Gill joins scrubs on the ice

Defenceman Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitsyn were the only impact players on the ice this morning as the Canadiens held an optional on-ice practice following a team meeting. 

The other players scheduled on the   Mathieu Darche, Sergei Kostitsyn,  Glen Metropolit, Ben Maxwell, Jaroslav Spacek and backup goaltender Carey Price.

AUDIO: Hal Gill | Scott Gomez | Tomas Plekanec | Mathieu Darche | Jacques Martin

342 Comments

  1. showey47 says:

    Very possible,but apparently this started when sergei was caught on a long shift against washington and ovy scored. The part that bothered me is,sk was actually in position and didn’t cause the goal. Hamr and cammy were both way out of position,but to me hamr was the real reason. He had ovy then let him go to the net to score the goal. Sk was guilty of being out too long for sure,but that’s it.

  2. Jeff says:

    You single handedly increased Pleks value during the off season.

    Semin’s contract is?  There are several in the 4.5 to 5 million not putting up Pleks numbers.

    Is this season an aberration for a big long contract?  Tough call!

  3. punkster says:

    All of which makes me think there is far more to this than “meets the eye”. Far more than we, the lowly fans and the media for that matter, really know or understand about this issue. On one side we think we have a potentially good player being unfairly maligned by a potentially bad coach. On the other side we see a problem player being disciplined by a good coach (or some combination of those). Somewhere in there is the real story, an incident or series of incidents, which non of us are privy to because non of us are on that team. I liken this to the rampant and ridiculous speculation as to why Gainey departd. Nothing but speculation, assumptions, guesses, hunches, feelings…none of which can be substantiated.

  4. Jeff says:

    Very good Chris, yup I agree it’s time to play SK.

     

  5. Le Jadester says:

    Perhaps right now he won’t. You may be right about that.  But the leaders on this team are also paid to commit and lead (i.e. 8 000 000, 6 000 000, 5 000 000 and 5 500 000 respectively).  If he’s not good enough, than again somewhere in the organization of paid professionals another mistake was made.  IMO he’s giving us pretty good value at 800 000, although if I was Mr. Molson I would again question why my 800 000 investment was sitting in the P-Box.

    Habs, OLE !

  6. G-Man says:

    I’d say it’s the young players are having trouble adjusting to a coach with a system in place that demands a full-hearted commitment to it.

  7. G-Man says:

    The bottom line is that right here and now, he’s not good enough to help the Habs win. That’s why he’s riding the pine. He won’t commit like the leaders on this team have.

  8. Le Jadester says:

    Great piece !  Sometimes I think I’m crazy and I’m the only one who see’s it the same way.  It’s so easy just to dismiss SK 74 and say “his stats are nothing to write home about, he’s got a bad attitude etc.”  Sure lets just wait for the next kid. If SK was given the opportunities Max Pac, D’ags etc. were given and some confidence from his coach I would bet he would flourish, even under the Montreal spotlight. If not then do the same with him as you did with the previous two mentioned.  But now you can’t even do that because at the expense of making profits for big media outlets, him and his brother’s name have been dragged through the mud and the habs are left with a devalued asset, whether it be quality players on the ice or a good return in the open market. I believe we have seen some spectacular performances from these two and now we see nothing.  Why because they turned into crap overnight?  These guys are from Eastern Europe, they don’t know trap hockey.  They need patience and most of all good Coaching, something JM has dropped the ball on because he lets things get personal.  Not what you want to see from the leader of a team.  JM was 0-5 in game 7’s in his career.  He just got his first win now in his career, thanks to Halak and co. Again I will eat my words and start a lineup for everyone to come and boot me in the arse if we win the cup with this guy, but I just don’t see it happening with him and his ways.

    Habs, OLE !

  9. DavidKB says:

    Would anyone out there have taken Semin over Plekanec at the start of the playoffs? 

    Semin- 2 assists      Plekanec- 4 goals, 4 assists (Yeah I know, there were a couple of empty net goals) 

    He is a more versatile player than Semin, or just about anybody on the Caps for that matter.

  10. zozotheclown says:

    Nice article, and although I agree the two of them really need to start getting along, I think its pretty much too late at this point have Sergei fit anywhere on this team. The top 9 are essentially full, Martin has chosen these players and they’ve pretty much been together this entire playoff run, save for the times Moen has been inserted to add grit. That leaves a 4th line spot left, and I just don’t think Sergei is the type of player that can play 4th line minutes. Our team doesn’t have the talent up front or the depth in back to play a line that has a higher chance of being scored on, thats why we rarely see the 4th line, its just too risky in these tight playoff games. It would be nice to give top guys rest and have the 4th line eat minutes, but the way they’ve played these playoffs, no matter the personel, its just too risky. And I think if you want to be using a line less then 5 minutes, Sergei is not the type of player to fit that role. He has talent, theres no doubt about that, but I think the only reason Darche and co. are being used before him is because JM wants someone on his bench that he can use (or not) at will and not have them bitch about it. I mean, Darche gets on a bike in skate guards between periods just incase we need him, Sergei skips out on practice, its not a tough call at this point, if you need a bottom 3 player, you take the reliable one.

  11. ed lopaz says:

    Habs hockey = Smart hockey we work as a team, and we win as a team. we play 5 man defence – not just 2. we play with energy, we play with Subban in Markov’s place (for now) – Pk could have been with us since the Olympics, but nevermind that.

    Chris, I disagree. Sergei is not an asset. He is a negative distraction. That is a liability.

    This guy gets paid $800,000.

    The least he can do is come to work, suck it up, play the system, and not complain.

    You are saying that whatever happened between Sergei and JM is “personal”.

    Do you know that??

    I say that I’ve seen Sergei make some terrible mistakes on the ice that the Habs can not afford.

    I say that this is YOUNG hockey player that has no respect for his team, the system it plays, and probably for his teammates.

    I say that hockey is a team game – and that the TEAM IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS.

    Which means, that eventhough Sergei is talented, he needs to ADD to the team effort to be effective.

    I say this team is better off without this NON ASSET.

    We are playing as a unit – We are rallying around each other – sticking up for one another.

    And that is the kind of team I cheer for.

    Sergei’s “talent” can be showcased elsewhere.

    His type of distraction is not the type of asset we need.

  12. TripleX says:

    So I am guessing you were one of the few against bringing up PK Suban since he is “just good in the AHL”.

    Give your head a shake dude.  Talent is easy to spot because they stand out from the crowd.  You just have to watch SK to see the speed, vision and skill set.  Not saying he is “special” like PK, but he does display above average skills.

     

     

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  13. Chris says:

    A few others:

    • 112 GP, 21 G, 40 PTS over 4 seasons ==>  Daniel Briere
    • 162 GP, 38 G , 95 PTS n first 2 seasons ==>  Vincent Lecavalier
    • 147 GP, 22 G, 60 PTS over first 3 seasons ==>  Martin St. Louis
    • 162 GP, 25 G, 65 PTS over first 2 seasons ==>  Henrik Sedin
    • 116 GP, 19 G, 38 PTS over first 3 seasons ==>  Patrick Sharp
    • 155 GP, 24 G, 68 PTS over first 3 seasons ==>  Sergei Kostitsyn

    His goal totals ARE low, but he doesn’t look so bad when compared to that company. 

    Is Sergei Kostitsyn going to be as good as any of these guys?  I have no freaking clue, but I certainly wouldn’t bet on it.  But I sure as heck would bet on that nobody else here can truly gauge how good he will be from his first 2 or 3 seasons in the league, either.

  14. showey47 says:

    “Not that it will make a diff. in the end” -in a game where we lost by a goal (not counting the empty netter) i just may have. We have zero offence from our bottom lines and JM wastes bench space on a guy who never even touched the ice. Sergei is also the only player besides moen who isn’t a minus among forwards. If this indicates lazy and non commited to defense,what does this say about everyone else? JM should be icing the best lineup to give us a chance to win,not ice a lineup where one guy doesn’t even get off the bench. Funny how all these defensive players on the 3rd and 4th lines are apparently all more responsible then sergei but they are all minuses this season while sergei is a +4. His career points/game is also better the anyone playing on the 3rd and 4th lines. Laps -14,14 pts in 76 games. SK +4, 18 pts in 47 games. So,who is the defensive liability and doesn’t bring it offensively?

  15. SeriousFan09 says:

    Darche and Maxwell are bigger liabilities with no absolutely no talent or edge that would allow them to make a difference in these games that are being played now. Ryan O’Byrne was benched for 3 games so Andrei Markov would have to put a magician’s act trying to make the 1-trick pony MAB look like an actual defencemen, costing us our most physical defencemen because JM goes psycho on any young player who makes a mistake and wasting Markov’s talent propping up a hack defencemen who’s in the NHL because of his slapshot. That twit missed a half-dozen easy passes to O’Byrne to their own zone with no pressure last night.

    I’m saying the player development coach in Hamilton proved he’s a good player and reported there was no trouble with Sergei if you handle him with an ounce of respect. The lack of player development coach in Montreal disagrees with that, when his record with the young players is well, ****. One of these guys is right and I trust the one who’s gotten good results from all of his young skaters, instead of the guy who’s had good results off the pros he got gift-wrapped from free agency.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  16. Chris Aung-Thwin says:

    hey bill, like i mentioned to dave, i don’t really care what they’re thinking. the suppositions i’m making are irrelevant. SK has skill as evidenced by his playing career. boucher even managed to get some production out of him. JM needs to give Sergei another chance otherwise it’s a waste of talent and roster space. i hate seeing our prospects mishandled. bob did it with price because he had too much faith… JM is doing it with Sergei because he doesn’t have enough.

  17. TripleX says:

    120 games in two NHL seasons with 23 goals.

    Who?

    Steve Shutt

     

     

     

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  18. mbplekfan says:

    He has potential because he was a star in junior and has shown an ability to find open players and play puck posession hockey in the past. He can skate, hit, check and handle the rough going of the NHL.

    Some players take time to develop as their maturity level and commitment level come up to NHL standards. Giving up on such a young player is stupid. He is going to make mistakes but when he plays with top end linemates he doesnt look out of place.

    Sticking a gifted passer on a line with the likes of Lapierre or Moen is not using his skills properly. If we lose Sergei and another team takes a chance and puts him on a top line and gives him time to adjust he will be great.

  19. Chris Aung-Thwin says:

    dave – i re-disagree. my assumptions were to prove my point. the facts are that SK was dominate in the OHL, excelled at the World Juniors, and played well both at the AHL and NHL levels. temper tantrums aside, it’s time to use the kid.

  20. HabFanSince72 says:

    You are all talking as if Sergei hasn’t had a chance in the playoffs.

    He has dressed for 4 games, and was a liability in all of those games.

    The magical Sergei doesn’t exist.

  21. SeriousFan09 says:

    Darche and Maxwell are great in the AHL as well, neither of them has ever had a .5 PPG pace in an NHL season like Sergei did in his first year with Montreal. Sergei has an NHL skill set, Maxwell and Darche, oh I wouldn’t wager much on them ever being NHLers outside of injury call-ups.

    It’s time to roll the dice for Martin, he has to take some chances and dressing Sergei to play 5 minutes a game is better than Darche or Maxwell having no TOI for an entire game. We’re getting beaten because we’re on a short bench from the time the puck drops, we need 12 forwards to roll the lines to match PIT’s depth because right now, they are winning the war of attrition.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  22. Chris says:

    Well, if the Habs are ever going to be great in the NHL, they need SOME of those players that were great in the AHL and OHL to translate that success to the big league.

    I don’t honestly care if it is Sergei or Pacioretty or Lapierre or Kristo or Maxwell.  I just know that the team needs some young players to actually make a consistent contribution in the NHL or we are going to be regressing again real soon.  Our core guys are in their early 30’s…that is the age when things start to fall off, and the drop-off can be quite steep and extremely sudden.

    Thus far, Martin has struggled with his young players.  This surprises me a little, as he was very good in Ottawa at developing young players like Redden, Alfredsson, Havlat, Hossa, Chara, etc.  His clashes with Spezza are well-known, so that might be one clear blemish where he maybe had too much of an axe to grind with a player whose playing style irked him. 

    My fear is that Jacques Martin is morphing into Pat Quinn.  Quinn has also had success with young players in his coaching career, but when given the opportunity to make the team to his liking with Toronto, he eviscerated their prospect ranks to stock his team full of veterans.

  23. Bill H says:

    Good piece Chris.  But I am inclined to agree with punkster.  You are
    making suppositions.  I’m not really in a position to say what is going
    on with Sergei or Martin though.  Knowing what I know, I guess I’d give
    him another shot with AK.  Give them a shift or two and keep your
    fingers crossed.  If SK doesn’t look good out there, then takes Darche’s
    role on the bench. 

  24. HabFanSince72 says:

    How do you figure he has so much potential?

    He has already played 155 NHL games and never showed that much. Yes, a few good games, occasional hustle, and lots of mistakes. But 24 goals in two full seasons worth of hockey  is nothing to make you think the guy will be an all-star.

     

  25. HabFanSince72 says:

     SK is great in the AHL and OHL.

     

  26. SeriousFan09 says:

    Guy Boucher said the kid was good to go and wasn’t a problem in Hamilton, JM thinks the guy is useless.

    One of these coaches has had improvements from nearly all of his young players and one hasn’t had a single of his young forwards actually have a notable, season-long improvement in his game. JM can’t handle young players and it’s painfully obvious.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  27. ManApart says:

    Pleks is not playing like a little girl at all. We need more from him offensively, but that pretty much goes for anyone not named Cammy and Gionta. I think he’s done a good defensive job, better than pretty much any other forward. He has to create more offense though, as the whole team does.

  28. Fansincebirth says:

    I sent in a suggestion to NHL.com saying they should use two or three awesome clips of Gomez, Cammy and Gio and then…….”Imagine if size really DID matter?”

    Haven’t seen that one come out yet.

    “Without the strength of the past, the team may face a choice – to win, or to be French-Canadian?” — Ken Dryden

  29. mbplekfan says:

    One thing we know for sure is that Sergei will not score from the pressbox. He wont take bad penalties or miss checks either.

    But the biggest thing he is prevented from doing is getting better. You dont get better sitting. The kid has all the potential in the world, he can elevate his game and his linemates. Segei on a hot streak is far more productive than Darche riding the pine and you dont get hot sitting in the stands.

    Sergei wasnt costing this team games. He could however win one or two. Time for JM to figure out that one size coaching does not fit all players before the Brothers K are run out of town.

  30. Fansincebirth says:

    Have to agree with you Chris. I’ve been saying it on here and elsewhere for a while that SK is wasted talent and it’s about time JM listened for the pop……(sound your head makes when it leaves your butt)

    Kiss and make up, hug, bury the hatchet, I don’t give a rat’s rump, just get more offense in the lineup!!!

    “Without the strength of the past, the team may face a choice – to win, or to be French-Canadian?” — Ken Dryden

  31. HabFanSince72 says:

    Two questionable assumptions in your article:

     

    1. SK is being benched because JM hates him. No, JM may well hate him, but he is being benched because of his lazy uncommitted play and unwillingness to follow the defensive system that is the Habs’ only hope against Pittsburgh.

     

    2. SK is a game breaker in the NHL. Never has been. 24 goals in 155 games. He has never brought it at the NHL level.

     

    That being said, I agree he is better than Darche. So while your premises might have been wonrg I agree with your conclusion. Not that it will make a diff. in the end.

     

     

  32. ManApart says:

    I agree, 4.5 for 4 years is a reasonable contract for Pleks. We can’t afford to lose him, because there is no one even close to being able to step into his place next season if we did. If the Gomez/Pleks center situation is not working down the line and we have an opportunity to upgrade, one of them can always be traded. The key is that we don’t lose a guy like Pleks for nothing.

  33. punkster says:

    Good piece, bad assumptions. Don’t agree.

  34. Chris Aung-Thwin says:

    thanks! like you and many others, i think it’s about time Jacques Martin used all of the assests that are his disposal. Sergei won’t win the Conn Smythe, but he can help the team.

  35. TripleX says:

    Excellent article Chris.  I have been trying to say the same things but with far less eloquence and backing information.

     

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  36. TripleX says:

    That’s my point, luck ran out.  Cammy did have his chances in the first but did not score.  They simply could not sustain the pace because JM has played them way too much.

    JM has to make changes as the present SYSTEM is not sustainable.

     

     

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  37. HabFanSince72 says:

    JM has gotten us way further than expected given our talent. Every ex-coach on TV has been praising the way he has gotten the team to play over its head.

     

  38. Habscore says:

    Holy crap. Couldn’t agree more!!

    — YES HABS CAN!! —

  39. Chris Aung-Thwin says:

    There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about SK74. I think JM needs to give Sergei another shot. Here’s why: http://habsinsideout.com/otherwing/chris-aung-thwin/34275

  40. zak says:

    They didn’t go all out in the 2 period: they only got 4 shot on goal

  41. MikeL says:

    No, I get the point completely. My point was explain why he may have not used Darche. But, I do get your point – I just don’t think it’s a very significant, that’s all.

    In Game 2, the 4th line was on the ice and gave up a goal instantly because of poor coverage. Easily a good reason to bench them in a playoff game.

    In Game 3, Metro and AK46 were 2nd and 3rd last in ice time with 5:12 and 11:16. More than enough for “4th liners”. Again, it just goes back to Darche.

    In Game 7 against the Caps, Metro was the only forward with under 10 minutes.

    So, it seems Martin uses his 4th line more strategically then other teams, and instead of using them together, he uses them more to cycle players in and out of the lineup. If Andrei Kostitsyn goes into a fog, Moan moves up and a 4th liner moves into his spot.

    He’s using the lineup this way because of the personnel he has to work with.

  42. joeybarrie says:

    The problem with Pleks is this. He IS good. He is still fairly young. Mostly because he is good on the PK, PP and 5 v 5. He is extremely useful, quick and smart. The only two dowside to Pleks are he is smallish and he isnt a great face off man.

    He is worth 4.5 million for 3-4 seasons as a home town discount. Especially with Gainey giving him MORE than his worth after the unproductive season. Maybe 5 million in a good market and 5.5 million on a losing team.

    Given this teams history, and our base of players. I would not hesitate to sign at 4.5 million for the next 3. We went out ang got guys to play with him, and Cammalleri seems to do well with him.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  43. SensFanSpezza says:

    You have to understand, Plekanec isn’t being asked to play an offensive role in this series.  He’s being asked to shut Crosby down.  Has Crosby done much in the last three games?  No?  Well, maybe that’s because your “girl” is actually doing his job properly.  Do you see Crosby smashing his stick and whining incessantly?  Yes?  That’s because Plekanec is frustrating the hell out of him.  In the playoffs, it’s not all about numbers.  There are different assignments, and Plekanec is capable enough to play many roles.  This one isn’t glamourous, but it’s important, and obviously thankless.  He tried to switch it to offence last game and got robbed by Fleury.  It’s not that he can’t do it, or that he’s MIA.  He’s just primarily assigned a shut down role right now.

  44. chilli says:

    What is Pleks really worth?

    I brought this up last week and a few of you jumped in right away defending the guy. I wasn’t saying he was bad, just asking. I think he is a very good player, awesome on the pk, has his chances offensively….. but we really need him now in the goal department and he’s not there.

    So just curious – how much in the off-season before he’s too expensive?

    We really need some on the scoresheet from the lesser guys. Cammaro, Gomez, Giionta, Gill, Gorges, Halak, Lappy and even Bergeron are doing everything we can ask. Poulliot, Big Tits are awful. 

    We need a chip in from Metro. Just one and we can win the next game. 

    Go Habs from the Cali!!!!

  45. TripleX says:

    Get over it dude.  There is NO LOGICAL reason for dressing Darche.

     

     

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  46. mike g says:

    Yup, the NHL should use our ideas instead.

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

  47. TripleX says:

     

    Creating scoring chances by it’s very nature means taking risks in the offensive zone.  That is not part of the system.  Hard to score when you are barricading the doors for two periods.  JM’s system seems to be to go all out to try and get the lead then sit back and protect.  Cammy has been out of this world but is it realistic to expect him to score every game?

     

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  48. Say Ash says:

    lol, yeah, rewind from the goal celebration to him dropping his gloves

  49. mb says:

    I didn’t know they were on NHL website, my bad.

    I agree with you, though, they’re making videos of any goal or play, now. 

     

     

  50. Harani says:

    If Pleks thought he played like a little girl in the playoffs two years ago, I would have to say he’s playing like a girl in this series. I haven’t heard his name more than maybe twice a game and that’s not a good sign. your best point-producer in the regular season going completely MIA. 

    In his defense, he isn’t always getting Cammi on his wing and AK46 seems to be in a funk but still there has to be some impact because Gionta getting 7 shots although it’s good, it’s disappointing.

    “I gotta feeling…that tonight’s gonna be a good night!”

  51. SeriousFan09 says:

    Better yet, feature a video of Buttman and go “What if the NHL was run by a guy who cared about hockey?”

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  52. mike g says:

    Seriously, I’d rather see an Evgeni Malkin commercial about last night’s game..

    One where they show him celebrating his goal, and then the black sreen appears to the words:

    “What if Malkin was in the box for fighting?”………History Will Be Made.

    That makes more sense to me.

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


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