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. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.



  5. 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.

  6. HabsFanInTampa says:

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

  7. 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. 

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. 

  11. TomNickle says:

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

  12. 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.”

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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.”

  16. 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!

  17. 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?

  18. 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.

  19. TomNickle says:

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.


  22. 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. 

  23. 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. 

  24. pic1983 says:

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.  

  28. adam76 says:

    Shes only young, “Hater” is a legit comeback.

  29. 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.

  30. 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..

  31. adam76 says:

    price had 13 wins last season, 16 wins is an improvement. 


    Habs are not making the playoffs.

  32. habs03 says:

    Seems like Price and Markov have the flu…

  33. Chuck says:

    April 30, 2014.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. Rudy says:

    FANTASTIC Habs R Us article Mr. Boone

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

  37. CBrady12 says:

    The same way we did last year maybe?


  38. andrewberkshire says:

    Love Jay Onrait!

  39. punkster says:

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

  40. 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.


  41. 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?

  42. 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!

  43. Clay4bc says:

    LOL…is this what passes for a comment now? Your rebutting skills amaze me.


    I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to make yourself look stupid.

  44. 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.

  45. 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?

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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!

  49. 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.

  50. oshawahabsfan says:

    How Markov doesn’t make their top 50 list is beyond me. He’s only the best PP defenceman in the league. Not to mention an all-around top ten d-man. I guess they were just bitter they couldn’t fit a loaf player in there so they couldn’t put a Montreal player on it

  51. 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?

  52. 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.
  53. 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

  54. 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!!!



  55. SeriousFan09 says:

    Just thought I’d point out a -2 isn’t a horrific stat, Markov never regularly played with Bergeron, saying both Hamrlik and Markov played with OB is a wash and in the regular season Hamrlik played with Subban for just 2 games! Komisarek wasn’t that horrible until 08-09 when Lucic took his pride and dignity, than Markov played with Gorges for a while who kept up with things as well.

    Comes down to it, picking on a -2 stat for a 2nd-pair defencemen playing #1 defencemen minutes is not very objective, it’s about as much as teams can hope for when that situation happens.



    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  56. SeriousFan09 says:

    Gorges issues with being outmuscled or having limited talent at moving the puck occur just as often as Hamrlik’s mistakes do and they can both create pretty bad situations for the team. Hamrlik does all he can for the team, he’s never given less when I’ve watched him play and what he did last season was above and beyond when Markov was out. Was it pretty? No but if Hamrlik was such an unmitigated disaster we’d have Nino Nieddereiter right now.

    Spacek is good, but if Hamrlik was really that bad, he couldn’t have covered it up. Only man who can cover up another player’s failings on this team is Markov.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  57. BKAK72 says:

    1. Cammi

    2. No – renogiate after playoffs

    3. Hope not – but – nobody will trade for him.  Gone as FA end of year.

    4.  25 (tops) – tough to score from the press box

    5.  Alex Auld – hope i am wrong

    6.  65

    7.  18 – hope i am wrong

    8.  6th if Price is on, 8th if it is Auld

    9.  LAPPS

    10.  Calder

    – I will not apologize for being a delirious HABS fan! –

  58. K-hab25 says:

    Ding Ding Ding Ding, You’re Correct Sir.

  59. K-hab25 says:

    Douche Hater

  60. BKAK72 says:

    No HABS or LEAFS on the TSN-50?  Makes perfect sense to me.  One can make the case for Markov (over Tyler Myers), the remaining 49 are fine.

    – I will not apologize for being a delirious HABS fan! –

  61. SLONCOLD says:

    blow? come one man. propane and glue lol get better carey auld scares me

  62. Chuck says:

    Perhaps a good follow-up question would be, “If Price wins 16, how many wins are the rest of the Habs’ goaltending (Auld, Sanford, etc.) going to get?

  63. CERF says:

    really Adam? 16wins? 32 points .. at that pace were looking at 30th place

    You seem like a smart hockey guy but your dislike for Price makes you seem foolish at times..

    at least be reasonable

  64. krob1000 says:

    Right now at this stage of their careers I think Gorges is outplaying Hammer defensively…no argument there. Gorges lacks size and that is why Spacek got the Ovechkin assignment Gorges is fast and willing and pretty sneaky with his lack of size (like Pleks up front).  Gorges covers space better and is always mindful of the shooter and is hero like in his willingness to take pucks for the team…and he is quick on loose pucks, on the wall…I take Hammer on the point of a pp though as Gorges is not a threat to even toss the puck in the general direction of the net.  I have no debate about Gorges…more the constant bashing of Hammer in general…I consider him our Gomez on D…overpriced but without bias reliable and pretty versatile, veteran guys whose contracts cause us to view them diff’tly then we should.

    No one can replace Markov (perhaps PK is actually the closest a coupleof seasons from now)…it has to be done by committee and Hammer is on that committee for sure.  Hammer at one time could come close himself…hamrlik was a great dman back in the day..if we look at things realistically I think Gorges is nowhere near the NHL at Hammers age…his game wouldn;t allwo it I don’t think unless he is made of steel. It is a testament in itself of Hammer that he is still playing at his age….much like Gill.  There are young bucks always coming up the ranks wanting his job…yet he remains…there is a reason for that. 

  65. MathMan says:

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

    2. Will the club extend Andrei Markov before the season is up? – I don’t think they want to go into an outright rebuild, so yes.

    3. Will Andrei Kostitsyn be a Montreal Canadien in April? – Yes and I think he will be retained for next season.

    4. How many points will Benoit Pouliot score this season? 35-40

    5. Who do you believe is set for a career-year? – Pouliot, I’m guessing, though that’s not saying much. Maybe Andrei K.

    6. How many goals will Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta combine for this season? 58 (Cammy 33, Gio 25)

    7. How many wins will Carey Price get this season? – 32, which is a very good number for the team he’s on.

    8. Will the Canadiens make the playoffs, if so in what place will they finish? They’ll miss, but I think they’ll improve their overall play and avoid the lottery.

    9. Which player is most likely to have a strong bounce back this season? Lapierre or Halpern? Halpern. Lapierre only ever went where Latendresse hauled him to.

    10. What are your projections for P.K. Subban this year? Risk-taking flashy offensive D-men and ultra-conservative risk-averse coach? This is a match made in Hell. I expect Subban to spend time in Hamilton.

  66. TomNickle says:

    And now you’re comparing Markov and Hamrlik’s plus/minus numbers while Markov’s played with Bergeron, O’Byrne and Komisarek and Hamrlik’s had Spacek, Gorges, Subban and O’Byrne.


  67. 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.


  68. 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.

  69. TomNickle says:

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

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. _Habsoloutly_ says:

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

  73. 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.


  74. adam76 says:

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

  75. lefreak says:

    let’s see what you can do lars.

  76. twocents says:

    No offense intended Mr. Hickey, but this line. “It would have been good to clear up those issues” sure reads like, “I wish he wouldn’t deny me a story.”

    I’ve no problem with a player keeping something like this to himself. Nothing good ever comes from them explaining it.

  77. Nilan4Pres says:

    I agree. I thought I was reading a story but it turned out to be an opinion piece by a reporter who felt he deserved more of the story. I was satisfied with what  Cammalleri  said about the issue.


    Just my opinion

  78. HabFanSince72 says:

    Our D is pretty thin as it is. Dumping Hamrlik would only make that worse.

  79. ed lopaz says:

    Boone writes:

     “There was no way the Canadiens could sign an arbitration-eligible Halak AND impending UFA Tomas Plekanec”

    That’s just not at all accurate.

    There are MANY ways it could have been done – Gauthier simply CHOSE NONE OF THEM.

    he could have sent Hamrlik and his 5.5 million to Hamilton – case closed!!

    Hamrlik is not worth anywhere near 5.5 million, and that’s why the Habs had no room left against the Cap.

    You dump Hamrlik and replace him with some youth – give a younger d-man a chance for a change!!

    We could have traded AK and his 3.2 million, and replaced him with one of our young studs.

    Please Boone – let;s call it like it really is – The habs preferred Price – and that’s the CHOICE GAUTHIER MADE.

    Price has more upside “potential” in him – fine, I can see that logic.

    Let’s be honest about the numbers and not let Gauthier sell us some B.S story about the Cap.

  80. lefreak says:

    you would really want a “younger d man” on an already shaky blueline?

  one wanted akost and if hammer would have been picked up off waivers (at 2.75 mill he would have, good money for an experienced d man.) your plan would not work either.


    Put it to rest, he’s gone, he’s not coming back, woulda coulda shoulda means nothing anymore.

  81. Puck Bard says:

    7:30 AM on the eve of the season, and you start like this?  Please.

  82. Ian Cobb says:

    Ed, are you lobbying for the GM’S job.?  Sounds like you have been in at all the meetings.

  83. says:

    Gotta have Hammer out there paying defense.  It’s great to move forward with youth but not on defense.

    When Eller turns into an eighty point player,no one will care about the name Halak.  He’s a great goalie, wish him well in (cough cough) St Louis. 

    They Call Me Shane

  84. Mike Boone says:

    1. Gauthier is not selling BS about the cap. He insisted, during his pre-camp media briefing, that contract issues had nothing to do with the trade. The cap theory is my take.

    2. Sure, send Hamrlik to Hamilton. And round out the depleted D corps with … Alex Henry?

    3. Who would take AK46?

    Yes, the team preferred Price. But $$$ definitely influenced the preference. That’s the way the league works. Do you think the Hawks were happy to let Niemi walk?


  85. SeriousFan09 says:

    Who exactly was going to fill in for Hamrlik? AK? That’s 20 minutes (or more!) a night for a D to cover (Which none of our prospects are up to right now) and Andrei wasn’t exactly going to have guys banging on the door for his services or have standing replacements.

    OB is very shaky right now and Picard was signed as a 7th man, 8th man option not a Top-4 player and the rest of the Hamilton crew is simply not ready for the job right now, Carle, Weber and the like simply don’t have it. AK goes, we don’t have a standing replacement and despite people’s dislike of his consistency issues there’s no one really offering close to what he does as a Top-6 player. Maxwell has no record in regular season action for MTL, White is a grinder, not a top-6 player (and Carbo proved what sticking the Kostopoulous of the world with top lines did) also no guarantee in the world we’d have Eller in exchange for moving Price and even if that did happen, the second there is a Top-6 injury there is no literally no replacement unlike now, Eller’s ready to step in for anyone who gets injured on our top 2 lines right now.

    The point was not to move heaven and earth just to keep one guy, it was to collect as much as possible in assets in a trade without upsetting the overall balance of the team. Dumping any kind of depth to sign a player in addition to likely bringing in fewer assets because of Price’s diminished value versus Halak’s higher stock at the time wasn’t considered the best move going forward.



    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  86. Psycho29 says:

    What? When did Halak get traded????

    Seriously….The new season starts tomorrow, it’s time to move on from this supposed ‘dark day’ in Montreal Canadiens history.

    Next thing you know we will be discussing the Ribiero trade again….


  87. derfab says:

    Your view is the more accurate one but a Hamrlik demotion would be desperate and, sorry to say, dumb. He is still the best D-man on the club after Markov.

  88. habaddict_andy says:

    Hamrlik is worth 3.5 to 4mn IMO.  He’s not small and 95% of the time he gets the job done.  He’s a veteran and good to have to mentor the young blood.  Mr. Ed, I think it’s human nature to always want more and this is a good example.


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

  89. TomNickle says:

    Great to see you post again Ed.

    Had Hamrlik been dumped in the off-season, we could have Halak and Price, and Pleks, and an affordable defenseman to replace Hamrlik who doesn’t single handedly cause losses with 10 games to go in the regular season.

  90. RGM says:

    I’m sure that the Habs explored as many possibilities as they could with regards to the Halak trade. Ultimately, it boiled down to the team wanting to do what they felt was best for the Canadiens organization and both of the players involved. Clearly, even though it would have been ideal to keep both under-25 goalies on the roster, it was felt that such a situation would no longer be workable. Indeed, it would be detrimental to both players to have them split duties or have one simply riding the bench for a prolonged period of time. The Canadiens as an organization have invested heavily in Carey Price. They’re not ready to give up on him despite having thousands of fans who would be more than willing to throw him under the bus. Couple that with Alan Walsh’s public stupidity of last year, and Jaro’s own vague references to a desire to be traded, and it was clear that Halak was going to be the one to go.

    Now, you can talk about how easy it would be to demote Hamrlik, and sure by the letter of the CBA they’re entitled to do that. But you don’t disrespect a guy like that. It’s not as if Hamrlik is Wade Redden or Sheldon Souray – the guy can clearly still eat up 25+ minutes a night against the opposition’s top guys. And let’s be serious here, there’s nobody in the pipeline right now–and I stress that in the present tense–that can fill that role of an all-around guy that can play even strength, the PP, and the PK at the same level.

    Now, you can talk about how easy it would be to trade Andrei Kostitsyn to solve the cap problem. Here’s the thing – where’s the market? Is there a team out there that would want to take him? Is there a general manager out there willing to part with assets–be it a player, a prospect, or a draft pick–that thinks Andrei Kostitsyn is someone that could be valuable to his team and that Kostitsyn’s $3.2M contract works in their cap system? GMs know how other teams perform, and if they saw Kostitsyn for significant stretches last year, it would be pretty difficult to find a willing partner.

    That’s all superfluous stuff of course, because as you noted, yes the Canadiens chose Price over Halak. It works best for the organization, so they feel. It works best for the two goalies, who now both get to be unquestioned #1 goalies. It works.

    Go Habs Go!

  91. Clay4bc says:

    “I’m sure that the Habs explored as many possibilities as they could with regards to the Halak trade.”

    Sorry RGM, but you know as well as I that this is just not true. PG plainly stated that he talked to exactly zero other teams than St. Louis – nor did he talk to Halak or his agent to try and work out a deal. So how did he explore these possibilities, exactly?


    I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to make yourself look stupid.

  92. RGM says:

    Internally with his staff.

    Go Habs Go!

  93. pic1983 says:

    Demoting hamrlik to the AHL would be completely classless by this organization.  As much as im not a fan of his, and cant wait for the habs to get rid of him, he deserves to play, and he deserves to be treated with respect. 

    What the rangers did to redden is completely classless, and im sure the NHL will close that loophole in the next round of CBA negotiations.  Good on vancouver for not going that route, and trading shane O’brien instead of simply demoting him. 

  94. Ian Cobb says:



    Cut off dates for HIO deal price at THE NOVATEL HOTEL is today OCT.6th.

    Make the call ASAP so not to miss out.   The hotel  number for Novotel reservations is: 1-514-871-2138


    NEWS !

    Bob Gainey might be joining us this year, I just had an e-mail from his
    daughter Anna, who runs the Gainey Foundation, and she extented the
    invitation to him for me,  I will keep you informed.

  95. Clay4bc says:

    Yes, he’s gone, and we all need to move on. But that doesn’t mean that we need to lie about it either, does it?


    I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to make yourself look stupid.

  96. lefreak says:

    if the truth is armchair gms pretending that they know everything that happens behind closed doors without being there, and taking own personal opinions as the gospel of truth….then yes lies are better, because at least when you tell them you know you are spewing sit with an h…instead of trying to prove things in the same way eklund does.;)

  97. says:

    Well done!

    They Call Me Shane

  98. Clay4bc says:

    Your rudeness aside…it is mere speculation that we could have traded Price instead of Halak, and found the extra million a year difference to pay him? It doesnt take a genius to figure this out. This is my point…Clear?


    I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to make yourself look stupid.

  99. SeriousFan09 says:

    Considering what they’re paying a better goalie in Turco, I doubt the Hawks are weeping over it now. Niemi tried to use arbitration to get more money for the work Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Hjalmarsson and Sopen did last year.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  100. lefreak says:

    the only goalie “controversy” to me would be alex auld. I didn’t get that move, still don’t get it…and am praying that hopefully i might.

  101. G-Man says:

    Underestimating stellat goaltending is a bad habit on this site. Hawks with Turco are going to find out how good Niemi was. Tampa Bay pulled the same bonehead move with Khabibulin after their Cup win and have been losers since. Chicago being eliminated from the playoffs with a game versus San Jose with Niemi in nets would be icing on the cake.

  102. terrygain says:

    The suggestion that Hamrlik is more valuable to the team than Halak is risible. The suggestion that he is a better player than Gorges and Gill is dumb. 

  103. SeriousFan09 says:

    If Khabibulin had not had his back problems in the 2009 playoffs, the Hawks would have made the Cup Finals in 2009 but Niemi is not the Bulin Wall. He was good in 1 of his 4 playoff series. He didn’t play great to deliver the NSH series, CHI’s D, offensive depth and Luongo himself buried VAN, he did put in his time in the SJ sweep but the Flyers got back in that Cup Final series because Niemi was weak a few times.

    Habs fans know stellar goaltending when we see it, nobody disputes Halak’s accomplishment but if we’d had Niemi instead of Halak against Washington it would have ended in maybe 5 games. Keith and company cleared out Niemi’s fat rebounds so often he should’ve given them a cut of his salary.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  104. Mark C says:

    If you think Niemi is so good, you must really think Price awesome.

  105. G-Man says:

    We shall see. SJ, not a bad team the last few seasons, thought enough of him to give him the starter’s job. Pretending Niemi did not play well for 3/4 of the playoffs is almost laugh out loud funny. No Stanley Cup winning goalie plays as awful as many here pretend. 16-6 and 2.63 and .910 overall during the playoffs is nothing to sneeze or scoff at.

  106. G-Man says:

    I give credit to the goalies that perform under the most pressure. Niemi has a Stanley Cup. Price has a Calder Cup- big difference.

  107. Mark C says:

    Yeah that .882 SV% in the Cup finals, Niemi sure played well under the most pressure.

  108. SeriousFan09 says:

    San Jose’s also taken a big hit in depth and leadership with the retirement of Rob Blake, they haven’t replaced him and while Nabokov has some late-season issues (usually because he’s played over 65 regular-season games or as I like to call it the ‘too many to win the Cup’ barrier) he was better than Niemi or Nittymaki and held up to a Conference Final. 

    Nashville nearly won the key game in the CHI series until Kane’s down to the wire tying goal and the Hossa goal that probably shouldn’t have happened because they ought to have ejected him over that hit and would’ve headed back to home ice with the series lead, in no part thanks to any good goaltending by Niemi at that point. VAN was just dominated by CHI’s offence and defence, Niemi’s workload was light and PHI? Please the entire series most of the analysts were mocking the *ahem* quality of the goaltending on both sides. If PHI can drag Leighton with a .916 save % and 2.46 GAA plus Boucher with a .909 save % with 2.47 GAA to the Cup final than don’t say 2.63 with .910 is that special.

    Worst goaltending in a Cup Final most have ever seen including my father who’s been watching them since the 60s.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  109. G-Man says:

    Think Price (who was so well though of by the coaching staff last spring he wasn’t the starter) would have been able to beat SJ?

  110. derfab says:

    Chicago has been guttted. That is why they will be less successful. Never mind Niemi, who has been replaced by a solid veteran, the loss of player like Byfuglien is more significant.

  111. Mark C says:

    Sure if he played behind the Blackhawks. Price was well thought of, just Halak was playing at a different level at the time. Price and Niemi had the same regular season SV%. The only reason Niemi won a Cup is because he played on an outstanding team, I don’t see that a reason to think he’s better than Price or any other goalie.

  112. habaddict_andy says:

    Wow, suggesting Hamrlik is more valuable than Halak is dumb?  Thank god you are not a GM.  First of all Hamrlik and Halak is Apples and Oranges.  It’s more complicated than that.  Down the line when you know your gonna need to make sure all positions are roughly covered and you need to sign Plekanec (good signing by the way), you have to make a decision.  Letting go Halak and going with Price was a pretty darn ballsy in Gauthier.  Thank god he is not influence by thousands of people and the media to make a move that may have a good impact on the team in the long run.  But hey, time will tell how we turn out.


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

  113. CERF says:


    Always enjoy reading your posts and replies. Keep it up the good reads!

  114. Mark C says:

    Well stated SF09, saves me from making a post. You are right, Montreal could have made the room, but that’s rarely the best thing to do. The Halak trade was all about value and maximizing the rosters depth.

  115. terrygain says:

    If Price doesn’t play a whole  lot better than he did last year moving Halak will mean we don’t even make the playoffs. Trading Halak was a big and unnecessary gamble. 

  116. SeriousFan09 says:

    If MTL loses the services of Andrei Markov for half the season, have only two scoring forwards play 75+ games and scores in front of Price at a rate that produces 175 goals in a season (What they were doing last year in front of him) than yeah, I’d say MTL probably misses the playoffs.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  117. CanadienBoy says:

    Good post ,you should  re posted it every hours till game time , go Habs go !

  118. HFX-HabFan says:

    That’s simply your opinion, and not a fact (until proven otherwise).  Speaking in absolutes doesn’t make your opinions true.

  119. derfab says:

    Gee Mr. Hickey, “assault” (?!). The hit was dirty and had nothing to do with “expectations”. Furthermore, the video shows that the rookie raised his stick first to defend himself when confronted.  The kid is lucky to have escaped with a stick wave, a wack on the leg and his teeth. The suspension is laughable, as is your uncharacteristic attempt to bait Mr. Cammaleri.  

  120. gm50 says:

    What would be the best outcome for the tv deals? Because as it stands,
    fox sports australia is only showing those games shown on versus plus
    some playoff games from nbc, so we only get two or three games a week,
    and only two or three habs games a season (though this years there’s
    six, incl. the heritage classic on my birthday!!).
    So would an espn or fox sports deal (or even a new versus deal) give
    greater coverage, or would I (and other australian habs/hockey fans, if
    you can find them) just stick to cjad? or am I asking the wrong people
    here, with your rds and cbc?

  121. habs03 says:

    Last year I was finishing my last year of unverisity on the day of game 1, I remember that day went by so slow, so I’m thinking of calling in sick to work tomorrow just so I can sleep in and shorten the waiting time until the game.

  122. Oddball says:

    What?!?! TSN makes a top 50 list and Phil “Call me Gretz” Kessel isn’t on it? WTF? I was even more surprised when TSN did their usual hockey pundits draft and they didn’t divide Kessel points into assists and goals. You know they have to make it fair for everyone.


    ..always with the negative waves, Moriarty, always with the negative waves..

  123. TomNickle says:

    His contract isn’t the issue with many fans.  His icetime and play while he gets that icetime are.

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