Jaro returns to scene of the crime

ken-hitchcock

He was the toast of the town, and if you need to be reminded why, read Dave Stubbs article in the Gazette or look at this video.

But that was then, this is now. Tonight, Jaroslav Halak returns to play goal in the Bell Centre, wearing the Blue Note instead of the CH on his sweater. He was the primary reason the Canadiens stole two seven-game playoff series in 2009, one against the Presidents Trophy-winning Capitals and one against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins.

However, two points are on the line, and for the home team — riding a two-game win streak for the first time in a month –there is little room for sentiment. Montreal is still seven points south of an Eastern Conference playoff spot in 12th.

Yet, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has allowed some sentiment to creep in for this game. Normally, after a Blues goalie posts a shutout, he’ll be rewarded with the start in the next game. But after Brian Elliott’s 15-save shutout Saturday over the Avalanche, Hitchcock announced Halak would get the start against the Canadiens in his first trip back to the Bell Centre since his trade to the Blues.

“This is once in a lifetime, first time going back there,” Hitchcock said. “In fairness to Jaroslav, he had a heck of a time there. I think it would be dismissive of me not to recognize that.”

There were reports Randy Cunneyworth would start Peter Budaj tonight for the Habs, but he opted for the matchup of Halak and his old creasemate Carey Price.

The Blues are battling in the standings as well, but their fight is for first place in their division (where they are now) and conference. They finished the first half 24-12-5, and are 18-5-5 since Hitchcock took over from Davis Payne in early November.

Hitchcock has been able to unlock the potential in this club, which has been built from high draft choices and key trades engineered by the hockey department of President John Davidson, general manager Doug Armstrong and senior advisor and former GM Larry Pleau.

St. Louis has been an excellent team at the Scottrade Center. Their 17 home wins leads the league. They just finished a three-game home sweep with the shutout over Colorado (which showed their defensive abilities) and a come from behind win over the Oilers (which demonstrated their character), raising their home mark to 17-3-2.

Now they play a one-game road trip in Montreal — and they’re only 7-9-3 away from St. Louis. “We’ve played very well on the road, but we haven’t seen it come out in wins,” Hitchcock said. “We have to start to see that if we want to be a top team at the end of the day.”

After a shaky start to the season, Halak has played well, having lost only one regulation game in his 12 starts since Nov. 11, with a 7-0-5 record (all those 5 non-regulation losses came in the shootout). But the real story in goal has been former Senator Brian Elliott, whose 1.62 GAA and .944 save percentage are better than Tim Thomas, Henrik Lundqvist and any other goalie who has played at least 15 games.

On defence, the Blues can boast two very good young puck movers in Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk (acquired in a deft trade last year with the Avs), who are each paired with a veteran, Carlo Colaiacovo (with Pietrangelo) and stay-at-home specialist Barrett Jackman. The third pair of Ian Cole and Roman Polak provide steady play and Hitchcock isn’t afraid to give them regular work.

Offensively, St. Louis has a balanced attack. No player has 30 points or more than 13 goals, but captain David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen all have 13. Five Blues have at least 20 points and eight more are in double digits.

Backes has emerged as a real leader for this group and Oshie, whose hustle had never translated into good numbers, is now on the way to career-bests.

Getting 23-year-old Sherbrooke native David Perron back after a 14-month concussion absence has given the Blues a big boost up front. He’s gotten 13 points in 16 games.

The addition of two veterans, Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner as free agents in the offseason has also panned out well. They’re providing grit, leadership and Stanley Cup experience while contributing points at a decent clip as third liners.

When Payne was behind the bench, the Blues power play was last in the NHL (Montreal has that honor now). Hitchcock said in his introductory press conference he could fix things in one practice and the Blues PP is now ranked 21st (14.9 percent) having gotten nine goals in its last 26 opportunities.

Watch for them on the power play to initiate everything off the shot, making plays after the puck is shot, rather than passing the puck around waiting for the perfect opportunity. They have the size and skill up front to effectively create havoc and, in Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk, they have two pointmen who can both fire the puck and make strong passing plays.

They’re mid-pack on the penalty kill, 82.1 percent effective. Part of the problem there is they are not a strong faceoff team, 48.8 percent, ranked 23rd, just behind the Canadiens in that department.

Here’s how the Blues should line up for tonight’s game:

David Perron, David Backes, Chris Stewart
Matt D’Agostini, Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka, Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner
B.J. Crombeen, Scott Nichol, Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo, Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman, Kevin Shattenkirk
Ian Cole, Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

217 Comments

  1. RetroMikey says:

    Yup, the millionnaire smurfs in Gio, Cammy amd Pleks smurfs have been racking up the negative numbers in the +/- columns tonight and in most games.
    And these guys are supposed to lead us for example?
    Tank I say! Tank!

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

  2. SlovakHab says:

    I love people suggesting that we shouldn’t have picked Price in 2005 first round.
    We could have done so much worse it’s not even funny. Just because we didn’t pick a Slovenian player that went 11th by the way doesn’t mean we didn’t do well! Benny Pouliot, Gilbert Brule, Jack Skille, Brian Lee, Luc Bourdon were ALL picked in top 10. And does Jack Johnson really play like a franchise TOP-3 pick player??
    That draft’s first round wasn’t too deep and so many teams wasted their pick on Zargapan, Pokulok, O’Marra, Bourret, Kindl, Parent, McArdle etc etc… We did really well, we took a top-5 player in the first round with our 5th overall pick, who happens to be our most important player at the moment.

  3. Ian Cobb says:

    There is absolutely no reason for us to come out of this one without the two points. Keep the lines as before, stay out of the box and skate them into the ice. They are coached well and they are big, yes, but if we keep our feet moving as we can, they will fade by the 3rd. And our kids are making fewer mistakes every game.

  4. montrealtilldeath says:

    I will make it very simple for the simple minded Price haters out there. Offer a straight up swap to St. Louis Price for Halak in an imaginary trade scenario. Would the Blues turn that down? No way. Case closed. Remember Boston won the Cup. The Flyers didn`t

    • ManApart says:

      Ask again at the end of the season. I have a feeling, and it has actually been happening the last 2 months, That Halak is on his way up and Price on his way down. Halak has much better numbers than Price the last 1 1/2- 2 months.

      Price is slowly but surely going back to his Scary Price days prior to last season. Nothing close to elite this year. On the whole, both goalies have been merely average so far this season, but are going in opposite directions.

      As we know very well, Halak is a big game goalie. The Blues will make the playoffs and I know Halak will be the starter. Again, ask that question again in about 5 months.

  5. HabinBurlington says:

    This game has become more about Price vs. Halak than two teams playing each other I fear.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/price—halak-duel-dwarfs-important-points-at-stake-in-montreal/article2297580/

  6. naweed235 says:

    As much as I respect Halak and recognize the fact that he was a major reason for the Habs playoff run 2 seasons ago, I am SICK of people saying “He single-handedly took them to the semi finals!” That is so stupid it’s not even funny. I suggest you go and watch the replays of all those wins on NHL.com to refresh your memory and see that guys like Cammaleri (scoring leader of the playoffs), Gionta, Gomez (unrecognizable), Pleks, Moore, Lapierre, Markov (before he got injured), Subban, AK46 and Moen were playing lights out. Not to mention I think we had the best 4th line in the playoffs at the time in terms of production….

    • likehoy says:

      jaro spacek did pretty well as well v.s. ovechkin

      – If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

    • BramScott says:

      I agree, I think it is a major insult to the rest of team when fans and media proclaim that the team “only” won because the goalie was great.
      I’m so tired of claims that Patrick Roy “stole’ the cup in 93. Yes Roy was great, but someone had to put the puck in the net to win those OT games.

    • ManApart says:

      Hockey is a team game and of course no one person can win a series. Even Gretzky and Lemieux’s teams went nowhere, the years they had weaker supporting casts.

      Taking that into context, Halak absolutely stole games that the Habs had no business winning. He stole enough of them, to actually steal 2 series. So, you can’t take the term single-handedly too literally. What is meant, is that he was the main reason the team did what they did. They didn’t have any business even being in the playoffs that year, never mind the Semis. Then what the hell were they in the Semis for? One word………Halak. That’s what people mean when they say single-handedly.

  7. ed lopaz says:

    in a post below I read the following comment:

    “Eller is not a 1st or 2nd line center now and will never be. Unless you are a last place team.”

    I have been around a rink or two in my day and I would like to disagree with this statement for many reasons.

    1) Eller has all the physical tools, size, strength, speed, hands, vision, to be a 1st or 2nd line center in the NHL

    2) Eller has a terrific attitude and work ethic, and extremely mature for his age

    3) Eller is all of 22 years old which is very young even by NHL standards

    4) He has excellent defensive instincts, which is why RC has made him our shut down center

    5) he is terrific at backchecking, retrieving loose pucks, and skating with the puck.

    6) he passes very well – with great touch and feel on his passes

    The scouts have liked him for years already and St Louis made him a 1st round pick.

    Where is his weakness? he is not a “sniper” – he will not be a 40-50 goal man; but rather about 20 goals and 40-45 assists

    I think Eller has an excellent chance to become a 60-70 point centreman in this league – about the same numbers that Plekanec puts up.

    • Mattyleg says:

      Good assessment of Eller, just a shame that you had to quote TwitApart’s post.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • krob1000 says:

      You forgot to note that although he is 22 he played in Denmark and has only been in North America for 3 seasons….that makes a difference…add to that the fact large players need time to learn to use their bodies to create space…the kid is well on track to being a very, very good center…I still say a Pleks/Koivu/J Staal/Olli Jokinen mutt.

  8. LL says:

    I think it’s only fair that Halak gets all the love and attention he is missing as a Blue for at least 1 night.

    After all, he single-handedly won two, TWO freakin’ rounds for our team. And had he still been playing, he would’ve made that 1 save that would’ve enabled our team to beat the Bruins and go on to win the Stanley Cup last season.

    As well, our team would be in first place now with no worries about making the playoffs. Halak’s 1.000000000 and .9999999999% every single game would have reduced Dryden, The Rocket and Lafleur to mere useless mortals in the history of the Habs.

    Price and Eller what bums. What do people see in them? Jeez, morons.

    /Severe Sarcasm/

  9. LafleurFan says:

    How was King Patrick received in his first game back at the Forum/Molson Centre?

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  10. billylove says:

    I’m already pumped, drop the puck! Whether there’s going to be a real playoff push will be decided tonight. Blues have worst road record of all teams holding a playoff spot. If we can’t build on a modest 2 game win streak tonight…….?? All the talk is about Jaro’s return, and rightly so, but anyone else think this is a HUGE game for Price? He will NOT want to be outplayed. Far more pressure on Price than Halak. Looking forward to watching how he responds.

    • avatar_58 says:

      Of course the pressure is on Price – because whether he wins or loses people in Montreal won’t shut up about it. For Halak, if he loses, it’s meaningless and no one will really care. Just another loss, get back on the horse sorta deal.

      But hey – no one really cares and will slam Price should be lose. Even if it’s just one goal.

  11. krob1000 says:

    Random fact I just read…Wayne Gretzky scored 47 points in the month of November in 1983…..holy crap

  12. habs03 says:

    @DorvalTony, seeing how both Elliot and Halak have both played 21 games so far, and the team doing much, much better with Elliot, what you do think about Halak being the second opition. It really seems like the team likes playing for Elliot a lot more, they seem to block more shots, score more goals ;) Heck even when Halak plays well enough to get them to a shoot-out, the purposely miss the their shots it seems.

  13. adamkennelly says:

    STL has a proper looking 4th line.

  14. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Halak vs Price? Who gives a damn about Halak?
    We had a good playoff run with Halak, not because he stood on his head but the whole team clicked that year. Wake up Halak lovers, he’s a Blue right now & I don’t give a rats ass about him. Our guy is Carey and that’s all that matters. Any praises for Sir Halak should be posted on the Blue website.

    He’s ancient history as far as I’m concerned.

  15. Mattyleg says:

    Hey All,
    So Blues were in last place for their PP before Hitch came in, and Stu says: “Hitchcock said in his introductory press conference he could fix things in one practice” and now they’re in 21st.

    Any chance we could hire Hitch for one practice? Just on loan, like?

    He’d only have to learn one French word, I’m sure.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  16. HabFanSince72 says:

    Sorry to go off-topic, but I was walking up St.Laurent with the wife on the weekend and I saw that Cinema L’Amour is showing an x-rated parody of WKRP in Cincinnati. They really found the perfect lookalikes for the entire cast: Bailey, Venus, Johnny Fever, even Les Nesman and Mr Carlson.

    I was wondering if anyone has seen it. How’s the dialogue? The acting? Is the story any good?

    Thanks.

  17. montrealtilldeath says:

    I am sick of the BS about how well Halak played in the playoff round a few years ago. He had a few good games but he also had a defence that did not allow a lot of shots in the high probability zone and kept the opposition out of the crease area. On the games he was bad he did not have the guts to face the press like Price. When Halak ran up against a team that crashed into the crease area (The Flyers)HE FOLDED BADLY AND QUICKLY. Price played against Boston who was in the crease area all 7 gamesfor 60 minutes and lost in OT. I firmly believe that we lost because of MR CAREFULL JM going into the defensive shell too early especially in game 4. Get over Halak, storm the crease and fill the net. As the Boston staff and players said in their championship run their toughest time was against Montreal and the reasom they gave was Carey Price. I am as my name above suggests a Canadiens fan and Halak is the enemy. In the words of Laurence of Arabia “No Prisoners!!!”

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      I don’t know – I remember a shooting gallery in the last 3 games against Washington.

    • ManApart says:

      Price has won one Playoff round in his life. Who folds in big pressure moments again? So far he’s on the same road as Luongo has been except he’s not as good a regular season goalie as Luongo

      • LafleurFan says:

        We’re all good at bandwagon stuff. Cliche moment: Hockey is a team sport. No one on this site is dumb enough (I think) to think Niemi is a better goalie than Price or Halak, even if Niemi “won” 4 playoff rounds and a Stanley Cup.

        “May you live in interesting times.”

    • G-Man says:

      Halak playing well then was not BS. Getting the team farther in the playoffs than CP ever has is not BS. It was a total team effort. Thus far, at playoff time, CP is very average.
      I hope he changes my mind this post-season.

      • avatar_58 says:

        Question – was it Halak or Martin? The excuse for not firing Martin was “he brought us to the ECF” but if it was all Halak, then he shouldn’t get credit for a hot goalie.

        Which is it habs fans, can’t be both.

        • G-Man says:

          Hockey is a team game, avatar. A goalie’s success is dependent upon the team in front of them. Skaters’ success is dependent upon the goalie behind them.

          • avatar_58 says:

            I know that, but frankly I’m just tired of people singling out one entity. Halak did not single handedly win the 2 series. Martin did not coach like some world-class coach to get them by either.

            Whether people like it or not sometimes things just go your way without a proper reason. Had a SINGLE mistake occured some of those games would have been losses and Halak wouldn’t be remembered at all. Imagine that scenario.

    • DorvalTony says:

      You’re just ashamed of Carey unable to go even one round aren’t you?

      ——————————–
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvqIDaFLr_U

      • avatar_58 says:

        Pardon? I seem to remember him handing the B’s their asses as a rookie in round 1. Get your facts straight. He also didn’t lose that round single handedly, why not ask our playoff non-performers and the refs who turned a blind eye every single time?

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Price cost us the next round against Philly. We outplayed them except that every 50 foot wrist shot directed at our net went in.

          He also let the Bruins back in it last year after our 2-0 lead with some very nonchalant play.

          A bit of balance: Price is a very good goalie, but to date he has not done well in the playoffs.

          • G-Man says:

            Very true. He needs to get over that hump. Speaking of that, apparently Herb Tarlek’s skin is the same as his polyester suits in that Cincinnati parody.

          • avatar_58 says:

            And many of Halak’s mental lapses destroyed the Philly series that year too. So guess what – it happens to everyone.

            I mean christ – LUONGO made it to the finals. You tell me if it was because of him or in spite of him. These days a goalie can’t be your only playoff hero and I think Halak proved that single handedly.

  18. ajk025 says:

    Is Patch playing tonight?

  19. habs001 says:

    While there have been many reasons why the habs have had just a terrible first half i still believe that if their pp would i have been a top 10 they would be in a playoff position…i am not sure that the pp will get that much better for now and even if we think markov will help that could be at least another 15 games before he possible makes a difference…

    • habs03 says:

      This. Before JM was fired we were 13-12-7. I remember the pp cost us 4 games. First game vs Toronto, first game vs Fla, the Oilers, and Sabres. That would have given us a 17-8-7 record. I mentioned before the JM firing, because I think the team was very distracted after the it, and it might have been a reason to the 1-6 play before this current two game losing streak.

      Before anyone think I’m just talking out of my a**
      Game 1 vs Leafs, GWG was a shortie
      Game 2 vs Fla, we had a few 5-3 that failed, one being a 6-4 at to close out the game.
      game 3 Oil had 13 shots all game, and we went 0-6 on the pp allowing the first goal to be a shotie.
      Game 4 vs the Sabres, ended up being a 3-1 lost, but again we had like 7 pp, and nothing to show for it.

      • habs001 says:

        we are reasonably good in giving up goals…the pk is great…so really the pp has to be major factor for our results…if our pp was in the top 10 we would finally not be a bottom 10 team in scoring..

  20. habs001 says:

    The habs have to go from underachieving in the first half of the season to oveachieving in the second half…habs will probably need between 52-56 points…when was the last time they had this type of half season?…

  21. Dintrox says:

    sad news Ron Caron has died. A longtime assistant GM in Montreal he is credited with helping shape the 70s habs dynasty. He went onto be a GM with the Blues. Hope that maybe he can be recognized tonight. RIP the old professor

  22. HABitat4humanity says:

    It’s too bad the Habs didn’t pick up Bruce Boudreau. I would have loved to see what he could have done for the team.

  23. Boomer says:

    hmm interesting situation, i agree price should play halak, but he needs a rest… so is he gonna get one on thursday vs Baaaahston?

    I watched the habs vs the soviets game from dec 31 1975 on NHL Classics last night for the first time after hearing about it every day from my dad growing up. Loved it! the game has changed so much since then but it was great hockey. and all those legends on the ice! dang!

    Boom baby!

    • DorvalTony says:

      That was a lousy game and Dryden sucked. 39-13 the shots for us.

      ——————————–
      “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

      • HabFarmer says:

        Because of that game I can’t watch the movie “Gone with the Wind”, even if I wanted to, which is kind of unlikely. The re-release of the movie was playing in town that night and my Dad made the whole family go to see it – so I missed the game, and hated every freakin’ minute of that movie and I still hate it. Hate it hate it hate it.

        “No, I see. The monkey’s out of the bottle now!”

  24. LA Loyalist says:

    I just got cc’d on an e-mail (accidentally, I’m sure) to RC from PG that Huet is definitely starting tonight.

  25. LL says:

    All the Halak/Price/Eller/we-coulda-had-Perron debates have been done and overdone. How about something original?

    I’ll start – Gomez sucks!

  26. ed lopaz says:

    stu, very cool how you took the time to post about your mistake.

    as a 47 year old who sometimes forgets a thing or two, I

    appreciate and respect the way you handled this.

    no wonder you’re a pro!

  27. habs001 says:

    Brule picked up by the coyotes…24 years old..was 6th overall pick in 2005..only 38 nhl goals…listed as 174lbs..

  28. Bripro says:

    Here’s my astute perception for the day:

    The Habs are unbeaten in 2012.

  29. gmur says:

    Hey, if Hitchcock ever decided to leave the Blues, we could have him in Montreal! He’s an experienced coach in the NHL and the international scene, who seems to have a knack for turning young teams around… NHL record of 555 wins, 361 losses, 88 ties… Even coaching a team like the Columbus Bluejackets, he has an over .500 coaching record…

    oh, yeah, he only speaks English.

    Never mind.

    (sorry… couldn’t help it…)

  30. J_P says:

    From the helene elliott piece that LA Loyalist linked:

    “Weirdest injury: Kings left wing Dustin Penner said his back seized up when he sat to eat pancakes his wife had made, causing spasms that kept him out of last Saturday’s game. Fill in your own punch line.”

    I was reading comments here yesterday with people saying that he hurt himself eating pancakes….I thought you were all just kidding around, but its actually true?! It doesnt need a punchline, its a punchline in itself!

  31. Hobie Hansen says:

    Getting Eller for Halak is looking better everyday but there is still no guarantee Eller will be a number 1 or 2 centerman.

    There is a part of me that thinks we should have got Backes or Perron back in that trade but I guess all teams knew that Halak or Price had to go so our hand was forced…

  32. Propwash says:

    Should be a good one tonight. I’m expecting to hear Halak chants, which doesn’t bother me as he deserves all of it for what he helped accomplish.

    _____________________________
    Don’t let the wultures getcha.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      So you’ll be happy if the fans chant Halak’s name and he delivers a shutout, says thanks to the fans after the game on TV , and the Canadiens fall further out of the playoff hunt?

      • G-Man says:

        There wasn’t any mention of Jaro shutting the Habs out or even winning the game.

        • Hobie Hansen says:

          Well getting him feeling all warm and fuzzy and feeling like he’s the man of the hour might have people mention it around 10:00 P.M. tonight.

          The guy got in front of some pucks for us two years ago and is now a backup. Boo the guy and chant CAREY, CAREY, CAREY!!!!!

          • G-Man says:

            Carey hasn’t impressed me in the playoffs, yet. I am hoping he can and this season. Damn! There go my meds again.

            -edit- @ Hobie
            Actually, I am more of a Dryden groupie. 6 Cups in 8 seasons does that to a fan.

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            Wow so we have Jaro Halak groupie here…

            If Price had the defensive system working to perfection like Halak did the season you’d see him surpass Halak with ease.

            Gill, Gorges and Spacek all played way over their heads and Halak had a horseshoe up his arse and has done nothing since.

            An inch here or an inch there, a bounce here and a bounce there meant all the difference for Montreal that year.

            Price’s regular season last year completely blew anything Halak has ever done out of the water and Price was one shot away from knocking the Bruins out and we wouldn’t even be having this conversation if that happened.

            If Price played for Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Vancouver…he’d be setting records but he’s stuck on a below average Habs team.

          • DorvalTony says:

            Price’s cult should smell the coffee. He has yet to do half of what Jaro did.

            ——————————–
            “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

      • Propwash says:

        Why are you mincing my words?

        Let me elaborate. I’d like to see the crowd chant Halak’s name during the warmup skate and before the game starts. Nowhere in my above statement did I mention the Habs losing.

        _____________________________
        Don’t let the wultures getcha.

      • The Cat says:

        It is what the habs deserve. Tell me how many times have you or anyone said to themselves: How come Gomez or Cammalleri are still in the top 6? etc So it was with Jaro. The club needs to shed its nepotistic ways. And I know people will say Eller for Halak was a slam dunk and that the habs kept the best one, but it seems thiose decisions the habs make are the right ones and yet theyre in 13th.

        [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

      • DorvalTony says:

        I know I will.

        ——————————–
        “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

  33. HABZ24 says:

    price should play, itd be great entertainment.all we need to win is one at a time.

    GO HABS GO

  34. petefleet says:

    As posted below: Is there conformation yet that Carey is not playing?

    More good stuff from Stu. Can’t even get the back up goaltenders straight. Does that mean the rest of the article is bogus as well? Does he not proof read his work? He’s a pro right?

    So maybe Price is going to be in net and for the same reasons as Hitchcock used, he should be. I think it would mean alot to him to prove mono e mono that the Habs brass kept the right man. Oh well. Should be a good game regardless. I also hope Cammy is put back on DD’s line. 13-14-21 is not an effective line.

    ******************************************
    Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

    ***Habs Forever***

    • mdp2011 says:

      he just changed his article to say “There were reports Randy Cunneyworth would start Peter Budaj tonight for the Habs, but he opted for the matchup of Halak and his old creasemate Carey Price.” Sorry Stu, but the only reports that Budaj would start came from you.

    • habs03 says:

      The guy made a mistake and fixed it, give him a break. I understand he suppose to be a pro, but ppl make mistakes.

    • Stu Hackel says:

      Pete – Yes, I was wrong on both tonight’s starter and the backup’s name. Even pros make mistakes sometimes. It’s fixed now.

      • petefleet says:

        Totally understand.

        ******************************************
        Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

        ***Habs Forever***

        • Trisomy 21 says:

          well don’t you look like an ass.
          Relax it’s a hockey blog. Not to mention it was corrected 15 minutes before you re-posted your whiney remarks

          • petefleet says:

            Me? Relax? Re-read your post moron.

            ******************************************
            Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

            ***Habs Forever***

    • G-Man says:

      I am sure petefleet has never made any errors in his life. Who does he think he is, Guy Boucher?
      -edit- ;)

      • petefleet says:

        I’m not a pro writer and yes I make mistakes and yes, people I work with jump all over them. :-)

        ******************************************
        Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

        ***Habs Forever***

  35. Gerry H says:

    Starting Budaj tonight makes zero sense. With the light schedule last week, Price is well rested. There’s a back-to-back this weekend which would be the perfect opportunity to start Budaj.

  36. Hobie Hansen says:

    David Backes…one can only dream we’ll one day have a center like that.

  37. habs001 says:

    The blues scoring is just as bad as ours but they have way better record in giving up goals and winning at home…

  38. shiram says:

    Jacques Martin is now a scout for the Habs, in case anyone is interested and missed this.

    @DarrenDreger Jacques Martin will be doing some scouting for Habs Thought of sending him to WJHC but Gauthier felt timing wasn’t good

  39. HabinBurlington says:

    Stu must have been running out of his house as he finished typing this up with the complete Auld misquote or whatever that is. Considering Cunneyworth said yesterday Price would start.

    • Stu Hackel says:

      Hab – When I wrote this last night, the most recent thing I had heard was Cunneyworth said Budaj (and I mistakenly wrote Auld) would play. But you’re right and it seems I was misinformed. So I’ve changed the post. Thanks.

  40. LA Loyalist says:

    So much for being the center of the hockey universe.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-elliott-nhl-20120110,0,7024847.column

    Neither Habs nor a single current Habs player are even mentioned in this LA Times 1/2 way mark overview of the season and who has or hasn’t momentum.

    L’Anne du Tanque ™

  41. Say Ash says:

    “scene of the crime” – What’s the crime, exactly?

  42. shiram says:

    MacPac will be good to play tonight.
    He was out of practice with the Flu yesterday.

  43. dhenry1234 says:

    With Randy Cunneyworth having said Alex Auld would start tonight for the Habs, the matchup of Halak and his old creasemate Carey Price won’t likely take place.

    I’m confused. No Carey Price tonight? Did you mean to say Budaj?

    If that’s the case, wtf i really wanted to Jaro vs Carey.

    • petefleet says:

      More good stuff from Stu. Can’t even get the back up goaltenders straight. Does that mean the rest of the article is bogus as well? Does he not proof read his work? He’s a pro right?

      So maybe Price is going to be in net and for the same reasons as Hitchcock used, he should be. I think it would mean alot to him to prove mono e mono that the Habs brass kept the right man. Oh well. Should be a good game regardless. I also hope Cammy is put back on DD’s line. 13-14-21 is not an effective line.

      ******************************************
      Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

      ***Habs Forever***

  44. Timo says:

    I knew Habs would come to their senses and get Auld back. Next is MAB!

  45. HFX-HabFan says:

    @JohnLuTSNMtl

    #Habs Cunneyworth says Price will start tomorrow vs. Blues… Oh, and Halak too.
    23 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

  46. Mike D says:

    Tough predicament for us Hab fans this season.

    On the one hand we want our team to win and make the playoffs . If we do, RC has a better chance of staying on as head coach and I think we all appreciate the style of game he is getting the boys to play, and a lot of us here support him as head coach beyond this season.

    On the other hand, winning enough to make the playoffs is nearly impossible at this point due to a piss poor first half. What’s the point in finishing 9th with no chance of even competing for the Stanley Cup considering that also lands us picking mid-round instead of at the top of the round where the best players are? Not exactly best for our future, and if your not going to win this year, the best thing you can do is get the best talent possible to help you win in the future.

    Tough predicament indeed.

    I could never cheer for the Habs to lose, and while I realize the Habs can still make the playoffs, it’s such a long shot that I don’t think it will happen. I’ll be all too happy to eat crow on that one though….preferably on Ste-Catherine watching the Stanley Cup parade go by.

    – Honestly yours

    • shiram says:

      Gotta hope the players want to win, if not, well I’m not sure they belong on a hockey team…

      • Mike D says:

        I’m sure they do, shiram. I’m just not sure winning is best for the club right now if we come up short of a playoff spot only to pick, say 14th instead of 4th at the draft or something like that.

        I can’t even believe I just said winning might not be best for the team. Seriously, WTF is that? It counds crazy but that’s the messed up position we’re in right now.

        I’m not in the tanking camp, but if we can’t make the playoffs, isn’t finishing dead last the next best thing to do?

        – Honestly yours

    • G-Man says:

      You can’t lose if you CHeer your team on to victory. Never lose on purpose or throw seasons away for some vague future that may never happen.

  47. HFX-HabFan says:

    On the day his two former clubs are playing, Ron Caron (former Blues GM and former Habs assistant GM/scout) has passed away.

  48. Kooch7800 says:

    The blues are not a bad team. We will have to play a strong game tonight to have a shot

  49. DorvalTony says:

    Jaroslav Halak in his last nine games is 6-0-3. No regular time losses. In nine games. None. Undefeated. Rocketed from 32nd place to 11th in goalie standings.

    ——————————–
    “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

  50. mb says:

    Budaj in nets?? I realize it’s not about Price vs Halak, it’s about winning games… So why not put your hot goalie in nets when you need the 2 points? I’m sorry, but Budaj isn’t exactly what I call the Habs’ best goaltender right now.

    • jimmy shaker says:

      And he’s played how many games this year? He hasn’t even had a chance to be a decent back up tender this year…..he’s on pace to play less games than auld did last year, and that worked out real well for price and co. didn’t it? But since this year is a write off anyways, let price every game, it’s not going to matter come april!

      Shaker

      • dhenry1234 says:

        He hasn’t played this year because he sucks. Just like your comments.

      • mb says:

        Geez, I’m not bashing Budaj and I’m not saying he’s that bad. I said he wasn’t the best goalie right now. That’s all.

        • avatar_58 says:

          He is pretty bad, why do people have trouble admitting this? I don’t really care if he’s a hab. Same went for Auld – he sucked terribly. Saves 10, let’s in the 11th on a stinker. Next faceoff – it’s in as well. Seems Budaj has the same problem, once one goes in it’s open season.

          This team needs a backup who is a little more mentally strong, and who can start more than a few dozen games.

        • jimmy shaker says:

          True statement, just backing up your point by saying why he hasn’t even been decent this year…… he hasn’t gotten any ice time to show what he can do!

          Shaker

  51. Habby_Haberton says:

    Yesterdays audio RC says Price will ‘absolutely’ be starting so not sure what this Auld business is all about ;)

  52. avatar_58 says:

    Woah woah what crack are you on? Auld? Did you mean Budaj?

    Why in the world would they start a backup having *finally* won a few games? Is Cunneyworth insane?

  53. jon514 says:

    With Randy Cunneyworth having said Alex Auld would start tonight for the Habs, the matchup of Halak and his old creasemate Carey Price won’t likely take place.

    “Let’s be clear on the facts…”

  54. jon514 says:

    Alex Auld? You mean Peter Budaj right?

    “Let’s be clear on the facts…”

  55. Mike D says:

    LOL

    – Honestly yours

  56. G-Man says:

    In “The Game”, Dryden’s masterpiece, that’s the only game he wants a do over.

  57. G-Man says:

    Yes sir. The Habs would be a lot different if they had picked Kopitar that day.
    1. No need for the Gomez trade.
    2. Halak would be splitting goaltending with someone else.
    3. Isn’t revisionist history great?

  58. habs03 says:

    While I agree with some of the things that you said, that some people need to move on, but you simply cant not give the guy credit for what did that playoff.

  59. sane hockey fan says:

    …are you still here?

  60. HabinBurlington says:

    Sounds to me like Halak would blow your Tankology 101 out of the water though, you should appreciate Price being here based on your assessment of their skillsets.

  61. HabinBurlington says:

    Good luck to your son tonight Mr. Eller, how is the weather in Denmark?

  62. Rad says:

    Here, take a look for yourself … this is not far from Denmark, just up a ways on the Baltic Sea, courtesy of our Finnish Friend …
    http://media.turku.fi/kamera1.html

  63. naweed235 says:

    absolutely right

  64. HabinBurlington says:

    And Halak did have two hands, so technically he couldn’t have singlehandedly won unless one was tied behind his back.

  65. LL says:

    The Glove hand doesn’t count. ;)

  66. HabinBurlington says:

    I agree, would love to watch him steal the show in a victory.

  67. LA Loyalist says:

    I understand the temptation to pick Price, I’m sure they were thinking Dryden, Dryden, Dryden, because of his size.

    But you can’t have it both ways, if the goalie market is that soft, then why burn the pick on any goalie? Halak was a very low pick (just using him as an example, my point is not about that debate), so was Markov, actually.

    If we had Getzlaf or Kopitar instead of Price, and Halak or equivalent in goal. Would be we a better team today?

    Given the utter difficulty of getting a male #1 center to be the heir to Koivu (move Koivu back to #2, just like Anaheim did – and maybe Selanne would have signed here) we could have had Getzlaf or Kopitar up front. We would never have had to sign Gomez and Gionta, and we’d probably have a few $millions left over.

    Wouldn’t that be a better team than the one we have now? This is no reflection on Price, who’s great, just the reality of the current marketplace, post lock-out.

    What do you think? That team would be far better than this one, IMHO.


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