Habs hold practice in Florida without Plekanec

The Canadiens headed to Florida immediately after Thursday night’s wild 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings and will face the Panthers Saturday night (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

The Canadiens practised Friday afternoon in Florida, but one player was missing. Tomas Plekanec, who scored two goals in the win over the Red Wings, did not travel with the team to Florida, instead returning to Montreal for what the team called a “family matter.”

“We’re not sure Pleky will be there tomorrow,” coach Michel Therrien told reporters after practice. “For us, it’s family first. If he’s there, it’s great for us, great for the team, but if he isn’t, we have other players who can step in. But the way we do things, family is most important.”

There was great news Friday about Habs prospect Tim Bozon, who was being released from hospital in Saskatoon after spending four weeks there battling a form of acute bacterial meningitis that had put him in a medically induced coma.

“From what I have learned since coming out of the coma, the people here at the Royal University Hospital went to amazing lengths to save my life,” Bozon said at a news conference Friday in Saskatoon. “To them, first and foremost, my heartfelt thanks. But I must also extend gratitude to everyone who sent me their thoughts and prayers, especially my parents, who rushed here from France to be by my side.”

Said Bozon’s neurologist, Dr. Gary Hunter: “We are optimistic he will make a full recovery but it will take some time before that possibility could be realized.”

Bozon, who will continue to undergo rehabilitation after his discharge from hospital, is expected to drop the puck during a ceremonial faceoff Saturday night when his Kootenay Ice junior team meets the Calgary Hitmen in a WHL playoff game. Bozon was selected by the Canadiens in the third round (64th overall) at the 2012 NHL entry draft. You can follow Bozon on Twitter by clicking here.

Therrien announced after Friday’s practice that Carey Price will start in goal against Florida. Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, who suffered an upper-body injury in a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night, won’t be in the lineup Saturday night. Dan Ellis will get the start in his place and Scott Clemmensen will be the backup.

Saturday’s game will be a homecoming for Canadiens defenceman Mike Weaver, who was acquired from the Panthers at this month’s NHL trade deadline.

“I had four years here, it was a great place to live,” Weaver said. “Obviously, it’s emotional, but I’m happy where I am now. Being in a big market, being on a playoff team and everything that goes with Montreal, it’s exciting.”

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

Pacioretty-Desharnais-Vanek
Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher
Bourque-Briere-Gionta
Bournival-White-Parros

Bouillon-Subban
Markov-Emelin
Murray-Weaver
Tinordi

(Photo by Dario Ayala/The Gazette)

Habs prospect Bozon set to leave hospital, NHL.com

Habs could be without Plekanec against Panthers, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Post-practice interviews (video), Canadiens.com

Habs should give Markov three-year contract, by Pat Hickey

Wild win in Detroit gives Habs four straight victories, by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Another spoonful of victory for Habs in Detroit, by Dave Stubbs

Price, Subban impressed coach Babcock in Sochi, by Dave Stubbs

Forward march for Habs, Canadiens.com

Habs vs. Red Wings photo gallery, montrealgazette.com

Were cookies the key to changing Habs’ culture? Stu on Sports blog

Mike ‘Dream’ Weaver fitting in with Habs, Stu on Sports blog

Florida remains a hockey wasteland, by Pat Hickey

Maple Leafs facing do-or-die weekend, montrealgazette.com

576 Comments

  1. CJ says:

    Even in a 5-2 game, on the PP and with less than 3 minutes left, Karlsson turns it over and gives up a short handed goal. Then, when up 5-3 with a minute left, he pinches, gets burned and gives up a breakaway.

    IMO, he is the most selfish player in the league. I love his offensive talent, it’s Paul Coffey light, but they are never going to win with their best player taking a pass on playing defence.

    • HabsPooch says:

      I think part of the reason he amasses almost a point per game is because of his reckless and carefree play. He’s nice to watch carrying the puck, skating like the wind and creating offensive chances but is he ever a disaster with his turnovers and soft coverage.

      • CJ says:

        Absolutely no doubt. He is willing to give one up, for the chance to score one. It really is amazing to watch.

        MacLean has completely lost control though. There is no accountability or structure within their lineup. It really is like watching a pick up game.

    • Habs1962 says:

      yes very odd player… needs to be tuned up and coached or your are correct, they will struggle for many years with him.
      Hard to find someone to play with him, and obviously effects the forward lines too… with someone continually needing to cover for him.

      • CJ says:

        Good points. I agree.

        His talent, offensively, is off the charts. Defence is a mess. This will need to be addressed or the Sens aren’t going to be contenders. Suits me just fine….

        • HabsPooch says:

          …and to think he won the Norris Trophy a few years ago? They really should look into that. Maybe either have an offensive and defensive award or reward it to someone who does everything well.

          • CJ says:

            As recently as three weeks ago Scott Cullen (TSN) still had him as one of the top two defenceman in the league. Elliott Friedman didn’t have him in his top ten last week.

            I agree about the possibility of introducing a “Bobby Orr” award for top offensive defenceman.

          • Habs1962 says:

            yes, with the writers voting, that happens…they notice the goals and assists and not the steady defencive play.
            maybe 2 award would work.

        • Habs1962 says:

          yes, I live in the Ottawa area also CJ and the media and many fans are very amazing to listen to.
          They put Karlson on a pedestal and don’t seem to understand what we speak of above.
          very different fan base and media responses between the two cities.(Ottawa compared to Montreal)

          • CJ says:

            Absolutely great point. I agree with you.

            In the end, it will be their demise. He is not playing a team game. I’d love to post a video of the last five minutes of the game this evening. It perfectly encapsulates his style of play. He either has no value for time and place, or he simply cares more about trying to pad his numbers, at the expense of giving up goals against.

            The media in this city lead me to believe that they only started watching hockey within the last five years. I’ve heard so many nonsensical things on the radio….Cheechoo is better than Hossa comes to mind. Bruce Garioch has never broken a story or trade rumour in his career. Dennis Potvin is the worst play by play man in professional sports. Ian Mendes, a Habs fan…. I could go on, but you get the picture….

  2. B says:

    Dogs lead San Antonio 3-2 after 2 on a pair of goals from Macenauer and 1 from Andrighetto. Pateryn and Beaulieu with 2 assists each, Thomas with 1. Shots are 34-12 for the Dogs (yes, Dubnyk has let in 2 goals on 12 shots).

    –Go Habs Go!–

  3. Un Canadien errant says:

    Just to get this off my chest about the jersey thrown on the ice in Edmonton, I appreciated what Ben Scrivens had to say in response, much more than Dallas Eakins’ pompous, fabricated reaction the first time, but Ben kind of flubbed it with what he did with the jersey. Instead of picking it up with his hockey stick, like a teammate’s dirty underwear on the floor of the dressing room, and flinging it over the boards like dog poop into the neighbour’s yard, he should have acted like the jersey was indeed sacred. He should have taken it off the ice, brushed it off, folded it, and maybe handed it to a youngster sitting near the boards, not disposed of it like a hornet’s nest.

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2013/12/fan-throws-oilers-jersey-on-ice-dallas.html

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

  4. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Turdranna Blue Jays vs the New York Mets in Olympic Stadium = blasphemy

  5. B says:

    Nevins with a goal and an assist to help Rouyn-Noranda beat Quebec 6-2 and win the series 4-1. Nevins had 3 goals and 3 assists in the 5 game series (Marcus power had 1 goal and 4 assists).

    Crisp and the Wolves get shut out 7-0 and exit the playoffs after 5 games with the Colts.

    –Go Habs Go!–

  6. Un Canadien errant says:

    Toronto chances of making the playoffs down 9 points, to 20.0%, according to Sports Club Stats.

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern.html

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • Danno says:

      Please permit me to reach for a tissue as I wipe the solitary tear slowly rolling down my cheek.

      ________________________________________

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

    • peiKC says:

      PEIKC Good evening folks, been reading posts for quite a while and had to join in, hopefully I can add some humor and some support for our great team………..makes me very happy to see the Leafs at this typical low point. Heard enough from fans when they were riding high and we weren’t doing so well.

      One thing that confuses me as well as some of you is why Boulieu isn’t up from Hamilton. I have a theory and comes from a pretty reliable source.

      • Al Burtlap says:

        It’s alien abduction isn’t it. I knew it!

        • Al Burtlap says:

          P.s. Bienvenue, Vilkommen, welcome, c’mon in.

        • peiKC says:

          Nope, attitude, but that should be able to be worked out, wouldn’t you think?

          PEIKC

          • Al Burtlap says:

            If indeed true, it absolutely will be worked out. In my experience however, it often takes more time and multiple lessons with younger folks who may not have had to really face up to some of their own deficiencies as youngsters.

            He is a very talented young man, and I have questioned his absence post-olympics too because his skating and the fact that he makes the team more dangerous on offense seemed obvious to me.

            Regardless, I will put my faith in those much more experienced than I in matters such as these and look forward to his next tour with the big club.

    • crane says:

      Simmons would look so good in Montreal with Prust

  7. JUST ME says:

    I fail to understand how after not making the playoffs for ever if not for one season when you had an historic meltdown you still sign a multi year multi million dollar deal with an orange cone.

    In those circumstances nobody deserves to be brought back and major changes are urgently needed . And basically you start with the captain …

  8. 24 Cups says:

    Games in hand adjusted standings now have Montreal ahead of Detroit by nine and Toronto by eleven. All three teams have seven games left until the end of the season. The Habs also have a significant ROW lead on both teams.

  9. SmartDog says:

    Is there any word on what’ up with Plekanec?
    Love the guy – hope it’s not long-term serious…

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  10. Danno says:

    If Detroit beats Toronto tomorrow night it may be the final nail in the Leafs’ coffin.

    ________________________________________

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

  11. The Jackal says:

    Phaneuf is much maligned by fans from all teams, but he is asked to do way too much on a mediocre Leafs team. He tried his best to do right by his teammate and role. When he was a Flame, Phaneuf was a budding star and he remains a solid D overall. The problem is that he is basically the only good D the Leafs can rely on. He is essentially asked to be a one man show. I would take him on the Habs as a #3 any day, just not with that contract.

    • UKRAINIANhab says:

      He is not a good defenseman. I was watching him closely and wow, i don’t think he is a 3 even

      • CJ says:

        I will say this about Phaneuf;

        He was the best defenceman on arguably the greatest WJC team of all time. I thought he was a lock. The first time I saw him live was against the Wild in Minnesota, while with the Flames. At the time he was paired with an old war horse, Roman Hamrlik.

        Toronto has not done a very good job of surrounding him with the type of veteran stability that he requires.

        Playing in one of the two largest hockey markets in the world, everything falls under the microscope. The good, bad and ugly. He is pressing, because the team is so weak on the back end. He needs to take a step back and not carry the weight of the entire team on his shoulders. The guy is no dud. He needs insulation and he needs a defined responsibility.

        Phaneuf plays the first wave PP, first wave PK and the most even strength minutes on the team. There are not many defencemen in the league who are asked to balance this mandate.

        In closing, I’m not sure Doughty or Weber could make a difference playing in Phaneuf’s position right now. The Leafs are a mess. The greater question is are their woes an extension of Dion’s play, or is Dion’s play an extension of the team’s struggles? Personally, I believe it’s the later, not the former.

        Respectfully, CJ

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          Jeez, after reading your post I have to reconsider mine.. But I love to hate on everything Leafs..

          See my dilemma?

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

          • CJ says:

            I don’t like the Leafs either. It’s just a matter of setting aside the emotional component.

            And yes, I do appreciate and understand your dilemma :)

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        He tends to run around far too much and has an inability to commit to a zone and be on the defensive side of the puck, often ices the puck as his go to panic move is to rip it out of the zone as if he’s on the PK.. He just doesn’t know how to play smart hockey. Clarkson has even more flaws from a positional standpoint, that guy got paid for one 30 goal seasons and a bunch of fights…. They thought they were getting Lucic

        ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • Habcouver says:

        He has to work on his defensive zone face-offs, too.

        We Are (Not) All Canucks.
        Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

      • govenah says:

        Phaneuf reminds me of one of the men on my old 2D board hockey under the dome game – slides forward , slides back, one hell of shot if he hits it right, spins a bit, but while all other players are in 3D,

        Toronto is one blind city.

        The glass is MT.

    • Danno says:

      Phaneuf shies away from fights with tough heavyweights, like David Desharnais

      ________________________________________

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

  12. Danno says:

    Stink-O-Rama. Leafs lose seventh in a row…

    ________________________________________

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

  13. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Tim will drop the puck at the ceremonial face-off between the Kootenay Blades and Calgary Hitmen in Cranbrook, BC, and will after return to France with His Parents

    …He unsurprisingly has lost a lot of weight and muscle mass …but, thank God He is better, and is on His way to recovery

    • CJ says:

      Hi HiS.

      Yes, thank goodness the young man pulled through and is now on the road to recovery.

      I can promise you one thing, if Tim Bozon ever dresses for the Montreal Canadiens, I will do everything in my limited capacity to be there.

      This is a story that must be celebrated. I truly hope that there are many more chapters to come.

      Cheers, CJ

    • sheds88 says:

      Kootenay ICE

  14. punkster says:

    Ha…Phaneuf in a dance now with Vorachek…what an idiot

    Release the Subbang!!!

  15. Danno says:

    Wheels are really falling off the Leaf Mobile with Flyers getting better chances short handed

    ________________________________________

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

  16. Habitant in Surrey says:

    Tim Bozon Fund:

    The WHL has established a trust fund to assist Kootenay Ice player Tim Bozon and his family with medical and rehabilitation costs. The public can make donations at any BMO Bank of Montreal branch in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

  17. govenah says:

    There is a slim chance the Flyers could play the Bruins. That would be good in the first round.

  18. Danno says:

    Simmons makes it 4-2 Flyers!

    ________________________________________

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

  19. punkster says:

    4-2 Philly now as Phaneuf coughs up another

    Release the Subbang!!!

  20. govenah says:

    The glass is MT.

    Flyers get a 3rd.

  21. Timo says:

    is the laffs game online somewhere?

  22. Mavid says:

    How is it that the Turds are beating the Hawks 3-1..hoping they will start shitting the bed shortly..

    Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

  23. govenah says:

    Not a lot of discipline by either team.

    Though we are not likely to play them, I would give the habs the a series against either one of these teams (leafs vs flyers) based on that.
    The glass is MT.

  24. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Are there any Doctors on here?

    ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

    • Samovich says:

      I have a degree is Psychology and Para-Psychology )))

    • UKRAINIANhab says:

      Yes Sir!

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Reason I was asking is because I have swollen lymph nodes (I think) in my neck and maybe behind my left ear, little inner ear discomfort and soreness in my neck. Girlfriend wants me to go to the doc but it would be at least a 5 hour wait.. Moderate discomfort… Is the swelling something that should be looked at immediately, the worst is approx the size of a grape, very tender… I can go to a clinic at 11am and likely only wait 45 minutes.

      Odd question for this thread, I know!

      ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • UKRAINIANhab says:

        Ok, you might want to get that checked out because as you probably know that can easilly transfer elsewhere (armpit, jaw, back of the head etc). You may have just a common case of the flu, to something as severe as tb. I would get that checked out. It is hard to give a verdict because I can’t see it but just to be safe I would. Good luck!

  25. jimmy shaker says:

    I swear Kessel just told princess phaneuf to shut your bleeping mouth. And Millen and Bowen are both pathetic in the booth.

    shaker out!

  26. Danno says:

    2-1 Flyers now on a PP goal by Hartnell.

    ________________________________________

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

  27. db says:

    So glad to see Bozon is out of the hospital. It seems the family needs to raise funds to pay the hospital bills. I would love to the Canadiens organization step up and match any donations made to the trust fund.

    • CJ says:

      I agree. Unfortunately, the Canadiens are bound with what they can or can not do financially.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see them petition the league in order to step in and provide support, provided it’s needed.

  28. Habcouver says:

    Did you see that?

    We Are (Not) All Canucks.
    Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

  29. topher5468 says:

    Hey, there is MLB baseball in Montreal tonight, it just looks right. I miss the Expos.

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  30. habcertain says:

    @JLGIB 1019

    just checked wilikipedia and states nothing about Bowman/Chiarelle/Lombardi having PHDs. 2 law degrees and a finance degree, not too bad, but not Doctors.

  31. CJ says:

    Good evening folks.

    Just finished a killer week at work. Just crushed a cold beer and am looking forward to the couch.

    Not much to add to the conversation this evening. I’m going to watch some hockey and filter through Alexander Hamilton’s biography.

    Switching gears, I’m over the moon with the news regarding Tim Bozon. I know that a number of fans had had an eye on this young man and I believe I speak for many when I say how pleased and proud I am to see him pull through. It’s simply amazing the connection one can form with a young man I’ve never met, never mind see play live. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see him skate on Bell centre ice, donning the famous CH laying tightly across his chest.

    In closing, it’s been a great week for our boys and I hope the streak continues. Looking at the standings, this is certainly the time of year when the cream rises to the top, and we are among the upper echelon. Although I’ve publicly noted the deficiencies on defence, I couldn’t be happier with the record and hope it translates in the postseason. Do I think we can win more than one round with Frankie and Murray on defence, no, but I’ve been proven wrong to this point, so I’ve relieved myself from the projection business.

    Scoring, depth and goaltending will carry this group. If defence can ever pull it together, the possibilities are endless. This is a long way of saying, let’s wait and see. Much like I’ve advocated not getting too down following a loss or string of losses, we must maintain balance following these most recent wins.

    In closing, I hope life finds you all well. Kindly, CJ

    • Habcouver says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Seeing young Bozon speaking to the media was amazing, considering all he’s gone through in such a short time.

      We Are (Not) All Canucks.
      Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

    • Al Burtlap says:

      Hey CJ ,

      The universe chose to move me this evening to thank you for the incredible amount of positive input you provide to her via this channel.

      Your consistently thoughtful and genuine reminders of both our team-warts and all- and especially regarding young Tim Bozon and the power of a global consciousness has been a very welcome addition to my world over the last several weeks. That said, I just wanted to thank you and say to keep up with your thoughtful and insightful posting and positive energy.

      Let’s continue to be excellent to each other…

      • CJ says:

        Good evening Al.

        Your kind words have made my night…..I say this with complete sincerity.

        When I joined my ideals were threefold;

        To share commentary respectfully, to remain open minded to the thoughts and feelings of others and finally, to add value in the form of insightful information.

        Your comments lead me to believe that I have been at least partially successful in these ideals.

        Again, my sincere thanks. Kindly, CJ

        • Al Burtlap says:

          Awesome CJ. You are clearly one of the good one’s…an anti-Bruin , so to speak.

          And Matty, wherever you are , you too get a shout out for being always willing to swim upstream in a world of worry and complaints.

  32. Timo says:

    We also want Columbus and Rangers to win, correct?

  33. twilighthours says:

    Chris, dog, you’re not insufferable. In fact, I suffer you quite well!

    Great minds, eh? Every semester, I have my students do an assignment that is open-ended, and where they have to do some writing. There’s a “communication” category on the rubric (grading scheme). To get full marks, they have to “write as though a peer or parent could understand it, and that the assignment sheet is not necessary to understand what you’re doing.”

    Keep up the good work, dog. And don’t forget about becoming a public school teacher if the university prof thing doesn’t work out.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks, Twi! :)

      If you are ever looking for a fun filler lesson, I would definitely recommend teaching them Guesstimation. There is a decent (and relatively cheap!) book on the topic for ideas.

      In my one lecture, we tried to guess how many people were picking their nose in the world right now (we came up with ~ 7 million people) and then used the classic example of how many piano tuners there are in Toronto. I can’t remember the number we got there, but it was within a factor of two of the real number, using nothing more than order of magnitude guesses.

      I’m not sure if you teach math or physics, but it works well in any science or math course as a fun aside. And it is a useful skill, as some of the more analytic companies have used these Fermi problems during the interview process to test how well people can think on their feet. I saw one of the Bay Street companies using “How many golf balls could you fit in a 747?” a couple of years back.

      • twilighthours says:

        I don’t think your link works, man. But I use Fermi problems regularly. My favourite is “how many cuss words are said in Canada every day?” You should hear the arguments over what words qualify!

        And I’m mostly math, with intro to comp prog every now and then. I do less teaching now than before, I’m slowly moving into admin. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

        • Chris says:

          Should work now. The cuss words would be a fun one…I’ll might use that one next time.

          I’m trying to write solutions for a text book that uses Fermi problems, and I hate the way they do them. It’s less estimation and more rounding, which is sort of against the point of them.

  34. punkster says:

    Loafs score but called back…off side…Randy fuming.

    Hahahaha

    Release the Subbang!!!

  35. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Leafs sucking still?

  36. punkster says:

    1-0 Flyers…Vinnie scores on a 5 on 3 PP

    Release the Subbang!!!

  37. Un Canadien errant says:

    @ JF: We need to be careful in characterizing “Le Journal de Montréal” as the “French Press”. That is equivalent to characterizing the Ottawa Sun or Eklund as the ‘english media’. Le Journal has always been and always will be a rag that sensationalizes and shoots for the lowest common denominator in its quest for sales.

    François Gagnon of “La Presse”, who first wrote the Mike Cammalleri story that got the right winger traded, translated his words as best he could, so that the phrase “losing mentality” became “attitude de perdants”, which is about as close as you can get to the original.

    http://www.lapresse.ca/sports/hockey/201201/11/01-4484901-cammalleri-le-canadien-affiche-une-attitude-de-perdants.php?utm_categorieinterne=trafficdrivers&amp%3butm_contenuinterne=cyberpresse_B4_manchettes_231_accueil_POS1

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2012/03/francois-gagnon-is-good-professional.html

    • JF says:

      When I spoke of the French press, I didn’t mean just the Journal de Montréal. François Gagnon was careful, but I don’t think everyone else was, not just the Journal. I forget the details, but I did find the Journal’s headline the next day very funny. But you’re right, I’ll be more careful next time when I speak of the French press

  38. B says:

    @Dave_Stubbs:
    If Tinordi sits Sat., it’s part of MT’s plan to rotate him w/ Murray, Bouillon. “We communicate w/ them. They understand” MT says

    Therrien said yesterday there’s no reason (read: punishment) to pull a D for another, but rather part of a rotation

    –Go Habs Go!–

  39. smiler2729 says:

    Subban -4, Boo -4…

    So what? We all know hockey is a game of mistakes, the team that capitalizes on them the most wins, last night Montreal won.

    Quit micro-analyzing everything to death!!
    _______________________________________
    Jack Edwards is a clam.
    Gary Bettman is a bobblehead.
    The “CH” in CHOKE stands for Toronto Maple Leafs.

    • ABHabsfan says:

      PK was -1 last night; 4 goals against and on for 3 for, 2 of which he was the primary assist after making brilliant plays. If we are going to hammer on the negative we should at least acknowledge the positive

      “man, I love winnin'; you know, it’s like better than losin’?”-
      Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh

  40. Lafleurguy says:

    Like that guy in “Chariots of Fire,” who wouldn’t compete for a possible gold medal because the race was on his religion’s Sabbath.
    (btw this is terse, feel free to use a few seconds you will never get back)

  41. Phil C says:

    The Subban Bouillon pairing hasn’t been great, but I don’t mind it because it allows the other two pairings to gell. Once Gorges is back for the playoffs, he can slide right in for Bouillon with minimal disruption.

  42. Starlight says:

    I think quote sums it all up.

    There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

    Donald Rumsfeld

    And so we watch.

  43. The Jackal says:

    Beer O’Clock!
    Happy Friday!

    ______________________
    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  44. When the docs say they think Bozon will make a full recovery, does that me in functional hockey skills too or outside of the professional sport? Anyone besides Dr. Recchi have any insights? Hate to lose this kid at 6’1″ and 198 pounds and over a point a game, he’s just what we need in a couple years!

    I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

  45. Chris says:

    On the topic of statistics in hockey:

    Every single time I see it, I get a kick out of the statement “You can’t possibly quantify something as dynamic as a hockey game!” As a scientist, I and my colleagues spend our lives quantifying and developing mathematical models to describe things far, far more complicated than a hockey game. Many of my friends are statisticians who spend their lives modelling hopelessly interconnected events to try and tease out some sort of trend or pattern.

    We can model the origins of the universe. We can model the working of hopelessly complex biological systems where the variables are innumerable (and this is the area where we are improving the fastest right now). The recently discovered Higgs boson was verification of another part of a massive, very complicated model (the Standard Model of particle physics) that performs amazingly well even though we know it is not likely the complete picture.

    We model risk in a whole slew of things, whether it be threat of personal injury or death or the likelihood of a crop being wiped out by frost or drought or locusts (less likely in Canada!).

    Believe me…modelling something as relatively simple as efficacy of a hockey player can be done. It won’t be perfect of comprehensive, necessarily, as it is by definition a model, but dismissing effort as useless is somewhat puerile. The question, as ffenliv pointed out, is whether it can be done transparently so that laypeople without a mathematical background can understand it. I believe that it can.

    Not all the metrics are going to be as good as others, but there are some nuggets in there for people that care to look. NHL teams have been caring to look for decades, but they don’t release all that data. The “real-time stats” (hits, blocked shots, giveaways, takeaways, missed shots, etc) were one attempt to release some of the data that the NHL had been accumulating but not disseminating. There is a lot more, and every individual team has its own analyses that they are doing behind the scenes.

    That all being said, I do agree with Twi. I just wish it could be done with a little more humour. Only I should get to be insufferable. ;)

    • habcertain says:

      this is why you don’t need to have a PHD, to be a successful hockey mind.

    • Loop_Garoo says:

      I agree on many points. There are multiple facets to a player’s game that can be quantified, measured, predicted etc. The fact is though, there is no statistical model for things like character and discipline, especially the type that tends to show itself on rare occasions like playoff overtimes. I know that to some degree, these things do show up in overall statistics, but can never shed any light on a moment. The fact is that hockey is different that statistical models of the cosmos, in that there are minds at work, injuries known and unknown, coaching decisions etc. This is why we watch, because though stats can tell you puck possession, save %, and 100 other more complicated things, it can never predict with certainty the essentials that make hockey so great.

      • ffenliv says:

        That’s true of any sports, the unpredictability borne from unpredictable minds. However, you talk about character, and discipline. Those are both from the larger category of ‘tendencies’. You CAN analyze a player’s performance over time, and in the case, of, say, discipline, seek to compare similar situations and occurrences to look for patterns.

        Of course it’ll never be totally predictable, but you almost certainly can find a deeper understanding of why things happened, and what things MIGHT happen by staring at the numbers.

      • Chris says:

        Remember, all statistical models cannot necessarily tell you what is going to happen. The best they can do is give you a probability of something happening and, if done correctly, the confidence we have in that occurring.

        So I agree and disagree with you: I cannot definitively shed light on a moment, but I can get a pretty decent idea of what might happen if we do it a hundred times. All those uncontrolled variables you mention are at play. But the coaches are also playing those averages to hopefully tilt the deck towards the desired result.

        We **could** put Brendan Gallagher, David Desharnais, and Alex Galchenyuk out on the first wave of the power play and they very easily could pitch a goose egg in a particular game. But over the long run, that’s not generally going to be a good idea. :)

        P.K. Subban could have a game where he has some catastrophic brain cramps, but when smeared out over 20 games he will make the team better.

        Stats can’t tell you how a game is going to go. They might not even get a season right (as the playoff bound Leafs showed last year). But they more often than not do model the observed data pretty well.

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          I think stats tell a story, but when stats are used as the primary determinant in scouting an organization has overlooked the most important thing in any team, that is teamwork. For example, you can take the 10 best carpenters in the world and they could go way over budget, over a timeline, and produce a subpar product.

          Stats do not reveal if a player will become a spousal abusing pig, a tail hound, booze hound.. But those type of people are counter productive to any organization regardless of their talent. Speaking with an individual and getting a read on their values and morals is equally as important as statistics.

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

    • The Jackal says:

      Great post Chris.
      I think “advanced” hockey stats are excellent tools for analyzing hockey, and the stats are also surprisingly straightforward.
      As you and Twi said, the “problem” is how we talk about these stats.
      EOTP is the best example of this. No doubt their stats are valuable and have a lot of information, but the way they write and their statistical analysis is not only borderline esoteric, it is also very boring.

      It’s really simple to put together a sentence about Fenwick close or on-ice shooting percentage. IMO, the best thing to do would be to try to mention the stat itself as little as possible and just cite it on the side. For example, we could say something like: “Team X is excellent when the game is close, they consistently out-shoot and out-possess opposing teams and this generally suggests a long-term trend of winning (stat citation).”

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

      • Chris says:

        I often teach lab courses in university. One of my curveballs in recent years is that I make my students do one of their “formal lab reports” as an oral presentation, pretending that they are trying to explain the experiment to their parents.

        Some of the students do really well, dropping all the jargon and technical details that muddy the waters and just focusing on getting the point across. Others don’t get it. My favourite one was a student that was giving a particularly jargon-heavy spiel when I finally cut them off and claimed that their parents would never understand them. The one student retorted that his mom had a PhD in physics and his father had a PhD in math so they would absolutely understand the math details.

        Needless to say, the rules have now changed to “pretend that you are describing your experiment to MY parents”.

        • The Jackal says:

          Haha, I had to do a presentation just like that in my stats course and it definitely helped me write about data, specially for social science fields it was very helpful.

          ______________________
          Hockey sine stercore tauri.

    • ffenliv says:

      Related question: what do you study?

      At this moment, I’m studying the clock, willing it to go faster.

      • The Jackal says:

        At this moment, I don’t study jack squat but will be doing a joint program next year

        ______________________
        Hockey sine stercore tauri.

      • Chris says:

        Jack of all trades, master of nothing these days. I’ve been very cross-disciplinary, working at the interface of the various sciences.

        I mostly teach now, usually trying to get the most interdisciplinary courses I can get my hands on. I think my run is ending this year due to budget cuts, but its been an absolute blast. Working with university age students and seeing the light click on is absolutely amazing. They frustrate the heck out of me at times, but overall I really can’t complain.

        It’s going to be pretty hard to find a career that is as interesting and rewarding as the past 10-12 years have been, but that is just another challenge that keeps life interesting.

    • krob1000 says:

      Chris they have not yet come out with anything even close yet…..I watched that sloan thing and they are still way too far away right now for anything of real value. There are tidbits and glimpses that may or may not be able to notice a trend. But as of now…the key is and will always be interpreting decisions and their impact on others decisions,etc,etc. This will require someone literally assessing every viable option at every second of a game to be of real use. Then you have to measure the outcomes of different decisions in similar situations,etc,etc. Sure it can be done….but it is an absolutely massive undertaking and there are not Universities all over the globe hiring the brightest minds on the planet with the most sophisticated technology available working on it every day since as long as people have been able……

      I should change my tune from isn’t possible…to most likely will never happen to be more clear. I just don’t see the value there for the amount of time it would take. There are more variables in hockey than in football, baseball, basketball combined. ….and each one of those sports has 10 times the fanbase of hockey so who the heck is going to spend years researching hockey with a team of 100 devoted scientists?

      • ffenliv says:

        I think you’re making a pretty obvious mistake here. Coaches set up systems, power-plays, penalty kills, etc. These are all based off analysis, and it’s not just gut-instinct. Teams have been collecting a lot more data than has been made available to the public for a long time. These numbers are used to make these decisions.

        I think you vastly overestimate the amount of effort required to get real value from diving deeper into the stats.

      • Chris says:

        I’m not sure what you mean by we’re not even close. I disagree emphatically with that viewpoint, as it basically depends on what your goal is. If you want to predict what is going to happen in a given game, then no…we aren’t close. It’s not a matter of brain-power, necessarily, but simply that that is not a realistic (or even possible, depending on how you interpret probability) outcome. Can we model an entire hockey game? I’m sure we probably could do a much better job, but we’ll never do it well.

        I’m talking more about assessing the value of a particular player. In that regard, I think we’ve come a long way and we are continuing to learn how to treat and analyze data. The ever-increasing efficiency of computers and the rapid development of informatics are certainly improving things in this regard.

        Video study is effective because coaches are trying to tease out what players are most likely do under certain circumstances. It will never be 100% perfect, but it sure can narrow the odds on a particular play. It’s basically a qualitative statistical analysis.

        My main point was that there is a lot of statistical analysis being done behind the scenes by professional sports teams, who do believe it has significant value. What’s currently missing in hockey is predictive power to statistical analysis: you can look at the numbers and understand why a team is doing they way they are doing. What I haven’t seen yet is any model that can effectively predict how a team of players is going to do in the new season.

        Even in a sport like baseball, which is stats heavy and where it is thought that you can get a much better feeling for what is going to happen, teams frequently defy all expectation.

    • Starlight says:

      Is it not a case of stats tell you the past and models may predict the future but we live in the now.

      • Chris says:

        Absolutely.

        If you want to know the outcome of the next game, stats probably aren’t going to help you. But then again, neither does qualitative analysis or gut instinct. That’s why we watch.

        If you want to know how a player is likely to do over a season, then we can talk. It won’t be perfect, and there will be all sorts of examples that go against what you think should have happened, but it is better than nothing.

        • Starlight says:

          I would love to know what you think of the electrical model of the Universe.

          http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/

          • Chris says:

            Electromagnetism obviously is a critical component of any model of the universe, as one of the 4 fundamental forces (electromagnetic, strong, weak, and gravitational).

            But I find the idea of an electric sun a bit too far-fetched. In physics, the best model is the one that most simply describes the observations. The electric sun model has some holes in it, and is rather more complicated than necessary.

            After watching a couple YouTube videos from proponents of this theory, let’s just say my brain hurts. Confusing magnetic field lines with electric arcs is just silly…the physics of these things are very well understood and easily demonstrable.

          • Starlight says:

            Merci

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      The problem is the measurement. Even if you have the math you can’t do much particle physics with optical lenses.

      In hockey the data is poor and very incomplete.

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

      • Chris says:

        No question.

        One of my main points for writing the above, however, was to point out that there is a lot more data than what is being released to fans by the NHL.

        For example, we can see after every game how many shot attempts were blocked. But the NHL doesn’t keep track of that statistic over the whole season on their stats page. They also keep track of faceoff wins/losses in the offensive, defensive and neutral zones but again do not tally it up game by game.

        You know that they are in fact doing so behind the scenes. I’ve been told by an acquaintance who was an assistant coach that the NHL has a scoring chances statistic that they do keep track of, but it is not released to the public. And there are a bunch of other ones.

        One stat I would love to see (but it would be labour intensive) is the passing success rates and distance skated, similar to what they do in soccer. Also, just a simply puck possession time would be nice…this is what many of the advanced stats people are trying to tease out of Corsi and Fenwick numbers…why not just calculate it? Again, I suspect the teams, if not the league, are in fact tracking this all the time.

  46. Habs4LifeInTO says:

    may alreaqdy have been mentioned but Hockey’s Future Spring 2014 Top 50 Prospects Rankings are out. Montreal has 2 prospects on the list NB at 20 and JT at 47.

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/105715/top-50-barkov-drouin-top-spring-ranking-of-nhls-top-prospects/

    24 cups and counting….

    • 24 Cups says:

      THN’s Future Watch also had de la Rose, Fucale and Tinordi their top 50. Beaulieu wasn’t listed because he was on the Montreal roster at the time.

  47. Stevie.Ray says:

    Whenever I feel down, I just look up David Clarkson’s stats and smile immediately appears on my face.

    He has a cap hit of 5.25m and he has 4 goals, and 6 assists in 52 games.
    In Scott Gomez’s last season with the Habs when he was used sparingly on the fourth line he still had 11 points in only 38 games.
    And Clarkson is signed on for another 6 seasons!

    • Habcouver says:

      Hope our smiles continue with tonight’s outcome with another Laff gaff!

      We Are (Not) All Canucks.
      Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

      • JF says:

        I actually want the Leafs to win tonight and help the Flyers fall to the second wild card spot so they can play the Bruins. Those two teams can then pound the crap out of each other.

        • Habcouver says:

          JF… I’ll agree with you here only if in the process, the Flyers pound the crap outta the Laffs.

          We Are (Not) All Canucks.
          Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

        • jimmy shaker says:

          I can’t actually believe I saw those words together “leafs and win”. Never will I hope for a leafs win……it’s flyers all the way baby. I’ve got c-bus and detroit taking the two wild card spots, with both teams more than capable of beating the pens and cubs.

          Shaker out!

  48. Luke says:

    Almost Beer O’Clock!

    It’s been too busy for me to check in regularly today, so consider yourselves lucky!

    Hope you all had a good one!
    Enjoy the weekend.

  49. 24 Cups says:

    Could this guy be the next owner of the New York Islanders?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Prokhorov

  50. Mr_MacDougall says:

    A few points…

    With the addition of Vanek every forward on the Habs (maybe with the exception of Max) has had their role changed, some slightly and some significant.

    Gionta has looked fantastic on the 3rd line and should be retained if he’ll accept less money and 2 year term. You’d have to think he’s a lock to put up 10 goals in that role.

    Bourque seems to be reborn since being inserted back into the lineup, hits often and is winning battles. He plays a simple game and has been excellent breaking out of the Habs zone and eliminating oppositions sustained pressure, he and Gionta seem to work well together.

    Doug Maclean (forgive me, but I am a fellow Islander so…) pointed out that centres importance is greatly undervalued in the defensive zone by analysts given the amount of situational positioning, deciding when to attack the puck, having to make a lightning quick pass to a D or winger once possession is gained.. This got me thinking about how great it is to have Galchenyuk playing with Plekanec. Pleks is one of the premier defensive centres in the NHL and is getting Selke consideration while leading the leagues 3rd best PK. The experience of playing with Plek will definitely help mould Galchenyuk into the Centre the Habs will need him to be moving forward.

    Andrei Markov is playing the best hockey I’ve seen since his comeback. He seems to have brought back his angry side, often engaged in scrims after the whistle and starting them a couple times per game. He is making some of the most creative passes on the team, hitting small windows and perfectly timed breakout passes, definitely a couple years left in the tank.

    Ol Pricey.. He’s playing a bit “safe” right now, fading away from traffic and deeper in the net. Despite the post game man handling of a buffalo player! I think he’s protecting himself from contact! and I like it. You’ll see the aggressive Price in the playoffs, he’s a leader and an all-star!

    How can you not be positive in a week that includes wins against the bruins and leafs?

    ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Hiya Mr. I just rewatched last nights game and I’m glad you mentioned Markov. I do think he’s playing his best hockey of the season as well. I have to tell you though perhaps some of it is due to the improved play of Emelin. He looks like he’s returning to his old form as well, don’t ya think?

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        Yeah, you’re probably right. I’d assume they’d feed off of one another, neither making the other panic.. Some of it likely has to do with them as a pairing.

        ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Very good read.

    • JUST ME says:

      Good post ! It shows how the opposite is damaging when a key player is gone for a while like Markov was and all the others had to play roles that were over their heads to compensate. Vanek definitely made a lot of players better and took a lot of pressure off on everyone also. Usually a less talented is called to replace an injured player for instance but now a new asset is added at the top of the food chain. Real nice !

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      “Bourque seems to be reborn since being inserted back into the lineup”

      I’ve been pulling for Bourque since the moment he arrived but I think your statement is stretching it quite a bit. He’s looked pretty much the same since he came back except that one puck has gone in for him. Maybe he’s looked a tad better but I’m sure he’ll fade again.

      One interesting thing about him though, he was one of the few Habs players who showed up for the playoffs last year. He threw some hits and popped in a couple goals. Hopefully the playoffs will motivate him again this year?

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        I didn’t say Bourque was dominant, but he’s been a positive, it’s not the goal that did it for me. He tends to advance the puck more often then sending it in the wrong direction, simple and effective 3rd line play.

        ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

    • JF says:

      Good post. By adding Vanek, Bergevin has improved the team by a lot more than one player. This ripple effect is particularly evident on the third and fourth lines. Bourque, Gionta, and Brière make an excellent third line but not such a good second one, and we have the luxury of not one but two fourth lines.

    • Loop_Garoo says:

      Great post, Gionta is a sub-par 2nd liner, but an outstanding 3rd liner. Just that move alone makes the team better.

  51. FanSince1969 says:

    Great news about Bozon!!! I hope he makes a full recovery and we see him on skates soon. One thing about the official press release that troubles me. It states that many of the medical procedures were not covered by medical insurance and are asking people to contribute. Question: why aren’t Canadiens picking up these costs?

    Welcome to Pleks new baby

  52. Sportfan says:

    So why wasn’t Pleks playing

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  53. AliHaba says:

    @UCE. I just want to make sure that I get my point across regarding jersey retirement. In your opinion Henri Richard’s should not have been retired and I grudgingly respect that opinion (though scratching my head at it). If owning the most important record that a player could have is not basis for jersey retirement then please tell me…just what the hell is?

  54. dhenry1234 says:

    Would just like to remind everyone,

    We’ve come a long way since the days of This video being popular!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbm97C2_t2Y

    Haha did anyone else see that video back in the day?

  55. PuffNStuff says:

    What you say falls off me like water on a nicely waxed car, I don’t mind this place a lot of people have good things to say. What I don’t like is the blah blah about the 70’s glory days what do I care as long as I been a fan they have been pure shite and cup less I might as well be a Maple Leaf fan.

  56. JarryPark says:

    Anyone going to the Jays game tonight? I’m in town to re experience baseball.

    Just a reminder to wear you’re Expos gear. I’m wearing my vintage autographed Tim Raines 1982 all star game jersey. Bought it a few years ago and finally get yo wear it..

    Enjoy the game!

  57. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Anybody know the scoop with Pleks? Hopefully good news. Sorry, if this question was already answered.

  58. JF says:

    Something Therrien and his assistants have done a good job of is limiting losing streaks and turning them around before the team hits a real skid, as has happened to the Leafs. We have never fallen out of a playoff spot. Our longest losing streak was four games, from 18-25 January, followed by the three-game streak on the California road trip. Other than that, losses have for the most part been interspersed with victories and OT losses. Sure the team has had a bad week here and there with more losses than victories, sure they’ve played some bad games, but they haven’t had the kind of prolonged slump in which everything falls apart – goaltending, defence, scoring. The coaching staff have always been able to bring them back to a competitive level, and the players themselves have continued to believe that they can win. I think management and coaching staff have been successful in developing a winning attitude – something that was conspicuously absent two years ago when Mike Cammalleri made headlines with his comment about losers.

    • bwoar says:

      Absolutely. Not only that, I think they’ve done a good job getting players out of their funks too. They recognized the DD / Max was only a matter of time. They have found ways for Briere to be useful, if not up to his contract. And lately a certain Dane who’s looked pretty lost is playing good hockey in a position where he can succeed.

      There’s no one here today to slag us for complimenting the coaches, so hey, let’s enjoy it and spread the credit around!

      • JF says:

        It was a great move putting Eller on the fourth line rather than, for example, making him a healthy scratch. His confidence seemed really shot, and being scratched would likely have lowered it even more. On the fourth line he can play within himself, keep his game simple, avoid trying to do too much. Once he regains his confidence, he can go from there.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Fair points as usual Jane. I’m not a huge supporter of Therrien but even I have to admit that this team plays hard for this guy most nights.

      As for the Cammy comments, I thought at the time he was right and perhaps time has proven that so.

      • JF says:

        Of course he was right; people just didn’t like hearing it. The whole atmosphere around the team was secretive, repressive, and stifling. I doubt the players had much fun, and I’ve read that they would hurry away in the opposite direction if they saw Gauthier coming. The team culture under Bergevin is much more open and much more positive, which I think makes it easier both to have fun and to feel confident. People who are enjoying themselves do better work, whatever their job.

        • twilighthours says:

          Even if he was right, you keep that stuff behind closed doors. What you don’t do is wait till after the media scrum leaves and then slip the nugget to your favourite reporter. Unforgiveable, in my opinion. And he’s getting what he deserves out there in Cgy.

          • JF says:

            I wasn’t excusing him. He certainly shouldn’t have said it, although, to be fair to him, his remarks were misrepresented in the French press. He said something about a losing attitude; they said he called the team losers. The headline in the Journal de Montréal the day after the trade was “Un perdant de moins!”

          • twilighthours says:

            Wasn’t it “we play with a losing attitude”?

  59. Habcouver says:

    Is Parros in the line up Saturday out of necessity or because the Panthers was his former team?

    We Are (Not) All Canucks.
    Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

  60. Un Canadien errant says:

    Heard on Vancouver TEAM 1040:

    “Nicklas Jensen is a Top 6 forward in the same way that a Mazda Miata is a sports car.”

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  61. bwoar says:

    @ Lafleur Guy re “Bad Habits”: that’s a beaut, thanks for the laugh!

    @ Max : settle down about Ladd and the Jets. You’re way off base. And frankly in the moments of the birth your children you won’t give a lick for anything else in the world. Not your team, your job, your unpaid drug debts or even the pregnant mistress in the adjacent room about to give birth.

    Plekanec leaves it all out there each night, including LAST FREAKIN’ NIGHT, he’s more than earned his family time and a well deserved congratulations. It’s a tribute to him that he played last night at all.

  62. CalgaryHab says:

    My buddy in Cranbrook texted me that Tim Bozon is doing the game 6 ceremonial face-off, Ice vs Hitmen – confirmed by Tim’s twitter account.
    I think it would be great if the Habs invited him to do the ceremonial face-off for the first home game in the play-offs. imagine the reception and experience that would give him – even if he doesn’t fully revcover enough to play hockey again at any significant level.

  63. twilighthours says:

    Max, stop trolling!

    I know you don’t believe the nonsense you’re writing. You’re just having a go.

    Cooooooome oooooooooon.

  64. shiram says:

    The top of this thread seems a lot better than the bottom for some reason.

  65. Maritime Ronn says:

    @Chris

    Re your post that Minnesota is losing a lot of money.

    Be very weary of American based reported corporate ‘book’ losses.
    As 1 small example, they have some very funky depreciation items when it comes to assets-players included.

    It’s called the Roster Depreciation Allowance.
    http://econ.la.psu.edu/~ecoulson/veeck.pdf

    ….and we don’t know how many family/friends are on payroll…
    And according to Forbes, Minority owner Philip Falcone has a net worth of close to $3 Billion…

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Mr. Leipolds wife is also worth near $3Billion……don’t think money is an issue for those owners.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Good point Ronn, bookkeeping is more art than science.

      And yeah, like you point out, so many family members are paid unbelievable salaries and expense everything through the team, and those are ‘expenses’ that are a drain on revenue.

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        An easy way for a team to lose money is to form a new company that leases the arena to the team at the maximum “audit passing” rate. The team can technically lose money while the arena company makes big money. Perfectly legal, but very deceptive.

        ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Florida Panthers have done an amazing job of this, and thus managed to avoid paying back the city hardly a dime.

          Edit: Just saw Habcertain already pointed this out, oops.

    • Chris says:

      Agreed, but they did put out a cash call twice during the lockout, which generally implies that the team needed an infusion of cash to cover the losses.

      That Craig Leipold can afford losses is not really up for debate…he and his wife can. What is more important is that he left the Nashville Predators because he was no longer willing to accept financial losses with that team. The NHL slid him into the Wild ownership, a team that (in principle) should have the potential to be a money maker.

    • habcertain says:

      a lot of the arena deals offset any losses to the franchise also. FLA is a good example, the owner is not losing money when all the ancillary revenue is tallied.

  66. 24 Cups says:

    Pleks/Gorges/Prust = Luongo/Barkov/Kopecky.

    Reunite Eller with the EGG line and everything should be fine.

    Once the team mathematically nails down 3rd place, I wouldn’t mind seeing Markov get a few days off. Also utilize Budaj for the two back-to-back sets of games between now and the end of the regular season.

  67. jimmy shaker says:

    Was at the Joe last night for the game and was worried for a bit when the wings came back to tie it in the third……But then I remembered that crazy stat that came out some time last week, (think it was the cubs game) that the habs were something like 30W-0L-4OT when leading after 2 periods. I then assured myself that they got this, and sure enough, not soon after, Vanek to DD to Patch with the linesman missing the ever so tight offside, snap shot off of Kronwall past Howard. I laughed to myself and said that is my favourite stat…..that stat never lies.

    Shaker out!

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Shaker
      Just about right.

      Habs are 32-0-3 when leading after the 2nd period.
      And when the Habs core first, they are 34-4-2 which is the 4th best percentage in the NHL.

  68. Timo says:

    Wow Burly. YOu are on fire… first with the internet search thingy then with the TLDR… You are a lot more progressive (for your age) than I thought. And I still think you are very wise.

  69. Un Canadien errant says:

    The only jerseys that should be retired are numbers 4, 7, and 9. Number 10 should be in purgatory, not used, but not officially retired. You don’t go be a Ranger and Nordique to thumb your nose at our team, and then get honoured. We’re not the Canucks, retiring Pavel Bure’s number, begging him to love us again.

    We went off the rails when we retired Henri Richard’s number. Once his jersey was in the rafters, then what about Ken Dryden, Yvan Cournoyer, Bernard Geoffrion, Serge Savard, Larry, … Where does it end? Where do we draw the line?

    The line should have been drawn at Howie Morenz, who died playing for the team, at Maurice Richard, who changed the very fabric of society in Québec, and Jean Béliveau, who played two decades of Hall of Fame hockey as a Canadien, with unparalleled class, before serving the Canadiens for decades as an executive.

    • The Jackal says:

      Yeah but then when we retire Price’s 31 we won’t have the 29 31 33 legendary goalie jersey lineup hanging from the hallowed rafters!

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Not often, not sure when last i have, but disagree. Perhaps an even more special honour bestowed on the three numbers you mention, but no issue with the other numbers being retired, in particular #10.

    • twilighthours says:

      I’m going to get ripped for this (I always do), but I don’t think any number should be retired. I’d rather see 4,7, and 9 buzzing around out there than 79, 76, and 81.

      I like how the Leafs do it.

      (must go home now)

      • Habcouver says:

        Oh yeah! Back then, Lafleur would have been wearing #4…. would have been great!

        We Are (Not) All Canucks.
        Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        I’m closer to your stance than the current practice, where we’ve ended up. I also hate seeing linebackers and offensive guards out there.

      • Chris says:

        Agreed. Honoured numbers are probably the better way to go.

        Everybody knows that Pele wore #10 for Brazil’s national team. It does not diminish his historical importance that that number has subsequently been worn by great players.

        It is a nice gesture to retire a jersey, but when franchises get old (like Montreal), it really does become a little silly seeing all the high numbers.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Normand – I think it’s a two way street. The Habs (with assistance from Lemaire) pushed Lafleur out the door. They also let guys like Harvey, Plante, Geoffrion, Moore and Robinson move on. It happens on basically every team.

    • mdp2011 says:

      Are you kidding???? Those are Hall of Famers we’re talking about with many Stanely Cups. Also, Lafleur did not leave by choice to go play for the Rangers or Nordiques, he was forced out of the game way too soon by Coco.

    • Habcouver says:

      I’m going to agree with you here, UCE.

      Retiring a number these days is losing its significance. Every team is doing this now (albeit it’s their right to) to seemingly draw past fan interest (e.g. Bure, Hasek… even Pat Quinn being added to the ring of fire(?) at Rogers Arena… EGADS!).

      We Are (Not) All Canucks.
      Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I’m aware my opinion on this is a little crotchety, and isn’t going to be popular, but that’s my opinion. The more jerseys are retired, the less the honour means.

      And Guy Lafleur was not “pushed out” by Jacques Lemaire. Guy Lafleur is the author of his own demise.

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2012/03/guy-lafleur-drove-his-career-into.html

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2012/09/guy-lafleurs-retirement-take-2.html

      And this is not just my ‘opinion’, but is well documented by D’Arcy Jenish too.

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2013/08/review-montreal-canadiens-100-years-of.html

    • habcertain says:

      Lafleur was the backbone that drove an unprecedented run of cups in the 70’s, these team are deemed to be the greatest line up in Habs history. If 10 isn’t in the rafters, rip them all down, com’on wake up!

    • AliHaba says:

      Henri Richard holds the most important record that a player could have….Stanley Cup wins (11). If that’s not deserving of a jersey retirement, I don’t know what is.

  70. twilighthours says:

    Don’t know how you guys got the Plex news (you all insiders?), but that is awesome.

    Nothing in the world as special as welcoming your child into it.

  71. Un Canadien errant says:

    Purists will decry the win last night as a sloppy and poorly played game defensively, but I enjoy a 5-4 game much more than a 2-1 slashfest, in which the goals are all ping-ponged in during a cluster in front of the net.

    One big takeaway for me was the camera shot from inside the dressing room during the intro to the RDS broadcast of the game. As the camera panned and showed us various Wings, then Canadiens gearing up before the game, we saw Alexei Emelin about to pull on his hockey sock. Directly on his thigh, worn under his sock, was a honking huge hinged rigid knee brace, the type that football offensive linemen wear after a knee injury.

    We all understand that Alexei is coming back from injury, that ACL reconstructions are difficult to rehab from and can take a long time to be back to 100%, Adrian Peterson-type miracles aside. But knowing this intellectually and showing tolerance and patience when Alexei looks less than agile on a goal against are two different things. We’ve gnashed our teeth at some plays where he and Andrei boot around the puck, or where a sprightly forward skates circles around them, and despaired that our Top 4 defencemen are anything but.

    Seeing the brace brought me back to reality. It illustrates, it emphasizes that he’s still not completely ‘over’ the injury. Whether he’s wearing it because he still feels minor discomfort or pain during sudden or awkward moves, or because he’s being ordered to by team doctors and physio staff, the result is that he physically is diminished, and/or psychologically so.

    There is no universal standard as to which patient wears what brace under what circumstances, when it comes to knee injuries. The most common practice, in football anyway, for the heavy guys along the line, is that they wear the brace for a set period of time after surgery, even if they experience no pain or looseness, for precautionary reasons. Some coaching and medical staffs insist that the player wear the brace permanently, to guard against future re-injury. Some colleges or pro teams even mandate that all their linemen wear a brace on both legs as a precautionary measure, to prevent injury from happening in the first place, in games and practices.

    Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. While the brace is generally accepted to be effective at protecting the knee from bending the wrong way, it is cumbersome and limits mobility in the athlete. It is also heavy, and acts as a drag on speed and explosiveness compared to if the athlete doesn’t wear one. It also is a constant reminder to the player that he’s injured, recovered or not. Some players report hating wearing it, while others find it a comfort and derive confidence from having it on.

    Generally, football players who play skill positions, who need speed and agility to be successful, like running backs or defensive backs for example, tend to want to ditch the brace as soon as they can, while the big boys in the trenches, who need to show stoutness and anchor in their position, aren’t as opposed to wearing the brace as a rule.

    So Alexei may have to wear the brace until the end of the season, or for a full calendar year after returning to the ice, or to game action. He may be advised to wear the brace for the rest of his career. In any case, this requires an adjustment period of him, and his performance will be affected still, as he acclimates to the brace and the way it impairs his movement and agility, and as his knee starts to feel 101% as opposed to 98%.

    Of course, recovery is not the same for every athlete. We saw Josh Gorges come back from ACL reconstruction two years ago and barely skip a beat, compared to Andrei Markov more ponderous return to the ice, marked by setbacks. Josh stopped wearing a brace early on, and hasn’t suffered any relapses.

    Even Steve Quailer, the former Canadiens prospect who was dealt to the Kings this season, can be used as an example. He suffered an ACL injury while playing at Northeastern University and missed an entire season. When he returned he was made to wear a brace, and didn’t like how it felt and limited him, so he stopped wearing it, and promptly re-injured his knee. He was candid later on that this was a mistake, and he’d never take the brace off as long as he played.

    So Alexei isn’t ‘healed’ yet, and it’s unrealistic to expect him to be right back to the playing level he showed before blowing out his knee. We need to show, yes, patience, and appreciate the slow progress in his play as he adapts and gets closer to full mobility and strength.

    The Pacioretty-Desharnais-Vanek line is another facet of the Canadiens that is showing progress, and not the slow kind either. They didn’t take to each other right away, as far as the tangible results showed, but they’ve been finding their stride, and yesterday were dominant, against an admittedly depleted Wings roster. Coach Therrien felt compelled to double-shift his first line in the third period, which is a pleasant development. For years, we’ve had a ‘balanced attack’, meaning we’ve rolled three or four lines and hoped that one or two would click that night. We didn’t really have a line with a Toews or a Kovalchuk on it that was felt to be so superior it should get more than its fair share of minutes, strictly due to its offensive ability. The Canadiens, in fact, usually ride a defensive line hard, so that Doug Jarvis’ or Guy Carbonneau’s line gets more minutes thwarting the opposite #1 line than our putative first line.

    It’s easy to be optimistic on a night when all three linemates got a goal, and everyone is all smiles, but it bodes well for the team as it approaches the playoffs with a line that is near-lethal, and appears to still be improving. They are finding each other with their passes more often, but the obvious instances when they’d make one pass too many are decreasing. The play where Thomas Vanek outraced Niklas Kronwall to a loose puck, and knocked him on his keister for good measure, before feeding it to David Desharnais for the Canadiens’ third goal, was refreshing. Thomas Vanek is turning out to be what the Canadiens needed, a big winger who can play when it’s physical, and can score.

    And of course, on a night when I had to sit Tomas Plekanec on my fantasy team, due to my having too many forwards playing games on the same night, and due to his long unproductive streak, he went off for two goals, and hopefully finally broke out of his slump for good. The experiment with the kids is not a success yet, but we can see progress, and we can afford to be patient during this streak of wins and with our relatively comfortable position in the standings.

    What is there to say about P.K. that hasn’t been said, either last night by the talking heads, or during his entire career? On a night when he played on a national stage, in front of Team Canada coach Mike Babcock, and had an opportunity to make a statement, he started off spectacularly, assisting on both Tomas Plekanec goals in the first period. He then, inexplicably, had a meltdown, and was on the ice for four Red Wing goals, one of which was directly caused by a mistake a Pee Wee player wouldn’t make.

    Note that this isn’t a mistake in the sense of Jarred Tinordi misplaying a bobbling puck near his net, or Tomas Vanek failing to convert a scoring chance by stuffing a puck into the goalie’s pad. This wasn’t an error of execution, like a defencemen flubbing a pass that is intercepted by a forechecking opposition forward. This was a mental mistake, and even goes even further than that. It’s not like he had two options to make a pass, and he chose the wrong one. It wasn’t a ‘bad decision’.

    Instead, P.K. went against years of coaching, entire seasons of experience and instruction, and insisted on passing a puck through the middle of his defensive zone. The pass was intercepted and ended up in his own net. P.K. could have banged the puck up the boards, off the glass, where Tomas Plekanec was waiting. He could have made the safe play, as coaches have been inculcating in him for years. As Hal Gill and Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov have repeated to him again and again. As Don Cherry roars from his pulpit every Saturday night. As the dressing room chatter before games and between periods always insists, every single time: “Don’t get fancy boys, just make the safe play, don’t try to do too much, …”

    It’s not like P.K. isn’t smart enough. It’s painfully obvious to anyone that he’s a really bright boy. He should get this, maybe he understands this intellectually, but he obviously doesn’t have this instinct ingrained in him, it’s not reflex response from him. That he’s unconventional in his decisions and actions often pays off, as we saw last night when he executed the give and go with Tomas Plekanec on a three-on-two, or during the comeback win against the Senators when he passed to David Desharnais instead of shooting, with a second left in the game.

    I was again reminded of Magic John Son’s line about Vlade Divac, that the latter was “a quick learner, but a quick forgetter also”. We keep reminding each other that P.K. is young, but he’s not, really. He’s twenty-four, in his fourth full NHL season. He’s been playing high-level competitive hockey his entire life. He shouldn’t be making blunders like this, that beer-league players wouldn’t make. P.K. had a chance to prove something to Mike Babcock, the battle was already won. He had two assists in the bag and the game was well in hand. And he then went ahead and proved something to Mike Babcock all right. He proved that Mike Babcock was right.

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • Max says:

      I appreciate what you tried to do, but that was far too long to read. A couple of paragraphs max is best.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Watch for my Twitter account, coming soon, it will be performance art, trying to do my shtick in under 140 characters.

        And speaking of Twitter shtick, I can’t recommend Boring Sean Monahan (https://twitter.com/boringmonahan) enough. Read it all Max, the more posts you go through the more surreal and hypnotic it gets. There are recurring gags, but they’re not overdone. Topnotch entertainment.

        I read it from the latest Tweet going backwards in time, and it worked, but maybe you should go from the start and go forward in time.

        • No worries here, UCe. I prefer a longer read at times. When people complain (no offense, Max) it goes to reinforce what the internet and modern technology is doing to our brains. Have you read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr? I think you’d enjoy it.

          Defense wins championships

          “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” St. Thomas Aquinas

        • Wintercount says:

          Found that stuff on 76 funny, not haha funny, but strange funny….. and Monahan is very haha funny, reminds me a little of the late, great Mitch Hedberg’s stuff.

        • And I just checked in on Sean Monahan’s twitter account. I’m instantly addicted. Thanks for the suggestion!

          Defense wins championships

          “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” St. Thomas Aquinas

      • PuffNStuff says:

        I agree almost sprained my thumb scrolling by it on my phone.

    • The Jackal says:

      Thanks for posting UCE, love reading these long posts – I feel there is not enough good material out there in terms of Habs analysis so when guys like you, Chris, and others post thoughtful Habs stuff, however long (the longer the better), it is a treat.

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

    • Habcouver says:

      You’re a wealth of perspective information, UCE. I myself am not great on the long reads but make an exception to your contributions.

      Athletes are huge investments and when they’re injured and forced or asked to wear protective gear, there should be no questioning its importance. Quailer likely messed up his career for his disregard to take further precaution to protect his ACL injury: perhaps his youth and exuberance played a role in his shortsightedness of long-term effects.

      We Are (Not) All Canucks.
      Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

    • johnnylarue says:

      I was gonna dismiss this post with a sarcastic “tl;dr”, but you just know I read the whole thing…

      Regarding the “Sympathy for the ACL” portion of your post, there’s a quote from Markov that stuck in my head from the time of his ridiculous purgatory of rehab setbacks. A journalist quizzically asked him something like, “How’s the knee feeling?” or “How much longer until you’re ready to play again?” which he’d almost certainly been asked 10,000 times already that day.

      Shaking his head in exasperation, his reply cut through the facile, trivial question like a rapier: “You people really have no idea how hard I’ve worked to get back here.”

    • New says:

      Great reading UCE, thanks for writing such a worthwhile post.

  72. Habcouver says:

    Congrats to Pleky’s new addition!

    We Are (Not) All Canucks.
    Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

  73. shiram says:

    Congrats to Plekanec, on welcoming his second child to the world.
    Hopefully no one gives him any grief for missing practice.

    There was a reporter bitching about Ladd missing a game as he was attending the birth of his child.
    These guys might be pro athletes, but family comes first.

    • Habcouver says:

      I’ll say it now:
      Damn it, shiram!!! :p

      We Are (Not) All Canucks.
      Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

    • Max says:

      Player’s committments are to their teams during the season except when there is a true family emergency such as a sudden death. Plex gets a pass for a game off to bounce the kid on his knee for a few days as the habs are almost guaranteed a playoff spot and he played well last night.

      Ladd should’ve played in that Je’ts game and caught up with his family later.The teams are paying these guys their millions and setting up their families financially for the next few generations.The players have to realize this.

      • twilighthours says:

        Not sure if serious.

        • Max says:

          Very serious.These guys know what they’re getting into by being professional athletes.Lots of time on the road and away from your family.It’s part of the business.The team is paying you very well to play for them.Respect that and if you don’t agree,there are plenty of other rcareer paths for you to take.Far less well paid but you can be at home every night.

          • twilighthours says:

            I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you’re not a parent.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            I liked the olden days when serfs didn’t get Sundays off better too.

          • Max says:

            That doesn’t matter.These guys need to play and are being paid very well to play.They have 3 or 4 months off during the summer to be family men. They can also retire in their 30s and be with their families daily.

          • Gerry H says:

            Yup. Not a parent.

      • shiram says:

        Even the Jets (coaches, player, managment) were in agreement with Ladd.
        You’re the odd one on this.

        • Max says:

          That’s probably whey the jets suck.They don’t care about winning only about looking proper and pandering.

          • shiram says:

            Yeah because condemning a guy for being with his family for the birth of his child is going to do wonders attracting free agents to your team.

          • Max says:

            It’s not conedeming.You play during the season unles there is a death or medical emergency.Free agenst should know this as well.Teams need to toughen up their culture a great deal.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        TLDR

      • Strom Man says:

        too long to read

      • Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

        I’m with you on this one Max. Can’t these guys time the births for the off-season? Oh wait, they’re pro athletes…those guys can’t count!

        ~~ You’ve been spun ~~

      • Chris says:

        Couldn’t disagree more. :)

        I don’t care how much money they make. That is a trite argument. They are human beings, and events such as the birth of a child **always** take precedence over one’s job. That’s just reality.

        And while child birth is not nearly as dangerous as it once was, there is always a massive risk that something can go horribly wrong. My cousin had a nearly flawless pregnancy and no difficulties were foreseen during the actual birth. Unfortunately, she suffered blood poisoning during the birth and was close to death for 3 days afterwards.

        The game was in Dallas. He ended up missing the actual birth while flying back to Winnipeg because his wife gave birth so quickly, but you never know. I don’t have kids and won’t likely ever do so, but I think Ladd made the only possible decision in that case.

        Even if everything goes well, you still owe it to your wife to be there.

      • athanor says:

        But really, they shouldn’t get the summer off either.

        It’s being with their wives in the summer that leads to dreadful situations like this.

    • Timo says:

      Couldn’t he just walk it off?

    • habfan01 says:

      Tell that to someone that has the birth of a child, or a years worth of seeing their child grow because of a military deployment.

  74. bwoar says:

    No doubt, and he should be in.

  75. JUST ME says:

    I doubt it (or hope so )… Bouillon was not hired to play every game and the injuries made his job more full time than it was supposed to be. I know he is giving his best for the team but maybe it is not good enough anymore, not against every team anyway.

    As for Tinordi i maintain that he is not quite ready for prime time yet and that keeping him under the NHL pressure is not good for him on the long term. Consistency is not his forte and although some would like him to be a justice officer on the ice, he is not by nature. Needs time . At his age being inferior on the ice is not good for the moral and maturity needs time to help deal with the daily frustrations.

    I know it`s an old record but look at Detroit. They seem to find unexpected treasures every season. They don`t . They just keep them 3 years in Grand Rapid and make sure that they fit perfectly in the system, speed,skills,maturity…

  76. habcertain says:

    I think he should be running with the big dogs and learn from that perspective, a good D coach could keep his head on straight, Beaulieu too. Frankie’s time has passed and while he would be good in a 7th man role to fill in for injuries, I think his play brings down the level of his partner, which currently is PK. MT is not the type of coach that will encourage through the mistakes that kids are prone to make. Not ideal if you are a little fragile in the noggin. Frankie Boo makes as many mistakes as Tinordi, would rather have the kids play/learn/progress.

  77. Habcouver says:

    Me, too. I understand that Beaulieu’s attitude has been questionable but it shouldn’t be unrectifiable.

    We Are (Not) All Canucks.
    Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

  78. Phil C says:

    Maybe Beaulieu, the rest are getting ample opportunity to perform and improve their game. Almost all NHL coaches are concerned about winning now though, not just Therrien. It is the nature of the job. The coach is looking one game ahead most of the time.

  79. habfan01 says:

    Tell that to someone like Sholi.

  80. Chris says:

    Tremblay played from 1974 – 1986, with the bulk of his early years coming on the best offensive powerhouses in league history and his latter years came in the hyper-inflated scoring era that was the early 1980’s.

    By season, the lowest average goals per NHL game total during Tremblay’s career was 6.59 in 1977-78. From 1980-1986, it was over 7.6 goals per game every year.

    Now contrast that with Plekanec’s career. The highest scoring NHL year since Plekanec broke into the league in 2005 was 2005-06, when they peaked at 6.00 goals per game. We are now sitting around 5.3 goals per game.

    Hockey Reference has tried to factor in the era in which statistics were included. It obviously won’t be perfect, but here is what they came up with:

    Tremblay – 852 GP, 208 G, 474 PTS
    Plekanec – 673 GP, 205 G, 495 PTS

    Plekanec looks a lot better now.

    It is fun to compare the career numbers of Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby using that tool:

    Howe: 1767 GP, 925 G, 2190 PTS (vs. real stats of 801 G, 1850 PTS)

    Gretzky: 1482 GP, 758 G, 2475 PTS (vs. real stats of 894 G, 2857 PTS)

    Crosby: 543 GP, 311 G, 859 PTS (vs. real stats of 272 G and 761 PTS)

    Crosby’s not quite at Gretzky’s level, but he’s not so far off if you take era into account. This decade has sadly been a dead-puck era, whereas Gretzky got to bank a ton of points in the ridiculously high-scoring 80’s.

    They explain their methodology here. Its kind of a fun thing to think about, given that it is pretty difficult to compare across eras.

  81. habcertain says:

    I cannot believe Boone just wasn’t poking the bee hive when he suggested Pleks number be retired.

  82. habcertain says:

    right, nice to have, not required

  83. Chris says:

    Oh, he totally was and said so later. I just thought it was fun to look at comparing numbers from different eras. Give Crosby another 1000 games at his current rate of production and he really could be challenging the all-time greats.

  84. Chris says:

    No question.

    But Tremblay was also never expected to shut down Bobby Clarke or Phil Esposito or Marcel Dionne AND score. That has always been the problem for Plekanec…he can’t do both. When he focuses on being on of the best defensive forwards in the league, he can do it, but at the cost of his offence.


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