Red frets about the D

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The Living Legend of Sports Journalism assesses the Canadiens blueline corps.
And it worries him.

“…  after failing to get as far as the Stanley Cup final for the past 18 seasons, is there any reason to hope the Canadiens can get it done in 2011-12?

It is, at best, a long-shot, largely because of major questions involving the team’s defence.”

(Photo of non-worrying P.K. Subban by Getty Images)

The Hockey News picks the Canadiens for eighth place

The Hockey Writers see a playoff team … with caveats

Impending free agents

Fantasy Focus on Lars Eller, and Habs team site talks to him

EotP on Yannick Weber

Dennis Kane on Memory Lane

A kinder, gentler Matt Cooke?

Kane may miss camp

Blake Wheeler tweets his pants

275 Comments

  1. Un Canadien errant says:

    ****Fantasy football alert- New League- New Draft Time*****

    Some of you said the time I chose for the Live Draft wouldn’t work for you, and apparently the password didn’t work, so I have created a new league.

    Draft is on a Friday September 2, 10 pm Eastern, 7 pm Pacific.

    To join, go to http://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/football

    Create an account if you don’t already have one, then click on ‘Join A League’. Search for this one in Private Leagues by its name or its draft time. Password to join is ‘markov’. No capitals or anything cute, so hopefully that works.

    4 teams signed up, 8 spots left, first come first served.

    League Name Habs Inside Out
    League Type Private
    Draft Date September 02, 2011, 10:00 PM ET
    Draft Style Live Draft
    Member Count 4 of 12 needed to draft – more info
    Password: markov

    ———————————
    For my training camp surprise, I want the second coming of Mike McPhee. And maybe Kent Carlson.

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  2. caladin says:

    Can’t help posting line combo’s.
    Pacioretty-Pleks-Cole
    Cammalari-Gomez-Gionta
    AK46-Eller-DD
    Moen-White-Darche
    I feel like this might be harder to defend against. The top 2 lines would present very different challenges, and I think a lot have teams have lines that would be in real trouble against one or the other.

    Is it October yet?

  3. mike3131 says:

    NHL.com did a fantasy draft and this is what our roster looked like:

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=585410

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

  4. HardHabits says:

    I have the inside scoop on what the Gazette is going to do to appease the commentariat concerning the 5 comment limit and that there is no “new” thingy to inform us of new posts.

    It’s a slight variation on what we want though. They are planning to increase the 5 advertisement limit per page to 10 and there will be a “new” thingy every time a new ad is put up.

    The Gazette would like to encourage more feedback. Just send your complaints, I mean suggestions, to wedontcarewhatyouthink@themontrealgazette.com

  5. Neutral says:

    Gaustad would be a good 3rd liner–has size too–but he’s no kostitsyn as far as goal scoring.

  6. NCRhabsfan says:

    Why is it that every sports writer wrings their hands and worries about a sophmore slump from PK but none have the same concern about Brad Marchand or Tyler Seguin? Where were Boston last year without Marchand? Booking tee times, that’s where.

  7. habs_1993 says:

    Dont know if this was posted earlier…but anyone take a look at this?

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=585410

    Interesting to see who our goaltender is…our top line of possibly Bobby Ryan, Patrice Bergeron and Evander Kane(?)

  8. HabinBurlington says:

    Hey Shiram if you are online saw this article and thought you would enjoy.
    http://globeandmail.golfcanada.ca/blogs/the-clubhouse/article5641.ece

  9. RiverviewCanadien says:

    I agree with Ian below. The Canadiens are a very good team. They have every ounce of skill and tenacity as the other teams here in this division, maybe even more determination from the hardships over the past 2 seasons. Can they win the division?

    I absolutely think so.

    There have been many posts I agree with, from scoring predictions, to the lineups they will ice. No point in repeating them.

    Before last season began, I said I was excited, and the season was great. Price, Pleks, Pacioretty, Subban, Eller scoring his 1st goal. All so much fun to watch.

    Here we are another year later, and I am just as excited for this season

  10. jo_maka says:

    I don’t know if anybody put this here already, but they’re coming out the woodwork……it’s crazy :)

    http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/nhl110825.html

    _________________________________
    Open-mindedness is not a skull fracture

  11. Ian Cobb says:

    I believe we will win our division, and by extension finish no less than 3rd in the conference. Piece of cake this year.!

    • HardHabits says:

      Ian it’s possible but Boston are the favourites. I think it will be a 3 horse race though, between us, them and Buffalo. There are no gimmes in the parody, I mean, the parity league.

      • jo_maka says:

        True, but I still think it may take a little more time for the Sabres to gel. Our roster didn’t change that much, neither did the B. So it’s a 3 horse race, but Buffalo’s jockey will be heavier…

        _________________________________
        Open-mindedness is not a skull fracture

        • ABHabsfan says:

          I would be very surprised if Boston is as good as they were last year, and more specificly Thomas. he won the Vezina in 08-09 and then proceeded to warm the bench all next year and the Booins couldn’t give him away. At his advanced hockey age, he may feel he has done his thing. Take away Thomas and I don’t believe the Bruins to be very good. Their defense consists of Z and drops off to everyone else. Seidenberg is not bad.
          They rode a hot goalie and we should all know that can get you all the way. I really don’t see the supporting cast to win consistantly, but it could be because i just hate those M-F-ers

          • SyntaxLove says:

            He didn’t look like it in the shadow of Thomas last season, but Tuukka Rask is still a very good goalie & the future of the franchise.

            Chinchillin’

    • Marc10 says:

      I don’t really care where we finish as long as it’s in the 8 with no injuries. Every report has the guys all training their arse off and coming into camp ready (with the possible exception of AK46 who, correct me if I’m wrong, has come into camp out of shape in years past…)

      I think it’s a safe bet to assume Thomas won’t be pulling horseshoes out of his butt this year and that will have an impact on the Bruins’ chances. Rask is no saviour… The margin between finishing 3rd or out of the playoffs is pretty narrow. One tiny slump and you’re in trouble. I think Beantown will struggle this year as they’ll be carrying the champ target all year.

      I’m keen to see what NYR and Buffalo do – or how the Devils and the Flyers fare for that matter with Lemaire. It’s going to be an interesting race this year. One safe bet though. The Sens are going to finish dead last.

      “To be irreplaceable, you have to be different”.
      Andy Warhol

      Go PK Go!

  12. Mark C says:

    Red once again refers to Gomez’s salary, which is a largely irrelevant number. What are the odds that Red will still refer to Gomez’s salary the next two years when it’s lower than his cap number? Something tells me that Red will quickly learn about the NHL salary cap.

    • Bill J says:

      He will just harp about the cap hit, not the salary…

      Who cares what his salary is, it’s the cap hit that sucks as it stays the same for the duration of the contract.


      If you want a days count till Habs hockey, I recommend this as your home page: http://bit.ly/mTnegr

      Go Habs Go!

    • 24 Cups says:

      I think Red has it right – it’s all about the cap.

      Nashville cares about salary, the Habs could care less seeing they fill the biggest rink in the NHL on a nightly basis.

      Gomez’s cap hit is far from being irrelevant. It hurts us in so many ways. That won’t change when his salary decreases in the final two years. If nothing else, it will be even more of an insult.

      • Mark C says:

        Red doesn’t use Gomez’s cap number, but his salary, of $7.5M. My point is that I’d guess that Red will not be mentioning Gomez’s $6.5 salary next year, he’ll have moved on to his cap number of $7.3. This is the number he should be using now.

        I agree Steve, cap numbers only matter to Montreal.

  13. Bill J says:

    Red needs to retire, here’s my very logical position on this.

    Goaltending is not a concern. Last year Red said that Price was the concern, reverse jinx ? Hey if it means Markov & Subban are playing at Norris finalist levels, I will be very happy!

    That leaves us with the Forwards or Defencemen. And Red is concerned about the D, and goes as far as to say it is the sole concern. Really Red ?


    If you want a days count till Habs hockey, I recommend this as your home page: http://bit.ly/mTnegr

    Go Habs Go!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      In Red’s defence he does say the following:

      “Obviously, the Canadiens have to fervently hope that Markov and Gorges remain healthy. If they do, this team can do better than finish No. 6 in the East. If not . help!”

      I still agree he should be more concerned about offence, but we do all share the same feelings that a healthy Markov and Gorges is key.

  14. Neutral says:

    I look at it this way as far as our defence go–we gave away 85 points when Hamrlik and wisniewski left–I look at it this way–markov if he stays healthy can replace wisniewski so we only have 34 points to make up for Hamrlik–surely weber, Gorges and yemelin can come up with that many points–I say our Defence is better Red and our Offence will improve with 3 balanced lines–without major injury’s–we will finish no lower than 6th place and that goes for you to THN….

  15. Habstar says:

    Is it not Red who’s been always writing that the habs will not make the playoffs and guess what he’s alsways wrong. Time to hang them up Red.

  16. HabFab says:

    It is ironic that a picture showing PK was put up with Red’s article as he makes no mention of him… again!
    Poor PK, an non-entity still with the Living Legend of Sports Journalism. Hopefully Boone working full time with him will show him the error’s of his way.

  17. diehardhab says:

    Gotta disagree with Red. I really believe the D-corps could be the STRENGTH of this team!

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  18. caladin says:

    Testing avatar

    Just remember-wherever you go: there you are.
    -Buckaroo Bonzai.

  19. HabinBurlington says:

    Tim Thomas Corny Guy?
    http://network.yardbarker.com/nhl/article_external/around_the_league_amazing_tribute_to_bruins_goalie_tim_thomas/6353950

    Okay so I will never get hired to write headlines for the Gazette.

    • shiram says:

      Pfft that’s nothing, they got a Lake named after Jonathan Toews for winning his cup, that corn filed will be long gone, and that Toews lake will endure!

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

  20. Ian Cobb says:

    2011 HAB FANS SUMMIT NOV 18,19. INFORMATION.!

    About 130 of us this year! We sure have grown as Friends and a community.

    Some have their own game tickets but will be joining in on the festivities. A few from the US, France, The Maritime’s , B.C , Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and of course La Belle Province. Two from Calif.

    First, your pre-season tickets and your Summit Rangers game tickets are in the mail. I also put your free Hall of Fame tickets in with your Rangers game tickets. Do not lose them, they can not be replaced.

    2nd, To get the reduced hotel rate, book asap and ID yourself as being with HIO or use my name. Everything is 2 min. from the Novatel Hotel.

    3rd, We will all meet and greet at Hurley’s pub Friday eve. Some of us will be having supper there. Go to the 2nd floor where Sherri and Tim will give you your name tags. Everyone is welcome to join us. Ware you team colours! and enjoy the evening.

    4th, Saturday morning, breakfast is at Chez Cora’s at 8:30am. You can order a la cart and everyone gets 15% discount off your bill.

    5th, After breakfast, we walk over to the Bell Center for the tour. 10:30 am

    6th, Bring your donation gift (1 per person please) for the Children’s Foundation raffle at the Baton Rouge rest. at 3pm. After the raffle we have our pre game dinner. We are hoping Mr. Stubbs comes through and has a few players drop by for a visit. No pressure here! Then we walk across the street to the game.

    7th, I have confirmed today that the 2nd floor of Hurley’s pub is reserved for us again, to celibate the win. Anyone may join us, just identify yourself as a HIO member.

    Please be generous with your raffle gifts and your purchase of raffle tickets. It is a way for the HIO community to give back to the kids.

    Enjoy talking hockey and meeting your wonderful HIO family.
    See ya there.

    Ian
    (613-968-9807) if you need anything.

    Hotel regular rates are $139 and $149. BUT!

    Our HIO special rates are as follows.
    Hotel rates.single $119, Double $119, Triple $144, Quad $$169

    Be sure to tell them you are with HIO.
    Mrs. Xich-Vê HÔ (pronounced “sik-vay”)
    Sales Manager- Leisure Groups and Catering
    1180 de la Montagne
    Montréal, Qc H3G 1Z1

    Tel : 1 514 871 2138

    http://www.novotel.com
    http://www.accorhotels.com

  21. shiram says:

    The whole day I’ve been coming here and seeing the headline, I keep mis-reading : Red farts about the D.

    If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

  22. Everlasting1 says:

    I project both the Habs, Blues to fair better than 8th, 7th respectively than what THN ranks.
    THN fails to mention Kevin Shattenkirk as another emerging star dman. And the Habs now have (what I deem as) a couple of powerforwards in Pacioretty, Cole that they previously lacked.
    ——————————————————————-
    “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  23. JasonM says:

    Dear Gazette writers,

    Are you planning at any point or time switching to a better web interface so that we can discuss hockey more intuitively? The boards are slower, more awkward than Hal Gill skating backwards and unlike his penalty killing ability I doubt when the boards will expectantly go down during the upcoming season, it will not keep us in the game.

    Posting on these forums is a drag and has cut my interest in posting since it was implemented a few months back. You cannot discuss issues more than 5 posts in and “click here to view older messages” is more annoying than Maxim Lapierre facial expressions.

    I’m not the only one here who feels this and while my post may be limited to 5 replies others who feel the same way should share this discontentment. :)

    • shiram says:

      A few have already posted this, I posted some recommandations, or constructive comments if you want, but got no answers.
      The fact that we cannot contact the admins on here, well I doubt you’ll see the boards changing anytime soon.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • Ian Cobb says:

      I agree Jason!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Agree Jason. However, a while back a few of us had commented in a similar vain and I thought I saw a comment back from Boone stating they were going to review things before the season started. I suspect the programmers need to get in game shape before they can try implementing changes.

      I really would like to see the “new” feature back. Very difficult scrolling through all the posts to find new comments. Also thumbs up/down was good.

      • Ian Cobb says:

        The NEW feature is important to have, but I disagree with the thumbs up or down feature. Instead of a comment, some just put UP or DOWN. Less communication with it.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Yah you bring up a good point Ian, I enjoy giving my opinion, but don’t always want to write something for every comment I read. If I had to choose, I much prefer the NEW feature.

          Are you heading to any preseason games Ian?

    • caladin says:

      +1

      Just remember-wherever you go: there you are.
      -Buckaroo Bonzai.

  24. Hobie Hansen says:

    The moment I see THN name attached to anything, I tend to giggle. The main reason is their predictions. Haven’t they predicted the Habs to finish the out of the playoffs, or even dead last, a bunch of times over the past 5 years?

    And now they’re picking them to finish eighth. Their main reason for choosing them to finish eighth is the Habs lack of size…OK.

    We all know that we could beef up a little but 8th spot?

    One of the best goaltenders in the world, 2 good offensive defenseman, 2 good shutdown defenseman and 3 lines with talented players who have proven themselves in the playoffs.

    8th spot? Does anybody even read The Hockey News anymore. By the time their publication hits the stands, if it even does anymore???, it is old news. And there are are 100 better websites to get hockey information from.

    Go boil an EGG THN!!!

    • shiram says:

      I used to work for their parent company, and I did not read them then.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • JasonM says:

      Too bad the Habs are 13th in the league in height/weight. Habs are bigger than Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Vancouver, Detroit….

      Old arguement is old by people who don’t do any proper research in the last 5 years.

    • J_P says:

      Im pretty sure THN has picked the habs to finish in 8th for the last 3-4 years consecutively.

      Its a cop-out prediction. The habs have a lot of “ifs”. If a couple of those “ifs” come to fruition, we finish in the middle of the east. If a few more of those “ifs” come to fruition, we win the east. If none of those “Ifs” come to fruition, we finish in 8th.

      Seeing as we finished 6th last year in, what I would consider to be, a disaster season (injuries, lack of production from certain players, etc…), its safe bet we will make the playoffs, and THN went for the safe bet. They are also hab-haters.

  25. Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

    After reading the Hockey Writers piece, I’m now convinced that if Carey Price Threepeats the Vezina, Hart and Conn Smythe, half of every story written about the accomplishment will carry the caveat of “will he be able to carry the team in the future? Remember how awful he was when he was 22……”

    ____________________________________________________
    They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

  26. Adam says:

    Here’s a question for you guys.
    Let’s say Crosby retires (and for his sake and the sake of hockey as a whole, I hope that doesn’t happen for a long, long time). He’s decided that for his health, he can’t play anymore.
    If that happens right now, does he get into the Hall of Fame?

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      An absolute, no doubt, Hall of Famer in my opinion. Even if he never plays another game.

      • Say Ash says:

        Really? Scott Gomez has more points – and cups.

        • TorontoHabsFan says:

          Crosby averages 1.39 ppg. Gomez averages 0.78.

          Crosby’s teams have won:
          World Jr. Championship
          Stanley Cup
          Olympic Gold Medal
          Memorial Cup Finalist

          He’s personally won:
          Rookie of the Year
          Rocket Richard Trophy
          Art Ross Trophy
          Hart Trophy
          Lester B Pearson (peer voted MVP)
          Mark Messier Leadership Award.

          Position he finished in league scoring:

          2005-2006 – 6th
          2006-2007 – 1st
          2007-2008 – 31st (missed 30 games)
          2008-2009 – 3rd
          2009-2010 – 2nd
          2010-2011 – 32nd (missed 41 games)

          Those are no-doubt statistics to me.

        • LA Loyalist says:

          Post of the day. Where’s the dang “thumbs up” button when you need it?

          As Camus said (more than once): “Irony can go no further.”

    • ds says:

      If Pavel Bure isn’t in the hall of fame, scoring 50-60 goals/year and approx 1/3rd of his teams goals every year in Florida during the clutch and grab era because he didn’t play enough games how is Crosby a hall of famer.

      Then how about Eric Lindros? He was a dominant player for a short time just like Crosby.

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        Bure and Lindros will both also be in eventually. Bure sooner than Lindros – his last few season in Toronto and Dallas hurt his argument a little (drove down his PPG).

        Actually I’m shocked that Bure isn’t…then again these are the guys who somehow refused to vote in Pat Burns while he was still alive…so…you know…maybe we shouldn’t expect too much from these geniuses.

        • ds says:

          Agreed 100%. Lindros & Bure were both franchise players who dominated the NHL and had their careers cut short. If (hopefully not) the same happens to Crosby they should all be in the HOF.

          Bure in 2000-2001 put up 29.5% of Florida’s goals by himself, that’s sick.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        The Hall of Fame is not the Hall of Statistics or the Hall of Notoriety. Someone piling up lots of points shouldn’t automatically get in the Hall, with exhibit A being Dino Ciccarelli.

        Pavel Bure’s great failing is not injuries, it is the way he conducted his career. He malingered his way out of Vancouver by claiming various reasons that he refused to divulge until he was traded away. Once he forced his way out, he never did. That and various unsavoury associations off the ice have left a stain on his career that voters factor in to the equation.

        Eric Lindros is another player who had a lot going for him in way of stats and star power, but the way he refused to report to Quebec (and possibly killed the Nordiques) and the way his tenure ended in Philadelphia similarly mars his HOF credentials. Again, Mr. Lindros has a lot of notoriety, which isn’t necessarily what’s needed for access to the Hall of Fame.

        If Alan Eagleson and OJ Simpson can be expunged from their respective HOF’s, it makes sense to take a long hard look at Mr. Lindros and Bure.

        Mr. Crosby suffers from no such negative impressions, and is a shoo-in.

        ———————————
        For my training camp surprise, I want the second coming of Mike McPhee. And maybe Kent Carlson.

        http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

        • ds says:

          First of all Dino Ciccarelli is not in Bure or Lindros’ league whatsoever. He was never the best player in the NHL or even top 10. Bure and Lindros were elite talents whose careers were cut short.

          As far as Bure’s mob connections go and his rumored problems in Vancouver, Gretzky had problems in Edmonton, so did Pronger, Lafleur was a drunk. Patrick Roy beat his wife. Brodeur ditched his wife to marry her brother’s wife and broke two marriages at once. This is the NHL Hall of Fame, not the good behavior hall of fame.

          Sports Illustrated did an article on the Edmonton Oilers of the 80s and cocaine use. That hasn’t stopped them from getting into the HOF.

          Lindros not reporting to Quebec didn’t stop him from being the face of the NHL for a brief time. His exit from Philadelphia seems like a legit issue. How many players careers ended in Philly around that time due to bad medical advice? Keith Primeau, Desjardins, LeClair.

          Maybe Lindros had the right to complain about improper medical care.

          Also Lindros not going to the Nordiques did not cause them to leave the city. The Nordiques got the best trade that made them instant contenders in the Lindros deal. Forsberg > Lindros alone. They also got 15 million and plenty of other elite talent. Quebec could not support an NHL team that’s why the Nordiques left.

          Fact is if you make a NHL dream team from around 95-2002 Bure & Lindros would be on it.

          Also Vancouver would never have made the finals in 94 without Pavel Bure.

          They are hall of fame NHL superstars without a doubt and at their peak both were more dominant than Sidney Crosby.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Agree with much of what you say except your final paragraph. If Lindros and Bure at they’re peak are more dominant than Crosby, one would think they would have won a Stanley Cup. As I recall a prime Lindros coudn’t help Canada win a Gold at Olympics either.

            No doubt Crosby was the best player in NHL.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            I wholeheartedly agree that Dino Ciccarelli is not in the same class as either Mr. Bure and Mr. Lindros. He was a buffoon who managed to hang around long enough to amass stats that suckered HOF voters to admit him. I used him as an example of the problems which arise when stats alone are considered to decide whether a player is admitted or not.

            Pavel Bure didn’t have rumoured problems in Vancouver, he had problems.

            You’re quite right that none of the HOF members are saints, which is why the entirety of their career should be considered, not just a few years where they played spectacularly. As dominant as they were in their prime though, Mr. Lindros and Mr. Bure’s achievements are a couple notches below those of Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky and Patrick Roy. In any case, this kind of discussion is the kind that voters must enter in, and these issues are considered. No such issues will mar the career of Mr. Crosby if it were to unfortunately end right now.

            As far as the Lindros trade, while the Nordiques got great return on their investment, the whole ordeal set up a poisonous atmosphere in Quebec, where many players wanted to leave and not many wanted to join. Had Mr. Lindros chosen to accept the throne and reigned, instead of ducking out, he would have solidified the franchise and issues such as corporate sponsorship and a new arena would have been resolvable. To point to Peter Forsberg as equal or greater value in return for Mr. Lindros (when in fact he became the player we now know later on in Denver) misses the point. The Nordiques were a sick franchise, and Mr. Lindros could have been its savior. Instead he smothered it with a pillow. That he was a headstrong petulant brat does not help his standing in the eyes of the voters.

            As far as Mr. Lindros receiving bad medical advice, while I don’t believe for a second that Philly management and Bobby Clarke are exemplary, it takes two sides to start a mudslinging match. Mr. Crosby was evidently ill-served by the Penguins medical team, he’s not bitching and moaning and using the media to engineer his way out to Toronto. He’s keeping his mouth shut and doing what he can to come back and play. Again, that counts in the eyes of the public, and of voters.

            ———————————
            For my training camp surprise, I want the second coming of Mike McPhee. And maybe Kent Carlson.

            http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

          • ds says:

            HabinBurlington:

            Crosby did not win the conn smyth, Malkin did. max talbot & fleury won Pittsburgh game 7 vs Detroit.

            Lindros took Philadelphia to the finals against a star studded non salary cap constrained Detroit where they got swept. Flyers had no goalie, and no great defensemen, the team ran on the LOD line of Lindros, LeClair & Renberg. Two of whom have done nothing without Lindros.

            Pavel Bure similarly took an average Canucks team to the finals where they lost to a star studded Rangers team in 7 games. Messier, Leetch, Richter etc.

            Fact is Crosby had more talent than either Lindros or Bure did to win the cup but both men took their teams to the finals.

            Bure putting up 50 & 60 goals/year 5x during the clutch and grab era is an unbelievable feat considering that he was a smaller player.

            Prime Lindros was a 6’4 245 lbs center who could put up over a PPG. Very rare in the NHL. Add to that he could hit, he could fight, if I had to draft either prime Lindros or Prime Crosby for my franchise today it would be Lindros, the guy was a beast until concussions ruined his career.

            Lindros also had 2 World Junior Championships gold medals, Canada Cup Gold Medal (as an 18 year old), Olympic Silver & Gold Medals.

            The Czechs had so much talent in 1998, Dominik Hasek in his prime in nets, its no shame losing there especially in a shoot out where people questioned the call of not sending Gretzky out. To blame Lindros for the loss to the eventual champions is ridiculous.

            As for Crosby winning the Olympic gold, it was Luongo sending the game into Overtime with his weak play that even caused Crosby to score the winner. The whole tournament Crosby wasn’t great. Maybe due to increased attention given to him or increased pressure, who knows.

            To Un Canadien errant:

            There’s no doubt Lindros & Bure are a notch below Patrick Roy, Guy Lafleur and Wayne Gretzky.

            Over their careers, Bure a 5x 50 goal+ scorer and Lindros a 4x 40 goal scorer and over a PPG for his career (760 games played, 865 points) and playoffs (53 games, 57 points) deserve the hall of fame, there are much worse players in it.

            Personally I don’t think Lindros would have saved the NHL in Quebec City. The Canadian dollar was quite low, around 60 something cents to 1. There was no salary cap. More stable franchises like Edmonton, Calgary & Ottawa were also all in trouble financially.

            Add the fact that Quebec was a weak team for years and their draft choices were just starting to pan out gave their fan base less reason to pay to go to games. The language issue & taxation was always an issue in Quebec City, no established stars would go there in the 90s except via trade.

            Even if the Nordiques get a team again the same issue with language & taxes will occur, Lindros played 3 years in the NHL prior to the Nordiques leaving, would that have saved the franchise?

            Finally there was the Quebec referendum in 1995. That hurt both the Canadiens and Nordiques but MTL is a bigger market. No star players have ever come to MTL via free agency because of the whole sovereign movement. It might not seem to be an issue to us living here but when people here about a province trying to separate it makes them leery. In recent times though that stigma has evaporated but between 1995-2004 we didn’t sign anybody significant.

            Lindros was careful about concussions because they ended his brothers promising career. His body is his career, and bad medical advice damaged several great players careers like I listed, all while playing for the flyers. I’m sure there are more examples as well. Also Lindros did not engineer his way to Toronto, he went to the Rangers first. Jagr had problems in Pittsburgh, Fedorov in Detroit, Gretzky in Edmonton. Patrick Roy in Montreal. It happens, especially with superstars.

            There’s no doubt Lindros was a bit of a whiner off the ice, Bure had mob ties and was happy to play in Florida, but Steve Yzerman never won a cup until he was 32 or 33. (his 13th season) Now he’s hailed as a legend. Maybe if Bure or Lindros had more time they could have made a greater impact, thats the whole issue with injuries.

            To judge them for what years they did play both were dominant IMO and were great players definitely franchise players and hall of famers.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I wouldn’t blame Mr. Crosby in the least if he is more than a little pissed at how the Penguins treated him during the Outdoor Classic and the following game. In fact part of me wonders if part of the reason the Penguins appear to not be aware of Crosby’s current plans/status etc… is due to the fact he now believes he and his people will be making the decisions from here on out.

          • ds says:

            Also with respect to Bure leaving Vancouver its a 2 way relationship, Vancouver’s management made mistakes as well:

            1. Bure arrived in LA waiting to meet with the Canucks who left him sitting for weeks.

            2. Bure was asked to pay $50,000 of his salary towards buying him out of his Russian contract

            3. After winning the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, the Canucks felt he needed to prove his value more before signing a new contract.

            4. After agreeing to a contract of similar value to Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny, the Canucks pulled the rug out from under Bure by making the numbers in Canadian dollars instead of American dollars, a very uncommon practice.

            5. Canucks refused to pay a signing bonus they owed him.

            6. Broken promises about moving Pavel, and a handful of other instances destroying trust.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            DS, you make good points, and I didn’t argue that Bure or Lindros didn’t dominate at times in their era. But you can’t pick and choose Crosby’s successes. He is not to blame for having good teammates, but he certainly seems to help his teammates win wherever he goes. If you ask me who to pick when healthy I am taking Crosby easily. Also dont forget Crosby won his Cup at age 21 already having taking his team to cup final at 20, while Lindros finally got his team at the old age of 24 to the finals(lol). Again don’t dispute the stats of Bure/Lindros, just don’t think you are recognizing how great Crosby is at such a young age. Good discussion.

          • ds says:

            Crosby is great, no doubt about it. I guess to choose between Bure, Lindros or Crosby is a crap shoot, they are all great players IMO. Its a matter of opinion.

            No doubt Crosby probably had better teams but he is a dominant players, just look at Letangs stats this year with Crosby vs w/o Crosby. I hope he recovers and makes a comeback. If he doesn’t he deserves to be in the HOF.

        • caladin says:

          Lindros not reporting to quebec was the best thing that ever happened to the nordiques. Check out who they got for him.
          Lindros was a good player but that’s one of the worst trades in history IMO.

          Just remember-wherever you go: there you are.
          -Buckaroo Bonzai.

    • JasonM says:

      As far as players go, it has never truly been about the # of points but rather the sheer dominance a player has been.

      A good example would be say… Ken Dryden. He’s only play what 7-8 seasons? A short career by a goalie standards, even back in the day. He’s in the HoF. Why? He dominated.

      So yes, Crosby should be in the HoF if he were to retire today. While I hate him on a personal level for his antics and tears, I do respect him as a dominant hockey player.

      • shiram says:

        Dryden’s stats are quite good though, only 57 loss in nearly 400 games is quite the accomplishment. 80 playoffs wins, and the Cups to go with them…

        If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Stanley Cup + Word Junior + Olympic Gold + Hart Trophy – (short career/mitigating circumstances) = Yes

      ———————————
      For my training camp surprise, I want the second coming of Mike McPhee. And maybe Kent Carlson.

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  27. Congratulations to Mike Cammalleri on becoming a dad!

    http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/#clip522033

  28. TorontoHabsFan says:

    God bless youtube – just when I was looking to compare the Stevens hit on Kariya with the Rome hit on Horton I go and find someone who made a single video doing just that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlHuukpjtk0&feature=related

    A couple of things stick out:

    1) how much better the picture quality is now…man, it’s great!
    2) That Stevens hit has entered into the lore of the game – I think both hits should have been suspensions…and even if we’re now more aware of how devastating those hits are on the health of hockey players, there’s no way we should be watching ESPN specials immortalizing the Stevens hit – like this one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8up-tkxZ4r8

    The league has been talking out of both sides of their mouth for far too long on this issue – it’s starting to get too difficult to ignore.

  29. AntoineSabourin says:

    Daily Leaf Fan humour on TSN under the article about Crosby seeing specialists for his Concussion issue:

    Crosby is a darn good player, but with the exciting emergence of young teams with young stars liek the leafs his not playing will be sort of made up for. It’s unfortunate, but the show must go on!

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      Wait, what?

      Young Stars, like the Leafs… Young, yes. Stars, not so much. Who is a Star on Toronto? Phil the Thrill? Dion the Pylon? A handful of others whom I can name but would recognize if I saw a list of random players? Kadri?

      Leafs = HA… nobody on the leafs comes close to the excitement that Crosby generates. maybe in a couple of years they will have someone….

      and I am not being mean to the Leafs because they are the leafs, I am just being honest. Montreal, in my opinion, only has two young stars themselves (Price and Subban).

    • savethepuck says:

      They could of had Tyler Seguin, who will probably turn into a future NHL star

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

  30. 123456 says:

    Regarding the impending free agents – habs are about $5M under the cap now and will certainly clear spacek’s almost $4M for next season – that is plenty to get PK and Price under contract long term. Georges if wanted would be about the same…. Gill may need to be replaced and depending on the season yemelin may get more money. Upfront AK46 is as good a guess as anyones. Darche and moen would each be cheap if wanted.

  31. HabinBurlington says:

    Speaking of Horton, heard on TSN radio today, apparantly he is some pissed at Rome still. Apparantly Rome texted him apology, Horton has said he deserved a phone call, to hear his voice not some text.

    Edit: Did Chara text, phone or send flowers to Max Pac afterwards?

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      I think that Rome really didn’t think he did anything wrong with that hit.

      I’ll say this – even as a vocal supporter of efforts to eliminate head-shots – no matter how many times I saw that hit I thought to myself “That would’ve been a highlight for the ages if Rome’s name was “Stevens”

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Chara did call and speak to Pacioretty, maybe text, and I still think that Rome hit wasn’t even that bad. It happened in a split second and looked like a defenseman standing a player up at the blue line to me.
      I realize they’re trying to curve or end head shots but what was Rome supposed to do, move out of the way?

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I’m a Canadiens fan and Bruins hater since kindergarten, so that may colour my perception to some degree, and I like to think of myself as reasonable, objective and open to empirical evidence, but the Aaron Rome hit on Nathan Horton doesn’t even count in the Top 100 dirty hits of last season. While the result was devastating, Mr. Rome was only guilty of a late hit. The Milburys and Cherrys thunder that players have to finish their checks, that’s what Aaron Rome did, only a half-second late.

      Mr. Rome didn’t stick out a knee or elbow. He didn’t crosscheck him in the face. He had no history or grudge with Mr. Horton that he filed away to act on at a later date. He’s not a repeat offender. He didn’t stand over him and yap like Trevor Gilies or Sean Avery. He didn’t pick his target and go after a small guy on a small team. He tried to emulate Scott Stevens, who was lauded for this kind of hit a only a couple of seasons ago.

      The hit is being described as ‘vicious’, whereas it was merely violent or thundering. There was no vice involved. Mr. Rome was trying to deliver a solid shoulder check to an opponent. This was not Dave Brown on Tomas Sandstrom (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZqXmTfbQwE) or Todd Bertuzzi on Steve Moore.

      The biggest factor in Mr. Horton’s injury is that Mr. Rome’s shoulder caught him on his glass jaw. He was already stunned as he flew backward, and his head hitting the ice is what caused the injury.

      I’ve posted before on the need for the NHL to advance the standards and design of hockey helmets, and to implement rules as to how they must fit and be worn. Also, I believe that ‘finishing your checks’ should no longer be allowed, the rule that players who are not in possession of the puck cannot be checked or interfered with should be rigidly applied. That would eliminate 90% of boarding calls.

      Until these are enacted, the hit on Mr. Horton is a regrettable accident well within the boundaries of the Colin Campbell-decreed ‘hockey play’.
      ———————————
      For my training camp surprise, I want the second coming of Mike McPhee. And maybe Kent Carlson.

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  32. caladin says:

    I’d say both AK46 and Horton went higher in their drafts then they should have with the benefit of hindsight. That shouldn’t dog them for the rest of their lives, after all it wasn’t their doing. Both have real value IMHO.
    Personally, I’d take AK.

  33. krob1000 says:

    Before I get lambasted for posting a hockeybuzz link…..it is not a rumour jsut a get well Crosby post…but I think it is a pretty good one
    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Eklund/Send-out-your-Best-Wishes-to-Sidney-Crosby–We-are-pulling-for-you-Sid/1/37740

  34. caladin says:

    @Retromonkey
    My predictions/answers are:
    1-yes!
    2-yes
    3-a bit more
    4-yes!
    5-not really, say 20g, 20a
    6-yes!
    7-No, but the real questions are Yemelin and Weber to me.
    8-he has a season like 09-10
    9-good god no
    10-heh, no.

    Let me add
    11. Will Yemelin establish himself as a solid top 4 NHL Dman?
    12. Will weber improve or struggle ?

  35. Un Canadien errant says:

    ****Fantasy football alert- New League- New Draft Time*****

    Some of you said the time I chose for the Live Draft wouldn’t work for you, and apparently the password didn’t work, so I have created a new league.

    Draft is on a Friday September 2, 10 pm Eastern, 7 pm Pacific.

    To join, go to http://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/football

    Create an account if you don’t already have one, then click on ‘Join A League’. Search for this one in Private Leagues by its name or its draft time. Password to join is ‘markov’. No capitals or anything cute, so hopefully that works.

    10 spots left, first come first served.

    League Name Habs Inside Out
    League Type Private
    Draft Date September 02, 2011, 10:00 PM ET
    Draft Style Live Draft
    Member Count 1 of 12 needed to draft – more info
    Password: markov

    ———————————
    For my training camp surprise, I want the second coming of Mike McPhee. And maybe Kent Carlson.

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  36. RetroMikey says:

    There are still questions on this team…
    1. Will Carey Price play again like last season as an all star calibre goaltender?
    2. Is Max Pacioretty that power forward we all label him to be?
    3. Will the smurfs produce more or less this year?
    4. Is PK prime time ready for his second year in the NHL?
    5. Is Andre Kostitsyn another 1st round flop?
    6. Will Andre Markov rebound from injury and play to his potential?
    7. Are Hal Gill and Jaro Spacek 2 wannabees who will amount to nothing on our D this year?
    8. Will Gomer stay focused on the ice this season than in the penalty box?
    9. Will Pierre Boivin Jr. follow in his dad’s footsteps and destroy this once proud franchise we had?
    10. Will Trevor Timmins step down and admit he is not the director of scouting that we need on our club?

    Many questions on this club, so………….. I’ll say we finish in 7th in the East.
    Not a heck of an improvement from last season but hey, the Hockey News predicts us to finish in 8th, I’m one up ahead of them!

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • G-Man says:

      Better follow your Gooins than post all this negative crap.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      Kostitsyn may never be a superstar, or even a star, in this league. But he’s already put to rest any question of him being a “first round flop” – 326 games played, approaching 200 career points are not the numbers of a first round flop…regardless of who was drafted after him.

      • shiram says:

        The issue is what people expected out of him, and that they did not get it, if you look beyond that you see that he is great player to have in the organization. He will hit, and he will score, and he can replace on the top 6 if needed.

        If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

        • TorontoHabsFan says:

          Funny thing is, his numbers are extremely similar to another former first rounder – Nathan Horton. And if you polled all those who hate Kostitsyn, to a man they’d be clamouring for Horton to be a Hab.

          Grass is always greener I guess…

    • Lafrich says:

      1. Yes
      2. Yes
      3. Cammy more; Gionta the same or less. I am assuming those are the ones of whom you speak.
      4. Yes
      5. Flop? I’ll let you answer that: First 4-5 seasons in the NHL average of 22g 25a per 81 games.
      6. If he stays healthy, yes.
      7. Wannabes? Are you sure you have used this term correctly? In any case, Spacek sucks, but is fine as a 6th d-man. Gill is a good complement at even strength to a mobile d-man, and is excellent on the PK. His outlet pass is actually quite underrated.
      8. Question is not understandable. I think you need to re-read this and re-ask the question.
      9. Rolls eyes
      10. Yes. Trevor Timmins will write an apology level about his ineptitude, and post it on H/IO.

      How is 7th an improvement over our 6th place finish from last year?

    • punkster says:

      You’re trying to hard RM. Award winning trolling requires finesse, subtly and a keen sense of humour.
      1) The smurf label is old and it’s tired. It attempts to be demeaning but makes the troll look simply childish and, more than likely, short in stature and a lightweight as well. Why not approach it from another angle? Like, “Will play of the big forwards on this team like Max, AK, Cole, Eller, Darche, Moen, Pleks, White, etc. pull the rest of the team up in the standings?” See it conveys a message of sincerity in your question yet subtly suggests the other forwards aren’t that big.
      2) AK isn’t exactly a first round flop and stacks up reasonably well to other first rounders of that and other draft years. This one has really lost its flavour, RM. See, you have to actually check career stats and nefarious stuff like that before making these kind of wild statements. How about this, “Will AK ride out of town on the same rail as his talented brother?”. See, now that doesn’t denigrate his obvious strengths and makes you look like you actually know what you’re talking about, yet it strongly suggests you believe that will happen.
      3) The Gill and Spacek shots are beneath even the most accomplished of trolls here. Some believe that because they are older and slower than the rest of the D then they must be useless. You completely ignore their strengths and the question then makes you look silly. How about this, “Will Gill’s Great Wall of China (GWC™) move and Spacek’s continued ability to cheat Old Father Time be enough to cover for the oft injured D?”

      Get the picture RM?

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  37. TorontoHabsFan says:

    My bold prediction: Next summer Kostitsyn is set free and the extra money freed up will be used to sign Hemsky as his replacement.

    (look at me, this season hasn’t even started and I’m talking about NEXT season!)

    • krob1000 says:

      no harm in that…..I think next season will be in the best shape we have entered a season in 15 years…I’m already looking forward! This year I think we in theory should be a fringe contender and next season I think we should be a contender.

  38. Everlasting1 says:

    Those fretting over the current blueliners need some fresh air and open spaces.
    Ole Red frets of past injuries that may linger, but it’s a long season that brings about many changes and surprises.

    ——————————————————————-
    “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Psalms 82:1-2

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  39. punkster says:

    The D is suspect? The D is Red’s concern? Holy crap man I’m no expert (no argument there, right folks?) but to me it’s the lack of scoring. This team has proven time and again that when they lose a Dman they’re able to fill the gap quite adequately.

    We got D depth up the ying yang. We be floatin’ in D.

    We just can’t score worth a damn.

    Sheesh!

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • Timo says:

      Hmm… who is he that is paid a lot to score… what’s his name? Rhymes with Nomez.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      I wonder – how much did our 5-on-5 scoring suffer because we lost Markov? I’m certainly no expert, but Montreal really seems to depend heavily on their D to initiate the offense.

      I wonder what the 5-on-5 scoring was like in the period last season when Markov went down and Subban was having his growing pains?

      My suspicion is that it took a dip.

  40. huge_polar_bear says:

    Wow, can you all say rose colored glasses? (or is it red, white and blue colored glasses?)… I am amused by how Red is getting no love and how most posters are sure that the Habs will be much improved this year. Listen I’m an optimist too, but a little more of a realist.

    Who really knows if Markov and Georges knees will respond after surgery to the long grind of a full year on the ice?

    Do we really know that Max Pac will be the same player as he was before being taken out by that “hockey play” (yeah whatever… Mr. Campbell… I see your son has a cup ring now)? Or will he hesitate going into contact in the corner because even subconsciously he will want to protect himself?

    Do we really know that Price will be as good as he was last year? I’m sorry but I do not believe he has not proven consistency yet. Plus what is consistent for an NHL goalie? I mean even Tim Thomas was almost replaced in Boston before being a Vezina winning record setting goaltender… stuff happens…

    I think all that Red was trying to do is pose some questions on the up and coming season. I think we should all be asking these questions, we can of course all hope that it turns out for the best for the Habs this year but so many on this site are “so sure” that it will. I for one can’t wait to find out but let’s be realistic there are question marks on this team… And isn’t it our duty as human beings to look into those questions…

    • krob1000 says:

      If you are referring to me I say they will be much improved…offensively. I am hoping for status quo on D and goaltending. The offense I beleive has to improve and of course injury can always strike and that is always a factor but on paper …we are looking pretty good offensively IMO.

      • huge_polar_bear says:

        Krob, I did not mean you specifically. It was more of a general statement, you see it all the time. The “Habs will be so much improved this year because Markov is back and Gorges is back and we will have Max for a full year”. Well as much as I want these to all come true, reality is I rather see them play for about 15-20 games before agreeing to Markov/Gorges/Max Pac being back at the same level as they played before.

        I’m not trying to be negative, far from it I think there is real promise to this team this year. I just want proof because hope and dreams only take the team so far… In my dreams and hopes all the way to the cup…

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Not so sure it is wrong for me to assume Markov will be healthy. PG doesn’t sign him unless after long talks with Doctors and team trainers and Markov himself they see good progress in his recovery.

      The Gorges injury while significant was inevidible given he had played 7 years with an injured knee and it finally caught up. Given his age and the nature of surgery there is no reason to believe a full recovery is not attainable.

      Max Pac absolutely has hurdles to overcome. No one knows if the next hit involving his head and neck could have serious repurcussions. Never mind the mental issues overcoming such a hit.

      I will go with Price being an above average goalie. More pressure last year for him to perform, he is also entering a contract year. No reason for me personally to believe he will regress.

      I will choose to see my Habs glass in the Half Full variety, not a fan of wearing rose coloured glasses.

    • shiram says:

      To me it’s a bit simpler, I’m looking forward to having hockey on again. The few moves the team has made seem to indicate they are trying to fix the issues the team had last season, bigger and younger players are coming in.
      I just don’t think I can have such a negative outlook on something I am so anxiously looking forward too. Sure there are still areas of concern on the team, but that could be said of most team, and what changes have been made to the habs seem to point in the right direction, and it’ll be great to see the young ones continue their progress.

      Basically just rather look forward to the good stuff, than consistently harp on about what possible negatives might face the team. Afterall both are speculation…

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • G-Man says:

      Red hasn’t liked the team since ’79, with brief spouts of optimism in ’86 and ’93. Retirement should have come his way a loooooong time ago, especially since he basically only goes to the Bell Centre for games. My respect for his tenure has grown as thin as his distaste for the present-day Habs.

  41. Propwash says:

    Predictions are useless, did anyone with any decent hockey knowledge predict that Boston would win a cup?

  42. JD_ says:

    “A brave man once requested me
    To answer questions that are key
    ‘Is it to be or not to be?’
    And I replied ‘Oh, why ask me?’

    ‘Cause suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    And I can take or leave it if I please.”

    As it is with Steve Downie, the guy with the penchant for bus bathroom hazin’ rituals, I’ll believe it when I don’t see it when it comes to Matt Cooke.

    A promise to Super Mario, eh? Why do I get the sense the conversation was somehow along the same lines as that “You makin’ fun of me?” Head & Shoulders® commercial with Joe Bauer and Troy Polamalu?

    Super Mario: “You gonna quit with the dirty cheapshots?”
    Matt: “No.”
    Super Mario: “You gonna quit with the dirty cheapshots?”
    Matt, lookin’ down: “Yes.”

    Talk is cheap.

    Poor Travis Moen. Doesn’t get any respect. Here he is enterin’ the final year of his contract and nary a headline. Thought he did a great job in The Perfect Storm. That should be worth somethin’.

    PG’s got all the leverage on this file. Moey can probably come back for sub-$1M or take his chances on the open market. Either way, I remain largely indifferent about bottom-six role players. Bulk Barn®.

    We’ll always have his Gonchar moment.

    That Warrior Hockey logo on the Jets’ pants looks a bit like a stylized JC. I dunno, between the fighter jets and Jesus Christ, I see some Army of God theme comin’ down the pike.

    If the team’s mascot turns out to be a Roman Catholic priest with a helmet and skates, all bets are off, baby.

    Unlike Red, who always hedges his bets durin’ the off-season, I’m reasonably optimistic about the Habs’ prospects this season. Carey’s Carey. D is younger but looks solid and, for various reasons, should be more aggressive. O-lines are more balanced through the top nine. Good enough for a Stanley Cup? Meh. Couldn’t tell you. Outside of the obvious bottom-dwellers *cough*Loafs*cough*, it’s all become such a crapshoot. Which is a good thing.

    We speculate about all the ifs, as pretty much every team does, but none remains as important as Markov*Actually*Stays*Healthy™ (M*A*S*H™).

    2011-12: Season of the M*A*S*H™

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      I’m not sure it’s really a crapshoot.

      Of the last 5 years’ finalists, nine out of ten were clearly among the pre-season favourites (i.e. among the expected top 2-3 in their conference at the start of the season). The exception being Philly two years ago.

      The two finalists next year will be drawn from among San Jose, Detroit and Vancouver in the West and Washington, Boston and Pittsburgh in the East. Barring injuries.

      • JD_ says:

        In my world, a 16.7% probability of gettin’ it right is a crapshoot.

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Picking 3 out of 15: 20% (not quite because several are no-hopers – cough*Leafs*cough).

          Doing it for two conferences: 20% x 20% = 4%

          Getting it right 5 years running: p = 1.02 x 10-7

          • JD_ says:

            I was generously givin’ you the benefit of nailin’ the top 3 from each conference. Then it was just a matter of 1/6 for the Cup in any given year.

            The question is really whether or not the Habs can crack the top 4 in the EC. In my view, the only gimmes are the Caps and Broonz. Everyone else not otherwise in the toilet *cough*Loafs*cough* is a contender to fill out the other two spots.

    • punkster says:

      His work in Perfect Storm was all well and fine but his defining moments came in Blackhawk Down and recently he’s been wonderful in Entourage on TV.

      Oh, and in case you forgot, Burkie still sux.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  43. Mats Naslund says:

    Worrying about the Habs’ D is completely ludicrous.

    It is entirely shortsighted to expect that the loss of Wiz will be the only impacting factor. What does it mean to return Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov to the club? Anyone with a memory stretching longer than 2 seasons should be giddy with excitement over the prospect of a full season with #79 on the blueline. If he had gone to Free Agency Wiz would have been a distant 2nd for most teams in terms of UFA defensemen.

    We have no idea – good or bad – what the impact Alexei Yermelin will have. Will he compensate for the loss of Roman Hamrlik? In some areas maybe – in some maybe not.

    Montreal’s defense got mercifully younger over the off season. There is just as much possibility that we have a BETTER defense than worse.

    Did anyone foresee the emergence of Max Pacioretty last season? Not by a long shot. And yet, one year removed we’re all in agreement that his return will be among the biggest impact’s on the Habs’ season. Is it completely unreasonable to think that one of Weber, Diaz or some other young defender may emerge as a useful player?

    Finally, if there is any hole to be filled – PG has $5M in capspace with which to plug a hole. I’d suggest he hold onto it too – because if Nashville doesn’t like the chances of re-signing Shea Weber, and are out of a playoff spot at the deadline – Montreal would have the space with which to make an amazing deal.

  44. caladin says:

    @avatar
    Isn’t the reality that we had no chance to sign wiz this year at all?
    He got a 6 year deal at a huge salary but he also got the #1 PP quarterback job.
    Now I agree that we’d we better with him than without, and he’d have been a great replacement for Hamerlik IMO, but could we really have given him 6 years?
    Even if your okay with that, no way could we promise him the prominence on the team he’ll get this year.
    I guess we could have dumped Markov to free up the #1 spot, but personally I think it worked out the best for Wiz as it went. I wish him the best he gave us his all last year.

    • avatar_58 says:

      The deal the Wiz signed for did not exist until he was ignored by Gauthier. They didn’t even talk. We have no idea if he’d have taken less to stay or what term he wanted. He was offered a fortune afterwards and accepted, I can’t blame him.

  45. krob1000 says:

    Where is this idea we are in cap trouble next year coming from???

    Subban and Price (let’s say we give Subban 2 years at 4 million and Price 4 years at 5 that is really only an increase of 5.3 million. Spacek alone is 3.8 million off the books, Gill is 2.25 and will liely be gone, we have 5 million in space as it stands. Moen is overpaid and will either be signed for a half million less or not at all. Gomez is very tradeable this offseason with about 4.5 million dollars in real money as a bonus to take his contract along with the cap hit for floor teams. But even without him in the equation there is still Andrei K who at 3.25 could be let go too. In theory we actually have a top 6 already signed for next year.

    There is a ton of wiggle room IMO….this year and even next. I never imagined it possible on that june 30 evening when I heard about the Gomez deal. The cap has moved plenty since then and salaries have not really moved that much to match it…so upper end teams (this year anyway) seem to finally be getting some wiggle room despite overpaying for guys…a couple of years ago those contracts were heavier against the smaller cap.

    We are in a prime position and can virtually do what we ant this offseason …and even at the daeadline for that matter IMO. This is the best psotion the team has been in since the season they tried to get Hossa….that should have been us and not Pitts in that final…Shero and Mario brilliantly tied up Waddell on the phone at the eleventh hour and forced his hand. I doubt anyone could have touched Detroit that year but we were on of the few teams that matched up decently with them. This year I get that same optimistic feeling (with a lingering fear of injury) with regards to our 3 line depth, our wiggle room,etc

    Feeling surprisingly good about this year and like that the ball is in our court at the deadline and offseason with regards to the cap, Gomez and our key freee agents are RFA’s not UFA’s…..this is a good time right now IMO

    All of the questionable free agents IMO are UFA’s and all of the key ones moving forward are RFA’s (Price, Subban, Eller, Yemelin)…couldn’t actually be any better positioned in that respect for next year and moving forward for that matter.

    • Malreg says:

      Don’t forget that even though players like Spacek, AK46, Gill are coming off the books, you still need to spend money on guys to replace those players.

      • krob1000 says:

        That is why we have beeen stockpiling the D, and that works both ways…don’t forget that we are already paying Price and Subban approximately Spacek’s salary too..I have factored all of that in…..there is easily room…and plenty of room to wiggle.

  46. HabFanSince72 says:

    $5M of cap space or the Wiz on the pp. Which would you prefer?

    • Captain aHab says:

      With Markov coming back, I’ll take the cap space.

    • shiram says:

      Wiz is great, but right now I think the team is setup to work without him. Weber, Subban, Markov can all move the puck well and they can play on the PP.
      I’d rather invest a bit more in the longterm and try to have Weber grow.
      The cap space is the insurance cushion if we need to replace a player during the season.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • kempie says:

      That’s an easy one, but we could have only afforded JW for this year. Next year that $ is already spent.

      EDIT: But tell me that a pp with Markov/Wiz, followed by Subban/Weber wouldn’t be frightening.

    • Malreg says:

      Obviously the Wiz, but we could only afford him this year, and he wasn’t going to sign for 1 year.

    • avatar_58 says:

      The Wiz but no one listens so who cares. Apparently we are only allowed to watch one or two mobile shooting d-men. The rest have to slow, useless or inexperienced. You can’t stack your D in this league, if habs i/o has their say

      • G-Man says:

        Wow, what a whiny reply. Sure, it would be nice to have kept the Wiz. However, Markov is clearly superior and Subban is at least his equal right now. Emelin, Diaz and Woywitka may emerge as a regular. That leaves Gill, Spacek and Gorges. How horrible!

        edit: oops! forgot the ever popular Weber. Doesn’t he move the puck, too?

        • HabinBurlington says:

          You weren’t supposed to be listening!

        • avatar_58 says:

          “might” “could” “eventually”

          Mhm. As usual. The habs trade for awesome UFAs that overperform but never get re-signed. But hey it’s ok – ONE DAY weber might be as good! One day white might be as good as faceoffs as Metropolit.

          One day…..

    • Mats Naslund says:

      Capspace by a tonne – especially for at the deadline. If Markov comes back you know he’ll put up points with Subban. If a team with with a high profile UFA is out of the playoffs you could have an incredible rental (or longer) for a run (Shea Weber, Ryan Smith, Zach Parise, Shane Doan, RJ Umberger, SAKU KOIVU!).

    • pierre lapuck says:

      cap space. duh

  47. Captain aHab says:

    I must’ve missed it completely but what exactly did Gorges say to Goal.by that seems to be controversial?

  48. Chrisadiens says:

    First the bruins win the cup, then an earthquake, now a hurricane is coming my way. I’m convinced, the end is near. It’s been nice knowing all of ya.

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

  49. HFX-HabFan says:

    It’s not like the team that won the Cup in ’93 had the Big Three on the blueline either. I’d suggest that our current D corps is similar to the 1992-’93 squad.

    Fisher is kind of like the Bob Cole of sportswriting, he should have been put out to pasture a decade ago.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Okay so here I go with the comparisons, please feel free to correct:
      Mathieu Schneider < PK Subban uncomparable
      Eric Desjardins < Andrei Markov
      Kevin Haller = Hal Gill (tough better offence from Kevin, but better PK Hal)
      Lyle Odelein > Alexei Yemelin
      JJ Daigneault < Jaroslav Spacek
      EDIT Brisebois = Gorges

      Subs –
      Ramage, Hill, Dufresne = Webber, Diaz, Woywitka,

      I take this years D, real question though is who is the equivalent to Ed Ronan?

  50. JD_ says:

    Red’s article is fine. He’s writin’ for the masses, not people who sit in front of their screens agonizin’ over the minutiae of whether or not Poindexter Bentley’s wider skate laces will affect his shot from the point.

    Fisher writes the same stuff every year at just about this time. The general theme is if things go well, then things will go well, and if things go badly, well, then things will go badly.

    I do, however, question the final paragraph, “Instead, the guy Kostitsyn has to watch out for is GM Pierre Gauthier, who has no patience with disgruntled players who pop off. One slump – and Brother Andrei could be out the door.”

    Seems to me that if AK46 is, in fact, on the bubble, the best time to trade him is when he’s on a tear, not the other way around.

    Buy low, sell high, baby.

    Wouldn’t be too surprised. Again, not an indictment of Andrei, just business.

  51. sane hockey fan says:

    Interesting that in an article about the Canadiens D, there is not ONE mention of P.K. Subban…

    “On the other hand, the Canadiens were extremely fortunate to acquire James Wisniewski following the season-ending injury to Gorges. ”

    Yeah PK steppin up and playing most minutes on the team didn’t hurt either Red…

  52. krob1000 says:

    Nearly 5 million in cap space to scoop up any bargains or replacements..I never thought this possible but somehow it has worked out that our inflated contracts this year are almost irrelevant. The savings on a number 2 D in Subban and our number 1 goalie are a big factor but that cap hike last year was great for us! The fact we have some budget guys who should be realtively important contributors in Pacioretty, Yemelin, Desharnais, Eller,etc alog with the two above make us a very mouldable group this year. We have wiggle room and a talented team…something we haven’t had for some time now. Those worrying about next year need not worry either. Spacek looks after one of Subban or Price and Gomez’s contract becomes movable this year and actually attractive with nearly 4 or 5 million in real cash value to a lower cap team. By next year one of Desharnais or Eller should be ready to assume that role as well (may have to pick up a 2b center as well )but Gomez should not be necessary by that point. Who knows maybe he rebounds but I see this offseason being the end of the line for Gomez regardless of how he does…..unless Eller bombs huge. We are looking pretty good inthe cap world all of the sudden…..who says miracles don’t happen anymore?

  53. Chorske says:

    If there is one thing I don’t fret about with the Habs, it’s the D, for a number of reasons. First of all, the team has shown itself to be remarkably resilient to losing Markov. Part of this is due to guys like Spacek and Hammer killing themselves on the ice, but a big part of this is probably also due to Martin’s system. Love it or hate it, there is no arguing that when the Habs play to his system, and stick to it with work and discipline, they are frigging hard to score on, no matter who is on the blueline. Second, Red is probably forgetting what this team is like when Markov is healthy; add an emerging star like PK, and I would line up our top 4 against any in the east with confidence.

    I think the weakest link is bloody obvious and has been bloody obvious for several seasons now: even strength offense, as in, too much reliance on a single hot line to score goals (leaving the Habs pooched when that line runs cold). I like the addition of Cole, but I mourn the departure of Halpern this year and Moore the year before. I am heartened by Eller and Desharnais; but beyond that, too much depends on Pleks and Gomez. Pleks will perform, Gionta and Cammalleri will be their usual reliable selves, Gomez is saying the right things, but AK isn’t and there are too many other question marks. I would have liked to see more changes at forward positions (rather than all this fretting about effing Wizniewski, who was never going to sign here long term anyway).

    • shiram says:

      The Habs relied on only 2 scoring lines, but now with Cole, Pac, Eller, DD all coming in, the scoring touch can be more spread out, and hopefully the team can ice 3 scoring lines.
      I have high hopes for Eller, he definately needs to prove he can produce points, and not just play well, giving him any of Cole, AK or DD should be an improvement on his winger he had last year too.

    • krob1000 says:

      You are right IMO it has always been about offense…but I think Cole will help that. We didn’t give anything up, so we are adding him and Pacioretty to the forward group along with a more mature Eller. Cole should strengthen every line because we didn’t lose anyone to get him. Markov healthy should add a little more than Wiz did…but I am one who is a Wiz fretter for sure….liked that kid. I predict top 3rd offense despite the atention to detail on the d end. If Yemelin is anything like advertised along with Cole we have added two punshing hitters too…both who are above average skaters should go a long way too.
      IF we have Price of last year and Markov is 90 percent of pre injury Markov we should be prety good. I wouldn’t mind one more offensive contributor….but we have the space for that down the road. Yemelin put up very good offensive numbers ofr a dman in the KHL and Diaz is offesnive too. Weber may be ready to breakout as well. The fact we have Trotter who IMO is every bit the prosepect Desharnais is is also in the wings with Palushaj. Pacioretty could also breakout…Gomez is not as bad as last year. Cammi may finally stay healthy which would be 10-15 goals alone. This years team untouched from right now should in theory (my dumb theory anyway) be a top 3rd team and be big enough to also score at even strength as well with Cole’s addition and Pacioretty healthy. Eller., with those guys are all big, talented, fast players who can score at even strength. Andrei K who has been a wild card every year has become even less important but if he scores his 20-25…look out! Darche and Desharnais will also contribute….we are quite alright on paper anyway IMO.

  54. Old Bald Bird says:

    I think it’s a little disingenuous for Red to say that we “lost” Wiz since he wasn’t part of the original structure and only played part of the season. Surely Markov makes up for that “loss”. And wouldn’t you think that Gorges+Webber+Yemelin+Diaz should make up for Hammer? Mind you, I do values Hammer’s contribution and think he is not “easily” replaceable by any one player.

  55. Timo says:

    Well… Red is not wrong. After Subban we have what? One-knee Markov, Gorges who bless his heart plays his heart out every night but is a 4th D at best on a decent team, and then we have Gill’s, Spaceks and like… Hardly a reassuring D corps. And what happens if god forbid Subban gets injured? Who’s going to play his minutes… (you know the answer – it will be Spacek)

    • “Q- Montréal est réputée pour son amour du hockey et pour la façon dont chaque joueur du Canadien devient instantanément une célébrité. Es-tu prêt à cela ?

      R- En toute honnêteté, je ne sais pas. Je n’ai jamais été dans une situation comme celle-là. C’est quelque chose de tout à fait nouveau pour moi. J’ai de la difficulté à m’imaginer être une célébrité.”

      LOL ruh roh

      lets hope he doesnt get too shell shocked

  56. You think Carey Price was good last year, wait until this year.

    Markov back

    More goals added in Cole and Healthy MAX Pacs

    Cammi more goals than last year.

    Gio the same

    Gomez 15 goals

    Kostitsyn more goals

    This Team Will Lead all Season Long.

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

  57. shiram says:

    It’s difficult not to think Red only keeps his job, because he had it for so long, his piece really does not bring much information, and it seems alot of what he says has already been beaten to death on here.
    Seems to suffer from bitter oldman-itis too.

    If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • sane hockey fan says:

      I agree with you but at the same time, writers don’t go read blog comments and decide what to write about based on what people ARENT talking about. Just because we might beat a subject to death on this site doesn’t mean that a writer can’t write an article about it. Red doesnt write articles for the HIO commentariate, he writes them for readers of the gazette sports page. Again, I agree with your assessment of Red, I just think it’s unfair to say that he shouldn’t write about something because we have talked about it in the comments section of a blog.

      • shiram says:

        I did not say he should not write about it, merely that what he says is not anything interesting or new, and if he says the same thing as the comments on a blog, what separates him as a sports writer, from us?

        If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      99% of what Red writes is doom and gloom. I guess not winning a cup for 18 years will do that do you (especially when you started your career during the glory years).

      Oh, wait, I think I figured out who Neutral is. It’s Red. If not, they both have the same view point that Markov is going to be injured as soon as he finishes lacing up his skates.

      I was surprised to see that a lot of people are so down on the Montreal Defence. Who did we lose? The Wiz (ya that sucks), Hammer (good #5/#6, but getting slow and old), Picard (uhh…), Sopel (see Picard but add more “h’s” to the uhh), Mara (fantastic beard). Last year we had a pretty decent defence… right?

      So, this year, who do we have. Markov (effin right!), Gorges, Subban, Gill, and/or of Weber, Emelin, Spacek. Our top 4 are better than last year because of Markov and Gorges, Subban should be more reliable than his start last year, Gill is Gill…. Really, other than the Wiz, I see that we are the same or better (assuming all reports about Emelin are true and he can adapt to the NHL).

  58. HabinBurlington says:

    Okay Music Fans, here is a pretty cool article by Duff McKagan regarding the Jets and crossing the border.
    Especially like in his shout outs to Cdn. Music he makes the reference to Teenage Head, man what a fun party band that was. Anyone from the Hammer will know that.
    http://espn.go.com/espn/thelife/music/news/story?id=6889887

    • kakey says:

      Having been to that Guns n Roses riot at the big O, I’d never thought I’ll be reading, some 20 years later, a well written and thoughtful article by its former bassist who I considered at that time had the most f’d up “I don’t give a damn”, but in a good nature attitude among his former bandmates. Good find.

    • kempie says:

      Back in the day my band played a few shows with Teenage Head. I was a big fan. They were always late and drunk. Nice guys though. I’ll never forget once, their crew asked us if we wanted to buy some smut buttons after the show. Not knowing WTF they were talking about, I of course answered “Hell yeah we want smut buttons”. So they take us out to the truck, where the sound man unfolds this huge portfolio to display his wares. Turns out he had a button stamp and a big stack of porn mags. He would cut out the vaginal closeups, place them in the stamper and, voila; there’s your smut button. They had hundreds. Somewhat shocked, I decided it would be rude to not buy one. So I picked out my favourite and gave him my $5. Turned out to be pretty funny, as it blended in nicely with the array of other buttons on my jean jacket. Took people quite a while to figure out what it was. I was usually gone by then.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        My buddy owns a very famous record store downtown Hamilton, his daughter is a real good guitarist. At the Burlington Sound of Music Festival about 3-4 years back they played and let her guest play a couple tracks on stage. Was real cool, considering she was 16 years old at the time.

        Frankie Venom was a character, too bad won’t ever hear that band again. Frankie is not replaceable.

    • HabFarmer says:

      Many years ago when I was living in Vancouver I was sitting in a bar watching a local band when I looked over my shoulder and there in the flesh was Duff himself. No big entourage – just a cute blonde and one minder. He was enjoying himself watching the band, and at the end got up on stage and played with them – I’m thinking a Stooges cover, but the memory is pretty hazy. He was totally gassed, but not at all a “look at me” kind of thing. I was actually pretty impressed.

      “No, I see. The monkey’s out of the bottle now!”

  59. HabinBurlington says:

    Article from the LA Times on the apparant reduction of Hazing in Pro Sports. Of course the article makes zero reference to Hockey.
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/article/1044590–in-pro-sports-hazing-is-out-of-the-shadows-and-on-the-wane

  60. BeeGee says:

    Speaking of D, I’m curious, which team you think has the best group?

    • HabinBurlington says:

      As others have stated nearly every team in East has a “if healthy” Key dman.
      Philadelphia – Pronger
      Washington – Green
      Montreal – Markov
      Buffalo – Ehrhoff
      Boston – ?

      Anyhow, I am not trying to be bias, but if healthy I think we have the best rounded D group in the East.

  61. joshua94k says:

    Last year Red Fisher picked the Canadiens to NOT MAKE THE PLAY-OFFS. He said goaltending is a big question mark and Carey Price would not be able to get the job done. This year he questions the team’s defence.

    It took him over a year to finally acknowledge Price’s efforts. When Wisniewski is traded he remembers his contributions to the team and the good move by Gauthier to get him. At no time last season did Fisher write about the smart move on Gauthier to obtain Wisniewski nor did he write anything good about The Wiz.

    He writes:
    You play with what you’ve got and, as it turned out, the Canadiens didn’t have enough against the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs after winning the first two on the road.

    Ask any team to play without the defence of Markov, Gorges, Wisniewski. Add to that injuries to key forwards Paccioretty, Halpern, Eller etc. And Fisher says a team has to play with that they got??? Well they did and it took the Bruins three overtime wins including game 7 to beat a depleted line-up. I guess they didn’t have enough ….

    He writes:
    It is, at best, a long-shot, largely because of major questions involving the team’s defence.

    After covering the team for so long, he should remember that you should never under-estimate the Canadiens. Remember 1971, 1986, 1993….

    • HardHabits says:

      Red is stuck in the past and measures the present against it. He passed his best before date long ago. I never liked his writing even back in the day when he used “and then there’s the matter of” a few times per article.

      Then again the whole Gazette is still stuck in the 20th century.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      He wouldn’t be happy with any team.

    • Marc10 says:

      Right there with you.

      It’s so easy to bet against any team. Odds are well on your side. Few teams are so stacked that they can hope to win without healthy core guys. No Chara, no Bruins. No Pronger, no Flyers. No Crosby, no Pens. No Datsyuk, no Red Wings. No Price, no Habs.

      I think the Habs will be stronger, but mostly because the kids are a year older, stronger and still hungry to win and cash in. But hey… it’s easier to be a pessimist. The odds are always on that side. F the odds!

      “To be irreplaceable, you have to be different”.
      Andy Warhol

      Go PK Go!

    • ZepFan2 says:

      Plain and simple, Red sucks!

      He’s sucked for many years now.

      Then again the Gazette sucks as well.

      ———————————————————————-
      Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

  62. HabinBurlington says:

    Well I sure hope PG reads the indepth article on our impending Free Agents.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Strange there was no mention of AK46.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        There was a sentence about a quote from a Belarusian to a russian paper, but no actual mention of AK. I couldn’t believe how useless that article was. Would have just been better off listing the UFA status of players and attach pictures.

        • 24 Cups says:

          Gerald – To be fair, there is very little hockey info around during these dog days of August. A lot of the good writers are on holiday while the rest are winging it.

          Maybe the Habs will sign Samsonov. That would practically guarantee MB a huge bonus at the end of the month!

  63. BeeGee says:

    For some unexplained reason, I’m not that worried about Markov’s and Gorges’s health… I do agree that’s the biggest question mark back there though.
    Also I think the habs are one elite physical shutdown dman away from having the best d corps in the league. The forward group would be good enough to win games playing in front of Price and such a D group, especially under the count’s hermetically defensive system. I guess PG might move at the deadline if we’re close.

  64. DearyLeary says:

    Didn’t Cooke say he was going to tone it down before the start of last season too? Not for one second will I be fooled.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      He says he never meant to hurt anyone before, yet realizes he needs to learn how to hit again, so as not to hurt anyone.

      Edit: In other words I agree with you Leary, guy is full of BS. Still can’t believe the Penguins employ him. And in reading the article, you get the impression no one from Mgmt every really read him the Riot act. I suspect the only reason he is showing contrition is because of how bad Sidney is hurt.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Less head hits he means, more knee-on-knee, low-bridging, slewfoots and such to compensate.

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

  65. RGM says:

    That Hockey Writers article is terrible. Learn to use the apostrophe properly, and this: “It’s almost impossible to count the amount of teams that have won the Stanley Cup and fallen short of the playoffs the following season.” Really? Really? It’s “almost impossible” to do 5 minutes of research to find that number? Really?

    What does this even mean? “Although not as close this time around, the Canadiens’ season came right down to the end.” What is that? The season ended at the end? That is profound stuff!

    During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

  66. HabinBurlington says:

    “Obviously, the Canadiens have to fervently hope that Markov and Gorges remain healthy. If they do, this team can do better than finish No. 6 in the East. If not . help!”

    Red does also say the above quote. If healthy the team is good. I think the headline for Red’s article should have been, “Can Markov and Gorges remain healthy?”

  67. RGM says:

    Interesting thoughts from Red. I’ve not been particularly concerned about the Habs D-corps for a while now. The system is built around defence and the netminder. The team finished in the top 10 in goals against last year, and should Markov & Gorges both be healthy and more or less the same players they were, I see no reason for that status not to continue. My concern continues to be up front, where some positive changes have been made as well. If we can get just a little more from everybody this year than we did last year, and a lot more from a select few, that will boost the team’s fortunes greatly.

    During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

    • JF says:

      Agreed. If the D stays relatively healthy, we should be all right in that department, although it may take a few games for everyone to get on the same page; and there’s no point in worrying about injuries before the season even starts.

      Up front, the addition of Cole and the return of Pacioretty, added to the likelihood that Cammy and Gomez will both have better seasons, should mean we score more goals than last year. My real concerns are overall toughness and faceoffs. Despite the notorious thugfest with the Bruins, I think lack of toughness was less of a problem than many do, and it wan’t the reason we lost in the playoffs. Nonetheless, more of it can’t hurt, especially against teams like the Bruins and Flyers, and also to bolster the general durability of the team – the ability to withstand physical, grinding playoff series.

      What did hurt us in the playoffs was lack of depth and inability to win key faceoffs. I think we’re still short a gritty player for the bottom six, someone who can hit and check as well as score the occasional goal. And we absolutely have to improve on faceoffs from last year. We haven’t replaced Jeff Halpern, so the guys who take faceoffs just have to learn to win more of them; and I think this can be done.

      • RGM says:

        I agree with the analysis of the forwards. If this team can collectively up the Goals For category by, say, 20-25 goals over last year they would be close to the top ten in offence (and boy would the Jacques Martin haters ever be mad about that since it would break their strawman) to go along with their already pretty-close-to-elite-level defence. Such figures would ensure them a top 4 playoffs spot if you reckon that the added goal production gives them 4 or 5 more wins over the course of a year.
        I know that’s a huge jump on the surface, but you look at Cammalleri’s 19G, Pacioretty’s injury-shortened season 14G, and you -know-who’s 7G, and it gets you thinking that it’s more than possible.

        1 month until the boys are here in Halifax!

        During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

  68. 44har48 says:

    I used to love Red Fisher and read his articles like I was reading the gospel. I haven’t really agreed (it could just be me) with much he has written in the past 10 years. I certainly don’t agree with him here. On the surface he may be right, and maybe I’m just way to optimistic (but that is not me if you know me at all), but I see this as one of the better Dmen corps we have had in many years. We actually have skilled puck moving defencemen now, which is a prioirty in the NHL these days and why we were always pinned down in our end most nights and not able to play the puck posession game Martin really likes.

    Sure, there is no denying we have question marks with Markov and Gorges injuries, Diaz and Yemelin only playing 50 game seasons and on bigger ice, Weber still learning, Subban still maturing…etc.

    I for one think you will all be very surprised about Yemelin and his ability to skate and move the puck as well as be physical. I don’t know about Diaz but I do know he was highly regarded by many GMs and the Habs kinda got a coup with him. I’m looking for Subban to mature even more this year and cut out the boneheaded mistakes, as well as Markov anchoring our D. Markov is a top 10 Dman in the league if he is 85%, when he is 100%, he is top 3-5.

    No, Red, the scoring will again be an issue, not the D, and it will be interesting to see how this improved D actually helps the forwards play more offence, possess the puck longer, and not have them be behind our net all night.

    • 24 Cups says:

      I think the headline in Red Fisher’s story is a bit misleading. His main point is that we will be in a world of hurt if Markov goes down with another year ending injury. Who can argue with that statement?

      Gorges played on a bum knee for years so I’m sure he will be fine now that he’s had an operation. Subban is golden and won’t suffer a sophomore jinx as far as I’m concerned. Gill and Spacek won’t be able to fill in the way Hamrlik did. They are also both on the clock in a young man’s game that is based on speed. Tick-tock. Weber and Yemelin are rookies who show promise but still have to gain experience.

      Markov has to stay healthy if we hope to get past the first round. All other concerns are secondary at this point in time.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Agreed 24! As we know, most columnists don’t get to write their own headlines. People who don’t read the articles and need to get attention to the story do that!

      • MathMan says:

        With Markov healthy, this is likely the best blueline in the East. Without Markov, it’s merely above-average, depending on how quickly Yemelin adjusts to the NHL game.

    • HabsFanInOttawa says:

      Red is as Old School as it gets. He’s not going to put a lot of faith in guys like Diaz and Yemelin until he sees them perform first-hand.
      I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but I think that’s the way he sees things at least.

    • 44har48 says:

      Good points guys…

  69. G-Man says:

    Habs D is a question mark as far as the injury bug goes. But then again, so is every team.
    Keys to success:
    1. Healthy D
    2. Price chilling out
    3. Primary and secondary scoring.
    4. Budaj with a winning record.

    • 24 Cups says:

      5, Winning more face-offs than we lose.

      • adam76 says:

        I agree – faceoffs need to improve.

      • MathMan says:

        Faceoffs are nice to have, and there are spectacular plays involving goals off the but a team’s faceoff performance over the course of a season actually has a very small impact on whether a team wins — in no small part because teams are clustered between 55% and 45%, so the difference between a good faceoff team and a bad faceoff team is relatively small.

        It’s maybe worth a win or so, so you can’t neglect it, but if you’re Montreal and sitting at 49%, it’s also not a massive deficiency you need to spend a ton of effort to fix. Going from 49% to 51% would take them from 22nd to 11th, but it would not have a big impact on their record.

        • 24 Cups says:

          I think it would be very difficult to equate a team’s won/loss record to the faceoff circle. I think you also have to realize that in the world of faceoffs, a difference of 4 or 5% is quite significant.

          Stats aside, I remember watching games where we would lose crucial faceoffs on the PP or PK. We also had games against certain teams where we basically folded our tent in the faceoff circle which gave them the upper hand throughout the game. We also lacked a centre who the coach knew he could throw out there and win a decisive draw. Losing individual faceoffs can also impact the flow of a game as well as crucial puck possession situations. It’s more than just a game or yearly percentage. In some ways, it’s indirectly one of the intangibles even though it’s a specific event in the game.

          Vancouver gave Manny Malhotra a 7.5M, three year deal. His prowess in the faceoff circle was a big part of that decision.

          • krob1000 says:

            Special teams faceoffs should be a stat. Another thing that sucks is the wingers contribtuions to draws…..I can’t stand it when i tie a bigger guy up in the circle, basically have the puck positioned behind me but the other teams winger still somehow manages to sneak in and take the puck….or how many scramble draws wet lost if you have a winger who is not as into the draw as much the center. I understand the importance of draws …just that the leagues stats don’t reflect the important ones and as you mention 4 or 5 percent is a big diff in faceoff world….but in reality a savvy player could realize this and probably make up the diff by really focussing on the less important draws where some players may be doing something diff’t….over the course of a season one could really inflate his percentage and perhaps that is a factor? who knows but sometimes I see Pleks hardly even bend down to take draws in the neutral zone …if we examine good faceoff guys the majority of them are very, very low and rely heavily on that leverage…..a guy standing high is almost waving the flag on a given draw….which as you mention over the course of a season could be his 4 or 5 percent which could on paper make or break him as a faceoff guy….in theory anyway.

          • MathMan says:

            4-5% may be a large difference between faceoff percentages, but it really amounts to a small difference in terms of number of faceoffs won and, from there, actual goals for/against and wins.

            And there’s evidence that faceoffs on special teams are not terribly significant: http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3670 — it matters, but the difference between league-best and league-worst is 3 goals which is about half a win.

            Malhotra was hired by Vancouver primarily because of his ability to defend top opposition and free up more soft offensive minutes for the Sedins (not a knock on the Sedins, just good coaching). Good faceoff ability is overvalued by GMs, but a guy who has great faceoff ability but no ability to use it because he cannot safely be deployed in critical situations against top opposition has comparatively little value (hi there, Zenon Konopka!)

      • krob1000 says:

        I think that stat is hugely overrated myself. If they want to break down faceoffs they should categorize them…pp and pk faceoffs are tremendously important, faceoffs outside the blueline or at center? not so much…sure you start with the puck but it really means very little and many times centers in those zones slap the puck forward to make a change, or tie and lock the centrer or try something diff’t. Special teams faceoffs definitely matter but winning a faceoff in the neatral zone basically means your team and the otehr are in perfect position but offesnively you are at a standstill and in many cases with the oppowition moving forward towards you this can be more dangerous than anything…or so I see it and feel when I am playing center. Outside your own blueline you win it back and you’ve entered your own zone. At center you win it back to a dman and he either banks it up the boards and it is a 50/50 puck or his partner retreats and we have possession back in our end because that d will have to have retreated to get open without the threat of being picked off at the blueline standing still. Then at teh opposing blueline sometimes the center will try and slap the puck to the far side in the zone to enter, the other team getst the “win” if tey gain possession ….then again I relaly don’t know how they determine that stuff…but you get the jist.

        I wish they would break down the turnovers and faceoffs, hits,etc to reflect actually impactful plays….either that or drop the stat…much like plus minus…..

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I get your point Krob, to me it is a stat they can measure, so in an effort to be able to measure/quantify hockey like they do in baseball with stats, the faceoff has become almost larger than life.

          However, as we all remember in that Boston series last year, it seemed like we lost every one of those “Key” faceoffs.

          We need to have at least 1 centreman who can establish himself as a centre that can win key facoffs more than 50%.

          • krob1000 says:

            agree 100 percent…wasn;t saying we don’t need a faceoff guy or to win them…just saying we need someone to win the important ones and that percentages don’t really reflect that. Against Boston I agree that Bergeron appeared to win the big ones…he is one of the better guys. Pleks does alright on hs backhand but is not very good on his forehand. Gomez is much the same….I guess most guys are. Guess what I am saying is we need a righty…..like Halpern ….but they always seemed to toss him when it mattered most.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      So, defence, offence, and goaltending.

  70. Sharks9 says:

    The worry isn’t with the defense itself, it’s with the health of the defense. If Monreal’s D can stay relatively healthy all year I think we’re a lock for the playoffs.

    25 before 14

  71. Blouin says:

    I would be more worried about solid secondary scoring than the d corp.

    Or, more generally, that the team can stay healthy. The core has been around for three seasons now and know this system. It works! We’ve all seen it.
    ——————————————————
    sports.unpluckedgems.com – your other source; we always keep it current.

    • krob1000 says:

      With the addition of Cole for no assets and the trickle down effect taht should have (Eller and Desharnais should get a top sic caliber winger on their line …one of PAtches, Andrei or Cole) and this should greatly help to improve our secondary scoring. Cammi should be healthy, Gomez appears to be working hard so I am confident that if health is average or better that we are dramatically better offensively. I have concerns the team will try diff’t pp systems and that scares me as Muller had a great system. I have concerns about Markov staying healthy but that is about it offensively. I think the fact that Eller, Dessy, Pacioretty,etc all started to find their grooves over time bodes well for this year. I suspect they are all the type who worked very hard during the offseason. I think this is our best offensive team since the arrival of little big three. I would have loved to have kept Wiz (fort eh 7 billionth time I have stated that) and we may or may not have to acquire another offensive dman and depth centerman with two way skills but I like the outlook so far offensively. There is a lot of questions on the back end but I tend to lean towards Yemelin being the real deal.

    • 24 Cups says:

      I feel that might improve this year for a few reasons. One of AK46 or MaxPac is going to land up on the 3rd line. Gomez won’t get bumped from one of the top two lines so that means that Eller will get the gig on the 3rd unit. That’s a perfect spot for him to stay out of the limelight and continue to mature and gain experience. DD received a two year deal so he’s also going to get a chance to add to the offense.

      What about the 4th line? It’s really not that important. It will be interesting to see who finally centres the line but Moen and White are not there to tally double digits. I’m also hoping that we can develop a PK unit from these players to take some of the heat off of Pleks.

      Then there’s my man, Darche. Forget his age and history, this guy has shown that he is the real deal. As long as he doesn’t lose a step, he should be in a position to add 10 goals regardless of what line he plays on.

      • krob1000 says:

        I also think offensively we have Palushaj and Trotter that can likely fill a third line void rather seamlessly this year. I think Trotter could be this years Desharnais if given a chance….I liken Palushaj to a Dags and think he could be alright too but I don;t think he is the type who will create..he can convert though. I think Trotter is the type who much like DD can add to the offense and create. This is a big year for Trotter who is ripe to make the bigs and this just may be his year if someone goes down.


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