots – including a Jan. 31 hat trick – and adding three assists.

On Wednesday, and again last night, Cole inhaled this city’s unique playoff air from the press gallery, wishing he’d been on the ice seven storeys below.

“It’s pretty miserable sitting upstairs,” he said. “You’re so close to being a part of the energy, but you’re not. It’s hard to come to this building, because I love playing here. This is such a great hockey atmosphere.”

Many times Cole has replayed the Orpik hit that fractured his neck. The Penguins defenceman, who was suspended for three games, bristles at charges from the Hurricanes and others who label it a cheap shot, and has suggested that Cole shares the blame, saying he turned and ducked just before impact.

“I didn’t know that my neck was broken,” Cole recalled. “I’ve been hit hard before, and I’ve had stingers. But the jolt that went down my arms was a lot more severe than anything I’ve ever felt.”

He was transported to a Pittsburgh hospital, and returned home the following day wearing only a collar. When Raleigh doctors believed the vertebra might be moving, he was fitted with a more restrictive brace – the same one that will wear Cadillac tire treads on Monday.

Cole says that late last month, Orpik tried to get his cellphone number from Mark Recchi, who had been traded to the Hurricanes from Pittsburgh five days after the check.

“I told Mark to tell him not to bother. I wasn’t interested in his call,” Cole said. “At that point, I felt a call was more for his benefit than for mine, of him trying to clear his conscience.

“It’s up to a player to make decisions out there. Things happen quickly, and you choose to take advantage of situations or you don’t. Accidents will happen, and there are always going to be mistakes and misfortunes.

“But I think his first comments told me how he really felt about this. I definitely look forward to next year, when we get to play Pittsburgh.”

Cole’s rehabilitation did not at first include coming to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 of this series. But when the Hurricanes lost the first two at home, he got clearance from his doctors and was welcomed by head coach Peter Laviolette.

“I think my wife was ready to kick me out of the house, too,” he joked. “She was a little worried about my being comfortable on the road, but she also understood it would be good for me.”

And what fun to goof around with teammates and trainers, “because they run away, knowing they can’t fight back.”

Cole and his family will spend the summer in Raleigh instead of returning to New York state. They’re eager to enjoy the weather and the beaches, and will be close to his doctors, should they be needed.

“This is a week at a time,” he said of his recovery. “I’ll have to get my range of motion and strength back. Then have another X-ray to rule out ligament damage. If there is, it will require surgery. But getting out of this brace will boost my spirits, for sure. With that, healing will come more easily.

“I feel very fortunate that this wasn’t much worse,” Cole said, wistfully watching his teammates breeze around the rink. “I’ll never take for granted being able to pick up my children.”


  1. cheezboie says:

    Overall this year was slim pickings. With Ward at 3mill & Ryder at 3.5 and the taxation in Quebec I think the Habs did ok with Cole. Indifferent about Budaj. Hilarious that the chicken is going to Boston. Still room for Konopka?

    My armchair GM 11/12 Habs –
    rough salary guess-timates in brackets = cap hit of 61.694 mill
    leaving 2.606 million for adding sandpaper (cap ceiling 64.3 million)

    Camm 6 – Pleks 5 – Cole 4.5
    MaxPac 1.625 – Desharnais 0.850 – Gio 5
    Darche 0.7 – Eller 1.27 – AK46 (off-wing) 3.25
    Moen 1.5 – Engqvist 0.900 – White (0.9)
    Gomez 7.357 (try to dump on a team that needs to fill cap floor)

    First call up – Russell?

    Markov (lefty) 5.75 – Gorges (lefty) (3)
    Gill (lefty) 2.25 – Subban (righty) 0.875
    Yemelin (lefty) 0.984 – Spacek (lefty) 3.833
    Weber (righty) 0.850 (can also use as RW/PP specialist a la Streit)
    Diaz (righty) 0.9

    first call up – Nash (lefty)

    Price 2.75
    Budaj 1.15

    -0.5 Laraque buyout
    (would be better if could move Gomez and/or Spacek)

    Gomez for captain of the Hamilton Bulldogs?

  2. RS says:

    Yes, they overpaid for Cole, but that’s the way it works with UFAs. Cole is the kind of player we need. No, he’s not Cam Neely in his prime, but he’s about the best available option.

  3. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Dang, woulda like Belanger. But 3 yrs is a long deal for a player like that.

    I suspect we’ll be waiting a while yet for our 4th line Centre – let’s wait until these crazy contracts die down and some deals are to be had.

    I’m a big supporter of the Erik Cole signing. It’s a year long and $500k/yr too much – but that’s inflation I can live with. Even if he only puts up 20-25g and 30-35a, he’ll be a big piece of our team.

  4. Gindan69 says:

    Habs have 8 million left, need to sign white and georges, so figure realistically, 4 is left. Just enough for that muscle on the 4th line.

  5. punkster says:

    Overall good day for the Habs. Didn’t really think there was anything worth spending all that space on but Cole is just fine; experience, size, toughness. For the money I doubt we could do better. Our new backup is…whatever, he’s a backup. Poopoo to the Bs…this is too funny.

    Now go to the jazz fest and forget about hockey for a bit 😉

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  6. BeeGee says:

    Excellent news about Cole! Sure we overpaid but you have to drop the chips if you want to sit at the table. Equally great news that AK drops down to the 3rd line. Gives us 3 good lines and depth in case of injury.

  7. scrowe21 says:

    I dont really like the price or the length, but I like Cole. Im bummed that this is the last year for AK. I think they will try to move him at the deadline now that Cole is signed until hes 36.. I wanted AK to stay with us.

    Also like I said before, Im willing to bet Pouliot puts up just as many points with Boston that Cole does for us next year, for way cheaper.

    • Bob_Sacamano says:

      If we have a decent season and I guess we will, we certainly won´t move any player at the deadline…

    • Steven says:

      My feeling about Pouliot is that he’s gonna do the same thing as Ryder: Score in bunches in year 1 and disappear for the rest(yeah, I don’t know the term)

    • aroma54 says:

      they’re not the same kind of player at all. Pouliot doesn’t use his size is often a defensive liability and lacks drive. Cole uses all of his size, plays with heart and makes a two way effort. More Gauthier/Martin’s kinda player. I’m a little surprised that PG gave up this quickly on Pouliot and that at 825K he didn’t retain our best faceoff man. Depth seems a tad thin now…

  8. slapshot777 says:

    Eric Belanger signs with Edmonton for 3 years for $5.25 mil.

    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  9. mrhabby says:

    does anybody know how much habs have left to spend.

  10. slapshot777 says:

    I see Curtis Sanford signed with Columbus for 600k.

    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  11. theprophecy666 says:

    Bruins didn’t want Krejci to get beat up by Pouliot again so they signed him.

  12. habsfansince91 says:

    Flieschmann with the panthers 4 years 4.5/year.

  13. PeterStone says:

    Considering the $ spent on 1 hit wonders ( Joel Ward ) unproven commodities ( Fleischamn 18M$ ) and questionable players ( Ryder ), the $ spent on Cole , while high, isnt horrible.

    I have to-reiterate, NHL lockout next season.

  14. Gindan69 says:

    Love the incessant bashing that goes on this day. Quick, send your GM pedigree to Molson so he can hire you.

    Cole signing: just what the dr ordered. Big. Fast. Skates north south, hits, goes to the net, a clutch player who scores when a goal is needed. A proven winner. Fits right in with the no quit attitude of this team. A nice mentor for Max to emulate. I guess we should have kept Pouillot instead or gone after that disappearing act Leno.

    Budaj signing: its a backup goalie signing. He’s younger and probably play more games then big bald alex auld. Talent wise it’s probably a wash, but it looks like locker room fit was also considered. Alot of the Habs who tweet were happy to see him join the team. They wants a guy who could do ten more games then auld. They got it.

    • Rob D says:

      Agree with Gindan69:
      Cole is very enthusiastic about coming to MTL..he isn’t the most demonstrative or vocal guy but you could hear during his interview on TSN that he wants to come to MTL for the fans and the energy in the building. WE overpaid but thats the nature of FA’s. IF he stays healthy, we have a combo of skill/size/desire/physicality we desparately needed. AFter Max went down, that became glaringly obvious. Like to love this signing depending on his health but that’s true of Markov et al.

      Slight upgrade at the backup G position..not too concerned about it. Auld leaves, Budaj comes in. Nothing to see here..move along..

      Is there one more signing left for the Habs? Not sure..

  15. Psycho29 says:

    Great moves by the Habs so far, I would rather have Cole than an overpriced Jagr. How far is Philadelphia from Atlantic City??

    I have a feeling it’s only the beginning for the Habs…..something big is on the way in the next few days…

    Keep up the great work PG!!!!!

    Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

  16. Everlasting1 says:

    With the flurry of activity throughout the NHL my head’s still spinning..but the Habs couldn’t have done better with the acquisition of Eric Cole. He is tried ‘n true and brings that instant impact as that power forward they so desperately needed. Term and salary is of little consequence me thinks.

    Backup Budaj is certainly no upgrade.

    ” There were giants on the earth in those days; and also after that (The Deluge), when the Sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  17. AK_PK_Usay says:

    Really? 4.5 mil for Erik Cole? at 52 points he’s still – 1…

    Turning 33 this november…

    PG, be smart for a change, save the rest of the cash for trade deadline…

    And seriously, if anyone things Pouliot wasnt pissed, going to our arch rivals… F U

    Can we sign Sean Bergenheim now… i want a real 4th line for a change. PS don’t overpay FFS


    • thorandresson says:

      Cole, Leino and Fleischmann all get pretty much the same deal, would you take Leino or Fleischmann instead?

      • AK_PK_Usay says:

        Id keep the money in the bank, give our youngsters 50 games to learn the ropes and sign what we need in march…

        The way i look at it, Markov/Gorges/Emmelin already improve our team over last year, including the loses of Wiz Hammer Halpern etc

        Sometimes you want to keep your options open, especially since this years salaries are automatically inflated as a few teams need to meet salary floor… Bad year to sign.

        • thorandresson says:

          Save the money? That’s silly.

          There are no young up and coming powerforwards on the team (except Pacioretty), now with Cole you have 2.

          There will be room made to sign the youngsters (Subban, Price, Paciorretty) once the Gomez contract is moved (next year).

      • Stuck_in_To. says:

        Yeah, I would have gambled on Fleischmann but then I’m not even paying with monopoly money. Maybe Cole is the safest bet but I don’t want a double, I want a home run!

    • Mark C says:

      Forget about +/-, Eric Stall was a -10 on the same team. Silly stat.

  18. Bill says:

    More than being a good player and also the TYPE of player the Habs needed, his signing just does so many good things to the depth chart.

    1) Two legitimate scoring lines (assuming Gomez improves)
    2) A set, well-balanced, two-way third line with AK, Larry, and Moen.
    3) Hopefully an end to the constant line-juggling.
    4) A big body on the power play.
    5) Size on all four lines.

    The only concern – and it was raised on TSN – is that Cammalleri and Cole are both natural RW: so who gets shifted to LW and what effect does it have on them?

    I think Pouliot will do well in Boston. He was much better for the Habs in a HIGHLY limited role than he was given credit for. Julien clearly knows how to get the most from his players: if he can get the best of benny, he’ll be pretty damn good.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

    • Tharsis says:

      all great points and I agree 100%… Cole on the top line is such a huge improvement over the darches/halpern etc that were there. Now we have a legitimate two lines with a powerforward on each.

      As for point #2, how I wish AK’s nickname was Curly


      Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.

  19. Hobie Hansen says:

    Is it possible the Cole deal might hurt a little bit towards the end of his deal, possibly.

    But anybody complaining is out of their mind!

    The guys scored 26 goals last year and threw 225 hits!

    We have two power forwards on the team and Kostitsyn isn’t too shabby either.


    looks pretty good to me!

  20. mrhabby says:

    bp signs with the hated
    have any comments bugs…

  21. boing007 says:

    Richard R
    At least Brian Murray isn’t our GM.

  22. Duracell3 says:

    Budaj can be fine in >20 starts for us, and if Carey gets hurt, I don’t think there are many backups in the league who could save us. Cole deal is questionable on length and amount, in addition to being questionable in how much we get out of him, lets hope he delivers.

    I lost a deal of respect for Jagr, as I do with any player who willingly plays for the Flyers.

    And Florida….lol.

    Good to see Commodore and Souray are back playing in the right league.

  23. boing007 says:

    Richard R
    3.5 million a year for Ryder? Most of these players are being overpaid and ticket prices keep going up. Phooey.

  24. Willy the bum says:

    Erik Cole: “You’re so close to being a part of the energy, but you’re not. It’s hard to come to this building (Bell Centre), because I love playing here. This is such a great hockey atmosphere.”

    And now, Cole, you get to play in this building for half-seasons with us. Enjoy the atmosphere!

    As for Budaj, can I say “the other Halak”? Too late, eh?

    Well then, Happy Canada Day to all.

  25. shiram says:

    Think we should have kept Auld,  not sure Budaj improves on him, but maybe coaching saw something I did not.
    Erik Cole will make alot of people around here happy, and seems like a great pick, condering what was available.
    Pouliot to the Bruins is a weird, not sure how that’s gonna work in their locker, but maybe that’s the kind of place he needs to succeed in the nhl…
    Jagr to Flyers for 3.3 mil, well I’m glad that’s over. It will b interesting to see him play for sure. Very active Flers.
    I’m glad we did not give Hamr 2 years at 3.5m, even a year at that price seems a bit much for the Habs situation. Good luck to him in WAS.
    Wiz, have not seen the details, but he got the years he wanted at a good salary, good on him.


    the salery cap FLOOR is 48 mil, thats alot of monry need to spend for team like winnipeg, colorado, nasville , NY isles, and PHX

    gomez anyone?

  27. mrhabby says:

    i don’t really get these 2 signings.

    1. budhaj and auld is a bit of a wash seems to me. i don’t get it.
    2. i know cole is a bigger body and we over pay. would have preferred just to get some bigger bodies on the 4th line and cheaper. cole gets 18m. i really don’t know what to say as i sip a nice cold one on the deck.

    • shiram says:

      A big body on our top line insulates the players…
      Think of him with Cammy and Plek for example.

    • thorandresson says:

      What’s not to get?

      Auld or Budaj, they’re backups who’ll play 10 games, not a big deal.

      As for Cole, it makes the top lines better, now there’s 2 powerforwards you can put in there (Paciorretty and Cole)

      • mrhabby says:

        i was thinking we could get a bit more of an upgrade for carey.
        cole is getting up there but we need the size up front…i get the reasons but not all the cash.

  28. habsfan0 says:

    I think Brad Richards will sign with an unexpected team.

    I think it’ll either be the Leafs or the Habs.

  29. boing007 says:

    Richard R
    Pouliot goes to the enemy camp. Boo! Traitor.

  30. DEANDALLEY says:

    Can the Molson’s hire a Coach & GM who have a brain?
    PG = Joke

  31. HabinBurlington says:

    Thoughts on TSN Coverage:
    Can you guys do “a recap of what has happened today”
    Nice picture of Darcy Hordichuk during interview, had no idea he looked just like a phone.
    How can Thomas Kaberle be considered your #2 top UFA available (or whatever number he was, i know it was in top 3).
    Thanks for bringing in 34 guys, means less Pierre talk time.





  34. habsnyc says:

    Cole was a disastrous signing for the long term health of this club. A team cannot be built around free agent forwards over the age of 30. The cumbersome payroll committment to veterans means there will be no additional room for new blood on the top two lines for the next three years.

    My over-under is 3 for the number of Habs’ draft choices who are younger than Cole who will earn less than him and score more than him for other organizations in 2011-12.

    Why does Montreal even bother drafting players if you have to be over 30 to play for this team?

    • deuce6 says:

      Because Moen and Darche are not top line material..Many of you bashing this deal will eat your words come October..The habs were starving for a player of his size/strength/willingness to go to the net…Add all that with good speed and we fill that hunger…

      I would love to have Pacioretty grow into his mld..The guy is good..Before bashing this move, can we plaese stop with the knee jerk reactions and let the guy play 1st? Some of you were crying for a player with a scoring touch with size/speed for god knows how long..We finally get one and it sucks…Here’s a news flash, we aren’t getting an Ovechkin or a Malkin…


      Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

  35. 24 Cups says:

    Gauthier’s moves are brutal. Just brutal.

    A goalie who has never held down a job as well as a forward who is just about to go over the hill.

    And to make matters worse, he overpaid for both of them (coin and term).

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      And you set all your hopes on Simon Gagne, a guy with a troubled injury history? How would Gagne at 4.5+ (likely what he wants) have been that much better?

      Budaj/Auld is a wash at most.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • 24 Cups says:

        I was willing to take a run at Gagne for a year or two, not four. I also would have taken Jagr for one year at 4.5M over Cole fo rthe same term.

        Propwash is right, today’s signings are nuts. I haven’t studied them yet, but it sure appears that Philly has done the best job so far.

        Sorry, Robert, but I can’t get exicted about these moves. Maybe on another day, but right now I’m not going to waste my holiday.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          Philly? They paid Jagr at least 1m more than any other team was willing to give him, gave a grinder an overpaid 5-year term, only signing that made sense for them today was Voracek.

          Gagne isn’t looking for 2 though, he like anyone else sees the market and an opportunity to get his last big-term contract before he has to really consider hanging it up. I think you are notably overestimating what Jagr can offer as well.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

    • Propwash says:

      Come on man, have you seen the signings today? All of them are just brutal.

    • JasonM says:

      Interesting points. Can’t argue with that.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Budaj is not brutal or an overpay, he’s basically the same money as Auld.

      I would have preferred we stand back this year and not sign a realtively overpriced free agent, but if we did we could have done worse than Cole. I think he’ll look good in bleu blanc rouge and make us proud.

      Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

  36. SmartDog says:

    T OR F
    1. Cole’s a good pick-up even if we overpaid by a mil.
    2. Halpern shoulda stayed a Hab.
    3. How Budaj is better than Auld I can’t see.
    4. Pouliot will pick it up this year.
    5. Gomez is gonna suck in Phoenix too.
    PS: All true for me.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      1. True
      2. ATM True but depends how replacement fares, 4th-line C has been replaced more times than we can count really.
      3. It’s a wash
      4. False
      5. Gomez hasn’t gone anywhere, Richards is apparently not interested in MTL at this point.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      1. Yes, overpay is relative. Might seem normal in a month, and a bargain in two years.

      2. No, he’s a spare part. We can find others.

      3. The brain trust believe that he’s an upgrade, so I believe. I’m sure they thought Carey was overworked last year, but they didn’t have a choice since they didn’t trust their current backup.

      4. I wouldn’t bank on it. Maybe this is the stimulus he needs, he has the skills and size to be better, but the safe bet is another inconsistent underwhelming season with flashes of what could be.

      5. The concensus is that he was out of shape last year. If he works out like he should, he may improve, but he’s another year older.

      It’s harder to get back in shape, and not as effective, than always being in peak condition. Compare Michael Ryder to Zdeno Chara, a man who’s fanatic about his physical fitness. No disappointing seasons from that guy.

      Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

  37. Sportfan says:

    Awesome signing im very happy with it! I feel he might be getting a bit too much but I’m still very happy with getting Cole!

    Question though how much money do we have left on the cap? Can we sign some bottom 6 guys or do we only have enough to resign Gorges and White???

  38. Favorite Son says:

    Versteeg to Florida for a 2nd and 3rd…

  39. Stuck_in_To. says:

    You can pillory me for this post but here it goes.

    We overpaid for Cole but then overpaying was a given for almost anyone we signed. Leino got the same money from Buffalo and two years longer, of course he is about four years younger.

    (Sidebar: I think the Barker signing might have been a steal for Edmonton, moneywise, but they will ruin him. A drowning man doesn’t need to be thrown into deeper water. He needed a year at 5/6 with spot time on 3/4. But I digress.)

    So now that we have Cole, I suggest it makes a lot of sense to pair him with Paciorety. Two big wingers. Nice. Mostly obvious. So who centers them?


    Gomez has shown an incredible reluctance to change his game. I’d love it if Cole is the genisis of Gomez refinding his game (though I don’t even know what that is) but I am not going to hold my breath. Pleks can seem to play with anyone but the shiftiness of both Cammy and AK seem a better fit with Pleks than any other centerman we have. So that leaves Eller.

    Eller showed a lot of growth in the latter half of the year and the playoffs. Good board work, opportunistic, and happy to get dirty around the net.

    It could be a sleeper line … the sleeper part being Eller. : )

    Okay, Auld. Hard to change cities every year but what a job. A million a year to hardly play. Not a bad way to bankroll a retirement. I hope Budja is an improvement and can take a few more games than Alud was given but I don’t know him at all. It would seem our team knows goalies so here is hoping.

    Pouliot. Boston. Big body winger. And we had to buy Cole fo 4.5 million? If you question the Habs ability to bring along talent, this might be the hammer that drives your argument. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see but basically Pouliot replaces Ryder, another wingers Martin couldn’ find a use for, and it is not that much of a stretch to see it as paying 4.5 million, and wasting a year and a half, to cut ties with Latendresse. That leaves a bad taste.

  40. Gindan69 says:

    If Pouillot chickens out with the muscle protecting him in Boston, then he’s cooked in the NHL. He’ll be 3rd line at best with plenty of protection. Low pressure and room to skate. I’m betting he starts strong and fades as the games get more intense again. One good shot from Cole should send him behind lurch and chara.

  41. SeriousFan09 says:

    Buffalo’s in on the crazy free agency, 6 years/27 million to Ville Leino.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  42. G-Man says:

    All in all, well done, PG!

  43. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:



    and these people here have been acting like he’s the Messiah… he is a fool.

  44. habs001 says:

    with pouliot to boston we have one very sad rabbit on canada day

  45. CHsam says:


    Wow. Pouliot. Hope he knows that he’s going to be a skating target when he comes to the Bell Centre.

  46. scrowe21 says:

    Watch Pouliot put up more points for the Bs than Cole does for us.

    • HardHabits says:

      I can see that happening. People laughing at Pouliot going to Boston are the same people who said Boston wouldn’t win the Cup or that Philly got weaker with the Carter and Richards deals.

  47. Un Canadien errant says:

    I was wishing Mr. Pouliot well, but not any more. I’m reasonably sure he took the first/only offer he got, but it still sucks that that’s where he went.

    It’s also an indicator of his mindset. If he had been a rabid true-blue Canadiens, first he wouldn’t have been let go, but then he would never have wanted to wear that black and diarrhea jersey.

    It’ll be fun to hear how he fits in too, after all the Bruins wanted to kill him for beating on Krejci. Will Horton be so tough during training camp? He sure seemed threatening and yappy from the bench or from behind Lucic’s shoulder.

    Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

  48. PeterStone says:

    Jack Edwards will be happy with the Pouliot signing .. GET UP !!!

    So, Budaj is the 3rd avalanche starting goalie to come to MTL.

  49. Hobie Hansen says:

    Cole on one line and Pacioretty on the other…got to love it!

    The deal might sting a bit in his 18months but we’ll see!


    I think the FLYERS and CAPs are pressed up to the cp with RFA to sign, looks like we have trades coming..

  51. Jim Edson says:

    Poo Pouliot to Boston?

    Will it ever end?

    …..My empire is crumbling, my international sponsors are deserting me, my authority is questioned, I am held in contempt wherever I go.

    Who am I: Mohamar Ghadaffi or Gary Bettman.

  52. jimmy shaker says:

    Give me konopka, eric belanger and did obrien sign with anyone yet? if not get him, and i’m good……can’t believe hammer got 3.5 mill/per……and i don’t like budaj, but i guess he can change my mind after a couple of solid starts. Jagr, wow! Talbot, wow! (money, i’m talking) Is richards coming yet?


  53. durocher says:

    Very excited about the Cole signing — he’s won the Cup, he plays hard, and he’s a Habs-killer who is finally on our side.


  54. prankstergod says:

    benny pouliot to boston. huh

  55. scrowe21 says:

    Pouliot signed with Boston……

  56. showey47 says:

    pouilot to boston



    please dont be a michael RYDER!!

  58. habstrinifan says:

    GREAT WORK SO FAR PG! Now one more signing (people who rea dmy post know who it is) and then let’s go out and party PG!.

    You doing great PG. And ittells me you ar ein the school of thought which says WE ARE READY to WIN!


    The new and improved PG! Took his HIO licking BUT kept on ticking!

    Somebody tell Pierre to SHUT UP NOW!

  59. SeriousFan09 says:

    Ben Pouliot to Boston, 1.1 million for 1 year.

    Man they love to troll us when it comes to guys we let go.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter


    Gomez to winnipeg !!


  61. thehabsfan29 says:

    we need to get fleischman now
    for our 3rd line
    then ill be happy!!

  62. Un Canadien errant says:

    Again, a note for the bashers: Cole mentioned how his first phone call to check things out when told by his agent that the Canadiens were interested was to Brian Gionta. Both Mr. Gionta and his agent told him what a great city this is to play in and what a first-class organization this is. Mr. Gauthier gets hammered, but the guys seem to respect the boss and the job he’s doing.

    Gionta earning his keep as the Captain, swaying Mr. Cole to sign with us. Well done.

    Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

  63. Mattyleg says:

    Cole, eh? Perty cool. He was a major ass-burner with Carolina. Hope he’s still got the fire burnin’. He should find it interesting playing in a city that knows what hockey is.

  64. Fansincebirth says:

    Auld signed by Ottawa!!!

    “Ottawa will have the best bald goalie tandem in the NHL. Auld and Anderson.”

    OMFG, I think I hurt myself laffing…..

  65. mike3131 says:

    I really would’ve liked us to keep Auld. I think he’s as good, if not, better than Budaj and would’ve come at a cheaper price. Why break up a duo (Price-Auld) that worked so well?
    And I’m lovin’ the Cole signing. One less Hab-killer out there. I just hope he can stay healthy.
    Now we need a 4th line centre… c’mon PG!

    • slapshot777 says:

      I can’t say Auld was cheaper, he signed for 1 mil last season, now Budaj for 1.15 mil. In todays market 300k is nothing. I think the Habs was looking to get younger at that position.

      To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I think the easy answer is that there wasn’t a lot of trust in Alex Auld from Mr. Martin. Right or wrong, he seemed reluctant to throw his backup goalie out there. The feeling must be that Mr. Budaj is an upgrade at that position, for marginally more money.

      Good luck to Alex, it seems he was appreciated and well-liked by his teammates.

      Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill

  66. Keith says:

    WOW, just finished making some of Dad’s BBQ sauce to go on the BBQ chicken and I read on here that Erik Cole signed for 4 years at 18 million!!! GREAT SIGNING PIERRE!!! Hopefully he stays healthy like last season and scores 30 plus goals!! I like it ALOT!!!

  67. SeriousFan09 says:

    Brian Gionta talked to Erik Cole about selling him on Montreal, spoke in great praise of the city and the organization from what I’m picking up.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter


    COLE 200 HITSS !! lovely!!!

  69. bwoar says:

    It was very expensive, but mission accomplished. It seems a slam dunk to have:


    We’ll maybe add a 4th centre as Eller is expected to be out for a while, that’s pretty much all she wrote.

  70. HabinBurlington says:

    Cole is going to be real nice addition, yahmaybe a bit much, but solid player and character! Now on to Richards!

  71. db says:

    Whats the Habs cap space like now?

    Erik Cole on phone w/tsn right now

  72. ManApart says:

    Great move! Cole was my number one wish since the playoffs ended. Exactly what this team needs. Well Done PG. Never thought I’d say that.

  73. JD_ says:

    Cole good add. If he refinds his form, and stays healthy, the price will make sense.

    Budaj. Schmudaj. Whoop-tee-effin’-do. Backups are generic. If you’re actually upset, go outside and get some sun.


    Good on Hamr. Got what he wanted. Better start workin’ on that cardio.

  74. JasonM says:

    Erik Cole? Ummm

  75. Mike D says:

    A little too much for Cole (both term and dollars), but it’s not drastically too much. I would have preferred 3 years at 3.5 – 4.0 mil, but again, it’s not terrible considering the other signings today.

    – Honestly yours

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