GM Bergevin must be smiling

Can you imagine the smile Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin must have had on his face when he woke up Wednesday morning and looked at the NHL standings?

How about coach Michel Therrien?

After finishing last in the Eastern Conference last season, the new-look Canadiens – in a rebuilding phase led by Bergevin – were sitting in first place after Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over the Rangers in New York with an 11-4-1 record. It was the fifth straight win for the Habs.

After 16 games last season, the Canadiens had a 7-7-2 record.

One person who didn’t like Tuesday’s game was Rangers coach John Tortorella.

“Two bad teams playing and we were worse than they were,” Tortorella said during his brief postgame press conference. “Pretty much sums it up, huh?”

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist told the New York Post: “They play it extremely boring. They’re a smart team. They didn’t give up much and they were just waiting for mistakes.”

It might not have been pretty, but it worked.

Therrien gave his team the day off Wednesday. The Canadiens will have their morning skate Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in Brossard before taking on the New York Islanders Thursday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, TSN 690 Radio). The Rangers will visit the Bell Centre Saturday night.

In other NHL news, the Buffalo Sabres fired head coach Lindy Ruff Wednesday after the team got off to a 6-10-1 start.

(Photo by Dave Sidaway/The Gazette)

Galchenyuk leads Habs to fifth straight win, by Pat Hickey

Eller’s play earns praise from Therrien, by Pat Hickey

Rangers beaten by Canadiens in snore-fest, by New York Daily News

Brandon Prust earning his money with Canadiens, by Stu Cowan

On the road with the two Gallys, by Stu Cowan

Former Hab Darche hangs up his skates, by Brenda Branswell

Tortorella as coach of U.S. Olympic team? by Stu Cowan

Sabres fire longtime coach Lindy Ruff, by The Associated Press

 

686 Comments

  1. Loonie says:

    I love debates about defensive defensemen and goalies who are perceived to be elite based on numbers.

    Pekka Rinne for example, excellent goaltender who’s had the luxury of a Barry Trotz coached team(defensive strength) and two elite defensemen in Ryan Suter and Shea Weber playing nearly a third of every game for quite some time in front of him. He’s off to a great start this year again but again that’s with Shea Weber in front of him.

    What I look for in an elite goaltender is a guy who doesn’t have defensemen who make him significantly better and/or a style of team play that would do the same.

    So I eliminate guys like Mike Smith who have an excellent defensive style of play and well above average defensemen in front of him.

    Rinne and Lundqvist are curious cases. Both have elite skill sets but have the benefit as I mentioned above of similar defensive styles of play and excellent personnel on defense. Brodeur is another example.

    Ryan Miller’s a guy who has never had the benefit of either. Price has only had the benefit of the style of play but doesn’t this season with a heavy puck pursuit system leaving many areas of the ice vacant.

    Craig Anderson has been at an elite level without the system and personnel. Roberto Luongo earned his elite status with a sustained level of play under an attacking system and average defensemen.

    My point is that while some goalies do have circumstance on their side, I’ll take the guy putting up the near elite or elite numbers without the benefits that guys like Rinne, Lundqvist and Smith have and try building around them.

    • krob1000 says:

      I have seen enough of RIinne and Lundqvist though to know they are elite….in todays game I believe elite means being sconsistent, not giving up momentum changing weak goals and occasionally making the big saves when necessary. The fact that their teams trust these three to play nearly every game is a testament to their consistency and the numbers while influenced by systems, dmen, team styles,etc do mean a little something if the sample size is large enough.
      Tim Thomas was a curious case….I could not buy into his numbers because I had seen him implode so many times…but somehwere along the way he developed teh mental toughness and started eliminating the weak golas nad the temper tantrums that led to more goals being scored.
      I think Ryan Miller is still and “elite” goalie…by the way. I think any of teh top 15 starters who have managed to put up consistent numbers for several seasons while playing nearly every game are enough to warrant the “elite” status.
      Price, Rinne, Lundqvist, Miller, Luongo, Kiprusoff, Brodeur, Luongo…..that is my list of goalies that meet the criteria…Price is a just barely but well on his way given his age and track record for a kid at that point. Craig Anderson may pull a Tim Thomas and become one with a couple more good seasonsdespite it taking him many years to do so….Cam Ward is very close and many would have him in that category………other than that unless I am mising someone those are the guys I would deem “elite”.
      Many goalies have eltie seasons or stretches…but to me elite is a guy you can sign for 5 years and know you don;t need to be cmbing the goalie market every offseason.

      • Loonie says:

        My point is that you haven’t seen Rinne without Weber or Trotz.

        Lundqvist deserves to be in the elite category due to the longevity of his success with different coaches and personnel but Rinne’s status should be questioned, as should Mike Smith’s.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Ya Anderson is all world this year. He is a reflex goaltender where guys like Price are positional goaltenders. And Anderson’s reflexes are crazy at the moment. He reminds me of Hasek 15 years ago.

  2. habfan53 says:

    My only complaint with MT this year is he tried to fix something that was not broken. When P.K. came back after a couple of games he was put on the 1st unit of the PP with Markov.
    there was nothing wrong with Markov and Diaz as a matter of fact it was working really well

    Like the DODGERS “Wait till next year”

  3. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    This is one of those dangerous games that they should win, but always a risk that the guard is down…

    With the games Boston has in hand though, hopefully they are desperate tonight for what should be two points. Always fun to watch Tavares out there. Think he’s going to get stuck with Rick Nash syndrome though — amazing player on a perennially shitty team. Though they do have some young pieces.

    Really surprised to hear people wanting to sign “big, tough” guys like McGratten et al. There’s a reason the rest of the league is passing them over….

    No room in the game today for unidimensional players. Whether they are unidimensional PP specialists (a la Kaberle) or scrappers, there just isn’t space to have a guy on the bench that can’t contribute minutes. If you can find a big, intimidating fighter who can contribute, like Chris Neil, then sign him by all means. But they are rare.

    Signing a scrapper for the sake of having one (which really, reading the insights of the people asking for one, seems to be more about their own wounded sense of masculinity and desire to have bragging rights. I’ve yet to see one compelling argument for how having a (unidimensional) scrapper actually helps win games)

    For every team with a bunch of bruisers (Boston), you can name teams that have been successful without one (LA).

    I really doubt that having McGratten or Peckham in the lineup would’ve meant we wouldn’t have lost in game 7 OT to the big, bad Bruins — the fact that the series went to game 7 OT, and was decided on a fluky deflection off Halpern should be enough to prove that their size didn’t intimidate the Habs. Or that our lack of it empowered them.

    /rantcomplete

    PS — we’re first in the Eastern Conference!!!

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      I believe in having an enforcer as one of your reserves, not a regular player. I believe they are useful during the regular season in certain situations (not because I have a “wounded sense of masculinity”). If MT had an enforcer do you think he would play him every game and in the playoffs? Of course not. Do you think he would play him with Colton Orr in the line-up? Of course. Do you want Prust fighting Colton Orr? I don’t. I want him fighting the Chris Neil’s not the goons. I want him on the ice banging and grinding, not in the penalty box with the other team’s stiff.

      The Habs have three reserves doing absolutely NOTHING. Nokia is the first player in history who is “two weeks away” but will be injured for the whole year. Do you think MT will play Kaberle and Weber if any of the top six are hurt? I don’t. Three guys are being paid not to play. Why not have one guy that will play once in a while? Why is it such a big deal? Enforcers are not only liked by their teammates but also by the fans (who pay $200 a ticket BTW).

      I believe fighting should be banned but it is not going to happen anytime soon. I’m not happy with the culture of violence in the league (goons, cheap shot artists, goon announcers, etc.). However, during the regular season, sometimes the game is played in the back alley, not on the ice. I just do not see a reason why not to have one reserve for such scenarios.

  4. frontenac1 says:

    Hey Loonie! Did you mention Erskine? Big John taking care of business. (note ,Pacifists don”t watch this) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM8chVfQNRQ

    • Loonie says:

      I just happen to believe that as long as a goaltender is the centrepiece of your organization, you should have somebody who can protect him regularly.

      Erskine certainly isn’t the long term answer but I would be searching for a stop gap solution.

    • 2mins4lookinsooogood says:

      Frontenac, If I had to have a lummox on the d-line, I have always wanted it to be Erskine who I definitely remember holding his own and more against Larocque.

      But unless he can get the puck out of his zone or go all Hal Gill on a 5 on 3, I don’t want him ahead of the people I already have on the defence.

      “Don’t crush that dwarf Alex Henry, hand me the pliers”

      • frontenac1 says:

        Saw him play a couple of times this year and he was moving the puck pretty well,he had a goal and a couple of assists before he was suspended for three games.(his first NHL suspension). He is not a Goon. He is experienced enough to pick his spots to drop”em. He can play the game,just not big minutes at his age. He is on the last year of his $1.5 mill. contract,so I agree with Loonie,not much risk. I am getting concerned that we could lose Prust to injury with all the Heavyweights he is fighting. Big John would ease that load.

    • boing007 says:

      Looked like a draw to me.

      Richard R
      Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  5. WindsorHab-10 says:

    We need to fix our powerplay.

  6. Lafleurguy says:

    In King Patrick’s ten seasons with Les Canadiens, how often were we out of the playoffs?

  7. christopher says:

    imo, this season’s start has been unacceptable. we should have at least 30 points by now.

    the honeymoon is over. it’s time for MB to go.

  8. patrick says:

    The Islanders have a good skating team with 3 or 4 players who can score……as dangerous as any of the Eastern teams…..
    Go Habs Go!

    PatrickMcConnell

  9. chanchilla says:

    Everytime i hear Josh Gorges in an interview i can’t help but think that he’s a shoo-in to be the next captain.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Every time I see him play I think the opposite.

      • Timo says:

        Every time I hear (and I try to avoid now) an NHL player talk I just wish they didn’t. They should just stop interviewing them period. All of them.

      • chanchilla says:

        he’ll lead the league in blockedshots again, he’s one of our best players..

        • B says:

          He currently leads the team that ranks 4th in GA/G and 5-5 F/A in ES and SH TOI (and of course blocked shots).

          –Go Habs Go!–

        • Loonie says:

          “One of our best players”

          I disagree with prejudice. One dimensional player and doesn’t even scratch the surface of above average skill.

          • B says:

            Reminds me of why the Habs (and many other teams) passed on Mike Bossy, he’s one dimensional, all he can do is score goals :)

            (and no, I am not comparing Gorges to Bossy, just pointing out that being labeled as one dimensional is not necessarily a bad thing in the NHL).

            –Go Habs Go!–

          • Loonie says:

            Who would you rather have, a one dimensional 50 goal scorer or a one dimensional 200 shot blocker(who has an elite goalie behind him)?

            Easy choice for me.

          • B says:

            I had a feeling you would miss my point and totally ignore the “I am not comparing Gorges to Bossy” part of my post.

            Gorges has a role to fill on this team and he fills it well. He’s not a Norris candidate and never will be, but he is doing what he is expected to do.

            –Go Habs Go!–

          • Loonie says:

            I didn’t miss the point of your post. My point is that we’re paying a lot of money and committing a lot of time to a player who brings nothing more than leadership and shot blocking.

          • B says:

            So you are just ignoring my point and taking this off in another direction then? Um… ok.

            –Go Habs Go!–

          • chanchilla says:

            you can’t argue with loonie, he’s always right and everyone else is always wrong. Regardless of the facts that you bring to the table, you’re wrong, he’s right.

    • WindsorHab-10 says:

      He will be as soon as we trade Gionta back to New Jersey at the deadline.

    • Loonie says:

      Precisely why shot blockers should never get long term contracts.

      That deal was a big mistake. Gorges is the least versatile defenseman we have and should be slated into a bottom pairing. $3.9 million annually and six years for that.

      I wouldn’t trade him but he definitely should have hit the open market considering what he got for a contract.

      Now the team is married to him and may as well make him captain.

    • habsnyc says:

      The two veterans with long term deals are Plekanec and Gorges. Gorges and Markov have the A on their jerseys. Seems like Gorges is the front runner.

      Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

    • Bill H says:

      I think Gorges is behind Komesarek, Higgins and Chipchura for next captain honours. Sorry if I missed a few on the list.

  10. Timo says:

    So… no lineup changes for tonight?

  11. The Dude says:

    I would like it if MB would grab Brian McGrattan and Evgeny Artukin! And then bring on Bruins and the Loafs!

  12. Kelectro says:

    I’m on this site every day, and I always go through the comments. I’ve posted a couple of times, but very rarely. I had a thought regarding Cole, and wanted to get some opinions on it.

    When Gallagher comes back from injury. He, DD, and Pac were awesome together. Chucky, Lars, and Prust look really good too. Pleks, Bourque, and Gionta are the most consistent even though I’m not sure Gionta’s into it that much. What are the chances they’ll play Cole on the fourth line with Moen and Armstrong/White. We can keep Cole on the PP too, I like him in front of the net.

    Anyways, just a thought.

    • Cal says:

      If Cole doesn’t start putting up some numbers, that may be exactly what happens. I think MT will be a little more patient, but not patient to the point of leaving him in. (he’s already reduced his ice time)

      • Kelectro says:

        I completely agree. I like Cole a lot. But what bothered me the other day, was his nonchalance on the Ranger goal. Sure everyone sort of stopped playing, but Cole was right there and could have (in my non-hockey playing opinion) stopped the rebound chance.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      My take on Erik C. is that he creates a lot of up-for-grabs loose pucks in front of the net and guys with good hands like DD and Patches are ideal linemates. The way Prust gets into position in front of the net for loose pucks would make him a good fit with Cole too.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      I can’t see them playing a veteran like Cole on the fourth line. If it ever go to that point, he would be benched. I see him on the third line if Gally keeps it up with DD and Max.

  13. Gerry H says:

    Interesting tidbit: Habs have eleven (count ‘em) guys averaging .5 ppg or better.

    Balanced scoring, or what?

  14. TheBoss says:

    I would like to see:

    Pacioretty Galchenyuk Eller – 1st line.

    Prust DD Cole – 3rd line

    This Change wouldn’t hurt the team any. Some size and skill on all three lines.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Tonight or from now on? Where would Gallagher fit in?

    • Kelectro says:

      I just posted a comment similar to this. With DD, Pacioretty, and Gallaghar back together. And Galchenyuk, Eller, and Prust together (I see this line as a better version of the Eller, Moen, Kostitsyn line). And Cole on the 4th with Moen and either Armstrong or White.

      I never really liked Armstrong. In fact, I don’t like him at all. But he seems nice. Like Mathieu Darche.

    • TheBoss says:

      This would be a trial run. Gallagher we’re not so sure now. could be another savard who played for Boston in the making. Remember Gallagher is small and with concussion problems. His career could be short lived. I hope not. He’s a great little player.

  15. B says:

    Dietz gets 3 points yesterday, moves into 4th in pts among WHL Dmen. Saskatoon wins it’s 13th in a row. After a horrible slow start, the Memorial Cup hosting Blades have really moved up in the standings. Looking forward to watching Dietz and Thrower in the Memorial Cup.

    –Go Habs Go!–

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Has Thrower been good in this run by the Blades? Really had a bizarre up and down start to his season it sounded like.

      • B says:

        I am going mostly by the stats so it is hard to say with any certainty, but I get the impression Thrower is playing well defensively and still physical but more of a depth than a go to guy on this team. I have been watching the stats and enjoy seeing Dietz and the Blades rise up the rankings. Perhaps someone who follows them more closely or gets to watch a lot of their games can add their observations?

        –Go Habs Go!–

  16. lazman says:

    There was some discussion below regarding who the most valuable Hab is so far. No doubt about it – Carey Price. There is no one position in all of sport which is so important to their team than a hockey goaltender. There have been plenty of examples where a good (not excellent) team + great goalie = Stanley Cup (Brodeur, Roy, B Parent come to mind). Price has been outstanding – it is quite apparent that he now has confidence in his teammates, and it is reflected in his calm, confident, positional play.

    2nd choice – Therrien (Im including management in this assessment). He is demonstrating what a total disaster the highly conservative, boring J Martin was as a coach. It is unbelievable that the Habs management through the years couldn’t see it while every fan knew it.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Lundqvist, Rinne and Price = elite building blocks.

      Forget Galchenyuk, forget Subban, forget MaxPac or Pleks. Carey Price is now the face of this franchise and will be for years to come.

      Gainey made some mistakes and will always have a lukewarm legacy, but his gamble on Price basically saved the franchise in terms of competitiveness.

    • habsfan0 says:

      Price is a good choice.
      However, it’s still a team game and Habs success to date can be attributed in no small way to their overall performance on defence,of which Budaj has played a role in as well. 2 goals allowed in their last 4 games against mostly formidable opponents is VERY impressive!

  17. NL Hab says:

    Hopefully Calgary will finish dead last. Then we would get the 31st overall pick. Sweet, ass sweet. This Camalleri deal looks better and better every day.

    Et Le But

  18. Loonie says:

    Trade packages that make the Habs better in the depth department and could really help in a playoff run.

    Washington – Wolski & Erskine
    Calgary – Glencross & Babchuk
    Columbus – Prospal & Aucoin
    Colorado – Kobasew & O’Byrne(haha)

    Question, what would the asking price be for these packages. Glencross is the only player who wouldn’t be a rental.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      How is Ryan O’Byrne? – I don’t follow the Avs much. (Not at all in fact.)

    • Lafleurguy says:

      I vote for upgrading defence depth, and most specifically, a physical type (fighting ability optional). I see that Aaron Rome is with the Dallas Stars, and wouldn’t he have been great in a Habs uniform for games against the Bruins. There would be some psychological impact on the B’s. The four-playoff-game suspension he received was absolutely ridiculous.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

      • Loonie says:

        Three years left on his deal I believe. Good salary but I wouldn’t be in any hurry to add a #6 guy at $1.5 million annually for two more years after this one.

        • Lafleurguy says:

          T., your analyses are always in-depth. I just recall the schadenfreude (a word I learned on HIO) I felt with his hit on Horton in the playoff year that followed Chara’s regular-season goon-job on Pacioretty.

          “May you live in interesting times.”

    • 24 Cups says:

      Wolski – over my dead body.

      • Loonie says:

        Cheap, could(yes I know) find some scoring touch because he is skilled.

        He’s just been a tremendous disappointment.

        And if you want to gamble on some rentals for the playoffs, why not go after an inexpensive option(s) instead of mortgaging the future?

    • 2mins4lookinsooogood says:

      Suggested Answer – probably too high. My theory is that the same conference schedule is going to keep too many teams competitive so more buyers than sellers, jacking up the price.

      Rental fever (take a UFA so his contract doesn’t count against next year’s lower cap) may also distort the market.

      “Don’t crush that dwarf Alex Henry, hand me the pliers”

  19. habs-fan-84 says:

    Looking forward to tonight!

    The DD, Patch and Cole line looks like it’s on the verge of busting out of its slumber. If that line can get going again, we’ll be challenging for first in the Northeast the rest of the season.

    GO HABS GO!

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      they have looked like they are going to break a few times. It seems like they have a good game once out of every four.

      Let’s hope they do

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Think coach Therrien broke them up couple of games ago, or at least is mixing the lines up. DD did set up Patches goal, but saw Max on the ice with Prust and the Golden Rookie (could have been a line change scenario).

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  20. habsfan0 says:

    I wonder if MT is worried about tonight’s game vs the Isles.

    3rd game in 4 nights and against an opponent that might be taken for granted.

  21. Strummer says:

    I see Calgary lost again last night. Cammalleri must be happy now considering his quote after he was traded last year:

    “I can’t accept that we will display a losing attitude as we’re doing this year. We prepare for our games like losers. We play like losers. So it’s no wonder why we lose.”

    Same Sh*t different Club, eh Mike?

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

    • Loonie says:

      Funny that he had a tail attached to his behind while he was with Los Angeles and afterwards.

      I often wonder how much of a problem he was. I know he was one of the first to bail on Martin.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I think he is the epitomy of a front runner. When things are going good, he is great, when things go bad, he becomes an Ass. No doubt he was Great for the Habs both playoff years, but come crunch time boy it sure looked like he had loser attitude as well.

        • habsfan0 says:

          While not defending Camalleri, he had a lot of issues to deal with last year. First time father,building a house in Cote St. Luc,dealing with that ugly skate gash incurred during Habs second game of the season at Winnipeg,and the team was losing frequently with questionable decisions by management. Frustration undoubtedly caught up with him.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Must be tough for multi millionaires to build homes and pay for nannies…..

          • habsfan0 says:

            LOL!

            Yes, today’s athletes are overpaid and spoiled,for the most part.
            However,at the end of the day, they are human,just like us, with the same feelings and frailties.

          • Loonie says:

            Weird that a 40 goal scorer with tons of talent would be traded twice and not re-signed originally by a team that acquired him via trade.

            The Flames brought him back out of pure desperation and look at them now.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Notice he still ensures most every interview has him shilling his BIoSteel in the background. I think I could enjoy having a beer with most any NHL player not on Boston, problem is I doubt Cammy even drinks beer, me thinks an umbrella drink is more his liking.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      I always thought he was a bit misunderstood when he made that statement. He just meant that the team approached the games without confidence, himself included.

      I’d take him back if the price was right.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Hey at least he’s saving a ton in taxes playing in Alberta instead of Quebec…

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Will always appreciate Camalleri’s 12 goals in our David and Goliath show playoffs, no. 8 seed, 53 saves in one game by Jaro, and a host of other great memories (timely goals by Dominic Moore, and even Maxime Lapierre). Now that I’ve had a chance to see how hard Galchenyuk, and Gallagher skate on the back-check, I’d have to say that Camalleri is a liability. Not that his plus/minus would be bad, but similar to losing faceoffs, if you don’t compete for puck possession in all three zones, the ice will be tilted towards your end. Wouldn’t mind one bit if our goalie never has to make 53 saves again.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  22. HabFanSince72 says:

    OK.

    It’s one of the great truisms is that you can tell a lot about a person by what kind of pie they like.

    In the interest of fostering greater understanding (if not acceptance) among the commentariat, please tell us what is your favourite pie (can be sweet or savoury, covered or not).

  23. habs-hampton says:

    Just reading about the Hansen suspension for the Hossa “hit”. I not sure how I feel about him getting a game for that, it was a funny play, and I think he’s out because Hossa didn’t finish the game. The thing is though, if you compare that to the Chara on Patches hit and Lucic on Miller, they got nothing, and Hansen gets a suspension?

  24. TheBoss says:

    Some people on here have a uneasy feeling about the Habs tonight. unless they come out half asleep. you can give them the two points before the game starts. The Habs are better than some fans give them credit for. A Stanley cup team. Anything is possible. How many picked LA to win the cup last year. That’s how it can happen. Get in the playoffs first.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      HIO should start charging for avatars. Agree that it is all about getting into the playoffs for this team. Uncertainty is always justified as nobody really knows what will happen game to game. If we did, Vegas would be broke…

    • Loonie says:

      The Habs are also of lesser quality than a lot of fans give them credit for.

      In addition, if you want to chalk up two points against the Isles you can think again. They are a very talented team but lack depth.

      If their big guns show up, it’s a tough game regardless of how well the Habs play.

    • TheBoss says:

      Vegas is gonna be broke tonight. 2-points for Habs.


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