Recommended reading

Cover Shot JPG

Our favourite annual hockey guide hits the newsstands this week.
McKeen’s offers intelligent, scout’s-eye assessments of every team’s important players.
One omission: an editing error resulted in dropping the report on Alexei Yemelin.

But here’s McKeen’s on P.K.: “… a confident, freewheeling workhorse with great speed and passion … takes charge, strives to be a difference-maker … adept at one-timers while moving backwards … continues to shore up defensively, displaying better patience and tighter positioning …”

And a cautionary note on Erik Cole (whom McKeen’s grades as a good acquisition): “shows a moderate compete level defsnsively but can get lazy and rigid in terms of body psoitioning and preparation …”

The coach will love that.

•  •  •

Best news of the summer: Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated, who’s been on the DL, is recovering and will be back in his morning slot Tuesday on CJAD.

A reminder, if you need one, of what a great writer Farber is.

• Stu Hackel, another great SI writer, on the league’s biggest gambles

BGL had a good piece in the Globe & Mail

An interesting take on the Canadiens’ D

Fantasy focus on Yannick Weber

Mac Bennett’s road to Montreal

Caution: Bruins love at Puck Daddy

Sunday videos:



  1. PeterStastny26 says:


    Up there it says it hits the newsstands this week, but on August 25th, McKeen’s Hockey Ron Jones was tweeting “Official shelf date for the McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook is Monday September 12 (according to our distributor).”

    Did they change the release date some time after that tweet?
    Was 7-11 confused for dates? 🙂
    When should I put up the tent??

    Also, do you know if the Yemelin report was done at all? And if it was, will it be made avalaible?

    Thank you.

  2. PeterStastny26 says:

    Formed a small but creative and elusive unit in pre-season two years ago.

    Would love to see what Plekanec can do with that much space.

    Please don’t stall the young center’s offensive development by playing him between two bangers (Moen+White).


    Note that if I could genetically create a fast, defensively-responsible, faceoff-winning, huge, mean, feared yet disciplined heavyweight to center Moen and White on the fourth-line, I’d move up Desharnais to the third and sadly leave savvy Mathieu Darche – the perfect 13th forward – in the pressbox when everyone’s healty (if that ever happens). 🙂

  3. HabFab says:

    Sounds like another Russian enigma. Here is hoping it works out for us.

  4. SyntaxLove says:

    Has anyone begun building their fantasy team yet? I have the goalies and the top 4 D thus far.


  5. Neutral says:

    spacek is still a good 2nd line D-man at 37

  6. HardHabits says:

    Any team that boasts Jaro Spacek as it’s projected 6th or 7th defence man is not in too bad shape if you ask me.

    By season’s end we might be calling him sPAYCHECK because as a UFA he will be working to ensure that he gets another one.

  7. HardHabits says:

    I posted these goals projections a few weeks ago but in reality it’s a realistic over/under threshold. If these projections are attained the Habs will score 245 goals.

    Cammalleri (25-25-50) – Plekanec (20-45-65) – Cole (25-25-50)
    Pacioretty (25-15-40) – Gomez (10-40-50) – Gionta (30-25-55)
    Kostitsyn (20-30-50) – DD (15-25-40) – Darche (10-10-20)
    Moen (2-3-5) – Engqvist (1-4-5) – White (2-3-5)
    Eller (10-20-30)

    Markov – Subban (30-40-70) combined
    Yemelin – Spacek (15-20-35) combined
    Gill – Gorges (0-15-15) combined
    Weber/Diaz (5-15-20) combined

    I know. I know. Needs tweaking.

  8. Neutral says:

    In training camp I would try Cole, Pacioretty, Kostitsyn, Gionta with Cammalleri and Plekanec whom ever fits best would stay on the 1st line.
    The remaining three I would try with Gomez on the 2nd line two would stay the other one would go to the 3rd line with Desharnais and Darche
    The 4th line would be Moen, Eller, White I would give Eller a crack at the 3rd line also so it would be competition between Eller and Desharnais for the 3rd line or put them both on the 3rd line with whom ever don’t make the 2nd line just my opinion…

  9. Just listen to one of puck daddy’s comments on the NHL radio, and you’ll all change your voice about how good this guy is.

    Shane Oliver
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    Ph- 204 724 8418

    • MikeMcLaren says:

      What comment in particular? Do you have link for it? To me day in and day out he’s got the most compelling general hockey-based content and there’s a lot of it.

      I like the product he puts out. I don’t always agree with everything that he writes, but then I don’t agree with everything people here write either.

      I just think your saying he knows nothing about hockey and that he’s as bad as Eklund is a little much, that’s all.

      GO HABS GO!

  10. habs001 says:

    the last 2 years the habs have had solid to great goaltending…good to very good d play…the weakness really has been the scoring…goaltending and d play should remain the same or even better,,,the key will be scoring…there were too many games last 2 years where after the firts period it was pretty clear that we will score 0 to 2 goals in the game…..

  11. Chorske says:

    Just a heads up to the poolies out there. Every year I go back and look at the various sources I use to rank my guys pre-draft, and see how they did in terms of predicting the final scoring races. Over the past two years McKeens has done a so-so job- I think through no fault of their own, because so many top guys missed significant minutes last year (most notably Crosby). But I still use them as a resources because they are often bang on in terms of projecting depth charts. Also, its damn good reading and a great way to get poop on teams we don’t often see out East.

    Contrary to my expectations, the tsn rankings are usually pretty good. The worst (by far) has been Profantasy. For instance, last year they ranked Henrik Sedin 31st overall- oopsies.

  12. Hobie Hansen says:

    I think the most interesting situation heading into training camp and the regular season is how Jack Martin will decide to put together the 3rd and 4th lines.

    Lars Eller will miss training camp, last I heard a few months ago, so Martin’s job might be a bit easier. However, once Eller is healthy, does David Desharnais move to the wing on the third line or center the 4th?



    Not sure which way things will go but I don’t think we will see a new face in the group of forwards except Erik Cole and if injuries force a callup from Hamilton.

    I think Mike Bluden may have an outside chance to become a utility player and become a player Martin may call on from time to time. Hopefully a bigger and stronger version of Tom Pyatt.

    • HabFab says:

      Eller say’s he will be ready to go.

    • savethepuck says:

      I think you were right with this one:


      The 4th line will be a combination of those 3 and whoever makes it out of traing camp.. DD is not a typical 4th line center and I think he did great on the wing with the G’s against Boston in the playoffs before getting injured.
      If a prospect winger really impresses out of camp, it’s possble he may be put on the 3rd line if he has offensive skills tho.

      “That beautiful bastard scored semi-conscious.” On the Rocket’s Game 7 game winning goal against the Bruin’s April, 1952

      • HabinBurlington says:

        The only problem with DD at wing is the greater risk of injury going into the corners. I recognize Gionta is similar size, but experience galore. Will be interesting to watch, part of me wonders if JM might not experiment with DD centering 4th line. I know that is not where he should be, but numbers may dictate.

    • myron.selby says:

      I like the idea of moving Desharnais onto Eller’s wing along with AK (or Cole). I think that given 20 games together they could wind up becoming the de facto second line (unless Gomer gets it together big time).

      But I don’t see it happening. Given that JM thinks that a line combination becomes stale dated after a period or 2, I don’t expect to see any lines as we’re used to thinking about them. I wonder if he ever thought about selecting linemates based on weight or hair color, maybe astrological sign. Oh wait – he tried all those.

      “OK – if you like brussel sprouts you’re on the first line, asparagus guys you’re on second. Anyone who likes broccoli is in the press box tonight.”

    • Dave Alphabet says:

      I think AK starts on the first line…mainly to showcase him for trade value…and if he tears it up then what? I say sell high or keep him.

      • Mike D says:

        If AK does tear it up and PG can get good value for him in a trade, you can bet he’ll be traded. This is especially true if Eller and DD continue to play well and give us real scoring depth. Even more so if someone like Palushaj shows he is capable of playing a depth scoring role with the big club.

        – Honestly yours

    • PeterStastny26 says:

      Did White ever play center at the professionnal level? In the AHL perhaps?

  13. Chrisadiens says:

    Hey Burly, are you going to the outdoor game in Hamilton? If so, do you have an idea of how much tix will cost? It might be worth the 8 hour drive to see this game.

    Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

    • HabFab says:

      All Hamilton Bulldogs season ticket holders will receive a ticket to the outdoor game in their package. Prior to going on sale to the public, season ticket holders and flex pack holders will have an opportunity to purchase tickets to the game. Tickets for the outdoor game will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, October 11th at 10:00 a.m. Ticket prices will be announced in the near future. Bulldog web site.

      • Chrisadiens says:

        Much appreciated. Thanks.

        Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Yah, I think I will be going. I have a hunch of buddy of mine who is a Leaf fan will probably arrange a bus trip for a bunch of us to go. If he does that, will let you know you would be more than welcome. Tailgating the whole deal. Cool thing about Ivor Wynne stadium is it is one of the only CFL venues where there is tailgating somewhat permitted.

  14. habitual says:

    Robert, still there? Further to our brief exchange a couple of days ago, check out Dowbiggin’s column today in the Globe Sports section on the media and the recent death of Belak. Grist for the mill.

    • HabFab says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. The article on “How hockey got hooked on pills” is also very enlightening!

      PS We have a similar path to becoming Hab fans. I switched when the “big guy” was traded to Detroit ( loyal Canadian boy)

      • habitual says:

        Sad article, isn’t it? Every year, younger, hungry guys waiting to take your place, and no different for the young guys. I know a young guy who is trying to make it with one of the NHL clubs, whose agent has told him the club expects him to fight. He’s big enough to do it, but it’s not his nature. So it’s that or the AHL.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          There is a kid playing Lacrosse with a friend of mines son. He will probably get drafted top 5 into the OHL this year. Guess what he did this summer. He took boxing lessons, he is a big kid who loves the fighting side of hockey. Sickens me to know that at that age the father thinks this is great. Even worse, you know some coaches are drooling at the thought of this.

  15. Neutral says:

    Aaron Palushaj I hope this Kid makes the big club he’s all class a cammeralleri and plekanec in the making starting out he would be great for the 3rd or 4th line he was a big time 1st liner in the AHL with NHL experience he may fit on any line hope he makes it with the Habs give it to a guy who wants to earn it not to an outsider who comes in for the money….

    • habitual says:

      If he is going to make the Habs he is going to have to be a superior skater. In the interview linked here he says he put on 8 pounds of muscle and he still looks … well, not thin, but not ripped either.

    • Mike D says:

      Contrary to popular belief, punctuation is actually cool.

      – Honestly yours

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Punctuation is important. It helps distinguish between the company that knows its sh*t and the company that knows it’s sh*t.

        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

        • Mike D says:

          LOL – Well played UCE!

          I had to read it a second time to catch it, but that was excellent!

          – Honestly yours

        • HardHabits says:

          Quit changing the subject. Now about Diplomacy trash talking lessons.

          Back in the day I had gathered a decent crew for Diplomacy games. We were usually able to wrap up a game in about 2.5 hours. So on one of our Sunday afternoon marathons (all fuelled by home made beer, home made pizza and other unmentionables) we were into game 3 on a day where I had won games 1 and 2. Late in the game with me having a decided advantage, one player said out loud during his move, “h’mm, I don’t have any chance of winning and Dave is ahead again so rather than not win and see Dave win again I am just going to spend all my resources on attacking him thus weakening him and assuring his non victory, or something like that.”

          Suffice it to say I didn’t win game 3.

          For the record, I was also not trash talking at all. I was doing my best to win slowly without looking too menacing and was as silent as can be. Buddy saw right through it and went in for the kamikaze kill.

  16. SeriousFan09 says:

    Things worth remembering going into the 11-12 season:

    – Alexei Yemelin scored 11 goals in the KHL last year, best on his team and tied for 6th overall in the league. He was also named best defencemen in the 2010 playoffs when Ak Bars Kazan won the league championship. He could be a valuable PP addition, mixed in with Subban, Weber, Markov it’s quite the combination.

    – Tomas Plekanec will be going for a 6th consecutive 20 goal season and with the 5 straight 20G seasons already under his belt, his streak is better than anyone from his draft class save Ilya Kovalchuk.

    – The last time Mike Cammalleri scored 19 goals (final year in LA), he followed up the next season with 39 goals in Calgary. He tends to follow a ‘down’ year with an ‘up’ year in production. His 26 goals in 2009-10 was not really a down year IMO as he was easily pacing for 30+ when he was injured, plus there was that 13 goals in the postseason.

    – The only remaining forwards from last year to have over 100 hits in a season are AK and Moen. This year, we have Erik Cole, who has twice had over 200 hits in a season, plus the aggressive talents of Ryan White, who was averaging 2.6 hits a game this year and 2.9 hits per game last year in his limited call up. Pacioretty was also adding up hits with 67 in 37 games. Suffice to say, the opposing teams are likely going to note the physical prescence of the 11-12 Habs.

    – And let’s hope Josh Gorges is back with that solid instinct for blocking a shot and Yemelin doesn’t mind laying down in front of NHL slappers either, Roman Hamrlik for three of his four seasons in Montreal blocked at least 187 shots. I know he was pretty much a goat by April but damn if he didn’t absorb the rubber like racetrack while he was on the ice.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  17. mike3131 says:

    I miss Wiz!

    It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight; It’s about the size of the fight in the dog.

  18. HabFab says:

    The AHL has dropped the team’s games played from 80 to 76. They are also eliminating the 4 games in 5 nights that was so common previously.

  19. Ian Cobb says:

    No inspiration needed here. If we stay healthy, we will compete for the cup THIS year folks. Enjoy the ride of every two points.
    Stay thirsty my friends!

  20. 365fan says:

    Aside from Palushaj, what are the thoughts on others from Hamilton that might have a crack at Montreal this year?

    One guy who might be ready is Andrew Conboy. He has good size and I hope that he can follow the Ryan WHite track. I am just going by stats and articles, however. Is there anyone that has seen him play a bit that can offer a comment?

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Serious issues with Conboy’s skating will hold him back and despite his size, he’s an average fighter at best. I’m actually downgrading him out of Habs Future for the coming season. Showed little in the AHL playoffs as well.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • 365fan says:

        I would think that the back to back exhib games with the Bruins will give Conboy a chance to show any improvement over last year.

        What are your thoughts on Ian Schultz? He is at least a year away from any games in Montreal. There were reports of conditioning issueswith him last year. Any hope?

    • HabFab says:

      I would be surprised if Conboy ever makes it to the NHL. He may be tall but is lean so not a heavy weight fighter. He is not fast nor hockey smart enough to make the NHL IMHO.

      IMHO, don’t believe any are ready for the NHL from Hamilton right now.
      PG went out and got Mike Blunden (F), Nathan Lawson (G), Brian Willsie (F) and Jeff Woywitka (D) over the summer to give depth.
      From last years group at Hamilton, Palushaj (F) and Engqvist (F) would be closest. And add a returning Trotter (F) from the KHL(not sold on him).
      From the new players you have Yemelin (D), Diaz (D) and Leblanc (F) as potentials with Yemelin being given every opportunity to make the club.

      • 24 Cups says:

        Well said, Frank. You’re spot on with your observations. The team is basically set with just one real job opening as the 13th forward.

        The Habs will regret it if they let Leblanc join the big team during the next two years. This guy needs to play a ton of real hockey. We don’t want to screw him up the way we did with MaxPac a few years ago.

        • HabFab says:

          Steve, we may just carry 21 players plus 1 from Hamilton as needed and for whatever position needs covered. Camp will tell but it may turn out to be a committee covering the 13th forward position.

          As for Leblanc, agree 100%.

  21. geo_habsgo says:

    The Palushaj interview was pretty encouraging. He looks like a good guy who works hard and really wants to make at the next level. We can criticize the Habs management a lot for the way they draft and the kind of teams they put together but one thing I’ve loved about this organization over the past few years is the way that they have somehow been able to acquire players with a lot of class. It’s an intangible that is often overlooked by everyone but I think it is what holds this team together.

  22. HabFanSince72 says:

    Well I was out last night and the TV in the bar was tuned to one of the sports channels.

    They were showing something called the street skateboard championships. Basically guys trying to do tricks on skateboards. Tricks consist of trying to ride the skateboard on a handrail or flipping it in the air, or both. About 90% of the attempts end in a fall.

    See here for an example:

    Why am I telling you this? Because this idiotic, comepletely uninteresting event was help at Phoenix’s arena. And there were more people in the audience than at a Coyotes game.

    Yes, in Phoenix AZ, the NHL is getting outdrawn by dudes on skateboards.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I am guessing they sold alot of Dorito’s at the arena that night.

    • HardHabits says:

      Yeah but could they sell tickets to 41 skateboarding competitions per year? Nevertheless, putting a hockey team in Phoenix was the stupidest of all of Bettman’s ideas. The only thing stupider is wanting to put a team in Las Vegas.

  23. HabinBurlington says:

    THe link to the Palushaj video isn’t working, at least not for me.

  24. Puck Daddy, Sorry but to be a credible hockey writer you have to know something about hockey.

    Not worth anyone’s time here and I rate him right up there with that guy where everyone goes for trade rumors.

    Here’s an idea, if people stop supporting his web site he’ll be done. Every click is another dollar for him.

    I certainly don’t miss last summer’s September talk. Halak this Halak that, Price is greedy, he shouldn’t be wrestling in the WWE, and should drive a KIA.

    Rookie inter-squad game today at 2pm, if you’re in Brandon, MB lets go together.

    I was wondering if sections 400s are standing?

    I need to do the virtual ticket room on the 10th for Bruins tickets, wish me luck!

    I hope Aron makes the team this year. I own one of his Team USA gamers from the World Juniors.

    How much would you pay for as 2007 Game Worn Carey Price Hamilton Bulldogs Jersey? I was offered 5K for mine, considering it’s the only one on the planet that I know of I said no.

    I start advertising for my new small business, I wonder how much the Gazette charges for a small logo sticky?

    I ate 10 lobsters while I was in PEI, I want more.

    This years Summit will be the best one in four years.

    I’m done now.

    The 2011 Summit

    This will be one to remember.
    And don’t forget the Children’s Foundation Auction.
    Raffle tickets are 20.00 ea or 3 for 40.00
    Everyone should bring one item to raffle off.

    Don’t forget to take lots of pictures for the facebook site.

    Shane Oliver
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    Ph- 204 724 8418

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Puck Daddy I find, outside of the vitriol and drivel that is Ryan Lambert is a pretty good site for hockey. I don’t always agree with them on the issues (the siterunner is an unapologetic defender of Scott Stevens) but they do cover a lot of stuff at issue and spread a lot of great hockey links around in their daily Puck Headlines.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

    • MikeMcLaren says:

      I’m going to have to vehemently disagree with you here. As far as blogs go, PuckDaddy often gets it right. Remember, too, that it is staffed by a number of writers. Just as Habs Hockey Inside Out is. Sean Leahy wrote the Bruins season preview, not Greg Wyshynski (aka “THE PuckDaddy”).

      But to say that it’s up there with Eklund, who basically follows no journalistic standards at all? That’s a pretty unfair statement.

      And they do often link back to this site, too.

      GO HABS GO!

  25. twilighthours says:

    Boone’s a beauty. One day after the subtle swipes at Laraque, he comes back with praise.


    If you’re sick of not being able to view the HIO comment structure from your iPhone, try downloading Mercury browser. If you have alternative suggestions, please send them along!

  26. JohnBellyful says:

    Listen up, ya hockey pucks, Milt Dunno here with another one-minute Face Wash. We’re gonna make it two minutes this week because the face belongs to Dustin Byfuglien, the Jumbo Jet defenceman recently arrested for being impaired while operating a tub-boat. One report said he weighed in at 286 lbs. That’s 21 lbs. heavier than his team has him listed at on its website.
    What the byfug is goin’ on, Dustbin, ya been dumpster diving behind diners?
    Thing is, no one seems to care he’s been busted for tipsy tootling down the river, the buzz is all about how one athlete has tried to make himself bigger than the game. There’s even a website dedicated to fat Byfuglien jokes,!/search?q=%23DustinByfuglienIsSoFat
    Is that fair, folks? Or is the situation being blown out of proportion? Well, I’ve talked to my people in Winnipeg and here’s what they’re telling me, that Dusty’s so huge:
    – he beeps when he skates backward
    – they’ve had to reinforce the players bench and widen the gates
    – the Jets asked him to be the backdrop for the team photo
    – he wears three chin straps
    – he uses a small tarp as a bib
    – buffet restaurants have posted a picture of his face in a circle with a slash through it
    – he was told to skip jump rope during training because the seismic activity was annoying Earthquakes Canada
    – he’s the Before photo and Zdeno Chara’s the After picture in an ad for a weight loss clinic
    – meteorologists fear his pre-game skates could trigger tornado warnings
    – after every game he’s going to donate his sweater to a homeless person for use as a tent shelter
    – to show his love for his new NHL home, he’s having a map of Winnipeg tattooed on his back, 1:500 scale
    I could go on but the doorbell just rang. Probably the pizza man. I ordered a Byfuglien Special: Canadian, Hawaiian, Vegetarian, Meat Lovers and Deluxe all in one. Should last me a week.
    Remember, never go into a corner without thinkin’ trophy.
    This is Uncle Miltie, signing off … [sound of an airhorn blast]

    • HabinBurlington says:

      John, I spoke with my family in winnipeg, it was apparantly a misunderstanding between mgmt and Dusty’s agent. He thought the team name was the Bombers and that he was to represent the B52 not a sleek air force jet. Thus the delay in the uniform being presented yet. THere is talk of a large Hercules being the plane on the crest now. So far the jersey is only fitting Dustin.

      • HabFab says:

        My sources tell me that the delay has to do with the uniforms being made for the players in alphabetical order and they ran out of cloth after the B’s…

      • JohnBellyful says:

        Agents – the ruin of many a good player. Sounds like a fit subject for an Uncle Miltie Face Wash. I’ll pass it on to him.

        Today’s prediction: Saskatchewan 24 Winnipeg 18

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Ouch, don’t tell me you will be watching the game with a watermelon on your head. Unfortunately I fear you are right, I think I heard wpg is 2-12 in recent years on Labour Day game in Regina.

    • LL says:

      “Tubs of goo have feelings too.” – JohnBellyful

    • G-Man says:

      That Miltie done an’ got Dustin’s face Buffed. Dang, that’s too funny! 😀

  27. HabFab says:


    The following players have to clear waivers this season; Desharnais, Pacioretty, Weber and White as opposed to last season (4th year pro).

    Eller and Subban are the only players that do not require to clear waivers on the present roster listed at .

    The following players listed as prospects have to clear waivers; Blunden, Henry, Lawson, Trotter, Willsie and Woywitka.

    None of the 4th year pros nor the prospect players have to clear re-entry waivers.

  28. HabinBurlington says:

    Oh to be an Islander fan. First there was the fight night promotion, now they are leading the way in Corporate Sponsorship. Tat’s and Hockey baby!

  29. HabinBurlington says:

    Happy to hear about Michael Farber. Best wishes on his continued recovery.

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