Leafs kick off busy stretch for Habs

β€’ 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.

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

β€’ 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.


  1. 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?

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. cautiousoptimist says:

    Woo!  Preach it brother Joey!

    1. http://www.flickeringpictures.com – not a hockey site, but still kinda neat
    2. Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”
  6. smiler2729 says:

    Don knows a hockey that doesn’t exist anymore sadly. He is the link to the “old-time” hockey that some of us will never know. The Original 6, something I never saw or experienced.

    It’s funny but I like saying that when my son (who’s 5 and loves hockey) gets older and tells his kids about the NHL, he’ll romanticize the era of The Original 30. When I became a fan as a 6 year old in 1971 (thru hockey cards and the Habs’ playoff run), there were 14 teams. And then the next year the Flames and Isles were added followed in ’74 by the Caps and Scouts/Rockies/Devils franchise. And then the WHA teams came in ’79.

    I’d have to say that hockey was the most entertaining in the brawling ’70s with all the colourful characters but the game was best in the last half of the ’80s until the New Jersey trap of the mid ’90s slowed it all down. That game was beautiful, Gretzky, Lemieux, Yzerman, Roy, the big ugly Flames, etc…

  7. Psycho29 says:

    Don Cherry reminds me of that uncle that everybody has….The one nobody wants to bring out to a restaurant because he might say something not politically correct…while yelling!!!

  8. Jordio-oh says:

    hahaha, i’ve heard this joke before but i wasn’t expecting it as i read your post.

    made it all the better

  9. TomNickle says:

    Peas in a pod Joey!  To answer your question of where they are.  Haven’t you noticed that they haven’t been on here in the last 2 weeks?

  10. TomNickle says:

    Mikey what have you been drinking lately my man?  You’re telling me that a team that can’t score on the powerplay or 5 on 5 are going to buy out their second most skilled player behind Spezza?  A trade maybe, a buyout? NO!

    Maybe that’s just me hoping they keep him because he’s a slacker.

  11. joeybarrie says:

    Imagine signing Kovy for 1.5 million….  How awesome would that be for us.

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

  12. joeybarrie says:

    We have been through ALOT this season. Most of which I kept reading how bad this team is, and how terrible Gainey has done…

    Yet somehow, if Philadelphia and Ottawa lose tomorrow and We beat the Leafs. We will be in 5th place. Dealing with only 1 team, with only 1 game in hand.

    ALOT of people said no way we would make the playoffs… Too many games in hand, too many teams. Habs are a bunch of Smurfs.

    All along I said we were a top 5 team in our division and only getting better. Imagine where we would be without all these injuries.

    So where are you guys now? Where are the ones who said the Habs couldnt compete. Because we can.

    Now on to topic number 2. Price vs Halak. There is no debate. They are both capable. Go ahead and say that Price sucks. You will be eating your words soon enough. Go ahead and say Halak has been lucky, you will also be eating your words.

    Then again if we lose to the Leafs we will be back to ‘this team will finish in last place and Gainey has hurt this team for 32 years…’  Remember EVEN if we had only won 3 of the last 7 we would STILL be in the playoffs.

    Thank goodness TIME WILL TELL ALL. And I hope many of you are enjoying eating your words. But don’t fill up, because the season is not over and i imagine there will be plenty of worde for you to eat…

    GO HABS GO…………LEAD BY 7.3 million dollar GOMEZ….

  13. mike g says:

    Simple Jack’s Statement Of The Day“:

    Alex Kovalev will be baught out by the Senators at seasons end.

    – For some strange reason, I’ve found myself watching alot of Senators games this year. Probably because they have alot of exciting forwards to watch, but it’s still odd. I actually hate the Sens, but anyways…..For those who have watched Kovy this year, he’s a big ZERO. He’s lazy, doesn’t pass to anyone, doesn’t shoot, backcheck, or anything. He’s showing not even an ounce of emotion, and Corey Clouston rolls his eyes everytime Kovy gets back to the bench. So, mark my words people. Barring a miracle and monster offensive performance by Kovalev in the playoffs, the Sens will no doubt buy him out once this season’s over. If they do, it will cost them just under 2 million $ instead of the 5 million $ he is owed for next year.

    Now for all you Kovy lovers (myself somewhat included), plan the protesting infront of the Bell if this happens. He may want to come back to the only city that loves him.

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

  14. Mike from Ktown says:

    I agree that he may not have the greatest insight.  I think part of his issues is that he will allow more emotion to get into his analysis which throws it off. Healy and Mike are a great sideshow to watch on the hotstove lol.

  15. smiler2729 says:

    I like Don Cherry.

    I’ve met him a couple of times and he has more than enough time for everybody who approaches him. I get his points through his fractured broken blue collar english even though I have to explain it to my wife.

    Yes, he was coach of the hated Bruins but in Habs folklore he’s a legend for the too-many-men penalty. Yes, he’s a Leafs booster but that’s the CBC HNIC way, I got over it a long time ago.

    Don Cherry has a heart the size of Canada and he never apologizes for sticking up for his beliefs of everything Canadian especially the men & women of the armed forces and the police/fire/paramedic profession, he is everyman.

    One thing I miss is how funny Coach’s Corner was in the first 5 years with Ron & Don before they got sooo preachy (especially Ron).

    Don has said that the movie will show the bad and the good sides of him and he wants us to see it all.

  16. TomNickle says:

    Very well put.  I’m going to call my dad tonite and thank him for teaching me so I didn’t have to get it from Don.  Good post about his knowledge though.  I don’t like the man but respect his hockey involvement and hockey career.

  17. jbroderi says:

    I must say that your post is very well put, basically what I think of him, but you weren’t as harsh as I was.  I used to like Ron, but lately I think that he feels he is an analyst based on the fact that he referees junior b hockey.  He, especially on the hot stove, makes comments that I think are off base.  He should just host it, that is it.  Of course, when Mike milbury and glen healy can have a say, then I guess Ron is as qualified as those two morons.


    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  18. smiler2729 says:

    Why the Burke love-in? Burkie gets enough exposure everywhere else in all the media why bring him into Habs I/O? I absolutely DESPISE the Leafs.

  19. TomNickle says:

    Your opinion that Hamrlik is more reliable than Markov is no more ridiculous than saying that Beauchemin is more reliable than Hamrlik.

  20. fbkj says:

    what I dislike about him most lately is how he tries to use american tone when it comes to politics, dismissing things as “left wing”

    which gives me douchechills

  21. krob1000 says:

    I have learned more subtleties of the game from Don over the years then any other announcer ….. with honourable mention to Joel Bouchard and I honestly mean that.  Yes he points out the obvious more often than not but Istill view that as great for kids and as a coach of about 20 different sports teams I really appreciate that aspect of his program even if most of it is redundant for myself because occasionally there is a gem in there. 2. On the NBC thing….don’t care…Don is what he is. 3. As for him being a bigoted redneck…find me a man in his 80’s who isn;t and I’ll find you a liar…..that is just the way they were brought up…..Don is mild in comparison to the majority of older people I have encountered over the years.

    4.  I don’t know how one can say he doesn’t know modern hockey at all…..he is the first to notice every different dump and chase method, every breakout change, every pp change, tendencies,etc….some things off the top of my head that I can recall include the decision to use the png pass to a stationary player at center who just deflects the puck in deep, the piece on Marc Savard who ONLY puts his stick on the ice when he wants the puck in the neutral zone (that one was a gem and I do it myself now and it works great), he has pointed out other fakes and stick defending techniques as well, I learned to block shots from Cherry’s segments on no other than Guy Carbonneau, I also learned not to miss far side on an odd man break as a kid from Don and what my options were as a center on 3 on 2’s whether dring or dropping back.  When I finally was old enough to have coaches tell me these things I already knew them, 2 on 1’s and playing against the players preferences or to your goalies preference literally as opposed to doing the same thing every time.  Looking off defenders, Always lookig before I go into a corner and always looking around while anywhere on the ice….these things sound silly but I play hockey with guys who played in the OHL and US college hockey who don;t have these fundamentals down. The different faceoff alignments and various powerplay breakouts and how they differ from regular breakouts, he pointed out how Gretzky and Yzerman used to buy time knowledgeably once they gained the zone with the entire game inf ront of them while defenders did not have the same perspective, the use of of point men, the use of body position…..Don taught me a lot actually and yes other announcers do it too but I have been learnign things from Don since I was a little kid and I still respect him for that and I still hear him o=point things out that go otherwise unnoticed…Hrudey is alright as well but most announcers offer no more than Don and with half the zeal. I think people take for gratned the tips he has offered over the years as to most of us who have played enough hockey they seem redundant but I would bet for many people in reality if you could go back in time you heard a lot of these lessns from Don before you heard them from a coach….I know I did.



  22. TomNickle says:

    He acquired 3 players that were on the active roster for the Cup.  Out of 20.

  23. Hamayoune says:

    The more I read your posts the more you sound like a leaf fan on a habs blog. You say that Hamrlik hates to play on the edge and gets intimidated by dirty forwards? And that Beauchemin is better than him??? You must have lost your mind or otherwise you are surely a Leaf fan because there is no defenceman more reliable than Hamrlik in our backend. I know we are overpaying him but the man barely makes any mistakes in his own end. he may not be very aggressive but he compenstaes for that with his intelligent and efficient defense startegies. Why overuse your body when you can be as productive using your stick. Don’t get me wrong he does hit but does not rely solely on his body unlike other defenseman who lack his defensive startegies. You should focus more on how well other players perform in our zone when his on the ice, Just  quick stat, Hammer is -3 this season compared to -14 for beauchemin or Kaberle who is -16!!

  24. ed lopaz says:

    here’s what i could find about Burke – you guys are too quick for me – already bashing don cherry

    if don cherry was on rds, everyone would be saying that french quebecois are racists – its as simple as that.

    here’s the burke read – i won’t take credit for it – just something to consider for discussion:

    Anaheim doesn’t win the cup without Burke making deals like Fedorov to Columbus for Marchant/Beauchemin and of course the Pronger trade (which used assets like Lupul and Smid that came into the organization under Murray’s reign, but it took Burke to flip them and get involved with the Pronger sweepstakes).

    Even more praise should really go to smaller deals, that sent players like Petr Sykora and Steve Rucchin away, freeing up salary to make the Pronger deal, but also freeing up roster spots up front for players like Getzlaf, Perry, Kunitz and Penner to get their opportunities.

    Similar kudos has to go to taking a chance and signing a broken down question mark like Teemu Selanne for what many thought was a retirement lap after his 32 point season prior to the lockout.

    The 2007 Cup win has Burke’s finger prints all over it. Moreso than any other single person. To say otherwise is ridiculous.

  25. SeriousFan09 says:

    Phaneuf has yet to prove he has NHL-quality leadership and nor has his being in Leafsland made him bounce back as it were, he’s struggled with production for two straight seasons now. Beauchemain, he’s not always been sharp this season and to start the year, Leafs fans were calling him absolutely wretched really and I don’t see him walking in here and wearing the C so casually. Why, because his last name is Beauchemain? That might be enough for the RDS guys but he hardly led that team anywhere while he had a A on on his jersey. Komisarek as a #4 Defencemen kills the Leafs on the cap, 4.5 million for your 4th defencemen? That hurts.

    Kessel, I don’t know, he’s never really proved he can be a big-time performer in the right circumstances, bad Olympics and highly unproductive when the Leafs were struggling for wins to stay in the playoff race, now that they’re out,  he’s started to produce again but at the wrong time. Criticism in Boston as well that he never really came through at the right times last season.

    Pleks will stay here, he’s got a great lineup to work with right now with our talented wingers and is having a career year. It’s stability, he’s getting great treatment and the team will offer him a fair deal for his services. I wouldn’t worry about Toronto grabbing him, we’ll have him under contract for July 1st.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  26. TomNickle says:

    You’re on to something with Julien.  Please remember what I’m about to say Ed so I can take credit later.  Craig Mactavish will be their coach next year or the year after.

    The thing with Rask is that he hasn’t let his play drop at any level.  He just had some attitude problems but his play remained outstanding.  Unbelievable skill and production at every level.

    60 saves against a team that had Crosby, Getzlaf, Perry, Richards, Bergeron, Ladd, Stewart, Carter, Dawes, Fraser, Weber, Seabrook, Phaneuf, Barker and Coburn.

    Best WJHC team ever.

  27. ed lopaz says:

    let’s hope not! last thing we need is for boston to become another pittsburgh. seems to me that chara has a career year last year – maybe he’s been injured – but he’s not the player he was.

    it starts in the back -goaltending and defence – Rask looks good – but goalies have looked good and then faded in year 2 or 3 or 4 – many recently – including one here in MTL.

    so boston looks good on paper going forward – but TERRIBLE ON THE ICE.

    the scoring, the defence, terrible!

    I’m not even sure Julien will keep his job.

  28. TomNickle says:

    My opinion on Don Cherry is this.

    He does know hockey but has a Reg Dunlop like image to protect.

    He is a racist.(Quebec Major Junior players have a drug epidemic) I can tell you that Ontario is no better, that’s all I can say about the subject in a public forum.

    He cares very deeply about the game and the integrity of it which is why he gets worked up.

    You have to understand the man to understand the opinions he has.  When Eddie Shore sent him to Quebec he told him that you get to Trois Rivieres by getting to the bridge and turning right.  He was brought up in an era where hockey players were treated like meat and had to be tough as nails to survive the game.

  29. Mike from Ktown says:

    As much as I like Don, I have litlte use for him any more.  There are a number of good things that Don does such as pay tribute to our fallen soldiers, and police officers.  He also will quickly point out many dangerous areas of the game and try and promote change.  I think his heart is alays in the right place, however he can let himself get too consumed with pasion and get out of control in certain areas. 

    I have to disagree with the other reply made about Ron, Ron is a key part of CC and it wouldn’t be the same if he was not there. 

    Finally, I still do think that Don knows hockey, however he isn’t an expert like he may have use to be.  He doesn’t really provide much good analysis anymore.  Most of his rants now are about how the Leafs aren’t trying, no touch icing, and guys tipping in pucks.  He has become a skipping record now. 

  30. TomNickle says:

    Haha, I knew that too.  Didn’t have enough time to edit.

  31. SeriousFan09 says:

    Niedermayer was a signing actually, and only signed in Anaheim because Rob Niedermayer was there, acquired under Murray as well, Pronger’s about his only real big move.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  32. TomNickle says:

    Niedermeyer’s agent announced publicly that Scott wanted to play with Rob too.  Scott was kind of a gift on a golden platter.  I will give Burkie credit for understanding what his team needed to get over the hump but he didn’t build that team.

  33. avatar_58 says:

    People are going to say the same for PG if they ever win too. Doesn’t matter that Gainey built 95% of it.

  34. jbroderi says:

    My 9 points about Don Cherry, honestly how I feel.. Feel free to critique, or add to!!

    1) he DOESN’T know hockey!

    2) when he was on NBC, I was embarrassed that he represented Canada

    3) He is a bigoted redneck (check out some old videos and tell me gays wouldn’t be offended)

    4) He clearly DOESN’T know hockey, at least not modern day hockey compared to other analysts we see.

    5)  He will make an occasional good point, and at times, I find him very entertaining!

    6)  His suits are a joke and really makes a fool out of him.

    7) Having the douche Ron Maclean only makes coaches corner worse.

    8) I am pleased with his approach on head shots though, which is a slight change from his previous approaches on toughness.

    9) doesn’t give any real analysis, just talks about guys getting in the way of the goalies view.  I can say that Don, give us a little more.  He would be completely lost as a coach today!

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  35. ed lopaz says:

    now you’re gonna make me research this further – thanks for nothing! I’ll be back in about 20 minutes. πŸ™‚ I’m sure he added a few more guys than that.

    Pronger and Niedermeyer – 2 pretty good pick-ups I would say.

  36. ed lopaz says:

    burke will unload salary and trade for picks – I think that’s what he will be forced to do

    but you ARE right on the money – building the d has cost the leafs a fortune!

  37. TomNickle says:

    Traded for Pronger and Niedermeyer.  Bryan Murray built the team.

  38. TomNickle says:

    I won’t disagree with what you say about Hamrlik and Spacek compared to Beauchemin and Phaneuf because they’re different flaws.  If the Leafs were in our position right now I would be saying that their turnovers from the back end will be their undoing, that and a lot of other things.  I think you will see Gill get over 20 minutes/game in the playoffs, I really do.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets put with Markov in April.

    I won’t disagree about Burke’s mandate either but in trying to rebuild his team he may have put Boston in a Pittsburgh like position.  Already having Tukka Rask(who will win Vezina trophies in my opinion), they have Savard, Krejci, Wheeler, Caron, Hamill and others to add to the cupboard.  That team is going to become very good, very quickly after the next draft.

  39. ed lopaz says:

    built anaheim’s cup winner, didn’t he?

  40. krob1000 says:


    A Don Cherry movie! lol…I’m from Kingston and I like Don…..I know many of you do not and view him as a rival because of his affiliation with our two most storied rivals but Don is an institution in this country like it or lump it and now he has a movie.  I don’t always agree with Don but it always amazes me that people try and pretend the guy doesn’t know hockey….anyway I am getting out of Dodge before I get lambasted…see ya!

  41. ed lopaz says:

    I appreciate your first hand knowledge having watched the games.

    this year has been a terrible one for almost everyone on the leafs.

    but I disagree – and that’s fine – Obyrne has not shown me a thing that I like except when he fights and Hamrlik has never panned out since having a decent run in Calgary

    I take Kaberle, Phaneuf, beauchemin (who has won a cup) hands down – today, tomorrow and long term.

    you can have hamrlik and Spacek – buddy – I watch EVERY habs game and focus almost exclusively on the defence, and these guys are not mobile, not strong, they don’t hit, they can’t hit the net with their shots, they don’t help the power play

    I take Gorges and Gill ahead of Spacek and Hamrlik; in terms of reliable defence.

    – my opinions of course – but I feel very strongly that Martin’s reliance on the pairing of spacek and hamrlik will be our undoing in the playoffs; I know you disagree, and I know you know your hockey – and that’s fine.

    here’s something to watch – spacek and hamrlik HATE to play on the edge – they get intimidated by agressive and dirty forwards; guys who cross check them, or push them around

    Gorges and Gill are must tougher – much more likely to stand up and fight back – much more effective in playoff style hockey

    Kessel – sure leafs gave up a ton – but where do you find a 22 year old sniper like him who is already money?

    sometimes you have to overpay when you can’t afford to take 5 years to rebuild.

    burke was given a mandate to rebuild in 2 or 3 years – not 5 – and he’s said that he can’t afford to wait 5 years.


  42. avatar_58 says:

    I hope so. I’m tired of seeing homegrown talent leave us and do better elsewhere

  43. avatar_58 says:

    El oh El

  44. HabsFanInTampa says:

    To be more precise, hope it starts feeling like Spring of ’93! πŸ™‚

  45. Malreg says:

    They definitely have a strong defence, all they need now is a goalie that can actually make a save.   Oh, and about 8 more NHL calibre forwards would help.  Everybody says watch out the Leafs are going to go out and sign Plekanec for $6 million, but have you seen their salary cap? 

    That solid defence also isn’t cheap.  Just for next year:

    Phaneuf $6.5 mil, Komisarek $4.5, Kaberle $4.25, Beauchemin $3.8, Finger $3.5, Schenn (after bonus’) $2.975.  $25.53 million for 6 defenceman, plus $6 million for Giguere, that’s $31.53 million for 7 players.  Kessel $5.4, Grabovski $2.9 totals $39.83 million.  That leaves them about $13 million to spread over 11 forwards – which includes a top line center AND 3 top 6 wingers. 

    Good luck…

  46. TomNickle says:

    What team did Burke build that’s so great?

  47. Psycho29 says:

    A few weeks back I was visiting my buddy in Toronto, and he had tickets for a game. So we park a kilometre

    or two from the Air Canada Centre, and as we got near the arena, he realized he left the tickets on his car

    dashboard…So we make the trek back to the car. Wouldn’t you know it, the car windshield had been

    smashed…..and guess what? There were 6 more pairs of tickets on the dashboard!!!


    Gotta hate those Leafs!!!!!


  48. N.B.habs fan says:

    Nice read,but I don’t think Plecanec would go to TO.He likes it in Montreal and will sign here for a long term.

  49. TomNickle says:

    Ed, speaking as a guy who watches the Habs and Leafs every night they’re on television, I can tell you that Beauchemin has been worse than Spacek this year.  I would rather be sitting with Markov, O’Byrne and Hamrlik than Kaberle, Phaneuf and Beauchemin.  Kaberle never leaves the corner with the puck and Phaneuf and Beauchemin are mistake and turnover machines.  I will admit that Phaneuf’s upside is huge but so is Subban’s, and so is O’Byrne’s.  

    Kessel is a very talented and skilled hockey player with a lot of heart to be able to focus on hockey so quickly after having cancer at his age.  But Peter Chiarelli turned his team into a good one into a potential great one with the foresight he had in making that deal.  He identified the team that would be in the bottom 5 for two years and sent his scorer there for their next two first round picks and more.  What is the hockey world gonna say if he flips next year’s pick into the #2 overall this year and takes Hall and Seguin?

    Burke paid way too much for a scorer that he knows well.

    Just to further your point on the Habs 5 on 5 play.  I couldn’t agree more and I believe that they’ve been bailing out Jaro since the break.  I don’t think he’s looked good but they’ve been playing fantastic in front of him.

  50. TomNickle says:

    It really isn’t fair to compare them in any way other than leadership due to their positions and roles on the team.  Alex was here to lead the younger generation and to put up points.  He was only moderately successful in both areas.  Looks like Gomez is succeeding in both fairly soundly.  I would call him just as much of a leader as the rest because of his attitude when play gets tough.  Hedman, the Phili games, Kozlov.  He doesn’t take any B.S. and stands up for his teammates.  I rarely saw Kovalev do anything other than watch when one of his teammates was being roughed up.

  51. linp says:

    “we’ll-get-’em-next-year Toronto Maple Leafs” has become “we-always-have-next-year, get-used-to-it”.

    I feel that our team is now matured to a point that we can focus to play our game and let other teams worry about us. We have good goaltending, solid 3 defensive pairings and can roll 4 lines. Fans are feeling as confident as our team. Let the good times rolling!

    I like JM asking MAB to practice as a spare Dman. Our 3rd and 4th line is critical to JM’s system. With Cammy almost ready to return, we have Pyatt as our spare forward.

  52. ed lopaz says:

    as a diehard habs fan, I admit I hate the Leafs – always have, always will – not as much as the Nordiques or Bruins, but still hate them.

    that being said, Burke is starting to put together a strong unit in T.O.

    on D – Kaberle, Phaneuf, Beauchemin, is an excellent top 3; way better than what we have.

    Markov is better than Kaberle as an all around player – no doubt

    but Phaneuf was a STEAL from Calgary for a few bodies; Phaneuf will be the Leafs Captain next year.

    beauchemin should have been signed by the Habs instead of Spacek – beauchemin is big, tough, excellent defenceman

    had we signed beauchemin he might be the Habs Captain today

    Komisarek is now a #4 d-man, instead of a #2; so he doesn’t have to match against the other teams’ top line

    Schenn has a very big upside and at 6’2 215.

    up front, Kessel is the real deal – pure sniper – they overpaid for him to be sure, but he’s 22 years old and he’ll score 35 – 50 goals a year for the next 10 years

    and yet the Leafs are still crap and here’s why

    they need a reliable goalie, long term

    and they need a first line center – Plecanec would be perfect for them

    Leafs will overpay for plecanec – watch and see – 30 million for 5 years.

    they have no proven depth up front beyond Kessel – but that will change over the next year or 2.

    I hate the leafs, but Brian Burke is a big time GM – like him or not he has a won a cup and he knows how to build a team

    Habs have won because AS A 5 MAN UNIT ON THE ICE – they have played excellent defensive hockey with very few turnovers

    that’s why Moore and Darche turned out to be great pick ups (eventhough I posted several times that I thought PG was out of his mind when he went after Moore)

    Moore and Darche have made the habs much stronger defensively as a 5 man unit in all 3 zones – they’ve played “brilliantly” – smart hockey

  53. avatar_58 says:

    Feel’s like the early 90’s….

  54. avatar_58 says:

    If he continues to play like he has since the break I will be happy. He may not be Crosby, but the man is talented. He just needs to show it off more often! He has elite puck handling, his issues stem from blind back passes or trying to do too much ala Kovalev.

    Although…..unlike Kovy he doesn’t cough it up so much and knows a pass is sometimes better than a shot.

  55. TomNickle says:

    It’s pretty refreshing to hear that from our leadership group instead of them being sent home in Kovalev’s case or not getting along with other veterans like Saks.  Fresh start means fresh mentality, that’s great to see.

  56. avatar_58 says:

    if they play like that in round 1 they won’t get far. I almost hope the habs DO play them.

  57. Habsrule1 says:

    That’s a given, but will he get any credit if we do win 2 rounds? Given the injuries to KEY players and the fact that we could actually win our division speaks volumes of Gainey and the coaching staff.

    Go Habs Go!! “I don’t have a copy of Georges’ code, I don’t know what it is,”. “I think the code is that you’re here for your teammates. It’s not your code, it’s our code.” – Bob Gainey

  58. TomNickle says:

    This is the exact argument I’ve had with people about Hossa, Kovalchuk and others.  Why would this team mortgage the future to acquire a high scoring winger?  Cammy, Gionta, A.Kostitsyn and now Pouliot.  This team always needed a big time(not big) centreman who can dish the puck dangerously.  Gomez’s playmaking ability changes this team, he is the focus of the opposition because of his skills.

  59. avatar_58 says:

    I forget if it was Gomez or Markov – one of them said “We aren’t perfect but we’re trying to be” – THAT’S the attitude. Focus on your own games and your own play. Who cares what the other teams are doing. Oh the leafs are near last? So what, focus on not turning the puck over – having good goaltending and making perfect plays. Shouldn’t matter what jerseys the other team wears.

  60. pmaraw says:

    yann danis comes in stone cold vs leafs and allows 1 goal, devils gave little to no effort, they didnt care and it was still a 1-1 hockey game that needed a shootout.  you better believe the leafs were playing their asses off to lol

  61. avatar_58 says:

    Could do worse than Gomez. What if we had Kovalchuk? 10 mil just to float around and not score. Sure he scored in Atlanta, but what’s he accomplished in NJ? How sweet would it be if they missed round 2 and then he didn’t sign?

  62. TomNickle says:

    That’s exactly right.  You have to beat the best teams to make it to the dance anyway.  This time of year is for focusing on working out the kinks in your game and getting your team playing it’s best for the playoffs.  When the focus shifts to what everyone else is doing, losses pile up. (See: Rangers, Lightning, Bruins)

  63. avatar_58 says:

    As I said even before 8th – focus on OUR games, not theirs. It’s better to win and be in, than to lose and hope to god everyone else in contention loses too.

  64. jbroderi says:


    you must be in a generous mood, calling Blake, Poney and stempniak fire power!!  πŸ™‚

    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  65. TomNickle says:

    You mean he won’t get credit for being in charge of a team that missed the playoffs once in 6 seasons and the lone playoff miss coming because the Islanders had more OT losses than us?

  66. TomNickle says:

    The only thing that is certain at this point is that the Capitals will finish 1st.  Ottawa has been terrible(I predicted 8th for them at the Olympic break), Boston and New York are both playing terrible with no signs of bouncing back to this point.  There are a lot of teams still in it at this point.

  67. jbroderi says:

    I disagree.  He put together a team that has the potential to win a couple of rounds, and maybe more, if they get hot.  The players have to take responsibility from here.  Look at Sather.  He proved that he deserved no credit for his edmonton days with his showing with the rangers.  The players earned it.  All Gainey could do is put together a team that has the potential to win, and I think he has done that!!

    It would be nice if every player we were interested in would either sign with us, or we could trade for them, but that isn’t how it works.  Lucl does play a part, and i think what we are seeing is a lot of plan Bs on the habs roster.  (gomez, not lecavalier, etc)  When you look at it that way, I think he comes out looking pretty clever.


    I do agree with the fact that if they perform in the play-offs, people will be crying for Gainey to take over again.  Hahaha  the joys of being a habs fan!!


    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  68. jbroderi says:

    with all the four point games left for Atl, Philly, NYR and Boston, if we can put a win in against the leafs and sens, then we are in good position for 6th i think.  i thought yesterday that 3rd was there to be taken but 6 back with buff 2 games in hand will be a little tough.  i guess we could beat buff twice, and that might do it


    “Do the day and let the day do you” JB

  69. Malreg says:

    They do the same thing every single year.  As soon as everyone realizes that they suck and they aren’t a playoff team, they start to win games.  Zero pressure, nothing to lose.  Usually they win just enough to crawl out of the basement and finish 9th or 10.


  70. Habsrule1 says:

    Habs will take this one. It’s not time to talk about how good the laffs play against us. We are far superior and we want this more than ever.

    I hope we can win a couple rounds and Gainey gets the credit he deserves for the team he has put together. I still think he should have saw this through to the end of the season.

    Go Habs Go!! “I don’t have a copy of Georges’ code, I don’t know what it is,”. “I think the code is that you’re here for your teammates. It’s not your code, it’s our code.” – Bob Gainey

  71. matmacat says:

    Yea. Funny how that is? They get rid of all their “firepower” and start to win a few.

  72. TomNickle says:

    I must admit that I didn’t know the following.

    Montreal is 6th in the Eastern Conference in goals for with 194 trailing only….






    And 7 teams in the West have more goals than our Habs.  


    Only four teams in the East have allowed LESS goals than the Habs….

    1. New Jersey—-168

    2. Buffalo——–176

    3. Boston——–180

    4. Philadelphia–191

    And 8 teams in the West have allowed less goals.


    Speaking as someone who’s been critical of his coaching at times(Laps and Moen on the ice late in games when we’re trailing, Gomez & Gionta being on the ice when we’ve already won) it’s nice to see that regardless of what happens this year, next year we could be looking at a very high seed in the East again.

  73. TommyB says:

    Leafs,  6-3-1,  last ten games.  This is no gimme.  Never is.

  74. shootdapuck says:

    Truculence is just another name for “goons”.

    LAFFS have been taking down all the big boys lately.




    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

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