Monday, Monday

At least your work week isn’t starting with a 25-minute bag skate.

That’s what soon-to-be-fired Minnesota Wild coach Todd Richards put his players through yesterday morning.

Dave Stubbs on AK46

Red Fisher liked Gionta’s goal

• High marks for Plekanec, Gorges

Martin Leclerc on Carey Price

• Arpon Basu on Jacques Martin and Jason Spezza

• J.T. on the Canadiens’ good start

• The Hockey News: Habs should have kept Boucher

• Not needed at the Bell Centre: Puck Daddy on CrowdWave

And a mash-up about that goalie guy


Good post from sag:

1. KOSTITSYN looks like he is in better shape, frame of mind,
and understands the significance of a contract year.  When he is on, he
is dominant and as good as any of the players we lament being passed
over for him. 

2. ELLER’s play including the exhibition season
has ranged from peter forsberg to peter frampton.  His upside,
like Subban’s will be worth the growing pains and benchable offences in
the long run.

3. MARTIN is an inflexible coach.  Most of what he
preaches however are solid hockey fundamentals, and the vets that are on
the present roster preach the same discipline and fitness.  Muller is
there to provide the human aspects.  Martin is The Count afterall

Every now I say to my wife, “drunk Hamrlik” is playing – he just
looks off sometimes no balance and his cheeks huff and puff much more
than the average night.  Overall he a big part of the team and
unfortunately cap hit.  Spacek on the other hand is just so out of shape
that NHL players can make him look like he is loaded.  They will both
be ok

5. PRICE has been excellent.  Frankly, that was all I cared
about seeing in the Leaf game, trusting that the other pieces were
overall better than last year thanks to improved 3 and 4th line


  1. Bill J says:

    You say this and neglect to state other facts.

    – Habs liked Price more then Halak, short & long term.

    – Most GM’s in the league agreed Price’s value was still superior to Halak’s (note I did say most, and not all)

    – Signing Price before Halak’s trade = less return on investment for Halak.

    – Signing both, would surely result in just as unfavorable results.


    This ain’t no EASports Hockey here, emotions & people’s fealings are at play, it is not as “cold” as you make it out to be.

    The Habs allowed MANY people this summer the chance to flourish in other cities (Jaro in STL & Boucher ETC in Tampa)

    Classy teams like MTL allow their logjammed talent to move on – get used to it 😉

  2. Bill J says:

    Yeah just saying Brad.

    You making the Gainey/Robinson mistake, not one but twice.

    I was like WTF ?!?!?! lol

    If you can take one thing from this, proof-read before clicking submit.


  3. Storm Man says:

    That just shows you no nothing about the Habs as you don’t know who is on his card. Time for you and your little buddy manapart to play in the sandbox and leave the hockey talk to the adults. You both lack any logic.

  4. Castor says:

    I’d like to point out that my wife snuck into my account and wrote that. Though I do hope AK is back.

  5. Castor says:

    Hey I know that actor Stubbs is quoting! Good actor!

    I hope they’re right about AK

  6. JF says:

    I’m not replying to my own post, just correcting my confusion over Latendresse’s team.  Obviously I meant to say Minnesota and the Wild.

  7. HardHabits says:

    His card is Bob Gainey.

  8. LA Loyalist says:

    I buy some of your argument – especially that both goalies wanted to be #1.

    However I think that it didn’t matter what Price wanted, he was not exactly in a strong negotiating position given his lousy play last year. And his trade value was probably low, also, though many posters here will argue that vehemently.

    He’s playing well this year, which saves our bacon, certainly. 

    I just think the cards were badly played by management, but so far it looks like it will work out ok. 

  9. RGM says:

    That’s Bob Gainey on the card. Just sayin’.

    Go Habs Go!

  10. LA Loyalist says:

    I will happily yield to a bona fide argument, or at least give it weight, but you need to bring one.

    As for how I frame something, I am just trying to provide focus on a point, sometimes a simple arithmetical argument can serve as an illustration. That’s all.

    I’m not going to rise to your insults due to your Larry Robinson card. Text Larry and thank him.


    “insert tagline here”



  11. JF says:

    Great post.  I’ve been thinking along similar lines to this lately, realizing how thoroughly the organization has been overhauled in the last couple of years and how well-stocked we are now, at least offensively.  I think we’re still a little thin in defensive prospects unless Emelin can be persuaded to come over, and in goaltending, although I thought Robert Mayer did pretty well in the pre-season.  But I have almost completely revised my opinion of Jacques Martin since last year.  I was a harsh critic of his last year.  I thought he had the team play far too passively and in a style which exposed their weaknesses (chiefly lack of size) and failed to exploit their strengths. But with the start they’re off to this year and some of the changes I’ve noticed, last year’s focus on defence is starting to make sense.  JM said himself that it was designed to ensure the players learned the system thoroughly and were able to execute it, and it seems that it’s beginning to pay off.  Our defence looks very solid and I think our zone clearance is more efficient than last year.  There also seems to be a more offensive mindset among the coaching staff; our attacks seem better constructed and are certainly producing better results.  When Markov comes back and we get the powerplay going, we’ll be really dangerous.  Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise anyone; if I remember rightly, Jacques Martin’s Ottawa teams were high-scoring even though he was known as a defense-first coach.

    There are other things.  At the beginning of last year he was dissatisfied with the team work ethic and overall level of conditioning, more dissatisfied with some players than with others.  We saw that changing last year; practices were more serious, conditioning was a serious concern; and I think it paid off and will continue to do so.  You have only to look at the difference in AK46’s speed and strength, even his appearance, from last year.

    And about JM’s handling of young players.  He came here with a reputation for being good with young players; over the course of the year, people more and more saw his handling of the team’s young players as a problem, but perhaps this was not really the case.  He didn’t have confidence in Latendresse or Sergei, but with hindsight, maybe this lack of confidence was justified.  Reports out of Nashville indicate the Predators are dissatisfied with Latendresse’s conditioning; and as for Sergei, even his teammates wanted him gone at a certain point.  How much of it was JM’s fault or the fault of the organization as a whole we don’t know, but I guess we’ll see what Barry Trotz makes of him.  The benching of Eller seems to be a big deal and I’m not sure why.  He’s a rookie and he made some mistakes.  JM was careful to praise his skills after the game, and he certainly indicated he would have more chances.  This probably happens to every rookie who isn’t a superstar at the start of their NHL careers.

    So while I was never a Jacques Martin fan, I’m coming round to the view that he was what the organization needed at that point.  He’s building a strong team here, and if we continue to play well, a lot of his critics will be silenced.

  12. Lazarus_taxa says:

    How do you know that they didn’t try to sign Price first?  Answer: you don’t.  

    Would it have been logical from Price’s point of view to sign before he did? NOT AT ALL.

    Therefore, it didn’t happen.  And that’s why you are not a GM.  It’s a very hard job because things do not always work out perfectly.  You have to make hard decisions.  Oh yeah, X is Y and Y = X and…. now my opinion is right because I used a mathematical concept.  

    I have read all your posts where you try to look smarter than everyone.  Its pretty ugly to watch you run in circles around your simplistic, condescending, regurgitated, armchair GM logic.  Time that I will no longer waste.

  13. HardHabits says:

    Great post.

    About Eller. Martin said after the game that the Habs are in the business of winning games. Being benched is not watching from the press-box nor is it being sent to Hamilton. All options BTW. 😉

  14. Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

    Your argument assumes that Price (or Halak for that matter) would have signed before knowing what was going on with the other goalie. It is quite possible that NEITHER of them wanted to go through a similar situation as what went down in 2009-2010. More specifically, in Price’s case, as an RFA with no arbitration rights, there was NO WAY he was going to sign early unless the Habs overpaid (which they didn’t).

    In Halak’s case, the longer the Canadiens waited, the more leverage Halak would have gained for a contract (due to looming arbitration) and the less leverage the Canadiens would have had to trade him (with more goalies hitting the open market on July 1).

    All in all, I think if management knew all along that they wanted to keep Price, they did very well for themselves.

  15. fbkj says:

    luckilly hamrlik will give us some breathing room

  16. B says:

    You make some good points. It is only speculation when discussing what it would have taken to sign Halak in Montreal. It was reported that Gauthier did not even talk (contract or otherwise) with Halak before deciding to trade him. It certainly would have been possible to keep him, but Gauthier made a choice. I see no truth to claims that he had no choice or could not possibly have kept both Halak and Plekanec. Gauthier just made a decision and he made it fast.

  17. LA Loyalist says:

    thank you fbkj for making a cogent argument instead of just insulting me.

    obviously we can’t know all the elements of risk evaluation that went on and your point may well be what happened.

    I just don’t like the way Ted Zeppelin positioned it that there weren’t  a LOT of variables.

    I think the lesson here is to extend Markov so we don’t paint ourselves into another such corner where there are too many variables.


    “TimBits(tm) for everyone!” (I’m testing new taglines)

  18. krob1000 says:

    OK…I never expected Josh Gorges to be as good as he has become…I never thought he would even be a regular dman in the NHL…oops. 

    Now let’s look at our start…yes, we had injuries against the Leafs…since then we have been missing our best player….when he returns we are 100 percent healthy…..not likely to last too long if history is any indicator.  BUT…..and this is where I really applaud management ….we now have some serious depth…both on our bottom 6 and in Hamilton.  A year ago our cupboards were bare…since then we have really solidified our organizational depth up front.  We used to be d heavy…and goaltending heavy…management lived up to their philosophy of building from the back out….they assessed the back end and we know who is staying and who is going for the most part but our pillars are in place…Markov, PK and Gorges for a few years. Tinordi is in the pipeline and Emelin is still floating around as a potential addition.  We have several other wildcards.  We made a decision and went with PRice…long term….and bolstered our forward stockpile at the same time.

    Now we have in Hamilton, Maxwell, Pacioretty, Palushaj, White, Desharnais,….with a wave of guys like LEblanc, Kristo,Avstin etc following them…I think the loss of anyone not named Plekanec up front is sustainable with our depth.  That one wouldhurt…a lot…as much as Markov IMO.  It can actually be argued we would be a better team with a couple Bulldogs in the lineup and a couple of our current guys down there but salary cap implications, age, playing time,etc all play heavy roles.  But if Pouliot or AK goes down…you have a guy like Pacioretty in waiting.  If a grinder goes down…you have White(although I think he has 2 goal plus potential and 100 pim’s), if Gio or a small center goes down…you have Maxwell or Desharnais.  It is really amazing the way we have restocked….and added depth while decreasing the age of our forwards …and ensuring that we will have talent brewing consistently at the right times to adere to the cap world. Sure there is a lot that can go wrong but this year…much more than years past…we are reinforced and more prepared to deal with disaster. 

    I think we have a really , really good team this year….. and for years to come will.  I am not a fan of Jacques Martin…or Jacques Martin hockey….but I am a fan of what appears to have been Jacques Martin’s mandate…which was to overhaul our system and implement a hard working, defensive minded approach and reinvent the culture in Montreal. I think by half way through this season the conditioning requirements, the defensive attention to detail,etc will really pay off and we may see the reigns loosened a little offensively…maybe not but just a hunch.  I don;t think Jacques or anyone expected the results we got last year and I think the progress of the organizations youth is going better than expected.  I guess I am respectful of Martin’s accomlishments here but I still have serious questions about his handling of certain guys and blind ignorance to others but …the more I think about it …the more I believe it is just him laying a foundation with the kids we have. 

    The guys he lets have more space and go unpunished for errors that drives me nuts…the Spacek’s, the Hamrlik’s, the Gill’s, the Moen’s, the Metro’s, the Moore’s, the Darche’s, Halpern’s……I finally get it.  You aren’t going to teach these old dogs new tricks and from an organizational standpoint…you don’t need to …they won’t be around long.  We are changing the entire culture…..the target therefore is the youth.  It finally hit me the other night after the Eller benching…that really bothered me……I didn’t see it ..I got home from my own game to find he had been benched …..I  don’t know how or why but it really hit me that there was a larger plan at work…not just regarding Eller but all of our young guys….but how could a guy of Martin’s experience really be that stupid? how could my beloved Habs be this dumb? How could the greatest organization in sport be this moronic? …… well……simple answer …they aren’t…I was just too stupid, dumb and moronic to read between the lines early on in the overhaul.  I judged the book by its cover and every chapter by the first paragraph….

  19. fbkj says:

    well heres your main problem, you are forgetting the context from last summer, when we werent sure if we were going to be able to sign pleks, with july 1st looming quickly, decisions had to be made

    had they pussy footed and not taken action its very possible that we would have retained neither halak OR pleks

    its easier to crunch numbers in hindsight

  20. LA Loyalist says:

    I don’t understand how you guys make carved in stone statements based on opinion and spin.

    There is not ONE successful business man in North America who would have given up asset “A” (Halak) without securing asset “B” (Price).

    I’m not even arguing that we didn’t have to trade Halak if Price was the price potato. I’m just saying we should have signed him first.

    The values assigned to those assets are another argument and I’m not making it here.

    I will agree that letting Boucher go may have been determined to be an acceptable risk given what Martin achieved in the playoffs — but it is a risk that needs to be acknowledged and may yet come back to haunt us next spring.

    My main point is that I don’t want the argument “Well we couldn’t have signed Plex if we kept Halak” posed by Ted Zeppelin to become fact by repetition when it’s entirely specious and no one will remember the context next spring.


    “Insert tagline here”


  21. mbplekfan says:

    AK playing up to potential has won us two games. If he keeps skating and using his size to gain position his shots will continue to go in. Pleks is a wiz at distributing the puck and having both Cammaleri and AK on his wings will give opposing teams fits.

    If the Gomez line gets going the opposition is going to have no end of trouble.

    Our bottom six has improved enough to start contributing in both ends of the ice and our fourth line no longer features a weak defenseman masquerading as a forward.

    Once Markov comes back Spacek and Hammer wont have to log as many minutes. This will help their games and give Martin the opportunity to spot PK on the top lines without having to rely on him to eat minutes.

    Overall the first five games have been a massive success.

  22. Mats Naslund says:

    What is to say Halak doesn’t demand MORE than he got elsewhere because of Quebec taxes? This isn’t NHL 11. The Habs had NO choice but to let Boucher pursue his NHL coaching career elsewhere as happens regularly with coaches all over the league.

  23. joeybarrie says:

    My point wasn’t either. I said ignoring the Vancouver game because it was the exception. All the other games both this year and last were decided by one game. Your right both the players and Price played poorly.

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

  24. says:

    Whoa there cowboy.

    Ignoring the Vancouver where Price played poorly

    That’s where I stopped reading.  The team as a whole was at their absolute worst that game. But yes it was all Price?

    They Call Me Shane

  25. Jordio-oh says:

    great post.

  26. fbkj says:

    i can haz july 1st?

  27. punkster says:

    Details, details…

  28. HardHabits says:

    1. Halak cost is 15 million over 4 years and Price’s  is 5.5 over 2. The Habs did not have to commit long-term to a goalie and got Price for a million dollars less per year. At the end of the term Price is still an RFA albeit arbitration eligible. The Habs got an extremely good trade for Halak especially considering he was an arbitration eligible RFA. His agent was looking for dollars so if the Habs couldn’t have matched the amount they were looking it would’ve been an offer sheet or worse a trade with hands tied to a greedy agent. The smart move was to trade him quickly and for players the Habs coveted.

    2. Price’s deal is very reasonable, and the term is perfect at 2 years.

    3. The smart move was to keep Martin who led the team to the ECF. There is a long term strategy at work here and Martin only had one season to implement it. Given the team’s playoff success there’s no way the Habs could’ve moved him. Not only that but Boucher is not NHL tested. Do we really need to be the training ground for other NHL teams future coaches to be. Let TB do that for us this time. Boucher can always sign with the Habs in the future. He’s only 39 years old.

    As usual it is you who lacks any logic or ability to look at the big picture as it translates over time. Try mentioning the so called variables, because in my estimation they don’t exist until you do.

  29. Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

    Haha…I love how you bring in X and Y “variables” to a “mathematical argument” to make it seem like your viewpoint is somehow more based in reality than pure speculation. We can argue till the cows come home about whether it was possible to retain Halak or not. Of course, it was POSSIBLE, but obviously management felt that what it would have to give up to retain BOTH Halak and Price was too much (management would not give up Price, that much is clear).

    As for Boucher, I love how you say the smart move would have been to reward Martin by moving him up to the front office. Again, pure speculative garbage. YOU may wish that were possible, but the reality is Martin is under contract to coach and that is what he seems to want to do. After all, he WAS a GM in Florida and LEFT that job to COACH here. Therefore, the only way to bring in Boucher would have been as an assistant or to fire Martin. Both options were not very realistic.

  30. Morenz7 says:

    We lost Pacioretty?

  31. fbkj says:

    of course you dont factor in one of the more pressing factors


    because if ya did factor that then…

  32. LA Loyalist says:

    God Tom, we agree on something!

    Yes – extend Markov!

    I would add that it would be valuable to know $ sooner rather than later in order to plan the rest of the budget in case we need to make a move in March.



    “our management have the strategic sense of a box of stale TimBits(tm)”

  33. fbkj says:

    I see what you did there

  34. ZepFan2 says:

    No thanks. I already have 3.

    There’s this local hockey team…


    “The Soft Parade has now begun.
    Listen to the engines hum.”

  35. fbkj says:

    you get the cat

  36. habsfanincalgary says:

    A few points:

    – Anyone notice that all games this season have been decided by one goal?

    – I watched Saturday’s game and the team had good puck control on the PP.  I think Markov’s return will help the PP click a little better.  I think they are still missing the big shot from the point that they’ve had in previous years.

    – AK46’s play really adds to the team’s success.  Now if BP can only get it into gear!

    – This is one of the better 3rd lines that the Habs have had in a while…Laps is playing some good hockey!

    – Does anyone know if Markov’s absence has given more room to the team’s cap space?

  37. LA Loyalist says:

    I don’t mind you choosing Price over Halak, but I mind you posting a bogus financial argument.

    1. We don’t know what Halak would have cost because no one asked. Therefore we have a financial equation with an “X”

    2. We overpaid Price (though he may turn out to be worth it, that’s not my point) because we moved Halak without negotiating w/ Price. Therefore we have a “Y” in the equation.

    3. The SMART move would have been to reward Martin by moving him upstairs, bring in Boucher, and thusly have Martin and Muller in the wings if Boucher didn’t pan out.

    But as usual our management are as inscrutable as ever and show the strategic sense of a box of stale TimBits(tm).

    Anyway, you can’t say that a mathematical argument is inarguable when you have two variables. I won’t even mention the other variables that could have made it work. 


    “insert tagline here”

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