Maybe they’ll be good … maybe

Canadiens goaltender Price celebrates with teammates Gomez and Mara during their NHL hockey game against the Maple Leafs in Toronto

A consensus on the Canadiens’ prospects takes shape.’s E.J. Hradek weighs in with his assessment.

• The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle thinks they’ll finish fifth

• Pat Hickey on newcomer Jeff Woywitka

Mark de Foy talked to Woywitka

Stéphane Robidas says Woywitka can help

J.T.’s Top 10 Ifs

Fantasy focus on Scott Gomez

EotP on Andreas Engqvist

Another fighter goes down: Rick Rypien

Stu Hackel on Sidney Crosby’s uncertain return

Woywitka’s stats

• For lawyers only: Our friend Sidhu on the legalities of the Pacioretty hit

The Hockey News launches its predictions with cellar-dwellers: Edmonton and Ottawa

Newcomer Woywitka is a willing – but not wowing – warrior:


  1. RetroMikey says:

    Mirtle must be smoking some bad weed if he thinks we will finish in 5th.
    I say 7th with a healthy lineup.
    If we lose key injuries (which we will), we’ll finish in 9th.
    I say we trade some key players like Plekanec, Cammallerri, Weber or Gorges in a package and upgrade on a bigger skilled player upfront with skill like Iginla or Getzlaf.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  2. Jdub1985 says:

    Willing warrior? Give me a break, just another Hab that will be embarrassed by Lucic and co. – Quit beating around this bush and get a goddamn fighter – does the organization not realize who won the cup last year?!

    • Mr. Biter says:

      !00% agree with your post.

      Mr. Biter

    • Arrow77 says:

      How is losing in 7 games in overtime “being embarassed”? I’m amazed at how some people finds every excuse to ask for a goon.

    • AK_PK_Usay says:

      Yes Lucic can punch, but strong body checks, havent seen anything legal like the hit on marchand by PK… Not to mention AK levels him a few times per season…

      See physical hockey is fine, thinking that dirty hockey is hockey isnt…

    • Exit716 says:

      Boston goes back to being its usual mediocre garbage self now that Hockey Dad has been assigned to clean the toilets and get the boys beer in the Toronto war room. Lucic is so tough that he was scared to bring the Stanley Cup out in public in Vancouver.

    • Stev.R says:

      Fighting is the worst part of hockey, the least exciting part of hockey, the most savage part of hockey, and the least useful part of hockey. Wait, what am I saying? It’s not part of hockey. Thats why it’s against the rules to do it. Why don’t the Neanderthals who get a stiffy over two puny-brained assholes, (who don’t know the first detail to the art of combat) slugging eachother in the face just take a long away from the sport. Be careful not to trip on your brow.

      • 44har48 says:

        Wow! You certainly are entitled to your opinion…I have to respond though. I would agree the way these pussys fight today and the reasons they fight are a bit dramatic and more for show. Back in the real days of hockey, you didn’t have a bunch of premadanas prancing up the ice and all these cheap shots happening becuase players were allowed to police the game on the ice themselves. Fighting was also strategic and you never, ever, picked a fight with a guy 6″ shorter than you and 20lbs lighter, which is happenstance today.

        Just saying….

  3. Un Canadien errant says:

    In modestly good news, it seems that Louis Leblanc’s shoulder is responding well to rehab. What was seen as a 4-6 month recovery window looks like it will be on the shorter end of that range. He is skating and shooting pucks. It’s possible he may make it to the regular training camp, something which was out of the question before.

    For my training camp surprise, I want the second coming of Mike McPhee. And maybe Kent Carlson.

  4. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    Morning all, (slow day at the office, so this is a long one. Feel free to scan or skip)

    I think the East is an incredibly even conference.

    Buffalo made pretty significant moves in the off-season and that throws them into the mix, but not above it. They’ll be a playoff team more than likely, but not a dominant one.

    Philly’s moves made the team a bit of a mystery. They could dominant the regular season, or they could be a very good team, or they could struggle with all the new faces and the pressure on Bryzgalov, which will be astronomical. So, who knows?

    Pittsburgh is always going to be good, but how is Crosby going to be on his return? And even with Crosby, are they as dominant as they once were? I don’t think so. Again, a very good team, but not one that is going to dominant every night.

    The hated Bs. Defending champs — but unbeatable? Hardly. Thomas is the backbone and he’s a year older and a Cup winner now (which may limit his motivation). The core is intact and they’ll have swagger, but that D is still not world-class. And outside of the Philly goalie debacle, it took them three game 7s to win the Cup. Certainly a measure of the team’s resiliency and drive. But also a measure of how closely matched they were to other teams (including two Eastern conference rivals).

    Tampa Bay is another good team, but Roloson and Garon? Again, a solid roster, great scorers. But are they enough to raise the team above the rest of the Conference? I don’t think so.

    Washington. The signing of Vokoun might’ve been the best one in the offseason as far as a team properly filling its needs. If there is a team in the East that might dominate, this is it. But we’ve been saying that for how many years now? If I had to guess, I’d say they’ll take the Conference. But the playoffs? Who knows what team will show. So there is a level of skepticism that comes with this team as well.

    NYR – same as Buffalo. Better than last year, but not good enough to dominate. They’re in the mix. And there is the question of chemistry with Richards and Gaborik.

    And finally, les Glorieux. Price, our solid D core and JM’s system mean that no team is going to dominant us on any given night. We’ll wait to see what the addition of Cole does — his biggest benefit may just be opening up room for Pleks and Cammy to do their thing. But let’s face it, an offensive juggernaut we are not. But a great defensive team we are. Obviously we can’t get injuries like we did last year, but injuries could derail any of the above teams. What we really need to do is cut down on penalties. Hopefully a healthy D and no Pouliot will help on that front.

    So what does all of this mean? In my opinion, these are the 8 teams you’ll see in the playoffs. In any given order. And once they start, I think it’ll be a crap shoot among the top 6 (don’t see Buffalo or NYR getting past the first round. Then again, Lundqvist or Miller gets hot and……). There just isn’t much between the teams besides the usual wildcard of injuries, etc.

    And there you have it. The East — too close to call. But we’re in the mix. Should be a great season! This is just off the top of my head, so any thoughts/disagreements are welcome.

    • Mike D says:

      Good post, Ghosts. I would also add Carolina in the mix and possibly NJ but to a lesser extent. Carolina seems like a team that always has the ability to hover around and challenge for a playoff spot. As for NJ, last year was crazy for them considering they went from awful to dominant. Big question marks for them this year, especially with Lemaire not returning, but if they can play even close to how good they played in the second-half of last year, they could contend for a spot in the top 8 for the East.

      The only teams in the East that I’m comfortable “writing-off” at this point are Winnipeg, Florida, NYI, Ottawa, and Toronto. Not saying these teams definitely can’t make the playoffs, but I’d be surprised if they did.

      – Honestly yours

  5. tote-road says:

    First we had Tom the Bomb, now it’s Jeff “Why Hit Ya?”

    Nice guys, but I wish someone could win a fight once in a while.

  6. t1tan5 says:

    I have hopes for Engqvist. If he pans out, he could be a true #3 shut-down centre in the model of Jere Lethinen or John Madden. That would take the pressure off Plek to kill penalties and take defensive zone faceoffs, which would subsequently help our offense.

    • Mike D says:

      I think Pleks actually likes playing the PK. He’s obviously very good at it so it’s understandable. I agree that having more energy for his offensive duties – especially as the season goes on – is important, but you can bet he’ll be seeing his share of PK time.

      – Honestly yours

  7. jonnyp says:

    Huge season for gomez this season !!

  8. j0nHABS says:

    Leave the Fighting to White, he’s not the biggest guy but he can handle his own when the gloves drop!

    Is it October Yet??

    • Mr. Biter says:

      We still need a heavyweight. White is an excellent mid weight fighter and will take on anyone (love the guy), but in my humble opinion we still need someone else who is bigger to go along with White.

      Mr. Biter

  9. habitual says:

    I hope this year we have 3rd and 4th line centers that can kill penalties. We need Pleks to be able to concentrate on offense. I constantly worry that he’ll take a shot off the foot and be lost for 10 games. If Engquist or someone like him can step up then our scoring will improve.

    • j0nHABS says:

      I like Pleks on the PK, he gets a lot of short hand chances. I think if you asked him he doesn’t get as tired as most people think from playing on the PK.

      Is it October Yet??

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      I really wouldn’t be surprised if Engqvist is given the chance to be that guy out of training camp.

      Although I remember reading somewhere (here probably) that Montreal had interest in Fred Sjostrom. From what I remember of him in Calgary and Toronto, he would certainly fit that bill. Toronto’s PK improved dramatically (from gawdawful to pitiful) when they acquired him.

      (Not sure of his current contract situation though…he might have already signed in Sweden.)

  10. HabinBurlington says:

    I think Randy Cunneyworth coming in as an assistant coach will be a very good replacement to Kirk Muller. He doesn’t have the cache of Muller around Montreal, but he does have alot of experience as both player and coach. In fact much more coaching experience than Muller had coming in. This is not to discount Muller in the least, as we saw him grow immediately into a very important part of this teams leadership/communication behind the bench.

    He played for JM in Ottawa as well Pearn who was an assistant coach on those teams as well. He also knows a player like Enqvist very well who appears to be challenging for the role he played on Cunneyworth’s team last year in Hamilton.

    His greatest challenge will be the task of communicator between the players and JM, a role Kirk Muller did extremely well these past few years. I think/hope Randy will do a good job.

  11. Ian Cobb says:

    · Montreal Canadiens We Are Fans Summit’s Photos
    2011 Summit We R Fans Use Facebook as Montreal Canadiens We Are Fans Summit
    2011 Summit We R Fans

    I give up Shane! can not get it to come up red.!

  12. 2011 Summit We R Fans

    Happy Birthday Carey, Thank the Hockey Gods the Habs stayed with you when all others wanted Halak.

    Rain in PEI, going to be a long day. Lets make fun of Alan Walsh. 🙂

    Shane Oliver
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    Ph- 204 724 8418

    • habs03 says:

      No thank you to P.G?

    • Everlasting1 says:

      Yes, he’s been a real difference maker up till now.

      “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

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

  13. Pelicans says:

    And while I’m venting I’ll add that the only thing that sickened me more than the chara cheap shot was the fact that not one player on the ice was “willing” to go after him. Maybe woywitka is the type of player we need more of. I feel better haha go habs go! Ps woywitka helped the rivermen win on a broken ankle. Maybe that story would make a better post. Hmm

    Halak since day one and for life!

  14. Habs_4_ever says:

    If they’re going to post hockey fights on this site can they at least pick ones where are guy ends up on top.

    • Pelicans says:

      Thank you!

      Halak since day one and for life!

    • Talik Sanis says:

      The problem is that, when it comes to “The Wit,” there are no such fights.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Agreed Talik, we cant show videos that don’t exist. However, he does have the size and strength to help in the corners and hopefully in front of the net for those games he is called on to play. As everyone else has pointed out, this is clearly an insurance move, which is far better than giving out any variety of 4th or 5th round picks for players as we did for Mara, Sopel.

        • GenerationYHabs says:

          I was half expecting PG to resign Mara as our 7th, he was pretty effective for us last year and should have been played in the playoffs ahead of Sopel.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Agreed. I couldn’t figure out why Mara got used so little considering how nicked up our Dmen were and given we were playing the Bruins.

            While I am excited about the coming year, It is this continued belief JM has in using his oldest veterans in what seems like all instances that concerns me. I don’t think PG goes out and signs players like Yemelin, Diaz, Weber, etc…without the intention of seeing them play. Yet I fear JM will ride Spacek like he is still 28. I respect JM, but question some of his decisions in this regard.

          • GenerationYHabs says:

            With PG making a point of signing a much younger and faster D corps, you have to think that he would be applying atleast some pressure on JM to make use of them

        • Talik Sanis says:

          You’re quite right on almost all accounts. I never meant to imply that I was unhappy with the signing due to his inability to win fights. With all the question marks surrounding our defensive core, I’m pleased that Gautier made the wise choice to add depth now when it costs us nothing more than money. Woywitka wasn’t my first choice in that regard, as, despite his reasonable advanced statistics, I’ve heard he doesn’t actually use his size well as you believe and has defensive lapses, but the spirit of the move is correct and he was likely one of the only D-men of his experience and ability who would accept a two way deal.

      • j0nHABS says:

        Exactly, show that he is willing but if he has no skills at fighting than you can’t fabricate them. Besides he has other upsides! That is what we really should be talking about. Leave the Fighting to White, he’s not the biggest guy but he can handle his own when the gloves drop!

        Is it October Yet??

  15. mike3131 says:

    Happy birthday Carey!

  16. j0nHABS says:

    PG did well with signing Woywitka, he played well in Dallas last year, his +/- was good and played some big mins. If anything he is a big body that can hit (even though he can’t fight), and he is a slight upgrade from Picard.

    Is it October Yet??

  17. TorontoHabsFan says:

    After reading the analysis of Engqvist, I’m getting more and more interested to see how he performs at training camp. If he’s improved over the off-season, he could very easily be our 4th line Centre to start the season. He provides a lot of what we’re apparently looking for – a big, defensive forward with a right handed shot who can help on the PK (and help keep Plekanec fresh as the season wears on)

  18. Pelicans says:

    I am sick of this so called Habs site showing videos of our guys looking not so good and bad. This is supposed to be a site where we can support our new guys, not show them fighting and call them “not wowing”! This site is becoming a joke. It used to be reputable. Trash another team with your lousy articles or don’t post this crap. Go habs go! Here is hoping Woywitka will have a bright future with the habs!

    Halak since day one and for life!

    • j0nHABS says:

      Calm down! They are just showing that he has limits with his fighting but he is still willing to stick up for his team mates. We should understand the limits of the players we cheer for, otherwise we will have unrealistic view of them! Woywitka is going to be a solid 7th D that can be called on when we have injuries, but don’t have any delusions that he is going to be around forever, if there is a better 7th available next year then PG will go that route. I hope he does well but I don’t think he will be anymore than a 7th!

      Is it October Yet??

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      I am surprised you would get “sick” at not supporting the team based on your signature.

      Seems comical that your supporting another teams goalie while calling out the website for not being supportive.

      ……but what do I know…..

  19. RGM says:

    Happy birthday to OUR goalie!

    During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

  20. TomNickle says:

    I’d love to know why the so called experts believe that it will be tougher sledding in the Eastern Conference this season.

    The Flyers have a significant drop off in scoring coming and in addition have a ton of new faces. Also, Chris Pronger is still not healthy. Those points aren’t exactly signs of improvement.

    The Lightning are relying on a middle aged goaltender to keep their goals against at a respectable level.

    The Penguins added a nice piece in James Neal but they still have a huge hole on their wings and Fleury is always a question mark.

    The Sabres have added a ton of new faces and need to gel quickly as a group to remain in the hunt.

    The Bruins needed quite possibly the best season a goaltender has ever had in the NHL to win the division by less than 10 points. They also need to avoid a Stanley Cup hangover.

    This season could produce a wide open Eastern conference, more so than usual, which is saying something.

    • Everlasting1 says:

      More wide open due to injuries to key players too? Any less than cracking the top 5 in the East is embarrassing. The Habs finishing with 96 points isn’t even good enough to make it into the post-season in the West.

      “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

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

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Comparing the points of team in the East to the West is almost like comparing records of teams in the American league to the National league. As a diehard Blues fan, you should be aware of the fact teams play weighted schedules to their conferences. Where this teams point total would stack up in the West is completely irrelevant. What matters is trying to finish as high in the East as possible.

        Boston had less points than Vancouver, why did they bother playing the Cup Final and who won it?

    • Chris says:

      Just take Buffalo as an example.

      Free Agent Additions: Erik Cole, Peter Budaj, Rafael Diaz, Jeff Woywitka
      Free Agent Losses: Benoit Pouliot, James Wisniewski, Roman Hamrlik, Paul Mara, Alex Auld, Brent Sopel
      Returning From Injury: Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Max Pacioretty
      Players on the Rise: P.K. Subban, Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Yannick Weber, Max Pacioretty

      Now for Buffalo:

      Free Agent Additions: Ville Leino, Christian Ehrhoff, Robyn Regehr (trade)
      Free Agent Losses: Tim Connolly
      Returning From Injury: Derek Roy, Brad Boyes, Drew Stafford
      Players on the Rise: Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers, Nathan Gerbe, Mike Weber, Marc-Andre Gragnani

      Both teams finished with 96 points last season. Carey Price played out of this world for most of the season, Ryan Miller had a relatively pedestrian (for him) season. It is entirely reasonable to expect Buffalo will be in the mix if the chemistry is there.

      Washington continues to improve every year and made a key off-season acquisition in Tomas Vokoun to mentor one of their young goalies. A return to form of Backstrom and Ovechkin on top of the continuing maturation of their complimentary players has them well poised to contend.

      Pittsburgh gets a full season out of James Neal and should hopefully get Malkin and Crosby back. Those two alone represent a quantum leap forward for what was already a decent team.

      Boston is the reigning Stanley Cup champions and enter the seasons with a slew of key players 26 years old or younger: Lucic, Bergeron, Horton, Krejci, Kampfer, Marchand and Seguin can still get better and more consistent. The loss of Ryder and Recchi hurts, but I’m not ready to write them off yet…they’ve still got a couple of years in their championship window, and Tuukka Rask represents a potential trade piece if they choose to go for it. They’ve got some more young guys on the way.

      The Rangers should be significantly better with Brad Richards centering Marian Gaborik, freeing up Callahan, Dubinsky and their other younger forwards to play roles more befitting their talents. They also have a stellar collection of young defencemen that played well last season and will only get better.

      Tampa Bay is relying on an ancient goalie, as you mentioned. But Stamkos, Hedman, Downie, Purcell and Tyrell give them some young players with potential to improve, and St. Louis and Lecavalier still have a couple of elite years left in them, seemingly.

      There are some bad teams in the East. Florida has improved potentially, but are still weak. Ottawa is rebuilding, but a healthy season from their big guns would help. Carolina looks poised to take a step backwards.

      But overall, I’d say there will be yet another dogfight for the playoff spots in the East. Montreal, Boston and Buffalo should be fighting it out for the NE division title while also duking it out with Philadelphia, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay for playoff seeding.

      Wild cards from my point of view are:

      Toronto – if (and that is a big if) Reimer is the real deal and Connolly stays healthy
      New Jersey – return of Parise, a full year under a coach they potentially don’t dislike and the potential return to form of Kovalchuk
      New York Islanders – have assembled an impressive collection of talent and could make a big jump forward with the right coach and some luck…they were playing well up until around November last season, now they have to get consistent.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Drew Stafford played 62 games including all 7 playoff games, Brad Boyes played all year for St. Louis and Buffalo and PLayoffs.

        You forgot addition of Yemelin.

        Just trying to make your comparisons equal.

        • Chris says:

          Nonetheless, Stafford missed 20 games during the season. Factoring in the time it took to get back up to speed, he was probably not at his peak usefulness for about 25-30 games. That is a significant chunk.

          Boyes might have played all year, but he only played 30 or so games with Buffalo. We’re only talking regular season performance here.

          I did forget Yemelin…my bad, especially as I am one of the Habs fans that holds a lot of hope for him.

          But I also left Zack Kassian and Luke Adam off of Buffalo’s list, two young guys with size and skill that wouldn’t surprise anybody if they made the team full-time this season.

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        Hey Chris, don’t forget that Tampa’s defence has no real future outside of Hedman and while he has a great potential, a solo act on D is not something any team can get by on.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

        • Chris says:

          No question. But we’re only talking this season, and I don’t see any reason to see those guys breaking down from last year’s form this season.

          Tampa is probably going to have to adopt a Washington-esque all-out offensive style if they are going to contend with that defence corps. The problem for them is that they don’t have the same talent base that the Capitals have.

  21. Chris says:

    Regarding the “bad luck” tag that continues to dog Gomez:

    Sorry, I don’t believe that a run of “bad luck” can explain the continued decline of Scott Gomez. Even if he shoots his career average of 7.4% (a mark he hasn’t achieved in 5 seasons), instead of his career low of 4.5%, he only gets 12 goals.

    In his best seasons post-lockout, he was pounding the puck on net whenever he had the chance. His shot totals and shooting percentages each year tell the story:

    2005-06: 244 shots, 13.5%
    2006-07: 248 shots, 5.2%
    2007-08: 242 shots, 6.6%
    2008-09: 271 shots, 5.9%
    2009-10: 180 shots, 6.7%
    2010-11: 157 shots, 4.5%

    You can’t lop 100 shots off your total and expect to maintain your points total. Being in a slump and losing his confidence might explain some of that, but I think it is more important to note that he has changed his game in recent seasons. He is far more averse to the traffic areas in the offensive zone and his shot, which was never a big asset, has degraded below the level one might normally associate with an NHL player.

    He’s still got vision and speed, but it is reasonable to expect that as he nears his 32nd birthday, that elite level speed advantage he has relied on throughout his career is starting to disappear. Today’s generation of players are younger and faster than those that played just a decade ago, a product of an ever-increasing focus on speed, agility and power by NHL teams. We have been first-hand witnesses to a player losing that step in the form of Saku Koivu, who has managed to remain productive through determination and by changing his game. Gomez simply can’t continue to play the way he always has and be successful.

    In only 1 of his 4 64+ point seasons did he total less than 27 PP points, something he will be hard-pressed to do in Montreal where he is now clearly the #2 PP center behind Plekanec.

    Managing expectations with Gomez is a must, and his salary/cap hit can’t be factored into those expectations anymore. Gomez is not a #1 centre, even if he is being payed like one, and simply can’t achieve those numbers. The opportunities aren’t there.

    Gomez has averaged about 13 goals and about 57 points over the past 5 seasons (all but one of them as the de facto #1 center going into the season), but has seen his point total on the decline over the past 4 seasons. A realistic expectation for Gomez would be 10-15 goals and 45-55, points with an outside chance of a spike if he can supplant Plekanec.

    Markov, Cole and continued development by Pacioretty and Subban should help Gomez. Cammalleri and Gionta having more consistent seasons would be a huge boon.

    But the race that Scott Gomez can’t win is against Father Time. He’s either got to adapt his game to that reality or Habs fans can expect another “unlucky” season.

    • TomNickle says:

      Perhaps avoiding high traffic areas as he got into his thirties was part of his plan to get the most playing time out of his career as possible.

      • Chris says:

        Oh I don’t blame him…he’s got a locked in contract at obscene money. There is really no incentive for him to risk injury.

        He’s won his Stanley Cups and has enjoyed being perceived as one of the best centers in the game. Gomez has never struck me as the type of guy who is driven by an inner fire to be the best. He enjoyed his success, and now he’s enjoying the product of that success.

        In some respects, he’s not so different from a stereotypical late career tenured professor. He worked his rear end off to get where he got, but once he got locked in, there was no incentive to continue busting his hump. He’s been to the top of the mountain, and now he can enjoy the scenery.

    • slamtherimtim says:

      in jersey he has a pretty solid team , when he was taking those shots , when he needed to be the man he couldnt do it , and now we are hoping because the other players are better so will he , for 7.5 this is something he needs to do on his own , he is the piece that should succeed , and get those other players playing better,

      your right on the fact this will be his best or a bust year ,

      if he isnt in shape in training camp , i would cut him , right then

    • ed lopaz says:

      an NHL players off ice physical training is often taken for granted by the fans and the media.

      but the facts suggest that not every player trains the same way, as hard, or as effectively.

      3 examples of players who I would guess have trouble in the gym.

      1) gomez – and I would suggest that Gomez needs to add about 5-10 lbs of “lean muscle” mass.

      2) AK – to me he looks to be about 10-15 lbs over weight. If he would drop down to about 205 – but lean muscle – he would be way quicker, better cardio, and a much more effective game

      3) pouliot – who apparently was lazy in the gym (and in practice), but now is working out in a UFC gym so he can be accepted into the Bruins locker room.

      As Chris suggests, the last 5 seasons have brought players to the NHL who are in the best possible physical shape – bigger, stronger, faster than ever.

      A guy like Subban would have played a completely different, quick and agile game, 5 years ago.

      Today Subban is in the gym 2 times a day, increasing his lean muscle mass so he can compete at this level.

      Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  22. rhino514 says:

    What happens when a player is on a two way contract and spends part of the year with the big club and part of the year with the ahl club? Are the games in each league prorated to calculate his final salary?
    On another note i can never find my posts after a few hours…in the old format my last link would appear in my profile, but that´s not the case now. Can anyone advise?

    • Chris says:

      Every player’s contract is prorated to how many days (not games) he is with the NHL club. A full season is considered to be somewhere around 180 days, give or take a few depending on the schedule.

      This is why you will often see cap-strapped teams demote guys and then bring them back up between games. This allows them to save a bit of precious cap space.

  23. Everlasting1 says:

    On a line with Erik Cole, I boldly predict Gomex will have a comeback season with 10G (with a pair of horseshoe goals coming off someone’s a$$), 40P, yet still a minus +/-.

    “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

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

    • Bill J says:

      Well since you predicted Halak to have a great season last year and Price a bad one, you must have the same effect of Eklund with your predictions, means Gomez will score 40 and get 90 points. 🙂 thanks for the reverse jinx Blues fan.

      If you want a days count till Habs hockey, I recommend this as your home page:

      Go Habs Go!

      • HardHabits says:

        I’ll laugh my ass off it Gomez gets traded to the Blues.

        • Everlasting1 says:

          They do lack a mascot, unless Peoria need an equipment manager.

          “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

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

      • Everlasting1 says:

        I predicted a great career for Halak, unlike Eklund’s off-the-cuff mumbo jumbo.

        “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

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

        • Bill J says:

          If by career you mean, while he played for the Habs. Sure. ;). He’s more likely to take up guitar playing and starting to SING the Blues then having actual success in St Louis as a goaltender.

          If you want a days count till Habs hockey, I recommend this as your home page:

          Go Habs Go!

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Unfortunately Halak will be remembered as this era’s Steve Penney.

          • Chris says:

            Honestly, I will be surprised if that is the case.

            Halak strikes me as a Tim Thomas kind of guy: too small, too unorthodox, too _______…

            Guys like that can get a chip on their shoulders to show the world what they can do. And Halak has never been cited as anything but a hard worker with a pretty level head, nor has he done anything less than excel at every level he has played.

            Halak was inconsistent last season, but he also played what had to be one of the worst defensive teams in recent memory. I have quite a bit of confidence that as the Blues improve (and they will), Halak will bounce back.

            Will he be better than Price? Who knows. But I do think he will be a good NHL goalie.

          • Everlasting1 says:

            Not very astute. Penney averaged over 4.00 GAA, and well below .900 SV% in his limited career.

            “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

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

          • TomNickle says:

            Sergio, I’d just like to remind you that Halak had a save percentage under .900 after the middle of October through the end of the season last year.

          • Everlasting1 says:

            Tom, crippling injuries, a poor PK unit, and one of the most penalized teams are factors.

            “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

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

  24. Haligonian-Hab says:

    This is what I’m talking about! LINKS GALORE ABOUT DA CANADIENS (although like 45% are for Woywitka)

  25. JF says:

    The Globe and Mail piece is by James Mirtle, but what he’s done is to ask a blogger for each Canadian team to preview the team. For the Habs, it’s Olivier Bouchard from En Attendant les Nordiques.

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