Noise/Bruit: Youth movement pushes vets aside

Here’s a look at some of today’s news surrounding the Canadiens:

The Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky reports that the team’s youth movement has pushed some veterans out of the lineup as Bryan Smolinski, Tom Kostopoulos and Patrice Brisebois have been spending more time in the press box than the bench lately.

The Journal de Montréal has a piece on how Christopher Higgins feels after the trade deadline and knowing that the Canadiens showed faith and loyalty in him after refusing to trade him. "I’m happy to be here," he said "I’ll have to show my appreciation for their loyalty to me."

In La Presse,
head coach Guy Carbonneau says he knows Carey Price will have some ups
and downs moving forward, but he dismissed the critics who say he
doesn’t have enough experience. "You can’t buy experience, but you also
can’t gain any by sitting on the bench."

Here’s a take on the Huet deal from a Washington perspective.

In James Mirtle’s Playoff Push, he predicts the Canadiens will finish ahead of the Ottawa Senators and grab third spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Buffalo News reports that Maxim Afinogenov and Drew Stafford have returned from the injured list, but it is uncertain if they will face the Canadiens Friday night.

96 Comments

  1. Bill H says:

    Your suggestion Showey is a good one but rather non-specific. First, take note that we have a number of centres under contract, including Pleks, Koivu, Smolinski, Lapierre, Chipchura, Locke, Grabs. That’s 7 centres. So where does your mystery shutdown centre that is good on faceoffs fit into that mix? Who do you trade away? Was there a UFA that was available for the playoffs that could have filled the gap for us? Or was there someone available long term that fits with our plans. I think Chipchura is the centre you are talking about, but BG sent him packing earlier in the year. I predict he will be back soon, and he will excel, if not this year, then next. I guess my point is that if BG could have snapped his fingers and brought in the player of his choice, I am sure he would have. Unfortunately, it takes two teams to dance. So unless you can point to a deal that was made where BG could have and should have bettered the offer, then its just a cheap shot. I’m all ears. Who should BG have brought in to fill that hole and what should he have given up to get him?

  2. VancouverHab says:

    “He didn’t address [himself to] the needs of the team.” Uhhm…. like holding a loaded bomb to the Penguins organisation until they gave up Crosby? A GM has to work in the real world: he can only get what is to be gotten. Hossa/Richards were the available players: but too expensive. No matter how the world changes, you can’t rob Peter to pay Paul.

    Mr. Boone reports today that the demand was Higgins, O’Byrne, Grabovski, & Matt D’Agostini for Hossa. What? Bob makes that trade & you can kiss any hope for the future ‘good-bye.’ I wouldn’t trade Higgins & O’Byrne for Hossa: you know, the guy who’s a UFA at season’s end!

    Why do people so easily neglect the Law of Reciprocity in talk about trades? You don’t just ‘Add Hossa” — you also ‘Subtract [Insert good, promising, affordable, well-liked players' names here.]‘

    Sheesh.

    New Motto: “You’re in good hands with Bob Gainey.”
    Old-but-Good Motto: “If you question Bob Gainey’s methods, look at TO!”

  3. Scotty90 says:

    Habs need a win tonight…. Ottawa is in a tail-spin and pressure from the media and the fans is on (i know, i live with sen’s fans and I work with them…. its not pretty!) I am not sure how the Sens will pull out of this…they aren’t use to this amount of negative pressure. And, Neil is still out for a while (4-5 weeks)which in my opinion is a bigger factor than most people think. Habs passing them tonight is going to rob them of even more confidence!

    Now if only we can take advantage of all this next time we play them

  4. Bill H says:

    I’m not sure I understand your point Habz24. All vets have one way contracts. Contrary to what you say, they can’t be sent down without passing through waivers. And if they do pass through waivers and are recalled, they must pass through again when, if they are picked up by another team, the team that loses his rights must pay half his salary. That is obviously an option that most teams would rather not take. Look no farther than what happened to Samsonov. He was a drag on the whole team in Montreal all last year. When BG finally managed to trade him to Chicago, they learned to regret it, and it was half a season before they were able to get rid of him.

    Now what the team can do if a player is coasting is put him in the press box. And that is a very strong motivational tool. But to say a player will get sent down if he is a little bit complacent is just not true, unless he is on a rookie contract. Rookies can and do get sent down all the time. But with veterans, the team cannot send them down.

  5. showey47 says:

    If anything i would of liked to add a physical third line center who is strong in the faceoffs. It would be nice to of added an impact forward, but not at the price of trading higgins. Having a shutdown center doesn’t add goals but subtracts from goals against. Addition by subtraction?

  6. Fer_hab says:

    Agree 100%. This is their year to shock the world.

  7. HABZ24 says:

    the youth movement is our future. todays game is super fast paced. some,not all vets can get a lil complacent and feel theyre not gunna get sent down.it doesnt work that way anymore.theres always a kid on the farm starving at the chance to get into the big league and earn the huge bux.so its bust ur butt every shift or look out for a kid who can do it better and cheaper.gainey built dallas thru the draft and won a cup, now hes doing it here with us in mtl.GO HABZ GO !! KIK SABRE AZZ!!

  8. Proudones says:

    I re-read my post several times and for the life of me I can not find where exactly I made the comment to which you are referring.
    Perhaps you can poin it out for me.

  9. Will Longlade says:

    Nice post!

  10. nightmare_49 says:

    I have in the past but not his non moves on Tuesday.

  11. nightmare_49 says:

    i meant Peter Young , my apologies , a senior moment.

  12. tony d says:

    LOL!!!!!…..ahhhh it’s one of those days man….
    take care

  13. wd40 says:

    ah tony you’re killin’ me. ;)

  14. wd40 says:

    “I’ve seen GMs like Clarke and Quinn as examples screw up a good team’s chances and i don’t want it to happen here”

    I don’t think there’s any chance of that happening here. You have to admit, Gainey has done wonders with this team in 3 years. The point is, give credit where credit is due.

  15. tony d says:

    my cat’s breath smells like tuna….

  16. wd40 says:

    I’m bored… :)

    If we extrapolate based on our current record of wins, losses, and otl’s:

    In the remaining 18 games, we can go 10-6-2 (22 points) and finish with 99 points. All things being equal, that would put us 2nd in the East behind the NJD.

    NJD 103*
    MTL 99*
    CAR 87*
    PIT 100
    OTT 98
    BOS 98
    NYR 93
    PHI 91
    ——
    BUF 91
    NYI 87
    WSH 85
    TOR 82
    FLA 80
    ATL 79
    TBL 74

    It’s just meaningless numbers at this point and the games still have to be played, but it gives you one perspective.

    How ugly is that though if we had 3rd seed Carolina finish with the same # of points at the 10th place team. ouch.

  17. nightmare_49 says:

    Peter Stone – Personally i don’t understand what age has got to do with it , your always mentioning age. Were all entitled to our opinion and i’ve been a backer of Gainey more than 90% of the time in the past but when he has a day like Tuesday when he didn’t address the needs of the team and has the money and resources to do so i’m vexed and i’m sorry and i’m not meaning Hossa or Huet. I’ve seen GMs like Clarke and Quinn as examples screw up a good team’s chances and i don’t want it to happen here. Carbo is a work in progress and doesn’t seem to learn from his mistakes and i’m concerned and will state it regardless of your post. We’re in a great position but you must understand that we have basically been injury free this season and other contenders can’t make that ststement. They are not sacred.

  18. tony d says:

    Ian where ya been??? we missed you buddy!!!

  19. Ian G Cobb says:

    Or a young peter!

  20. Ian G Cobb says:

    Bang on.! Young Peter, I,m with you on this one.

  21. Hammer says:

    I think too much is being made out of carbo’s statement. Mybe it is tough to be in the pressbox, but that is the nature of the beast. This is sports Darwinism at it’s finest. The best survive and adapt, the others perish. It is no different than any other business, you do not produce and you risk losing your job. I would give up my 100K a year position to be Smoke’s watching for 2M.

  22. fuhgawz says:

    thanks to those who translated the higgens feed for me …….

  23. tony d says:

    hope you’re a good dancer…..depending on tonight’s outcome, you might have to dig deeper into your repertoire… do a lil funky chicken, lawn sprinkler etc…. but look at the bright side, even though you’re an old timer, you’ll always be Peter Young

  24. wd40 says:

    excellent post, Peter.

  25. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    What the veterans have to understand is that even from the hotdog stand they are helping the team, by providing backup mental support/motivation for the youth movement.

    The youth by knowing that these ‘veterans’ are in waiting, will elevate their game and we’ve seen the result….now if it was OTHER ROOKIES waiting at the hotdog stand then there would be less pressure on the youth movement.

    Carb keep them there till a rookie cracks.

    ———
    1. Feb 19, 2008 – History was made.
    1. ONLY BELIVEAU CAN CONVINCE LECAVALIER…
    2. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    3. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    4. We will win the CUP

  26. Peter Young says:

    As an old-timer, I think I’ll throw a fit and do the hokey-pokey the next time I see one of those entirely unfounded attacks on Gainey and/or Carbonneau on this blog.

    The salary cap limit is an equalizing force in that no one team can cop all the talent simply because it has greater wealth. The cap system produces a rough sort of parity between the teams–with the difference between the teams becoming more dependent on things like managing, coaching and scouting skills. Those skills now have an even higher premium placed on them.

    In a system that magnifies weaknesses and strengths in coaching, scounting and managing skills, where do the Canadiens stand and what are their prospects for the future compared to … well, take your pick, one, two, three or four years ago? Once you answer that honestly, shut up and be grateful we have Gainey and Carbonneau.

  27. tony d says:

    they do deserve a cup…… it’s called a ‘jock’
    but first they have to grow a pair

  28. smiler2729 says:

    Funny… yeah, Heidi Klum, perfect.
    The thing that is so maddening about Laff fans is their cheap shots and hatred directed at anything Montreal! I mean, they are more than just jealous of our overall NHL success, they are envious of the whole darn Montreal culture!! But that’s whole different thread for summertime discussion.
    The sad part is, before I moved here from Montreal in Sept. ’87, I never hated the Leafs, they were such a non-factor in my hockey watching (I started being a fan at 7 years old in 1971) and they were perennially so bad that I lumped them in with other bad teams of the era (Seals, Canucks, Caps, Scouts, Flames, Red Wings, Devils, Penguins, Kings), I was more into hating the better more threatening teams (Bruins, Flyers, Isles, Rangers, Blackhawks, Oilers and Nordiques).
    When I moved here, as soon as someone found out I was from Montreal, they always had an anti-Hab comment to go with their dumb jab at the separatism issue (“Montreal? I hate the Canadiens” and “I hope you all separate”)…
    But the last straw for me was when the Leafs hired Cliff Fletcher and Pat Burns (indirect and direct Canadiens castoffs!) and they started tasting a little success… man, I still get the moronic “Kerry Fraser cost us the Cup in ’93″ comment to this day! They think they deserve the Cup as their God-given right!!! Hilarious!!!!

  29. tony d says:

    not necessarily numerology but along the same lines…..
    if the Marlies are called Baby Leafs
    then the Leafs must be Big Babies
    ….discuss amongst yourselves

  30. wild flower says:

    I play my best 20 guys. Read: I play my best 20 guys, for each situation. But the situations change. You try standing in front of cameras and mikes while composing answers to the same, often ridiculous, questions day and night. My guess, somewhat informed by the length of you post, is that at times you wouldn’t always convey your intent. “Carbo” has improved this year over last and I don’t think there is much to fault him for.

  31. wd40 says:

    oh man you’re so RIGHT.

    if Carbo was any good, the Habs would be 1st overall with 50 wins by this point. To quote one of my favorite all time characters, G.O.B., “COME ON”.

    i have an idea. to save yourself the frustration, follow a different team. Carbo doesn’t walk on water, and like any human being, can make mistakes, but to bash him given the season this team is having, is beyond comprehension.

  32. frank81 says:

    So you would sit either the first or second line for some combination of Brisebois-Smolinski-Dandenault-Kostopoulos?

    I think some people are bashing Carbo just for the sake of bashing him. He can’t win if he keeps lines intact or if he juggles them. People have been calling for him to bench Brisebois et al for a long time, and when he finally does, people still suggest that he’s made a grievous error.

  33. wild flower says:

    I agree. He was very flustered the day befor the trade when he had to explain the Price was starting the next day.

  34. Smart Dog says:

    Good post.
    ________________________________________________________________
    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  35. tony d says:

    I too am an ex montrealer living in Leafland….thing is, these Leaf fans are delusional….they’re like a cult…. lately they’re all giddy with excitement (I think they’ve started to plan the parade)…all this talk about 6 points out of last spot…..OMG!!! It’s so sad it’s funny, but hey rather than argue, I let them enjoy their fantasy…. I know I’ve got mine (it involves Heidi Klum and….well I won’t go on)
    whatever helps them get through the winter blahs huh?

  36. Scotty90 says:

    For those of you that are just plain interested in Habs stuff or are into numerology…. I heard this on Team 990 on my way home last night. Somebody had called in with the following info:

    Price + Halak – Huet= ROY

    (31 + 41 – 39= 33)

    Enjoy tonight’s game!

  37. tony d says:

    i probably am….too much time to kill before tonight’s game….. but as an associate General Mgr. (so says Dandenault), I feel I have to put my 2 cents in ….which these days is worth about 3 cents U.S.
    also as long as Brisebois and Smolinski are in the press box, Guy’s got my vote …ok peace out….
    Go Habs Go

  38. Proudones says:

    Well said.
    Carbo lost me at “Our first two lines, there’s no doubt, you can’t touch. And Streit has become a good player that can’t be moved”.

  39. Rastaman says:

    LOL. This post will really look hilarious when Carbo wins coach of the year. My vote would go to either him or Julien at this point.

  40. smiler2729 says:

    I, too, am a transplanted Montrealer living in Leafland and I share your pain at these dum-dums who still believe the Laffs have a chance. As I’ve said before, the only reason Leaf fans hate the Habs is their envy for our organization historically… success, indeed, breeds contempt.

  41. nightmare_49 says:

    Very good post which is right on and Carbo is taking a chance as he emulates Hitchcock and Bowman (60% Hitch-40% Bowman). Those two were all business but not cocky and have a good track record while Carbo is cocky with no experierce. It may work when your winning but could be a disaster when we’re on a slide as we have found out last year.

  42. smiler2729 says:

    You’re reading way too much into this… relax, enjoy the ride, it should be exhilarating!

  43. showey47 says:

    Quite possibly the worst post i’ve ever read, i don’t know what bothers me more. The fact that i wasted 2 minutes reading it or the fact that i’m wasting even more time responding to it. You bash carbo for not using the right players but we are 3 points out of first in the conference, should someone like breezer get a spot ahead of obyrne and gorges? What has smolinski done to earn a regular spot in the line up? The guy was brought in to win draws and he doesn’t even do that. Carbo would of had playoff experience going into this season if he hadn’t made the mistake of being to loyal to his veteran goalie in the last game of the season. As for going into the playoffs with no goalie with playoff experience, huet’s 6 games hardly counts as a playoff veteran.

    Three things got us to where we are this season 1) the rebirth of kovalev 2) our big 3 on the back end 3) the emergence of the youth.

  44. tony d says:

    for what it’s worth, I’ve been watching the interviews with Guy (French and Eng) regarding Huet’s trade and Carey being #1. My gut tells me that Guy is not as thrilled about this move as say Gainey is. You can see it in his face as he gives his rehearsed patter about Carey being the #1 man etc… Perhaps his frustration is filtering through to the rest of the team…. and so the challenge is on…. the guys who put up- get to play, the guys who don’t- get the bird’s eye view of the game.
    As I said before, tonight and tomorrow will be a good indicator of what the team (as is) is capable of. We’ll see if guys like Higgins will continue to rise to the vote of confidence from Bob et al….
    Go Habs Go

  45. Hockey11 says:

    I prefer playoff success to anything, the regular season is foreplay. Carbo has showed mo he is not ready for primetime and I am not convinced when we go to war he will be able to read the subtlties of the situation.

  46. Chuck V. says:

    that’s just a saying that means he picks who he thinks are the top 20 players that will help the team the most at that time. it’s challenging the guys in the press box and regardless they’re vets so they can handle it. it’s just a coaching mantra man, no need to write a novel about it

  47. Smart Dog says:

    I know poop – and THIS COMMENT is TOTAL dog-poop!

    Carbo plays the best 20 guys. That’s obvious. You think they don’t know that’s what he’s saying when he says – you’re in the press box tonight?

    This is funny:
    he suffers a crisis of confidence he will be useless in the playoffs?

    I forget who you said this about. Anyone can be useless if that happens. Every game has some element of gamble. The Habs are now gambling that a lot of their youth can stand up and be tough, but you know what? SO FAR SO GOOD!!

    Gainey and Carbo have told the team – we believe in our players. We’ll stand up for those who perform on the ice, regardless of age or experience. That’s a GOOD message my friend. What you wrote above is for peewee players.

    You should change your name to “Chicken Little”!

    ________________________________________________________________
    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  48. krob1000 says:

    The only part of that statement that I didn’t like was the free pass to the top two lines……I know what he meant so even that shouldn’t matter. Context is often lost in print and anything can be skewed if we so desire. The bottom lineis that Carbo has managed to get enough out of this team to be contending for a high seed playoff birth when most expected us to be selling off our club in parts by trade deadline. Carbo has done a fantastic job with everything (except maybe Ryder) this year so I think you are going a little overboard with this rant over one sentence with no contextual background.

    The reality of the situation is that there are 5 spots for eight guys and those guys better work hard to earn their icetime. That is an ideal situation that very few teams have but due to our depth and lack of injuries to this point in the season we do. I see nothing wrong with his statement and given Smolinski and Brisebois’ reactions I think they understand it and guys like Kosto and Dandy are bettter off fired up anyways when they return to the lineup. They both will play that much harder and force whoever slacked to up their play.

    This rotating bottom of the lineup has played a huge role in our success this year and that is a fact. The depth lines have been key to our success and we have always been able to insert fresh, hungry players in those roles and Carbo has had a huge hand in creating that mentality and he has for the most part been as fair as possible about it.

  49. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Carbo’s also motivating players to prove him wrong.

  50. OldGrover says:

    Ok, honestly, that’s a ridiculous bash. He’s saying he’s got 5 spots for 8 guys. And he’s playing the best 20. He’s not saying that they are always the SAME 20, just the guys playing the best. Everyone NOT playing knows that when they get the chance to play again (and they will), if they want to keep playing, they need to make their case every night. And the guys playing, especially those bottom 5, know THEY need to make their case every night, too. It is what he’s said all year.

    I’m GLAD he’s doing what he’s doing – we’re GOOD this year, but the best thing we can do is make sure all our young guys get the experience they need.

  51. Hockey11 says:

    For the record:
    Bob Berry 1981 – Feb. 1984 3 years
    Jacques Lemaire 1984 – 1985 1 year
    Jean Perron 1985 – 1988 3 years
    Pat Burns 1988 – 1992 4 years
    Jacques Demers 1992 – Oct. 1995 3 years
    Mario Tremblay 1995 – 1997 2 years
    Alain Vigneault 1997 – Nov. 2000 3 years
    Michel Therrien 2000 – Jan. 2003 3 years
    Claude Julien 2003 – Jan. 2006 3 years
    Bob Gainey Jan. 2006 – May 2006 (interim coach)
    Guy Carbonneau 2006 – you decide

  52. krob1000 says:

    Re: the James Mirtle article. I had pick up hockey last night and as always around here the usual Leafs chatter began in the locker room. They were seriously scoreboard watching thinking they were going to make the playoffs. I listened for about three or four minutes while I laced my skates and then finally I piped up and told them they needed to go 14-3 the rest of the way or they forget the playoffs. They looked perplexed and one guy said that they were only six points back.

    I explained it basically the way Mr. Mirtle did in that article but I used 93 points as the cutoff. The reality of what I said sunk in when I mentioned the last couple of years and the number of divisional games for all of the teams down the stretch. It felt good to deliver a blow like that to the Leaf fans (although most of them are friends of mine) because they sure didn’t mind giving it to me last year after that nightmare 6-5 game.

    Anyways I have been looking at 93 points as the magic number all along and every time I look at the standings that is the number I have been concerned about. Obviously we want to finish as high as we can for home ice but I don’t see the real difference in matchups. Ottawa has fallen from grace and they are a mental mess. Pittsburgh is still a question mark and Jersey quite frankly scares me. The Rangers play us well also but really when it comes down to it the East is completely up for grabs and the matchups aren’t that important as the difference between teams is so minimal. That being said I just want to hit 93 points and then worry about our positioning.

  53. Hockey11 says:

    If Carbo the coach actually said this:

    “I play my best 20 guys,” he said. “Our first two lines, there’s no doubt, you can’t touch. And Streit has become a good player that can’t be moved. That makes five spots left for eight guys.”

    Which is a quote from the Gazette article then he has learned less than I thought about being a coach and managing bodies. He is saying that the players sitting out aren’t good enough. MMMMmmmm, it was his boss that brought them in and the worst one was Breezer who was Carbo’s old roommate.

    So what has Guy accomplished by making this statement:

    He has attacked the confidence of these players.
    He has diminished any rapport he had with these players, if he ever had any.
    He has embarassed these guys for no reason.
    He has greatly diminished their trade value.
    He has sent a red flag out to any potential vet UFA’s considering coming here.
    Does he not understand that all these guys talk to one another in the off season?
    Does he not understand that the playoffs are a second season and experience is what some of these guys bring, no of course not, he has never been a head coach in the NHL playoffs himself.

    So he had everything to lose making that statement.

    Does he not understand that the problem he is has is partly due to the fact that the team is now injury free and that is why he has so many scratches? He will need some of these guys shortly, why piss them off?

    Does he not understand he is heading to the playoffs with two goalies that have never played an NHL playoff game?

    Does he not understand that many of these young European small forwards will have trouble with the rigours of the playoffs?

    Does he not understand O’Byrne has no NHL experience and if he suffers a crisis of confidence he will be useless in the playoffs?

    Does he not understand that all the players are assets in some way and need to feel part of the team somehow?

    Did he not just read about Paddock in Ottawa?

    Does he not know coaches only last three years in this town, look at the past.

    Does he not know that he needs to win a first round before he gets to move on to the second? Does he think he can win a tough physical series with some of these guys?

    The playoffs are where players reputations are forged and with all these unhappy players and untested kids Carbo is setting himself up for a big fall, he simply does not have what it takes to be a succesful coach in this league. He is not learning and he is not sending out the right signals.

  54. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    i think this is the year we learn a valuable lesson for next year…
    ———
    1. Feb 19, 2008 – History was made.
    1. ONLY BELIVEAU CAN CONVINCE LECAVALIER…
    2. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    3. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    4. We will win the CUP

  55. G-Man says:

    Baaang on, Mr. Young. :)

    Gilbert

  56. Habs64 says:

    Hockey News Future Watch 2008

    Ranked 1st : Carey Price
    Ranked 31st: Ryan Mcdo
    Ranked 37th: Max Pac
    Ranked 69th: PK SUBBAN

    Overall rank in NHL I believe was 7th and a total grade of A-.

    http://www.zinio.com/express3?issue=246527072&o=int&prev=sub&ncc=1

  57. smiler2729 says:

    That idiot mouthpiece Darren Dreger is suggesting on TSN that Bob Gainey may be in the running to take over the Maple Leafs. Now he has all Laff Nation frothing at the mouth like it’s a done deal.
    Is Gainey not signed beyond this summer???

  58. Will Longlade says:

    Everyone knows that some of the best trades are the ones you don’t make. Look at what happened to Hossa last night. Trading for him was too big a risk and it would have moved the team backwards (as opposed to forward or sideways) if the Habs weren’t successful in signing him to an extension. I like the team the Habs have put together. Could they go far in the playoffs this year? Possibly. Are they Stanley Cup favourites? No, but they could exceed everyone’s expectations. IMO, the Habs have one of the best managed organizations in pro sports. We should be celebrating that.

  59. Bill H says:

    My intention was to get more specific information from you about this centre you would have traded for. You came through with some excellent suggestions. I don’t know why BG did not move in that direction. Maybe he got caught up in the impact player thinking. Maybe he was concerned about jumpstarting Koivu/Higgins/Ryder and let then one get by him.

  60. coutNY says:

    Weird two months ago… they were the creme de la East. Now after the Top line gets injured now there just a plain old La Creme strain on…
    of the milk that just spilled on the floor! Get your heads out of the gutter!

  61. Bouleau noir says:

    We have been in good hands at the drafting table since the hiring of Timmins by Savard in 2002 and as crucial as this element can be in building teams,.. much more needs be done to bring about a Cup champion.

  62. showey47 says:

    Holik? Peca, not big but is very strong in the circle and plays big. Gratton maybe but i think he is injured now. Federov was obviously available and was traded for an unknown prospect. Long story short we rank 23rd in the league in faceoffs in a game based on puck possesion. Puck possesion begins with faceoffs, see the pattern. Nothing above would of cost more than a mid pick or mid level prospect or someone like dandy who doesn’t see much ice time but takes up cap space. These centers would be an upgrade over smolinski big time. Grabovski and locke are not shutdown centers. Do you think these two can shut down the likes of crosby, malkin , the spezza line etc…..me neither. I like lapierre he has improved huge in the circle and is playing with the energy that makes him a fan favourite. I suggested a third line center to help us down the stretch this season and the playoffs. I don’t take your post as a “cheap shot” but if that was your intention, then good for you.

  63. Mr.Hazard says:

    Hm. Another hockey prediction about the Habs. What the heck do they know? :P

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  64. smiler2729 says:

    All I can predict about the Habs is also about all I want out of them – TO PLAY EXCITING HOCKEY! Remember the boring hockey played under Pat Burns way back in ’89-’90′-’91 or Claude Julien? Zzzzzzz.

  65. MathMan says:

    Mirtle didn’t really “predict” anything… his chart is based off number of points/number of games, or, equivalently, on how the standings will look if the teams finish the season on the same points pace they have had all year. And yes, right now, Montreal is on pace to finish ahead of Ottawa.

  66. fuhgawz says:

    can anyone sum up what was in the higgens news clip for me ….. ?? —

  67. smiler2729 says:

    Higgs is happy not to be traded and is gonna kick ass to show management they didn’t make a mistake by keeping him… ho-hum.

  68. wd40 says:

    here: http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.canoe.com%2Fsports%2Fnouvelles%2Farchives%2F2008%2F02%2F20080229-064101.html&langpair=fr%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

    It’s not a perfect translation (in fact, it’s pretty funny), but it’ll certainly give you the gist of it. smiler’s got it though.. that’s pretty much it.

    cheers

  69. REB2 says:

    Hossa out with a sprained MCL…poetic justice! May he fully recover AFTER June 15th.

  70. piche says:

    Yeah… and Richards with 5 assists last night.

  71. wd40 says:

    anyone else think Pens GM Ray Shero had a bad night’s sleep?

  72. snowdonsteve says:

    Sens can’t win their goalies cant stop anything these days (have you seen Dowd’s goal ?) Hossa gets injured !!!

    it’s now clear to me that god is a habs fan !

    Go HABS Go

  73. showey47 says:

    Funny to see 3 out of 4 gainey’s free agent signings in the pressbox for extended periods of time. I don’t blame bob for being on the cautious side by bringing in some vets. I think the only thing bob is guilty of is under-estimating his youth and how nhl ready they were. Having this many nhl ready players in the system is going to take alot of pressure of bob come july 1st where he will probably looking to add just 1 player maybe 2 at the most.

  74. smiler2729 says:

    Yeah but they were signed as free agents to be insurance policies and that’s what they are now thanks to the youth movement working out. I like Kostopoulos though.

  75. Bill H says:

    LOL. That’s right. Except for Gainey, we all knew that we would be in a dogfight for 1st place in the conference with 7 players scoring 40pts or more and third in the league with goals for, and the hottest PP in the league (after letting Souray walk). That was all so clear last July when BG had to make some decisions on how to fill holes in the lineup. The man must be blind. Good one Showey. You are a master at understatement.

  76. Chuck V. says:

    I don’t necessarily think that Bob underestimated the youth, as he’s only signed Smo and Breezer to one year deals and Kostopoulos to a 2 year contract. Remember, these guys were playing pretty regularly this season until the youth got up to speed. I think that Gainey and Carbo’s plan all along has been to slowly integrate the youth and prospects into the starting squad as the young veterans assume the leadership of the team.

  77. the real vinnydj says:

    If we looked at who we have sitting in the press box in terms of salary I’m not too concerned. When somebody making 3 mill is sitting up there than it’s a bit different. I wonder if anybody could find out what team has spent the most $$ this year on people who have been healthy scratched. That would be interesting to know.

  78. smiler2729 says:

    It’s too bad Richards didn’t want to waive his NTC to come to Montreal, I liked him way better than Hossa, Jokinen, Sundin or any other ‘impact’ player rumoured to be on the Habs’ radar.
    And his nickname coulda been ‘Rockets’… or ‘Keith’.

  79. HabsInBlood says:

    I would have rather traded with someone that would have gotten 2 assists in his 1st game … but at 2/5ths Richards’ salary.

  80. showey47 says:

    I can agree to an extent but i’m pretty sure smolinski making 2 million bucks was supposed to play a bigger role than a hotdog connisseour in the pressbox

  81. smiler2729 says:

    I know but that’s also why Smolinski’s got a 1 year deal, I’m sure Smols will be valuable as for Breezer, well, Patty, it’s time to hang ‘em up buddy, you are way down on that depth chart!

  82. coutNY says:

    Hey, but he’ll be in the game Saturday I bet… he seems to have Brodeaur’s Number. He pretty much got us back in the game in our last and 1st victory in many years against them… could be a fluke but I bet we see him against NJD.

  83. showey47 says:

    I guess it will all depend on tonight works out, carbo likes to keep winning lineups in tact.

  84. the real vinnydj says:

    Too bad we didn’t trade for Hossa, he could of kept the guys in the press box entertained.

    Habs 4 Sabres 2

  85. Bill H says:

    I’ve been waiting for the right thread to post some info about UFAs and RFAs, now that we have passed the trade deadline. I guess this thread is as good as any.

    Anyone out there thought about what our roster will look like next year, when we make the big push for the Stanley Cup? We have 10 players that turn UFA or RFA on July 1. Who will sign to an extension? Who will go elsewhere? How much space do we have under the cap for next year? How much are they worth to keep them here? These are all questions that I have been pondering. So I took a look at current salaries and made some guesses about what they might sign for.

    Admittedly, some of them are wild guesses. There also may be some incorrect assumptions about who can make the team next year, or outright errors in my calculations. I find it all a bit confusing what with possible bonuses and salaries not applied to the cap, etc. I think I will share these estimates with you all so that we may apply our collective minds and see what we come up with.

    I am keeping a close eye on Grabs these days. He will be RFA and is 24 years old. I’d say this call up is Gainey’s last look at Grabs to see if he is NHL material. If he plays well, he will probably be extended, or maybe traded (we have a lot of center men). If he doesn’t, either another team will pick him up, or he will be in Russia next year. I doubt he came to Montreal to ride the bus in Hamilton. So something interesting will happen there.

    Stats are on the way….

  86. Bill H says:

    Total Salary Cap 07-08********************50.3
    Estimated Salary Cap 08-09****************53.3
    Increase in salary cap******************(a)3.0

    Some assumptions about whom we might not want to resign:

    Salaries saved in 08-09
    Smolinski C*************UFA*************2.0
    Brisebois D*************UFA*************1.4
    Huet*******************Traded***********2.245
    Total*********************************(b)5.645

    Total cap space carried over
    From 07-08****************************(c)4.619

    Total estimated cap space to
    extend FAs*******(a)+(b)+(c)************13.564

    Okay, here is the cap hit of each FA player this year, followed by what we might extend them for (and the increase or decrease over this year).

    Contracts to be renewed*****************07-08***********08-09 (increase)
    Lapierre C**************RFA*************.583************ 1.83 (+.5)
    Grabs C/LW**************RFA*************.725************ 1.725 (+1.0)
    K1 LW/RW****************RFA*************.785************ 2.785 (+2.0)
    Ryder RW****************UFA*************2.95************ 1.95 (-1.0)
    Streit LW/D*************UFA*************0.6************* 2.6 (+2.0)
    Gorges D****************RFA**************.495************1.495 (+1.0)

    O’Byrne D***************RFA**************.59*************1.59 (+1.0)
    Halak G*****************RFA**************.492************1.492 (+1.0)

    Total extra salary under cap******************************7.5
    Total extra space*****************************************3.564
    Extra space to sign or trade for
    an “Impact player”****************************************6.064

    Btw, the full list of RFAs and UFAs can be found here: http://www.nhlnumbers.com/freeagents.php

  87. the real vinnydj says:

    Pretty good estimates, You messed Lapierre’s up a bit. I didn’t realize we had that many FA’s.

  88. coutNY says:

    I doubt Ryder will take a hometown discount after the way he’s been treated in his slump and over not signing him long-term last year. Even if he’s not worth it, the market is weak for right handed and right handed players. Montreal is a prime example of teams that have that asset in our arsenal, not sure we’d have any without Ryder.

    I’d estimate Grab’s, Lapierre, O’B and Gorges a little cheaper…. around the $1-$1.2 million range.

    Maybe They’d would all have to be re-evaluate if we were to make a good run in the playoffs.

  89. nightmare_49 says:

    Only Bob knows the direction he’s going to take and he has a pretty good idea right now. Julien Brisbois and Pierre Gauthier are aware also and i leave it up to them and Bob sayes were in good shape so i’m happy. I must say that you have put a lot of work into this and i praise you and now i know why you were against an impact player but they know who we’re going to keep and are not worried at all about the salary cap.

  90. piche says:

    Mike Peca is available next year… he is currently making $1.9M. I wouldn’t mind having a guy like that to center our shutdown line.

  91. gabe. says:

    Excellent post, Kevin!

  92. Bill H says:

    Yes, I messed up on Lapierre in calculating his estimated salary increase. I meant to give him a $1M raise. Also a typo in Total extra cap space…should read 13.564. That is the total of (a)+(b)+(c).

    Ryder is certainly a big question mark countNY. Given his performance this year, I don’t consider an extension at $1.95M to be a hometown discount. Yes, he has had a rough time. I’m taking a wild guess that IF he pulls out of the slump, BG will want to resign him, given his improved defensive game. But he will be under 20G this year, so his value will be down from last year when he signed his extension coming off 2 30G seasons. As many have pointed out on these pages, for a third line player, he does very well. But maybe Ryder will want a change in scenery. Who knows? I can’t see another team offering him big bucks and long term to play on their first line.

  93. coutNY says:

    I contest the market will at least keep him at least at his current salary: Here’s why… because teams looking to add a 2nd or third liner 25-31 years old only have the following options availible compared to Ryder:

    Haydar, Darren ~ AHL
    Aucoin, Keith ~ AHL/NHL small but decent player
    Letowski, Trevor ~ Smaller never had a 20 goal season let alone 30
    Godard, Eric ~ 4th line enforcer
    Parker, Scott ~ 4th line enforcer
    Belak, Wade ~ 4th line enforcer
    Willsie, Brian ~ simlar size but nowhere near the scoring ability
    Radivojevic, Branko ~ little bigger 3rd 4th liner scores little
    Langfeld, Josh ~ 4th line enforcer NO OFFESIVE UPSIDE
    Asham, Arron ~ 4th line role player
    Dimitrakos, Niko ~ Hip injury, sidelined indefinitely never had above 20
    Boulerice, Jesse ~ 4th line enforcer
    Vrbata, Radim ~ Best represents Ryder at his age
    Weller, Craig ~ Career AHLer filling space
    Hall, Adam ~ Groin, day-to-day - IR little Off upside
    Hossa, Marian ~ True 1st liner - will camand 7-8 million next year
    Laraque, Georges ~ 4th line enforcer
    Wanvig, Kyle ~ Career AHLer
    Bradley, Matt ~ Role player never score above 10 in his career

    So my point is that in a market is driven Supply and Demand and the fact there are about 2 players under 31 that are better, which includes this year, will force teams to look at him as an option. You don’t think a team, looking for a second line scoring option, won’t offer him at least what he’s making now? ($2.95 mil)

  94. tony d says:

    I think Mike’s days are numbered….injury prone etc…


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