Leafs kick off busy stretch for Habs

• UPDATE, 11:28 am: All present and accounted for, including Plekanec, with the exception of Mara. Butch Bouchard had expressed a desire to see the Brossard facility and again meet Ryan O’Byrne, who gave up his No. 3 for Bouchard’s jersey retirement.

• UPDATE, 11:19 am: Cammalleri on ice with Habs. Legendary former captain Émile (Butch) Bouchard was at the players bench not long ago in his wheelchair. What a place.

• UPDATE, 10:45 am: Habs goalies Halak and Price have been on the ice since 10:15, taking shots from Darche and Maxwell with goalie coach Proulx. Cammalleri’s water bottle is on the boards in front of the bench, suggesting he might practice with the team today for the first time since his knee injury Jan. 30 in Ottawa.

The Canadiens are on Brossard practice ice this morning at 11:30 before chartering to Toronto for Saturday’s game vs. the we’ll-get-‘em-next-year Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Air Canada Centre game will begin a stretch of five games in eight nights for Montreal, continuing Monday at home vs. Ottawa, in Buffalo Wednesday, home to Florida on Thursday and home to New Jersey next Saturday. Then, three days off before facing Carolina at home on March 31.

We’ll be at practice today. Updates and audio to come here after the workout; live updates on Twitter here.

246 Comments

  1. TomNickle says:

    I too watched it and couldn’t control my laughter.  They are awful.  I was having a discussion with somebody about a week ago and pointing out that their success this season has been smoke in mirrors.  When they couldn’t score their goaltending was great and when their goaltending was terrible they were scoring.  It’s all caught up with them now and they’re being exposed for what they really are.

  2. mike g says:

    And Ottawa’s powerplay doesn’t need Kovalev. Last night was such a disgusting game if you’re a Sens fan. Kovy never even touches the puck on the PP, it’s all Alfie or Spezza. Nobody even looks for Kovalev……

    And btw, if they’re looking for a reason why they can’t score on the PP, it’s because they’re spending the whole time in their own zone. Their forwards stay at the other teams blueline and just wait for a stretch-pass. And watching the game last night I was laughing so much. Against Atlanta, that’s right the Thrashers, they gave up 7 short handed breakaways. 7! Atlanta was killing penalities, and getting one breakaway on each PK. It was rediculous, and Elliot wasn’t even making the saves. Often the Thrashers missed the net. So that game could have finished 10-3 in favor of the Thrash.

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

  3. TomNickle says:

    Popular opinion is easy and the bandwagon isn’t that high of a jump.  I say that Halak’s been mediocre since the Olympics and I get attacked by guys who think he’s a Vezina candidate.  They don’t understand reality.

  4. smiler2729 says:

    Good point but… no.

  5. smiler2729 says:

    Beware the Leafs.

    I’m an ex-Montrealer living in Leafland. Since I love the game, I watch a lot of Toronto games and hear their local call-in shows so I can tell you Laff Nation is all giddy and they don’t know why.

    They’ve won 5 in a row at home, they beat New Jersey last night (Yann Danis again! The Leafs always face the backups for some… strange… reason, imagine that!) and think their crap don’t stink. Suddenly Ron Wilson’s a genius and Brian Burke is a saviour.

    For the 5th season in a row, they’re out of the playoffs and putting together a win stretch when the pressure is off. This time is a little different, their young callups are a helluva lot more effective than the bored veterans of the other years.

    There’s a hunger and Montreal better take this game very seriously cuz to dumb Leaf fans, this is their Stanley Cup on Saturday night on HNIC. The Englishers vs. the hated Quebecois, Molson Canadian vs. Molson Export, Pizza Pizza vs. Souvlaki & Poutine, stuck up women vs. the most beautiful stylish women on the planet, 2am closing vs. 3am, red light right turns vs. well, you get the picture.

    I think this version of the Habs, being more North American, have a better understanding of the rivalry than the previous European squads so let’s beat the SH*T outta ‘em Saturday night!

  6. Xtrahabsfan says:

    If we lose to the Laff’s tomorrow you’ll be one of those whining Trolls !

  7. TomNickle says:

    No different than 2 of the seasons he had here Mike.  He had one consistent year with this team.  The rest was what you’re seeing in Ottawa.

  8. joeybarrie says:

    It’s funny after a loss, I dread coming in here. BUT I DO ANYWAYS. Glutton for punishment, as I am a TRUE Habs fan I come by this naturally.

    I looked up a few stats.  Team that went out (including Koivu, Streit, etc) 0.42 points per game this season.

                                       Team that came in (including Metro, Pouliot, etc) 0.50 points per game this season.

    Again, yes Gainey has done so many BAD things here in montreal that we are doomed for failure for the next 100 years. Or is it that maybe we finally have a BASE of players to make a good run to getting a GREAT team back. Alot of our talent have long contracts. The light has been BRIGHT, and continues to shine as we hand in down from failing hands…..

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  9. TomNickle says:

    I’m fairly certain that Bob Gainey gave Darche the call up.  PG’s only call up that Gainey didn’t do was Pyatt.

    How can you speculate as to Gainey telling the coach to play Price?  What information do you have that I don’t?

    Third, do you believe that Price’s play throughout the season has been worse than what Halak’s has been over the last 5 games?

  10. mike g says:

    Considering I haven’t had a beer since last Saturday, I’ve been drinking alot of juice and espresso’s……lol.

    But Tommy Boy, you’ve seen the Sens play this year. Kovalev is hopeless, pathetic, and useless to that team. They hoped he could bring the game he had here to the Sens, but it’s so clear it hasn’t worked out. Take away his few successful games against the Habs, and he’s a giant flop. Clouston has been calling out Kovy in the newspapers for heavens sake. When a coach has to call out at 37-year old veteran, there’s a big problem.

    A trade is impossible for a 37-year old inigma like Kovalev, especially with his 5 million$ price tag. A buy-out is the only option. If you trade him, you’ll have to take 5 million$ of another teams scrap. You’d much rather pay about 1.8 million for nobody, and sign someone else at 3.2 million$. It still comes out to 5 mill, but that guy at least won’t be a scrap.

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

  11. smiler2729 says:

    Yeah, it’s all relative though, as soon as the Habs lose ONE GAME, the whining trolls will be back and vocal as always. Right now they’re holed up in their basements littered in empty pizza boxes, in a fetal position in the corner, shaking and sweating with just the glow of their laptop as the only flickering light in their life…

    Most of us can take the good and the bad in stride and never lose sight of what is but that whole subculture of complaining keyboard kings is baffling to me.

  12. ed lopaz says:

    ok – but there’s more to building a team than acquiring players – and i think the guy who wrote the text was on point about that.

    let’s look at today’s habs.

    darche was acquired by gainey – but darche was recalled by PG – and he has been hugely important

    moore is 1 small acquisition 2 or 3 years from now in retrospect – but we admit that he’s made a huge difference

    gainey’s goalie was price – this is pure conjecture but i believe there was pressure on carbonneau last year to play price and even gainey continued to play price in the playoffs after every loss – when it was halak’s wins that got the habs to the dance

    playing halak might be JM’s call – or – it might be that he knows he can make the call – whereas under gainey it was UNDERSTOOD that Price was number 1;

    this is very subtle – but the GM is “probably” having impacts that we don’t even know about.

    at the deadline – PG could have traded Halak – then where would we be today?

    so who’s team is winning today for the habs – the team that bob built, yes – but it’s ALSO the team that PG has tweaked and allowed to fluorish.

    its subtle, small changes that can make a huge difference between winning and losing.

    here’s a great one from JM that I heard on RDS last week.

    ‘don’t worry about the results of your play on the ice, concentrate on the procedure of how to get the correct results, the results will then fall into place”

    that’s excellent coaching.


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