Some takes on Canadiens 3-2 shootout win

Celebration

Gazette writers Patrick V. Hickey, Dave Stubbs and the venerable Redhead weigh in on an entertaining Wednesday night game at the Bell Centre.

Hickey’s game story, with Dario Ayala‘s great photos

No-hopers having fun

Gorges and the art of shot-blocking

Red Fisher’s column

Senators turnaround offers lessons

Myers deserved suspension

Pierre Ladouceur’s game report card

• Game stories by Sean Gordon, Arpon Basu

Crosby returns Thursday night

Quebecor and the NHL

154 Comments

  1. aroma says:

    about the Gazette links that you post. By now most of you are aware that without a paid subscription, only a few articles can be accessed each month before a message obscuring the text comes up informing us that to read the article, a subscription must be paid. The New York Times doesn’t do this, the LA Times as well provides full access to its newspaper… we should pay for the Gazette? I think if that’s what’s going to happen each month, no point posting links to Gazette articles here.

  2. HardHabits says:

    The Habs are in serious contention to finish 23rd and draft 8th. Only 1 point separates the 3rd to last teams. It is highly possible that the Habs pick10th given the Markov bounce.

    So let’s not assume the Habs will get a high draft pick. They look more and more like a team opting for another middle of the pack draft selection.

    I never touted tanking as an intentional strategy, just as a hopeful inevitability allow them to acquire the top end talent that has eluded the Habs since Guy Lafleur was asked to back check.

    What goads me is how teams who should be putting the Habs away are rolling over for them. This parity business is not making things easier. The difference between the play-offs and the draft lottery is around 5-7 wins. Stupid loser point.

    • LafleurGuy says:

      Wonder if Captain Brian will make a late-season return, and who becomes one of the Black Aces (do these exist anymore?) if he does?

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Stev.R says:

      No matter how high we go Faksa should still be available. Maybe even Galchenyuk if he doesn’t return to form right away. Maybe Grigorenko if he slides like some expect. If all those guys plus forsberg and Yakupov are taken, then we are going to get one hell of a defenseman

  3. Stev.R says:

    Who would win in a fight: Bob Gainey or Brian Burke.

    Burke tries to keep that tough guy image, but Gainey has those big shoulders and I’m sure he has a mean hook.

    • LafleurGuy says:

      Only Muhammad Ali has backed up a big mouth with successful action. Bob has never been a blowhard. Would love to see Burkie trash Cherry Pie. I know, I know, the guys old but he would deserve what’s comin’ to him.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

      • Stev.R says:

        From the looks of Burkes waistline, I don’t think he has ever even considered trashing cherry pie.

        • sprague cleghorn says:

          Gainey’s chief weapon in what Dick Irvin invariably described as “a bit of a hassle” was his huge strength, administered in an unbreakable bear hug. I think Burke’s girth might make that particular hold difficult to apply. On the other hand, Burke was a minor leaguer and Gainey a Hall of Famer on the greatest team ever, so why would he even deign to give the blowhard a go?

    • HardHabits says:

      I have never seen Burke fight. He was a career minor leaguer before my hockey time.

      However I have seen Gainey fight and as a pugilist he made a good dancer. Gainey never drove fear into the hearts of opponents as a fighter. At best he would grab an opponent and hold him during scrums.

    • krob1000 says:

      In their primes I would say Don Cherry….Cherry had 5 100 plus pim seasons in the ahl maxing out one year at 197 pims. Cherry had a 15 year plus pro career …Burke played parts of 4 seasons pro….amassing 140 pim’s in 126 games with only 72 of those being in the AHL. Cherry was smaller listed at 5’11” 180 and Burke at 6’1″ 185 but I would put my money on Cherry in their primes.

  4. krob1000 says:

    You know who I would sign for one year and get laughed at….we are weak at left wing and the guy is a pp force….but he will be 40 years old…Ray Whitney. Could probably be had for around 3.5-4.5 million for one year. The guy is just a class act and I think would be a great fit with Pleks. Throw Gionta on the other wing and that is a pretty decent second line …small for sure but fast, skilled and enough experience to compensate for their size deficiencies defensively.

  5. Mondou6 says:

    The poll that “98% of NHL players don’t want fighting outlawed” is misleading.

    If you’re a skill player, you don’t have to fight, and you feel that the goon on your team is there to protect you, so of course you’ll vote not to outlaw.

    If you’re a goon, you’d be out of work, so you’ll vote no too.

    Think of it this way…There are 23 roster spots per team. Each team has at least 1, sometimes 2, spots taken by goons, who would never be on a roster if it wasn’t for fighting.

    So ask NHL players, “Would you like the NHL rosters reduced from 23 to 22?” 100% would say no, because it means less jobs for skilled players.

    But that’s exactly what’s happening now. Every team in the league has a guy in the AHL who would be on the roster, making NHL money, but he’s not because that roster spot is wasted on a guy who has no hockey skill, but just beats people up.

    • LafleurGuy says:

      Don’t like fighting, but many times in one season, a bonehead like Lucic will demolish someone with a “hockey play.” In Lucic’s case always someone smaller. Not a coincidence that the team has more drive in going for loose pucks since Staubitz was picked up. Staubitz is smaller than Blunden, and a little smaller than Moen.

      Interesting fact, Radim Vrbata, 30 goals so far for Coyotes. 2 previous 20 goal seasons. 7th round, 212th overall pick by Colorado.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

      • Mattyleg says:

        I think this has more to do with White, to be honest.
        I like the physical presence Staubitz showed last night, but in general, it’s White that makes a difference physically, and he’ll drop the gloves with anyone.
        He’s on the ice more than Staubitz, and isn’t relegated to the ‘heavyweight bunch’ because of the ‘if I punch him I’ll kill him’ factor.

        I’ve been saaaaved!!
        —Hope Springs Eternal—

  6. HFX-HabFan says:

    I caught the Saint John vs Halifax game last night. The Q is easily the weakest of the three major junior leagues in Canada, but there was a lot of talent on the ice last night. Some observations:

    -man, the Sea Dogs are a great team. Halifax has been an upstart team this year but they were totally embarrassed on home ice by the Dogs (a 6-1 drubbing). Saint John seems to be peaking at the right time, and they could make history by being the first team to follow up a repeat Memorial Cup champion (Windsor) with back-to-back titles of their own.

    -the Saint John power play’s first unit had four first round draft picks on it (!)

    -Beaulieu looked great. Incredibly smooth, fluid skater, positionally sound, good passing and stickhandling, wasn’t afraid to jump into the play or take the puck himself (his rush led to the Dogs’ third goal).

    -Huberdeau had three or four points. I think he’ll need to bulk up to really be the offensive star he’s projected to be in the NHL…I’m not convinced we should try to move our first round pick this year to get him, as some have suggested.

    -one Sea Dogs skater that caught my eye was local (Halifax) boy Stephen MacAulay. Tremendous wheels. Apparently the Blues took him in 2010. He could grind his way into the NHL in a few years.

    -it was a quiet night for the Mooseheads as they were completely neutralized, but Nathan MacKinnon looks like the real deal. I think he needs to work on his skating but all the other tools are there…he’ll go quite high, probably number one, in the 2013 draft.

    -I wouldn’t be against dealing two of our second rounders to move up in the draft and use a late first rounder on Martin Frk. At this time last year he was in the conversation as a top ten, maybe even top five pick in this year’s draft, but injuries/concussion slowed the start of his season. He seems to just be hitting his stride now. Obvious talent…great hands, strong skater, seemed responsible in all three zones, and wasn’t afraid to get chippy. I know some are fearful of his agent (Walsh), but if we could land a second first round pick, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend it on a high-risk, high-reward talent like Frk.

    • ed lopaz says:

      that’s some great scouting work!

      Frk, assuming the concussion is not chronic, could very well be a steal of this draft.

      he plays big and talented on the wing and he has the scoring touch to back it up.

      by the way, Walsh is also Faksa’s agent! (ha! ha!) but I was a big Halak fan and so I am not as biased against Walsh as some here.

      Mackinnon is the #1 pick in 2013.

      I would guess there are quite a few teams who would have picked Mackinnon #1 this year if they could.

      Finally on Huberdeau.

      Sure he will get stronger, but what a great talent.

      He should have been allowed to play in the AHL this season.

      The rules designed to protect the Major Junior owners are some times out of whack with reality.

      • HFX-HabFan says:

        Hey Ed. I think Huberdeau reminds me of a young Lecavalier. He could have a similar career path, where his first few years in the big league aren’t overly impressive, but then by 22-23 he breaks out in a big way.

    • jmsheehy19 says:

      I’ll be very surprised if we don’t package some picks/ defensmen to move up and get another 1st round pick (assuming the opportunity is there).

      with Markov, Gorges, Subban, Emelin, and Kaberle, there is only 2 spots for Weber/Diaz/St Denis/Nash/ any ufa we might pick up and then you likely have at least 2 of Beaulieu/Tinordi/Ellis/Dietz ready in a few years.

      If we can come away with two of Faksa, Galchenyuk, Forsberg, Grigorenko, Frk, or Gaunce, I’ll be very happy.

  7. FanCritic says:

    I don’t care what anyone say’s. DD would be one of the last I would even think about letting go. This little Guy is all Heart and he plays every game that way and I must add very shifty with the puck. always makes something happen. six more players like this Guy and there wouldn’t be a team in the NHL that would out play us…. the real Montreal Canadiens would be back again.

  8. gerrybell says:

    couple more wins till we pick 8th overall! nice timing on getting hot habs.

    g
    b

  9. mdp2011 says:

    Great article on how good coaches and good systems make ordinary goalies into superstars.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2012/03/15/garrett_hitchcock_blues_halak_elliott_effect_on_goaltenders/

  10. HabinBurlington says:

    Well the makeover rumours to the Leafs have begun. Damien Cox today suggesting time for Leafs to get rid of Kessel.

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/article/1146440–cox-toronto-maple-leafs-need-to-turn-page-on-phil-kessel

  11. HFX-HabFan says:

    Silly me, I figured Minnesota and Ottawa would be picking 1-2 at this year’s draft…

    • LafleurGuy says:

      One of the consequences of being in a small market like Ottawa is “flying under the radar,” especially when the national (not local) journalists are based primarily in Toronto. Toronto is a fantastic place to live but it has many arrogant folks, especially in media. Facts count more than predictions (Giants, not Patriots are the champs), and the fact that no one among the national sportcasters, sportswriters predicted Ottawa making the playoffs, probably doesn’t mean they are incompetent reporters, but that they often don’t see the forest for the trees. This same one-track mindedness explains why Andrei Markov, Datsyuk, Lidstrom, and many others were later round draft picks. An analysis I would much prefer than ranking Nail, G-boys, Dumba, Faksa, and so on, is to have these 18 year olds compared to Steven Stamkos, 23 years old, and just a phenom of phenoms. With due respect, Tavares is not in the same stratosphere, and here they were, both number ones in their respective peer groups.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  12. ed lopaz says:

    The Habs might be able to take Radek Faksa if they keep playing out of the lottery.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=145039&encode=TRUE

    He will come to camp and everyone will love this kid.

    He is a hard working, 3 zone center, who has a great upside.

    He is listed at 6’1 and close to 200 lbs. His coach says he will play in the NHL at around 215 or 220.

    That is a “big” center.

    He might not be as “gifted” as Grigorenko, but I think he could be more consistent and more of an all around player.

    I know the name has been mentioned before, I just thought I’d throw it out there again for guys who are worried we won’t get the pick in the lottery.

    Skinner, Landeskog, and now Faksa.

    Kitchener is a breeding ground for great centers.

  13. LafleurGuy says:

    Enjoyed reading comments at the end of Arpon Basu’s article. Some respectful comments from Sens fans praising Price and Desharnais. Then a couple of Boston trolls got on board and rehashed Price’s past “over-rated” label, and another said he was ashamed in actually pulling for the Habs!

  14. Top Corner says:

    High fives…all around !!

  15. LafleurGuy says:

    “Our fans are the best in the world. I always enjoy playing here. As soon as I step on the ice, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

    Andrei Markov, March 14, 2012

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  16. Captain aHab says:

    Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, Over/Under on Crosby’s games played before he gets concussed again? It didn’t take much the last time (although they seemed to be saying it was some sort of neck injury). Crosby can’t play safe so I think 6 games and he’ll be out again.

    —————-
    I developed the Krusty Krab’s Krabby Patty recipe

  17. HabinBurlington says:

    Since it is being talked about, does anyone know the details of the Limited No Trade Clause which Plekanec has?

  18. Mustang says:

    The Habs seemed to do reasonably well last night without Gomez and Kaberle in the lineup. Not starting a fight, just sayin’. Could you imagine the talent we could pick up with the $10M/yr we are paying these 2 guys?

  19. joeybarrie says:

    @Habinburlington
    Interestingly enough at 198 pounds and factoring in todays prices, Tomas Plekanec would be worth 5.2 million us dollars in gold…

    • HabinBurlington says:

      What precious metal is Mr. Gomez made up of then to determine his value? Sorry but I had to ask.

      • joeybarrie says:

        Rhodium. Expensive. Elecroplated on Gold, Platinum and Silver jewelry. Shiny and nice. But it has a very high boiling point and poor malleability, so it just plain sucks when making jewelry out of it alone.
        Of course it wears off of jewelry and you have go back and have it replated time and time again.

  20. shiram says:

    Good game last night, you can’t expect much from this Habs club, but the usual suspects are are still putting it all on the line.

    Cole with his physical play, obviously banged up, he continues to push forward and has not diminished in his effort one bit.
    Gorges with an heroic shift on the PK, just blocking shots like a boss, that’s gotta fire Price up to make the key saves, seeing his team-mates put their bodies on the line to help him out.
    DD being his shifty self, I loved the bit where he was pinned against the wall by Karlsson, yet was still playing the puck with his hand, the shootout goal was pretty nice too.

    So all in all, great wins, and the sacrifices and energy put in by the players is the reason I cannot bring myself to wish them to lose.

    • Mattyleg says:

      Totally!
      Loved all those things.
      Anyone who wants their own team to lose is a fool.

      I’ve been saaaaved!!
      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • krob1000 says:

        Call me a fool then…..if this team falls out of tthe lottery pick then this will go down as the worst season in my lifetime as a Hab fan….should they get into the lottery, have a high second rounder also then they can be back in contention next year and have some players in the pipeline for 2 or 3 years down the road when guys like Gio, Pleks, Cole are on their way out. It does no good to continue winning….we get the point….we knew all along teh team was better than they showed and we all knew how much of an impact markov has on a game. We have also seen teh impact a little toughness brings…now get down to business and get losing and get some solid picks for Timmins to work with…he has proven time and time again he can draft so let’s give him the best possible options and win as much as we can next year.
        i don’t expect the guys on the team to not try and win…that is not ok in any circumstance…I just hope the team comes up shot more of t than not over the last 11 games all the while palying good hockey. I guess I am a fool….even though I loved all of those things you guys metnioned…but because I want the best possible scenario moving forward to when games actually matter I am a fool.

        • Cal says:

          The chances of the Habs climbing beyond 25th place is extremely low. Why does everyone here gnash their teeth on the subject? Look at the standings. Habs have taken 7 of the last 9 possible points and have not budged from 28th. sure, others are close,but do you really expect the team to roll over and die? Ottawa has it tough against the Habs this year. I expect the Sens to be better Friday, but if the Habs win again I’ll keep smiling.

          • Chris says:

            Minnesota is in free-fall and look like they will finish lower than Montreal. Edmonton and Columbus are locks.

            So Montreal is fighting with Carolina, Toronto and the Islanders for the other two bottom-5 rankings.

            Regardless, I would rather see the team playing well because their youngsters are performing than see the team go belly up because the youngsters give up. You get a good idea of what a player represents by how they play when times are the toughest.

            I wouldn’t want any player who threw in the towel this late in the season.

          • krob1000 says:

            They had a comfortable gap 3 or 4 games ago. As of right now there are 7 teams withn 4 points of each other “battling” for 3 lottery spots as the Oilers and Columbus have all but locked their spots up. Given the Habs new attitude with Markov healthy and a little confidence and there is a very real chance that they do fall out which to me would be awful. The Leafs are showing no sings of improvement, the Isles, Minensota…they are all right there with us…I expect the Lightning still think they are in the playoff race but with 2 more losses that will change. carolina plays in the middle of nowhere on the hockey map and can easily lose a few with no pressure tow in and next thing you knwo the Habs are on the outside looking in. I just want a shot at the ppottery…to be honest I think I would trade first overalll for another pick in the top 6 …..but having that chance at the 1st overall…whether for Yaskupov or the value he would command ina trade…is well worht watching a few painful meaningless games…..GOd knows we endured many painful meaningful games early on and we are all still here talking Habs and watching games. Markov makes it dangerous…eh is that good even at 60 frigging percent…the team just won without Gomez-Gio, Moen,Darche, Kaberle, Diaz, Emelin and with a slow version of Markov…it is getting scary. They have made up serious ground in the standings…they haven;t jumped palces but for instnace if they won their next 2 games even I would figure they would then be sitting outside the lottery att hat point….I don’t see that as “highly unlikely”…I see it as unlikely but definitely not “highly unlikely”.

        • Chris says:

          Other than Yakupov, there really isn’t one guy in this draft who leaps out at me as a can’t miss superstar. And the odds on Yakupov were already somewhat long given that Edmonton and Columbus were so far behind Montreal. You have to be in the bottom 5 to even have a chance at Yakupov, but that chance would be minimal.

          Grigorenko is a wild-card…he is compared to Yakupov in terms of skill, but he’s got some detractors as well. Nonetheless, somebody will consider themselves very lucky to get him, much like Montreal did with Nathan Beaulieu who slid down the draft for some reason.

          Even if the Habs were to continue their hot play, they are realistically still looking at a top-10 draft pick, which should let them land one of the good young forwards.

          Philadelphia landed Sean Couturier at #8 last season. Good players can slide down for you, especially in a defence-heavy draft like the one this season.

        • LafleurGuy says:

          To be fair, passion is the cause of the duality or ambivalence over the team winning in a “lost season.” Reason is used to rationalize that future success may arise from a brief period of failure (many losses).

          When failures compound failure as evidenced by the Oilers, I go with the passion method and want to revel in as many wins as possible. Sure felt good last night.

          “May you live in interesting times.”

        • joeybarrie says:

          Plekanec at 29 is on his way out?
          Cole is having his 2nd best season ever, and is the type of player who will play great till his retirement.

    • LafleurGuy says:

      Agree that Eric must be banged up. For a couple of weeks, his signature turbocharged move up the right wing wasn’t happening, but it was back last night!

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  21. mrhabby says:

    does anybody think Pleks is on borrowed time..

    • Captain aHab says:

      I think he’ll be packaged at the draft. What we get in return will depend on where we draft. If we draft real early and get a solid C, Pleks will be part of a package to get a solid D-Man or winger. If we keep winning and draft later, then they may go with another d-man and use Pleks+ to try to get a C.

      —————-
      **DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a real pirate despite having been blown ashore many times.**

      • Mike D says:

        Pleks has a no trade clause in his contract.

        – Honestly yours
        Twitter: @de_benny

        • Chris says:

          That, according to Dave Stubbs, he and his agent were willing to waive at this year’s deadline if it made the most sense for him and the team.

          • Mike D says:

            That was later denied by the Pleks camp. Apparently he wasn’t even approached about waiving his NTC.

            – Honestly yours
            Twitter: @de_benny

          • Chris says:

            Somehow I don’t see Dave Stubbs making stories up. The Gazette guys, and Dave in particular, are often very late to the show in terms of reporting because they generally don’t report rumours.

        • habs-fan-84 says:

          and we’ve all seen how often those can be waived.

          • Mike D says:

            Can be traded….’can’ being the operative word. Not saying that it’s impossible to move Pleks, just that there’s more involved that just simply finding a trading partner and drawing up a deal.

            – Honestly yours
            Twitter: @de_benny

    • Marcusman says:

      Not at all….next year he’ll have Gionta and Moen playing wing, trow in Darche and you have the makings of a great shut down line who can score.

    • Mattyleg says:

      Nope.
      Any team in the league would kill to have a player like him.
      Habs fans, as much as they tend to overvalue prospects, are terrible at appreciating the skilled players that they have.
      Plekanec is worth his weight in gold, and would be playing better with
      a) Two wingers who aren’t plugging bench-warmers
      b) More gas in the tank. He was burnt out at the beginning of the season by JM playing him on the top line, the PK and the PP on the point, which involved him busting his ass to get back to pick up bad passes.

      He is not going anywhere, and talking about getting rid of him is right up there in Nonsense Land with trading PK.

      I’ve been saaaaved!!
      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • shiram says:

      No, DD has not shown the PK skills, and Eller has not shown the PP skills to replace what Plekanec bring.
      Worse, I feel if they move Pleky, it might mean they intend to keep Gomez around.

      • Captain aHab says:

        I think you have that backwards. They need to play DD on the PP and Eller on the PK. I think they’ll be OK with those roles.

        —————-
        **DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a real pirate despite having been blown ashore many times.**

        • shiram says:

          Can’t have only one center for speciality teams. Getting rid of Plekanec who plays well on both speciality teams means you have to get another center to fill those roles.

          • Captain aHab says:

            When they play him that much he wears down.

            —————-
            **DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a real pirate despite having been blown ashore many times.**

          • shiram says:

            So DD and Eller have to get better?

    • He’s having a down year, sure, but I think a lot of that can be accounted for by things out of his direct control, like who his line mates are. If you have a healthy team, namely have Gionta with Pleks, his numbers improve drastically, especially in the +/- department. Plekanec has had too much success in his career as a two-way centre to give up on him after one down year, which is essentially what trading him now would amount to. His trade value is probably at an all-time low, so to deal him now would be a bit premature, I think. I mean, sure, if he has a similar year next year his value will be even lower, but there’s no real reason to think that this season is the rule rather than the exception.

    • Chris says:

      Quite simply, yes.

      Two stinker seasons out of four.
      History of hot starts followed by mediocre production down the stretch and in the playoffs.

      Tomas Plekanec is a very good defensive player. That being said, he is certainly available to other teams for the right price, although that price will be high.

    • Mike D says:

      Pleks has a no trade clause in his contract so I doubt he goes anywhere. I don’t know the specifics of his no trade, but he definitely has one.

      – Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

      • Captain aHab says:

        Stop bringing facts into our fantasy world.

        —————-
        **DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a real pirate despite having been blown ashore many times.**

      • Chris says:

        His agent let it be known at the deadline that they would consider any trade options, that the no-trade clause wasn’t an absolute impediment.

        • shiram says:

          Uh that was later denied I think?

          Nick Kypreos ‏ @RealKyper

          #SNtrade. Told Plekanec has never been approached to lift his no move clause and hasn’t even given a minute thought of leaving #Canadiens.

          renhockey:
          L’agent de #canadiens Tomas Plekanec, Rick Curren, dément que son client accepterait de lever sa clause de non-échange.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Curran denied it actually, but others were reporting that indeed Plex was willing to waive. Only Mulder would be able to find out the truth that is out there.

          • shiram says:

            So in the absence of any credible source saying he would waive, I’ll trust Renaud LAvoie.

          • Chris says:

            And given that I have found over the past decade that Dave Stubbs is extraordinarily professional in what he reports, I’ll go with him…if he reported it, he almost certainly had a very good source.

  22. Mattyleg says:

    (whoops! Didn’t see this new thread!)

    Yay!
    Morning everyone!
    Fun game last night. Don’t know what Bonne is jabbering on about… there were some down moments, but there were some great bits.
    Perhaps he should take up watching basketball. Plenty of action there. Non-stop, some might say. End-to-end. Incessant scoring. So much so, some might say, that it becomes meaningless, and it’s like watching a small dog chase a ball back and forth. Hilarious for about 3 minutes, and then just annoying.

    But I digress.

    Great game, awesome to see Cole still bangin’ them in, and the top line looking as great as any in the league. Pity we can’t get another line and a half together to support it, but that, I hope, will come.

    Bourque actually showed moments of life out there last night, but he seems determined to telegraph all his shots so much that the opposition end up getting their sticks in front of them. Every time.

    Feelin’ good, and looking forward to kicking the Sens butts on Friday, and finishing up with some roast Buffalo on Saturday.

    I’ve been saaaaved!!
    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Morning Matty, yah I thought Bourque played one of his better games last night, seemed more engaged in the play. I don’t have ridiculous expectations of the guy, but I do think with a training camp next year and new coach (Have to assume this, I think?) next year he will hopefully get slotted into a role that is comfortable for him and we can set realistic expectations of him.

      • shiram says:

        That’s the hope Burly, hopefully getting a place in MTL will help him feel at home here as well.
        He is inconsistent though, so don’t expect Cole-like consistency, but he needs to get back to potting at least 20 goals a season.

  23. krob1000 says:

    I expect that out of our 3 second rounders next year the Hbas will only have one by draft day. I expect the team to be in contention and using them to add at the deadline…..unless there is a grander plan this offseason and the team is considering trading their first rounder to make a splash this offseason and is instead figuring that out of 3 2nd rounders they should get 1 if not 2 legit nhlers. Plenty of options and any lineup that has a healthy Markov and Subban will be a playoff team.

  24. HabinBurlington says:

    Speaking of goaltending (Must be said in a Brian Williams voice as his famous seg-way goes)

    Canuck fans don’t want their Multi Million dollar goalie to play, but rather their franchise backup goalie.

    http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Luongo+suffering+from+March+madness/6303722/story.html

  25. gmur says:

    According to L’Antichambre last night, Stéphane Quintal, Brendan Shanahan’s assistant, has stated that the official policy of the NHL when handing out suspensions during the playoffs will be to give fewer games than during the regular season for the same offence. In other words, a hit from behind, like the one that put Gomez out, will get a game instead of three games. If this is indeed an official procedure, it is unprofessional.

    Imagine another pro sports organisation changing the rules during a major event. Would the NFL not suspend a player who makes a helmet-to-helmet hit that injures a quarterback because the next game is the Superbowl? Would the International Cycling Federation not suspend a cyclist because his offence took place during the Tour de France?

    I hope that Quintal has been misquoted, because it’s amateur night in the NHL once again if this is how sanctions will be handed out in the post season.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      It has always been a league standard that playoff games are worth more than a regular season game.

      What was interesting, was that at the start of the season, the NHL was trying to tell us that suspensions given during the Preseason were just as important as regular season games.

      This league has a habit of not getting things right when it comes to discipline and suspensions.

      • LafleurGuy says:

        The most gutless decision last year by the “suspenders” was putting Aaron Rome out for 4 games after he nailed Horton, effectively the remainder of the finals. League brass were probably fearful of a donnybrook and tried to appease the Boston thugs with the decision. Very ironic that the cheatin’, dirty team in the series would be abbetted in their diry play, and aided by the off-ice officials in a very tilted series. This poor application of playing rules probably contributed to anger of the rioters, but these unthinking louts probably were too fuzzy-headed to know why they were violently destroying other people’s property.

        “May you live in interesting times.”

        • encore4 says:

          I am surprised that very little was made of this gross injustice. Especially considering the time difference between the puck leaving Horton’s stick and the hit. Also due to the fact that the league sought advice on the suspension from Brian Burke, even though that was once his job, he was fired by Vancouver which poses the question of “at arms length’. The vision of Max’s head being run into a stanchion with the puck nowhere near was a hockey play and warranted no additional penalty yet Rome’s hit was late and warranted four playoff games? There is no excuse for what the rioters did but I must agree this misapplication of justice contributed to the debacle. What is really disturbing though is that this third rate league doesn’t recognize or admit it’s errors.

    • krob1000 says:

      I am ok with that….what I think they should consider is a hybrid suspension where a player gets the same amount fo games they would have expected to get but if for instance the NHL policy ratio is 1 game for 3…then they should still give him the one playogg game AND two games be served the following season during the last month of the season so the games are of importance but not of the same importance as actual playoff games.

    • Captain aHab says:

      Also factor in that it’ll depend on who hits who and what the injury is and suspensions might just go away.

      —————-
      **DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a real pirate despite having been blown ashore many times.**

    • Mike D says:

      You lost me at “According to L’Antichambre”, :-P

      – Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

  26. Marcusman says:

    So I guess our magic number is 6….any combo of Mtl loses and Washington wins…leaves us out of the playoff.

    Next year can’t happen soon enough, I’ve watched 65 of the games this year. 6 more home wins, 6 overtime wins, or 6 HELD leads has us playing in spring.

    With a solid goalie and people scoring at the right time….who knows how far we could of gone.

    • ed lopaz says:

      did you see how sharp and fresh Price looked after his rest?

      and he had that same lightning going in Vancouver after he missed the previous game and got some rest.

      I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I know Price has played exceptionally well coming back from a game off.

      like skaters get an extra jump in their step with rest, goalies get a certain weight lifted off of their pads and their bodies move better and quicker.

      it is so obvious to me when I watch Price.

      his focus is better when he is rested.

      his speed and athleticism is so much better as well.

      management must see this and adjust accordingly.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        When Chuck and I got together to watch the Buffalo game we were discussing how sharp Budaj played and how we wished he got more playing time during the season. Problem was that for so long the team was in a must win situation and felt they had to go with Price in order to give team that best chance to win.

        Hopefully Budaj can get equal starts to finish out season and the team can gain confidence in him. Also with a better powerplay next year and that shutdown line you discussed below, we won’t find ourselves in “must win” games throughout the entire schedule.

        • ed lopaz says:

          I agree entirely, and I understand the “pressure” to play Price.

          before the season starts, the team needs to have the discipline to circle the games the backup will DEFINITELY start.

          it takes discipline and leadership from management and coaches.

          then you go to the 2 goalies and explain exactly how you see the schedule unfolding.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Yup, too bad this season, we didn’t have much “Discipline and Leadership” from the areas you speak of. Have to believe the lesson is being learned given how obvious it is to many of us.

      • HardHabits says:

        Which goes to show the value of having a viable back-up, or at least a team or a game plan that doesn’t hang the Budajs and the Aulds of the world out to dry.

        Price should not need to play more than 60 regular season games. Playing 72 games in a season almost guarantees the Habs wont go deep in the play-offs, whenever they make them again.

  27. ont fan says:

    Pressure to take draft choices because of central scouting. A few years ago, Tampa took Hedman, even though their scouts pounded on the table to take Larson. Larson was taken by Pheonix. Wonder how often that happens.

    • krob1000 says:

      Can anyone get s shot through to the net as well as Erik Karlsson? The ability that kid has to wait and time things while all the while seeing the game through the pucks eyes is incredible. He scores the majority of goals with well placed wristers through traffic…and that ability makes goaleis respect him and then he passes to his left to Alfie or Spezza…the kid is going to be dangerous for a long, long time.

      Enough about him…..what a different mentality with Markov in the lineup. That being said I am sure the presence of White and Staubitz is playing a role as well right now. The team is not getting pushed around, they are moving the puck freely and they are enjoying themselves…winning will, do that….it has been enjoyable to see what they are capable but seriously…enoguh winning already.
      If Moen is brought back, a tough dman signed, a winger of even AK status brought back…and Staubitz or someone liek him signed I think the team will be in about the same position as the Sens this year….but with better goaltending.
      the attitude with some toughness and Markov has them playing with confidence…it is kind of heartwarming and sad at the same time knowing it is all for nothing.

      • LafleurGuy says:

        Karlsson may personally be the catalyst who revived the stagnant Ottawa team. Alfredsson seems rejuvenated, and that team as a whole has a creative offence that threatens to score all the time. Recall Stu Hackel’s stat on Ottawa’s positive goal differential in the third period.

        “May you live in interesting times.”

        • Chris says:

          Karlsson deserves a lot of credit, but don’t discount the impact of Spezza and Alfredsson, two perennial all-stars. Alfredsson was playing hurt for much of last season, requiring back surgery at the end of the season, while Spezza missed 20 games last season between an early season groin issue and a shoulder injury in January.

          • krob1000 says:

            True but having karlsson on the point frees up Spezza on the pp or Alfie whoever happens to be there …he is like Markov and makes the cross semers and has patience that is impossible top teach. He is even better at getting pucks through then Markov and as comparable passing abililty….I agree he has energized the group and at the same time I think Spezza and Alfie have played to their abilities and impacted things as well. I just think if you pick an MVP of their team it is Karlsson..and that is amazing given his age. Spezza would be no 2 and I might even say Michalek would get th nod over Alfie but Alife’s presence is a necessity for as long as he can possibly play.

          • Chris says:

            krob: Alfredsson and Spezza haven’t seen a noticeable jump in their offensive production on their historical averages. Alfredsson’s anomalous year was last season, when he was hurt.

            I’m not discounting Karlsson…I considered him and Kris Letang the best young defencemen in the game last year, and I would certainly be okay with him getting a Norris Trophy this season based on his play.

            I just think that Ottawa was a good example of how a couple of key injuries (and an absolutely strange coaching situation) can kill a team. Sort of like Montreal this year…. ;)

  28. Ian Cobb says:

    Gee! I missed Gomez last night!!

  29. ed lopaz says:

    it seems to me that the formula to get this team back on its feet is quite obvious.

    1) protect those leads that we blew in the 3rd period – how many were there 15 or more? if even 1/2 would be protected, the Habs would have about 15 more points.

    2) improve the power play

    on protecting the leads, I believe that Tom Plekanec is the key piece.

    when Plekanec is used as a ‘shut down” defensive center in the 3rd periods, combined with an excellent shut down winger like Darche and perhaps a Travis Moen as the 2nd winger, the Habs won several games in a row and at one point had gained 13 out of 16 possible points during an 8 game stretch.

    Guy Carbonneau was one of the best I have ever seen at this.

    Gainey, of course.

    So I would focus on building a “shut down” line for next season, around Plekanec as the center.

    Eller gets promoted to the #2 center position and is expected to produce more – as he will if he is given the minutes and PP time.

    Eller has great talent. He NEEDS to be given the opportunity.

    As Tom Nickle pointed out correctly the Habs need to add some defensive, tough, no risk type d-men to the Markov Emelin Gorges and PK Foursome.

    Now, the power play.

    Markov could be the only answer we really need.

    He is exactly the type of player we are missing. a #1 d-man, power play quarterback.

    It seems too simple.

    But closing out those 3rd period leads and improving the power play will go along way.

    The last thing I would do is play Price much less.

    I would give our back up 22 games a season and Price no more than 60.

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      My thoughts exactly and precisely why we don’t need to “clean house”.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Well thought out post ED.
      Markov is a great player for the kids to learn from.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Ed, the league is filled with so much parity that indeed some simple small tweaks as you suggest would get us back into a playoff position. If we can land an offensive dynamo in this draft and then in two years when our defense prospects start hitting stride, perhaps we can rise above the “just make playoffs mold” and start hitting the upper echelon teams.

      Seems pretty evident that their are 2-3 elite teams in each conference right now. “If” Pittsburgh gets a healthy Crosby and Letang back as they are expecting, they become “The Elite” team in the East.

      Interesting how Vancouver and Boston seem to be falling back in the pack.

    • LafleurGuy says:

      Good insights. Tomas is not as good as Carbonneau, Gainey, or Doug Jarvis were at the shut down role, but boy is he ever a good player. His signature move is the quick half shift into the slot and then getting off a shot. And just as often as would happen with Saku, the shot rings off the post; with Saku it was usually a backhand shot! These two have bad luck.

      I think there is consensus that the team underachieved, and a turnaround is coming!

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  30. krob1000 says:

    Hey Stubbs,

    You should change that title to “Gorges and the heart of shot blocking”….Josh has some weaknesses but his heart is the type you wish you could put in everyone. After he nearly has his leg taken off on the same shift he goes and tries to block two more on the same shift….in a mean nothing game.

  31. Habfan10912 says:

    Maybe it was the extra energy he got from playing in front of the home crowd, but Markov’s improvement from his first game is remarkable. He looked faster, smother and played with a lot of confidence last night. That being said, I’m still a nervous wreck when he’s on the ice. I wonder how long that will last?

  32. Clay says:

    But a guy who hits another guy in the balls with his stick – what’s he? A stand up guy?

    __________________________
    ☞ If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong. ☜

  33. RGM says:

    Didn’t you read the post? He got knocked on his ass into the net. ;)

    ———————–
    GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is probably not our year!
    “Scott Gomez is an elite NHL player” – VancouverHab

    Chat with me on Twitter @TheRealRGM81


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