Gio’s debut has no fairytale ending

Canadiens captain Brian Gionta in action vs. Buffalo.
Phil Carpenter, Gazette

AUDIO: Brian Gionta | Jacques Martin | Lars Eller I and II | P.K. Subban | Dustin Boyd

The debut of Brian Gionta as captain of the Canadiens didn’t have the happy ending fans hoped for Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens fell 5-3 to the Buffalo Sabres, outshot 37-31 by a team that only landed in Montreal two hours before game time. Indiscipline was costly – the Sabres scored three goals on the power play.

The Habs will need a victory Saturday in Quebec City against the New York Islanders if they’re to finish the preseason with a winning record; they’re now 3-3 after six games.

Montreal never led in this one, falling behind 2-0, rallying to tie it 2-2 with goals by Mathieu Darche and Ryan O’Byrne, then falling behind 4-2 before Tom Pyatt hit the Habs’ final goal midway through the third period.

Goaltender Alex Auld went the full game for the Canadiens, while Jhonas Enroth did likewise for the Sabres.

“Special teams often dictate the outcome,” coach Jacques Martin said, repeating a familiar refrain. “That was the case tonight.”

The Canadiens’ power play went 0-for-5, including another 5-on-3 opportunity. The goose egg ran the team’s pre-season record to three goals in 37 PP opportunities โ€“ ineptitude Martin attributed to never having both of his power-play waves in uniform for any of the team’s six games.

The Habs’ new captain? Gionta finished the night at +1, with two shots on goal, two more blocked, another three missed with one giveaway and one takeaway.


  1. Willy the bum says:

    Crap, I had plans that night, not knowing there was a game… and I forget to put my avatar for luck.

  2. adam76 says:

    There’s an old saying among coaches that teams will play the way they practice.  That is, teams that have good, focused practices will play the same way.  Teams that have haphazard practices will play that way.  Given that practice is important, and the way and manner in which we practice dictates to a great extent how we play at game time, what does that say about the way we train for our work versus the way we perform?

  3. AH says:

    LOL, hilarious well written reply! Well said…some people on this site take themselves and their opinions way too seriously.

    GO HABS GO!!


  4. nunacanadien says:

    It’s still interesting that even with the pre-season well behind us almost, there is still comparison of Price’s performance before and a question of the future for the Habs precisely because Gauthier traded the goalie who could win games.  Although in return, when we praise Eller and Schultz or acquire better players in trade for them, we will have to remember the benfit from that, and to see if they were also able to contribute to wins like Halak.  The most glaring and obvious picture we get of Halak is holding onto a win, as opposed to letting the lead get away.  In all fairness though, sometimes it only takes one shot to not only deflate Price but the whole team, and there were also many games where Halak had the same effect on the whole team, but not necessarily the whole season though as like two years ago perhaps.  Last year at least Martin had Halak to fall back on when the annointed number 1 sat out the season mostly and Halak all but unofficially became the number 1 goalie.  This is suprising that last year Gainey and no one from the Habs management or organization confirmed Halak as their number 1.  The Habs although would take credit for his team work and work ethic and team play and supposedly because of the inspiration that players got from having Halak on the ice as a team player, that Gauthier is hoping to carry that on.  But with no team player like Halak in return for any of his trades or acquisitions, I don’t know how Gauthier is going to pull it off this year.

  5. SmartDog says:

    I think he’ll have to stretch to reach average.

    Yeah I know, it’s only pre-season… I know, I know….

    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  6. SmartDog says:

    I dunno about his worth… but the likelihood of stopping pucks is pretty scary.

    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  7. LeeFree says:

    Everyone needs to unfasten the wedgies from their panties in this pre season tournament. Combo’s, chemistry and balance is left up to the coaching staff to figure out; determination’s are not deciphered on final scores. But I would like to add my two cents worth on four players: Auld, you are permitted to play on the white ice. OB, I’ve seen better ‘Dmen in the ‘Q, and my interpretation of that goes well beyond these 6 games of exhibition play. Pyatt and White, you’re both solid, keep mucking away. I like what you both bring to the team.

  8. Johnny_D says:

    I didn’t ask you when you were born, old man. And quite frankly I don’t care that you’ve seen Maurice skate around in the flesh. A senior discount card doesn’t give you the right to be an ass.

    Halak is not better than Roy, and for reasons out of our control, they also traded him. And you know what, if I were pissed at a goalie trade, I would be about that one.

    But if you know so much, oh Great Guru of the Game Before It Existed … Tell us how to get a cup?

    So since it looks like neither of us have answers for that, or is shoving off, I suggest you kick back and try to enjoy some games with the team we have, while you still got time.

  9. adamkennelly says:

    I don’t get it?  My TV worked fine – AK and BP looked terrible..actually BP was invisible and AK was only visible in his sucking it up out there.

  10. terrygain says:

    You need to upgrade your TV reception.


    Did anyone notice how those Maple Leaf fans are such sheep? They support management no matter what. It’s no wonder they haven’t won in 43 years.

  11. terrygain says:

    Halak got us into the playoffs and to the 3rd round. He gave us the best goaltending we’ve had  in 17 years. No one is irreplaceable, but you don’t improve the team by getting rid of your best player for prospects. I was a Hab fan for 20 years before you were born and I’m not going anywhere  So once again, shove off.


    Did anyone notice how those Maple Leaf fans are such sheep? They support management no matter what. It’s no wonder they haven’t won in 43 years.

  12. adamkennelly says:

    Did read a comment that said AK and BP looked BETTER last night then they have in past games?  I would dump both of them right now…this team is in huge trouble with those 2 donkeys in our top 6…plus Pleks and Gio and Gomer are gonna have back problems all year carrying these guys.

  13. mrhabby says:

    sd…the only item i agree with is OB…dopey and sleepy playing his way off the team…shame really.

  14. Johnny_D says:

    Wow. Halak had a great year, and play-offs. And I enjoyed watching it. But to call him our best player. Wow. Indeed, there were games where he was our best player, but then so was Cammalleri during some weeks, and Plekanec during some others.  HALAK is not irreplaceable (you do know what that means right?)

    So please, rather than telling me to shove off, I suggest you follow your “best player” to the St-Louis Blues. I know I won’t follow Price if he stinks it up and ends up in another uniform.


  15. terrygain says:

    Not surprisingly, you don’t get it.  Hab fans who are upset with the hasty and ill-advised unloading of our best player  are upset primarily because of the impact of that stupid move upon the team. It’s the Pricebots who put the welfare of Price above the team. So shove off.


    Did anyone notice how those Maple Leaf fans are such sheep? They support management no matter what. It’s no wonder they haven’t won in 43 years.

  16. mchab33 says:

    Any one who determines a goalies worth in pre-season hockey isn’t very smart. IMO

  17. SeriousFan09 says:

    Habs let him go, Mayer’s about 6’1″.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  18. linp says:

    The purpose of last night’s game is to evaluate a few forwards and defenders. Unfortunately, none of them are convincing. Weber, Henry and Picard are all not quite ready. Maxwell played bad. Ellers, Boyd and Pyatt are set. Since MaxPac is injuried, the only question mark will be between White and Darche.

    Agreed that Alex Auld is very average. Were you expecting more?!?!

  19. Johnny_D says:

    Please, would all “fans” still complaining about the Halak trade by the time the season starts HEAD OVER TO THE BLUES BLOGS AND SUPPORT THEM INSTEAD. We don’t need, and never have needed, bandwagon fans that place the importance of a single player above the CH shirt they are wearing.

    And please, will those idiots that boo-ed / chanted Carey’s name when Auld was having a tough time do the same. Do you actually want people to come play in Montreal or not?

    Otherwise, let’s get this season started already so we can assess the full teams against each other.

    GO HABS!!!


  20. SmartDog says:


    1. Based on last night’s game, I’d send down half the regulars and keep the kids. What a comedy of errors by veterans. Even Gionta made several (uncharacteristic) bad passes. 

    2. How valuable are Pleks and Cami?  Gorges, Markov, and Gill? 
    Damned valuable. Even with 2/3 of our regular line-up we looked like
    plunkers out there.  Makes you wonder.

    3. The most amateurish player by far though was Ryan O’Byrne. I figured out what’ wrong with him. His brain is too far from his feet.  Brain: hurry up! someone’s behind us! Feet: huh? O’Byrne looks dopey out there. He looks like he WANTS to play in the minors. I’d give him his wish.

    4. Alex Auld. Classy guy. Now where can we get a classy guy who can stop a puck?  If the pre-season is any indication, these two goalies are going to be pushing each other to see who can get pulled the fastest. 

    5. Alex Auld II. The TSN guys were talking about how Miller’s back-up doesn’t see much action so you may not want your hot developing goalie to play behind him.  And I thought – Alex Auld is EXACTLY the kind of goalie you want behind Miller.  A good team-mate, good NHL experience, not going to win a lot of games but generally knows the ropes, and with no concern about his development.   And then I thought: what’s he doing in Montreal?  Is Price anything like Miller?  At least yet?  Clearly not.  We absolutely have the wrong back-up.

    6. What’s the difference between the Habs and my son’s peewee team? Even a peewee team sometimes scores on a 5-on-3.

    7. For good luck, something a little optimisitic. People chanting Price’s name. That’s a good thing. Maybe NOW I understand why we have Auld. Ah well… maybe it’s all just the silly season and the Habs will come together like megatron next week. We can always hope.  There’s that word I hate.


    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  21. JF says:

    I don’t understand what the point of last night’s game was.  Surely this late in the pre-season it was time to ice a lineup as close to our real one as possible so we could get an idea of what it looks like and what needs working on.  The indications so far are that goaltending is likely to be a concern, the performances of AK46 and Pouliot are less than convincing (although both looked better last night), PK and Eller both need some seasoning, and the powerplay without Markov will struggle mightily.  Not exactly encouraging.

  22. solomio says:

    See ya next year Mike. Habs will be better. ( cough cough )

  23. emann_222 says:

    You’re right – he’s not going to Hamilton. But there are other forces at work causing that mistake. He’s been mediocre at best after his first 10 games on the ice as a Hab last year. Hasn’t proven, and continues to not prove why he should have a spot on this team.

    If there are political reasons that he can’t go down to Hamiton – then Press Box him.

    “his best game of the preseason” means nothing. SOMETHING (tonight) is better than NOTHING, which is what he’s been giving us. IF “his best game of the preseason” means that he actually stayed upright and got a few shots off, then I couldn’t care less. We need to hold this guy accountable. And I don’t care about preseason. His playing has been Lax since well before the playoffs last year. Despite his fiery start here in Montreal … come crunch time in the playoffs he only supplied 2 points in 18 games (2 assists) and was -5.

    Even Mathieu Darche – who everyone wants to put on waivers – had one less point and played 11 games, which included a -1 showing. Plus he plays with a TOUCH more heart.

    Don’t know what the love affair is, but it needs to end soon.

    Thanks for listenening Bugs!

    Visit me at

  24. mbplekfan says:

    Some observations after watching tonights game:

    We iced a very poor defense corps. Weber and Picard are out of their league, Henry is not effective with that much ice time, PK needs a veteran partner, Spacek looks horrible. OB is ok with Markov but not with anyone else.

    No surprise we got beat with those guys manning the back end.


    No Pleks or Cammaleri up front. Who are we expecting Eller or Pouliot to play with?  These guys are young and will rely on veteran skill players to help them elevate their games.

    White should stay. Maxwell should not.

    Boyd, Darche, Halperin, Lapierre…Who’s gonna score?

    AK looked good. Eller looked raw but talented. Why did we sign Darche?




  25. light_n_tasty says:

    So, is that giant Missien guy still connected to the Habs, or is he playing basketball now?

  26. Bugs says:

    Missien (or whatever).

    Reprovingly reproof-proof, here sits

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Assistant Head Honcho to what goes down in Chinatown, Big Cheese at Flannelcorp Media, and Lead Copy-boy at Habsbros Hard Data Factory:

  27. Bugs says:

    First of all, he ain’t goin to Hamilton. You know that.

    Secondly, the COACH says he had “his best game of the preseson” too. That’s gotta mean somethin.

    Lastly, he may have lacked heart (preseason, ferpetessakes; he knows he’s makin the team), but he didn’t lack determination. He was there. He played good.

    imo, of course.

    Reprovingly reproof-proof, here sits

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Assistant Head Honcho to what goes down in Chinatown, Big Cheese at Flannelcorp Media, and Lead Copy-boy at Habsbros Hard Data Factory:

  28. light_n_tasty says:

    Is Mayer the one who’s like 9 feet tall or whatever?

  29. HABZ24 says:

    had enough of this kiddy hockey , ready for the real season.

  30. light_n_tasty says:

    So why are you linking us to the Ottawa Catholic School Board?

  31. emann_222 says:

    Gomes. A leader. A playmaker. Apparently part of Gionta’s (Our 28th Captain) psychic network cause they always know where each other are.

    This guy is first class. Put up great numbers last year and was an integral part to our season and playoff run.

    Visit me at

  32. Bugs says:

    Seven million a pop, I WANT him to loaf in the preseason.

    Seen what he can do. Know he can bring it. Doesn’t have to prove nuthin to me. Be ready Oct 7th is all (or whenever the first game is).

    Don’t get hurt fer nuthin is what I’m sayin. Not the friggin preseason. Game 1? Ruptured traceideal ubulent? That’s fine. Might be worth 2 points. Just not the preseason where it ain’t worth nuthin.

    ‘Preciate it, Scotty.

    Reprovingly reproof-proof, here sits

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Assistant Head Honcho to what goes down in Chinatown, Big Cheese at Flannelcorp Media, and Lead Copy-boy at Habsbros Hard Data Factory:

  33. ManApart says:

    No one has stated or acted like St. Louis won the Cup or Halak has won the Hart, because of the game tonight. Don’t twist things based upon people simply reporting what happened.

  34. Bugs says:

    I hear Boucher wants him too.


    Reprovingly reproof-proof, here sits

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Assistant Head Honcho to what goes down in Chinatown, Big Cheese at Flannelcorp Media, and Lead Copy-boy at Habsbros Hard Data Factory:

  35. Bugs says:

    Preseason ain’t about winnin; it’s about the kids showin what they got and the regulars gettin into the groove.

    I thought AK and Poolio were very good tonight. AK laid down the boom on whatsisface and scored (yeah, yeah, but still, we all know the goal was good), and Benny made great plays, went to the net, and hardly went sprawling.

    That wasn’t our PP. But I can’t disagree with you.

    Sabres did look good. And Myers wasn’t bad as a freshman either.

    The reasons you give for hating Kaleta are oddly the same I’d give for acquiring him.

    New crowd chantin “Carey” to atone for those who booed’m, I reckon.

    Reprovingly reproof-proof, here sits

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Assistant Head Honcho to what goes down in Chinatown, Big Cheese at Flannelcorp Media, and Lead Copy-boy at Habsbros Hard Data Factory:

  36. emann_222 says:

    Usually I agree with you Bugs, but the Pouliot thing … sorry. He may have stayed on his feet, and perhaps he had a couple of decent plays tonight, but this guy has to go. At least twice tonight, he had the chance to bury it from close in, and as usual – he can’t finish.

    And if that was sometihng that we only saw once in a while, then I’d be ok wit that, but he’s lacked heart and determintaion since before the end of the regular season last year.

    Time to pull the plug, and send him to Hamilton at the very least.

    Visit me at

  37. OneTimer says:

    Some thoughts:

    – time to make some cuts? I think everyone knew the Habs were going to lose tonight, just from the line-ups. I prepared myself mentally for it, and I was at peace when it happened. If anything we found out who we DON’T want to play on the Habs. No Markov, no Hamrlik, no Gorges, no Gill, no Plekanec, no Cammy…ya. Can’t wait to see the real Habs on Oct 7.

    – AK46 was somewhat zombielike tonight, but Pouliot truly is a black hole of hockey right now. Please turn it around Benny!

    – Our PP has really been sucking. That cannot happen during the regular season, or we’ll sink.

    – Sabres look pretty solid defensively. Myers is pretty damn good for a sophomore.

    – Kaleta is still a piece of &^%$. I counted about four times he took brutally obvious runs at our players during the game (at least 2 on Subban, 1 on Lapierre clearly leaving his feet, which was dodged). Why is McGuire busting a nut over Kaleta when he takes these fuckin’ runs? I wish Alex Henry could punch his face in

    – kind of a boring game, Habs goals were lucky, at least we heard some “Carey! Carey!” chants when the 3rd or 4th goal when in, that was good to hear in a strange way ๐Ÿ™‚

    Go Habs go!



  38. SeriousFan09 says:

    Quit trying to distract the sheep Mike, we all know Robert Mayer pitched a 36-save SO in Hamilton’s opening pre-season game and is going to be moved out soon so he doesn’t threaten Carey.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  39. K-hab25 says:

    I heard that only the goaltender played for St. Louis. The guy is a god!!

  40. mike g says:

    If you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch…

    I heard there was a great game going on in ST-Louis tonight…

    Apparently they won the Cup.



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

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

  41. Curtis O Habs says:

      Gomez treats the Montreal fans to his unique style of shinny.  Again.  Thanks Scotty.

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