Fire the coach!

Trade that lousy goalie!!


Erik Cole put the  6-3 loss in perspective, pointing out “we were working out the kinks … it’s been a while.”

“It’s the preseason,” Cole added, “but we gotta work. We have to do better things, up the tempo, up the physicality.”

Jacques Martin had praise for Alexei Yemelin, Raphael Diaz and Jarred Tinordi, who, the coach said, “got stronger as the game went on. He’s a big kid who uses his reach.”


Martin said the penalty kill needed work, after ceding two goals to Dallas.

Martin said the line of Tomas Plekanec, Michael Cammalleri and Erik Cole were “not at their best”, noting the trio were outplayed on several shifts by Mike Ribeiro’s line.

“We weren’t on the puck enough, especially early the game,” Martin said. “We gave them a lot of their goals.”

Martin also faulted poor backtracking by his forwards, which resulted in Stars being left along in front of Carey Price and Nathan Lawson.

“There were a lot of mistakes,” Martin said. “But this is a learning curve.”

STATS that jump out:

Raphael Diaz had four shots on goal to lead the Canadiens but was minus-3

Mike Blunden had six hits

Yannick Weber played 25:54; none of his five shots were on net

Tomas Plekanec was 6-14 on faceoffs, Brian Willsie 2-7, Andreas Engqvist 0-5

Alexei Yemelin had five hits, but the only memorable one was on Francis Wathier

Carey Price gave up 4 goals on 13 shots

Michael Ryder had four hits

Hal Gill played only 14:55, low on the D corps

Dany Masse, Alain Berger and Ian Schultz were the only Canadiens who played less than 10 minutes


  1. clubdehockey says:

    Some thoughts on the game:

    – The vets’ mandate is to not get injured during pre-season games. If by accident they score a goal, that is acceptable. Otherwise, avoid contact and physical play. Cammalleri, Plekanec and Gill (the A’s last night) fulfilled this job just fine.

    – Price was getting back into the groove. The Price we saw last night is nothing like the Price we’ll see in a week, so no use analyzing his play last night.

    – Cole will be exciting to watch during the season. I didn’t know he had such an accurate shot (a goal, and a crossbar) to go along with his big body presence. He’s getting my hopes up.

    – Kostitsyn was easily our best player last night, though he probably had the most to prove even as a vet. I am sad that the message he received from the coach was “you don’t have a place in our lineup, go play with some AHLers.” Even if they are supposedly top prospects, it just seems like he is being forced out of the organization. At least give him ONE NHLer that can capitalize on a perfect pass from him. At least give him Darche?! Anyways, I was happy to see him excel in his comfort zone as the sniper on the line, rather than the power forward.

    – Yemelin was nervous at first, but I think he played an amazing game for his first time on North American ice. He was a little invisible, but that’s exactly what you want in a defensive defenseman. I was nervous about the reports about him that he will often take himself out of position for the big hit. Instead, what I saw was a steady, poised defenseman who was positionally sound and was still able to give that one big hit at the end of the game that could potentially be a momentum-changer some time in the season. I noticed he was also great in front of our net; didn’t let opponents get in close. He had decent offensive vision too, taking an accurate shot on net and dishing out a number of creative, tape-to-tape passes. I’m excited to watch him play this season.

    – Diaz is close to being NHL-ready, but is not there yet. A few weeks in Hamilton should do the trick. His shot is powerful and accurate, which is great. A nice low shot that can easily be deflected in or create a juicy rebound. Defensively, he relies heavily on positioning which is necessary for him because I noticed he’s a pretty weak skater. His positioning can still use improvement though. If Weber is Streit-Lite, Diaz is Weber-Lite.

    – Speaking of Weber, he didn’t look totally out of place playing a much bigger role than he’ll be playing during the season. He looked very at ease out there. His defensive game improves every game, I think. And he’s getting comfortable in the offensive zone too.

    – Woywitka also has a nice shot, but he is so lost in the defensive zone. At times he looked like he literally had no idea what he was supposed to be doing or where he was supposed to be. He’ll spend most of his time in Hamilton.

    – Tinordi was the opposite: very sound defensively, but not much going on up front. Which, in my opinion, is more desirable in a defenseman than the other way around. He didn’t make too many D-Zone mistakes, and when he did, he quickly covered himself up to fix them, often using his long reach. I actually liked what I saw a lot. He reminded me a bit of the parts of Gill that get us excited (size, good in front of the net, positionally sound). He’ll be a great defensive defenseman in a few years.

    – Trotter is very creative offensively, but scary defensively. I’d like to see him get top line minutes in Hamilton.

    – Palushaj is not NHL-ready, unfortunately (based on this one game). He got too easily pushed off the puck, and wasn’t able to make any offensive plays in last night’s game even against weaker opponents. Let’s see what he can do tonight.

    – Engqvist showed flashes of being ready for 4th-line NHL minutes, but lacked that consistency throughout the game. Could be nerves. I’ll watch him more closely tonight as well.

    – Willsie should be playing a whole bunch of minutes in Hamilton. Good big-body forward, but no NHL talent. Kostitsyn deserved better.

    – For the first time, instead of being excited, I just cringed so much when I saw 2 players drop their gloves. So turned off by fighting. All I could think about the whole time during Schultz’s fight were this offseason’s tragedies. Didn’t like it. Dish out the big (legal, shoulder-to-shoulder) bodychecks during gametime if you’re going to play a physical game. No punching sideshow necessary. My opinion.

    – Too bad the stars of the game were all top-line NHLers. Sure, it validates that the NHLers are better than the AHLers; it’s what you expect and hope to see. But it’s too bad the AHLers weren’t able to implicate themselves more in the game. I was hoping at least one would stand out the way Ryan White did last year. Didn’t really see it. Upon re-reading my above thoughts, I think I can easily summarize them by saying: The NHLers played like NHLers, and the AHLers played like AHLers. Overall, a pretty boring pre-season game (considering I couldn’t care less about its outcome). Hopefully tonight will be more exciting.

  2. Danno says:

    Breathe in…

    Breathe out…

    Repeat after me:

    It’s only pre-season.



    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  3. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    As fans, we want them to be playing for the ghosts, for the Cup, for the teams of ancient lore. But hey, in reality, some of these guys are playing to keep playing, or to stay out of bar work. Some are digging for a spot in Hamilton and some are using it as a workout before the season.
    I know I’m stating the obvious, but I guess it’s not obvious for some of us.
    So for what it was, it was an okay outing. Diaz may not be ready (one game says little) but his potential showed. Palushaj was enigmatic. Trotter trotted down the ice with verve. Yemelin was nervous but okay. Weber was given a lot of time and a very long look.
    If we watch every minute of every game, we may have an informed sense of this team by December. If this were the team we were putting out there for the season, we’d have concerns. As is, I’m looking forward to the next chapter in the quick read this evening.

    Last nights’s HIO minor league troll tryouts showed little potential though – lead feet and predictable moves. No doubt, new ‘talent’ will get a shot tonight.

  4. Habsrule1 says:

    I was at the game, and I had written the names of a few plaers I was interested in following for the night. Here were my findings:

    Cole: Very accurate shot for his goal, seemed to work hard and had a good net presence. He’ll be scoring a few from 5 feet out. His presence on the ice was always very obvious. I think he’ll be a fan favorite very quickly.
    Diaz: I liked his shots from the point. He will be getting the puck on net and allowing players to score on the rebound. He had a bit of difficulty in his own end.
    Tinordi: I was expecting more of a physical game but he didn’t get himself into too much trouble with good defensive positioning.
    Woywitka: I thought he played ok. the communication with Yemelin seemed a bit off, but that’s probably normal right now. He scored so he gets a pass.
    Yemelin: He handles the puck well and he has a nice shot from the point, but I was waiting to see his physical game and didn’t (until near the end). He seemed a bit nervous and again, the communication seemed tough with woywitka.
    Engqvist: He did some very nice work on Woywitka’s goal and even blocked a shot or 2 which was nice to see in a pre-season game.
    Palushaj: I did notice him on the ice and found he had some good net presence.
    Shultz: I wanted to see him drop the gloves and he didn’t dissapoint. I want him in the line-up against Boston every time.
    Trotter: I always knew when he was on the ice. He wants to be involved. I liked his game. Of the young guys he impressed me the most, even with some good D-zone coverage.

    The our just my opinions from what I saw. I enjoyed the game and despite the loss, found a few bright spots and expect to see more and more good things from this team.

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  5. JF says:

    The stats that jump out at me are the faceoff ones. Inability to win faceoffs was one of the reasons we lost to Boston, and Gauthier did less than nothing to address this weakness over the summer, letting Halpern walk and not replacing him. Is there anyone at all on the team who can win half their faceoffs or more?

  6. W35T5ID3 says:

    I hope Turner “skates-in-mud” Stevenson comes outta retirement and takes on a 1st line roll with the habs.Man he could fly!…lol…..hha….anywhooo….

    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

  7. W35T5ID3 says:

    So i tune into tsn sportscentre after work to see the dal/mtl highlites and it takes 13 mins before they finally show ’em.Last on the tsn list of exhibition game highlites that they showed.Toronto Sports Network is a real piece a work.Grrrr.

    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

  8. G-Man says:

    Hockey is back and all is right once again in the world. Pigeonholing
    players and calling them successes or failures after 1 preseason game is a LOT premature. Just glad les boys are back to it after a summer that was way toooooo looooooooooooong.

  9. Marc10 says:

    For a brief second there I thought les boys were going to storm back. So ended 8 odd minutes of hockey…

    Still, it’s nice to see our power forwards getting it done. Can’t wait for the full team to be assembled and on song.

    “To be irreplaceable, you have to be different”.
    Andy Warhol

    Go PK Go!

  10. kungpowchicken says:

    Great to watch the Habs again. Came home early from work to catch Les Boys as it was a long summer. Here is a good one for you: Carey Price comes thru the border crossing this summer thru Osoyoos, BC….on his way north to Williams Lake for his rodeo thrills. Friend of mine who works at the border spots him and gets him to sign a hat for me. For everything else, there’s mastercard. Got my tix for the March 10th game in Vancouver. Gonna be an awesome year, my friends. I can feel it from my retina all the way to the bottom of my left tibia. Go Habs!! We love u. Kung Pow Chicken says bring it!!!!

  11. Shane1313 says:

    The highlight of the night was when they announced “Assisted by #31 Carey Price” and in the middle of the shift, he put his hand up to aknowledge the crowd…ahhh I love Carey.

  12. Shane1313 says:

    Great game. Good to have the boys back on the ice.
    Diaz looks great, really aggresive and works hard. Yemelin was good, not a smooth skater, but he’s mobile enough. Yes, he has the physical edge people have been talking about. Tinordi looks super calm and confident. Trotter was good and he did accomplish some things. Palushaj and Endqvist were nowhere.
    Im excited to see Gomez, everyone else isn’t?

  13. Timo says:

    Habs clearly missed Gomez tonight.

  14. habstrinifan says:

    Couldnt join the fun here on HIO for the game but able to watch it without sound on RDS.

    Overriding impressions are:

    DIAZ: Looks NHL ready but if sent down is probably the most likely candidate to show the greatest improvement in the shortest time period in Hamilton and be ready for call up to the big team. Looks like the kind of player who can dictate the flow of a game on any one shift. Dont look for pysicality though.

    WOYWITKA is a steal. His ‘draft-pedigree’ shows with the deft and unflustered puck-skills that he has. He also has a very good sense of where teammates are on the ice and brings the game to a ‘standstill’ in a good way while he searches the ice and finds a passing lane. His talent seems to be finding ‘open space’ on the ice to skate to and then make a play as opposed to a defender who uses his bulk to bull his way through with the puck. I suspect that THE difficulties (disappointment) with his career so far have a lot to do with that stereotypical expectation that all BIG MEN should be tough and mean. He isnt gonna be that and he isnt gonna be a SUBBAN like rushing defenseman. But if the HABS could nurture his confidence and develop him to be a Hal Gill type, unflappable and reliable defender with lots more all-round abilities then we have a STEAL. I hope he gets lots of insightful and positive coaching within this organization because he certainly shows signs that he did deserve his draft position. He IMPRESSED me tonight.

    Good to see that Woywitka and Diaz both had 23 shifts second only to Weber I think. In my opinion they were both more impressive than Yemelin.

    TROTTER:Why is everyone beaming about this player over last few days. Especially coach JM. Last thing we need on the HABS is aother player who skates miles and miles and accomplishes little. He obviously is a great skater but so is you know who. I saw lots of skating from him tonight but no signs of productivity or true scoring or playmaking acumen.
    I shudder to think that once again JM is falling for a player who skates forever.

    WEBER: He’s gotta learn how to use the take his man out BEHIND the net and keep him from getting back into the play. Major weakness last season and showed several times tonight.

    OVERALL: Lots of work to be done by forward lines to improve chemistry. LOTS!

  15. Spartan117 says:

    Was at the game, my thoughts:

    – Yemelin was very unimperssive tonight with and around the puck
    – Weber looked like Brisebois 2.0
    – Price looked like he was playing the first preseason game of last season
    – Engqvist was playing?
    – Trotter wasnt bad
    – Diaz was good offensively, but absent defensively
    – Lawson looked like he might be trying out for backup… dunno about you guys
    – Cole was good for his goal, other than that pretty absent… but hey, why try when your already on the team.


    – AK 46 was on fire after his goal.

    Bout it folks!

    But its only preseason after all. Lets hope they get pick it up!

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