One-on-one: Smolinski happy with Habs

Bryan Smolinski battles Isles’ Bruno Gervais along the boards.
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

In this week’s one-on-one, The Gazette’s Kevin Mio talks to Canadiens centre Bryan Smolinski, signed by the team during the offseason for his veteran leadersip and skills in the faceoff circle. Smolinski has played more than 1,000 games in the NHL and was happy to sign with Montreal during the offseason. In the interview, Smolinski discusses his future plans and talks about the worst roommate he has ever had.

Read the full article here.


  1. The Cat says:

    Yes TommyB I think our D is a bit small in todays standards. We need more Komisarek-like beef back there. Im not asking for much just another one that size. 6’0 200 pounds is average.

  2. TommyB says:

    I think what you are seeing is a team getting a little bit lazy lately, and a team that has gotten just a little too comfortable, a little too soon. You are right…some ugly signs there, but things like hard work and effort can fix this, in most cases. Maybe Carbo has given some of these guys just a bit too much rope. He may have backed off just a little too much discipline-wise, in his efforts to become more “communicative”.

    Our small defensemen?…Hamrlik, Markov, Komisarek and Brisebois…small???
    Bouillion is small for sure, and maybe Streit is not so big, but 4 out of the top 6 D-men on this team are not small. I think the idea that the Habs are a small team is a misconception. In fact, against Philly it was noted that both teams are the same average size. Montreal might play like a small team, but in reality I don’t think they are that undersized.

  3. TommyB says:

    Hi Robert,

    Yeah, that’s my summer ride in the pic. A three-year project from a pile of scrap to something much more appreciative, (hmmm, think I have a bit of patience?)

    Anyway, what rattles you about some of the criticisms is also part of what bugs me. But more irritating to me, are the seemingly endless line of fans who seem to just lie in waiting for an opportunity to start chirping about what is wrong and how “I” would fix it. Now I know we have many knowledgeable hockey people here, but I wouldn’t trade the coach and GM of our local Junior B team here for some of these posters on here. To think that Gainey, Carbonneau, and the rest of his coaching staff are at wit’s end here, and desperate, is actually comical. There is a long way to go in this race, and if there are pieces of the puzzle to be fitted in yet, it will happen when those proper pieces become available.

  4. The Cat says:

    Its not necessarily panicking. Its just that some can see the ugly signs, and some of those signs are real: like losing the battles along the boards, our small defensemen that’ll get manhandled more and more as the season goes. Chicago’s the same: living on special teams for now but they wont be a threat as the season progresses. Habs fans are greedy and want a winner/contender every year.

  5. N.B. habs fan 50 yrs says:

    thanks for the uplift ..after the loss on the weekend I read the comments on tsn and on here and I feel there are to many negitave fans that feel we have to win every game and if we dont they give up on our team who I hope dont read these comments because we sound like Leaf fans,Some fans here blame the coaching or management and most of the players.I feel we have a great team and that is why when other teams play us they work hard because they know it means they are playing the best in history and the most notice team in the world,so win or lose I still wear my habs colours with pride.I will love my habs for another 50yrs…GO HABS GO…

  6. J.T. says:

    Thanks for the link. That’s a nice little story, and some interesting stats. I had no idea the Habs blocked that many shots. I guess that explains why their shots against totals are down from last year.

  7. The Cat says:

    I’m not panicking but I find the lack of guts worrisome. Smolinski, for one, should be making more of an impact. He could become a leader on this team, the steady kind of veteran who always plays gritty who can call out teammates that arent putting in a full effort, but he doesnt seem overly interested in doing that.

  8. Peter Young says:

    A bit off-topic here, but there’s an interesting story in the New York Times about blocked shots. The Canadiens are the number one team in blocked shots and Mike Komisarek is second among players. Here’s the link:

  9. Blitzen says:

    Lapierre has grit and can annoy the opposition. Some of our 3rd and 4th liners began the year showing grit but they seem to have forgotten about that part of their game recently. Sit someone who’s going through the motions right now and play Lapierre.

    I don’t think Lats is the problem right now. He certainly wasn’t doing anything early in the season but I think he’s trying a lot more now.

  10. Robert L says:

    Tommy B – Is that your wheels in that pic?

    You know what rattles me about the criticisms? It’s the lack of a well balanced argument and pointed counterproposal. A bad week is nothing to get unsettled about. I recall the Habs great teams of the 1970’s going off course for a game or two, and certain people would panic like it was the end of the world.

    Often, and it might be unfortunate, these harsh “insights” say much more about those speaking them than they do the subject at hand.

    Sometimes we need to take a deep breathe, look at pro’s and con’s fairly, analyze both sides of the coin, and then make a balanced and well rounded judgement.

    In applying that last notion to myself, even I often fail. I was ready to push Kovalev off a plank last summer, but sometimes one just needs to put it’s faith in the team management and re-evaluate things from a broader perspective sometimes.

  11. Robert L says:

    What can Lapierre offer the Canadiens that 4 or 5 other 3rd and 4th line grinders aren’t already giving the team?

    When evaluating a young player such as Latendresse, the upside must be considered. He works hard and is honest about his mistakes and shortcomings. To the team he brings size, hits, and a decent shot. When he matures, he’ll be a pretty darn good power forward that is hard to move off the puck. The Canadiens have no other prospects with these qualities, and folks named Gainey and Carbonneau who REALLY DO KNOW their hockey figure he’s ready enough to do his learning at the NHL level.

    If you know more about hockey than them, I’d love you to back it up!

  12. Robert L says:

    Smolinksi has been one expensive bouche-trou so far. A more expensive version of Chad Kilger.

    I don’t know how many of you tuned into the talk shows or watched “Debat Des Grands Chefs” after the game, but I find that panicking after a few lame games by the team is somewhat overwhelming and very immature of fans that ought to be a little more savvy and patient with this young team.

    “No Drastic Remedy Needed For Habs Recent Woes”

  13. Robert L says:

    LOL – Who was the roomate….I wasn’t present?

  14. Habs-Kat says:

    I’d rather have Smolinski than that former roommate of his…

  15. TommyB says:

    I enjoyed your article, as usual.

    It’s been very unsettling to me, reading all the negative posts here after what amounts to a two-game losing streak. You want to scream some sense into some of these people. I especially get a kick out of the ones that basically mean “if you don’t agree then you don’t know anything about hockey”.

    As you stated in your article, no one knows this team better than Carbonneau and Gainey. To be more exact, they also know better than anyone else what the problem areas are, as well as what needs to be done to fix these problems. So if there appears to be inaction on their part, I would have to assume that certain “fixes” are not in the cards right now. For example, this big trade that everyone seems to think Gainey can make, just isn’t there right now, at least not the way Gainey wants it. Sending players to the minors doesn’t make much sense if there is not something better to bring up as a replacement. I don’t think there is any “Dog” setting the AHL on fire right now.

    I think the answers are there. Right there in that dressing room. Guys have to work every night, every shift, and it shouldn’t matter what line they are on, or even how many different lines they play on in any given game. These guys are professionals. Who can blame a coach for juggling people around when things are not working? Should he just stand behind the bench and watch?

    It’s funny how many people think that they have the answers, and that Gainey and Carbo have inferior hockey minds to theirs. Things are never that easy, and the answers are never that close by.

    I’ll continue to exercise patience as a fan, and continue to have faith in this Habs management.

  16. Ed says:

    This is right from Kevin Mio’s article in the Gazette:

    Mio asked “Who has been your worst roommate?”

    Smolinski replied “Mariusz Czerkawski was the worst. He was a former player here and he just made silly noises in the night. There was no way of stopping him.”

  17. Chuck V. says:

    not sure the habs are that happy with smo right now though…

  18. showey47 says:

    I’d like to see those face-off skills he is talking about

  19. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Truth be told, he’s happy with the Habs but as a Habs fan I’m not too happy with him. I expected a lot more. We can definitely use Bonk & Johnson about now.

  20. showey47 says:

    bonk yes, but johnson no way. even though he did score 11 goals for us last year, he probably had less than 11 hits and less than 11 blocked shots. Mike isn’t good enough to play on our top 2 lines and not enough grit to play on our bottom 2. He was a very soft 6’2″ 200 pound player, i would take t.k over him anytime. But thats just my opinion

  21. 24 Cups says:

    Smolinski, like Brisebois is a stop gap measure until younger players develop and are ready to play in the NHL. He was signed to play centre and wing on the third and fourth lines. Add some leadership and experience and help play a role in developing young players like Chipchura. I agree that he is not living up to his record in terms of winning faceoffs but who is on this team? His game is in slow decline so expectations have to be put in proper perspective. Johnson is a right winger who has only played 8 games in St Louis and is barely hanging on to his job. Bonk, never lived up to expectations in Montreal and only lit it up during the second half of last year when he was palying for his next contract. Granted he has scored 9 goals in Nashville while getting plenty of PP time but he never used his size in Montreal and couldn’t contain some of the faster centres he faced while playing on the third line. In reality, who else do we play if we sit down Smolinski? Grabovski? He belongs in Hamilton as he is simply not ready for the NHL. He doesn’t have to clear waivers and Lapierre can be brought up to replace him. (waivers aren’t an issue for him either). Lapierre can play centre or wing and take some of the pressure off guys like Smolinski and Begin. I honesty don’t know what he’s like on faceoffs but he can’t be worse than the guys we have now. Heck we should go back to the old days when the defenseman took the faceoff in his own end, especially when Plekanec is out there. The truth of the matter is that the Habs have come back down to earth and we will now scratch and claw our way through the season trying to clinch a playoff spot with the talent that is presently on our roster. It won’t be Smolinski’s fault if we are on the outside looking in come April. There are a few other guys (who are younger and more talented) who have to be held accountable before Bryan is.

  22. Wayne says:

    I, for one, was delighted to learn Bryan sign with the Habs based solely what he had done in Ottawa. Sure, he’s on the tail end of a career but a not-so-shabby one either. He put a solid effort into the Bruins organization while he was there, helped the Kings out and was no slouch in Ottawa. On his abilities alone, I think it’s a great acquisition for us. He could’ve settled somewhere warmer with less fan/media pressure and played it safe. He didn’t ’cause he has guts. That’s why Bob signed him.

  23. CH1909-2009 says:

    Glad he’s having fun, slapping another couple mil on the end of his career with as little effort as possible. He seriously needs to step it up.


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