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. HabFanSince72 says:

    Why is Brian Burke in Afghanistan?

    I assume he wanted to be out of the country on July 1 because he’s not planning any signings.

    I can also understand he wants to please the losers in Stephen Harper land with the old support the troops schtick.

    But what’s in it for the troops?

    Brian Burke? WTF?

    • Everlasting1 says:

      Must be his shift on watching over and securing the oil pipelines that run thru there..

      ” 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

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      Brian Burke not being in Toronto to outbid Dale Tallon for those left-overs might be the best thing to happen to the leafs in years.

    • Caper says:

      He’s teaching Afghani politicians how to lead.

    • boing007 says:

      Richard R
      Maybe there’s a bonafide hockey player fighting over in Afghanistan that Burke is hoping to sign.

  2. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    The thing that worries me about Cole is that he played his best when he had Staal as his center. The habs don’t have a big center like Staal so I’m wondering if Cole will put up the same numbers in Montreal that he did in Carolina.

  3. dre1744 says:

    we need someone who can win faceoffs now????????

  4. 123456 says:

    i’m happy with cole, i think everone is overpaid but that’s just me.

    i’m not sure why they let auld go as he seemed happy with limited starts and i think he could easily handle 20-25 in a backup role. and i think he could step in if price got hurt. maybe auld was not happy with the limited starts or the PG really wanted a guy that could be a #1 goalie if price got hurt…idk

  5. cuzzie says:

    Curtis Sanford signs with Columbus.

  6. Mattyleg says:

    A) I don’t have to try to be a dumbass. If I am one then I’ve succeeded. In what I intended to do.
    B) name-calling is for dumb jerks who are losers in life and who have stupid haircuts and poor taste in shirts.
    C) Brad will play where Brad wants to play. Money’s all the same.

  7. Bill says:

    Well, at the end of the day I’m very happy. I think Montreal made the best signing of the day, if the best signing is the one that best addresses a serious team need.

    A big, physical, goal-scoring winger is just what we needed. DONE.

    I assume that Gauthier targeted Cole early and wasn’t really distracted by the Jagr drama, or the interest in The Wiz. Good for him. Cole would also have looked good on the Canes, the Leafs, the Sabres, the Bruins, or a lot of other teams, so extra kudos to Pierre for getting him here.

    Some people are crying “overpaid”, but if he gets the same 26 goals he got last year, he’s not. Gionta scored 29 for five million. Cammalleri scored less for six. Plekanec got 22 for his five million.

    And I’d much rather have Cole – who brings size and hitting along with intangibles like Cup winning experience – than a Leino.

    This is a good team now. I just hope the Leafs don’t sign Richards. If they don’t – and TSN was saying earlier that they should have signed Cole – we can have a laugh all summer.

    I’m already excited for next year!

    Full Breezer 4 Life

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      I think Cole was a good pick up. I care less about his size than I do that he can probably score 40+ points. I noticed the same thing you did, that being the when you compare Eric Cole’s contract to Brian Gionta’s it really doesn’t look that bad. I’m not sure if that makes me happy or sad.

      • Rob D says:

        All he has to do is stay healthy and we got a real honest to goodness power forward who can still skate, hit and score. HE might not get 26 again but I also wouldn’t bet against him. He’s a competitor personified and a well known Hab killer. I really like this signing and will probably love it by the time Xmas rolls around.

  8. Habs_4_ever says:

    I must admit that Erik Cole wasn’t even on my radar. It’s going to be weird for me to root for someone I used to Loathe.

  9. SmartDog says:

    Coupla questions:

    1. Can anyone provide evidence that Budaj is better than Auld.
    Cause I’m lookin’ and I don’t see it. By all accounts might as well have picked up Patrick Lalime.

    2. Who’s gonna win faceoffs for us this year? Anyone? Hello? Anyone?

    • _Habsoloutly_ says:

      Gomez is gonna bounceback this year and carry us to the cup. :mrgreen:

    • Bill says:

      1. Budaj and Auld are probably fairly interchangeable. There must be some other reason Gauthier wanted to make a change.

      2. The Habs will lose more faceoffs than they win (but only by about 4% so we can live with it).

      3. How about that Cole signing? We got the biggest, most physical, most productive winger available! Happy?? No???

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • SmartDog says:

        I am sure Martin-Gauthier had a reason for letting Auld go but I wish I knew what it was. Budaj is a sieve.

        I like Cole. He’s missed a lot of games and he’s not the most prolific top 6 forward but he is big and hits and that’s good. Wish we coulda got him for 2 years. I would’ve preferred Jagr who I think coulda helped as much and on a 1-year term.

      • longbow says:

        I’m hoping our goalie coach was consulted. Hopefully he saw his flaws and determined he will be able to correct them.

        “Wanting is often more pleasurable than having.It is not logical but it is often true.” – Spock

  10. HabFanSince72 says:

    I don’t think the income tax difference is that big. In the US the top federal marginal rate is 35%. State taxes are much lower. In NY state (for example) the top marginal rate is 8%.

    So for a hockey player in NY that means a 43% marginal rate on income compared to 53% in Quebec.

    So yes Mtl players pay 10% more income tax (on earnings above a certain amount) than in NY. However NY City has fairly high property tax, and sky high cost of living. Schools are also very expensive.

    Other states have lower income tax, and some have none.

    On average I’d say a player is taking roughly a 10-15% hit in Montreal, at most. Nowhere near what people are suggesting.

    The one thing I don’t get is why so many of you appear to feel high taxes for millionaire athletes is a problem.

  11. Mattyleg says:

    Quit dreaming, HH. I’d like to see Gomer stay and prove himself. Plus, who we going to sign with all that cap-space? Konopka to a 3-yr 7mil per deal?

    • HardHabits says:

      Konopka’s cap hit was 0.600M last season. Where the hell did you get 3-yr 7mil per deal? Or are you just trying to be a dumb-ass?

      As for replacing Gomez’ cap hit, did you ever hear of Brad Richards?

  12. HardHabits says:

    Florida signs Bergenheim. 4 years at 2.75 per. Looks like the window of opportunity to dump Gomez is closing fast.

    • Mark C says:

      Wow. A 4 year deal for a forward who has never reached 30 points in a season.

    • Caper says:

      WTF is going on in Florida? That’s insane. Jovo deal as well.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      FLA’s almost at their cap floor but a few teams are at least or close to 10 mil out in NYI, COL, WPG, NSH, PHX.

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

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Dale Talon is an idiot. He is reaching the floor by overpaying a bunch of nobodies and has-beens.

        And on top of all this two second round picks for Versteeg!

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          As HH suggested to me via tweet, it’s also a way for them to suck on the Rewards for Failures program as FLA could dance in the draft lottery for the next 4 years (after picking 3rd overall the last two).

          Pathetic, but as long as the NHL runs a soft lottery (30th overall has now picked 1st overall in the draft for the last 4 seasons) that’s how it will go.

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

      • longbow says:

        NYI,PHX and COL seem the likeliest to have a problem since they have the fewest spots to fill.Doubt Gomez would be ok with NYI.That leaves COL or PHX.

        “Wanting is often more pleasurable than having.It is not logical but it is often true.” – Spock

    • Mike D says:

      With that signing they are only 1mil below the cap floor. With the assumption they will re-sign RFA’s Santorelli and Matthias, they will be above the cap floor with a full roster and really only need an extra Dman (7th).

      Colorado would be our best bet to unload a less-than-desirable contract like Gomez’s or Spacek’s.

      – Honestly yours

  13. josh_14 says:

    nice work pierre now sign gorges white mathieu carle and ryan russell and sign chris dury as jeff halpern replacement on line 3

  14. Stuck_in_To. says:

    Lending credence to the claims of some that the NHL is a seriously dilluted product, the amount of UFAs that remain unsigned is staggering though there are so many names I don’t recognise that it clearly does not matter from a talent point of view. I was digging around TSN’s tool:

    But by virute of so many spare parts being left around, I have to say the Habs are not so poorly run as some teams. I mean, even the Stanely Cup champs want our castoffs.

  15. Barts says:

    Hey hey, Cole and Budaj, wonderful… Now WHERE’S THE GRIT!?!?!? This team needs to get tougher, so lets see it Pierre!!!!

  16. thehabsfan29 says:

    Cole=Amazing Signing

    now PG needs to go out sign konopka to a 1 yr deal and o’brien to a 2 year deal

    Lines would look like

    AK46 Eller Konopka/DD
    Darche White DD/Konopka

    Markov Emelin
    Subban Gill
    Gorges O’brien



    • Mike D says:

      Where’s Moen, Weber, and Spacek?

      – Honestly yours

      • thehabsfan29 says:


        White can easily take his spot and is a lot more useful

        And weber can act as the 7th d and can replace O’brien if he struggles
        he can take white’s spot if he struggles on the 4th line

        • Mike D says:

          Moen’s pretty damn good on the PK. Don’t be so quick to write him off. He was sorely mis-used this year on the top 6, but he’s a solid 4th liner/PK guy and 1.5mil isn’t a bad salary for what he brings.

          – Honestly yours

          • thehabsfan29 says:

            i agree with you but
            our pk can look like

            Plek Darche
            Markov Gorges

            Konopka Gio
            Gill Subban

            Moen is useful but id rather white but we can easily scratch white and replace him with moen but darche is more useful on the PK then moen and white brings a lot more energy then moen does

          • Mike D says:

            I don’t think Darche really does PK duty. Could be wrong but I don’t recall seeing him out there killing penalties ever. I’d rather have Moen doing that sort of stuff than Gio so he can save energy for scoring and not play hard minutes as a smaller player.

            – Honestly yours

        • habstrinifan says:

          I agree!

    • Bill says:

      You sign Konopka and put him on a WING? The only thing the guy can do besides bust heads is win face-offs.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

  17. HardHabits says:

    As long as Peter Budaj doesn’t turn out to be David Aebischer 2.0 all is well. Hopefully Pierre Groulx can do a reverse Melanson with him.

    • Everlasting1 says:

      Because he’s Slovak? How insightful.

      ” 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

      • HardHabits says:

        Aebischer is Swiss you twit. Aebischer also played with Habs while you were still playing with GI Joes.

        • Everlasting1 says:

          Your subject was Budaj, ya knob.

          ” 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

          • HardHabits says:

            Let me spell it out for you dimwit. I am hoping the Budaj doesn’t turn out to be the sieve that Aebischer was.

  18. mike3131 says:

    The First All-Hab-Killer Team:

    Cole – Peverley – Alfredsson

    Kaberle – Rafalski


  19. slychard says:

    Not to mention agent fees which are what 10 or 20 percent of the contract I beleive. It’s a big chunkOchange.

  20. FormalWare says:

    As an aside, that’s the chief attraction of the KHL: Little or no taxes.
    [Edit: Meant to be in reply to one of the tax rates thread, obviously. Sorry, folks.]

    Habs: Possessors of the league’s best PK–now, and for the foreseeable future

  21. LL says:

    With the combined “hate”, I believe Benny will be a star in Boston.
    And now the Bruins will have all our teams’ secrets. 😉

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Pouliot fell out of favor and took some heat in MTL so I’m sure he’s going to be more than happy to let all the Bruins players know what was being said in the dressing room about the Bruins in tight games.

      Mostly stuff about Spacek being terrified for his life in games against the Bruins so if you hit him in the corner he’ll cringe up and give the puck away…

    • longbow says:

      I think having him on their team more than balances out any secrets he might divulge.

      “Wanting is often more pleasurable than having.It is not logical but it is often true.” – Spock

  22. HardHabits says:

    I’ll say it again. PG. Sign Anton Babchuk and Zenon Konopka.

  23. habs001 says:

    i think weber has to step up and show that he belongs….so far i have seen no indication that he can be a point producing d man in the nhl…the cole signing was a must…we needed another forward that is a threat to score…

    • Mark C says:

      A 55-4-12-16 NHL line from a player in his 19-22 year old seasons, plus at times, elite level AHL production doesn’t suggest to you he can be a point producer in the NHL?

      • habs001 says:

        some of those stats are from playing forward…i have not seen anything so far that shows he can control the point on the pp in the nhl

        • showey47 says:

          How many of those points do you think weber got playing on the 4th line with tom pyatt?

        • Mark C says:

          That is true, but I would argue that his lack of ice time in all games played offsets that to a large extent. I see no reason why he can’t control the point on the PP, if he hasn’t already. He’s been an elite PP player in the CHL and AHL, I don’t think that’s an area of play that disappears in 22 year olds. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet, but I see no reason to think Weber won’t be a fine PP player at holding the point, he clearly has the skills to do so.

  24. ClaytonM says:

    Didn’t Budaj steal the #1 spot from Theodore a couple of years ago? Not that it’s a major accomplishment, but I thought he was a solid netminder.

    Ken Dryden For NHL Commissioner

  25. Guy-Guy-Guy says:

    Something tells me we’ll have a hard time against Pouliot next year. Without the pressure of top 6 minutes and being amongst the few francophones in MTL, he may actually get some focus and confidence back.

    Ryder-Kelly-Pouliot is a decent line on paper

  26. HardHabits says:

    I still think this team would have looked better with McDonough and O’Byrne on the back-end.

    Maybe the Habs can sign Anton Babchuk and Zenon Konopka and call it a day.

    • ManApart says:

      McDonagh yes, definately. O’Byrne no. He just couldn’t get it together under the pressure of Montreal.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      People really are too hung up on how good Markov made O’Byrne look, kind of how Komisarek got himself 4.5 a year in Toronto, or Souray got 5.5 in EDM.

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

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      Your statement about “McDonough and O’Byrne” is true. It would still be true if you dropped the second name, and not true if you dropped the first one.

      * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

      • HardHabits says:

        LOL. O’Byrne wasn’t that bad. He threw less pucks over the glass than Koivu took penalties in the O-zone.

        Definitely losing McDonough was idiotic.

        • Sean Bonjovi says:

          I would trade them Weber for O’Byrne, but I don’t think much of Yannick Weber.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Weber held the rookie defencemen scoring record, and the goals in a season record before PK Subban arrived in HAM. That’s skill that is far harder to find than a 3rd-pairing defencemen.

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

          • HardHabits says:

            You can’t teach size SF09. But I wouldn’t trade Weber for O’Byrne either.

            I’d like to see the Habs sign Anton Babchuk!!!!

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            You can’t teach size but you can sign a guy like Mara or similar for a million or so. Puck-movers? No chance.

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

          • HardHabits says:

            Yeah well my fear with Weber is that JM uses either sparingly or on the wing and he leaves for another team to be one of their top pairing D. Sound familiar?

          • Sean Bonjovi says:

            In fairness to Weber, it would be hard for anyone to look good paired with Spacek some nights. It could also be that I’m desperate to see PG make any kind of deal with Colorado, just to see If they’ll throw in a top 5 draft pick.

    • RGM says:

      While we’re talking about goofy interchangeable and utterly replaceable parts that have been, um, interchanged and replaced, let’s bring back Radek Bonk and Matt D’Agostini.

      During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

  27. JayBee says:

    So Wiz didn’t even get an offer from the Habs? I knew it.

    • Mark C says:

      Yeah, I’m sure when the Goat asked Wiz’s agent what the ballpark was, he was told crazy money, like what he signed for. Not much point to making a low ball offer.

    • twilighthours says:

      What difference would it have made? PG knew the market value for Wiz (which is ridiculous). Why bother making an offer that will surely be refused?

  28. ManApart says:

    I really like the Cole deal. The Habs just had to get a guy like that if they had any hope of competing in the playoffs. God hope he stays healthy. Overpaid? Ya, a little, but not too bad. A 3 year/12 million deal would have been more like it, but these kind of guys are very hard to get. Size, Physicality, Speed, Experience, Clutch player down the stretch and playoffs. You have to pull the trigger and take a run at it, if you ever want to go for a Cup. This was a good start.

    Man, I wish there was a way we could get Umberger in here. Another big, fast, tough player, who can score. Now we would be ready for anybody, with him and Konopka. He’s a UFA next season and AK’s alos one. Let AK walk and sign RJ!

    Don’t get Budaj. He’s proven to not be a very good goalie. it seems, the Habs want to lower Price’s games to like 65 next season and management/coaching just don’t feel Auld can handle that. Budaj has played over 30 games in 5/6 seasons, but hasn’t done too well at all. Anyways, with JM’s system, I’m pretty sure he’ll be OK. Don’t love the deal, but not a disaster.

    I’m with a lot of folks who would like to see Konopka signed. He’ll come cheap, less than a million. Big, Very tough, good teammate, old school, great on faceoffs. Could be a good mentor for White for 2 years.

  29. twilighthours says:

    On the whole, the Habs are a better team now than they were at the end of the season.

    Perhaps others that I’m forgetting


    -Halpern had to go to make room for Eller and Desharnais, who already bring as much or more than he does
    -Pouliot… absolutely no loss for us. Will he be a gain for Boston? Maybe, and he’ll be given every opportunity to show it in Boston. I doubt he’ll ever be much more than he was with us though.
    -Sopel and Mara were patchwork who were never in the long term plans
    -Hamrlik’s minutes will be missed, but easily made up for by Markpv and Gorges
    -Wiz is a great guy, brings toughness and the offence, but I believe Weber can replace most of what he brought offensively and he deserves the chance to get ice time and improve. This is a short term loss for a long term gain.
    -Auld is a spare part and I never felt confident with him in goal. I think Budaj is a marked improvement on Auld, but who cares? Carey will once again play 65-72 games.

    -and the big one, Cole. I like the salary but not the term… I might have given 15 for 3 years (but who am I anyway?). But what I love is how much flexibility it now gives the team. 4 legit top-6 wingers, and with a very good 3rd line winger in Kostitsyn. If he ever gets his head in gear, we now have lots of options and line combos to throw at the opposition.

    I really wanted Mike Rupp, but I also like have the cap space to carry into the year, too.

    This team won’t be worse than last year. Not sure it’s enough to knock off the big guns, but it should be fun to watch.

  30. Everlasting1 says:

    Ah jeez..the Blues sign Brian Elliot as backup contender to goalie Ben Bishop. I do hope Bishop raises his game with his height and all.

    ” 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

    • HardHabits says:

      It’s more fun blogging with us Habs fans eh E1. Not as much fan as chatting with the Blues’ other 3 fans.

      • Everlasting1 says:

        More traffic here, and I often hear things first here in the world o’ hockey. I’m not a twitter.

        ” 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

        • HardHabits says:

          That’s funny because you’re a twit.

          • Everlasting1 says:

            Better than a twat hehe
            Thread deleted..wait for it…..

            ” 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

          • HardHabits says:

            Some of the women on twitter think they’re on twatter so it all evens out.

    • habrez says:

      What about Jake Allen?

      Oh wait, I don’t give a sh*t

      • Everlasting1 says:

        You’ll be interested to know STL recently re-signed Oshie and Dagger.
        You’re welcome.

        ” 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

  31. Hobie Hansen says:

    If Eller comes back from his injury, conflicting reports of exactly when that will be, and plays well with Kostitsyn, the Habs could really have something going here.

    The top two lines should look pretty damn good. With two big bodies in Cole and Pacioretty I think that will change our look and luck 5-5.

    If that 3rd line gets going we could have three good scoring lines that aren’t exactly tiny anymore.

  32. Mike D says:

    According to Cap Geek, we have 8.3mil left on the cap.

    Let’s assume (safely) 4.3mil to re-sign Gorges and White, leaving us with 4mil available on the cap.

    I’d guess we’ll sign an extra Dman for no more than 1 mil, and mayyybe an extra forward for the bottom 6 for around 1 mil (possibly a gritty 2 way Center). We might not depending on what management thinks of our boys in Hamilton, but we should have at least 2mil in available cap space for the trade deadline giving us the flexibility to make a move or two. Overall good cap management.

    – Honestly yours

  33. Propwash says:

    Isn’t Cole a mega fast skater too?

  34. dasbooth says:

    The addition of Cole will help a lot. I also like that he, as a power forward, rebounded from a broken neck. Good mentor for Patches. Nice day by PG.

    “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

  35. Habby says:

    We bother Boston so much that despite winning the Cup they still feel they must do something to pull our hair. Do they know most of us didn’t care much for Pouliot?
    The drive for 25 is alive!

  36. Rugger says:

    Just got home from moving daughter to Boston, very happy to see that we signed Cole to what I think is a very reasonable rate, didn’t overpay for 3rd or 4th liners (yet) and upgraded B/U goalie for not much more than we paid Auld. Well done PG.

  37. Mattyleg says:

    50% is the highest tax rate, and it’s what players here pay.

    • higginrs says:

      That is crazy! I’m truly astounded, if that’s the case. They have to use tax shelters of some sort to get the bulk of their money back. Why on earth would anyone sign up to play for Mtl if they would lose half their earning straight up!

  38. Hobie Hansen says:

    Carcillo to the Hawks.

  39. solomio says:

    ok Cole brings some scoring and some grit but one is not enough.
    Konopka for the fourth line and we’re SC bound !!!

  40. higginrs says:

    Question for someone knowledgeable in the Canadian (federal), Quebec (provincial) and Montreal (municipal) tax systems: What are the tax rates for someone making $1 million plus? I keep hearing the figure 50% thrown around like it’s fact. I am having a hard time believing any player would sign in Montreal if that was truly the case. That would mean a guy making $1 million would only take home $500 000. That just doesn’t add up. Also, (for someone actually knowledgeable in the aforementioned tax systems) what kind of loopholes might the players exploit to avoid losing a bulk of their pay to taxes? I imagine these hockey players have great lawyer/accountants working for them.

    My guess is that these guys don’t lose 50% of their earnings, but I want to hear it from someone who actually knows.

    • db says:

      This is the federal tax brackets:

      15% on the first $41,544 of taxable income, +
      22% on the next $41,544 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income between $41,544 and $83,088), +
      26% on the next $45,712 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income between $83,088 and $128,800), +
      29% of taxable income over $128,800.

      And Quebec’s i

      Up to $39,060 – 16%
      $39,060 to $78,120 20%
      $78,120 and up – 24%

      So yes, the team playing in Montreal is making half of what they would be if they were in Dallas. I’m sure this helps Edmonton, that and their crazy amount of talented kids.

      Someone else can do municipal and property :p

      • GrimJim says:

        Municipalities in Canada cannot apply a local income tax, only a property tax which is based on the value of the home someone owns. Also a non-Canadian who works in Canada for less than half a year only pays on those days they are actually in Canada plying their trade.

        • higginrs says:

          Thanks for the info. I guess I never really looked into how much the big earners got taxed. Price may get a 2.5 salary for this year, but he actually only pockets 1.25, while the government (mis)manages the rest. They still all get paid well, but I guess these guys aren’t as greedy as I thought. If I had to give 50% of my pay away, I’d be furious.

      • Sean Bonjovi says:

        “The team playing in Montreal is making half of what they would be if they were in Dallas.” This isn’t true.

        Players based in Texas still pay income tax to the U.S. government. Same in Florida. Vinny Lecavalier will pay something like $3.4 million in federal income tax on his $10 million salary. He won’t pay any income tax to the State of Florida, but he still pays income taxes. Other states probably take a piece of him too when he plays road games.

        * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

      • Sean Bonjovi says:

        double post

  41. SeriousFan09 says:

    Goals Subtracted from 2010-11 Output:
    Pouliot 13G, Halpern 11G, Wisniewski 7G, Lapierre 5G, Hamrlik 5G, Pyatt 2G, Boyd 1G. 44 Goals are out the door.

    Potential Goals added:
    Erik Cole: 25G, Pacioretty: 25G (+11), Cammalleri hits 30(+11), Pleks to 25(+3), Gomez to 14(+7), Markov with 6-10 (+8 for an average), Gorges with 3, Yemelin with 4. Say Eller collects 10, a new depth forward adds 5 in as well.
    87 goals added, but I’ll knock off 20 for injuries but allow for others to break out a bit as well and fill in the hole. MTL stands to add a plus of 23 goals over last season for 239G over the season.

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

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Those are some pretty crazy scientific calculations there Serious… 😉

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      That kind of increase would put us 10th in the league in goals, up from 23rd.

      Kinda shows you how closely bunched scoring is in the NHL eh?

    • higginrs says:

      I also saw those numbers on the government websites. However, the federal tax of 29% appeared to be for all provinces but Quebec, since there was an instruction to go to the Quebec provincial site for their percentage for income tax. (Some sort of constitutional issue I’m guessing)

      • GrimJim says:

        No, Federal tax is the same throughout Canada. The main difference is that for the rest of Canada the Federal government collects income tax for that province, but Quebec collects its own provincial tax money. So I send one cheque to the Feds for my taxes, but someone working in Quebec sends a cheque to the feds and a cheque to the Province.

        • shootdapuck says:

          and add in PST and VAT to everything a player purchases in Canada ie. houses and cars.

          … the fans of the Boston Bruins now have lost forever any right to complain that “the league” is out to get their team, and that the Montreal Canadiens have some kind of pull inside the NHL home office.

          Charles P. Pierce – Boston Globe

    • habstrinifan says:

      I really like your breakdown.. and it is quite logical.

      Did you forget Subban or just considered his goals output could not be easily surpassed so it was a wash?

    • Harry says:

      …also add Picard,Mara for a net 48 goals gone…..but that is really not the central way to rate the team…maybe Habs management will get close to the cap and add some offense and defensive punch but they are not noted now for going all out….the Bruins did for better or worse and some of it helped bring them the Cup..Habs did zero…
      Maybe Cole & AK will score 50 each this year…but the offense as of July 1 can really be bolstered only by healthy Markov, Pac and Cole…imagine what a full season of Wiz might have added?…the Habs had the cash and might have got Wiz for a lot less or a better pick….
      One thing I share with you strongly….Koivu should still be here….
      One of the dumbest …and most insensitive acts by the Habs management…I shall also always remember him….(and Hamrlik and Muller and Mats Naslund too)
      Habs are weaker on defense minus Hamrlik and Wiz

  42. Everlasting1 says:

    There are some here doubting the wisdom of bringing Cole on board with his price tag/term. Is it your money? Your life? Regardless, management has the cap space. What makes anyone think he would have signed for anything less? Some players and their agents refuse to be pimped out for GMs on short term deals. They are just exercising their right. He is still a potential 25G+ scorer on the right line, bringing a physical presence that is much needed. What more could you ask? Yet everyone wanted to keep Wisniewski with his demands!

    ” 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

  43. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Just took a look at Montreal’s cap situation next season. Looks like we’re in pretty great shape.

    Of our 5 UFAs none are likely to return – Kostitsyn, Moen, Darche, Gill, Spacek.

    We can replace them with call ups (Palushaj? Avtsin? Nash? Diaz? Tinordi?) or other UFAs (bottom 6 type grinders are relatively easy to find)

    As for our 4 RFAs – it’s great that we’ll have the whole summer to negotiate with them as almost all of them are central pieces of our team in the future. Price, Subban, Eller, and Yemelin. They’ll likely all be due big raises but should be very manageable.


    Actually, now that I think about it some more I think the only major UFA signing we’ll be in the market for is a defenceman. We *could* go with the call up route, but if one of Nash/Diaz isn’t good to go we could get in on some of the likely UFAs…and there’s some goodies there – Suter, Burns, Wideman, Boychuk, Kronwall, Coburn…

    • Bob_Sacamano says:

      Darche is cheap and Kostitsyn a valuable player. I agree about the other three though. It´s highly unlikely that Tinordi will be ready and Avtsin, who knows?

  44. slychard says:

    I like Hammer but for only one year AND if we’d had been able to trade Spacek. No room for both. Hammer got 2 years at 7 mill good for him but that would have been a mistake for the habs so. It’s a win win. Still like to see Spacek go though. As for Cole? AWESOME signing. We got bigger and grittier. This should be the missing piece for the top 2 lines AND hopefully the spark plug needed for Gomez.

  45. Bill H says:

    Well, if I was GM, I would have signed Brad Richards at $16M for 4 years. I’m too clever to overpay like the other GMs. Then I would have traded Gomez for Stamkos, straight up. Yup, that’s what the team needs, and I’m just the guy that can do it.

    But my Plan B was to sign Cole, so all things considered, we get more size, grit, scoring, and character for our top 6. I am liking the way this team is looking. If we stay healthy, we are in for a very deep run next spring.

  46. habaholic68NJ says:

    Only one piece missing:


    Spacek (trade) -Diaz (call-up)


    *Listen to my instrumental tribute entitled “Habs at War” at

    • db says:

      I’d like to see another bottom dman, a tougher one.. for “those” type of games to go along with Konoptka. Someone back there that can take a hit and clear the crease when needed.

    • Guy-Guy-Guy says:

      That’s allready a much improved top 6 and a great 3rd line…

      I honnestly liked Weber as a 4th liner / pp specialist and contigency defenseman. White is also a natural center. Maybe…

      random goon (Conboy?)


      Put Moen and Mara and the goon in when we go to Boston. Leave them out most of the other time.

  47. habs99 says:

    First off, what a tremendous signing. We just landed our top 6 forward and let me tell you this guy can score, go the net, hit, check, etc etc…everything we wanted we got!

    Yet, people are still crying that we paid too much for him? what did they want? Pay hammer 3.5? Pay Jagr 3.3 who is older than Subban and Weber age combined? Oh wait, let’s pay Wiz 5.25?

    So, how was this a bad signing? How are people still pissed off that Gauthier traded “the rights” for a 5th round…i repeat “the rights” the day before free agency….

    I really am dissapointed at us habs fans…we know better…perhaps there should be an IQ test prior to joining this site, because some comments on here so ridiculous, they reek of non-habs fans…sad to say it, the same fans of leafs, bruins, we complain about…we are turning the same page.

    and please stop complaining about Pouliot this and Ryder this and Souray this and how we lost the 492nd pick in the draft and how if sergei married such person then grabs would have been the second coming of lafleur..blah blah blah…geez…not a single player in the last ten years has left the habs that is anywhere close to a superstar…get over it, mgmt is making some good decisions. It’s not easy to lure players when half their money goes to taxes….sorry thats the truth!

    • Propwash says:

      Some can’t see the forest through the trees. People want a big forward like Cole, yet sometimes don’t realize those attributes come at a cost.

    • habstrinifan says:

      What are you talking about? Most of the comments about PG’s work today has been laudatory!

      And those who have asked if too much have mostly said but “still within reason”.

      I have only seen optimism and hope for one more size/mean player.

      Let’s be fair! HIO today is congratulating PG.

  48. habs001 says:

    pouliot in my mind was never as talented as many posters believed….in fact i bet by the end of next year he will no longer be a bruin and i am not sold he even makes their team

  49. thehabsfan29 says:

    now all the habs gotta do is sign o’brien and Konopka and ill be happy

  50. solomio says:

    Zenon Konopka made his NHL debut in 2005–2006, playing 23 games for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. After the Ducks were elminated, he returned to Portland in the AHL, where he led all playoff scorers in power play goals and assists.
    Zenon Konopka is also an entrepreneur and owner of a company Prime Wine Products that sells the Vin-Aire from and partners with local charities to help children’s programs.[1]

    Known for his rough style of play, and his high penalty minutes earned, he has affectionately earned the nickname “Supergoon” from the fans.

  51. Gindan69 says:

    Forget Richards. Habs made there “what the hell, let’s give it a shot” pitch and they aren’t in the running. Richards has no interest. Besides rangers have a match any offer deal with him. Checking out capgeek and Gomez can definitely be moved because some teams are way off the floor. However dumping for the sake of dumping isn’t smart. You need NHL caliber players in return and picks.

  52. Rainrocket16 says:

    Richards is out of the question and who the hell would want to pay him that much. Forget him. I think we are done unless Gomez goes which will not happen this year so forget it. The only other move will be a bottom line D man. Cole was a great pick, many of you will learn this come fall. Oswego NY baby!! We are gonna have an all American line. Gio, Cole and Gomez…

  53. habs913 says:

    If Pierre Gauthier indeed does have a deal in place for Scott Gomez, why not sign Brad Richards to 8.5 – 9.5 million dollar deal for 8 years? I’d much be willing to pay Richards 2mil more than Gomez for what he can bring to the table….


    • PeterStone says:

      looking at Capgeek, the Avalanche are at 41M$ with 19 players signed. Gomez would eat up lots of that space. I would then try to make a trade , CBJ as an example have a ton of centers now, Carter, RJ, Vermette and Brassard .. i’m sure someone there wont be happy.

  54. solomio says:

    I think Pouliot will change for the better with the Bruins. They have the coach who I think will prolly get a lot more out of him and that their team oriented agressiveness wiill bring Pully out of his shell. His legs won’t be trembling as much as they did.
    Sadly at this point the Habs don;t have anybody who can beat him in a fight, which doesn’t auger well.Here’s hoping for Konopka.

  55. tagomagotexas says:

    Solid signing by the habs for cole. the real problem, however, is the numbers for next year. It doesn’t add up.

    I’d expect at least about $6M in raises for Subban and Price alone for 2012-13. Okay, you maybe save $2M on a replacement for Spacek, and maybe the cap goes up by another $2M. Where does the other $2-3M come from? We can’t afford to get rid of a player like Gill, and if we do, his replacement should cost about the same salary. At that point the only salary you can think about shedding would be Kostitsyn’s, but his value on the whole is OK.

    It seems virtually inevitable that the Habs get rid of Gomez’s contract to stay competitive.

    • Bob_Sacamano says:

      I think at this point no one expects Gomez to stay longer than one more season. I still hope he has played his last game for us but next summer he´ll be gone at the latest. I can´t wait. I am really looking forward to next season though.

    • habrez says:

      Easy. Just load the contract on the back end. For example resign Price for 3 yr 15 million (hypothetically of course). First year cap hit 3, second year 4 and third year 8 million.

  56. The B’s signing BP to a 1 yr deal at 1.1m. Gee whiz!!! Might come back to hunt the Habs like Michael F”CKIN Ryder did during playoffs. Cole was just a tad to much but that’s business. 3 more signings and it should fit within cap range. White at 1.1m, Gorges at 3m for 3 yrs and Konopka at 1.9m for 3 years. That would give a rooster of 22 players with 2m and Changes. That leaves around 2.3m and change left. Many its a little to much but it should work.

    • thorandresson says:

      Neither White nor Gorges will get that much. Look at Weber, he got 0.85 mil and he played more last year than White, I’d expect White to get more like 0.8. As for Gorges, at the very most he’ll get 3, probably more in the 2.5 range. So that leaves a little extra money.

  57. christophor says:

    Maybe if most bad contracts get moved to the sub-floor teams, some teams will still need more salary and a bidding war will ensue for the services of one S. Gomez.


  58. HabsnoToast says:

    Hey, Im a rookie on this site, but have been reading it for a long time. In fact it has brought my work ethic to a crushing zero because like the rest of you I bleed the bleu, blanc et rouge.

    To keep it simple, I see everyone post line cominations. I’m just gonna list them. (In no particular order for a reason.)


    And Carey f n price

    I like to be positive and everyone can do comparisons or come to conclusions but this is a good team. A really good team.

    ”Either you give it right back or the next thing you know everyone and his brother will be trying you on for size.”

    • thorandresson says:

      It is, and if they stay relatively healthy it will be a very interesting fight between Boston, Buffalo and Montreal for the North East

  59. mrhabby says:

    bob mackenzie tweets…tb now excepting offer sheet for stamkos…christ….

  60. BeeGee says:

    CKAC says CGY offers Richards 64M for 9 yrs

  61. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    This just in:

    Nonis told Richards that one of the biggest perks of joining the leafs will be that he will get his own hotdog stand at the ACC.

  62. Ozmodiar says:

    Ha! Bambi to the Bruins.

  63. SmartDog says:

    Sorry but…
    1. Why change back-up goalies? Budaj has an NHL save % of .901. I have NO idea what Martin had against Auld but this just seems dumb.
    2. 4.5 million for Cole is way too much… for 1-2 years okay, but FOUR years? Not smart.
    3. Jagr at 3.3. million could be a steal.. and it’s a 1 year deal so why not?

    • thorandresson says:

      Whining about a change in the back up goalies is dumb, or is it petty?

      • likehoy says:

        a bit of both.
        or maybe we didn’t get the memo of the backup goalie’s important role for the cup.

        – Gomez is holding down the “overpaid” button

    • likehoy says:

      cole wanted term.
      I think we should have gone top heavy with him…start at 5, end at 2 over 5 years.

      but it is what it is. he’s our guy now and he’s going to bring size. he had 225 hits last year, almost doubled AK’s hit totals.

      – Gomez is holding down the “overpaid” button

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      Yes, but considering that Hammer got 3.5 …

  64. cheezboie says:

    Cole at 4.5 seems sane when you look at this insanity

    -The Wiz at 5.5 mil over 6 years
    -Jagr 3.3???
    -Hammer at 3.5

    My last request Konopka for 4th line center

  65. kevin m says:

    Just replace Stillman with either Markov or P.K. & imagine this thing of beauty.

  66. AK_PK_Usay says:

    from last sentence is hilarious

    2:33 p.m. The Brad Richards story gets more interesting by the minute. According to TSN, the Rangers have already made their bid for Richards and have negotiated a right to match any other offers the center receives. According to the same report, the Toronto Maple Leafs just spent more than an hour pitching the benefits of playing for the Maple Leafs.

  67. ooder says:

    wow… great signing… big guy.. goes to the net.. although im worried that this signing is based on his last season and that he keeps those stats up
    The 2010-11 Stanley Cup was not won, but given

  68. jew4jah says:

    from wikipedia:
    “Erik Cole (born November 6, 1978) is an American professional ice hockey player currently playing for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL). He played most of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes. He also played a brief stint with the Edmonton Oilers before returning to Carolina in 2009. He signed as a black cock with Montreal on July 1, 2011.”

    wtf does that mean?

    chara = חרה

  69. HNS says:

    Budaj was a good pickup. With Avs the kid has seen more rubber than my ex and that’s a lot……………

  70. Habmyster says:

    Lets get a stay at home defenceman with some grit.Never have enough depth at defense.

  71. Habmyster says:

    Lets get a stay at home defenseman with some grit.Never have enough depth at defense.

  72. AK_PK_Usay says:

    florida could sign Richards AND Stamkos and still have cash to burn

    • Duracell3 says:

      If it puts them into a position where the rest of the owners get tired of just giving them millions of dollars for no reason and puts them in hamilton or Quebec faster, all for it.

  73. Critical-MASS says:

    I love how the leafs are being shutout even in the off season too let alone all those times they got blanked during last season.LOL

    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

  74. Flobomb12 says:

    I wonder who will build team america first, Brian burke and his yankee leafs or PG and the Habs. Its quite the race.

    • Critical-MASS says:

      um dude its not about where the guys are from.Its a team effort.Canadians,americans,russians,czechs, danes….u name it ….we got it…it is a group team thing not stricly just a bunch a yanks.

      …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

  75. Critical-MASS says:

    the potential for our lines is fantastic folks. JM is gonna have a blast mixin and matchin this year!


    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

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