Let’s try it with Pyatt

Points to ponder while waiting for Christopher Higgins to get his first point of the season:

Tinkering with Gomez line

Would Guy Boucher be a winner here?

Hockey history for sale

Markov not ready just yet; how much is he worth

PP has to get going

• Like everyone else, Guy Carbonneau likes AK46

• Pierre Durocher on Josh Gorges

• Canadiens 10th (up from 18th) in SI power rankings

• J.T. on the concussion epidemic

Rick Rypien shoves linesman, goes after fanThe Shoe Incident and others

And best wishes from all of us at HIO to Serge Touchette of ruefrontenac.com. Get well soon, Toosh!

JI7lpSmTNXE

276 Comments

  1. SmartDog says:

    Pleks leads in PK doesn’t he?  Or at least I think he did last year.

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  2. Aybara says:

    Don’t know if anyone has posted the TSN power rankings.. here they are anyway. http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/rankings/nhl/

  3. Storm Man says:

    if it is a crisis and someone want’s to do something about it in football it starts at the high school level. Riddell has come out with a revolution helmet that has had some great results to date. 

  4. observer says:

    Leaf fans are a whole lot more sensible than that one above in Minnesota.

  5. RGM says:

    Kelowna’s a long way from Montreal. Maybe a discount of sorts for the mutual appreciation each has for the other, but certainly not a hometown style.

    CBC.ca had a feature on Josh over the weekend, TSN had one on SportsCentre last night/this morning, it’s definitely a long way removed from the days when everybody in Montreal was asking “who?” for the return on the Rivet trade.

    Go Habs Go!

  6. TomNickle says:

    I’m of the opinion that you can’t overpay him.  Mainly because he won’t be seeking $5 million and because his value to this team especially beginning next October is through the roof.

    I don’t think anybody would complain if he was making $4 million annually.

  7. 24 Cups says:

    I’ll get heckled for saying this, but Gorges is the most overrated Hab on this site (with apologies to the haedmaster).  He certainly is consistent and has improved on a yearly basis since coming over from SJ.  He also has a demeanor that’s easy to like.  However, he doesn’t bring that much to the offensive aspect of the game and he really isn’t able to handle heavy traffic when he’s called upon to win the physical battles.  He’s a good, but not great Dman.  What is the market value for a guy like that?  Well, Volchenkov, Michalek, Hamhuis and Komisarek all pulled in 4M as UFAs so who’s to say what a 27 year old Gorges might bring.  The most sought after commodity on the free agent market last summer were defensemen.  Gorges doesn’t excel in any part of the game, but he is reliable and steady.  He limits his mistakes and is a well-liked teammate.  Somebody is going to pay some decent coin for that type of player, especially in light of his young age.

    We will have to overpay for Gorges or face the real possibility of losing him.  Our team has 3 aging Dmen and only one solid prospect on the blueline.  I doubt we can afford to lose Gorges.

  8. SeriousFan09 says:

    It’ll be in the 3-mil range, probably the lower side with Josh taking the hometown discount since he’s a good guy but I think 4 million would be weakness on MTL’s part to get a good deal in place.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  9. LA Loyalist says:

    If deflections are luck then why do all teams practice them?

     

     

     

  10. TomNickle says:

    I wouldn’t be willing to pay that much for Hartnell.  I think he benefits very much from the skill and toughness that surrounds him.

    I know you’ve identified a need on this team.  But I’m of the opinion that our #4 spot on defense is a much bigger issue.

    We have team toughness.  And I’m not buying this crap that people are selling saying we don’t have guys going to the net.

    Pouliot, Gionta, Eller, Lapierre, Moen, Halpern, Boyd.

    All going to the net.

     

  11. joeybarrie says:

    I have to say if we could get a Hartnell out of Schultz, which I think is possible, then we will be looking good. Good point with the cap though. He is a big hit. Ryder style. He is MUCH MUCH more effective than Ryder and plays multiple roles. Great addition, but not within our budget.

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

  12. LA Loyalist says:

    He didn’t go to the net. He went to the corner, and with splayed legs and nothing on it threw it at the net – not complaining, that’s what he should have done.

    But don’t infer, imply or revisionize that he ran the table like Guy Lafleur then deked the goalie out of his Depends (TM) and then slid the biscuit in the basket — because then we really will worry.

  13. SeriousFan09 says:

    Anaheim had to trade Pronger to build for the future since Burke left them with no farm aside from 2nd overall Bobby Ryan. Ottawa was just foolish and Devils didn’t think about what happened once Stevens got old.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  14. TomNickle says:

    Starting to look like people outside of Montreal are recognizing Gorges value too.

    I’m thinking he gets $3-$4 million annually on a four or five year deal.

  15. mike g says:

    One reason Tom : EDGE

    Hartnell plays with an EGDE, and the others don’t.

    Ryan Clowe is a decent alternative, but SJ doesn’t have the cap problems like PHI does. So he ain’t going anywhere.

    Hunter’s slower than molases, Penner is the laziest player not named Kovalev and making 5+ million, and Lupul’s nothing compared to Hartnell in terms of what were missing.

    Scott is the type of guy that would score a goal without his stick, with a broken leg, and with only 3 teeth left in his mouth. That’s something the Habs have been missing for years.

    And it’s becoming more and more obvious.

     

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

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  16. joeybarrie says:

    I FREAKEN HATE SCOTT HARTNELL…. Therefore, yes he would be a GREAT addition. Impossible to fit him into our team, but I would do it.  Hamr for Hartnell would be perfect. But who would make that trade? NO ONE. We would have to give up AK and someone else. I think AK will end up being a good addition on our team. He is still young and will be GREAT for his cap hit in the next 5 years. We would have to dump Hamr, which would be impossible.

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

  17. Hoegarden says:

    Happy for Begin getting a shot at being a Pred. He won’t be mopping the floor at l’Antichambre any more.. 

     

  18. TomNickle says:

    I forget which game, might have been against the Pens.  Pouliot was supposed to be the high man in the offensive zone and committed down low too quickly and got caught a couple of times.

    Hasn’t made the mistake since from what I’ve seen.  I really like the way he’s been playing and I don’t think we have many forwards outside of Pleks and AK who’ve been going better.

  19. SeriousFan09 says:

    Didn’t we trade for Ian Schultz to develop so we could make our own Hartnell? Too many big contracts in the Top 6 already and the team needs to have cap space to retain Gorges and Markov for next season plus pursue and sign Alexei Emelin to an EL contract with bonuses.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  20. TomNickle says:

    You think Letang’s lazy?  I really disagree.  Would love him on this team and the Pens got him at a serious bargain.

    Kronwall ain’t all bodychecks Mikey.  He might be the best defenseman the Wings have, and that’s saying something.  He rarely makes the wrong play.

    Burns needs a change of scenery in my opinion.

    But like I said with those players not named Doughty, Keith, Weber, Green and Johnson, the other team would have to sweeten the pot for me to trade Markov to them.

  21. oshawahabsfan says:

    I’d be interested in Penner, always liked Lupul from his junior days, I’m just wondering how he’ll be once he returns from a pretty serious surgical procedure

  22. TomNickle says:

    If they don’t think it’s a crisis they should look no further than retired NFL players who suffered numerous concussions and now can’t dress themselves when they get out of bed.

     

  23. SlovakHab says:

    I think that Hartnell is better than Hunter, Clowe and Lupul.

    As for Penner, I don’t see him available and he is less consistent than Hartnell, imo.

  24. TomNickle says:

    Checks to the head appeared to me to be exactly what Chuck was referring to in his response.

    And not necessarily all of the dirty variety.

  25. mike g says:

    Tom, that’s only obvious…

    If Nashville’s gonna give Weber away for Markov, nobody in the Habs’ org. would say no. No brainer. But the problem is, Nashville would never do that and we both know it. Same goes for Doughty, Keith, etc…

    Your other guys like Myers and Hedman, same goes for them. Their franchises would be shooting themselves in the face if they trade 19 year old fututre Norris winners for a player who’s past 30.

    None of those trades would happen.

    And no thanks to Lazy Letang, Seabrook, Kronwall and Burns. They’re all good defenseman, but don’t bring the total package at the blueline like Markov does, especially offensively.

    So to answer your question, Markov isn’t untradeable. I’d swap him for others, but those players are untouchable.

     

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

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  26. SlovakHab says:

    I agree with that, Mike!

  27. 24 Cups says:

    “You can do your best to eliminate hits where the players are vulnerable and hits that are dirty.”

    This is a key point as far as I’m concerned.  You can change the rules and try and have more consistent enforcement, but it really comes down to the mindset of the players.  They have to realize that they are all in this together and each NHLer is as vulnerable as the next.  It’s no longer a case of trying to get an edge on the play, but rather the long term health and well-being of the individual player.  I think that is what Chuck was trying to alude to in his comment.  You also wonder what role (in terms of taking the lead) the NHLPA might play in dealing with this crisis.  And for those who don’t think it’s a crisis, I would suggest that you check out JT’s past threads that have dealt with this topic.

    Sadly, the league and the players have been unable (or unwilling) to put their words into action. 

  28. TomNickle says:

    Why would we want Hartnell at $4.2 million annually when we could reasonably pursue a Trent Hunter, Ryan Clowe, Dustin Penner, Joffrey Lupul?

    And one more guy who I think will be the next above average power forward in the league.  David Jones.

  29. oshawahabsfan says:

    I’m sure even if Pyatt starts the game with G&G, he probably won’t finish it there, as was the case with Moen. Pouliot has been doing everything right, just hasn’t scored. However it’s not like his linemates were lighting it up exactly. Pouliot is the right fit for that line as he does have size (and has been using it a lot so far) the mobility and the hands to compliment G&G. If however Martin finds it doesn’t work I would like to see a third line composed of the younger players- Pouliot, Eller, and Lapierre. A third line that could do a bit of everything I imagine, including providing secondary- or would it be tertiary scoring, which is much needed for prolonged success

  30. Storm Man says:

    If he get’s a haircut.

  31. JF says:

    Agree with you about Hartnell, but what makes you think the Flyers would trade him – unless it was for Carey Price?

  32. RGM says:

    Nobody’s saying that checks to the head are going to be legislated out of the game. It’s a fast game, these things will happen. What everybody wants to get out of the game are those hits that deliberately target the head in an attempt to injure a player.

    Case in point – the Hjalmarrson/Pominville hit is something that they want to eliminate. Not five minutes after Pominville was carted off the ice, 6’9″ Tyler Myers destroyed a guy with a perfectly clean shoulder-to-chest hit. The big galoots of the NHL are going to smoke people from time to time, and they will have to ensure that–even in the speed and immediacy of the moment–they do so within the rules, or they will receive discipline.

    Go Habs Go!

  33. joeybarrie says:

    The big concern is like you said. If he is a little injury prone, wont that just get worse as he ages? If we are doing ok with Hamr at 5.5 million at 36, I gotta say having Markov at 6.75 when he is 36-37 is great. So I hope for the shorter contract. PLUS if he is still doing GREAT, we can maybe get something good for him when PK and our other younger d’s get into their prime years.

    The thing that stuck out at me is Gorges for 3.5 – 4 million. I love Gorges, and maybe my mentality is to under rate him, but I feel thats too much for him. Especially since he is a RFA,  I would like to see us stay 3 or under…

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

  34. ooder says:

    how many did Weber play?

    ——————

    88 is the new 23

  35. mike g says:

    LMAO…

    O’Byrne will not ALWAYS check St-Luois, Tom.

    You know it, and I know it. Bad example with OB, mon ami…lol…

    Aweye Tom!

     

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

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  36. TomNickle says:

    As always when discussing something like this it would depend on the return Mike.  Somebody posted the question yesterday would you trade Markov for Shea Weber straight up.

    My reply was yes, and it was a reflex response because it’s such a no brainer.

    Doughty, Keith, Weber, Erik Johnson and Green are the only defensemen in the league that would prompt me personally to trade Markov straight up.

    Others that I would consider if the other team sweetened the pot would be….

    Myers, Bogosian, Carlson, Hedman, Letang, Seabrook, Pieterangelo, Suter, Kronwall, Jack Johnson, Burns and Edler.

  37. mike g says:

    The player you are all looking for is Scott Hartnell…

    Costs 4.2 million $, and if I was the Habs I’d swing a deal for him right f’king now. Make the cap space for this guy, and nobody here will regret it. He’s the tough SOB that this team has needed for over a decade. He hits, defends his teammates, parks his bum infront of the net, and picks up a bunch of garbage goals.

    Perfect linemate for the Gomez-Gionta line. He’s gonna skate straight to the net, let Gio and Gomez do all the passing, and just stirr up stuff infront. No need for Gomez or Gionta to fight anymore in order to defend themselves, Scott would take care of that.

    Trust me, I watch a ton of Flyers games. This guy is the missing piece to our top 6, he’s the only guy in the league that is available through trade and can fill our biggest void.

    And, he would be a fan favorite in this city.

     

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

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  38. Storm Man says:

    You must be on the decaffeinated coffee plan today. :)

  39. TomNickle says:

    You cannot eliminate checks to the head.  Chara will always bodycheck Gionta.  O’Byrne will always check St.Louis.

    You can’t stop a player from lowering their stance while in stride in an effort to gain strength in limiting the force of the opponents check and you can’t stop players from missing the shoulder when these players can change direction or stop on a dime.

    You can do your best to eliminate hits where the players are vulnerable and hits that are dirty.

    That’s about as far as you can go.

  40. TomNickle says:

    Ian.  The cap will never go down with the CBA constructed the way it is.  When a new deal gets done, the cap might get capped.

    Since the cap is specifically tied to league revenues and the players have an option wherein they can use their own piece of the pie to increase it, it will never go down under the current CBA.  The cap going up increases player salaries.

     

  41. mike g says:

    WOW..

    I took a full week vacation from this site, and I return today hoping to see that I’m ready to take the challenge again with a free mind and fresh ideas.

    And I get welcomed back with people hoping that Markov is traded.

    I’d rather someone just farted in my mouth instead of hearing stuff like that.

    It’s official, HIO will never, ever make sense….

     

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

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  42. Chuck says:

    There has to be a way to get this out of the game for good. Players lives are at stake. The whole idea about the NHL allowing head shots, as long as they’re not from the blind side, is absolutely ridiculous. The human brain doesn’t discern from which side it’s been hit. It just sloshes around in your skull, absorbing damage from all sides.

    If they can make the players accountable for their sticks, then surely they can do the same for their contact with another player’s head.

    This is a league that once allowed players to skate without absolutely no head protection, so good on them for eventually mandating helmets, then helmets that actually do what they’re supposed to do. Next step: shields for every player. And neck guards.

     

    Centre Hice: One fan’s attachment to the Montreal Canadiens

  43. mike g says:

    How many games did Price play last playoffs?

    And now all of a sudden, he’s our most important player this year.

    Last year is last year. Don’t compare anything that happened in the playoffs last year to anything that will happen in the future. The Habs were a sports world miracle last year, riding on the back of a hot goaltender and opportunistic scoring. We see teams do this every year in sports, big underdogs beating heavily favored teams.

    Markov not playing in the PIT and PHI series last year means nothing. Even if he was there vs Philly, were losing that one. You coulda even put Gretzky on our team, and the Flyers still beat us because they were a solid all-around team. The Habs were riding the miracle train, and there was no gaz left in the tank.

    If you really think replacing Markov will be easy, think again. How’s Anaheim doing Since they lost Pronger and Neidermayer? Or Edmonton, since they lost Pronger? Or St-Louis since they lost Pronger? Or Ottawa since they walked away from Chara? Or Dallas once Sergei Zubov turned 84 years old? Or the Devils once Neidermayer and Stevens left?

    There’s a handful of defenseman in the league that you simply cannot replace overnight. Markov Falls in that category, whether you appreciate him or not.

     

     

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

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  44. Ian Cobb says:

    Fan Summit Updates  Check The Summit Page

    The Gainey Foundation Raffle and Donations.

  45. 24 Cups says:

    Markov will be 32 1/2 when he signs his contract.  The following year the CBA comes up for renewal.  We have watched many other teams give our ludicrous contracts that pay guys 6-7M when they are 39 or 40.  Are we about to make the same mistake?

    Brian Campbell is not a good example to use.  That is one of the worst contracts since the lockout and I’m sure that Bowman would love to dump it.  Markov has about three good years left before he starts to decline.  You also have to wonder if he’s a little injury prone.  It’s a tough spot to be in because he’s our best player and we will certainly need him if there is going to be a Cup run in a few years.  You also have to consider that we only have one decent young Dman under the age of 25 – Subban.  If we let Markov go, it will probably mean that we will have to hit the UFA market.  Which means we will land up overpaying for some other guy.  The option of doing a front loaded contract may be difficult seeing that Bettman is finally putting his foot down. 

    I say we offer Markov 6.75M for 4 years. 

    Hamrlik will come off the pay grid at 5.5M.  That’s an extra million for Markov and another 2.5M for Gorges.  That leaves 2M to get a tough, gritty Dman to replace Hamrlik.  There should be a few around come early August.

  46. Ian Cobb says:

    5.5 mil for 4 years to secure Markov, if he wants to stay. The cap is on its way down.

  47. Storm Man says:

    I would be out of a job if that was true.

  48. SeriousFan09 says:

    In Luongo’s defence, he played for FLA and playing there is like the ultimate bad-luck curse on a player’s career.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  49. joeybarrie says:

    8 points in 8 playoff games… Can you imagine if we had him for the Pitts and Philly series… We probably wouldn’t have been so banged up and drained when we went to play Philly, and he would have IMMENSLY helped us against them.

    24 points in his last 26 games last season… He was on fire.

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

  50. SeriousFan09 says:

    7 1/2, damn those Russians and their weak-willed ACLS!

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  51. joeybarrie says:

    Markov, Ehrhoff, Bieksa, Kaberle, and Pitkanen all become UFA’s July 1st. Market might be saturated.

    Plus I believe you are wrong about Markov. He has averaged 59 points on 82 games in the last 5 years. He is a plus 25 in the last 5 years and is the key to our strongest aspect of our game. He has more PP and PK time then anyone on our team per game. Losing him would be a terrible mistake. Who would replace him?

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

  52. newbrunswick troy says:

    or maybe the only dress 15-17 skaters like the rest of the nhl????

     

  53. newbrunswick troy says:

    Oh wow …i just found Martins, email  its :  ” my way or the pine @ habs . com”

  54. Jbird says:

    Seriously correct.

  55. Hammer says:

    Is it an actual concussion epidemic or have they finally started to take concussions seriously. All on has to do is look at the barbarism in the NFL this past weekend and the actions of the Commish to realize that in all leagues the concussion is FINALLY being realized as more than a two Tylenol headache.It is now been taken seriously, thus the “epidemic”.

  56. 24 Cups says:

    Solid 3rd lines help win Cups.

  57. newbrunswick troy says:

    I,m all for that….now does anybody have “J.M,s” email???

  58. Jbird says:

    Not more than you are suggesting.  I suspect that this talk (Canadian Citizenship) of a hometown discout is true and that he won’t be getting too much, if any, raises from his current salary.  4 years 5.5.  It’s a deal, I know.  He could get more if he left MTL – but I doubt he will.

     

     

     

  59. newbrunswick troy says:

    First of all i do agree …someone doesn,t believe in Pouliot,thats obvious, but they had publicly better make some positives about him cause “like so many others” this will turn to a language thing and Pouliot will be caught in the middle with too much distractions to work out his kinks…..then shipped off to the Wild or Dallas to go on to a 30goal year……witch is probly what “Lats” will have!!!!

  60. fbkj says:

    ^

    okay this is where a +/- feature would be truly beneficial

  61. mike g says:

    Thanks for cracking me up…

    Trade Markov for Weber?! No kidding it would be a great deal for us, thanks for pointing that out Mr. Obvious!

    And following the trade, Nashville’s GM would get fired on the spot, and never find a job in the world of sports again.

    Seriously man, if you’re gonna throw around trade proposals, make sure they are possible deals.

    And if you think trading Markov will make us a better team, think again. The only reason why this team has had sucess in the past couple of years is because of the PP. And the powerplay is Markov, that’s it. It wasn’t Kovy, Streit, MAB, or Sourray. The one constant producing player on the PP for the past 7 years has been Markov.

    He’s out now, and our PP is last in the league. No matter how well we’ve strated, if the PP doesn’t shape up there won’t be any playoffs.

    No to trading Markov. Plain and simple.

    Have a great day.

     

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

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  62. SeriousFan09 says:

    Dump possibly the best PP quarterback in the NHL and the best mentor P.K. Subban could ask for in a skating defencemen’s role, yeah that makes sense. Canadiens had the luckiest break of the draft in 20 years picking up Markov as a 6th-rounder, makes no sense to deal him right now unless we get a huge return and we won’t get a huge return unless he has a big season, at which point he’ll be pending UFA and have low trade value.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  63. newbrunswick troy says:

    ya that was for sure a crazy good power play year for the habs!!!Kovy did have that ability to role down low and create both time and space!!!! you know i bet you could get Kovy for a song and a bucket of pucks right now givin the Sens woes

  64. joeybarrie says:

    Now we come into an interesting part of the Markov saga. We are doing pretty good right now, but have a few holes to improve upon. The way Markov affects our team when he is back from injury will show how much we are gonna have to pay him. I’m guessing 6.5 – 7 million. Brian Campbell is a good example. He gets 7.1 million. Dan Boyle in San Jose, 6.6 million.

    Would we be happy with 6.75 million for 4-5 years  or  6.25 million for 5-7 years???

    Or is it gonna take more?

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

  65. jimmy shaker says:

    PP fix = MAB

    Simple as pie

    Shaker

  66. SmartDog says:

    Why not put Moen in front of the net on the firs wave.  He’s big, a good scrapper and can bang in pucks.  That would also leave some fire power for the 2nd wave (Kostitsyn?)

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  67. SmartDog says:

    On Wall Street they dump their most important asset as a rule?

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  68. SmartDog says:

    Yes. Markov English much better today.

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  69. LA Loyalist says:

    He did the right thing, throwing it at the net, but sheesh you can’t possibly be hanging your hat on that to pump up Gomez.  

    The goalie completely whiffed it, 100%.

  70. Le_Sportif_De_Salon says:

    Well,

    Speaking of Markov’s value, I really think we should trade him as soon as he is back. I wrote a piece about that before the seaon (LINK), my trade scenarios are no good anymore with the Ryan extansion but I’m sure there is a market for Markov.

    Somebody mentionned a swap for Shea Weber and that would be a great deal for us. Weber is, by any standards, better and younger than Markov is, altough more expensive.

    I never was a Markov enthousiast and his stock lowers by the minute. Like in Wall Street, we should sell now and use the money for a turnaround.

  71. Le_Sportif_De_Salon says:

    Well,

    Speaking of Markov’s value, I really think we should trade him as soon as he is back. I wrote a piece about that before the seaon (LINK), my trade scenarios are no good anymore with the Ryan extansion but I’m sure there is a market for Markov.

    Somebody mentionned a swap for Shea Weber and that would be a great deal for us. Weber is, by any standards, better and younger than Markov is, altough more expensive.

    I never was a Markov enthousiast and his stock lowers by the minute. Like in Wall Street, we should sell now and use the money for a turnaround.

  72. SmartDog says:

    Desperation…

    And methinks someone doesn’t believe in Poulio.  Not sure if that’s Martin or Gio or Gomer.  But if they believed in him, he’d still be there. 

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  73. LA Loyalist says:

    wish we had both of them :)

  74. SeriousFan09 says:

    Didn’t have 3rd overall in 2000 and frankly, I think Gaborik would have ended up walking or asking for more money than is reasonable for a player with his fragility issues. Magnificent player when he’s healthy but how often is that? Last year was only the 4th time in 9 seasons he turned in 70 games and he’s already injured to kick off this one.

    2001, oh how I wish Savard would have just traded just a tiny bit to snag Mikko… Could’ve shifted Saku down to the 3rd line, Mikko and Pleks taking the 1st and 2nd lines. Three two-way centers for the Top 3 lines, would’ve been awesome.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  75. LA Loyalist says:

    Sigh.

    My son (7, playing center) blocked 2 shots, went to the net, checked (body position, as much as they’re allowed at that age), and won a huge offside faceoff getting the puck into the offensive zone with 30 seconds left.

    I told him he was reminding me of Saku and to him that’s the highest praise there is and he was happy :)

    I’m going to allow myself 30 seconds to think about your lineup and how great we’d be down the middle.

  76. HardHabits says:

    I ragged on Koivu in his last season and even came out on the Kovy for “C” campaign. I was one of the 1st to say the Habs needed a new direction sans Saku.

    Nevertheless as much as these impulses were driven by my love for the Habs the truth is I always loved Saku Koivu. He’s a great role model for your son.

    Today Kovalev is “loafalev” and is stinking it up. Koivu is still the consumate professional.

    I don’t change my spots, I just see things as they are. What was, was. What is, is.

  77. LA Loyalist says:

    We met Koivu a couple of weeks ago and he signed a couple of jerseys for my boy. He was really nice and seems relaxed. All the pressure on Ducks is on Getzlaf et cie,  and he seems to be having a blast playing with Selanne.

    I thanked him for what he had done for Habs and that many, many people were grateful. I feel more peaceful for having had the chance to thank him personally.

    Of course modelling him for my son is about his work ethic, leadership, his battle with cancer, having his eye cut, playing on many crappy teams and still doing his best, that kind of stuff i think is better than just admiring someone like Ovechkin for his skill (and I love Ovechkin, no reflection on him). I also wonder if “big personality” type players like OV and PK Subban may be better suited to the Habs spotlight.

    But in the end playing in Montreal on a head case team without a clear team direction had to be mentally beyond the pale of difficulty and I don’t think you could ask any more of any player.

    As for Kovalev I can just sigh. What a package of talent, what a missed opportunity that was, that team.

    Thank you for your note. I appreciate it a lot.

     

    “To failing hands we’ve passed the torch.”

  78. slamtherimtim says:

    he’s been developing for 5 years with no improvments , and not getting any better

  79. SeriousFan09 says:

    MIN developing players… That’s a good one!

    Mikko Koivu and Marian Gaborik are their two success stories in their entire existence pretty much and Mikko’s a mirror of his brother in self-motivation, Gaborik has ridiculous natural talent.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  80. HardHabits says:

    He hasn’t played a full season and IMHHO was rushed. I wouldn’t write him off yet. We all did that to Plex and AKost. Look at them now. I am going to go with what management says. They believe in him. I do too.

    I got your back on this one Bugs!!!!

  81. SmartDog says:

    That’s the same number of goals Lats has.

     

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  82. SeriousFan09 says:

    Wall Street Journal might be profiling Tampa Bay because the owner Vinik is a Wall Street type perhaps?

    Personally, I always consult the Wall Street Journal for solid in-depth coverage on the new wave of NHL coachs and their philosophies trying to prop up franchises with an overpaid, injury-prone superstar and a glass-hip player who’s being outscored by Josh Gorges.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  83. HardHabits says:

    The Habs gave him his shot at stardom just like they gave Halak his shot. Boucher and Halak should be so lucky, as all others, to have been a part of this great organization.

  84. joeybarrie says:

    Repost from this morning…

    Pat Hickey nailed it…

    ” Consider
    the Lightning’s win here last week. It had more to do with a rookie’s
    brain cramp than Boucher’s genius. The Canadiens had that game in the
    bag until P.K. Subban took a penalty with a little more than two
    minutes to play, the Lightning tied the game on the power play and won
    in overtime.

    Had Subban not made a rookie mistake, the Habs would be 4-1, Tampa Bay 2-2 and Mensa would be reviewing Boucher’s membership.”

    I don’t think the blame is on PK, I think that penalty was a crappy call. And the other Tampa goals were pretty lucky…

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

  85. HardHabits says:

    Definitely a bogus late call.

  86. SeriousFan09 says:

    Another underperformer from the 2005 class? No thanks.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  87. LA Loyalist says:

    Well you win the prize for most articulate response. Cheque is in the mail!

     

     

    “Now that Price is playing well, time to get back to bagging on the SMURF”

  88. TripleX says:

    Funny how Mr. Hickey neglets to mention that the Habs were outshot almost two to one, and the ultra aggressive forecheck of Tampa Bay.  Tampa is averaging over 35 shots on goal per game, impressive in anyone’s book.

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  89. TripleX says:

    It is not always the players, in fact in most cases it is not.

     

    ‘Cogito ergo doleo’

  90. LA Loyalist says:

    Then they are a perfect matchup with us, as Martin’s strategy is to collapse around the goalie and give up 40+ shots and when the enemy is exhausted from shooting at us, counterpunch on a breakaway and get a quick goal.

    It worked last year, so what the heck do I know?

     

     

    “To failing hands we’ve passed the torch.”

  91. SmartDog says:

    Good post.

    With all due respect to our journalist host, I can’t stand the ‘yeah we would’ve won if X didn’t happen’ argument.  They could say the same about a mistake made by their D, a shot missed, a lucky save.  It all comes out in the wash and so far, the Bolts beat us and are ahead in points.  Those are the facts.

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  92. Xtrahabsfan says:

    ` Brian Lee sounds great …but the Habs need more French Quebecois on the team for the young francphones to cheer on,after all it’s the demographics that surround the team…..

  93. sidhu says:

    Ottawa is apparently ready to start trading.

    Anyone from their lineup attractive to anyone?

    Brian Lee, a 6’3″ right shot D, might be interesting.  He’s a former Mr Hockey in Minnesota, so you know Timmins loves him already.

     

  94. TomNickle says:

    This place is awesome.

    Game 1…..Cammalleri sits out due to suspension and he’s the scapegoat.

    Game 2…..Gionta doesn’t score in his first two games, so he’s the scapegoat.

    Game 3…..Tampa scores four goals, so Price is the scapegoat.

    Game 4…..Picard scores in O’Byrne’s absence, O’Byrne is the scapegoat.

    Game 5…..Pouliot is now five games without a goal, he is the new scapegoat.

    So.  When Pouliot scores tomorrow night, who’s next?  Gotta be Eller.

  95. joeybarrie says:

    It will be JM’s fault that Eller didn’t score because he did not put him on the top line… I really expected you to get that one. Your slipping Tom.

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

  96. VancouverHab says:

    Kostitsyn lights it up (finally) and, Lo!, the Cammi & Pleks line are acclaimed here for ‘playing well.’

    Pouliot does not light it up and, Lo!, people wonder why Gionta & Gomez are ‘not playing well.’

    Gee, what ever could the problem be there….

  97. LA Loyalist says:

    Boucher makes The Wall St. Journal – “A Hockey Team With a Turbo Charger”

    Today, Wed 10/20 Page D6

    Love to hear the commentariat on this one.

  98. db says:

    Habs management employs a wait and see mentality a little too frequently IMO… there are players that deserve to be renegotiated/extended during the season and JG is one of them (go rubberman!).  I would wait on Markov though… unless he’s willing to re-up for the same coin right now for 3-4 years.

  99. Mikey_39 says:

    Even though Gorges is only an RFA at the end of the year, I would really like to see the Habs show some confidence and gratitude to Josh by extending his contract right after Markov’s during the year.  He deserves it.  

  100. SeriousFan09 says:

    They’re likely waiting to see how Markov shakes out and impacts the team on his return, budget his contract exntension and than go to work with Gorges once that deal gets handled.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  101. samTHEman says:

    Agreed. He’s a warrior. All-out every shift. But the Canadiens aren’t known for extending their players during the year. Gainey expressed that before. Who knows what PG will do but I believe he’ll be extended after the season is over.

  102. Psycho29 says:

    Moses is younger than Fisher!  :-)

  103. Psycho29 says:

    I’m sure my Dad (Long time Molson’s rep) hoisted a few cold ones at the Stanley Tavern with you and Ian MacDonald back in the day.

  104. notbigbird says:

    Expos and Star. How times change.

  105. Mattyleg says:

    Wha…? Nobody’s THAT old…

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  106. Mike Boone says:

    Are you kidding? I’m younger than Hickey … and we’re both younger than Fisher.

  107. Mattyleg says:

    Heh heh.

    EVERYONE’S younger than Fisher.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  108. Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

    Wasn’t Chris Kreider selected right after Leblanc? I was at that draft and remember thinking “man, Leblanc better be good because I know Kreider will be”.

    *Just checked, Leblanc 18, Kreider 19 and Josefson 20.

  109. 24 Cups says:

    New lines at practice yesterday for New Jersey: Josefson with Kovalchuk and Elias; Zajac with Parise and Zubrus; Arnott with Pelley and Langenbrunner. This is Josefson’s chance to shine.  He’s the player that was chosen right after the Habs selected Leblanc.

    Of course it all could be smoke and mirrors, just like having Pyatt play with the Jersey rejects.

  110. samTHEman says:

    I’d like to see JM try Eller on the G-G line before putting Cammi there. And not just for a period. Atleast 3 full games. If that doesn’t work, maybe Eller on the 1st line with AK and Pleky, Cammi with G-G.

     

  111. Skotbot says:

    I see posters throwing around the idea of putting Cammy on the G&G line. I do not believe this is a bad idea, especially if JM is keen on trying anyone up there (Darche, Pyatt)

    Obviously this would not even be a thought if AK wasnt producing, but early in this season, AK & Pleks have shown chemistry. Though I must say that I am not sold on AK only after 5 games. he still has a lot to proove this season, and if he goes sour over the next 20 games, the first 5 will be easily forgotten.

    To support Bugsy, I have to say that I am still hoping his boy Poulio pulls through and works out as a top 6.

    It would be nice to not have to think about who is the 5th & 6th forwards on this team… actually on second thought, as soon as that happens we will turn our attention to the 3rd & 4th lines, the Defence, or more importantly, the PP.

    Its a vicious circle we live in, but hell if it isnt fun.

     

    Do I listen to pop music because I am miserable? Or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?

  112. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’d rather not mess with the chemistry of our top offensive line, AK’s play is opening it up for Cammalleri to shoot and the goals are going to come pretty soon from him the way he was shooting at the OTT net. Rather not screw around with what is generating for the team, with Cammalleri shooting, it forces the oppostion to divide and not bear down on AK and Pleks as much as well. Cammy/Gio/Gomez work for stretches than they start getting into trouble because they don’t have a size element. Habs need to find someone who has size to add to the Gomez line.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  113. TomNickle says:

    Don’t know if anyone has posted this link before but it’s an Alexei Emelin compilation from last year’s KHL playoffs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itnQ3rJ3S00

  114. SlovakHab says:

    Good for Begin to sign with the Preds.

  115. Everlasting1 says:

    He’ll join his ex-mates Bouillon, SK..

     

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  116. habs365 says:

    Tinkering with the Gomez line, unless you see something I don’t see, they don’t have a scorer to put on that line. Halpern is the only player I see that maybe could help that line, if you see anyone else name them. I see 6 or 7 other forwards that would maybe score every 8-10 games and that sure ain’t gonna help the 2nd line, unless a miracle happens with one of those players and one of them fit in, the Habs will be a one line team all year they’ll get the odd goal now and than from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th line so right now don’t expect too much but they may surprise us before the season is over, they did last year in the playoffs.

  117. SmartDog says:

    WANTED: 2nd Line Winger. 

    Must be able to score goals. Lots of ‘em. 

    Bonus if you can see pucks fired at the back of your legs.

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  118. SLONCOLD says:

    Guys, what do we think of Eller?

    1. is he really a top 2 line player?

    2. is his current line productive towards his “development”

    3. can he benefit from AHL minutes if his minutes continue to decline on the big club

    4. What are expectations of him if he does develop?(20goal scorrer, checker,40goal scorer, …?)

  119. Storm Man says:

    Hmmmmm not sure at this point as he has only played 5 games so far.

  120. adam76 says:

    Ask again after 20 games – however, based on what I have watched – he needs another year in the AHL.

  121. SmartDog says:

    Good question, tough to call for this year, though I think he’s got the tools if he can be supported.

    I think I’d give him a few more games with the same line in a role that suits his skills and if that doesn’t seem to generate a level of comfort, send him to Hamilton and tell him to kick-ass down there. 

    I’m sure that Boucher…. er… whoever is there will do a great job developing him.  Martin as he says is “in the business of winning games”.  I’m not sure Eller is ready for the limelight, or pressure, or Montreal, or Martin (or Subban).. or all of the above.

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  122. joeybarrie says:

    You know its funny. We seem to assign new talent to be currently as good as we EXPECT them to be. Then when they fall short (during their learning process) we say we rushed them and mis-handled them. I know this wasn’t your point, but it made me think of it.

    We were/are quick to write off Lats, Price, Pouliot, Moore (before he ever came up, and now we are mad we didnt keep him), Darche, etc, etc…

    I think he will become a top 2 line player. If Martin didn’t think the same thing, I suspect he would be in Hamilton right now. Look at JM’s track record with rookies. He has done pretty good with the players he has had on his team at a young age.

    Learning in the AHL for 15-20 minutes is much different than learning in the NHL for 10 minutes.

    I think Eller’s DEVELOPMENT is going to have to consist of more than 6 games, so we should be careful to write off JM as hurtful to his future. Alot of people said JM hurt S. Kostitsyn… 0 points in 3 games in Nashville, and is a minus 2. Interesting considering Nashville has not lost a game yet. Too early to predict for Kost. But my point is this. Eller needs a variety of experiences in order to excel. He will not get it sitting on the same line. JM did it with Hossa, and look at him. A more complete player because of it.

    I think his final developement will be 20-30 goals. But at his age his potential is limitless. The kid has less than 13 games experience in the NHL, too early to be giving him key roles that are necessary to our success. This is why JM is such a good coach.

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

  123. pic1983 says:

    I really like the kid, but considering the fact that JM is using him on the wing instead of his natural center position, I think JM needs to show him more patience and confidence.  I definitely think he is a potential top two-line player.

    Seeing as Im not such a fan of the way JM has handled him so far, but I will not pass judgement just yet, it may be beneficial for Eller to play in the AHL if JM keeps up with this way he’s handled Eller so far.

  124. TomNickle says:

    I’m going to answer your question with a question.

    What 21 year old forward have we had in our system in the last ten years that has looked this good overall?

  125. SLONCOLD says:

    my answers.

    1. top 6 on a team with low depth

    2. struggled with this one but playing the NHL means u need to understand how to play 2 way hockey so i think that every shift is a good experience for him here.

    3. i used to think the ahl would be better for him if not used properly in the nhl. However, what would he learn more in teh AHL versus the nhl? not much more. so i think he has to stay in the NHL to gain that experience. Someone named pleks only scored 9 in his first year and learnt two way play and now he is a huge part of our team.

    4. i would love for him to be a 50 point player. 20g-30a kinda guy with solid 2 way play:-)

  126. samTHEman says:

    1. Yes he can play. Won’t know untill JM actually places him on a top 2 line, and keeps him there for more than 20 minutes (for gods sake..)

    2. No. But minutes are minutes and you have to make the best of them untill a better opportunity opens up.

    3. Ofcourse. I rather see him tear it up with the Bulldogs than play 5-8 minutes on a 4th line.

    4. Too early to say. He has only played 1 full season (70 games) in the AHL in which he recorded 18G 39A and 12 Games in the NHL. He has the size, speed, talent and hands to develop into a solid 2nd line center IMO. Look at him play. 20G/35-40A type player

    He should be a Center. Watch him skate with the puck. He needs to be in control and dish it out. Don’t think he belongs on the wing unless he’s playing with top linemates

  127. LA Loyalist says:

    We need to play he and Poo bear hard and find out. I don’t want you posting this question in March.

     

    “To failing hands we’ve passed the torch.”

  128. SlovakHab says:

    Wow, with players like that, average goalies, no scoring superstar..

    Awesome how Nashville is still undefeated and playing pretty well.

    We are crying after Boucher, but Trotz must be equally good..! After Martin’s contract is up, I pray he is one of the candidates for the Habs job, even though he doesn’t speak French.

  129. pic1983 says:

    Pekka Rinne is definitely an ABOVE-average goalie, and Nashville might have one of the leagues best defenses. 

    But yes, Barry Trotz is a freakin coaching genius. 

  130. TomNickle says:

    And what is it specifically that leads you to believe he should be in the AHL?

  131. CanadienBoy says:

    Moore score two last night.

  132. SeriousFan09 says:

    Moore: Career-best 12 goals in a season and will not outscore the combined efforts of Halpern and Boyd this year, bet on it. Lars Eller’s rookie AHL season is better than either of Moore’s AHL years and he did it at a younger age. Patience people.

    It’s like last year when people were moaning about Steve Begin and him not being around anymore to take stupid high sticks and roughing penalties.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  133. LA Loyalist says:

    You have a bet, comrade Serious. You can decide on the prize, as I know you don’t drink.

     

    “To failing hands we’ve passed the torch.”

  134. joeybarrie says:

    Young players coached by JM.

    Brett Hull (2 years)

    Yashin (even though he is crazy, his best years were with the Sens)

    Daniel Alfredsson

    Hossa (7 years)

    M. Fisher (5 years)

    M=Havlat (4 years)

    Zdeno Chara (3 years) He really started to improve during this time

    He is pretty good at what he does….

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

  135. SeriousFan09 says:

    But he couldn’t make head-case Sergei play! BOOOOOO.

    Coachs can’t bend everyone to their will and make them ‘their kind of guy’, Bowman was known for clashing with 3-time Norris winner Paul Coffey on both the Pens and the Wings. Hell, Bowman clashed with Lemieux at times. Boucher so far hasn’t made Simon Gagne a contender for the Rocket Richard.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  136. habs001 says:

    pouliot on this team needs to score…many posters are saying he is playing great and hitting….okay fine than we have to target for replacement other players moen,pyatt etc…you cannot have 8-9 -players on the team that play like these guys but dont score.if white and maxpac were called up maybe they would play just as well physically but again probably would not score…there is a certain number of these type of forwards you need on the team but you cannot have this many…

  137. HardHabits says:

    There’s 2 goals between Gionta, Gomez and Pouliot so I think they all need to start popping some in. Pouliot is doing a lot of the right things. He’ll develop. It’s all part of the learning curve.

  138. mbplekfan says:

    Its not even Halloween yet and you are already calling players out?

    If Pouliot hasnt started scoring by mid november or later I will be concerned. Until then lets all relax and let the season develop.

    He isnt projected to be a 40 goal scorer or a ppg player so going a few games without a goal isnt like Ovechkin or Kovalchuk going a week.

     

  139. makka83 says:

    Shiloh is looking more and more like a bust. I think he needs another year in Dogs Inside/Out to get his commentary in order.

  140. TomNickle says:

    Or Lecavalier.

    I thought when Boucher got to town Vinny was gonna start playing through injuries and walking on water?

  141. HardHabits says:

    Even Radek Bonk had some good years under Martin. The point is Martin has developed many a good player in his day and I’ll agree with joeybarry that he has a good record of developing players. Was he so wrong with Spezza? I’ll take Martin’s side over Spezza’s on that one.

  142. TomNickle says:

    Considering Spezza’s hard working games over the course of his career can be counted on one hand…….yeah.

  143. SeriousFan09 says:

    Clouston is one of these new-wave coachs as well in the NHL and he hasn’t gotten a ton out of Spezza either and considering what he squeezed out of OTT last season it’s fair to argue Spezza has a work ethic issue.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  144. mike g says:

    Perhaps Tomas Pleks…

    He’s our best all-around player. Solid offense, defense, etc…

    I don’t remeber anything of him at 21, but he’s developped into one heck of a player in our system.

    Same can be said about Markov, who’s best mentor was Craig Rivet (barf)….

    But yea, give Eller time please..

     

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

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  145. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    But JM hasn’t failed young players. Latendresse, Sergei and sadly, O’Byrne failed themselves. There’s a difference in ruining a young player (almost done with Price), and not giving ice time to a guy who can’t make the grade.

    The JM as a ruiner of young players is an oft repeated myth without foundation.

  146. TomNickle says:

    I don’t think Pleks or Markov looked nearly as good at 21 years old as Eller does.

    He’s got all of the tools and the intangibles.  

    Sending him down is a mistake in my opinion.  Scoring is the only thing missing with his game.  But I think the reason is that he’s holding the puck too long.

    Sending him to the AHL where he can continue to hold the puck too long due to the lower quality of opposition and play isn’t the answer to that question.

  147. Everlasting1 says:

    Looked this good overall? Let’s take some random team like, oh idk..St.Louis. Both Patrik Berglund and David Perron were instant productive players in their rookie years. If Eller (who was ranked higher in the draft than said players) doesn’t produce, something is very wrong.

     

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  148. TomNickle says:

    Berglund had 47 points in his rookie year and Perron didn’t get to 30 points.

    It’s far from time to panic with Eller.

  149. Everlasting1 says:

    Perron didn’t play a full season. He’s def good for 50 points per. JM gonna fail with Eller too? We’ll see.

     

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  150. TomNickle says:

    What do you mean with Eller too Sergio?

    Perron played 60 games and got what?   27 points?

    Berglund didn’t get to 30 points in 71 games in his second season.

    Perron has improved in each of his NHL seasons.  Berglund, not statistically.

    Jacques Martin hasn’t failed with a young player yet to my knowledge.  

  151. Everlasting1 says:

    They were both a year younger as rookies in their NHL starts. Point being, their development and roles are tops in their organization.

     

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  152. SeriousFan09 says:

    You call that assaulting a fan Rick? I give that maybe 3 Milbury shoes out of 10.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  153. sholi2000.com says:

    Checks pie to see how many people have a clue :)

    They Call Me Shane

  154. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    Tampa may be off to a good start, but so are the Habs. JM is not a charm dynamo, and he has all the on-camera charisma of an unemployed funeral director. But he has gotten results, as much as posters like to complain about him. The organization needed to be anchored after it had turned into a training ground for new coaches. Martin is a boring, experienced coach.

    He’s also a coach who doesn’t seem to care what journalists, posters and bloggers have to say about him or about his work. A young coach in Montreal would be like a young player here – half-eaten by crazy fans before he even got to the bench.

    At times he makes decisions many fans wouldn’t, which of course makes him wrong, but he generally keeps it calm, steady and on track. Stability rules on a team like this – there have been huge changes in the team over the past two seasons, and throwing a rookie coach into the fray could well have backfired. We can throw this debate into the ‘if’ box if we want, for these rare weeks when there are no games to entertain us.

    I would like to have seen Boucher move up to the Habs, but there was no room. He may be a better coach long run than what we have – but it’s a Halak situation. You dance with the one they hooked you up with – Martin.

  155. JF says:

    Good post.  When you think of it, it’s a little strange that after a season in which an experienced coach took us farther into the playoffs than any of a succession of rookie coaches had done, Habs fans would be so convinced that yet another rookie would do better.  Yet all of us – and the hockey world at large, it seems – were prepared to jettison Jacques Martin in favour of Guy Boucher.  Guy Boucher may become a great NHL coach, and he may coach the Habs at some point down the road, but he’s not there yet.  And it’s fair to point out, as Pat Hickey does, that the Lightning’s victory over us had less to do with Boucher’s coaching than with P.K. Subban taking a bad penalty at an inopportune moment (or, if you like to put it that way, with the referees calling a marginal penalty in the dying minutes of the game after they’d ignored a bunch of marginal calls).

    I’ve almost completely revised my opinion of Jacques Martin this year.  I was a harsh critic of his last year, feeling that he had the team play a style that was too passive and that exposed their weaknesses (mainly lack of size) while failing to take advantage of their speed.  But with hindsight, that almost exclusive concentration on defence is beginning to make sense.  JM said himself that he wanted to ensure the team learned the defensive system thoroughly and were able to execute it well.  This year our defence looks very solid even without Markov, and there are signs of a more offensive mindset among the coaching staff.  The team is playing less passively, we spend less time in our own zone, and our attacks are better constructed and certainly more productive.

    There are other things.  Last year Jacques Martin was dissatisfied with the overall work ethic and level of conditioning on the team.  That started changing almost right away, and the change continues into this season.  You have only to look at Andrei Kostitsyn with his increased speed and strength, even his appearance, to think that the entire team culture is in the process of changing for the better.

    Jacques Martin arrived in Montreal with a reputation for being good with young players, but somehow, over the course of last season, fans began to question that and concluded the opposite was the case, basing that conclusion on the loss of Guillaume Latendresse and his renaissance in Minnesota, the benching of Ryan O’Byrne, and the defection of Sergei Kostitsyn.  But perhaps JM’s lack of confidence in these players was justified.  Reports out of Minnesota indicate the Wild are not satisfied with Latendresse’s conditioning; and as for Sergei, even his teammates wanted him gone by the end of the season.  And O’Byrne continues to make the mistakes for which he was benched and does not take much advantage of his principal attribute, his size.  The benching of Lars Eller in the last game provoked a lot of criticism and raised fears that JM is “ruining” another young player.  I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.  Eller is a rookie and he made some costly mistakes.  JM wanted to win the game.  I imagine all rookies, unless they’re superstars, get benched early in their NHL careers; also, JM was careful to praise Eller’s skills after the game and certainly indicated he’d have more chances.  I think we should wait a bit and see how our rookies develop before jumping down his throat.

    In short, I’m coming round to the view that when Gainey hired Jacques Martin, he was giving the Canadiens exactly what they needed at that point.

  156. zerolegel says:

    I like the attention and solidarity you show to your colleagues of others medias, including the french ones (and the locked-out ones!).

  157. Mike Boone says:

    Solidarity forever, bro. And Toosh is a good man. We worked together when I covered the Expos for the Montreal Star in 1979.

  158. HardHabits says:

    Top 10 most surprising players that haven’t scored yet this season

    8. Lars Eller(notes), Montreal Canadiens (5 Games, 0 Points, minus-2)

    1. Simon Gagne(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning (5 Games, 0 Points, minus-7)

  159. G-Man says:

    Those fans received front row seats a little later. They weren’t ejected. (Check TSN highlights)

  160. idle says:

    Re: finding a third for Gomez and Gionta.  It’s might be too early now but if Pleks and Kost continue to play well together maybe you move Cammalleri there.  At least a half dozen times Gomez has set different people up perfectly with nothing to show for it.  Cammalleri is a finisher and what that line really needs.

  161. sholi2000.com says:

    Rogie Rogie Rogie

    I hope to win Rogie’s Sticks!

    They Call Me Shane

  162. terrygain says:

    and as for Sergei, even his teammates wanted him gone by the end of the season

    One player in particular tried to curry favour with the coach by calling out a teammate in public. It is too soon to say Martin was right about Sergei. Last night  Barry Trotz had him on the ice in the  last minute of a tied hockey game. He made a hustling and creative play and nearly scored. He was on for the losing goal in overtime, but it was not his fault.

  163. notbigbird says:

    Excellent post — as usual. I don’t see it so much as dissatisfaction with Martin but disappointment at losing Boucher who would seem to have agood future ahead of him. But like you, I am also beginning to see Martin in a more positive light.

  164. Mattyleg says:

    Meh, I’ve heard that he was putting his teammates’ noses out of joint in exhibition.

    Maybe that’s changed, but his track record is poor.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  165. RGM says:

    So he did nothing to help his team win is what you’re saying. Good to see little has changed.

    Go Habs Go!

  166. Skotbot says:

    Oh dont get me wrong, I agree. I would rather not have Cammy up there with G&G, but as I said, if its come to putting 4th liners there, I dont see how Darche or Moen would help much. (besides the size factor of which you mention)

    Poulio has to step up.

    what about Eller? Im just brainstorming players who could put one in the net..

    Do I listen to pop music because I am miserable? Or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?


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