Is it tomorrow yet?

Neither of the teams in action at the ACC has a player in TSN’s Top 50.

Man, it must have killed them to omit Dion Phaneuf.

• Pat Hickey on Cammalleri’s reticence

Lars Eller on Plekanec line

Red Fisher on the contenders

• Boone asks for optimism

Habs R Us

• Sean Gordon’s French Immersion returns

In my room – Dennis Kane

• Bidding war for NHL TV rights?

And a pre-season mash-up:



  1. TomNickle says:

    Gorges get’s bowled over too easily and isn’t good on the boards?

    You must have something specific in mind because that certainly is not routine or habitual.

    Gill gets knocked over.  Hamrlik backs into his goalie when the going gets physical.

    So you don’t think that Gorges can skate with the puck, effectively play his man on the boards or win a puck battle there.

    But you don’t see Hamrlik consistently blowing coverages in front, icing the puck, missing his first pass by miles and getting beat at our blueline.


  2. SeriousFan09 says:

    +2, 1, -2 are Markov’s +/- ratings from the 06-07, 07-08 and 08-09 seasons with the Canadiens. He didn’t have outstanding differentials in 3 progressively better seasons in points and you’re raising a fuss over Hamrlik trying to do his job and ending up with a -2 with half as many points scored? Talk about complaints, a -2 is not something disgraceful, not nearly. I said giveaways can’t be used to damn him because it’s a not a consistent stat and it can’t prove he is definitely a horror on D.

    Gill is a shutdown defender with PK specialities, Hamrlik is an average puck-mover with some PK ability that is assigned to fill in a 2nd-pair defensive role, they have different talents and fill in different roles on the team,  Gill is a shutdown expert, Hamrlik is a jack-of-all-trades type who serves on the 2nd pair because that’s his job.

    Gorges is a great shot blocker and he has a good outlet pass and despite that body of his that is seemingly  made of rubber, he gets knocked over far too easily and finds it hard to win battles along the boards. He has no PP and can’t carry offence or the puck. He’s a shutdown type like Gill, but smaller and he isn’t exactly the strongest 6′ player on the planet and doesn’t do that well along the boards. Love the guy and his heart but he isn’t THAT talented, he just pushes himself so hard that he keeps himself in every game he plays. Gorges isn’t Top-4 yet and he doesn’t necessarily have the skill set that makes him a definite man to take that job in the future.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  3. TomNickle says:

    Who would rather have filling in for Markov?  Hamrlik or Gorges?

  4. krob1000 says:

    9 points on 80 power plays is actually very decent for a second wave guy that is a dman Tom.  There are 5 guys on the ice and at best only 3 guys get a point on a goal… that rationale alone ignoring the forwards and dman and one assist or unassisted goals that means about  15 goals on 80 powerplays theoretically were scored while he is on the ice at a minimum…that is 18.75 percent.  Common sense tells you there were one assist goals and unassisted goals so the pp rate is likely around 23-25 percent with him …as a second wave guy.  Then consider that all pp minutes are not the same…the second wave usually doesn;t take the ice during an ozone faceoff and there get less ozone time on the pp.  For the D to change it usually means it is after the one minute mark and starting with the puck in the defensive zone.  This also allows a fresh pk unit on the ice….to try and prevent Zone entry to begin with.  I am not saying Hamrlik is Markov but he does fine on the PP ….. he keeps the pk honest because can pas, can shoot..sort of but is willing to crusie down low every now and then a la Markov.  He is having a little trouble I think learning his limitations as he ages as his skillset was once awesome and he had great recovery speed….but Hammer is not as bad as you make him out to be. 

    This is his last year here and he may or may not even finish the season here but Hammer can still play.  Those passes you speak of as well are not all his fault…..for some reason our forwards collapse in our zone and we go under siege forlong periods of time.  When a dman finally does retrieve the puck down low…a forward is usually not in position to accept a pass …more often than not they are nowhere near the wall….they think they are the wall and stay in the middle of the rink (often tired from running around for 30 seconds prior).  Hammer is a smart,savvy bigger bodied guy who does nothing overly well anymore but does nothing overly wrong.  He is average skillwise in nearly all catergories but his veteran experience allows him to adapt to diff’t situations better than virtually all other options we have.  He is better than Gill, OB, Picard Henry, Weber, Carle and is on par with Spacek right now.  Gorges and Markov are our two best dmen defensivelyy and Subban contributes offensively. 

     Gill will cost us far more goals than Hammer will over the course of a season…Gill has to concede the blueline everytime, gets the token Hal Gill penalty once a game or two and has zero offensive ability.  He has his specialty uses and is ultra valuable int he tighter checking playoffs where chacnes are taken less often and backchecking is everpresent.  During the regular season….he is a weak link…far weaker than Hammer. Hammer has his braindead moments but dmen are playing a diff’t gme than forwards, tehir mstakes often lead to chances or goals…if you think about it….there are tons of 3-6 million dllar dmen in the game who we know are not the greatest dmen..or so we think…reality is dmen are second to goalies in optics when it comes to mistakes.  Look at guys like Komisarek, Streit, Souray, Redden, Finger, Phaneuf even hemakes a ton of mistakes, etc.  We are spoiled and try to compare our other dmen to the Cyborg we have in Markov who does everything well….Hammer is fine…his cap hit? well that is anotehr story and if we consider that he is a liability but as a dman he is middle of the pack on our team…even at his old age.

  5. TomNickle says:

    Pre-season notwithstanding.  They certainly pick their spots better.

    Add to that that they don’t ice the puck with the alarming regularity that Hamrlik does and you’ve got two players who are far more valuable and effective.

  6. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    because Cammy didn’t shit the bed last season, Price did.

  7. Mark C says:

    Hamrlik giveaways rate was 1.15 Per game last season. Spacek was 1.10 and Gill was 1.12.

    Hamrlik averaged almost two more minutes of ice time than Spacek and 5 minutes more than Gill. More ice time means more giveaways.

    Markov and Gorges are much better at limiting giveaways (what a shocker) but Hamrlik is no worse than Gill and Spacek at it.


  8. adam76 says:

    Hookers, blow  and riding horses does weaken the immune system.

  9. TomNickle says:

    I’m saying there’s a better option on our roster to handle Markov’s minutes because Hamrlik isn’t capable of doing it effectively.


  10. TomNickle says:

    This is almost comical Robert.

    You use icetime to say that Hamrlik is good, you say that a negative +/- is okay because he was playing top minutes.  Giveaways don’t count now because there’s no uniform criteria for a giveaway.

    You can say things like Gill is slow, clutches and grabs and can’t move the puck but I can’t say things like Hamrlik ices the puck too much, blows coverages and takes himself out of the play.

    So, just so I’ve got this straight, when you evaluate a player, it’s an absolute truth, and when I do it, it’s flawed.

    Got it.

    I know this, Gorges moves the puck much more effectively than Hamrlik, he’s better in every area of the game in fact.  Breaking up Gill and Gorges could very well be the greater good for the team. 

    My point in this whole argument is that we have a better able defenseman to log Markov’s minutes than Hamrlik.  I’ve listed his flaws and how they are a liability to the team.  You attribute those flaws to icetime that doesn’t seem to affect players of similar age and experience in Gill and Spacek.


  11. adam76 says:

    Oh – spoke too soon.  Her it is.

  12. SeriousFan09 says:

    Price reportedly battling the flu.

    Halak would never have gotten sick…


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  13. SeriousFan09 says:

    So what else is new? That’s not exactly a newsflash to anyone, we need Hamrlik to carry us and we’re dead but you’re taking way too much out on Hamrlik for doing a job that wasn’t supposed to be his and the team stayed somewhat competitive while he did.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  14. adam76 says:

    Yes – and there would be no repercussion for the rest of the season?  Its the start of the season, your “plan” would be logical in May, not October.  Plus, its simply not necessary with the upgrades on Defence.

  15. adam76 says:

    1. Who will lead the Canadiens in scoring this season? – Cammy

    2. Will the club extend Andrei Markov before the season is up? – yes, a three year deal

    3. Will Andrei Kostitsyn be a Montreal Canadien in April? – Yes, but will be gone in the summer

    4. How many points will Benoit Pouliot score this season? – Same as last season

    5. Who do you believe is set for a career-year? – lapierre

    6. How many goals will Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta combine for this season? – over 50, under 60

    7. How many wins will Carey Price get this season? – 16

    8. Will the Canadiens make the playoffs, if so in what place will they finish? – no playoffs

    9. Which player is most likely to have a strong bounce back this season? Lapierre or Halpern? – lapierre

    10. What are your projections for P.K. Subban this year? – a least 3 highlight of the night plays

  16. RGM says:

    The Montreal Canadiens don’t exist in a vacuum, my friend. If you’ve ever watched a film like The Rocket, you get a glimpse into how closely many Quebecois identify with the team and especially the Quebecois players. There are many out there that point to Campbell’s suspension of The Rocket as the first salvo in Quebec’s Quiet Revolution. Whether you realize it or not, politics and sport–not just hockey–are very intricately linked on a global basis.

    Go Habs Go!

  17. SeriousFan09 says:

    Than why mention Hal Gill in the conversation at all, you just said the team must play Hal Gill and Josh Gorges for 25 minutes a night and make sure Hamrlik doesn’t and leave Subban-Spacek for the other top-4 pair. Neither of Gill-Gorges can actually do puck-moving work, they are shutdown defenders with PK specialities. Gorges has a good outlet pass but let’s not consider his assist scoring from the pre-season is a real indicator of his offensive abilities. Roman Hamrlik isn’t a PP QB, but neither is Gill or Gorges, the team had nobody who could do that job like Markov could, a PP that was built around the exceptional talent of #79. Do you believe OB, Picard can fill in a Top-4 spot even if we exclude Gill as well? The Top-4 needs Hamrlik whether you like it or not.

    As for stastistics being misleading, they are. The takeaway/giveaway standard has never been set across the league so it’s up to the scorekeepers in each arena to determine what was a giveaway and what was a takeaway and they hold standards, if you lose control of the puck and it’s picked up by the other side, is that a giveaway? Not according to all arenas, in some places it’s only when you have a clear steal of the puck off of another person’s stick.




    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  18. Bugs says:

    Cammy has nothing to prove in the NHL and his maturity to handle our last line of defence is not put into question.

    Price does and his maturity is.

    Quite self-satisfied, I smirk as

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Minority Owner of the Habbalicious Bubble-Gum Emporium, Proprietor of the Flanneltop Pop Shop, and Beaming Tenant in Mama’s Basement, i.e., Habsbros Central:

  19. TomNickle says:

    I’m not comparing him to the rest of the league.  And that’s why the statistic is relevant.

    Do the stat keepers pick on Roman Hamrlik specifically?

    Come on.

  20. WarHero says:

    1. Plekanec
    2. Yes, depending on his health
    3. Yes
    4. 45 (25g, 20a)
    5. Plekanec (again)
    6. 75 (Cammy – 40, Gio – 35)
    7. 35
    8. Yes, 4th or 5th in the east
    9. Lapierre
    10. 40pts (12g, 28a)

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  21. Mark C says:

    Giveaways are a misleading stat, only due to how they are counted. For example, Montreal had 618 home (292 on the road) giveaways last year, second in the league to Edmonton. The Blue Jackets had 124 home giveaways. Stat keepers around the league do not uniformly count giveaways the same.  

  22. TomNickle says:

    If something should happen to Markov where we lose him for the season, we are a lottery pick team.

  23. TomNickle says:

    Markov shouldn’t be out much longer than seven games Adam.  Thanks for strengthening my argument.

  24. SeriousFan09 says:

    He’s not wonderous, but neither is our shutdown defencemen who’s also clearly our slowest skater in Hal Gill. Roman Hamrlik is a 2nd-pairing defencemen who had to fight way above his weight class last season because Markov was down and someone had to step up, he didn’t replace Markov but for ****’s sake we actually stayed in contention for a playoff spot until he did get back! We all thought we were good and doomed for the lottery but Hamrlik and Spacek stepped up and did all they could. Was it perfect? No but they did as best they could.

    Hamrlik being a -2 compared to others in the league being -15s is really stretching it when calling him a minus player. MAB was a -7 and he got soft ice time for the whole season.

    Gill isn’t exactly a beast along the boards, his outlet pass isn’t a thinf of beauty and if anyone is going to get exposed and look bad not being able to keep up with a player on a breakaway, it’s big Hal and I love the guy but if Hal Gill is in your Top 4 D, it better because you’ve got at least two defencemen injured. He has flaws but they’re not that obvious, I think your distaste from the playoffs is showing through a little and he drove me nuts then too but if he was as bad as you make him out to be, no way Spacek could have covered up for him and no way the team would have more than a handful of wins until Markov came back than it’s going for that lottery spot in the draft.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  25. TomNickle says:

    One penalty every second game is not a problem.

  26. pic1983 says:


    The reason that we have an office de la langue francaise and such strict language laws is directly related to the fact that non-francophones werent respecting the quebec culture, and quebecers felt threatened.  Im an anglophone primarily (although im perfectly bilingual), and I love quebec specifically because of the french culture.  To me, if you you live and work in quebec, you SHOULD speak french, or at least try.  You wouldnt move to italy for work and not make an effort to learn any italian, so why should it be different here? 

    What I do take issue with, is this language protectionism stretching into professional sports. 

  27. TomNickle says:

    1. Plekanec, and over 80 points.

    2. Yes, at the all-star break or trade deadline.

    3. No

    4. 45 ish

    5. Plekanec

    6. Cammalleri gets 40, Gionta gets 25 so 65.

    7. 38.

    8. Yes, Third place, first in the northeast, just ahead of Boston

    9. Lapierre

    10. Headaches.

  28. TheDagger says:

    I am aware, as I said earlier Gill had the second most PIMs on the team last year. OB also had several more fights than Gill’s one fight which means Gill was the most frequently penalized player (most minors) on the team. Which means he caused the most PPs against last year.

  29. TomNickle says:

    I don’t expect him to be Markov.  I’m saying he’s not a suitable replacement for that icetime.  Josh Gorges is.

    In 170 minutes of powerplay icetime Roman Hamrlik had 9, yes, 9 powerplay points Robert.

    By my count, that 9 points on over 80 Powerplays.

    Giveaways can be a misleading statistic?  

    We’re done here.



  30. HFX-HabFan says:

    1- We’ll have three guys who will top 70 pts, Cammy will come out on top.

    2- Yes

    3- Yes

    4- 47

    5- Eller and Subban…ok, I cheated.  I’ll say Lapierre.

    6- 68

    7- 33

    8- 2nd in the Northeast, 6th in the East

    9- Halpern won’t “bounce back” statistically, but he’ll be fine.  I’ll say Laps again.

    10- 43 points, All-Rookie Team, Calder finalist, might just win it.

  31. HabsFanInTampa says:

    ….And politics would pertain to hockey why or how?

  32. HFX-HabFan says:

    I like Hammer as a second pairing guy; few teams can claim that they have a number 3 D-man with his experience and ability.

    That said, I think the reason some fans (myself included at times) rag on him is based out of expectations.  Blame his contract (I really hoped we could find a taker for him this offseason and am looking forward to when his 5.5mil is off the books next summer), or blame his draft position/pedigree. 

    I do admire how he stepped up in Markov’s absence (obviously not in his offensive play/power play performance where I agree with Tom he was pretty terrible) for taking on an added workload.  But he was gassed by the playoffs and I think that stands out in some people’s minds too.  Having him on our second pairing puts him in a place where he can keep his game simple. 

  33. SeriousFan09 says:

    1. Plekanec

    2. I really, really hope so.

    3. Yes

    4. 40 points.

    5. Plekanec, Price, Cammalleri

    6. 70

    7. 35

    8. 3rd-7th

    9. Lapierre

    10. 16 goals, 25 assists.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  34. adam76 says:

    Wow – Tom is improving.  Last season he would have called YOU crap – now just your ideas are crap.  

    Your doing better, big guy.  Keep it up.

    I agree – Hammer had a poor playoffs.

    I disagree with your Hammer take last season.  His numbers the first half of he season line up with he rest of the Dmans numbers.  All the D numbers were poor, due to poor goaltending and weak, inconsistent goal production.

    I, too, (as I would bet most of the posters here) watched all the games last season.  Just FYI.

  35. pic1983 says:

    “Do the French Quebecois have such an inferiority complex?”

    Yes. Yes they do.

    The funny thing is, no one who makes these claims has ever answered the question of where they expect the habs to get all these french canadian players.  Last time I checked, there was maybe 35-40 french canadian players in the NHL out of over 600 active players.  Thats an extremely small percentage.  We also dont have the luxury of getting first crack at drafting local players anymore like the habs used to have back in the day. 

  36. TomNickle says:

    Actually, Ryan O’Byrne was the most penalized player on the team last season.

  37. habaddict_andy says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if Markov starts Saturday?  All that talk about how it would be for the first 10 games without Markov is a waste of time as a result.


    Scott Gomez to Montreal Media “You’re a pain in the neck, but you’re our pain in the neck.”

  38. SeriousFan09 says:

    When your 2nd-pairing defencemen steps up and manages to maintain a +/- close to 0 when filling in for your team’s best player who’s a Top-5, top-10 NHL defencemen and your team doesn’t fall out of playoff contention, that’s doing well for himself when he’s 35 and trying to go well beyond his abilities. The team was still disorganized and short on offence for a good part of that time as well, new coach, new teammates and Hamrlik killed himself every night doing everything he could to help the team out. Hamrlik still managed over 150 blocked shots last season and giveaway/takeaway is a misleading statistic, the Bell Center scorekeepers are notoriously harsh for determining what is a giveaway, go around the league and there is no standard among the arenas for what a giveaway is. He was never supposed to be the PP quarterback so why are you giving him grief for not doing the job like Markov? Why not get mad at Gill for not being a great PP shooter like Chara since he’s a similar height to him as well? Hamrlik was burnt out from a long season facing a much heavier workload than he should have because he was trying to do a job he shouldn’t have had to do because it wasn’t within his talents to do so.

    Hal Gill led the team with minor penalties btw and he had the 2nd-most PIMs on the season so maybe he isn’t a guy who can play 25 minutes a night (Forget ES alone) something only 11 players did last season and all of them are clear No. 1 NHL defencemen (With the exception of Pitkanen and Bouwmeester if he doesn’t sort himself out).


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  39. TheDagger says:

    So you’re telling me he was the most frequently penalized player on the team last year? Right after you said he doesn’t really take many penalties? You might need Johnnie Cochran to help you with that one…

  40. habaddict_andy says:

    Well said RGM.  Sometimes it’s hard to see a different perspective especially when your not from the group.  I have been one of those jumping to conclusion in this regard.  But I do understand your point about a distinct society living among different group of people.  It’s about pride and trying to keep your origine culture alive.


    Scott Gomez to Montreal Media “You’re a pain in the neck, but you’re our pain in the neck.”

  41. WarHero says:

    Eric Engels: 10 Questions

    1. Who will lead the Canadiens in scoring this season?

    2. Will the club extend Andrei Markov before the season is up?

    3. Will Andrei Kostitsyn be a Montreal Canadien in April?

    4. How many points will Benoit Pouliot score this season?

    5. Who do you believe is set for a career-year?

    6. How many goals will Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta combine for this season?

    7. How many wins will Carey Price get this season?

    8. Will the Canadiens make the playoffs, if so in what place will they finish?

    9. Which player is most likely to have a strong bounce back this season? Lapierre or Halpern?

    10. What are your projections for P.K. Subban this year?

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  42. TomNickle says:

    If they held that opinion while Josh Gorges was in the lineup they were wrong in my opinion Andrew.

    Hamrlik does terrible things on the ice that make him much more of a liability than an asset.  And I would love somebody to argue this point with me that can use something other than he played a lot of minutes or he has a lot of experience.  Because I can play poorly for 25 minutes and I have a lot of experience.  See what I’m saying?

  43. habsfan_61 says:

    the way i  see this year as of oct.6. 4 of the top 6 will have their usual stats. benny  and ak are on a short leash and might be gone by trade deadline. bottom 6 is better than last year. yes we lost metro and moore but, i feel that boyd, eller and halpern will do well plus yappy has hopefully recovered from his foot surgery from last(showed signs in the playoffs) and emotionally he’s finally let guimauve go. on the back end once markov comes its not too shabby. hamr is invaluable when markie’s been injured so get off the salary crap with him. gill and gorges make an excellent shut down pair. spacek should be ok. OB need to get his act together or he’s gone(what a waste that would be). picard/weber will be a call-up or 7th d.PK will bo good but, will make rookie mistakes be patient he’s still learning but, what an amazing talent.goaltending will be an issue as the question of which cp31 shows up from tomorrow onwards and auld is a backup(nuff said).i see an under .500 record early until markov comes back as that seems to be the teams’ history when he’s gone.this team will back into the playoffs as it has in the past 2 seasons with possible gusts up to 6th.

  44. TomNickle says:

    Adam just agreed with you.  Care to rephrase or re-think your opinion?

  45. andrewberkshire says:

    Tom, I didn’t say you were making things up, nor did I mean to offend you. Hear is the problem, you’re judging Hamrlik in Markov’s position. He’s not good enough to be the #1 D on any team, but he’s still a very good #3 or #4. See the difference? His stats last year don’t earn him any trophies, but look back at post game analysises by people like Boone, Robert L, and the boys at Lions in Winter and you’ll see that more often than not Hamrlik was the best defenseman on the team on any given night while Markov was out.

  46. TomNickle says:

    How?  If I’m so damn blind to the marvelous wonder that is Roman Hamrlik.  Please explain to me what he does specifically that is so good Robert.

    Please don’t say he plays 25 minutes when Markov’s out because it’s a BS argument.

    He played big minutes with Markov out, he was a minus player despite getting favourable matchups on the road, loads of powerplay time(where he was god awful) and a good partner in Spacek during that time.

    Please give me technical things he does well, because here’s my list of things he’s bad at.

    1. He passes the puck so hard that he ices it routinely.

    2. He misses coverages in front of his own net and won’t get physical with a player unless they’re on the boards, which is the only place he can win a puck battle.

    3. He moves with the puck to the half boards and lets his forwards get so far up ice and his d partner so far away in the defensive zone that it results in an icing or turnover more than half the time he gets the puck on his stick and moves to that spot.

    Please tell me something he does well other than work the walls well.


  47. pic1983 says:

    Can we just let the puck drop before getting all negative? I mean, were only a day away.

    Hey who knows, maybe the habs will pick up the offense like they did in 2007-2008, and wont need to rely night in and night out on stifling defense and lights-out goaltending. 

  48. adam76 says:

    Agree – Hammer played well last season till injury’s slowed him down.  Now hes coming back fresh and rested (I’m sure he could have played preseason) and will play solid D. 

  49. pic1983 says:

    Thats an excellent point.  Its just easier to jump on Carey Price than Mike Cammalleri I guess. 

  50. TomNickle says:

    69 PIM with one fight.  So 32 minor penalties in 68 games.

    He takes one penalty for every two games he plays.

    But I won’t let facts get in the way of your counter-argument.

  51. SeriousFan09 says:

    You play Hal Gill 25 ES minutes a night, he’ll be dragging his feet at a beyond-glacial pace by the 2nd period and every opposing team’s players eyes will light up knowing all they have to do is slip by a gassed Hal Gill who will either be out of reach or draw a hooking/holding penalty. He’s 35! 1 year younger than Hamrlik and Spacek so it’s not like he has this great youth advantage on his side.

    He doesn’t have the physical ability to play the minutes of a Top-2 pairing and that’s all there is to it and Hamrlik, Spacek getting a year older doesn’t mean that they’ve immediately become so ancient and weak that they can’t play the game anymore. Hamrlik was huge for the team when Markov was out and without him the team would have likely been staring at lottery position if someone hadn’t been there to step up. No one plays 25 minutes a night ES unless it’s a playoff OT game. We run Gill Gorges out there like that, we lose, badly.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  52. TomNickle says:

    I see what I want to see?

    I respect you Andrew but let me break down why that comment is absolute crap.

    I want every player who puts on a Habs jersey to be successful.  I want them to realize their potential and play their best.  I’m quite realistic about the play of everyone on the team.  I’m not different from other fans in that players wear out their welcome with me, but there is never a point where I make stuff up about players just because I would like to see them fail.  I watch the games wanting the team to be good and I can assure you that other than Roman Hamrlik himself, there was nobody happier for him when he had a four point game against Philadelphia in the playoffs last year.

    The facts are facts, he’s been bad since the beginning of last season.  He was playing against the opposition’s best players, when we were at home, and we had a bad record.  He went -2 over that stretch playing big minutes.  Our powerplay was anemic(while he had something like 1 PP point for every 8 minutes of powerplay time on ice) and our penalty kill was hovering around the middle of the pack.  He led the team in giveaways, he took, I believe the second most or most minor penalties among the team’s defensemen and actually was the reason for losses down the stretch when he didn’t need to log big minutes down the stretch.  Buffalo and Carolina specifically.

    He was dreadful in the playoffs in all but one game.  Dreadful to the point where the man known around the league as a guy who will not bench veteran players, Jacques Martin, put him down for significant time against the Capitals, Penguins and Flyers at different times.

    I’m not seeing whatever I want to see Andrew.  If that were the case, this team would go undefeated and every player would be playing good, responsible hockey.  

  53. adam76 says:

    This is a fine plan for a seven game playoff series – it will not work for the start of an 82 game marathon.  Picard has played solid

    Your “plan” risks injury, burnout and is unnecessary.  Markov is a huge reason for success, but Picard has played solid D throughout the preseason.  We have many more assets at D then last season – lets use them.

  54. TheDagger says:

    Gill had the second most PIMs on the team last year. But I won’t let facts get in the way of your theories..

  55. habs03 says:

    Seems like Price and Markov have the flu…

  56. Chuck says:

    April 30, 2014.

  57. TomNickle says:

    The two guys we relied on last year are a year older.

    And to be honest, the picture wasn’t all that pretty last season.  If I remember correctly we weren’t in position to make the playoffs when Markov returned.  We went 12 games over .500 after Markov came back in the regular season and that vaulted the team into the playoffs.

  58. andrewberkshire says:

    Tom, sometimes you see whatever you want to see. Denying that Hamrlik was huge for the first 50-60 games last year is ridiculous, and he’ll be the same this year. During the regular season both Spacek and Hamrlik are much better players than Hal Gill, period. And I love Gill.

  59. Rudy says:

    FANTASTIC Habs R Us article Mr. Boone

    “Start the season with a clean equipment bag and a freah bucket of febreze!”-CharlieHodgeFan

  60. CBrady12 says:

    The same way we did last year maybe?


  61. andrewberkshire says:

    Love Jay Onrait!

  62. punkster says:

    There will be no choice. OB will play a regular shift.

  63. TomNickle says:

    Gill can’t but Hamrlik and Spacek can?

    Please Robert.

    He does more angling his check to the perimeter than he does clutching or grabbing.  Gill really doesn’t take many penalties.  

    And I’ll put my money on Gorges and Gill toting the mail over Subban and Hamrlik any day of the week.

    Spacek and Subban?  Okay.


  64. punkster says:

    Cammy is smart to keep his comments to a minimum on this issue. However I’ll bet that on October 27th or 29th the young rookie in question will get an up close and personal interview on the matter from one of the Habs.


    By the way, when does the Price/Halak crap end on this site?

  65. RGM says:

    It would be easy to say, “Those who get it don’t need an explanation; those who need an explanation will never get it.”

    The language issue is unique to Quebec simply because Quebec is unique within North America. It is the only province in which the majority of the population are as prominent and yet such a minority within the greater state. “Two nations warring within the bosom of a single state,” “distinct society,” and all of that. It may seem “childish, immature, and selfish” to you, and that’s fine, but within the greater historical context of Quebec within Canada there are a large number of features at play that drive the language issue.

    Go Habs Go!

  66. SeriousFan09 says:

    Hal Gill can’t play 5 on 5 for 25 minutes a game, he can’t get away with the same obstruction, clutch and grab he does in the playoffs and 25 minutes a game… Maybe Gorges can find it in him to play that time but that would destroy Gill and the team, he can’t keep that up, hell Duncan Keith who is probably the best minute-eater in the NHL right now doesn’t do that.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  67. Mats Naslund says:

    Shouldn’t the media have been up in arms about Cammy’s unavailability following the stick incident. I mean, clearly his wasn’t as grave an error as giving up too many goals in a pre-season game, but c’mon!




    How come when Carey deked the media it is the main story for days and when Cammy is suspended, and is tight lipped nobody gives a damn? Personally, I don’t care – because I don’t think either Cammy or Price owe anything to the media. But where are the panties in a bunch over this one?

  68. TomNickle says:

    I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how in the hell we’re gonna survive or even better, thrive, without Markov early in the year and the answer is so simple.

    Gill and Gorges need to play 25 minutes of 5 on 5 time/game

    Subban and whoever the hell Jacques puts with him need to get the same icetime.

    Picard or O’Byrne and their partner need to find a warm seat on the bench.

    That should result in a just over .500 record through the first ten games with wins coming the same way they did in the playoffs.

    It won’t be pretty, but it should get the job done early on.

  69. HabsFanInTampa says:

    Why does this language (non) issue only rear it’s ugly head in Quebec and NOWHERE else on the whole planet earth!?!?! Are there any people out there not tired of this whole debate about how many Francophones or not are on the team? When the Red Wings were winning Stanley Cups with all those Russian Bloc players, did Michigans freak out? no, they didn’t. The Lightning have more French players and coaches than any other team and a captain from Quebec. Are Floridians concerned? No. Why does this debate only happen in Quebec? Do the French Quebecois have such an inferiority complex? Seriously folks, outside of La Belle Province, this language debate seems so childish, immature and selfish. Just play hockey and win some Stanley Cups, in spite of the fact that our players may or may not originate from Quebec.

  70. RGM says:

    The organization, the coaches, and the players have all expressed their confidence in Carey Price. It’s the fans–some of them anyways–that need to get on board.

    Go Habs Go!

  71. HFX-HabFan says:

    Though I loathe the political grandstanding that comes with it, I understand the importance of francophone players in both our team’s history and culture.

    The problem and reality, however, is that the QMJHL has fallen behind.  Quebec isn’t churning out as many NHL-calibre players as it used to.  I did some research at the beginning of last season and found that it was way behind the other two major junior leagues in Canada (WHL, OHL) in producing NHLers:

    As of October 2009, there were 178 NHLers who had played in the OHL, 157 who had played in the WHL, and only 77 (not even half of the WHL) players who had played in the Q.  Not all of those 77 would be francophones either. 

    Maybe the French media/politicians need to take a look at the grassroots programs in Quebec and reassess what could be done there, rather than rag on Habs’ management for failing to draft or sign francophone players.

  72. smiler2729 says:

    It would be cool if there were more French Canadian players on the Habs BUT it is what is. Many franco players opt to not play here due to the pressure.

    I wish there were more North American players NOT cuz I am biased against European players, some of them are real fine players but IN MY OPINION most lack a certain hockey quality that makes the North American player superior. There are very few Saku Koivu or Peter Forsberg types that have that intangible (AK46 needs to go).

    And hey, wasn’t that former Habs superstar-goalie-in-waiting Cedric Desjardins demoted by the Lightning?

  73. Malreg says:

    From Jay Onrait’s twitter last night during the TSN top 50 players show:

    Wow! Jonathan Toews at #3. Who do you like for #1? Nazim Kadri would seem to have a chance based on our pre-season coverage of the Leafs.
  74. joshua94k says:

    Flash back to April 1993. Patrick Roy played badly in games 1 & 2 against the Nordiques. In game 3 at the Forum, the crowd chanted for back up goalie Racicot (can you believe it) after the Nordiques scored their first goal. Habs coach Jacques Demers believed in Roy. So did his teammates. Nordiques goaltending coach Dan Bouchard told the media he found Roy’s weakness. Big mistake. Roy never lost another game that series.

    The Canadiens need to have the same faith in Price. They’re going to battle for him….

    “It’s too much for one guy to shoulder. For us, we’re going to do it as a group. It’s about sharing that responsibility win or lose.” – Mike Cammallerie

  75. CP31 says:

    With respect to Mr. Boone’s article about the lack of French born players on the Habs, I disagree:

    Far be it from me (a Habs fan living in Ontario) to judge a Quebec Habs fan/Montreal media personnel or journalist from criticizing the “lack of francophones” on the team………that is your right 100%. But I would think that ALL Hab fans, regardless of their origin of birth, would agree that the end result for the Habs should always be “icing” the best possible team available.

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that when we had the likes of The Richards, Plante’s, Cournoyer’s, Lafleur’s, Carbonneau’s, Roy’s, etc they were the best players for their time period. I also think that most would agree that many years ago French born players were in abundance as compared to now. Hockey has grown wordly and has become popular in many circles. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the times have changed and therefore it is a lot harder to find French born players that truly excel at the NHL level.

    I don’t think it makes any logical business sense to go out and trade for players based on appeasing select people who feel it is a mandatory obligation to do so. The Montreal management is definitely in a tough spot because they do not and SHOULD not lose the connection to French Canadian culture. But people need to step back and realize that the pool of players today is significantly larger and abundant and therefore drafting and trading for players in VERY different today then it was in the past.

    In conclusion, hopefully this does not offend anyone as it is only an opinion of one Habs fan. But it also should be noted that in my many years of being a Habs fan from Hamilton, I have been to Montreal close to 20 times (normally Habs related trips, of course, ha ha!). Montreal is arguably one of the best places to visit in Canada and IS DEFINITELY THE BEST PLACE TO WATCH AN NHL HOCKEY GAME!!!



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