Audio: Price in nets vs Wild, Habs cancel practice on eve of game


Just because: former Canadiens defenceman Brent Sopel’s dog guards the Stanley Cup, which his master in  2011.
Courtesy Brent Sopel

• AUDIO: Randy Cunneyworth | Blake Geoffrion | Brad Staubitz

The Canadiens took their second of two official team photos today, traditionally shooting (figuratively speaking) the club that’s headed to the playoffs (hypothetically speaking) following the trade deadline.

A scheduled practice for early afternoon was cancelled. The media had the opportunity to speak with a few players who wandered into the dressing room.

Carey Price gets the start in goal vs. the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. For those fans who enjoy heading to Brossard for the traditional weekday game-morning skate, don’t bother. The Habs and Wild will skate at the Bell Centre downtown. There’s a possibility the Toronto Maple Leafs, visitors to the Bell Centre on Saturday, will skate in Montreal on Thursday, flying in after their Wednesday night game in Chicago. Almost certainly they’ll practice in Montreal on Friday, location to be determined.

(Thanks to Jess Rusnak of TSN 990 Radio for the Cunneyworth audio; rechargeable AA batteries aren’t all they’re cracked up to be…)


  1. boing007 says:

    I suggest that all of you add NHL Network to your TV channel listing. They regularly show games from the past. Although they were a great team, even the 78-79 Habs almost blew it.

    Richard R

  2. boing007 says:

    Four or five less soft goals this season and we’d be in eighth place or higher.

    Richard R

  3. zephyr says:

    i still think the habs need to get rid of their soft dmen. the only keepers they have are pk, georges, emelin (& markov if he plays again). we need a couple of big, tough bangers back there to complement those guys. having said that, big, scoring centres are very rare & so if they get an opportunity to draft one early, then they should do it. we’re never gonna build a contender thru fa’s. cole is as good as fa’s get &, while he’s a great asset, look at young maxpac, pk, markov or even pleks. those r the kind of players you can get thru the draft. this is only the 2nd yr for pk & max! remember the last cups we won were built thru a couple of very good drafts. we had to get rid of the soft players back then too. hopefully, we draft guys with size. leave the smurfs for the late rounds or forget them.

  4. HabFanSince72 says:

    Journeyman thug Eric Nystrom with a direct hit to the head of Kristopher Letang, putting him out of the game.

    2 min penalty.

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  5. LizardKing1967 says:

    You guys are all NUTS!
    First of all, if St-Louis wins the Cup, it’s not only because of Halak. Do any of you watch hockey, or do you just look at the box scores?
    You put Price on that team, and they would be where they are or better! Yes, Halak is good, but the Blues have a great team in front of him.
    Second, we do not need another defenceman at the draft.
    We need either Grigorenko or Faksa. They are both HUGE centers who use their size and they both have skills.
    Remember, we’ve all been waiting for that “BIG NO 1 CENTER”.
    Third, Subban WILL NOT GET 5 million and Price WILL NOT GET 7 million. that’s absurd. Best case scenario for both would be:
    Subban; 4 years at 3-3.5 per and Price; 5 years at 5-5.5 per.

    Come on guys, I know this season has clouded everyone’s brains, but BE REAL!

    Drive for 25. 2012-2013. Max-Pac for Conn Smyth.


    • alestar says:

      A month ago I’d have been with you on Grigorenko, but after reading the following on the TSN Draft Center page from Feb 23/12, I’m not so sure about him anymore:

      “Mikhail Grigorenko: There had been whispers over the past month that all may not be wonderful when it comes to the scouting world’s perception of Grigorenko’s competitiveness, but the whispers have grown into full-blown skepticism in some circles. “He could fall right off the map,” said one scout who asserted that his club won’t be considering him in the first round.

      “He doesn’t want to compete. If he’s there at 25 and we are picking, we go by him.”

      His concerns were echoed by another eastern conference scout who insisted his team will not select the talented Russian no matter where they end up in the standings. “He’s a dog. Take a look at what games Grigorenko gets his points. He gets a handful the other night against PEI. none at Moncton, and one assist (in the nationally televised game) in Saint John. A couple of weeks ago in Rimouski he’s minus 6. He scares the (crap) out of me.” While there’s no denying his skill level, and his 73 points in 39 games as a QMJHL rookie are a testament to his offensive abilities, there will be a lot of teams watching him closely in the playoffs to see whether he has the competitive streak scouts like to see in their top five prospects. As of right now a number of teams have several players ranked ahead of him, and that trend will continue if he does not learn to compete at a higher level.”

      XXIV…and counting

    • HardHabits says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble. Not only are the Blues better than the Habs, Halak is playing lights out. I am not convinced Price would do any better and possibly could be doing worse. Maybe he would. Probably wouldn’t.

      One thing for sure. If Price was a Blue and was playing poorly, he would be benched in favour of whichever back-up they had, either Halak or Elliot, unlike the way the Habs protect him here.

    • boing007 says:

      Price wouldn’t allow any soft goals if he played for the Blues? Doubtful.
      A soft goal is a soft goal. No one else to blame but the goaltender.

      Richard R

    • GoaliesRus says:

      I’ve said it years ago. Halak will end up with better career numbers than Price -regardless of team. Forget the “what ifs”, they never mean anything in the end. What if someone else drafted Roy..we never have the cup.

      2nd..Halak is 14-3, 5 shutouts, 1.35 GAA and a .940 save pct. in 2012.
      In comparison to defense teams: Marty Brodeur’s best season had a 9.27 save percentage and 1.88 GAA. And those were defense teams.

      Halak is playing lights out. Price would not “all-of-a-sudden” transform to be the best goalie in the last 10 years by moving teams. Maybe he would be equal..but definately not better. And if Halak wins the Cup?? The comparison is not even a question.

      Instead of just watching Price every night – Watch a lot of goalies (like I do)…your bias that he’s the greatest goalie since Marty Brodeur won’t stand. Many goalies make many great saves.

    • The Dude says:

      First of all Price’s agent will not allow a 25 million contract for five when other teams will offer more,but the prices you mention are the one that should be paid.2nd ,our D is CRAP ,in fact the TEAM IS CRAP and needs new players with size and grit all around,”look at the standings !” 3rd, Halak is Boss ,if he were on the team this year we would of made the play-off’s which would of been a bad thing.

    • danmanium says:

      LizardKing – I agree with every one of your points. Well said.

  6. Cal says:

    Habs this season ran into a perfect storm.
    The only injury question mark was Markov. There they sit, with the 2nd most man-games lost to injury.
    How many here guessed that every forward excepting 1 line would have pretty much a career worst season?
    How many here would guess that PG would sign another under-sized defenseman, another that would be creamed by Malone and yet another with no physical play?
    Price has been ordinary this season compared to last season.
    A perfect storm, resulting in what we watched against TB. The Habs, right now, have no confidence and their GM and coaching staff is responsible.

    • LizardKing1967 says:

      Price ordinary? 2.40 GAA and 915 Save % on A LAST PLACE TEAM.
      How can you say that’s ordinary. If you ask me, without Price, we win HALF the games we did. We have scored 1 or 0 goals in 19 of his losses. WHat is he supposed to do, get 82 shutouts.

      Drive for 25. 2012-2013. Max-Pac for Conn Smyth.

      I BELIEVE!

      • Cal says:

        Read the whole sentence over again, especially the “compared to last season” part.

        • LizardKing1967 says:

          “compared to last season”
          We also had Gionta all year, we had Cammy playing worth a dime, and AK46 played better too. All in all the whole team was better “last season”
          A goalie is only as good as the team in front of him.

          Drive for 25. 2012-2013. Max-Pac for Conn Smyth.

          I BELIEVE!

          • Strummer says:

            Subban had a terrific year as well. He was all-rookie

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

    • CharlieHodgeFan says:

      Price reminds me of Sean Burke right now – very good, but not ‘there’ consistently. It’ll be another couple of seasons til we can see how good he is. He hasn’t established a pattern yet, and he has weaknesses to address. He’s improved on some levels, and has the potential to be a top level goalie soon. He’s streaky, but he’s young.

      Having this team in front of him hasn’t helped, although their worst lapses are offensive. The problem this year is the obvious lack of scoring.

      Cunneyworth will go into legend as “a great one who got away” because of the language issue and all our word-warriors, but he is not impressive in this job. Not much about this season is memorable.

  7. Un Canadien errant says:

    After some thought, here is my best guess/birthday wish of what the Canadiens’ management team should be going into the draft.

    1) Director of Player Recruitment and Development: No change in this position, as far as I can tell Trevor Timmins is doing a good job and should continue in his post.

    2) Head Coach: Patrick Roy is a fiery, sometimes hotheaded individual, but my hunch is that we need some passion and leadership behind the bench. Mr. Roy will provide this, he has a big personality and inspire his charges to fight and win. Officials will be put on notice when they miss calls, we won’t be doormats and easy marks in this respect.

    Additionally, he is a former player with impeccable credentials who will command respect from everyone but especially from his players, and won’t brook anyone not bending to the team program. All these considerations would be a welcome change from the current coaching régime.

    Mr. Roy also has shown that he has the desire and skill for coaching. He could have sat at home living off his earnings and being a retired gentleman star, but he demonstrated he still has the competitive fire by purchasing the Québec Remparts and serving as the head coach. He also is the General Manager of the team, and while there isn’t complete correspondence between being a NHL and LHJMQ GM, it will be good exposure for him and he will tend to have a better grasp of the issues facing the Canadiens’ GM and will allow him to better participate in meetings and decisions.

    Finally, Patrick is independent, financially and otherwise. He will be coaching not to hang on for another contract, but to win, and will not be meek and timid, but rather proud and unrelenting.

    3) Assistant Coaches: This is a very iffy area to make predictions on, since these nominations are really the purview of the Head Coach. My first and most fervent wish is that he be able to choose people he will feel comfortable with, rather than being assigned his assistants. Practically, there is no chance of this happening, as Mr. Roy would not accept this, and it wouldn’t make sense for the team to start this relationship on a disagreement.

    Having said that, I would like it if we could repatriate Larry Robinson to coach the defencemen. Larry was a noble warrior and is a role model for our younger players. He established himself in Montréal and became an important member of the community, he can provide good direction to our players on how to deal with the ‘pressure’ of playing in Montréal and how to maximize the benefits. He now has decades of NHL coaching experience and can help Mr. Roy in terms of scouting notably.

    For the forwards, I wouldn’t be averse to having Guy Carbonneau back, and for him to also be in charge of the special teams. I wouldn’t give him the head coaching position, since I’m worried about his reaction when he hit the wall in his first stint with the team. He is quoted as saying, when Bob Gainey was asking him what his next move would be to deal with an underperforming team rife with dissension, that he was “out of ideas” and “didn’t know what to do”. So while he may not have been ready to be an NHL head coach, and while I don’t see it favourably that he is working with RDS rather than coaching in junior or minor-league hockey, I do think he would be a good fit with this coaching team. He, like Mr. Robinson, played with Patrick Roy and they won Stanley Cups together. He had good results with the special teams of the Canadiens while he was coaching, and his team played an uptempo, offensive brand of hockey, which would be a great change from Jacques Martin’s ‘Système’.

    For a goalie coach, we can retain Mr. Groulx, but the overriding concern for the next ten years is that the coach be the one who works best with Carey.

    3) Vice-President and General Manager: Julien Brisebois has gone through all the steps and is ready to assume the role of an NHL General Manager. He is obviously intelligent and educated having earned his law degree and having practiced briefly with Heenan Blaikie. He then joined the Canadiens and was in charge of legal affairs before moving into the hockey side of the operations. He moved up in the organization and was notably in charge of the Hamilton Bulldogs as their GM, and the Canadiens Vice-President of Hockey Operations. He is currently the Assistant GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning and GM of their AHL affiliate.

    With his background and training, Mr. Brisebois is eminently qualified to take the reins of the Canadiens. He has shown talent and produced results at every position he has filled. While he may not be a former NHL player, which some may think is absolutely necessary (I don’t), he has an educational and vocational background that few other aspiring GM’s can match, and the ability to wrestle with contracts and the salary cap. He is familiar with the organization, its people and culture, and the market it serves.

    A great asset is that he is young and energetic, and could be the GM for a long long time. The Canadiens have had a revolving door in their management and ownership teams, something which we thought was going to end with the Bob Gainey-Guy Carbonneau team. While that didn’t work out, we have to strive to put in place a team that will inspire confidence and ensure stability.

    He would also take over at a time when fans would be prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. They won’t be expecting a Stanley Cup in 2013, so he will have the luxury of time to put his plan in action. He can make long-term decisions and build a deep and competent organization on a foundation of intensive scouting and diligent player development, instead of knee-jerk free agent spending and turnstile-spinning coaches.

    4) President: I would respectfully recommend that Geoff Molson does not need to be the President of the team. He can act as the Chairman of the Board, and take another step back from day-to-day operations.

    For President, I would like someone who has credibility and respect in the league and embodies the Canadiens organization. This individual would need to advocate on our behalf against some of the more bizarre decisions the NHL takes on a day-to-day basis, as well as steering the Good (?) Ship NHL in the right direction, basically counteracting the effect of the Jeremy Jacobs, Mike Milbury and Don Cherry. My best guess of who could fill this role is, wait for it, Bob Gainey. He is already employed by the team, has a lot of hockey knowledge and can command respect around the league, in a way that Mr. Molson may find it hard to do for at least a number of years. He can act as a sounding board for Mr. Brisebois when needed. Others who could fill this role might be Jacques Lemaire, Ken Dryden or Serge Savard, although there are issues with each of these candidates as well. We can maybe also draft a dark horse such as Bobby Smith or Doug Risebrough.

    Another benefit of having a ‘hockey man’ as President is that he would be able to take some of the load off Mr. Brisebois and allow him to concentrate on day-to-day operations. The President would relieve some of the press and PR duties that might fall on the GM’s shoulders, and to a smaller degree, the head coach.

    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    • Cal says:

      1. Agree.
      2. Patrick Roy? You’re kidding, right? The one who sent his son to attack the other goalie? He’s the one you want? Wow. Just, wow.
      3. JB should be ready, but I don’t think PG is gone yet.
      4.Geoff Molson is more hands on. This position is his until the team is sold.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        2. Yeah, Patrick Roy is a risk in that regard, I did refer to his ‘hotheadedness’, but this incident is a few years in the past and we haven’t seen any more like it since. It’s possible he’s learned.

        4. That is more my wish list pick, I understand that Mr. Molson might want to see how his investment group’s money is being spent. I hope he understands that in this regard he will be better served by having a strong organization, it will pay dividends in the long run. If he’s signing the cheques, he can have all the transparency he wants, and rely on the president to be his conduit.

        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    • boonie says:

      @UCE, I normally agree with your tomes. This one is a little off. If we were playing mastermind, it would have received 1 white peg for getting timmons into wrong spot and all the rest wrong.

      1. Timmons has done a good job drafting and players are progressing. I’d be more inclined to give him a shot at running the bulldogs as a precursor to our GM job.

      2. Coach. fiery, star player, owns a junior team, good junior coaching record, no prom head coaching experience – Dale Hunter.  Let St. Patrick cut his NHL coaching teeth somewhere else.

      3. Assistant coaches. No good GM imposes assistant coaches on their head coach (PG foisting lapierre on Cunneyworth is exhibit A), next.

      4. Other than being French Canadian, what does Brisbois bring to the GM position? in the good old days, we let our playing and management prospects learn their craft at the lower levels. He’s a lawyer that handles paperwork. His negotiations and contracts have shown no creativity to help us retain players or circumvent the cap ***cough***Boston, Vancouver, Philadelphia… Let him win something as an AHL GM, before anointing yet another first timer to a head post here, and as an aside, quit picking vegetables in our garden. It’s produced very little in 20 years.

      5. Luddite owners don’t become enlightened and kick themselves upstairs no matter how much evidence suggests they should. twenty years of failure hasn’t changed Jerry Jones’ mind in Dallas that he’s the problem. But, on the off chance Geoffy is willing to step aside, bring in a person respected in all hockey circles and beyond, with a steeped in Habs lore, that had success before our 1994 Mendoza line.  Here are three: savard, demers and Dryden.


      • Un Canadien errant says:

        My choices for these positions are to improve my level of comfort with the management team, to return me to the days when Serge Savard was running the show, or how secure I felt when Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau were in charge. There is a Christmas-wish quality to those, and am not expecting to get everything right, but this would be what I want.

        Having said that, I don’t have a lot of familiarity with how a front office is run in the NHL, so some of my choices or how the hierarchy is set up may not make sense. I do welcome feedback from the Commentariat.

        1. Maybe we add these responsibilities to Mr. Timmins’ workload if it makes sense, but I would be loathe to remove him from his current responsibilities, he seems to be one of the few administrators who is having success. Also, while I understand the importance of learning the ropes by progressing through various levels, my take on an AHL GM is that he is a ‘slave’ to the prospects that are delivered by the scouting department, so there is little room for deal-making. If he can handle it, fine, let’s tack this on to his current responsibilities.

        2. Dale Hunter is not a ‘star’ player, he was a less-talented Pat Verbeek or a dirtier Dino Ciccarelli, without all the points. He was a borderline maniac who was coddled by an NHL that equates violence with revenues. Having said that, and while I love the fact that Mr. Hunter is being shown as impotent, it doesn’t necessarily equate that Patrick will suffer the same fate.

        I want Patrick Roy as the coach because I want instant respect from the players and around the league, and some demonstrated passion, rather than Mr. Martin’s phlegmatic approach. He’s the most promising of the candidates in my eyes, far above those who’ve already had a kick at the can like Mr. Hartley or Mr. Crawford.

        3) We’re agreed on this point, I mention that it’s Mr. Roy’s choice. My choices are pure birthday wish. Also, did you mean Mr. Carriere? If so, he’s there as eyes and ears in the room from the management team, preparing the rebuild, a further assault on Mr. Cunneyworth’s credibility and maybe in large part the reason of the team morale collapse, but his presence should reassure those who want a total rebuild.

        4) I think you’re selling Mr. Brisebois short. If you google him and see his resume and the steps he has taken, it shows a steady progression in the hockey operations of the Canadiens and Lightning. He has produced results at the AHL GM level, which is what we should be looking for. He is now a GM in waiting, there’s nothing he hasn’t done. If we wait for an AHL championship from him, which rests on many factors outside his control, we may lose him to another team.

        As far as the old days are concerned, we’re not in a position to act like the old days, I think we hire young talented people and give them lots of rope. What we can do is start on the succession plan so that when we need people to step in we have our own people ready to take the next step.

        5. Not sure how Mr. Molson is a Luddite, we may have differing definitions. I’m hoping that Mr. Molson is not a raving egomaniac like Jerry Jones or Al Davis or George Steinbrenner or Harold Ballard. From what I’ve seen, he isn’t, he seems thoughtful and decent.

        I’m not against any of the three candidates for President you put forward, I’ve mentioned two of them myself. Mr. Demers may not fit the role, he is universally beloved but I’m not sure if he commands the respect that I would want from that person. I’m looking for someone who is more than a figurehead, but is removed from day to day operations and serves as ambassador to the league and fans. I think Bob Gainey is still the best choice for this purpose.

        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  8. H.Upmann says:

    @XKhann: buddy, I like the sounds of Parise…A LOT! Looks like we’ll need another wingman soon…,draft: Dumba would be fine, I mean he’d have upside and at least we’re adding to our D corps. I’d like to see Gill back in some capacity- I think he has tremendous leadership qualities. Have to agree with HH, we’re tanking next year too. I’d rather they try to develop the talent than sqeaking into 8th. I have no problem with the cunny so far… About our current coach: hmm, don’t know what to say except I’d like to him in action without Pierre le Fantome in charge and with a bigger and better platoon. Bah, just wishful thinking really!

  9. Xkhann says:

    Hate the word ‘Tank’, more like making the best decision even if it’s not the most popular decision…that’s what leadership does.
    Eh, Grigorenko, at 2nd or 3rd pick (if Edm. get 2nd, best thing for them is Dumba or Murray..Dumba’s sick, I’d even consider him for the pick) is well worth it, especially with new CBA if an amnesty is agreed upon. Habs already have ~$20mill for next year (thnx capgeek) with Gomez, so if that happens..go for Parise @$7.5-$7.9 for 5 years.
    Markov playing one (1) game this year for me would be reminiscent of Koivu’s comeback and deem it the highlight of the year. Yeah it sounds timid to the hardcore, but believe it. This guy was and still could be amongst the top 5 NHL Dmen given what he’s coming back from.
    Getting Parise, Gionta, Grigorenko and Markov to start next year is an amazing re-build recovery, coupled with a franchise goalie, an elite offensive-defencman prospect (that would benefit the most of playing with Markov), 2 hard-working and highly skilled power-forwards, solid grinding-playmakers, THE best penalty-killers, a young solid big 2-way forward who’s shown flashes of brilliance (like a certain 81 for Chi-town 2nite), I really like where this team is heading. This team is young, and there’s more and better kids coming up. Next year’s Bulldog’s should be fun to watch too…….Beaulieu, Bournival, Tinordi, Gallagher, Holland, Kristo, Bam-bam & Lil Louie…WHAT!!!
    Even if no Parise, this team will need another year to compete. I just think with him playoffs would be a lot more certain, maybe even still without him, we’ll see…But I gotta say, I don’t mind what Mr. Gauthier is doing. Say even if we commit $10mill to Price, Subban and Eller, we got another $10mill to play with and go for the big fish. Another trade or two will also have to likely happen, but our need for a left-winger is at a desperate level, just that one main offensive catalyst has been missing for so long, so why not gamble high and get two!?<–(talkin' bout Mickhail) likely on the line anyway.
    I dont know if I'd be happy with Semin, but Doan could also be an attractive option and would sit very well with Carey. This team might also need another stay-at-home defenceman..Bryan Allen would be great, but might have to trade for one, and not Plekanec, though Kaberle could, I think he might get better somehow and muster up a couple more good season (maybe Leafs would want him back! Hahaha)..ya wishful thinkin' I know!
    All in all though, there's lots of If, ands and buts, but I really do like the direction of this team and their style of hockey. I like Cunney, but I think his style needs more time refine. I have absolutely no issue with his language and think it's stupid that language is such an issue. Isn't THAT prejudiced? anyway…for hockey reasons, I think we need someone else. Thing is, we might have to pay Martin, right?, so he'll likely stay. But hey, he could be the right fit if we wanna miss another year, which I also think we should (for Nathan Mackinnon), especially if we dont get Parise.

    • JayK-47 says:

      I’d say ‘nyet’ to Parise. The Habs have 2 strong LWs. They have 2 scoring RWs as well (albeit the clock is ticking there). I hope they pick up Semin. I know it means trading one of the Pleks/DD/Eller crew but I think Pleks needs a new home. Somewhere that will actually supply him with wingers and not have him skate on every special team for the entire season.

      • habs_54321 says:

        you can’t say “nyet” to parise if he actually would be willing to sign with montreal over all the other options you take the deal without a blink of an eye

    • Cal says:

      Habs HAVE to draft a center. There are plenty of dmen on the way up. Gaunce- size, power and scoring ability.
      Have you watched the Habs lately? Someone in RC’s family must have run a 7-11 at some point. For this guy to keep dressing 7 defense is idiotic. The 2 Randys have shown what they are worth: nothing. And that has nothing to do with language. Under Martin, the Habs were struggling, but close. Under RC, the team is in free fall. Parise is going to another quiet US team with no media following. Tallon in Florida should snap him up July 1st.

  10. H.Upmann says:

    Don’t know what EDM’s cap situation is, but I can see them offering Price a lot to play in prairie land and close to home… If Halak wins the cup,… Man, I’d hate to be PG that day

  11. habs_54321 says:

    i still to this day don’t understand why PG fired jaques martin, the team was playing well and a point out of the playoffs, power play was turning around etc all of a sudden PG listens to the fans and fires martin replaces him with an english speaking coach creating massive controversy and distraction then publicy apologizes for firing martin and hiring the new coach saying he regrets the move… how the hell is this guy still the leader of this hockey club???? (PG)

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