Leblanc called up

LouisLeblanc
Louis Leblanc has been recalled from Hamilton for the Canadiens game in New Jersey Thursday night.
Ryan White will not return to action against the Devils.
Travis Moen is still out, and Andreas Engqvist – who played 4:12 and was on for the winning goal in that Tuesday stinkeroo against Buffalo at the Bell Centre – was sent back to Hamilton.

The Canadiens began their Wednesday practice with some hard skating.

The thrust of the practice, randy Cunneyworth said, was getting pucks on net.

Possible line-juggling: AK46 with Plekanec and Bourque, Leblanc with Eller and Blunden, Gomez with Darche and Weber

Andrei Markov skated on his own for 20 minutes.

AUDIO from Wednesday practice: Max Pacioretty I and II | Lars Eller | David Desharnais | Randy Cunneyworth | Ryan White

• Upset! Max Pacioretty won the Carey Price Cup for January.

471 Comments

  1. H.Upmann says:

    Have to say tonight’s posts were some of the best I’ve read in a while

  2. Chris says:

    Off to bed for me…good conversations, all.

    Cheers.

    • matt jordan says:

      Such great analysis, you need your own blog or forum… something

      • Chris says:

        I like it too much here.

        I’m not witty or clever enough for a blog. I rely on other people to keep me honest and force me to elaborate or justify.

        Writing a stand-alone piece is really freaking hard. I have all the respect in the world for the people who can right insightful and entertaining articles, columns or blogs on a consistent basis.

  3. H.Upmann says:

    Im sure Its been brought up on HIO these last few weeks: … Could be interesting if Julien Brisebois becomes GM, and some way or other Boucher becomes our new coach…. think about it, he knows Subban very well, coached the Bulkdogs to finals and the Lightbing to ECF…don’t know anything bout his 1-3-1 trap, but hey anything that involved SOMEBODY up the ice is better than what we had before ……. And the kicker: they can speak French to the press. (perhaps in 2000 years when humans have evolved into mutants and the NHL is still around, the Habs will still need to hire aliens that speak French..)

  4. H.Upmann says:

    Have to agree with a lot of posters about wrong system for the kind of roster we have… I think JM did not like working with the individual as a strength, but rather forced a collective plan that sacrificed individual strength…. In any case, JMs gone, and this season’s a write -off.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      A good coach adjusts to the horses he has, not the imaginary ones in his head. A great example is Pat Burns, successful with 3 different teams.

      Just as you can’t plow a field with a race horse, neither can you win with a Clydesdale.

      And for that reason, JM was a fool. Sorry.

      • habsperspective says:

        JM would of had this team in the playoffs. And JM almost had this team by the Stanley Cup champs last season, and JM regardless of Halak, and Cammaleri had this team in the Conference Finals the season before that. Interesting how there all gone now though.

        PG is that you, your the one sounding like quite the ignorant fool.

        Sorry.

      • rhino514 says:

        Agree about using the ” real” horses but prove thet the team´s decline had anything to do with JM. Cunneyworth´s record so far is worse than JM.
        With Markov on the point, the PP would´ve produced more goals, and if the team does just average in shoot-outs, which everyone agrees is a coin toss, the habs record wouldv´ve been considerably better.
        Cunneyworth so far has a worse record than JM, what does that say?

  5. jon514 says:

    Ok. The main goal of the GM in montreal, since there’s no need to lure people into the seats, is to scout, draft, grow and acquire hockey talent that jives well with the overall chemistry of your current roster, and when necessary, to prune the dead weight. So all that being true, who do you think players want to play for, a lawyer or a cup winning hockey player/coach. I’m a programmer and I know I’d way rather work for a programmer than a lawyer. What do you do and who would you want to work for?

    “Let’s be clear on the facts…”

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Sorry, dude, programmers are often brilliant, but they are so narrow focus like a laser beam that they are worse than useless, in fact dangerous, outside of their realm. I wouldn’t have a programmer in a meeting without a very, very short leash and taser close to hand.

      The advantage of having a lawyer is that 1) they are used to dealing with OTHER lawyers and 2) a law degree trains you in analysis and what they call “issue spotting” which is essentially sorting through a load of crap and finding the diamond.

      As for McGuire, he is so unqualified it’s embarrassing that we are even discussing him.

      I’m not advocating for having a lawyer per se, a good GM can surround himself with the specific expertise he needs, but the term GENERAL Manager means just that. Someone with some freaking vision and perspective who doesn’t go down the black hole of minutae, knows how to hire experts and knows how to let them do their job.

      I wouldn’t hire a programmer to do anything except write code. Sorry, nothing personal. I’ve worked heavily with both programmers and lawyers, I’m married to a freaking lawyer, I play hockey with about 5 lawyers and I know whereof I speak.

      amen.

    • Chris says:

      I disagree.

      The main role of the Director of Amateur Scouting (presently Trevor Timmins) is to identify the right players to draft. Hiring Christer Rockstrom, the architect of Detroit’s European scouting division who then built up the same system for the Rangers, was a good move….this is the guy that drafted Lidstrom! ;)

      The main role of the Director of Pro Scouting (presently Doug Gibson, I believe) is to identify the right players to acquire via trades.

      The main role of the Director of Player Development is to ensure those players develop. The Habs have cheaped out and doubled up this duty on Timmins.

      The assistant GM runs the AHL team and helps with the contract negotiations and the salary cap.

      The GM oversees the whole mess. They make the final call, they take the fall when the team fails, but they rely on a host of people along the way. THEIR job is to make sure they’ve hired the best possible people to avoid failing.

      A few of you have jumped on the idea of lawyers. Understand that the “lawyers” we are talking about are, like McGuire, former players and coaches. They are hockey people. The difference is that they are hockey people who have sought out legal degrees due to the increasing complexity of contract negotiations and cap circumvention that the top teams are all engaging in.

  6. Chris says:

    My last two cents regarding McGuire:

    If people were touting McGuire to replace Trevor Timmins, I might be able to understand it more. I still wouldn’t support it, as I think Timmins is a good evaluator of talent, but it at least makes sense.

    What irks me about the suggestion is that it somewhat ignores the major roles of the general manager. I’ve looked through the experience immediately before being hired for the general managers of Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit and Edmonton before I ran out of steam. That is more than 1/3 of the GMs in the league. Of that list, every GM with the exception of Joe Nieuwendyk had served for a few years as an assistant GM or GM in some capcity. A significant number of them (and growing) had law degrees. Nieuwendyk had acted as a special assistant/consultant to the GMs of Toronto and Florida before getting his job. In essence, he was being groomed for a front office executive position.

    The assistant GM’s usually negotiate contracts, deal with salary cap issues, study the comparables and prepare the team’s case for arbitration hearings and (usually) act as the general manager for their team’s AHL affiliate. This is absolutely crucial experience for the GM who must shoulder the bulk of these duties at the NHL level.

    Most NHL general managers are relatively “hands off” when it comes to the draft. They of course make the final say, but in most cases, they do as Gainey did and trust the scouting staff that they assembled and paid to do that exact job. The #1 strength of McGuire, as I have heard it, is that he would be great at identifying junior players for the draft. If this is what fans feel we need to bring him to the franchise for, it should be as the Director of Amateur Scouting and **not** the general manager position.

    If McGuire really wanted a GM job, I suspect that he would have to take an apprenticeship as an assistant GM for a year or two and learn the ropes in the AHL. Perhaps he’s willing to do that, perhaps not. It is a risk for him, because he would be counting on a team hiring him after that time.

    But just as I wouldn’t want a political journalist to walk into the Prime Minister’s office or a business columnist to walk into a Fortune 500 company as CEO, I don’t know that McGuire’s qualifactions are current or relevant enough to justify the risk that would be inherent in handing him the reins in Montreal.

    • Storm Man says:

      Gauthier does not have a law degree… I understand you don’t like McGuire as you have posted this all day. Maybe you would like Pat Brisson he has a law degree.

      • Chris says:

        No, but Gauthier has been negotiating contracts for years. McGuire has not.

        And I understand that you do like McGuire as you’ve been replying to posts about it all day. Does that make us even?

        No, I would not want Pat Brisson. Although Mike Gillis worked out in Vancouver and Mike Barnett has somewhat successfully made the jump to hockey executive, so perhaps an agent wouldn’t be a terrible choice. :)

        • Storm Man says:

          He (McGuire) would not be my number 1 pick for the new GM.. But at this point not much else to pick from.. (A) he has to be french and how many good GM’S are french? The state of why this team is falling fast to the bottom and I said this sometime ago, it is the ownership group the Molsons.At this point all he cares about is profit and not what is on the ice wearing the best jersey in the NHL.He is the one I blame for the mess right now and he sits around as the team becomes a joke.

          • Chris says:

            I’m willing to give them a mulligan on this season. I fear you might be right, but the Markov situation makes it hard to really judge the team that they have.

            The Cunneyworth situation was extremely poorly handled, and some of his comments to the media have come dangerously close to being interfering with the hockey people he has hired.

            Other teams (Boston, Philadelphia) have had one-off bad seasons and regrouped. If they get off to a slow start next year, then I would say fire away…clean house.

        • jarat says:

          Nice, but you have it backwards.. The GM’s responsibility is to build a good team. I would rather have a GM that knows talent and is “hands on” in the draft with that knowledge in hand, than a GM with all that “crucial experience”.. And as you said, that’s what Assistant GMs learn.

          Now I can’t stand McGuire. Not the way he talks, his sayings, his flip-flopping opinions on teams and players, nor his camera whoring. If he can find the talent and convince the talent to sign in MTL, and make decent trades and build a strong team year after year then who cares who he is.

          I still wouldn’t be able to listen to him.

          Give me a good team!!!

          • Chris says:

            There is no executive alive that can do it alone. You’ve got to trust your people…if you don’t, replace them with people that you do trust.

            The biggest areas of concern to me (and many others, based on past conversations) are Pro Scouting (which Gauthier deserves blame for) and Player Development. Bringing in a well-regarded former player to help the kids develop and learn how to be pros would be a good start. Philadelphia has Derian Hatcher, Detroit has Kris Draper and San Jose has Mike Ricci, Vancouver has Dave Gagner.

            Montreal has nobody listed for Player Development. We’re one of the richest teams in the league and yet have one of the paltriest front offices. That is absolutely shameful. If I was to pick somebody, I’d go after Mike Keane. I thought of Brian Skrudland, but he is now in Florida in that role. I half wonder if Claude Lemieux might be an interesting guy for such a role…ultra-competitive and a guy who played for a lot of teams in big roles.

          • fastfreddy says:

            I couldn’t agree more Jarat

        • LA Loyalist says:

          Great post about player development.

    • NCRhabsfan says:

      Chris,

      You really write some excellent posts. Always well thought out and non-emotional. This is another example, logical and succinct, well done.

      So who would be on your short list if the Habs show PG the door? I was once on the fire PG bandwagon, but I’m actually less sure as the season progresses. Sure he’s had a couple of gambles backfire, but that goes with the territory. Some of his moves have been excellent (Bourque, Cole, Diaz, Emelin for e.g.). I’m not sure that anyone could have foreseen the rash of injuries and sub-par performances of some of the veteran players that were supposed to be the core of this team. So I don’t think it is a foregone conclusion that he will be fired, but if he is, do you have any candidates in mind?

      • HabsfanoftheHabs says:

        How about Julien BriseBois from Tampa Bay? He seems to fit the profile Chris described.
        A young, city of Montreal alumn…I don’t know a whole lot about him, but he seems like an interesting candidate.

      • Chris says:

        As somebody else pointed out earlier, I think you have to look at the executives who are working for the most successful franchise.

        Part of what made the Montreal Canadiens so great in the 1960’s and 1970’s under Pollock was the amazing collection of front-office talent that they spun out.

        Ron Caron was Sam Pollock’s assistant GM and went on to a nice career of his own in St. Louis. Cliff Fletcher was a scout for 10 years in Montreal before going on to a long successful career as a GM. Al MacNeil, the former coach for the Habs and their farm club, would join Fletcher as his assistant GM in Calgary and helped the Flames with the Stanley Cup in 1989. Former players John Ferguson, Serge Savard and Ken Dryden would also go on to prominent front-office jobs.

        Success breeds success, in many cases. So look to the successful team. Detroit, San Jose, Philadelphia and Vancouver have been amongst the most consistently good teams over the past decade. Detroit’s front office and roster has churned out Holland, Yzerman, Howson and Regeir are all current NHL GM’s that spent time together in Detroit. Who’s there now? Jim Nill has been in Detroit for the past 14 seasons as their GM and oversees their amateur scouting. He had previously served as an amateur and pro scout for Ottawa in the early 1990’s.

        San Jose’s assistant GM is Wayne Thomas. He’s served in pretty much every role imaginable but, at 62, might be a bit long in the tooth and unwilling to move from San Jose.

        Philadelphia’s John Paddock has had a long career as a coach (primarily), scout and most recently as an executive. Philadelphia has impressed me with the willingness to make bold moves and their ability to continually unearth talent in the draft from later rungs.

        Vancouver’s Lorne Henning is far too into his career to likely consider moving, but he has an outstanding resume of experience in every aspect of the game.

        Jim Benning from Boston is another who should get a look at this point. He’s been heavily involved in player evaluation, trades and FA signings under Chiarelli, and I would argue that the Bruins have generally done well in that department. Prior to that, he earned a ton of experience working in Buffalo as the director of amateur scouting for a department that drafted well from 1999-2006 under his leadership.

        And since French must be a consideration, Claude Loiselle (Toronto) and Julien BriseBois (Tampa Bay, formerly Montreal) will almost certainly be front-runners. BriseBois isn’t as much of a “hockey person” as I’d like to see, but Loiselle is definitely an attractive option; he was a hard-working player who has worked his way up the ladder. Good article on him here if you hadn’t already seen it. What appeals to me, in addition to his front-office experience, is that he was a prominent executive with the NHL office. In a market with a perception of bias against it from the NHL head office, perhaps having an “insider” as the GM might help. :)

        And of course, I don’t think Gauthier has done so poorly. He’s made some astute moves, in my opinion, but got horribly burned by the Markov situation. It might end up costing him his job, but I’d be okay with it not. He certainly hasn’t shown a reluctance to make tough decisions. I just wish he was a little less wooden…that can’t go over well with the players. But a cheetah is not going to change his spots…Gauthier once famously banned vanity numbers in Ottawa. He’s just a bit of an odd duck.

        • slychard says:

          Just read your link to Loiselle. I’m sold. I’m F’n sold. This is our man. Please Molson, get this guy. Thx for the link. I’ll be praying for this guy to come here.

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Kiss my hAbSS!!!

      • LA Loyalist says:

        The GM problem is severe (and I am on the fence about PG) because of timing. The trade deadline is imminent, the draft is in June, and the potential for disaster in both will extend our recovery for years yet.

        If PG is a seller at the trade deadline, then I think that proves he knows we suck and I will have confidence in him. If he panics and tries to band-aid us (“Kaberle us”) into the playoffs then I know he has to go. That’s how I’m going to weigh things.

        How are you guys going to evaluate things?

  7. Hey the Habs are in 14th place and 61% of the season is done!

    ..
    We have to be almost perfect throughout the rest of the way to have a decent ranking by the end of the season.. WILL IT HAPPEN?
    NOPE.

    CAN WE SELL ALREADY.

    • DearyLeary says:

      Value goes up substantially as the trade deadline approaches. We’ll likely see some moves, a lottery pick and securing PK and Price will be the important moves going through the rest of the season and the offseason.

    • Timo says:

      How Gauthier and Gainey still have roles in this organization is beyond me. But I guess it’s all good for molson. Bell center is full and beer is flowing. Good times.

      • Storm Man says:

        And they don’t have a law degree. Good times lol

      • Lizardking89 says:

        I miss Gillett that man was a good owner that looked like he actually gave a crap about the team. Molson is the owner of this team to make money and I doubt he’s the savior of this mess of an organization. As long as people fill the Bell every night things won’t change. I hope and pray he proves me wrong but not liking the vibe coming from him this year.

  8. H.Upmann says:

    If given the chance, would it be a good idea to draft another Subban brother?

    • Chris says:

      No. Malcolm Subban is a goaltender, and we’re rather set in that position. :)

      • Stev.R says:

        I hope Subban goes top 5 though.

        • Chris says:

          No chance. He’s good, but he’s still a bit of a diamond in the rough.

          I’ll be a bit suprised if he goes top-20.

          • Stev.R says:

            If available in second round, would you take him then?

          • showey47 says:

            I think i would take him if he was still around in the 2nd round. But if he is the highest ranked goalie in the draft i don’t know if he will be around come round 2.

          • Chris says:

            It’s really hard to say. It’s a mixed signal to Price…Price wants to play a lot, as evidenced by who they’ve brought in to back him up.

            On the other hand, they do need an insurance policy in case Price ever gets hurt or bolts town. You don’t want the system to be empty. I’d consider it, but warily.

          • Stev.R says:

            I think because it’s Subban, Price would be more at ease with the pick. He’s always at ease but atleast then he knows they drafted the brother of a teammate.

          • slychard says:

            Who cares what Price or any player thinks. You draft accordingly. We need goalies in the system. Period.

            +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
            Kiss my hAbSS!!!

      • showey47 says:

        We are set now but we have no depth in that position. We would be absolutley screwed if price ever went down with a serious injury.

        • Chris says:

          I agree. But Subban isn’t going to be a back-up goaltender. He’s still 2-3 years away from the NHL (at least), but he’s going to be a #1. Price might not like the message sent by having another projected #1 goalie in the system.

          I definitely think they’ve got to take a goalie in the draft this year somewhere, just not sure I would use a 1 or 2 pick on one. Definitely a good year to scour the European leagues for the next Backstrom or Hiller, an undrafted goalie that could perhaps come over.

      • SlovakHab says:

        With Price and… ?

      • LA Loyalist says:

        Excuse me? I like Price, don’t get me wrong. But until he wins us a playoff series we weren’t supposed to win (a la Halak) we are not “set” at all. Price could equally be the next Joe “Choke” Thornton. He hasn’t prove squat till he’s proved it in the playoffs – oh yeah, we aren’t going to be in the playoffs.

        Now if we have the choice of a male center over 6′ with soft hands, yeah, that’s the priority, but if we could take Subban further down? Hell yeah. Price needs the pressure or he’s not the “thoroughbred” everyone claims he is.

        Bitter but not broken.

        • Chris says:

          A goaltender does not have to steal a series…that would be nice, but it isn’t required. The best teams are the ones that surround a solid goaltender with good players.

          Price is a solid goaltender, therefore we are set. Now we need to surround him with good players.

  9. aj says:

    I’ve been reading some comments here about Bowman’s credibility as a GM visa his credibility as a coach.

    I’m one of the few here who believe McGuire MAY have a shot as GM of the Canadiens. But if you talk about Bowman, its hand down to me. Why? There’s no other person who knows the former glory days of the Habs and someone WHO HAS the potential of bringing back that “flambeau” than Scotty Bowman.

    Let’s take into account that without his guidance in the 96-97 season with the Red Wings as assistant GM to Ken Holland, Detroit would never have a Stanley Cup nor Holland would never have any way to sign veterans who have those long contract extensions and are now players at the highest levels possible in the NHL. Look at the tenure of the remaining 4 players there in their current lineup: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Holstrom, and Lindstrom – the all have 3 Stanley Cup trophies and during the span of their careers. And, they went to the Playoffs every season. That spells success.

    I am convinced (I maybe wrong so don’t take my word for it) that Holland’s way of thinking and how he helped the Success of the Red Wings was due to the past examples of what the Canadiens did during the days of Richard, Dryden, Robinson, by copying Frank Selke and Sam Pollock’s philosophies. And who would better educate him that but who else, Scotty Bowman himself.

    EDIT: Not that I’m demeaning Serge Savard’s credibility as GM, He’s excellent but Bowman’s time as GM should’ve happened after Pollock stepped down in ’78. Bowman as possible Canadiens GM is long overdue but still doable in my opinion.

    • Chris says:

      You are strangely leaving Jim Devellano, a long-time and very respected general manager, out of the equation for that 1996-97 team. He was still very much working with the management group.

      Furthermore, Bowman never served as assistant GM…he was the Director of Player Personnel for a couple of years.

      • Storm Man says:

        In part chris he is right as it was the GM team of Devellano,Bowman and Holland in 1996-1997. And Devellano as a GM by himself did not fair so well.

        • Chris says:

          Devellano was the guy who sunk the time and money into building the best European scouting department in the NHL.

          Devellano convinced owner Mike Ilitch to hire Scotty Bowman in the first place (he had worked with Bowman in 1967 with the Blues). He was also the one who pushed for the Islanders to hire Al Arbour as coach in the early 1970’s. So I’d say he had a good eye for coaching talent.

          Under Devellano, the Red Wings drafted very well. And he basically built the team that Bryan Murray would tweak before Devellano came back to finally win the Stanley Cup. Given the poor state the Red Wings were in when he took over in the 1980’s, I find it hard to say that Devellano didn’t do a great job. Holland and Bowman were definitely critical, but it was Devellano’s executive skills that put the whole architecture in place to create the NHL’s one existing dynasty.

          • Storm Man says:

            I would look how he drafted from 82-90 before saying he did a good job. C+ is the grade I would give him and hey not bad for a man who never played high level hockey.

          • Chris says:

            His first draft as GM was 1983, when he drafted Steve Yzerman 4th overall. That pick alone was a home run. But then he also drafted Probert, Klima, Kocur and Grimson, 4 players who would all go on to player more than 700 games in the NHL. That is a pretty solid haul.

            1984 and 1985 were a bit weak (although McKay and Chiasson had nice careers), but 1986 was solid given the weakness of that draft on the whole: Joe Murphy was the clear cut #1 choice who was a decent player who never quite realized that potential while Adam Graves was a great pick at #22 overall.

            1987 and 1988 were terrible, but 1989 might have been one of the best drafts in NHL history: Nicklas Lidstrom (53rd) and Sergei Fedorov (74th) were both Hall of Fame calibre players. How many GM’s pick 3 Hall of Famers in 7 drafts?

            His 1990’s drafts were much weaker, but by that time the team was loaded for bear. I’d give him an A-, only diminished by striking out in 4 of 7 drafts.

    • savethepuck says:

      I have the utmost respect for Scotty Bowman for what he did for the Habs organization and what he’s done for other teams. His record speaks for itself, but reading all the comments today about him endorsing Pierre MaGuire as a good GM and all the posters on here eating it up makes me realize that even great men can be mistaken at some times in their life. This is one of those times. Giving that idiot the reins of the future of the Montreal Canadiens would set this franchise back so many years that it would be impossible to recover from for decades to come.
      Pierre would be far from a “monster” GM. I guess I have to add “please don’t let Pierre MaGuire be the next GM of the Montreal Canadiens” to my nightly prayers.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

    • habsonly says:

      I agree with the theme of your post, I believe that Bowman left with recipe and now the Wings seem to have it, when I look at how the Wings are run from the management, coaches, scouting, drafting, the farm team and player development they all mirror the Habs back when Selke, Pollock were in management and ToeBlake and Bowman were coaching. It is a real shame that we watched Bowman leave when he should have been the successor to Pollock. The Habs have not been the same since and I watch what the Wings are doing and think they remind me of the Habs of old. We need our recipe back.

  10. price365 says:

    why did they bother bringing Leblanc up and he’s gonna be sitting?

  11. habs001 says:

    Blunden on the fourth line is fine but i still dont get how did he make the junior national team. dont you have to have some high level skill talent beyond being a banger?

  12. habs001 says:

    While the nhl is deluted now it is still the best and toughest league in the world…weber and diaz are really meant for the large european ice surfaces where they can excel in short schedules and 6 game tournaments..you just cannot have 2 of these guys on the same team in the nhl in the regular season and dont even mention playoffs with them..

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      No, but you can keep Weber and/or Diaz in Hamilton and see how he/they perform(s). If he puts up great numbers in the AHL he could be valuable in a future trade.

      That leaves Markov, Kaberle, Subban, Georges, Emelin.


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