Gionta returns to Montreal for family reasons

Canadiens captain Brian Gionta has returned to Montreal for family reasons and won’t be in the lineup when the Canadiens play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday (10 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

Coach Michel Therrien said he doesn’t expect anyone to be called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs for Saturday’s game and both Ryan White and Michael Bournival will play because of Gionta’s absence.

 “We don’t know when he’s going to come back,” Therrien told reporters in Vancouver after practice Friday. “He’s an important part of our team. He’s a good leader, but right now I don’t know when he’s going to come back.”

Gionta didn’t take the team’s charter to Calgary on Monday for family reasons, but arrived there on Tuesday and played in the Habs’ back-to-back games against the Flames and Edmonton Oilers Wednesday and Thursday night. In four games, the 34-year-old captain has one goal and one assist.

Apart from Gionta, Josh Gorges was the only player who didn’t take part in Friday’s practice, taking a therapy day. The defenceman is expected to play Saturday.

Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at practice:



(Photo by Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Canadiens vs. Canucks preview,

Prust the ‘ultimate teammate,’ by Dave Stubbs

Time for Therrien to let the kids play, by Pat Hickey

Hickey on Hockey notebook, by Pat Hickey

Habs notebook,

Former Princeton coach recalls Parros’s leadership, hard work, by Stu Cowan

Small Giant Gallagher rises, shines in The Bigs, Vancouver Sun

Lars Eller visits the dentist during a game (video),

Canucks blue line takes hit with Edler suspension, Vancouver Sun

THN ranks 1976-77 Habs as No. 1 team of all-time, Stu on Sports blog


  1. habsfan0 says:

    Hopefully,Yannick Weber doesn’t have too good a game against his ex-teammates tonight.

  2. Mavid says:

    I thought the east coast was beautiful there is a few spots I would not mind living trip will be Newfoundland..I hear you need to book that ferry a year in advance, it that correct?

    Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

  3. Bill says:

    Savethepuck: yeah, we do get overlooked. I’m actually surprised when we aren’t. But I don’t mind, a low profile is always a good thing to have.

    My favourite Maritime stereotype is the assumption that we are all rural country-folk. When I was in BC as a teen, and people found out I was from New Brunswick, they would usually ask whether my dad was a farmer or a fisherman.

    There is that idea out there that we love in 19th century villages!

  4. SPATS says:

    With all the line juggling, I’m surprised we haven’t seen the stutter step line…


    P P P Put em in coach

    And when Gio comes back put him with DD and Briere… Smurf 2.0


  5. habsfan0 says:

    Will CBC’s #1 broadcast team,Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson be calling tonight’s Habs-Canucks game?

  6. jols101 says:

    F’n Bruins win 3-1.

  7. JUST ME says:

    Lecavalier and Hartnell on injured list for at least a week. Claude Giroux 0 goals 0 assists…
    Of course you cannot see my wide smile…

    Just writing this to show you that things are far from being bad in Habs land and we must enjoy present times cause we have had more than our share of injuries in the past seasons.

    Also this is a message for those who want changes and/or trades that early in the season. Remember how many of you would blame the Habs for not picking Claude Giroux who was playing in his own backyard ? Well if we were to judge him for his season so far…I am sure that things will turn around for him so will it for Habs players that seem to be late starters…

  8. sweetmad says:

    Tell me something,when you are down
    Do you like,when people tell you to lose the frown,
    When every thing is going wrong,
    Do you break out and sing a song.

    The same goes for players,they are human you know,
    We seem to forget that, and just want a show,
    DD knows he is not playing well,
    Pleks is grieving, you can tell.

    So why don’t we cheer them,to give them a lift
    It won’t cost anything to give this gift,
    I don’t know about,the way you feel,
    But kicking someone when they are down,is unreal.

    I am a HABS fan first and foremost,
    I show it everytime I post,
    But I hope that I will never forget,
    The times these players went to the net.

    They did it with heart, they did it for you,
    It doesn’t always work,what can they do,
    We all have bad days, we all have off times,
    Even me, sometimes, I make up stupid rhymes.

  9. Bill says:

    Sorry for the confusion about the Maritime Time Zone.

    Although I don’t understand why we don’t just use Eastern in the Maritimes. Also why we don’t ditch daylight savings … but that’s another rant.

    • savethepuck says:

      There are a lot of Canadians who don’t know we even exist “down here ” Bill. I was in Vegas in 2007 at a blackjack table and started talking to someone who said he was from Vancouver. When I said I lived on the opposite coast, he asked me if I was from Toronto. I pointed out that Lake Ontario is not the opposite coast.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

      • neumann103 says:

        Speaking as a lifelong Ontarian I can confirm the existence of multiple regions of our proud country. Allow me to explain, from West to East, from sea to sea:

        British Columbia
        Howling Wind
        and 9:30 in Newfoundland.

        You are welcome!

        “Et le but!”

  10. JO says:

    3-veteran Players has to pick it up, They really look out of place up to this point. These three Pleks, Briere, Desharnais if they can turn it around this team is going to be pretty good. Right now they are holding the team back …

  11. adamkennelly says:

    Is DD still on the team? Does anyone really think he is “better” or more effective than Bournival? I don’t..when Parros is healthy again – Bournival should take DD’s spot and White goes back to center on the 4th line…DD goes away…I’m thinking Switzerland.

  12. JO says:

    Prediction – Boston Defeats Columbus

  13. Un Canadien errant says:

    Again, be all warned that I’ll be at the game tonight. I’ll be fourty rows behind Carey Price in the first and third, wearing an Ali G costumes and hurling epithets, at the very least, at David Desharnais. You’ll recognize me by the incensed season ticket-holders in the vicinity.

    I’ll report back on the lustrousnessocity of our keeper’s hair, and the imbecility of our head coach if he’s amazingly still employed by then.

    Talk to y’all tomorrow.

    … you know, because there’s no way hundreds of overcompetitive stars with massive egos would ever cheat to gain an edge with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.–Bill Simmons

  14. Phil C says:


    These were the pairings at practice. Any word on who sits for Gorges, who is expected to play? I assume it’s Tinordi who will sit.

  15. Bill says:

    11:00pm start, no way I make it through this one.

  16. habs001 says:

    Hopefully DD turns it around…Also Plecks cannot turn into DD this year…

  17. Andy and the habs says:

    What I don’t like about this HIO app is that it looses comment down the line when I press on web links. I have to reload the comments all over again.

  18. Mark C says:

    Dougie Hamilton healthy scratched today, another prospect about to be ruined.

  19. Danno says:

    Gallagher and Price – who both have BC roots – will shine tonight.

    Book it!


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  20. wjc says:

    So many complaints by 10 or so posters. Complaining about D.D. Apparently something will change if you complain loud and long enough.

    Galchenuk is not ready and neither is Bounivil. So D.D. is slotted nicely into the 3rd spot, for the now and the near future.


  21. Maritime Ronn says:

    It’s become quite obvious what’s going on with Desharnais – or what has caught up to Desharnais.

    Forget about the contract or quoting stats.

    The bottom line is that for the little guy to perform, he needs HUGE time and space and without that, he becomes both invisible and irrelevant.

    Two years ago, that was given to him by 2 big talented solid wingers that went to the net and did not hang out on the outside edges.
    The attention that Max and Cole received with their upbeat and dynamic power games, gave the little fella the time and space he needed.

    That was also accomplished in 1 season when the Habs finished 28th and no one took them seriously or had a high level of intensity when playing them.

    Last year, the book was out on Desharnais.
    Take away his space, be physical – as he is incredibly easy to knock off the puck and knock down, and it becomes a rather simple Mission Accomplished.

    There was no better example than last year’s playoffs when intensity increases 10 fold as does the physical and tight checking aspects of the game.
    Desharnais was a complete non factor and cannot be a factor in those type of games.

    The challenge for Coach Therrien?
    How to fit a square peg in a round hole.

    • Phil C says:

      DD has not had a problem producing at lower levels against bigger opponents, so I not convinced it is completely a size thing. As a playing making centre, he certainly needs scoring wingers to produce, so I agree he is missing a guy like Cole who can finish. He has two big boys with him tonight, so we’ll see how it goes.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Here’s hoping you’re right yet let’s remember, Prust and Bourque are not close to the combo of Cole/Max 2 years ago.

          • Strummer says:

            Isn’t it logical that ALL players have less trouble competing at lower levels period?

            He isn’t at a LOWER level any more. maybe he is better suited for the lower level.

            “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

          • Phil C says:

            You are right, but the context of that comment was WRT to his lack of size. Players in the AHL as just as big or bigger than in the NHL, yet he was able to overcome the disadvantage there. Perhaps he is having problems competing for reasons other than his size. If you conclude he is too small to compete in the NHL, then there is no hope. I am suggesting that his recent struggles could be caused by something in his play.

  22. montreal ace says:

    I have a question about the injury list at TSN, as I noticed that Clarkson and Edler are both on it. I am wondering if this is a way of paying them through a suspension, and if it helps their salary cap. The injuries are also of the undisclosed variety, it makes no sense to me.

  23. Phil C says:

    With the current Habs line-up, I see DD as a third line centre that provides secondary scoring and depth on the top two lines if someone is injured. At $3.5M, that is how he is paid, so I have no problem with the contract. It’s really hard to find scoring centres, many teams don’t even have two, so they shouldn’t be quickly discarded. I think DD can produce on a third line with better match-ups. I guess we’ll see tonight.

  24. WVHabsfan says:

    He’ll yeah I love the Mountaineers!!

  25. jols101 says:

    What a beautiful day.

    2:00 Bruins vs Columbus
    7:00 Leafs vs Oilers

    …and the main event

    !0:00 Habs vs Nucks

    I love hockey season.

    Hope Gio’s boy is doing better today.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Jols, I’m not liking this mood from you on game day!

      • jols101 says:

        Don’t worry Mike, I am developing a bad feeling about the Habs/Nucks game.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Excellent! That’s more like it!

          And I’m afraid you’re on your own. That’s a 3am puckdrop here, so I’ll be in the land of nod. However, I promise to get as depressed as possible prior to hitting the hay — maybe while I’m brushing my teeth.

          Wasn’t in on the Oilers game. I presume you were suitably anxious and full of dread following the loss in Calgary?

          • jols101 says:

            Oh, I was. I also felt great about our chances before the Calgary game. We might be on to something! Are you going to PVR the game and watch it some time on Sunday?

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Clearly, the success or failure of the 2013-2014 Habs is in our hands alone!

            Unfortunately I’ll be confined to highlights (are the best ones at Because the number of games I could actually afford time-wise to watch is so low (my life is insane), it’s not worth my while to get something like a Centre Ice subscription (with the option of watching next day). It’s live or nothing for me!

            Cheers Jols

          • jols101 says:

            Well, I’m about to settle in for a 12 hour marathon of NHL hockey. My life is clearly not as hectic as yours. lol. Cheers, Mike. Enjoy your day.

  26. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    The DD signing only made sense to me as a marketing move. How did he get a 4 year deal with Pleks (4 years left), Eller (biggest center) and Chucky (upcoming superstar) on this team? Everybody could see that there was eventually going to be no room left. Two years, okay…three years, maybe tolerable…BUT four years??? Now with Bournival showing promise, the situation is worse. Even if DD plays better, something going to have to give sooner or later…

    “You’re always, always, always looking to make your team better. Always.”- Marc Bergevin

    • Habilis says:

      Couldn’t agree more. The only way out of this that I can see is if the Habs trade him while retaining at least half of his salary, maybe more. I know that I read somewhere about the new CBA allowing deals like that where the retained salary does NOT count against the cap. That’s the only way I see him getting moved, because right now his trade value is pretty much nil.

      That or a Hamiton wake up call, but he would have to stink for a long while to make that happen.

    • commandant says:

      I’ve always said DD’s eventual destination is LW

      Go Habs Go!
      Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Right now, the contract doesn’t look good. At the time, I felt we’d paid market rates, or slightly below, for what he could bring, based on his previous season, and possible improvement in his game. We’d retained an asset we got for free at a reasonable cost.

      I think that the addition of Daniel Brière didn’t do him any favours. He’s the wrong type of player, didn’t add to the mix at the time of the contract signing, and I think right now this is being borne out on the ice. I advocated for signing players like Anthony Stewart or Brenden Morrow, who I’m ready to admit are not as good players as Daniel Brière, but would have been a much better piece to add to the puzzle. I felt that a player like Anthony Stewart, even with his stone hands, would be productive if he went digging for pucks in the corners and stood in front of the net for deflections and rebounds, as well as being available for post-whistle scrum duty, at which David is overmatched and Max is wasted.

      So while I’m a fan of Marc Bergevin, and believe in his strategy, I think he made a tactical mistake in July by signing Daniel Brière. As I’ve said before, it’s hard to predict the market, to be Kreskin, but optimally he would have waited and signed bigger wingers cheaper, guys like Brenden Morrow and/or Simon Gagné, guys that would have been a better complement piece to the team, and that would have restored the advantage David has with his quickness, agility and vision in the offensive zone, if he has the right wingers to go along with him. As it is, Mr. Bergevin spent a good part of his budget on a piece that doesn’t work well with the others, that doesn’t fit in the puzzle.

      I haven’t thrown in the towel with David, I think he’ll be productive this season, but the start to the season is worrisome.

    • oldtimerguy says:

      riiiiiiiight, Bergeron does things for marketing…

  27. Bill says:

    Commandant, you’re right that the contract thing is an easy and not entirely accurate narrative. But DD started off not too badly last year and went into the doldrums. Along the way, two things happened: Cole was trade and he signed his contract.

    Contracts are not done in a day. He knew he was getting his payday well in advance of when it was announced.

    And I didn’t mean to imply that he got lazy after signing. I was just dating it approximately. I guess I should have said, he hasn’t done much in a long time or something.

    • ProHabs says:

      It seems pretty obvious that DD’s play has gotten worse since the contract. I find it weird though as he seems like the type of guy that has had to work his tail off his whole career to get to where he is. Guys like that don’t seem to sit on their lorals. I don’t understand why his play has gotten so bad but lets hope he turns it around quick and then we can trade him for something like a big winger.

      • commandant says:

        To me the only thing that changed were expectations of the fans.

        Yes, DD 2012-13 vs DD 2011-12 was a change, but his play last season was pretty consistent. Remember the reason Cole was traded was that he was doing absolutely nothing on this team.

        People see 3.5 million and go OMG… Look at how much money.

        Fact is… if DD scores 45-50 points this year that is good production for that dollar value. Look around the NHL at other centres and that is a good benchmark for what should be expected. His pace over 48 games last year prorates to 48 points/82 games

        Yeah, he’s struggling right now… but every player in the league has hot streaks and slumps. Every single one.

        Its been 4 games guys… 78 to go.

        Go Habs Go!
        Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.

        • slyCH says:

          The reasoning of most go beyond the 4 games into last season’s production. As Bill put it.

        • pmaraw says:

          45-50 points to go as well.

        • oldtimerguy says:

          couldn’t agree more…the whole anti dd thing started because of the contract and the fact that he’s French….so what his production tailed off last year…of course it did with cole playing like he did…right now, its just a slump and mini confidence thing, but you don’t throw out a guy who his whole career has produced PROLIFICALLY and recorded 60 pts in his first full NHL year.

    • Ton says:

      DD signing was a mistake……..I don’t understand how knowledgeable hockey people make such mistakes…Gainey in most part made the right decision on most players…..Komasarek, Sooray, etc. I thought Gomez was going to be a good player for us therefore I could see why hockey managers would have made that trade………but the DD signing was horrible……….he’s too small to play on the 3rd or 4th line for he is a defensive liablitiy, can’t cycle………as for Briere he will come around……he’s getting more ice time at center and watch…….he will start producing. Does DD have trade value if packaged with someone?

      • B says:

        FWIW, Gainey actually made large generous offers to try and keep both Komisarek and Souray, but lost out to slightly better offers from Toronto and Edmonton.

        –Go Habs Go!–

      • FlyAngler says:

        Ton- Pierre LeBrun weighed in on that yesterday and suggested that there is no way any team will want any part of that contract with that cap # and that term.. at least right now. He also stated that in his opinion the Habs have to address the problem (his lack of production) from within.

        “Elever le flambeau!…Raise the Torch!”

        • Ton says:

          thank you….interesting………lots of thought needs to go into signing players……but if he can get the money and on a marketing perspective he had fans on his side……now things could get ugly….if he’s a bust with the fans I don’t see how he sticks with the team…..unfortunately it looks like were going to have to deal with another bad contract. Fun woh

  28. ProHabs says:

    Well Danny B. might not be playing great but at least he is playing. The injury prone Lecavalier is already hurt, out for at least a week and probably more.

  29. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Hey Jim.
    From previous thread, re Markov looking a little faster than last year.

    That’s what I was thinking during Leafs game (despite the blueline giveaway: no one would have caught up) but was afraid to say!

    Did someone mention that sometimes that you can return to the ice after that knee surgery a good bit before you’re back to optimum?


  30. B says:

    The Habs rank tied for 6th with 3.25 G/G.
    They are tied for 7th with 2.25 GA/G.
    They are also 7th in 5-5 F/A.
    The PP% is 10th while the PK% is 18th.
    Only Florida and St.Louis have less PIM/G

    As with last season, they still need to improve the PK and take less dumb penalties.

    –Go Habs Go!–

  31. JO says:

    If the Habs bring their “A” game they can defeat Vancouver. Better all around team from what I’ve seen.

  32. WVHabsfan says:

    Mavid is what I meant damn auto correct

  33. WVHabsfan says:

    Mavis. We will take good care of him down here in West Virginia. I live near Wheeling and I look forward to seeing him play

  34. Habs4LifeInTO says:

    Danny Kristo 3 Games played for Hartford: 2 goals and 3 assists….That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes…

    24 cups and counting….

  35. Danno says:

    Hockey and Corn Syrup Addiction


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  36. L Elle says:

    I am guilty of poking fun at DD’s stature, but in reality I feel badly for the guy. The harder he tries, the worse he plays. Ditto Briere.

    I don’t believe MT’s love affair with DD will last much longer, unless he goes back to previous success he experienced with Cole and Pacioretty. It would obviously be beneficial to the team if he did, but right now he’s floundering. I guess MT is doing what coaches do, in trying to kick start DD’s production. But there are just so many better players than DD on the team, I just don’t see it happening.

  37. HabFab says:

    DD understands the message from the coach…
    … the haters can fill in the rest.

    • slyCH says:

      DD “Jumped the shark” the minute he signed that contract.

      • commandant says:

        The difference in DD’s PPG last season before and after the day he signed the contract.

        0.06 PPG.

        Meaning his 2012-13 season was nearly identical before and after signing.

        Yet this narrative that the contract is the difference in his game has taken on a life of its own.

        Go Habs Go!
        Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.

        • slyCH says:

          Personally I think DD was done the minute Cole soured from the lock-out and was traded. Can DD regain that magical season without Cole? I sure hope so. Can he turn it around? I don’t know. To be continued…

          • B says:

            Done? Struggling Desharnais’ production numbers last season ranked him in the top 45 among the 237 NHL centers last season (42nd in goals and points, 38th in assists). Not the best, but certainly not the worst either.

            –Go Habs Go!–

  38. HabFab says:

    Stephen MacAulay on his way to Wheeling ECHL. Had noticed that he was not there last night but in Halifax and was curious. Not sure of the why not’s, but he just tweeted he was on his way.

  39. HabFab says:

    HabsWorld –

    With an assist today, #Habs prospect Artturi Lehkonen now has 9 pts in 12 GP. His team only has 19 goals, he has a point on 47% of those.

  40. oldtimerguy says:

    barkov doing nicely for a rook huh? 2 goals 3 assists, 5 games.

  41. Phil C says:

    Re: DD

    I have always been a supporter as I appreciate the hockey sense and vision which more than offsets any angst about his lack of size. However, there is very little to defend so far this season. Not only has he not produced, he is not creating chances and not involved in the play as much as he should be, so there is very little reason to expect improvement at this point.

    His PP production has also been a big disappointment. Intuitively, his skill set should fit well with the PP, however he has not produced, not even last year, and I don’t think it’s just bad luck. I believe it’s because he is not enough of a threat to shot the puck so that the defenders do not worry about him shooting, so they block passing lanes. Conversely with Galchenyuk, if you give him a clear shooting lane, he will burn you eventually, so he is tougher to defend in general. Galchenyuk should be playing the PP in place of DD.

    • B says:

      Galchenyuk is leading all Habs forwards in PP TOI this season.

      • Mark C says:

        Some people just don’t want to be bothered by the facts.

        • Phil C says:

          Please, get off your high horse, my point was DD should not be on the PP anymore. The EGG line has been rewarded with PP time so far, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Based on the line changes they have made, it looks like DD is bumped to the third line, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

          • Mark C says:

            No high horse, just annoying to read another invented reason to bash DD, there are already enough things to be critical of in his play.

          • Phil C says:

            Several of you posts reek of condescension. I thought I made a thoughtful reason why he hasn’t produced on the PP. Seeing that you are obviously smarter than everyone else, please explain why I am wrong. He has not been on the ice yet for a PP goal this season in over 10 minutes of ice time, the 4th highest on the team. Last season, he only had 7 PP points in over 138 minutes of PP time. Based on that, I think the Habs have better options for the PP.

            I look forward to your thoughtful response on how this is an invented criticism.

          • Mark C says:

            You just lost me with the Galchenyuk replacing DD part. Want DD off the PP? Fine. But to suggest replacing him with the PP minutes leader at forward. Not sure how that works. Chucky to play the full two minutes along with Subban?

          • Phil C says:

            My post was about DD not Galchenyuk, yet that’s the part you focused on. The DD line was the first wave of the PP all through the pre-season and last season. Just because Galchenyuk has gotten the most ice time so far doesn’t mean it will stay that way. 4 games is a small sample size to be making conclusions.

            Anyway, this is all moot, based on the lines for tonight, DD has probably played his way off the PP anyway.

  42. 416erHabsFan says:

    Deleted for you sensitive types.
    it’s obvious you need to sugar coat your opinions in this forum. You will not hear from me again.

  43. JO says:

    Bernier – Going to bring the leafs nothing but good things. Should have been a Hab. Just think what we could have gotten for Price and Bernier could have done the job in Montreal. Another good one gets by.

  44. frontenac1 says:

    Habs beat the Canknuckle Heads tonight amigos!

  45. Strummer says:

    Chris Stevenson of Sun Media’s take on the Olympic goal tending race:


    A bi-weekly snapshot of the race for the starting goaltender’s job with Canada’s Olympic hockey team. It’s not pretty.

    1. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks – Reigning champ waiting for someone to knock him out.

    2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins – Playoff meltdowns are red flag, but off to a great start.

    3. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks – Five of nine goals against are power-play goals.

    4. Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs – No experience, but kid is forcing himself into conversation.

    5. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens – Consistency continues to be an issue.

    6. Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes – After a tough start, got a nice win Thursday.

    7. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils – Weak field opens door for former gold medal winner.

    8. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals – Ranks 42nd in the league in save percentage.

    9. Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes – Needed a fast start to get back into the conversation.

    “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

    • Stevie.Ray says:

      Consistency is an issue? He played great all three games. If they are allowed to make stuff up then he has no chance making the team.

      • Mavid says:

        It has beren an issue in the past..that is what they will be watching for prior to the actual selection. Chris is one of the better more knowledgeable writers out there..

        Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.