Ryder reunited with Koivu, Higgins

If today’s practice is any indication, Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau is moving Michael Ryder back onto a line with Saku Koivu and Christopher Higgins for tomorrow night’s Bell Centre tilt against the Boston Bruins.

Other lines used by Carbo today: Andrei Kostitsyn with Tomas Plekanec and Alex Kovalev, the team’s most consistent trio; Steve Bégin with Bryan Smolinski and Sergei Kostitsyn; and Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, Tom Kostopoulos and Mathieu Dandenault rotating in and out on a fourth line.


  1. Jonnyboy says:

    if we were to get the number 1 BIG centre we need. what happens to the lines.

    does Koivu drop to the third line:
    Ryder – Koivu – Higgins – looks fimilar.

    it would be a deadly team.

  2. Jonnyboy says:

    not all will develop into nhl players though. i think 1 or 2 will be traded this year or next though

  3. G-Man says:

    No D playing forward? You can’t be serious.


  4. The Teacher says:

    you sure it’s not a no-movement clause?

  5. Blitzen says:

    Smoke has a no-trade clause, not a no-waive clause.

  6. nick says:

    Coach Julien is probably sitting there reading the new lines thinking… “Guy… your freakin nuts man”

  7. Fer_hab says:

    Price had a strong game last night.


    Glad to see Ryder back on the top line. Hopefully he can have the same output as he did in last years stretch run.

  8. nick says:

    i think it’s getting painfully clear we have too many people sitting on the bench… Should / Could a multi-player trade be in the works ? Too bad for Smoke’s no-trade clause.

  9. likehoy says:

    that is also true.

    What a log jam

  10. 24 Cups says:

    Don’t forget O’Byrne.

    The Original 24 Cups

  11. Hoegarden says:

    It’s so simple; you go from the pressbox to the 3rd line, score two goas in one game and get promoted to the 1st line.

    Two turtles and one rabbit ? like having two Edsels and a Lamborghini.

    I hope Gainey steps in on this one and gives Carbo a head shake.

    Bruins must be rubbing their hands if they see this.

  12. likehoy says:

    no worries…ovechkin’s on top pairing defence with markov

  13. likehoy says:

    speaking of lineups

    our future defense is stacked…what would you guys like to see as our future defence

    Markov – Komi
    Hamrlik – McDonagh
    Valentenko – Yemelin

    now where do weber (who is awesome and i feel only 2 years away from the NHL) and p.k. subban, and david fischer fit in? TRADE PIECES 🙂

  14. The Teacher says:

    You Sir, are correct 😉

  15. showey47 says:

    and brisebois, carbo never tried him yet with koivu and higgins lmao

  16. krob1000 says:

    Ridiculous……..you left out Smolinski.

  17. Shawn S says:

    pshhh, I see you relegated Ovechkin to the pressbox. Not cool man, not cool.

  18. Shawn S says:

    The only reason Ryder is on the first line is so he can be showcased as a top flight player and raise his trade value. Guarenfrickenteed. Sergei K has done nothing to deserve being demoted. I’m all for this if it means getting Tanguay somehow.

  19. likehoy says:

    guys so i came up with the perfect line-up…ca sens la coupe.

    A. Kostitsyn – Plekanec – Kovalev
    Tanguay – Lecavalier – Hossa
    Higgins – Koivu – S. Kostitsyn
    Begin – Lapierre – Chipchura

  20. The Teacher says:

    Anyone ever think maybe Sergei Kostitsyn was placed on the third line so he would learn to take the initiative? He would also feel freer to shoot since that is what he needs to work on as well?

    Sometimes changes are made to give players the chance to work on something they need to?

  21. Smart Dog says:

    I’d rather line my cage with it.

    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  22. krob1000 says:

    They were great the first handful of games but didn’t finish their chances. The thing that has changed is Sergei K’s emergence that granted us the opportunity to move towards a three line attack. Unfortunatelty as JT noted we are one scoring or two way forward away right now. I don’t dount that Higgins Ryder and Koivu can rediscover their chemistry and succeed but I do wonder about the trickle down effect. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could acquire a Tanguay (or another good scoring forward) and not give up any of our other top forwards????

  23. nick says:

    I think we need to amputate the sore thumb(s).

  24. krob1000 says:

    Thank you for noticing the 5 on 3 play to Kovalev and then him disappearing….I didn’t get that either but like you said how can you argue with our PP it is awesome no matter who seems to out there. I don’t really have a problem with Carbo doing this given his success…my problem is with Ryder somehow being villified by his hometown fans when not really given the opportunity to produce. Anyways I am more concerned about poor Sergei Kostistyn on Tuesday….he has been nothing short of incredible lately and Koivu just isn’t converting (neither is Higgins). It is unfortunate that he will be playing with lesser skilled guys but I am confident that something is going to give sooner or later and I just don’t know what it is yet.

  25. ebk says:

    Was going to say something but I would have said almost the same thing but not nearly as well written. Nice Post.

    I’d rather live or die with the Kiddie Corps. They changed the dynamic of this team about 20 games ago, For the better. I would love to see a third line of Lats,Madd Max and K2. Chipchura on the 4th. Roll the dice and see where they land.

    Thanks for reading

  26. krob1000 says:

    Calling Jeff Gilooly….(just kiddding)
    I agree with pretty well everything you jsut said but I think Chipchura is that guy next year as you do too. There is still hope that Smolinski will come around as he has looked marginally better lately. I don’t know if he has just hit the wall or what because he doesn’t look at all like the Smolinski I remember. He has that stupid no trade clause but (correct me if I am wrong) that does not protect him from being waived does it???I am completely on the fence with that guy as I for some reason can’t help believe he has something left but if he were cut loose I don’t think I’d be too upset.

    You are right though we seem to be one top nin guy from having three great lines although I thought Lapierre worked reasonably well. In time it will be Chips and Lapierre will drop down the depth chart but for now Lapierre is the next best. I wonder if Streit can play center ….he seems to be able to anything else he is asked (half joking and half serious…….o.k. mostly joking but slightly serious).

  27. Ed says:

    I have seen this argument before where Souray gets credit for Ryder’s PP goals. Some people will just never give Ryder credit for any success he has had. That is a fact of life. A comparison of their actual PP goals by season shows:

    2003-04 Ryder 10; Souray 6
    2005-06 Ryder 18; Souray 7
    2006-07 Ryder 17; Souray 19

    If anything, with Souray scoring so many PP goals last year, you could argue that Ryder’s PP goal production should have dropped significantly. It is interesting to note that their combined production increased year over year from 16, to 25, to 36.

    About 5 or 6 games ago, Ryder sat up Kovalev for an easy PP goal in the first period, and then he never got on the PP for the rest of the game. That is the way his season has gone re. the PP. Early in the year, he was benched for 3 consecutive 5 on 3 PP opportunities, when that would have been a great opportunity to get him going. Lately he has gone full games with no time at all on the PP.

    I can’t argue that he should be put back on the PP, because it has been even more successful than last year. However, it is in sort of a mini slump for the last several games, and we will have to see what Carbonneau does tomorrow night.

  28. krob1000 says:

    Yes and No….Streit has a cannon (nowhere near Souray’s…agreed) but the left side (of the goal) of our power play is still a constant threat with Kovalev and Streit. They would definitely stretch things for Ryder to be open (as does having Higgins). The other thing is that Carbo now plays his lines as his units so Kovy won’t be out there with Ryder. I believe if Ryder had been given the same amount of PP time this year as last he would have 4-7 more goals and would not be an issue. Anyways that doesn’t matter becasue it didn’t happen but I am really hoping Ryder gets some PP time against Boston.

  29. J.T. says:

    About Ovechkin, I thought so too…but his mom negotiated his contract and she was likely more interested in locking up his financial future as tightly as possible than indulging her boy’s giant ego. It struck me in the interviews he gave after signing that for a very rich kid, he seemed to be very unhappy.

  30. Blitzen says:

    But let’s say things go REAL well for 3 straight games, why change everything when you have a single bad game?

  31. J.T. says:

    Funny…this exact thought crossed my mind the other day. I figure with rumours of Phaneuf looking for 70-million over the next seven or eight years (don’t know if that’s true, but it’s out there), Robinson would be worth at least eight million a year. Lidstrom is making around seven and a half, and he’s the best guy out there now.

  32. J.T. says:

    I don’t want to be any harder on the guy than many of us have been already, but the name that sticks out like a sore thumb on every line on which you plug him (outside maybe the fourth) is Smolinski. You can’t play him on the first line. Koivu is the second-line centre and needs energy, speed and hands to finish his plays…none of which Smoke provides. Sergei Kostitsyn is another playmaker with good vision and speed who needs a finisher, or at least someone who’ll go to the net in hopes the puck will bounce off him. I don’t see Smolinski filling that role either. He’s not very gritty, or fast, or spectacular on faceoffs and he doesn’t put up many points. Since he *must* be played for some reason, I think putting him on a fourth line with Kostopoulos and Begin would be fine.

    When I look at the lineup and I rank the forwards, I see the first line above everyone. Then, Koivu, Higgins, Ryder, Sergei Kostitsyn and Latendresse. The problem is the team is one top-nine forward shy of icing three scoring lines. S.Kost and Lats need a centre with some energy and finish. Choosing between the two, I’d take Lapierre on that line over Smolinski. He’s not the ideal top-nine guy, being more of a perfect fourth-line centre. But of the two…

    It’s too bad Chipchura can’t come back unless either S.Kost or Lapierre goes down, or if there’s another injury. As long as Smolinski is taking up a spot, which he will be for the rest of the season, and barring injury, the team will continue to be a top-nine forward short.

  33. Blitzen says:

    They played reasonably well for a few games if I remember well but these changes pretty much coincided with the Pleks line becoming our only viable one. So I would agree with you.

  34. krob1000 says:

    He would get Chris Pronger money in my opinion as he is probably the closest guy around to Robinson when you consider his ability to combine toughness, defense and offense along with leadership. Pronger is dirtier for sure and one could argue bigger but given the average size of players in Robinsons days he seemed as big as Pronger to the guys he played against.

  35. Blitzen says:

    But Souray’s shot was still at the line, whether he scored or not. We’ve got guys with decent shots this year but not like Souray’s IMHO.

  36. Ice Man says:

    So does this mean that Ryder will get his PP minutes back?Because he got squat on the PP in the last while. I really though that Carbo had it in for Ryder. Maybe I was wrong about Carbo.

  37. Blitzen says:

    Next offseason will be interesting. Gainey won’t have to bring in stiffs like Smokes because the young guys have shown they can get it done. So he will either have to sign a top flight guy or come out with totally empty hands, which, as we all know, isn’t going to go over well in Montreal unless, of course, we win the Cup this year. The pressure is unreal in this town. With Ryder (I’m assuming), Smokes (I’m hoping), Brisebois (I’m praying), and likely Huet gone, it’ll free up salary for him. I know he has to give raises to some other guys on the team but at least he’ll have some wiggle room.

    I was really disappointed when Ovechkin signed with Washington. I thought a guy who obviously likes hockey like him would have killed to play in a meccha like Montreal but I guess not.

  38. nick says:

    is this just my armchair opinion? there seemed to be alot more energy, confidence, grit and desire in the lines over the past few weeks when Smoke / Begin / Brisboise were out on injury. Now their back. Some of the guys have been sent back down to Hamilton, and from where i’m standing I get the feeling that their forcing them back in to line up – so far with nothing really outstanding to show for.

  39. Ice Man says:

    I’m not compairing Robinson to anyone. Just a question

    I figured he’d get around $250,000.00 mark back in the 70’s. Maybe 6-8 Million today.

  40. krob1000 says:

    Ryder was actually better on the power play before Sourays miracle season. He scored 18 goals on the pp two years ago in 05/06 when Souray only scored 12 goals. Last year he only scored 17. He is a top power play guy in the league two consecutive years but can’t crack ours anymore….hmmm. This would be a huge concern and people would be going nuts but our PP is so damn good we don’t need him out there. I look at it and say we could be that much better but that is probably why I coach children.


  41. Praj12 says:

    You guys are too funny. It does get frustrating when you actually have no say in what the lines are going to be. We have no idea what goes on in these palyers heads. Who hates who and whatever other chemistry is involved in the dressing room. Give Carbo a break, gees.

  42. krob1000 says:

    a lot more than Mike Komisarek will….he is great and all but he has a long way to go before being anywhere near Larry Robinson if that is where this is going. For now lets consider what Rick Green or Craig Ludwig would be making today. Sorry if this was a general question but I assumed this is where it was headed.

  43. Blitzen says:

    I still think that the reason he was so great on PP in past years was because Souray got all of the focus because of his booming shot. Once that is taken away and guys have to make skill passes and stay in motion to score on the PP, instead of jumping on fat rebounds, then I’m not sure Ryder is as good. He sometimes manages to deek guys but that’s a rare occurrence. He’s a pure shooter. If he plays on the PP, he needs to get himself in front of the net pronto and not try to play the finesse game, which isn’t his at all.

  44. MTL LOVE says:

    I don’t get it…I hope he’s on his way out! AND SOON!

  45. RetroMikey says:

    I think it’s a good decision by Carbonneau to get Michael Ryder back on the first line. This is his chance to prove to himself and the team he can play back to his old ways. What have we got to lose? At least Carbonneau is experimenting as well as showcasing him to a team like Calgary who may be interested in him. Good luck Michael! This is your last chance to shine or it’s bye bye!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  46. Richard B says:

    they tried the Lats Koivu Kostitsyn line, it didn’t work.
    I really like the Lapierre Begin combo.

  47. krob1000 says:

    I would agree if not for the fact that he has had three consistent seasons until this one. They count for something everywhere but in Montreal and that will reveal itself to be true come free agent season. The risk of him exploding elsewhere is minimized out West a la Ribeiro. You are right Gainey is in a hard spot and only time will tell what he does and what the result is (stupid obvious statement of the day)but I think Ryder has played well this year and I say so honestly. He has not produced and please I don’t want another debate on this. IMHO he has not been put into situations where he is likely to succeed and didn’t. He is known to be a power play guy and unfortunately for him our powerplay is the best around no matter who seems to be on it.

  48. Ice Man says:

    This is off topic But:

    How much do you think Robinson made per year in his prime when he was playing?

    If he was playing now in his prime who much would he get?

  49. Blitzen says:

    Even if Ryder scored three against the Bruins, he still has had a very inconsistent season so to think that a one-game showcase will sell him to someone is somewhat unrealistic. He would need to go on a 6-7 great game stretch at least IMHO. And then people would wonder if we should trade him at all. Gainey can’t really win this one. If he trades him now, he’s unlikely to get much and risks Ryder exploding elsewhere. If he trades him when he shows a spark, people will kill him for trading a good player.

  50. krob1000 says:

    O.k….. I am very happy for Ryder to get another deserved chance…..on the other hand I am not happy that our three scoring line approach and Sergei K playing with nobody to pass to is the cost. I really thought Higgins and Lapierre played well with each other and at the same time could match up against any teams top line. I would be interested to see Sergei feeding Ryder pucks for a game or two. I know every time I have questioned Carbo’s lines they have worked out so I will throw out a disclaimer now but here are my proposed combos given the fact he wants to make a change (and assuming he doesn’t want to go back to Max between Higgins and Ryder which I thought was the best).

    Pleks-Kovy-Kost Sr.
    Koivu-Ryder-Sergei K
    Insert any three of our grinders here

    I also think that given the rumours lately and the fact our scouts were at two Flames games and Sutter in Montreal on Sat. that their could in fact be a showcasing factor possibly involved here as well. People have written these rumours off because he denied them on live television…..what the hell was he supposed to do tell the entire world he is shopping Tanguay or interested in Ryder??……NEVER HAPPENS. Elliot Friedman should have asked a more general question because Sutter had no choice but to deny. Sutter’s presence and our scouts presence in Calgary definitely suggests interest…whter or not anything materializes is a different story. But when you also consider Ryder played only 9 minutes that night it is one hell of a coincidence that he is now back on the Koivu line. IF anybody in the Calgary Flames organization is at the next game then we will know something is up and if not we should still wonder.

  51. rogus says:

    You are a smart dog! I had the same lines as you but switch Higgins and Lats. Do you think Smolinski’s contract would taste better with Ketchup or Mustard?

  52. Blitzen says:

    I like those lines but it won’t happen. I think Smokes will play regardless of how well he does. Chips will be up next year unless an injury happens this year. I still think Locke was brought up to replace Chips to make it look like Smokes replaced Locke instead of Chips.

  53. HKisses says:

    I’d go with this….


  54. Blitzen says:

    I know Koivu has shown a LOT of grit in the past and has done a wonderful job for the Habs but he honestly doesn’t seem to care as much this year. When he scored his shoot-out winner a few games ago, it’s like he had scored during a practice scrimmage. Very little celebration. At times, he looks somewhat exhausted. I think he may be mentally tired playing in Montreal and that’s sad. I think all the O-Zone penalties are a reflection of that too. I would like to see him get traded to a contender if we can get something decent for him but trades are rare these days.

  55. Guy21 says:

    OK-putting Ryder back on a line with Koivu and Higgins can only be good.All these players are doing poorly and need each other.Smo with Begin and Sergi is also a good line.The number one line is still in force and thats good and the fourth line will have to have people sitting as long as we have no injuries.I’d say its time to sit Gui and then take turns with whoever has a bad game…Even Mr Boone was wondering where Latendresse has been for a couple of games…

  56. saskhab says:

    Just trade Ryder already. He reminds me of Brian Savage in his last year.

  57. Smart Dog says:

    Calico Tabbycat I’m mad!!

    This is sooooo frustrating. Carbo is damn persistent, which means we have to watch the same line fail again and again, and the same players struggle. Even when he does find winners he has to keep shuffling the deck. (I think you can take Prozac for this problem.) He’s got guys on the first line that don’t belong there and probably would do better without the pressure. He had some good chemistry between Koivu and Lats, but dropped that pairing. Chips was playing well, they sent him down. Things were going great, but the brought Smolinski in anyway. It’s amazing we’re in this race at all. And we are so vulnerable it’s not funny. If one of the Plekanek line goes down we are TOAST.

    And why the %#*! doesn’t he move the first line to the first line?

    Or do something like this:

    A.Kostitsyn – Pleks – Kovalev
    Lats – Koivu – S. Kostitsyn
    Higgins – Chipchura – Ryder
    Kostoplous – Lapierre – Begin

    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  58. Richard B says:

    Well one this is for sure.
    Higgins, Koivu and Sergi wern’t getting it done, and Lats, Koivu, Sergi was worse.
    From the farm to the first line? I don’t think so. Just as well to have Ryder there all along.

  59. 24 Cups says:

    It’s hard to tell what to make of all this. Koivu and Higgins haven’t done much lately and Lats has been basically useless. This should be his last chance before hitting the press box. We need lots of grit and hitting against Boston and that’s what Lats is getting paid to do. I’d put Lapierre between Begin and Sergi K.(speedy line) and let 3 of the remaining 4 guys ankle it out as a fourth line with limited ice time. Maybe Smolinski should sit but that would mean Tommy K at centre – which isn’t good. (we’re basically short a centre with Chips down in Hamilton) Koivu, Higgins and Ryder have done it before so who knows – give Ryder some power play time as well.

    Boston is going to trap and play with an edge so the Habs better come prepared to get their hands dirty. The game will probably be won or lost on the powerplay.

    The Orginal 24 Cups

  60. TradeRyder says:


    Carbo pushing food around on his plate again. It’s still unappetizing.. and just getting cold and stale.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  61. odber says:

    There is a huge upside if Ryder ,higgins and saku can recapture some magic.

  62. slamtherimtim says:

    i would take them over breeze-by any day

  63. westhab says:

    don’t forget O’Bryne

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