HI/O Show: Do the Canadiens have enough grit for today’s NHL?

Do the Canadiens have enough sandpaper to go all the way? 

On this week’s Hockey Inside/Out Show, our panel — Gazette columnist Stu Cowan, special guest and former Canadien Georges Laraque, and Gazette city editor Louise Solomita — discuss the Canadiens’ toughness as well as these topics:

Our weekly viewer’s question — why are the Canadiens still playing David Desharnais?

Should goalie Al Montoya have started ahead of Carey Price in Chicago?

Do you agree with coach Michel Therrien’s decision to make Greg Pateryn a healthy scratch and play Joel Hanley?

Check out spirited Canadiens-centred discussion every Thursday at 8 a.m., exclusively at www.hockeyinsideout.com

This week’s HI/O Show:


Photo: John Mahoney/MONTREAL GAZETTE


  1. ThebadBoards says:

    Can we have a vote to please get rid of Susser .I BELIEVE IT WOULD BE A LANDSLIDE YES Thanks

  2. HNS says:

    Please free the journalists here. Please.

  3. HNS says:

    Forget grit. I’d like to see a better work ethic against lesser teams.

  4. FenceSurfer says:

    Join the party next door…

  5. D Mex says:

    Scanning comments below, I was lured to watch by favourable comments about this episode of the HI/O Show.

    Susser has toned down the cringe-worthy content and, credit where it’s due, his introduction of Salomita as Andie Bennett without the hockey knowledge is spot on. Seriously HI/O – why bother ❓ No idea where a green guy goes to formulate views on toughness in today’s game, but Laraque seems to call it as he sees it.

    Strikes me that the entire thing is searching for a purpose. IF sponsorship moolah is a factor (and it would have to be), I wonder how much longer this ‘ show ‘ has to go.

    ALWAYS Habs –
    D Mex

    (Coaching 101 – what not to do : http://i.imgur.com/NoNJ3FV.gif)

    • CHasman says:

      I’m happy that Susser has toned it down a bit but I was still disappointed in today’s show. Laraque’s opinions were very interesting but with only a panel of 2 that could actually talk about hockey the show was lacking.

      It seems to me from his body language that Nilan isn’t very happy with the new format. If we lose him this show is toast.

  6. Old Guy says:

    There are too many small guys on this team, and some of the bigger forwards are soft. By mid December this team will have peaked and will only make the playoffs if Price is healthy.
    Adding bigger forwards will help to prevent injuries and wear and tear on players like Shaw, Gally, Pleks etc.
    Bring up Big Mac and tell him he is not there to fight.
    No big deal if he does not score. Half the team is in a scoring slump.
    Bring up anyone who can add size and grit.

    A good offence is the best defense

    • docketrocket says:

      That’s a good argument for bringing him up. Aside from size he is not ready, if he ever will be, but we need size. He can also score as rarely as many others. I just wish we had better options.

  7. Habs_Fan_In_San_Diego says:

    Guys, I need some help regarding this hockeyinsideout.com website.

    I keep getting a “403 Forbidden” whenever I come back to this site. The only way to get rid of it is to clear my cookies and history. But then the problem happens again when I return a few hours later. This is extremely annoying. It started been happening a few months ago and I’ve never seen anything like this on any other website.

    Anybody else having this problem? Who can I contact about this problem… Boone? Or is the site restricted to just people in Canada? 😀

    My avatar ==> San Diego in January

    • Ian Cobb says:

      It has happened to me as well.
      Also very often I have to resign in, sometimes a few times in a day
      They work hard at getting things right for us!
      By bringing this to their attention, the teck fellas fix it very quickly.

      • Habs_Fan_In_San_Diego says:

        For me, it has nothing to do with signing in. I can’t even get to this site’s homepage when I open up my browser! I just get a 403 right away.

        Come on, HIO, you guys should be better than this 😀

        My avatar ==> San Diego in January

        • D Mex says:

          Based on comments by various posters, the 403 problem is intermittent and has nothing to do with geography.
          When I experienced sign-in issues of a different nature years ago, I called the Gazette and spoke with someone from the sports department.
          That might be something for you to consider, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself talking with
          a popcorn critic in pout mode.

          ALWAYS Habs –
          D Mex

          (Coaching 101 – what not to do : http://i.imgur.com/NoNJ3FV.gif)

  8. Timo says:

    Getting 403’d again. Come on. Why can’t this be fixed?

  9. HIO_Wieners says:

    I don’t know.

    You look at last years Stanley Cup team, the Pens. There was nothing tough about that team. It was about 4 lines always attacking. Attack, attack, attack. When the dirty crap starts, skate away.

    Normally, I admit, I like the tough stuff. An eye for an eye. You take my goalie out, I take yours out, and another player for good measure. And, I get that that stuff is being slowly wiped out, but, really, is it? Although, I’m not so sure about that. When you still have Kreider taking goalies legs out, when you have weasels like kadri clearly illegally hitting someone in the noggin’. If Crosby would have been sidelined again with yet another head shot in those playoffs, the Pens don’t win it. But, having the enforcer there also, doesn’t still help the fact Crosby is now concussed. This argument is an endless pitt. There’s no real solution to it. There will always be fighters, because of the weasels.

    Yes, I have a point. The Habs. I’ve always thought for the last 20 years, we had too many panzies on this team, and I still do. But, with what we saw last year, with the Pens, maybe it’s possible to have our go far. I just don’t see it though. I just don’t.. I don’t think having too many small players will get you far. Gallagher is a keeper, he’s your sandpaper. But, we just have way too many small guys. Ii agree with what Laraque has to say, 82 games is a grind. It’s got to be so hard on the body. And, of course, there’s also the mental side of it too. I jog and workout, and after a few months, I feel worn down also. That’s jogging, not constantly hitting or being hit, the non-stop pivoting has to take such a toll on the ankles and feet. Maybe that’s where the small guy has the advantages.

    I just don’t know.

    I know, I know, I just wrote a few paragraphs saying absolutely nothing.

    • New says:

      You didn’t say absolutely nothing 🙂

      Sidney Crosby is 5’11” and 200 lbs in non-metric terms. I would be very surprised to find a Habs player who could keep up with him, stop him consistently, or even shadow him without at least two fouls every five strides. Every season he comes into camp better at something he perceived as a weakness the year before.

      Lots of Habs come into camp better at pulling tires because they saw someone else pulling tires or pressing more because they saw someone else doing that. I have not seen a Habs player in years get clearly better until Price and Galchenyuk came along. They progress as age and experience allow, but they do not compete to be the best.

      As Habs fans we are very lucky to have Weber, Galchenyuk, and Price.

  10. New says:

    I liked the show. Certainly does not detract from the site.

    BGL brought up a great point regarding to how the League play changes in the last half of the season. That the wear and tear on brave little guys causes injuries and grinds everyone down.

    Stu mentioned the team goes as far as Price can carry them.

    Montreal started the season (James Mirtle http://mirtle.blogspot.ca/2016/10/2016-17-nhl-teams-by-height-weight-and.html ) 29th in height (all but one team were bigger) and 23rd in weight, 16th in age (13 teams had an average age greater – two of which competed for the Cup a few months before, SJ and Pens 1 and 2). Since then they have gotten older and smaller of course and yet everybody seems to think DD can’t keep up.

    Price does not quit on a play and the Habs are still, after all these years, at a height and weight disadvantage.

  11. lavie says:

    I always like Laraque’s input. He tells the truth from a former player perspective.

  12. nightmare_49 says:

    24Cups — It was nice to meet a healthy Steve at Hurleys when you made your cameo after the Summit game……Now about your well constructed post , while reading it i couldn’t help but get the image of all the HIO posters seated in a room with Steve standing in front of the class with chalk in one hand and a pointer in the other tapping on the chalkboard and the scornful look like MT behind the bench and one word is on the board ” Respect “…….. well done Prof. Steve or is it now the HIO Cop , lol. ( say hello to Jordan for me , chow).

    • Chris says:

      Good to see you posting again, Nightmare. Welcome back, and I hope life has been treating you well!

    • 24 Cups says:

      Bryan – You must be back to your old self seeing that you are back to your favourite pastime of picking on 24 Cups:)

      Truth be told, Hurley’s is the weakest aspect of the Summit as far as I’m concerned. Way too crowded and noisy, basically near impossible to move around, meet people and converse about hockey and the Habs. I’d much rather have us go back to the hotel bar which we would have to ourselves as a group (like on Friday night). We could then truly have a meeting of the minds, whether they be large or small. A true Hab Summit, as it were.

  13. Ingy27 says:

    So if i get this right, we don’t have enough grit and size plus IMO we dont have enough skill…what do we have? Carey Price and that’s about it

    • marvin20 says:

      there are 29 other teams with similar issues. which explains why it has been a while since a team was able to win back to back cups. With a tight salary cap in place many teams are very closely matched

  14. Caesar says:

    Looking at the comments on Matteau below I must confess I actually thought he an Danault were interchangeable last year.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I was in a similar mindset, what little was seen of him didn’t for a minute lead me to believe he would be the player we see today. But that whole end of the season scenario was crapshow. Between injuries and maybe even some injuries which weren’t as serious as let on etc….. it was hard to gauge what we had.

    • marvin20 says:

      Matteau was sent down with a list of specific thing he needs to improve on. He is showing lot of improvement, and might surprise a lot people if he gets a another chance with the big team

  15. Caesar says:

    Some may disagree but i think they do. They have beaten Boston consistently in the playoffs and rolled over LA so far this year. Real tests will be SJ WPG and STL. I think we will be fine

    • marvin20 says:

      I would like them to add another forward and a defenceman that can play with Weber. That can play and is also tough. I think in a very physical 7 game series the toughness issue could be exposed.

      I think MB is banking on McCarron being ready to get the call down the stretch. He looked very close during training camp.

      Finding a defenceman that is tough and can play along side Weber, at a reasonable price will be a huge challenge.

  16. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Still can’t watch it for the obvious reason.

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain

  17. boing007 says:


    Richard R

  18. Ozmodiar says:

    Good show.

    I liked Laraque. “looser” on his t-shirt, though!?

  19. Coach K says:

    So the burning question is do the Habs as currently built, have enough grit? In short, no. Not even close.

    Their biggest issue is that they have a lack of “critical mass” up front. Gallagher and his giant sized heart is the only small player they have who could play a regular shift on a true contender and even then, his overall skill set, to be honest, is rather limited.

    With Byron, Desharnais, Gallagher and a very soft Plekanec and Pacioretty, you’re stuck with undersized/soft forwards. That my friends (even if you don’t count Max), is an entire forward line of players who get easily taken off the puck. Even if you spread them out, then you have at least 3 lines essentially playing a man short where another forward has to come to the rescue taking him away from doing his own job.

    That is far from a recipe for contending, never mind winning it all.

    Bergevin has to step up and do his job

    -Adversity Does Not Build Character…it Reveals it-
    (James Lane Allen)

    • Ozmodiar says:

      DD in.
      Hanzal or Big Mike in.

      avg height of forward group goes up 1”.

    • Maroons says:

      Can’t agree on all points

      DD is obviously not NHL calibre IMO, Pleks talent is waning as well

      I don’t think Gallagher has ever been easily taken off the puck, same with Pacioretty who also has the most hits of the Habs top 6 which is good for an elite producing fwd

      Byrons game is speed, not grinding

      Add Shaw, the 4th line, Danault, Galchenyuk and Radulov and that makes 9 fwd’s that are a mix of strong forechecking and cycling

      The D with Weber, Emelin, Pateryn and this year Petry all hit hard and bring a physical game to date

      So back to the same old same old, a need for:
      -a bigger centre in, DD out, Pleks to the third line
      -a reasonably talented winger with size for the top 6

      Throw in another D man and this is a formidable team

  20. huge_polar_bear says:

    First time this season, I can say excellent show HIO. Unlike other’s on this site, I have had less of an issue with past segments (except the 1st show when Susser went to the streets lying to fans saying we traded to get PK back). I must applaud HIO for listening to criticism about the weekly show and adjusting their format. I for one appreciate the progression and will keep watching. Keep up the good work. I love the viewer question of the week segment as well as Stu’s On the Point.

    Normal people worry me…

  21. Luke says:

    21 Posts and no Fabulous Thunderbirds yet?

    • FenceSurfer says:

      Decent song I guess, stupid video for sure, and where’s Eric Clapton?

      • Luke says:

        Not much of a Thunderbirds fan, but it’s an obligation due to the title of the thread. I really only listened at first because SRV’s bro was in the band.

        They’re no Little Feat, that’s for sure.

        Clapton, however, can go chew on a rock.

        • FenceSurfer says:

          Understood the reference for the link. BEEP BEEP BEEP.
          Give me Beiber over this any day. BEEP BOP A LOU?
          Clapton can choke on a quarry. BEEP BEEP BEEP.

          End of telegram.

        • myron.selby says:

          I used to be a huge Cream fan back in the day. I re-bought a best of cd recently and couldn’t even listen to it. Jack Bruce was great but Clapton’s guitar work was juvenile at best.

          • Strummer says:

            Jack Bruce was Cream, great vocalist, played bass like a guitar and co-wrote most of the great songs with Pete Brown.
            Clapton was basically a side-man but his guitar work was interesting given the time was 1966 and he was still young.

            Edit- problem with “Best Of’s” is they don’t dive deeper into the catalog for the more interesting pieces.

    • myron.selby says:

      Saw these guys in the Shaw conference centre in Edmonton (think concrete bunker/bomb shelter with acoustics to match). They were great. It was me and a huge room full of bikers.

  22. habsfan4ever says:

    Any word on whether Radulov will be in action in NC tomorrow night or not?
    Answered my own question, he has a virus and could miss tomorrow night.
    Les Canadiens sont la!

  23. HabinBurlington says:

    Trying to think of an impact player in recent times who has had more bad injury luck than Stamkos. From broken leg to blood clots and now his knee injury.

  24. Cal says:

    The HIO show is finding a groove after a rocky start with the new host.
    Laraque answered the “are the Habs tough enough” question thoughtfully. The “more moustaches” comment from Louise Solomita was funny, but an odd answer to a sort of serious question.The Habs are a smallish team. Radulov has played a 60 game season in the less physical (to Laraque) KHL. His prediction of Radulov running out of gas is likely to come to pass.
    All in all, the HIO Show is improving.
    Keep the “special guests” coming. (Geez, it didn’t take long for Nilan and Andie to bail, did it?)

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      I agree. I didn’t find anything that grated on my nerves. Well done IMO.

    • Strummer says:

      Laraque is a good addition- he has personality as opposed to the dour Chris Nilan.
      Laraque seemed knowledgable as well with comments on DD for example and the whole size issue with the Habs

      I also liked his insights on Montoya in Chicago and Columbus

  25. 24 Cups says:

    Just a quick note for those who find it so easy to be critical of the daily comings and goings on HIO.

    A few years ago, the Gazette sports department had 13 sports writers and editors. That number is now down to 3. Those three writers have to wear a variety of hats to try and cover all of the different aspects of the Montreal sports scene.

    I attended the Summit last weekend. Mike Boone popped in Friday to meet and greet the Summiteers. Mike commutes into Montreal to do his play-by-play blog as well as his ALN column. He doesn’t leave the Bell Centre until after midnight. (Not to mention that he is officially retired from the Gazette). Stu Cowan arrived later in the night and stayed past midnight. Pat Hickey arrived in the late afternoon to say hello and introduce Reggie Houle. (All of these appearances were on their own free time). He then went to the Bell Centre to report on the game and file his column. The next morning he left at 6AM to fly to Chicago to cover the away game. Meanwhile, Stu Cowan covers the Habs and the Impact while overseeing the HIO website and producing the weekly TV segment. I’m sure it gets tiring at times.

    All I’m saying is that maybe we should realize that running this site while still trying to keep the print edition afloat is a time consuming and taxing job.

    • DeadEnd says:

      ^^ 1,000 times this ^^

    • on2ndthought says:

      Right you are, Steve!!

      Some of us have the misapprehension that being critical means being negative. I would miss this forum first and foremost for the interactions with other posters, but not insignificantly for the content and effort that the Gazette makes to bring it to us.

      Included is the HIO show, which I’ll have to wait until this evening to view.

      Free Front.

    • Cal says:

      I am critical of HIO because I am seeing a very good thing slide downhill. Cowan, Boone and Hickey do the best they can in a bad situation.
      Postmedia has gutted The Gazette, but it’s the lack of subscribers that’s killing ALL news print. This bodes well for those in political power who want to get away with illegal activity. The Fourth Estate is no longer able to afford investigative journalism. The result will be bad for the general public, although the apathy and the mistrust of media (thanks to ‘fake news’ sites) is relatively new.
      Funny how the Watergate perpetrators (the politicians) have turned this completely around, isn’t it?

      • 100HABS says:

        Cal, I get the impression you’re just plain critical. Period.

      • Thomas Le Fan says:

        What can you expect from entities whose business models seem to consist of openly insulting half of their potential audience?

        Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain

      • myron.selby says:

        Actually the problem is not that they can’t afford investigative journalism, it’s that they have absolutely no interest in it. A recent survey indicated that only about 38% of Americans (and I imagine the number are similar in Canada) believe anything they read in the mainstream press.

        If you want to know why, check out things like FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), the Glasgow Media Group or Media Lens for analysis of the bias and misrepresentation in the media.

        In short, the mainstream media presents a big business perspective on all issues since it is big business.

    • FenceSurfer says:

      When the site was called Habs Inside Out they posted many links from various sources, it was a veritable click smorgasbord you could gorge on all day. In fact, it was impossible to keep up. New threads were a dime a dozen in those days, popping up when least expected at a high rate.
      Since the team took away their right to use the Habs “copyright” it’s gone downhill, as if it took the spirit out of the place. The mood slowly soured as posters lingered on everlasting threads and turned on one another. Good posters started to drop like leaves in the fall and now we have the rag-tag few.

      I do appreciate the input the Gazette skeleton crew puts in to keep the site rolling, it can’t be easy, and I get a kick from all posters remaining.

    • BC (Because of the Cats) says:

      Hi Steve,
      I was very sorry to miss you last weekend. I did not attend the Summit per se, but dropped in to the Meet and Greet on Friday evening. I met Mike Boone, Ian, Mavid, and a few others, but was told you had already left. I had been looking forward to talking Habs with you. Hopefully next year.

      “We gotta lotta dep.”

      • 24 Cups says:

        Hi Jane – I was with my son-in-law who had never been to Montreal before so we had to balance out the visit in terms of Habland and taking in a world class city. Until next time!

      • myron.selby says:

        hey BC – I was looking for you on Saturday but was told (by Mavid) that you were only attending the Friday evening event. Anyway, I just wanted a chance to tell you in person how much I enjoy your posts. Don’t worry, I’m not a stalker or anything, just a fan.

    • Coach K says:

      These folks do a pretty good job keeping us entertained. Hats off to them I would say!

      -Adversity Does Not Build Character…it Reveals it-
      (James Lane Allen)

    • ebk says:

      Hey Steve,
      I enjoyed what they did last year as far as content went. This year it seems to be a bit off as far as quantity anyway. Don’t post much here anymore because the discussion has become fairly repetitive. All in all, though for a free site, They are doing a good job.

    • Luke says:

      It’s far more profitable these days to invent politically polarized fake news tailored to an emotionally charged, yet not too inquisitive, section of the population and post it on social media for the per click ad revenue.

      It’s sad, really.

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