Quick hits

Very quick hitting tonight, because that barnburner left me in urgen need of a Jack or three.

By the skin of their teeth, because the third period was terrifying, the Canadiens racked up maybe their biggest win of the season.

Had they ridden four straight losses into the short Christmas break …

Suffice it to say we’d all be choking on turkey.

But the birthday boy showed and played great in all three zones.

All you Scott Gomez bashers get lumps of coal in your stockings.

And let me join you in tucking into some humble pie.

I’d given up on Andrei Kostitsyn. Many fans had.

The healthy scratch in Dallas was a message from Jacques Martin, but I wondered whether it would get through or be lost in translation.

It seems to have worked.

AK46 had a goal, two SoG, two hits and a blocked shot.

Once again, the Big Enigma flashed the talent that made him a high first-round draft choice: Size, speed, a great shot and, tonight, a willingness to hit and get involved.

If he played that way 82 times in a season …

And while visions of that Belarusian sugar plum dance in your head, isn’t it nice to have a bona-fide Top Six?

•  •  •

Check out a wild one in Boston, complete with NESN homer commentary.

And I hate to channel Don Cherry here, but the Jarome Iginla – Jamie Benn fight was a classic



We’ll see how the view from the pressbox affect Benoit Pouliot.

I don’t know if Benny will be back in the lineup on Boxing Day. Martin may be reluctant to mess with a winning 18, especially a group that worked very hard in Carolina.

But Pouliot is coming back in eventually. And maybe he learned something watching AK46 tonight.

Will P.K. Subban be back on the Island?

More problematic.

Yannick Weber made me nervous in this game. He’s small, gets tossed around and is prone to errors in his own end.

I still don’t know how the Canadiens survived that third-period match-up that saw Weber, Alexandre Picard and a tired Lars Eller line on against Eric Staal.

Weber played 19:40, Picard 19:18.

Too much ToI for a third pairing.

But Martin had no choice. Roman Hamrlik (who had a rough night) and Jaro Spacek played less than the 24 minutes they’ve been getting lately. Josh Gorges is hurt and played 20:15, Hal Gill 19:34.

Without Andrei Markov, Martin distributed time equally among his three pairings. 

That may be fine on Long island. But the Canadiens go to Washington next week. And Tampa Bay.

Enough fretting.

It was a delightful – and essential – win. The Canadiens maintain their tenuous hold on first place in the Northeast.

And the Dec. 23 jinx – which lasted from 1945 to 2009 – seems finally over.

•  •  •

Does Carey Price look tired to you?

I wonder if Martin will consider giving his goaltender a long weekend.

The coach cancelled practice in Dallas on Wednesday, and his team had fresh legs tonight.

This is a tough time of the season for the players: a heavy schedule, Christmas, family, etc.

Price has not been Priceian in recent games.

He’s young and he’s in shape.

But he may be suffering mental fatigue, born of the necessity to excel every night in order to give his low-scoring team a chance.

I think he’ll need more rest to gear for the stretch.

•  •  •

Jack beckons.

More tomorrow.




  1. oshawahabsfan says:

    The dispicable part was that teammate of his Stall skating by and yelling at Spacek to get up. They showed it on sportscentre. Gee Stall, let us hit you from behind face first into the boards and see if you get up right away, what an idiot

  2. oshawahabsfan says:

    No he is a pussy, there’s plenty of eveidence to point to that, last night’s being one of many instances

  3. Topham says:

    You’d given up on Kostitsyn? Really?

    Lions in Winter: http://www.lionsinwinter.ca

  4. Chris says:

    Like I said, it WAS a penalty.

    However, too many NHL players spin INTO the boards to try and evade a check they know is coming, as Spacek knew Cole was coming.  Spacek could and should have continued on his path after passing the puck and taken the hit, but instead chose to spin into the boards to try and evade a player coming from behind him.  Any time Cole thought he had to properly line up the hit for a shoulder on shoulder hit from the side was removed by that move…at the speed these guys are going, that is all it takes for a properly lined up hit to become a “dirty” hit.

    Opposing players do have the responsibility to pull up when they are faced with a player’s numbers, but much of the responsibility does lie with the player to protect themselves.  Instead, Spacek deliberately put himself into a vulnerable position as he was being hit.  Cole’s reaction is all the evidence I need….there was clearly no intent to run him from behind, else he would have got out of there in a hurry or looked for the guy that was going to fight him.  Cole is not a shrinking violet.  He felt bad because I do not for a second believe that a guy whose neck was broken on a brutal hit from behind by Brooks Orpik is going to be the one intentionally running a guy into the boards from behind.

    But I’m okay with agreeing to disagree on this one.  🙂

  5. Mats Naslund says:

    If the refs don’t call that one they might as well strike it from the rulebook. I don’t know if it can get more blatant. A player doesn’t need to get hurt for a major penalty. It was a very dangerous play and Cole’s reaction is all the evidence you need.

  6. Mats Naslund says:

    Take everything that Jack Edwards says with a grain of salt. He’s a soccer player who is on drugs of the cheapest variety.  

  7. Mats Naslund says:

    you’re exactly right. 

  8. arcosenate says:

    Gomez is finally getting some breaks, good for him, he always works.

    I wish someone would break Lucic, he’s very precious for a tough guy.

    We need a defenceman very soon, ours are broken.


  9. savethepuck says:

    Why was there no reply to that? Hilarious


  10. topher5468 says:

    Yes, I am guilty of Gomez bashing and can honestly say he deserved some of it. However, when he is playing the way he is now, he adds life to our PP and is definitely a top 6. I was also very hard on Benny as I felt he deserved it, I guess thats why i watch from my living room, Hamr needs to play less minutes per game and was critical of Picard staying in the line up. Again , well you know. This team has heart , no one can deny that. I hope Price gets the Start on Sunday as I will be there in my Price Jersey, I am a Long Islander and Proud of it, 

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  11. The Cat says:

    If theres a good thing about this year is that Brodeur is showing hes second to Patrick Roy.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  12. The Cat says:

    Yeah hes despicable but hes not a big pussy, I wonder if anyone on the habs could take him. Pussy is that Dallas guy not taking his helmet off against Iginla.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  13. The Cat says:

    Gomez and AK really played top notch. The habs deserved to win eventhough the ref helped them seal the deal because of a pillar.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  14. CHsam says:

    Just woke up to roomates’ friends smoking dope and puking in my living room. Told them all to GTFO.

    Made me feel like Martin kicking the rookies to upstairs.

  15. shootdapuck says:

    Edwards lives in the same fantasy land as Milbury!

    It must be the water the in New England.

    He also claimed that Savard really gave a lesson to the guy who fought him.


    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

  16. The M says:

    I totally understand why Cherry is so biased against the Habs, If I was Cherry, i’d be too

  17. Number31 says:

    Showed up on the scoreboard and with the 2 points. Also Lapierre went out to hit back not long after. Not everything has to be answered with a fight…

  18. The M says:

    Na I have to side with Chris on this one. It was a hit from behind but Spacek knew it was coming.  Two minute call was deserved and would’ve been the correct call

  19. VancouverHab says:

    Does Don Cherry praise Lucic? (I honestly don’t know) I hope not….

  20. VancouverHab says:

    On the contrary, well said & well supported.

  21. Steve C. says:

    Milan Lucic is a beast and could help any team, and yes, even the Montreal Canadiens.  And although it’d be great to have a guy like him on my team, I’m not sure if I really would want him.

    He’s actually a huge pussy.

    Sure Meyer’s hit was a little high, and even the first time I saw it (not in slow motion), it seemed to me that he was trying to hit him the shoulder/chest, but with the speed and momentum, missed a little and their heads collided and he did get a piece of him in the head.  Yes, Meyer made a mistake.  But Lucic can’t take a hit without going postal.  Not to mention that he punched Meyer wayyyyy after the fact.  If I was Anthony Stewart I would have responded with some heavy lefts.

    I remember a Habs/Bruins game…it was two seasons ago I believe, probably the first time that Mike Komisarek was facing the Bruins after the infamous beatdown he had endured from Lucic in Boston.  Anyway, a long pass comes to Lucic in the neutral zone, and Komi steps up and drills him.  Problem is, Lucic missed the puck and got smoked anyway ’cause Komisarek had already committed.  Point being is that Lucic goes berzerk, he and another Bruins player try to decapitate Komisarek and all hell breaks loose.  Somebody needs anger management.

  22. Mr.Hazard says:

    Yeah the NESN commentators don’t mention Lucic’s suckerpunch while Meyer was being held by the linesmen.

  23. Timo says:

    It was enjoyable. Thanks.

  24. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    Jack Edwards has to be the most embarrassing homer in broadcasting.  Next game on NESN, I’m muting the TV and listening to the CKAC feed.  What a joke.


  25. Graves says:

    To be fair – and I might get torn apart for this – Cole seemed genuinely remorseful about the hit, and the TSN commentators mentioned that he apologized immediately afterward and at least once more later on. That’s probably part of why no one tried to give him a beat down. The hit was definitely dirty, but I don’t think he meant to do it. Cole of all people knows the kind of damage those hits can do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRMz6A6r5fs.

  26. Rainrocket16 says:

    I agree with you, however our boys should have showed up and defended him. That should be a must, aint gotta be a Broad street beat down but at least show them you arent gonna take that crap!

  27. Timo says:

    I never really liked Iginla, but I can’t deny that he is a warrior. Playing for Flames would mentally wear down anybody and I think he would look nice in Habs uni. Today Calgary Sun had a headline saying “Cleanup?” and pictures of Iginla, Regehr and forgot who else… maybe Kipper. In another article they were saying that Flames have nothing to play for other than pride. They are not making playoffs and there will be a wholesale change – maybe a-la one that Gainey made. Hey, who knows, maybe they will be interested in Gomez.

  28. Ayan_SB says:

    Umm, you do know that the Habs got a 5 minute major powerplay as a result of that hit and scored 2 goals right? Hell, Spacek felt good enough to come back and play during that powerplay. The Habs won, who cares if they didn’t fight dude, this ain’t Broad Street.

    Also, you can tell that even Erik Cole looked a little apolegetic after his hit, considering he was once injured by a brutal hit along the boards.

  29. Rainrocket16 says:

    his back was turned and he got railed, he turned his back about 3 seconds before he got drilled. Way to stick up for your  Habs!

  30. Rainrocket16 says:

    why nobody kicked the crap out of Cole after his dirty hit on Spacek?? That hit was clearly a suspension, 5 min major, thats it? that could have been very bad! BS!! He better get fined! Should have been a game misconduct and a he should have gotten beat down by the Habs!!

  31. HardHabits says:

    <sarcasm>No. No. YOU don’t understand. The Habs can waive Gomez and then Brad Richards comes over for nothing and the Habs win the Cup. It’s so simple.</sarcasm>

    What these people don’t understand is that players like Price and Halpern more than make up for Gomez’ extra 2-2.5 million he makes.

    Bargains & busts: Getting money’s worth, worth less

  32. SlovakHab says:

    Regarding 1)

    Could have … from where? They don’t grow on trees. If you wanted 2 guys as good as Gomez for half of his salary, you would need to give up a lot in terms of other assets.

    It’s a league of trading. It’s not like fishing – you go to a river and you catch fish.. If you want good players with good contracts, you give something up. For Gomez, we gave up McDonagh & Valentenko + salary cap room.. (let’s assume that Pyatt vs Higgins is a wash, even though I prefer Pyatt by a long shot).

    If you wanted “two guys who produce as much as him for his money or one guy who produces a lot more”, you would have to give up way way more.

  33. VancouverHab says:

    Okay, Bill — will do.

    First the abstract economics.

    Number one, we will agree to assume that we are talking about competitive success as the measure of productivity vis a vis the salary cap. This doesn’t, of course, have to be the corporate owners’ measure — they could regard profitabilty as their measure, and calculate asset-costs accordingly (indeed, they might want to show an operating loss, for broader corporate strategic purposes.)

    Number two, in a capital-limited and closed ranked-asset environment, the aggregate ratio is the valid metric. That is, an NHL team has an artificially-limited total amount that can be spent on primary capital resources (i.e. players.) Next, the capital resources are discrete and non-fungible: any car company can make the next great car, but there is only one team that can get Sid Crosby.

    Number three, the full range of capital resources are already locked: the rival companies don’t start evenly from zero. Bob Gainey needed to blow up his team and rebuild. He couldn’t just say “I’ll build a elite NHL player.” He could only chose from a very limited resource market.

    So, at the time, Scott Gomez was (easily) the best player available who was (a.) elite and (b.) a proven competitive winner.

    So, the matter is not that Scott Gomez’ salary prevents anything else: the matter is, can the GM surround Gomez with supporting complimentary assets with the remaining fixed dollars. The Kovalchuk probem is that the supporting cast is too weak, and Kovalchuk is not compensating.

    Now, the player reality.

    “Get rid of Gomez for two players who cost half as much each and get more points.” I’ll just be brutally brief here and end. That’s total idiocy. When Gomez missed games we we total garbage. Two half Gomez’s can’t take the line-matching load. They can’t do the PK & shutdown genius. They can’t contribute the winning mentality (anyone who dismisses this just doesn’t know sport — or military for that matter.)

    Finally, if you can trade Gomez for a player who is better all around on the ice, has better Stanley CUp success, is a better leader, and costs less — great: do it. I’ll cheer. But (a.) that player ain’t available, (b.) that player is an unknown quantity. Gomez is an elite player, who knows how to win, who gets along with pretty much everybody (even the media — Hell, even the Francophone media) , who knows when & how to give mentorship & when to kick butt, and who forces the opposing coach to seriously worry & juggle resources before each and every game against the Habs.

    So, that’s why his contract simply does not matter–or rather, is a very minor component of the total team reality at this time.

  34. sergim26 says:

    Oops! I posted the wrong link.




    Anyway I get it now. She never said from her “house”. Still a funny interview.


    Greetings from Spain

  35. Bill says:

    It never happened, it’s just a joke.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  36. Chris says:

    With Cammalleri, much of it is perception based on his performance in the playoffs.  He is a guy who rides hot and cold, and right now he is cold.

    If you look at his season stats from last year, he ended up with 65 GP, 26 G and 24 A for 50 PTS.  Through 33 games this season he is playing at a pace of 33 GP, 12 G and 13 A for 25 PTS, which is basically the exact same pace he was on last year. 

    His demeanor is off, but I suspect he’ll be back to his cocky self once the next hot streak starts.

  37. Chris says:

    For a guy who has always gotten a lot of credit as a “tough player” (at least outside of Montreal Canadien blogs!), Lucic has to be one of the most cowardly players I’ve ever seen.  He is the king of this type of sucker shot.

    And for those Don Cherry acolytes, just remember this is a good Canadian boy from the rough and tumble WHL who acts like a thug unless confronted by somebody his own size, at which point he conveniently finds himself with a linesman or teammate between him and his opponent.  He’s really not much different than Maxim Lapierre, except Lapierre is honest about his behaviour:  he doesn’t pretend to be a tough guy and embraces his pest role. 

    Lucic might be the guy I have the least respect for in the NHL.

  38. Scott in Montreal says:

    BG is still a presence, however I whole-heartedly agree about the second half of your comment. I think the team is all biting their tongue, waiting for Gauthier to make the obvious move necessary to shore up the D (as in: replace Markov so Hamr and Spatch can concentrate on mentoring Subban). Their is still something wrong with Cammalleri – maybe he wanted the captaincy more than anyone realized.

  39. Big Ted says:

    Meyer got the gloves up. They glanced off Lucic’s shoulder and into the head. Yes, I feel that that type of hit shoudl warrant a penalty. But it was not a blind sided hit. So I don’t see how the announcer was asking for a suspension. If you ask me, the suspendable offense shoudl be Lucic sucker-punching Meyer in the scrum while everyone was just standing around with the ref in the middle. That’s pretty low and not that dissimilar to when he pulled that kind of punch on Komisarek and was suspended in the playoffs. Then again, little Campbell plays for the Bruins so I doubt the big homer hockey dad will do anything about that.

  40. sergim26 says:

    Regarding 2) 


    I guess it’s an inside joke but Pallin did say she could see Russia from her house (twice in the first 35 seconds of the video).



  41. Chris says:

    I can think of a number of posters on this site that might come close…  🙂

    Your post brought back memories from years ago while watching a Habs-Boston game on NESN off the satellite dish.  Petr “The Human Concussion Machine” Svoboda scored a goal late in a game to put the Habs up by 2 goals or something like that, yet you’d never actually know it from the Boston announcers.  It was announced like a shot that missed the net by 10 feet…no drama, no change in tone, nothing…

    Watching those guys always makes me realize how lucky I was to grow up with Dick Irvin calling the Montreal games.

  42. SeriousFan09 says:

    he may be suffering mental fatigue, born of the necessity to excel
    every night in order to give his low-scoring team a chance.

    I remember getting in trouble last year for saying Price needed a rest, and got in trouble this year again for suggesting ideas like this. It seems too often we forget goaltenders are mortal men, the trial of being a goalie, especially in Montreal can be exceptionally tough on a guy, mental rest is huge for them.

    That was a hard 3rd period, but still, nice to see the Habs break their slump. Will say this though, Weber was okay, but that 1st goal was just as much his fault as Hamrlik’s, Hamrlik scrambled to cover his man but Weber didn’t adequately block out the trailing player and it happened, SHGs in consecutive games. Not saying put PK back in (4-0 without him this season) and it was Weber’s first game back in a while so he’s allowed to have some rust… but I don’t see him as being a huge upgrade.

    PK changed the game when he rocked Marchand (a hit that guy is still feeling) against BOS and we need more of that, but too casual with the puck and he must correct his shooting, the two flaws out there that keep him from being dominant. Sooner or later, JM needs to roll the dice, rest Gorges so he can heal a bit (say against NYI) and play both Weber and Subban. Just see how it goes, Picard picked it up for one game but what about the 10 before this? Habs are still in tight for making a decision about how to arrange the D.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  43. HabFanSince72 says:

    NESN Massholes.


  44. Chris says:

    I’ll be a hoser, Mike, and say that the 5-minute major was undeserved on Erik Cole’s check.  A two-minute penalty, yes…he ended up hitting Spacek from behind.

    But Spacek knew he was being pursued while carrying the puck and knew where Cole was coming from (he looked back just before the hit) and turned into the boards…if it was an opponent doing that, many Habs fans would be unhappy if the Canadiens were penalized with a major penalty.

    Players HAVE to be willing to take the hit.  When they curl back into the boards, they risk injury to themselves and put the checker into a no-win situation.

  45. Lafrich says:

    Is there a more annoying human being on this planet than that Boston announcer?

    I had to listen to that douchebag for 11 years whenever the Habs played the Bruins because I lived in NYC so I had to get their feed.

    Thank GOD I only have to hear his ridiculous homerism only once in a blue moon now.

  46. Arune Singh says:

    Man, I would love Iggie on our team

    Thank You Saku. Thank you Halak. Thank you to all who wear the CH.

  47. SPATS says:

    OK Mr Boone, this is Mr Daniels talking… As a successful businessman and team leader, I can tell you that Martin is abusing his power here. He wouldn’t be playing mind games with his squad if BG were still in charge. BG vacating has gone to JM’s head. PG doesn’t get enuff protein in his diet to stand up to JM. JM’s on the fence here. I’m sure the boys are split about what’s been going on. We all unanimously agree that PK needs to be reeled in, we’re not wearing bad clipart on our sweaters… and the old school concur. the new guys need to know what foot to dance on and pressbox is the correct treatment. However, AK, Pleks and Cammy must not be dabbled with any longer. Max Pac has learned to keep his head up and he’s earned the rooms respect by avoiding getting flattened and creating room for G and G by heading to the net. AK played the same way tonite. He gets it. He’ll play that way if JM leaves his line alone. Gorges and Gill need to be split up until Gorges gets comfy again. They’re too slow and easy to beat on the outside right now. Lappy, Pyatt or Moen… take your pick. I’d sit any of them ahead of Benny, Halpern and Darche. Eller needs to stay at center. Stop tinkering JM*, you’re just going to hang yourself.

    *except for trying PK up front with Eller and Lappy or Moen (4th line minutes pls) it’s the Jack talking


  48. JF says:

    I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow than I’ve been all week!  We can all enjoy Christmas without too many gnawing worries about our team.

    BTW, this is only the second game this season that we’ve won when we haven’t scored the first goal (the other was the second game against Buffalo).

  49. Mats Naslund says:

    I’ve said it many times before…

    NESN is the absolute WORST hockey coverage in the NHL. Jack Edwards couldn’t call an honest game if he tried – which he doesn’t clearly. That fight was a joke. Lucic got levelled because he had his head down crossing the blueline. he showed his real class with a suckerpunch in a scrum. What a b!tch. I was really impressed with Horton’s skills though. Who knew.

  50. habsruleworld says:

    Unreal. Luchicken suckers the player that was being held by the linesman

    that has got to be a suspendable offence. Looks like Atlanta won the fights.

    Savard was tossed around rag doll style, and Ference was leaking pretty good


    good post Mr. Boone, excellent, thanks !

  51. Bill says:

    @Vancouver Hab:

    1) No, really, please explain how Gomez’s contract doesn’t matter in the salary cap NHL. The Habs could have two guys who produce as much as him for his money. Or one guy who produces a lot more.

    2) I didn’t mean to suggest that Sarah Palin actually said she could see Alaska from her house. I thought everyone knew that was an SNL joke; I was just linking Gomez to your Rightist leanings.

    3) DIO = Devils Inside Out!

    Full Breezer 4 Life

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