Quick hits

On L’Antichambre, Guy Carbonneau is praising Mathieu Darche and talking about the Canadiens’ response to adversity.

Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Mike Cammalleri: all out.

Alex Auld: in.

Trailing after one period, and looking slow and outclased in the talent department.

But your Montreal Canadiens don’t quit.

For the fifth game in a row, the Comeback Canadiens erased a deficit.

And while Gaston Therrien, wearing a shirt he borrowed from Prince, breaks down the Rangers’ goal – and highlights P.K. Subban’s screw-up – I’ll dwell on some positives:

• Benoit Pouliot is playing like the guy who was drafted one spot ahead of Carey Price: six shots, the winning goal, two hits and a charge into Henrik Lundqvist’s kitchen on the goal that put the Canadiens back into the game. Plus hustle to save icing. And Benny is shining with with a variety of linemates. Is he finally emerging as a Top Six player? God knows, they need one.

• Jaro Spacek scored a goal and saved a couple.

• Max Pacioretty had four SoG and four thunderous hits.

• Scott Gomez went 10-3 on faceoffs and played excellent hockey in a building he likes.

• The PK hasn’t given up a goal since the OT loss to Atlanta.

• The Wiz had four SoG, four blocked shots and few glaring defensive errors.

• P.K. should have pressured Brandon Dubinsky on the Rangers’ goal. but he played 22:12 – second only to Hal Gills’s 22:44 among defencemen.

But you know who had a really great game?

Jacques Martin.

The coach won his gamble with Auld. He shuffled his forward lines and shortened his bench to positive effect, rewarding the hard work of Benny and Darche by playing them with the team’s most talented centre.

And, most importantly, the coach whom everyone knocks for being boring and stodgy continues to transmit that tranquillity to a team that doesn’t panic when undermanned and trailing.

Another thing: the much-maligned Martin system has restricted opponents to fewer than 30 shots in Alex Auld’s last three starts.


It wasn’t all skittles and beer.

• Yannick Weber struggles against aggressive forechecking … and John Tortorella teams check aggressively.

• David Desharnais played 8:46 – lowest ToI since his recall.

• Lars Eller was ineffective on Plekanec’s wing, took an O-zone penalty early, played five shifts in the first period, three in the second and none in the third.

Should the kid be in Hamilton?

Tony Marinaro thinks so. 

The Great Antonio says Eller is in Montreal for one reason only: to make the Jaro Halak trade look good.

Well, that isn’t happening.

Besides, Carey Price’s brilliance has silenced most of the second guessing on shipping Halak out of town.

Eller has size, speed and talent – none of which will develop playing six minutes a night in The Show.

While the Canadiens try to get out of NYC in a snowstorm, the Penguins are chilling in Montreal.

More tomorrow.



  1. leafs67_andcounting says:

    OK, I’m not a McGuire fan, in fact I’ll watch RDS or the oppsosing teams feed just so I don’t have to listen to him. Yes, the man knows his hockey but he’s also President of the Pierre McGuire fan club. McGuire doesnt like JM OR Pierre Gauthier. JM got the job in Ottawa in ’96 ahead of McGuire and he’s been bitter ever since. His point is not without merit, but it’s important to remember that he (McGuire) has an agenda of his own.

  2. HardHabits says:

    In this day and age you cannot remove every other consideration either:

    Who’s available at the time

    The tax situation in Quebec

    Who is in the pipe-line

    What type of team are you trying to build

    Where do you stand in the player development department

    The trade essentially was good for both teams. The Habs took on a bad contract yes, but face it, it’s about 2 million over Gomez’ real market value. They were able to sign Cammy, Gionta and Plex so your argument is weak. Thankfully the Habs didn’t get Gaborik.

    Another thing. The Habs won the hockey game last night (not to mention went deeper in the play-offs last season). I’d say they were the winner.


  3. heartandgoal says:

    Nice breakdown.  I agree on all points, except that it’s not like the habs didn’t benefit at all.  Gomez and Gionta were an improvement on Tanguay and Koivu.  And if the trade allowed NY to sign Gaborik (himself still a question mark with injuries), the Gomez signing allowed MTL to bring in Cammalleri (an improvement on Kovalev).

    But in a straight, on-paper comparison, you’re right: you gotta give the win to the Rangers.  Massive salary and ineffective player dump in return for a decent prospect.

  4. HabsProf says:

    In this day and age, you can NOT remove cap issues from a trade.  Getting Gomez off the books allowed the Rangers to sign Gaborik.  It gives the Rangers control of a solid defensive prospect during his “cheap” period.  It prevents the Habs from signing other people.

    I like Gomez, but not at that price.  This trade is a straight loss for the Habs.


    They brought their f____ing toys with them!

  5. Propwash says:

    Blogs are there to be read.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  6. mjames says:

    He played okay. The Trade is basically Gomez and Pyatt for Mcdonough.  In my opinion if one factors in the cap inflexibility caused by Gomez’s contract I would say the Rangers come out on top. 


  7. Rugger says:

    Don’t know how much NYC got last night, but the same storm continued up here (30 miles North of Boston) and we have over a foot as of 7 am and still snowing so hard that you cannot see the house across the street.  So if NYC got anything close to what we are getting than the reports were justified and the Habs were lucky to get out of town.

  8. SlovakHab says:

    Couldn’t watch the game.. How did McDonagh look?

  9. bleublancrouge says:

    I’m sure Cammalleri is thinking more about wins than he is his contract at this point and the system is built around goaltending and defensive responsability…. an undermanned d-corp and a struggling andrei k are what is frustrating you my friend but look at it this way.. if the habs had taken 3 more wins from the roadtrip from hell they would be in 2nd place in the eastern conference and no one would have a care in the world except maybe andrei k. Parity in the league is expected but we have seen first hand what this system can do in the playoffs!

  10. mbplekfan says:

    Another scraped out win with too few goals. McGuire said it right when he pointed out that under JM’s system there isnt any secondary puck support in the offensive zone. Forwards are playing high in the zone to cover breakouts and this leaves one guy against two defenceman or at best two guys against two defenceman and a centre.

    Being outmanned in the offensive zone is a sure fire way to not score. No wonder AK and Cammaleri are unhappy. These guys are goal scorers. They get contracts and money based on results and a year or two of crappy JM numbers will cost these guys when contracts come up.

  11. christophor says:

    you read the radio?

  12. rocketsglare says:

    Great system win.

    Go Habs Go!

  13. VancouverHab says:

    “Gomez’s only asset is winning faceoffs”

    With respect, that is complete crap. What is at last 12 games? 12 points? And he has our only real transition game, and he plays shutdown minutes. When we didn’t have him for three games we looked bad — I mean REALLY bad.

    Talk about his salary if that makes you happy (in fact it’s a complete non-issue, but we’ve been around this block hundreds of times.) But it’s just wrong to dininish what he brings.

    PS: I love quite a few other players on the team (Pleks, Moen, Gill, Pouliot, Spacek e.g.): it’s just that there is some sickness around that makes people irrationally bash Gomez out of all proportion, and I’ll push back. Thanks for reading.

  14. habs001 says:

    no cup for san jose…leafs play the night before yet they score 4 goals in the third to win 4-2

  15. habs001 says:

    2-2 now…38-23 leafs being out shot

  16. HugeHabFan says:

    Did anyone see the “massive snowstorm” that TSN showed during the broadcast that threatened to snow the Habs in New York all night. I have seen more snow fall while scraping out my freezer…Not sure what the 2 canadian hosts were raving about, as they should know better being from a country that actually gets snow. Maybe the storm is coming, but what they showed (and raved about) was a very mild sprinkling…

  17. habs001 says:

    2-1 leafs now mcarthur 13th goal…their top 6 has been scoring non stop last 2 weeks…

  18. habs001 says:

    leafs won in la yest and now are 1-1 in the third in san jose….kessel 19th goal…still the best they can hope for is 10th in the east so boston may get a good pick depending on the west

  19. habs001 says:

    we just cannot hold on to a player because he may produce with another team…leclaire may not have been any better if he remained in montreal…

  20. twocents says:

    I don’t know if anyone is noticing, but the Hammer is putting up some solid offensive numbers this year.

    On track for his best year that way since he left Calgary.

  21. habs4ever2894 says:

    Andrei Kostitsyn = Alexei ponikarovsky


    He has size and talent but he cant put it all together to become an effective top six consistently ……..

  22. ABHabsfan says:

    I have to agree on Eller. I don’t think the Halak trade needs to be justified anymore, the guy is getting pulled every other game. Send Eller down to build some chemistry with Boyd and Maxwell and (IMO) Kristo ( if they get him away from NDU). Bring up White who can provide some energy on the fourth and give the other teasm something to think about. Habs are too easy to play against physically (is there some award for the most obvious statement?) 

  23. darcy1 says:

    He’s still RFA this year, I think we need to qualify him. Last thing we need is a 2nd coming of John LeClaire

    ”If you’ve only got one day to live, come see the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’ll seem like forever. ” Pat Foley (Blackhawks broadcaster)

  24. Da Hema says:

    Watching the Habs win one-goal games cannot objectively be good for my heart and blood pressure. I do think, though, teams can consistently learn to win one-goal games, and that such an expectation is better in the long-run for teams rather than trying to win by scoring 5 or 6 goals a game. It seems teams oriented to the latter (e.g., Washington, Vancouver) do not do so well when it really counts.


    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  25. habs001 says:

    i agree…even a game like today we could just as easily have been beaten…all it takes is a fluke goal or a mistake…we have hardly any margin for error…with our d we can win 4 games in a row in the playoff vs any team 2-1…but we can get beaten in 4 games by 2-1 also…we need more scoring…

  26. Timo says:

    You can’t escape it. Eventually you WILL love Jacques Martin. Habs have about 25 mil wasted on so called top 5. With exception to Pleks who is an excellent number TWO center and plays the role he was given to perfection that’s about it. No matter how many assists (not many) Gomer gets, he is paid 8 mil to score freaking goals. Same goes for Gionta and Cammilleri. AK is a basket case and just needs to be rid off. Let’s face it, Habs got rid of much better players than him in the past, so what’s the holdup? So yes, I would love to see Habs win more convincingly. Just like in the beginning of the season, these one goal game winning streaks don’t last long.

    Go Habs and screw the Penguins.

  27. habs001 says:

    it will be decision time with ak46…management still hoping that he can score maybe 8 goals in 12 games in the playoff and not be the one goal in 15 game player…i think this prospect is the only reason he has not been traded…he will have another scoring streak but we just dont know will it happen in the season or playoffs…same with his slump…

  28. Bill says:

    I’m thrilled the Habs have won these games and been able to come from behind to do it, but we”re not seeing what we need to see for the Habs to have any hope this season, namely any semblage of offense.

    They’ve gotten brilliant goaltending from Price AND Auld (fantastic back-up numbers), and they’ve been squeezing out these 2-1 wins, but how long can it last?

    I’m not prepared to join the Jacques Martin love-in. I’d like to see a little creativity and secondary scoring. I’d like to see some consistency in the line-up. I’d like to see guys with talent like AK46 and Pouliot playing more than 14 minutes. I’d like to see the Habs win a game by a pair at least once.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  29. Born in a Bad Year says:

    Best comment of the night belongs to Jennifer Hedger.

    Less than three minutes after McSplooge annoints Darche as the monster, she lets the clip roll where Darche misses the empty net, then lets the goal roll and lets loose with “if you can’t score with a stick, you might as well use a skate”

    But seriously, you are letting JM have credit for a couple of games where we have gotten timely goals off skates and deflections, you are probably missing the point of what good coaching is.   A good coach might not have shoved a benched player on the first line out of his normal position.  It might have a better choice to go move up Darche or Moen initially and start Eller on the fourth line wing until he was more into the play, instead of putting him out on our top minute line.

  30. habs001 says:

    why pouliot does not play more games like today is hard to understand…but ak46 is even worse at this hide and seek performance game…we have to reduce plecks pk time..he looked fresh all game…we need him for the offense… 

  31. oshawahabsfan says:

    Cammy’s got to be here if they are pursuing Iginla, they’ve played together before. I get kinda giddy imaging them on the powerplay together on their off wings haha. Send AK and a combo of picks and a Hamilton prospect

  32. Colomb27 says:

    The road losses may come back to bite us in the future but as for now our Montreal Canadiens are rolling steadily with a mighty captain in control of the bleu, blanc, et rouge vessle… the S.S. Martin!  He is efficiently planning and devising successful strategies against inner-conference rivals, and to our appreciation, we have seen the Canadiens record rise to an impressive 24 wins.

    Since when did the East become so competitive!?

    What I learned tonight:

    A. Kostitsyn isn’t worth a nickel. He’d be hardpressed to score 20 goals in Hamilton

    Pouliot may emerge as a top 6 forward over the next few weeks – We need a spark and without gritty scoring forwards like Metropolit and Moore we’ll be in tough down the stretch

    Darche has been solid all year and continues to put up numbers.  His physical game has been a huge impact on this years Canadiens and he was most certainly the reason why Gauthier granted Lapierre his wishes to leave mtl

    Gomez’s only asset is winning faceoffs. Each point that the big G scores is probably worth $350,000 and $20,000 for each faceoff that he wins (ball parking it)

    Gionta has turned into a Scott Stevens style hitter at the point! This just in – Gionta has been switched to Subban’s point spot.  Subban turns the puck over deep in the Offensive zone so often that Martin has been given no choice but to change his position to wing.  IN ALL SERIOUSNESS – Subban is our whipping boy only because he is our saviour, and is the face of our future.  In downtown Toronto there is a mural of P.K. decked out in his nike swag (it’s huge!).  The Leaf fans must be kicking themselves.  The mural is a reminder that draft picks are the way to build a healthy and successful team.

    And last but certainly not least…*drum roll



  33. habs001 says:

    we will need more scoring to avoid slumps ..if most of your games are tied in the third there is a good chance wins and losses will even out…

  34. Propwash says:

    It’s just a rumor, I read it from a Montreal radio guy.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  35. Just A Guy says:

    Calgary does have this recent history of taking some of its players back.


    Just teasing, no doubt Cammy was in a slump, but the result of the trade would have us still stuck with AK. and by that I mean no way would the habs make that trade to Edmonton.

  36. Propwash says:

    Theres rumours around about Cammi for either Iggy or Penner.

    Will never happen IMO.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

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