Habs will open playoff series Wednesday night in Tampa

The Canadiens will open their first-round playoff series against the Lightning on the road Wednesday night in Tampa Bay.

The Lightning clinched home-ice advantage with a 1-0 shootout win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Lightning (46-27-9) finished the season with 101 points, one more than the Canadiens (46-28-8) to take second place in the Atlantic Division.

Lightning goalie Anders Lindback made 18 saves for the shutout and Matt Carle scored in the shootout to give Tampa Bay the victory. The Capitals and Alex Ovechkin will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Ovechkin, who was stopped on his shootout attempt Sunday, finishes the season with a league-leading 51 goals to go along with a minus-35.

Here’s a look at the schedule for the Lightning-Canadiens series:

Game 1: Wednesday, April 16 at Tampa, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Friday, April 18 at Tampa, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, April 20 at Montreal, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Tuesday, April 22 at Montreal, 7 p.m.
Game 5 (if necessary): Thursday April 24 at Tampa, 7 p.m.
Game 6 (if necessary): Sunday, April 27 at Montreal, TBD
Game 7 (if necessary): Tuesday, April 29 at Tampa, TBD.

All the games will be televised on CBC and RDS and be on TSN Radio 690.

Captain Brian Gionta’s shootout goal in overtime Saturday night at the Bell Centre gave the Canadiens a 1-0 win over the New York Rangers in their final regular-season game. It also allowed the Canadiens to finish the season with 100 points, their highest total since finishing first in the Eastern Conference in 2007-08 with 104 points.

The Canadiens were given the day off Sunday and will practise at 11 a.m. Monday in Brossard as they prepare for the playoffs.

 “The first goal is to make the playoffs and we achieved that,” Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges said after Saturday’s game. “That’s the first step out of the way. Now we enjoy this tonight, tomorrow, and then the real season starts.”

Added goalie Carey Price, who made 41 saves for his sixth shutout of the season: “We’re definitely proud of our season. We put a lot of effort in all season long. We stayed fairly consistent all year. And now the fun begins.”

And it will start in Tampa.

(Photo by Dario Ayala/The Gazette)

Lightning clinches home ice with shootout win, NHL.com

First-round playoff matchups set, NHL.com

NHL releases first-round playoff schedule, NHL.com

The Matchup: Montreal vs. Tampa Bay, Canadiens.com

Habs coach Therrien should be toast of the town, by Jack Todd

Gionta puts nice finishing touch on 100-point season, by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Gionta’s penalty shot beats Rangers in OT, by The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell

‘We’re definitely proud of our season,’ Price says, by Brenda Branswell 

Habs ready for battle, Canadiens.com

Canadiens vs. Rangers photo gallery, montrealgazette.com

There was a time when the Habs almost folded, by The Gazette’s Stu Cowan

April 13 marks 70th anniversary of Habs’ 1944 Cup win, Stu on Sports blog

Lightning gets home ice for first round, Tampa Bay Times

Lightning coach says Malone’s arrest won’t be a distraction, montrealgazette.com

947 Comments

  1. RetroMikey says:

    Boston will win the East.
    I find it amusing everyone thinks the Habs will prevail over them.
    It’s just like saying a team like Bosnia will prevail over Spain in the World Cup.
    Not a chance. Boston is one of the rare teams in the NHL that have 4 solid lines and combination of D to go along with their goalie, a total package.
    Montreal is still a team years away from being called a Cup Contender.
    I still like Anaheim in the West.
    But congrats to the team, the fans are happy for 2 home grames in Montreal, flags will be waving nationwide and as the saying goes after we get elimintated…”mission accomplished, wait until next year”
    I’ve heard this for many years.
    BIG IS BETTER!

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • Tomi says:

      How do our Leafs look for next year?

    • Psycho29 says:

      Hey I just downloaded the free Hab’s playoff media guide.
      Did you get yours?

      • Mattyleg says:

        MB just dropped mine over in person with some Timbits he picked up along the way.
        So thoughtful.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • RetroMikey says:

        Oh yeeaaaah, got the press notes as well all in PDF format from on a torrent site!
        Sshhhhhh!
        Don’t tell Dominick Saillant, Francois Marchand or Donald Beauchamp the team I got them, it’s illegal according to the club.

        “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • Mattyleg says:

      You lost me at ‘RetroMikey’.

      Big is better?
      See: Leafs, The Toronto Maple: Defence.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • RetroMikey says:

        Matty, the Habs D is small and fragile, we only have 1 solid line, a solid G (I hope), but you honestly think this team is going to beat Boston?
        Bet on the black and gold and make some money!

        “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

        • Mattyleg says:

          Our D is fragile?
          Markov didn’t miss a game this season (apart from being rested in the 2nd to last game). Gorges got hit in the hand with a puck. That’s not fragile, that’s physics.
          Murray is not fragile, nor is Bouillon.
          Emelin has come back from injury stronger than ever.
          And PK…?

          Dunno where you get that from.
          We have an amazing first line, an amazing 4th line, and an amazing shutdown line. The only thing we’re missing is guaranteed secondary scoring.

          Bruins are slow and scared.
          They don’t want to face us at all.
          Trust me.

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Retro! You never allow the number of times you’ve been completely wrong in your predictions here to temper the assurance with which you make the next ones!

          How do you call Montreal-Tampa?

    • jimmy shaker says:

      SO what series are you going to be watching or is the most intriguing for you?

      Shaker out

    • ont fan says:

      Well now that your hockey season is over, guess its baseball for you. Who’s your favourite team?

    • Black Horse says:

      Mikey

      You have a very short memory.

      The year the Broons won the “hand picked” Cup in 2011, Montreal took them to the 7th game in overtime. The Broons scored on a fluke defection.

      ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

      • RetroMikey says:

        Black horse, don’t look at the past, but the present and future.
        Bigger players tend to last long in physical, gruelling series than the smaller and fragile players.
        Playoffs tend to bring the best out of the bigger players.
        I hope I am wrong.
        Just the facts.

        “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      The Bruins have a very good Top 6-9, yet their 6 man D unit are SLOW and weak, and Rask has proven over and over that he saves them and makes them look good – even better than Price.

      Bruins stability, familiarity, and experience are big factors for that team.

      Without Rask, they are an average/slightly better than average team at best.

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      Oh, it’s you, Hi.

  2. habsguru says:

    Hartnell FINED $5000 for a spear…. what the??? Dougie gets 3 for the chicken wing, and Hartnell gets none for stabbing?

  3. shiram says:

    From Tsn:
    Canadiens’ public relations told media that Prust is currently not in game shape and is not guaranteed to play in the opener against the Lightning.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=449310

    • RetroMikey says:

      How could a guy be out of shape with he playoffs just starting?
      Maripier Morin must be pumping him up with some nice French cuisine. Mais oui, coquille St. Jacques et pomme frites!
      mmmmmm so good.

      “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  4. Black Horse says:

    Stamkos will be a non factor

    ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

  5. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Ill go Habs in 5

    Player of the series: Lars Eller.

  6. 24 Cups says:

    Here’s Monday’s practice lines as per TSN.

    Forwards:
    Pacioretty – Desharnais – Vanek
    Brière/Bourque – Plekanec – Gallagher
    Prust – Eller – Gionta
    Bournival – White – Weise
    Parros

    Defence:
    Markov – Emelin
    Gorges – Subban
    Bouillon – Weaver
    Murray – Tinordi

    Goaltenders:
    Price
    Budaj

    First Power Play:
    Pacioretty – Desharnais – Vanek
    Markov – Subban

    Second Power Play:
    Brière – Plekanec – Gallagher/Bourque
    Emelin – Gorges

    24.2 Cups

  7. C-Sword says:

    The Kings will beat the Sharks just like they did last year, I think it’ll be the most entertaining round 1 series. Lightning VS Habs is going to put me to sleep, very low scoring in the first few games with the last one being a blowout, the Bolts are taking this one, Habs’ defense is a mess. Like it or not, the Bruins are built to make it far in the playoffs, so happy that the Red Wings are in the East though. Blue Jackets might be the surprise this year. St-Louis has no chance, too many injuries, they ended their season with 6 straight losses.

  8. habsfan0 says:

    Is there any chance of Michel Therrien telling Subban something like this: “PK, I know I held you back during the regular season,but these are the playoffs. Play ANY way you see fit.”

    • bwoar says:

      “Hey PK, you’ve been playing below your abilities. You know what, just go nuts!”

      – said no coach, ever, beyond peewee

    • Black Horse says:

      Therrien: “PK I was wrong for treating U da way I did dis season. I am sorry. U R a torobred, (no dat is Carey) but UR da futur of dis team. I want U tu play da way U did last season. U ave my consent to go all out PK”

      ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

      • shlamiel says:

        Ur a DURAK.

        • Black Horse says:

          Wa?

          ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          That’s a pretty delicious-sounding term of abuse! But what does it mean, shlamiel? I got:

          - a Russian card game
          - Mustapha DURAK (born 13 August 1988) is a French professional footballer who plays for the Turkish club Gaziantepspor as a forward.
          - a small, heat-blasted rock lost in the blinding glare of the star Aralakh.
          - Durak is an Orsimer member of the Dawnguard. He joined the order to avenge the death of his two wives who were killed by vampires.
          - Durak (Betonung auf a; russisch: дурак = Dummkopf)

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Hey BH. You may have missed the long, long discussion on this a few weeks back. It was by no means clearcut, but I’d still humbly suggest deletion. That way, you can stick to the golden rule about only ever offending people on purpose! Just a suggestion.

  9. D Mex says:

    I wonder if Burke is listening to things that are being said about the lack of Laffs identity right now – they speak volumes about the absolute BS that he spewed there for years. Ditto Phaneuf and the stooge coach.

    ALWAYS Habs -
    D Mex

  10. Mattyleg says:

    Oh yeah, did you all see John Scott get laid out last night??

    Ka-PINGG! On the button, and the mighty have fallen!
    That was a GREAT way to end the season.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • shiram says:

      To be contrarian, here’s a picture of Scott with his daughter.
      http://i.imgur.com/7RXyk66.jpg

      • Mattyleg says:

        Awesome.
        I don’t hate individual hockey players.
        I even don’t dislike Chara as much as many people here, as I’ve met quite a few people who have said that he’s a good guy, and he does a ton of charity work in Boston.
        Who they are as people vs. who they are in their on-ice ‘personas’ are totally different things. Where I love to see Scott get decked in an on-ice fight, I’d hate to see anything happen to him in real life.

        You know how it is…
        Thanks for the photo, though, as a dad of two little girls, that’s amazing.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Habcouver says:

      I respect Johnson for stopping immediately when his punch hit the money spot.

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

  11. CJ says:

    Good morning folks.

    Enjoyed the Masters overall, but on a scale of 1-10 it was only a 5 for me. It lacked drama on the back nine and, in the absence of Phil, Tiger, Rory, it didn’t have the star power that I might have been hoping for. Love him or hate him, golf needs Tiger Woods until it can graduate the next phase of talented young players. We have gotten a glimpse of the future in Speith, but Tiger still carries the field and is the main draw.

    Tiger Woods is not unlike the star power that PK brings to a game. He is a polarizing young man who is equally revered and jeered. He brings people out of their seats and creates a buzz when the puck is on his stick. It has been a tough second half to the season for PK, so hoping that the playoffs provide a new lease on life and get him going. Struggling is struggling and there is not much more that needs to be said that hasn’t already been analyzed six ways to Sunday. Play aside, I thought the pass by on Saturday night was the low point of PK’s season. To re-watch the video and hear the MSG broadcast make fun of PK stung, if only because I thought the exact same thing.

    People wonder why I comment on PK, or perhaps am harder on him than others. Fact is, I have spent a tremendous amount of time defending the player, especially within the hockey community in Ottawa. I have always thought, up to this point, that he held more all around value than Karlsson and have taken his side any time that his name has come up. I have felt, up to this point, that I have been able to effectively defend his actions, however the play on Saturday is not something that I can support. Sorry to be so candid, but that is not a reflection of strong character. Equally concerning were the multiple cross checks he laid on Dorsett earlier in the game, then proceeded to turtle when Dorsett came up swinging. When he (PK) realized he got a penatly on the play, he looked at the ref with a sort of grin on his face. It was all very strange to me.

    Moving from the front nine to the back nine, allow me to quickly comment on the line configurations at practice today; In short, I like the forward groups Max-DD-Vanek, Briere-Pleks-Galley, Prust-Eller-Gionta, Bournival-White-Weise. I like that Bourque is out and I like that Briere is in the top six. He is a playoff specialist and I am expecting big things. I think Gionta on the third line helps to create a mismatch (to our advantage).

    I do not like the defence pairings, but it became evident three weeks ago that Therien was going to go with age and experience (trust), rather than youth, skill and risk. Again, I don’t agree with Frankie over Tinordi, but come Wednesday night you can bet I will be cheering the team on.

    Lastly, and I try and always end on a positive note, I want to once again give a shout out to Frankie for jumping in on Dorsett. Frankie, although not the player he once was, can never be accused of taking a shift off. He is a warrior and brings everything he has to the game. You want to talk about character, it starts and ends with Frankie Bouillion. I may not agree with him in the lineup, but I tip my hat to him for his actions on Saturday night.

    Just some random thoughts from the peanut gallery. Have a great day everyone! Cheers, CJ

    • stevieray says:

      Bubba …balling…nuff said !

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      Always a good read CJ.

    • frontenac1 says:

      Un melee a Jonquiere hier soir amigo!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmQxCPf8JSM

      • monmick says:

        That is pretty pathetic stuff; sad really…

        I don’t know where the line is concerning hockey and fighting, but that is clearly over the line.

        ~~~> Mathematically eliminated…

    • bwoar says:

      You’ve got some great balance to your comments CJ, another good post. You do a much better job at mentioning Subban’s troubles more delicately than I do. Luckily we’ve made the playoffs and he’s got a change to show us another side to his game: the sure-handed, opportunistic, goal scoring PP threat we’ve seen in previous post-seasons.

    • UKRAINIANhab says:

      Agree about the first paragraph about the Masters. Was not a good one this year

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Hey CJ.
      Aren’t there certain players whose coaches invest huge time and energy into drumming it into them that they are not to fight under any circumstances? Could that be part of the story here?

      • Paz says:

        Or maybe it has something to do with Subban being benched last time he punched a Flyer in the face.

        What bothers people, Mike, is Subban.

        No matter what he does, unless he drops them and proves he’s an NHL fighter, these posters will call him out.

        They would rather have Subban go down like Moen, concussed, but at least defending his teammate.

        It’s all part of the hockey culture, the hockey mentality, the Code of Conduct.

        And so it goes……

      • CJ says:

        I totally agree with PK not fighting. I have no issue with him leaving the issue for someone else, the same way I have no issue with the others players on the ice not jumping Dorsett.

        The issue I have with this particular play is PK staking up to Dorsett, faking like he was going to drop his gloves, than skate away. What is that? Nobody else on the ice did that. Heck, how many players in hockey do that?

        Again, to be very clear, I have no issue with PK not fighting. That is not his job. I do have an issue with the theatrics though.

        Paz, I invite you to review my comments. It has nothing to do with the “code.” It has everything to do with maturity and character. There were other players on the ice who did not fight. I have no issue with any of them.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Gotcha CJ. And apologies — picked up so much speed ripping through your golf paragraph (sorry! non-golfer!) that I went too fast through your PK comment!

          Yes, it was a puzzling moment. He IS a “messer”, as they might say over here, and thought nothing of it, nor thought through how it would look if he mimicked an initiation and then departed the scene before someone else actually engaged Dorsett. There would have been no issue here if Frankie — nor anyone else — had moved on Dorsett.

  12. habs-fan-84 says:

    For the first time in a generation we have 30+ goal scorer, a Norris winning defenseman (who admittedly hasn’t had the greatest year) and a Vezina caliber goaltender.

    We also have a bunch of other potential future great players (Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Tinordi, Beaulieu etc.).

    All the above have been drafted by the Habs and brought through the system.

    I absolutely love this version of the Montreal Canadiens. Most exciting team we’ve had in a generation IMO.

    Can’t wait for Wednesday!
    GO HABS GO!!

  13. D Mex says:

    Mike Johnson weighing in on the Shanahan hiring in TO – in a nutshell, he doesn’t think his presence will filter down to the players anytime soon.

    It’s interesting that Shanahan was able to get the big job, with overall responsibility for all things Laffs, answering only to circus ownership, whereas Linden, who is touted as an icon in Vancouver, accepted (or settled for) less in Vancouver. Simply an observation, I really could not be more indifferent toward either franchise …

    ALWAYS Habs -
    D Mex

  14. stevieray says:

    Now that was a earth shattering Press Conference on TSN ….One big hug fest !…so big Tim is the only one allowed to use term ” Shanny ” …Also why does Nonis looks like he always has a fart stuck sideways …

  15. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    Can’t believe the Blues’ late season collapse. Lose 6 in a row and go from meeting the Wild to meeting the defending champs. What a reversal of fortune!

    • monmick says:

      Hitchcock is one of those coaches that, inevitably, the players turn against. I wonder whether the Blues have reached that point…

      ~~~> Mathematically eliminated…

  16. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    I keep on reading that TB was 3-0-1 against the Habs. People seem to forget that means the Habs were 1-1-2 against TB. Not exactly a lopsided series. Especially when you remove St. Louis from the equation.

  17. boing007 says:

    Barry Trotz (sp?) fired.

    Richard R

  18. Mattyleg says:

    It’s been a crazy old season.
    A friend was saying recently that we’ve done well this year, but it hasn’t really felt like it.
    Below, Shiram said that it has been hard to connect with this year’s team.

    I think it has to do with people’s tendency to focus and dwell on the negative.

    Even in games we won well, many people complained about the way PK was coached, or how weak a certain defenceman was, or how underperforming certain forwards were.

    This comes, I believe, from the ever-intensifying media focus on the Canadiens, and on hockey in general.

    If everything is going well, there’s nothing to write/talk about. Look at how slow things got on HI/O during our winning streak. There were only a handful of posts every day, and often they weren’t even about hockey… because there was nothing to discuss. More of the same please, was the attitude.

    But the media can’t survive in an environment like that. All it took was one loss, and the knives were back out of storage, as sharp as ever, and suddenly there were big, big problems to discuss, mull over, argue about, and generate clicks/entertain consumers with.

    We have a good team this year. Many sources have gone on about what a good vibe there is in the Habs’ dressing room, that the players are all there for each other (something that I believe had been missing in the past, and is very undervalued), and that there is an excellent leadership core in all areas.

    This has been proven by our gut-check comebacks, and our overall resilience.

    The one thing that the Habs are missing, come to think of it, is a media babe. What I mean is someone who is clever and camera-friendly à la Hal Gill. PK is a camera-whore, everyone knows that, and some find it a bit too much (doesn’t bother me!); Gorges takes a lot of interviews, but he’s very serious; Gionta is soft-spoken; Prust has it, but isn’t interviewed much… Maybe that’s what has made this year’s team hard to connect with.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • boing007 says:

      Like a See Saw. Up, down all around…

      Richard R

    • HabinBurlington says:

      No offence Matty but I disagree. I am very optimistic about this team, I like where it is going. But I think if the team loses in round 1 that is underachieving, because we have a good team assembled. That is a positive thought, not a negative one. There is also nothing wrong or negative about expecting “some” playoff success, I again think that is positive.

      If this group of talent presently assembled cannot win a playoff series (two years in succession) then there needs to be more tweaking done in order to make the team better.

      I think that next tweak would be a coaching change. However, i will enjoy the playoffs, cheer like crazy, hope the team does well and that we don’t need to discuss tweaking.

      I really hope this isn’t too negative of a post.

      • shiram says:

        Yup with the players on the team, I feel like losing in round is definitely a big disappointment.
        Great post Burly.

      • Mattyleg says:

        Hey Burl, I’m not offended at all, but I don’t really know what you’re disagreeing with. I’m not saying anything about the playoffs in this post.

        And I am not talking about coaching either.

        I’m talking about the ‘feel’ of this year’s team in general.

        I don’t really know where you’re getting the rest of that stuff from!

        I think we should win the first round too, and also wouldn’t be surprised if there was a change (coaching probably) if we don’t show up. Losing against the Bolts shouldn’t (I believe) be a terrible disappointment, because they are an extremely good team, similar to us in lots of ways. We’re well matched, and I think the series could go either way, with us having the slight advantage.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • Paz says:

          Everyone knows that Subban is a media whore?
          Ok.
          But it doesn’t bother you?
          Ok.

          Matty, some people like Subban. Believe it or not. We don’t see him as a media whore. We see him in a positive way, always giving credit to his teammates, always being humble, always representing the team in a respectful and classy manner.

          You write this stuff, “everyone” knows that Subban is a media whore as if it is a given, a fact.

          You are dead wrong here. Dead wrong.

          • Mattyleg says:

            AGHH!!

            Did I say ‘media-whore’?
            No I did not.
            I said ‘camera’.

            What I mean by that is that, as every media person has said, PK hasn’t met a camera he hasn’t liked. Which means that he likes being filmed, interviewed, and looked at. There’s nothing wrong with that.

            I don’t have a problem with that. Some people find it a bit much. I don’t.
            I used that term in an affectionate way that may not have come across as intended.

            I love Subban. And I agree with your assessment of him.

            I would be dead wrong if I said that he was a media whore. He’s not.

            Please read more accurately, and don’t be so defensive.
            You don’t need to defend PK to me, Ed.

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Rad says:

      You make an interesting point. Habs player interviews are usually either nodescript (Plekanec, Briere, Pacioretty) or they come off sounding too young (Gallagher, White, Tinordi). I think Lars Eller is well-spoken, but he needs to up his play/production to become a more credible voice for the team.

  19. habsfan0 says:

    Tim Leiweke said he “wasn’t really happy” the way the Leafs season ended.
    Funny,but I had a big smile on my face.

  20. Black Horse says:

    Chuck Norris says the Habs will beat Tampa

    http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Chuck-Norris-Election-Ad-620×341.jpg

    ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

  21. habsfan0 says:

    Brendan Shanahan currently being introduced as new head of Barnum & Bailey Circus.

  22. shiram says:

    I think it’s cool we finished the regular season on a penalty shot goal from the Captain.
    I would mind seeing the playoff ended by a goal the same guy.

  23. Black Horse says:

    Question:

    Where are we meeting in Montreal in June before the parade?

    ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

  24. HabinBurlington says:

    Tampa will provide a very difficult test for the Habs. If, IF the Habs can get past them, the team will be brimming with confidence and I think the team will make noise.

    Just getting past T-Bay will be a very difficult test. Sound defensively (regardless of ginormous goalie), disciplined, well coached, star studded goal scorer. The Habs can win, but must be excellent and I believe MT needs a playoff series win to secure his future employment.

    Finishing high two seasons in a row with no playoff success is not acceptable, IMO. (Cue Timo to then cheer for Tampa :) )

    • Timo says:

      Timo won’t cheer got Tampa, but cue Timo saying “I told you so re Therrien”. Totally expect him to blow the series once again.

    • shiram says:

      Yup Therrien and his assistant need to put their strats in overdrive, Bergevin got them Vanek and good depth at most positions.

      If the coaching staff fails to impress, I too feel they might have their jobs on the line.

      And as Seps has posted way below, they have a good record, but there are troubling trends/stats for the team.

      • Cal says:

        You can find the negative in anything. This is the time of year to forget about coaching and player changes that can’t be made and actually cheer for the team without reservation.

        • shiram says:

          I want to be more confident, but it’s tough to connect with this year’s team.

          • Cal says:

            What’s not to like?
            Speed, skill, awesome goaltending, 2 above average Dmen. Loads of character. Coming through when we least expect it.
            Getting Vanek and the Dream Weaver.

          • shiram says:

            They don’t seem to play up to their talent level all the time, they seem to rely too heavily on Price, the attack is a definite weak spot.
            They don’t play entertainingly either, well most of the time anyways.

            It feels to me like something is off, but they managed to win in spite of that in the Reg.

      • Mattyleg says:

        It’s going to be an interesting one, because if the Habs have any trouble, many fans are going to want to pin it directly on Therrien’s head.

        I wonder where the line is; that is to say, where the coach’s influence ends and the responsibility of the players begins…

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Matty, easier to fire a coach than 30 players. Eventually this team has to win in the playoffs, that is the goal for all teams. One day MT will be fired, it is inevitable.

        • shiram says:

          I don’t like Therrien, but I try to be objective.

          Yes, he got the team to the playoffs, a great finish in the standings for the regular season.

          24th for shots for, 9 highest shots allowed (add in the tons of blocked shots and this gets ridiculous!), PP is dropping and struggling, not too good on scoring 5 on 5.
          Penalty kill is good though.
          And so is Price, who’s had a major hand in the team’s finish.

          Another disappointing first round finish would indeed call for some change, especially considering last season’s debacle.

          Players are going to be assessed as well, DD, Max, Gally, Eller, Brière, Plekanec etc… all have to show they can bring that little extra for the playoffs.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I am in agreement with you shiram.

          • Mattyleg says:

            I agree too.
            I just wonder where the line is.
            For fans and for the GM.
            Therrien can coach like a madman, but if certain players get the playoff jitters, there’s not much he can do about that.

            -edit- Similarly, if all the players show up pumped, but the coaching staff cocks it all up, then they’re the ones holding the bag!

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • Cal says:

          Timo believes that MT and MB control the players like marionettes. I have a feeling the players blow coverage and eff up plays all on their own.

    • habsfan0 says:

      The 1st round of the playoffs always seems to be rife with upsets every year.
      Even the eventual Stanley Cup champions of that particular season seem to have their hardest time during the opening series.
      However, I’m fairly confident in picking the Habs over the Bolts.
      Why,even Rob Ford is picking Montreal over Tampa.
      That’s good enough for me.

      • Black Horse says:

        Everyone in the Hockey World said Montreal would not even make the spring dance. So, will it be considered an upset when the Habs beat Tampa

        ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

  25. Luke says:

    Spieth.

    Woo! Awesome tourney!

    I am very proud to have randomly decided to cheer for him based on no actual reason or knowledge.

  26. jrs10069 says:

    Hit on Sedin was not that bad, more from the side then from behind. Given how important the game wasn’t, he should have eased up but still not that brutal.

    Loved the Selanne / Giguere skate around, good to see the pals having fun.

    Looking fwd to Det knocking off Boston and the Rangers taking care of Philly. Should be fun.

    jrs10069

  27. Black Horse says:

    Everyone stop what you are doing, clear your mind and close your eyes and repeat after me –

    Uhmmmmm …………. Habs will beat Tampa, Habs will beat Tampa
    Uhmmmmm …………. Habs will beat Tampa, Habs will beat Tampa
    Uhmmmmm …………. Habs will beat Tampa, Habs will beat Tampa

    Do this every morning for 5 mins when you wake up. How can Our Habs lose with such positive vibes all around?

    Strength in numbers!

    ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      (Pauline Marois needs you!)

      I am actually trying to IGNORE your pumped-up posts, Black Horse! I can’t afford to get so psyched in the middle of the day, trying to get things done (ok, not trying too hard). But you’re making it difficult!

      HIO needs to be careful if you and Sholi ever get together!

  28. habkin says:

    I forget my prediction the other day…I think I had the Habs in 5. I believe the Habs were in cruise control the last 2 weeks but will come out blazing for the playoffs. I believe that Montreal’s D should chip the puck out using the glass during Tampa’s forecheck to spring a few two on ones. That would keep Tampa’s players honest not forechecking so deep. Or better support with quick passes but that could lead to turnovers. The Hab’s D need to keep it simple.

  29. Maritime Ronn says:

    Has the NHL seen the last of Alex Ovechkin?

    Here’s believing Ovie will try and get out of his contract this summer and join the KHL – and that may be a big blessing in disguise for the Caps.
    He is still owed another $70M for the next 7 years, and that team is going nowhere with Ovie wearing the C, and killing every coach that comes through the door.

    So why would he leave?
    At 28 years old, he has already collected $65M USD before taxes.

    Salaries in the KHL?
    “Sports.ru has revealed the list of the 90 highest-paid KHL players. Ilya Kovalchuk tops the list at $10.3 million per year (in USD). Alexander Radulov – $7.5 million per season.”
    Tax Rate in Russia?
    13% on Income and Capital Gains – 9% on dividend income.
    Money would not be an issue.

    Personal life: He is also due to marry fellow Russian tennis star Maria Kirilenko whose best days are probably behind her.
    Perhaps they want to start a family.
    He was also very adamant about playing in the Olympics even if the NHL had decided to opt out.

    It would be hard to fault any player or person that wants to return to his country of birth/family/friends and be able to earn an equal to, or better living.
    Most Canadians would feel, and most probably do the same.
    Lastly, the ugly country politics that have reared their head in the past few years….

    • Cal says:

      $10.3 mill is a lot for some guy to stand at the top of the face off circle and shoot when the puck shows up.
      Hope he goes to the KHL. He doesn’t add to the show any more.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Depending on what happens in front office, and given the precedent set in letting Kovalchuk walk away, who knows. I would have never thought this possible, but perhaps this could happen as you point out Ronn. Sadly the worst part is that, the NHL may not even miss him that much. Funny thing is, in the NBA he would be lauded for MVP every season, as that sport has far less demands of defence from super stars. The truly greats in the NBA provide both, but many an NBA star has played defence in the Ovie model.

  30. Strummer says:

    Most of the analysts I’ve seen in the last week calling for the Habs to win.
    Jamal Myers on the NHL Network
    Jeff O’Neil on TSN
    Chris Stevenson in Sun media
    They all mention Price as the difference-maker.

    Carey Price “The Differentiator”
    ____________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

    • Mattyleg says:

      That’s the kiss ‘o death, right there.

      How many of these same experts pegged us to be struggling for a wild-card spot at the end of the season?
      How many said we wouldn’t get in at all?

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • Strummer says:

        It’s a new season Matty and there’s a just-completed body of work (the season) with which to make more accurate predictions. ____________________________________________________
        “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

    • Lafleurguy says:

      No margin for error. In 82 games, we only scored 11 more goals than the opp’s. Recalling the many spectacular and good games Pricey and Bood’s had…..aww, forget the rationality, Go Habs, Go!

  31. HabinBurlington says:

    So evidently calling Pierre MacGuire by his name Regis can get you kicked out of a hockey games these days.

    http://nesn.com/2014/04/penguins-fan-says-he-was-kicked-out-of-game-for-pierre-mcguire-sign-photo/

  32. rhino514 says:

    Habs got lucky for once for their draw in the playoffs, with the Bishop injury. If they had Bishop AND home-ice, though we like to look at the team through rose-coloured glasses sometimes, the fact is, it would have been a toss-up. As long as they don´t have really bad luck or their goalie pulls a steve Penney, they will win.
    We aren´t supposed to win the second round, but we do have a chance against the B´s, if they beat Detroit. We ALWAYS have a chance against Boston. If Detroit somehow beat Boston and got healthier for the seond round, I would fear them as well, just because they have so much playoff experience. I actually would feel confident against the five other teams in the conference; these teams are probably the scariest.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Lindback had a losing record and a GAA in the 3′s, until the Bishop injury. He and a cameo by Gudlevskis got the Lightning enough points to finish ahead of the Habs (plus excellent goaltending by Crawford, and passable goaltending by Nabokov).

    • Congrats to Team Canada says:

      I believe the same overconfident analysis was quite widely used last season, when Montreal hardly got a single win against Ottawa, and Price’s injury came back to haunt him.

      Any reason to believe why history couldnt repeat itself, T.Bay is just as good, if not better than last years Senators also.

  33. HabinBurlington says:

    Okay, our chance to infiltrate the GTA Radio Sports Scene with subliminal Hab programming!

    Apply for this job Habs fans! (Don’t show up to interview with Habs Hat)

    http://www.sholdmediagroup.com/job-alert/

  34. Ian Cobb says:

    Detroit will beat Boston!
    Hab’s will play Detroit!, after 6 games with Tampa!

    It is written, So let it be done!

  35. boing007 says:

    Wings vs Bruins don’t have their first game until Friday. Boo!

    Richard R

  36. B says:

    Markov led the team in TOI, +/- and blocked shots.

    –Go Habs Go!–

  37. Black Horse says:

    “There may be more eyes within Canada watching our games. In Canada, they have their loyalties to their local teams, but come playoff time, the whole country rallies around because they want to see a Stanley Cup come back to Canada.” – Josh Gorges

    “For us, being the only one, we’ll probably have some of Canada on our side. Some of them will still hate us.” – Brendan Gallagher.

    Don’t count on it josh!

    I agree with Gally’s last statement!

    ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

  38. rljmartin says:

    PP has to work in the playoffs. For me the most frustrating aspect is gaining the zone. Why is this so problematic for Habs?…. What a headache! NEVER agree with dump and chase on the PP…. You have the puck and an extra man so you give up the puck to try and win it back?

  39. kalevine says:

    the best players have to be best in the playoffs. To me that means we need very strong performances from most and preferably all of these or things will end up like last year:

    Plekanec
    Markov
    Subban
    Pacioretty
    Vanek
    Price

    bonuses: Gallagher, Briere, Murray

    potential surprises: Weise, Eller, Emelin, Weaver

  40. HabinBurlington says:

    Anybody see Torts comments regarding Hartley after the game yesterday? Have to admit, I have never liked Hartley and agree with Torts on this one, but given Fonzie’s present day predicament not sure he has much leverage on this topic. Especially after his dressing room reality show “Dressing Room Swap”

    http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/video-john-tortorella-not-happy-with-bob-hartley

    • New says:

      You have to say one thing, Torts is interesting. Still, there are only 14 teams in the West and the bottom four are Winnipeg, Van, Calgary, and Edmonton. Anyone recall Winnipeg’s huge turn around when they fired the coach? Un-huh. Problem isn’t with the coaches it is just easier to fire a couple suits than it is to admit your cherished big dollar assets are less “ets” and more liability.

  41. Sportfan says:

    If Montreal beats Tampa who do you want Boston, or Detroit? Obvious pick, Boston, cause this team can actually knock off the Bruins, I believe it 100%.

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

  42. Sportfan says:

    ACC to still be used for the post season, not the NHL of course :P The Raptors might go two rounds.

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

  43. Butterface says:

    5 to 3 choosing Tampa.

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs/2014/story/_/id/10730797/experts-picks

    No respect.

    ***********************
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…..
    ***********************

    • Sportfan says:

      Who were the experts making this point?

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

    • kalevine says:

      all the Tampa win predictions have the series going 7, so they are probably saying home ice decides. To be realistic, if the Habs are going to win it will have to be a long series. I don’t see them mowing over the Lightning, but, as we have seen before, if things go south for the Habs, it could be a short series in Tampa’s favor. I’m hoping we see the team playing its best.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        If somehow we break their excellent forecheck once or twice and score game-changing goals, and if Tampa elects to pull back the forecheck a little, how good is their Plan B (or their modified Plan A)?

        In basketball, best way to dissuade the other team from using a full-court press is to bust it once or twice for a couple of easy fast-break baskets. Comparable?

        • kalevine says:

          sounds reasonable…I know even less about bball than about hockey, but at least I don’t pretend to know something about it like I do with hockey!

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Hey, I pretended to know about basketball when I was coaching it!

          • kalevine says:

            but seriously, it sounds like you are saying opportunism is the key. Break that tough forecheck once or twice at key points and you could send them scrambling. There was a stretch there where the Habs were really capitalizing on chances, but needless to say the last 2 games have been brutal in that regard. Successful teams in the playoffs don’t necessarily score a lot but they do when they need to, and they are a joy to watch. That’s the team I want to show up.

  44. Sportfan says:

    This could be a good year playoff wise, but the Habs and the fans shouldn’t get over confident with the first round match up. They don’t have Bishop, but they have Stamkos and we need to pray their goalie doesn’t become an Irbe or Ward. Either way I can’t wait till Wednesday GO HABS GO

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

    • Black Horse says:

      I think the guys learned from last season playoffs. They know what they have to do to get the job done this time around & they will Get Er Done …

      ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

  45. HabinBurlington says:

    Testing new Playoff Gravatar.

    Evidently more time required.

    Got it! Thanks Paul Mara for your contribution!

  46. Black Horse says:

    Carey Price really wants it this season!

    ” and the fun begins” – Carey Price

  47. Sportfan says:

    I never understand why the NHL gives more than one day off during the playoffs, have they not realized by June that a fair bit of people get tired of hockey?

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

  48. Bash says:

    Some interesting comments about the bloodsport/hits from behind reality of the NHL today.

    Has the NHL deliberately chosen profit (based on their perception of audience) over player safety and has the player’s union bought in? Yes and yes.

    Is the NHL obligated to act as the primary steward of hockey and as such do they have a moral responsibility to clean up the league and thus inspire young players to act responsibly. No and no.

    But we as ordinary citizens do have the responsibility to make the sport safe for our kids ( and sadly also beer leaguers) by demanding that the NHL clean up its act. Accepting that a 12 year old may suffer a concussion because that is what “Canadian” hockey is all about and being bullied by the “Don’t be a wuss…join the chess club if you don’t like it,” neanderthals is hardly accepting responsibility. The NHL provides the images which “developing” minds perceive as normal and acceptable. We have to pressure them to change.

    How? Perhaps the voice of minor hockey through Hockey Canada can be heard. That is if we can quiet the old school minor coaches and organizers who will resist.

    What camp are you in? Do you love Don and Rock ‘em Sock ‘em? Did you buy them for your kids? Have you watched replays of Lindross, Kariya etc getting crushed because they were “beauty hits ?

    Would you rather watch Habs/Wings or Philly/Bruins?

    Okay I’m rambling now…

    “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

  49. habsfan0 says:

    Predictions are for gypsies.
    Nevertheless,here are mine:
    Montreal over Tampa Bay
    Detroit over Boston
    Columbus over Pittsburgh
    Philadelphia over Rangers
    Chicago over St. Louis
    Colorado over Minnesota
    Anaheim over Dallas
    San Jose over LA

    • AliHaba says:

      Good picks…mostly. I think the Pens will prevail against Columbus and don’t be surprised if the Wild send Colorado packing.

    • Cal says:

      Have to do it with number of games.
      Montreal in 6
      Boston in 7
      Columbus in 6
      Rangers in 7
      Chicago in 7
      Colorado in 6
      Anaheim in 5
      LA in 7

      Will copy and paste my Kreskin predictions and see how badly they turn out in two weeks.

    • JF says:

      Some of these are daring. Detroit over Boston is a long shot with Tuukka Rask in goal and the Bruins’ depth at every position.

      Columbus have lost every game they’ve played against Pittsburgh this season. But with Fleury in goal and apparently rounding into playoff form…. Also, I think Dan Bylsma is very over-rated as a coach.

      Although no one is talking about them, the Rangers IMO are a seriously good team and could win the East. Not sure about the Flyers’ goaltending.

      St. Louis are certainly in trouble. Even when they get their players back, it’ll take them a few games to regain their timing and sharpness. I wonder if Ryan Miller is not after all the answer in goal, although he can’t be blamed for yesterday’s loss.

      Colorado will probably beat Minnesota and Anaheim Dallas, but I have a feeling San Jose’s lack of success in the post-season will continue.

      How do you figure the Habs will beat the Lightning when they have no powerplay and can’t score 5-on-5?

      Notice I make no actual predictions. So much of what happens is unpredictable. But I’m very worried about our series and think it likely we’ll lose in six unless we can get the powerplay going and find some secondary scoring.

      • Lafleurguy says:

        Your nervousness is palpable, JF. At this time of the season, it’s OK to suspend rationality, and cheer like a UConn pep rally attendee.

        • JF says:

          I’m cheering as hard as I can, but I may be too nervous to actually watch. Price has been lights out this year, but we can’t expect him to shut the Bolts out every game. If the Lightning succeed in shutting down our top line (which hasn’t scored in the last three games, during which we’ve scored a total of three goals), and if we can’t get the powerplay going, that’ll be all it takes.

          • Lafleurguy says:

            Have to confess, when the team struggles and looks totally stymied, I walk away from the TV. Excluding the first two periods in Chicago, the team’s offense looked bad the last three games for sure, JF.

      • Cal says:

        Since Vanek’s arrival, the Habs have scored 2 5on5 for every 1 allowed.
        Have the Habs been playing possum or are they already roadkill?
        We’ll find out soon enough.
        We shouldn’t worry over an event that we have absolutely no control over. We should be celebrating the Playoff Season before us.

  50. Black Horse says:

    Are We ready to RUMBLE?

    I can’t hear you soldiers!

    ARE WE READY TO RUMBLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ???

    Monteal Canadiens in 6!

    And dats da facts Jack!

    Price won Gold, time to bring home Silver.
    I Believe in this Team!

  51. Hstands4Hockey says:

    Anyone know where I can download an excel file with nhl rosters (with stats)???

    Playoff Pool Time!!

    ——————————————————————–
    Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
    @Hstands4Hockey

  52. 24 Cups says:

    Cooper vs. Therrien

    Hedman vs. Subban

    Bishop vs. Price

    Stamkos vs. Vanek/MaxPac

    Callahan vs. Gionta

    Carle vs. Markov

    Brewer/Gudas vs. Gorges/Emelin

    Johnson vs. Gallagher

    Palat vs. ???

    24.2 Cups

  53. Maritime Ronn says:

    Regarding the Habs Power play.

    Some interesting numbers when the Habs Power Play of this year is compared to last year.

    Last year in a 48 game schedule:
    The Habs scored 42 PP goals on 203 opportunities.
    Markov had 8 PP goals while Subban had 7 PP goals.
    Markov-Subban combined for 36% of all Habs PP goals scored.
    Habs ranked 5th in the NHL for PP.
    Habs only gave up 2 short handed goals against.

    This year in an 82 games schedule:
    The Habs scored 48 goals on 279 opportunities.
    Markov had 2 PP goals while Subban had 4 PP goals.
    Markov-Subban combined for 12% of Habs PP goals.
    Habs ranked 19th in the NHL for PP
    Habs gave up 8 short handed goals against.

    It’s quite obvious what happened.
    The smart opposing coaches with the help of video gurus, took away the Habs PP force – that being General Markov on the point, and not allowing Subban to tee up his 1-timers.

    The Habs were then forced to try and work the puck down low, and that was something foreign to the PP chosen players.

    Perhaps that is some of the cause of frustration by Subban and him trying to do too much to help the team….and trying to pull a Bobby Orr going end to end – while teammates wait at the opposing blue line, is not the answer and only adds to the Unit frustration.

    I don’t know how much freedom Subban is given in the O zone on a PP, yet he needs to be let loose and allow his creativity to work – and that may be leaving the point position and sneaking towards the net at the right times.

    With a 19th ranked ‘ 5X5 goals for/goals against’ ratio, the Habs will need to find their Power Play.

    • 24 Cups says:

      If the Habs want to win this series, then MT is going to have to think outside the box. One of the things that has to be changed is finding a way for Briere to be part of the PP.

      As well, the team must prepare for the fore-check onslaught that is coming their way.

      Teams that win playoff series utilize their best players to the max. LA and Chicago were prime examples of that. That means Therrien must unleash MaxPac, Vanek and Subban. Double shift them so they get ice time with Briere and Markov.

      24.2 Cups

  54. habsfan0 says:

    45 years ago today,Monday April 14,1969, the Montreal Expos played the 1st MLB game outside the United States, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 8-7 at Jarry Park. Both the Montreal Star and the Gazette had extensive coverage of this historic sporting event.
    Time moves on.

  55. 24 Cups says:

    I wish this guy was my teacher in high school. He loves to give out inflated marks.

    http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/call-of-the-wilde-habs-final-regular-season-report-card-1.1774025

    24.2 Cups

  56. 24 Cups says:

    While his regular season points have gone down in each of the last four years, Danny Briere is still a playoff warrior. In the last five years, he has 28 playoff goals and 56 playoff points (a 1.10 points per game average, fifth best in the league). And in his last playoff appearance, Briere put up eight goals and 13 points in just 11 games. He’s a step slower now and adverse to hits and defensive duties, but he was signed to give Montreal an edge in the playoffs. He’s basically here to replace Ryder in that regard. The only question is how much ice and PP time he will get.

    24.2 Cups

    • AliHaba says:

      Right on about Briere. He gives the Habs a little extra something. What that something is, we’re soon going to find out.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Ok, brace position, Ryder fans.

      Whether or not Briere lives up to his playoff reputation, I believe that he will work hard to help the Montreal Canadiens do as well as possible in the playoffs.

      In this way, whether he still has it in him or not, he is a 100% upgrade on Ryder, who always looks like he works at nothing except to be in position for someone else to set him up with a sniping opportunity. If he scores he justifies collecting his pay-cheque.

      So, 24, Briere is one of the interesting sub-plots of the 2014 playoffs. Fingers crossed.

    • Phil C says:

      It is not realistic to think Briere will suddenly turn it on in the playoffs. As a third or fourth line player, he simply will not have the opportunities or the linemates to produce. If we get 0.5 PPG out of him in the playoffs, I will be thrilled.

      • 24 Cups says:

        It’s up to MT to find the ice time for Briere.

        24.2 Cups

        • HabsFanInTampa says:

          umm, no actually. It’s up to Briere to play better so he gets more ice time.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Maybe we can’t be sure that Briere is on the same earn-your-ice-time programme as some of the other players. Couldn’t he be on a different plan altogether?

            Are you actually in Tampa? How much are tickets and are you going and will you wear something loud and distinctive so we can all see you?

        • HabsFanInTampa says:

          Yes, I’m actually in Tampa, been here for 13 years. All the good seats are sold out. But, I found two nosebleed standing room tickets at the box office for $25 each. Going to take my nephew who’s a big Stamkos fan. (sigh).

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Excellent! Enjoy. Hey, it’s hard not to be a Stamkos fan. I actually believe (and one of the well-traveled posters like CJ might be able to confirm) that Tampa is one of those hot-climate US hockey markets that has actually taken to the game (even if led there by Canadian expats). Along with LA, perhaps, and compared to Phoenix and the Panthers.

            You must have been there for the Stanley Cup….

      • AliHaba says:

        He’ll have 2 out of Gionta, Eller, Prust, Bournival, Bourque, or Weise. If he has any skill left at all he should be able to make it work with some of these guys.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Glass half-full: he should be fresh, at least!

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Cups

      I hope you are right, yet that playoff performance was 2 years ago and a few concussions ago.

      At that time, Briere also played an average of 17:44/game in the playoffs with Philly and was the 5th highest forward for PP minutes played.

      In the 2 playoff years before that, Briere was a + 20 minute man.

      With the Habs this year, his time is way down and he has been only the #7 forward for total playoff minutes played.

      A lot would have to change in terms of minutes opportunities for Briere to even come close to his past performances.
      Will he be given those opportunities?

      • 24 Cups says:

        Ronn – I’m not a Therrien basher. However, my gut feeling is that he may not be able to move away from his conservative tendencies. I think it’s time for Montreal to shake it up a bit but that may not happen. Tampa has been consistent throughout the year and Cooper is a sharp cookie. Montreal also doesn’t have anyone who comes near to a talent such as Stamkos.

        We can write posts here all day but for Montreal it’s quite simple – Carey Price has to keep standing on his head.

        24.2 Cups

    • HabsFanInTampa says:

      Let’s see what he (Briere) does starting Wednesday before we say “he’s still a playoff warrior”

  57. Paz says:

    Anyone watch NCAA this past week?

    Mostly 23 and 24 year olds, full cages, no fighting, no hitting from behind or you’re thrown out of the game and your team has to kill a 5 minute major.

    Wow!

    Some great hockey, for sure! Up and down, great tempo, amazing intensity.

    Absolutely loved it!

    The NHL has nothing on these guys. I would rather pay 25 dollars and watch this hockey, than 100 or 200 and watch the NHL.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      “You eat quiche.”

      “No one’s stopping you — go and watch it.”

      “College hockey is for girls. Both playing and watching.”

      “Do you knit?”

      *sigh*

      • Paz says:

        Love the hard hits, Bob Gainey style hockey.

      • Paz says:

        The NHL owners and players association still think they are competing against Roller Derby, MMA, and NASCAR racing for fans, so that’s the quality of product they choose to offer.

        2 minutes for a high stick to the face, but 4 minutes if you strike blood!!

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          That’s exactly it, Ed.

          We have to remind ourselves constantly that the NHL is not some kind of steward of the sport of hockey, no matter how they may wish to portray themselves as such. The NHL is a business, and it is natural for them to pursue profits by any means they deem necessary.

          The NHL dupes us into forgetting this. Imagine accepting that McDonald’s is somehow a champion of nutrition for kids?

          • Phil C says:

            They are the de facto steward of the sport though. As the highest level of the sport, they have a tremendous influence on young players and their coaches. It’s unfortunate they don’t care about this responsibility.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            I see what you mean, but how about replacing de facto with pseudo? Or “pro” as in, instead of. (Even though de facto is, sadly, accurate).

            A steward is “a person whose responsibility it is to take care of something”. By this definition the NHL is a long way from being stewards. It is only filling an existing vacuum.

    • punkster says:

      Live and PVR replayed the games…absolutely stunning hockey as it is every single year.

      Release the Subbang!!!

  58. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    tb sucks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Goin down mofo’s !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. Habfan10912 says:

    Off topic but does the Ryan Malone arrest say anything about the NHL’s drug testing policy? Me thinks there may be a hole or two in the program. Surprise.

    http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2014-04-13/ryan-malone-arrest-not-distraction-jon-cooper-lightning-coach

  60. Slackman says:

    Concerning hits from behind.

    It seems to be more rampant than it is because players these days will turn their backs away from a check out of some feral, self-preservationist reflex. When a guy throws a check, he already commits to the check and gathers the momentum and cannot stop on a dime if the checkee suddenly gives him the back.

    While I won’t deny that their is a fair share of dirty, rotten, Bruinsy hits, a vast majority of em are perfectly clean at the root. They just end up worse than they ought to.

    You can’t police a contact sport too thoroughly or you will ruin the sport. Players will get hurt. It is a high-speed contact sport. All NHL players acknowledge this, sign the waiver, and play their heads off.

    “When the going get’s weird, the weird turn pro”

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I love it when someone makes a logical argument without reverting to the “If you don’t like it don’t watch it” crap or some other tough guy behind the computer nonsense. Thank you for your well thought out post.

      The line between “dirty” and a check gone bad has often gotten blurred in today’s game. I also understand UcE’s thought and if push came to shove I’d be more apt to side with him. A dirty player such as Scott Hartnell with his cross checks from behind, a Lucic with his two-handed spear at an opponents “privates” should be dealt by the league in the most harshest way. Multi game suspensions, major penalty minutes are all part of a solution to ridding the game of its dirty and dangerous players.

      Until then we’ll continue to further blur the line between “dirty” and “hit gone bad”. Until the day comes that someone doesn’t get up. No sweat though. We’ll all be safe and sound behind our computers.

      CHeers Slackman.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Like your post, Slackman, except I wish to differ on your generalisation about policing a contact sport. Hockey is essentially no different from other contact sports. If the league had any desire to minimise dirty and dangerous hitting, it could — as leagues of every other contact sport have done. Problem is, the NHL does not believe that it would be in its best interests (re. profits) to do so. If it wanted to, it could.

    • Cal says:

      Many players these days are turning their backs to the checker while controlling the puck near the boards. It’s one of the most effing stupid moves a puck carrier can make. The puck carrier is assuming that this move will circumvent a body check. And we all know what you get when you assume something.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Too true.
        In a perfect world, I’d still argue for tightening up the rules on hitting in the back. Then after that, pursue new rules to deal with those who exploit them.

  61. Maritime Ronn says:

    @ Un Canadien errant

    Hitting from behind has become problematic and extremely dangerous.

    That mentioned, your solution of, ” Let’s give the player with the puck the advantage, he can’t be hit from behind, ever, in whatever manner or with any level of force…” is unfortunately, not realistic.

    Of course there are dirty, and intent to injure players and these same should be dealt with MUCH more severely – yet the game is also lightning fast and split second movements by forwards turning their backs to a defender to protect the puck puts them in vulnerable positions.
    This results in some awful unintended consequences of severe injury.

    Hits from behind cannot all be lumped into the same category.

    Not being a Brian Burke fan, yet he did have a good idea.
    He called it the “Bear Hug” and it is a type of holding, yet he recommended it in this specific type of situation.

    In other words, and if last night is used as an example, a player would be allowed to partially wrap his arms around/hold the numbers of the one he is about to hit close to the boards ( for 1 second or 2) to almost protect and soften the blow… them immediately release.
    It was tried in 2011 , but never adopted.

    The naysayers of this potential change will complain this is a return to the ‘clutch and grab’ era, yet properly defined and ruled would cut injury – perhaps to a large degree.
    A little clutch and grab is a small price to pay for a potential on ice death….

    His words were almost prophetic:
    “It has become a tactic,” Burke continued. “Forwards are turning their numbers to the defenceman, betting he isn’t going to finish his check to take a boarding penalty.
    They’re taking a risk, especially when the defenceman is committed to the hit.

    “When the forward makes a hard pivot right into the track of the defenceman, he can’t do anything else but finish it. When he does, that player is propelled like a billiard ball and all that force goes into the wall.

    “What I’m saying is, let the defenceman put his hand on his numbers, take him in, still finish the play, recover the puck, but not have a potentially catastrophic injury.”

    • Habfan17 says:

      Hey MR,

      I get the point of the bear hug, the problem I see is consistency among officials. As it is, you do see players tie up opposing players along the boards long after the puck is gone and no call is made.

      Asking refs to count 3 steamboats each time and make sure that players “unwrap” the defender within a couple of seconds would be tough.

      The forecheckers do have another option, position them selves to contain the defender when they see he will get to the puck first and is in a vulnerable position. I read about all these ” pressure” systems that coaches implement. Have the first forechecker force the defender to where he wants him to go which is where the second fore checker should be! Force the defender to make a mistake.

      Holding and hooking are already creeping back in. I think if the rule book was applied as it is written, mostly charging, boarding and roughing, that would eliminate most of the “extreme” contact and hitting from behind.

      I do agree with UCE, once a player gets past you, if you shove him from behind, it should be a penalty. Once a player gets up a head of steam and gets past, especially when close to the net, a push from behind or stick in the skates will cause the player to crash into the boards without being able to protect them selves.

      Habfan17

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Hi 17
        Consistency with NHL referees?
        Is that an issue?
        :-)

        The belief from here is that the NHLPA holds a lot of power, yet refuses to use it.

        Some very wise poster whose name alludes me said the following:
        ” It seems like us fans care more about safety than the players do. If they don’t care, why should we?”

        • Habfan17 says:

          lol…. It is odd that the players themselves don’t step up and force the issue. Is it a case of misplaced bravado?

          Habfan17

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Your last question there is a great one, Hf17, and I think the reality is really complex. A culture of bravado definitely plays a part, and once we’re talking about changing a culture (think of smoking bans, drink-driving culture, anti-racism campaigns), we’re talking about a lot of work and time.

    • Cal says:

      How about the player just ease up a little without resorting to holding? Blum, the Wild Dman, did just that the other night. He made contact, but didn’t try to drill the forward through the boards. To me, if a player is stupid enough to turn his back on the play, he is stupid enough to be hit from behind.

  62. Un Canadien errant says:

    So I just saw the hit on Daniel Sedin that required him to be fitted with a neck collar and stretchered off. A fairly routine hit/shove from behind in the NHL, in terms of its perfidy and intensity, but the result was anything but routine.

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/daniel-sedin-in-stable-condition-after-hit-from-behind-1.2609017

    And that’s another in a long list of problems with the NHL. People are always getting hit from behind, constantly, thirty or fourty times a game. Hockey players are gamers though, they absorb the contact, smear their snot on the glass, shake off the cobwebs for a second, then keep playing. They keep grinding, and cycling, and finishing their checks.

    Unless you get a dirty Bruin, one of Don Cherry’s noble warriors, anyone of those guys will give you the mother of all fake dives.

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2012/02/game-58-montreal-3-boston-4-so.html

    I’ll ask again: why is hitting anyone in the back, permissible, or tolerated, in any circumstances, at all? Why is it just penalized when a victim’s head is projected into the boards, but not the rest of the time?

    In football, you can’t block from behind. If you’re behind someone, he has the advantage on you, plain and simple. He’s faster than you, quicker than you, closer to the play, and that’s just too bad for you. Run faster if you want to make the play.

    Why can’t we make that very simple change to the game, that would benefit the skill players, would increase scoring, and improve player safety? Because it makes too much sense? Let’s give the player with the puck the advantage, he can’t be hit from behind, ever, in whatever manner or with any level of force. No tolerance.

    If Sidney Crosby has the puck and you want to hit him, and he turns his back to you, that’s fair game for him. He has the puck, he has the advantage. Be quicker, more agile. He’s allowed to protect the puck from you, to play keepaway.

    Currently, you can push, shove, crosscheck, crosscheck harder, slash, spear, you name it, whatever you want to do to someone in the back is fine, unless that person falls or dives, and what the state of accounts is currently in the game/series. If you’ve already had a couple of powerplays in the game, be careful, since the refs will want to even things up. A penalty is not a penalty unless a debit exists somewhere.

    Yesterday, Kris Letang, freshly back from a stroke and a thirty-game absence, while trying to get a shot off on net from the slot, was crosschecked from behind by Scott Hartnell, who then proceeded to fall on top of the Penguin defender. After the resultant scuffle, both were sent to the penalty box for a minor roughing penalty.

    http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2014-04-12/kris-letang-stroke-scott-hartnell-dan-bylsma-craig-berube-flyers

    What absolute madness is this? Why is a thug like Scott Hartnell allowed to bludgeon a player trying to play hockey. Why didn’t he get six or seven penalties, a mix of minor and majors and misconducts and ‘attempts to injure’?

    Hey, Gary Bettman, you mendacious fool, I’m talking to you! Stop peering at spreadsheets and fix your broken league. Stop paying lip service to player safety and do something tangible about it.

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

    • Just a Habs Fan says:

      UCE……….you probably should start thinking of watching sports other than hockey. Boy no contact even if a player turns their back to you on purpose. Your vision of hockey in the future perhaps is no hitting at all…..maybe even no hard pucks…..I almost always read your posts and enjoy them mostly…but you know there is a case for taking things to far in this one

      • AliHaba says:

        You need to understand that UCE also believes that Guy Lafleur and Henri Richard should not have had their numbers retired so take it all with a grain of salt.

        • Habfan17 says:

          Just for the record, with the exception of the Rocket, I don’t think they should be retired either. I like, dare I say it, what the Leafs do and hang numbers in honour. I hate the football numbers in hockey, call me a purest! I also don’t see an issue when a number that was worn by a star in one era, is worn by a star in another!
          That does not diminish what the first player has done or dishonour them. I see Subban and if his idol was Doug Harvey, why not let him have the number? What does it hurt. It actually helps in my mind, it supplies continuity! Same with Galchenyuk. If he becomes a star player and wanted to wear number 12, who does it hurt. It is “retired” already for two players! Moore and Cournoyer. Does it hurt or dishonour either one in any way?

          If Price wanted to wear number 1, it would be great. It would generate more interest and passion. It would generate conversations, it would be awesome.

          I do think that teams should decide who gets to wear those honoured numbers, but they should not be moth balled forever! In my opinion. If the Habs drafted a kid who turned into an electrifying player like Lafleur and had worshipped him as a kid, let him wear number 10, it makes for a stronger connection to the team!

          Habfan17

          • Lafleurguy says:

            Nicely expressed. Don’t agree. History means a lot to the Habs and many sports franchises. How about exponents or small letters, e.g. No. 10a?

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            May I say, LafGuy, that this is such a model way to disagree here. Ok not as colourful as:

            “You know nothing about hockey/Montreal/anything”

            “F&%$-off to EOTP if you disagree with me.”

            “Troll!”

            “Go watch badminton.”

            …But still says, I’m sticking to my view while acknowledging yours.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Like you, JaHF, I enjoy UCE’s posts, whether I agree with him or not. But I challenge you to re-read this one and identify where he moves from protesting dirty hits to a “vision of hockey in the future” with “no hitting at all”.

        He’s quite articulate, as I’m sure you’ve noticed! If he wanted to propose hockey with no hitting at all, that’s what he would have said.

        He is, I think, putting it up to us and asking, Are you ok with hits from behind that drive a player’s face into the wood or glass?

        If you’ve played any contact sports, you’ll know that there is plenty of big hitting you can do within the rules. Is it really necessary to allow big hits that are also dirty?

    • Habfan17 says:

      I hear what you are saying and agree! There are rules on the books to protect players and they are not called. Boarding, charging, and roughing are rules that are not applied as written and when they are called, it is very inconsistent.

      I do see a very grey area in what you would like to see happen. I will use Murray as an example. He was given a penalty and thrown out for hitting a player coming around the net. Murray positioned himself to keep that player from coming back out in front of the net and made contact. It was not a malicious hit, Murray even held up.
      The fact that he was planted and was much bigger made it seem worse than it was. Sure the player changed his mind and was going to cut back, but at that point, Murray was committed and it is his job to make sure the player could not make it to the front of the net with the puck. It was not boarding or charging. He really broke no rules other than he had position, size and weight on the other player.

      I agree something needs to be done about hitting from behind. There are times when players at the last second see they are about to be hit and turn quickly and the fore checking player does not have time to stop the contact. I would not want a player penalized for this. I would rather teams teach their players better ways of avoiding the hit or bracing themselves.

      What I want even more to see eliminated from the game, is this brain dead attacking of players when they throw legal, clean hits and then the other team comes at them to fight. That is where I would love to see a rule like the 3rd man rule and eject the first player that goes after the player that threw the hit! It is so bush to see that happen. Big, hard clean hits are part of the game, no matter who gets hit. I get going after a player who throws a dirty hit and I still think that needs to stop. Reacting to a big hit, they may not have even seen and going after a player for doing his job, completely ridiculous! Get that out of the game too!

      Habfan17

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Completely agree with the last paragraph about retaliation to a clean hit, but how do you enforce that? What type of penalty? Would you only be delaying the inevitable on the very next shift?

        • Habfan17 says:

          I guess I didn’t explain it well, I would eject the first player who goes after the “hitter”. for the rest of the game. 3rd man rule!

          If players know they will be thrown out, then hopefully they will not go after the players who throw clean hard hits.

          Perhaps to go step further, if a player attacks an opposing player who throws a check deemed legal by the league, the attacking player receives an automatic 3 game suspension.

          I love hitting but not the whimpy, cowardly retaliation crap that goes on after players doing their jobs within the rules. It turns hockey and the NHL into a farce, a bush league!

          Habfan17

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      A fine summary, Normand.

      Hockey is not the world’s only hard game: rugby, rugby league, gridiron, Aussie rules, gaelic football, hurling, lacrosse. In none of these sports do players writhe around in agony — even when they are in agony — when hit hard. They are all “gamers”, as you say, who get up again, shake it off and keep playing.

      These are all hard-playing, fearless men. But out of all these sports, it’s only in hockey that the league condones the cowardly act of full-on hitting in the back. The league turns a blind eye, or instructs its officials to do so, only occasionally penalising it in order to veil the barbarity of its business ethos.

      The players do not condone it. They will seek either immediate or later retribution on the ice for a major boarding or cross-check to the back, sometimes even in a later game. In other words, the players recognise these as dirty plays. Players then mete out sanctions because the league doesn’t.

      The NHL not only understands this, it fosters it. Not confident that the game of hockey can optimise profits on its own, the league nurtures the drama of foul play and retribution which unfolds among the players on the ice. The NHL correctly identifies a portion of the sports-viewing public that will watch or attend more games than it otherwise would because of this drama, because of the prospect of seeing Hartnell, to take your example, creamed into the boards/glass/stanchion in retaliation for his hit on Letang.

      And it’s not just sadistic cement-heads screaming for broken bones. It’s a spectrum of hockey-viewers, from the utterly ignorant with a blood-lust, to people like your respondent above who perhaps hasn’t yet thought through how contact sports can be full of contact even without dirty hits, to people like me upon whom the red mist sometimes descends when I wish impulsively to see Lucic broken in half for spearing a scrotum or pile-driving a goalie. But I and many like me fight it, remember it’s a game and a livelihood, and that Lucic has a wife and child. We are also aware that one of the reasons for our anger is that those kinds of plays detract from and undermine the real beauty, speed, dexterity, artistry and intensity of this amazing game.

      But the league knows that it already has me and those like me locked up. What it wants is those others, those whose attention it doesn’t believe hockey by itself is sufficient to secure, and so it fosters, nurtures and markets the dirty play, the cowardly play that is rejected by all other major contact sports.

      And the NHL will continue to do so until it is no longer profitable. You often hear, “What will it take to stop this? Someone dying on the ice?” I’m afraid not. Not even close. Obscenely, someone dying on the ice will actually help generate even more of the kind of attention and profits which the league is pursuing.

  63. Seps says:

    We finish in 24th in shots for per game, 9th highest shots against, 19th ranked PP, 16th in 5 on 5 GF/GA at an even 1.00, and somehow 4th ranked PK. You cannot look at those numbers and tell me Therrien did a great job this year, if it’s not for Price we have a top ten draft pick easily and Therrien would be canned.

    To back that up with more stats, we finished 4th in team save percentage… Blackhawks made it with a team .905 SV%, in comparison we’re sitting pretty at .921, with a few less points than Chicago.

    • JUST ME says:

      You mean that if we did not have a goalie we would lose ? Let`s try that one ! 6 attackers no goalies maybe we have a chance to do better than 100 points ? Or wait ! Maybe better !Maybe we would get the first choice overall !
      It is his job to stop the puck ! If he could he would be there 82 games every year he is paid to do that . Just do not think how people think that we are lucky because he does his job for pete`s sake. And by doing this he is saving Therrien ? I say Therrien is a genius just for thinking about putting a goaler in nets !

    • twilighthours says:

      Good post.

  64. ClutchNGrab says:

    It’s expected to be Selanne’s last season. He was named tonight all three stars of the game. All the Colorado players went to congratulate him, but the best part came when he met former teammate Giguere, who’s also expected to retire, and take him along with him around the rink. Nice hockey moment.

    http://youtu.be/FJuGmu9T8AE

  65. chanchilla says:

    You guys complain more about the leafs than leafs fans do sometimes.

  66. Andy and the habs says:

    As per Arpon Basu, Lightning to win Stanley Cup
    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=713751

  67. Denjen says:

    Yes Steve Simmonds is a idiot! He has also said on a couple occasions though I don’t recall him saying it this yr that Toronto would finish with more points by seasons end. Then Toronto goes and has he back half season melt down and it makes me laugh. And seriously can’t stomach that guy!

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  68. Denjen says:

    Hey all! Excited for playoffs , I think if MTL takes just 1 of the first two games they ll take the series. Our boys have been feeding on momentum since the Ott come back with the exception of the last couple of games. If they steal one or both MTL will hurt Tampa at home. That being said I can honestly see the team misses Chucky, something they ll have to contend with. His creativity on the second pp unit also missed. Oh, the Boston-Detroit series will be fun. I do feel the booins will take it but not with out a fight. I have enjoyed watching the Red Wings this yr, Tatar,Nyquist even Sheahan are fun to watch and are smart players. And now Datsyuk is back! Anyways final thoughts – GHG! Et Le But- And and and eat dirt Torontonians!

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  69. punkster says:

    Steve Simmons?

    the guy who said on The Reporters the day after the Max stanchion hit that Chara was skating backwards and didn’t see Max so no penalty?

    That Steve Simmons?

    Steve POSimmons? That Steve Simmons?

    Release the Subbang!!!

  70. Habs1962 says:

    Starting on the road is Good ! Win one or two and head home to wild Bell Center crowd Sunday night !!
    3 more sleeps Go Habs Go !!


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