Season winds down for the Canadiens

Cunneyworth
Florida is at the Bell Centre Tuesday.
Then there’s a weekend back-to-back on the road, in New York and Washington.
Three games the week after.
It’s almost over.

Saturday quotes from the room

Red Fisher: Expect big changes

Dave Stubbs: Encounters with a legend

Jack Todd on the rising tide of dirty hits

QC to get new arena

Caps move back into eighth

Pierre Ladouceur’s weekly report card

Nashville clips Hawks in Chicago

155 Comments

  1. Nobody says:

    Red’s column was just more reminiscing about the team’s history. No insight into what may come. Not that interesting. Some balanced reporting about the future GM candidates would be interesting.

  2. boing007 says:

    Carbo (C), Lafleur (O, PP), Lapointe (D, PK).

    Richard R

  3. boing007 says:

    2007-2008 season 47 wins, 2011-2012 season 47 losses.
    As Ross Perot loved to say, ‘time to clean out the barn’.

    Richard R

  4. boing007 says:

    Eliminate the Shootout.
    Don’t like overtime 4 on 4 anymore.
    Ten minute overtime, 5 on 5. A win is a win, a tie a tie.

    Richard R

    • aroma says:

      couldn’t agree more… I’ve been pushing the same idea for at least a year now. That would help NHL hockey regain some dignity and respect. No more skills competitions! No more three point games!

  5. habsfan0 says:

    The day after season ends, Geoff Molson will:

    admit his mistake,fire Pierre Gauthier,search for new GM starts now;
    admit his mistake,fire Randy Cunneyworth,search for new coach starts now;
    admit his mistake,says try as he might,he couldn’t find any correlation between language a coach speaks and number of wins a professional sports organization accumulates..ability to motivate team to success will be paramount..says he will now consider deaf mutes for position of head coach;
    admit his mistake,allows the Gazette to use moniker of “habsinsideout” again;
    admit his mistake,says using an orange carpet from a defunct baseball franchise as a mascot definitely alienated hockey gods,Youppi! pink slipped;
    admit his mistake,says using infernal VIA train horn after Habs score a goal gave him an earache,now…every time Canadiens score..Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” will start to play and everybody at Bell Centre will receive a free Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwich.

  6. boing007 says:

    Keith on Sundin: malice aforethought.
    Punishment meted out by Brendan Shamahan.

    Richard R

    • LafleurGuy says:

      NOW, I get it…! The adjudicator wasn’t going to be Roger Goodell!
      Maybe Duncan Keith also noticed one of the refs was O’Hallaran. (No knock on the genealogic error, Daniel and Henrik are not related to Mats).
      “May you live in interesting times.”

  7. JF says:

    In reply to HabFanSince72 below, I’m with him in hoping to see a more offensive brand of hockey next season, which is why I want Guy Carbonneau back as coach. His teams played exciting hockey. They created a ton of chances and scored lots of goals, one year finishing at the top of the league in scoring. I’m sick of the dump-and-chase approach, which Randy Cunneyworth seems to favour even more than JM did. Both Cunneyworth and JM preach defensive responsibility, which is fine, but there are many games in which we seem to do nothing but defend, as was the case last week against Buffalo. It is boring and painful to watch – and it hasn’t exactly worked well.

    • LafleurGuy says:

      Two highlights this year were last minute goals, a recent one by Desharnais with about 3.5 seconds left that tied Buffalo. Unfortunately Gomez’s nemesis Tyler Myers scored the winner in OT. The other was Erik Cole’s goal with 9 seconds left against the Bruins in Martin’s era this season that made the score something like 3-2 Bruins. Otherwise, this year was characterized by a maddening habit of starting games well and then blowing 3rd period leads, but then not losing until late in the third, OT. or in the shootout. So, JF, the team apparently has the horses that can lead until the 3/4 pole. but some change in strategy different from this year’s is needed for them to finish the stretch strongly (maybe we need different horses).

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  8. LafleurGuy says:

    How many of you would trade our 1st round pick this year for 26 year old Ryan Getzlaf? Throw in the fact that he is 6’4″, 221 lbs. Still interested? His salary is 5.75 mill. Plays CENTER. Now look at some other facts: on pace for 9 goals this year, following two seasons of scoring 19 goals each. I would just say that part of sport’s intrigue is the unpredictability of the development of young players. Brett Hull had a 32 goal season as a 23 year old, followed by 41 goals the following year. Then came five virtuoso seasons of scoring between 54 and 85 goals. His partnership with Adam Oates was magic. Not anyone pictured David Desharnais as a top six forward and what a ray of sunshine to watch him develop this season. I can recall quite widespread criticism shortly after the signing of Erik Cole. Again, unpredictablity. BTW, personally, I WOULD trade our no. 1 pick for Getzlaf.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

    • LafleurGuy says:

      P.S. Why did Tiger play like crap a few months ago and then looked terrific this past weekend? Gives hope for Les Boys next year! Four of last year’s top six, Gionta, Camalleri, Kostitsyn, and Gomez, were replaced by Bourque, Desharnais, Eller, and Cole. The latter group is fine, but not the same level of skill as those they replaced. (The floor is open for debate).

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  9. LafleurGuy says:

    Applause for Jack Todd. He still has investigative reporter skills. I had a rush of anger when Todd wrote that the incompetent ref who gave Duncan Keith a minor penalty for elbowing Daniel Sedin in the noggin was the same Dan O’Hallaran who did NOTHING when Brad Marchand was repeatedly rabbit-punching Henrik Sedin in last years finals. Horrible. The umpire who blew the out call when Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game for the Tigers was Bill Hohn, who had the integrity of admitting his error and apologizing publicly. Doubt the NHL establishment has the same level of integrity

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  10. HabinBurlington says:

    For those fans of Boxing (if any remain), one of the great writers and personalities of Boxing died this weekend. Bert Sugar, he was a great guy to listen to, here in Toronto Bob McCowan and Stephen Brunt would have Bert on the radio all the time. Great historian of sports and just fascinating to listen to.

    R.I.P. Bert.

  11. HabinBurlington says:

    Very good article in The Toronto Star, written by their sports media critic as he describes Brian Burke.
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/tvradio/article/1151788–mudhar-maple-leafs-gm-brian-burke-in-eye-of-media-storm-as-another-dismal-season-winds-down?bn=1

  12. arcosenate says:

    Anybody watch this guy play at all:

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=36727

    Know anything about him?

    • Bill says:

      I’ve seen him. Nothing too special there. Having a big breakout season this year, but not unexpected given that he’s 20 now and playing with Jonathan Huberdeau.

      Was recently signed by the Lightning.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

  13. Ozmodiar says:

    If the habs draft…

    Grigorenko: The most likely scenario is another year in junior. A center might be dealt next year if MG is progressing well and they don’t want Eller to play the wing. Pleks and DD would be the likely trade candidates in this case. Considering the potential return, Pleks would be the most likely to go. On the other hand, the (new) GM might prefer to have a 2 way center complement MG and opt to deal DD.

    Yakupov: He and Gionta will be the 2nd/3rd line RW’s. I doubt Gionta and Gallagher will co-exist on this team.

    Forsberg: Will be the 2nd line LW in a year or two.

    Defenseman: HIO blows up.

    • TomNickle says:

      Forsberg: HIO blows up.

      This is a player who didn’t want to come to North America to develop his game and is seen as an elite prospect due to the style of game he plays in a league that runs counter to the style of game he’s being praised for.

      Bottom line is that he stands out in that league because of the style of game he plays. His offensive game leaves a lot to be desired.

      • Ozmodiar says:

        If the other 2 are off the board when the Habs pick, there’s a good chance the pick will be Forsberg. I heard Timmins has already had a visit to Leksands this month.

        It’s pretty common for Swedish players to play in Sweden until they’re NHL ready. See Sedins, Backstrom, Foppa, etc…

        (“etc…” means that no others come to mind ATM)

        • TomNickle says:

          I would rather have Alex Galchenyuk by a mile. I might even prefer Radek Faksa. And not just because they’re playing in North America.

          17 points in 43 games would be fine for a physically immature player in a professional league. But for a player who is 6 feet tall and already close to 190 pounds it like I said earlier leaves a lot to be desired.

          The Swedes you mentioned had far better offensive production and considerably larger skill sets than Filip Forsberg has in the same league at the same age.

          Galchenyuk and Faksa on the other hand went better than a point per game in their first seasons of junior hockey.

          • Ozmodiar says:

            > I would rather have Alex Galchenyuk by a mile.

            Me too. But I think the knee will keep him out of the top 5.

            Of the Swedes i listed, i think only Foppa played at a point / game clip in Sweden, and he didn’t do that until he was 19. Comparing that to the CHL isn’t really useful.

            Also, is F. Forberg playing in the same league as the others did?

          • Stev.R says:

            They were actually in the Swedish Elite League where Forsberg is in the Second to the top league

    • Malreg says:

      I wouldn’t mind if they drafted a defenseman.

      Timmins’ philosophy has always been best player available. Your needs change so often that you can’t draft based on need every year. We also only have 2 defensive prospects that are pretty much sure-bets to make the NHL (Beaulieu, Tinordi).

      I’m also not sold on Grigorenko…

    • The Dude says:

      DD was our lil inspiration this year …you would be better to package Deharnaise with Price and be a complete fool!

  14. issie74 says:

    I think Brian Burke is planning to arm wrestle Howson for his first overall pick in the upcoming draft.TSN reporting TO scouts looking at Yakapov this weekend.

    NorthTOHab

    • TomNickle says:

      They’ve been looking at Grigorenko too. Pie in the sky dreams. That idiot has no handle on his team. He’s guilty of many things, but probably the most irresponsible is that he has never, not once had a remotely accurate view of where his team is.

      Trades the ridiculous bounty for Kessel because he didn’t realize that secondary scoring, goaltending and depth on defense are things you need to actually become a playoff team.

      Traded the second first rounder and in the following off-season allowed the same issues to plague his team.

      Again this season says he had something in the neighbourhood of seven 1st round picks offered to him for different players but didn’t accept one of those deals. If that’s true, he should have been fired immediately. But of course he couldn’t see that the smoke in mirrors were about to disappear.

      • arcosenate says:

        I bet he had no first round picks offered for anyone on his roster.

        Not one.

        But he should still be fired.

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Or maybe four different teams offered a 1st rounder for Kessel.

          And that turned into “I was offered four first rounders”.


          Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • mrhabby says:

        from what i heard burke had 2-4 1st round pics offered at trade dead line and said no. iam sure it was not seven. regardless he is a piece of work.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      Have you considered the possibility that the NHL is letting good ‘ol Burkie stock the lottery machine? :)

    • Stev.R says:

      They were probably scouting Galchenyuk

  15. HabFanSince72 says:

    The one argument missing from the coach and GM debates is what kind of hockey do we want the team to play.

    Aside from the loons who think we need some Konopka, it rarely comes up.

    Myself, I would love the team to be more offensively minded. Under JM and RC we’ve had a team lacking for the most part in offensive creativity. Attack minded players have been let go. A young player like Eller who scores one goal but makes one back-checking mistake could expect to be benched.

    Carbo has said this a few times on l’antichambre: “what do we have against offensively minded players?”

    Whoever the coach and GM is, bring back stylish hockey please.


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • TomNickle says:

      It’s time for an aggressive approach. I pointed out a couple of weeks ago that the good which can be taken from Jacques Martin’s time with the Habs is that each forward this team has is now at the very least defensively responsible.

      Applying an aggressive style of hockey shouldn’t sacrifice defensive results.

      • Cal says:

        Exactly. It’s great to have a 50 goal scorer, but not so much if that player’s laziness results in 75 against.
        Stylish hockey has been replaced by the Running of the Bulls style hockey. No grace, just dirty goals. But, it is what the NHL wants.

        • Desi says:

          There aren’t too many 50-goal scorers who are lazy. And if they’re capable of scoring 50 goals, they’re probably putting up a sizeable number of assists, too, so it’s unlikely the puck’s going to be in our end a lot when they’re on the ice. This team has holes everywhere, but until you sign some more guys who can put the puck in the net, we are going to continue to struggle to make the playoffs — and you can forget about contending for the Cup. No team that doesn’t have a good power play will win very often in this league, which I agree is inclinded more and more toward rough stuff. And without scorers — of all kinds — you’ll never have a decent power play.

    • arcosenate says:

      Yeah, seems like you can teach anyone to play defence but it’s pretty difficult to teach goal scoring. There’s being responsible in your own zone and then there’s suffocating your creative, offensive players.

      Our scouts don’t seem to have been able to uncover much in the way of natural goal scoring ability since the 1980′s of course, so lets all stand around in front of our net until the chance to get an odd man rush appears seems to be the style.

      For all those games this year where we’ve lost leads in the third by playing defence I would rather have lost them by playing ballls out offence.

      We would probably be last either way but at least it would have been entertaining.

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Remember the 2008 season? We’d go into 3rd periods one or goals down (or more) but there was always hope. More often than not we’d come back into the game.

        And remember when a powerplay meant a very good chance to score a goal?

        This season it’s the exact opposite. We go into the 3rd with the lead and we know exactly what will happen.


        Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • adamkennelly says:

      reminder – Boston won the Cup last year…

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Boston are second behind Pittsburgh in goals/game.

        In any case, they cannot be used as an example. If they were, the way to win the cup would be to offer the commissioner a huge contract and have the director of discipline support your team to the point of celebrating the victory on the ice after game 7.

        It isn’t a widely applicable blueprint.


        Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • 69HABS says:

        They were given it. They did not “WIN” it!

  16. naweed235 says:

    so ya… I miss Cammaleri…

  17. jon514 says:

    Jeez people on this site are hard on the kids… I mean I’d be a lot more likely to blame the prime-aged and veteran guys who are making 3+ million/season for where we’re at than Eller. Eller has done everything any team could expect from a 3rd line center in his second year.

    Eller, PK, DD, Pacman, Emelin. These guys are doing great. They are all young, and they will all continue to improve over the next two or three years both in the +/- and in the points production departments.

    If you wanna blame someone for our being eliminated, blame Gomez, Plekanec, Bourque, AK + Cammy (when they were around). Blame the”un-injured” vets who failed to live up to the obligations that come with the money they get paid and the ice-time they draw.

    • TomNickle says:

      I think it would be more appropriate to blame a General Manager who felt that this team could succeed with only one player who’s able to clear traffic from his own crease.

      As for veterans not performing, I agree and feel that they share a slightly less than equal share of the blame. Specifically Plekanec.

      • Cal says:

        Plekanec has been stuck with underperformers all season long. Now that the dead wood has been moved- Cammy and AK- he can look forward to next season. For myself, DD would never have been handed Pac and Cole. Your team’s vet center should have gotten them. In other words, Pleks got the shaft and DD got the kid gloves treatment. If DD is your team’s #1 center, it is no wonder the Habs are in the basement.

      • DorvalTony says:

        Blame Gainey and Molson for this travesty. Molson keeps kicking the can down the road like a politician.

        1993 was a long time ago.

        • New says:

          I blame the players and coaches. Gainey hasn’t ridden Clarke into the boards in years and Molson has 0 ice time.

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Molson only bought the team two years ago. At first he rightly let Gainey continue to run the show, and now, after two years, he is ready to change things.

          Really hard to blame him for this season.


          Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • jon514 says:

        I agree with you Tom… our defense this year has been brutal. AND I’m just as guilty of blaming our young defense as the next guy. I wish Weber, Diaz and Campoli long and illustrious careers, but if they have them, it’s going to be playing next to 210+ pound “stay at home” defensemen who can clear the crease, not next to one another.

    • Mattyleg says:

      Just in case that was directed at me, I wasn’t criticising Eller.
      I think he’s been great, and I don’t blame anyone for what happened this year.

      I’m simply talking about where to play players so that they are most effective, and I see Eller as being more effective on the wing.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • Cal says:

        Your observations on Eller are correct. He is a muck-in-the-corners- with-the-puck player who keeps his head down so he has no idea where the other players are on the ice so he shoots it kind of guy. That would be fine if he scored 25, but he’s nowhere near that again.

      • jon514 says:

        Matty. Not directed at any one poster. I disagree with you though for what it’s worth. Eller has been hamstrung all season. Limited ice-time, PP time almost nil and he’s had wingers at least as bad as Plek’s. Don’t get me wrong I love Plek, but I think after next season we will know what we really have in the 5 younger players mentioned above.

        If Eller had played an average of a minute on the PP, I’m sure he would have racked up another 15pts. As it is, 30pts from a 3rd line guy in his 2nd full season is a minor miracle for the habs. Look at the players who have accomplished the same feat and I think you’ll agree he’s in pretty illustrious company…

        • Cal says:

          Eller hamstrings himself. His Average TOI is 15:12 a game. Thus far, he has not shown that he is an offensive player. He is doing well as a shutdown center, so let’s stop pretending he is offensively gifted. He isn’t.

          • jon514 says:

            I appreciate that you have a right to your opinion sir, but I think you and people like you are the reason we rush more talented players out of town. It takes players a certain amount of time to adjust to the NHL. Eller has more than doubled his goal total from last year, and has nearly doubled his point production. He added 9 goals to his total this year. If he can do that again next year, he’ll be up at that 25 goal mark you were looking for.

            “Let’s be clear on the facts…”

  18. New says:

    I think the team will keep Kaberle. He has done really well since coming to Montreal and just needs the opportunity to shoot more. I don’t know if Palushy, Nokelainen, or Blunden will be qualified but Nokelainen hasn’t been able to hold up his end. Here’s the guys I think will hurt you and should be gone: Nokelainen, Campoli, Gomez, Bourque, Moen, Darche, Engqvist, and sadly Staubitz. You can lose with them, you can lose without them.

    As for a coach: I nominate reporter Jessica Rusnak who you may recall was a damn site smarter that Jacques Martin about who should be on the powerplay than Martin, Cunnyworth, and the Habs braintrust as early as October. Thanks to her question Eric Cole got a chance to score his 9 PP this year while M. Darche with the school tie got his usual 0. M. Martin got the boot. I just wish Ms. Rusnak was asking more questions, probably of Mr. Molson.

    • mrhabby says:

      The issue with Kaberle is he is soft. Play him in limited minutes and with a stronger dman and it may work out..but my god he is soft.

    • nellis13 says:

      You’re on crack. Kaberle’s useless. His numbers look good because most of his ice time has been on the PP. He’s inept 5 on 5 and i don’t remember our PP stats getting any better after we got him. He’s been rejected by 3 teams in the past year. He’s another Gomez – a “has-been” with a glory day contract.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Your dentist used too much gas.

      1993 was a long time ago.

    • Mattyleg says:

      I think it would be good to keep Kaberle in a fairly limited role.
      He has put up great numbers since coming to the team, and people who say things like “Kaberle’s crap!” seem to think that every player should have no weaknesses.

      He’s a fine 3rd pairing d-man with a stay-at-homer, and on the 2nd wave of the PP.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

  19. Mattyleg says:

    Morning everyone.
    Sad to see us finally eliminated from playoff contention.
    As my sig says, there was always hope…

    One thing I was thinking this weekend: Eller should be playing wing.
    Unless he shows incredible development in training camp, he should be a shooter, not a passer. He takes far too long to make decisions with the puck, and doesn’t seem to have a natural vision of where people are on the ice like Plekanec and DD have.

    In his first year, he was painfully slow, often getting caught in posession while he tried to make up his mind. This year it’s better, but it’s still not there. I’d like to see him on the wing, where he’d be more comfortable carrying the puck to the net rather than looking for passes.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Eller’s got a great future at the club, but perhaps not at centre. Size, as DD has proven, is not the only attribute for a centre-man.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • TomNickle says:

      Eller had some pretty nice vision when he was working with Moen and Kostitsyn.

      Vision is a term that analysts like to use to illustrate how intelligent a hockey player is. Eller has himself in the right position almost all of the time. The only player who puts himself in a better position on the ice both offensively and defensively is Erik Cole. Who by the way is in his thirties.

      Funny you mention Desharnais’ vision. I prefer the term creative. Desharnais walked out from behind the net against the Flyers and had Andrei Markov sneaking in for a tap in goal on the opposite side of the ice on the powerplay. Instead of making the pass through a clear lane to Markov for a goal he moved the puck up the near side wall.

      Offensive creativity should be sought for the positions surrounding the three centremen this team has in place. Eller’s able to hold the puck longer and allow his linemates to attain better positioning due to his strength and puck handling. Not because the game comes slower to him than others.

      • Mattyleg says:

        Hmm, your post is a bit tough to figure out, Tom. You seem to be trying to make a bunch of points at once.

        I’m not using anything that analysts say, because I almost never listen to them.
        What I mean by vision is his ability to ‘see’ other players on the ice, even when they are not in his line of sight, and make the plays to them. He’s still slow on this, and that’s where a center should excel.

        If Eller puts himself in such good positions, like Cole, this would support my argument that he should be playing on the wing, like Cole. And I don’t know what Cole’s age has to do with anything in this context.

        Your paragraph about DD seems to be criticising his playmaking abilities. His statistics and my observations of the game go completely against this kind of criticism of his playmaking skills. I have no idea when your example happened, but I think it’s a bit strange to pick out one play that you feel should have been a goal, when he’s done so well overall this season.

        Eller’s size and puck-holding skills are good, but if you can’t find your players, or lose the puck before you do, or (which I’ve seen a ton recently) not even look to make a pass and try to deke the defence instead, this ability is not to your advantage.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

        • TomNickle says:

          I’m referring to the term vision and how it’s applied. Eller sees other players on the ice through traffic quite well. I’m not sure where you’re coming up with your comments about perceived shortcomings in his ability to read the play or find people through traffic. My point about Desharnais is that he is highly creative, like Eller, and that they both see the ice just fine.

          What centre on this team has had the most inconsistency in terms of what linemates are put with him?

          “Vision”, or being able to put yourself in the right position and find people through traffic is a something developed with playing time. Not something you’re born with. Erik Cole has close to ten years more professional hockey experience than Eller was my point.

          • Mattyleg says:

            Aha.
            Get it.
            I think Plekanec has had the biggest revolving door of all the centers on the team.
            Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Eller is weak, I just think he’d be more effective on the wing.
            I see his playmaking as a split-second slow, which often results in giveaways or turnovers.

            Maybe I’m way off, but I wonder where other people stand on this.

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • DorvalTony says:

      Amen, Leblanc showed him up, use Eller on the wing but not with with Louis. They didn’t click. Both seemed to be playing centre, clashing.

      1993 was a long time ago.

  20. habs-hampton says:

    Can someone explain this to me?

    Ducks score on Turco. Ref calls good goal. They review it in TO and disallow it due to goalie interference.

    When did they start reviewing this particular call in TO? I thought they only reviewed to see if the puck went in, or as high stick or if the time had expired. I didn’t think they reviewed interference.

    Am I missing something?

  21. TomNickle says:

    This team has two luxuries that will be working in its favour at the conclusion of the season. The first is that they will have the opportunity and pressure to terminate the employment of Randy Cunneyworth immediately, and possibly Pierre Gauthier if they wish and get a head start on replacing those positions.

    The second is with the draft lottery happening very quickly, they’ll know where they’re selecting and should have a handle on how to proceed as an organization very quickly. For example, if they acquire the second overall pick it’s fair to assume that they’ll be in a position to draft Mikhail Grigorenko. If they acquire the #1 overall pick they’ll be taking Nail Yakupov.

    If they draft Grigorenko, plans could take some time to develop. It’s no certainty that he’ll be able to play professional hockey in October, while on the other hand, Yakupov is absolutely ready.

    If Grigorenko is the selection. Tomas Plekanec is very likely on borrowed time as a Hab. If they feel he can step in from day one and play with the big club, Plekanec will probably be moved this summer. If he returns to junior, all bets are off but the one certainty would be that one of Plekanec, Desharnais or Eller will be traded at the conclusion of the coming season.

    If Yakupov is drafted by the Canadiens, it’s hard to say which direction the organization will go. With Bourque, Gionta, Pacioretty, Cole already established and a couple of newcomers either ready or very close to ready to step in like Leblanc and Gallagher, the team will have to find a way to fit Yakupov into the mix.

    If the new management team drafts a defenseman with Beaulieu, Tinordi and Ellis soon to be in Montreal, I’m in fear for the future.

    • mrhabby says:

      aside from the issues..whats your gut feeling on Gauthier..stay or go.

      • TomNickle says:

        Go. But not for the right reasons. Geoff Molson knows that if the men in charge don’t change and the results stay the same, revenues will take a serious hit.

    • SlimDiggity says:

      So Tom, you would not be in favor of drafting a guy like Dumba with the 3rd or 4th pick? I’m a believer in drafting the best player available, not because we necessarily think he’ll play for our club, but because he will be coveted by other teams.

      We could also trade down, but I like keeping the player as his value in a trade could potentially increase dramatically or make one of our other blue chip prospects expendable.

      • TomNickle says:

        Dumba is more of a project than anything else. He doesn’t enter the conversation unless this team is drafting closer to #10 overall.

        • SlimDiggity says:

          He’s in the top 5 in a lot of rankings, but I’ve never seen him play so I can’t really comment. Seems to have a lot of PK Subban in his game no?

          But if you look at the other guys, Murray, Ceci, Trouba, Reilly, Reinhart, surely if those top 3 forwards are off the board we take one of these guys (Dumba included). With a top 5 pick we need to draft a potential impact player. I’m not convinced Gaunce or Faksa are impact (Galchenyuk is the wild card here).

          • TomNickle says:

            Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko and Alex Galchenyuk are the elite forward talents available in the draft. That’s no secret. The Habs should be in a position to take one of them. Taking one of those three and leaving Ryan Murray, Cody Ceci or Griffin Reinhart available for other teams is no loss. Murray is the safest, Dumba the biggest risk/reward and Ceci falls somewhere in the middle.

            Even if the Oilers should secure the #2 pick ahead of the Habs, they have to take a defenseman. The Habs will be in a position to take one of those elite forwards. And other than Ryan Murray, those three forwards are all safer picks than the defensemen available in the draft.

    • Phil C says:

      Your points about organizational needs up front are very valid, but I personally will not worry if they take a defenseman if he is the best player available. I would rather have Pietrangelo from the ’08 draft than Filatov who was drafted right behind him. The Blues could easily trade Pietrangelo for an impact forward if required whereas Filatov has not been able to break into an NHL roster yet. The Kings just swapped Johnson for Carter and have moved into 3rd place as a result. They could not have done that without organizational depth on defense.

      Even the bluechip prospects take time to develop. Stamkos and Seguin did not have amazing first seasons, so realistically the Habs should be looking out 2-3 years before a top draft choice starts making a meaningful contribution to the team. The organizational needs could change a lot by then, especially if Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Ellis do not develop as projected.

      • TomNickle says:

        The Filatov comparisons to Yakupov are terribly unfair. Yakupov came to North America so that he could play in the NHL from day 1 after being drafted. He came over early to develop a North American game.

        Filatov stayed in Russia and made himself a mystery until he was drafted and was a diva from day one.

        Yakupov is playing on the heels of what was one of the nastiest hits of the junior season. Yakupov shows up in big games, plays a gritty game and is the most elite prospect coming into the draft since Steven Stamkos. Funny enough, Stamkos played for Sarnia too.

        • DorvalTony says:

          Can’t understand how you’re not an NHL GM already. How many posts is that today?

          1993 was a long time ago.

        • Phil C says:

          I was not comparing Yakupov to Filatov. Yakupov is touted as the best player available, so I would be ecstatic if the Habs could draft him. I was addressing your concern about drafting a defenseman. You seemed to imply that the Habs should pass over one in favour of a forward, which I think would be a mistake using the Pietrangelo/Filatov situation as an example. They should take a defenseman if he is clearly the best player available. That asset can be used to address organizational needs as required.

    • wall2bay says:

      Bourque is “established”???

  22. SlimDiggity says:

    Prospect update for those who care:
    Danny Kristo’s (2nd Rd. 2008) team (North Dakota) was eliminated from the NCAA tournament by Minnesota yesterday, 5 – 2. Though they got beat pretty good, Kristo was the best player on the ice for UND and arguably the most noticeable player for either team. He had tons of chances and set up chances for his teammates, who were obviously not up to his compete level last night. He also made a few pretty good defensive plays.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Would like to hear shortly that the Habs sign him to a contract. Otherwise if he waits out the summer he becomes an UFA.

      • SlimDiggity says:

        Yeah, if he forgoes his senior year he will be a free agent on June 1st.

        I think he will play his senior year, though. I think he’s pretty dedicated to his UND team and wants to win big with them.

        I also wouldn’t worry about him not signing with us. It’s definitely possible but he’s good friends with Louis Leblanc and his teammate at UND, Mark MacMillan, is also a Habs draft pick. He’s been to what, three of our camps now? Maybe four? I definitely think he’ll be with us soon.

  23. arcosenate says:

    Having watched both Kostitsyns play in the playoffs for the Habs what do you think they really bring to the table for the Preds once the post-season begins?

    Will they perform (2007-2008) or will they disappear?

  24. HabFanSince72 says:

    One interesting race is between Pittsburgh and NYR for top of the conference.

    Why this matters is that the team that finishes first will have a considerably easier path to the conference finals.

    The first team place would likely play Washington or Buffalo and then New Jersey.

    The runner up would look forward to Philly and then Boston.


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  25. H.Upmann says:

    Speaking of Claude Giroux, think they’d make him an ufa offer next time? He might command a pretty big raise, but fits the “need” for “hometown” heroes…. I almost feel sorry for Leblanc for that kind of expectation thrust upon him.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      You see!! that is Y we do not have a winner in town. What is the 1st importance? “to get a home town boy” NUTS!
      Larry Robinson and Bob Gainey were not from Quebec. Neither were many other hero’s for us. We should get the best talent, including GM and coaches, no matter where they are from. It is this narrow minded stuff that is holding this franchise back!

      • Cal says:

        Giroux is #2 in the scoring race if you haven’t noticed. The fact that he’s French is a pretty damned good bonus, Ian.

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Ian – out of curiosity, which of the decisions by Habs management that have led us to this sorry state were based on “narrow minded stuff”? Can’t think of one.


        Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

        • Ian Cobb says:

          Probably used the wrong words Paul, but I was meaning that we should be thinking of best talent first, not what language they speak first. Both players and Management (coaches). And I am not saying that Cunney or Gauthier should stay or go! It is up to Molson to bring in the best available.

          • HabFanSince72 says:

            This is the point I’ve been trying to make forever. I’m also opposed to ethnocentric decision making, but the reality is that the team has not been making decisions that way.

            There isn’t a single language-based decision that is responsible for us being last in the conference.

            The irony is this: you could argue that the hardwired tendency to ethnocentrism (altruistic towards your own, suspicious of others) that is in the human brain is the very thing that drives pro sports.


            Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • issie74 says:

        I have to laugh at that subject always coming up,would the Habs really pass a TOEWS by because he wasn’t born in Quebec.LOL
        So not!!!

        NorthTOHab

    • Malreg says:

      Do you really think Giroux will ever hit the free agent market? Not going to happen.

    • issie74 says:

      This is only the first year of Giroux 3year contract.He has 2 years to go.

      NorthTOHab

  26. habs-hampton says:

    For once I gotta agree with Jack Todd. Keith gets a free shot, and gets a week to rest up for the playoffs. Compare that to the suspension that Aaron Rome got in the finals last year for a hit that was just over the line (maybe).

    The only thing is, if Shanny starts handing our proper penalties, the GM’s will cut him off at the knees.

  27. Ian Cobb says:

    Mike!! The season is not winding down for Canadiens!!

    I watched 5 of them play last night in Chicago! They played great!
    They won big time. To bad the Hab’s management can’t recognize quality any more.

  28. BJ says:

    On another note, with Quebec City perhaps now being in the running for a team perhaps as early as the 2012-13 season (see the Phoenix Coyotes), because of the announcement of the new arena now confirmed. The two questions being: 1) will Patrick Roy be coming to Montreal or does he stay in Quebec City? 2) Will the Habs start going after more French speaking players?

    • arcosenate says:

      The Quebec born players thing is kind of a red herring isn’t it? Although the Habs have missed their fair share, see Claude Giroux, there are 29 other teams in the league that are drafting as well. I can see trading for a Quebec native but not making language more important than talent at the draft.

    • Captain aHab says:

      I’ll betcha Bettman gives another US market a shot before Quebec gets theirs.

      Once a hockey team comes to Quebec City, you know they’ll be going after francophone players so I hope we don’t try to compete at that level because we’ll be picking guys with no business being drafted for the sake of drafting francophones.

      —————-
      Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?

    • Jim Edson says:

      The NHL was adamant that any city had an adequate(by NHL standards) arena in place before they would consider moving a relocated club there.

      Kansas City has an arena built and ready to go as does Portland.

      I wouldn’t hold your breath on Buttman backing off on his requirements and never forget Bettman speaks with “forked tongues” and uses his lawyer speak to twist anything he says to his own benefit.

      He told Winnipeg(whose arena was up and running) for 3 years that they were in contention for a team before they finally made a move.

      ———————————————————————-
      What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

      In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

      They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

      ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

    • issie74 says:

      I think Quebec will get a team when they have an arena to play in.

      NorthTOHab

  29. BJ says:

    As there is not much left to look forward to this season (other than new management and a high draft pick), here is what is left of the season. If we finished with 6 wins we would stand at worst case scenario in 9th position (if all the other teams presently higher in the standings were lo lose the rest of their games). We could go anywhere from 2nd (perhaps first with the lottery) to 9th. Obviously we stand a better chance to finish anywhere between 2nd and 7th as there is not much space between the teams. Also to be considered is that teams just behind us are playing each other so some of the teams will pick up points to move further ahead. Here is a list of games left for each team “contending” for the first place going the other way:

    Winnipeg: 78 points and 7 games left
    MON MAR 26, 2012 Ottawa @ Winnipeg
    WED MAR 28, 2012 NYR @ Winnipeg
    FRI MAR 30, 2012 Winnipeg @ Carolina
    SAT MAR 31, 2012 Winnipeg @ Tampa Bay
    TUE APR 3, 2012 Winnipeg @ Florida
    THU APR 5, 2012 Winnipeg @ NYI
    SAT APR 7, 2012 Tampa bay @ Winnipeg

    Tampa Bay: 75 points and 8 games left
    MON MAR 26, 2012 Tampa Bay @ Philadelphia
    TUE MAR 27, 2012 Tampa Bay @ Boston
    THU MAR 29, 2012 Tampa Bay @ New Jersey
    SAT MAR 31, 2012 Winnipeg @ Tampa Bay
    MON APR 2, 2012 Washington @ Tampa Bay
    WED APR 4, 2012 Tampa Bay @ Montreal
    THU APR 5, 2012 Tampa Bay @ Toronto
    SAT APR 7, 2012 Tampa Bay @ Winnipeg

    Carolina: 75 points and 6 games left
    TUE MAR 27, 2012 Carolina @ Toronto
    FRI MAR 30, 2012 Winnipeg @ Carolina
    SAT MAR 31, 2012 New Jersey @ Carolina
    TUE APR 3, 2012 Carolina @ Ottawa
    THU APR 5, 2012 Montreal @ Carolina
    SAT APR 7, 2012 Carolina @ Florida

    Anaheim: 75 points and 6 games left
    WED MAR 28, 2012 San Jose @ Anaheim
    SAT MAR 31, 2012 Anaheim @ Phoenix
    SUN APR 1, 2012 Edmonton @ Anaheim
    TUE APR 3, 2012 Anaheim @ Vancouver
    THU APR 5, 2012 Anaheim @ Edmonton
    SAT APR 7, 2012 Anaheim @ Calgary

    Toronto: 75 points and 6 games left
    TUE MAR 27, 2012 Carolina @ Toronto
    THU MAR 29, 2012 Philadelphia @ Toronto
    SAT MAR 31, 2012 Buffalo @ Toronto
    TUE APR 3, 2012 Toronto @ Buffalo
    THU APR 5, 2012 Tampa Bay @ Toronto
    SAT APR 7, 2012 Toronto @ Montreal

    New York Islanders: 73 points and 7 games left
    TUE MAR 27, 2012 NYI @ Pittsburgh
    THU MAR 29, 2012 Pittsburgh @ NYI
    SAT MAR 31, 2012 Boston @ NYT
    SUN APR 1, 2012 Ottawa @ NYI
    TUE APR 3, 2012 NYI @ New Jersey
    THU APR 5, 2012 Winnipeg @ NYI
    SAT APR 7, 2012 NYI @ Columbus

    Minnesota: 72 points and 7 games left
    TUE MAR 27, 2012 NYR @ Minnesota
    THU MAR 29, 2012 Florida @ Minnesota
    SAT MAR 31, 2012 Los Angeles @ Minnesota
    SUN APR 1, 2012 Minnesota @ Chicago
    TUE APR 3, 2012 Minnesota @ Nashville
    THU APR 5, 2012 Chicago @ Minnesota
    SAT APR 7, 2012 Phoenix @ Minnesota

    Edmonton: 71 points and 6 games left (2 more wins than Montreal)
    WED MAR 28, 2012 Dallas @ Edmonton
    FRI MAR 30, 2012 Los Angeles @ Edmonton
    SUN APR 1, 2012 Edmonton @ Anaheim
    MON APR 2, 2012 Edmonton @ Los Angeles
    THU APR 5, 2012 Anaheim @ Edmonton
    SAT APR 7, 2012 Edmonton @ Vancouver

    Montreal: 71 points and 6 games left
    TUE MAR 27, 2012 Florida @ Montreal
    FRI MAR 30, 2012 Montreal @ NYR
    SAT MAR 31, 2012 Montreal @ Washington
    WED APR 4, 2012 Tampa Bay @ Montreal
    THU APR 5, 2012 Montreal @ Carolina
    SAT APR 7, 2012 Toronto @ Montreal

    I never thought that the potential meaning of the final game between Montreal and Toronto would be for a loss rather than a playoff spot.

    • HabsinLA says:

      We have less games remaining than most other teams and also less points. Florida has had our number all year, Ovechkin and Stamkos usually have big games against us. We should end up in the bottom 3. I actually think that Edmonton will move out of the bottom 3 and the NYI or Minnesota will move down into the bottom 3.

  30. TomNickle says:

    I’m not sure which of Grigorenko or Yakupov are sulky and or flaky. Neither one is close to twenty years of age yet either. I also don’t know which Russian player with the Habs is a flake.

    If you’re referring to Tomas Plekanec being late for warmup a short time ago, you may want to look up his country of origin.

  31. New says:

    How about sulking Czechs? Pleks doesn’t like his five million or whoever and goes into a snit for a year. Or is it just that he needs Markov, Kovalev and Kostitsyn to make him look good?

    Yeah, right, forgot he kills penalties when he isn’t taking crucial ones.

  32. Ozmodiar says:

    but, but…stereotyping is just soooo easy!

  33. DorvalTony says:

    You’ll see if we draft one of them. The temperament of Russian players is well known – from Kovalenko to Yashin to Kovalev to Ovechkin. I said Russian, can you read English? Polemics by obfuscation and distortion is childish.

    1993 was a long time ago.

  34. Mattyleg says:

    Yeah!
    Quit picking on DorvalTony!
    Racism and xeophobia have a long and illustrious history!
    Jeez, if you can’t make blinkered, ignorant, and bigoted comments on a forum about hockey, where can you make them?!
    Gosh, it’s as though people have a problem with jingoism or something.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  35. DorvalTony says:

    Who were his linemates again?

    1993 was a long time ago.

  36. TomNickle says:

    To Markov, Datsyuk, Volchenkov, Emelin, Tyutin, Malkin, Bure, Federov.

  37. HabFanSince72 says:

    Ovechkin? I’d take him on my team.


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  38. HabFanSince72 says:

    Cheers.

    The only exception is that Gainey really seemed to like Kovalev.

    Me too. I liked Kovy a lot.


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  39. Malreg says:

    You’re right, the reason they were banished was because they tried to score too many goals. Damn them.

  40. Cal says:

    Eller isn’t the #2 center. That’s why he is on Pleks’ line as a winger. This “progession” isn’t all that great. He averages 15:21 TOI a game. He’s getting the minutes. He’s just not producing. Ergo, he is at best right now a 3rd line center.
    Getting rid of Gionta because he’s been injured is short-sighted, just like getting rid of JM was. Cunneyworth is 16- 28 and getting worse.

  41. habs-hampton says:

    I’m not sure what Eller weighs, but he needs to get stronger this summer. He eventually needs to add 20 or so pounds. I think Leblanc needs some more weight as well.

  42. Old Bald Bird says:

    You are discrediting Eller all the way down this page. Which is fine bc your opinion is as valid as anybody’s. But do you realize that he a year behind Pacioretti in hockey years? Pacs wasn’t much until the end of last year. He wasn’t even in the NHL consistently.

    Look, I don’t know the future of Eller and neither do you, but I think I see a lot of glimpses of natural ability. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a lot of progress in the next two years as long as this organization doesn’t bungle his development entirely.

    I just think you need a little more patience. We tend to write off young guys pretty quickly on this site. In fact, many here used to want Pacs traded off.

  43. boing007 says:

    If Eller had been handled better he would most likely have more than 20 goals by now.

    Richard R

  44. TomNickle says:

    Eller needs to get stronger? The guy isn’t getting muscled off of the puck too often.

  45. Cal says:

    First-class fiction writer, maybe. His take on hockey is absurd.

  46. LafleurGuy says:

    Respect the man, and have read him from afar for twenty-six years. Jack Todd recently called Jean Beliveau the second greatest living Canadian, behind David Suzuki.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  47. HabinBurlington says:

    He also spent his last offseason rehabbing a shoulder instead of working out healthy in preparation for this year.

    That will make a large difference to his training this offseason. I look for a much improved Eller last year, from a physical fit and strength perspective.

  48. Desi says:

    Kovy was our last dangerous Hab. Now HE was lazy at times — but he was a threat all the time, someone other teams had to key on and respect.


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