Rolling along

That was the first back-to-back sweep since mid-October, and it lifted the Canadiens into sixth place.

More good news: The report Benoit Pouliot left the Bell Centre on crutches was erroneous.

Pat Hickey’s game story

Quotes from the room

Quick Hits and About last night …

• Dave Stubbs on Pierre Gervais and the Price pads crisis

What happened to Danny Kristo?

• Arpon Basu on what Pierre Gauthier may be planning

• Pierre Durocher on possible moves

• Heather Engel on Alex Auld

The goalie fight. Down goes DiPietro



  1. BoomBoom says:

    Anybody see the new hockey highlight show on TSN, which comes on at 10:30pm? Watched it last night and thought it was over the top…but not in a good way. The host (don’t know him) spent most of the time screaming I imagine in an effort to get the audience excited. Matt Barnaby and Kerry Fraser were alright but the host is just pathetic.

  2. F Bomb says:

    Lopez, please read above post re Kostitsyn!

  3. TorontoHabsFan says:

    If Tallon and Gauthier were talking trade between them (and not as Arpon theorizes), then Kostitsyn is precisely the kind of player that Tallon is looking for. Someone whose contract he can control, likely for a short period of time. Take a look at their roster, only 3 players are signed beyond next season (Booth, Olesz, and Weiss).

    That’s a team in a world of economic hurt, and for some reason nobody is talking about it. Instead we hear how Tallon is “building through the draft” and they’re “a team to watch”. To me, they look like a team keeping payroll down in order to be more attractive to buyers.

  4. TomNickle says:

    If they aren’t here I apologize, and I apologize for the length of this post.  But this is for my boys Robert Rice and Andrew Berkshire who insist that Roman Hamrlik is among our best defensemen and one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL.  I’ve been told that I’m irrational in my assessment of Roman Hamrlik so I’ve decided to replay and take notes on his play during games, I don’t know how long I’ll do it but time is a luxury I have so who knows.  

    • 1st period – 8 minute mark.  He gets caught at our blue line and gets beaten while Florida establishes puck possession in our zone, in his corner for 30 seconds.
    • 11:30 mark – Fans on a pass at the top of the offensive zone on the powerplay with no penalty killer within 5 feet of him, the Panthers clear the zone easily.
    • 12:00 mark – He misses the puck that Auld stops for him on that same powerplay while the Panthers are changing, no forechecker, wastes 15 seconds of valuable powerplay time.
    • 14:30 mark – Backs off of the offensive zone blue line while we have possession of the puck in the corner on his side of the ice, the puck is passed to his post at the blue line, he’s not there, Panthers clear the zone.
    • He was on the ice for 1 of 5 defensive zone faceoffs but was used in two of three faceoffs coming out of tv timeouts, he had three opportunities to clear the zone and did so.
    • 2nd period – 3:30 mark – Misses a wide open Desharnais with a breakout pass, nobody within 20 feet of #58 at the time and no forecheck applying pressure on Hamrlik.
    • 5:30 mark – In a one on one play his man shoots on net, Hamrlik turns his back to his man and skates toward the corner allowing his man(the shooter) to drive the net and get to a rebound in Auld’s crease, the RDS crew calls it a gift.  Auld makes the save.
    • 11:00 mark – Lets his man skate free to the net yet again, Auld makes the save again.
    • 11:30 mark – Defensive zone turnover to Olesz.
    • 19:30 mark – Defensive zone turnover to Ellerby.
    • He was on the ice for 2 of 5 defensive zone faceoffs and was used in 2 of three faceoffs coming out of tv timeouts again.  With three opportunities to clear the zone in the 2nd period he was successful once.
    • 3rd period – 1:30 mark – Lets a slow moving puck clear the zone on the powerplay.  On the play he doesn’t take a single stride to stop the puck, he reaches out with his stick and misses.
    • He only saw four more shifts the entire game going close to 8 minutes without one.  With two opportunities to clear the zone in the period he was successful once.  With five defensive zone faceoffs in the period yet again he was used twice this period, none coming out of tv timeouts.
    Now, this is only one game, and I will say that his board play and consistency in front of our net is exceptional, and I’m not stretching the use of the word at all.  He’s close to flawless on the walls and in front of the net.  But as good as he is in those areas, the mistakes he makes are unacceptable from a professional hockey player.  They’re unacceptable from amateurs.  This, through one game of hard analysis is not the work of a reliable defenseman.  Oh, one more thing, if he passed to his partner in the defensive zone at any point in the game I missed it.  That’s a sign of feeling rushed and a lack of confidence with the puck.


  5. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    I think the offer can be at his current salary. This could be old information, but a link to the NHL page says that RFA qualifying offers must be 110% of the previous year’s salary for players earning $660,000 or less. Players earning up to $1,000,000 can be qualified at 105%. Players earning over $1,000,000 can be qualified at 100%. This may be based on old numbers, but I don’t think they have inflated as high as $3.25M. As always, I could be wrong.

    If we get a great trade opportunity, I’d have no problem with him being moved. If we get a less than great opportunity, I’d prefer to keep him at $3.25M.

  6. HabFanSince72 says:

    They seem to have as much trouble financially as Tampa, but somehow Bettman doesn’t seem to love them as much.

  7. says:

    Steve Kouleas was on The Score with his own hockey show.  It was one daily and was just terrific.  He’s not biased, and knows a lot about the game and it’s players.  He and Steve Ludzik did a great job and I never missed a show. 

    I’ll have to check out his TSN (I hate TSN) show, but I imagine the producers had a lot to do with his (your view of him now) personality.

    He’s what TSN has been missing…..a Habs Fan!

    They Call Me Shane

  8. Mark C says:

    Jeff Skinner is running away with the Calder right now, his point production is on par with Pleks.

  9. joeybarrie says:

    Well first off I think we have seen the good and bad side of PK. I have no problem with JM benching him. Look at what he did in Washington. Took a dumb penalty for retaliation. He has made some questionable decisions out there. NOTHING wrong with that he is a rookie, and it’s going to happen. But he is not the best rookie in this league. He is just the best rookie in this league to alot of Habs fans. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but we tend to make our guys hero’s before its warranted.

    HAMR AND SPACH were the number 1 D pair. And there was an article that ranked them the #2 BEST pair in the NHL this season…

    Spach and Hamr are not PK’s age and the effects of high ice time take its toll.

    As for the JM annoucements, I don’t know about all that. I don’t think Weber and PK have fought for ice time at all this season. That whole thing sounds made up. PK has twice the amount of games and ALOT more ice time. PK was playing more than 20 minutes from the first game…

    NO ONE was convinced PK was detrimental to our team. NO ONE… But he made mistakes and had to learn from them. AGAIN, look at that dumb penalty he took… He needs to cut that out and do better than that.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  10. ed lopaz says:

    FBomb – I’ve read all the posts – I agree with them.

    Ak is what he is – not more and not less.

    He is in Martin’s dog house – because Martin loves smart hockey and AK is NOT A SMART HOCKEY PLAYER.

  11. Propwash says:

    There is a reason why Auld went through something like 7 teams 😉


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  12. ed lopaz says:

    Tom – its posts like this that keep me on this site.

    Well done!!


  13. TomNickle says:

    I did as a matter of fact, Gill played a poor game, and one thing that stuck out in my mind is that Subban had three shifts of 90 seconds or longer.  I haven’t paid attention to his shift lengths up until this morning when I took a second look at the game but if vets are upset with him, this might be the reason why if it’s true.  Spacek and Weber played well again and Wiz played decent.  None of them were near the amount of mistakes that Roman Hamrlik had Andrew.  None had more than 4.

  14. RGM says:

    So he doesn’t get comparisons (favourable ones, anyways) to Bobby Orr. Next.

    Go Habs Go!

  15. HardHabits says:

    I had an issue with him when he seemed dis-interested. Since his meeting with JM though there’s been a major improvement in his play to the point I think the Habs should consider resigning him. Nevertheless he is an RFA, albeit arbitration eligible, at the end of the year so he could still be worth something on the trade market if talks fall through.

    For AK my concern is chemistry with the team. He also needs to step it up come play-off time. He was not a major presence last season in the play-offs and has yet to step it up in the post-season.

  16. mrhabby says:

    alot of time on ur hands Tom?

  17. andrewberkshire says:

    I also didn’t think Hamrlik played a good game last night, however if you were to scrutinize any other defenseman on the Habs with this same same critical eye, you’d likely see the same result.

    Good read though.

  18. TomNickle says:

    I just figured if I’m gonna keep bitching about him I should provide some verifiable evidence to support it.  Very sick of hearing the “he eats Markov’s minutes” argument, sick of hearing that he’s reliable.  He’s far from reliable.

  19. HardHabits says:

    I would only call him a keeper if he can score at .75 points per game or better come play-off time. His 9 goals and 17 points in 35 play-off games isn’t good enough.

  20. ed lopaz says:

    Here’s the text Joey – where Stubbs reports that Martin wanted Subban and Weber to fight for ice time:


    Martin loves this in-house battle, just as he enjoyed goalies Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price scrapping for action last season before Halak seized the No. 1 job.

    His comparison of Weber-Subban to the goalies might be a little off-kilter; Halak was all-universe from the Olympics onward and not Price nor Ken Dryden nor Patrick Roy would have taken the job from him.

    But still. …

    “It’s healthy to have competition and that’s what we have now,” Martin said. “There’s nothing wrong with that.

    “(And) it’s important to keep in perspective that it’s a privilege to play at this level and there are lots of responsibilities attached to it,” he added, addressing Subban’s growth into the NHL.

    “There’s nothing wrong when you’re not in the lineup. Last year was a very important year in Carey’s development. There was a process established that really helped him grow and made him a better player.

    “With our younger players, whether a Weber or Subban or Lars Eller, they’ll be better for it in the long run.”

    Of Subban, Martin was read-between-the-lines candid: “It’s important (he) well understands the expectations, the values and all that’s attached to the word ‘professional.’ It’s part of developing.

    Read more:


  21. TomNickle says:

    In the morning, yes.

  22. TomNickle says:

    They don’t result in chances for the opposition?  Defensive zone turnovers, missing the puck at the offensive zone blue line when you’re the last man and letting your man drive the net.  Are you high?

  23. HabFanSince72 says:

    You’ve catalogued all of ten events, some of which are the kinds of things that occur all the time and others are minor mistakes that didn’t result in chances for the opposition.

    Compare this to Spacek and Weber, who are almost always in trouble in our zone.


  24. TomNickle says:

    I don’t have nearly as big of a problem with Spacek’s play.  I feel that he’s been steady other than his first 20 games where he was easily the worst player on the ice almost every night.

  25. TomNickle says:

    Tallon has been known to pick up big contracts but I don’t see Gomez being traded.  And I really don’t see Gauthier trading Weber considering how well he’s come along.  Weber is young and cheap, and will continue to be those two things for the next three years, McCabe is in a contract year and Weiss doesn’t have Gomez’s skills.

  26. fbkj says:


    no but srsly what?

  27. shootdapuck says:

    Ever been to Grand Forks?

    Nuff said!

    “I only like to watch and takes notes” JM

  28. mrhabby says:

    Weiss and McCabe for Gomer, Weber and 3rd round pic…..saw this floating around.

  29. ed lopaz says:

    Absolutely agree Tom – and the 5.5 million is what’s missing from the rest of the lineup.

    Also – why is it that our 36 year d-men always get tired in January??

    I’m 46 – and if you paid me 5.5 million I’d work very hard on my cardio conditioning!!

    The media has protected Hamrlik and Spacek for 2 + years.

    They happen to be very friendly and approachable, and if you want to do your job as a sports reporter you need friends on the team to help you.

    That also explains why Big Tits is so vulnerable to media criticism and scrutiny.

    No one in the media actually “needs” AK 46 for anything.


  30. TomNickle says:

    It’s a matter of opinion.  I feel that this kind of game is the norm for him.  It’s my opinion that he has a good game in one out of every 10 or so.  

  31. Habsrule1 says:

    I agree with Andrew below and would even take it 1 step further. If you do the same exercise for every other top 4 D-Man in the league, 95% of them will have 10 games or more like this or worse every year.

    Go Habs Go!! “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  32. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Hammer either.  He’s like Gomez to me, an alright player who has his good uses, but just not worthwhile because of his ridiculous salary that really affects our cap spending.  I’ll be glad when he is off the books.

  33. mrhabby says:

    nice…i guess we can’t wait for hammers contract to be done then.

  34. Bill H says:

    For those of us marooned in Leafland, this is a great part of the schedule.  We got to watch last Tuesday against the Caps.  Then next week TSN carries the game on Wednesday and CBC carries the game on Saturday…3 games in 11 days.  Outside of the playoffs, we’ve never had it so good.  Usually, between CBC, TSN1, TSN2 and ESPN, we average about one Habs game every 2 weeks .

  35. TomNickle says:

    Anytime you turn the puck over you’ve given the opposition a chance, anytime you whiff on a pass without pressure you’ve eliminated an offensive opportunity, and any time you allow your man to drive the net for a rebound you’re giving the opposition a chance, whether or not they take advantage is the question.

  36. Bill H says:

    aka Kovalchuk’s worst nightmare….going from a Jacque Lemaire team to a Jacques Martin team.  Could it get any worse for him?

  37. HabFanSince72 says:

    Some do some don’t.

  38. punkster says:

    I’m on a “No Gomez Arguments”  (NGA™) diet for the coming weeks so I won’t argue this. However, I will say the thought intrigues me…ignoring the contract length and amount.


  39. HabFanSince72 says:

    Actually that one makes sense.

    Tallon doesn’t want to be remembered for his blunders as Hawks GM (Huet, Campbell, forgetting to fax those contracts), so he is going to make an even bigger blunder as Panthers GM.

  40. Bill H says:

    LOL keep up the good work Tom. I didn’t catch the game myself, but hear it wasn’t exactly a barnburner.  To watch it 3 times start to finish and make notes shows a deep commitment on your part to find the flaws on our team.  I see a lot of bipolar behavior around here, but OCD is quite rare.  Oh wait, what about all those Gomez fans out there.  I take it back. 

  41. TomNickle says:

    Hamrlik had the least amount of shifts last night among our defensemen protecting a lead.

  42. TomNickle says:

    Weber leveled Jody Shelley last week, playing scared is something he’s not doing.  Wisniewski is struggling, but didn’t last night and his struggles could easily be attributed to who he’s playing with right now.  Much like Spacek early in the year.  There’s definitely a pattern there.

  43. HardHabits says:

    Eklund says it’s gonna be Gomez for Kovalchuck.

  44. TomNickle says:

    Kirk Muller is a good leader but he isn’t lacing his skates up on gameday.

  45. Mark C says:

    Oh I agree, if you take Max-Pac’s scoring rate and apply it to 82 games, it comes out as 22 goals 48 points. That’s pretty much Penner right there. Add in age, contract, and whatever else you want and you quickly realize Montreal would be foolish to trade Max straight up for Penner.

  46. Mark C says:

    It has to be Millbury, plus Enstrom’s contract lasts for one year more than Hemsky’s @$3.75M, talk about a steal.  

    Maybe Enstrom’s just underated around the league, not sure many people realize he’s tied for 4th in D-man scoring.

  47. CHsam says:

    I applaud you for your efforts bro, but seirously… you spent free time doing this??

  48. habs001 says:

    i like hammer way more than you do but i dont think we have a d in the organization that would be an upgrade..what is unacceptable from a professional hockey player is pyatts skill level with taking,giving a pass and his lack of hand skill with his stick..

  49. Rudy says:

    Max-Pac should be as untouchable as PK

    “Start the season with a clean equipment bag and a freah bucket of febreze!”-CharlieHodgeFan

  50. TomNickle says:

    That’s funny considering Milbury is the only person in the World who would give up Enstrom for Hemsky or a 1st for Hemsky straight up.

  51. Mark C says:

    He’s also talking more Penner crap. The Oilers blogger suggests Montreal trading Eller and/or Max-Pac or Leblanc and a pick.

    The best is the guy thinks Ales Hemsky is worth Enstrom AND a 1st.

  52. habs001 says:

    cbc also has the sunday game this week

  53. TomNickle says:

    Haha, my boy Spacek.  I think Spacek is better than Hamrlik so he’s my boy now eh.  Turnovers also don’t measure what zone they occur in, which is paramount in determining how effective a player is in respective zones throughout the ice.

  54. TomNickle says:

    I disagree Chris, at this point in the season we could finish anywhere from 1st in the conference to close to the bottom.  Our pick could end up being Matt Puempel, Gabriel Landeskog, something like Sean Couturier or Adam Larsson.  There’s no way I would trade our 1st for a player like Hemsky when our placement in the Standings is up in the air.

  55. Chris says:

    I would give up Montreal’s 1st round pick for Hemsky in a heart-beat.

  56. RiverviewCanadien says:

    You’re kidding right?

    Would Eklund even post something like that? Surely his rumors are laughable, but did he really say that?

  57. Chris says:

    Hemsky is forgotten around the league because of a string of unrelated and occasionally freak injuries.  When healthy, Hemsky is one of the few consistent point-per-game performers in the NHL…he is an All-Star calibre player and certainly amongst the best play-making wingers in the game.  Paired with a goal-scorer, Hemsky can be deadly.

    But he’s suffered significant injuries to his right shoulder (8 games in 2006, and then another 10 in 2007), his knee (8 games total in 2007-08), a concussion (10 games in 2008-09), his left shoulder (57 games in 2009-10) and this season suffered another concussion (4 games) and a groin injury (13 games).

    He could easily be a HUGE difference maker for a team gearing up for a playoff run…how many point-per-game performers in the prime of their careers are available on the open market?  But whoever picks him up is rolling the dice that he can put that string of really bad luck behind him. 

  58. HardHabits says:

    It’s an HH1, meaning the source was my own imagination. Who else but Eklund would even consider such a thought? I had to pin it on him.

  59. Chris says:

    Hamrlik was certainly off.  And yet, on the season, here is how the Habs defencemen stack in the category of minutes of even-strength ice time played per even strength goal against (credit ebk with this particular stat, as he was the one that started posting it on here, at least):

    • Ryan O’Byrne:  41 minutes, 48 seconds
    • Andrei Markov:  40 minutes, 22 seconds
    • Roman Hamrlik:  32 minutes, 33 seconds
    • Yannick Weber:  31 minutes, 40 seconds
    • Jaroslav Spacek:  30 minutes, 4 seconds
    • James Wisniewski:  29 minutes, 52 seconds
    • Hal Gill:  25 minutes, 35 seconds
    • P.K. Subban:  24 minutes, 12 seconds
    • Alexandre Picard:  23 minutes, 53 seconds
    • Josh Gorges:  23 minutes, 9 seconds

    So despite all those mistakes he makes, he is still the best of the Habs defencemen at limiting the number of even-strength goals scored against the team.  Not bad for the old fella.

    The entire defensive corps is doing relatively well…anything over 25 minutes is quite good.  Over 30 is excellent.  Anybody under 20 minutes is usually really struggling.

    The biggest surprise is that Josh Gorges is the worst on the team in that category.  Gorges was usually very high up in this stat, but he wasn’t his usual self this year.  Subban is about where you’d expect…he takes a lot of risks and is a young player, and their mistakes tend to be more catastrophic.

  60. Mark C says:

    If you’re a GM you have to be worried about his injuries, I understand that they are unrelated, but he seems to be a guy who always get hurts. His point production is high and impressive when healthy.

    Enstrom was a top-10 point producer last season and is in the top-5 this year, with an extra year under contract, he has a lot more value than Hemsky, IMO. You’re right about Hemsky’s ability to help some team, he’s a first line player on almost every team.  


  61. TomNickle says:

    And that begs the question, will these errors bite the team in the behind in the future?  They haven’t been with regularity yet.  Time on ice per even strength goal against is a very good statistic, but it doesn’t really show who’s playing with who when the goals are scored, doesn’t show what forwards are on the ice with that defenseman either.

    What I’m saying is you can’t hide behind your errors but you can hide behind a statistic that is built to make players out to look good defensively.

    Scott Gomez was -9 last time I looked, but I highly doubt he was responsible for 9 more goals against than he has been for goals for.

  62. SeriousFan09 says:

    I think the Canadiens have enough issues ATM worrying about players that seem to get caught by the injury bug without adding more, I know sometimes you need to roll the dice but the Habs have done that quite enough lately IMO.


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

  63. Chris says:

    Have to be careful with the turnover stat.  The league is trying to standardize how turnovers are given, but they aren’t there yet.  Montreal is one of a handful of rinks that hand out a LOT of turnovers.  Phoenix’s scorekeepers have historically given very few of them.

  64. TomNickle says:

    I guess another way I could put it is that Boston is annually one of the top 5 best defensive hockey teams in the league.  Yet what defenseman on their roster would you like other than Chara?

  65. CanadienBoy says:

    That right ,for Hossa and Fisher

  66. habs365 says:

    Bill: best comment I’ve read on this site..I hope PG reads it……

  67. ManApart says:

    Oh ya like what i said about Gomez is a stretch in any respect. You are as dumb as Gainey was, and a complete waste of time, if you can’t see the point.

  68. J_P says:

    As sad as it is to say, Ill take Jacques Demers, Joel Bouchard, that alain guy, Pierre houde, and Benoit Brunet over the clowns at CBC any day!

  69. The Teacher says:

    Given that our first rounder would be like 20th or lower, I’d do it in a heartbeat too…Hemsky is gold. Passes too much, but gold.

  70. ManApart says:

    Hmm, how about Koivu for starters. I would take him in a second over Gomez. Just because there is no obvious player at the moment to fulfill a need, doesn’t mean you go out and make the dumbest move possible. That’s just craziness. The Habs need a big, tough, stay at home defenseman, there’s nobody else so why don’t they pick up Komisarek. i’m sure the Leafs would be happy to trade him. Well because he’s way over paid and not that good. You see now?

  71. Bill H says:

    Thanks for pointing that out.  On the Habs website, it usually shows games broadcast in Ontario as HD, but the one on Sunday is not in HD so I thought it was Quebec only.

  72. J_P says:

    Calm down with the larsson or couturier.  We all know that the worst the habs will finish is 9th.  Were 7 points up on carolina right now.  Considering the loser point, a 7 point lead is gigantic going into the stretch run. 

  73. Storm Man says:

    If I was to use Hemsky in stock terms he would be Copper.

    ” Not everyone can afford a brilliant stock advisor like storm”. TripleX 01/25/2011.20:16

  74. Chris says:

    I guess my response would be that while yes, Boston doesn’t have a lot of defencemen that you look at on paper and think, “Oooh….shiny!”, they have a defence corps that does their job.  As you said, Hamrlik is good in front of the net and along the boards.  He struggles when under pressure.  But Price is good when he doesn’t have traffic in front of him distracting him, so the combination works.

    The overall team defence works.  I don’t always like it, but it works.  And Hamrlik is frequently assigned to the other team’s best players and still manages to put up nice stats.  Last year in the playoffs, he and Spacek were frequently assigned to shut-down the most dangerous one-on-one players because they are both smart veterans that know how to force a guy like Ovechkin into doing something he doesn’t like doing.  Gorges picked up on Spacek’s strategy, and now the rest of the league seems to have done so as well.  But let’s not forget that it was one of the old, much-maligned goats that started the trend.

    I’ve seen Hamrlik do some amazing things, and I’ve seen him do some truly puzzling things.  But overall, I would argue he’s been a net benefit to the team.  Is he worth $5.5 million?  No.  But he’s definitely a top-4 defencemen on most NHL teams, and would slot into the top-6 of any team in the NHL, ignoring the salary cap, and could probably play top-2 minutes for about half the teams.

  75. Chris says:

    Nope, no joke.

    If his injuries were similar types, like those of Gaborik, I would be concerned.  He has just been tremendously unlucky. 

    Like I said, it is a roll of the dice, but this year’s draft is not so great after the top half of the first round, we’re not drafting in the top half of the first round, and he is an excellent hockey player signed to a VERY affordable contract ($4.1 M cap hit).  If he works out, great.  If he doesn’t, you have a trade asset in the summer.

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