Sabres vs. Habs preview: Price named NHL’s first star of the week; de la Rose called up from Hamilton

0128 spt nhl canadiens 6738

Sabres vs. Canadiens

Tuesday at the Bell Centre, 7:30 p.m., SNE, RDS, TSN Radio 690


Closer than you think: The Canadiens, who were given the day off on Monday, are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and the Buffalo Sabres have the worst record in the NHL and have lost their last 14 games. Mismatch, right? Not necessarily, says the Canadiens’ Tomas Plekanec, who notes that Buffalo has had the edge over Montreal this season, taking five of a possible six points against the Canadiens. The Canadiens were 2-1 winners in a shootout in Buffalo on Nov. 5, but the Sabres posted back-to-back victories on Nov. 28-29, winning 2-1 in Buffalo and 4-3 in overtime at the Bell Centre.

Hard to beat this Price: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price returns after taking a one-game break and is working on a shutout string of 153 minutes and three seconds. He is No. 2 in the NHL in save percentage (.933), third in goals-against average (2.03), tied for second in wins (27) and tied for fifth in shutouts (four). On Monday, the NHL named him the first star of the week after he finished with a 3-0 record and a 0.66 goals-against average.

Offence sputtering: The Canadiens have scored only four goals in their last three games with Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk each scoring twice. Pacioretty is in the top 10 in the NHL in goals (23) and plus/minus (plus-23). The Canadiens’ biggest problem has been a dearth of scoring from the bottom two lines and they’re in trouble if Lars Eller can’t go after suffering a lower-body injury against Arizona on Sunday.

Cross-country tour: This is the fourth and final stop on a cross-Canada road trip for the Sabres, who were outscored a combined 12-5 in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Buffalo hasn’t won since Dec. 27 when the Sabres beat the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. The Sabres have the worst power play in the NHL, rank last in goals for and goals against, and are 29th on the penalty kill. This is a team that’s hoping to rebuild through the draft — it has three first-round picks and three second-round picks in June.

Homecoming: Former Canadiens Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges have provided the Sabres with leadership, but little else. Gionta has four goals and nine assists, while Gorges continues to be among the NHL leaders in blocked shots, but he’s also minus-27.

Sick bay: Eller said he expects to play, but that decision is on hold until Tuesday’s morning skate. P.A. Parenteau is still out with a concussion, but says he’ll resume skating this week. For the Sabres, Mike Foligno (hand) and Cody McCormick (blood clot) are on the injured-reserve list, while goaltender Michal Neuvirth is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Habs call up de la Rose: The Canadiens announced Monday afternoon that they have called up Jacob de la Rose from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. In 37 games with Hamilton, the 19-year-old has six goals, five assists and 11 penalty minutes. He was captain of Team Sweden at this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship. The Canadiens selected him in the second round (34th overall) at the 2013 NHL entry draft.

(Photo by John Kenney/Montreal Gazette)

Price NHL’s first star of the week,

Another Molson Cup honour for Price,

Price’s goaltending carries Habs into higher orbit, by Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Sad days in Buffalo for former Habs’ Gionta and Gorges, by Montreal Gazette’s Christopher Curtis

Élise Béliveau remembers her legendary husband two months after his passing, by Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Habs call up de la Rose,

Eller stuck in hockey purgatory, by Montreal Gazette’s Christopher Curtis

Habs and Leafs headed in opposite directions, by Jack Todd for Montreal Gazette

Coyotes outskate lacklustre Habs, by Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Press conference with Sabres coach Ted Nolan (video),


  1. 70s_habsfan says:

    New thread

    • Mattyleg says:

      Nice try.
      Not falling for that old chestnut.


      Gonna keep right on posting on here.
      The good ol’ “Sabres vs. Habs preview: Price named NHL’s first star of the week; de la Rose called up from Hamilton” thread.
      That’s the only one for me.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

  2. Un Canadien errant says:

    Generally, all sports leagues have been trying to de-emphasize their referees. Some of this is to ensure that the focus remains on the game, not grandstanding referees as were common in baseball in the Seventies, when nose-to-nose shouting matches were common.

    In the NFL, we saw referee Ed Hochuli gain a bit of a cult status for his physique, his big guns rivaling his intricate explanations for certain calls to fans during games. Unfortunately, he booted a couple of calls in an awful manner, including one against my Chargers that cost us the game and hurt our playoff seeding. He got all wrapped up in his persona in trying to explain and apologize to fans, and it became a point of contention.

    The NFL responded by removing names from ref jerseys, who now only have a number, and very specific memos as to their deportment. They’re now less central to the replay process, they get assistance from a situation room in New York like the NHL has in Toronto. They get graded objectively, and their grades determine who gets post-season assignments.

    Another less charitable explanation for the way leagues have tried to tone down the focus on its refs is that they want the upper hand in contract negotiations. They want the refs to be as faceless and replaceable as possible, so that there’s not a hue and cry when they get locked out, disciplined, etc. If fans get attached to referees for being colourful and a source of entertainment, if they’re cherubic and adorable, or theatrical and controversial, that plays against a league’s efforts to keep their labour costs down.

    So that Tim Peel got disciplined for his on-the-record chat with Greg Wyshynski, over and above the common policy of most companies that staff can’t speak to the media unless they’re given specific permission, is not all that surprising. Not that I think he did anything fundamentally wrong, the stuff he discussed on the record is fairly tame, but he had to know the consequences of what he was doing.

    It’s somewhere between a toothless attack and a vicious homage.–Paul Rudd

  3. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Jeepers, I had to shovel the back of my car because I was afraid the snow plow wouldn’t see it.. 6′ drift… And another 30cm Thursday. Snow is too high for a snow thrower to work… Whyyyyyyyyy hahha

    ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  4. stephen says:

    Here’s a wacky notion on which I’d appreciate some feedback.

    Is it at all possible that Beaulieu was called up when he was and since given this ample playing time as a means of increasing his value on the trade market?

    In other words, has the Habs’ management had a plan since early this season to use Beaulieu as part of any potential transaction (package or otherwise) at the deadline?

    If so, the decision to bring Beaulieu up and not Tinordi perhaps makes more sense. If they actually value Tinordi’s game more as part of their future plans, would it not make sense to allow Beaulieu to ‘flourish’ in the NHL for a meaningful period in order to maximize his market value?

    I am in no way recommending they trade Beaulieu, as I appreciate his skillset and envision him developing into a solid #2 or #3 defenceman, but if the Habs’ brass is serious about making a significant addition at the deadline, one would think that Nathan might just have to be part of the equation.

    Of course, were he to be shipped out, you would think it would leave a significant gap in their defensive squad, but we shouldn’t dismiss the idea that his being dealt could potentially be to acquire a more established rearguard with a different skillset, namely a bigger/stronger physical presence.

    Again, this is all just idle speculation, born mostly of time spent at long traffic lights. I am curious, however, at just how ludicrous the speculation might be.

    Thoughts? Comments? Violent vitriol?

    • Forum Dog says:

      Trading Beaulieu would only make sense of the return was a guy who was under medium to long-term contract at a reasonable hit and was a vast upgrade over anything they currently have, particularly at RW. Otherwise I don’t see why they would trade Markov’s heir apparent and a guy who looks more than capable of logging top-4 minutes for the next 10 years.

      • krob1000 says:

        Eberle is only guy i can think of that fits that bill

        • Forum Dog says:

          For player like Eberle, it might be worth the risk. Beaulieu has some pretty strong upside however, and the idea of trading him gets harder to justify with every passing game.

        • 70s_habsfan says:

          Yes Eberle would be worth having Beaulieu going the other way even throw in Allen at no extra charge.
          Seriously if you were able to get Eberle you would have to move a contract this summer probably to fit everyone. Someone like DD, PAP or Emelin would have to go

    • knob says:

      I hope not. Beaulieu and similar types of defencemen are the way of the future. The big lugs that can’t move the puck up the ice or skate are going to disappear. Beaulieu is a great skater and passer. He also plays with a bit of an edge. His confidence is improving and soon he will be putting up points (hopefully). I just can’t see him being traded.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      Anything is possible but I would be very sad if they traded Beaulieu considering his age skating, overall defensive ability and current cap hit. Our team has a lot of money tied up in Defense so to have a rookie playing top 4 minutes and being decent it would be a loss to move him.

      Not to mention I think he is our best D prospect after Subban.

      D like him are not that easy to come by

    • Cal says:

      This is the change going on in the NHL. Physical Dmen must now be good puck movers as well or they won’t make it. The pace now is too quick for any slow footed players. Tinordi has to improve on his speed and quickness, as well as making the right play at high speed.

      The day of the jumbo big hitting Dman is fast becoming passé.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Tinordi was sent down to work on his decision making and quickening his reaction/thought process as to 1st pass in particular.
      (Those are his own words)

      He was not doing that and hesitating too much for the NHL.
      Before this present play of Beaulieu, he was in the exact same boat, but has finally got it as to moving the puck quickly and keeping it simple.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Canucks’ coach Willie Desjardins was asked recently about whether a certain personnel decision was to showcase/market a player, or get another one going in the right direction after a slump, and his answer was that he’s “just trying to win games.”

      For teams like the Sabres or Oilers who have thrown in the towel, I do think they can be strategic in how they use their players. They can play a young player without regard to the results, they can concentrate on the process instead. For teams like the Canadiens or Jets or Canucks who are battling for playoff position, I don’t think they have the same latitude. Decisions are still taken for the long-term good of the franchise, but immediate considerations matter also, it’s more of a balancing act.

      I don’t thing there’s a lot of mystery to what happened with Nate and Jarred this year. They both struggled a little at the start of the season, were sent down to continue their progression. Nathan got called back up and managed to seize a roster spot with strong play. The presence of Sergei Gonchar has helped, along with the fact that Nathan’s now playing second-pairing assignments, which Éric Desjardins had explained on L’Antichambre might be easier for him, a better fit than dealing with crashers and bangers on the third pairing.

      Strictly dealing with your hypothesis, it might be a team’s intent to showcase a player so as to trade him, but I bet that when that said player gets hot and increases his value, all of a sudden there’s no big rush to divest the team of his services any more.

      Zack Kassian is in the dog house with the Canucks lately, has been a healthy scratch on a few occasions. Bob McKenzie was saying that interest has dried up so much that the Canucks don’t want to trade him anymore, since the return would be so low. But if he got hot and started producing as they hoped when they got him, if he gave the Canucks a scoring threat on the second line to support the Sedins and Radim Vrbata on the first line, it would make his value rise, other teams would regain interest, but by the same token now the Canucks wouldn’t want to deal away a young big scoring winger, those being so hard to find.

      It’s somewhere between a toothless attack and a vicious homage.–Paul Rudd

  5. bwoar says:

    As we near the deadline, the scratches become interesting. It seems from early word that MM and Weaver are out tonight (?)

    • Mattyleg says:

      Weaver’s been playing great.
      We forget how physical he is. People tend to just say he’s an older Gorges, but he’s a great checker too.

      Made some superb plays on Sunday.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • stephen says:

        I’ve liked Weaver’s game since he first arrived late last season. It was good to see him get a chance to ‘shine’ on Sunday. Loved his ‘superman’ block of what looked like a sure goal into a gaping cage.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        I like weaver. He won’t be a hab next year but I am surprised a team like Buffalo wouldn’t have signed him

    • Forum Dog says:

      Weaver is not surprising IMO, and I’m not sure Manny is either given who they are playing. A vet who only plays around 10m/game should be able to sit against a team like Buffalo if it gives some of the prospects a chance to play at the NHL level.

    • knob says:

      I can’t see MB trading either of those two guys. Both MT and MB love the vets and both guys are on low cost contracts. I think that MB and MT are seeing what they have available with all the call-ups…seeing if they are capable of replacing other guys that might get traded. Besides neither of those guys have much value on the trade market, imho.

  6. DipsyDoodler says:

    All corporations (and the NHL can be thought of as a corporation) eventually forget their origins. Wonks refer to it as “displacement of goals.” It happens when the early enthusiasts who were running the corp with passion but little organization get pushed out in favour of bureaucrats (often MBAs or lawyers).

    Car companies are the prototypical example. They start out making good cars, and good products yield profits. At some point lawyers take over, vision and mission statements get written, and the organization loses its focus and becomes devoted to something else than building good cars. Maybe you can make more money by building bad cars that people need to replace more often.

    This is a good article on the phenomenon as it relates to GM and Google:

    This is Bettman’s NHL.

    The league was started by people who loved hockey. They figured the role of the referees was to enforce the rules.

    But what if we had the referees call the game so as to maximize profits, someone thinks. What if we changed all the rules to maximize profits instead of just having a fairly arbitrated sporting competition.



    • HabinBurlington says:

      Exactly why most owners like Bettman and most fans dislike Bettman.

      I doubt that Geoff Molson has any real gratitude for Bettman. The income Molsons Habs make is primarily a result of his properly managing a historic franchise with passionate fans. It is owners of teams where there is no fanbase but the franchise continues to escalate in value that they appreciate the double talking weasel lawyer.

    • Phil C says:

      Good example, reading Steve Job’s biography, the exact same thing happened at Apple and nearly ruined the company.

    • The Jackal says:

      Lawyers take over and it turns bad. Way to denigrate my future profession DD! 😛

      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  7. Say Ash says:

    So what type of player is this DLR guy?

    • krob1000 says:

      HE is a younger version of Eller IMO. Big, strong, fast, great skater, defense first forward …plays game Habs will love…hits and is feisty too….not a fighter but will bang some bodies for sure. HNExt yar he may be perfect fit with Eller/Sekac.

      • Forum Dog says:

        I’m not sure he has the same offensive skillset as Eller, but he may think the game better in terms of anticipation or reading the play. Physically there are similarities, although I believe DLR might be a more fluid and rangy skater.

        • The Jackal says:

          Not the same offensive skillset as Eller… so we will provide offence or provide even less offence?

          Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  8. Mattyleg says:

    Off-topic, but I have to share this story:

    Two days ago, a friend of mine almost died choking on a brownie. She started getting tunnel-vision, a ‘faraway’ feeling, and no air at all… she managed to self-heimlich the thing out, and she was pretty shaken up about it afterward.

    YESTERDAY… she saved a child’s life.

    Walking along the sidwalk yesterday evening (somewhere in Mile End, I believe) she saw in front of her a mother and her 5-year-old. The mother was distracted, and her kid was crouching over looking at some snow on a bench. Hurtling toward them was one of those g-d mini-plows, travelling at an incredible speed, and clearly oblivious to the child directly in its path.

    My friend managed to throw herself full-stretch at the kid and tackle both of them into a fruit-stand, while the mini-plow blazed past, still unaware of what had happened.

    The mother spent 5 minutes crying and hugging my friend.

    Crazy, eh?

    Had to share.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  9. jimmy shaker says:

    trade rumours swirling of the habs interested in Mike Green from the caps……I say nah! He’s probably on his way to St.Louis now that Shatenkirk is out for a while. MB should bring back Shelly or MAB if anything, and spend the rest of the big bucks for a top 6 forward.

    Shaker out!

    • krob1000 says:

      That would be a weird deal for Wash no? they are in good shape and with Ovie playing lights out right now they are in good for a playoff spot and can climb in ahurry …not sure why tehy would move Green? I se they have a lot of good D but Green is playing wel…has 31 pts in 42 games and is plus 8….if I am Wash I do not trade him…stranger things have happened but I don;t understand that unless they are getting roster players back.

      • Dust says:

        I would assume the rumours stem from the fact that green is a ufa at the end of the year. He is currently playing on their 3rd pairing. Most likely he is walking at the end of the year because washington isn’t going to pay him the 6 mil(geuss) he will demand this summer.
        So it comes down to trade him at the deadline and get assets back or hold on to him for this years playoffs and trade his rights at the draft for a low draft pick or he walks and washington gets nothing for him just cap space

        • krob1000 says:

          3rd pairing at 5 on 5 maybe but he is a great pp guy…can you imagine a 2nd pp paring with one of PK, Markov or Mike Green on it? He would still be 3rd on Cap team ins coring if not injured…I get they have Carlson, Niskanen,etc but if I am Wash I do no trade him.

          • Dust says:

            I really don’t think he is on the block. I am just saying where i believe the rumours are coming from.

    • bwoar says:

      I would jump all over this. He won’t cost too much as WSH would be dumping a big salary for a #6 D. Green’s become a MAB / PP specialist only. He plays protected minutes 5 on 5.

      Kinda doubt they trade him before the playoffs, unless they are clearing space to make another deal. But this is the kind of addition I’d expect for MB.

      • Timo says:

        … but I don’t think Habs have cap space, do they? Not unless they unload PK.

      • bwoar says:

        We could fit him in by sending smaller salary back, I think. Imagine we shoot them Bryan Allen, allowing them to clear some space for another trade. We’d end up with a useful piece in the playoffs who is UFA, they get space to make another deal.

    • Timo says:

      Great… lets bring more soff.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Apparently the Leafs are dangling Dion Phaneuf. All they’ve gotten so far is an offer of Mike Richards. HA HA.



  10. Habfan10912 says:

    The more I think about it (yeah I know – dangerous) the more this Peel thing bothers me. Each year I say to myself that the officiating is the worst ever. And each year it gets worse.

    Peel is near the top of the list of the worse of the worse. This season alone he’s made the top of the worst calls on the worse calls of the year list.

    Isn’t it fair to ask why this guy continues to work NHL games? Is there no other up and coming official better suited then he? Is the Referee Union so strong that incompetent officials like he are protected?

    Those are the questions I’d like to have answers to. We’ve seen the bias against PK on several nights. We KNOW that at least one official has it in for Gallagher. I’m guessing this goes on throughout the league with other teams players as well. As a fan we should expect the officials to not only be fair but competent as well. If they’re not then they should be replaced.

    Fair enough?

    • Cal says:

      It’s an institutional problem that Paul Stewart and now Tim Peel are talking about.
      A ref has to do what his boss says or he’s tossed. This isn’t about the refs union.

    • ClutchNGrab says:

      As long as the NHL continues to dictate how the referees should make the calls depending on circumstances, the NHL will be a joke.

      The officials should call everything as they are written in the rulebook. If the league doesn’t like it, they need to change the rules.

    • Forum Dog says:

      Peel is a bad ref, and his comments on apologizing to the Anaheim bench and claiming it was because the NHL wants a crackdown on diving is a cop-out. Diving, embellishment, unsportsmanlike, whatever you want to call it, has been around for a while. Not sure when the rule crystallized as a “diving” penalty, but a desire to crack down on it does not automatically make a call good or bad. That is up to the individual ref.

      If a ref makes a poor call, they can own up to it. But they don’t need to go apologizing to teams or saying that it was the league that made them do it. A bad call is a bad call. End of story. And drinking and carrying on about it with a sports gossip columnist is just another bad call.

  11. HabinBurlington says:

    Leafs Zamboni had to go in for service the other day.

  12. Forum Dog says:

    Not sure what the plan is for DLR, but it makes sense to give him a look against a team like Buffalo. I’ll be interested to see if they run him out there as a centreman, or as a winger (which I believe is where he played during pre-season). Recognizing that the kid isn’t even 20 yet, it is somewhat surprising (encouraging) to see them give him a taste of the big-leagues.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I’m looking forward to seeing him as well. He had an outstanding training camp and I think he did enough to make the team but numbers didn’t work in his favor. I’m excited.

      • Forum Dog says:

        I think guys like DLR, who progress rapidly through the lower levels of professional hockey (i.e. SEL, AHL) as teenagers, are fairly rare. That is not to say that he will ever be an offensive star, but it does demonstrate excellent natural physical/athletic abilities and a strong mind for how to play the game. Players who lack one or the other take much longer to progress, if they do at all.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        Don’t get to excited. He is big and strong and great on the boards but I haven’t been overly impressed with his offense in the AHL. Being 19 I am a little shocked that they brought him up for a look already. Dumont would be better to play as the 3rd line centre while Eller is injured as he has grit and more offense than DLR.

        • Forum Dog says:

          Big and strong, and great on the boards? The idea of adding another player like that – even for one game – sound pretty damned good to me.

          Do we know that he is going to line up at centre in place of Dumont? I hadn’t read that Dumont was sent down and assumed that DLR would probably play the wing.

          • Kooch7800 says:

            I don’t even know if he will get in the line up. My point is that DLR is only 19 so don’t get overly excited and his offense really hasn’t been there in the AHL so far.

            He is great defensively and I love his board work.

            Dumont though as a more matured game at this point and he plays with a chip on his shoulder and can chip in offensively…something this team is in short supply of.

            I am a little shocked DLR is up already. Hudon has been the best player in Hamilton and is also the same age. I understand that Hudon isn’t the defensive player that Eller is but with PAP out he could maybe slot in on the wing

  13. Phil C says:

    This stuff about managing the game illustrates to me the NHL really has no idea what they are selling. Take the the all-star game for example, they think the players dipsy-doodling around and scoring a lot of goals is entertaining where most hockey fans I talked to found it unbearably bad. Want to have a real all-star game?, put a $2M prize for the winning team and see if you get some real hockey.

    It’s the same with league games, they don’t understand that part of the appeal is it is supposed to be a fair competition, the original reality TV. By “managing” the game, they trade the authenticity of the product for supposedly better entertainment, but unwittingly degrade the product at it’s most fundamental level.

    • Timo says:

      As per Dr Seuss “You never can tell what some people will buy”

    • krob1000 says:

      Tehy do not want a real ‘all star game” those are in some cases 80 million dolalr assets…what if someone got hurt during an all star gaem? It is a PR thing, it is for the kids….jstu try to remember being a kid …I used to think the games were more real than they are now….the skills competition, the draft,etc…it is all a show and if you go into with tha attitude it is pretty cool. The game is seondary….it is a chance to see all the best at once….see them, hear them joking around,etc….remember the all star game is not taken serious by anyone…I jsut enjoy it now and with kids now I was reminded how much I used to love it too….it is for them and for publicity.

  14. Is MB about to make a trade today perhaps? Like to see Chris Stewart in a Habs uni. Character Guy for playoffs with GRIT. Who will MB deal in coming days is going to be interesting. Here are a few possibilities;

    Magnus Nygren
    Christian Thomas
    Manny Maholtra
    Davis Dreweskie
    Gabriel Dumont
    PA Parenteau

    Just throwing a few names out there for some feed back. That’s all folks.

  15. bwoar says:

    Great discussions by all this morning, thanks everyone for contributing such good stuff.

    Until I read an article mentioning Norm McIver, and choked a bit, remembering my childhood getting stomped on. (wink, wink, Burly)

    But we got a game tonight, and I hope we see more than 3 minutes of DLR. He’ll be a step slow, but he should win some battles in the corners regardless.

  16. Timo says:

    I proposed that in light of Habs being fatigued they postpone tonight’s game and have another day off.

  17. J.Q.P. says:

    He so cute but if he see’s his shadow I will cook him in a stew.

  18. ClutchNGrab says:

    I’m not sure Tim Peel was suspended simply because of the picture. What he said to Wyshynski, may have trigger the suspension:

    But Peel knows it was a bad call, to the point where he skated up to the Ducks bench and apologized the next time he officiated an Anaheim game. So why make it? Well, because the NHL wanted a crackdown on diving, and with that mandate, he felt compelled to make that call.

    In talking to Peel, you start to see a pattern: The NHL asks its officials to manage the game a certain way , and they have to do it.

    I can see the NHL considering those remarks as a problem and wanting to make sure no referee in the future would grant an interview to the media.–nhl-ref-and-object-of-scorn-171058557.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Referees are also mandated that they CANNOT meet with and discuss with the press. Peel broke the rule in meeting with puck daddy, that in itself was the issue, and it appears the topic of discussion is exactly why the NHL doesn’t want refs meeting with the media.

      I wonder if the World Wrestling Federation also doesn’t allow their referees to meet with the media, seems like a similar managing style.

    • bwoar says:

      Anything that gets Peel off the ice is good for the game. Great that he’s a nice guy and all, and seeing him ‘mentoring’ younger guys does explain a few things. But I can live without an average (at best) ref teaching the younger guys to be average at best.

      I do have more respect for the person today, and I won’t jump all over him from now on. He told it how it is on ice, and that took some guts and a few public beers. He knew what he was doing and he knew the consequences, but he choose to take those and try to salvage something of his own rep. Good on him in my books.

    • Morenz7 says:

      Not sure what the NHL’s motivation is here, but I’ve always understood one of the guiding tenets of sports officiating to be: once a call is made, it is made. If a ref opens the door to debates, he’ll find himself doing nothing but debating. Yes, every sport builds in some flexibility—hockey players (and coaches) are allowed a brief period to mouth off after the call; baseball managers are allowed onto the field to discuss calls on the base paths. But the limits are understood (in baseball, they flat out won’t tolerate players debating balls and strikes, because the games would drag on forever; you’ll see a batter allowed a couple of words after a very big SO, but take it further and he’s gone; pitch-and-b*tch isn’t tolerated, either).

      Surely this extends to chatting in the media about your recent calls. It was a dumb move on Peel’s part.

  19. Mattyleg says:

    So that poll question…

    Only in Montreal could we be focusing on ‘disappointments’ when we’re one point back from first in the East with two games in hand, just off a 5-game winning streak, and our #1 goalie has gone 2-point-something games without conceding a goal.

    Only in Montreal.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Matty! Looks like Negative Springs Eternal on HIO.!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Your final post regarding the use of the stats on the previous page echo’s my thoughts as well. The agenda styling of the stats is eerily similar to another Habs webs site we are aware of.

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        Agenda styling stats is what the “so called advanced stats” are used for.

        I offer this advice for “stats geeks” out there….

        Go to and search through NHL standings using different team statistical categories. You’ll find that faceoffs do not determine wins, possession does not separate elite teams from bottom feeders, attempted,shots,do not lead to wins… For each category look at the top 10 and bottom 10, if there is a similar number of playoff teams in both he top and bottom, it is an irrelevant predictor of wins. Simple.

        Here’s a stat, all of the Top 10 teams in GAA are in the playoffs with exception of Carolina.

        ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • Mattyleg says:

        Yeah, totally.
        People are statistically less likely to dig up (and share) stats that prove that their opinion is wrong.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          It happens with all “beliefs”

          Where you have dogmatic principles you have misrepresentation of data for the purpose of verifying unsubstantiated claims. There is no openmindedness, just looking for confirmation of inherited beliefs.

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  20. krob1000 says:

    Baseball is wrose than hockey for “game management” and reputation calls….and they to are protected like NHL refs. The NFl at least calls out their officals when mistakes are made…doesn;t reduce them but at least they try.

    Imagine this scenario…happens all teh time in Baseball……3rd inning 2 guys on and number 3 hitter at plate…count is 1 ball and no strikes….pitch is 6 inches off plate low and away. What is the call? well it varies…but it can often be the most impactful call in the entire game…and many don;t even realize the significace because it is not a play that directly results in runs..taht people see anyway. However, if that pitch is called a ball? a number 3 hitter is getting a fastball down the pipe…..and number 3 hitters rarely miss fastballs down the pipe…could be multiple runs. The makeup call will be a pitch outside to the number 8 hitter in the 8th inning with 2 out with a pitcher or 9 hitter up after…..nowhere near the same.

    In hockey the equivalent is the non call…oh the non call….it never reallyhappened , no gaol was scored , no pp resulted and so it can;t be talked about…if you complain after the4 game you are a whiner and it woulkdn;t have impacted anything anywayu…..possibly…but there is about a 20 percent chance for every non call taht it would result in a goal…goals are hard to ome by anymroe so it matters…a lot.

    This is an issue in all sport….at all levels…and it will not be perfect but my issue is with this “game management” and “put the whistels away andlet them play”,etc….why is that ok sometimes but not others? that and personal biases to me are inexcusable from referees….their ONLY job IMO should be to ensure impartiality…but that is apparently a pipe dream.

    • twilighthours says:

      As a guy who has watched hundreds or perhaps thousands of games involving 14-20 year olds, I’m a big, big fan of game management calls.

      • Mattyleg says:

        With grown adults who are paid to play hockey, I couldn’t care less if a game descended into anarchy. The league doesn’t like it, I imagine, for their image, so they try to avoid it.

        Amongst youngsters, especially volatile teenagers, the most important thing is never who wins or loses, and more about using sport as a learning tool. Game management is the primary goal.

        …but try telling that to some parents.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • krob1000 says:

        I get that at some levels….but in the NHL? no thanks.

        • Mattyleg says:

          As I mention, you know it’s about the league’s image, right?

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • krob1000 says:

            I fear that Bettman coming fromt he NBA is a little too into that style….the NBA is atrocious too…take 3 or 4 steps and if it is a big dunk who cares, foul waht foul…you have no cred? LEbron dirves the lane…FOUL!!! FOUL!!! that stuff annoys me. I actaully enjoy teh NCAA come March Madness time where they move the ball, pass and play a team game, the refs call everything and the game is as is meant to be….the NBA? once you grow up it loses its luster…once you realize the discrepancies and that some of the best plays you have seen were violations it tkind of eats at you…..welll me anyways.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            I prefer sports that “protect their stars.”

            What happens to Crosby in the NHL is f****** sickening IMO.

            The league should be creating a system that allows stars to shine, not allowing “plugs” to close the gap. The way the NHL is currently officiated pieces of trash become valuable while smaller skilled players are in obscure leagues across the globe.

            ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

    • HabinBurlington says:

      One thing about baseball, players know the umps and it is imperative to have a good catcher who communicates to his teammates. It is up to the teams catcher to early on figure out the Umps strike zone, each Ump has his own strike zone and they typically are consistent with it for the entire game. I am not sure with the current two ref system, and Gary Bettman influenced managing style, that today’s NHL players really ever know what the refs “strike zone” is going to be. It indeed seems to be all over the place.

      Thankfully at least, we have those competent folks in T.O. reviewing all the goals to at least ensure those are always correct. 😉

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Baseball umpires are second to golf in officiating. Recent stats have shown that since the pitch track technology there is typically 1-2 pitches (a pitch 3″ or greater) called the wrong way. The 3″ and under is considered under the umpires discretion, as many have different styles.

      There are very few people that have issue with MLB umpires, they are phenomenal in my opinion.

      ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Agree, and if they are “off” in their zone, they maintain that zone for the remainder of the game. The challenges in baseball have also worked pretty well. Now they just need to get rid of the pitchers and hitters pre pitch routines to get the speed of the game back.

        MLB could actually start handing out year end bonus money to the pitchers with lowest time between pitches. The Jays Mark Buerhle would get some serious extra coin. He really makes a ball game so much more enjoyable with the pace of play. Thinking back to a player like Nomar Garciaparra with his ridiculous glove schtick before every pitch made me cheer against him.

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          I don’t believe in pitch clocks, but the time between innings is being cut down, as,soon as the commercial break is over players will be expected to be in the batters box and the first pitch within 10 seconds. Those will cut 12-15 minutes from a game.

          There is talk of a “pitch clock” but I think that’s foolish, baseball is beautiful because it is a “game without a clock” and “stepping out” is part of strategy for hitters and in certain situations the pitcher takes their time for strategic purposes.

          Like you, I prefer a fast paced game ala Buehrle.. And despised the pokey Juan Guzman who walked to the back of the mound between each pitch.

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Hear you loud and clear, pitch clock cannot work. I understand there are moments in the game where stepping out of the box etc… has real meaning. But the ridiculous superstitous crap like Chuck Knoblauch used to have in his rituals was painful.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            Yeah I agree. Juan Francisco was painful to watch, stepping out many times per AB, cmon man, you’re a 220 hitter, Ya think that extra time is doing anything? Hahha

            ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • Mr_MacDougall says:

        Also, no pitcher “throws,one,down the pipe” in a 2-0 count, they still throw to the “black” and it is Very Rare a pitch missing by 6″ called the wrong way. Heck, when I umped women’s orthodox I didn’t miss those.

        The only calls pitchers consistently do not get is the high fastball, this is mainly because foul tips come straight back to the umps face, it’s a protection mechanism, makes pitchers keep the ball down.

        ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • krob1000 says:

        When do those ptiches happen is the issue. I have sene too many games where the usual suspects Sox, YAnkees get the calls . For example take Jose Bautista , he is a great hitter when he knows what is coming, he has perhaps the best eye in baseball right now…he also whines a lot though and is sometimes right and sometimes wrong but it gets himself and his teammates hosed a lot. Should that be? I do not think so. I have never seen a guy get as many of those borderline calls against him as Bautista…if going on reputation his rep as one of the best eyes would figure to get him calls…but it works the other way because he freaks out. I would prefer they just call the balls and strikes as they are supposed to….I disagree about the 1-2 pitches…I agree it has gotten better with that technology as it does require some sort of accountability but growing up before that technology it was not unheard of to see Roger CLemns get a call that was 10 inches off the plate in one of those situations I mention. Great headline the next day…Rocket strikes out 18! I dunno…I liked things much better when I was a naive kid and did not see the business side of the sports and just thought everything was always on the up and up all the time….my first taste there was something wrong was when Brett Hull scored that goal ater watching some teams fates that year decided on crease violatins…but it was easier to have that goal count, it was easier to have the CUp go to a southern team and try to grow the game., have cup winning goal by Brett HUll! …I literally sat in front of the tv after that game for a half hour fully expecting they would call it back and continue the game. I was never the same after that one….

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Bautista and his whiny teammates are their own worst enemy. Shut up and play baseball after calls and you will get fair umping. Continuously show up umpires and you will bear the fruit of your actions.

          Jose does have a great eye, but his antics leaving the box are highly annoying. Thankfully the kid with Roid Rage is now off the team, that should help the lockerroom.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            Jose was a different hitter last season, kept his composure and became a leader on the team. He increased his “hits on the push side of 2nd” and almost always used the whole field with 2 strikes. He also kept his composure after questionable strike calls.

            There are certain umpires,that feed off their power and intentionally try to get a rise out of “hot headed” players.

            ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

          • krob1000 says:

            BTu why is that “showing up the umpires”? that is what I have an issue with…if he is doing something that tarnishes the image of the game have the lague fine him…but the umpires should not be taking that out on him. the team and all the fams and the game. Same thing in hockey…not sure where it turned but “gamesmanship” and “vet savvy’ used to be praised re drawing penalties…then somewhere along the way all of this “integrity of the game” stuff came about…when all the while the games is losing integrity re real issues but this is what gets the press…just feels like I am being told to believe something I am not seeing. I would not teacha kid to dive but at the NHL level I think if a guy can draw a call he should.

            I have a huge issue with ups and refs taking anythigng personally…I understand they are people…but IMO their job is to not be regular people…to be as robotic as possible and just ref the game…that is my wish anyway. It is getting the point that Brendan Gallgher is wearing a bullseye…he is foirever now it appears wearing a bullseye and for the amoutn of punishment he takes I jsut do ot get why his play is regarded as that…to me he is as honest ast ehy come, batles for every inch of ice, does not take dirty penalties, etc….yet he is labelled.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            I have no issue with umpires “taking things personally.”

            In all aspects of life a certain level of gentlemanly behaviour is expected, and reaction is a controlled experience. Look at how Adam Lind, Derek Jeter, Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn and others addressed umpires… They simply ask “was that on the edge” meaning, anything outside (or up or down) from that pitch would be a ball.

            The guys umpires have issues with are the ones that throw temper tantrums and “show them up.” There is an unwritten code of conduct in baseball, and like HIB mentioned, Bautista acted outside that code (until this past season IMO) and he had to pay the price from time to time.

            Do you seriously to think Milton Bradley deserved the benefit of the doubt from any umpire? He abused them so often I felt empathy for them.
            ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

          • krob1000 says:

            I think the league should take issue wth those guys…eject them/fine them,etc…but do not compromise the integrity of the game for the fans and players by making calls that penalize everyone for one idiots actions…penailze the idiot.

          • Mr_MacDougall says:

            Btw, I think the NHL and MLB are not even comparable from an officiating standpoint.

            The NHL has an issue with all infractions of varying severity being penalized the same. It is a bizarre situation. Also, there are so many 3rd line plugs around the game trying to keep the garbage in, when in reality no player should be hit after passing the puck bc “finishing your check” is garbage. The punishment Gally takes is a joke,,the ol “sure you can cross heck a player for being close to the net.” But only when there is a rebound opportunity, which is foolish because so many scoring chances are taken away by fouls on rebounds…

            NHL is among the worst officiated hockey leagues in the world. My Nephews novice games are officiated much better.

            ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          Maybe with Hernandez who is a hot head ump…. I thought the MLB post season umping was phenomenal this past season.

          Like any profession with a union, there will be some poorer workers pulled along by the elite ones, but the poor umpires never work in the playoffs.

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  21. 24 Cups says:

    I’ve witnessed it first hand and I can tell you it’s all true. This is a great road trip for hockey/music fans.


  22. twilighthours says:

    I liked that discussion below. Subban’s shot rate is down, and he never hits the net. Those were the propositions (I think).

    I’d argue that his shot rate is pretty consistent. See this picture.

    As for: does he always miss the net? Check out this google sheet, if you can….

    I crunched a few 5v5 numbers for the top 53 D in the league (by minutes, and discarded Burns) and came up with a ratio of shots that missed versus all possible shots that got through (last column). Subban is 5th worst in the league.

    This exercise would be interesting to repeat for PP instead of 5v5, but I gotta go shovel soon.

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