Keeping track of Koivu’s wingers

The Gazette’s Pat Hickey writes that Sergei Kostitsyn, who made his NHL debut on Thursday night, became the seventh player to line up as a right-winger on captain Saku Koivu’s line.

After Michael Ryder, who started the season at the position but has struggled mightily, coach Guy Carbonneau has tried Bryan Smolinski, Tom Kostopoulos, Christopher Higgins (he’s normally the left- winger on the line) and defencemen-turned-forwards Mark Streit and Mathieu Dandenault.

With all that juggling, Hickey writes: The younger Kostitsyn didn’t look out of place in his first NHL game, but if this latest experiment doesn’t work, the Canadiens might have to
resort to holding open tryouts.

143 Comments

  1. Roy-Rules says:

    Well Kostitsyn did get knocked down last night and was slow to get up, could be as a precaution he is taking a night off. Lats blocked a couple of shots, and being Latenderness probably got injured. I don’t think any trades are happening anytime soon.

  2. saku11 says:

    I wouldn’t trade Price. If Scotty Bowman says he’s the real deal, I’m inclined to agree. At 20, this kid is already really good and will continue to get better. If you trade him now you wouldn’t get full value for him. Not to mention that you’ll only go as far in the playoffs as you’ll goaltender will take you and every indication so far is that Carey Price is a big game player. With all due respect to Huet and Halak, I’m not sure the same can be said about them. Anyway those are just my thoughts.

    Also, I wouldn’t want to see Koivu traded either. I think Montreal will be a legitimate contender in 09 and would love to see Koivu hoist the Cup in a Habs uniform and then pass it on to his teammate Vinny Lecavalier…

  3. Sulemaan says:

    Smart Dog,

    I wouldn’t trade any of our defensive prospects (O’Byrne, Fischer, McDonough, Subban) as defense has been a long-standing weakness of the team since the last cup. So in that vein I would not trade Markov either as he is still young at 28 years old. He’s also a key component of our power-play which is a big reason why we’ve won so many games.

    I agree with all of your other suggestions and assessments. The other name I would add is Kovalev. He’s old, he’s streaky and he’s got a huge contract. But for those reasons I don’t think he will be easy to trade either unless someone feels he will help them make a run at the cup.

  4. A. Berke says:

    Reasonable suggestion. However, in this day and age, I understand that trading in the nhl along with CBA’s etc. is something very difficult to achieve, especially at a large scale like that.

    Dave Stubbs:

    Do you think you can enlighten us with the possible limitations of making a trade (just basics). Thanks.

    Ali B.

  5. 24 Cups says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Pleks is slowing going to take over Koivu’s spot. Higgins deserves one more year to see if he truly is going to be a great player (because right he ain’t great – only good). Don’t worry about Hamrlik. Gainey overpaid in terms of dollars and length of contract. He’s playing well but he may be a liability in a few years. He’s going nowhere. Komisarek is untouchable in my eyes. The K brothers show potential but the jury is still out. I’d keep them for sure right now. Everyone talks about trading Ryder – right now you could probably do better with a Christmas regifted present. Breezer, Streit and Smolinski are all on one year contracts and would bring far less than you would think. I’m talking mid to low round draft pick at best. Dandy and Begin have another year left and will stay. I feel they serve a purpose and have some value in Montreal. Huet – he may not bring what guys on this site think he will. Markov? Trade him and you might as well close up shop. Koivu? That’s an in depth answer that I can’t get into right now but one thing I will say is we have to stop trading our captains like they were cattle. It’s a bad memory from a bygone era.

    The Original 24 Cups

  6. skoehn says:

    I am HUGE Huet fan and don’t want to see him leave but he deserves a team in front of him and to be treated better by the fans and the organization…..

  7. A. Berke says:

    Sounds like that will be the event of the year and thanks for sharing it with us.

    Just curious krob, will it be silent and deadly or thunderous? 😉

    I was asking so that the folks can clear to the next province in time.

    Ali B.

  8. Smart Dog says:

    I have this awful feeling we’re about to trade someone really good…

    Here ARE THE TOP 5 PLAYERS I WOULD NOT TRADE (in order):
    1. Plekanic. This needs no explanation – goal-scorer, great passer, creative, hard working. I think he has a shot at being a start forward – 35 goals, 80-90 points in 2-3 years.
    2. Higgins. Big forward, can put it in the net, good leader. Similar to Pleks in potential.
    3. Hamrlik – vital at the back. Vital veteran, grit and talent. The DNA of our defense.
    4. Komiserik. What this team needs more of.
    5. K1 & K2. Special players both, and together, could be explosive. It would be foolish to pass up the opporutnity to see if they can strike fire together as they advance as players.

    I know Price isn’t there – that’s because unlike the above guys I KNOW that with Price we’d get a HUGE asset in return AND we are deep in net with or without him. With these other guys, I’m afraid Gainey would trade a Plekanic and get something modest. That would suck.

    THE TOP 5 I WOULD TRADE:
    1. Ryder, Breezer, Streit, Slowinski – in a flash. Got milk? Okay – fair trade.
    2. Koivu – to a contender. I think he wants to go and deserves to go. In return I would want a big tall center prospect.
    3. Huet – all star goalie – should get something good back
    4. Boulon – he’s good but we need to get bigger.
    5. Markov – Marky is great – but he’s once again recognized as being great so we’d get something big in return. I would ONLY trade him for an equally heralded big forward or a prospect likely to turn into that.

    Comments?

    _________________________________________________
    My favorite player is Grab-ARF!-ski

  9. Smart Dog says:

    I like your idea Krob. And I agree Higgins is probably the most independant forward – i.e. the one who can do it by himself. Might work out great – and maybe Koivu does just need a Lats or a Streit to bang the puck in off of.

    On the other hand, if you are taking about players that can play with anyone and make the other players better, I think the leaders on this team are Plekanic and Chipchura. Plekanic so obivously has a knack for finding other players on the one hand and receiving paases and making something out of them on the other. Chips has great vision, plays aggressive, and seems to be able to thread the needle with his passes.

    _________________________________________________
    My favorite player is Grab-ARF!-ski

  10. A. Berke says:

    in that situation it’s always prudent to cover the face and the throat. Better yet turn the face over.

    Ali B.

  11. Smart Dog says:

    We may just field a good team on Sat. The line-up shows no Ryder, no Breezer, no Slowinski, and Streit is on 4th line forward (minimize the damage at least).

    Carbo says if one of Lats and K1 can’t play, he’ll call Hamilton. So Ryder sits… good thing. Nothing against Ryder, just we have a team that flies…. let’s win a few before we think of giving him another shot at that 5th goal!

    _________________________________________________
    My favorite player is Grab-ARF!-ski

  12. Smart Dog says:

    Ah… the conspiracies are flying!

    Could be injuries – I’ve heard that when you play hard, you actually CAN get injured! Oh my!

    _________________________________________________
    My favorite player is Grab-ARF!-ski

  13. A. Berke says:

    Thank you for your sacrifice 😉

    Ali B.

  14. JF says:

    RDS asked Huet a couple of weeks ago if he would be willing to stay in Montreal next season and play fewer games. He said no. Not surprising; he’s in a position to sign a long-term, multi-million dollar deal as a starting goaltender with some club. Of course he’ll do it. I just hope it’s in the West.

  15. A. Berke says:

    Ian,

    thanks for putting it this way, maybe now it may answer all them questions.

    Ali B.

  16. Scotty90 says:

    According to RDS:
    Guillaume Latendresse and Andrei Kostitsyn could miss the game on Saturday. They did not take part in the morning practice on Friday. Guy Carbonneau is confident that he can count on them to be there against the Leafs, but just in case, Bob Gainey should place another call to Hamilton.

    Duncan Milroy, Jonathan Ferland et Matt D’Agostini would be the players likely to be called-up if there is a need.

    Carbonneau also confirmed that Sergei Kostitsyn will play with Christopher Higgins et Saku Koivu. Kostitsyn played close to 13 minutes in his first game in the NHL against Philadelphia.

    Carbonneau did not specify if would be back in the line-up gainst the Leafs.

  17. coutNY says:

    The only thing about 3’K-ubed’ line, are we willing to mess up something in good working condition, to experiment with a 2 rookie line? One in which has 1 game of NHL experience?Against the Laffs no less… We finally look as if we were a team in Phili, a team simlar to TO.

    In my opinion, not sure I would catergorize Saku as fast. I think Pleks, who scores and assist a lot of transitional goals, would be a better choice centering a brother formation. Does he have the vetran patients to handle the young rookies? so maybe it would have to be Koivu..

    Anyway, I would take a few games to work in a brother line, in situational instances and off shifts. These guys are young maybe a few double shifts with Pleks. I admit there was an unmistakable moment were I thought the 2 Kosti’s showed shades of great chemistry… tough call.

  18. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    if the experiment for this is to unite the Kosty brothers then yes.

    I was pushing for Streit back to D in order to get Ryder in the lineup but after last night it would be foolish to change anything (even Gorges) going into tomorrows game.

    then again, with Carb, who knows whats the lineup for tomorrow, he may have Brisbrois back in.

    ———
    until the problem in my picture is solved…we will not be Champions.

  19. krob1000 says:

    No ti’s not….but I just put in a requisition to fart next Tuesday….I’ll let you know how it goes.

  20. krob1000 says:

    I am not trying to stir the pot after a win I just wanted to hear what other people think because I genuinely thin Higgins would be the same player on the third line….Ryder and Lats clearly are not.

  21. RS says:

    It’s a free country, but not at work.

  22. krob1000 says:

    Our corporate software doesn’t allow me access to TSN. Thank you though.

  23. krob1000 says:

    Strikeforce was my favourite tag team as a young wrestling fan. Rick Martel and Tito Santana……they beat demolition for the title. My friends and I had watched that match like it was a world changing event. We taked about it for months…heck years…..we were just kids you know but I always liked the name. The k’s make me think of strikeouts and they will be a force so…voila…I guess now I understand that may be random to someone else.

  24. RS says:

    Trent McCleary (no relation to Craig Darby)

  25. krob1000 says:

    Does anyone else think it is time to look at splitting Koivu and Higgins on 5 on 5 siuations??? They have tried seven rigth wingers…..maybe they should try one new left winger. This is in no way meant in any way to disrespect Higgins as I believe him to be a future star for many years here….and a semi-star now. The more I watch Higgins the more I think he could be just as successful on any line. He isn’t reliant on Koivu in any way. Ryder, Lats and Kostitsyn (Andrei) are guys who need set up men. Higgins is a one man wrecking crew and aside from Kovalev he is thte only guy who I believe can make offense happen on his own. Just a thought because if you could drop Higgins down and have three really good lines…..look out.

  26. RS says:

    Check out the TSN website. A Kostitsyn (knee) and Lats (unknown) skipped practice. Milroy, D’Agostino and Ferland are reportedly standing by in Hamilton awaiting the call.

  27. saku11 says:

    random but I like it

  28. krob1000 says:

    Can someone else please confirm this talk of the injuries and more call-ups being necessary perhaps.

  29. ccs says:

    I would love to see a Huet/Price tandem for years to come but he will be a highly sought after free agent and will be looking to cash in BIG TIME. We still need to sign others as well and hope to finally catch that elusive BIG NAME free agent, unless huet settles for less than what others offer him and in this day and age that aint gonna happen….

  30. krob1000 says:

    I like “Strikeforce”.

  31. Habs_008 says:

    I wasnt thinking of that “3K” if i offended anyone im sorry, I will think next time before i post. I honestly didnt think about that stuff. Sorry everyone!

  32. Scotty90 says:

    why is there no way that he will re-sign with us? I think he loves Montreal… don’t forget he is Parisian, and Montreal is as close to home as its going to get!

  33. Scotty90 says:

    someone that posted yesterday suggested the KO line. Pretty catchy actually.

  34. jrshabs1 says:

    Habs_008 do you even know what 3K’s mean? Plead ignorance and say your sorry and it’ll work it self out.

  35. Blitzen says:

    HE HAS SEEN DA LIGHT!!!! LORD BE PRAISED!!!!

  36. Blitzen says:

    Can we have it so that any post talking about the Laffs is automatically flagged as offensive?

    TIA!

  37. Blitzen says:

    The “KO line” would be more politically correct.

  38. Habs_008 says:

    It was not supose to be joke, I just think that would be a goodline, I dont care what they are called. I know I’m not funny. nice boat.

  39. mjames says:

    Your name for the line is dumb. What rock did you crawl out from under? If you trying to be funny – you are not!!!!!

    mjames

  40. krob1000 says:

    Ask poor Ryder!!

  41. Habs_008 says:

    Your right, If we can get great value for saku that will help our team in the long run, then BG will pull the trigger. On another note I still feel the pain when Patrick got traded, that pain will never go away. But that’s a whole other story, he asked to go and we had the wrong people running the ship at the time, I do not want to go back to the mid to late 90’s. They were horrible.

  42. ccs says:

    Tampa needs a Goaltender after getting hammered 9-6 last night. Time to make a trade….But in reality we wont make any trades until teams become desperate. Lets hope we do not become desperate but I would hope that we move our UFAs before the trade deadline. There is no way that Huet will resign with us so we may as well try and get something in return.

  43. krob1000 says:

    That was tragic and I would never wish that on anyone but I think these guys run an almost equal risk by reaching their sticks out and standing up. Nrmally a player nwos not to shoot at a guys head and that was a freak accident. A normal reflex would be to try and go around a player in that situation as he would have slid almost past the shooter by that time.

    You are definitely right though and it is scary but someone has to do it and most team have guys who do it. The risk is why it is such an admirable play and any guy on that team could watch old Carbo tapes and to a man they would all have a new respect for him. A lot of these guys are kids and they honestly don’t remember Carbo….at least not in his prime. He was the best penalty killer/shot blocker of his day and he didn’t have Volchenkov’s goalie pads for shin pads.

  44. Oleg Petrov says:

    Our “depth” in net is not going to result in a meaningful return – goalies traditionally don’t fetch much in return and you are talking about a goalie who will be UFA at the end of year (Huet) or a young kid with potential (Halak) – again not a big return.

  45. Scotty90 says:

    OK… Halak, Ryder, Brisebois and a couple (up to a dozen) of old Forum hotdogs for Crosby and Laraque 🙂

    Sorry folks, last night’s win feels good and makes me feel like being silly again.

    Q: are the hot dogs at the Bell Centre as good as the Forum’s were?

  46. saku11 says:

    Who would we get? Esposito? His stock is probably at an all time low. I think he’ll use it as motivation to get better and prove his worth. Gotta feel for the kid.

  47. saku11 says:

    Carbo said Price will get the start on Saturday and that the Kostitsyn bros will likely be on the same line. I hope
    SK11, SK74, AK46, AK27, CH21, TP14 are our top six forwards for the rest of the season.

  48. REB says:

    kROB100: I too admired Lats for both of his Carbo-type blocks, but every time I see a player do that I cringe and remember the Hab who had his throat crushed (Trent Darby?…someone help here) doing the same thing. The player I remember was reasonably good before the incident, and did come back to play, but was useless afterwards…I would ABSOLUTELY HATE for the same thing to happen to Lats.

  49. odie clegorn says:

    Like every other young player, they need time, patience and a leader who can teach them to how to focus on and learn from their performance. This “team” is still progressing through the four stages of team development – (I:) Forming (II:) Storming (III:) Norming and (IV:) Performing) – and I’m not sure the “right” leader is there…yet.

  50. doug says:

    Just got off ESPN in their “trade rumor” section:

    “While Marc-Andre Fleury is out with an ankle sprain, the Penguins are looking for more options. And with Montreal’s wealth in net, Cristobal Huet could be on Pittsburgh’s list.”

  51. Roy-Rules says:

    Ryan Smyth was the heart and soul of the Oilers…he got traded, Kirk Muller got traded back in the days. If BG thinks its in the best interest of the team to get rid of Koivu he’ll do it. I wouldn’t like to see it, Koivu is an inspiration for millions of people. Besides Burke is not stupid to give up Perry, it just doesn’t make sense.

  52. Habs_008 says:

    I dont even listen to Captain K Rumours, I dont see the habs trading him, he is the heart and soul of MTL, and he has done so much for the City, he is Loved in MTL. We dont need a 40yrld defensman that is making 5mil a year, Perry would be nice. That is funny. and Unlikely, give us some real trade rumours that make sense, heres one, NO TRADES WILL HAPPEN! makes sense and its true.

  53. notbigbird says:

    We might finally have two linemates for Saku. There’s been a big hole there in each and every combination so far. Hopefully, this will stick and we can stop the over-the-top line juggling.

  54. Ian Cobb says:

    Can never trade up this time of year, never happens. And besides, only our kids are worth anything and were not moving any of them. I don’t even read posts pertaining to trades, nobody knows anything about them, Its all made up comic junk in there pimple on top of there shoulders. Pure dreamers!

  55. Blitzen says:

    Well, that’s good to hear.

  56. Ian Cobb says:

    Blitzen, I Have scouted the OHL for 13 years and the habs have a realy good prospect. This kid has a magnetic personality, very loose around people, classy, and fun to be around. And besides my fridge empties every time he comes over. Going to be a premium defence man!

    He was asked once by the media what P.K. stood for in his name. Like a flash he answers, Penalty Killer!

    He is going to have a ball with the Mtl. media, they better get ready for him.

  57. downeast hab says:

    I hope and wish Ryder would come back and score 15 or 20 goals if he is given the chance to play. And at the end of the season he can show carbo two things, left and right cheek as he is walking. Because the way he shuffled around is crazy. There are players on this team that have being just as bad at the time, but were given the time to adjust. I have been a hab fan for a long time but to see a player shunned like this, I dont like. They think Ryder is NOTHING, so let him go for NOTHING.

  58. Oleg Petrov says:

    Man, people have to stop calling for trades! there are no trades in today’s NHL! The rumours get more and more ridiculous because everybody knows there are no real trades to discuss.

    There is no impact player coming to the habs to save the day! The team will be in a dog fight all year to make the play-offs but they will be exciting to watch (not every game but enough of them) because of the young players developing into NHL players.

    Who is going to give $3 million of their cap space and hope that Ryder finds his scoring touch? He isn’t going anywhere until at least the deadline. Carbo has to play him and end the Streit experiment. Yea, he scored two goals last night but is that production giong to be there all year?

    Great game last night, a lot of positives and hopefully something to build on for Saturday night. But the pressure returns at home and if things don’t go well early, could be a long night.

  59. Leclerc1965 says:

    If Carbo is still coach he could play defence or winger. That’s our system here don’t you know?

  60. coutNY says:

    Don’t worry everyone our winger hunt is about to end.

    Newest laughable tabliod trash… “The rumour flying around last night was Koivu, Halak, and Prospect for Perry and Schneider. Then Teemu could return, to play with Saku and that could be fuunnu…Perry is EXTREMELY sought after by the Habs who tried to get him at last year’s deadline for Souray.” reports EK-a-laff

    Fails to mention that will leave Habs without a center and around 10+ defenseman..
    and
    Ducks with excess of # of Centers and back-up goalies?
    All this while giving up their leading scorer Perry a (22yr, 5 more year Restricted FA) making $494K ($621K – cap hit)
    HMMM sounds likely…

    Sounds like a lot trouble to free about $1.5 dollars of space, which if I recall was the whole point of this exercise, don’t you think? Still does not allow any room for a Selanne return…

    Throw in Ryder in for Bertuzzi also, frees $1.1; You’ll probably see this in the Ek pages tomorrow… funny stuff EK keep it rollin.

  61. Rocket9 says:

    Ok, I’ve figured out the problem with the Habs. It’s me.

    If I watch the game, they play lousy and lose. If I don’t watch it, they play great and win.

    It’s all my fault. I’m sorry.

    You’ll be glad to know that I can’t watch the game on Saturday after the 1st period, so they should pull off the win.

  62. J.T. says:

    Not trying to be a stormcloud…and I love the kids too. But do you really think Carbo’s going to sit his buddy Breezer to allow Gorges and O’Byrne to develop? Or keep Lapierre over Smolinski? S.Kost over Begin? Nope. The established vets will get their time and we will gnash our teeth to see the kids get sent down. The only vet who seems to be ostracized in Carbo-ville is Ryder, which is too bad. Because he’s the only one who could conceivably offer much more than he has been so far. I really hope he gets a start against TO and pots a couple. Something’s gotta give sometime, right?

  63. krob1000 says:

    Cabbie’s co-host!!

  64. Blitzen says:

    I just love watching Subban in interviews. The guy is a natural media personality. What’s your best guess about his future, D-Man or winger?

    We have lots of quality D-Men coming up so I wouldn’t mind seeing him converted, unless his D comes around to match his O.

  65. Blitzen says:

    You need two willing sides to trade. And both sides need to feel like they are improving their teams.

  66. Ian Cobb says:

    Hey Kevin, We have a new winger for Koivu, And all you hab fans are going to see him play over the holidays. He is 18 years old, and made our national junior team. P.K. Suban was a walk on two years ago for the Belleville Bulls. He did not know the game very well then, but could he fly on the blades.

    He plays D , and winger on the same shift, he has a shot loaned to him from Boom Boom G. You guys are going to enjoy watching this kid develope.

    I don’t know how Carbo is going to reign this kid in to be a stay at home D. Maybe next year P.K. will be Koivu’s winger. I think he can out skate him now!!

    Shawn Matias from the Bulls made the team also, he is a very hard working winger and a sniper. 19 year old.

  67. Habs_008 says:

    Sending Ryder down would be a BIG mistake, We will lose him for NOTHING. Lets at least get a draft pick in return or maybe a BIG centre, someone would pick him up 4 sure. that is not the way to go.

  68. downeast hab says:

    I say, either play Ryder or trade him.You dont get points in the PB.If they dont want him, then try to send hin to the minors.Im willing to bet someone will pick him up in a heartbeat.I think in the back of his mind, he would go for it,cause how low can you go till you ask for change.

  69. krob1000 says:

    Thanks Stormcloud!!!

    Raining on our parade. Thanks for the dose of reality. I like Ryder coming back but Brisebois is fine with being ina nd out and I think that was his expected role. Begin is in sa dogfight with Kosto, Lapierre and the hybrids. I think there is room for the kids and someone will have to go. If these kids play well enought o stay I think they will. I think it is only expected that one or more will eventually falter but if not we just may have the Montreal Jr. Canadiens and I for one am o.k.with that.

  70. J.T. says:

    This is all great…getting to see the kids in action and see for ourselves how close they are to being contributors in the NHL. But we have to check ourselves too, and realize that this is only temporary. Like it or not, we’re saddled with Smolinski for the year. Ryder will be back in the lineup at some point, and Begin and Breezer will be back from their injuries. Sometime in the next month or so, Gainey’s going to have to send some of Halak, O’Byrne, Lapierre and/or S.Kostitsyn back to Hamilton. Still, it’s nice to see there are capable guys coming soon.

  71. krob1000 says:

    lol Yesterday was probably the most negative I have ever been on here. I always try to see the positive even in the midst of our annual pre-Christmas vacation but I still disagree on the Ryder situation. The funniest thing about me always on here defending him is I have spent the last two years making fun of him to my wife as he is her favourite player. I never meant any of it but I still always mocked him at home but now I find myself cheering as hard as ever fotr the guy because I son’t think his punishment fits his crime of poor luck.

  72. N.B. habs fan 50 yrs says:

    krob
    Great comment nice to here fans on the positive side for a change.I hope carb.dosent change the line up to,but I think he will frig it up by putting Rideit back in hoping he will earn his pay .I would like to see him back but am to scared he will mess it up again.Lets make it 3 straight against totonto then we will have something to really cheer about,cant wait GO HABS GO……….

  73. WindsorHab-10 says:

    I still think Carbonneau will do something stupid on Saturday and shake up his lines, especially if they have a bad start against the Leafs. Winning last night was good and hopefully they can add to it. This team is troubled and unhappy with the coach and playing well last night was a reminder to us and Gainey that they can play hard and compete when the chemistry is good. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens but I for one still have my doubts about Carbonneau.

  74. MEL FRIEND says:

    just a question why does bg refuse to make a trade to make the team much better.

  75. kevin m says:

    Popular opinion of the day was that Luc Robitaille & Mike Bossy also lacked footspeed, toughness & size at the start of their careers. When they started potting goals like Tiger Woods sinks puts at Augusta, it didn’t really matter anymore.

    I’ll say it again “You can’t teach someone to score… it’s instinct and quickness that rarely involves any thought process”.

    PLAY RYDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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