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

xSOZPYIFvhg

330 Comments

  1. punkster says:

    I’ve backed off my “trade AK” mindset over the past month or so for just those reasons. He is what he is; not a superstar but a reasonably solid 2nd liner with occaisional explosive capabilities. He’s a keeper.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  2. PrimeTime says:

    An hour later and still no reply….and please don’t tell me you didn’t read it. You troll on here all day just dying to see replies to your posts! Love your work…..

  3. TorontoHabsFan says:

    I think the problem is that, and I’m not a capologist by any stretch, as an RFA if he re-signs with Montreal he automatically receives at least a 10% increase in salary. And I don’t think he’s a $3.5m-ish/yr player.

    (or am I wrong here? Is the 10% Qualifying Offer the lowest an RFA can be re-signed for or can a player take (for example) a longer contract for less money per season? Or could Montreal not offer him a QO and let him become an UFA and sign him for something in the $2m range (for example), an amount Kostitsyn and his agent would know he’d be unlikely to get on the free market.)

     

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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. 

  9. 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

  10. 123456 says:

    Wait a minute, yea i see some AK46 bashing, some shots at gomez today and even speculation about Kristo. .. but EVERYONE has missed the biggest issue as we stand here today (or sit).

    Auld should be the #1 goalie, better save % and better GAA. Plus Auld has won twice asa many games as he has lost (4-2)…. Price can not touch those figures.

    There ya go, let’s stir this pot!!!!

  11. avatar_58 says:

    Why not? A team like the Islanders would jump on him

  12. avatar_58 says:

    Does it matter? It’s his business not ours

  13. avatar_58 says:

    EVERYONE on the team is slumping in terms of scoring. As we’ve seen some nights one player can take off – ala Gionta. It’s not fair to pick on any one guy if the whole team isn’t getting it done.

  14. ed lopaz says:

    Joey, re: subban.

    When Markov went down, Jacques Martin ANNOUNCED TO THE MEDIA – officially – that Hamrlik and Spacek were

    his #1 pair of d-men.

    Subban was forced to fight with Weber for playing time – as Martin ANNOUNCED TO THE MEDIA – that it was a good

    idea to have Subban and Weber battle against one another much like Price and Halak did last year.

    (looking back on these 2 decisions, is there any wonder why some of us who love Subban got so upset!)

    Subban’s ice time was cut; he was benched for a few games; and many people on HIO and elsewhere in Montreal

    were convinced that Subban was detrimental to the team’s success.

    Subban lost about 1 month of statistics during this stretch.

    After the Habs won a few games with Subban benched, they went into their worst stretch of the season.

    It became clear that Spacek was a big reason for this slump – and Gorges was injured.

    Now Subban is back, baby!!!!!

    And Joey – WATCH OUT!!

    The kid is un-freakin real and he can carry this team a long, long way in the next 30 games.

     

  15. 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.

     

  16. ed lopaz says:

    you are right about the 10%.

    if the Habs do not offer him a qualifying offer before free agency, he becomes unrestricted on July 1.

     

     

  17. 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.

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26366

    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.

  18. Cool Ice Price says:

    Thanks

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  19. HabFanSince72 says:

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

  20. PrimeTime says:

    I think your right, Bill. He is what he is. Oozes with talent and skill but just doesn’t have the head for the game. But year after year he puts up points. If another team wants to pay on his “potential” then he will sign with them. Maybe he just never had the right linemates here, who knows? But JM and PG know what he is and he will be offered a deal based on that. I wish he would be more dominant but I would still like to keep him cuz he does put up points.

  21. ed lopaz says:

    Big Tits is a restricted free agent – that’s the issue.

    So he will command very decent money in the summer – Free Agency drives his salary higher than the 3.2 he earns this year.

    He is NOT A JACQUES MARTIN player – because Big Tits has small brains – and JM loves a high hockey IQ.

    So he will be moved at the deadline – if we can get something in return.

    There’s a reason why he is Not getting top 6 minutes and PP time.

    He eats his meals in Martin’s dog house.

    Martin does not want him back, and Gauthier will try and deal him much as they did with Halak last summer.

     

     

  22. shiram says:

    Well…. thats true, but we did have to send in Price to save Auld not too long ago against the Flames, so consider me a Pricebot, and not an Auld-Faithful.

  23. Chuck says:

    Guys like ManApart aren’t about putting forth plausible, thought-out arguments to support their point of view. The just repeat the same old same old in the hopes of convincing themselves that they’re right, and to push the buttons of other posters.

    They don’t add any real substance to the conversation; kind of the HI/O equivalent of white noise.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. sholi2000.com 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

  27. Mark C says:

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

  28. 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…

  29. 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.


  30. Propwash says:

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

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  31. ed lopaz says:

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

    Well done!!

     

  32. 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.

  33. RGM says:

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

    Go Habs Go!

  34. mrhabby says:

    habs starting to roll a bit….still want the team to get nastier. we have approx 3.5m left in cap room. love to see that elusive PWF./p>

  35. 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.

  36. mrhabby says:

    alot of time on ur hands Tom?

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. notbigbird says:

    I am a little confused about the notion that Pleks is lighting a fire under Gionta and Pax. Seems to me, they were playing pretty well with Gomez in much of the run before the break. OTOH, Pleks wasn’t doing all that well. “What fire lit by whom?” I ask. BTW this is not to take away from Pleks who is our best player. I just think that we sometimes get a notion that isn’t always right. Of course, I am almost always wrong, so ….

  41. 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: http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Weber+gain+proves+pain+Subban/3956741/story.html#ixzz1Cv6EPear

     

  42. sidhu says:

    Durocher is right — David Clarkson would be a great fit on the Habs. 

  43. TomNickle says:

    In the morning, yes.

  44. 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?

  45. ManApart says:

    So far they’ve all helped eachother I would say. It’s only been a few games, so we’ll see. I also think the break did a hell of a lot of good for Gio and Pleks, especially Pleks who logs a lot of minutes in all situations.

    What’s worse about Gomez is that there are 3 more years left at 7.3 million a year cap hit. I mean it was simply one of the worst trades in team history. An absolute bone head move. Especially since it was so easy and predictable to see how it would hurt the team negatively, because of the cap hit. Gainey should have been fired just for that.

  46. 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.

     

  47. Mattyleg says:

    so…

    +1 -1 = 0.

    Hm.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. PrimeTime says:

    Gomez bashing aside (two days worth until next game, ugh!?!) , let’s give credit where credit is due. JM was an Adams candidate earlier in the year, then fell off stage for a month, but if this team continues to “over-achieve” then he should be right back up there. Everyone will agree we do not have any ‘stars” on this team….maybe one or two potential future stars, but none today. Yet for all the bashing JM gets for his “system” this team could not be where they are in the standings without it. Consider all the injuries, AHL call ups, and inexperienced players this season and the Habs are surprising. Other teams have a hard time scoring against us. Other than that one Philly game, I don’t recall many others where got really out-played or blown out. In the same breath, we don’t blow many either but we have more wins than losses and that works for me. PG made the deal of the year getting Wiz for picks which has turned into the right medication at the right time, but JM is the one that has to make the pieces work and I don’t know of many other Coaches this year that have done a better job with less. He isn’t charasmatic but he knows the game and knows how this team needs to play to win. Well done, Jacques Martin!!

     

  51. fbkj says:

    PLZ CITE YOUR SOURCES!!!

    no but srsly what?

  52. twocents says:

    Careful, balanced observations that go against the prevalent superficial view can be greeted less than enthusiastically around here.

    Though I will add that Gionta wasn’t exactly producing well prior to the break. But Max Pac was, and Gomez had out-pointed Pleks over the 20 games prior to the ASG. 17 to 14

  53. shootdapuck says:

    Ever been to Grand Forks?

    Nuff said!

    “I only like to watch and takes notes” JM

  54. wild flower says:

    The Danny Kristo story seems to lack some of the details needed to explain how anyone could end up with frostbite on their toes in his circumstance. If that’s all it takes, most of Winnipeg would be in the hospital this week.

  55. mrhabby says:

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

  56. Chuck says:

    Thank goodness that you and your ilk are around to constantly bitch about how much money Gomez is making. I mean, without the incessant moaning, I might completely forget how much of the cap is dedicated to that guy.

  57. 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.

     

  58. 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.  

  59. Kooch7800 says:

    I would take Clarkson anyday. He is physical, can handle himself and has decent offensive abilities.

  60. 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

  61. PrimeTime says:

    Considering the changes that needed to be made at the end of 2008, name who was as attainable and a better Center that fit into what BG thought the team needed? And please don’t go all pie-in-the-sky. Who should have Gainey got instead??

  62. _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.

  63. wild flower says:

    Many times – they have some very nice facilities.

  64. mrhabby says:

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

  65. 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 .

  66. 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.

  67. 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?

  68. Storm Man says:

    I hope this was some kind of joke to sell more kool-aid for the trolls on here. A 1st round pick Hemsky??? Im sure my heart skipped a few beats. You know hockey so stop making jokes on here:).

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

  69. fbkj says:

    pants buzzed

    cammy wont be ready for the weekend

    #rdsappisgettingannoying

  70. HabFanSince72 says:

    The NHL actually compiles stats for turnovers (they call them give-aways). Last year Hamr was third worst in the league (the leader was Joe Thornton – he leads again this year …)

    This year Hamr is doing a bit better and is in 41st place.

    Among the Habs, your boy Spacek leads (by a considerable margin) and Gill is second. Hamr comes in third. Hamr plays on average 3 more mintes per game than Spacek.

     

  71. Cool Ice Price says:

    WOW, Price on his 3rd set of pads. He’ll have a new set for the playoffs. That will be 4 sets of pads in one season. Is this normal for goalies now?

    Do you think Carey may ever go back to the RED pads? 

     

     Habs Passion unites us all


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