So how do you like your Montreal Canadiens?

The new kids in town are a backup goaltender who will lighten the burden for Carey Price and a power forward who makes the Top Six picture murkier – but probably better.

From where I’m sitting – in a waterfront saloon, next to a lady of a certain age who keeps asking if I know Pat Hickey – the Canadiens are an appreciably better team than they were on June 30.

Peter Budaj’s most recent numbers weren’t great: 15-21, 3.20 GAA, .895 save percentage. But that was on a crap Colorado team, playing behind a defence so bad the Avs gave Jan Hejda a four-year contract today.

And Budaj played 45 games. Two years ago, as a backup appearing in 15 games, his GAA was 2.64, with a save percentage of .917.

Playing for a Jacques Martin team that makes goaltender protection Job 1, Budaj can give the Canadiens enough quality starts to cut Carey Price’s workload down to maybe 65 games … which will help The Franchise toward another superlative season that’ll set Price up for contract negotiations we don’t even want to think about.

Budaj comes to Montreal with the reputation of being a hard-worker who is popular with his teammates: ideal attributes for a backup goalie.

And while the thought of a Carey Price injury sends chills down my sweat-drenched spine on a hot summer night, Budaj is a more credible insurance policy than Big & Bald.

Besides, you have to love a guy who has Ned Flanders from The Simpsons wearing a Slovakian flag on the back of his mask (Budaj’s, not Flanders’).

Props to my great and good friend Arpon Basu for laying out why Erik Cole would be a good signing – and writing it 24 hours before the deal went down.

Yes, Cole is another Canadiens forward on the wrong side of 30. And four years is a good chunk of term for a physical player who’s survived a career-threatening injury.

But Cole is coming off a 26-goal season (he’d have been second to Brian Gionta’s 29 on the Canadiens) in which he played 82 games for the first time in his career.

Cole said all the right things in his TSN interview: the magic of Montreal, the mystique of the Bell Centre, every player’s favourite city, yada-yada. It was interesting, though, that he mentioned a phone conversation with Gionta, during which the Captain presumably began the process of welcoming Cole – a fellow upstate New Yorker – to a tight-knit team.

Cole has size, he can skate, and he scores most of his goals at even-strength. He adds grit and another Stanley Cup ring to the lineup, and Cole creates a bit of a Top Six traffic jam:

Gionta, Michael Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec (unless he’s demanded a trade to Philadelphia so he can play with Jaromir Jagr), Scott “I can’t possibly be any worse, can I?” Gomez, a fully-recovered, inshallah, Max Pacioretty, Cole and Andrei Kostitsyn.

If AK46 is odd man out, maybe he can spend the season leading up to his UFA status on a third line with Lars Eller. There were hints of chemistry between them this season;, but I think Eller, who won’t be back from shoulder surgery (thanks for that, Adam F. McQuade) until November, is evolving into the kind of centre who can play with anyone.

Round out the bottom six with David Desharnais (who has the potential to move up), Ryan White, Travis Moen, Mathieu Darche and someone who wins a job in training camp.

Or maybe Yannick Weber will realize his teenage dream of becoming Mark Streit Lite.

I see Weber in a swing role: a seventh defenceman who can play up front and help on the PP.

My Top 6 D are Andrei Markov (hey, if we have to hold our breath every time he’s hit, does the cumulative hyperventilation create some kind of high?), P.K. Subban (The Co-Franchise, another fun negotiation for Pierre Gauthier next year), Hal Gill, Josh Gorges (should we be getting nervous about how long it’s taking to sign him?) Jaro Spacek (playing sane minutes) and the Dman  who’s my summer book favourite to be an eye-opener when the puck drops, Alexei Yemelin.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s your 2011-’12 Montreal Canadiens.

James Wisniewski will be missed if the Markov of old has become an old Markov.

Roman Hamrlik will be missed for quiet leadership and the gazillion minutes he was too old to play but had to because of the Markov injuries.

Jeff Halpern will be missed on faceoffs and the PK.

Benoit Pouliot will be missed for all-too-rare flashes of tantalizing talent and that straight right that decked David Krejci, a very rare winning fight against a Bruin.

And while I firmly abhor violence, consider it the tool of the ignorant and join the good hockey fans of Vancouver in mourning that disgusting post-final spectacle, I am hereby serving notice:

If Benny becomes a star in Boston, I’m gonna break a window.


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  3. rogus says:

    I was really hoping we could have aquired Dubinsky in a trade…

  4. habsfanincalgary says:

    A few random comments:

    – disappointed that Hammer didn’t re-sign. His leadership, mentoring of kids and logging minutes will be missed.
    – don’t quite know why Halpern wasn’t offered anything. He was cheap and did a good job all considered on the PK and faceoff.
    – Pouliot will go on to light it up in Beantown. We all know it, a la SK74, Ribeiro, Grabovski, etc. It’s the style of play that the organization instills that will prevent anyone from being a 50 goal scorer for decades to come!
    – I think Budaj will be a step up albeit Bald having a good season last year.
    – As for Cole, I think the Habs paid a little too much.

    – Would love to hear your comments on some of these signings in general. Hammer is a well travelled dman. Earlier in his career, he didn’t fetch much and when in Calgary and MTL, his stock went up. Cole is someone else. Going to EDM and then coming back to CAR. I can think of the WAS Vokoun signing…they got a bargain and provides the organization with a bona fide goaltender that instanteously makes the team better. With a good season, his stock will rise. Pouliot as well…with Souray’s defensive liabilities, his shot should still be worth his signings. A healthy year with 15 – 20 goals should increase his value the following season…why is it that scouts/GMs don’t pick up on these things?

    • boing007 says:

      Richard R
      These days, 50 goal scorers are almost non-existent.The New NHL isn’t so new any more. Limit the number of players that can clog up the neutral zone to three. Assess a penalty if this rule is not followed to the letter. Yeah, I know, the coaches will find a way around it eventually. The rinks are too small now. Players skate faster and can run down an opposing player much quicker than thirty years ago. For example, Chara on Pacioretty.

  5. Harry says:

    Nathan Beaulieu feels like a really great pick for the Habs. This is one articulate, smart,mature and skilled player with desire to get even better….even Gauthier let it out that there were others gunning for that selection in a trade…that was the best news of the new habs…..number #2 was finally landing Cole, who was a Habs killer and of such incredible skill and desire…..hope his health equals last year’s apparent recovery…solves a major problem if he is healthy and lots of nfun to watch a big,fast player…the negatives..#1..losing Hamrlik…this guy saved the Habs big time with Markov out of action for such long periods and his skill helped younger defensemen including Gorges and forwards too!!…Hamrlik was not a #1 pick for nothing and the Habs management should have made a bit more effort to keep him here to end his career…he would have been a bargain…but we have bean counters first not managers who’s #1 goal is the cup.

    Imagine if Gauthier made one little move last year at the trade deadline to counter the loss of Max Pac?

  6. knuckle05 says:

    Pouliot already has the whiff of a champion.

  7. Hobie Hansen says:

    Leafs are signing Connolly…

    • solomio says:

      Connolly is the quintessential Leaf type player. He is a pretty talented player but….. I don’t know if he makes them any stronger in the long run.

  8. Hobie Hansen says:

    A Chicago writer is tweeting that the Habs and Hawks are discussing a trade…

    • kempie says:

      The name I keep hearing is Moen. Stalberg maybe?

      • thehabsfan29 says:

        Would rather frolik then stalberg

        • Hobie Hansen says:

          Look at John Scott on that team lol. Doesn’t look like he can actually play seeing how he only dresses half the time but he looks like he’d be willing and able to take a run at Chara.

          Include him in a package and dress him against the Bruins. Who knows, maybe he could actually take a regular shift?

          • Chorske says:

            Who knows, maybe he could actually take a regular shift?

            Sounds like a great basis for acquiring a player- that me MIGHT be able to play regularly. Pff.

            How quickly people forget our last disastrous attempt to sign a tough guy. And how blind people are to the real reasons we lost against the Bruins.

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            Send him to Hamilton and call him up for games where we know Lucic, Chara and company will be running at our players and slapping them around after the whistle.

            The Bruins injured a few of our players last year.

            I guess you’re cool with that and think the league or refs are going to do something about it and we should just sit back and let it happen?

            I think we already can beat the Bruins pal but don’t like to see our players injured or getting the snot beat out of them. Maybe you do?

          • kempie says:

            That dude is enormous. Wonder if he can play?

          • @kempie Unfortunately John Scott can’t play at all. Think of Hal Gill, but slower, with no hockey sense, less speed, and a stupid temper. He wouldn’t even be in the NHL if fighters weren’t glorified. Also keep in mind that defense is the last place you want to carry a fighter if you dress one. The idea of going to 5 defensemen for 5+ minutes 15-20 times a season NOT counting injuries. It’s risky for the other D.

          • Viruk42 says:

            @Andrew Berkshire

            According to, John Scott is a LW. That doesn’t make him any more useful, but at least he wouldn’t bring us down to 5D.

            I’m still hoping for Konopka, who can take faceoffs, fight anyone, and play a little…but I guess I’d take Scott if the trade were right…maybe.

  9. habitude says:

    Good column Mike! Loved you last comment too. Somehow, I have this awful feeling that he’ll be like Ryder and score all kinds of big goals against us. I still remember Vladimir Vujtek (a throw-in in the Vinny Damphousse trade who amounted to nothing in the NHL) scoring twice against the Habs in one game back in 1992-93. Everyone gets up to play their old team but it just seems like ex-Habs are particularly motivated.

  10. solomio says:

    Conversation with the brass & Konopka at Habs training camp.
    Now Zenon we know you can fight with the best of them and that you’re not afraid of anybody but this is the Montreal Canadiens and we entertain by playing a great hockey game not by staging fist fights on ice. 300 PIM is not acceptable on this team.
    If some cheap shot artist is trying to hurt our skill players you know what to do. You punish them. You make them pay. There is no need to stage or plan a fight with every jerk enforcer in the league. Situational fighting is what we need you to do. Howver that is not at all your primary role with the CH.
    We need you to win face offs. We need you to agressively forecheck, finish your check and soften up the oppositions D.
    We need you to back check like the devil.
    We need you to drive the net. With Ryan on your right, he can pass and he can shoot. You’re in front to mess up the D and the goalie, for deflections and rebounds. We know you can score and those opportunities will come. With Moen on your left he can seal up the boards and dig pucks out of the corner. You need to be in place and be ready.It wouldn’t hurt to make Chis Nilan your role model.
    Now go play the game big man, as a Montreal Canadien.

  11. pelicans says:

    Kirk Muller should have never been let go! We can only hope we get him back one day soon! JM doesn’t even speak during time outs! Also, to stir it up even more for my first post, I would like to say- Halak over price any day! Something I have said since day one! Go Habs Go!

    • db says:

      Welcome from a rare poster, first poster.

      Muller went to an AHL team where the NHL coach is just not going anywhere. Trotz is solid in Nash. So if Muller wants to move up, he’ll have to leave that organization.

      Once JM moves upstairs the spot is Kirk’s.

      At least wait until Halak’s numbers are better than Price’s. Did Price set a record for games played and won for Habs?! That is ridiculous.

      • hirky says:

        yep…i am sure that is why he took an AHL job. He knows the Habs bench has a spot reserved for him in a year or two. Coach Kirk sounds as good as Captain Kirk….LOL.

        • Nina76 says:

          hirky……I was thinking along the same lines about Kirk I am sure he would like nothing better than to coach the Habs. I think he took the job to get experince. I feel & hope this will happen maybe it was talked about with the GM. As someone stated that we are going to need alot of $$$$$ to sign Price next year better keep that in mind PG

  12. Gindan69 says:

    Could be some muscle on the way. Chicago reporters are tweeting possible moen trade that sends RFAs and enforcer back this way.

  13. Former Jets Fan says:

    The 2010-2011 Canadiens had the dubious distinction of leading the NHl in minor penalties. They were the worst 5-on-5 team in the playoffs, and closer to last than to the middle in goals scored. They were the only team out of 30 whose #1 centre led the team’s forwards in SH TOI. Plekanec, just as he did 2 years ago, started out gangbusters and saw his production slip as the 82 games regular season inched along. To improve, this team needs better discipline (cutting loose Hamrlik and Pouliot is a good start to cutting down on hooks, holds and trips) and or a different penalty-kill rotation.

    The reason I’ve written all this : I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around the repeated, I repeat, repeated calls for Zenon Konopka from posters on these boards. How could it be a good idea to add the league’s leader in penalty minutes to the team that already takes the most minors, and whose #1 centre kills all these penalties? What’s the point of adding a LH faceoff specialist with absolutely no offensive ability to a team that struggles to score goals that already has four LH centres?

    I realize than Konopka offers a tantalizing “skill” set – faceoffs, blocked shots, toughness – which at first glance seems to gyve well with the team’s needs, but take a step back and really think about what would improve the team. For real, think…..

    Now, after all that thinking, is the answer you came up with adding a player who would be the 5th (natural) centre on the depth chart who averages 4 minutes in the box per game and scores at the same rate as Tom Pyatt?

    • Mark C says:

      Before anyone says, “all his penalty minutes were from fighting” Konopka had 31 minors. Which, would have ranked him only behind Subban and the Hammer in Montreal for minors. All for a guy who just plays a hair over 10 minutes a night.

      You are right, all of Konopka’s pros (faceoffs, toughness, sandpaper, fighting, yada, yada, yada) are completely negated by the his negatives (lack of discipline, LH, size, skills).

    • clubdehockey says:

      While I agree with your conclusion about Konopka, it would be nice if you didn’t try to mislead people by exaggerating the Habs’ performance (or lack thereof) in every statement you made:

      “The 2010-2011 Canadiens had the dubious distinction of leading the NHl in minor penalties.”

      Pittsburgh had more.

      “They were the worst 5-on-5 team in the playoffs”

      In fact, Buffalo, Anaheim, New York, and Phoenix were worse in terms of their playoffs 5-on-5 performance.

      “closer to last than to the middle in goals scored.”

      True, but by the same logic, I can say that they were even closer to first than to the middle in goals allowed. And hockey isn’t just a game of scoring the most goals, it’s a game of scoring more goals than your opponent.

      “They were the only team out of 30 whose #1 centre led the team’s forwards in SH TOI.”

      Toews led Chicago and Dubinsky led New York in SHTOI. And Zajac was seconds off from leading Jersey.

      “Plekanec, just as he did 2 years ago, started out gangbusters and saw his production slip as the 82 games regular season inched along.”

      Well, this doesn’t really prove anything, because it’s the case with most players, just as they naturally become more tired as they play more games and they accumulate more bumps and bruises.

      In point of fact, Plek scored 31 points in his first 38 games (up until the New Year’s), and 26 in his final 39 games (after New Year’s). A drop in production, for sure, but not exactly an overly dramatic one.

      All that to say: yes, the Canadiens do not need Konopka. I’d say they need a 3-years-younger and 3-inches-taller version of Halpern.

  14. aemarchand11 says:

    RE: Cole

    I dont know why everybody, including TSN, Sportsnet and NHL Network do not take into account that the Habs have to overpay their players to sign here. I am not sure where i read it, but if Wiz signed here for the same amount he signed in columbus he would take home 2.6 million less over his contract length..

    Cole was probably receiving offers in the 3.75-4M range but we had to overpay to make up for the high tax bracket.

    It amazes me that this is not even discussed, but when a player signs in Florida, the bring up how they do not have to pay state tax…..

    “I have a different constitution. I have a different brain; I have a different heart; I got tiger blood, man.” – Charlie Sheen.

    • Bugs says:

      Your argument was ruined by a nonsensical quote.
      You make an excellent point, and then you show us that a coked-out has-been’s sputterings somehow have philosophical meaning.
      On which foot are you dancin here?

      Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

      • RockinRey says:

        I dont think he included that to show any philosophical meaning. Everyone thinks they are a blogger now eh? Who cares what he puts at the bottom of his comment . Who the hell are you to comment?!

      • AK_PK_Usay says:

        @ Buggs
        No, he makes a perfect point, which ive been bringing up for years, and as usual, most people find excuses to ignore it…

        Players are employees too, and perks and benefits are part of the equation.

        His last line is funny if you happen to be a fan of Two and Half men, if you dont know what he’s talking about, either:
        look it up
        SHUT IT

        • RockinRey says:

          Agree right on! Too many bully’s on here posing as jerks!

        • Bugs says:

          Again, like I said: the point was EXCELLENT. (I’m sure you read that properly?)
          And no, the last line is NOT funny, whether you’re a (ahem) “fan” of an unfunny show or not. I WOULD’VE been a fan of that show…if there had ever been anything REMOTELY funny about it, which there isn’t. Not ONE gag, not ONE line of that show has EVER been funny. The ONLY thing funny about it is that it’s managed to stay on air for so long. Like “Full House” did for example…and that other show with Steve Urkel on it.
          But you know what? That’s BESIDE the point. Even IF the show was the funniest thing the universe had ever spawned into creation, it DOESN’T mean the coked-out has-been ON that show is any more insightful or knowledgeable on the philosophies of the common man.
          …look it up, he says…(snort) Charlie Sheen, the Great Thinker, yeah, ok.

          Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

          • Duracell3 says:

            ….so you do know that its a joke about how crazy charlie sheen is though right?

          • Bugs says:

            Which is why it shouldn’t serve as epilogue to an EXCELLENT point.

            Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

      • Thenumber11 says:

        Since when did sigs have to have philosophical meaning?

  15. aemarchand11 says:

    I love the idea of the fast and skilled hockey that keeps us on the edge of our seats, Hab Hockey. BUT, I am worried that with our current depth chart our 3rd and fourth lines are going to get beat up. We all know hockey is a match up based game, and our 3rd and 4th lines, while they will score goals will take a fair share of abuse.

    Anthony Steward and/or Zenon Kanopka to fill out the bottom two lines would be idea. I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Andrei Kostitsyn for a high pick/number 6/7 defenseman either. Erik Cole fills in our top 6, and we have Eller/DD who can step up into a top 6 role if required. The good news is now we do not have to move moen into the top six having with kostitsyn and cole available… So its not all bad.

    “I have a different constitution. I have a different brain; I have a different heart; I got tiger blood, man.” – Charlie Sheen.

  16. Thenumber11 says:

    Pity we can’t get a James Neal. I think he’d be everything we’re looking for; but even with his terrible numbers as a Penguin, I highly doubt he’s available or within Montreal’s budget to acquire.

    I would not have minded Auld signed for similar numbers, maybe could have even gone the same term for less. I’m not convinced Budaj is much better, but it’s the one position we can get by with less talent assuming the franchise has another healthy season.

    Cole makes a bit more money and has a year or two more on his contract than I’d like, but I like the singing overall. Another guy to try out in the top 6 for a winning combo, a bigger body, can chip in 20 goals, etc. I think it’s unfair to even expect a 30 goal season from the guy. Considering he’s only done it once, but hit 20 a few times, and he’ll now be playing without Staal and in a more defensive system, I think 20 is a nice number to hope for.

  17. Anthony Stewart at 6′ 2″ 235 lbs shoots right and would be a big plus on the right side at a cheap cost. Habs have alot of left hand shooters. Here is a look at what the lines might look like?

    Cole – Plekanec – Cammelleri

    Pacioretty – Gomez – Gionta

    AK46 – Eller or Zherdev – Stewart

    Moen – White – Darche or DD

    Habs needs to add another center until Eller is fit to return. How about Nikolay Zherdev at 6′ 2″ 203lbs C/RW? DBL POST

    • Thenumber11 says:

      Stewart for cheap would be alright; a player who could chip in but play his bottom 6 role well. I would not complain if we sign him.

      Zherdev? No thanks.

    • Mr. Biter says:

      Stewart would be a good addition or someone who can throw-em. Sorry to see JH leave and if you compare AA #’s and Budja’s career win-loss(Budja’s got 10 more wins) and save % is the same , so I don’t see that as to much of of an upgrade just 700,000 more in salary.

      Mr. Biter

      • JaysHabs says:

        Instead of signing Stewart, would love to see Ian Schultz get a chance to play on the 4th with White and Descharnais. He wont score much, but is a decent skater, responsible and likes to stir the pot. Big and tough.

        • solomio says:

          Schultz is respectable and I like bringing up within the system but Konopka has better scoring cred. Put him between DD and White might be alright.

  18. savethepuck says:

    So, do the Habs now have the only 2 active NHL’ers who have come back from broken ( fractured ) necks?
    On another note, I’ve hated Budaj since the first game of the 08 or 09 season when he cost me a $200 pro-line ticket losing to Boston 6-5 facing only about 20 shots. I sincerely hope he changes my opinion of him.
    “That beautiful bastard scored semi-conscious.” On the Rocket’s Game 7 game winning goal against the Bruin’s April, 1952

  19. DEANDALLEY says:

    PG should have kept Muller & got rid of Martin ….

    • Shmitzy says:

      Standard answer from a clueless fan. Maybe your boss should can you for absolutely no reason too. Idiots.

    • AK_PK_Usay says:


      I agree, I actually think JM should have never been hired, with an amazing Ottawa team, he did jack shit, then was invisible in florida, and rode hot goalies in montreal.

      There are explanations for people defending JM:
      a) they are middle aged and feer a freshman taking up their respective jobs knowing they are probably deadwood…
      b) they only look at what happened and not WHY.. so they see team winning, and assume coaching must be alright… probably same kind of people that bought a ton of RIM stock when RIM said “iphone will NEVER sell”…
      c) they would rather see W than exiting hockey, they probably thought NJD were fun to watch

      • Former Jets Fan says:

        Am I misreading the tenor of your post, or are you in fact intimating that an exciting loss is preferable to a boring win?

      • DEANDALLEY says:

        Right on AK.

        JM had a stacked team in Ottawa & still could not win a Cup. The same for Don Cherry who had Bobby Orr & could not coach the Broons to a Stanley Cup!

    • Nina76 says:

      that is impossible deandalley …….we don’t have a choice Martin has to stay not in my books for sure………….Muller will be back after 2 years Martin will be gone………………GREAT!!!!

  20. TorontoHabsFan says:

    So here’s a question: last season only 1 defenceman scored 20 goals – Dustin Byfuglien. What do you think the odds are on Subban joining the 20 goal club?

    • Rugger says:

      Very strong chance

    • solomio says:

      The odds are very good that he will.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      If he scores 24, it’ll be the 2nd highest total by a defenceman since the lockout (I think that Green’s record of 31 post-lockout is safe)

    • savethepuck says:

      based on a large percentage of his goals were in the second half of the season and that I expect him to still be developing and improving, there is a good chance of him getting 20. He got 14 last year.

      “That beautiful bastard scored semi-conscious.” On the Rocket’s Game 7 game winning goal against the Bruin’s April, 1952

      • savethepuck says:

        And I also doubt he’ll spend 3 games in the pressbox this season.

        “That beautiful bastard scored semi-conscious.” On the Rocket’s Game 7 game winning goal against the Bruin’s April, 1952

  21. CHsam says:

    Well now that Benny is gone, I can’t wait for Leblanc to make the team to see what kind of BS starts hitting the fan around here. I mean Im resigned to the reality of reading about Gomez every single frackin day since July 2009. Lats, Yappierre, and now Benny. Love the revolving door on these heroes.

    • solomio says:

      Honestly I think Leblanc will not transition well into the NHL.
      I’m not sold that he’s got what it takes.

    • RGM says:

      In what conceivable universe are Latendresse, Lapierre, and Pouliot “heroes”? Bottom 6 guys that put in minimal effort to improve their play and coast are not heroes.

      During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

  22. punkster says:

    Konopka. Ya, he’s our saviour.

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  23. Thomas Le Fan says:

    I’m happy with signing Cole. We’ll just have to see what Peter Budaj brings to the mix. Hopefully some productive minutes that relieve Carey Price and allow him to be even stronger come playoffs. I can’t help but think that Richards is waaaay overpaid considering he’s certainly not a Gretzky and not quite an Yzerman. Solid enough top six forward but not quite a point a game and a career minus player. This is not a guy you can depend on to be your best player and if he is, the Rangers will be in the hunt for a long time yet.
    Pouliot a Bruin? Last stop on the way to becoming a trivia question?

    Go Habs!

  24. huge_polar_bear says:

    The most interesting thing so far in the last 2 days, IMHO, are the Leafs. Hold on, hold on before you start throwing stuff at your computer screen…

    As a Habs fan stuck in Leaf land, I cannot comprehend what Burke was thinking / doing. First he says that his team will be very active during free agency, then he leaves the country and not a peep out of the Leafs. Is he trying to loose his job? How would Habs fans react if PG was nowhere to be found? The Montreal media and Habs fans everywhere would lynch him.

    I love watching the people of Toronto freak… it’s so much fun.

  25. homerbowen says:

    Thre more things I would like;
    1) Get rid of Gomez, although highly unlikely anyone would touch him………ever.
    2) Get rid of Spacek
    3) Sign Eric Goddard and dress him for Laffs, Bruins and Flyers

  26. mike3131 says:

    I have a few questions regarding our defense…

    1. Should PK play with Markov? (Even strength)
    2. How much ice-time/game should Yemelin get?
    3. Who does Gill play with?
    4. Do you think Weber is above Spacek on the depth chart?


    • thehabsfan29 says:

      1. No. Markov will play with gorges
      2. Not sure
      3. Subban


      1. I would play pk with markov persoanlly, even though pk and gill love playing together, I would re unite gill and georges
      2. yemelin slowly get adjusted, but from al i read on this kid, I think hes going to be a solid d man who has good upside, he;ll start off trying to make the team but could fill out to be a top 4 guy.
      3. gill – georges – especially on pk.
      4. unfortunetly no, as horrible as spacek is, he brings more physical pressence against the opposing team bigger bottem 2 lines.

    • huge_polar_bear says:

      1- If Gorges signs then no… put an offensive guy with a defensive guy ie Markov + Gorges and PK + Gill

      2- Depends on how well he adapts to North American ice and style, play it by ear / game by game

      3- see #1

      4- Not yet… at least not before the season starts. Give the kid some experience and he will be in no time

    • G-Man says:

      1. No 2. can’t tell yet 3. Subban 4. Not yet.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Markov – Subban should play most of the minutes. Gill-Gorges for shutdown.

    • t1tan5 says:

      1. I don’t think that’s the best idea, at least on a regular basis. When we absolutely need a goal (at the end of the game, for example), then yes they should play together. In regular situations, I think we should spread the offense among two lines.

      2. Can’t say since nobody has ever seen him play. Just out of my ass, 15 minutes?

      3. Following up on question 1, Gill-Subban make a good team.

      4. Below. Even if Spacek may take flak from us, he’s still better defensively than Weber.

  27. thehabsfan29 says:

    Gilroy to TB

  28. DrA says:

    Whoa! Who will we get to replace Muller?


    Mike D

    July 2, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am

    “What about taking a flyer (literally and figuratively) on Zherdev? “

  30. HardHabits says:

    The biggest reason I want to see Konopka a Hab, not that I think it’ll happen, is because of all the people here who are against it.

    If Arpon Basu goes out and says the Habs could use Konopka you know it can’t be all wrong.

    Arpon Basu is more esteemed than any of the pseudo bloggers and Twitter junkies, not to mention the entourage of Internet groupies, who frequent this place.

    • Propwash says:

      So, basically you’re pushing for Konopka to be a Hab for the sake of arguing on the internet?

      • Yes. That’s essentially it. And then he’s using an argument from authority logical fallacy to prop up his narrative of HH is smarter than everyone else on the internet.

        I always laugh when someone who clearly spends more time than ANYONE else on this site calls other people “pseudo bloggers” or twitter junkies”. Next up is “get a life” or “get out of your basement and go outside”. Projection is awesome.

        • Propwash says:

          I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a quote I’ve used about arguing on the internet.

          Im watching an airshow streaming live from Austria, hence why I’m plopped in front of my PC, but when it’s done, I’m taking my son out for a nice long stroll along the waterfront.

      • Ian Cobb says:

        Steve, Cole is a hell of an up tick over Pouliot. We just got a lot better up front.
        Can he play J.Martin’s game is the bigger question.??

        Sorry Steve. 24 cups
        I posted in the wrong spot.

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        “you’re pushing for Konopka to be a Hab for the sake of arguing on the internet?”

        To be fair that’s a better reason than all the hockey-related justifications.

    • punkster says:

      Nothing like stirring the pot, right HH? Yesterday afternoon, on the K-wagon, last night off the K-wagon, today on the K-wagon. Finding that delicate balance in life is tough.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • solomio says:

      Hey hey hey lets lay off with the hyena act ok?

    • Rob says:

      People need to stop responding to HH. He’s a self professed troll, stating the other day that he writes stuff just for the reaction and that he often sits back reading his posts afterwards and laughs. If that’s not the definition of a troll, I’m not sure what is.

      The Montreal Canadiens: sporting the best AND worst fans since 1909!

  31. 24 Cups says:

    I understand that everyone is elated with the signing of Erik Cole. His speed and work ethic should fit right in with what is being put together in Montreal right now. His size and sandpaper approach to the game are just what we need, especially on a team that lacks quality power forwards. He also is able to play on both flanks, just like AK or Cammy. As for the coin and term, I guess it’s the price you have to pay for grabbing players on July 1st. Let’s face it, it’s the only time of the year you can grab an asset without giving anything up (except cap space). However, we might want to curb our enthusiasm with a bit of a reality check.

    – Cole turns 32 in November. He also has lots of miles on his chassis.
    – If you graph his career rise and decline, at which point would that graph peak?
    – Cole has played nine years in the NHL. Four of those years were 20 or more goals, with one of them peaking at 30.
    – Four of the nine seasons were injury plagued with Cole sustaining 6 significant injuries over the course of his career.
    – He has been in the playoffs three times, with one of them being just two games. He scored 6 goals in 23 games during the Carolina Cup year, while being held scorelss in 18 games during the Hurricanes’ second playoff drive.
    – He may bring what we need, but when it’s all said and done, he’s another 2nd liner just like Gionta. I can live with that as long as MaxPac or AK46 breaks through to the point where one of them can star on the 1st line. I also hope that Cole doesn’t become another Spacek during the last year of his contract.

    There’s lots of be happy about, just as long as we realize we’ve signed a guy who’s a bit of a gamble over a four year time frame.

    • HardHabits says:

      You got to stop drinking that vintage 2003 Mauvais Pique. It makes you grumpy.

    • Steve, I think you need to redefine how you view the categories of 1st line or 2nd line.

      What makes a 1st line player in the NHL today isn’t point production. We can look at Daniel Briere’s point and goal totals the last few years and say “he’s a first liner”, but in reality he’s the 3rd line center on the Flyers and plays against the weakest players on the opposition night in and night out.

      What makes a good first liner in today’s NHL is to go up against the other team’s top lines and end up on the positive side of the ledger and put up respectable points. Cole had the highest quality of competition of any player on the Hurricanes last year and score 22 even strength goals. That’s pretty clearly a 1st line player. He does the same thing as Plekanec does in that way.

    • TommyB says:

      Sure there are reasons to be just a little wary of this signing, for the reasons you stated. However, the Habs pretty much drastically need a player of Cole’s type. So you have to pay the going price, and you have to take what becomes available to you when it becomes available to you. The coin paid is not outrageous when you look at the salaries being thrown around. Bottom line is Cole fits a need and he was available, not to mention willing to come to Montreal. I think he will fit in just fine.

      Most people talk about Pacioretty on this line, and now Cole on that line. Have to admit, I like the sounds of that no matter who each of them have for linemates. But what I like even more, not that JM would do this…but I like the option of putting both of them on a line together to bang and crash at moments in a game when we need some of that. That is what I like most about this signing.

      • 24 Cups says:

        Point well taken, Tommy (and Andrew).

        I’m not trying to be negative, I’m glad we grabbed another top six guy as it was our first priority. I’m just a bit cautious.

        Leino and Fleischmann aren’t proven players yet, so 4.5M a season long term would have me uptight. Gagne would have been great but I’m not giving him four years as someone surely will this weekend.

        NM49 always told be that I should stop dreaming about the big homerun for the Habs. Cole is a solid double which will hopefuly score a run.

  32. HabFanSince72 says:

    Crazy money? Not really.

    The mean salary is now $2.8M ($62M cap divided by 22). However prior to unrestricted free agency most players’ earn less than that, sometimes much less.

    That means the mean salary for an older player (over 27) is probably around $3.5M. Seen in that light the signings this year are not really outrageous.

  33. RockinRey says:

    What about Tim Connolly in Montreal? I wouldn’t mind him over Gomez! I am pretty sure he is not on their Radar…..

  34. thehabsfan29 says:

    if we signed gagne
    how would our lines look?

    any ideas?

    • Bugs says:

      They’d look how they look but with Gagné on’em.

      Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

    • Cammalleri – Plekanec – Cole
      Pacioretty – Gomez – Gionta
      Gagne – Eller – Kostitsyn
      Moen – Desharnais – Darche

      That would be my guess, but Gagne is very good when healthy so the left wing position could be mixed up.


      id say

      cam- pleks – cole
      max gomez gio
      AK- eller – gange

      but kinda weird have a a talent player on the third line, i just dont see cole on our 3rd, nor max, and cam and pleks, gio gomez, is almost written in stone, that why if we can find some size with scoring touch for that third line, and hot damn, were the ELITE team to beat!!

    • 24 Cups says:

      29 – We don’t have the cap space for Gagne. It was either Gagne or Cole, not both.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Highly unlikely that we can sign Gagne, due to cap space, but some posters are saying we shouldn’t because of having to resign Mr. Subban and Mr. Price. I think NHL rosters are very fluid, especially these last few years, and you can’t bank on yours remaining essentially the same in the season coming up, with no allowance for injuries, skills fading, players wanting a change of scenery, players at odds about who slept with whose wife…

      If we can manage to bring in Mr. Gagne, if the doctors and management think it’s a reasonable risk, I say let’s do it. We can never have too much depth or talent. We know that in November someone will dislocate a shoulder and someone else will tear a groin in January. It’s a lot easier to weather these storms if you have another player who can step in, as opposed to last season, when we were scratching the bottom of the barrel and had to use Mr. Darche and Mr. Moen on our top lines.

      Come next season, we can evaluate our roster and if we need to let some players go to sign our young stars we do so, but even better if we have an abundance of assets and we can wheel and deal like a drunken Holmgren on leave.

      Stockpiling assets is never a bad move, as long as the contracts are reasonable, and this off-season we are learning that there almost aren’t any crazy or untradeable contracts, this side of the DiPietro line.

      Let’s do something like this again: 1) Mike Cammalleri 2) Brian Gionta 3) Hall Gill


    all this talk about kopanka or whatever, why not Arnott who is a ex devil, sc winner, huge body!

  36. PeterStone says:

    A lockout is coming, its inevitable. Cole may be slightly overpaid, but hes got an established track record. Richards, 9 yr deal, long, but again, they guy is a proven commodity. Guys like Bergenheim, Joel Ward and Fleischman making that kind of dough is plain silly. I dont see how we avoid a stoppage next season.

    I think PG has done a great job. AK signed at 3.25M$ , MaxPac at 1.5M$ .. excellent. Picking up Cole, a legit, big Power forward, nice. Whats left … i’m gonna say it. Trade AK .. at 3.25M he’s a steal. Get a 1st round pick, and go sign a Simon Gagne to fill that spot.

    I know what you are going to say .. a first for AK , wont happen … well, if you can get a Lottery 1st and a 2nd from the Avs for Semyon Varlamov, you can get a 1st for a top 6 (somewhere else ) forward.

  37. ProHabs says:

    I am happy wiith what Gauthier got yesterday. I would have been very very happy if he could have also got Micheal Rupp as well. Still work to do but good job yesterday.

  38. mike3131 says:

    Richards got locked up by NYR. Darren Dreger reporting a $6.5 M cap hit.

  39. phillyhab says:

    I’m starting to worry about losing Halpern though. Great faceoff and P.K. player. Not replaced so easy, and I doubt Konopka is the answer. Maybe a Bulldog?

  40. scrowe21 says:

    I now hate Brad Richards for not wanting to play for Montreal.

    • Mike D says:

      If we tabled an offer to him, we likely pulled it once Cole was signed. Either that or PG had a trade for Gomer lined up or was willing to put him in the AHL.

      It was rumoured we were interested, but I don’t see PG or the Habs organization offering one of those BS extremely front-loaded contracts.

      – Honestly yours

    • issie74 says:

      He wants to play in NYC with his old coach Tortorella.
      Tortorella has always had special liking of Richards.


  41. ifitwasnt4kovalev says:

    3 interesting points about this video :`

    *get spacek out of montreal ASAP!
    *notice how no one backed up spacek after he got hit from behind, we need 4th liners to defend our small but very talented players
    *remember that, pacioretty & markov were injured and out of the line up for a long period of time due to a dirty hit. (chara on pacio and initial cooke hit on markov)…..

    I would have signed souray and traded spacek.
    not sure if Erik Godard is still available, but i`ll take him.
    Wade Belak?
    Cam Janssen?
    Carcillo and Rupp are gone…:(

  42. lukas-joshua says:

    Cammy is such a hard worker, I love having him as a hab. I bet his teammates love having him in the room.

  43. CowtownCanadien says:

    I like the signings. Just need a couple sandpaper guys to round out the team. Size and grit = Time and Space for skilled (aka smaller) players.


    so how about getting another power forward and have 3 scoring lines now, I think that would create alot of mismtches, say for instance we add a player like FROLOV for 3.5 mil, he plyed with cammi in L.A as we all know… this way all wingers are at least potential 20 goal scorers

    cammi – pleks -cole
    max – gomez – gio
    AK- eller- frolov

    I think we should also rotate a 3 PP unit, we barely ever give a bone outside our top two lines, players like DD, and AK need pp time aswell.

    • Clay says:

      So we double shift Frolov then…? 😉

      Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

      Winston Churchill


        hahaha yeah had to edit that, but i think the scoring wingers on 3 lines is something hardly no team has the luxery of doing, i’d like to break away from the third line checking line, and have a really well balanced team, just an idea, I feel would make us a really tough team to play this season, what do u think?

        dosnt need to be frolov but a consistent 20 goal man on our line up means we would have 6 and could even deal with a few injuries

        • Clay says:

          I’m all for more scoring. Rolling 3 solid lines is something the Habs haven’t done since I was a kid, and they were winning cups in bunches. Dare to dream…
          I’ve got to be honest though – this won’t happen with Gomez and his cap hit on the team. Imagine if we had a productive player for that salary?

          Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

          Winston Churchill

          • HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

            yeaa, we do have a bit of cap space, and if we can make soom room moving spacek out of town, we can easily get the winger to complete the 3rd line.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Frolov is signed in the KHL.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter


        sorry didnt know that, is there any other option for a 20 goal winger out there??

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          Gagne, but he’s probably looking for 4m or so, I would if I was in his position, probably his last chance for a big contract.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

          • HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

            yeah gagne is interestng, local guy with high potential, his concussion problems do worry me though, I was thinking someone who could add some size as well, and fit in with eller and AK, but yeah, anyway you look at it, 3 scoring lines like that would be relly menacing, I really like the team but one more scoring winger, takes us in the top 5 teams in the league if u ask me.

          • Mike D says:

            What about taking a flyer (literally and figuratively) on Zherdev?

            – Honestly yours

    • HabFab says:

      How many times must it be said!!



        either way, the point is necessarily frolov but to have another good sized winger who can pot 20, and have good chemistry with the likes of AK and eller, and other team mates.

        • HabFab says:

          Sounds good but not sure if possible and remain cap wise for next year. On the other hand wouldn’t be surprised to see DD moved to the wing on that line…he might get your 20 goals (long shot) but not your size.

          • HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

            yeah I’m a big fan of DD, I think we got him t a steal for under a million for 2 seasons, this guy can easily be a 40 point guy on our team next year and keep imprroving, curious about this talk on the wing, like a marting st louis, did he play any wing last season, if so how did he do? playing with who?

          • phillyhab says:

            If he’s healthy for 82 games I don’t think it’s a longshot at all. He’s a clever bastard around the net.

  45. harpman says:

    Benny in Beantown?……he better work damn hard or he will be watching the games with Neely. Habs still need a tough guy up front but I think management is adverse to this.

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