New-look Habs mix talent and toughness


As the Canadiens get ready to drop the puck for real against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Bell Centre, here are some stories from our Hockey Inside/Out season preview section that was published in Thursday’s Gazette:

Habs back with talent, toughness, by Pat Hickey;

Q&A with Michel Therrien, by Dave Stubbs;

Good Plekanec news, bad Subban news, by Pat Hickey;

Louis Leblanc, the forgotten man, by Brenda Branswell;

Season will be a little wild, a little unpredictable, by Bruce Arthur of Postmedia News;

Short NHL season will be far from boring, by Cam Cole of Postmedia News;

(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)


  1. Capgeek’s list of UFAs:

    Who do you like? Myself, I think Arnott would look brilliant on our third or fourth line.

    Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

  2. bwoar says:

    Encouraging from the coach:

    “We want our team to use our speed. We’ll encourage our players to be a little more aggressive, probably, than in the past, about forechecking. The way we want to play — I can’t go into details, it’s too complicated — is that we’re going to be a team that uses our speed.”


  3. bwoar says:

    On Leblanc:
    He’s never had a period of adversity. Meteoric rise from college almost in a straight line to playing for the Habs. Nothing wrong here that time to heal and a chance to regain confidence won’t fix. He hasn’t suddenly misplaced all his hockey skills.


  4. doug19 says:

    what draft choices do we get if another team signs Subban and we do not match?

    • BJ says:

      Depends how much he is signed for.

    • shiram says:

      It depends on the cap hit, the higher the better and more draft picks would swing our way.

      • doug19 says:

        Wow, he would likely checking your wiki link be worth a 1st 2nd and 3rd round picks minimum. Habs can’t lose we get a great player locked up or great draft picks!

        • Well, I guess it depends on the team — if a really good team like the Bruins or Rangers offer him $6M/year, we’ll probably be more likely to match it, because their picks will be near the bottom of the rounds.

          That said though, while offer sheets are very rare and almost always matched, they make a ton of sense — they probably overpay most of the time, but the odds of getting another Subban (or Shea Weber, etc.) even with the compensatory 1st, 2nd and 3rd are pretty low. For comparison, our first three picks from ’06 to’11 were:

          2006: Fischer, Maxwell, Carle
          2007: McDonagh, Pacioretty, Subban (an amazing draft year)
          2008: Kristo, Quailer, Missaien
          2009: Leblanc, Nattinen, Bennett
          2010: Tinordi, MacMillan, Ellis
          2011: Beaulieu, Didier, Archambault

          There are a few good players in there, but would you trade Subban or Shea Weber for any of them?

          Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

          • bleedhabs81 says:

            I would trade Subban for Max Pacioretty, McDonagh and PK Subban… so yeah I guess I would trade for that. Lets do that.

  5. adamkennelly says:

    While I love the additon of Prust – who I guarantee finds a dance partner on Saturday night – team still needs a stop gap on D until Tinordi stays up. Big, tough D man to clear the net…Bouillon is not that guy..too small and past his “prime”.

  6. CCL says:

    The Habs no doubt should be a better team but. I wouldn’t plan a parade just yet.

  7. Ron says:

    Blunden and St Denis put on waivers

    • commandant says:

      Yeah, had to be done so they can go back to Hamilton.

      They were playing on AHL contracts during the lockout, but once the lockout was over their NHL 2 ways kicked in and their age requires waivers.

      Palushaj will need waivers once he’s healthy too.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • Ron says:

        Was aware of that too. Be interesting if Blunden clears. Although not a stellar player, he does compete. Always good for call ups. Gives his all.

      • jedimyrmidon says:

        So the Bulldogs could lose St-Denis? That wouldn’t be good.

        • Ron says:

          Don’t think that will happen. Any team that would claim him has to put him on their NHL team roster. Not many are that weak on D to claim him.

          • Bripro says:

            Philly. The Laffs. Islanders….

          • He’s not a bad 7th D — if I’m Toronto, I take a long look. At the very least, I claim him and put him on waivers to send him to the Marlies.

            Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

        • Bripro says:

          I agree.
          I’ll take it one step further and say that he wasn’t out of place when he was with the Habs.
          Not too fast, but technically very solid.
          I hope all the other teams missed it.

          • Ron says:

            Bri, with all teams attempting to get to the 23 man roster I can’t see any team picking him off waivers. You mention Philly, Laffs and Islanders as D weak teams. Those teams already have better AHL players sitting in the minors that are as good or better than St Denis. Later in the season when and if the Habs call him up he could be grabbed at that point once most teams have evaluated their rosters. He has played well for the Habs when called up but not well enough to crack our line up which was weak. Don’t think others will find him any better than what we did.

  8. jedimyrmidon says:

    @TSNBobMackenzie: CGY puts Henrik Karlsson and Irving Leland on waivers.

    Weren’t they considered pretty good goaltender prospects?

  9. ed lopaz says:

    Louis Leblanc used to be a 1st line center.

    Now he has become a 3rd line winger.

    He is not a threat from the wing – he used to carry the puck, create the plays, skate all three zones.

    Now he is lost on the wing.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I don’t dispute your reasoning Ed, but you would think the transition shouldn’t be this difficult. Looks like the Dogs coaching staff have some work to do here, be it finding his right position or just working with his confidence.

      Far too soon for this kid to be given up on (not saying they are), but they need to work hard with him for Louis sake and the teams sake.

      • shiram says:

        He should still be in the top 6, with Geoffrion injured and the lack of scoring in Hamilton, it can’t hurt to to give him a try! Even if he is to play 3rd line in the NHL down the line, you give him the time and line-mates to try to boost his confidence and ego a little.

        I’ve also heard Hamilton is a boring town, so it could be quite a let down after last year where he enjoyed NHL treatment in Montreal.

      • ed lopaz says:

        for some players the transition is very difficult. do you think Plekanec or Koivu type players would be as comfortable or effective on the wing?

        I don’t

        • Chris says:

          I’m with you. People always make it sound like the transition from centre to the wing is trivial. I’ve never understood this reasoning. They are very different positions, in most systems.

    • Cal says:

      He hasn’t fully recovered yet from that high ankle sprain. Everyone’s got to relax and allow him the time to get back to form.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Thanks Ed. On the previous thread I mention a conversation Derek Wills was having with Tony M this morning. Funny, one of the things mentioned by Derek was how Louie use to carry and hold the puck in all zones creating open ice for his mates and that was no longer happening. You very well be on to something.


    • jedimyrmidon says:

      It really seems like his usage on the Bulldogs team this season isn’t about maximizing his potential, but hammering him into the 3rd line winger position (on the Bulldogs too). He should be playing on the top line with good linemates, etc, etc, but instead, he was forced to play with guys like Boyce for long periods of time.

    • J_P says:

      I agree. Looks like this could be another development bust by the habs. Although, I did say from the day he was drafted that Leblanc would most likely be a third-liner or a bust.

      As for Galchenyuk, I hope that if the habs arent going to keep him in the top 6 we send him back to juniors. This kid is unbelieveable. We might have actually drafted a legitimate superstar, cant wait to see him in action.

  10. donmarco says:

    Of all the comments Therrien made to Stubbsy the ones that gave me most cause for optimism were the comments about the team’s attitude and chemistry and how much easier it is to instill change when it is embraced with great attitudes. Good teams will beat great players every day of the week.

  11. commandant says:

    I did a Calder Trophy contenders piece that includes a look at AG.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  12. HabinBurlington says:

    For those hoping to see Galchenyuk stay up with the Habs this season, here is Steve Hindle’s blog to support that move.

  13. Morenz7 says:

    That McInnis pic won’t ever get old. The kid in all of us—right there.

  14. HabinBurlington says:

    Hope LL finds his game again soon.

    • shiram says:

      The piece from Brenda does not portray a happy young man, he does not sound thrilled about the prospect of being a third liner at all.

      • donmarco says:

        I got the same impression you did. He sounded like he was trying so hard to say the right thing, but it just sounded empty. This will be a true test of character and I hope he’s strong enough to overcome it. Bears watching as the season progresses.

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